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We will see and decide if Kylian Mbappe is going to be available, reveals Mauricio Pochettino

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Kylian Mbappe’s return to action remains in doubt for PSG’s Champions League semi-final second leg against Manchester City following a calf injury. Mbappe has netted 37 goals and 10 assists in 43 appearances in all competition for PSG this season as PSG look to reach the Champions League finals.

Kylian Mbappe’s contribution towards Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League campaign has been immense this season, with him scoring eight goals in 10 matches. However, the Frenchman has been a key part of PSG’s side in their domestic campaign as well with 25 goals in 29 appearances as the Parisians battle LOSC Lille for the title. But with the 22-year-old not playing against Lens with a calf injury, it has many concerned about his availability for their next game.

So much remains to be seen for the outcome of the second leg results and whether PSG will be able to cope with the pressure, keeping in mind the 50-50 availability of Kylian Mbappe for the match. It has seen Mauricio Pochettino admit that the club needs to “assess” the forward in order to see whether or not he is fit enough to play the second leg against Manchester City. The PSG boss also added that his side needs to be “clinical and aggressive” against Pep Guardiola’s side.

“We need to assess Kylian. Today he is going to start an individual training session and see if he can be with the team. There is still one day and we will see and decide if he is going to be available,” Pochettino said, reported the BBC

“We will try to give trust and confidence to the players. The intention is to deprive them of the possession but it is a challenge. They have played six years under the same philosophy with Pep. We are trying to get more balance. We need to be ready to suffer in some moments of the game. We need to be clinical and aggressive,” he added.

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Raptors cannot wait to get out of Tampa?

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The Toronto Raptors have not exactly gotten the warmest welcome in their temporary home this season. Now it sounds like they are itching to get the heck out of Dodge.

Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports reported this week that there are Raptors players and other members of the organization who cannot wait to leave Tampa, Fla. They are said to be counting down the days until they can pack their bags, take their families and leave on May 17.

The Raptors have their last regular-season contest on May 16. They are four games out of the play-in tournament zone with five games left, meaning they are all but certain to miss the playoffs and see an early end to their season.

Tampa has played home to the Raptors this year with Toronto unavailable due to COVID-19 restrictions. The partnership has been frosty at best with the Raptors even recently getting booed by the local fans. It is probably safe to say that there will not be any NBA basketball in Tampa after this season.

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Manchester United planning £70m double sale to fund Erling Haaland move – Reports

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Manchester United are hoping to raise funds from player sales to help finance a move for Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland.

According to We All Follow United via Express, the Red Devils are planning to sell Jesse Lingard and either David de Gea or Dean Henderson, to raise £70m in the summer. The money will then be invested in bringing the Norwegian striker to Old Trafford.

Manchester United have reportedly made Haaland their number one target ahead of the summer, but Dortmund have slapped an astronomical fee on the player. The Norwegian has been on a brilliant run of form since his move to the Bundesliga side. Haaland has scored 47 goals in 48 games since joining Dortmund from RB Leipzig in January of 2020.

Haaland is the target-man Ole Gunnar Solskjaer desires at Old Trafford, even though the player has already rejected Manchester United on two occasions in the past.

However, the Black and Yellows want a fee of over £100m for the Norwegian, which could be a problem for the Red Devils. Interestingly, Haaland’s £70m release clause will only come into effect in the summer of 2022.

Solskjaer has already revealed that Manchester United will not be able to spend freely in the transfer market due to the financial repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, the Red Devils are planning to raise funds from the sales of Jesse Lingard and one of their goalkeepers.

The Englishman has impressed while on loan with West Ham United and could be allowed to leave for around £20m. The Hammers are reportedly desperate to sign the player on a permanent deal, which will work in Manchester United’s favor.

The Red Devils could also sell one of De Gea and Henderson in the summer, with the Englishman currently valued at £50m. Paul Pogba could also be allowed to leave unless he signs a contract extension at the end of the season. Manchester United, however, are eager to retain the Frenchman.

Funds raised from player sales will help the Red Devils compete with the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea, who are also monitoring Haaland.

