Newcastle summer signings conclude with $38m deal for Lewis Hall, thanks to Saint-Maximin sacrifice

Newcastle summer signings conclude with $38m deal for Lewis Hall, thanks to Saint-Maximin sacrifice
Lewis Hall joins on a loan deal that will be made permanent, for about $38million, if and when some easily attainable performance-related clauses are triggered. (Twitter/@NUFC)
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Updated 22 August 2023
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Newcastle summer signings conclude with $38m deal for Lewis Hall, thanks to Saint-Maximin sacrifice

Newcastle summer signings conclude with $38m deal for Lewis Hall, thanks to Saint-Maximin sacrifice
  • After a slow start to the transfer window, coach Eddie Howe seemed delighted after eventually securing the services of five new arrivals
  • Chelsea teenager Hall is joined by fellow newcomers Sandro Tonali, Harvey Barnes and Tino Livramento, plus Yankuba Minteh who will initially go out on loan to Feyenoord

NEWCASTLE: Only 10 days remain of the Premier League summer transfer window and it is fair to say it has been a bit of a roller coaster ride for Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe.

The first few weeks, in June and July, were rather barren in terms of new arrivals and tensions began to fray as Howe pushed those at the top, including majority owners the Saudi Public Investment Fund, to help get more deals done.

The opening capture of Sandro Tonali from AC Milan, along with that of Yankuba Minteh from Danish side OB, who was immediately loaned out to Feyenoord, was all the Magpies had to show for their dealings by the time the club jetted off to the US a month ago for the Premier League Summer Series.

Fast forward to mid-August and Newcastle, and Howe, are now closed for business, with transfer dealings complete and five newcomers in all welcomed through the door. The final addition, announced on Tuesday, is Chelsea youngster Lewis Hall, who joins on a loan deal that will be made permanent, for about $38million, if and when some easily attainable performance-related clauses are triggered.

So, what changed in the past few weeks? In short, the sale of prized-asset Allan Saint-Maximin on July 30 to Saudi side Al-Ahli was the main catalyst. It was not a deal Howe wanted to make; he loved the silky unpredictability of “Maxi,” as did the fans.

But in order for the club to progress — and meet the Premier League’s profit and financial sustainability, or financial fair play, rules — it was a necessary sacrifice.

The sale of Saint-Maximin took the Frenchman’s wages off the books, with the full fee added to the balance sheet, which freed up considerable room for the Magpies to sign Harvey Barnes from Leicester City, Tino Livramento from Southampton, and now life-long Newcastle fan Hall.

Speaking after securing the services of Hall, the Chelsea Cobham academy player of the year for 2022-23, Howe’s tone and demeanor had changed somewhat from the anxiety-ridden figure he appeared to be in the aftermath of the summer’s opening fixture, a Saint-Maximin-inspired 3-2 win in a friendly against fifth-tier Gateshead on July 15.

“I’d like to thank everyone involved for their tireless work to bring in the players we have,” said the delighted head coach, whose side were narrowly edged out 1-0 on Saturday in their Premier League clash with Manchester City, arguably the best club side in the world at present.

“A lot of time, effort and resources go into a transfer window but we have a real togetherness at all levels here, and I appreciate that teamwork and support.”

Howe’s words carried real meaning, if you roll back the clock to his early summer concerns. Now, though, he seems genuinely pleased with what the Magpies, led by PIF chief Yasir Al-Rumayyan, have managed to conjure thanks to some clever trading.

“I’m delighted to welcome Lewis to Newcastle United,” he said. “He is a player we have tracked closely, as have a number of clubs, so it’s very pleasing to secure him and to add a player of his quality, versatility and high potential to our squad.”

A glimpse at the social media chatter shows just how valued Hall is. The disappointed reactions from Chelsea fans to their club’s announcement confirming the departure of the 18-year-old England youth international are testament to how highly regarded he is.

“I’m very proud,” said Hall. “Me and my family are Newcastle fans and for me and my brother growing up, it was drilled into us that we were Newcastle. It’s a big club and I can’t wait to get started.

“I got a lot of experience last year in some big fixtures and I was really proud of the way I progressed as a player and a person. To now be here at Newcastle, the club that I’ve supported since I was a kid, I’m honored and very proud to wear this shirt.

“It’s very exciting. When you look back on last season and the way the team performed, not just the results but the performances the team were putting in, it was amazing. There’s so many talented players and we’ve got the Champions League now as well, so there’s many different competitions that I know the team will be wanting to do well in — and hopefully get a trophy or two as well.”

Howe’s new-found glee likely comes from a lot more than just the strengthening of his squad in the short term; the long-term strategy also appears to be very much to the fore at the club. Hall and 20-year-old Livramento, in particular, should their present trajectories continue, could potentially be England and Newcastle full-backs for a decade. Hall certainly seems keen on the idea of a long-term future at the club.

