Category: Sports Business

Live Transfer Update Sane pauses negotiations amidst interest from Madrid and Barcelona.

Live Transfer Update: Sane pauses negotiations amidst interest from Madrid and Barcelona.

TOP STORY: Sané open to move to LaLiga]

Bayern Munich winger Leroy Sané has left the possibility of a departure from the Bundesliga champions open, as reported by Sport.

Despite having a contract that extends until 2025, the 27-year-old has been a target of significant interest from LaLiga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid in recent months.

In early November, it was reported that there was no firm agreement between Bayern and Sané regarding a contract extension. While currently on international duty with Germany, Sané mentioned that he “hadn’t thought about it yet; the club wants to have conversations, but for now, I want to focus on this season.”

Sané’s playing style aligns well with Barcelona’s winger profile, especially as rumors circulate about Raphinha potentially leaving Camp Nou.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid is seeking to strengthen their attacking depth following an injury to Vinícius Júnior during international duty with Brazil last Thursday.


Barcelona considers a potential transfer for Liverpool's coveted replacement for Salah

Barcelona considers a potential transfer for Liverpool’s coveted replacement for Salah

Barcelona has reportedly joined the competition for the signature of Bayern Munich winger Leroy Sane, who has been strongly linked with a return to the Premier League.

Sane, 28, departed England to join Bayern in 2020, and there is considerable interest from Liverpool in acquiring him as a potential long-term replacement for Mohamed Salah, according to recent reports.

Despite Liverpool successfully retaining the 31-year-old Egyptian during the summer transfer window, the allure of the Saudi Pro League persists. There are suggestions that Salah might depart Anfield in the coming years. With 12 goals and four assists in all competitions this season, Salah remains Liverpool’s most potent attacking force.

His potential departure would create a significant void in Jurgen Klopp’s forward line, prompting the club to explore the possibility of signing Sane.

However, Liverpool faces competition for Sane’s services, as Manchester City has also been linked to re-signing the winger.

Adding to the mix, Spanish outlet SPORT has reported that Barcelona has entered the race to secure Sane’s signature, aiming to enhance the options available to manager Xavi.

Raphinha to fund Sane move?

FootballTransfers has learned that Brazilian winger Raphinha may depart Camp Nou next year, as Barcelona has set a €70 million asking price for him.

Barcelona is reportedly open to letting Raphinha go in 2024, and Tottenham Hotspur has shown interest in bringing him back to the Premier League.

This potential move could create space in Barcelona’s squad for Leroy Sane, and the funds generated from Raphinha’s departure could be crucial in addressing the club’s well-documented financial challenges.

Barcelona’s interest in Bayern players extends beyond Sane, with his international teammate Joshua Kimmich also catching the eye of manager Xavi. Kimmich is being considered as a potential addition to bolster the team’s midfield, particularly in the defensive role.

While Oriol Romeu joined as Sergio Busquets’ replacement during the summer, the 32-year-old is viewed as a short-term solution, prompting Barcelona to explore longer-term options for the position.


Manchester United entices Griezmann with a threefold increase in salary.

Manchester United entices Griezmann with a threefold increase in salary.

Manchester United is reportedly prepared to triple Antoine Griezmann’s current salary at Atletico Madrid in a strategic move to entice him to join Old Trafford, as per a report from Spain.

Griezmann, who had an outstanding 2022/23 season, earning a Ballon d’Or nomination, continues to play a crucial role for Diego Simeone’s team in the current season, netting 12 goals in 16 appearances across all competitions—a firepower that Manchester United is eager to incorporate.

Despite being 32 years old, the French international has been the subject of transfer rumors linking him to the Saudi Pro League or MLS. However, according to El Nacional, Manchester United is gearing up to present a substantial offer to Griezmann, including a significant increase in his earnings.

The report suggests that the Red Devils are prepared to offer Griezmann approximately €21 million annually to secure his services at Old Trafford, nearly three times his current salary at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Griezmann is currently under contract with Atletico Madrid until 2026, having returned to the club from Barcelona in October 2022.

Despite the speculation, Atletico Madrid is adamant about retaining their star player, with president Enrique Cerezo expressing that Griezmann is welcome at the club “until he wishes to leave.”

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Will Griezmann move to Man Utd?

It would come as a surprise for Manchester United to pursue a player like Griezmann at this stage in his career, despite the previous interest in the star during his time with Barcelona.

While Griezmann is an experienced player who could potentially offer short-term benefits at Old Trafford, the Red Devils must consider long-term planning, especially with the involvement of incoming minority owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

Bringing in a new player, likely at a considerable cost, who will be 33 before the next season begins seems unlikely given the club’s strategic direction.

Moreover, Griezmann does not fit the profile of the physical center-forward that Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has demonstrated a preference for in the past.

This raises doubts about the credibility of the transfer rumor, suggesting that it may be little more than speculative discussions.


Real Madrid and Barcelona Target Significant Arsenal Transfer Move

Real Madrid and Barcelona Target Significant Arsenal Transfer Move

According to Spanish outlet AS, both Real Madrid and Barcelona have shown keen interest in securing the services of Arsenal’s striker, Gabriel Jesus.

