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Summary

  1. Premier League just 'one third English', BBC Sport study finds
  2. Wigan sponsors withdraw from club
  3. Daley Blind injury not as bad as first thought
  4. Giroud set to return for Arsenal ahead of schedule
  5. Ferrari announce Alonso departure & Vettel signing
  6. GET INVOLVED: What are your thoughts on the state of the game?

Live Reporting

By James Gheerbrant and Andy Cryer

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Anyway that is all from a busy Sportsday for today. Thanks a lot for your company and see you again from 08:00 GMT tomorrow for more Premier League news conferences and breaking news.

If you need a bit of a football fix this evening, you can listen to Maidstone v Stevenage's FA Cup first round replay on BBC Radio 5 sports extra.

Enjoy.

Filly sold for £1.45m

Horse racing

A filly foal of the legendary racehorse Frankel has sold for 1.8 million euros (about £1.45m) at the Goffs sales in Ireland.

The horse, a daughter of Finsceal Beo, was bought by bloodstock agent Dermot Farrington on behalf of an unnamed Irish client.

It is believed to be a record amount paid for a foal at auction in Ireland.

Frankel was retired in 2012 after winning all 14 of his races, while Finsceal Beo (which means 'Living Legend' in gaelic) won the 1,000 Guineas in England and Ireland in 2007.

Falcao reassures United fans

Some good news for Manchester United fans as Colombian striker Radamel Falcao refutes media reports he is struggling with a long-standing knee injury.

He told MUTV: "I am getting better, I feel well and I hope to come back to the pitch soon. It is disappointing that I can't play but I have to be calm and recover because that is important to help the team when I return to the games."

Quizzed on the media reports about his knee, he continued: "It is a bit frustrating. Well, it is more than frustrating actually and it detracts from the credibility of the media that there is so much speculation and that so many falsehoods have been written about it.

"I think with an audience of so many millions of people, it is not right. I did take a small injury to my calf, which is something that I need to be careful with, but there are a lot of stories circulating that are pure speculation."

Africa Cup of Nations

Football

BBC
BBC

The Africa Cup of Nations won't just affect the Premier League either. Plenty of Football League players missing to play in the tournament as shown in graphic above.

Africa Cup of Nations

Football

BBC
BBC

The Premier League could be a lonely place during the Africa Cup of Nations early next year. See the list above for who is likely to be involved.

Full story here.

Stat attack

Stats
Opta

So does this table above of the average number of fouls and red cards per game in Europe's top leagues mean the Bundesliga is fair or dirty? The German top flight has less red cards on average but more fouls.

Malky Mackay latest

Lancashire kitchen appliance company Premier Range on withdrawing their sponsorship from Wigan after the appointment of Malky Mackay:

"Unfortunately, their recent appointment of Malky Mackay has put us in a position that we find untenable.

"Mr Mackay is currently under investigation by the FA for sending text messages that are at odds with the general ethos here at Premier Range - and, it would seem, Cardiff and QPR feel the same as us.

"The texts Mr Mackay has admitted to sending are wholly unacceptable - and the thoughts expressed within them are a shocking reminder of a past we thought football had left behind.

"A team that would employ a man who expresses views such these is not the kind of team Premier Range wish to deal with."

BreakingBREAKING NEWS

Wigan sponsors Premier Range withdraw from their contract with the club after the appointment of Malky Mackay as manager.

Espinoza denies 'homesick' claims

Football

Wigan midfielder Roger Espinoza has denied claims made by former Latics boss Uwe Rosler that he wanted to leave the club because he was homesick.

The 28-year-old Honduran has been at Wigan since signing from Kansas City in January 2013 and was part of the the team that won the FA Cup in 2013.

"I'm definitely not homesick, that's the truth,"

he told the club website.

"I can say I've never been homesick, I've been away from home since I was 17 years old."

Daley Blind update

Football

So clarification on the Daley Blind situation after the chaos caused very much by Manchester United.

Louis van Gaal said: "First he needs to rest for 10 days, then we will have a better idea.

"At the moment, I can't put a timescale on it. I can't say it will be six to eight weeks. I can't even say it will be 10 to 12 weeks.

"But it is definitely not six months."

Get involved

#stateofthegame

Michael Wood: The loan system benefits lower league teams atm, B Teams would help national side. Is there way where all levels can benefit

Tony Wood: Problem is not lack of English players in EPL but lack of English players in Serie A, La Liga, Bundesliga etc...

What do you make of the state of the game? Tweet #stateofthegame, post on BBC Sport Facebook or text 81111 (UK users only)

Daley Blind
Daley Blind

Manchester United defender

Daley Blind on Twitter: Wow, all of a sudden a lot of messages! Still working hard guys, but don't worry; I'll be back stronger!

I wonder if Blind is aware of the chaos that Manchester United's Twitter feed caused. Ruling him out for six months for a few minutes before changing their minds. Bizarre stuff.

Wolves could be without goal-scoring duo

Football

Bakary Sako (left) and Nouha Dicko
Getty Images

BBC WM 95.6 report that Wolverhampton Wanderers could be without star players Bakary Sako and Nouha Dicko for up to three weeks early in the new year, after Mali qualified for the African Cup of Nations with a 2-0 victory over Algeria last night.

