Yoann Gourcuff is ready to snub interest from Everton and Watford to sign for Rennes.The midfielder is currently a free agent after his contract with Lyon expired at the end of last season.The Frenchman, who was once a target of Arsenal and Tottenham, has received several offers this summer.Both Everton and Watford are believed to have expressed an interest, while clubs in Spain also met with the player’s agent.However, according to reports in France, Gourcuff is now ready to reject those proposals in favour of a move to Rennes.The 29-year-old is said to prefer a move to France and that was the reported thinking behind his decision. Yoann Gourcuff 1
Hatem Ben Arfa Hatem Ben Arfa says he felt humiliated at Newcastle United, describing the end of his career at the club as “hell”.The 28-year-old was banished from the first team squad at St James’ Park before sent out on loan to Hull after falling out of favour under Alan Pardew.He was allowed to leave permanently in January to join Nice but had to wait six months before making his debut for the club due to FIFA regulations. Ben Arfa, who has starred for Nice since his return to France and has been recalled to the national team squad, has now lifted the lid on his Mapgies nightmare.He told www.francefootball.fr: “It was a very, very difficult period. The worst of my career. It was as if my hell began at Newcastle.“There, on the first day back in August 2014, I was placed directly with the reserves. A terrible humiliation. Weeks passed and I was always with these young 16 and 17-year-olds on land away from the pros.“I did not understand. They gave me a nightmare. It was full of little cheap shots. And when I believed in me [getting out] by signing for Nice, they were forbidden to hire me (until July).” 1
Chelsea striker Diego Costa and manager Jose Mourinho Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has revealed he and striker Diego Costa made up “with kisses and cuddles” after the two rowed during Tuesday night’s 4-0 Champions League victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv.The Spaniard has been out of sorts all season and while he ended a run of six games without scoring with the winning goal against Norwich at the weekend, he was again largely ineffective against the Israeli side.Mourinho was unhappy with Costa’s efforts and movement in a quiet first-half performance, with the two involved in a bust up during the break.But the Blues boss has said he and the forward made their apologies following the game.“I wanted him to do a certain movement that he didn’t,” said Mourinho.“I was disappointed. I reacted. He reacted too.“At half-time in the dressing room a few kisses and a few cuddles.”Chelsea’s confidence was boosted by earning successive wins for the first time in two months, though the result was made simpler when a wild kick from ex-Blues Chelsea defender Tal Ben Haim on Diego Costa saw the hosts reduced to ten men in the first-half.Gary Cahill opened the scoring in Israel, with the visitors putting gloss on the scoreline with Willian’s free-kick and late headers from Oscar and Kurt Zouma.The victory rescued the Blues’ hopes of progressing to the knockout stages, although Porto’s loss to Dynamo Kiev at home means Chelsea’s last-16 place is by no means certain.“I need a calculator,” Mourinho said.“I know if we win we finish first. I know if we lose we are going to Europa League. With the draw I don’t know.“I prefer to think we have to win our match.” 1
From news services The San Diego Chargers acquired Chris Chambers from the Miami Dolphins just before Tuesday’s trade deadline, giving quarterback Philip Rivers a veteran wide receiver to work with. In return, the winless Dolphins will receive a 2008 second-round draft pick. The trade came as the Chargers put their No. 1 wide receiver, Eric Parker, on the injured reserved list with a broken right big toe. Parker has been out since June, and will miss the rest of the season. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.Chambers has 31 receptions for 415 yards and no touchdowns this season for winless Miami. He was a second-round choice by Miami in 2001 and enjoyed his best season in 2005, when he made 82 catches for 1,118 yards and 11 scores, and was voted to the Pro Bowl. The durable Chambers, who has missed only two games in his career, is signed through 2009. The Chargers expect him to immediately bolster an otherwise young and undistinguished wide receiving corps. The Chargers felt the high price was worth it, especially because he’ll be around for two additional seasons. “It was a late development,” Chargers general manager A.J. Smith said. “One receiver down, one receiver in. We had an opportunity to add a quality, experienced, productive guy and felt we couldn’t pass it up. We like him a lot. We’ve held him in high regard throughout his career.” ETC.: Chargers Pro Bowl center Nick Hardwick is expected to be out three to four weeks with a sprained right foot. The prognosis was the best Hardwick could hope for, and since the Chargers have their bye this Sunday, that means he’ll probably miss two or three games. Bucs add a running back Tampa Bay acquired running back Michael Bennett from the Kansas City Chiefs, hoping he helps them compensate for the loss of injured tailbacks Carnell “Cadillac” Williams and Michael Pittman. Bennett, a first-round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 2001, has rushed for 3,426 yards and 12 touchdowns in seven NFL seasons. He also has 145 career receptions for 1,164 yards and five TDs. “We believe that the addition of Michael Bennett will strengthen our running back position,” Bucs general manager Bruce Allen said in a statement. Tampa Bay gives up undisclosed draft picks in 2008 and 2009 based on performance criteria. The 5-foot-9, 207-pound Bennett was a Pro Bowl selection in 2002 with the Vikings, but injuries have prevented him from realizing his potential as a pro. He played sparingly for the Chiefs as a backup to Larry Johnson after