Toby Alderweireld

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Bayern annihilates putrid Tottenham in 7-star showing

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Let’s be straight-forward: Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski humiliated Tottenham Hotspur’s abject back line in a 6-2 demolition of the hosts at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in North London on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Ex-Arsenal academy man Gnabry scored four times and Lewandowski twice while Joshua Kimmich also scored an extraordinary curler for Bayern in the blowout.

Olympiacos lost to Red Star Belgrade, which puts Spurs in the group’s third place. Bayern’s six points account for a four-point lead on the rest of the group.


Three things we learned

1. Lewandowski too powerful: It’s stunning to consider that Robert Lewandowski has never been named to a FIFPro World XI. The Polish striker started a move at the right end line, torching Jan Vertonghen, then worked himself back to the top of the 18 to pick up a loose ball and touch to his right before lashing inside the near post. Lewandowski added another to give Bayern six on the day. He now has 14 goals through 10 matches this season across all competitions.

2. Kane’s fine run (kinda) ends: Making penalties is pretty important, but Kane’s 61st minute success was his only real moment of impact in the match. He skied a free kick over the goal and saw a yellow card in the match. He had a goal or an assist in each of his last five matches, and continued that run. That’s really the lone positive from his day.

3. Serge Gnabry has a field day with Spurs back line, especially one fullback: Danny Rose and Serge Aurier did not deliver the goods at left and right back on Tuesday, with Rose cooked in the run-up to Kimmich’s opener. Aurier was roasted by Gnabry on his first goal, and then didn’t even bother to sprint behind the blazing Gnabry as he completed his hat trick by reaching a long ball from Thiago Alcantara. It’s the sort of move which would doom a player to the bench for weeks, but Spurs are very, very thin at fullback.

The ex-Arsenal man Gnabry added a fourth goal to complete the score line and would’ve loved his return to North London, having spent 2011-16 with Spurs’ heated rivals. He was magnificent.


Spurs struck first through Son in the 12th minute, as Corentin Tolisso passed to no man’s land. Moussa Sissoko took advantage of the giveaway, which carried a hint of a Dele Alli foul, and slid Son into the box.

Manuel Neuer could only get a hand on the South Korean’s shot as it headed for the side panel.

The lead lasted three minutes, and the equalizer was a beauty. Kimmich absolutely cooked Tanguy Ndombele with a cutback and whipped a vicious shot across goal and into the upper reaches of it.

Neuer and Lloris were each tested in the next five minutes, the latter by a Philippe Coutinho arrow in the 21st. The Bayern goalkeeper made an arm save on a hard Ndombele drive in the 25th.

Son ripped a shot wide at the half hour mark, an attempt to beat Neuer to the near post.

Former Arsenal man Gnabry would’ve loved scoring at the home of his former rivals, as he outlasted a dreadful challenge from Aurier and then blazed past a wooden Toby Alderweireld to blast past Lloris.

Gnabry scored again off a Harry Winks error, slipped into the 18 to dig out a shot that beat a diving Lloris.

Rose won a penalty kick off a high challenge with Kingsley Coman, sending Kane to the spot for his lone moment of the match.

Instead of inspiring a comeback, the goal spurred Bayern back into business. Gnabry added two more sandwiched around another classy Lewandowski finish.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Dunk to Leicester City, Everton to Arsenal

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The news that Manchester United has agreed with Leicester City on a world-record transfer fee for Harry Maguire has dominated the Sunday morning transfer talk, but there are a few more deals that are seeing movement this weekend.

[ MORE: Maguire nearing $100 million move ]

Directly connected to the Maguire deal is a rumor that Leicester City has already lined up his replacement, spending half the reported Manchester United payment on Brighton Hove & Albion defender Lewis Dunk. The Sun reports that Dunk, a Brighton youth product, will take over the Leicester City transfer record from newly acquired Youri Tielemans at a price tag of $56 million.

