Everton eyeing namesake Brazilian striker in summer transfer window

Everton are tracking a Brazilian striker who is also called Everton.

Reports in South Africa claim that Goodison boss Carlo Ancelotti is using the current coronavirus lockdown to step up his efforts to bring Everton Sousa Soares to the Premier League.

Soares, who plays for Porto Alegre-based Gremio, was targeted by Ancelotti in January.

He is also being tracked by German giants Borussia Dortmund.

The 24-year-old Brazil international is under contract until 2023 and there is a buy-out clause in the deal which will see Gremio bank £106milion if he moves abroad.

But the belief in Brazil is that Gremio will have to listen to offers below that price to ride the financial hit that is coming their way after the covid-19 pandemic.

Gremio are one of the richest clubs in Brazil, but president Romildo Bolzan Junior has already warned that they may have to sell players.

Meanwhile Everton continues to be linked with a switch for Real Madrid star James Rodriguez.

The Colombian played under Carlo Ancelotti for one season at the Bernabeu before the Italian was sacked.

Ancelotti was hopeful of reuniting with Rodriguez at Napoli but failed with a bid for him last summer.

Madrid are now looking to offload the midfielder this summer before his contract expires in 2021.

And Rodriguez is believed to be open to teaming up with his former boss again at Goodison Park.

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London Irish stars delivering 800 meals a day to NHS hospitals

Shut away in isolation, London Irish owner Mick Crossan would be forgiven for putting himself first.

Major heart surgery 15 months ago has left him vulnerable to infection. By his own reckoning he has to be “extra careful”.

Yet rather than dwell on his own needs he has joined son Edward in helping mobilise the club to feed those on the front line fighting the coronavirus.

Every day this week more than 800 meals are being prepared at Irish’s Hazelwood training base in Sunbury by club chef Bogdan Konecki.

They are then packed up and delivered by Exiles players and backroom staff to 14 NHS hospitals and four palliative care homes all around London.

While rugby takes a back seat, with pay cuts and furloughs the order of the day, London Irish and its main sponsor, Powerday, who are bankrolling the operation, have switched into overdrive.

Irish is a club which, by Crossan’s own admission, “is always one of those that’s going to be fighting for its life” in the choppy financial waters of professional club rugby.

For now, however, it is doing everything it can to protect the real lives of others.

“All of a sudden people everywhere are beginning to realise there’s more to life than artificial things,” Crossan continued.

“In normal times my phone doesn’t stop, but that stuff doesn’t matter when my best friend is in North Middlesex Hospital with pneumonia and coronavirus.”

The pledge is to deliver 100,000 meals to doctors, nurses and carers battling the pandemic. Even the players’ £3,000 ‘beer fund’ has gone towards the cause.

“It started with my son saying he wanted to do something to help,” Crossan explained. “Offering to pay for the food if the guys and girls at London Irish would mind helping cook and distribute it.

“He was the driving force but I told him our company would take it on and everyone has just fallen in behind the project and rolled up their sleeves.

“The players and staff at the club have been incredible, not only delivering food but collecting medical supplies for the vulnerable and the elderly.

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Premier League chief Richard Masters warns coronavirus pandemic may cost at least £1billion

The coronavirus pandemic could cost the Premier League “at least £1billion”, the competition’s chief executive Richard Masters has warned.

Masters said the cost could be considerably higher than that if the impact of the pandemic extends further into the future.

His comments on the state of top-flight football’s finances were laid out in a letter to Julian Knight, the chair of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee.

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Knight had called for a windfall tax to be imposed on Premier League clubs if they utilised the Government’s coronavirus job retention scheme to furlough non-playing staff without negotiating a pay cut or deferral for players. Premier League clubs are in talks with players to take up to a 30 per cent cut made up of conditional reductions and deferral of salary.

Masters said: “We face a £1billion loss, at least, if we fail to complete season 2019-20, and further losses going forward if the seriousness of the pandemic deepens and extends into the future.”

Professional football in England is suspended indefinitely, with a return date being kept under constant review.

Masters argued it was the right of Premier League clubs, such as Tottenham, Newcastle and Bournemouth, to utilise furloughing in the circumstances. Liverpool reversed their decision to furlough staff on Monday night after widespread criticism of the move.

Masters added: “The furlough scheme announced by Government is meant for the whole economy, including many enterprises which might be regarded as providing entertainment or otherwise dependent on elite talent.

“Not only is our industry facing losses now, but to be realistic, we must also base our plans on full recovery being some distance away.