This attraction dates back to their pursuit of the Brazilian international before he made his £45 million transfer from Manchester City to the Gunners in 2022.

These La Liga giants continue to monitor Jesus closely, with their interest bolstered by his recent outstanding performance.

On Wednesday night, the 26-year-old not only scored but also provided an assist in Arsenal’s hard-fought 2-1 victory against Sevilla at the formidable Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium, widely regarded as one of Europe’s most challenging venues.

Over the course of last season and this one, Jesus has managed to tally 15 goals and eight assists in 44 appearances for Arsenal.

Real Madrid, in the wake of Karim Benzema’s departure for Saudi Pro League club Al-Ittihad during the summer, have been actively searching for a new number nine.

Although they aspire to secure Kylian Mbappe from PSG when his contract expires next summer, he primarily prefers a role on the left.

Meanwhile, Barcelona currently relies on Robert Lewandowski as their main striker but is reportedly interested in signing a backup forward due to concerns over the 35-year-old’s susceptibility to injuries. They have recently been linked with Manchester City’s Julian Alvarez, who has been in impressive form this season, amassing seven goals and assisting in four more across all competitions.


Rio Ferdinand Urges Sir Jim Ratcliffe to Succeed Where Glazers Failed

Rio Ferdinand Urges Sir Jim Ratcliffe to Succeed Where Glazers Failed

In the face of Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s anticipated 25% stake in Manchester United through Ineos Group’s £1.3 billion investment, Rio Ferdinand is advocating for increased transparency. While the Glazer family remains reluctant to sell the club, the Qatari sheikh’s withdrawal leaves Ineos as the sole interested party.

Having previously championed Qatari ownership, Ferdinand now hopes that Ratcliffe will bring better communication to the club, in contrast to the notoriously reclusive Glazers. He emphasized the need to address the lack of communication, as it often leads to uncertainty and the spread of inaccurate narratives.

Ferdinand’s personal experience with anti-Glazer protests during his playing career has been marked by strong opposition to the 2005 takeover and the 2009-10 green and gold protests. Over the past two years, discontent with the Glazers has grown, with fan protests causing disruptions around Old Trafford.

However, Ferdinand believes the ownership issue is unlikely to distract the players.

Reflecting on his time at Manchester United, Ferdinand acknowledged the presence of the green and gold scarf protests and marches. He noted that such protests have their ups and downs, with the interest and intensity fluctuating in response to certain narratives about the football club.

During his tenure, Ferdinand pointed out that no player used these protests as an excuse for performance, and he believes the same holds true for the current era.

Players, like everyone else, may follow online discussions, check their phones, or read the papers, but it doesn’t significantly impact their on-field performance.

Despite a challenging start to the season, Manchester United has shown signs of improvement by winning their last three games against Brentford, Sheffield United, and Copenhagen.

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Rio Ferdinand discussed the previous protests at Manchester United during his time at the club. He remembered the green and gold scarf demonstrations and marches that occurred, noting that such movements had their ebbs and flows. The level of interest and intensity varied in response to specific storylines surrounding the football club.

Ferdinand emphasized that during his tenure, no player used these protests as an excuse for their performance. He believes the same holds true for the current generation of players.

Like any ordinary fan, players might keep an eye on online discussions, check their phones, or read the newspapers, but it didn’t significantly affect their on-field performance.

Despite experiencing their worst start in 37 years, Manchester United has shown signs of improvement by winning their last three games against Brentford, Sheffield United, and Copenhagen.

Harry Maguire has seen a resurgence in his career recently, having started in three consecutive matches for the first time under manager Erik ten Hag. In a triumphant moment, Maguire scored his first goal at Old Trafford in two years, securing a victory against Copenhagen.

Ferdinand, who joined Manchester United in July 2002 as a record-breaking signing for £29.1 million, which also marked a world-record fee for a defender at the time, praised Maguire’s character.

Despite enduring a challenging two years following his excellent performance in the 2021 European Championship, Maguire has displayed admirable resilience to regain his form in recent weeks.

Ferdinand acknowledged that Maguire had to demonstrate strong character, especially considering he had not faced such a situation before.

Maguire’s commitment to training and maintaining his physical condition, even when he wasn’t in the starting lineup, has been crucial.

Ferdinand expressed confidence that as long as Maguire continues to perform well, he will thrive, and the manager’s trust in his abilities remains intact.


Live Liverpool Transfer Updates: Musiala Battle, Gonzalez Future, Keita Claim

Live Liverpool Transfer Updates: Musiala Battle, Gonzalez Future, Keita Claim

Liverpool Transfer Update: Musiala, Gonzalez, Phillips, and More

In the world of Liverpool Football Club, the transfer rumor mill is always buzzing with activity. From potential signings to ongoing speculations, here’s the latest on what’s happening in the Liverpool transfer scene.

Jamal Musiala, the young star from Bayern Munich, has been a hot topic of discussion. The German international is reportedly on Liverpool’s radar, but they face stiff competition from other top clubs.

Both Manchester City and Real Madrid are said to be interested in securing the services of this talented youngster. As the battle for Musiala’s signature unfolds, Liverpool fans are anxiously waiting to see if he’ll be the next addition to their squad.

