Carrow Road is looking more and more like a place Premier League clubs will look to avoid in the 2013-14 season.
The Canaries have confirmed putting pen-to-paper on a four year deal with Dutch international Leroy Fer for an undisclosed fee.
The holding midfielder comes to Norwich City from Eredivisie side, FC Twente, where he notched 15 goals and 7 assists in 52 appearances since his transfer from Feyenoord in fall 2011.
Fer, a box-to-box midfielder who is equally adept at breaking up attacks on the defensive side as he is finishing them going forward, turned heads earlier this summer with his string of bold performances in Holland’s semi-final run in the European Under-21 Championship.
Nicknamed ‘The Bouncer,’ Fer came off the bench to score the match-winner against Germany in stunning fashion, thundering home a 90th minute header to hand Oranje a 3-2 victory. Two days later he added an insurance goal in Holland’s 5-1 pummelling of Russia.
This past January a £8.6 million ($13m) agreement between Everton and Fer looked done-and-dusted before a medical exam revealed a knee injury that was enough to scupper the deal. The Toffees continued to monitor Fer’s situation and were once again rumored to be in the market for the Dutchman, but Norwich came to the table with conviction and now they have their man.
The 23 year old joins Javier Garrido, Ricky Van Wolfswinkel, Nathan Redmond, Martin Olsson and Carlo Nash as manager Chris Hughton’s signings this summer.
Fer has all the attributes to make an immediate impact at Carrow Road and will provide the Canaries current defensive midfield starter, Bradley Johnson, with plenty of competition.
Now that Cristiano Ronaldo has taken to sporting a reasonable hairstyle atop his head, people are talking about the foliage on his face.
[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]
Ronaldo, 33, drew speculation when he stroked his chin following a goal in his hat trick performance against Spain in the World Cup opener. Some said he was demonstrating defiance against Lionel Messi posing with a goat (Greatest Of All Time) in a recent photograph.
Ronaldo scored again on Wednesday, and there was seemingly little doubt his goatee was a wink to the speculators. But what did it mean, CR7? From ESPN:
“This goatee? It’s a joke I had with [Ricardo] Quaresma. “We were in the sauna [before Friday’s match against Spain] and I started to shave and I left the goatee. I said if I score tomorrow, I would leave it for the rest of the tournament. And it gave me luck.
“I scored in that game, I scored in this one, so it stays.”
Personally, I like to imagine Ronaldo starting to get as wild with his facial hair as he did his head hair.
Perhaps a beatnik style, or something like Serj Tankian from System of a Down. Get nuts, C-Ron.
Could Southampton be selling one of its most creative forces?
Dusan Tadic, 29, is in the middle of a World Cup run with dark horse Serbia, but the Saints star is also being talked about as a purchase item for Ajax.
[ MORE: Serbia tops Costa Rica ]
The celebrated Eredivisie has traditionally been a selling club for the Premier League, but could be a $20 million buy for Ajax.
The report says director of players Marc Overmars and financial director Jeroen Slop have flown to Southampton to work out a deal.
Tadic starred for Dutch sides Groningen and Twente between 2010-14 before moving to St. Mary’s for a reported $12 million.
He’s scored 24 goals with 35 assists in 162 appearances for Saints, 21 and 30 of which came in the Premier League.
Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono is going to stay Toronto FC goalkeeper Alex Bono.
[ RECAP: Morocco 0-1 Portugal ]
The newly-capped USMNT backstop, 24, has been attracting interest from abroad since breaking past Clint Irwin to win the TFC job and guiding the club to multiple MLS Cup Finals.
Now general manager Tim Bezbatchenko has locked down his young goalkeeper to an undisclosed contract extension. From TorontoFC.com:
“Alex was a big part of our success last season. He set club records for wins and clean sheets and was a critical piece of our championship team,” said Toronto FC Sr. Vice-President, Soccer Operations & General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Since joining the club as a first round pick in 2015, Alex’s ability to make key saves in big moments has been critical to our success.”
The Syracuse-born product of Syracuse University has made 64 appearances for the Reds.
France, Denmark, and Croatia can clinch knockout round berths on Thursday in Russia, the last nation also holding the opportunity to help deprive the World Cup of an extended Lionel Messi run.
[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ]
Messi’s Argentina drew Iceland in its opener, the megastar infamously missing a penalty, and will look to beat a Croatian side that looked quite good in dispatching Nigeria.
That’s the final match of the day, which begins with Denmark facing Australia and continues with a tasty match-up between France and Peru.
Below is Thursday’s schedule in full.
Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.
2018 World Cup schedule – Wednesday, June 20
Denmark vs. Australia: Samara, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
France vs. Peru: Yekaterinburg, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
Argentina vs. Croatia: Nizhny Novgorod, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE