Manchester United’s move for Ander Herrera descends into chaos (Updated)

1 Comment

At one point, we characterized the Ander Herrera-to-Manchester United story as “stronger” than the Marouane Fellaini link. That point was two-and-a-half hours ago. Since, the potential move of the Athletic Bilbao midfielder to Old Trafford has descended into chaos, rumor, and ultimately for United, failure.

Here’s what’s generally been reported, after hours of speculation as to what exactly went wrong: Manchester United were all set to hit Herrera’s buyout (€36 million; $47.5 million), but Spanish taxes pushed that up to €42 million. Apparently, this is a detail that United only realized today, when they actually went to trigger the player’s release. Unable to negotiate a lower fee with Athletic (whose previous reticence to settle for anything below the buyout should have foreshadowed their recalcitrant attitude), United walked away from the deal.

The Guardian’s Daniel Taylor, on Twitter:

[youtube https://twitter.com/DTguardian/statuses/374645099939897344%5D

[youtube https://twitter.com/DTguardian/statuses/374645650152902656%5D

So let me break tone for a moment and try to get this straight: Arsenal is the team making huge, last-minute swoops for world-class talent? And Manchester United’s  the one getting tripped up by technicalities and a last-minute unwillingness to get a deal done? 2013, you’re blowing my mind.

Equally mind-blowing was some of the speculation flying around once the Herrera deal fell apart, little of which has been validated to this point (so proceed from here are your own risk). United’s representatives were said to be in Spain to pay the buyout only to leave the LFP’s offices having run into an administrative issue. Presumably, that was the tax. Later, speculation surfaced claiming the United representatives were not people from the club at all. Moments afterward, Spanish journalist Guillem Balague reported the deal was off. In a final round of fancy, some claimed the United officials were real, yet they were negotiating with fake Athletic representatives, possibly a telephone-esque distorting for another rumor.

UPDATE: According to Taylor, the final piece of speculation is likely (bizarrely) true:

“I think we’re going to hear a lot more about this in the coming days. The details are a bit sketchy but I’ve just had it confirmed from Old Trafford that the people who were in Spain, apparently negotiating on their behalf for Ander Herrera, were not sent there by the club and can accurately be described as ‘impostors’.”

World soccer, ladies and gentlemen.

Regardless, Ander Herrera is not joining Manchester United, and as of the end of the transfer window (roughly 20 minutes ago), neither had Everton’s Marouane Fellaini, though deals could still be in process at the FA’s office. Still, it’s looking more and more like fears harbored over the last two weeks by United fans — fears their club wouldn’t spend at all — may be realized. Unless you consider Guillermo Varela as “spending.”

Erling Haaland injury: Manchester City assess star

0 Comments

Manchester City star Erling Haaland left the Norway squad during the international break after suffering a groin injury.

Our partners in the UK at Sky Sports News say that Haaland missed team training on Thursday, less than 48 hours before the huge game against Liverpool this weekend.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Haaland, 22, joined up with Norway for their EURO 2024 qualifiers but has been sent back to Manchester City for treatment.

That meant he went to Marbella and then Barcelona in Spain for specialist treatment and he is now back in Manchester recovering from the groin injury he picked up against Burnley.

The Norwegian striker has been in stunning form in recent weeks, scoring nine goals in his last three games in all competitions for City (including five against RB Leipzig in the Champions League and a hat trick against Burnley in the FA Cup) before the break.

He has scored 42 (yes, forty two) goals in all competitions for Man City this season.

However, Pep Guardiola and Man City now face an anxious wait as an injury to Erling Haaland is the last thing they wanted before a pivotal final few months of the season as they chase the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League treble.


What is the latest update?

Norway’s team doctor, Ola Sand, gave an update on Haaland’s injury.

“We hoped that this was just a familiarity that would carry over to Saturday, but after doing tests and examinations yesterday it became clear that he will not make it to the games against Spain and Georgia,” Sand said. “It is better that he receives medical follow-up at the club.”

Norway face Spain on Saturday and Georgia next Tuesday, so it seems like Haaland is in a race to be fit for Man City’s games after the international break.


Which games could he miss?

After the international break Man City are playing in the first game of the weekend as they host Liverpool on Saturday, Apr. 1 at the Etihad Stadium.

It seems like Haaland could be struggling to be fully fit for that game, and maybe even the trip to Southampton on Apr. 8, so Pep Guardiola may choose to rest him for their massive UEFA Champions League quarterfinal first leg against Bayern Munich on Apr. 11.

