The centre-back has been linked with a summer switch to Old Trafford but now looks set to sign a new contract with the FA Cup finalists
Japan and South Korea on Saturday held the first dialogue of their financial chiefs in two and a half years, agreeing to improve economic ties despite diplomatic frictions between the two Asian countries. Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso and his South Korean counterpart Choi Kyung-Hwan held a one-day meeting in Tokyo, the first since November 2012 and since conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took office in December that year. "We agreed to continue pushing for bilateral and multilateral cooperation," Aso told reporters afterwards.
Throughout the 2014/15 campaign, pundits spent endless hours dissecting how Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal could go about improving his squad, with defensive positions constantly coming under the microscope.rc="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js">
The Red Devils were diagnosed with a rather painful bout of being without a natural-born leader at the back, with spending big in the transfer window the only known remedy.
Luckily for United, then, it appears that they’re closing in on the signature of Borussia Dortmund’s World Cup-winning defender, Mats Hummels.
That’s according to Rhys Turrell of the Daily Star, who reports that the Manchester United powers-that-be are confident of landing the German international, with a £30 million fee thought to be enough to lure him to Old Trafford.
However, this all comes after Dortmund’s Sporting Director Michael Zorc insisted that Hummels will remain with the Bundesliga outfit, per Sky Sports’ Pete O’Rourke:
No matter which adaptation of this seemingly everlasting rumour you believe, the temptation is very much there for the 26-year-old, with Champions League football not gracing the Westfalonstadion in the 2015/16 campaign.
Plus, United will undoubtedly give him a financial incentive to swap yellow for red, with high earners expected to leave Old Trafford and make way for new recruits—as Bleacher Report’s Ryan Bailey and Alex Dimond discussed:
It all seems rosy, then, but how often have we seen Hummels linked with a move away from his beloved Dortmund?
Too many times to recall, in truth.
His loyalty to the club may well be too difficult for even United to break, which is why James Ducker of the Times suggested that Van Gaal and Co. will now be turning their attentions to Valencia centre-back Nicolas Otamendi:
Either way, one of Otamendi or Hummels appears a necessity to United. Although Chris Smalling has come along heaps and bounds in the heart of defence this season, the club are still missing a Nemanja Vidic figure.
Finally replacing the all-conquering Serb won’t spark the end of United’s squad issues, but it would be a great place to start.
Another star with a World Cup winner’s medal proudly in his possession is also reportedly on Manchester United’s radar, in the shape of Bayern Munich’s Bastian Schweinsteiger.
As Rob Dawson of the Manchester Evening News writes, the German has been given carte blanche to hand-pick the next destination of his remarkable career by manager Pep Guardiola.
Schweinsteiger has played second fiddle to Xabi Alonso in the heart of the Munich midfield this season, making just 19 league appearances, according to WhoScored.com.
However, Guardiola still wants the 30-year-old to be part of his plans next term, saying a deal is available to Schweinsteiger if he wants one, per Dawson:
My plan for the next season is Bastian Schweinsteiger is here. Schweinsteiger is an outstanding legend of Bayern Munich, he has to decide. Not Pep, not Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. If he wants to stay for three or four more years here, he can do that.
Still, that level of uncertainty will give Van Gaal a big boost in his pursuit for the midfielder, who can still undoubtedly cut it at the highest level.
Let’s cast our minds back to last year in Brazil, when Schweinsteiger was quite simply unplayable in the heart of the German midfield.
Critics will say he’s coming to the end of his career and won’t be worth investing in, but the way he performed in the World Cup put all young guns to shame—and even a certain Lionel Messi.
Bayern’s loss will undoubtedly be United’s gain, it’s all just a case of persuading Schweinsteiger to make the switch.
Van Gaal will try to use his past relationship with the player to get him in red, while regular, first-team football will also be a big lure.
Much like Hummels, though, tempting Schweinsteiger to forget his loyalty to his boyhood club won’t be the easiest thing in the world.
The return of a classic is imminent. The Air Jordan 1 Retro will make a comeback later this month in its OG colorway of white, black and varsity red – a Chicago Bulls-inspired color scheme. Jordan’s first-ever shoe will stay true to the original, arriving in a full leather build, with “Nike Air” branding on the tongue and the removal of the Jumpman logo from the heel. The Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG “Chicago” will release on May 30 at Jordan Brand retailers across the globe for a retail price of $160 USD.
