Done Deal: England’s Deadline Day sees lower teams scurry to ensure top flight status

Leave a comment

It was a furious day of activity in England’s Deadline Day, but the top teams in the table were quiet while the bottom half made plenty of moves in an attempt to avoid relegation.

In fact, Liverpool failing to sign a player may be the biggest news out of the Premier League’s top 7 clubs.

Let’s go through all the completed deals for today:

ENGLAND:

FulhamMore to come on this complete and total squad turnover, but the Cottagers were by far the busiest team in the league on Deadline Day.  They completed permanent deals for Kostas Mitroglou, William Kvist and John Heitinga, while bringing in Lewis Holtby on loan.  Mitroglou is in on a club record transfer fee, and Holtby could be made permanent if the club stays up.

They also offloaded Aaron Hughes, Adel Taarabt, Dimitar Berbatov, and Philippe Senderos, with manager Rene Meulensteen clearly unhappy with the current squad makeup. They also offloaded Bryan Ruiz earlier in the window, while adding Clint Dempsey in the beginning of the window.

Finally, in the waning minutes of the window, the Whites nabbed Manchester United youngsters Ryan Tunnicliffe and Larnell Cole.

Crystal PalaceTony Pulis has done a fair bit of dealing today as well, bringing in defender Scott Dann and goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey from Wolverhampton to shore up and already strong back line.  Finally they sealed Jason Puncheon permanently, already at Selhurst Park on loan. That allowed them to make their biggest signing of the day, nabbing winger Tom Ince from Blackpool on loan.

ArsenalMany have called for Arsene Wenger to sign a striker, but instead he went for the less sexy option of grabbing 31-year-old midfielder Kim Källström on loan from Spartak Moscow.

West Ham UnitedThe signing of Abdul Razak was made official, with the midfielder coming in from Anzhi.  The Hammers also grabbed Pablo Armero on loan from Napoli, a 27-year-old Colombian left-back.

They did, however, miss out on a striker, most notably in their attempt to hijack Mitroglou’s move to Fulham, ending up empty-handed despite reports that they offered the Greek 25% higher wages.  In fact, they offloaded disappointing striker Modibo Maiga on Queens Park Rangers just in time for the deadline.

Finally, they retained Ravel Morrison despite heavy interest from Fulham and other lower table sides.

ChelseaNo major moves were made by Jose Mourinho, but this morning the confirmed the signing of highly-rated defender Kurt Zouma from St. Etienne, costing them a reported £12 million ($19.7 million).  The 19-year-old was then immediately loaned back to the French side. Gael Kakuta was loaned out to Lazio, the 22-year-old’s fifth loan stint during his time at Chelsea.

Cardiff CityThe Bluebirds’ new manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer brought in a number of familiar faces from his time at Manchester United.  Most notably they captured Wilfried Zaha on loan, joining Fabio who was sealed a few days ago.

SunderlandThe Black Cats signed 24-year-old Liam Bridcutt for a reported £2.5 million ($4.1 million) fee after handing in a transfer request earlier this month at Brighton & Hove Albion. However, Gus Poyet will also be pleased with retaining Lee Cattermole despite heavy interest from Stoke City.  Danny Graham departed on loan to Middlesbrough.

LiverpoolAfter much speculation that they didn’t get the deal done in time, Liverpool did NOT get the deal done for 24-year-old Dnipro midfielder Yehven Konoplyanka.  They hit a snag on a £15 million ($24.7 million) deal and ran out of time.  No deadline day signings for the Reds, on the heels of missing out on Mohamed Salah who was stolen by Chelsea. More on this later.

West BromThe Baggies have added a fantastic hairdo to their ranks when they inked Espanyol striker Thievy Bifouma on loan until the end of the season.  It’s a bit of a panic purchase, with Nicolas Anelka and Stephane Sessegnon both out injured.