joining Kansas City in 2006. Everett improving Kevin Everett has developed enough strength to hold himself up briefly on a walker, and he can also use his feet to push himself around in a wheelchair, the latest signs of progress as the Buffalo Bills’ tight end recovers from a severe spinal cord injury. “He’s making very solid and noticeable progress,” Eric Armstead, an associate of the player’s agent, Brian Overstreet, told The Associated Press. “He’s very excited.” Armstead regularly visits Everett, who entered the second phase of his recovery process three weeks ago when he was transferred to Houston’s Memorial Hermann Hospital rehabilitation center. Around the league Broncos: The team signed free agent Jordan Beck and released D.D. Lewis in a swap of linebackers. Cardinals: The injury-depleted team signed free-agent quarterback Tim Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck’s signing came two days after starter Kurt Warner hurt his elbow in a 25-10 loss to Carolina. Warner had replaced Matt Leinart, who was lost for the season with a broken collarbone one week earlier. Hasselbeck will back up Tim Rattay, who will start on Sunday at Washington. The Cardinals have not said when they expect Warner to return. Chiefs: Running back Priest Holmes will practice today for the first time since a severe 2005 head and neck injury. Chiefs coach Herm Edwards repeated there’s a chance Holmes could play at Oakland. Jurisprudence: A federal judge on approved the neutering of dozens of fighting dogs seized from Michael Vick’s rural home and the appointment of an expert to decide the animals’ future. U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson acted on a government motion requesting animal law expert Rebecca J. Huss serve as the guardian-special master to oversee the possible placement of the 48 dogs, or their euthanasia. Hudson also granted a request by the U.S. attorney’s office that each of the pit bulls be spayed, neutered and have microchips implanted. … Wachovia Bank is seeking about $940,000 from Vick and a business partner. The bank claims that since Vick’s indictment on federal dogfighting charges, they defaulted on a 2006 loan to set up a wine shop and restaurant. … A son of Eagles coach Andy Reid was ordered back to jail after missing a drug test. Garrett Reid, 24, didn’t show up for a scheduled test on Monday, according to prosecutors and his attorney, Ross Weiss. He is required to submit to random tests while awaiting sentencing on drug charges.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
SACRAMENTO – Members of a California National Guard military police company accused of stealing donations intended for Southern California wildfire victims were cleared Wednesday of criminal wrongdoing. A military investigator’s report confirmed the soldiers took items last week from a fire station used by relief workers near the U.S.-Mexico border, according to a copy of the findings obtained by The Associated Press. However, the report indicates volunteers told the soldiers to “help themselves to any supplies.” Volunteers then called and reported a theft as the soldiers carried the goods away. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
17. Alexis Sanchez (forward) 33. Petr Cech (goalkeeper) 24. Hector Bellerin (right-back) 45. Alex Iwobi (midfield) 11 11 11 18. Nacho Monreal (left-back) Arsenal and West Ham meet on Saturday in a huge Premier League clash at Upton Park.Victory for the Gunners will keep their faint title hopes alive, while three points for the Hammers will keep them in the hunt for a top-four finish.Arsenal are looking to put another run together as they are currently unbeaten in their last three, whereas their east London rivals are unbeaten in their last six.The north Londoners will be full of confidence after sweeping aside Watford at the Emirates last week – will Arsene Wenger name an unchanged team?The French boss will have some decisions to make, as midfielders Aaron Ramsey (thigh) and Mathieu Flamini (hamstring) could come into contention after recovering from injuries.Goalkeeper Petr Cech (calf) is expected to start after returning to the substitutes’ bench last week, with David Ospina making way.Jack Wilshere (leg) and Tomas Rosicky (thigh) will not be involved, but they are expected to feature for the Under-21s on Friday. Santi Cazorla (Achilles) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee) are definite absences as they continue their rehabilitation.Meanwhile the Hammers have been boosted by a successful red card appeal following Cheikhou Kouyate’s dismissal last week. With Dimitri Payet in form, the Claret and Blue will need all luck on their side, having failed to beat Arsenal at home in ten years. But with victory in the reverse fixture, Slaven Bilic’s men will be quietly confident.Who will start for the visitors? Click the arrow, above right, to see our predicted XI in squad number order. 11 11 11. Mesut Ozil (attacking midfield) 11 11 35. Mohamed Elneny (midfield) 23. Danny Welbeck (forward) 11 11 6. Laurent Koscielny (centre-back) 34. Francis Coquelin (midfield) 11 5. Gabriel (centre-back) – see the full line-up, in squad number order, by clicking the arrow above 11
1 Ermin Bicakcic, 26, is a highly-rated talent at German side Hoffenheim Stoke and West Brom are both eyeing swoops for Hoffenheim defender Ermin Bicakcic, according to reports in Germany.The Bosnian international is rated highly in the Bundesliga and has been scouted regularly over the past two years by clubs in the Premier League.According to Bild, West Brom boss Tony Pulis is desperate to bring the 26-year-old to The Hawthorns this summer, while his old club Stoke are also monitoring the situation.Bicakcic’s current contract with Hoffenheim expires next summer and the club don’t want to lose him on a free.The former Stuttgart man has apparently refused to extend his current deal with Hoffenheim due to the interest from the Premier League and is awaiting contact from either Stoke or West Brom.