“Ultimately, the very heavy losses that we face will have to be dealt with or else clubs or other enterprises who depend on football for income will go out of business.”

Knight said the idea that Premier League clubs should need to make use of the Government scheme was “frankly laughable”.

“It is time for the Premier League to stop defending the indefensible,” he said.

“They should be working out a way to carry on paying the wages of club staff without resorting to taking money from the government scheme.”

The DCMS committee announced on Tuesday that a new inquiry would look into the impact of the pandemic on a variety of industries, including sport, with evidence sessions to be held from late April to early May.

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Untold tales of the Iron Man who saved baseball

  • Senior writer ESPN Magazine/ESPN.com
  • Analyst/reporter ESPN television
  • Author of “The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty”

As baseball’s work stoppage lingered into the spring of 1995 and camps opened amid a loose plan for the teams to use replacement players, a small group of Baltimore fans gathered near the parking lot entrance to the Orioles’ facility, bathed in orange T-shirts and caps. They clutched baseballs, bats and file folders with cards.

“Who are you guys waiting for?” I asked, walking past, at the outset of the first of two years covering the Orioles for the Baltimore Sun.

“Cal,” said one.

I stopped for what I thought might be a public service for this clan huddled under a rising, hot Florida sun. Cal Ripken Jr. won’t be coming today, I said. The players are on strike, and no resolution is imminent. Cal is probably back in Maryland.

They responded with polite smiles but never moved, and were still there when I walked out at day’s end, still holding their unsigned memorabilia. That resolute ardor for the Orioles’ shortstop grew exponentially as the labor problems were settled, the players went back to work and Cal’s consecutive-games streak continued. As union leaders Tom Glavine and David Cone would attest, that was a difficult year for the players generally, as frustrated fans expressed their anger over the interruption of baseball, the loss of the 1994 postseason and World Series.

But for Cal, there was only love and respect. The notion that the 1998 home run race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa saved the sport of baseball is a popular narrative I’ve never believed, having witnessed the day-to-day response to Ripken around the country three years earlier.

Cal’s 1995 march on Lou Gehrig’s record, which culminated at Camden Yards in games 2,130 and 2,131 on Sept. 5 and 6, was exactly what the sport needed as it returned, and he was exactly the right person to provide it, because his consecutive-games streak was built upon an ethic fans wanted to see. He rightly referred to the fans’ reaction to him as a celebration of baseball, and that occurred day after day when Cal was on the field, out in the open.

Here are some of the other bits of the summer of 2,131 that weren’t always in plain sight for fans.

1. His autograph sessions were legendary.

You might have heard stories about Cal turning into a one-man autograph machine that year, and assumed such tales are exaggerated, or apocryphal, or myths borne through the fog of time.

Well, the stories are true.

Like most players, Cal stopped to sign for fans gathered along the foul lines in the two-hour window before games, around batting practice, and from time to time, I’d see him stopped to sign for fans who waited near the ramp to where he parked inside Camden Yards.

But in the midst of the ’95 season, he began to hold some postgame, late-night autograph sessions, home and road. After games, he’d retreat to the clubhouse for a quick bite to eat, and then take a seat next to the Orioles’ dugout — in my mind’s eye, I can still see him with a towel draped over his shoulder — as one single-file line snaked around the ballpark, extending to the left-field corner. And he would sign for everybody who took the time to wait, putting his name on baseballs, programs, bats, tickets, scraps of paper.

“It really began due to a simple surplus of energy, postgame,” said John Maroon, who led the Orioles’ media relations department. “He was pretty wound up after the game and he was getting a lot of requests from fans for signatures, so it started fairly generically and then became a thing. People started to clamor for it, and ask about it.”

I can’t remember actually timing those sessions, but they’d last more than an hour, easy. I’d return to the press box from the clubhouse, rewrite a game story, refresh the notebook — and as I packed up my stuff, he’d still be signing.

The peak of his autograph work that summer, however, occurred at the All-Star Game festivities, in the middle of a deadly heat wave. Arlington, Texas, was the site of the event that year, and it was so hot, more than 100 degrees, that a lot of players understandably retreated into the air conditioning after they completed their round of batting practice. Cal remained outside to sign … and sign … and sign … moving along the foul lines.

The late, great Gerry Fraley covered the Rangers at that time for the Dallas Morning News, and no writer had a more acerbic sense of humor. He was difficult to impress. But even Gerry stopped me to remark on Cal’s effort to connect with fans.

