The Crystal Palace manager made a statement denying interest in the defender earlier in the week, but his successor at Newcastle claims the links “went beyond speculation”
The Sergio Ramos saga is once again top priority on Manchester United’s agenda after it emerged contract talks at Real Madrid have stumbled, while the Red Devils have lost out on Norwegian prodigy Edvard Tagseth.
According to Spanish newspaper AS, Ramos is unwilling to accept Real’s offer of €8.5 million a season as he holds out for a €10 million (£7 million) annual salary to offer United a glimmer of hope in pursuit of his signature.
The report also cited radio station Cadena SER as reporting Ramos is concerned by the fact his club haven’t contacted his agent since their pre-season tour of Asia.
Red Devils manager Louis van Gaal has been strongly linked with a list of defensive talents this summer, but ex-Manchester United centre-back Rio Ferdinand believes Ramos is merely using his former club. He told the Sun (via Sport):
“I believe that Ramos has used Manchester United in order to get a better contract with Real Madrid.”
Late last month, Marca (h/t talkSPORT) reported that United were willing to hand Ramos wages of £8.5 million after tax (€12 million), which would be a substantial rise on anything Real are said to be offering.
Van Gaal has already enjoyed a busy summer of spending in preparation for his second term at Manchester United’s helm. Bleacher Report’s Sam Tighe recently graded the Dutchman’s business activity:
Ramos’ current deal expires in 2017 and Los Blancos manager Rafa Benitez will undoubtedly be adamant to see the defender remain, having handed him the captain’s armband for patches of their pre-season preparations.
According to Mario Torrejon of Cadena Ser (via AS), Los Merengues are hoping to extend the 29-year-old’s Bernabeu stay for another five years:
With just under two years left on his contract, Ramos’ potential departure may not yet be considered an imminent concern for Real, but the lucrative allure of England will be looked upon as an issue.
Meanwhile, it’s a case of all or nothing for Van Gaal as the Times‘ James Ducker maintains Ramos will be the club’s only centre-back target of the summer:
Any move for Ramos has become tightly linked with the future of Manchester United No. 1 David De Gea, with AS (via the Mirror) claiming Real are no longer looking to sign the Spaniard.
Should that prove to be the case, United’s bartering chip to acquire Ramos may be off the table as both clubs keep up a stubborn stance over their respective Spain internationals.
There’s less positive news at Old Trafford after it was revealed Liverpool have won the race to sign 14-year-old Norwegian midfielder Tagseth.
Norwegian website Tronder Avisa (via Daily Star‘s Alex Harris) reports the teenager will link up with the Reds academy in January 2017, when he celebrates his 16th birthday. Tagseth is quoted by Harris as saying:
“It feels good to finally be done with it and to decide on a club. I felt it was best club for me. I enjoyed myself best there. It’s something I’ve dreamed about since I was little. It is particularly satisfying to experience it.”
Harris claims Tagseth had been on trial with United, Manchester City and Everton before deciding upon Anfield as his next destination, although a lengthy 18 months sits between now and his arrival.
Until then, Tagseth will remain with current club Neset, who play in Norway’s third tier, with Balls.ie dubbing him “the next, next Martin Odegaard:”
Liverpool were also linked with Odegaard before he decided to move to Real Madrid earlier this year, per Telegraph Sport and AFP. However, the Merseysiders have been more fortunate in their pursuit of this particular Norwegian wonderkid.
Liverpool are starting their 2015/16 season away at Stoke City on Sunday, August 9.
How will Brendan Rodgers’ new-look squad start the season?
Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Johnson joins Ryan Bailey as they break down their predictions for this Premier League match.
Cubs 5, Giants 4
CHICAGO — Catcher Kyle Schwarber's first career Wrigley Field home run helped lift the Chicago Cubs to an early lead on the way to a 5-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Thursday. Schwarber went 1-for-3, walked, scored twice and collected …
October in August for Cubs manager Joe Maddon
Heston and Giants fall behind early, lose 5-4 to Cubs
The Chicago Cubs wasted no time building a five-run lead, and once he sensed it slipping away, manager Joe Maddon went out to the mound with a quick hook. Rookie slugger Kyle Schwarber homered in his second consecutive game, and Chicago beat the San Francisco Giants 5-4 Thursday night. The Cubs, playing meaningful baseball in August for the first time in years, won for the seventh time in eight games.
Sorry, Scott Miller. You were wrong.
I know it’s only been a week since the Toronto Blue Jays traded for Troy Tulowitzki, only a week since you graced this very space with a column headlined, “Troy Tulowitzki Blockbuster Does Nothing to Change AL Playoff Picture.”
