هات بت : Brighton’s rapid rise from brink of collapse to European run

Brighton's rapid rise from brink of collapse to European run

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There’s something melancholic about an English seaside town in winter. Whether it’s the shuttered shop fronts rusted by the salty air, the sickly green waves crashing against the vacant shoreline, or the wind buffeting rows of empty beach huts, there’s often a sense of stoicism, a need for hibernation and a yearning for better times.

However, for the residents of Brighton and Hove on England’s south coast, this year will be different. Those familiar doldrums will be shaken off as the city and its football club prepare for the team’s first European campaign in its 122-year history — a result of an incredible sixth-placed finish in the Premier League last season that handed them a spot in the UEFA Europa League.

– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

It has been a long time coming, as Brighton fans have had to endure heartache over the years: From relegation from the top flight in 1983, the same year they lost an FA Cup final to Manchester United, to almost being relegated to the Football Conference and liquidated in 1997, to repeated failure in the Championship playoffs — they lost three times between 2012-2016, before finally achieving promotion to the Premier League in 2016-17.

Now things are different. Amid worldwide acclaim for their transfer business and tactical style under exciting head coach Roberto De Zerbi, Brighton’s rise to playing in Europe is quite a story.

The city relies on the summer “holiday season,” when its population swells as thousands of Londoners — or DFLs (“Down From London”) as the locals call them — take the roughly 50-mile trip to the seaside. On Thursday, it will welcome fans of Greece’s AEK Athens for the first group-stage game, before supporters from the Netherlands’ Ajax Amsterdam and France’s Marseille make the journey in October and December.

Brighton have always maintained a strong community ethos — CEO Paul Barber personally sent a letter of thanks to the 41 devotees who travelled to every home and away fixture in their first season in the Premier League — so as soon as the Europa League draw was made in Monaco earlier this month, supporters began organising flights and hotel rooms, determined to make the most of the opportunity to attend matches in Europe for the first time.

“It’s a tough group but I’m really happy with it,” Brighton local Kim Strudwick tells ESPN. “You want to play teams that you know and it’s going to be amazing to watch Athens and Marseille. We’ve booked flights for Amsterdam as well. It’s going to be a great experience. I want to make sure I live it and say I’ve been.”

Brighton’s existence threatened

Seeing De Zerbi and his team take on European heavyweights is a fitting reward for the fans who have stuck by the club through thick and thin — most notably when it came within 28 minutes of relegation from the Football League in 1997.

Financially crippled from years of mismanagement, the club was left homeless and even came close to liquidation, with the board selling the Goldstone Ground to pay off debts. Seemingly doomed to the drop — it was 13 points adrift at the bottom of Division Three at one stage — the club rallied and faced what was effectively a one-match playoff against Hereford United in the final game of the season to determine who would be relegated to the Conference. In the end, a 62nd-minute equaliser from forward Robbie Reinelt secured the point Brighton needed to survive and keep the debt collectors at arm’s length.

“It was just one knockback after another at that time,” Kim’s father, and fellow Brighton fan, Steve Strudwick remembers. “You thought that Brighton could go out of existence. It would have been that way. Especially if we got relegated from the Football League. We were that close to being a semi-professional club.”

Knight in shining armour; Brighton Bloom

Four months later, on Sept. 2, 1997, local businessperson and dedicated supporter, Dick Knight — the man behind the infamous “Wonderbra” advertisement — led a consortium that took full control of Brighton from previous owner Greg Stanley and chairman Bill Archer for just £100.

The club, though, was still without a permanent home and, after two years sharing a ground at Gillingham’s Priestfield Stadium, relocated to the Withdean — an athletics stadium that had once been the site of the local zoo. It was there that the supporters, who watched on from rickety temporary stands, saw the first signs of the team’s growth as the Seagulls won back-to-back promotions after the turn of the Millenium.

“Seeing us play at Gillingham for a couple of years when we were towards the bottom of the old Tier Four … We were awful then,” Steve says. “We had to go 70-odd miles or so to get there every other Saturday. It was miserable and more often than not we’d lose anyway! I remember getting soaked at the Withdean on many occasions. The stand we sat in was in the open so there was no protection. You were also a long way from the pitch because of the running track.”

Brighton’s nomadism was brought to an end in 2009 with the takeover by local entrepreneur and sports betting magnate, Tony Bloom. Fresh investment was badly needed to push through plans for a new stadium in Falmer, on the edge of the South Downs National Park, and he has put in over £400 million of his own money. Those “Bloom or bust” years even spawned the charity single ‘We Want Falmer’ that raised awareness of the fans’ wish for a new home — it reached No. 17 in the UK singles charts. But with his takeover completed in 2009 and £93m finally secured for their first permanent home in 14 years — the American Express Community Stadium — Brighton’s new owner and chairman set about creating the modern-day incarnation of the football club.

“He [Bloom] is just a hero, he’s the man,” season-ticket holder Steven Meachin says. “I would say behind Dick Knight he’s the most important person in Brighton’s history, or at least the last 50 years or so. If we didn’t have Tony Bloom then we wouldn’t be going to Marseille next month, that’s for sure.”

Rise to the Premier League

In many ways, Bloom is the embodiment of the city of his birth, continually finding appeal in the niche and the under-appreciated. It’s an ethos he has ingrained into the club.

Brighton found success under Uruguay legend Gus Poyet to gain promotion to the Championship in 2010-11 and, after a few years of playoff heartache, eventually sealed their place back in the top flight for the first time in 34 years under Chris Hughton in 2016-17. Since then, the club’s player recruitment department, and their ability to see potential in traditionally overlooked and undervalued regions of the world, has set them apart from their competitors.

“They seem to be spotting gems in random leagues all over the place,” Brighton fan Ryan Newington says. “The way I sort of imagine it to be is like Football Manager [the video game], with some very intelligent data scientists going through various South American second divisions and seeing what they look like.”

It’s a process that has produced Premier League stars such as Mali’s Yves Bissouma [£30m, to Tottenham], Argentina’s Alexis Mac Allister [£35m, to Liverpool], Ecuador’s Moisés Caicedo [£100m, to Chelsea] and, most recently, the Republic of Ireland’s 18-year-old striker Evan Ferguson. But the accepted hierarchy of modern football means that for clubs like Brighton, it’s not just finding the right players; it’s about replacing them when the richer teams inevitably take them away. It’s something they seem to do better than any other club, but do the fans still get nervous whenever one of their heroes is moved on for a huge profit?

“I trust the board and I think lots of other Brighton fans feel that way,” Newington continues. “Yes, we’ll recruit players and yes, we’ll move them on for a profit and that is part of the system, but I feel like the money is reinvested well. Over the past two or three seasons it feels like the recruitment has got even better. You can’t be anything but happy with it.

“I have immense trust in the club’s leaders, Tony Bloom and Paul Barber. I suppose it’s because they’ve just made right decision after right decision after right decision for 10 years. Tony Bloom is a lifelong Brighton fan, he’s invested a lot of his own money. It’s all purely out of love.”

As a former professional gambler, Brighton’s owner is understandably secretive about how he consistency beats the odds, and the inner workings of his sports betting and analytics company, Starlizard, are shrouded in mystery.

Bloom’s secrecy extends to his football team. If you drive down the busy Old Shoreham Road into Worthing you’d be forgiven for overlooking the fact that Brighton’s training ground is nestled just out of view, hidden in the residential area to your left. There are remarkably few signs that mark its presence.

The results, however, are clear to see – the club have scored more goals than anyone else in the Premier League so far this season (15) after registering a £74m net profit from the summer transfer window and have even signed Lionel Messi’s one-time heir at Barcelona, Ansu Fati, on a season-long loan.

“When you compare where we are now to those days [at Gillingham and the Withdean] I do think it gives you genuine pride,” Newington adds. “With where we are now and the success of qualifying for the Europa League you’re like: ‘oh my God, we’re actually good!'”



Will Ansu Fati find success at Brighton?

Alejandro Moreno breaks down what he expects from Ansu Fati while he is on loan at Brighton.

De Zerbi leads European charge

Supporters, though, are keen to stress that they’re not getting too ahead of themselves as the club makes its first foray into Europe this week.

“I think from the fans’ point of view there’ll be no pressure at all,” Meachin says. “I think everyone expects us to get through the group, but worst-case scenario, finish third, and get in the [Europa] Conference League. Brighton fans don’t expect a lot. Most fans are kind of just kind of happy with going on the ride at the moment.”

The lack of ruthlessness that saw Brighton suffer so badly when faced with the intensity of Championship playoff games was a feature that De Zerbi quickly rectified after taking over from Graham Potter [who joined Chelsea] in September last year.

Potter was derided for the way in which his team consistently underperformed against their Expected Goals (xG) — in three games towards the end of February 2021, the team had a total xG of 7.79 but scored only once. Under De Zerbi this season, Brighton have scored 15 goals from an xG of 12.16. But the Italian hasn’t just improved his team in front of goal, many Brighton fans feel as though his influence on the club has been underappreciated from the outside.

“De Zerbi has changed more than what people give him credit for,” Meachin claims. “He is a different level but I can’t see him staying around for more than another year or two [because a bigger team will hire him]. I mean Potter did well, but I think De Zerbi is just a clear step up.”

“A lot of people don’t realise what it was like up until the March of the season before he [Potter] went. There were still a lot of question marks with the fanbase. We lost at home to Wolves in December of 2021 and a lot of people were saying ‘he’s got to go, we’re not progressing.’ It wasn’t until that March when we won at Tottenham that it started to properly come together.”

Even Bloom has admitted to being surprised by De Zerbi’s influence.