Another player generating buzz is Nico Gonzalez. The Liverpool faithful are curious about the Argentine’s future plans, particularly after his time with Fiorentina.

While there is no confirmation yet, Liverpool is rumored to have their eye on Gonzalez, adding to the excitement surrounding their potential transfer moves.

Liverpool supporters can also look forward to the Europa League game at Anfield against Toulouse. As the anticipation builds, fans can stay updated with all the latest developments in the transfer market while keeping an eye on this important fixture.

For those seeking a constant stream of Liverpool news, the Liverpool ECHO offers various platforms for engagement. Follow @LivEchoLFC on Twitter to share your thoughts and stay connected with the Liverpool FC community. Subscribing to their free Liverpool FC newsletter provides a convenient way to receive regular updates.

Additionally, their YouTube channel and the Blood Red Podcast keep fans informed, featuring familiar ECHO regulars like Paul Gorst, Ian Doyle, Joe Rimmer, Sean Bradbury, Theo Squires, Tom Cavilla, Keifer MacDonald, and more.

To make things even more accessible, the Liverpool ECHO has introduced a WhatsApp community. By joining this community, Liverpool supporters can receive breaking news and top stories directly on their mobile phones. Simply click on the provided link and select ‘Join Community’ to stay in the loop.

If you prefer using your computer or tablet, you can scan the QR code to access the group.

Stay tuned for further updates, and let the Liverpool ECHO keep you informed about all things Liverpool FC.

Musiala competition

In the ongoing transfer saga, Manchester City has thrown its hat into the ring to compete with Liverpool for the coveted signature of Bayern Munich’s star, Jamal Musiala.

The 20-year-old sensation has been on Liverpool’s radar recently, but it’s apparent that the competition for the services of this German international is heating up. According to BILD, Pep Guardiola has expressed a strong interest in Musiala and is determined to secure his talents. As a result, a fierce competition is expected to unfold between Manchester City and Liverpool for the Bayern attacking midfielder.

The battle for Musiala’s acquisition promises to be a closely watched affair, with both Premier League giants vying for his services. As the transfer window progresses, the fate of this talented youngster remains uncertain, leaving fans eagerly awaiting the final outcome of this transfer tussle.

Werder Bremen learn ‘don’t risk anything’ after Keita injuries

Werder Bremen is said to be adopting a cautious strategy following their unfortunate experience with the signing of Naby Keita from Liverpool. The former Liverpool player has been plagued by a string of injuries since leaving Anfield and has managed to appear in just three matches across all competitions this season.

The latest reports from SportBILD, via Sport Witness, suggest that Keita’s return is unlikely until after the November international break. This prolonged absence has left the club understandably frustrated with the ongoing situation concerning the Guinean midfielder.

Werder Bremen is now approaching their player’s return with extra care, given the past injury setbacks, to ensure his full recovery and avoid further risks.


Dusty Baker Announces Retirement as Houston Astros' Manager in Interview with Newspaper

Dusty Baker Announces Retirement as Houston Astros’ Manager in Interview with Newspaper

Dusty Baker has officially retired as the manager of the Houston Astros, concluding a remarkable 26-year career as a major league skipper, with the highlight being a World Series victory last season.

HOUSTON (AP) — Dusty Baker has announced his retirement as the manager of the Houston Astros, marking the end of a distinguished 26-year career as a major league skipper. This career was highlighted by a World Series win last season.

Baker shared this news during an interview with USA Today. He expressed his gratitude, saying, “I’m very grateful and thankful to (owner) Jim Crane and the Houston Astros for giving me this opportunity, and to win a championship.’’ Baker conveyed that he felt they had been good for each other. He further mentioned, “What I really appreciate is that Jim has been totally honest and transparent with me on all things.’’

In his interview with the newspaper, Baker also expressed his desire to transition into an advisory role in baseball, whether with the Astros or a team nearer to his Northern California home. He stated, “I’ve still got a lot to offer; baseball has been my life,’’ said Baker. “I have a lifetime of knowledge, much more than those who have never played the game.’’

The AP attempted to contact the 74-year-old Baker for comment but did not receive a response.

The Astros have scheduled a news conference for Thursday morning, which will be attended by Baker, Crane, and the general manager, Dana Brown.

Baker decided to step down after completing his fourth season with the Astros, who came just one win short of reaching the World Series for a third consecutive year, with a loss to the Rangers on Monday night.

Known for his iconic toothpick-chewing habit and legendary storytelling, Baker was well-acquainted with nearly everyone in the baseball world. He wrapped up his career ranking ninth with 2,183 victories in 4,046 regular-season games. He became the 12th manager in major league history to reach 2,000 wins and the first Black man to achieve this milestone.

Of the other 11 managers who have achieved at least 2,000 wins, ten are in the Hall of Fame. Bruce Bochy (2,093), who is still managing the Texas Rangers and is not yet eligible for Hall of Fame induction, is the sole exception.

Houston shortstop Jeremy Peña paid tribute to Dusty Baker, saying, “Dusty Baker is a legend in this sport. I’ve loved every single day that I’ve gotten to share with him on this ballclub. He’s been great for me. He’s shown so much confidence in me. He’s been a great manager.’’

