Tuesday’s Transfer news: Bale scared of Man United; Remy, Lacazette to Magpies

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According to a report in the Independent Gareth Bale has “seriously considered” signing for Manchester United in the past but the Real Madrid superstar is concerned about the current turmoil at Old Trafford.

[ MORE: LVG’s time up?

Bale, 26, was reportedly subject of a world record $150 million bid in the summer but decided against leaving the Spanish capital. However if Louis Van Gaal was to leave — the Dutch boss has almost hit rock bottom after being booed off on Saturday following a home defeat to Southampton — and Jose Mourinho or another big-name manager arrived with a long-term plan to build the team around Bale, the former Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur star would reconsider. It has long been known that United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is obsessed with signing a player who can be a Ballon d’Or contender, and Bale would certainly fit the bill as he’s just coming into his prime.

The Welsh forward is currently injured after yet another calf injury, and his club are in a spot of bother with a transfer ban coming up for the next two transfer windows after this month, meaning no new players could be signed. If they fail in an appeal of that transfer ban, can they really afford to sell Bale?

The man who signed for Real in 2013 for a world record fee of $132 million — and a recent release of previously confidential contract information says Spurs have the option to match any transfer bid made for Bale —  has said many times he is happy at the Santiago Bernabeu but it seems like if Bale wants a return to England then United would be his top destination. Provided they sort themselves out, of course.
Sunderland are said to be chasing Swansea City’s Ghanaian forward Andre Ayew hard. Ayew, 26, scored in Swansea’s 2-1 win at Everton on Sunday and according to The Guardian a bid of $15 million, plus Italian striker Fabio Borini was turned down. The Swans not wanting to sell their leading scorer — Ayew has eight goals in his debut Premier League season after arriving from Marseille — to a direct relegation rival is probably the main stumbling block here.

[ MORE: Crucial stretch arrives for Bradley, Le Havre ] 

Another North East club is on the lookout for a new striker with the Evening Chronicle claiming that Newcastle United could offer Chelsea’s Loic Remy the chance to return to St James’ Park on loan… but only if the Blues sign Alexandre Pato during the final week of the window. Remy, 29, spent a season on loan with the Magpies in 2013-14 and scored 14 goals in 26 games before returning to parent club Queens Park Rangers and then on to Chelsea.

Manager Steve McClaren, who has already signed Henri Saivet, Jonjo Shelvey  in January and is on the brink of adding Andros Townsend, clearly wants to bolster his striking options because another report, this time from the Telegraph, claims that Alexandre Lacazette is keen on a move to the Magpies. Lacazette, 24, had previously said he wants to move to the Premier League but it became apparent the French striker didn’t fancy a move to Newcastle and Lyon were eager to keep hold of him and sell him in the summer.

However, it appears he may have changed his mind and the man who has spent his entire career at Lyon — scoring 78 goals in 210 outings — could follow in the footsteps of many of his countrymen in using Newcastle as a stepping stone, plus also becoming one of their highest-paid players in the process. Newcastle need goals and signing Lacazettte for a figure of around $30 million would be a major coup if it happens in the coming days. More than likely Lacazette will be on the move this summer.

Serie A: Leaders Inter Milan open door for Juve by drawing Roma

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MILAN (AP) Italian league leader Inter Milan was held by Roma to 0-0 on Friday, giving second-placed Juventus a chance to return to the top.

[ MORE: Chelsea transfer ban reduced; can sign players in January ]

The home draw left Inter only two points ahead of Juventus, which can regain the lead when it visits third-placed Lazio on Saturday.The result also wasn’t good for Roma, which moved from fifth to fourth place in the standings but remained nine points off the lead after 15 matches.

Inter forward Lautaro Martinez had one of the game’s best chances when he got past a defender and entered the area in the 68th minute, but his shot was blocked at the last minute. He called for a handball by the defender but the referee let play continue.

[ MORE: Brendan Rodgers signs new contract at Leicester ]

Inter was coming off five straight wins in the league, with its last setback in all competitions last month against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League. Its last league loss was against Juventus in October, nine matches ago.

Roma was seeking its third straight league win. It had won five of its last six matches since last month.

Inter visits Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Premier League Preview: Man City v. Man United

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  • Man City (3rd) trail Liverpool by 11 points
  • Man United (6th) eight points out of 4th
  • Last meeting: Man United 0-2 Man City

For the first time in recent memory, Manchester City and Manchester United each find themselves failing to meet expectations — by their own respective standards, at least — as they prepare to meet at the Etihad Stadium in the 179th Manchester derby on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

Man City, the two-time defending Premier League champions, are looking increasingly unlikely to retain their crown for a third straight season but look a surefire bet to finish in the top-four, which is a place for which Man United would bite your hand off as they currently trail leaders Liverpool by more points (22) than they have points of their own (21).