“I didn’t quite realise the impact he would have when he came in,” Bloom told BBC Radio Sussex Sport. “He has been hugely influential for so many players. He is so good at improving them. The quality of the play and the risk taking at the right times to create opportunities for the players to create chances and his tactical abilities are superb.”

Brighton have come such a long way in a short space of time. When they kick off against AEK Athens on Thursday night, you can guarantee that everyone associated with the club will take a moment to contemplate just how much they’ve achieved. Twenty-six years after Reinelt’s goal kept Brighton alive, they’re heading off to Europe in search of the good life.

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هات بت : Man United players fed up with Jadon Sancho – source

Man United players fed up with Jadon Sancho - source

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Jadon Sancho is facing a battle to regain the support of his Manchester United teammates as well as manager Erik ten Hag following his angry reaction to being dropped for the Premier League defeat at Arsenal, a source has told ESPN.

Sancho, 23, posted a strongly worded social media rebuttal of Ten Hag’s postmatch claims that he had been omitted from the squad at the Emirates due to unsatisfactory training performances, with the England international rejecting the “completely untrue” comments and saying on his X account that he had been a “scapegoat for a long time.”

– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

But one source has told ESPN that there is little sympathy for Sancho inside the United dressing room, saying, “The players have had enough of him.”

Sancho’s performances in training and on matchday, as well as his demeanour around the club, have led to the £73 million ($91m) signing from Borussia Dortmund becoming a peripheral figure with Ten Hag and his coaching staff becoming exasperated by the former Manchester City youngster.

Despite Sancho’s swift reaction to Ten Hag’s comments in the postmatch news conference at Arsenal — Sancho has not deleted his post and it remains pinned at the top of his X account — sources have said that the United manager has felt no need to clarify or tone down his remarks.

Ten Hag criticised Cristiano Ronaldo on two occasions for his conduct prior to the forward’s departure following a mutually agreed contract cancellation last November, while the former Ajax coach also publicly confirmed that Marcus Rashford was dropped for last season’s Premier League game at Wolves due to him missing a team meeting.

Sources have said that the players accept and respect Ten Hag’s firm approach because it applies without exceptions to squad members, regardless of their status, and that Sancho’s reaction has gone down badly within the dressing room, although a source has said that it was not greeted with surprise.

Sources have told ESPN that Sancho and Ten Hag are set for talks before United’s game against Brighton on Sept. 16 to decide the forward’s future.

United, according to sources, held preliminary talks with Al Ettifaq FC — managed by Steven Gerrard — about a possible loan on Thursday but a deal was never close before the Saudi Pro League transfer window closed.

It leaves Ten Hag with a decision to make about whether Sancho will be part of the squad for the first half of the season.

Since signing for United on a five-year contract in the summer of 2021, Sancho has scored 12 goals in 82 first-team appearances and registered six assists. In his final season with Borussia Dortmund, he scored 16 goals and provided 20 assists in 38 games in all competitions.

ESPN’s Rob Dawson contributed to this report.

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هات بت : Transfer Talk: Chelsea, Roma on verge of Lukaku loan deal

Transfer Talk: Chelsea, Roma on verge of Lukaku loan deal

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The summer transfer window in Europe enters its final week, but there’s plenty of gossip still swirling around. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings, goings and, of course, done deals!

TOP STORY: Chelsea, Roma on verge of Lukaku deal

Chelsea and AS Roma have reached an agreement over a deal involving striker Romelu Lukaku, according to Calciomercato.

The clubs are said to have agreed on a straight loan until the end of the season for a fee of €5 million, with no clauses included that would enable the Serie A side to make the move become permanent.

The 30-year-old is reported to have accepted a salary worth €7.5m-per-season to make the switch to the Stadio Olimpico, where he will return to Italy’s top flight after last season’s loan stint at Internazionale.

Inter were keen to bring Lukaku back but withdrew their interest after he was linked with a move to rivals Juventus. That proposal fell through following sources told ESPN last week that Lukaku became frustrated at the amount of time it took Juventus to negotiate with Chelsea.

Speaking to Belgian newspaper HLN on Saturday while at his son’s first youth game for Anderlecht, Lukaku said: “Tomorrow, I will fly to Rome to sign.”

It is believed that the Belgium international is set to arrive on Monday to undertake his medical before the move can be announced by manager Jose Mourinho’s side.

Lukaku’s impressive record in the Serie A has seen him contribute to 76 goals in 97 appearances for Inter, where he played in three seasons across two loan spells.

– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)


– Manchester City have proposed a new deal for Wolverhampton Wanderers midfielder Matheus Nunes, according to Fabrizio Romano. City’s second approach for the 25-year-old’s signature is believed to be worth a total of €60 million, with growing optimism from the club hierarchy that they can get a deal over the line. It is said that personal terms have already been agreed with him.

– Bayern Munich are interested in a loan move for Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay, reports Bild. Bayern manager Thomas Tuchel is believed to be keen on the 26-year-old, and amid ongoing talks, it is reported that the Bundesliga champions could also be open to a player exchange deal that involves midfielder Ryan Gravenberch. The 21-year-old Netherlands international has also been linked with Liverpool as uncertainty over his future at the Allianz Arena continues to grow.

– West Ham United technical director Tim Steidten has traveled to Brazil to undergo talks with Corinthians over a move for Yuri Alberto, reveals Sky Sports. The 22-year-old winger, who has been linked with a number of Premier League clubs this summer, is reported to be keen on the switch to the Hammers, and it looks as though they have stepped up their approach to sign him before the transfer window closes. He has contributed to six goals in 19 Brazilian league games this season.

– Nottingham Forest are set to propose an offer for Leicester City midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, according to Fabrizio Romano. Personal terms are reported to have already been agreed with the 26-year-old, leaving just an agreement over a fee required before he can undertake his medical. Ndidi, a Nigeria international, is said to be the Premier League side’s priority option as they look to acquire a defensive midfielder.

– Manchester United have made an enquiry to Barcelona over wing-back Marcos Alonso, writes Bild’s Christian Falk. The 32-year-old, who arrived at the La Liga side from Chelsea, has one year remaining on his contract at the club, but talks are now said to be ongoing over a potential return to the Premier League.

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هات بت : 230824 SOCCER Cincinnati- Miami Follow Live

Manchester City 1-2 Atletico Madrid (30 Jul, 2023) Game Analysis

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Inter Miami are looking to reach the second final in club history after winning the Leagues Cup on penalties on Saturday vs. Nashville SC. FC Cincinnati are looking to make the first final appearance, but this is their second appearance in a U.S. Open Cup semi; they lost to New Red Bulls in the 2017 semfinals, as a USL club.
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هات بت : Summer transfer window: Grading big signings in men’s soccer

Summer transfer window: Grading big signings in men's soccer

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Once again, in spite of a global financial crisis, the men’s soccer clubs around Europe spent an incredible amount of money to sign players in January, and this summer might not be any different.

Indeed, clubs spent a record $1.57 billion (£1.27bn) on transfers in the January transfer window, according to FIFA, with the Premier League doing most of the heavy lifting at 57.3% of the total. But with two giants of the game in Cristiano Ronaldo (Al Nassr) and Lionel Messi (Inter Miami) now taking their careers outside of Europe, who will step up?

Here are grades for all the major summer transfers in the men’s game, with each day’s moves listed in order of highest fee.

All fees are reported unless confirmed with an asterisk (*).

Aug. 15

Brentford: B+
Arsenal: C+

With a contract that expires in 2024, Raya had the cards in his favour over a move. Brentford did well to get an initial £3m loan fee and £27m obligatory fee next summer, designed to help Arsenal with financial fair play concerns.

I’ll be honest, I don’t get it. Aaron Ramsdale is No. 1 and has been one of the main reasons for the club’s success. Raya could push him, and it’s good to have competition, but even though he has arrived on loan, spending £27m to sign a backup goalkeeper is silly. It probably won’t end well for one of them.

Aug. 14

Brighton: A+
Chelsea: A

Brighton are so good at this. They signed the Ecuador international for around £4m in 2021 and have made a huge profit. They held on to their midfield star amid interest from Chelsea and Arsenal in January, then managed to get what could turn out to be a British transfer record for his services. Wow.

Chelsea had to pay more than they wanted, which was around £80m, as Liverpool made a bid of £111m. They were lucky the player wanted to move to Stamford Bridge, and once again they’ve landed one of the top young players in world football. He could be a world-class addition.

Chelsea: D
Real Madrid: B+

Chelsea signed a new No. 1 in Robert Sanchez, but sending the world’s most expensive goalkeeper out on loan isn’t a good look. He could have stayed and fought for his place, but Mauricio Pochettino clearly didn’t rate him. What a waste of €80m.

Signing David de Gea on a free transfer seemed like an easy win for Real Madrid, but Kepa will do a job while Thibaut Courtois recovers from his ACL injury. His form has been patchy over recent years, so they will hope he lands on his feet.



Harry Kane’s farewell message to Tottenham fans

Harry Kane says his goodbye to Tottenham supporters through a video on his social media channels, as the England striker announces his move to Bayern.

Aug. 12

€100m (£86.4m, $110m)

Tottenham: A-
Bayern: A

Backed into a corner by the fact Kane’s contract was expiring next year, Tottenham had to let him go. They didn’t want to, but picking up €100m, with another possible €20m in add-ons, is pretty good for a 30-year-old.

Finally, Bayern have replaced Robert Lewandowski with a world-class striker. The club aren’t usually ones to pay over the odds, but the England international is worth every penny and should thrive in the Bundesliga.

Barcelona: C-

Barca were forced to act as they had to agree to this low release clause when he signed his contract. A fee of €50m is super low for Dembele, and Barca were caught out. Although they will gladly take the money and might look back on his questionable injury record for comfort.

