Chelsea are reportedly keen on hijacking Manchester United’s move for Raphael Varane this summer and that could lead them into using a new defensive pairing next season. The Real Madrid defender is considering quitting the Bernabeu as he has just one year left on his contract.
Varane is apparently demanding an increase on his £170,000-a-week wages but Real are in financial trouble and want to cut costs.
Sergio Ramos has already departed for Paris Saint-Germain and Varane could be the next out of the exit door.
United are holding talks with the La Liga giants over a blockbuster summer switch but reports in Spain suggest Chelsea are also keeping close tabs on the situation.
Thiago Silva, 36, is unlikely to feature in every Premier League match as he comes towards the tail end of his career.
So Thomas Tuchel may trust a younger Kurt Zouma to play alongside his fellow Frenchman Varane.
Six years ago Mourinho predicted that Zouma and Varane would be a powerful partnership after he managed both of the youngster at club level.
“I think the French Federation should write me a letter to thank me because I think they have now the best two young central defenders in the world,” Mourinho said during his second stint in charge of Chelsea in 2015.
“I’m not saying the best because there are young, there are obviously end products, mature players 24, 25, 28, 30-year’s-old.
“But as young defenders can you imagine what Varane and Zouma can represent in football in a couple of years.
“I think Didier [Deschamps] must be very happy with that.”
Meanwhile, former Liverpool ace Steve Nicol has concerns over whether Varane can still cut it in the Premier League.
“I think the worrying thing is that Varane’s coming off a season where he made a lot of high-profile mistakes,” he said.
“You wonder whether: is last season an indicator he’s beginning to drop a little bit? That would be my worry.
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“It’s going to be a lot of money. It might be spending a lot of money who, actually for his age is pretty early going the other way.”
Chelsea also have Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen among their ranks so it is likely there would be departures if Varane arrived at Stamford Bridge.
The dust has settled on the E3 2021 Nintendo Direct; the big N stuck to its usual approach ever since the ‘Digital Event’ days, of approximately 40 minutes and plenty of announcements.
On this occasion, no individual game hogged the limelight to excess, as even the biggest hitters only had an assigned couple of minutes for their pitch. Considering the circumstances for game developers and publishers over the past 12-16 months, Nintendo also outlined an impressive slate of first-party titles that’ll take us to the New Year, with almost one big-hitter for every month.
Nintendo and its partners on these big games — the likes of MercurySteam and WayForward — deserve credit for lining up a batch of big-time titles
As you can see in our Nintendo Direct round-up, a lot emerged from Nintendo’s efforts at E3, and the reaction has seemingly been largely positive. In our own poll that was posed just a few hours after the event, out of over 5,500 responses (at the time of writing), 57% awarded the show either an A or B grade (39% a B), with just under a quarter opting for a C (average) and 19% opting for either a D or dreaded F, though only 4% opted for the lowest grade.
A quick glance at the ratio on the Nintendo of America YouTube video upload also shows around 43,000 upvotes to just 3,300 downvotes. While the show won’t have pleased everyone — which is impossible, ultimately — it did generally earn a good reception.
The general sense within our team is that it was a very good show, and arguably Nintendo’s finest Direct for a long time (especially with the dramatic reduction in frequency of the main showcases). After a relatively quiet time for major and exciting software, it also lines up a tantalising set of games for the coming months. Nintendo and its partners on these big games — the likes of MercurySteam and WayForward — deserve credit for lining up a batch of big-time titles under the past year’s difficult working circumstances.
Below are the big first-party games for each month coming up, and this doesn’t even include a number of much anticipated third-party games; it gives a sense of how well stacked the rest of 2021 truly is:
This was also a broadcast that delivered a few notable long-demanded fan favourites – but yes, the wait does go on for F-Zero.
After a long break since its last ‘proper’ entry (if you disregard the spin-off Game & Wario on Wii U), we finally get a return to the classic formula with WarioWare: Get It Together!, which adds co-op for good measure. Mario Party Superstars delivers shiny HD recreations of classic N64-era boards and minigames, though it’s hard to argue with those suggesting it could have been fairly priced DLC for Super Mario Party. Then there’s the WayForward-developed remaster of the two original Advance Wars GBA releases, a smart way for Nintendo to pitch the IP to new audiences while delighting older fans and longtime followers who had to watch this treasured series take a backseat when the Fire Emblem franchise — Intelligent Systems’ other turn-based tactical gem — finally attracted a mainstream audience in the West.
