Arsenal Transfer News: Latest on Julian Draxler and Miguel Almiron Rumours

Arsenal could be set to miss out on Wolfsburg winger Julian Draxler following reports Paris Saint-Germain are ready to offer £64 million for the player. Meanwhile, South American starlet Miguel Almiron has spoken of his desire to play for the Gunners.

German newspaper Kicker reported Ligue 1 giants PSG are ready to splash the cash on Germany international Draxler, who has reportedly expressed his aim to leave the Volkswagen Arena this summer (per the Sun‘s Jim Sheridan):

I clearly told Dieter Hecking after the European Championship that I wanted to leave Wolfsburg. The coach knew for over three weeks. It really surprised me that for weeks they talked to the media about me. I expected that differently, for instance that someone would approach me and ask how I see it.

Before they said something publicly, they should have also talked with me personally first.

An eighth-place finish in last season’s Bundesliga failed to secure Wolfsburg any European football this term. That is believed to be a high priority for Draxler, who has long been linked with a move to the Emirates Stadium.

Sport journalist Philip Harmeling has spoken of Paris as an unfavourable destination for Draxler, however, as the lack of first-team guarantees may not bode well for the 22-year-old:

Uche Amako of the Daily Express cited a report from German daily Bild. Amako provided further quotes from Gunners target Draxler, who referred to the Wolves as a “stepping stone.” Draxler suggested he could soon take his leave.

Goal’s Robin Bairner recently pointed to an objection from PSG director of football Patrick Kluivert, however, which suggested the Ligue 1 champions may not be much more active in the transfer market:

A move to Parc des Princes this summer would also see Draxler subjected to a rise in competition, with wingers Angel Di Maria and Lucas Moura already in Paris. Not to mention summer signings Hatem Ben Arfa and Jese Rodriguez.

Bleacher Report’s Jonathan Johnson has hinted the German media could be attempting to sway public opinion with their coverage of Draxler‘s situation:

Almiron, meanwhile, is said to be closing in on his own move to north London and is very open to a transfer, based on his recent comments to Goal Argentina (h/t Daily Star‘s Jonathan Green): “It would be nice to play at Arsenal, but I still said nothing. Whoever manages that’s my agent. For now I just think of Lanus.”

Green cited Italian outlet Tuttomercatoweb and reported the Lanus midfielder is “already in negotiations” to complete a deal, while Paraguayan journalist Ruben Dario Da Rosa has gone so far as to state an £8 million move is close.

Almiron, 22, can play on the wing or in a No. 10 capacity behind the forward line, but competition for a role in either of those areas is currently high at the Emirates Stadium.

The youngster attracted attention after scoring four goals in 16 appearances for Lanus during the 2015-16 season, winning three caps for Paraguay and seemingly earning the Gunners’ attention in the process.

Joey Bosa, Chargers Agree to Contract: Latest Details, Comments and Reaction

The San Diego Chargers added one of the most dominant defensive playmakers in the entire 2016 NFL draft when they selected Ohio State’s Joey Bosa with the third overall pick. They officially gave him his first contract Monday.  

Bosa and the Chargers agreed to a four-year contract, with Chargers general manager Tom Telesco speaking on the agreement in the team release:

“We look forward to having Joey join us and getting him prepared as quickly as possible for the 2016 season,” Telesco said.

The agreement comes after a long holdout in which the two sides squabbled over the details of Bosa’s rookie deal.

Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune noted the holdout revolved around offset language, which Bosa’s group did not want in the contract. If there wasn’t offset language, the Chargers would have to pay Bosa the entirety of his guaranteed deal if they released him during the timeframe of the contract.

Gehlken explained if there was offset language in the deal, “the Chargers are off the hook for Bosa’s salary with his new team, only owing him the difference between the two.”

The Chargers are heavily invested in Bosa, but this will be a worthwhile play if his on-field results from college are any indication. He was a consensus All-American at Ohio State in both 2014 and 2015 and was named the 2014 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. He racked up 26 sacks in his three collegiate seasons, 13.5 of which came in the 2014 campaign, when the Buckeyes won the national championship.

Bosa isn’t the fastest prospect in the 2016 draft class and ran a 4.86-second 40-yard dash at February’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, but his explosiveness at the snap and his powerful bull rush help him make up for it on the edge of the defensive line. Bosa often commanded double- and even triple-teams at the college level, which opened up blitzing lanes for his teammates.

He is also capable of dropping back and covering near the line of scrimmage on passing plays if necessary.