PSG are planning for the future and made use of the clause before it doubled to €100m. Well done to them, and it’s a surprise other clubs didn’t try the same. The France international can flourish in Paris, but he will need to show he can overcome his previous injury issues.

Aug. 9

Arsenal: B
Nottingham Forest: B+

Turner served as backup to Aaron Ramsdale and made just seven appearances — all in cup competitions — so it’s no surprise to see him leave. The Gunners signed him for £5m and moved him on for £10m a year later, so it’s decent business.

Forest needed a new No. 1, and Turner cemented his position as the first-choice goalkeeper for the USMNT even though he wasn’t really playing at the Emirates. He should get a chance to show what he’s capable of.

Aug. 8

Wolfsburg: B+
Tottenham: B

The German club have made a ten-fold profit on the young defender, a €4m signing from Volendam in 2021. They will miss him, but that kind of money will go a long way to rebuilding the squad.

Almost a midfielder disguised as a defender, with strong passing, dribbling and running skills, Van de Ven could be key to starting Spurs’ attacks from the back. He’s flown somewhat under the radar during his career, so €40m seems a lot, but he’s shown that he has some potential.

Southampton: B+
Newcastle: B

After Livramento failed to make a breakthrough at Chelsea, Southampton snapped him up for £5m in 2021 and have made a big profit given he missed over a year of football with a knee injury.

The right-back has only one full season under his belt, so Newcastle are gambling on his potential. It’s a huge fee for a 20-year-old with a questionable injury record, and it may come back to bite them. But he can learn from Kieran Trippier and is highly rated by those who have watched him play for years.

Aug. 7

Benfica: D

When you put a release clause of €120m into a player’s contract, you should only really accept offers that come close to it. And allowing your guy to move on loan first, that’s just silly. An option to sign permanently for €65m, plus €15m in add-ons, makes the total fee a potential €80m, but the 22-year-old should be worth more in this market and certainly shouldn’t be leaving on loan.

Ramos is the goal scorer whom PSG need and a versatile attacker who could help replace Kylian Mbappe in the long term. How PSG managed to negotiate a loan first to help with their financial fair play issues is incredible, and if they do opt to sign him permanently, then it’s a decent price for one of the top young forwards in Europe. He should do well in Ligue 1.



Why Josko Gvardiol will be a ‘very good’ signing for Man City

Frank Leboeuf reacts to Josko Gvardiol’s proposed transfer to Manchester City from RB Leipzig.

Aug. 5

RB Leipzig: A+
Man City: A+

How do they keep doing it? Leipzig landed the Croatia international for just €19m from Dinamo Zagreb in 2021. Now his transfer is worth five times that amount. It helped that he had a good World Cup, but the club can just find another young star and do the same.

City have signed arguably the best young central defender in the world. At 21, he has room to grow and can slot in at left-back as well. It’s a lot to spend, almost a world-record amount for a defender, but he’s worth it. And there are no add-ons to pay either.

Atalanta: B+
Man United: C+

Financially, this doesn’t feel like a good deal for either team. Atalanta wanted €100m and got €75m, albeit with €10m in add-ons potentially arriving. And Man United are overpaying for an unproven 20-year-old.

The step up to the Premier League might be too quick for Hojlund, given he is just starting his career. But United are gambling on a lot of potential and it could backfire.

Brighton: A-
Chelsea: B-

A £25m fee for a backup goalkeeper? Brighton have done it again, and have already signed his replacement in Bart Verbruggen.

It doesn’t feel like a very “Chelsea” signing right now. For starters, Sanchez is 25 and not 18. They’ve signed a new No. 1 goalkeeper for a cheap fee given that Kepa is going to go out on loan, but he might find himself replaced soon.

Aug. 4

Monaco: B+
Chelsea: B

The France international defender, who can play at centre-back or right-back, had been tracked by Man United and Newcastle. Monaco got the fee they wanted, so all credit to them.

You have to hope that Chelsea didn’t sign Disasi just because Wesley Fofana was ruled out for an extended period. He will face plenty of competition for his place in the side and surely the move spells the end of Trevoh Chalobah’s career at the club.

Valencia: C+
AC Milan: B

Valencia signed Musah as a youth player in 2019 from Arsenal, so it’s all profit. But you have to feel that a 20-year-old with such obvious growth potential should have fetched a little more in terms of transfer fee. The club wanted €25m, but had to negotiate down.

Having signed Christian Pulisic already, the addition of his USMNT teammate is an interesting one. Milan needed to replace Sandro Tonali and did so with a couple of players, so maybe it will work out. And if it doesn’t, then they haven’t spent much to sign Musah.

Aug. 1

Bayern Munich: C+
Al Nassr: A+

Yes, Bayern recouped virtually what they paid Liverpool to sign Mane a year ago. But there’s an embarrassment factor here. The German champions would not have wanted things to end this way. They were just afforded the best option to move on.

Al Nassr made waves when signing Cristiano Ronaldo, but Mane could have just as much impact. He’s 31 and has signed a four-year deal. Of all the players to move to Saudi Arabia outside Ronaldo, he could be the best.

July 25

Wolves: C-
Fulham: B

With a huge €38m fee back in 2019, the move didn’t reach expectations despite the Mexico international scoring 57 goals in 166 games. Wolves could have picked up a bigger fee, but it feels like they have been planning for life without the Jiménez for while.

At Fulham, Jiménez will look to revive the attacking form that has been severely impacted by a life-threatening head injury suffered in late 2020. He’s 32, so he doesn’t have long left in his career, but for such a cheap fee he seems a good replacement for Aleksandar Mitrovic.

July 24

Bayern: C+
Dortmund: B-

A free transfer signing from RB Leipzig, the Austria international managed only two goals in 54 competitive appearances for Bayern, as he couldn’t cement his place in the first XI. A loan to Man United last season didn’t do much either, so Bayern did well to get a decent fee.

He’s no replacement for Jude Bellingham, but he has all the tools to be a success in the Bundesliga if he can recapture some of his old form. It’s relatively rare to see a player move the other way from Bayern to Dortmund, but it made sense.

July 22

Bayern Leverkusen: A-
Aston Villa: A

With 49 goals and 48 assists from 173 games, Diaby has been a real star for the German side. He will be hard to replace, but €60m was too much to turn down.

Villa broke their club record — previously £33m to sign Emiliano Buendia from Norwich in 2021 — and it’s money well spent. Diaby is a class act and his skills down the wing should bring an extra dimension to the attack. Alongside the £31.5m signing of Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres, Villa are spending quite a bit this summer.

July 21

Inter Milan: B-
Man United: A

It’s a decent fee, but Onana has been key to Inter’s success in recent years and letting him go near his prime isn’t super smart given he has a contract until 2027. But they need the money and could get another €4m in add-ons.

Man United needed a goalkeeper who is good with the ball at his feet and they don’t come much better than Onana. His issues with Cameroon at the World Cup aside, United have signed a dependable and top quality No. 1 for the next five years at least.

July 19

€8m ($9m)

Girona: B
Barcelona: B

It’s a decent amount of money for a 31-year-old and Girona also get Barca midfielder Pablo Torre, 20, on a season-long loan as part of the deal.

Romeu returns to the club where he spent seven years as a youth-team player before moving to Chelsea in 2011. Make no mistake, if Barca had any money at all they would have looked elsewhere, but the need to fill the defensive midfield vacancy left by Sergio Busquets, coupled with his fine performances with Girona last season and his knowledge of the club, made it happen.

July 18

Napoli: A-
Bayern: B+

One of the best defenders in Serie A last season as Napoli ended their long wait for the Scudetto, Kim was signed from Fenerbahce for €18m a year ago. Napoli wanted his €50m release clause and they got it.

Bayern love to spend big on a centre-back. Having splashed out on Lucas Hernandez (€80m), Dayot Upamecano (€42m) and Matthijs de Ligt (€77m) in recent years, the German champions have done it again. Kim will replace Hernandez, who is likely to move to PSG, so it’s a decent move.

July 16

Inter Miami: A+

The MLS secondary window opened on July 5, and Messi was finally announced as an Inter Miami player weeks later. It seems incredible, but the 36-year-old GOAT made it clear why he didn’t want to return to Barcelona or head to Saudi Arabia after leaving PSG this summer. America is a new challenge and one he will relish. It was a complex deal to pull off, but David Beckham-owned Miami did it, with a little help!

Inter Miami: A-

Not content with just signing Messi, the MLS side also bagged his former Barcelona teammate Busquets, 34. He negotiated with Saudi sides Al Nassr and Al Hilal but had always wanted to play in the United States. A rare breed of midfielder, Miami won’t see the best of him at his age, but he should still show his class.



Laurens: Declan Rice takes Arsenal to the next level

Julien Laurens explains why Declan Rice was Mikel Arteta’s #1 transfer target this summer.

July 15

West Ham: A+
Arsenal: A

Arsenal offered £75m plus £15m add-ons. West Ham said they wanted £100m up front. Man City bid £80m plus £10m add-ons. West Ham said they wanted £100m. Fair play. They got the price they wanted. They’ll miss Rice, but £100m goes a long way to adding depth to their squad and they kept their word in letting him go.

Arsenal had to spend big to land their top target, and they did (plus another £5m in add-ons). Rice, 24, is a player who can do everything in midfield and will only get better. It’s a super deal.

July 14

Ajax: B+
Arsenal: B+

As usual, Ajax take a youngster and turn him into a superstar. It’s pure profit on the deal, and while the club will lose one of their best players, they are used to dealing with this. Ajax held out for a bigger fee and they got it, plus a potential €5m in add-ons.

