Report: Xabi Alonso heading to Manchester United

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Another day means one thing,  another star is reportedly heading to Manchester United. This time Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso is the man linked with a move to Old Trafford.

Alonso, 32, has played in the Premier League before, for United’s bitter rivals Liverpool. The Spanish international left Liverpool in 2009 and won the UEFA Champions League with Real last season, while also having the 2010 World Cup and both the 2008 and 2012 European Championship titles with Spain under his belt.

[RELATED: United sign Marcus Rojo]

Tidy on the ball and possessing a biting tackle, Alonso compliments Real’s superstars superbly as he wins the ball and distributes it to Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and co. with minimum fuss. Could he soon be doing the same for Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie? Having Alonso sit in midfield alongside fellow Spaniards Juan Mata and Ander Herrera would be a joy to behold. He would bring the right amount of grit and determination but could also knock the ball around with Herrera and Mata in the middle to create a hub of ingenuity in Louis van Gaal’s new-look team. Earlier on in the summer van Gaal was said to be in for AC Milan midfielder Nigel de Jong but interest in the player he coached for the Dutch national team has since dwindled.

[RELATED: Thursday’s Rumor Roundup]

According to the Daily Express, Alonso is available to move as Real Madrid try to trim their ridiculously large squad which is at least two deep in every position. At Real he has to compete with Toni Kroos, Sami Khedira, Asier Illarramendi and Luka Modric just to get in the team. With United chasing Arturo Vidal and Kevin Strootman this summer, Alonso could be a great buy in the meantime. Vidal’s protracted move from Juventus seems to be fizzling out, while Dutch international Strootman is out inured until at least December.

[RELATED: Di Maria wants to leave Real Madrid]

Plus, if United move in for Alonso it will actually scupper Arsenal and Chelsea’s plans to buy Khedira from Real. However with news arriving on Thursday that Khedira has rejected a new deal at Real Madrid, perhaps Alonso will remain in Madrid.

A few stumbling blocks could line this deal, one being Alonso’s refusal to play for United having formally been a fans favorite after starring for Liverpool in a five-year spell where he won the Champions League and numerous other trophies. However if the Spaniard fancies a return to the North West of England, a move to United would seal that. But why shouldn’t Alonso remain at Real and fight for his spot?

Following United’s opening day defeat to Swansea City, new boss van Gaal is hurriedly knitting together a new team with less than two weeks until the transfer window slams shut. Will Alonso be a part of that team?

Inter Milan back in the Champions League after late heroics (video)

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It’s been more than a half-decade since Inter Milan qualified for the UEFA Champions League, an infamous run that ended on Sunday.

Inter scored twice in the final 13 minutes to beat fifth-place Lazio and advance into the Top Four via head-to-head record.

[ MORE: Man Utd youngster gets USMNT call-up ]

Lazio held 1-0 and 2-1 leads, but could not get the job done at home, collecting red cards in the 79th minute and stoppage time.

Uruguayan midfielder Matias Vecino scored his third goal of the season, redirecting a corner kick home in the 81st minute, as Inter clinched fourth place in Serie A.

Matic: Man Utd needs more experience in its squad

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Nemanja Matic would like to see a bit more veteran bravery in his Manchester United side.

The title-winning 29-year-old midfielder finished second in the Premier League this season, his first with the Red Devils after a strong run with Chelsea.

[ MORE: Man Utd youngster gets USMNT call-up ]

The Blues beat United in Saturday’s FA Cup Final, and Matic says the answer to winning hardware isn’t in talent as much as it is wisdom.

From the BBC:

“The only team who is better than us this year is Man City,” said Matic. “Obviously, they play amazing football. But we are second and we are in the Champions League next year, which is the most important thing. I think we need some players with some experience to bring some more qualities to our team.”

United loses one veteran cog in Michael Carrick, and both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney have skipped town in the last year.

Who could fit the bill in terms of old hats in current United positions of weakness? Well, a full offseason for Alexis Sanchez will help, and perhaps the rumors of Toby Alderweireld make the most sense of any we’ve seen in recent weeks.

MLS Things: Shuttleworth, Quintero somehow get Loons a point vs. SKC

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Entering the day, no one was arguing that hosts Minnesota United were a better side than Sporting KC.

The Loons were 11 points and 19 goals worth of differential behind Western Conference-leading KC.

[ MORE: Other MLS Things — The Archive ]

They still are, despite a 1-1 Sunday match which carried a fitting disparity on the pitch but nothing to separate the two on the scoreboard.

Khiry gets his just desserts

Oregon State product Khiry Shelton has been wonderful for Sporting KC this season, but the striker just hasn’t found the back of the goal.

That finally changed Sunday, when his downbound header got the better of Bobby Shuttleworth — more on him later — and allowed him a richly-deserved first SKC goal which could well break down the dam.

The eighth minute saw Shelton score his goal on one of just six Loons shot attempts.

Shuttleworth back in business

It’s not always sexy to go to the veteran backstop, but it looks like Adrian Heath should’ve called Bobby Shuttleworth’s name a long time ago.

Entering the day, Shuttleworth had the second-best WhoScored.com rating of any goalkeeper to appear in more than five matches (Evan Bush).

While certainly part of that has to do with the defensive actions foisted upon him, Shuttleworth was the main reason SKC’s 24-6 advantage in attempts failed to turn into anything other than a point.

Darwin

Darwin Quintero has had more good matches than bad ones since joining the Loons, and added his third goal in seven matches with this rebound finish on Sunday.

Quintero had two goals and four assists in 17 Liga MX matches, but has been perfectly revitalized by the Minnesota air.

VIDEO: Coutinho scores brilliant curler; Iniesta walks off

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It’s often funny to read the A. in front of Andres Iniesta’s surname on his match jersey, as if there’s any other.

On Sunday, the 34-year-old midfielder walked off the field for the last time (video at bottom) as a Barcelona player, handing the captain’s arm band to Lionel Messi and beginning a new era for both the club and player.

[ MORE: Bayern salutes Heynckes (again) ]

Barcelona beat Real Sociedad 1-0 on Sunday in the final La Liga match of the season.

While the match will be remembered as Iniesta’s last with Blaugranas, Philippe Coutinho gave a glimpse of the future with his eighth goal of the season and sixth in his last five games.

Barca finishes a 1-loss season with 99 goals and a 14-point lead over La Liga runners-up Atletico Madrid.