England

Getty Images

Transfer rumor roundup: Kean to Everton; Heaton to Aston Villa

Leave a comment

The transfer window is approaching its final week with reports and rumors in overdrive between now and Aug. 8 when the window shuts for the start of the 2019-20 season.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Here’s a look at some of the latest gossip from around the Premier League…


Moise Kean, 19, appears to be heading to Everton from Juventus.

According to multiple sources a $35 million fee has reportedly been agreed for the Italian international striker, with the Toffees keen to bolster their attacking options. Per the reports, Kean will be paid over $3.3 million per year and Juventus will have the option to match any transfer bid made for him in the future.

Everton sold Idrissa Gueye to Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday which freed up some cash and Marco Silva has been missing a true goalscorer since he arrived at Goodison Park. In truth, Everton have never properly replaced Romelu Lukaku since he left in the summer of 2017.

What would Kean bring? The teenager has broken through at Juventus and shown he has so much potential when it comes to his clever runs and finishing, while he also tracks back defensively and is able to hold the ball up well both on the ground and in the air.

Jumping ahead of the likes of Paul Dybala, Mario Mandzukic and Cristiano Ronaldo has been tough for him in recent seasons, so a move to a club where he can play more and develop will be enticing for the Italian international. Kean scored six Serie A goals in 13 appearances last season and has been in Juve’s first time since he was 16. Now seems like the perfect time for him to play regularly.

Everton have the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Cenk Tosun and Oumar Niasse in their attack but all three have struggled to consistently score goals and Silva moved Richarlison from the left wing to a central area for a large chunk of last season to try and solve their goalscoring woes. Kean will be their main man this season as they aim to build off a strong finish to the 2018-19 campaign and break into the top six.


Aston Villa seem to have finally found their new goalkeeper.

Dean Smith has had an extremely busy summer and has brought in 10 new players so far, spending over $150 million in the process.

The Telegraph say that Villa have agreed a $10 million fee for Burnley’s Tom Heaton and the England international is expected to have a medical in the next 24 hours.

Heaton, 33, has battled with Joe Hart and Nick Pope for the number one spot at Turf Moor in recent years and his terrible luck with serious injuries is the main reason he isn’t pushing Jordan Pickford all the way to be England’s starting goalkeeper.

Villa’s options in goal include Jed Steer, Lovre Kalinic and Orjan Nyland, with Steer making 19 appearances last season and playing well in their success in the Championship playoffs. But Villa have clearly wanted to upgrade their current crop of goalkeepers.

They had tried to sign Jack Butland from Stoke City but the Potters wanted over $35 million for their prize asset, while Cardiff City’s Neil Etheridge also proved difficult to sign. Heaton is a solid, reliable goalkeeper in the Premier League and if he can stay fit his experience will be invaluable to this young Villa side.

Shortlist for FIFA’s Best Player of the Year announced

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The 10-man shortlist for FIFA’s Best Player of the Year award has been announced, with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Neymar and Luis Suarez missing out.

[ MORE: Coach of Year shortlist ]

Four current Premier League stars feature in the top 10, with Eden Hazard who moved from Chelsea to Real Madrid over the summer also named among the nominees.

Tottenham’s Harry Kane is joined by Liverpool trio Virgil Van Dijk, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane with VVD the favorite to be crowned the top player on the planet as his dominant displays led Liverpool to UEFA Champions League glory and within one point of Manchester City in the Premier League. Van Dijk also captained the Netherlands to reach the UEFA Nations League final and led their resrurgence from central defense.

Dutch duo Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt, who have both left Ajax this summer for Barcelona and Juventus respectively, are included after their breakout years for club and country, while superstars Kylian Mbappe, Cristiano Ronaldo (who has won the award twice in the past three seasons) and Lionel Messi make up the top 10 based on performances for club and country from 16 July 2018 to 19 July 2019.

Who is the favorite to win this award?

Van Dijk is up there, while Mbappe, Messi and Ronaldo will be among the leading contenders once again. The winner from last year, Luka Modric, isn’t included in the nominees this year and the absence of any players from Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid (not counting Hazard) proves just how difficult it is to narrow this list down to 10 players.

Below is the list in full, as the winner will be announced on Sept. 23 at FIFA’s ceremony in Milan.

Eden Hazard – Chelsea (now Real Madrid) and Belgium
Harry Kane – Tottenham and England
Frenkie de Jong – Ajax (now Barcelona) and Holland
Matthijs de Ligt – Ajax (now Juventus) and Holland
Sadio Mane – Liverpool and Senegal
Kylian Mbappe – PSG and France
Lionel Messi – Barcelona and Argentina
Cristiano Ronaldo – Juventus and Portugal
Mohamed Salah – Liverpool and Egypt
Virgil van Dijk – Liverpool and Holland

Longtime Premier League striker Peter Crouch retires

Leave a comment

At 38 years old, Peter Crouch has finally decided to call time on his career, hanging up his boots after a fabulous 19-year career that saw him attain numerous highs. Literally.

Crouch, known for his height and the finishing abilities that came with it, came up through the Tottenham youth system, but never made it initially with the London club, instead making his professional debut in the Championship (then known as the First Division) in 2000 with Queens Park Rangers. He went on to play for Portsmouth before making his Premier League debut with Aston Villa in 2002.