Baker embarked on his managerial career in 1993 after a 19-year playing career as an outfielder. He played alongside Hank Aaron in Atlanta and secured a World Series victory with the Dodgers in 1981.

Before joining the Astros, Baker managed the San Francisco Giants, the Chicago Cubs, the Cincinnati Reds, and the Washington Nationals. He is the only manager in major league history to lead five different teams to the postseason.

He arrived at the Astros to restore their reputation after the sign-stealing scandal that led to the dismissal of manager A.J. Hinch.

Baker achieved a record of 320-226 with the Astros, guiding them to the playoffs in each of his four seasons and clinching the pennant twice.

He is one of only three Black managers to win a World Series, joining Dave Roberts (Dodgers, 2020) and Cito Gaston (Blue Jays, 1992 and 1993).

Prior to winning with Houston last season, Baker experienced two World Series defeats. In 2002, his San Francisco Giants, featuring Barry Bonds, lost to the Angels in seven games. That defeat was preceded by a crushing loss in Game 6, where the Giants squandered a five-run lead against the Angels in the sixth game of the series. As the away team for the final two games of that series, the Giants ultimately lost the title with a 4-1 defeat in Game 7.

After being let go by the Nationals following a 97-win season in 2017, Baker questioned whether he would ever have the opportunity to manage again, let alone win that elusive title.

Back in California, as he worked on his wine business and cultivated collard greens in his garden, he often felt baffled about being repeatedly overlooked for managerial interviews. He revealed that his inquiries over the years had gone unanswered.

Then came Crane’s call after the sign-stealing scandal, and Baker was back in the dugout.

Baker assumed control in the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season. The Astros barely made it to the playoffs as a wild card before gaining momentum in the postseason and coming within one victory of reaching the World Series.

Baker was a lifelong friend of Hank Aaron, who passed away in 2021. He was on deck and part of the Braves’ gathering at the plate to celebrate with Aaron on April 8, 1974, when Aaron hit his 715th home run, surpassing Babe Ruth for the most all-time.


Australia's Men's Cricket Team Continues to Lack Shirt Sponsor for Upcoming Summer of Cricket

Australia’s Men’s Cricket Team Continues to Lack Shirt Sponsor for Upcoming Summer of Cricket

The Australian cricket team faces the possibility of heading into the summer Test matches without a sponsor for their playing shirts, following the expiration of the notable $40 million deal with Alinta earlier this year.

While some team members have already participated in commercials without shirt sponsorship, Cricket Australia is actively seeking a commercial partner to ensure their playing uniform remains emblazoned with branding throughout the upcoming season.

The last instance of Australia’s cricket team embarking on a home season without shirt sponsorship was in the 1995-96 season. Cricket Australia’s Stephanie Beltrame stated, “We have had significant interest from various brands, including for properties that are currently under contract.

The uniforms worn by our Australian cricket teams are iconic, and we are comfortable taking our time to secure a great partnership for the men’s shirt that is mutually beneficial for all parties.”

Men’s captain Pat Cummins had previously expressed ethical concerns regarding the Alinta deal, highlighting the energy provider’s significant carbon emissions.

Australian Cricketers Association board director Usman Khawaja stressed that players should have a say in selecting sponsors for the team shirt, emphasizing their responsibility to consider sponsorships in the context of broader public interests.

Mike Baird, the new chair of Cricket Australia and former NSW premier, has been critical of alcohol brands occupying prominent positions on the front of playing shirts in the past, aligning with the changing landscape of inclusivity and ethical considerations in sports sponsorships.


Report External Firm Provides Evidence to NCAA, Initiating Michigan Sign-Stealing Investigation

Report: External Firm Provides Evidence to NCAA, Initiating Michigan Sign-Stealing Investigation

The Washington Post reports that an NCAA inquiry into Michigan’s sign-stealing scheme was initiated by an external investigation. This investigation uncovered videos, documented plans, and budgets for improper scouting of Wolverines’ opponents.

Citing unnamed sources, the Washington Post reported that the external firm obtained computer drives used by several Michigan coaches. Last week, the firm provided evidence to the NCAA, indicating that Connor Stalions, the suspended low-level staffer, was not the sole person on staff aware of the scheme.

A knowledgeable source confirmed to The Associated Press that an outside firm supplied the NCAA with evidence, including photos, videos, and documents, which triggered the association’s investigation. The source requested anonymity due to the ongoing investigation.

The identity of the entity that commissioned the firm for the Michigan investigation remains unknown.

The NCAA informed the Big Ten Conference, which subsequently notified Michigan’s upcoming opponents. Both Michigan and the Big Ten acknowledged the investigation last week.

Michigan’s coach, Jim Harbaugh, who recently served a three-game suspension due to unrelated NCAA recruiting violations, has denied any knowledge or involvement in improper opponent scouting.

Michigan has refrained from providing further comments, citing the ongoing investigation.

Michigan, currently ranked No. 2 with an 8-0 record, has secured the Big Ten title and participated in the College Football Playoff in the last two seasons. The Wolverines have a bye this week.

NCAA regulations do not explicitly prohibit sign-stealing but prohibit the use of electronic devices to record opponent signals and in-season advanced scouting.

