Europe’s transfer window set for frantic finale

Updated 31 August 2017
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Europe’s transfer window set for frantic finale

LONDON: Will Barcelona buy another forward to replace Neymar? Can Arsenal keep hold of Alexis Sanchez? Is Monaco about to lose three more of its star players?
Europe’s transfer window closes in most countries on Thursday and there are a slew of high-profile and long-running sagas that are still to be finalized.
Here’s a country-by-country look at the major talking points heading into the final hours of the window:
ENGLAND
It has been a record-breaking transfer window in the Premier League, with clubs using money received from bumper broadcast deals to spend £1.2 billion ($1.55 billion) on players so far. Many teams are still in the market, though.
The future of Alexis Sanchez has been a slow-burner but is likely to be the biggest story on Thursday. Manchester City has been linked heavily with the Chile forward and reportedly made a bid of £50 million ($65 million), even though he has only one year left on his Arsenal contract. City could also sign a center back, potentially Jonny Evans from West Bromwich Albion despite having two bids rejected already.
Liverpool has refused to enter negotiations with Barcelona for playmaker Philippe Coutinho, but will the Reds maintain their “not for sale” stance? Monaco winger Thomas Lemar, Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk and versatile Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have also been targets for Liverpool.
Premier League champion Chelsea wants to offload Diego Costa after the striker was told by manager Antonio Conte that he does feature in the club’s plans. Midfielders Riyad Mahrez and Danny Drinkwater could leave Leicester after handing in transfer requests.
Of the top teams, only Manchester United is likely to be quiet on Thursday.
SPAIN
The transfer window in Spain will close a day later than in most leagues, giving clubs extra time to try to make deals.
Barcelona is still trying to sign Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool, despite three rejected offers, in what would be another blockbuster addition after the arrival of Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund to replace Neymar.
Aside from interest in Coutinho, Barcelona Sporting Director Robert Fernandez said the club may still sign yet another player before the window closes.
Real Madrid is not apparently looking to sign anyone and Atletico Madrid is still banned by FIFA from registering any new players.
FRANCE
Defending champion Monaco should be careful what it wishes for. Although the club is piling up profits, it is dismantling a side that thrilled Europe by reaching the Champions League semifinals and scoring more than 150 goals.
Kylian Mbappe is set to join Paris Saint-Germain on loan with a view to a permanent signing that would make the 18-year-old forward the second most expensive player in history at €180 million ($216 million).
It would also make him the latest from last season’s title-winning side to leave, after attacking midfielder Bernardo Silva, left back Benjamin Mendy (both Manchester City), forward Valere Germain (Marseille), and defensive midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko (Chelsea).
It may not end there as skillful left-sided midfielder Thomas Lemar is courting wide interest, with Liverpool reportedly bidding about €80 million ($95 million) for the France international, and PSG is eager to sign defensive midfielder Fabinho as a long-term replacement for the aging Thiago Motta.
If Lemar and Fabinho are sold, it would push the figure of Monaco’s export sales to nearly half a billion euros ($600 million).
ITALY
It looks like being a quiet final day of the transfer window in Italy once again, with most of the business already done by the major clubs.
AC Milan has been the biggest mover, with its new owners spending more than €200 million ($234 million) on players such as Leonardo Bonucci, Nikola Kalinic, Andre Silva, Ricardo Rodriguez, Franck Kessie, Andrea Conti, Hakan Calhanoglu, Lucas Biglia and Mateo Musacchio.
Defending champion Juventus has brought in Douglas Costa, Mattia De Sciglio, Wojciech Szczesny, Federico Bernardeschi and Blaise Matuidi and could complete a deal for Schalke defender Benedikt Hoewedes.
Inter is also hoping to sign another defender, reportedly Shkodran Mustafi from Arsenal, especially after full back Joao Cancelo injured his knee in training with Portugal on Tuesday.
Roma is unlikely to make any more significant changes after signing Patrik Schick from Sampdoria on Tuesday, and neither is Napoli.
GERMANY
Borussia Dortmund began spending the windfall earned from Ousmane Dembele’s move to Barcelona for potentially €147 million ($173 million) by signing Ukraine forward Andrey Yarmolenko and right back Jeremy Toljan this week. The club still has plenty more money to spend, however.


Kyrgios withdraws from French Open, citing illness

Updated 24 May 2019
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Kyrgios withdraws from French Open, citing illness

  • Roger Federer plays down chances of his winning the mega title

PARIS: After a tantrum in Italy last week, Nick Kyrgios withdrew from the French Open on Friday.

The ATP said the Australian player cited illness as the reason.

Last week at the Italian Open, the 36th-ranked Kyrgios was defaulted and fined during his second-round match after an outburst of rage. Trailing against Norwegian qualifier Casper Ruud, Kyrgios slammed his racket to the clay and kicked a water bottle. Then he picked up a white chair and flung it onto the court.

Kyrgios was fined and lost ATP points but escaped suspension and was expected to play in Paris.

His withdrawal came only days after Kyrgios posted a video online in which he said the French Open “sucks” when compared to Wimbledon, where he trained recently.

In 2015, Kyrgios insulted Stan Wawrinka with crude remarks during a match in Montreal. He was fined $12,500 and given a suspended 28-day ban. He also attracted criticism for deciding not to play at the Olympics because of a spat with an Australian team official, and for firing back at retired players who have offered advice.

Also on Friday, Roger Federer played down his chances of winning the French Open on his first appearance at Roland Garros since 2015, saying that title-winning form might not be “in his racquet.”

The 20-time Grand Slam champion missed the French Open in 2016 through injury before sitting out the next two clay-court seasons in order to focus on Wimbledon.

But he will make his Roland Garros return on Sunday with a first-round tie against unheralded Italian Lorenzo Sonego.

Federer admitted that he is unsure of his title chances, but did compare his current situation with when he ended a five-year Grand Slam drought at the Australian Open in 2017.

“(I) don’t know (if I can win the tournament). A bit of a question mark for me. Some ways I feel similar to maybe the Australian Open in ‘17,” the 2009 French Open winner said.

“A bit of the unknown. I feel like I’m playing good tennis, but is it enough against the absolute top guys when it really comes to the crunch? I’m not sure if it’s in my racquet.

“But I hope I can get myself in that position deep down in the tournament against the top guys. But first I need to get there and I know that’s a challenge in itself.”

Despite being the third seed, Federer faces a tricky draw, with a possible quarter-final against Greek youngster Stefanos Tsitsipas — who beat him in the Australian Open last 16 — and a potential last-four clash with 11-time champion and old adversary Rafael Nadal.

Meanwhile, Nadal said on Friday that he “doesn’t care” if he is the red-hot favorite to lift a record-extending 12th French Open title, insisting that there are a host of players in contention for the trophy.

The world number two holds an incredible French Open win-loss record of 86-2, and hit top form by winning his ninth Italian Open last week with a final victory over old rival Novak Djokovic.