Arsenal are close to completing a deal for German international midfielder Sami Khedira, if you believe reports out of Spain.
Khedira, 27, was celebrating Germany’s World Cup win in Berlin on Tuesday, but it is believed that his current club Real Madrid are ready to sell him to the Gunners.
The midfielder is likely to cost Arsene Wenger’s side around $30 million. Not a bad price but slightly hefty, especially as he is entering the final year of his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu.
With German teammate Toni Kroos expected to sign for Real on Thursday, Khedira could see his minutes cut drastically next season with the Spanish giants.
Khedira played a key role in Germany’s 2014 World Cup win this summer, becoming only the 10th player in history to win the UEFA Champions League and World Cup in the same season, and was meant to start in the final but a calf injury in the warm up ruled the combative midfielder out.
Arsenal have badly lacked a powerful figure in midfield like Khedira, ever since Patrick Vieira left over nearly ten years ago. If the deal does go through, Khedira will join Arsenal’s large German contingent as Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolksi are also on board at the Emirates.
The former VFB Stuttgart star can play in the holding midfield role, but is just as comfortable in a box-to-box capacity and as he showed by scoring and assisting in Germany’s 7-1 semifinal win over Brazil, he can get forward when needed. Alongside the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Mikel Arteta and Matheiu Flamini in the Gunners’ engine room, Khedira’s size, pace and power will add a more robust core to Wenger’s midfield.
Fans of Arsenal will be delighted if this deal goes through.
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