There are also rules against unsportsmanlike or unethical behavior by coaches, with head coaches typically held responsible for violations occurring under their supervision.

Stalions appeared to purchase tickets to opponents’ games and dispatched individuals to record sideline signals for play calls. Images and videos from the last two seasons show Stalions standing near Wolverines coaches on the sideline.

Stalions joined the recruiting staff in 2022.

Several Big Ten schools have discovered ticket purchases in Stalions’ name for their games over the past three seasons. Records also indicate ticket purchases in Stalions’ name for the last two SEC championship games.

The Washington Post reported that the external firm presented the NCAA with photographs of individuals suspected of acting as scouts for Michigan, including current students interning with the football team. These individuals were photographed at games of Michigan’s opponents this season, pointing their cellphones towards the sidelines.

The firm informed the NCAA that cellphone videos from these games were uploaded to a computer drive accessed by Stalions and other Michigan assistants and coaches. However, there was no direct evidence linking Harbaugh to the improper scouting and sign-stealing scheme.


Arsenal Seek Ideal Gabriel Jesus Backup in Mbappe Alternatives

Arsenal Seek Ideal Gabriel Jesus Backup in Mbappe Alternatives

Mikel Arteta’s Quest for a January Striker amid Gabriel Jesus Injury

As Gabriel Jesus faces a hamstring injury setback, Mikel Arteta may be considering a January striker acquisition. Ollie Watkins, a 27-year-old forward, has emerged as a potential target due to his outstanding performance with Aston Villa.

Watkins recently extended his contract with Aston Villa until 2028 and has impressed with five goals and five assists in nine Premier League appearances under Unai Emery’s management this season.

The English striker’s eye-catching displays have garnered attention from top European clubs, with Arsenal being encouraged to make a move.

In an interview with DAZN Bet, former footballer Michael Owen expressed his belief that Watkins could become one of the Premier League’s best strikers, stating, “I think Ollie Watkins could be one of the very best strikers in the Premier League.

He highlighted Watkins’ potential and the progress he has been making, particularly with the coaching and support he’s receiving.

While Owen praised Watkins, he also acknowledged that a move to Real Madrid might not be on the horizon just yet.

He stated, “I don’t think Watkins is ready for Real Madrid just yet,” emphasizing the need for Real Madrid to target the world’s elite strikers. According to Owen, players like Kylian Mbappe and Harry Kane fit that description.

Furthermore, Owen speculated on Watkins’ future with the England national team, suggesting that he could potentially take over as England’s leading striker after Harry Kane, who is not getting any younger.

This shift in the English squad presents a significant opportunity for players like Watkins, Ivan Toney, and Callum Wilson to secure a prominent role in the national team’s attack.

In summary, Gabriel Jesus’s injury has prompted Mikel Arteta to explore potential striker options for Arsenal, with Ollie Watkins emerging as a promising candidate, thanks to his impressive performances at Aston Villa.

Michael Owen sees Watkins as a burgeoning star in the Premier League, although a move to Real Madrid may still be a distant prospect. Moreover, Watkins could be a vital asset for the future of the England national team, as they look for a successor to Harry Kane.


Rangers Aiming to Match Road Success at Home in World Series Against Arizona

The Texas Rangers have played only four home games over the past month, losing all three in the AL Championship Series.

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The Texas Rangers have only had four home games in the past month, and they lost all three during the AL Championship Series.

Yet, they were back at Globe Life Field on Wednesday, preparing to host Game 1 of the World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

So, is it really a home-field advantage for a team that has already matched a postseason record by winning its first eight road games?

“We enjoy playing here,” All-Star catcher Jonah Heim said before the Rangers’ practice. “Throughout the year, we’ve performed well at home.”

Except against the Houston Astros, which is why the Rangers entered the playoffs as a wild-card team without home-field advantage until now.

Game 1 is on Friday night at the retractable-roof stadium that hosted MLB’s neutral-site World Series in 2020, the first year the ballpark opened.

Both Texas and Arizona had to win Games 6 and 7 of their respective League Championship Series on the road to reach the World Series. This had never happened in both LCS matchups since they expanded to a best-of-seven format in 1985. However, it set up the third World Series between wild-card teams.

“We’ve both played in tough environments. It’s been the theme of the postseason, with road teams performing well,” said Texas second baseman Marcus Semien. “That’s just how it’s been this year for some reason. But our focus now is on performing well at home.”

Excluding the Rangers’ 1-9 record at home this season against Houston, including those ALCS games last week, they are 50-25 against every other team they’ve hosted. They won their only other playoff game at Globe Life Field, completing a three-game sweep of Baltimore in the Division Series.

Arizona, which clinched the NL pennant Tuesday night in Philadelphia, split a quick two-game set at Texas in early May.

The Rangers have home-field advantage in the World Series because they won 90 games in the regular season, six more than Arizona. They would have had it against Philadelphia too, which won 90 games but was swept in three games at Globe Life Field in the first series this season for last year’s NL champions.

Houston also had 90 wins but took the AL West title on a head-to-head tiebreaker due to its 9-4 record against the Rangers during the regular season. The Astros won six of seven in Arlington, including a three-game sweep in September when they homered 16 times and outscored Texas 39-10. They needed every one of those wins to force the tiebreaker scenario.

