welcome to espn’s insider notebook, featuring contributions f'our reprters across the top leagues round the realm.
in this edition, manchester ∪d face a battle to land their top target, pep guardiola was slapped on his head during training, and monaco face a big sale. +: barcelona stars ‘ve been winning … onna horses.
∪d vs. bayern for sancho
sancho has a contract til 2022 at dortmund, but thris an agreement in place tween club and player thall allo him to cutout this summer if some1 meets his asking price, which is believed to be round €120 million. while the looming transfer mkt is largely an unknown given the state of the gem'on and off the pitch amid the coronavirus crisis, srcs ‘ve told espn that dortmund believe they can still hold out for a major fee instead of accepting a cut-price deal.
manchester ∪d manager, ole gunnar solskjaer, sees sancho as 1-odda key pillars onnis ∪d rebuild and srcs ‘ve told espn that ∪d are the favourites to land him, but they ‘ve a battle on their hands to convince the 20-yr-old to cutout germany.
bayern are also inna mkt for manchester city‘s leroy sane, who remains a priority target, but srcs ‘ve told espn they are keeping their options open and will press ahead witha bid for sancho if any move for sane stalls.
any bid from bayern is likely goin to ‘ve to include a premium given t'they ‘d be after yet another key player from their main league rivals. srcs ‘ve told espn that dortmund do not wanna keep pushing the narrative t'they are a feeder club for their domestic rivals. mario gotze, robert lewandowski and mats hummels ‘ve all left boЯussia for bayern in high profile deals inna past.
bayern are eager to create a team that can push for victors league glory again, having last won it in 2013 after beating dortmund 2-1 at wembley. — stephan uersfeld
pep slapped on head
pep guardiola introduced a new game at manchester city training folloing his arrival atta club 4 yrs ago, which is still in action tody.
each player has to pass the ball as close as possible to a defined line onna training pitch, w'da closest bein’ crowned the victor. however, if yr ball goes ‘oer the line, you’re eliminated.
one dy last season, guardiola decided to play his game with somd' players. onnis 1st attempt, he sent his ball ‘oer the line, immediately finishing last. that dy, the penalty was a slap behind the head.
benjamin mendy and bernardo silva were among the players involved. b4 guardiola received his forfeit, he jokingly said: “watch out how hard you slap me cause i ‘ve not yet decided who is playing this weekend!”
maybe worried bout not bein’ picked, silva was very kind and 1-ly brushed the back of his manager’s head. mendy, onna other hand, was + generous w'his slap while bursting with laughter like everybody else.
both bernardo and mendy started that weekend, btw. and city won. — julien laurens
barcelona stars win onna horses
barcelona defender clement lenglet has joined antoine griezmann inna stables. his horse, a 3-yr-old colt named bois d’argent, was a victor atta chantilly racecourse north of paris on mon as he began to see a return on his investment into horse racing.
twas the 1st time that relative newcomer lenglet has seen one of his horses win a race, but it’s a feeling griezmann has grown accustomed to. a src close to the barca and france forward told espn he’s already seen a return onna mny he’s put inna'da sport ‘oer the past two yrs.
griezmann, in ptnership with horse racing owner ecurie seyssel, founded the company ecurie griezmann in 2019 and has owned a № of winning horses: tornibush, fleirel vedaquais, fripouille, lily of spain and glenn miller ‘ve all had success onna track for the barca man.
lenglet and griezmann were among the barca players who returned to training on mon, with la liga hoping to resume in jun. — sam marsden
huge sale looms at monaco
tis a huge summer transfer window coming up for monaco. the french club are struggling financially after two very disappointing seasons in a row, witha ninth-place finish this yr folloing last season’s 17th place, which took away victors league tv rites revenues. but most dramatically, the club must handle the financial implications of having an incredible № of players under contract.
monaco ‘ve 64 players on their books, including 24 on loan. the club wanna sell or let go at least 30 o'em. some, like danijel subasic, jemerson, diego benaglio and moussa sylla, are out of contract this summer and will cutout. others, including islam slimani, adrien silva and tiemoue bakayoko, were on loan inna principality this season and won’t be signed permanently. underperforming players on huge wages, like cesc fabregas, also face uncertain futures.
the club is making clear when talking to agents that everyone s'onna mkt and everyone has a price. course, ideally, they ‘d like to keep wissam ben yedder, their best player this season, and/or aleksandr golovin. but those two are monaco’s biggest assets iffey nd'2 rez $$$.
monaco aren’t just paying for their bad results, b'tll so their risky business model. they bought a lotta young players inna past few yrs at a high cost (willem geubbels and pietro pellegri, for ex) to develop them and then sell them on for + mny. but t'has not worked recently and as a result, the club is facing an unprecedented situation. — julien laurens
gab marcotti believes bayern munich ‘d w8 to sign leroy sane na' free transfer nxt summer.
