Doyle

Getty Images

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Ashley Young to Inter

Leave a comment

Manchester United is offloading captain Ashley Young, with multiple reports in both England and Italy claiming the 34-year-old is set for a medical at Inter Milan on Friday.

According to The Telegraph, the deal is worth $1.7 million, netting Manchester United a small sum of money before Young’s contract was set to expire this summer. Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport is also reporting the move. It was reported a few days ago that Young was nearing a deal with Inter through the summer of 2021.

Young has made 12 Premier League appearances for Manchester United this season, but it was unlikely the club would offer him a contract this summer, and he has been slowly phased out of the squad as Luke Shaw began to earn the lion’s share of time at left-back.

He will have plenty of familiar faces at Inter, with Former Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku and on-loan playmaker Alexis Sanchez both currently playing at the San Siro. It is unclear where Young fits in at the Italian side, with Antonio Conte favoring a three-CB system and Young’s skill set more defensive-minded, not exactly suited for a wing-back role.


According to The Guardian’s Nick Ames, Arsenal is paying special attention towards Paris Saint-Germain full-back Layvin Kurzawa, hoping to secure a deal this winter.

The 27-year-old has made 11 Ligue 1 appearances for PSG this season, sharing time with Juan Bernat at left-back. Kurzawa’s contract at PSG expires this summer and he has made just 90 appearances since joining from Monaco in 2015.

Kurzawa would be of special interest to Arsenal given the massive amount of injuries suffered by the Gunners along the back line this season. Kieran Tierney remains sidelined with a dislocated shoulder, with surgery keeping him out through March, while Calum Chambers begins ACL rehab, and both Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac work their way back from thigh injuries.

The Guardian report says the clubs have made contact but a deal is still “some way off.”


Tottenham is desperate to find a short-term replacement for injured talisman Harry Kane, which is proving more difficult than believed as the team looks to convince a player to join knowing they are only needed for a few months.

However, with Gedson Fernandes having already signe don, asking a player to agree to a switch is not the only problem they have reportedly faced. 28-year-old Porto striker Ze Luis is a target for the club according to a number of reports, including the Evening Standard. Unfortunately, it appears work permit issues are at the heart of the holdup.

Portuguese publication Record reports that Ze Luis does not possess a European passport, and as a Cape Verde international, it would seem unlikely that he would be set to earn a British work permit. Cape Verde was ranked 75th in world by the latest FIFA release, and the Premier League usually only considers players from top 50 countries.

After joining this past summer from Spartak Moscow, Ze Luis has scored seven Liga NOS goals in 12 appearances for Porto this season, earning the majority of minutes to this point before sitting the last two games in favor of Brazilian striker Tiquinho Soares.


According to The Guardian reporters Ed Aarons and Paul Doyle, Aston Villa is “close” to a deal for Genk striker Mbwana Samatta in a deal worth $11.1 million.

The deal was likely spurred on by an injury to Villa striker Wesley who suffered a knee injury that is set to keep him out the rest of the season.

Mbwana, a 27-year-old Tanzania international, has seven goals in 20 Jupiler Pro League games this season – although he has just two since the start of September – plus three more in Champions League play. He was the top scorer in the league last season, with 20 goals in 28 appearances, including a streak where he scored 10 goals in nine games through the winter.

He will also need a work permit to complete the switch, which could be an issue given Tanzania is ranked 134th in the world by FIFA, but he has 51 international caps and could be eligible for a special exemption. His status as top scorer last season, earning him the Soulier d’Ébène award as the best African player in Belgium, could be enough to trigger that exemption.

Klopp reacts to incredible unbeaten league year

Leave a comment

It was just too easy.

Liverpool swarmed over Sheffield United with class and precision, posting a 2-0 win at Anfield on Thursday.

The win came with all the trimmings. Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah scored as the Reds out-attempted the Blades 19-3.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

Liverpool had 74 percent of the ball and attempted nearly 1000 passes, completing better than 90 percent of them.

It was no contest, nearly from Moment No. 1, and made Liverpool unbeaten in league play over a calendar year. From the BBC:

“It says a lot of positive things. I have not enough words for it, it is exceptional. We did not think about the year tonight. Our New Year starts at the end of May, so we have season resolutions not New Year resolutions.”

The Reds, of course, will keep taking it one match at a time.

It will be stunning if Liverpool fails to win its first title of the Premier League era. The 13-point lead with a match-in-hand would have to combine a stunning turn of form with someone else going darn near invincible.

That term, though. Trent Alexader-Arnold has it in his head, and the Reds are clearly cognizant of what it would mean to complete the unlikely task of going unbeaten over a league campaign.

“So far we are invincible but we have only just passed the halfway mark so there’s still a long way to go,” said Alexander-Arnold. “It is harder than what people say. We got beaten once last season and that wasn’t enough. We need to keep our concentration in every game.”

The match wasn’t all good news. Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita pulled up in warm-ups and needed to be replaced by James Milner in the Starting XI.