Brighton finished 17th last season, narrowly escaping relegation by a mere two points. Still, the defense was solid, conceding 60 goals in the campaign, fewer than any Premier League side in the bottom seven. Brighton gambled on Dunk on back in 2015 amid heavy interest in the player from Fulham, turning down a number of reported bids. The 27-year-old has repayed that faith, making 270 appearances for the club across all competitions and helping them earn promotion in 2017. Now, he will net the club an enormous payment should the move go through.


Brazilian winger Everton, who has been linked heavily with a move away from his current club Gremio, has added fuel to the fire by confirming he has a tabled offer and suggesting things are progressing rather quickly.

In quotes to Brazilian radio station Radio Grenal confirmed by The Mirror and Italian journalist Gianluca di Marzio, Everton said, “At this moment I have an offer, but I can’t say the name of the club. Just like I can’t promise that on Thursday I’ll still be playing for Gremio [against Bahia], we’ll see.”

The 23-year-old winger burst onto the scene at the Copa America this summer, helping Brazil cope with the absence of Neymar by scoring three goals and assisting two across the six games en route to the title. He has been linked with Arsenal and AC Milan, with the Gunners reportedly holding talks with his representatives. With Arsenal’s pursuit of Wilfried Zaha looking unlikely due to Crystal Palace’s high price tag, Brazilian reports state new Arsenal technical director Edu is using his many contacts in Brazil to take a deeper look at Everton’s situation.


Two days ago, reports claimed Roma representatives were in London to discuss a possible transfer of Toby Alderweireld to the Serie A side. The Belgian defender has a clause in his contract that would let him leave for a seemingly cheap price of $31.4 million before July 25, but Roma apparently wanted an even cheaper price.

According to Italian publication Il Tempo, Daniel Levy isn’t moving a muscle on the release clause, sending Roma packing. Very few clubs have shown interest in Alderweireld despite the cheap price, with rumors stating the Belgian is asking for heavy wages, and at 30 years old is not a massively valuable asset long-term. Still, it’s odd that teams like Manchester United would rather spend an exorbitant amount of cash on a defender like Harry Maguire when Aldereweireld could be had for far cheaper.


Sky Sports reports that West Ham defender Reece Oxford could be on his way out of London Stadium, with the 20-year-old being traced by Championship clubs Swansea City and Fulham as well as German side Augsburg.

Oxford was not part of West Ham’s 23-man squad that departed for its preseason trip to China, and after making just eight top-flight appearances last season while on loan at Augsburg, Oxford’s future is in flux. A West Ham youth product, Oxford has spent time on loan at Reading and Borussia Monchengladbach before last year’s half-season spell at Augsburg, and while the German club has been rumored to be in for a permanent move all summer, Swansea and Fulham entering the fray is new news.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Alderweireld to Roma, Haller to West Ham

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According to Sky Sports, Roma sporting director Franco Baldini is in London to discuss a move for Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld. The 30-year-old was a regular for Spurs along the back line last season, but reportedly has a clause in his contract where he can leave for a bargain price of $31 million. That clause reportedly expires July 25, leaving clubs with little time to take advantage of such a steal.

Still, Roma seems determined to lower this price even further, hoping to convince Spurs that Alderweireld could leave next summer for free with many bigger clubs scared away by his large wage demands and advanced age. Alderweireld rejected a contract offer from Spurs hoping to secure a bigger payday elsewhere, and if reports from Italy are to be believed, the offer from Roma are not exactly the massive windfall he may have hoped for.

There ultimately seems to be a lot more to go on this front before it becomes a reality. Daniel Levy, a known negotiator, likely won’t be spooked by letting a 31-year-old defender walk next summer after five strong seasons at the club and just $18 million spent to bring him from Ajax in 2015. The payday would be nice, but Alderweireld is still a strong starter at this point in his career and isn’t terribly valuable on the open market. Keeping him another season and letting him walk for free isn’t the worst decision Levy could make.