There were some questions about whether Bosa would fit in the Chargers’ base 3-4 defense, but Jared Dubin of CBS Sports suggested that shouldn’t be a problem:

His best asset may in fact be his versatility, which should help him transition to playing in a 3-4. Because of his body type, his excellent technique, and his (excuse the cliche, please) football intelligence, he can play pretty much anywhere on the defensive line, and should be the type of player than can kick inside to tackle on passing downs, allowing the Chargers to get more rushmen on the field in those situations.

Bosa can move around along the defensive line as a weapon against the run on the inside or as an edge-rusher on the outside. He is also capable of playing upright as an outside linebacker and using his body control and overwhelming power as a blitzer on the outside with even more momentum as he starts attacking the quarterback away from the line of scrimmage.

What’s more, the Chargers will likely play in four-down nickel or dime defensive sets a number of times throughout the season, which will free up Bosa to play his typical dominant role of pass-rushing defensive end who is capable of providing pressure on the inside or outside.

Fellow San Diego defensive lineman Corey Liuget was excited to play with Bosa, per Gehlken: “He’s a relentless kind of player from what I can watch on his film. He has a motor. It’s like he doesn’t stop; he doesn’t get tired. That’s the kind of player I want next to me, a guy who doesn’t get tired and that’s going to give you everything he has.”

That type of motor will help a Chargers defensive front that is desperately in need of some improvement. San Diego was a measly 27th in the league in rushing yards allowed in 2015 and was only 24th in total sacks. Pro Football Focus highlighted the fact Bosa should quickly insert into a lineup that should benefit from his overall skill set:

If the Ohio State product eventually develops into the same type of defensive force he was in college and helps a San Diego unit take strides this year and beyond, he will more than live up to his new rookie contract.

Ezekiel Elliott Comments on Video Showing Him in Pot Dispensary

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is preparing for his first NFL season, but the first-round draft pick is now speaking out about his recent trip to a marijuana dispensary.  

TMZ Sports reported on Aug. 25 that Elliott went to the Herban Legends weed dispensary in Seattle prior to the Cowboys’ preseason game against the Seahawks. 

The site added that Elliott was not seen making any purchases and that tourists sometimes browse marijuana shops while visiting Seattle, where it is legal to buy.

Elliott expressed regret for his decision to visit one of the marijuana dispensaries in Seattle. 

“It was a bad decision,” Elliott said, via Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News. “Just seen it walking around. Was curious. I didn’t really think about it before I went in, what the repercussions could have been. It wasn’t like I was trying to hide it or anything. I took pictures with people. It wasn’t like I was up to no good.”

Elliott added that he does need to start considering the perception of his actions before actually doing them: “It may not seem like it’s a big deal to you yourself but there is a bigger picture. It’s definitely a learning experience about the scrutiny. You just got to be careful and not give anyone a chance to say anything.”

Hairopoulos noted that Elliott has apologized to Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett about the incident. 

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones previously discussed Elliott’s incident, via ESPN.com’s Todd Archer“Well, I think that in and of itself the reason we are talking about is in a way part of the learning process. But it’s not good. It’s just not good. It’s just not good.”

Marijuana is still banned in the NFL, which could result in fines and suspensions if a player fails drug tests for the substance. 

Elliott will start the year as Dallas’ starting running back when the team opens play on September 11 against the New York Giants.

He has the potential to be the face of the franchise if he reaches his ceiling, but this incident is a signal that the 21-year-old has some maturing to do. 

Lance Stephenson: Latest News, Rumors, Speculation Surrounding Free-Agent SG

Veteran guard Lance Stephenson remains in search of an NBA team to play for next season, though his market appears to be developing.

Continue for updates. 


Pelicans to Reportedly Work Out Stephenson

Monday, Aug. 29

Per Brett Dawson of the Advocate, Stephenson will have a workout with the New Orleans Pelicans. 

Stephenson played for the Los Angeles Clippers and the Memphis Grizzlies last season. He was a valuable role player for both teams, averaging 8.3 points and 3.2 rebounds per game, as he shot 48.1 percent from the field. 

The 25-year-old Stephenson has always had tremendous talent on the court, but he has had various problems in the past that have caused him to wear out his welcome with teams. He has played for four teams since 2013, including the Indiana Pacers and the Charlotte Hornets. 

Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe reported in December 2014 that Stephenson had clashed with Hornets teammates. 

Stephenson gained notoriety while playing for the Pacers, specifically involving one incident during the 2014 postseason when he blew in LeBron James’ ear trying to rattle the four-time NBA MVP. 