Only a week, but Tulowitzki has started eight games in Toronto, and the Blue Jays have won all eight. Only a week, but the Blue Jays’ league-leading offense is averaging a run a game more with Tulowitzki in the lineup than without him. Only a week, but the Jays have already leapfrogged the Minnesota Twins into the second wild-card spot in the American League, with the New York Yankees and the AL East lead now firmly in sight.
Small sample size, sure, but if you could declare the Tulowitzki acquisition meaningless after no games played, I sure as heck can declare it game-changing now that we’re one week in.
I know, your point was that Alex Anthopoulos needed to acquire a starting pitcher, an assignment he aced when he traded for David Price two days later. And it’s true, the Blue Jays are also undefeated in games Price starts.
He’s 1-0. Tulowitzki is 8-0.
In eight games, seven of them against playoff contenders Kansas City and Minnesota, the new fearsome foursome atop the Blue Jays batting order (Tulowitzki, Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion) have combined to score 30 runs and drive in 32.
Just look at what Twins outfielder Torii Hunter said after Thursday’s sweep-ending 9-3 Blue Jays win, via Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press:
Oh, and just look at this from Hunter:
The Blue Jays got the heck out of Toronto Thursday night, too, headed for Yankee Stadium and an AL East race that looks more exciting than ever. The Yankees still lead the Jays by 4.5 games, but the Blue Jays can take care of that in the 13 remaining games between the two teams.
That’s right, 13.
The Blue Jays have 52 games left on their schedule, and 13 of them are against the Yankees. One out of every four games the Jays play between now and the end of the season is against New York.
The Blue Jays arranged their rotation to make sure Price starts four of those games. You can figure that John Gibbons will arrange his lineup to make sure Tulowitzki starts all 13.
The Tulowitzki trade could still turn into a long-term disaster for the Jays. He hasn’t played 130 games in a season since 2011 (although he could this year), he’s signed through 2020 for big money (with an option for 2021), and now that he’s 30 years old he’s going to play more than half his games on turf.
Anthopoulos gave up big-time prospects to get him, and to get Price. We all said he went all-in, and we all know what happens if you go all-in and lose.
But we also know what has happened every season since 1993, which is the last time the Blue Jays played in the postseason. They’ve been double-digit games out of first place at the start of September each of the last 14 years.
They found Bautista, and nothing changed. They traded for Jose Reyes, and nothing changed.
Then Alex Anthopoulos traded for Troy Tulowitzki and, as ESPN’s Dan Shulman noted, this happened:
I know, it’s only been a week. I know, the Jays spent that week at home in the Rogers Centre, where they had a 28-20 record and were averaging 5.5 runs a game even before the Tulowitzki trade.
Now they’ve got to go on the road, where they’re 22-31 and lost four of their last five series. They have to go to Yankee Stadium, where the Yankees are 32-18 (including 9-2 over the last month).
And it’s the Yankees, not the Blue Jays, who have been baseball’s highest-scoring team since the All-Star break.
You know what, Scott, maybe you were right.
But I doubt it.
Danny Knobler covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report.
Follow Danny on Twitter and talk baseball.
Empire is back on Sept 23. Will you be watching???
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Down 9-3 with two outs and a runner on first in the top of the eighth inning Thursday night, the Minnesota Twins‘ Miguel Sano hit a deep line drive to center for what would have been a clean extra-base hit…had it not been for Kevin Pillar.
The Toronto Blue Jays outfielder sprinted to make a diving catch at the Rogers Centre’s warning track that was so incredible it looked as though he almost hovered in midair.
Toronto pitcher Bo Schultz sure looked relieved.
The Blue Jays held on to win 9-3, wrapping up a four-game sweep of the Twins before heading to New York for a three-game series against the Yankees, which begins Friday.
[Major League Baseball]
The Tennessee Titans got a bit of a scare when Delanie Walker suffered a thumb injury that required stitches during Thursday’s practice.
Continue for updates.
According to John Glennon of the Tennessean, Walker hurt the thumb when jostling for a pass over the middle with teammate Da’Norris Searcy. Despite needing 12 stitches to close up the laceration on his left hand, the veteran tight end isn’t too worried about the severity of the injury.
“The trainers just wanted me to be smart about it, so I just went inside and made sure everything was OK with it,” he said, per Glennon. “We’ll evaluate it right now, just to make sure everything is OK.”
Zach Bingham of ESPN Radio Nashville snapped a photo of Walker in the locker room after practice, and a small bandage was visible on the webbing of Walker’s left thumb:
It wouldn’t appear this is any major cause for concern for either Walker or the Titans. If anything, he may miss a few days of training camp just to prevent any sort of infection and to ensure the cut heals normally.
Should Walker rest, that would likely mean first-team reps for either Anthony Fasano or Craig Stevens during practices. How each player performs could potentially impact head coach Ken Whisenhunt’s decision-making process regarding the team’s backup tight end going into the regular season.