Daily Archives: August 18, 2017

Tottenham closing in on first signing of the transfer window

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Tottenham are currently on the verge of completing their first deal of this summer transfer window, with Ajax centre-half Davinson Sanchez set to join the London Club for a club record fee of up to £42m.

Spurs, who saw the departure of Federico Fazio to Roma and Kyle Walker to Premier League rivals Manchester City, had remarkably lacked any links or made no approach to sign new players into their fold — a fact lamented by club coach Mauricio Pochettino.

However, Pochettino has made known his interest in signing 21-year old Sanchez, after an impressive debut season in European football alongside Ajax where the Dutch side reached the Europa League final.

Tottenham officials had already travelled to Amsterdam earlier in the week in an attempt to negotiate a deal, with the Dutch side initially adamant that they would not sell for less than €50m.

It was reported that their first bid, worth an initial £25m, was rejected but a new offer that will see Spurs pay £28m up front with up to £14m in performance-related bonuses has been agreed in principle.

Tottenham will also have a boost in that Sanchez has already indicated his desire to move to north London despite interest from Chelsea, making it expected that he will sign a five-year contract with Pochettino’s side.

Meanwhile, Tottenham and Pochettino retain their interest in the Celta Vigo midfielder Pape Cheikh but have yet to negotiate a fee for the Spain youth international, as well as in the Everton midfielder Ross Barkley, although Spurs are unwilling to pay his £30m asking price.

FC Barcelona’s Gerard Pique feels inferior to Real Madrid

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Barcelona defender Gerard Pique admitted that he felt inferior to Real Madrid for the first time in his nine years as a Barcelona defender, after they were beaten 5-1 on aggregate in the Spanish Super Cup.

“This is a long process and there is room for improvement but in the nine years that I have been here, it is the first time that I feel inferior to Madrid,” Pique said. “We are not in the best moment, either as a team or as a club. We must stay as close as possible and keep moving forwards.”

Pique’s comments came after a 2-0 defeat at the Bernabeu on Wednesday night which saw Barcelona humiliated by their rivals, with Sergio Ramos winding up Lionel Messi by throwing the ball over the Argentinian when he readied his hands to collect, which turn got Messi riled enough for unsavory remarks.

Hosts Real Madrid started the game with an initial 3-1 win at Camp Nou. They are without Cristiano Ronaldo, who is serving a five-match suspension after being sent off in the first leg, and coach Zinedine Zidane even opted to leave stars such as Gareth Bale and Isco on the bench.

Real’s latest trophy was also Zidane’s seventh in charge of Real after goals from Marco Asensio and Karim Benzema sealed the latest triumph, as Barcelona appeared to struggle again.

It also does not help for Zidane’s Barca counterpart Ernesto Valverde after the Uruguayan Football Association confirmed that Luis Suarez will miss around a month with the right knee injury he sustained in Wednesday’s defeat.

Everton takes lead against Hajduk in Europa League first playoff round

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Everton took a firm 2-0 lead against Hajduk Split in their first of two legs in the playoff round of the Europa League amidst crowd troubles at the Goodison Park.

The Toffees took the lead when Dante Stipica’s weak punched clearance at a corner was seized on by Leighton Baines, who then easily picked out Michael Keane for the centre-half to nod in from close range for his first goal for the club.

But play was quickly stopped soon after for five minutes. In the 33rd minute, travelling Hajduk fans, who had been packed into a corner of the Bullens Road stand, surged towards the Goodison Park pitch together and threw objects while stewards fought to restore order.

Wayne Rooney had a goal disallowed for what looked a tight offside call after play resumed, and in the seconds before five minutes of added time was announced Everton increased their lead through Idrissa Gueye who slide a low shot into the bottom corner.

On the other end of the pitch, Jordan Pickford produced three fine saves as the Croatian pressed more in the second half, including a smart save low to his left from Franck Ohandza to stop the visitors netting a potentially crucial away goal.

Everton coach Ronald Koeman could have been pleased with the result ahead of their second leg — especially in the knowledge that a win, a draw or a single-goal defeat could guarantee their place in the Europa League group stage — but the Dutchman was not over the top celebrating.

“I was really happy with the first half, really unhappy with the second,” Koeman said after the match. “We dropped the tempo too much after going two up, and that scoreline was not the maximum we could have taken from the game.”

“Winning 2-0 is fine in the Premier League, you get three points, but here we have another game to play and we have made it more difficult than it needed to be.”