When the Rangers played their regular-season home finale on September 24, they had seven road games left and controlled their own playoff destiny. However, they went 3-4 on that final trip, losing 1-0 at Seattle on the last day of the season, losing the division crown to Houston.

Texas then had to travel coast-to-coast, going over North Texas along the way, but they swept Tampa Bay in a best-of-three Wild Card Series before traveling up the East Coast to face the Orioles for two games. Then came the Lone Star State rematch with the Astros, which became the second best-of-seven postseason series where the visiting team won every game — the other was Houston’s loss to Washington in the 2019 World Series.

“It was tough. It was rough for us,” rookie third baseman Josh Jung said of that last trip before the playoffs. “I don’t know what switched or what turned on. But it was just this mentality that we were kind of playing hero ball in Seattle.

“What you see this postseason is just passing the baton to the next guy. Have the best at-bat you can, the next guy’s going to do it. We’re not worried about being the hero.”

The Diamondbacks, who lost all three games at home to Houston in the final series of the regular season, also quickly turned things around in the postseason. They also swept through their first two playoff rounds, winning both games in the wild-card round at NL Central champion Milwaukee before winning twice in Los Angeles and then wrapping up the Division Series at home against the 100-win Dodgers.

Texas was 50-31 at Globe Life Field during the regular season, with only Tampa Bay, the Dodgers, and Atlanta winning more home games.

“Once we saw the NLCS matchup, we knew that if we won our pennant, we would get home field, and here we are,” Semien said. “It’s great for the fans, and it’s great for us. We’ve learned from the losses in the (ALCS) that maybe we need to keep our emotions a little calmer in the big moments. Because the fans expect a lot from us, and the home crowds throughout the playoffs expect big things from the home players.”


Casemiro Linked to Surprisingly Affordable January Transfer in Wild Rumor

Casemiro Linked to Surprisingly Affordable January Transfer in Wild Rumor

Casemiro, after a stellar first season at Manchester United, has faced challenges in his second campaign. Despite maintaining his role as a regular under Erik ten Hag, doubts have arisen regarding his form.

Real Madrid, however, maintains faith in his abilities. A surprising report from Spain’s Defensa Central hints at a potential January return for the Brazilian midfielder, with a rumored transfer fee of just €61 million, making it surprisingly affordable.

The report suggests that things haven’t gone as planned for Casemiro at Old Trafford, and he longs to return to his former self. Florentino Perez, Real Madrid’s president, may facilitate his homecoming for the aforementioned fee.

Recent developments have given rise to speculation, and this move could be a major surprise in 2024.

Can Casemiro to Real Madrid become reality?

The prospect of Casemiro making a comeback at Real Madrid is indeed surprising, especially considering his contract runs until 2026.

The reported price for the player is far from economical and may not align with Real Madrid’s ambitions, as they have their sights set on a major move for Kylian Mbappe in the upcoming summer.

While Mbappe may arrive on a free transfer, the associated bonus payments and wages could strain Real Madrid’s financial resources.

Moreover, Casemiro’s Expected Transfer Value (xTV) stands at €37.6 million, a considerable distance from Manchester United’s rumored asking price.

It raises the question: Is Real Madrid willing to allocate such significant resources to a seasoned player with limited potential for a return on their investment if Casemiro continues to underperform at his current club? The outlook appears unlikely.

Real Madrid boasts a formidable midfield roster, featuring talents like Luka Modric, Fede Valverde, Aurelien Tchouameni, Jude Bellingham, and Toni Kroos. This crowded midfield further complicates Casemiro’s potential return and his role within the team.

However, it’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time reports from Spain have suggested Casemiro may regret his move to Manchester United. Therefore, the possibility of his departure should not be summarily dismissed.


Transfer Update: De Bruyne Possibly Joining Ronaldo at Al Nassr?

Transfer Update: De Bruyne Possibly Joining Ronaldo at Al Nassr?

Despite the European summer transfer window coming to a close, the football world is abuzz with ongoing negotiations and persistent rumors.

In this evolving situation, Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr has initiated contact with Kevin De Bruyne’s agent. Their aim is to arrange a meeting with the Manchester City midfielder, as reported by Rudy Galetti.

De Bruyne, an illustrious 32-year-old talent with an impressive track record, boasts 96 goals and 153 assists at City.

His extensive list of accomplishments includes the Champions League, five Premier League titles, two FA Cups, five League Cups, a UEFA Super Cup, and numerous individual awards.

Nevertheless, uncertainties are surfacing regarding the Belgian international’s future at the Etihad. Chief among these concerns is his injury record, which has cast a shadow over his reliability.

De Bruyne is currently sidelined due to an injury that forced him to exit the Premier League opener against Burnley after just 23 minutes.

Should these doubts persist, there is a strong possibility of increased external interest in the midfielder, especially considering his contract’s expiration in the summer of 2025.

Al Nassr has already made a significant statement of intent in the transfer market, securing the services of renowned players such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Sadio Mané, Seko Fofana, Aymeric Laporte, and Marcelo Brozovic.