Southampton – Mauricio Pochettino, less than 24 hours after confirming he’d never play Pablo Osvaldo again, the striker was loaned to Juventus. So he punches a player at training, and is sent to the Serie A league leaders as a result. Justice is served!

That’s all for around the Premier League, Newcastle failed to replace Yohan Cabaye and Manchester United didn’t add a central defender. We’ll have more from around the rest of Europe a little later tonight.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Spurs snag Clarke, Arsenal eyeing French youngster

Getty Images
Leave a comment

According to a number of reports across England, Tottenham may have secured its first new player signing in 511 days, rumored to have completed a deal for Leeds United winger Jack Clarke.

The BBC reports that Clarke has flown south to London for a medical and that the $12.7 million deal is finalized. The report states there are further, unspecified add-ons to that base payment should they trigger.

The 18-year-old made 25 appearances for the Leeds first-team last season, scoring two goals assisting two more as they reached the playoff semifinal. Clarke’s arrival will mark the first Tottenham signing since Lucas Moura joined in January of 2018, famously failing to sign a player last summer to much criticism, before making a run to the Champions League final during the season.


Arsenal is reportedly after a pair of transfer targets, one on either end of the pitch.

First, more concretely, reports indicate that the Gunners are set to bat the signature of young French defender William Saliba. The 18-year-old currently plays for St. Etienne and saw significant playing time last season, bagging 16 league appearances good for over 1,200 minutes as he helped the club secure a Champions League place with a fourth-place finish, aided by the third-best defensive record in the league.

According to an ESPNFC report by Julien Laurens, the two clubs have reached an agreement for Saliba in the range of $28 million, with the Gunners beating Tottenham and PSG to the punch. Saliba will stay at St. Etienne on loan next season as he looks to continue developing at his boyhood club.

The Gunners are reportedly also following Monaco winger Keita Balde, with the Senegal international currently on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations. The 24-year-old spent last season on loan at Inter, where he racked up 24 Serie A appearances – mostly off the bench – scoring five goals and assisting three more.

Reports in Italy indicate that while Inter had the option to buy at the end of the loan spell, they declined as they believed the $38 million price to be too expensive. With Monaco struggling mightily this past season and in serious flux, it’s likely that Balde could move on and help the French club gain funds to reinvest.

Balde found the back of the net in Senegal’s opening AFCON match, a 2-0 win over Tanzania, marking his fourth international goal in 24 caps.


Another African on international duty is Kalidou Koulibaly, whose future is still under serious speculation.

Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti said Wednesday – completely joking, mind you – that he won’t even return from his vacation in Canada if the club sells Koulibaly. That won’t stop the two Manchester clubs from having a go, and to this point Napoli president Aurelio de Laurentiis has held firm that only a bid that reaches his $154 million release clause will pry him from the Italian side.

Koulibaly wouldn’t be drawn into speculation about his future when approached at the tournament in Africa, saying, “I don’t know [if I’ll still be at Napoli next year], I think so, but I have to play the AFCON and then after that I’ll go back to Napoli.”

Manchester United has been much closely linked with Koulibaly than Manchester City, but it may be difficult to convince him to switch with the Red Devils not participating in the Champions League next season.


Everton is reportedly in the hunt for Juventus striker Moise Kean according to the Liverpool Echo, with the 19-year-old breaking out last season with The Old Lady. He scored six goals in 13 appearances down the stretch of the season, coming into the squad after the club had all but secured the league title.

While he is a big strike prospect for Juventus, the club is somewhat crowded at the position with Cristiano Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala, and Mario Mandzukic at the position. The club surely could take its time bringing him along, but apparently a disciplinary issue while with the Italy U-21 team at the Euros this summer has added to the club’s concern, along with his hesitation at signing a new contract. Kean’s current deal expires next summer, so this would be the time to cash in on his high-rising stock.

The report states it would cost around $34 million to land the youngster and Ajax is also in the mix.