“Being a Newcastle fan, there aren’t any other places I want to be,” he said. “I am happy to be here. I will always put 100 percent in but, as a player, I’d like to think I am technically good on the ball, calm, controlled and like to get forward, but also like to do the defensive work, helping the team at both ends.

“There is a lot of competition in the squad because there are a lot of good players. I want to help the team as much as possible. If that means playing some and not others, as long as the team is winning and I am learning and developing, that’s all that matters.

“It is a massive club with big history. Seeing how the club has transformed, seeing that transition phase last season, it is a big reason why I wanted to join. And playing against Newcastle last season, seeing how they play, it is a really talented squad.”

Newcastle United are next in action on Sunday, when they will take on Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool at St James’ Park.


Saudi PIF increases stake in Newcastle United as co-owner Amanda Staveley departs

Saudi PIF increases stake in Newcastle United as co-owner Amanda Staveley departs
Updated 5 sec ago
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Saudi PIF increases stake in Newcastle United as co-owner Amanda Staveley departs

Saudi PIF increases stake in Newcastle United as co-owner Amanda Staveley departs
  • The Public Investment Fund’s stake in the English Premier League club increases from 80% to 85%, while co-owner RB Sports and Media holds the remaining 15%
  • Club chairperson Yasir Al-Rumayyan says: ‘The ownership group … will continue to build on these foundations for long-term sustainable success for the team and our amazing fans”

NEWCASTLE: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has increased its ownership stake in English Premier League football club Newcastle United from 80 to 85 percent.
The agreement, confirmed by the club on Friday, marks the departure of husband-and-wife co-owners Amanda Staveley and Mehrdad Ghodoussi. As part of the consortium that took over the club almost three years ago, Staveley’s company PCP Capital Partners initially held a 10 percent ownership stake, though this was reduced to 6 percent last year when co-owner RB Sports and Media increased its stake from 10 to 14 percent; it will now rise to 15 percent.
The deal is expected to be completed this month, with the PIF and RB saying it is part of their long-term plans to develop the club and ensure it can be a consistently credible competitor in domestic and European competitions.
The PIF, RB and the Newcastle United board thanked Staveley and Ghodoussi for the key role they played in the acquisition of the club from former owner Mike Ashley, and for their dedication to the development of a framework for long-term success over the past two-and-a-half years.
Newcastle’s chairperson, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, said: “Amanda and Mehrdad will forever have our tremendous thanks and well-wishes as they move on to focus on their other business interests. We have achieved so much together since 2021, including achieving Champions League football in our first full season as stewards of this incredible club.
“The ownership group, together with CEO Darren Eales and the club’s executive team, will continue to build on these foundations for long-term, sustainable success for the team and our amazing fans, and we are excited about the future prospects for Newcastle United.”
Staveley described Newcastle as a special, unique club and said being its co-owner has been an honor.
“Mehrdad and I have loved being part of this club and community and are extremely proud of the progress Newcastle United has made in recent years,” she added.
“Our ambition has always been aligned to the brilliant fans of this club: to create consistently successful teams that regularly compete for major trophies and generate pride across the globe.
“We are grateful to have played our part in setting up the club for even more future success. We will remain fans for life.”


Defending champion Alcaraz into Wimbledon final

Defending champion Alcaraz into Wimbledon final
Updated 12 July 2024
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Defending champion Alcaraz into Wimbledon final

Defending champion Alcaraz into Wimbledon final
  • World number three Alcaraz beat his fifth-ranked opponent 6-7 (1/7), 6-3, 6-4, 6-4
  • He will face either seven-time champion Novak Djokovic or Lorenzo Musetti

LONDON: Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz reached his fourth Grand Slam final at Wimbledon on Friday when he recovered from a set down to defeat Daniil Medvedev.
World number three Alcaraz beat his fifth-ranked opponent 6-7 (1/7), 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 and will face either seven-time champion Novak Djokovic or Lorenzo Musetti for the title on Sunday.
Twice Medvedev led with breaks in the first set only to be pinned back by Alcaraz.
Such was his frustration that he was handed a warning for unsportsmanlike conduct by umpire Eva Asderaki for an apparent foul-mouthed reaction to a ball called for bouncing twice as he was broken in the ninth game.
The tournament referee was even summoned to Center Court by Asderaki, but Medvedev shrugged off the incident to sweep through the tie-break and take the opening set in which he committed only eight unforced errors to the Spaniard’s 15.
It was the third time at this year’s Wimbledon that Alcaraz had dropped the first set.
Alcaraz recovered impressively, breaking Medvedev for a 3-1 lead in the second having come out on top in the previous game on the back of a 27-shot rally.
The 21-year-old then hit 14 winners in the third set, pocketing the only break in the third game.
Medvedev, who had knocked out world number one Jannik Sinner in the quarter-finals, retrieved a break early in the fourth set.
But Alcaraz kept up his assault, edging ahead again for 4-3 on his way to victory.


