Tuesday Kickoff: Sunderland keep survival hopes alive; Inter planning Eto’o transfer swoop; and more

AdamJohnson-Stoke1 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

If Monday afternoon’s English Premier League match proved anything, it is that Sunderland is not going down without a fight.

Paolo Di Canio and his Sunderland side gained a vital point in their run to survival in the Premier League with Monday’s 1-1 draw against Stoke. Jonathan Walters scored first in the ninth minute to give Tony Pulis’ club the lead, but despite going down to ten-men, Sunderland battled back to score an equalizer in the 63rd minute from the boot of John O’Shea.

Sunderland were already missing their top scorer Stephen Fletcher to injury and midfielder Stephane Sessegnon to a season-ending red card suspension, forcing Di Canio to start 27-year-old forward Danny Graham up top, despite his lack of scoring since moving to the Black Cats.

With the draw, Sunderland sit three points above the drop zone at 38, with two matches remaining. Stoke are currently in 11th place in the table, on 41 points.

Here are some more stories to get your Tuesday started:

ETO’O IN POTENTIAL INTER RETURN

Samuel Eto’o could be set for a shock move back to a former club.

According to reports out of Italy, Inter Milan is currently looking into a transfer for the 32-year-old forward, who played with the club between 2009-2011. Currently one of the highest paid players in the world at €20 million per season at Anzhi Makhachkala in the Russian Premier League, Eto’o is entering the final year of his contract and has yet to make a decision on his future.

If the former Cameroon international did move back to Italy, it would have to come at a serious pay cut, as Inter would only be able to pay Eto’o €3 million per season plus bonuses.

BARCELONA INTERESTED IN BORUSSIA’S GUNDOGAN

One of the brightest players this season for Borussia Dortmund has been defensive midfielder Ilkay Gundogan.

Though the 22-year-old has made huge strides at home and is a full German international, his worldwide reputation increased during Borussia Dortmund’s matches in the Champions League this spring. One of the teams that has taken notice of the Borussia star is FC Barcelona, who is reportedly weighing up a €25 million transfer.

Barcelona are already interested in bringing in Gundogan’s teammate Mats Hummels to shore up their injured and aging defense during the summer transfer window. Gundogan has scored three goals in 42 appearances in all competitions with Borussia this season.

ANCELOTTI HAS YET TO RECEIVE AN OFFER FROM MADRID

Despite leading Ligue 1 all season, Paris Saint-Germain manager Carlo Ancelotti is on his way out at season’s end, despite how the club finishes in the table.

However, Ancelotti has refuted the reports of him leaving Paris, saying that he still has one year left on his PSG contract and that he has yet to even receive an offer from Real Madrid, the club that many think will go after Ancelotti if current manager Jose Mourinho leaves.

Speaking separately on a French radio station, Ancelotti also dispelled rumors of him signing a new contract extension, with the former Milan and Chelsea boss saying that he has yet to make a decision on his future.

DORTMUND RECEIVES 500,000 TICKET REQUESTS

Perhaps sensing the last time in the near future that the club will be challenging for a major title, Borussia Dortmund fans have made a loud statement about their support for the club.

More than 500,000 fans applied for Champions League final tickets, with only 24,000 available in the Borussia allocation. More than half of that number came in the 24 hours after surviving Real Madrid on aggregate in the semifinals.

The club will hold a ballot in the coming days to decide which of the ticket requests will end up with tickets for the final at Wembley Stadium on May 25. In other news, goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller signed a new contract through 2016.

QUICK KICKS

Club America forward Christian Benitez won his third scoring title as the regular season came to a close on Sunday, finishing the Clausura with 12 goals. (REPORT)

Hamburg are willing to let South Korean midfielder Heung-Min Son leave during the summer if he decides not to extend his contract. (REPORT)

Manchester City are closing in on 18-year-old Atletico Madrid youth star Óliver Torres. (REPORT)

Just 12 months after being in the Premier League, Wolverhampton have sacked their fourth manager in that span, Dean Saunders, after the club was relegated to League One. (REPORT)

A Belgian lawyer has challenged UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules on the grounds that it restricts his potential income. (REPORT)

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What do you make of these reports? Do you see Sunderland staying up after their performance on Monday? Do you see Eto’o going back to Inter? Do you think Gundogan would be a good fit with Barca?

Share your thoughts below.

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20 Responses to Tuesday Kickoff: Sunderland keep survival hopes alive; Inter planning Eto’o transfer swoop; and more

  1. Mig says:

    The point was enough for Stoke to be safe but giving away that 1-0 lead with vs a man down Sunderland team who looked terrible was ridiculous.

