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Luke Shaw: Scrap season and start again

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Man United and England defender Luke Shaw has said the 2019-20 season should be scrapped and started again if games cannot be completed.

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Shaw, 24, was speaking during a FIFA 20 competition which was streamed on Twitch to raise funds for UNICEF’s Combat Corona campaign.

“Scrap it and start again. Start it again, yeah,” Shaw said. “It’s got to be, you know. If we can’t carry it on, it’s got to be void.”

All 20 Premier League clubs remain committed to completing the 2019-20 season whenever ‘safe to do so’ but there’s no resumption date currently lined up.

One option is for games to played behind closed doors, when possible, but Shaw isn’t keen on that either.

“Fans are so important. You realise it even more (now),” Shaw said. “I think the sport is for fans really… I think if you don’t have fans, and you don’t play in front of fans, it just doesn’t feel right. Especially on matchday, the fans are always amazing and always help the team. Whether it’s home or even away, our fans are always brilliant and I feel like they’re always there with us.”

The view of Shaw differs slightly from other Premier League players who have discussed the current suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic but there is a general consensus that they want to move onto the next season as soon as possible. When it comes to Shaw, his views are very interesting as Man United had rallied to be three points off the top four and had plenty of momentum ahead of the final nine games of the current league campaign, as well as being in a great position in the latter stages of the Europa League and FA Cup.

Man City star Kevin de Bruyne wants to move on from the 2019-20 season as soon as possible as he doesn’t think the start of the 2020-21 campaign should be delayed and is concerned about players being injured if they are asked to resume the season quickly.

Other players are fine to wait to see what the Premier League plans but Tottenham forward Harry Kane has also expressed his desire to move on from the current campaign if games cannot be completed by the end of June.

It is intriguing to hear so many differing views from Premier League players on when the season should resume, if at all, but Kane, Shaw and De Bruyne are all saying something slightly different. Therein lies the problem. How will a consensus be reached between PL clubs with so many different ideas and opinions on what should happen next?

If you throw club affiliations and rivalries into the mix, why on earth would a Man United star want the current season to be deemed as ‘void’ when Liverpool are 25 points clear at the top of the table and just five points away from securing the Premier League title…

10 soccer movies you need to watch

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Now, we all need plenty of things to watch to keep us going through the current coronavirus pandemic and here are 10 soccer movies you should add to your list.

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With no live games going on across the vast majority of the world right now, it feels good to at least watch soccer of some kind.

Below are trailers and explainers on 10 movies which differ vastly. From serious documentaries to comedies, we have you covered. There’s something for everyone in the list below. Trust me.

In no particular order, let’s take a look at which soccer movies are essential viewing.


Maradona

Asif Kapadia, the director of Senna, has produced the best-ever documentary on Diego Armando Maradona. There have been plenty of films which have detailed one of the greatest players in the history of the game but this is just stunning. Kapadia had hundreds of hours of never before seen footage and this docudrama focuses on Maradona’s tumultuous spell at Napoli when he delivered to Serie A titles and was beloved by Neapolitans across the globe. But, like most things in his life, his genius on the pitch got him into trouble off it. Watch this. You will not regret it. One of the great soccer movies ever made.

Escape to Victory

Pele. Check. Bobby Moore. Check. Michael Caine. Check. Sylvester Stallone. Check. Need I say more? Perhaps the greatest soccer movie in history. Escape to Victory (which is known officially as Victory) is set in France during the Second World War and focuses on a team of star players playing against the German army amid the background of (you guessed it) an escape. Stallone’s antics as star goalkeeper, Pele’s bicycle kick and a rallying cry from Caine are just some of the great moments from this classic movie.

Damned United

Brian Clough is perhaps the greatest manager England has ever produced. He won two European Cups with Nottingham Forest and league titles with Forest and rivals Derby County and did it all while making everyone laugh. This movie, starring Michael Sheen, focuses on his infamous 44-day spell in charge of Leeds United. Sabotage, player revolts and tremendous team talks. Just like the outspoken genius that was Brian Clough, this is top-notch entertainment.

We Must Go

An incredible documentary on Bob Bradley taking charge of the Egyptian national team after being fired by the USMNT in 2011. Amid the uprising against the government in Egypt, the Port Said massacre and huge unrest, people were united by one thing: Egypt reaching the 2014 World Cup for the first time in 24 years. This story about Bradley and his young team coming so close to their goal is emotional, dramatic and full of poignant moments. A reminder that Bradley, the current LAFC head coach, is the bravest coach in American soccer history.

Bend it Like Beckham

Keira Knightley and Parminder Nagra star as aspiring young female players in London as their team, against all the odds, prove they belong. A truly uplifting movie as curling free kicks like David Beckham’s famed right foot is still the main aim for every young English girl and boy growing up.

She’s the Man

Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum star in this comedy about high school soccer as Bynes pretends she is a boy to play on the varsity team but there is plenty of drama along the way. Another inspirational story about women proving antiquated attitudes are no longer welcome in the beautiful game.

