Getty Images

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Paulinho, Sigurdsson, Mendy

Leave a comment

A number of big deals have already been completed this summer, and the transfer market has progressed to the point where rumors that have dragged on for weeks now look to be completed.

There are a host of such deals involving players who have been in the newspapers for some time now.

[ MORE: Thursday Roundup | Wednesday ]

Former Tottenham midfielder Paulinho has been rumored to be on his way to Barcelona for months. The 28-year-old moved to Chinese club Guanzhou Evergrande two summers ago, but with Barcelona looking to retool its midfield, he’s resurfaced. Yesterday, reports suggested the Guanzhou could be considering legal action against the Catalan club for tapping their player up, and the deal seemed less likely than ever to be completed with Guanzhou apparently breaking off all communication with Barcelona.

Still, speaking to the media at Nelson Semedo’s unveiling, Barcelona technical secretary Robert Fernandez said that a deal for Paulinho could still be completed.

Asked if the Paulinho transfer was dead in the water, Fernandez said, “It doesn’t have to be. Barca have to be vigilant, and when a player from a particular League comes up and you’re interested, you know what you have to do, and from there you have to do the deal.”


On Thursday it was announced that Gylfi Sigurdsson would not travel to the United States for Swansea City’s preseason tour, thanks to the transfer speculation surrounding the Icelandic playmaker. Still, the club is doing its best to hold firm.

Speaking with WalesOnline on Friday, American owners Steve Kaplan and James Levian made a joint statement, saying, “We will not be bullied or forced into a decision until a club meets our valuation of the player.” Reports over the weeks have suggested they have tagged Sigurdsson at $65 million and will not budge from that amount.

The two owners continued, saying they hoped Sigurdsson would stay and that he still could join the team if his future is sorted out in the next week or two.

“We have the ultimate respect for Gylfi as a person and a player and we are optimistic that he will reconsider his decision and join his team-mates.”


Manchester City is still in need of full-backs despite the completion of a deal for Tottenham’s Kyle Walker. With any potential agreement for Dani Alves scuttled by PSG, they have reportedly turned their sights towards the Ligue 1 champions.

According to a host of reports, City is nearing a deal for Monaco left-back Benjamin Mendy. The 22-year-old has shown fantastic ability to move forward up the flanks and now could help City solve its full-back deficiency.

Reports on social media in both France and England suggest that the two clubs have agreed on a deal of $51 million for Mendy, and that the player is traveling to Manchester to complete a medical. Should this deal be completed, it would mean City will have spent $120 million on a pair of full-backs this summer.


Newcastle is looking for reinforcements now that they have been shot straight back up into the Premier League. Dwight Gayle currently leads the Magpies attack after a stellar Championship campaign last season that saw him rack up 23 goals, but Rafa Benitez apparently wants more.

According to reports in his native Uruguay, Bordeaux striker Diego Rolan is a player that Benitez is after. The reports say that Newcastle was given permission to speak with the 24-year-old, who has 25 caps for Uruguay.

The biggest roadblock for Newcastle in this deal is Championship side Fulham, who have been reportedly chasing Rolan for weeks. Rolan has apparently been waffling on whether he wants to drop down to the Championship to a club where he will immediately become the first-choice striker, or join Newcastle and battle for a starting spot in the Premier League. The player reportedly traveled to London on earlier in the week to meet with Fulham but left without making a decision.

VIDEO: Breaking down some celebrated Premier League derbies

Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The kickoffs aren’t coming back soon, so we’re finding solace in anticipating the biggest matches on the Premier League calendar.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Certain rivalries are circled on the fixture list when it arrives each summer, the sort of games that seem to level the playing field regardless of the gulf in class.

Is Arsenal struggling? No better way to bounce back than Spurs.

Liverpool sliding a bit? It’ll snap back to form when Everton hits Anfield.

PST lead writer and editor Joe Prince-Wright has prepped up for several of these derbies over the years, and here’s a cheat sheet for those new and a tasty summation for those missing their hated foes.

Liverpool-Manchester City

Arsenal-Tottenham Hotspur

Liverpool-Everton

Manchester City-Manchester United

Chelsea-Tottenham Hotspur

Bournemouth’s Howe takes voluntary pay cut, first PL manager to do so

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe is the first Premier League manager to take a pay cut due to the coronavirus suspension.