Timber is not the tallest defender (at 5-foot-10), but he’s quick and versatile enough to cover a number of positions. Squad depth is key for the Gunners, and his signing will help them a lot.

July 13

Chelsea: C-
AC Milan: B+

Signing the U.S. international for €62m in 2019, it’s clear Chelsea would have expected more, and they’ve taken a big loss. The move to London didn’t work out for him. Still, even though the club are targeting younger players now, he could have brought some valuable experience if he had stayed and extended his contract.

Milan were able to negotiate down from Chelsea’s demands for €25m (although they could pay an extra €2m in add-ons) and have landed a 24-year-old who can make a difference in the final third. He won’t be able to play on his favoured left wing, given Rafael Leao is there, but he can do well as either a No. 10 or a right winger in Serie A.



Laurens: Declan Rice takes Arsenal to the next level

Julien Laurens explains why Declan Rice was Mikel Arteta’s #1 transfer target this summer.

July 12

Lazio: C-
Al- Hilal: A+

The Serbia midfielder has been linked with a move away from Lazio every single year for ages, but the club always wanted at least €100m. They did not get that, as his contract was expiring next summer, but they will regret not accepting one of the many offers they’ve had.

The likes of Arsenal, PSG, Juventus, Chelsea and Manchester United have been linked with Milinkovic-Savic recently, so Al-Hilal have done incredibly well to persuade him to move to Saudi Arabia. He’s 28, so is still in his prime. This transfer came out of the blue and is a real statement.

July 9

Bayern: C+

An €80m signing from Atletico in 2019, Hernandez is being allowed to leave for just over half that amount. His injury history and the fact his contract expired in 2024 played a part, but Bayern could have managed things better. Though they have agreed to sign his replacement, Kim Min-Jae, already.

PSG’s fans might not be too pleased, given his links to rivals Marseille, but Hernandez should strengthen the side. If he can stay fit then his versatility will certainly help them; if not, it’s a big-money gamble.

July 7

Sporting CP: A

Ugarte signed for Sporting for €6.5m (for half of his economic rights) in 2021, and he’s gone on to repay that tenfold. The club did what they do best, which is to sign a young player and move him on a few years later for a massive profit. He had a €60m release clause, so they got what they wanted.

A tough defensive midfielder who impressed for Uruguay at the World Cup, Ugarte is exactly what PSG need. A ball winner who can hold on to possession and pick a pass, he has plenty of potential to develop. The French champions may have overpaid, but he’s an exciting talent.

FC Augsburg: C
PSV Eindhoven: B

This was a bad move by Augsburg, who landed Pepi for €16m in January 2022 and, when he didn’t impress, then sent him on loan to FC Groningen where he scored 13 goals in 31 appearances in all competitions last season. They took a gamble and had to let him go for less.

For PSV, the gamble is still there. But the USMNT striker has already shown he can score in the Eredivisie and at 20 years old has time on his side. It’s not a huge fee, so they they aren’t taking too much of a risk.

July 6

Fenerbahce: D
Real Madrid: B+

You don’t let one of the best young players to come through the academy leave for such a low fee. The fact it was a release clause suggests that the Turkish side didn’t consider that big clubs might come in for him so soon. Big mistake.

A possible generational talent, if you believe the hype. It will be a steep learning curve for the 18-year-old midfielder, but Guler seems to be worth the trouble. It’s not a massive outlay, and the rewards for Madrid could be huge if he delivers on his potential.

Real Madrid: D+

Once considered the future of Real Madrid, Asensio’s stock has dropped in recent years and he decided to leave in search of more regular first-team football. But he still played 51 times last season, scoring 12 times, so will be missed. And Madrid shouldn’t allow a player of his class to leave for nothing.

Another great move for PSG as they took advantage of his contract situation to snap the 27-year-old up for free. He’s not a replacement for Lionel Messi, but will contribute plenty to the cause and is still yet to reach his full potential.

Inter Milan: D

Inter didn’t want him to leave and they don’t get a transfer fee to ease their financial issues, so it’s a bad grade given they spent around €20m bringing him in from Sampdoria in 2017. The only thing in their favour is that he suffered with injuries last season.

Gosh PSG are good at landing players on free transfers. Skriniar is a fine defender and will add some great depth if he can stay fit.



Pulisic reveals pride in Italian roots after AC Milan transfer

Christian Pulisic opens up about how proud his grandmother would have been of him after signing for AC Milan.

July 5

Chelsea: B
Man United: A

Chelsea wanted at least £70m, so they have compromised in order to get a deal done and help balance the books, but £55m is still a large amount for a player whose contract expires in a year. Still, he joined Chelsea as a six-year-old so this departure will hurt.

A great move for United as the England international’s versatility will boost their attack no end. At 24, Mount has the quality to add depth and can provide rotation options alongside Christian Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes in midfield.

July 3

AC Milan: C+
Newcastle: A

For an initial outlay of €25m in signing him from Brescia in 2021, Milan have made a huge profit in moving on the 23-year-old. It feels slightly odd as he seemed destined to become a club legend and the fans are upset, but money talks.

Newcastle have landed themselves one of the top young midfielders in Europe. Tonali has plenty of time to develop and will relish playing in the Premier League. A statement signing to kick off the new season!

July 2

RB Leipzig: A
Liverpool: A-

Leipzig continue to own the transfer market as they signed Szoboszlai for €20m in 2020 and have made a huge profit. They will miss him, but you get the feeling that they have another youngster ready to step in.

Liverpool paid the Hungary captain’s release clause and it is a lot of money. But he’s capable of playing in a number of positions across the forward line, is 22 years old, and is a set-piece specialist. If he can steer clear of injury then he will improve the side a lot.



How Jude Bellingham makes Real Madrid ‘play more comfortable’

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti speaks on Jude Bellingham’s LaLiga debut and Éder Militão’s injury as Los Blancos win at Athletic Bilbao.

July 1

Dortmund: C+
Real Madrid: A+

OK, Dortmund signed him for €30m and have made a huge profit in three years as he has become one of the best midfielders around. But the fee still seems on the small side for a 19-year-old with such potential. A 30% add-on clause makes the total outlay only €134m, which puts him fifth in the all-time list. Dortmund surely could have got at least a baseline fee of around €120m, with add-ons up to €150m.

A wonderful deal for Madrid, who beat out Man City, Liverpool and every other top club in Europe. Their midfield is set up for the next decade, and they’ve landed a generational talent who will surely become a world star in LaLiga.

RB Leipzig: B+
Chelsea: A-

Leipzig did what they do best: sign a player for a cheap fee and move them on for a huge profit. Nkunku reportedly had a release clause in his contract, so that’s the fee Leipzig got. But they signed him for a mere €13m from PSG in 2019 and turned him into a superstar.

Nkunku is not the No. 9 striker that Chelsea sorely need, but he is a fine operator up front who can fill a number of positions. His 23 goals in 36 games last season show he can hit the back of the net and he’s a more than capable replacement for Kai Havertz if he departs for Arsenal. Though this deal was agreed on as early as last September.

€45m (£39.5m, $48.7m)

Sporting CP: A
Tottenham: B+

Sporting triggered Porro’s release clause of €8.5m after a two-year loan from Man City last summer and have now made a huge profit, as they held out for his new release clause of €45m. It’s classic good business from one of the best clubs in the transfer market.

Tottenham have spent big to sign the 23-year-old right-wing-back, having had him on loan since January, but a bit more forward planning could have seen them avoid such a big outlay. Still, he impressed as the season wore on and he should do well under Ange Postecoglou.

FC Salzburg: B
RB Leipzig: A-

Salzburg are a feeder club; they sign young talent, then move them to Leipzig for a bigger fee when they impress. Sesko’s 18 goals in 41 games have shown what the teenage striker is capable of and he has the potential to go far.

Leipzig ensured they had this deal wrapped up last year, as Man United and others were sniffing around. It’s a good move and the 20-year-old should settle well given the similarities between the two clubs.

Lille: B
Juventus: B-

Weah joined Lille from Paris Saint-Germain for €10m in June 2019 and contributed eight goals and eight assists in 107 games. Not a stellar record, but at least they made a minor profit on the deal.

There will be high expectations in Italy for the United States winger, who is a son of AC Milan legend George Weah. But he’s unlikely to have the same impact as Angel Di Maria, the man he is replacing.

Espanyol: D-
Real Madrid: A

For some reason Espanyol included a clause in Joselu’s contract that allowed him to move on loan to another club if they were relegated. Then they were relegated. Now they’ve lost their top scorer and have no transfer fee to compensate for his departure.

The 33-year-old striker played for Real Madrid Castilla from 2010 to 2012, so this is a dream move for him. Having scored 16 times in LaLiga last season, he will help fill the void left by the departures of Mariano and Karim Benzema without any financial outlay. A great deal for a man in form, and Madrid have an option to make it permanent.

Al Ittihad: A+

Wow. Nobody expected the 35-year-old Benzema to leave Real Madrid on a free transfer and head to Saudi Arabia. But money talks, and his two-year deal worth €400m was clearly a major factor. Cristiano Ronaldo moving to the league at 37 was one thing, but Benzema is the Ballon d’Or holder. This is huge!

Al Ittihad: A-

With wages around the €100m-a-year range, it’s easy to see why Kante chose to move to Saudi Arabia. The 32-year-old’s career has been blighted by injury in recent years and he hasn’t been the force he once was in midfield, so the club aren’t getting a player in his prime. Chelsea offered him a new deal, but Al Ittihad’s money made the difference. You just have to wonder what one of the most down to earth people on the planet is going to spend it on.



Why it made sense for Gundogan to leave Man City for Barcelona

Julien Laurens and Nedum Onuoha discuss Ilkay Gundogan’s decision to join Barcelona on a free transfer.