Eventually, the journeyman would play for Norwich City, Southampton, and Liverpool before returning to Tottenham in 2009 to play two full seasons at his boyhood club. At Liverpool, Crouch would reach the Champions League final in 2007, a game where Rafa Benitez decided to leave Crouch on the bench instead of start him despite his contribution of six goals during the European campaign, a decision which Crouch has admitted is still a difficult memory as the Reds fell 2-1 to AC Milan.

After leaving Spurs in 2012, Crouch would spend eight seasons at Stoke City, by far his longest spell at any club. He left Stoke City this past winter after 202 Premier League appearances with the Potters, playing the last half of the season at Burnley before calling time on his career.

All told, Crouch made 467 Premier League appearances across his career, scoring 106 goals and popularizing his robot dance celebration. He would also attain 42 caps for the England national team, scoring 22 goals for the country, including his only World Cup goal in 2006 against Trinidad & Tobago. He also appeared as a substitute in the 2010 World Cup, including a 12-minute substitute appearance against the United States in the opening group stage game. Oddly enough, Crouch never appeared in a Euro match for England, as the country did not qualify for Euro 2008, the only competition that took place during the meat of his international career.

In his retirement announcement, an article with the Daily Mail, Crouch says he had hoped to play until he was 40 but said “circumstances over the last couple of seasons have made me realize that this is the right thing to do.”

Crouch admitted in his announcement he had grown weary of being a late-game bench option. “I will be 39 in January but I am physically fit and could have carried on. What I didn’t want to be was someone who was thrown on to have balls smashed up to them.”

Still, the Spurs youth product says he never could have dreamed where his career would take him.

“Football has opened up avenues that I never thought were possible when I started scoring goals in the Hayes and District league as an Under 10. Football, simply, made my dreams come true. I think back to when I was 17. I was a trainee at Tottenham then but there were 10 forwards in front of me, blocking my route to the first team. They loaned me out to Dulwich Hamlet then I went to IFK Hassleholm in Sweden. Let’s be honest – you would not have taken odds on me making it then. If you had told me at that point I would go on to play for England 42 times and score 22 goals, play for Liverpool in a Champions League and FA Cup final and score the goal that put Tottenham back in the European Cup for the first time in four decades, I would have had you locked up.”

Crouch, known for his beaming smile and happy-go-lucky attitude, has built a strong off-the-field image and seems primed for a strong post-football media career. He has built a brand with his self-titled podcast and regular written appearances in the Daily Mail.

Sweden holds off England comeback to claim third place (video)

AP Photo/Claude Paris
Leave a comment

After suffering heartbreak at the hands of the Netherlands in the semifinals, Sweden finished their run at the 2019 Women’s World Cup with a 2-1 victory over England in the third-place game in Nice, France, on Saturday.

[ PREVIEW: USWNT faces Netherlands in World Cup final ]

Sweden jumped out to an early 2-0 lead before England appeared to realize they were facing an opponent who very badly wanted to finish third. By that time, Sweden had hunkered down and it was too late.

Kosovare Asllani opened the scoring in the 11th minute after Alex Greenwood failed to clear the ball in the box and touched it to no one near the penalty spot. Asllani hit her shot hard and low, with just enough pace to power through the outstretched hands of Carly Telford.

Sofia Jakobsson doubled the Swedes’ lead barely 10 minutes later, and this was the moment it became crystal clear that England were not yet up to full speed. Stina Blackstenius played simple ball to Jakobsson in acres of space down the left side of England’s penalty area. No one made an attempt to close her down, so she waltzed into the box before unleashing a screamer toward the far post.

[ PREVIEW: Brazil v. Peru, Copa America’s unlikely final ]

Once England awoke, they were quickly back in the game. Fran Kirby scored a spectacular solo goal in the 31st minute, weaving in and out and back in to set up an effortless finish, to cut the Three Lionesses’ deficit in half.

The comeback appeared complete just five minutes later, when Ellen White put the ball in the back of the net for the seventh eighth time, only to have her goal wiped off the board for the second time in as many games. She was deemed to have gained an advantage by touching the ball with her forearm during the build-up.

Nilla Fischer saved the day for Sweden with a last-gasp goal-line clearance in the 90th minute. Lucy Bronze had a look from close range, but Fischer put her body — and her head — on the line to preserve her side’s lead and help Sweden over the finish line.

WATCH LIVE: England v. Sweden, World Cup third-place game

Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images
Leave a comment

It’s the game in which neither side wished to be when the semifinals kicked off earlier this week, but it’s the cold, harsh reality of the 2019 Womens World Cup for England and Sweden.

[ WATCH: Stream England v. Sweden live ]

With the final 24 hours away on Sunday, England and Sweden are set to battle in the third-place game — A.K.A., where Golden Boots are won — on Saturday (11 a.m. ET) in Nice, France. England lost to the USWNT on Tuesday, a day before Sweden fell at the hands of the Netherlands.

England’s Ellen White sits level with Alex Morgan (six goals each) in the race for the Golden Boot. White, who’s in the lineup for the Three Lionesses, will be gunning for one or two more goals in this one; if Sweden aren’t all the way up for the exercise that is the third-place game, the opportunity to snatch the trophy away from Morgan will surely present itself.

 

Click on the link above to watch the game live online or via the NBC Sports App in Spanish via Telemundo Deportes.