Youth is still on Stephenson’s side, so a team in need of help at shooting guard or small forward would not be wrong to take a chance on him. He has excellent upside and would be a financial bargain considering the NBA’s booming free-agent market. 

 

Vuelta a Espana 2016: Stage 10 Results, Updated Standings and Highlights

Nairo Quintana tasted victory for the first time in the 2016 Vuelta a Espana after winning Stage 10 on Monday, where an almighty comeback at the end of the climb saw the Colombian take the red jersey.

Monday started off in Lugones and brought about the first mountain climb of this year’s Vuelta, where Quintana was always likely to feature as one of the potential favourites for the win.

After going head-to-head with home favourite Alberto Contador, Quintana emerged from the pack to also become the first non-European to win a stage of this year’s race, not to mention snatch the general classification lead. 

Dutchman Robert Gesink led by 41 seconds entering the final four kilometres of the 117-mile trek to Lagos de Covadonga, but Quintana turned the screw to finish a distance clear, per the official Vuelta a Espana Twitter account:

Great Britain’s Chris Froome was another of those simmering among the contenders come the Stage 10 final assault, and he ended just a second behind runner-up Gesink to ensure he remains within touching distance overall.

Quintana finished the route to Lagos de Covadonga in a total time of four hours, 50 minutes and 31 seconds, and he now sits almost one minute clear of Movistar team-mate Alejandro Valverde and Froome in the general classification:

David de la Cruz’s team of Etixx-Quick-Step did their utmost to preserve the Spaniard’s lead after Stage 10 and made sure they led a peloton that was attempting to stick within reach.

Cycling writer Cillian Kelly highlighted the strong form of Belgian Thomas de Gendt, who was a dark horse to watch out following a strong display in Stage 9 a day earlier:

The 16-man breakaway looked likely to be whittled down as the race wore on, and that’s what happened as the riders began the harshest portion of the Alto Del Mirador Del Fito ascent. Competitors started to drop off with 45 kilometres remaining.

The Mirador de la Reina was still to come, however—a climb comprising an average incline of around 7 percent for the most part and verging as high as 17.5 percent for the grand finish.

Gesink made his move as soon as he entered the final 12 kilometres and immediately found daylight, while Froome allowed himself to drop from the main body of the peloton and was well placed for a strategic finish.

Quinana and Contador sat just ahead of the Briton, but the peloton all of a sudden widened before exploding entirely, with the aforementioned duo at its forefront.

This was the beginning of a sensational climax in Asturias, which cycling journalist Ned Boulting enjoyed to the utmost:

The ensuring battle between Quintana and Contador was one of the race’s best features, and the bulk of the breakaway fell away, although Gesink at least maintained some impression among the top finishers.

Froome could also afford to be pleased with his finish despite missing out on the top two places, as he limited damage in a major way heading into the first rest day of the 2016 Vuelta a Espana.

The race now resumes on Wednesday for Stage 11, where riders will make their way from the Jurassic Museum of Asturias to Pena Cabarga along a 105-kilometre medium mountain trail, with Quintana the new leader.

Mark Sanchez Trade Rumors: Latest News and Speculation Around Broncos QB

One day after losing the starting quarterback job to Trevor Siemian, it appears Mark Sanchez‘s time with the Denver Broncos is over. 

Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk reported the Broncos are attempting to trade Sanchez. They could cut him Monday or Tuesday if they are unable to find a deal.

Sanchez, 29, seemed like the unquestioned front-runner to replace Peyton Manning in Denver after coming over via a trade from the Philadelphia Eagles. Instead, the job went to Siemian, a 2015 seventh-round pick who has taken one regular-season NFL snap (a kneel down).

More to follow.

   

Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter.

Cullen Jenkins to Redskins: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Cullen Jenkins is headed to his third NFC East franchise. The veteran defensive lineman agreed to a one-year deal with Washington on Monday, where he’ll attempt to bring run-stopping depth to its front seven.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network and Mike Jones of the Washington Post reported the news. 

Jenkins, 35, spent the last three seasons with the New York Giants. He recorded 26 tackles and three sacks while appearing in all 16 games. Heading into his 13th NFL season, Jenkins previously played seven years with the Green Bay Packers and two with the Philadelphia Eagles.

More to follow.

   

Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter.

LSU Tigers vs. Wisconsin Badgers Betting Odds, Analysis, College Football Pick

LSU will begin what it hopes is a run to the College Football Playoff as a solid favorite for its battle with Wisconsin on Saturday afternoon at a supposedly neutral Lambeau Field in Green Bay. But the pesky Badgers might enjoy that role, considering they’ve won five times outright in their last 11 spots as underdogs, going 8-3 against the spread in the process.