West Ham has been reportedly interested in Eintracht Frankfurt striker Sebastien Haller, but until recently, the player was not keen on the move. However, there’s apparently been a change of heart, and a $45 million deal may be back on.

According to L’Equipe reporter Hugo Delom, British agent Willie McKay has convinced Haller that a move would be best instead of holding out for a Champions League club. The 25-year-old scored 20 goals for Frankfurt last season across all competitions last season, including 15 in 29 Bundesliga appearances.

The Hammers need a goalscorer in the worst way. The only natural strikers on the roster are Javier Hernandez and Jordan Hugill. Chicharito is 31 and rumors are flying of an exit this summer, while Hugill spent last season on loan at Middlesbrough and struggled, scoring just six goals in 37 Championship appearances. Meanwhile, Robert Snodgrass is aging at 31 years old and Marko Arnautovic has departed for the Chinese league.


Aston Villa is reportedly in play for Brazilian U-23 captain Douglas Luiz. The 21-year-old midfielder is with Manchester City, having joined back in the summer of 2017 from Brazilian side Vasco de Gama, but he spent last season out on loan at Spanish side Girona and his pathway is still blocked by the wealth of talent in the senior squad.

According to the BBC report, a deal has been agreed upon for $19 million that would see Luiz move to the newly promoted side on a permanent basis. The Brazilian was unable to obtain a British work permit last summer, the partial reason for his loan to Girona, meaning he would have to give that another go for Villa to deploy him this coming season. The report states, however, that they feel confident he will be able to earn a work permit and be eligible to play this campaign.


According to numerous reports in England, with Telegraph reporter John Percy first on the scene, Wolves winger Ivan Cavaleiro is on his way to recently relegated side Fulham, with a medical scheduled for today and the possibility of an announcement soon after.

The reports all say that Fulham will snag the 25-year-old Portuguese international on a season-long loan and will have an option to buy at the end of the season. Cavaleiro was instrumental in Wolves’ promotion campaign two years ago, scoring nine goals and assisting 12 as Wolves won the Championship title, but he struggled to find time on the field in the Premier League last season, making just six starts all season. Wolves also offloaded fellow winger Helder Costa to Leeds United last week.

Fulham needs wingers desperately, with the departure of Ryan Babel and Andre Schurrle on his way back to Borussia Dortmund upon the club’s relegation. Cavaleiro seems a perfect capture for the Whites, as he has proven his ability in the Championship and could be an asset moving forward should they return to the top flight. The Whites are also linked this summer with Brighton winger Anthony Knockaert and Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter.


According to the Liverpool Echo, Everton has responded to an injury from RB Leipzig regarding to Ademola Lookman by setting a price of $31 million.

RB Leipzig is familiar with the 21-year-old England youth international, as the German side had Lookman on loan for the second half of the 2017/18 season. He made 11 Bundesliga appearances including seven starts, scoring five goals and improving as the loan spell went on. They attempted to sign him permanently at the end of his loan spell last summer but could not come to an agreement.

He returned to Everton and spent all of last season as a bench option, making just three starts but seeing the field 21 times, failing to find the back of the net. Lookman is with the Everton squad in Switzerland for their preseason tour.

Three key battles in the Champions League Final

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There are only two differences in the Liverpool lineups that beat Spurs 2-1 home and away this season.

Naby Keita and Joe Gomez started the September tilt at Wembley Stadium, while Jordan Henderson and Joel Matip started at Anfield.

[ MORE: Champions League story lines ]

Spurs on the other hand played a back four at Wembley with three center backs in the reverse fixture, wing backs Danny Rose and Kieran Trippier pushed up high and wide.

Might we see the latter again in Madrid? One of those pieces begins this examination of the three (plus one) factors in Saturday’s Champions League Final.

Kieran Trippier versus Sadio Mane

Mane scored 22 goals this season, but failed to manage one against Spurs whether Trippier was lined up at right back or as more of a right wing back.