Barcelona: A

Man City are foolish to let Gundogan, their captain and leader, leave for nothing. Just look at the impact he had from midfield, scoring crucial goals in the final weeks of the season to help them win the treble. Barcelona need goals and experience from the centre of the pitch, and right now there are few better players in that position in world football. Yes, he’s 32, but the Germany international will have a big impact in LaLiga over the next few years and will strengthen the Barca dressing room too.

Inter Milan: B+

Poor from Gladbach to let one of their top stars depart for nothing, but Inter snapped him up, and they should be pleased. The 25-year-old has scored 44 goals and registered 29 assists in 134 appearances, so he knows how to make an impact in the final third, and his versatility will come in handy for sure.

Aston Villa: B+

Given the number of top clubs linked with the Belgium international as soon as Leicester went down, Villa have done very well to snap him up. At 26, Tielemans still has some development potential and was one of Leicester’s best players before he struggled this season. Villa are a good club for him to continue his career.

June 30

Villarreal: A-
Chelsea: B+

With 12 goals from 26 games in his breakthrough season in LaLiga, Jackson has quickly risen to prominence. Villarreal can be pleased with the fee for the 22-year-old Senegal international and can use it to rebuild.

Chelsea have been looking for a No. 9 striker, and now they have one who can hold up the ball and run in behind defenders. He is still learning the game, so don’t expect fireworks immediately, but the Blues are used to gambling on potential.

June 28

Chelsea: A-
Arsenal: B

Chelsea have all but made their money back on the fee they paid Leverkusen to sign Havertz in 2020. That’s pretty good business considering they have already signed his replacement in Christopher Nkunku for €60m.

This one is tough. On the face of it, Arsenal’s need for a player like Havertz isn’t clear. He’s not really a striker, and the Gunners have plenty of quality attacking midfielders already. But coach Mikel Arteta clearly has a plan, and the Germany international’s versatility will help. Still, it’s an awful lot of money (plus another £5m in add-ons) to spend on a guy with just 32 goals in 139 games.

Leicester: B
Tottenham: A-

His 10 goals and nine assists from 30 games last season, despite Leicester’s relegation, marked him out as one of the best attacking midfielders in the Premier League. But Leicester could have picked up an extra £10m if they’d let him join Newcastle a year ago.

It’s a fair transfer fee for the 26-year-old England international, who can offer a lot going forward. His style of play should be a good fit under manager Ange Postecoglou, and he can hit the ground running.

June 27

Chelsea: C-
Man City: A

Chelsea were forced to accept a lower fee in order to get the deal done by June 30 and therefore make it count towards the first full tax year and help comply with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules. Otherwise they’d have held out for £35m or more. The Blues have lost a quality player on the cheap.

City have done well to snap him up for £25m, with another £5m possible in add-ons. The Croatia international is experienced, at 29, and has the quality to bolster Pep Guardiola’s squad depth. A solid replacement for Gundogan.

June 25

Chelsea: D+
Al Hilal: B+

Chelsea spent £32m to sign the Senegal international from Napoli last summer, and it didn’t work out. The 32-year-old was brought in as a replacement for Antonio Rudiger but struggled as the Blues suffered their worst season since 1994. They had to take a massive loss to move him on and were lucky to find a Saudi suitor.

Koulibaly will be a class addition to the backline and should have no trouble dealing with the quality of opposition he’ll face on a weekly basis, but you can’t help feel that Al Hilal could have spent their money elsewhere. He’s not going to sell many tickets but should help them keep clean sheets.

June 23

Wolves: A+
Al Hilal: A

Given that it was clear Neves was going to depart, Wolves did incredible business by persuading the Saudi club to shell out £47m. There’s no chance any club in Europe (especially not Barcelona, who were most linked) would have paid even half that.

At 26, Neves represents a different age of player to be tempted by the Saudi millions. It’s not quite a coup of the level of Bernardo Silva (if a club manages to pull that off) but the Portugal international is a quality player and is young enough to run the show for years.



Robson: Mac Allister can do everything in Liverpool’s midfield

Stewart Robson explains why Alexis Mac Allister’s move to Liverpool is a win for all involved.

June 14

Brighton: C-
Liverpool: B+

If you believed a lot of the reports after the World Cup, Brighton weren’t going to let the Argentina midfielder depart for less than £80m. However, it appears he had a release clause in his contract. Though Brighton may net another £20m in add-ons, it’s a very cheap way to lose one of their best players.

Liverpool have netted themselves a bargain and can rebuild their midfield with Mac Allister. The 24-year-old was one of the best midfielders in the Premier League last season and should bring a lot to Jurgen Klopp’s side with his passing, creativity and pressing.

Watford: B-
Brighton: B

The Brazilian forward scored 11 goals in 35 Championship games last season, but it wasn’t enough to help Watford to promotion. Could the club have held out for more money from a side like Newcastle? Possibly. But Watford needed to let him go.

Brighton are transfer market gurus, so when they make a move it usually works out. This time, though, they have splashed out a club-record fee. The 21-year-old is certainly an exciting prospect and his transfer could be worth twice that amount in a couple of years if he succeeds on the south coast.

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هات بت : US Women’s World Cup exit review: Andonovski, injuries, more

US Women's World Cup exit review: Andonovski, injuries, more

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MELBOURNE, Australia — The reign of the U.S. women’s national team as Women’s World Cup champions is officially over, as a millimeter was all that separated a Lina Hurtig penalty shootout tally for Sweden from an Alyssa Naeher save. You have to go back 12 years, when Japan defeated the U.S. in the 2011 Women’s World Cup final, to find the last time the U.S. was eliminated from a World Cup. This time, it marked the earliest exit from a World Cup in the program’s history.

In some ways, the end of the U.S. team’s two-tournament run as World Cup winners was a shock, coming as it did on the night when the Americans delivered by far their best performance of the tournament. But in other ways, the defeat was a long time coming, with cracks in the U.S. team’s dominance evident even before the Women’s World Cup.

Here are the factors that contributed to the USWNT’s demise.

The USWNT had too many injuries

The U.S. wasn’t the only country to encounter injuries — England was without four key players, and France had several out — so the U.S. can’t cite injuries alone for its exit. But the USWNT would have had a stronger team if its players had been healthier.

Mal Swanson, Catarina Macario, Becky Sauerbrunn and Samantha Mewis all were missed as probable starters. Before Swanson’s injury, she had accounted for most of the USWNT’s goals on her own. Had she been at the World Cup, she could’ve made a difference for this team, which collectively struggled to put balls in the back of the net. — Carlisle

Andonovski picked the wrong roster and lineups

The injuries and roster issues are intertwined to a degree. While the defense performed well despite Sauerbrunn’s absence, the ripple effect meant that Julie Ertz wasn’t available in midfield. From there, Vlatko Andonovski had limited options, though some of his decisions were perplexing, even without the injury impact.

– Women’s World Cup: Landing page | Schedule | Rosters | News
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

The front line seemed filled with redundant parts, as Sophia Smith, Trinity Rodman and Lynn Williams possessed a lot of the same traits, namely a desire to run at defenses. Megan Rapinoe’s presence as a pure crosser of the ball made sense, but there were no other options when it became clear she was out of form.

Probably the biggest lineup-decision problem was the construction of the midfield. Once Ertz moved to the back line, Andonovski decided to play Andi Sullivan as a lone holding midfielder despite having doubts about Sullivan’s suitability for the role, and having experimented with a double pivot earlier in the year. The U.S. midfield struggled mightily against the Netherlands and Portugal, and the performance against Sweden was the best of the tournament in large part because of the double pivot.

It more or less confirmed that this setup should have been used earlier in the tournament, and that Andonovski should have called in the personnel to do it reliably. — Carlisle

Poor in-game management from Andonovski

The USWNT could’ve given itself an easier path than Sweden in the round of 16. All the Americans needed to do was beat the Netherlands, but Andonovski’s subs (or lack thereof) seemed to help ensure the draw.

After Lindsey Horan’s second-half equalizer, the USWNT had momentum and the Netherlands players were losing steam. A sub could’ve sealed it. But Andonovski opted to bring in none, a decision that was widely criticized.

Against Sweden in the round of 16, a tight game that went into extra time, the only sub he brought on to make an impact was Rapinoe, whose touch was off all night. As the Swedes struggled to keep chasing the very direct Americans, Andonovski opted not to go to his bench, which could have taken advantage of all the running Sweden had to do and the physical toll that took. — Murray

The youth pipeline isn’t producing the right players

Anyone who has followed the youth national teams knew this day would come. The USWNT’s under-20 team did not get out of the group stage at both the 2022 and 2018 U-20 Women’s World Cups. The U-17 USWNT did get out of the group in 2022, only to be eliminated in its first knockout game, and previously crashed out of its groups in 2018 and 2014.

If the U.S. isn’t producing the best young players, it won’t produce the best senior players. The young players who made this World Cup roster — the likes of Smith and Rodman — are potent, but one-dimensional, forwards. Injured forward Macario, who brings flair and creativity, developed her game in Brazil before moving to the United States.

You also have to question the role of scouting when it comes to which players break through. Injured forward Swanson, a player known for her pace and athleticism, first caught the attention of the youth national team at 13. Rose Lavelle — arguably the most creative player the USWNT has other than the injured Macario — didn’t earn her first youth call-up until she was almost 18.

For U.S. Soccer to have the best, most technically gifted and creative players available at the senior level, it needs to find these players at the youth level and bring them all the way through to the senior side. — Murray



Alex Morgan ‘not planning’ retirement after World Cup exit

Alex Morgan says she has no immediate plans to retire after the USWNT was eliminated from the World Cup by Sweden.