Live Man Utd Update: De Gea's Return, Onana Reacts, Ten Hag's Boos

Live Man Utd Update: De Gea’s Return, Onana Reacts, Ten Hag’s Boos

Manchester United supporters were shocked on Wednesday when they learned of Erik ten Hag’s strategy to reintroduce David de Gea.

The 32-year-old Spanish goalkeeper may return to the Premier League club on a short-term contract, providing cover for Andre Onana, who is expected to join Cameroon for the Africa Cup of Nations. De Gea has remained without a club since leaving Old Trafford.

Meanwhile, INEOS CEO Sir Jim Ratcliffe is nearing a £1.4 billion acquisition of a 25 percent stake in United, potentially granting him control over football operations. Stay tuned for the latest updates from Old Trafford.


Colts' Anthony Richardson Receives Shoulder Surgery Quarterback's Health Update

Colts’ Anthony Richardson Receives Shoulder Surgery: Quarterback’s Health Update

Indianapolis Colts’ rookie quarterback, Anthony Richardson, is set to miss the remainder of the 2023 season due to a shoulder injury. Gardner Minshew has taken over as the starting quarterback, replacing the first-round draft pick.

Team owner Jim Irsay announced on social media that Anthony Richardson had season-ending surgery on his throwing shoulder this past Tuesday. The extensive procedure took place in Los Angeles, and the doctors found what they had anticipated. Irsay mentioned that Richardson is recovering well, but there is no confirmed date for his return to Indianapolis.

During the surgery, there were no unexpected surprises – the medical team simply repaired what was anticipated. Irsay expressed his gratitude on behalf of Anthony for the overwhelming support he has received.

Richardson made four promising starts but was only able to finish one game due to a series of injuries. A bruised knee and a sore ankle sidelined him in the final minutes of the Colts’ season opener, and he was placed in the concussion protocol after a hit in a Week Two victory against Houston. He didn’t participate in Week Three, and in Week Six, he went down awkwardly, resulting in a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder.

Initially, with a record of 3-4, the Colts placed Richardson on injured reserve. It was decided last week, in agreement with Richardson, that surgery was the best course of action.

Gardner Minshew has taken over as Richardson’s replacement and has appeared in all three of the Colts’ wins, including a start in their Week Three victory in Baltimore. However, since Richardson’s injury, Minshew has thrown four interceptions, lost four fumbles, and has been sacked seven times, resulting in two consecutive losses.

The most recent loss, to Cleveland last Sunday, featured back-to-back questionable calls against cornerback Darrell Baker Jr. The first call erased what would likely have been a game-sealing turnover, and the second moved the ball to the 1-yard line.

Irsay also expressed his opinion on the matter, stating, “The NFL acknowledges and understands that they made incorrect calls at the end of Sunday’s Colts/Browns game. I believe we need to implement instant replay for all calls, including penalties, in the last two minutes of all games.


NFL 49ers' QB Brock Purdy Under Concussion Protocol Following Post-Game Symptoms

NFL: 49ers’ QB Brock Purdy Under Concussion Protocol Following Post-Game Symptoms

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan stated that quarterback Brock Purdy began experiencing symptoms during the plane ride back from Minnesota after a 22-17 loss on Monday Night Football. Purdy is currently in the concussion protocol, but there is a possibility that he can clear it in time for Sunday’s game against the visiting Cincinnati Bengals. Shanahan mentioned, “He does have enough time.”

Brock Purdy, the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, found himself in the concussion protocol due to symptoms that emerged post-game on Monday. Coach Kyle Shanahan shared this information with the press, revealing that Purdy’s symptoms appeared during the return flight from Minnesota, following their 22-17 loss on “Monday Night Football.”

In Purdy’s absence, backup quarterback Sam Darnold will be taking first-team reps. However, Shanahan noted that Purdy is allowed to participate in certain parts of Wednesday’s walkthrough.

There remains a chance that Purdy could successfully clear the concussion protocol before the upcoming game against the Cincinnati Bengals, who have a 3-3 record. Shanahan expressed optimism, saying, “He does have enough time, he just has to go through the process.”

During the game against the Vikings, Purdy played the entire duration, and it is uncertain when he sustained the injury. Despite the setback, he managed to throw for 272 yards, securing one touchdown and recording two interceptions in the loss. This season, Purdy has completed 67.9 percent of his passes, accumulating 1,668 yards, 11 touchdowns, and three interceptions.

It’s worth noting that the San Francisco 49ers signed Sam Darnold, who was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 draft, as a free agent in March. He successfully secured the backup position over Trey Lance during the training camp. Darnold has made appearances in four games this season in mop-up duty, and he holds a career record of 21 wins and 34 losses as a starter.


Arsenal and Liverpool Open Transfer Talks, Henry's David Raya Claim

Arsenal and Liverpool Open Transfer Talks, Henry’s David Raya Claim

Arsenal recently triumphed in the Champions League against Sevilla, regaining their group lead with goals from Martinelli and Jesus. However, the victory came at a cost, with Partey and Jesus sustaining injuries. Their availability for the upcoming Sheffield United match is uncertain.

Meanwhile, transfer discussions have opened up regarding Brazilian midfielder Andre from Fluminense. After their season concludes in early December, Fluminense is willing to negotiate his move.

Arsenal and Liverpool are both reportedly interested in acquiring him, according to Gazeta Esportiva.