       

Point spread: Tigers opened as 10-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 31.0-27.5 Tigers

     

Why the LSU Tigers can cover the spread

The Tigers return 16 starters this season from a team that went 9-3 last year, and rate among the favorites to both win the SEC and make the CFP. Eight starters are back on offense, led by Heisman candidate Leonard Fournette, who ran for nearly 2,000 yards last year and 22 touchdowns, quarterback Brandon Harris and three of the big cats on the offensive line.

Eight starters are also back from a defense that held foes to 347 yards per game last year.

LSU almost parted ways with head coach Les Miles late last season, so perhaps he’s out to prove that would have been a huge mistake.

      

Why the Wisconsin Badgers can cover the spread

Coming off a 10-win campaign of a season ago, which included a bowl victory over USC, Wisconsin returns 11 starters this season. Five starters are back on offense, anchored by three along the offensive line, and that doesn’t include running back Corey Clement, who missed most of last season to injuries. Meanwhile, six starters are back from a defense that limited opponents to just 269 yards and 14 points per game last year.

The Badgers lost three games last year, but actually came nearly two plays from going 11-1.

      

Smart pick

The Tigers could be monsters on a national level this season with Fournette and that defense. And while Wisconsin is almost always underrated, the Badgers wilted against another SEC power, Alabama, in last season’s opener. Wisconsin also has to replace its longtime starting quarterback Joel Stave, and its defense is breaking in a new coordinator. The tundra at Lambeau is far from frozen this time of year; the smart money here lies with LSU.

     

Betting trends

Wisconsin is 4-2 ATS in its last six games.

The total has gone under in eight of Wisconsin’s last 11 games.

LSU is 5-1 ATS in its last six games as a favorite.

     

All point spread and betting line data courtesy of Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Odds Shark on Twitter and YouTube for injury information, line movement updates and more game analysis, and get the free odds tracker app.

South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Vanderbilt Commodores Betting Odds, Football Pick

The South Carolina Gamecocks own the recent rivalry with the Vanderbilt Commodores, winning the last seven meetings straight up. But in keeping many of those games close, Vandy is 5-2 against the spread over that span. The Gamecocks and Commodores kick off the 2016 season, and their SEC slates, Thursday night in Nashville.

 

Point spread: The Commodores opened as 3.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)

College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 22.4-20.2, Commodores

 

Why the South Carolina Gamecocks can cover the spread

Following the departure of coach Steve Spurrier and a lost 3-9 campaign in 2015, South Carolina now moves forward under Will Muschamp, who went 28-21 in three seasons at Florida from 2011 to 2014. And while there’s plenty of work to do, with just eight starters back, the cupboard isn’t totally bare.

South Carolina returns a pair of quarterback candidates with starting experience, plus a top-10 freshman recruit in Brandon McIlwain. Meanwhile, half of last year’s top eight tacklers are back, so the hope is that under Muschamp‘s guidance, the defense will improve upon the 28 points per game it gave up last year. The Gamecocks are also 3-1 ATS their last four times out as underdogs.

 

Why the Vanderbilt Commodores can cover the spread

Vanderbilt returns 14 starters from a team that went 4-8 last year. Seven starters are back on offense, led by running back Ralph Webb (1,152 yards rushing last year), so the Commodores figure to improve upon the measly 15 points per game they averaged last season. On the other side of the ball, seven starters return on a defense that held opponents to just 21 points per game last year.

The Commodores are only 7-17 in two seasons under head coach Derek Mason, but programs often make big strides in the third season of a new coaching regime. And while Vandy hasn’t been favored much over the last few years, it’s won its last five times out when giving points.

 

Smart pick

South Carolina owns a seven-game winning streak in this series, but this looks like Vandy‘s chance to snap that run. The Commodores can run the ball, they can play some defense and they should be motivated. Plus, they catch the Gamecocks in full-blown rebuilding mode. The smart play here is Vanderbilt, the home team at a manageable spread.

 

Betting trends

The total has gone under in six of Vanderbilt’s last seven games at home.

South Carolina is 7-0 SU in its last seven games against Vanderbilt.

The total has gone under in seven of South Carolina’s last nine games against Vanderbilt.

 

All point-spread and betting-lines data courtesy of Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Odds Shark on Twitter and YouTube for injury information, line movement updates and more game analysis, and get the free odds-tracker app.