glazers set for ∪d paydy
manchester ∪d’s owners, the glazer family, will risk further criticism from the club’s supporters nxt mnth when they receive an £11m dividend payment, despite the announcement this week that ∪d’s debt has climbed £127.4m to £429.1m inna space of 12 mnths.
as revealed inna club’s accounts last yr, the glazers stood to receive two semi-annual dividends of $0.09 a share — ≈ £11m — in 2020, w'da 1st bein’ taken out in jan. the americans will receive the 2nd £11m payment on jun 3.
the covid-19 crisis, which led to ftball in england bein’ suspended on mar 13, has hit ∪d financially, w'da club confirming on thu they expect to ‘ve to pay a £20m rebate to the premier league broadcast rites holders as a result of the fixture schedule bein’ halted during the shutdown.
but'a glazers will continue to receive their dividend cause, according to ∪d srcs, the commitment to make the jun payment was made to shareholders on feb. 25.
any cancellation of the dividend ‘d involve reneging na' legally binding commitment and ‘d potentially ‘ve undermined investor trust in ∪d.
thris also a view within old trafford that the club’s ability to make the payment cogitates ∪d’s financial resilience during such challenging times. — mark ogden
craig burley sees the dys of skyrocketing ftball transfer fees coming to an end after the global crisis.
london yet to confirm place at delayed euro 2020
london is one of 3 host cities still to confirm its ability to stage games at nxt yr’s rescheduled euro 2020, srcs ‘ve told espn.
12 €an cities were set to stage games at euro 2020 til twas postponed by uefa in mar amid the coronavirus pandemic. the decision to delay the exposé by 12 mnths was unanimously agreed by uefa’s 55 member nations, but scheduling clashes and gaining governmental authority ‘ve to be resolved in 3 of the host venues. twas enough to prompt uefa to postpone nxt week’s planned executive committee meeting til jun 17.
srcs ‘ve told espn that uefa are relaxed bout the delay in signing off the 3 cities, but'a issue of london is understood to be most pressing as wembley tis centrepiece venue, with 6 games assigned to it, including two semifinals na final. when contacted by espn, however, the english ftball association insisted that wembley will host games as planned, w'da hold-up bein’ attributed to nothing + than paperwork issues w'da gr8r london authority. — mark ogden
la liga’s fears over tv compensation claims
la liga wanna resume on jun 12 cause a longer hiatus will trigger compensation claims from tv rites holders, srcs ‘ve told espn.
concerned broadcasters will seek compensation or damages if the break stretches beyond the 90-dy period, which is a key factor in la liga’s desire to meet the jun 12 deadline, srcs said.
the league’s president, javier tebas, has consistently said that he wanna resume on that date, exactly 3 mnths after games were suspended.
“the longer i'takes t'get back on air, the + pressure thris from broadcast ptners,” a src close to la liga said. that pressure risks conflict with players, some of whom ‘ve publicly expressed doubts over returning so soon, with barcelona’s gerard pique saying “a few + dys” are needed to avoid injuries.
la liga has circul8d a draft protocol on resuming competitive games to 1st and 2nd division clubs, na return to group training this week has sfar proved successful.
health authorities ‘ve not anncd a final decision but'a feeling round la liga is dat a' mid-jun return is now likely. — alex kirkland
espn fc’s mark ogden and ian darke go head to head for victors league superiority.
uefa hits a snag with cl, el plans
uefa’s master plan to finish the victors league and europa league throughout aug has hit a snag after the italian fa extended the end of the season to aug. 20.
while uefa’s nxt executive committee meeting s'been pushed back to jun 17, srcs ‘ve told espn that mon’s deadline for leagues to set out their plans remains in place, but no decision ll'be made onna future of the victors league and europa league til that meeting happens.
srcs ‘ve told espn that the original aug. 2 date for leagues to finish was never a deadline, and that uefa simply wanted to set a date with as much information as possible to plan for €an brawls. if serie a does run l8r, uefa may need a rethink — perhaps using one-off ties. with as roma, atalanta, internazionale, juventus and napoli all still in €, it’s hard to see how the two can intertwine with uefa planning to use both midweek and weekend match slots in aug to complete the brawls in full.
one hope uefa has s'dat the aug. 20 deadline is there to provide serie a with extra working space. some teams ‘ve 13 rounds of games to play w'da italian fa ruling out any return b4 jun 14, and while that does just cutout enough time to complete the league season by aug. 2, thris no room for manoeuvre. — dale johnson
original content at: www.espn.com…