Valencia joins Man United
Manchester United said on Tuesday they signed Wigan winger Antonio Valencia on a four-year contract for a fee believed to be in the region of £16 million (US$22 million). “Joining Manchester United is a dream come true for me,” the 23-year-old Ecuadoran said. “I have enjoyed my time at Wigan, but I am thrilled to have the chance to challenge for the biggest honors in club football here. Playing in front of 76,000 fans alongside players like Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs will be an amazing experience. I can’t wait to get started.” United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been a fan of Valencia, who spent two seasons with Wigan and helped turn the club into an established top flight side. “Antonio is a player we have admired for some time now, having spent the last two years in the Premier League with Wigan,” Ferguson said. “I am sure his pace and ability will make a significant contribution to the team.”
Saints face going under
Southampton are on the verge of going out of business after The Pinnacle group — which included legendary Saints player Matt Le Tissier — withdrew their interest in buyng the club on Tuesday. Pinnacle’s interest waned once the Football League — the body that oversees the clubs outside the Premier League — insisted that they could not appeal against a 10 point penalty imposed last season that will see them start next season in League One minus 10 points. This was imposed once the 1976 FA Cup winners’ — whose highest ever league finish was second in the old First Division in 1983-1984 season — parent company went into administration in April. Le Tissier confirmed on Tuesday the group has withdrawn from negotiations — amid fears that the club may now be only days away from going out of business. “We’ve been trying ever so hard but we’ve been banging our head against a brick wall,” Le Tissier told BBC Radio Solent. “I’m very sad, but hopeful that Mark Fry can find someone to take over the club. Everybody’s worried, we’ve all been working very hard but it’s getting to the point where it’s very desperate.”
Di Matteo joins Baggies
Former Italy midfielder Roberto Di Matteo was named manager of relegated Premier League side West Bromwich Albion on Tuesday. The 39-year-old — capped 34 times by his country but forced to retire because of injury in 2002 — signed a one year rolling contract after a successful spell as coach of League One side MK Dons. Di Matteo — who was born in Switzerland and took the Milton Keynes based side to last season’s League One play-offs — replaces Tony Mowbray, who left to manage Scottish giants Celtic earlier this month. Di Matteo enjoyed a successful playing career especially with Chelsea with whom he won two FA Cups and a League Cup as well as the now defunct European Cup Winner’s Cup.
Burnley snap up striker
Scottish international striker Steven Fletcher became newly promoted Burnley’s record signing on Tuesday when they agreed a £3 million fee with Scottish club Hibernian. The 22-year-old has been capped four times and was named young player of the year last season. Burnley — who earlier on Tuesday signed defender Tyrone Mears for £500,000 from Championship side Derby County -— confirmed the signing of Fletcher on their Web site. Fletcher’s fee is double the previous record outlay when they signed Martin Paterson and Chris Eagles for £1.5 million apiece last year.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first