2. Teammates believed he possessed a special power of recovery.

I can recall Roger Clemens drilling Brady Anderson in the middle of the back with a fastball, and the next day, most of Brady’s back was covered with a massive bruise. Players get hurt, they bleed, they bruise.

But Cal’s injuries just seemed to disappear. Former Orioles pitcher Ben McDonald inhabited the locker next to Ripken’s and in a recent interview, he told a story of seeing Cal get hit by a pitch — and when Ben asked Cal to see the resulting damage, there was nothing. A lot of teammates had stories like that, from the 15-plus straight seasons he played without missing a game.

3. Pitchers on other teams were seemingly scared to death by the prospect of injuring him.

The consecutive-games record was odd because no matter how effectively Ripken played, you knew well in advance the exact date he would pass Gehrig’s milestone — assuming he was able to stay healthy. One errant pitch had the potential to change that, of course, and I remember there being some angst when Cal was hit a couple of times early in the season — in the fourth game of the season, and again two weeks later. This was not unusual: During the course of his career, he’d get hit anywhere from four to seven times a year.

Mike Flanagan, a coach for the Orioles that season, was the first to notice how opposing pitchers seemingly shied away from throwing inside to Cal.

In fact, he was not hit by a pitch in Baltimore’s last 130 games. Everybody in baseball wanted to see him set that record.

4. The record-setting game was such a celebrated event that President Bill Clinton attended.

Clinton was in the ESPN booth when Cal hit his home run — of course he homered in No. 2,130 and No. 2,131 — and overpowered Chris Berman on the microphone, no small feat.

5. Cal fell into a deep slump after he broke Gehrig’s record, which wasn’t a surprise, given the enormous amount of energy expended in the run-up to the big day, and all of the stuff happening for games 2,130 and 2,131. Over the next 13 games, Cal went 3-for-44 with no extra-base hits.

On a Saturday afternoon at Tiger Stadium on Sept. 20, he was hitless in three at-bats. The press box was situated very high behind home plate in that old ballpark, and as I wrote my story after that particular game, I glanced to the field — and saw someone walking toward home plate, carrying a bucket of balls and a batting tee, with a bat wedged in his armpit.

It was Cal, going to work, alone.

He whacked baseballs into the empty outfield before accepting the penance of retrieving them — with help from a teammate or two who emerged from the clubhouse to join him — and then repeated the drill.

He was baseball’s most powerful player, its most credible figure, owner of the year’s most celebrated record, and in an empty park following a meaningless game for a team out of contention, he looked for a fix to his slump.

And he got three hits the next day.

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Arsenal warned off Odsonne Edouard transfer amid Aubameyang uncertainty

Arsenal have been warned Celtic's Odsonne Edouard would not be an ideal replacement for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang if the Gunners captain were to leave this summer.

Edouard has been banging in goals in the Scottish Premier League with Celtic on course to once again defend their title successfully.

The Gunners face a difficult scenario with Aubameyang, whose contract is up next summer, and Edouard has been tipped as a good alternative.

But former Arsenal midfielder and Sky Sports pundit Charlie Nicholas feels it's too early to consider Edouard for a key role at the Emirates.

"He could certainly play at Arsenal because the way they play, his style would be more than suitable for it," Nicolas told Sky Sports. "The problem is getting the judgement right over whether he's ready right now, playing every week for Arsenal compared to who is there already.

"He certainly would not come to England straightaway and score 20 to 25 goals in a season unless Arsenal find a renewed belief and they get the whole team right."

Nicolas drew on similarities in the styles of play between Edouard and Alexandre Lacazette, and suggested the Hoops striker boasts different qualities to Aubameyang which would not make him a suitable like-for-like replacement.

Edouard has been impressing in Scotland, with the 22-year-old netting 22 goals and providing seven assists in the league this season.

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Artur Beterbiev would accept UK fight ‘in two seconds’ – Joshua Buatsi says ‘I’m as dangerous’

Artur Beterbiev would relish a fight in the UK, according to his promoters – and Joshua Buatsi has warned “I’m a dangerous fighter too”.

Russia’s powerhouse Beterbiev holds the IBF and WBC light-heavyweight title and, with a 100 per cent KO ratio in his 15 fights, is one of boxing’s most formidable champions.

He expects to meet mandatory challenger Meng Fanlong next but Britain’s prospect Buatsi is the next highest ranked contender with the IBF.

“Beterbiev would fight in the UK in two seconds and he wouldn’t see it as an obligation,” Top Rank president Todd DuBoef told Sky Sports.