England great Anderson retires with one final flourish

England great Anderson retires with one final flourish
Updated 12 July 2024
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England great Anderson retires with one final flourish

England great Anderson retires with one final flourish
  • Anderson signed off from international cricket with his 704th and final wicket on Friday, ending a glittering 21-year career
  • West Indies skipper Kraigg Brathwaite said he was a “legend of the game,” but understandably would not miss facing him

LONDON: James Anderson signed off from international cricket with his 704th and final wicket on Friday, ending a glittering 21-year career during England’s emphatic win over West Indies and prompting tributes from teammates and fellow greats.

The seamer, aged 41 years and 348 days, had Joshua Da Silva caught behind on his final day of test cricket. He spurned a golden opportunity to make it 705 wickets, shelling a simple catch from Gudakesh Motie and smiled ruefully at the miss.

“I am still gutted I dropped that catch,” he told Sky Sports as he sat in the England dressing room with a pint.

It was the only negative for Anderson on a day in which he demonstrated his skill one final time for an appreciative Lord’s crowd, repeatedly beating the outside edge with seam and swing.

Anderson, who finished with match figures of 4-58, said he would miss competing at the highest level, adding that there was “no better feeling” than winning a test match.

Asked what he was going to do next, Anderson – who is joining the England coaching set-up – added: “I’ve not really thought that far ahead.

“I’m going to stick around with these guys for the rest of the summer, try and help the bowling group out as much as I can and we’ll see where life takes us after that.”

Anderson has certainly earned a rest, having sent down his 40,000th delivery in test cricket late on day two, more than any other seam bowler and putting him fourth on the all-time list.

England captain Ben Stokes described Anderson as “an incredible inspiration for so many people,” adding: “He’s really keen to help the fast bowlers (in his coaching role). I don’t think I could think of a better person to be able to do that.”

West Indies skipper Kraigg Brathwaite said he was a “legend of the game,” but understandably would not miss facing him.

England & Wales Cricket Board chief executive Richard Gould said in a statement: “Jimmy has rightly earned a place as one of the all-time iconic names from world cricket.

“It is testament to the way he has combined his rare talent with outstanding professionalism and work ethic that he bows out still bowling so well more than 20 years after his Test debut.”

India great Sachin Tendulkar said on X: “It has been a joy to watch you bowl — with that action, speed, accuracy, swing and fitness. You’ve inspired generations with your game.”

While Anderson leaves big shoes to fill, Gus Atkinson took 12 wickets in an impressive performance on debut as England cruised to victory by an innings and 114 runs.

Anderson was full of praise for Atkinson, despite the paceman’s wickets denying him a chance to catch Shane Warne (708) in second on the list of all-time test wicket takers.

“He’s going to be an amazing cricketer for England,” Anderson said.

And Stokes told reporters that Atkinson had even apologized to Anderson for taking the final wicket, which led to one last example of the 41-year-old’s competitive spirit.

“Jimmy told him to eff off,” Stokes said.
 


Spain winning Euro priority not Golden Boot race with Kane: Olmo

Spain winning Euro priority not Golden Boot race with Kane: Olmo
Updated 12 July 2024
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Spain winning Euro priority not Golden Boot race with Kane: Olmo

Spain winning Euro priority not Golden Boot race with Kane: Olmo
  • Olmo and Kane are tied on three goals with four other players and if either score in the final on Sunday in Berlin they will likely claim the prize
  • However, with Spain angling for a record fourth European Championship, Olmo said the team’s target was far more important than his own individual glory