Metroid Dread was arguably the key announcement, though, one which topped our community poll in terms of the most exciting reveals. For newer fans there’s the buzz of a shiny 2D Metroid title on Switch, and it’s good news that MercurySteam — which developed the excellent Metroid II remake, Metroid: Samus Returns, on 3DS — is at the helm but on far more capable hardware. For older fans, however, it’s a slice of Nintendo history.
Following Metroid Fusion on GBA, the sequel Metroid Dread was well known to be in the works, going back over 15 years ago. Its cancellation and all of the intrigue and rumours at the time were a staple of the DS / Wii era, and the assumption had been made in the many years since that it’d never see the light of day (the video, above, in which Yoshio Sakamoto gives intriguing insight into the project is well worth a watch). Notably, Nintendo has given Dread ‘Metroid 5’ status, with Team Ninja-developed Metroid: Other M standing more than ever as a ‘side-project’, while the Prime series occupies its own space in the lore.
For many in our team, it’s the game that draws the most anticipation. When you combine the fact it’s a mainline 2D Metroid game with the ‘Dread’ name and all of that history, it was a huge project for Nintendo to unveil.
All of this has focused on imminent games, and of course we shouldn’t forget that the show dropped huge moments for The Legend of Zelda, too. The celebratory Game & Watch is sure to be a must have collectable, but it was the fascinating trailer for Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 that stole the show.
It’s pleasing that the sequel seemingly has plenty of new ideas to offer. There’ll be action in the skies, portals, and sections where Link will have some pretty wild hair. Fan speculation and deconstruction of the trailer is downright fascinating and fun in itself; we’ve indulged in some theories already! The vague 2022 date is the only disappointment there, especially as it could mean ‘Holiday 2022’, but it was great to see footage and progress.
When you throw in some reveals and 2022 titles from this year’s previous Nintendo Direct and other events, such as Splatoon 3 and Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope (which was touched upon briefly here, too), the future is looking bright for major Switch releases into next year. With the hardware in its fifth year, and regardless of the neverending speculation around its successor or iteration, what Nintendo has achieved to date gives it excellent momentum. With the system still flying off shelves in impressive numbers, the E3 Direct only strengthened Nintendo’s hand in the short-to-medium term future.
The long-anticipated ‘Battle of Britain’ between the two men who hold all the marbles in boxing’s heavyweight fold, Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua, has taken a giant step forward as Eddie Hearn confirms contracts have been signed.
Both Fury and Joshua have long stated their ambitions to fight one another in what would be the highest stakes heavyweight bout in a generation – but top level negotiations between the Fury and Joshua camps (and their respective exclusive broadcasters ESPN and DAZN) had repeatedly hit a brick wall.
Until now, it seems. It was revealed by ESPN on Monday afternoon, via Joshua’s promoter Hearn, that contracts between the two giant fighters have been signed for TWO fights to take place, with at least one of them expected to take place this year.
As of yet, no details regarding the date or the location have been released but it is thought that promoters are still accepting site bids from regions thought to be interested in hosting the fight.
The ongoing situation regarding Covid-19 in the United Kingdom, which would otherwise have almost certainly hosted the fight, means that other territories such as various regions in the Middle East have pulled ahead as potential locations – though it is understood that no decisions have yet been made in this regard.
The signing of the contract between the two fighters represents the culmination of years of speculation of a high profile showdown between the two. The fight has seemed at risk due to language in Deontay Wilder’s contract following his two-fight stint opposite Fury in which he is guaranteed a third fight.
The American indicated after his seventh-round defeat to Fury more than a year ago that he intended to make good of this particular clause. Fury, who openly pined for a fight with Joshua, expressed his reticence at the idea – and finally seems to have secured the blockbuster fight he has been chasing. Also on rt.com12 pints a day: Boxing champ Tyson Fury reveals he’s back on the booze and Anthony Joshua megafight is ‘nowhere near’ being agreed
The Fury-Joshua megafight, when it happens, will unify the major recognized titles in boxing’s heavyweight division – with the winner being crowned boxing’s first undisputed heavyweight champ since Lennox Lewis twenty years ago.
Predictably, fight fans are already having their say as to who will come out on top when Fury and Joshua finally step into the ring, with some speculating that Joshua will “win by KO” while others just seem to be content that the fight appears to have finally been agreed after months of promotional foreplay. Also on rt.com‘Joshua is mentally hurt since Ruiz. Fury would outbox him’: Former foe Wallin on potential heavyweight unification