From overhaul to tinkering: Big 6 transfer plans set in EPL

AP Updated: 14 June, 2019, 11:58 AM IST

One club is in desperate need of an overhaul. Another cannot sign any players at all. Others might just decide to tinker around the edges.

The transfer window is in full swing and it promises to be another important offseason for the Premier League's so-called "Big 6."

Here is a look at the requirements and restrictions facing Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal, and Manchester United before the window shuts in England on Aug. 8.

MANCHESTER CITY

The champions are expected to target two main areas: Left back and central midfield.

Pep Guardiola's trust in Benjamin Mendy is wavering because of the France left back's poor injury record and his off-the-field indiscipline. Oleksandr Zinchenko, who joined City at age 19 in 2016 as an attacking midfielder, ended last season as the first-choice left back but City will want a specialist in that position after two seasons of players filling in for Mendy.

City also needs back-up to holding midfielder Fernandinho, who has been an unsung star in recent years but just turned 34, to stay fit for a full season. Guardiola may choose to sign a more attacking midfielder and use Ilkay Gundogan as the back-up anchorman to Fernandinho, or buy a ready-made defensive midfielder.

It could be an important offseason for City, which could soon be hit with a transfer ban by FIFA for breaking rules related to the protection of youth players and third-party ownership.

LIVERPOOL

Juergen Klopp has built a fairly complete squad at Liverpool and there are very few areas which need strengthening.

It may be that he just looks to add depth in certain positions, notably left back where Andrew Robertson is without specialist cover following the departure of Alberto Moreno at the end of contract.

If goalkeeper Simon Mignolet leaves to get first-team opportunities, Liverpool will need a back-up to Alisson.

CHELSEA

One of the club's greatest ever players, Eden Hazard, has left for Real Madrid and another winger, United States international Christian Pulisic, has already been signed.

Otherwise, Chelsea's transfer policy is very much up in the air for two reasons: The club is currently banned from registering any new players for breaking youth transfer rules — an appeal has been filed with the Court of Arbitration for Sport — and there is uncertainty over who the manager will be next season.

Maurizio Sarri has been heavily linked with a return to Italy at Juventus, with Frank Lampard the favorite to replace him as manager. Lampard, Chelsea's record scorer, is currently at second-tier Derby County alongside his assistant Jody Morris, who used to be a youth-team coach at Chelsea.

If the one-year transfer ban isn't lifted, Lampard and Morris would be suited to getting the best out of the club's youngsters who could move into the first-team reckoning.

TOTTENHAM

After failing to sign a player in the past two transfer windows, Tottenham will surely be active this offseason as coach Mauricio Pochettino looks to freshen up his squad.

Where Pochettino strengthens may depend on which of his top players leave. Playmaker Christian Eriksen has said he "might want to try something new" and left back Danny Rose said he doesn't know if he'll be at the club next season. Right back Kieran Trippier has been linked with a move away.

So, full back seems to be an area of concern for Tottenham, while central midfield needs bolstering — whether Eriksen moves or not.

ARSENAL

Missing out on qualifying for the Champions League was a huge setback for Arsenal, making the club a much less-attractive option to potential signings.

Turbulence among the backroom staff — head of recruitment Sven Mislintat left at the start of the year and Darren Burgess, director of high performance, is also expected to depart soon — could also lead to a lack of direction in transfer strategy.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery requires a second goalkeeper to replace the departed Petr Cech, a central midfielder following the exit of Aaron Ramsey to Juventus, and some new faces in defense, the team's weak point for years.

Arsenal will need to be resourceful as it shops around at a lower level than in past years.

MANCHESTER UNITED

Where to start with United, which could have its busiest offseason since the departure of Alex Ferguson in 2016.

The futures of many high-profile, senior players — Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Paul Pogba and David De Gea, for example — appear up in the air, with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seemingly ready to plot a new course regarding the club's transfer strategy and sign young and hungry players who aren't at the elite level.

Daniel James, a 21-year-old winger, has already joined from second-tier Swansea and Crystal Palace right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, also 21, has been the subject of offers from United.

Solskjaer needs a central midfielder to replace Ander Herrera and might also be in the market for a center back and a center forward. Much hinges on whether Lukaku and Pogba, in particular, stay at the club.

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IPL 2020: RCB to wear special training kits to thank frontline warriors

Vedant Yadav Updated: 21 September, 2020, 9:08 PM IST

Ahead of their IPL 2020 opener against SRH on Monday, the Royal Challengers Bangalore players were seen wearing jerseys in training which had the message ‘My Covid heroes’ written on the backside of it.

The franchise later announced that they'll be wearing the same, throughout the season during training sessions to celebrate everyone who have worked towards “making the world a better place” throughout the ongoing pandemic.

In an interview before the match, RCB star player AB de Villiers was asked about the same, and he believes that it's a great initiative by the franchise to honour the frontline warriors.

On being asked about the teams prospects for the ongoing season, De Villiers said: “Have done some fantastic work behind the scenes and we are very well prepared and our net session and training session have been very intense. It’s about trusting each other and executing all the hard work we have put in.”

IPL 2020: I started crying after Brendon McCullum announced that I’ll be playing for KKR, says Ali Khan

Vedant Yadav Updated: 21 September, 2020, 8:29 PM IST

Days before the start of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020, Ali Khan's dream of playing in the cash-lucrative league got fulfilled.

The American pace sensation was roped in by the Kolkata Knight Riders as the direct replacement of bowler Harry Gurney.