Manchester United want to end the season on a high note

Erling Haaland
Erling Haaland

Manchester United are currently second in the Premier League and are also in the final of the UEFA Europa League final, where they will face Villarreal on 26 May. The Red Devils have five games remaining in the Premier League and will want to end the season on a high nite despite their congested fixture list.

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Why did ‘completely healthy’ Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah’s past heart issue cause him to plummet in NFL draft?

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He’s already in the top 5 candidates to win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Image: Getty Images

When Day 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft concluded, several first-round talents had yet to be taken. Many viewers were shocked to see names like Asante Samuel Jr., Teven Jenkins, Trevon Moehrig, Jevon Holland, Christian Barmore, and Levi Onwuzurike still available after 32 picks. However, the most notable exception from the Day 1 selections was Notre Dame linebacker, Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.

According to multiple reports, JOK dropped on many teams’ draft boards because of a “heart issue that came up late in the process,” per Adam Schefter. That sounds serious. That definitely warrants teams being skeptical of selecting him, right? Well, here’s the thing…..JOK had already been cleared by medical professionals prior to the draft. After selecting Owusu-Koramoah with the 52nd overall pick, Browns GM Andrew Berry said “He’s completely healthy. There’s nothing really in his background that would suggest he can’t have a nice, long career.”

JOK’s talent is obvious to everyone. The selection has been universally praised by damn near everyone. I mean, he’s a linebacker with slot cornerback speed. That will always be a valued asset in the National Football League. Despite being the 23rd defensive player taken in the draft, most sites give Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah top-5 odds to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award in the upcoming NFL season. Some sites believe JOK should be the top choice for the award. JOK won the Dick Butkus Award in 2020, awarded each season to college football’s best linebacker (other notable recipients of the award include Patrick Willis, Von Miller, Luke Kuechly, and Devin White). He also earned the distinction of 1st team All-American, 1st Team All-ACC, and ACC Defensive Player of the Year. With a resume like that, it makes you wonder why any team would wait until Day 2 of the NFL Draft to take the 21-year-old despite the health concern.

Other prospects with more serious injury concerns haven’t fallen nearly as far in the past. Take Jaylen Waddle, the number 6 overall selection in the most recent NFL Draft. Waddle, a former Alabama wide receiver, missed almost the entire 2020 college football season with a fractured right ankle. Ankle injuries are particularly worrisome for wide receivers as being able to push off your foot and change direction on a dot are keys to getting open. However, that injury didn’t hurt Waddle’s draft stock. In fact, Waddle went before his teammate and 2020 Heisman Trophy winner, DeVonta Smith. Smith did suffer a dislocated finger, but that injury barely kept him out of one game.

Even more egregious is the NFL’s concern over JOK compared to guys with non-drug related off-field issues. Prior to the draft, Alabama quarterback Mac Jones was held in high regard for his good decision-making. Now, I think we all can agree that drinking and driving is never a good decision to make. So, why didn’t that hurt Jones’s draft stock at all?

Maybe comparing quarterbacks to linebackers is a bit of a stretch — apples to oranges. So then let’s compare JOK to another recent linebacker with an injury history. Reuben Foster had a torn right rotator cuff surgically repaired two months before the 2017 NFL Draft. He also had a history of aggressive behavior and anger management issues, even having to be removed from the 2017 NFL Combine after getting into an altercation with one of the medical staff on the premises. Foster did fall in the draft, but was still selected in the first round with the 31st pick by the San Francisco 49ers. Foster fell approximately 10-15 spots from where he was projected. Owusu-Koramoah, despite having no such history with surgeries or aggression, and after playing every single game for Notre Dame last season, fell approximately 35-40 spots.

It boggles my mind that a player everyone knew was fantastic and every fan, analyst, and general manager acknowledges as an incredible talent, would drop so far for such a minor health concern. Coming into the draft, Owusu-Koramoah was my number one defensive prospect. I am still absolutely confident that he will win Defensive Rookie of the Year. And when he does, hopefully teams won’t pass on the next guy to play an incredible season of football with a seemingly resolved health issue in their past.

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