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Sport shorts: Chelsea hold talks over Philippe Coutinho loan and the F1 2020 season could start behind closed doors

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Barcelona signed Brazil star Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool in January 2018
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Barcelona signed Brazil star Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool in January 2018
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Barcelona signed Brazil star Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool in January 2018

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Barcelona signed Brazil star Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool in January 2018

Ten things from the world of sport on Thursday 9 April

One-Minute Read
Thursday, April 9, 2020 - 11:45am

1. Blues step up Coutinho chase

Chelsea are in negotiations with Barcelona over a deal to bring Philippe Coutinho on loan to Stamford Bridge next season. 

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Spanish newspaper Sport reports that a loan deal is on the table at the moment and there could be an option for the Blues to buy the Brazilian playmaker.

Frank Lampard’s Chelsea are not the only Premier League club reportedly interested in the former Liverpool star. Sport says Manchester United, Tottenham, Everton and Leicester are other options.

2. Solskjaer’s spending spree 

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is eyeing some bargains in the summer sale, the Daily Mirror reports, and the Norwegian intends to “spend, spend, spend” in the months ahead as the Red Devils prepare for next season. 

“Football is going to get back to normality at one point, and it’s very important we’re ready when that happens,” said Solskjaer, reflecting on how the football world has been turned upside by coronavirus. 

“I’m sure we are capable, when we get back to normality, that we can do the business that we want to.”

Premier League news

3. £1.6bn wiped off EPL squad values 

Transfermarkt reports that the coronavirus pandemic will see an estimated £1.6bn wiped from the value of Premier League squads. 

“The stock market prices collapsed,” said Transfermarkt founder Matthias Seidel. “Many clubs could be threatened by insolvency and transfer plans come to a standstill because of the many uncertainties.”

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4. Welsh rugby stars take pay cut 

Leading rugby union players in Wales will take a 25% pay cut. BBC Sport says the reduction in salary started from 1 April and will continue for three months.   

The Professional Rugby Board said: “Each of the regions have also applied percentage reductions across all full-time staff, which is being managed locally to reflect the various business models across the professional game.”

5. Australian Rugby League sets 28 May return date

The Australian Rugby League (ARL) Commission has announced that the National Rugby League is planning to restart the competition on 28 May and also intends to play a full three-game State of Origin series. 

ARL commissioner Wayne Pearce said: “We haven’t finalised what that [competition] looks like yet. Why we want to firm up a date is to give certainty to players and their schedules, clubs and thousands of people who are out of work through clubs and millions of fans. It’s a mark for everyone to work towards that’s associated with the game.”

The NRL also confirmed that the grand final would “remain in its traditional format of one match”, which will be played in Sydney.

6. F1 season could start behind closed doors

Formula 1’s managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn says the 2020 championship could get underway in July with the opening race being held without spectators. 

Speaking on the Sky Sports F1 Vodcast, Brawn said: “If we were to start at the beginning of July, we could do a 19-race season. It’s tough, three races on, weekend off, three races on, weekend off - but we’ve looked at all the logistics.

“Our view is that probably a European start would be favourable, and that could even be a closed event. We could have a very closed environment where teams come in on charter [planes], we channel them into the circuit, we make sure everyone’s tested, cleared, there’s no risk to everyone and we have a race without spectators. 

“That’s not great, but I think it’s still better than no racing at all.”

7. Canoeists keep Team GB Olympic spots

The British Olympic Association (BOA) and British Canoeing have today confirmed that the five canoeing athletes already nominated for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will remain as selected to represent Team GB at the games in July and August 2021. 

Liam Heath will compete at his third Games, and the four canoe slalom athletes selected - Mallory Franklin, Kimberley Woods, Adam Burgess and Bradley Forbes-Cryans - will all make their Olympic debuts in Japan.

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For analysis of the biggest sport stories - and a concise, balanced take on the week’s news - try The Week magazine. Start your trial today 
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8. Mane could have joined Man Utd 

Sadio Mane has revealed that he could have joined Manchester United before signing for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool from Southampton in 2016. 

Mane told The Times: “We were thinking most about Manchester United. That was a tough time for me as I was on the bench so I was not thinking about anyone calling me, but I was pleased he [Klopp] did.”

9. Reynoso: Canelo will knock out GGG 

Canelo Alvarez’s trainer says the Mexican boxer will knock out rival Gennady Golovkin. 

The fighters are set to go head-to-head for a third time in September and Eddy Reynoso said: “If that fight comes to fruition - Canelo with Golovkin - Canelo will undoubtedly win by knockout. This time we are going to knock him out, we are promising that will happen to all of the people who believe in us.”

10. Saints players defer part of their salaries 

Southampton’s players have become the first in the Premier League to defer part of their salaries during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The Saints said in a statement: “The board of directors, the first-team manager, his coaching staff and the first-team squad have agreed to defer part of their salaries for the months of April, May and June to help protect the future of the club, the staff that work within it and the community we serve. 

“Furthermore, the club can confirm that it will not use the government’s Job Retention Scheme during April, May and June. Our owners, Mr. Gao and Katharina Liebherr, have put measures in place to ensure that all staff not deferring part of their salaries will continue to receive 100% of their pay, paid in the normal way until 30th June. 

“Any decision on the future beyond this date will be made in advance of this, but only when more information is known.”

Today’s back pages

The ‘Special One’ Jose Mourinho says sorry for being the ‘Social One’

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For analysis of the biggest sport stories - and a concise, balanced take on the week’s news - try The Week magazine. Start your trial today 
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