Given the form Haaland is in right now, it will be a blow for City if he does miss the next few games but the last thing they want is any long-term damage. Plus, it’s helpful to have the likes of World Cup winner Julian Alvarez in reserve to step in for Haaland.

Premier League relegation history – What do the stats tell us about this season?

0 Comments

With nine teams currently separated by four points, from 20th to 12th places, the 2022-23 Premier League relegation scrap is not only set to last until the final day, but the final two months of the season are sure to be one of the wildest roller-coaster rides of all time.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]  

Three clubs will be relegated from the Premier League (and replaced by three teams from the EFL Championship, of course) at season’s end. Never before have this many clubs been this close to the bottom-three, and the bottom of the table, at this point of a season.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League table for 2022-23 season ]

Below is everything you need to know about the relegation scrap set to unfold over the final eight weeks of the 2022-23 season…


Who are the clubs in this year’s Premier League relegation scrap?

Crystal Palace – 27 points, 12th place
Wolves – 27 points, 13th place
Leeds – 26 points, 14th place
Everton – 26 points, 15th place
Nottingham Forest – 26 points, 16th place
Leicester – 25 points, 17th place
West Ham – 24 points, 18th place
Bournemouth – 24 points, 19th place
Southampton – 23 points, 20th place


What was the magic number to avoid relegation in recent seasons?

2022: 36 points
2021: 29 points
2020: 35 points
2019: 35 points
2018: 34 points
2017: 35 points
2016: 38 points
2015: 36 points
2014: 34 points
2013: 37 points
2012: 37 points
2011: 40 points
2010: 31 points
2009: 35 points
2008: 36 points


When was the last time each club was relegated from the Premier League/top flight?

Fulham: 2021 (promoted 2022 – 1 season in PL)
Bournemouth: 2020 (promoted 2022 – 1 season)
Aston Villa: 2016 (promoted 2020 – 4 seasons)
Newcastle: 2016 (promoted 2017 – 6 seasons)
Wolves: 2012 (promoted 2018 – 5 seasons)
West Ham: 2011 (promoted 2012 – 11 seasons)
Southampton: 2005 (promoted 2012 – 11 seasons)
Crystal Palace: 2005 (promoted 2013 – 10 seasons)
Leeds: 2004 (promoted 2020 – 3 seasons)
Leicester: 2004 (promoted 2014 – 9 seasons)
Manchester City: 2001 (promoted 2002 – 21 seasons)
Nottingham Forest: 1999 (promoted 2022 – 1 season)
Chelsea: 1988 (promoted 1989 – 34 seasons)
Brighton: 1983 (promoted 2017 – 6 seasons)
Tottenham: 1977 (promoted 1978 – 45 seasons)
Manchester United: 1974 (promoted in 1975 – 48 seasons)
Liverpool: 1954 (promoted 1962 – 61 seasons)
Everton: 1951 (promoted 1954 – 69 seasons)
Brentford: 1947 (promoted 2021 – 2 seasons)
Arsenal: 1913 (promoted 1915 – 103 seasons)


How many games remaining between relegation candidates?

There are 23 remaining head-to-head matchups between the nine teams currently in the relegation battle.

Crystal Palace: 8 games (1 against every other team)
Wolves: 4 games
Leeds: 5 games
Everton: 4 games
Nottingham Forest: 4 games
Leicester: 6 games
West Ham: 5 games
Bournemouth: 6 games
Southampton: 4 games


Follow @AndyEdMLS

Ever Wonder what happened to Leicester City’s title-winning team?

0 Comments

Our ‘Ever Wonder’ series will run throughout the 2022-23 Premier League season and focuses on key stories behind the history, tradition and culture of all 20 Premier League clubs.

[ MORE: Check out our ‘Ever Wonder’ series in full ]

Have you ever sat there and wondered why certain chants became iconic at a club? Why a team has a certain nickname? Why they play in those colors? How they were founded? Yep, us too.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA

This season we will be digging deep to tell the stories of the rich history, tradition and culture from around the Premier League and give you the answers to things you want to know more about.


Ever Wonder where the Leicester title-winning team is now?

With odds of 5000-1 to win the Premier League title in 2015-16, Leicester City pulled off one of the greatest shocks in sports history.

But have you ever wondered ‘hey, what is that Leicester team up to now? What happened to them?’