Howe joins Bournemouth chief executive Neill Blake, first team technical director Richard Hughes, and assistant manager Jason Tindall in taking “significant, voluntary” pay cuts.

Howe is the longest-serving manager in the PL. He started with Bournemouth’s academy in 1994 and spent just a few short seasons away from home (Portsmouth and Swindon Town) during his playing career.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

The club has also furloughed employees throughout the organization. From a Bournemouth statement:

There is no script for moments like this. No tactics and no set plays to find a winning formula. But as a board we are continually looking at ways to ensure the future of the club and our employees is protected when the season returns.

We have also advised a number of staff across all areas of the club that they will be temporarily furloughed, as a result of the ongoing pandemic.

These measures have been taken to safeguard the financial stability of the club during what is such an uncertain period, not only in football but for businesses in all industries across the world.

Surely Howe won’t be the last during this uncertain time for clubs and businesses all over the world.

Ex-Marseille president first coronavirus-related death in Senegal

Pape Diouf
ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images
1 Comment

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) Pape Diouf, a former president of French soccer club Marseille, died Tuesday in Senegal after contracting the coronavirus. It was the West African country’s first COVID-19-related death, according to the health ministry. He was 68.

Diouf, who was president of Marseille from 2005-09, had been treated since Saturday in intensive care in Dakar, health minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr said.

Senegal President Macky Sall wrote on his official Twitter account that he had followed Diouf’s health closely after he was admitted for treatment.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

“I pay tribute to this great figure in sport,” Sall wrote. “I pay tribute to the medical staff at Fann Hospital who spared no effort to save him.”

Relatives said Diouf was meant to be moved to France. He had recently traveled to several countries in the West Africa region.

In its most recent count, Senegal has reported 190 cases of the coronavirus, with 45 of those having recovered.

Diouf was a charismatic and popular leader who was close to the fans and players at Marseille, the only French team to win the European club title.

“Pape will forever remain in the hearts of Marseille people and (is) one of the great architects of the club,” Marseille wrote under a photo of Diouf.

Shortly before his time at the club ended, Diouf signed Didier Deschamps as the new coach and Deschamps won the French league title and League Cup in his first season in charge. It was Marseille’s first league title in 18 years.

Deschamps, who coached France to World Cup success two years ago, described Diouf as “a man of convictions, a spirited man, passionate about football” adding that his “sudden and brutal death deeply saddens me.”

“I could measure his popularity, which was immense with the Marseille people whose hearts he had won,” Deschamps said on L’Equipe’s website.

The French soccer league called Diouf’s death “a moment of immense sadness for French soccer.”

Diouf was born in Chad to Senegalese parents. After arriving in Marseille at the age of 18, he became a sports journalist and then a players’ agent.

Diouf was not afraid to take risks in signing unheralded players, such as the diminutive Mathieu Valbuena from third-tier side Libourne in 2006 when he was 21.

The 1.67-meter (5 feet, 5 inches) Valbuena went on to prove Diouf right, and all the doubters wrong, playing 52 times for France.

“A great man with a great heart,” Valbuena said. “We were hypnotized by his speeches, he had a lot of charisma.”

Diouf was awarded the French Legion of Honor medal in 2012, one of the country’s highest honors.

Pugmire reported from Paris. AP reporter Babacar Dione in Dakar, Senegal contributed.

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

Report: Griezmann plus cash could finally get Neymar back to Barcelona

Neymar
Photo by Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Neymar’s long-rumored return to Barcelona hasn’t quite reached the point of exhaustion, but it’s close.

A new report has said Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain may be coming to terms with what’s been a fairly obvious swap deal for some time.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

According to Sky Sports, PSG would send Neymar to Barcelona in return for French hero Antoine Griezmann and money.

The $167 million price tag attached to Neymar is significantly more than the $110 million on Griezmann, and there’s no doubt the former is more of a gamechanger at this point on their careers.

While Neymar gets both the #whenhealthy and #whenavailable tags to his rep, he’s scored 18 times with 10 assists in 22 matches across all competitions this year.

Before the full phrase ‘Ligue 1’ exits your lips, he’s scored against Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Celtic, Galatasaray, Liverpool, Anderlecht, and Red Star Belgrade in his three seasons with PSG.

Griezmann is a full year older than Neymar and, while one of the world’s elite attackers, he’s a step below the Brazilian’s tier. He’s also said to want to keep finding his way at Barca, with Gerard Pique and others ready to lend support.