USWNT lacked chemistry and couldn’t finish

Before the 2019 Women’s World Cup began, some of the players took to calling their teammates their “22 best friends.” During the tournament, the players said they spent tons of time together, and still chose to hang out even when they didn’t have to. They went to cat cafés and made the most of their downtime.

This USWNT in 2023 was all business — perhaps to a fault. Lindsey Horan and Lynn Williams said before their round-of-16 match that the players agreed they wanted to play with more joy, but it’s hard to force that. In New Zealand, the American players didn’t seem to do much fun or bonding. When asked how they spent their downtime, they said recovery and meals were their main activities when not training.

On the field, they looked tight and as though they were trying to force something to happen. Despite an expected goals (xG) through four games of around nine goals, they managed four. They created chances, but the individual chances were mostly not good enough, and when they were good enough, the players couldn’t finish.

It’s hard to say how or why a team gets the yips in front of goal, but this version of the USWNT certainly lacked the sauciness and the fun-loving flair of past teams. The players desperately wanted to score and to put in good performances, but that approach might have been their undoing. — Murray

The USWNT was too overconfident

There’s no reason to believe the USWNT players showed up expecting to cruise through the beginning stages of the World Cup — but if they had, could you blame them?

Fresh off winning back-to-back World Cups against a backdrop of global dominance since the USWNT launched in 1985, the thought of the team struggling through the group stage seemed almost inconceivable. The optics of players doing podcasts and sponsored content during the tournament, or wearing designer suits to their matches, probably didn’t help the perception that they expected a leisurely start to the tournament.

While this could have been a factor — did players prepare the way they needed to? Did they have the right mentality in games? — we’ll never know. The players worked and ran relentlessly during games, trying their hardest to score and either getting unlucky or lacking quality.

The goals never came, nor did the possession play, passing or the other elements needed to win a World Cup, but it certainly wasn’t for a lack of effort. — Murray

The team was caught between two generations

The influx of youth into the national team was a factor, but it had to be done. The team’s poor performances at the Tokyo Olympics demanded change, with injuries accelerating this trend. But this is also something that happens within every cycle and shouldn’t cause a team to implode — certainly not a team with such potential and history as the U.S. women.

After the 2015 Women’s World Cup triumph, we witnessed the retirements of Lauren Holiday, Christie Rampone and Abby Wambach, while Carli Lloyd took on a reduced role. Granted, Rampone and Wambach were no longer full-time starters, but it points to the fact that ushering players out is a constant for a national team program.

An argument can be made that Andonovski should have done this sooner, but the impulse to give the 2019 World Cup winners the chance to repeat their feat at the Olympics was powerful. — Carlisle

The global gap has closed

This is a factor that has been impacting U.S. performances for a while. The rest of the world is catching up in terms of the caliber of player, as well as their fitness. The question posed by Netherlands manager Andries Jonker about “What is left of [the USWNT’s] superiority” beyond fitness proved prophetic — the answer was “not much.”

Up and down the competition, we saw established sides struggle against up-and-coming opponents. One need look no further than Portugal for an example of a country whose clubs have invested more in their women’s teams and then seen a corresponding increase in performance at international level. In a 0-0 draw to close the group stage, Portugal was the better team on the ball.

Then consider the group-stage exits of women’s soccer powerhouses Germany, Brazil and Canada because these teams all failed to beat lower-ranked teams. Whatever you’re feeling about the U.S., it’s indisputable that the gap has well and truly closed. — Carlisle

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هات بت : مارکوس راشفورد قرارداد 5 ساله جدیدی با منچستریونایتد امضا کرد

مارکوس راشفورد قرارداد 5 ساله جدیدی با منچستریونایتد امضا کرد

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این ملی پوش انگلیسی با قراردادی پنج ساله جدید موافقت کرده است که او را تا سال 2028 در اولدترافورد نگه می دارد. او از اولین بازی خود به عنوان نوجوان در سال 2016، 359 بازی برای این باشگاه داشته است.

– پخش جریانی در ESPN+: لالیگا، بوندسلیگا، بیشتر (ایالات متحده)
– FC 100: راشفورد در لیست فوروارد ESPN در کجا قرار گرفت؟

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راشفورد به وب سایت این باشگاه گفت: من به عنوان یک پسر 7 ساله با رویا به منچستریونایتد پیوستم. “همین شور و غرور و عزم برای موفقیت هنوز هم هر بار که افتخار پوشیدن این پیراهن را دارم، مرا به حرکت در می آورد.

من قبلاً تجربیات شگفت انگیزی در این باشگاه باورنکردنی داشته ام، اما هنوز چیزهای بیشتری برای دستیابی وجود دارد و من بی وقفه مصمم به کسب جام های بیشتر در سال های آینده هستم.

به عنوان یک هوادار یونایتد در تمام عمرم، مسئولیتی را که همراه با این نشان به همراه دارد می‌دانم و مثل هرکسی پستی و بلندی‌ها را احساس می‌کنم.

“من می توانم به شما اطمینان دهم که همه چیز را برای کمک به تیم برای رسیدن به سطحی که ما می توانیم انجام خواهم داد، و می توانم همان عزم را در رختکن احساس کنم. نمی توانم بیشتر از این برای آینده تحت این مربی هیجان زده باشم.”

این بازیکن 25 ساله پس از به ثمر رساندن 30 گل در تمامی رقابت ها، از جمله 17 گل در لیگ برتر، بهترین فصل دوران حرفه ای خود را پشت سر می گذارد. او در جام جهانی قطر نیز سه گل برای انگلیس به ثمر رساند.

یونایتد، تحت مدیریت اریک تن هاگ، همچنان مشتاق جذب مهاجم دیگری در طول پنجره نقل و انتقالات است و به راسموس هوجلوند از آتالانتا و راندال کولو موانی از اینتراخت فرانکفورت علاقه مند است.

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هات بت : مسابقه تدارکاتی WWC ایرلند پس از بازی “بیش از حد فیزیکی” متوقف شد

مسابقه تدارکاتی WWC ایرلند پس از بازی "بیش از حد فیزیکی" متوقف شد

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آخرین بازی تدارکاتی جمهوری ایرلند در آستانه جام جهانی زنان، مقابل کلمبیا، پس از 20 دقیقه به دلیل “بیش از حد فیزیکی” لغو شد.

در بیانیه FAI آمده است که این مسابقه پس از مشورت با مقامات برای توقف درگیری پشت درهای بسته در استرالیا در Meakin Park، بریزبن، لغو شد.

– پخش جریانی در ESPN+: لالیگا، بوندسلیگا، بیشتر (ایالات متحده)
– براکت و برنامه مسابقات جام جهانی زنان

منابع به ESPN گفتند که دنیس اوسالیوان ایرلندی به دلیل آسیب دیدگی ساق پا پس از یک سری چالش های قوی برای درمان به بیمارستان منتقل شد.

در بیانیه FAI آمده است: «بازی پشت درهای بسته بین تیم ملی زنان ایرلند و کلمبیا عصر جمعه پس از 20 دقیقه بازی به پایان رسید.

بازی که در میکین پارک بریزبن برگزار شد بیش از حد فیزیکی شد و پس از مشورت با مسئولان مسابقه تصمیم گرفته شد که بازی به پایان برسد.

تیم ایرلند سپس یک جلسه تمرینی کامل را برای ادامه آماده سازی برای بازی افتتاحیه خود در جام جهانی 2023 فیفا زنان در برابر استرالیا در سیدنی در 20 ژوئیه پشت سر گذاشت.

این آخرین بازی تدارکاتی ایرلند قبل از افتتاحیه جام جهانی آنها مقابل استرالیا در 20 جولای بود.

اتحادیه فوتبال کلمبیا همچنین بیانیه ای منتشر کرد که در آن گفت که تیم ایرلند “ترجیح می دهد ادامه ندهد” و افزود: “ما از قوانین بازی جوانمردانه پیروی می کنیم.”

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هات بت : لیورپول، هافبک لایپزیگ، شوبوسلای را با قراردادی 70 میلیون یورویی به خدمت گرفت

لیورپول، هافبک لایپزیگ، شوبوسلای را با قراردادی 70 میلیون یورویی به خدمت گرفت

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باشگاه لیگ برتر انگلیس روز یکشنبه اعلام کرد لیورپول دومینیک زوبوسلای هافبک تیم بوندسلیگا RB Laipzig را به خدمت گرفته است.

کاپیتان مجارستان پس از آن که منابع به ESPN گفتند باشگاه بند خرید 70 میلیون یورویی (76.3 میلیون دلار) او را در قراردادش وارد کرده است، به آنفیلد می‌آید.

– پخش جریانی در ESPN+: لالیگا، بوندسلیگا، بیشتر (ایالات متحده)

Szoboszlai، 22 ساله، پس از الکسیس مک آلیستر که لیورپول به دنبال اصلاح خط میانی خود پس از یک فصل ناامیدکننده است، تحت هدایت یورگ اشمادکه، مدیر ورزشی جدید، دومین بازیکن باشگاه می شود.

Szoboszlai در بیانیه ای گفت: “سه یا چهار روز گذشته واقعاً طولانی بود، آنقدرها هم آسان نبود. اما در پایان من اینجا هستم، خوشحالم و نمی توانم صبر کنم تا شروع کنم.”

“یک باشگاه واقعاً تاریخی، بازیکنان واقعاً خوب، مربی خوب، همه چیز خوب است. برای من این عالی بود که قدم بعدی را در باشگاهی مانند این بردارم. هواداران، ورزشگاه، همه چیز واقعاً خوب است.”