DONAUESCHINGEN, Germany: Spain playmaker Dani Olmo is vying for the Euro 2024 golden boot with England’s Harry Kane, but said Friday he doesn’t care about winning it as long as his team lifts the trophy.
Olmo and Kane are tied on three goals with four other players and if either score in the final on Sunday in Berlin they will likely claim the prize.
However, with Spain angling for a record fourth European Championship, Olmo said the team’s target was far more important than his own individual glory.
“It’s an extra motivation, if there’s even room for that, but look, as long as we win, I don’t care if I score or if (Spain goalkeeper) Unai Simon does,” Olmo told reporters.
“I don’t care at all, the important thing is winning the game, but I always have the objective of helping to chip in.”
Olmo has also created two goals for his team-mates but unlike in the past when that was used as a tie-breaker, the award will be shared by any players joint-top of the charts.
The RB Leipzig midfielder did not start the tournament as part of Spain coach Luis de la Fuente’s first choice side but made a strong impact off the bench when given the chance.
Olmo replaced the injured Pedri in the quarter-final win over hosts Germany, scoring and setting up the winner for Mikel Merino.
The midfielder also struck against France in the semifinal and has scored in all three knock-out rounds Spain have played.
“In this tournament I feel very good, in a great moment of form, so I have to keep taking advantage of it,” continued the 26-year-old.
“It’s true (Kane and I) are tied, but there are other players too who have helped us get here, with goals and good play.
“Speaking of goals, Fabian (Ruiz) has two goals, Alvaro (Morata) has one — if he scores a hat-trick then he will win it, and we’d be just as happy — it doesn’t matter who scores, the main thing is the team.”
Olmo scored a hat-trick for Leipzig as they beat Bayern Munich 3-0 in the German Supercup final on Kane’s debut for the Bavarian giants last August.
The England captain has still not won a trophy in his career at club or international level, finishing a runner-up with England in the Euro 2020 final.
Kane, 30, has struggled for form and peak fitness at the Euros despite managing three goals.
“Of course it would be a dream to score a hat-trick (again) and win it,” added Olmo.
“But I repeat, the goal is just to win it.”


Saudi Arabia to host first Esports Olympics in 2025: IOC

Saudi Arabia to host first Esports Olympics in 2025: IOC
Updated 12 July 2024
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Saudi Arabia to host first Esports Olympics in 2025: IOC

Saudi Arabia to host first Esports Olympics in 2025: IOC
  • The duration of the partnership between the IOC and the Saudi NOC will be 12 years
  • Riyadh is already to host the Esports World Cup in July and August, when 2,500 gamers will battle for $60 million in prize money.

Lausanne: Saudi Arabia will host the inaugural Esports Olympics in 2025 the International Olympic Committee said on Friday.
“The International Olympic Committee (IOC) today announced that it has partnered with the National Olympic Committee (NOC) of Saudi Arabia to host the inaugural Olympic Esports Games 2025 in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the body said.
“The proposal will be made to the IOC Session, which will be held on the eve of the Olympic Games Paris 2024.
“The duration of the partnership between the IOC and the Saudi NOC will be 12 years, with Olympic Esports Games held regularly.”
Riyadh is already to host the Esports World Cup in July and August, when 2,500 gamers will battle for $60 million in prize money.
The IOC, in its perpetual quest to reconcile Olympic tradition with attempts to attract a younger audience, held an initial “Olympic e-sport week” in Singapore in June 2023, consisting of “ten mixed-gender category events.”
Last October, the IOC set up an “e-sport commission” chaired by Frenchman David Lappartient, the president of the international cycling union (UCI), to consider a dedicated competition.
However, IOC president Thomas Bach has said in the past he does not see e-sports as part of the traditional Olympics.
“With respect to esports, our values are and remain the red line that we will never cross,” he said.
Nevertheless he expressed his delight that the Esports Games had a natural home in Saudi Arabia.
“We are very fortunate to be able to work with the Saudi NOC on the Olympic Esports Games, because it has great — if not unique — expertise in the field of esports with all its stakeholders,” Bach said in a statement.
“The Olympic Esports Games will greatly benefit from this experience.
“By partnering with the Saudi NOC (National Olympic Committee) we have also ensured that the Olympic values are respected.
“In particular, with regard to the game titles on the program, the promotion of gender equality and engagement with the young audience, which is embracing esports.”
Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal, Minister of Sport and President of the Saudi Arabian Olympic and Paralympic Committee, said he was happy his country was part of sporting history.
“Saudi Arabia is hugely excited by the prospect of partnering with the IOC and helping to welcome a completely new era for international sport,” he said.
“We believe that to take part in the Olympic Games is one of the greatest honors any athlete can achieve.
“And we are proud to support the writing of a new chapter in Olympic history that has the potential to inspire new dreams and new ambitions for literally millions of athletes around the world.”
Conservative Saudi Arabia’s bid to become a sports powerhouse is part of a larger attempt to soften its austere image.
That rebranding is central to the success of its Vision 2030 economic and social reform agenda, designed to prepare the world’s biggest crude exporter for a prosperous post-oil future.
Last year, the kingdom hosted its first ATP Tour event with the Next Gen Finals.
It has also hosted exhibition matches pitting Novak Djokovic against Carlos Alcaraz and Aryna Sabalenka against Ons Jabeur.
In early January, Saudi Arabia appointed Rafael Nadal as ambassador of the Saudi Tennis Federation.
The country, which hosts a Formula 1 and MotoGP Grand Prix, as well as the Dakar rally-raid, has recruited a large number of top football players to its national league in recent years.
The Kingdom has also hosted a series of headline-grabbing boxing matches including the heavyweight unification bout between Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury earlier this year.