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The international community must challenge Ethiopia’s oppressive regime by funding local human rights and democracy groups
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Giant waterwheels in the new spa add a heritage touch to this revamped inn in glorious countryside on the edge of the Peak District
I am lying on the beach in the midday sun, my eyes shut, listening to the waves lapping on the sand. Then all too soon – after about 10 minutes, in fact – it goes dark and the stars come out. That’s because this isn’t some tropical island paradise, but a hotel near Leek, Staffordshire. The Beach Hut, a 25-minute light treatment designed to boost vitamin D levels, is one of several experiences on offer at the Three Horseshoes’ new Mill Wheel Spa. It is very relaxing, though would probably feel more beneficial in the depths of winter than on a sunny May afternoon.
The Mill Wheel is more interesting than the average spa. It makes an effort to reflect the area’s heritage, so the centrepiece is a huge wooden water wheel, homage to nearby mills. Rather than driving the levers of industry, however, this wheel pours water on spa-goers – at first pleasantly warm, then shockingly cold. Screams (some of them mine) ring out at regular intervals. The steam room is an actual Peak District stone barn, relocated from a nearby field. To create the steam, a basket of local stones is heated then plunged into a basin of cold water, hissing and sizzling.
DeAndre Yedlin is one of the great hopes of the U.S. men’s national team.rc="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js">
Yedlin burst onto the international scene with his three World Cup substitute appearances and captured the nation’s attention after some brilliant individual moments.
Linked with several large European clubs, Yedlin opted to join Tottenham Hotspur but play out the MLS season with the Seattle Sounders before eventually making the move.
He arrived at Tottenham earlier than expected, joining in January instead of the summer, from Seattle and has been a regular part of the match-day squad.
However, the American full-back has played just 12 minutes of Premier League football for Tottenham.
If Yedlin joined Spurs expecting to quickly break into the first team, he is in for a shock. He is in no position to oust Kyle Walker as the regular starter in his position.
Mauricio Pochettino is a coach who improves players, particularly those who fit his system.
Danny Rose has been a great beneficiary of Pochettino’s coaching and his approach to football. Rose was on the verge of being sold last summer, but he impressed and has become Spurs’ unquestioned starter at left-back.
Pochettino has shown a willingness to select players regardless of their age and experience. Eric Dier surprised many Spurs fans when he was selected to start Spurs’ opening match this season against West Ham.
Dier had no Premier League experience and had played only a handful of games as a professional, but he showed Pochettino that he had what it took.
In that regard, Yedlin could emulate Dier, Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb as young players selected regularly ahead of more senior teammates. Yet unlike those other prodigious youngsters, Yedlin is not yet good enough to start.
Kyle Naughton was sold in January because he was not good enough. At this point, Yedlin aspires to reach Naughton’s level.
The difference is that Yedlin has great potential.
His pace is his most obvious asset and has been remarked upon at great length. Ultimately, Yedlin possesses the outrageous pace that can help him eventually develop into a top-class player.
His flexibility, too, is a great asset. Yedlin is a full-back first, but he is comfortable playing higher up the pitch and, as Dier has shown, that capacity to fill multiple roles helps ensure regular football.
Yedlin’s problem is that Kyle Walker, the presumptive starter, is just 24 (soon to be 25) and still improving himself.
Despite his injury problems, Walker is a powerful and athletic full-back who can deliver a dangerous ball. He has his defensive issues, but Yedlin is in no position to challenge him yet.
Pochettino has preferred Vlad Chiriches and Dier as emergency full-backs rather than risk Yedlin from the start, and that suggests that he has serious doubts about the American’s quality at this point.
Yedlin will not be an immediate starter for Spurs next season, but that is the perfect position for him to be in.
He now has a full offseason and a year of playing the understudy to England’s starting right-back to learn from Pochettino and grow as a player. Without the pressure of being the regular starter, Yedlin will not have to deal with the spotlight and, instead, can develop at his own pace.
Cynics will suggest that the acquisition of Yedlin was simply a marketing gimmick. Signing an up-and-coming American player shortly after selling Clint Dempsey could be viewed as Spurs ensuring their presence in the American market.
That is a conspiracy theory that does not stand up to closer examination.
Yedlin has shown a deeply flawed positional sense, an over-reliance on his pace and a troubling tendency to run with his head down, but he is undoubtedly talented.
His tackling technique is solid; his ability to blow past defenders relies as much on his impressive close-control as it does on his speed.
DeAndre Yedlin will not displace Kyle Walker as Spurs’ first-choice right-back in the coming season, but he has an opportunity to learn his craft and eventually emerge much as he did for the U.S. national team.