Ali's surprise selection came after impressing during the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League (CPL) season, where he plied his trade for the Trinbago Knight Riders. He picked up eight wickets from eight matches with and an economy of 7.43.

Ali has won two of the last three CPL editions and he will be the first player to play in the IPL.

Acording to reports, Ali was also in KKR's radar, last year, after his solid performances in the 2018 Global T20 Canada with the Winnipeg Hawks. He was initially scouted by Windies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo.

Just before their semi-final game against the Jamaica Tallawahs, the TKR squad had gathered for a team dinner when Khan came to know about the start of his journey with the Kolkata franchise.

“As soon as everyone sat in their seats, [Knight Riders coach] Brendon McCullum welcomed everyone to dinner and then he said, ‘A man from the USA will be joining us in Kolkata Knight Riders. I want to take this opportunity to announce that…’,” said Khan as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.

Ali said that he started crying when Brendon made the announcement. He also revealed that the KKR coach gave him a big hug and said: "You deserve it".

IPL 2020: RR skipper Steve Smith available for selection after clearing concussion tests

Vedant Yadav Updated: 21 September, 2020, 7:44 PM IST

Ahead of their opening fixture against MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals' skipper Steve Smith has been declared fit to play, having passed his concussion tests.

Smith has missed three ODIs against England in the UK due to a concussion issue, and there were doubts whether he will be fit to feature in Royals’ season opener.

Andrew McDonald, RR's head coach, confirmed that Smith is available for selection against CSK.

“Fantastic news that Steve is available. It’s fantastic especially on the back of some setbacks back in the UK. It’s obviously great to have your skipper available for the first game as I’ve said before we are in really good hands. In terms of the rest of the squad, we couldn’t be happier with their preparation. We have got what we needed, having been here nice and early to get our preparation going on the back of the long lay-off,” McDonald said in a RR's virtual press release

“We have got the bases covered and have some really good depth in the squad and really looking forward to seeing what it looks like in a real competitive match against CSK. They had a fantastic first game, they’re one game into the tournament which is a slight advantage when you come out against the team that’s already played and performed. So, we’ll definitely have our work cut out and really looking forward to what our guys can bring to the table and we’re really excited about what the journey presents,” he added.

Smith, meanwhile, revealed that he is eager to get back to action, having missed the ODI series against England.

The 31-year-old, Smith, is one of the four main overseas players in the team alongside English trio of Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes.

Jofra is expected to be in the playing XI while both are Buttler and Stokes will play no part in the game. Buttler is serving a 6-day quarantine period with his family while Stokes has not yet arrived in UAE.

IPL 2020: Jimmy Neesham reacts hilariously after losing yet another super-over

Vedant Yadav Updated: 21 September, 2020, 7:10 PM IST

The Indian Premier League 2020 campaign finally went up and running after Delhi Capitals won a thrilling Super over against the KXIP on Sunday.

After being put out to bat first, DC suffered a massive top-order collapse, only for Marcus Stoinis to save the blushes with a match-deciding half-century.

In their reply, KXIP's openers couldn't better their counterparts but Mayank Agarwal's knock of 89 turned the game in their favour. However, the match forced to Super over after KXIP failed to score 12 runs in the final over.

In the super-over, DC's Kagiso Rabada showcased his class and restricted KXIP to a meagre 3-run target. DC achieved the target with four balls to spare.

However, KXIP's Kiwi all-rounder, Jimmy Neesham, couldn't believe that his team lost the Super over and posted a funny reaction on Twitter. Neesham is very famous for his social media banter.

Interestingly, Neesham was part of New Zealand's team which lost the 2019 World Cup final to England, which went all the way through to the Super over.

The BlackCaps haven’t been lucky, especially in Super Overs. They had also lost two back-to-back T20I's against India in the tie-breaker earlier in 2020.

Neesham posted a gif of famous American comedian/actor, Jim Carey, to express his feelings after losing the Super over. “Oh come on!” said Carey in the gif.

In their second match, Punjab will lock horns with Royal Challengers Bangalore on September 24.

IPL 2020: A loss for India for not selecting Ambati Rayudu for World Cup, says Shane Watson

Vedant Yadav Updated: 21 September, 2020, 6:17 PM IST

Ambati Rayudu was at his ruthless best as Chennai Super Kings outclassed Mumbai Indians on the opening day of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020.

He smashed 71 runs off just 48 balls, which proved substantial to guide his team to a famous win over their eternal rivals.

Rayudu knock was heavily appreciated by fans, who flooded the social media with memes targeting former BCCI selector MSK Prasad, who ignored the former during last year's World Cup squad selection.

Former Australian cricketer and Rayudu's current CSK teammate, Shane Watson, believes that Indian selection panel made a big mistake by not picking Rayudu in the World Cup held last year.

“He an incredibly talented batsman and I think so it was a loss for the Indian ODI team for not picking him in the World Cup squad,” Watson said in a YouTube show named The Debrief.

“He batted incredibly well with scoring options all over the ground,” the Aussie veteran added.

Rayudu was expected to take the crucial number 4 spot, but MSK Prasad decided to pick all-rounder Vijay Shankar, describing the latter as a 'three-dimensional player'.

Former Indian cricketer Aakash Chopra posted a cryptic tweet to MSK Prasad, following Rayudu's match-winning knock on Saturday.

"Might not be a 3D player but still fairly efficient at the one dimension he has....top knock Ambati Rayudu," Chopra tweeted.