Mike Bassett: England manager

Think of every single British soccer cliche you can. Okay? Put that in a movie with plenty of British comedy actors and it is hilarious. Not one of the most intellectual soccer movies out there but Ricky Tomlinson (who plays Mike Bassett) plays the part perfectly. Who would be the manager of England!?

Kicking and Screaming

Will Ferrell is a rising figure in the soccer world as part-owner at LAFC and this movie is a lovely crossover between his comedy genius and his love for the game. Coaching a team of underdogs which includes his young son, Ferrell transforms into a coach who is consumed by the game. Was this the inspiration for Ted Lasso?

United

The tragic story of the 1958 Munch Air Disaster is told in a compelling and gripping manner, as Manchester United’s famous Busby Babes are still revered to this day. One of the greatest teams English soccer has ever seen, the plane carrying United home from their European Cup clash at Partizan Belgrade crashed in Munich, Germany over a stop. Star players perished as the grief was felt by the entire soccer world.

One Night in Turin

Every single England fan out there will tell you they should have won the World Cup in 1990. Paul Gascogine’s tears. Gary Lineker’s goals. More penalty kick heartache. This was typical England. Set against the backdrop of hooliganism on the rise in England once again, Sir Bobby Robson led his unfancied Three Lions squad to the brink of their first World Cup final since 1966.

Transfer news: Coutinho to Chelsea, De Ligt to Man United

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The latest transfer news continues across the Premier League and here’s a look at some of the juiciest rumors.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

First up, Philippe Coutinho has been linked with a move back to England with Chelsea his latest potential destination as they are said to be ‘in negotiations’ with Barcelona about signing him on a permanent deal.

The Brazilian playmaker is still a Barcelona player but he’s spent the 2019-20 season on loan at Bayern Munich.

According to The Sun newspaper the 27-year-old midfielder will leave Bayern at the end of this season with the Bavarian giants unwilling to trigger his $130 million release clause.

Arsenal, Tottenham and Man United are all said to be in the running to sign Coutinho but it is Chelsea who have taken the first step to sign the Brazilian who was sensational at Liverpool before his move to Barcelona 18 months ago. Coutinho never settled properly at the Nou Camp as he was shipped out on loan to Bayern and it is highly unlikely Barca will get even half of the $175 million they paid to Liverpool for him in January 2018.

Per the report, Coutinho would be available for between $65-80 million and that could be worth a punt for several Premier League clubs given his past form for Liverpool in England’s top-flight. His ability to drop his shoulder, dictate the tempo of a game and deliver stunning goals and deliveries from long-range is his trademark.

With Willian and Pedro both likely to leave Chelsea this summer, Frank Lampard will need some attacking reinforcements but he already has Hakim Ziyech arriving from Ajax, plus Christian Pulisic, Ross Barkley, Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi battling for spots in the attacking midfield positions. In terms of the other clubs interested in Coutinho, it would seem like Tottenham would be the best fit as they recently lost playmaker Christian Eriksen and both Man United and Arsenal seem set with their current attacking talents.

Coutinho’s quality means he would be a good buy for any Premier League club with his former manager at Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers, linked with a shock move to bring him to Leicester City. Coutinho may not fit in at Barcelona but he is still loved by many in the Premier League, even after his acrimonious departure from Liverpool.


Another player who sealed a big move but has failed to settle is Matthijs de Ligt.

The Daily Express say that Man United have made De Ligt one of their top targets for this summer as the 20-year-old Dutch center back has failed to impress after his mega transfer from Ajax to Juventus last summer.

De Ligt looked likely to head to Man United for most of last summer but instead joined Juve for $100 million but under Maurizio Sarri he’s struggled to be a regular and both parties are reportedly ready to move on when the next transfer window arrives.

A towering presence at the heart of Ajax’s defense in their run to the Champions League semifinals in 2018-19, plus a rising star on the international stage with the Netherlands, De Ligt’s game would be suited well to the Premier League.

Do Man United need another center back? Right now Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof have formed a pretty solid partnership in central defense, flanked by Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, with Eric Bailly and Phil Jones back up center back options.

That said, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has used a 3-4-3 system on many occasions this season, especially against the Premier League big boys away from home, and that could mean there’s space for De Ligt, Maguire and Lindelof in the same lineup.

There’s no doubt Juve will be looking to recoup the vast majority of the $100 million they paid for De Ligt last summer but that’s unlikely. One potential deal suggested, per the report, is that Paul Pogba could head back to Juventus with De Ligt part of the deal.

Man United’s attack is set with Bruno Fernandes pulling the strings and the duo of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford delivering. Shoring up midfield and defense should remain Solskjaer’s top priority and if De Ligt can regain the amazing form from his Ajax days, he would have a huge impact.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Montiel to Palace or West Ham, Coutinho to depart Barcelona

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River Plate is one of many clubs that could use this coming transfer window to earn a payday after taking losses in the coronavirus shutdown, and that could come at the benefit of one Premier League club.

West Ham is apparently one of a few teams after Argentine international Gonzalo Montiel who could fetch River Plate somewhere in the vicinity of $24 million. The right-back is a River Plate youth product who established himself as a regular for the club at just 20 years old and has spent the last three seasons earning significant minutes. Now 23, Montiel is a strong passer who can create for teammates with long-range deliveries.