[ STREAM: Every PL match live

The struggles for United have been all about consistency as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side hasn’t won back-to-back games all season. The Red Devils haven’t won two in a row in the PL since March. On the bright side, United turned in one of their complete performances of the season on Wednesday, spoiling Jose Mourinho’s return to Old Trafford and beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-1. Marcus Rashford scored both goals and Solskjaer couldn’t rave enough about his 22-year-old forward after the game. From start to finish, United were the better team and looked in majority control, which isn’t something they’ve been able to say often in 2019.

As for City, they’ve simply been “not good enough” without ever actually being “bad” this season, given Liverpool’s scintillating form (14W-1D-0L thus far). Realistically, City likely need to pick up all 69 remaining points this season, and even then they might still come up short.

Injuries/suspensions

Man City: OUT – Sergio Aguero (thigh), Aymeric Laporte (knee), Leroy Sane (knee), Oleksandr Zinchenko (knee)

Man United: OUT – Anthony Martial (hamstring), Eric Bailly (knee), Marcos Rojo (undisclosed); QUESTIONABLE: Paul Pogba (ankle), Nemanja Matic (groin), Diogo Dalot (groin)


Projected lineups

Man City: Ederson — Walker, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Angeliño — Rodri, De Bruyne, Silva — Bernardo, Jesus, Sterling

Man United: De Gea — Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young — Fred, McTominay, James, Mata, Lingard — Rashford


What they’re saying

Pep Guardiola, on the derby: “It’s Man United. I respect what they’ve done for English football, European, and world football. United have huge history and their quality is always there but we must try to beat them. We play against a good team, try to follow the performances we’ve put in and try to win the game. You know my opinion on the title race.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, on his derby memories: “It took many years before I played a Manchester derby myself. Of course, Man City are a better team now than when I was playing. … Confidence is a strange thing in football; you can get performances and results like Wednesday night and it boosts it so much. And I know our boys will be up for it. 24 hours less recovery time [than City] shouldn’t matter, you go on adrenaline.”


Prediction

The win over Tottenham was impressive, no doubt about it, but City remain a challenge of an entirely different class, no matter what their points total says. If the title is well and truly gone for Guardiola’s side, then retaining superiority in Manchester will have to suffice. City 3-1 United.

Klinsmann gets first point as Hertha Berlin manager

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) Jurgen Klinsmann claimed his first point since returning to coaching as his Hertha Berlin team let slip a two-goal lead to draw with Frankfurt 2-2 in the Bundesliga on Friday.

[ MORE: Chelsea transfer ban reduced; can sign players in January ]

Hertha was clinging to a 2-1 lead in the 86th minute when Sebastian Rode hammered the ball in from a corner for Frankfurt to deny the Berlin team the win.

Hertha is in the relegation playoff spot in 16th and winless in its last six league games, while Frankfurt is 10th.

Dodi Lukebakio gave Hertha the lead with a shot through Frederik Ronnow’s legs. That goal was assisted by Marko Grujic, who later made it 2-0 with a header from a free kick.

However, Frankfurt almost immediately replied with a header of its own from Martin Hinteregger, the Austrian defender with five Bundesliga goals.

[ MORE: Brendan Rodgers signs new contract at Leicester ]

Frankfurt’s fans expressed their disapproval of the video assistant referee after it ruled out two goals for the hosts. There was a rare disallowed own goal when Hertha goalkeeper Thomas Kraft palmed a cross into his own net but was found to have been pushed while jumping.

Klinsmann took over Hertha last week on a temporary deal until the end of the season, after Ante Covic was fired with the team under threat of relegation. Klinsmann hadn’t coached since being fired in 2016 by the United States, and last worked at a club in 2009 at Bayern Munich.

Nigel Pearson appointed new Watford manager

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Nigel Pearson has been appointed new manager of Watford and been handed a very straightforward — but tall — task for the remainder of the season: avoid relegation from the Premier League.

[ MORE: Chelsea transfer ban reduced; can sign players in January ]

Pearson takes over from Quique Sanchez Flores — who only took over from Javi Gracia in September — who left his post at Vicarage Road with the Hornets sitting 20th out of 20 teams in the PL table, already seven points adrift from safety. Pearson’s contract runs through the end of the season.

The 56-year-old Pearson, who last managed in the PL with Leicester City in 2015, was most recently in charge of Belgian side OH Leuven before he was fired in February.

[ MORE: Brendan Rodgers signs new contract at Leicester ]

Pearson won’t take charge of Saturday’s game against Crystal Palace (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold). Interim manager Hayden Mullins will see out the week’s preparations and manage the team before handing the reins to Pearson on Sunday.