Nigel Pearson hits back in heated presser, fails to clear up confusion at Leicester City

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Nigel Pearson is staying tight-lipped after many believed he had lost his job as Leicester City boss on Sunday.

Numerous sources and reports claimed that Pearson was out as Leicester boss after they lost 1-0 to Crystal Palace at home on Saturday, and a rather bizarre incident where he grappled with Palace midfielder James McArthur on the sidelines.

[ RELATED: Pearson still in charge ]

However Leicester released a statement on Sunday evening confirming Pearson was still in charge, as the club who sit bottom of the Premier League are sticking with their man.

Pearson, 51, met with the press on Monday ahead of Leicester’s trip to face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday, and had the following to say about the speculation as things got tense.

“The club has made a statement. I am going to disappoint you all now. I am not going to speak about it,” Pearson said. “We have a game tomorrow. It is important that my focus and the focus of the players is on what we can do tomorrow night rather than talk about something that I’m not really prepared to talk about.”

Pearson was pushed further by the assembled media, but the Foxes boss wasn’t giving anything away and grew more frustrated as questions about his future persisted.

“It’s always interesting to see more people here than we’re used to, which happens when there is speculation or a different type of story. I’m not going to talk about it. I am here today. The players have trained this morning. We are looking forward to the game against Arsenal. There we are… Do you want to ask it another way?”

Leicester’s boss was also asked about the incident involving McArthur on Saturday and was less than complimentary about the opinions from the media about him appearing to pin down the Palace midfielder by the neck.

When things calmed down a bit, Pearson opened up a little about the speculation surrounding his future and his relationship with the clubs Thai ownership group. But not much.

“I have never been in an position where I speak openly about what goes on in internal workings. I have always had a good relationship with the owners and I’m sure I will going forward,” Pearson said. “The bottom line is that you are never going to have a situation at any football club where things are entirely going the way you want all the time. We are currently at the bottom of the league, there is speculation and unfortunately sometimes stories like this break. For me, I have to continue to lead the players. Anything that would be counter productive to our preparation for tomorrow night is going to detract from what we are trying to do. In an idea world, I’d rather the story not be out there, but it’s out there and I have to deal with it.”

There you have it…

Confusion still remains as to Pearson’s reign at the KP, as the stories linking him with being fired obviously came from a leak somewhere within the club. Pearson did confirm that he has had talks with the owners, but his insistence to not fully clear things up and get everything out in the open only leaves further questions marks as to his future with the Foxes.

For now the man who lead Leicester to promotion last season and has had a largely successful tenure in charge since taking over in 2011 will remain in charge. Can he keep them up? Can he keep his job?

Everton reportedly set for sale of $28M Lookman

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Will Everton regret its failure to find the right fit for Ademola Lookman at Goodison Park?

The Toffees are set to sell the 21-year-old striker to RB Leipzig this summer for just $8 million more than they paid Charlton for her services, according to Sky Sports.

[ MORE: De Gea wants captaincy ]

Lookman scored five goals with four assists in a half-season loan for RBL in 2018, but could not find regular feature time for the Toffees upon his return.

Yes, the $28 million is still a decent fee, but Lookman is an English striker with U-20 World Cup-winning experience, and was given just three starts from his 21 appearances in the Premier League for Marco Silva‘s men last season (posting two assists in 601 minutes.

Lookman prefers to play left wing, but also operates on the right. Everton has Richarlison, Bernard, and Theo Walcott amongst a relatively deep wing corps.

The stats seem to show that Lookman simply had trouble getting the ball at Everton in comparison to RBL. Maybe he needs to be a bigger part of the show, and we’ll find out whether he can do that with Tyler Adams and Co. in Leipzig.

De Gea hopes for Manchester United captaincy

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Given his seemingly biannual links to returns to Spain and bigger paydays, it might be a bit of a surprise to hear Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea preach up the badge.

Aside from a stumble late last season, however, the 28-year-old has been a dynamo at Old Trafford for several managers.