“He is a complete, absolute beast! Anything in front of him, he takes down.

“He disregards ‘who’ or ‘where’. If you’re in front of him, goodbye. That’s it.

“Like Vasiliy Lomachenko, Beterbiev wants to fight the best and has no issue with where a fight might be.”

Recalling how Top Rank signed him, DuBoef added: “We were aware of the legend of Beterbiev and his brutal nature of dismantling guys. His ability to seek and destroy is so compelling. But we didn’t know the interest that everyone would have in him.”

Undefeated Buatsi has won a British title and is not intimidated by the fearsome champions at light-heavyweight that also include Dmitry Bivol.

“I have learning to do and they are dangerous fighters but I am a dangerous fighter too,” Buatsi said.

“Who executes the right way? With more learning and guidance, when the time is right, I’ll be ready to handle these guys. I believe, in the ring, I’m as dangerous as they are.”

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Shevchenko's 'objective' is to move to the Premier League or Serie A

Andriy Shevchenko’s ‘objective’ is to move to the Premier League or Serie A after finishing as Ukraine head coach, says team’s video match analyst

  • Andriy Shevchenko scored 48 goals for Ukraine during his international career 
  • The former AC Milan and Chelsea striker became Ukraine head coach in 2016 
  • But his video analyst Andrea Maldera says he now wants to manage a club
  • Shevchenko has been linked with a return to Milan in a managerial capacity 

Andriy Shevchenko is hoping for a coaching job in either England or Italy when he decides to leave his current post as Ukraine manager. 

Shevchenko scored 48 goals in 111 appearances for Ukraine, before becoming their head coach four years ago following their group-stage exit at Euro 2016. 

The former Chelsea and AC Milan striker has been linked with a return to the Serie A side in a coaching capacity.

Andriy Shevchenko wants to manage a club in England or Italy, according to Ukraine’s analyst

Shevchenko scored 48 goals in 111 appearances for Ukraine as a player over a 17-year period

And Andrea Maldera – who currently works as a video match analyst for Shevchenko – told Tuttosport that English or Italian club football is the 43-year-old’s preferred next step.

‘After the experience as a national team coach, his objective will be coaching a club,’ Maldera said.

‘Whether it’s in Serie A or the Premier League, it doesn’t make a difference to him. He’s a hard worker and impressed me from the start. 

‘He wanted me and (ex-Milan assistant manager) Mauro Tassotti in his staff four years ago and likes to listen, accepting a different vision of the situation.

The former AC Milan and Chelsea striker then became Ukraine head coach after Euro 2016

But video analyst Andrea Maldera says he wants a move to the Premier League or Serie A 

Maldera also stated that former Milan bosses Carlo Ancelotti and Massimiliano Allegri have had a huge influence on Shevchenko’s coaching career so far.

‘Shevchenko learned a lot from the coaches he worked with and Carlo Ancelotti was a real mentor,’ Maldera continued.

‘He is meticulous in the attention to detail when preparing games and tracking player progress.

‘What he shares with Massimiliano Allegri is the ability to read the game, pre-empt what is about to happen, when it’s time to hunker down and defend or go all-out attack. 

‘Sheva is a credible figure and the players really trust him, which is fundamental in the modern game.’

Shevchenko has been linked with the managerial post at his former Serie A side Milan

Maldera said that Shevchenko had learnt a lot from former manager Carlo Ancelotti 

 

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Bayern Munich stars return to training despite fears over coronavirus

Bayern Munich stars have returned to training despite fears over coronavirus.

More to follow…

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Coronavirus: PFA chief says Premier League players ‘have agreed to play their part’

Professional Footballers’ Association boss Gordon Taylor says Premier League players have “agreed to play their part” during the coronavirus pandemic while other sporting events have been postponed on Tuesday.

Premier League clubs have proposed wage cuts of around 30 per cent for their players, but negotiations with the PFA have hit a stumbling block. Members are concerned that the money made by their financial sacrifice will not be going to the right places, namely the NHS and public services.

The stalemate has seen the players receive widespread criticism, with health secretary Matt Hancock calling for them to take a cut.

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“They’ve all agreed to play their part,” PFA chief executive Taylor told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, adding that players are “responsible enough” to know wages are a factor in any club’s expenditure. “We’ve been consistent with what we’ve said from the beginning and the fact is the players feel quite aggrieved that the secretary of state for health should put them in a corner without looking.

