Andy Edwards

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Woodward says Man Utd, most clubs can’t spend much this summer

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If you’re one of the millions of fans around the world who enjoy each season’s transfer windows as something of a secondary season/competition alongside the real, on-field games, prepare to be disappointed.

[ MORE: PL On this Day: Rooney’s famous volley v. Newcastle (video) ]

According to Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward, spending will undoubtedly be down at Old Trafford for the foreseeable future. Good news for non-Man United fans, right? If only he had stopped there. Woodwars believes that not just United, but very likely all clubs across Europe, will be unable to spend the same way they have done in years past — quotes from the BBC:

“Nobody should be under any illusions about the scale of challenge facing everyone in football and it may not be ‘business as usual’ for any clubs, including ourselves, in the transfer market this summer.

“As ever our priority is the success of team, but we need visibility of the impact across the whole industry, including timings of the transfer window, and the wider financial picture, before we can talk about a return to normality.”

On the flip side, this would be a hugely welcome development for clubs the size of, say, Leicester City or West Ham United, who currently employ James Maddison and Declan Rice, respectively, two of the most sought-after young, English talents in the game. In a “normal” summer window, each player would likely move to a “big-six” club. In a muted summer transfer window, however, it might be difficult — if not impossible — for any club to meet their respective valuations.

Report: Barcelona offer players to Spurs in Ndombele exchange

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Tanguy Ndombele’s time in north London could be short-lived, as it’s been reported that Barcelona have offered Tottenham Hotspur their choice(s) of a few players in exchange for the 23-year-old French midfielder.

[ MORE: PL On this Day: Rooney’s famous volley v. Newcastle (video) ]

According to a report from Sky Sports, Barca seek to bolster their first-team squad in central midfield and have prioritized Ndombele despite the fact he only moved to Tottenham for a club-record fee of $82 million last summer. Barca are facing exceedingly hard financial times due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the suspension of play which ensued, thus they have resorted to swapping players to make a deal happen.

In exchange for Ndombele, Barca have offered the following players to Spurs: defenders Samuel Umtiti and Nelson Semedo, and midfielder Arthur.

[ MORE: Eredivisie cancels 2019-20 season; will not declare champion ]

On first glance, it would seem unlikely Spurs would even entertain the idea of so quickly swapping their club record signing for any of the players offered to them. However, one must consider that Ndombele was signed 1) by a different manager, and most importantly, 2) with a very different short-term future in mind. Once Mauricio Pochettino was fired and replaced by Jose Mourinho in November, every bit of planning and building done in recent seasons and transfer windows went out the window.

When Spurs signed Ndombele, they likely believed that Jan Vertonghen would remain a defensive lynchpin for at least two more seasons. With that unquestionably no longer the case, a left-footed center back with World Cup-winning pedigree (Umtiti) would now be a massive upgrade. The same goes for Semedo at right back, where some combination of Serge Aurier and Juan Foyth combined to give Spurs virtually zero contribution from the position this season. While Arthur is arguably the best player on offer to Spurs, what would they gain from simply swapping midfielders?

If Barca are desperate enough to send two of the three players to Spurs in exchange for Ndombele, Mourinho and Daniel Levy will have to look long and hard at the prospect of improving — and potentially fixing — two broken positions along the backline.

Premier League On this Day: Rooney’s famous volley v. Newcastle (video)

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If you were to think back to some of the most spectacular goals scored in Premier League history, you wouldn’t get past no. 3 or no. 4 on the list before Wayne Rooney’s famous volley against Newcastle United.

[ MORE: On this Day in Premier League history

On this day in 2005, a 19-year-old new boy at Manchester United, Rooney announced himself onto an even grander stage a few years after scoring his first, and equally, iconic goal — a stunning curler against Arsenal as a 16-year-old for Everton in 2002.

[ MORE: Eredivisie cancels 2019-20 season; will not declare champion ]

Up to the point of April 24, 2005, Rooney certainly hadn’t been a bust at Man United — far from it, as he finished his first season with 11 league goals (including this one) — but this was the moment that saw him ascend from productive youngster with a bright future and arrive as an international superstar at this very moment.