    And Cameron looked a little lost when he came on as a substitute. Then again, Stoke fell apart as a whole so maybe it wasn’t his fault entirely.

    • Scott says:

      Neither the goal, nor the assist were his fault. So, no…not his fault entirely.

      • Mig says:

        absolutely, he wasn’t at fault for the goal. But he was pretty lost out there, out of position, and even had rather harsh looking words with Walters at one point. I’m a big fan but that was not his finest appearance by a long stretch.

        • wides says:

          Stoke are awful and the greatest purveyors of anti-football … their games are more rugby than football. They never met a two footed tackle they didn’t like. They’re usually last in the fair play rankings as well.

          If it weren’t for their American players, I’d root for them to get relegated every single year.

          This is sooooo accurate to how Stoke play … link to blog.foxsoccer.com

  2. Sly says:

    I loved Eto’o at Inter but doubt he would go back. He his getting paid highly and is in the champions league next year which Inter isnt. I get that Dagestan is a hard place to play but all he has to do is work it for another 2 years then come to the MLS.

    He will get paid better than Inter and id put New York and LA up there with any city int he world… Full disclosure Ive only ever seen Brussels, Lisbon, Dublin, London and a few other English cities.

  3. orions belt says:

    any news on whether Gomez is leaving this summer? A lot of rumors are about MLS but he makes say 600-700 K in Mexico. what teams in MLS would pay him that. He’s a solid striker, can get you 15 goals a season but he’s 31

    • Old School says:

      Judging by the DPS signings of MLS (and considering he’d actually stay healthy), I see absolutely nothing wrong with that exact description you just gave.

  4. Joe says:

    Sam Alardyce and West Ham are looking at possibly signing Brad Guzan from Aston Villa.

    link to thesun.co.uk

    • Aston Villan says:

      Can’t see that one happening. He has a couple years left on his contract, he is the starting keeper, and West Ham is hardly an upgrade from Villa. Just don’t see why it would ever happen.

      • Old School says:

        West Ham appear to be heading in the right direction. Can we really say the same for Aston Villa?

        If he gets a bump in pay, why not?

        • Aston Villan says:

          So West Ham was relegated two years ago and was the worst team in the premier league. Clearly they have made some changes and are back in the PL, kudos to them, but that doesnt mean they are all of a sudden on the right track and a better club then Villa.

          • Old School says:

            They certainly appear to be.

            A team as you said, that was the “worst team in the PL”, two years ago finished above Aston Villa, they have a better manager and don’t have Randy Lerner as their owner.

            So, yes. They’re heading in the right direction and Aston Villa do not appear to be.

      • Joe says:

        I agree with your points. Also, as the article states, Guzan will probably show his loyalty to Lambert who resigned him after the previous manager had cut the U.S. GK loose and why shouldn’t he?

  5. Aguinaga says:

    Chucho! 12 goals in half a season for Benitez. MLS teams with DP slots and fwd needs would be silly not to make a play. 27 years old, 4 time Liga MX Golden Boot winner. On last year of contract. Went to EPL for Birmingham and fizzled, hence may not attract much European interest. Don’t think a curious MLS team would have competition outside of Mexico.Hopefully this post does see him get signed by DC.

    • Beto says:

      Dc would be a good fit for him. Speaking of Ecuadorian LigaMX players; FutbolMLS put a story out there saying that Ayoví would consider an MLS offer. Great CM that a number of teams could use.

      This is how the league’s first CCL title will be won.

      • Nic D "The TX 2 Stepper" says:

        I heard a rumor about Ayovi being looked at by some MLS teams a while ago. I think he would be a great fit for this league.

        I have been on the Benitez band wagon for a while. He would be MAJOR for Dallas and ESPECIALLY for the Dynamo. Heck, almost any team in MLS could use him. H-town has no speed on the forward line. I also wouldn’t mind seeing him in Seattle either. Imagine Martins and Benitez ravaging MLS back lines.

  6. Beto says:

    Wembly holds 92,000; so they allocate 1/4 to one team and 1/4 to the other leaving 1/2 for sale…hopefully those bvb fans can get some of the other tickets

    • CSD says:

      I expect the other %50 go to corporate sponsors.

      • Strider257 says:

        While some undoubtedly do go to corp. sponsors, I don’t think anywhere near 50%. Some should still be available, the hard part is finding the right UEFA person to bribe to get the tix. Just another way to fund the life, eh Michel (Platini)?

  7. Isaac Reeves says:

    Eto’o fan til death.pls go back to the champions league ok. U can stil rescure inter or liverpool or try ur luck @ chelsea.pls leaugue Russia ok?