WEST HILLS – An 18-year-old man who appeared to have fallen 30 feet down an embankment was rescued by helicopter today and appears to be in stable condition, officials said. The man, whose name was not released, broke his leg and had minor head trauma after falling at El Escorpion Park near Vanowen Street and Valley Circle Boulevard, said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman David Ortiz. He was airlifted by helicopter and was being taken to a local hospital, Ortiz said. It was unclear whether someone spotted the man, or if he was with someone when the call came into firefighters at 2:44 p.m., Ortiz said. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
Mike Alstott walked out of the home locker room at Raymond James Stadium, not knowing whether he’ll return as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The six-time Pro Bowl fullback arguably the biggest fan favorite in team history has three years left on his contract, but Saturday’s 17-10 playoff loss to Washington may well have been his last game for the Bucs. “It’s a decision that’s on me,” said Alstott, who restructured his contract before this season and is scheduled to earn $2 million in 2006. “I’ll talk to my family, my wife and everybody else.” According to one NFL personnel director, McCarthy is a strong candidate for the Packers’ position despite hardly ever being mentioned in media circles. The Packers are the only team that has requested permission from the 49ers to interview McCarthy, but other teams have sent out feelers, according to another NFL source. McCarthy’s agent, Gary O’Hagan, said Sunday that McCarthy had a “terrific” interview with Thompson, but he said he didn’t know where his client stood on Thompson’s list. He said one thing he was sure of was that McCarthy had left an impression with those still in the organization during his year as quarterbacks coach under Ray Rhodes in 1999. “That’s important,” O’Hagan said. “He has a relationship with people there who know what he’s capable of.” Thompson was personnel director under former general manager Ron Wolf during McCarthy’s season in Green Bay and undoubtedly remembered Wolf’s respect for McCarthy’s ability. McCarthy also worked with personnel analyst John Schneider and the late Mark Hatley, the team’s former vice president of football operations, in Kansas City before coming to the Packers. From News Services 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson Alstott missed most of 2003 with a career-threatening neck injury and returned in 2004 to rush for 230 yards and two TDs, and catch 29 passes for 202 yards. He had four carries for 15 yards and gained 7 yards on his only reception during the loss to the Redskins. “I’ve had the best time this year. Going through two frustrating seasons, first in 2003, with the neck and then last year trying to regroup and get to my normal self,” Alstott said. “I felt I played well this year and did some good things. It was back to the old style again. … We’ll discuss it between me and my family and figure out what is best.” :PACKERS Of all the candidates being considered for the Green Bay Packers’ head coaching job, San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy has flown lowest beneath the radar. But for those who think he’s a courtesy interview based on his ties to the organization, his credentials should be considered. McCarthy, 42, became the fourth National Football League assistant coach to interview with general manager Ted Thompson, spending almost the entire day at Packers headquarters Sunday after arriving in Green Bay late Saturday afternoon. He is one of three offensive coordinators Thompson has on his shopping list and the only one to have worked in the Packers’ organization. The 10-year pro turned 32 last month, and his role has diminished in recent seasons because of injuries and coach Jon Gruden’s preference to use him as a more traditional fullback who blocks and carries the ball mostly in short-yardage situations. The team’s career touchdown leader (68) and second-leading all-time rusher (4,917 yards) gained 80 yards on 34 attempts and scored six of his seven TDs on the ground this season solid numbers considering the emergence of rookie Carnell “Cadillac” Williams as a featured back capable of handling a heavy workload.
160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita Another motorist reported seeing Dunlap closing the trunk of the car with the children inside earlier in the day. She told arresting officers that she did not have room inside her car for all her passengers as she headed to Palmdale to visit her sister. Carol Rock, (661) 257-5252 [email protected] SAN FERNANDO – A Gardena woman who was arrested in May in Santa Clarita for transporting two children in the trunk of her car was sentenced Wednesday to a year in county jail and three years’ probation. Laverne Renee Dunlap, 35, was prepared to start serving her sentence immediately but her attorney requested additional time to allow Dunlap to attend Dependency Court to determine her children’s custody. “Her new surrender date is Jan. 23,” said Deputy District Attorney Carolyn McNary. The sentence is part of a plea agreement filed on Dunlap’s behalf in December when she pleaded no contest to a charge of child endangerment. Dunlap had seven children in her compact car when she was stopped on the Antelope Valley Freeway on May 20 in Santa Clarita. California Highway Patrol officers found a boy, 15, and a girl, 10, in her trunk.