Photo by Mark Robinson/Getty Images

Reports: Chelsea may activate Ake buyback; Gueye wanted by PSG

Leave a comment

Bournemouth and Everton are in the headlines for reasons other than the Toffees’ 2-0 defeat of the Cherries at Goodison Park on Sunday.

Both sides are being mentioned in Sky Sports transfer centre as potential sellers of lynchpins, which makes the rumors both eyebrow-raising and differing degrees of unlikely.

[ MORE: Southgate, Simeone on Man Utd list ]

One seems wildly amiss, with Paris Saint-Germain linked with a $51 million bid for Toffees midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye (although could Marco Silva use the dough to bring in ol’ Watford pal Abdoulaye Doucoure? We digress).

The box-to-box giant would certainly help PSG boss Thomas Tuchel in his bid to succeed in the Champions League, but the money would seemingly have to be higher for Everton to consider selling a key part of Marco Silva’s attack-first XI.

The same fee is being quoted for Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake, though the Cherries might have no recourse if the 23-year-old Dutchman fancies a return to Stamford Bridge.

Sold in 2017 after a successful loan stint at the Vitality Stadium, Ake has played 60 times between the loan and permanent stints with Eddie Howe but reportedly has a $51m buyback clause in the deal.

For what it’s worth, we’re now seeing why Real Madrid and Barcelona are putting ungodly release clauses in contracts for players; Eight deals sealed by Premier League clubs this summer and fall are worth more than Ake’s release clause, which would’ve been a Top Two or Three transfer fee for a defender fee when he was signed. Now it’d be sixth.

Everton tops Bournemouth at soggy Goodison (video)

Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Leave a comment
  • Toffees’ 2nd win since December
  • Zouma, Digne connect for winner
  • Calvert-Lewin adds insurance in stoppage time
  • Bournemouth one point in last four PL matches

Kurt Zouma‘s second half goal propelled Everton to a rare win during a soggy 2-0 defeat of Bournemouth on Sunday at Goodison Park.

The win is Everton’s first at home in the Premier League since a Nov. 24 defeat of Cardiff City, and pushes the Toffees into 10th with 30 points. Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored from an Ademola Lookman assist deep in stoppage time to complete the scoring.

Bournemouth is 12th with 27 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

A steady, heavy rain plagued the first half, as players like Gylfi Sigurdsson skidded shots wide of goal which may normally have troubled the goalkeeper.

How sloppy was it? The clubs attempted 15 shots on target, but only two were on target (Both sides hit the woodwork once).

Bournemouth’s David Brooks was very involved, hitting the post late in the half after seeing an early penalty shout rightly denied when Idrissa Gueye made a fine intervention in the box.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]  

Richarlison had a shot blocked and put the rebound past Asmir Begovic only to see Nathan Ake make a final goal line clearance.

Bernard then won a free kick off Jefferson Lerma, centrally-located from about 30 yards out.

Everton broke through a few touches after a corner kick, as Lucas Digne sent the ball atop the six for Zouma to turn into the goal with a fine header.

Richarlison missed with his attempt of a diving header to turn Sigurdsson’s cross on goal.

Jordan Pickford was needed twice in stoppage time as Everton held on for the win.

Watch Live: Everton v. Bournemouth

Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Marco Silva could use some relief at Everton, which won’t come if Bournemouth wins to pass its Sunday hosts on the Premier League table on Sunday (Watch live at 9:15 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Goodison Park is the scene for the Cherries’ visit. Everton hopes for a respite from its miserable run, which started with the club in sixth place when the calendar hit December and could see them in 12th with a loss.

A win, on the other hand, would see Everton climb into 10th.

Bournemouth is 0-7 against Top Six clubs, but 8-3-3 against the rest of the league. It won’t have Callum Wilson, who has a hamstring strain which is not considered long-term.

The two sides drew earlier this season at the Vitality Stadium.

LINEUPS

Everton: Pickford, Digne, Zouma, Keane, Coleman, Gomes, Gueye, Bernard, Sigurdsson, Lookman, RicharlisonSubs: Stekelenburg, Walcott, Mina, Tosun, Davies, Calvert-Lewin, Kenny.

Bournemouth: Begovic, Smith, Cook, Ake, Clyne, Brooks, Lerma, Gosling, Fraser, King, Stanislas. Subs: Boruc, Surman, Mousset, Ibe, Daniels, Rico, Simpson.

Battle brewing for Batshuayi after Valencia loan ends

Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Michy Batshuayi appears destined to spend his entire career being loaned out, by Chelsea, to various clubs around Europe.