Rooney would, of course, go on to score 253 goals for United (all competitions) and leave Old Trafford as the club’s all-time leading goalscorer in 2017 — but few, if any, were more outstanding than the one he scored on this day in 2005.

Neville to leave England women’s job before rescheduled Euros

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LONDON — Phil Neville will step down from coaching the England women’s team when his contract expires next year, missing out on leading the country at the rescheduled European Championship in 2022.

[ MORE: Eredivisie cancels 2019-20 season; will not declare champion ]

The former Manchester United player could still coach the British Olympic team. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Tokyo Games have been pushed back a year to July 2021 – the endpoint for Neville’s England contract.

Sue Campbell, the English Football Association’s director of women’s football, said she “will now discuss next steps” about the Olympics with the British Olympic Association and the federations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The Olympics start in July 2021.

The 43-year-old Neville, who took charge of England in January 2018, took the Lionesses to the semifinals of the World Cup last year in his first job in women’s football.

But seven of the last 11 games have been lost, a dismal run that started with the semifinal loss to the U.S. and included a defeat in a reunion with the world champions at the invitational SheBelieves Cup last month.

England only has friendly matches until the European Championship since it qualified as hosts for a tournament that was due to be staged in July 2021.

[ MORE: South Korean league season set to kick off on May 8 ]

The coronavirus outbreak led to the men’s Euros being postponed until 2021, which led on Thursday to UEFA confirming the need to delay its women’s showpiece until July 6-31 2022.

“As a result of the changes to the proposed tournament scheduling we will now be working to plan for a revised match calendar once it is safe and appropriate to do so,” Neville said. “I am looking forward to getting back to work with the team as soon as possible. We have a fantastic squad of players and there is plenty to work on as we look to progress as a team going into 2021.”

The FA wants the same manager in charge of England’s next two tournaments.

“In light of the impact of current global events on the sporting calendar and in the best interests of the England Women’s team, both parties were in agreement that our shared priority was to ensure the Lionesses have continuity of coaching going into the home EURO and looking towards the 2023 FIFA World Cup,” Campbell said.

“Once football returns after this difficult period, Phil will continue his work with the Lionesses on the further development of his squad. I will support him fully with that important task whilst moving forward with the crucial succession planning process.”

Transfer rumor roundup: Coutinho to Chelsea; English lessons for Werner?

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A roundup of the biggest transfer rumors involving Premier League clubs on Wednesday…

[ MORE: Lukaku: Many Inter players showed coronavirus symptoms months ago ]

Philippe Coutinho is hardly struggling to find work these days, but he’s unquestionably struggled to find a consistent home and club to play for since leaving Liverpool in 2018. On loan to Bayern Munich (from Barcelona) this season, the 27-year-old Brazilian midfielder is already in search of his next step. According to reports, Chelsea are seriously interested and even rumored to be close to signing Coutinho.

Timo Werner is widely expected to leave RB Leipzig this summer after racking up 27 goals and 12 assists in 36 games across all competitions (thus far) this season, and it would appear he expects he’ll be heading to England. That’s based on a report that he’s taking English lessons, adding further fuel to the long-burning fire that Jurgen Klopp will bring his compatriot to Anfield. Also rumored to be interested in the 24-year-old? Chelsea.

Speaking of the Blues, it sounds as if Frank Lampard could oversee a full-on squad rebuild this summer. Jorginho has recently been linked with a move to Juventus, where he would reunite with previous Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri, though Chelsea will reportedly offer the 28-year-old a new contract in an attempt to keep him in west London.

Don’t be surprised if Real Madrid are uncharacteristically quiet in the transfer market this summer, due to the severe financial hit the club is experiencing amid the coronavirus shutdown. As such, Gareth Bale will reportedly remain in the Spanish capital next season despite constant rumors that he would be leaving after another round of discontent with manager Zinedine Zidane. Bale had most frequently been linked with moves to Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, among others.