این بازیکن مجارستانی از زمان پیوستن به لایپزیگ در فصل نقل و انتقالات زمستانی 2021، در 91 بازی 20 گل به ثمر رساند و 22 پاس گل داد.

زوبوسلای به لایپزیگ کمک کرد تا جام‌های پیاپی آلمان را به دست بیاورد و گل دوم آن‌ها را در فینال فصل گذشته در اوایل ژوئن 2-0 شکست دادن آینتراخت فرانکفورت به ثمر رساند.

سوبوسلای که متخصص ضربات ایستگاهی با چشمانی هدف و توانایی بازی در خط میانی است، پیراهن شماره 8 را خواهد پوشید که زمانی توسط استیون جرارد بزرگ لیورپول پوشیده شده بود و اخیراً توسط نبی کیتا تخلیه شده بود.

یورگن کلوپ، سرمربی لیورپول، گفت که در دوران نوجوانی این هافبک در ردبول سالزبورگ، شوبوسلای را از نزدیک دیده است و افزود که از زمان حضور در بوندسلیگا و در سنین جوانی کاپیتان مجارستان، پیشرفت‌های بزرگی داشته است.

کلوپ گفت: «اینها نکات مثبت درستی هستند، و این حتی قبل از اینکه به ویژگی های او به عنوان یک فوتبالیست فکر کنیم، است.

“در این مرحله زیاد در مورد آنها نمی گویم، مگر اینکه آنها قطعا از آن دسته هستند که امیدوارم لذت زیادی را به همراه داشته باشند و همچنین به ما کمک کنند تا نتیجه بگیریم.

“هرچند هیچ فشاری وجود ندارد. دومینیک هنوز بازیکن بسیار جوانی است. او پیشرفت های زیادی در پیش دارد و این بدان معناست که همه ما صبور باشیم و به او زمان و فضا بدهیم تا استعدادش به وجود بیاید. از طریق تیم ما.”

پس از اینکه چلسی کریستوفر انکونکو مهاجم فرانسوی را با قراردادی شش ساله جذب کرد، سوبوسلای دومین بازیکن کلیدی است که لایپزیگ را به مقصد لیگ برتر ترک می کند.

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هات بت : LIVE Transfer Talk: PSG hope to spark Mbappe bidding war

LIVE Transfer Talk: PSG hope to spark Mbappe bidding war

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The summer transfer window is open for some leagues in Europe, and there’s plenty of gossip swirling around. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz on rumours, comings, goings and, of course, done deals!

TOP STORY: PSG hope to start bidding war for Mbappe

Paris Saint-Germain are hopeful of encouraging Premier League clubs to bid for star striker Kylian Mbappe this summer, according to The Sun.

Sources have told ESPN’s Alex Kirkland and Rodrigo Faez that Real Madrid remain cautious over the possible signing of Mbappe, but the club are also hopeful that a deal could finally be done to land the forward this summer.

There is a reluctance to talk openly about the arrival of Mbappe at the Bernabeu after last summer’s abrupt U-turn that saw the France international agree to sign a new contract with PSG when he had been on the verge of a free transfer to Madrid.

– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

However, that contract expires next summer and, if he does not extend his stay at Parc des Princes, then PSG would rather lose him this summer for a transfer fee rather than for nothing in a year’s time.

Earlier this month, sources told ESPN’s Julien Laurens the PSG would be looking for a fee in the region of €150 million ($161.5m) for Mbappe. While such a fee would appear to be prohibitively high, even for Premier League giants such as Manchester United and Liverpool, PSG hope that clubs in England could be convinced to enter the fray and compete for a player who for so long looked certain to move to Madrid.


21.27 BST: Paris Saint-Germain centre-back Sergio Ramos wants to return to boyhood club Sevilla next season, reports Cadena Ser. The 37-year-old pending free against has been linked with Inter Miami as well as clubs in Saudi Arabia.

21.10 BST: Tottenham Hotspur have completed the signing of midfielder James Maddison from Leicester City, the clubs announced Wednesday. The 26-year-old signed a five-year deal with the north London club and is Spurs’ third signing of the summer transfer window following the permanent arrivals of Dejan Kulusevski and Guglielmo Vicario.

20.54 BST: Inter Milan midfielder Marcelo Brozovic is looking for an improved offer if he is to move to Al Nassr, writes Calciomercato. The Saudi Pro League club have already agreed a €23m transfer fee to sign the 30-year-old Croatia international from the Nerazzurri, but they will need to up their offer of €20m a year in wages to agree personal terms, with Barcelona also said to be interested in Brozovic.

20.21 BST: Discussions between Manchester United and Chelsea will continue over a deal for Blues midfielder Mason Mount, writes the Telegraph. The Stamford Bridge hierarchy have so far been adamant in sticking to their demand for a £65m transfer fee for the 24-year-old England international, but the Red Devils are willing to adapt the structure of their recently rejected £55 proposal in hopes of getting a deal done for a player 12 months away from free agency.

20.04 BST: Arsenal have completed the signing of forward Kai Havertz from Chelsea in a deal that ESPN reported earlier this week is worth up to £67.5m. The Germany international has signed a long-term deal with the north London club and becomes Arsenal’s first signing of the transfer window.

19.48 BST: Fenerbahce are looking to hand attacking midfielder Arda Guler a new contract that removes the £15m release clause in his existing deal, writes Football Insider. The 18-year-old Turkey international has been on the radar of both Arsenal and Newcastle of late, while interest in Europe has surfaced from Barcelona and Ajax.

19.15 BST: Talks are ongoing between AC Milan and Valencia over a move for midfielder Yunus Musah, according to Fabrizio Romano. It is reported that the Serie A side are preparing to offer a €20m transfer fee for the 20-year-old U.S. international, with optimism that it could be enough to seal an agreement with the LaLiga side. Musah made 33 LaLiga appearances last season and was a standout at the World Cup in Qatar.

18.42 BST: Manchester United are interested in signing Inter Milan goalkeeper Andre Onana, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. A meeting is set to be held between the two clubs on Friday to discuss a move for the 27-year-old Cameroon international, and there is confidence that a deal could be done as the Nerazzurri look to Shakhtar Donetsk No. 1 Anatoliy Trubin, who has informed his club that he won’t be signing a new deal, as a potential replacement.

18.09 BST: A meeting is set to be held between Barcelona and the representatives of winger Ousmane Dembele over a new contract, writes Sport. Set to enter the final year of his contract on Friday, the 26-year-old France international has a release clause €50m, but it is reported that he is prioritising remaining at Camp Nou after playing a key role in the Blaugrana‘s LaLiga title success last season, contributing to 12 goals in 25 appearances.

17.36 BST: Tottenham have begun talks with Wolfsburg over a move for centre-back Micky van de Ven, according to Fabrizio Romano. The 22-year-old former Netherlands youth international, who has also been linked with Liverpool, is said to be keen on making the switch to Spurs and progress has been made after the north London club submitted an official verbal offer.

Tottenham are also considering a move for Bayer Leverkusen’s Edmond Tapsoba, but closing a deal for the 24-year-old Burkina Faso international is seen as a more complicated process than negotiating with Wolfsburg for Van de Ven.

17.03 BST: Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi is attracting interest from sides in the Premier League, reports the Guardian. Both Nottingham Forest and Fulham are keen on adding the 22-year-old, who is available if the Blues receive a transfer fee in the region of £15m. Hudson-Odoi made 14 league appearances while on loan at Bayer Leverkusen last season, where he registered one assist.

16.30 BST: This summer was supposed to mark the start of a new era at Manchester United. Instead, so far, it’s been the same old story. Erik ten Hag can’t them fall behind, writes Rob Dawson.

He’s sympathetic to the club’s financial position, with the transfer budget limited by Financial Fair Play (FFP) restrictions. But he would still like at least a striker, a midfielder and a goalkeeper before the season starts. United have had three bids turned down by Chelsea for Mason Mount, although their latest offer of £55m remains on the table. There’s also interest in Harry Kane, Rasmus Hojlund, Moises Caicedo and Andre Onana among others but, so far, valuations set by opposing clubs have proved problematic.

Concerns over FFP mean United can only realistically spend between £100m and £150m on new players, and although that figure would increase with any funds raised through departures, the financial position can be summed up by their interest in Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice. Ten Hag likes both players but United were nowhere near when Bellingham joined Real Madrid for Borussia Dortmund for an initial £88.5m, simply because they couldn’t afford it. It’s a similar story with Rice, a player tracked since he was a teenager, because of West Ham United’s demand to receive £100m up front.

15.43 BST: Barcelona are among the Spanish clubs to have been handed a transfer boost after changes to LaLiga’s financial fair play regulations.

Clubs in excess of their league-imposed spending limit for the season — which includes Barca — will now be able to spend 50% of anything they save or raise on signing new players.

In addition, if the saving they make on a departing player accounts for more than 5% of their spending limit, they will be able to invest 60% on incomings.

Under the previous rules, clubs could only spend 40% of the money they saved or raised, rising to 50% if the saving on a given player was substantial.

15.07 BST: RB Leipzig midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai is on the radar of Liverpool, says The Athletic.

Szoboszlai, 22, has a €70m release clause in his contract and scored 10 goals in 48 games last season.

The Reds are looking to rebuild their midfield after the signing of Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister. Nice’s Khephren Thuram and Southampton’s Romeo Lavia are also reported to be on the club’s shortlist.

14.55 BST: After completing the signing of Ilkay Gundogan, Barcelona are working on the signing of a deeper midfielder, but the lack of options on the market could see them switch their attention to a right-back, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Coach Xavi Hernandez has been clear that replacing Sergio Busquets at the base of the midfield is key. However, with his primary targets off the table due to the club’s financial issues, signing a substitute is proving difficult.