“They’re not self-employed, they make massive contributions to the Treasury and they’ve also quite logically felt that if they don’t get that money, if a third is deferred or a third is cut, then the Treasury is £200m a year worse off and that could be going towards the national health and will be needed.”

Two more MotoGP events have been postponed because of the pandemic. The Italian Grand Prix on 29-31 May and Catalan Grand Prix on 5-7 June have both been called off.

A statement from organisers read: “As the situation remains in a state of constant evolution, new dates for these grands prix, as well as the recently-postponed French and Spanish GPs, cannot be confirmed until it becomes clearer when exactly it will be possible to hold the events.”

The Mercedes F1 team will start delivery of up to 10,000 new breathing devices to the NHS this week – part of Formula 1’s Project Pitlane scheme to help fight coronavirus.

The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices, which help coronavirus patients with lung infections to breathe more easily, were developed by engineers at Mercedes, University College London (UCL) and clinicians at UCL Hospital.

Olympic champion Adam Peaty will take part in a virtual bike race on Wednesday to raise money for the NHS. The 2016 gold medallist will race the 100km ride along with Commonwealth Games boxer Callum Johnson at 10am via virtual racing platform Go Swift.

Peaty tweeted: “I’ve decided to join the 100km ride to raise money for the NHS Charities tomorrow 10am on GoZwift. It’s a public and open event and would be great to have you ride with us!”

The 25-year-old was preparing to defend his 100m breaststroke crown won at Rio four years ago before the 2020 Tokyo Games were postponed.

PA

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Dwyer hopes to get Heir-borne at Lakeside

DON’T worry about the name, the only thing contagious about Viral today at Sandown Lakeside will be the banknotes in our wallets.

Herald Sun tipster Gilbert Gardiner has found a number of winning hopes set to contest an tricky eight-race card at Sandown Lakeside.

Our value bet Hernandez got up and paid $10 on Tuesday at Bendigo.

SANDOWN

BEST BET

VIRAL

R5 No. 2 $4.20

Run of the race at the Valley last start when snagged back from barrier 11 and came with one big barnstorming run into second. Drawn out a shade but should be too good.

WAR TIGER

R8 No. 4 $3.40

Lloyd Williams-owned import won with some authority in Adelaide last start and from plum draw will go on with the job.

War Tiger (R) brings home the bacon in the Adelaide Cup. Picture SARAH REEDSource:News Corp Australia

NEXT BEST

CHART BUSTER

R1 No. 1 $4

Has improved with every run and looks ready to win now after being nabbed late last start. Small fields always tricky but race experience holds the colt in good stead.

DONE BY ME

R4 No. 1 $6

Savaged the line first up at Mornington and only just missed the placings. Has won second up previously and looks ready to go again.

VALUE BET

JIMMY WITHA DASH

R3 No. 3 $10

Decent SA form but when astute trainer Will Clarken brings horses to Victoria they tend to find another gear, especially with Jamie Kah on top. Market support?

THE TRAINER

HENRY DWYER

PEACE BROTHER

R2 No. 10 $41

"He's just kicking off, will need further."

MOSCOW RED

R6 No. 5 $16

"Going really well, hopefully some of the sting stays out of the track, really likes the wet track and ticking over really well."

HEIR TO THE THRONE

R8 No. 9 $13

"No luck at Albury last time over a mile and racing like he wants further. He's in good order and ready to run well."

THE BLACK LEOPARD

R8 No. 7 $9.5

"He just had a tick over run at Sale last week, back up to a more suitable distance, any give in the track would be a real advantage."

Apprentice sweats on inquiry after self-isolation blunder

Apprentice rider Lachlan King is free to ride today at Sandown Lakeside after stewards last night adjourned an inquiry into a minor breach of industry guidelines.

King was unable to fulfil a ride in Race 4 at Bendigo on Tuesday after being stood down for accidentally sitting in the wrong jockeys’ rooms.

King left the racetrack shortly after, pending the stewards’ inquiry.

As one of the 25 hoops in Racing Victoria’s self-isolation program King must not mix with other jockeys as part of a concerted industry effort to reduce the risk of COVID-19.

Under the radical isolation model, the “Green Team” jockeys, who cannot ride in track work or barrier trials either, use a separate jockeys’ room on race days.

King had strictly abided by the self-isolation rules before yesterday’s misdemeanour.

His agent Morgan Betts said the apprentice sat in the wrong room “out of habit” after being weighed out.

King has rides in races 2 and 7 today at Lakeside.

Originally published asDwyer hopes to get Heir-borne at Lakeside

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