Thierry Henry’s David Raya claim

Thierry Henry has voiced his reservations about the recent performance of Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya, who has quickly risen to become the first-choice goalkeeper for the Gunners since joining the club in the summer. Henry’s doubts stem from a series of mistakes in recent matches.

Sergio Ramos admission

Sevilla defender Sergio Ramos has lauded Arsenal as one of the top teams in the Champions League following their recent clash on Tuesday night. The Gunners traveled to Spain with the aim of securing three more points in their quest to advance to the knockout rounds.


Manchester United's Bid to Steal Tottenham's Top Target and Transfer Gossip

Manchester United’s Bid to Steal Tottenham’s Top Target and Transfer Gossip

Rumors abound at Old Trafford, with Sebastian Caceres and Assan Ouedraogo in the spotlight.

Manchester United is reportedly ready to challenge Tottenham in the pursuit of Uruguayan defender Sebastian Caceres next summer. The Manchester Evening News reports that United is keen to make four signings during the upcoming summer transfer window, with a new center-back being a top priority.

Their attempts to secure a replacement for Harry Maguire during the current summer transfer window were unsuccessful, as Maguire declined a £30 million move to West Ham.

This setback halted further additions, as the club had already spent £183 million on players like Andre Onana, Mason Mount, and Rasmus Hojlund to reinforce other positions. However, United is rumored to rekindle their interest in defensive reinforcements.

Reports from Mexican newspaper Record, as mentioned on the Team Talk website, suggest that United has expressed interest in Caceres. Tottenham was initially believed to be leading the race for his signature.

The 24-year-old defender is no stranger to the UK, having started his career as a young player with Liverpool.


Chelsea's Overlooked Player Faces Challenges with Pochettino's Key Trio

Chelsea’s Overlooked Player Faces Challenges with Pochettino’s Key Trio

This summer’s transfer saga at Chelsea centered around the arrival of Romeo Lavia. His role in the Chelsea squad and the obstacles he faces in making his long-awaited debut have been a topic of great intrigue.

The transfer market was abuzz during the summer, with Lavia’s move to Chelsea taking the spotlight, even though it wasn’t the biggest deal in the Todd Boehly era

Initially, it seemed almost certain that he would join Liverpool, but the Blues made a last-minute swoop, securing his services.

However, Lavia has yet to step onto the pitch for his new club. When he first joined Chelsea, the 19-year-old wasn’t match-fit. After working hard to get closer to full fitness, he suffered an unfortunate setback—a troublesome ankle injury.

While the Belgian international is expected to return in December, the exact date for his debut remains uncertain. Even when he is fully fit, it may be challenging for him to find a place in Mauricio Pochettino’s plans.

In recent games, Pochettino has opted for a midfield trio of Conor Gallagher, Enzo Fernandez, and Moises Caicedo, and their performance as a unit has been impressive.

Each player fulfills a distinct role within the midfield trio. In their recent match against Arsenal, they dominated the midfield.

Conor Gallagher, in particular, has made remarkable progress under Pochettino. The 23-year-old has come a long way from his underwhelming 2022/23 season, where he lacked a defined role at the club.

Last season, he was often used as a substitute for his work rate, but Pochettino now has faith in his all-around abilities.

Enzo Fernandez is a key figure for Chelsea, and Moises Caicedo is rapidly growing into a similar role within the team. Even Lesley Ugochukwu, who has had limited opportunities due to the form of the aforementioned trio, has performed well when called upon.

It’s far from certain that Lavia will easily break into the Chelsea side when he regains full fitness. However, Lavia brings something unique to the table that no other Chelsea player possesses—an innate ability to win the ball in midfield.

This is particularly crucial in tough away fixtures against formidable opponents like Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Tottenham.

Nonetheless, when facing defensive-minded teams like Nottingham Forest and Luton Town at home, the requirement for a No.6 may diminish. Regardless, when Romeo Lavia is match-fit, Chelsea won’t rush his return to action, especially if their midfield continues to perform well.

Given Chelsea’s injury woes this season, Mauricio Pochettino will exercise extra caution in reintroducing players. This approach was evident when Reece James made a substitute appearance against Arsenal following a lengthy absence, and Benoit Badiashile remained on the bench.

It’s intriguing to contemplate how Romeo Lavia, who has somewhat slipped from the forefront of many Chelsea fans’ minds, will fit into the squad when he becomes available. Suddenly, his inclusion will provide Chelsea with much-needed midfield depth.


Wolves Manager O'Neil Unfazed by Neto Transfer Speculation

Wolves Manager O’Neil Unfazed by Neto Transfer Speculation

Wolverhampton Wanderers manager, Gary O’Neil, has quashed any rumors of Pedro Neto departing in January. The talented Portuguese winger has recently been linked with moves to Arsenal and Liverpool.

O’Neil, who has a past connection with Liverpool as part of their coaching staff, asserted, ‘Pedro is in high spirits at Wolves. He’s relishing his time on the pitch and has rediscovered his top form. After overcoming a period of injuries and a dip in performance, he’s now delivering his best.’

‘He is deeply integrated into the club and content here. Our focus is on aiding him in achieving significant milestones during his time with us.