Russian Premier League

Sancho to Manchester United
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Transfer news: Sancho to Man United latest, Immobile plus 1 to Everton

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At this point, it’ll be surprising if Jadon Sancho ends up somewhere besides Borussia Dortmund or Manchester United.

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The latest update on a potential move for the prolific playmaker plus much more, below.

Sancho to Manchester United

Monday reports that United had offered $115 million for Sancho, about $25 million shy of Dortmund’s asking price, made the move to Old Trafford feel a lot more certain and Wednesday’s news certainly help that along.

Sky Sports says that personal terms are not going to be a problem and that Dortmund and United are concerned about payment structure.

Dortmund wants $117 million up front for Sancho and wants it by the start of preseason on Aug. 10, and that they are targeting Jonathan Ikone of Lille as a replacement.

United is said to like Bayern Munich’s Kingsley Coman as a backup plan, while the same report says the Red Devils do not have Jack Grealish interest now that Aston Villa’s survival has upped the player’s price tag.

Sancho finished his 44-game season with 20 goals and 20 assists, incredible considering he just turned 20 in March.

It feels like he’s going to be to Pep Guardiola and City what Kevin De Bruyne is to Jose Mourinho and Chelsea.

Immobile to Everton

Carlo Ancelotti reportedly thinks the Everton project is a bigger one than he first anticipated and is ready for swing for the fences.

The 61-year-old Italian wants the green light to spend around $65 to bring Ciro Immobile from Lazio to Goodison Park.

Immobile is leading the race for Serie A’s capocannoniere, with 34 goals to Cristiano Ronaldo’s 31 with two matches left for both players.

He’s won the award with both Torino and Lazio and would move into a second-place tie with seven players if he claimed his third.

But what is the fit? Everton has Richarlison and Ancelotti has talked him up as a 30-goal target. The club also saw remarkable growth from 23-year-old Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who does not exactly look the part of a winger and Immobile’s best work is easily at center forward.

Immobile has also been far from his best in his pair of seasons outside of Italy. He has 14 goals and four assists in 49 matches between Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla compared with 151 and 54 in 274 across Italy.

Ivanovic to Everton

Fresh off of murdering the Russian Cup trophy, Branislav Ivanovic could be on the verge of a return to the Premier League.

Out-of-contract at Zenit St. Petersburg, Ivanovic is said to be in advanced talks regarding a reunion with his old Chelsea boss.

Zenit’s captain has made 125 appearances for the club, scoring 12 times, since transferring from Chelsea where he won just about every trophy at least once.

By the way, sound up on the video below. Listen carefully.

Klopp hails ‘Liverpool legend’ Lovren on move to Zenit

Dejan Lovren to Zenit
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/PA Images via Getty Images
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The first departure from Liverpool’s championship side is not Adam Lallana, rather a center back.

Dejan Lovren has signed for Zenit St. Petersburg in Russia, putting an end to a seven-year Premier League career spent between Southampton and the Reds.

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The 31-year-old will reportedly net Liverpool around $14 million. He had one year remaining on his contract, and leaves Liverpool with a center back crop of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, and Joel Matip. The club has also has young Ki-Jana Hoever and Sepp van den Berg under contract and some versatile midfielders, but they will be buying depth.

Lovren has 57 caps for Croatia and was part of the 2018 World Cup runners-up. He’s won the French Cup, the Croatian Cup, the UEFA Champions League, Premier League and the top two league tiers in Croatia.

Here is part of a tribute from Jurgen Klopp on Liverpool’s web site:

“Another Liverpool legend who leaves the club, because he was absolutely a very, very important part of this team from the first day since I was in,” said Jurgen Klopp. “He had so many good games. … A great player and a great person. Yesterday we said, ‘Who is now the best friend of Mo?’ because they were really real, real bezzies. They were really close and that’s the thing, we will miss him. He is a model athlete, has everything you need and now he goes to Russia, but he can come back always – he will be always welcome because he is a really nice guy.”

Coronavirus, uncooperative Sochi forces Rostov to field teens in 10-1 loss

Russian Premier League COVID-19
Photo by Dmitry FeoktistovTASS via Getty Images
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SOCHI, Russia — A team of teenagers took the field for a club hit by the coronavirus pandemic and lost 10-1 as soccer in Russia restarted Friday.

FC Rostov was forced to send a squad with an average age of barely 17 to play against Sochi, two days after its entire first team was put into isolation over a suspected virus outbreak among six players.

Sochi refused to postpone the game, leaving Rostov a choice between fielding academy graduates or accepting defeat by default.

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A fairytale result was briefly on the cards as Roman Romanov gave Rostov the lead after 52 seconds with a low shot from the edge of the penalty area. Sochi soon hit back and finished with 10 goals, the most in league history, mostly scored by players with Russian national-team experience.

Rostov’s 17-year-old goalkeeper Denis Popov won widespread praise and was named man of the match. Despite conceding a record number of goals, he stopped a penalty and also set a new league record for most saves in a game with 15.

It was “sad that we lost by such a big score, but we got a lot of experience,” Popov said on his club’s website.

Hours later, Rostov’s fans welcomed the team bus home with flags and flares at the roadside.

“Well done to our kids, they’re real beauties. The rest isn’t important. These lads are champions of the future,” club president Artashes Arutyunyants said.

Still, the defeat is a blow to Rostov’s hopes of reaching the Champions League next season. It is fourth in the table, with the top three qualifying.

The Russian Premier League resumed Friday after more than three months, with a limited number of fans in stadiums. Supporters were allowed in up to 10 percent of capacity and asked to sit apart.

Russian fans clash with baton-wielding police at stadium

Photo by Mikhail Japaridze\TASS via Getty Images
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MOSCOW (AP) Russian soccer fans have criticized what they consider heavy-handed policing after clashes at a league game.

Video footage posted online shows police in riot gear beating Spartak Moscow fans on the stadium concourse after a game Saturday with FC Rostov, including two who have fallen to the ground. Fans have alleged they were kept tightly packed in the corridor after the game and then attacked by police with batons.

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The Russian Football Union has told the Sport-Express newspaper that it is calling for an investigation and that “this kind of situation should not be repeated at stadiums.”

The Russian Premier League says in a statement that it is satisfied police acted correctly and accused Spartak fans of trying to free fellow supporters arrested earlier over allegations of throwing pyrotechnics.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Spartak tweet on black player causes uproar (video)

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Russian Premier League and UEFA Europa League side Spartak Moscow is in hot water this morning after posting a video on its Twitter feed.

The footage shows several of Spartak’s smiling black players stretching with the caption, “See how chocolate melts in the sun” accompanied by sun and chocolate bar emojis.

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Spartak is training in the UAE, where the weather is 55 degrees warmer than Moscow this week, but few on social media are seeing the humor in the post given the myriad issues regarding racism in Russian football and the magnifying glass on the country ahead of this summer’s World Cup.

Anti-racism organization “Kick It Out” issued the following statement:

This social media post from the official account of Spartak Moscow only continues to highlight the prejudices towards black people in Russia. It is a reminder, that along with the whole of football, there is significant work to do to eradicate racism of all forms from the sport.

Before you ask, it shouldn’t matter whether the caption is cleared with the players beforehand; First off, they are employees of the club so the question is instantly tainted. Even if the players found it 100 percent free of offense, that doesn’t make it so for the world’s population. That matters.

Here’s the original post, for as long as it stays on the Internet (Don’t shoot the messenger when Spartak is pressured into taking it down and this is a blank space):