Premier League

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Man Utd debt climbs to $500m as club spends to halt decline

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MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester United’s attempt to strengthen its underperforming squad has proved costly with debt rising more than 55 percent in a year to $498 million.

[ MORE: Premier League Team of the Season so far ]

The cost of signing Harry Maguire, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James ahead of the new season in the first quarter of the financial year was around 140 million pounds.

Although United reported record revenue last season of $812 million, the New York Stock Exchange listed business is now expecting the 2019-20 figure to drop to between $725 million and $750 million.

That is due to United missing out on Champions League television and prize money after finishing sixth last season. United could miss out again with the side in seventh place, nine points behind fourth-placed Manchester City after 12 of the 38 games.

[ MORE: Van Dijk leaves Netherlands squad for “personal reasons” ]

“Our ultimate aim is to win trophies, play fast, fluid, attacking football, with a team that uses graduates from our academy along with world-class acquisitions,” United executive vice chairman Ed Woodward said. “We know this will not be achieved overnight, however we have made investments across the club that we believe will set us on the right path.

“We know our academy is a strong competitive advantage and an area we will continue to invest in as it is at the heart of the club.”

FA panel details ‘very challenging case’ to rescind Son red card

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The English FA’s Independent Regulatory Commission has released rare details of its majority decision to overturn the red card shown to Son Heung-min for his challenge which resulted in Andre Gomes suffering a dislocated ankle earlier this month, calling their deliberations “a very challenging case”.

[ MORE: Van Dijk leaves Netherlands squad for “personal reasons” ]

The panel chose not to consider the injury to Everton’s Gomes when judging the case against Tottenham Hotspur’s Son, which was a controversial stance in the minds of some. Having the benefit of hindsight and instant replay — the latter of which referee Martin Atkinson could have used, but chose not to do so — the injury could be seen as the only reason Son was sent off.

“Having viewed the available footage of the incident on numerous occasions and in great detail, the regulatory commission agreed by majority decision that the referee had erred in his interpretation of the incident.

“The majority noted the speed with which the challenge was made, that the player had not been airborne and interpreted the challenge as a sliding tackle as opposed to a lunge.

“It was concluded that Son had made a challenge on Gomes which would warrant no more than a caution rather than a straight red card.”

[ MORE: Premier League Team of the Season so far ]

The lone dissenting member of the panel described their view of the incident as “a late slide followed by a secondary movement which tripped Gomes and caused the awkward fall and subsequent collision. This secondary movement of Son’s left leg served ultimately to endanger the safety of his opponent pursuant to Law 12. Based on all the considerations the minority view was not satisfied that a dismissal was outside the reasonable range of actions for the referee to meet the obvious error test.”

Premier League Team of the Season so far

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The 2019-20 Premier League season is almost a third of the way in and there have certainly been some outstanding displays and consistency from individuals so far.

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Chelsea, Leicester, Liverpool and Man City have all been in good form, and their star players dominate our selection for the Team of the Season, so far.

Below is my pick for the best XI, plus seven subs, but feel free to send us yours in the comments section below.

JPW’s Best XI of the Premier League season, so far…

—– Kepa —–

—- Alexander-Arnold —- Van Dijk —- Soyuncu —- Robertson —-

—- De Bruyne —- Jorginho —- Ndidi —-

—- Sterling —- Vardy —- Mane —- 

Subs: Schmeichel, Chilwell, Cahill, Fabinho, Maddison, Mount, Abraham

Analysis: Okay, goalkeeper was perhaps the toughest position as Alisson has been out injured and Ederson has had a few ups and downs, while Fabianski was superb early in the season but was then injured and Hugo Lloris also went down. That leaves us with Kasper Schmeichel, Bernd Leno, Aaron Ramsdale and Kepa to choose from. I’m going for the latter as his distribution has been very good and the defense in front of him is young and still developing together, meaning he’s had plenty of reps and has made some very good saves.

In defense the full backs pick themselves with Alexander-Arnold and Robertson getting the nod but Ben Chilwell from Leicester is pushing Robertson all the way. At center back Caglar Soyuncu has been sublime for the Foxes, while Virgil Van Dijk is in imperious form and has had to crank things up a few more notches with Joel Matip out injured in recent weeks. Gary Cahill from Crystal Palace and Jon Egan from Sheffield United have both had very good starts for two solid defensive teams.

Midfield was tricky, but Kevin De Bruyne has been in the form of his life and so too has Jorginho who has totally turned around the wave of negativity against him from Chelsea’s fans. The Italian midfielder is digging deep and doing the dirty work as well as displaying his incredible array of passing. Wilfred Ndidi‘s ability to win the ball back is mind-boggling and he just gets in ahead of Youri Tielemans and James Maddison who have been linking Leicester’s attack together in front of him. Fabinho is another midfield destroyer who has been in the form of his life but he is only on our bench.

