Sports Burst - The Return of the Grinch



By Tim Stannard

Luis Enrique sets testy tone in Spain presentation 

Luis Enrique has officially returned to the media spotlight in the capacity of a soccer coach. 

And that's quite the surprise really as in the past the former Barcelona boss has taken on the challenge of this particular role with the same level of enthusiasm as a plumber tackling a particularly unpleasant U-bend blockage. This is perhaps the reason why Enrique has chosen to take on a job running Spain's national team - about 80% less work and contact with human beings than in club management. 

The Spaniard went before the media for the first time on Thursday and spoke about the challenges ahead in his new job - fixing the debacle of the World Cup, dealing with inter-club rivalries in the locker room, handling his own various spats in the past with squad members and changing the playing style of a team that appeared to have borrowed rugby tactics in only being able to pass sideways or backwards. "I am looking at the world with optimism and the past belongs to the past," claimed Julen Lopetegui's replacement doing his best impression of perkiness. 


One of the many decisions that Enrique will have to take is who will captain the side, marshal the midfield with the departure of Andres Iniesta, stand in at the back instead of the retiring Gerard Pique and lead the line up front with doubts still surrounding the effectiveness of Diego Costa. Oh, and whether to develop a sunnier disposition. 

"I don't have to be nice, I just have to do my job in the best way possible," announced Enrique setting the true tone as King of Spain.


Alisson in Liverpool to start Premier League life 

It looks like Liverpool is finally going to get their safe-hands keeper to put the dodgy days of Loris Karius firmly behind the Merseysiders. A deal could be wrapped up in a matter of days. Or ten minutes. Who knows really?

Alisson Becker, the Brazilian number one, is now on Merseyside to agree personal terms with the Premier League club after a fee of up to $86 million was agreed between Liverpool and Roma to make Alisson the most expensive goalkeeper in the world. 


Speaking about the move on Thursday, Roma's Sporting Director, Monchi, admitted that Alisson's transfer will be tough to take for frustrated fans. "When a very substantial offer comes in you have to consider it," noted Monchi who also reminded fans that Javier Pastore and Justin Kluivert have been signed up for the new season. 


Donnarumma rumor room opens up for Chelsea swap 

So what else is kicking around the Transfer Tracker world? 

Well, the Donnarumma rumor room is open again with a story that Milan is willing to do a deal with Chelsea and send their goalkeeper to Stamford Bridge in return for the unwanted Alvaro Morata. 

That in turn could trigger the move from Thibaut Courtois to Real Madrid to tie up this particular keeper kerfuffle - at least until Keylor Navas moves to Arsenal. Actually, there's more Arsenal goalkeeper news with David Ospina potentially moving to Besiktas. 


Thiago Alcantara still wants out of Bayern Munich apparently, with Barcelona as his first choice new home. The response from the Camp Nou club should be a firm 'do-one' considering the Spaniard walked out on the team in a huff back in 2013. 

Get all the latest news on done deals and made-up stuff by tuning into the daily Transfer Tracker show (or watching back at your leisure) on our beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page at 12PM ET / 9AM PT. 


The Open opens up as cyclists ascend the Alps

Everything else in the wide, wide world of sport! 

The great walking and hitting balls jamboree gets underway at The Open in Scotland. A gentleman who sounds a bit like Kevin Costner (Kevin Kisner) is currently setting the pace on the first round leader board in golf's big weekend.

Some slightly more active people are on bikes as well in Stage 12 of the Tour de France. Really active in actual fact as it the famous Alpe d'Huez stage, a truly brutal climb up a horrendously tall mountain. Geraint Thomas is currently leading the way with the yellow jersey for the ever-popular Team Sky.