All-in-all, the dangerous-crossing Trippier is a better defender than his reputation suggests, but Mane is about as explosive an attacking talent as there is in England.

This battle may be the one that settles the tie.

Roberto Firmino versus Toby Alderweireld

Sure, this also could read Firmino v. Spurs’ defense, but “Bobby’s” two goals against Spurs this season were his first in six matches against the Reds.

Like Harry Kane for Spurs, Firmino is coming off an injury. While still quite good, the Brazilian center forward’s production and effectiveness have both dipped this season.

Perhaps it’s absurd to expect him to be a wrecking ball in consecutive Champions League seasons, but his dip in that competition was especially significant. Firmino arguably was the number one reason Liverpool ran through its forgiving slate last season, scoring 10 goals with 7 assists and drawing a penalty. This year, it’s just four goals with a helper.

Alderweireld, meanwhile, has been fine but not spectacular for Spurs. The big Belgian will hope Firmino is less than 100 percent.

Jurgen Klopp versus himself

There are few men in the world with the self-confidence of Jurgen Klopp, but the Reds’ boss enters his latest final holding the proverbial clipboard for the unabashed favorites.

When a man has lost his last three European finals, there’s reason to question how he may try to out-fox himself in the role of favorite. It’s also worth noting that the virtue of getting to a fourth European final says a lot about a managerial skill set.

Where Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is very much playing with house money, Klopp has yet to lift a piece of silverware as Liverpool boss. Perception of him is unlikely to change too much with a loss, but a win would have him an Anfield all-timer.

The stage can do wild things to a man, even when that man has spent plenty of time on that stage.

BONUS: Harry Kane versus his ankle

Yeah, this is cheating, but the Englishman’s fitness is the X-factor of the UCL Final. Virgil Van Dijk has the goods to deal with a fully fit Kane, but if he’s simply tasked with managing a half-ready decoy? Well, that’s big stuff.

Still, Kane’s 1-4-4 record against Spurs doesn’t have a ton to do with his scoring record, as he’s managed five goals and two assists in those matches. If he’s ready to go, Spurs obviously have a much better chance at glory.

Toby Alderweireld to Man United for $34 million?

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$34 million for Toby Alderweireld? $34 million for Toby Alderweireld.

How on earth can that be the case? Well, his agent inserted a clause in the Belgian defenders contract at Tottenham which kicked in when Spurs recently triggered a one-year extension.

That meant that Alderweireld now has a release clause less than half of what is likely his market value and he will be available in the final two weeks of the summer transfer window. With just over a year left on his current contract at Spurs, they will have no choice but to sell him.

Genius from his agent. Not so smart from Spurs.

The Daily Mirror state that Spurs have all but given up hope of keeping hold of Alderweireld beyond this summer and believe he will head to Old Trafford.

Alderweireld, 30, can now demand pretty hefty wages from whichever club he signs for, and he will certainly be paid a lot more than he is getting at Spurs. The Belgian star was rested for their game at Southampton last weekend and Tottenham lost 2-1, as they badly missed his calming influence in the heart of their defense.

After signing from Atletico Madrid in 2015, Alderweireld has been a regular for Spurs after he excelled in the Premier League on loan at Southampton the 2014-15 campaign.

The way he can play out of the back, but also make defending his number one priority is probably only bettered by Virgil Van Dijk in the Premier League and Alderweireld’s ability to play at center back or right back is a massive advantage.

With Barcelona and Juventus also said to be sniffing around Alderweireld, United will be desperate to add a center back of his quality to their team.

It has been a problem area for the Red Devils in recent seasons. Chris Smalling has been solid but unspectacular, while Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Eric Bailly have been injured a lot and the latter has really struggled this season.

If United can grab Alderweireld for $34 million, it will be one of the best bits of business they’ve done since signing Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra over a decade ago. In many ways this is the perfect signing and should be pushed ahead regardless of if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the permanent head coach or not.