Talking of attack, Raheem Sterling gets in as he continues to score goals galore for Man City, and so too does Tammy Abraham as he’s finally got the chance to become a regular at Chelsea and he’s taken it with both hands. But he doesn’t get in our team as Jamie Vardy is a man reborn and is simply on fire for second-place Leicester. Sadio Mane has scored so many crucial goals for Liverpool and even though Roberto Firmino has played well, Mane is Liverpool’s main man as Mohamed Salah battles through an ankle injury. Sergio Aguero and Mason Mount just miss out on our XI but the former is scoring goals at a career-best rate and the latter is set to be a star for Chelsea and England for many years to come.

Report: Loader, Haaland to Man United; Upamecano to Man City

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Ah, the January transfer window is just around the corner and we can be certain of one thing: Manchester City and Manchester United are about to be linked with signing a ton of players.

A ton.

But in this instance, even though we’re six weeks away from the transfer window reopening but reports make, uh, sense?

First up, Manchester City have been linked with a move for RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano via 90min. And yep, City do indeed need a center back and he ticks all of the boxes as a long-term replacement for Vincent Kompany. With Aymeric Laporte out injured until January at the earliest, plus Nicolas Otamendi struggling for form and John Stones in and out of the team with fitness issues, Pep Guardiola is short on center backs.

Fernandinho and Rodri can’t keep on filling in at center back and the lack of cover City have in the heart of their defense is the main reason they are nine points behind league leaders Liverpool. After the reigning champs admitted they weren’t going to match United’s summer bid for Harry Maguire, they probably knew this was going to happen and Laporte’s injury underlined their weakness in this area.

Upamecano, 21, will cost close to $65 million and he’s been a star at Leipzig in the Bundesliga in recent seasons. He will have just 18 months left on his current contract in January and he seems both attainable for a reasonable price and capable of having an instant impact as well as being able to develop into a fine center back.

Man United’s latest financial results suggest that will continue to focus on picking up younger gems in the British market to supplement their squad (see: James, Daniel) and they’ve been linked with a move for Reading’s Danny Loader.

Loader, 20, is out of contract this summer and will be available for a knockdown price in January. The striker has impressed on the international stage with England’s youth team, but has struggled in the second tier with the Royals as he’s scored just once in 29 appearances. He is definitely one for the future but with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood around, do United need another young striker?

According to our partners in the UK, Sky Sports, contract talks have stalled between Reading and Loader, while the England youth international almost moved to Wolves in the summer.

United proved with the signing of Daniel James from Swansea City in the summer, they aren’t afraid to pick young talents out of the Championship and give them a chance in the PL, while they have also been linked with a move for the ridiculously in form RB Salzburg striker Erling Haaland.

Haaland, 19, has scored 26 goals in 18 games in all competitions for Jesse Marsch’s side and the Norwegian striker is one of the hottest commodities in Europe. His father, former Manchester City midfielder Alfe-Inge Haaland, recently visited United’s training ground according to The Athletic. And with Haaland being a former international teammate of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, there’s a lot of crossover here.

United want to sign young, hungry players and both Loader and Haaland fit that mold. The latter would be much more expensive and would he be a regular at United ahead of Rashford and Martial? On current form, probably. Long-term having Rashford, Martial and James playing off Haaland in a 4-2-3-1 formation would probably be the dream for Solskjaer.

Van Dijk leaves Netherlands squad for ‘personal reasons’

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Liverpool star Virgil Van Dijk has left the Netherlands squad for “personal reasons” and he won’t play against Estonia.

The Dutch have already qualified automatically for the EURO 2020 finals and a win in their Group C finale would give them a chance of being a top seed for the tournament.

In a statement on the Dutch FA (KNVB) website, they confirmed VVD won’t play for Ronald Koeman‘s Oranje on Tuesday in Amsterdam.

“The captain of the Dutch national team has to let go of the game due to personal circumstances and has since left the Orange training camp,” said the KNVB.

Van Dijk, 28, has led the Dutch redemption story under Koeman, as he was installed as skipper by his former manager at Southampton and has since gone on to be named among the top three players on the planet and was named Man of the Match in Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League final success against Tottenham in June.

The defensive lynchpin of the Premier League leaders had led the Dutch national team to their first major tournament since the 2014 World Cup and has restored some pride to the program after they failed to qualify for each of the last two major tournaments.

Liverpool travel to Crystal Palace on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET online via and Jurgen Klopp‘s defensive leader will now be well rested.

Whatever is going on with VVD’s absence it does allow him to have a few extra days off ahead of a gruelling set of games in November and December as Liverpool compete in the PL, Champions League, Club World Cup and League Cup.