Therefore, with a right-back also needed, Barca could re-ignite their interest in Real Valladolid’s Ivan Fresneda if some money comes available this summer.

Fresneda, 18, has drawn interest from the Premier League and Borussia Dortmund and is available for €20m after his release clause halved following Valladolid’s relegation to the second division of Spanish football.

Barca have monitored the youngster for a while, although Manchester City’s Joao Cancelo remains another option to fill the right-back vacancy if they can land him on loan, per Mundo Deportivo.

14.23 BST: Sport says that Santos winger Angelo is being tracked by Chelsea.

Angelo, 18, has previously been linked with Barcelona and Nottingham Forest, with a €15m offer from the Blues reportedly set to arrive in the coming days.

14.10 BST: Is a move to Juventus the right one for Tim Weah?



Would a transfer to Juventus be the wrong move for Tim Weah?

Julien Laurens and Nedum Onuoha wonder whether Timothy Weah would be a regular starter for Juventus.

13.54 BST: Franck Kessie is the latest player to be linked with a move to Saudi Arabia, with Diario Sport claiming Al Ahli want to sign the Barcelona midfielder.

Kessie, 26, joined Barca as a free agent last summer from AC Milan but has struggled for minutes in his first season at the club. As a result, he is one of the players the Catalan club will listen to offers for as they seek to raise funds to strengthen elsewhere.

There have been reports of interest from Italy and England, but Sport says that Saudi Pro League side Al Ahli are best positioned to sign the Ivory Coast international.

Barca would request a €30m fee for Kessie, who is reluctant to leave but would apparently listen to other offers if coach Xavi Hernandez tells him he is not in his plans for next season.

13.26 BST: Tottenham are on the verge of signing midfielder James Maddison from Leicester City in a deal worth in the region of £40m, sources have told ESPN.

Maddison, 26, will have his medical on Wednesday and, if all goes well, he will become the latest arrival of Ange Postecoglou’s tenure following confirmation of Guglielmo Vicario‘s signing last week.

The England international was attracting the interest of Newcastle, but sources have told ESPN that Maddison is on the verge of agreeing a move to Spurs and is set to sign a five-year contract.

13.04 BST: Arsenal left-back Kieran Tierney is weighing up his future, says the Scottish Sun.

Tierney, 26, made just four starts from January onwards as the signing of Oleksandr Zinchenko impacted his first-team chances.

Newcastle have been linked with a £25m move, but a return to former club Celtic could also be on the cards for the Scotland international.

12.46 BST: Manchester City are interested in signing Celta Vigo star Gabri Veiga, says Fabrizio Romano.

Veiga, 21, scored 11 goals in 36 LaLiga games last season and has been tracked by Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool and Chelsea.

The Spain U21 international has a release clause of €40m and City are looking to bolster their midfield.

12.15 BST: Manchester City defender Demi Stokes has signed a one-year contract extension at the club.

12.05 BST: Harry Kane has been told by Tottenham Hotspur that he is not available for transfer this summer, sources told ESPN’s Mark Ogden, despite Bayern Munich stepping up their interest in the England captain.

It has been reported that Bayern have submitted a €70m offer for the Kane, 29, but sources told ESPN that Spurs have not received an official bid from the German champions.

Spurs are aware of Bayern’s interest in Kane, who has a year to run on his contract at the London club, but there are no plans to offload the forward during the transfer window.

Manchester United are also monitoring Kane’s situation, but sources have repeatedly told ESPN that a move to Old Trafford is unlikely unless the player actively forces a transfer by telling Spurs that he wants to leave this summer.

Kane will be able to leave as a free agent at the end of next season if he chooses not to sign a new contract, and he could speak to overseas teams in January to negotiate a move at the end of next season.

11.23 BST: Manchester United have money to spend this summer but their transfer budget has been squeezed by Financial Fair Play restrictions, sources told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.

United posted positive financial results on Tuesday with revenue up 11% to £170m for the three months ending March 31.

The third-quarter results also included a projection that full year revenues will hit a record £630m to £640m.

Sources told ESPN that despite the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the club’s ownership, Erik ten Hag will be able to invest in his squad this summer.

However, the budget will be limited by UEFA’s FFP rules because of the club’s historic spending.

10.38 BST: After completing the signing of Ilkay Gundogan, Barcelona are working on the signing of a deep-lying midfielder, but the lack of options on the market could see them switch their attention to a right-back, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Barca coach Xavi Hernandez has been clear that replacing Sergio Busquets at the base of the midfield is key. However, with his primary targets off the table due to the club’s financial issues, signing a substitute is proving difficult.

Therefore, with a right-back also needed, Barca could re-ignite their interest in Real Valladolid’s Ivan Fresneda if some money comes available this summer.

Fresneda, 18, has drawn interest from the Premier League and Borussia Dortmund and is available for €20m after his release clause halved following Valladolid’s relegation to the second division of Spanish football.

Barca have monitored the youngster for a while, although Manchester City’s Joao Cancelo remains another option to fill the right-back vacancy at the club this summer, per Mundo Deportivo.

09.55 BST: Arsenal are close to agreeing a deal with West Ham for Declan Rice after Manchester City pulled out of the race to sign the midfielder, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.

Arsenal submitted a third offer for Rice worth £100m plus £5m in add-ons on Tuesday, sources told ESPN.

City will not match or better the offer, sources have said, and are no longer in the hunt for the England international as things stand.

The reigning Premier League champions had a valuation in mind for the 24-year-old and believe Arsenal’s bid has already exceeded it. City had an offer of £80m plus £10m in add-ons rejected on Monday.

Arsenal and West Ham remain in negotiations over the payment structure and total fee, sources have told ESPN, with West Ham wanting £100m up front and another £10m in add-ons.

The north London club have agreed personal terms with Rice, sources added.



Dawson: West Ham hold all the power in Rice transfer saga

Rob Dawson gives the latest on Declan Rice’s future amidst bids from Manchester City and Arsenal for the West Ham midfielder.

09.14 BST: Tottenham Hotspur are in advanced talks with Leicester City over the transfer of midfielder James Maddison, sources told ESPN’s Tom Hamilton.

Spurs have tracked Maddison, 26, for several seasons, and new manager Ange Postecoglou is thought to be keen on the move. Sources told ESPN that negotiations are ongoing, with the two sides are still trying to find mutual ground on the transfer fee.

Maddison and his Leicester teammates were relegated from the Premier League last season, during which the midfielder registered 10 goals and nine assists from 30 league appearances.

08.37 BST: Turkish club Adana Demirspor is interested in signing Valencia forward Edinson Cavani, according to Estadio Deportivo.

Adana Demirspor are looking to strengthen their squad as they will play in the Europa League next season, and have already expressed their interest to Cavani’s brother and agent Nando Guglielmone.

Cavani, who joined Valencia last summer after his contract with Manchester United expired, endured a disappointing season at the Mestalla stadium.

The Uruguay international, who is under contract with Valencia until June 2024, scored only five goals in 25 league appearances for Los Che.

According to reports, Valencia could allow the 36-year-old to leave for free to offload a high-wage player.

08.00 BST: Celta Vigo left-back Javi Galan is set to join Atletico Madrid in a transfer worth around €3.5m, sources have confirmed to ESPN’s Rodrigo Faez.

Atletico youngster Manu Sanchez will move in the other direction as part of the deal.

Galan’s arrival ends Atletico’s search for a permanent left-back following Renan Lodi’s move to Nottingham Forest last year and an injury to Reinildo.

Sergio Reguilon joined on loan from Tottenham last season but, for various reasons, did not nail down a regular starting sport and coach Diego Simeone was forced to improvise with personnel and his formation.

Galan, 28, was a regular for Celta last season, making 40 appearances in all competitions, and has previously been linked with Barcelona.



Why Harry Kane holds all the cards over his future

Rob Dawson discusses Harry Kane’s future amidst interest from Bayern Munich in the striker.

PAPER GOSSIP (by Abbie Ingham)

– Bayern Munich are preparing a written bid for Harry Kane, after their initial verbal offer of €70m was rejected by Tottenham Hotspur, according to Sky Sports Deutschland. However, sources have told ESPN that the north London club are not willing to part with the 29-year-old striker, who has one year remaining on his contract, and they have not received an official bid to sign the England captain.

Roberto Firmino is closing in on a move to Al Ahli, according to Fabrizio Romano. The 31-year-old is set to become a free agent when his contract expires with Liverpool this week, departing Anfield after eight years and 111 goals in 362 appearances. The Brazil international is now reportedly in advanced talks to join the Saudi Pro League club on a three-year contract.

– Leicester City are pushing hard for a deal for Conor Coady, according to the Mirror. Following their relegation, the Foxes are set to beat out Premier League competition for the 30-year-old defender’s signature. The England international, who spent the past season at Everton on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers, is wanted by the East Midlands club’s new manager, Enzo Maresca, who heard positive remarks about the centre-back from Pep Guardiola when he was part of the coaching setup at Manchester City.

– Leicester also are lining up moves for Tottenham’s Harry Winks and Manchester City keeper Zack Steffen, according to the Telegraph. The Foxes are reportedly in negotiations for 27-year-old Winks, who spent the past season on loan at Sampdoria and is reportedly not part of Spurs’ plans for next season. Maresca also is eyeing a move for 28-year-old U.S. goalkeeper Steffen, whom he knows well from his time at Man City.

– Sevilla are in talks with Espanyol over the signing of Nico Melamed, Fabrizio Romano reports. The 22-year-old winger has several suitors and his departure from the Periquitos is a distinct possibility. The Spain under-21 international made 32 appearances, scoring one goal and providing two assists as the club finished 19th and were relegated from LaLiga.

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