[ MORE: What we learned in the Premier League, Week 22 ]

Since arriving at Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2016, Batshuayi has played more than 50 largely forgettable games for his parent club, an electric 14 games for Borussia Dortmund, and an altogether disastrous 23 games for Valencia. Now, after just five months, his time in La Liga is set to end prematurely.

Valencia sporting director Mateu Alemany confirmed this week that Batshuayi’s season-long loan would be cut short on the heels of some very critical comments made by manager Marcelino. Following a recent loss to Sporting Gijon in the Copa del Rey, Marcelino held nothing back in tearing into Batshuayi — quotes from Sky Sports:

“I think we have to get in some strikers. I’ve clearly run out of patience with certain individuals.

“We could have gone in front in the first minute. It was the best opportunity I have seen us create for six months. If you can’t even get a shot in on target you are not fit to play in the Primera Liga for Valencia.”

Not exactly a ringing endorsement or a glowing recommendation for future employment. Alas, Batshuayi isn’t expected to have any trouble finding a new club as a number of sides are desperate to land the 25-year-old Belgian for the rest of the season.

[ MORE: PL Sunday preview: Litmus test time for Spurs, Man United ]

Everton would love to have him at Goodison Park, but given that they took Kurt Zouma on loan from Chelsea already this season, they would have to sign him on a permanent transfer. With that event seemingly unlikely, Thierry Henry’s Monaco is another option. Henry, who coached Batshuayi and the Belgium squad the last two years, confirmed interest while attempting to remain coy — quotes from Sky Sports:

“Michy? I know him, we rubbed shoulders with Belgium, he is a player who can be interesting. But again, nothing is done. You have to be patient. It’s important that players know the [league], though.”

Batshuayi, of course, knows the league after two seasons at Marseille prior to his move to Chelsea. Depending on which version of the player — the one with three goals in 23 appearances for Valencia, or the one with nine in 14 for Dortmund — arrives, someone is about to get a striker lacking in confidence or a star capable of singlehandedly changing the fortunes of an entire season.

PL Sunday preview: Litmus test time for Spurs, Man United

Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Sunday’s slate of Premier League fixtures will see a pair of top-four hopefuls do battle head-to-head, as Tottenham Hotspur host Manchester United at Wembley Stadium.

[ MORE: What we learned in the Premier League, Week 22 ]

Everton v. Bournemouth — 9:15 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

With just one win in their last eight PL outings, Everton will be hoping that their narrow victory over League Two side Lincoln City in the FA Cup last weekend will help to right the ship once back in league play. Marco Silva‘s fingers crossed it does the trick after slipping to 11th in the league table.

“Winning matches is the best way to win confidence and to start playing at our best level,” he said this week. “The best way to show (our quality) is by the results and the wins. We achieved the main thing against Lincoln and we have to work strongly again to achieve a good result in the next match.”

INJURIES: Everton — OUT: None | Bournemouth — OUT: Lewis Cook (knee), Simon Francis (knee), Adam Smith (knee), Dan Gosling (knee), Dominic Solanke (hamstring)


Tottenham Hotspur v. Man United — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

Sunday’s showdown at Wembley will serve as a litmus test for both Tottenham and Man United, as well as their respective managers. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will put his unblemished record as United boss on the line against Mauricio Pochettino, who might just replace him at Old Trafford in the summer.

With all due respect to the likes of Cardiff City and Huddersfield Town, third-place Spurs will pose a challenge Solskjaer’s side has not yet seen since Jose Mourinho was fired following a humbling defeat to Liverpool last month. United didn’t fare so well the first time these sides met this season, as the Red Devils suffered a thoroughly embarrassing 3-0 defeat that home in August. While Solskjaer has restored the attacking intent at United, he will be without a number of key defensive figures on Sunday, with Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Eric Bailly, Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian all reportedly unavailable or left out of the squad.

Along the same lines, Spurs are enjoying their best run of results all season, despite experiencing a rash of injuries — particularly to the midfield, where Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko have, somehow, become an irreplaceable duo. Finally, Eric Dier (appendectomy) is expected to return, as is defender Jan Vertonghen (thigh), thus affording Pochettino a majority of first-choice midfield and defensive options. Son Heung-min, who has amassed seven goals and five assists in his last seven games (all competitions), will play on Sunday before departing to join up with South Korea at the Asian Cup. It was agreed between the two side that Son remain with his club until after the game against United, missing the first two group games in the process.

INJURIES: Tottenham —  OUT: Mousa Dembele (ankle), Victor Wanyama (knee) | Man United — OUT: Eric Bailly (suspension), Chris Smalling (foot), Marcos Rojo (undisclosed)