Transfer Rumor Roundup: Swansea already looking to replace Bony

Leave a comment

With prolific striker Wilfried Bony already off to Manchester City, Swansea City is looking to try and replace his goalscoring abilities, with one feeler sent out already rebuffed.

The Daily Mail has reported that Swansea contemplated signing German international Mario Gomez after Fiorentina reached out to offer his services, but the Premier League club reportedly decided they wouldn’t be able to offer Gomez the same wages or convince him to drop to a mid-table side with Fiorentina chasing European qualification.

[RELATED: Wilfried Bony completes Man City switch ]

It would have been an odd move for Swansea anyways, who would be much better served looking to repeat the Bony move by searching for an up-and-coming striker from one of Europe’s fringe leagues instead of offering their lead striker role to an injury-prone 29-year-old.

Meanwhile, Liverpool are reportedly the frontrunners for unsettled Ezequiel Lavezzi, who apparently has not only fallen out with management, but also close to being replaced. Multiple reports have Paris Saint-Germain lining up Benfica winger Nicolas Gaitan, leaving Lavezzi on the outside looking in.

Lavezzi angered Laurent Blanc by missing a winter training session abroad, and returned from the holiday break late along with fellow PSG teammate Edinson Cavani. With Lavezzi already reportedly unhappy with a few things at the club, this appears to be the last straw. He has been used sparingly this season, appearing in 13 games, but making the full 90 just twice and amassing just 667 minutes of a possible 1,800. With Liverpool struggling for goals, they will hope they’re getting last year’s Lavezzi, who scored nine goals and played in 32 league matches.

The 29-year-old Argentinian would cost a reported $12 million. Liverpool tried to sign him both in 2012 when he went to PSG from Napoli, and this past summer.

Finally, the latest in the Jozy Altidore – Jermain Defoe swap has seen the latter reportedly pass his medical at Sunderland, according to Sky Sports. That would allow the swap to be completed, but Toronto FC doesn’t get the USMNT striker just yet. He still has to go through the allocation process, and while Toronto leads that race at the moment, there’s no telling if a New York Red Bulls would trade up into a higher allocation spot to trump the Canadian club.

Southampton players first in Premier League to cut wages

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Southampton players have become the first in the Premier League to defer their wages amid the coronavirus pandemic.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

The South Coast club released a statement on Thursday confirming their players have reached an agreement to defer their wages for April, May and June to make sure non-playing staff at the club are paid in full.

Saints also confirmed they will not use the UK government’s job retention scheme to furlough staff and that directors, coaching staff and manager Ralph Hasenhuttl will also defer their wages “to help protect the future of the club, the staff that work within it and the community we serve.”

“Furthermore, the club can confirm that it will not use the government’s Job Retention Scheme during April, May and June. Our owners, Mr. Gao and Katharina Liebherr have put measures in place to ensure that all staff not deferring part of their salaries will continue to receive 100% of their pay, paid in the normal way until 30th June. Any decision on the future beyond this date will be made in advance of this, but only when more information is known.”

The Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) had previously stated that players should not take a 30 percent wage cut as that would impact the money paid to the UK government via taxes, while the PL players themselves have since announced the #PlayersTogether initiative which will see them donate funds to the NHS.

Other Premier League clubs have been heavily criticized for signing up for the job retention scheme which sees the UK government pay 80 of wages to staff who have been furloughed. Tottenham, Newcastle, Norwich and Bournemouth have signed up for that scheme, while Liverpool initially did then apologized and reversed their decision.

Premier League clubs are currently negotiating with their players about wage cuts and deferrals during the COVID-19 outbreak but many are yet to come to an agreement, as it is believed Saints’ players and staff will defer over 10 percent of their pay collectively.

Southampton have also been funding and delivering over 1,000 fresh meals per week to the most vulnerable people in the city of Southampton through their own charity, the Saints Foundation.

“Everyone at the club remains fully committed to the community we value so highly in Southampton. We will continue to offer our full support to the city of Southampton through the work of the Saints Foundation and provide any further assistance we can. We will continue to prepare our club for a return to the pitch and make sure that, when safe, we are ready to play and serve the people of Southampton again. Until then, We March On. Together.”

VOTE: Premier League March Madness Final Four

AP
Leave a comment

Our Premier League March Madness tournament enters the Final Four stage on Thursday with two very intriguing ties.

After a wild Elite Eight which saw Everton and Sheffield United upset Chelsea and Man City respectively, we have two wonderful Final Four games set up as 20 Premier League teams are now down to 16.

#1 Liverpool host #12 Everton as the Toffees have upset Man United and Chelsea to reach the Final Four. #7 Sheffield United and #6 Wolves go head-to-head for a spot in the final as they continue to excite neutrals. These encounters will be close.

[ LIVE: March Madness PL hub ]

If you want to see the full game schedule, seedings and bracket, here is the post you need as the tournament will run all week long:

Monday: Relegation semifinals, final – Aston Villa prevailed, Norwich, Bournemouth, Watford relegated
TuesdaySweet 16 results
Wednesday: Elite Eight
Thursday: Final Four
Friday: Championship game

Plus, our own Nick Mendola handicapped the field and here is who he thinks will be the favorites to win it all and if there will be more upsets late on. After all, this is the Premier League…

Okay, vote below (until 6:30 p.m. ET) for the two Final Four matches as our Premier League March Madness tournament continues!

Ronaldinho to leave jail for luxury hotel arrest in Paraguay

Getty Images
Leave a comment

ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) Retired soccer star Ronaldinho was released from a high-security jail in Paraguay on Tuesday after more than a month, but was ordered to serve house arrest at a luxury hotel while he’s investigated for using a fake passport to enter the country.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Ronaldinho, the Brazilian former FIFA player of the year, and his brother Roberto de Assis were also told to pay bail of $800,000 each.

Ronaldinho, who helped lead Brazil to the 2002 World Cup title, was jailed on March 6 after entering the small South American country with a false Paraguayan passport. He told local authorities in a hearing that the document was a gift from a Brazilian businessman, Wilmondes Sousa Liria, who was also jailed.

“I decided to put them in house arrest because the investigation is now well advanced, differently from the situation one month ago,” Judge Gustavo Amarilla said when issuing the ruling.

Ronaldinho had his Brazilian passport seized at home due to an investigation into alleged environmental crimes, but the document was returned to him in September. One month later he played in a friendly in Israel.

If convicted, the former Barcelona star could spend up to five years in jail. Fourteen people are being investigated in the case.

Ronaldinho came to Paraguay to promote his autobiography. He was jailed in an improvised penitentiary in the south of Asunción, which is used for 150 dangerous criminals, including convicts of drug dealing, corruption and rape. During his stay he played soccer with inmates and took pictures with them that were shared on social media.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Court date for USWNT’s law suit versus U.S. Soccer delayed

USWNT equal pay
Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images
Leave a comment

A court case that has dragged U.S. Soccer’s administration through the mud and led to a change of leadership may drag into the summer.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

A judge in California has delayed the May 5 trial of gender discrimination against the USSF until June 16 due in part to the coronavirus pandemic. A pretrial conference was also moved to June 1.

The federation is being sued by members of the two-time reigning World Cup champion USWNT under the Equal Pay Act.

The women are requesting more than $66 million in damages.

The extra month gives both parties more time to reach a settlement which could keep this ugly case away from trial. Given the uncertainty in our world, it could of course be delayed again.

The USSF has a new CEO in Will Wilson, who can make a major statement of change by stopping the trial from reaching court.