Daily Archives: July 15, 2016

Ibe and Skrtel out as Liverpool transfer exodus continues

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The transfer exodus of players from Liverpool continues as Jordan Ibe, Martin Skrtel and Sergi Canos are set to be a hat-trick of players to leave the Merseyside club this week.

Ibe, 20, is prepared to join Liverpool’s Premier League opponents Bournemouth for a club-record transfer fee of £15m. The Englishman agreed on a four-year contract with the Cherries.

He will be flying out to meet his new team-mates in the United States, who were currently on the club’s pre-season tour of Chicago and Minnesota. The winger will be able make his first appearance for the club against Minnesota United on Wednesday.

Sergio Canos, 19, was a former Barcelona youth player who spent last season on loan in the second tier with Brentford, scoring seven goals in 39 matches.

He has also played for Spain’s under-19 side, and now signed for Norwich city for an undisclosed fee believed to be about £2.5m that could rise to £4.5m through add-ons.

Canos had rejected an offer to stay at Anfield earlier; his deal with the Canaries comes with an option of an additional 12 months.

31-year-old Martin Sktrel, who had spent eight years playing for Liverpool’s defense and made 320 appearances for the Reds, has now completed his transfer to Fenerbache.

He was vital for Liverpool in their Carling Cup victory in 2012 and was an important part of the team that came close to winning the Premier League title in 2014. However, the 31-year-old’s somewhat erratic and unreliable performances lost him his first-team place under new Reds manager Jurgen Klopp.

Update*: Christian Benteke is willing to remain and fight for a place in Liverpool. Any prospect of the striker leaving is currently made impossible due to the club pricing him out of the market at £32.5m, the fee they paid Aston Villa for him last summer amidst Brendan Rodgers’s reign as manager.

Update*2: Jurgen Klopp is willing to discuss Joe Allen’s future at Liverpool after the midfielder’s impressive Euro 2016 campaign.

 

Wales move ahead of England in FIFA world rankings

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Wales has moved up to the 11th in FIFA men’s world rankings after their successful Euro 2016 campaign.

Their venture into the semi-finals of the European Championship earns them a 15-place jump and 291 ranking points; the latter was the highest gained by any nation following the summer’s international tournaments.

As for England, the three lions fell two spaces to 13th after their humiliating defeat at the hands of Iceland in the last 16. They are now one place below Uruguay after just one win in four games in their entire European Championship campaign.

Iceland themselves climbed 12 places to 22nd ahead of Holland, the 2014 World-cup semi-finalists having fell to 26th after failing to qualify for the Euros

Northern Ireland, who also made it into the last 16 before defeat at the hands of Wales, also dropped to places to 28th.

Meanwhile, the top five teams remain unchanged on top of the table. Argentina ranks first ahead of Belgium, Colombia, Germany and Chile despite their third consecutive major tournament final defeat in as many years, the most recent one at the hands of Chile in Copa America Centenario.

On the other hand, Euro 2016 winners Portugal and defeated finalists France moved up two and 10 places respectively to sit sixth and seventh, with Spain, Brazil and Italy rounding off the top 10.

 

Murray and Djokovic to miss Davis Cup quarter-finals

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Davis Cup: Serbia vs Great Britain
Tasmajdan Stadium, Belgrade
15-17 July

Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, two of the best tennis players in the world set to miss the Davis Cup quarter-finals.

World No.1 Novak Djokovic had pulled out of the tie after his shock Wimbledon third-round exit to America’s Sam Querrey. It was the Serbian’s earliest exit from a grand slam event in nine years.

Djokovic hinted at an injury at the time, but refused to elaborate on the matter.

It remains unclear why he pulled out for his national team in his home town after significant exploits with the squad, having made their breakthrough together and winning the 2009 Davis Cup.

Meanwhile, Murray will sit out the knockout stage event due to lingering effects from his victory in Wimbledon, but has reportedly flown to Belgrade to cheer on his Great Britain teammates.

This was the first time in three years Murray misses a Team Great Britain fixture in the Davis Cup. In his place is Kyle Edmund, who will pitted up against the experienced Janko Tipsarevic in the first rubber on Friday.

“He’s gutted not to be playing,” the team captain, Leon Smith, said. “He loves Davis Cup, he loves this team, he loves his team-mates plus all the support staff we’ve got.”

“All of us are really pumped by the fact that he wants to come out and support the team from the sidelines; it gives us a big boost.”

He also defended Murray’s decision to withdraw.

“Quite rightly he has to look after his body and his mind. He’s got his eyes set on getting some rest and really making a big push for the Olympics, US Open and beyond.”

“I fully understand if he doesn’t end up coming, but if he does it just gives everyone a boost to see your number one player, role model and current Wimbledon champion sitting there.”

Juventus set to beat Arsenal to Higuain deal

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Juventus is set to trump the likes of Arsenal in the race to sign Napoli’s striker Gonzalo Higuain.

Higuain had been the top scorer in the Serie A in the 2015/16 season; his 35 goals in 36 matches had paved the way for Napoli to become serious contenders in the Italian top flight league against eventual champions Juventus.

Multiple reports had now surfaced that a move for Higuain to Turin is in now complete, which could leave Arsenal ruing another chance to bring in a pure striker after the Gunners had failed to bring in Jamie Vardy.

Juventus is lined up to sign the player despite a £78 million release clause. This leads to speculation that that the Bianconeri could recoup their outlay on the Argentina international by sanctioning the sale of Paul Pogba to Manchester United for a world-record £100m fee.

Sky and Sportmediaset both reported that Higuain has now agreed a four-year contract with the Old Lady, which would see him earn €7.5m per season, but there have been no talks between the clubs so far.

Juventus could offer players as an added bonus for potential deals. However, if Napoli refuses the deal, Juve is set to trigger the release clause.

Without Higuarin, Napoli would face a lacking forward line, but there are already rumours that they are looking to fill in the space with Emanuele Giaccherini.

Giaccherini, 31, is currently with Sunderland, having spent last season on loan with Bologna. His agent Furio Valcareggi had revealed his client’s imminent move away: “We’re almost there. It’s all done.”