Klopp said Keita will miss the FA Cup derby tie against Everton with a groin injury.

The boss also had big praise for Jordan Henderson.

Klopp runs out of superlatives as Liverpool go 13 points clear

Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jurgen Klopp and everyone associated with Liverpool Football Club currently resides on cloud 9,999,999 following the Reds’ 4-0 dismantling of second-place Leicester City to go 13 points clear in the race for the Premier League title on Thursday.

[ MORE: Three things we learned: Leicester 0-4 Liverpool ]

Not only do the recently crowned world champions look surefire favorites to claim the club’s first PL title since 1990, but Klopp’s men are currently on pace (109) to smash the all-time record for most points in a season, among other marks, a benchmark which was only set by Manchester City two years ago (100).

[ MORE: Rodgers: Leicester ‘know where we are’ after Liverpool humbling ]

Asked to sum up his side’s performance on Boxing Day, Klopp simply laughed and appeared at a loss for words — a rare instance for him — before composing himself and running through the miles-long list of star performers.

“I am happy about that. I appreciate it because I do not take it for granted and the boys have to do it every three days. We had big chances at the start of the game, did not score with them but stayed in the game and controlled it.

“It is was difficult for Leicester to get into the game, both teams felt the intensity of the season but we controlled it more and maybe Leicester were not as aggressive, maybe because of us and our positioning. We scored a first goal, super, super, cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino can score from that situation.

“We struggled a bit with their build-up in the second half and we won the balls immediately and then scored the second goal, then the boys were flying. It looked really nice.”

Predictably, though, Klopp was unwilling to admit that Liverpool will walk to the title, despite every shred of evidence to the contrary; for example, having taken 52 of a possible 54 points from their first 18 games this season. “We didn’t mention [the lead] once before the game, because it’s just not interesting,” he said after the game.

Klopp: ‘So many strange things happened’ in Club World Cup semifinal win

Club World Cup Liverpool
Photo by Adam Davy/PA Images via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was happy to survive a scare in his Club World Cup semifinal on Wednesday.

The Reds got a late goal from super sub Roberto Firmino to get past game Liga MX side Monterrey 2-1 in Qatar.

Liverpool will now meet Brazilian side Flamengo in Saturday’s final at 12:30 p.m. ET

“So many strange things happened,” Klopp said, via The Liverpool Echo’s Ian Doyle. “It was the most offensive midfield I have ever put out in a competitive game. Henderson center back for the first time. We didn’t have much height at center back.”

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Klopp started Jordan Henderson and Joe Gomez at center back, as Virgil Van Dijk was sick and both Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren have injuries.

He left Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the bench, but needed all of them after Naby Keita‘s goal was leveled by Rogelio Funes Mori.

“I was afraid of extra time, to be honest,” Klopp said. “I was more than happy when Bobby scored that goal. We had to do a few changes as we had no other options. We left players out so we could have the opportunity if the game wasn’t decided. That Bobby scored was just wonderful.”

Monterrey had a fine night, and coach Antonio Mohamed had perhaps the best quote of the night when asked about Gomez not being given a second yellow card.

“For me, there was a red card especially the first foul and the second. So I talked to the referee, maybe the Liverpool shirt has more weight therefore the Liverpool player (Gomez) wasn’t sent off.”

Heavy shirts, team. Heavy ones.

Liverpool’s Klopp thrilled with ‘on fire’ Milner, ‘brilliant boy’ Elliott

BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Like most of his Top Four peers, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp gave his youngsters the stage on Wednesday in the League Cup.

The kids seized the chance, but it was veteran James Milner who had a goal and an assist in the 2-0 defeat of MK Dons at the Stadium MK.

[ MORE: League Cup full of Wednesday ‘cupsets’ ]

Milner assisted youngster Ki-Jana Hoever‘s 69th minute goal that insured the result, making his 185th appearance for Liverpool a fine one.

Klopp had high praise for his veteran, who is 18 appearances away from matching the number he made for Man City.

The Starting XI included Hoever, Rhian Brewster, Curtis Jones, Caoimhin Kelleher and Harvey Elliott, the latter who holds status as the youngest player to make a Premier League appearance from his 2018/19 season at Fulham.

Klopp used his subs on youngsters Sepp van de Berg (17) and Herbie Kane (20) — we swear that’s his name — and little used Pedro Chirivella. And four other youngsters were unused subs.

Many online joked that Klopp would’ve been happy to lose the match and bow out of the competition. The manager is pretty pleased with the improvement, and hinted that his lineup would look similar in the next round versus Arsenal. From The Liverpool Echo:

“At 16 years old still and he is this kind of footballer. That is really good for us. He is a brilliant boy, he takes the situation really well and wants to learn. He will always be a special player for moments, but you see overall with his defending and movements, it is not easy so that is really good. …  He was a bit unlucky otherwise he would have scored. They are all good, they are all really skilled but that’s why it is important to give them games like this. We will try to continue like this, so we will see.”