Women’s World Cup mascot costume stolen from Parc des Prince

Getty Images
Leave a comment

According to reports in France, first by news outlet LCI, the World Cup mascot Ettie had its mascot stolen from Parc des Princes in the early morning hours of last Friday, June 21.

L’Equipe reports the mascot costume has subsequently been recovered and police are investigating.

The reports state that a group of five somehow entered the Paris stadium between 4 and 5 a.m. local time, proceeding to walk around and even play a game on the Parc des Princes pitch before leaving the stadium carrying two large bags that contained the mascot costume. After missing for the weekend, the costume was reportedly returned to a lawyer’s office in Paris on Tuesday in anonymous fashion.

Thankfully, since the costume has been returned, Ettie will be able to make an appearance while the United States takes on host nation France at Parc des Princes in a highly anticipated quarterfinal match on Friday.

The L’Equipe report says that very little was been discernible on the Parc des Princes security camera footage, and police have appealed to the public for assistance. FIFA describes Ettie as “a young chicken with a passion for life and football.” Ettie is the daughter of Footix, the rooster mascot of the 1998 World Cup also held in France.

Toni Kroos wants to retire at Real Madrid

Getty Images
Leave a comment

After signing a contract extension in May that runs through 2023, which he said at the time is “probably my last big contract,” Toni Kroos doubled down on that statement, saying he’d like to retire at Real Madrid and will not move to another club as his career winds down.

Speaking to German publication Bild about a new film that documents his life, Kroos said that the end of his current contract is hopefully going to be the end of his career, on his own terms.

“When I am aged 33, that would be a good age to retire,” Kroos told Bild’s subscription service Bild+, as quoted by Marca. “My contract duration was chosen consciously. At 33, that would be a good age to hang up the boots. I will have the opportunity at that moment to choose if I want to do something after that.”

Obviously, it’s possible that something out of his control will take place forcing him to finish his career elsewhere, but he expresses his admiration for Los Blancos and says that he hopes his career will last long enough to ride out his contract and hang up his boots at the club he loves. “Signing for Real Madrid is the best thing I could have done, I will never play in the United States, China or Qatar.”

Kroos also emitted a typical athlete mentality, saying he hoped to make Bayern regret selling him in 2014, something he believes he’s been successful doing. “For me, it was already clear at the time of the transfer that Bayern made a mistake with my sale,” he said. “It’s true that [Bayern president] Uli Hoeness has made it public of late – and it’s a testament to his greatness that he addresses it that way.”

Kroos has won three Champions League titles with Real Madrid as well as a La Liga title since moving to the Bernabeu.

Follow Live: Africa Cup of Nations – Group play reaches round 2

Associated Press
Leave a comment

The first round of group stage matches is complete and now the slate reracks for teams to truly take control of their Africa Cup of Nations destiny.

[ LIVE: Africa Cup of Nations scores ]

Host nation Egypt takes the field for a second time as they meet Democratic Republic of Congo in the late match in Cairo, while Nigeria has the chance to secure advancement as they play Guinea, and Uganda can push Zimbabwe to the brink of elimination.

Egypt and Uganda can each secure passage to the knockout stage through Group A if both should win, while a loss for either side would complicate matters.The host nation will be looking for a better attacking display after Mohamed Salah was isolated in the narrow opening round win over Zimbabwe. Meanwhile, Congo DR likely did not expect to be facing elimination this early, with a team that sports West Ham’s Arthur Masuaku, former Premier League midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu, and Porto’s Chancel Mbemba.

In Group B, Nigeria can secure passage to the knockout phase with a win. The clear dominant side in a collection of countries that includes Guinea, Madagascar, and Burundi, Nigeria looked sluggish in its opener and will require a more complete attacking display to convince supporters they can challenge for the Cup.

2019 Africa Cup of Nations schedule – Wednesday, June 26

Group A
Uganda v. Zimbabwe – 1 p.m. ET
Egypt v. Congo DR – 4 p.m. ET

Group B
Nigeria v. Guinea – 10:30 a.m. ET