Argentine publication Ole mentions that Spanish side Valencia has shown interest of late, but also states that West Ham made contact in January but was turned down by River Plate and the Hammers could be suitors again once the next window arrives. Montiel was also linked with Crystal Palace by Goal back in late March, while Argentine newspaper El Intransigente linked the player with Southampton. Palace and Saints both make sense as they are both looking to replace big-name departures of late, with Crystal Palace still yet to truly replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka while Southampton has not seen much from those brought in to take over for Cedric Soares.

Barcelona is reportedly ready to lower its asking price on Philippe Coutinho, with a bid of $86 million potentially workable for the Catalan club, according to a report by the Evening Standard.

Coutinho was extremely poor in his season-and-a-half at Barcelona, and while the Brazilian playmaker had upped his game on loan at Bayern Munich before the coronavirus shutdown, the purchase price on his loan deal is a whopping $130 million, which Bayern Munich is not willing to pay.

Barcelona is desperately in need of funds to support its summer business, with Lautaro Martinez and Neymar both heavily linked with the La Liga giants. It’s highly unlikely that both will be possible to acquire given both the team’s business of late and the coronavirus shutdown causing financial strain on clubs all over the world, and a significant sale may even be needed to get one of them over the line. Coutinho provides such a possibility, but with Barcelona not exactly in a position of strength given Coutinho’s lack of recent star power and the club’s need to sell, dropping the asking price is a highly likely eventuality.

The Evening Standard report mentions that Barcelona believes the Premier League is the “most likely possibility” for a Coutinho suitor given the league’s memories of his incredible spell at Liverpool just a few years ago.

Speaking of the Premier League, Manchester United was reportedly close to securing a marquee striker last summer before eventually sticking with Marcus Rashford up front. Speaking to Italian print publication Tuttosport on Wednesday, Romelu Lukaku’s agent Federico Pastorello said that the Belgian big man almost went to Juventus on a swap deal before Manchester United backed out of the transfer negotiations due to Dybala’s high wage demand. Eventually, Lukaku departed for Inter Milan where he settled in quickly and has contributed to a furious title challenge that just lost steam before the coronavirus shutdown.

Pastorello simply responded “It’s true” when asked if Dybala had been a focal point of Manchester United negotiations, but hedged his answer with, “Romelu, however, had always hoped to go to Inter because he was impressed by the affection of the Inter fans.”

Transfer news: James to Everton; Meunier to Man United

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The latest transfer news continues across the Premier League and here’s a look at some of the juiciest rumors.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

First up, Everton are said to be interested in signing James Rodriguez from Real Madrid. The Colombian star previously played for Carlo Ancelotti at Real and Bayern Munich, as he helped the former win the UEFA Champions League in 2015-16 and 2016-17 after arriving from Monaco following a sensational 2014 World Cup.

According to Marca, James is keen on a move to England and Real want to sell him this summer as he has just one year left on his contract. Per the report Ancelotti tried to sign James last summer when he was in charge at Napoli and although Arsenal and Wolves are also interested, Everton are the frontrunners.

James spent two seasons on loan at Bayern Munich before returning to Real for 2019-20 where he has been a bit-part player for Zinedine Zidane.

His quality on the ball is undoubted and at the age of 28 he is hitting his prime and Ancelotti certainly knows how to get the best out of James, who put up his best numbers at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2014-15 (17 goals in 46 games in all competitions) under the Italian coach.

Where would he slot in at Everton? Probably as the second striker or No. 10 which would mean stiff competition for Gylfi Sigurdsson who has become the chief creator for Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Everton’s majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri has not been shy in splashing the cash and Ancelotti has had a huge impact during his first few months in charge of the Toffees, strengthening his case to be given money to spend in the next transfer window to improve his young, raw squad.

Time to add the duo of Ancelotti-James to Mourinho-Matic, Redknapp-Defoe and Moyes-Fellaini manager-player partnerships.


Switching the focus from Merseyside to Manchester, another piece of transfer news has been reported that Man United are keen on signing Belgium international Thomas Meunier.

Meunier, 28, has yet to sign a new contract at Paris Saint-Germain and according to French outlet Le Foot, the Red Devils have joined AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund in ‘keeping a lookout’ on the right-sided player who becomes a free agent this summer.

An attacking right back, Meunier is just as comfortable playing as an out-and-out winger and his arrival would not only give them cover at right back for Aaron Wan-Bissaka but also give them an option at right wing. His experience with Belgium and PSG is undoubted and his quality passing and crossing from wide areas will surely provide Man United’s star attackers plenty of service. Meunier previously said his main aim is to stay at PSG, where he’s been since arriving from Club Brugge in 2016 as he’s won eight domestic trophies with the reigning French champions.

Meunier has also previously stated in the Belgian media that he is a fan of Man United, so perhaps that gives Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side the edge. He would fill a need and a free transfer would certainly be welcome after splashing out over $280 million to sign Harry Maguire, Bruno Fernandes and Wan-Bissaka over the last 12 months.