Premier League Social Media wrap
Getty Images

Club legends and captains

After captaining them to FA Cup glory and being the main man in recent years, goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel left Leicester in 2022 and is now starring for Nice in France.

Getty Images

Right back Danny Simpson, center backs Robert Huth and Wes Morgan and left back Christian Fuchs have all retired with the latter playing for Charlotte FC in MLS in 2022.

Morgan lifting the Premier League trophy alongside beloved manager Claudio Ranieri, who is still coaching in Italy in Serie B with Cagliari, is an image that is in sporting folklore.


Superstars move on to even more glory

In midfield, N’Golo Kante has gone on to win the Premier League again and Champions League, among other trophies, with Chelsea. Internationally – he started every game for France as they won the World Cup in 2018.

His midfield partner at Leicester – Danny Drinkwater – also joined Chelsea, but is currently without a club after loan moves across the Premier League, Turkey and the Championship.

Winger Riyad Mahrez is a star at Manchester City, winning three more Premier League titles, while on the other wing, Marc Albrighton left Leicester on loan in January 2023 for West Bromwich Albion in the Championship but is still contracted to the club.

Manchester City v Aston Villa - Premier League
Getty Images

Veterans still plugging away and one continues to party…

Striker Shinji Okazaki is playing in Belgium for Sint-Truiden, while fellow forward Leonardo Ulloa retired after spells in Mexico and Spain.

Meanwhile – veteran striker Jamie Vardy is of course still at Leicester, and will forever go down as a club legend.

He played a key part in their FA Cup triumph and recent European exploits, and won the Premier League Golden Boot award three years ago. He never misses a party.

As for the other key contributors off the bench, Demarai Gray is at Everton, Jeffrey Schlupp is at Crystal Palace, Ben Chilwell is at Chelsea and is England’s second-choice left back, Richie de Laet is still playing at Royal Antwerp, Andy King is at Bristol City and Nathan Dyer has retired.

Wherever they are now, this group of players will always be known as the team who pulled off one of the greatest upsets the sporting world has ever seen.

Getty Images

Arsenal title tracker – What do Gunners need to win the Premier League?

0 Comments

Eight points clear at the top of the Premier League table with 10 games to go, what do Arsenal need to win their first Premier League title in 19 years?

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]  

Mikel Arteta has his young side on the cusp of a pretty remarkable and very unexpected Premier League title win.

With a solid defensive unit, perfectly balanced midfield and the likes of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard having fine campaigns in the final third, there is so much to love about this Arsenal team.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League table for 2022-23 season ]

But how, and when, can Arsenal seal the Premier League title they crave? How many points do they need to gain? What are the scenarios based on their huge game against Manchester City in April?


How many points do Arsenal need to win the Premier League title?

With 10 games remaining, there are many different ways the Gunners can win the Premier League title.

In its simplest form: if Arsenal win nine of their final 10 games they will be crowned Premier League games.

The magic number for Arsenal to reach is 95 points. If they reach 95 points, Manchester City cannot catch them.

But if Man City beat Arsenal in their huge game at the Etihad on April 26 and win their game in-hand, Arsenal will need to win all nine of their other remaining game to be sure of the title. That would give them 96 points and Man City could only finish on 94.

If Arsenal drew against Man City then Man City could only finish on a maximum of 92 points. That means Arsenal would need eight wins from their remaining nine games to win the title as they would have 94 points.

If Arsenal win at Man City then Man City would only be able to reach 91 points. So, Arsenal would only have to win seven of their other nine remaining games to seal the title.

All of this proves just how massive the Manchester City vs Arsenal game on April 26 is in deciding the title winner.


When did Arsenal last win the Premier League?

They last won the Premier League title in the 2003-04 season, the famous ‘Invincibles’ campaign as they didn’t lose any of their 38 games that season.

Think Patrick Vieira, Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Freddie Ljungberg, Sol Campbell and Robert Pires in full flow and Arsene Wenger with a huge smile on his face on the sidelines. Magnificent.


When did Arsenal last win a trophy?

The last trophy Arsenal won was the FA Cup in the 2019-20 season, they also won the FA Community Shield in 2020.

Both of those trophies were won by current boss Mikel Arteta.


Which trophies have Arsenal won?

Here are the list of trophies the Gunners have won in their history:

  • FA Cup (14 – Record)
  • Premier League/First Division titles (13)
  • League Cup (2)
  • FA Community Shield (16)
  • European Cup Winners’ Cup (1)
  • Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (1)