[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]

He’s also been through the wringer from his early days struggling to find his form in the Premier League, and now has 362 appearances in the Red Devils shirt to go with trophies from the PL, FA Cup, League Cup, and Europa League.

So, yeah, he’s qualified to lead. And as we wait for United to announce his new expensive contract, De Gea is speaking out on his delight in captaining the team and hopes of doing so on a full-time basis.

From Sky Sports:

“I need to show that on the pitch and try to help the young guys know what Manchester United means and that’s important. We have to improve a lot. We are Manchester United; we need to fight for trophies.

“When you put on this badge, that’s what it means – fight for everything, give your best and bring the team again to the top.”

Is there a case to be made for anyone else on the current roster? Probably not, at least not in the form of players who will be expected to suit up nearly every match.

Chicago adds 2010 World Cup qualifying hero Bornstein

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There’s probably part of you who thinks Jonathan Bornstein is on an MLS staff somewhere, that he’s about 46 years old, and the news that he’s joined the Chicago Fire means he’s taken a coaching role like Josh Wolff (who is only 42. Don’t age shame).

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

And we’ll admit that “Chicago adds Jonathan Bornstein” gave us similar vibes, because, hey, didn’t this cat score an amazing, World Cup berth-clinching goal against Costa Rica at RFK in 2009? Yes! He was! I was there with my sister and a couple of buddies, and it was awesome.

Bornstein was, however, just 25 then and a member of Chivas USA (That was an MLS team, young bucks). Bob Bradley drafted him out of UCLA and turned him into a left back.

Now 34 and still a left back, Bornstein spent 2010-present outside of the United States. He’s played in Mexico for Queretaro, Tigres, and Atlante, as well as Israel last season with Maccabi Netanya. He won a Copa MX, a Supercopa MX, and an Apertura title while south of the border.

From Chicago-Fire.com:

“We began pursuing Jonathan back in January but, unfortunately, his insertion into the lineup made him too invaluable to his former club,” said Chicago Fire President and General Manager Nelson Rodrίguez. “In addition to providing a steady presence and competition on the field, we believe Jonathan will be an excellent mentor for our younger players.”

As a returning USMNT international, even no caps since 2011, Chicago had to send $50,000 to Columbus for the top spot in the allocation order.

Bornstein will hope to help Chicago turn around a miserable season which began with such promise. Chicago has been extremely unlucky this season, with a difference of minus-11.7 between expected goals and goals scored.

And I will continue to remember nearly throwing my beverage miles into the air from the upper deck at RFK. Thanks for the memories, Jonathan.

Barcelona exec on Neymar: “We aren’t looking at it”

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Neymar’s reported discontent at Paris Saint-Germain has caused rumors to fly this summer about if he could leave, and where any potential destinations could be.

His old club Barcelona is thought to be a major contender to rescue the Brazilian superstar from his misery, but that may be dead in the water after Barcelona vice president Jordi Cardoner again claimed the club has no interest in his return.

“The president already spoke about it,” Cardoner said from Tokyo where the club is in preseason. “There is no Neymar saga. There is a lot of talk and he doesn’t appear happy there but we aren’t looking at it.”

This is not the first time Cardoner has gone public to deny Neymar rumors. Even as far back as last October, Cardoner said “No one on the Barcelona board has talked about the possibility of bringing back Neymar, right now we can’t talk about it because no one has even mentioned it.”

Cardoner is not the only Barcelona member talking down a potential Neymar return. New arrival Antoine Griezmann also made statements claiming the club would struggle to make it happen even if they wanted to. Speaking about possibly linking up with Neymar with Barcelona, the former Atletico Madrid striker spoke highly of Neymar’s playing ability, but admitted it would take some significant time to complete. “We have to get it done first because it is a difficult transfer, but he is a great player,” Griezmann said from Tokyo.

Neymar has had a troubled past 12 months, facing rape charges in Brazil, suspensions in both European and domestic French competitions, and even taking Barcelona to court last year for payments he believed he was owed.