West Brom accept Hull City’s bid for Shane Long

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Hull City are nearing the capture of a second striker in one week after West Bromwich Albion accepted an undisclosed bid from the Tigers for Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long.

A statement on Hull City’s official website read: “The club has this morning agreed a fee with West Bromwich Albion for striker Shane Long, and will now enter talks with the striker over personal terms.”

The decision to accept the offer from Hull was made after Long, who has six months left on his current contract, declined new offers to extend his time at West Brom. And even with a 12 month option to retain Long for an extra year, the Baggies are consigned to losing the striker.

“We began talking to Shane about a new contract last spring and, during the ongoing negotiations, we made him two offers which would have significantly increased his salary,” West Brom’s sporting director Richard Garlick told the club’s website.

“However, despite our best endeavours, Shane has declined to sign a new contract. Shane effectively only has 18 months left on his deal and with him no closer to accepting our terms and then Hull making an acceptable offer, we felt it was in the club’s best interests to accept the bid.”

A long time target of Hull City, Long nearly moved to the KC Stadium on deadline day last summer before West Brom backed out after being unable to secure a second loan stint with Romelu Lukaku.

The current deal comes just one day after the Tigers confirmed the club-record signing of Croatian striker Nikica Jelavic from Everton and will take Hull’s January spending to a staggering £14.5M. Jelavic cost an initial £6.5 – which will rise to £7.5M assuming Hull stay in the top-flight – while Long is believed to cost around £7M in a similarly structured deal.

The arrival of Jelavic and, assuming personal terms are met, Long, will likely mean curtains for out-of-form striker Danny Graham, who has just one goal in 18 league matches since arriving at the KC Stadium on loan for Sunderland. It will also complicate things for Yannick Sagbo, who has been slightly more effective than Graham but has still struggled to truly impact the club by scoring only two goals in 19 Premier League matches.

Currently 10th in the table and outperforming the expectations of most pundits, recently promoted Hull City now appear set to make a strong finish to the 2013-14 season and confirm their status as a top-flight club.

Ronaldo explains his new chin hair at World Cup

AP Photo/Hassan Ammar
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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.

Report: Southampton could sell Tadic to Ajax for $20m

Adam Davy/PA via AP
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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 locks down USMNT backstop Bono with extension

Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images
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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.

WATCH: World Cup, Day 8 — Argentina on the edge; France aims for berth

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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

Group C
Denmark vs. Australia: Samara, 8 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE
France vs. Peru: Yekaterinburg, 11 a.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE

Group D
Argentina vs. Croatia: Nizhny Novgorod, 2 p.m. ET – LIVE COVERAGE