The forward pair have both suffered injury setbacks this season but scored a combined total of 31 goals in all competitions in the last campaign.

Marshall beaten at Worlds

Boxing

Savannah Marshall
Getty Images

Britain's Savannah Marshall has been beaten in her opening bout at the Women's World Championships in Jeju, Korea.

Defending champion Marshall lost 2:0 to Russian Yaroslava Yakushina in the 75kg class.

But there was better news for Sandy Ryan and Lisa Whiteside who reached the 64kg and 51kg quarter-finals respectively.

Game on?

American Football

Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills

If you are in the Buffalo area and have a spade handy why not pop along to the Ralph Wilson Stadium...

American Football team Buffalo Bills are staging an "around-the-clock" plan to dig their stadium clear of snow ahead of Sunday's match against the New York Jets

Bills spokesman Andy Major says 220,000 tons of snow needs to be removed from the complex before Sunday. Get digging.

Preston sign Bolton striker Beckford

Football

Preston North End have signed Bolton Wanderers striker

Jermaine Beckford on loan until the end of the season.

The 30-year-old will join initially on loan until January, but a deal is in place for that to be extended.

Beckford links up again with manager Simon Grayson, who he worked with at Leeds United and

Huddersfield.

Ipswich unsure on Williams return

Football

Jonny Williams
Getty Images

Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy is doubtful midfielder Jonny Williams will feature again during his current loan spell.

The 21-year-old is recovering from a groin injury with his parent club Crystal Palace, with his Town deal set to expire at the end of December.

"It might be four weeks to get him back training,"

McCarthy told BBC Radio Suffolk. "It will probably take him to the end of his loan."

Manchester United news conference

Football

Confusion at Old Trafford as Manchester United appear to have removed their tweet stating defender Daley Blind could be out for six months with a knee injury.

Manager Louis van Gaal has said on their

website: "Blind is not ready, he has a brace on his knee. He needs 10 days' rest. Then we'll have another scan and say more about his injury. It's not as bad as the doctors thought after the match, but it shall be a long story, I believe, not six months or something."

Good use of Twitter from United there... Or maybe not.

Still the good news United fans is Blind is NOT out for six months.

Saturday sport marathon on 5 live

Searching for something to do this Saturday? Armchair sports fan? Well then, you could do a lot worse than tune into

BBC Radio 5 live.

There are 12 hours of live sport on 5 live this Saturday from noon including:

13:00 Qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

15:00 Chelsea v West Brom (plus all the live updates and scores)

17:30 Wales versus New Zealand Rugby Union

19:00 England versus Samoa Rugby Union (straight after Wales game)

21:00 Live international boxing including Nathan Cleverly v Tony Bellew (George Groves, James De Gale, Scott Quigg and Antony Joshua also in action).

Lambert rebukes Switzerland over Senderos

Football

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has criticised the Swiss national team after defender Philippe Senderos picked up an injury on international duty.

The 29-year-old suffered a calf injury, having only just recovered from a thigh problem, and is now out for up to a month.

Lambert said: "That one I'm not happy about at all, Philippe. It's mismanagement from the FA in Switzerland."

Manchester United news conference

Football

Daley Blind
Reuters

Louis van Gaal on Blind, who suffered a knee injury on international duty with Holland:

"He has a brace on his knee. After 10 days' rest, he'll have another scan that will say more about the injury."

Van Gaal adds that Luke Shaw is doubtful for the trip to the Emirates but expects Michael Carrick to be available.

Manchester United news conference

Football

Manchester United manager is speaking at a news conference now, where he will speak more on Daley Blind's absence. We will bring you what he has to say on Sportsday ahead of Saturday's match against Arsenal.

BreakingBREAKING NEWS

Blind could be out for six months

Manchester United defender Daley Blind could be out for six months with a knee injury, according to the club.

Argy bargy

Football

Argentina's Premier League XI
BBC Sport

The team behind the State of the Game study have come up with this neat graphic showing how Argentina could field an entire team of Premier League players.

The question is: could they beat England? Let us know what you reckon on Twitter at #stateofthegame and via the

BBC Sport Facebook page.

Owen Farrell and George Ford
Dylan Hartley

England hooker Dylan Hartley on

Twitter: These two reuniting at 10 & 12 this weekend #lads ago.

George Ford and Owen Farrell haven't changed at all have they?

Question of Sport

We gave you a bit of extra time on today's Question of Sport teaser to solve those fiendishly difficult anagrams, but the time has come to reveal the answers.

They were 1.) Phil Mickelson 2.) Laura Trott 3.) Usain Bolt.

How many did you get? We were tied at 1-1 on the Sportsday desk and await tomorrow's Teaser to settle the score.

Khedira 'agrees Bayern deal'

Latest gossip

Sami Khedira
Getty Images

There are reports coming from Spain that Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira has already agreed to join Bayern Munich.

Spanish radio station

Cadena Ser claims Khedira, 27, has already informed manager Pep Guardiola that he's willing to join Bayern on a free next summer.

Won't stop a number of Premier League clubs being linked with him in the coming months I'm sure...

Blackstock rejects Blades loan move

Football

Dexter Blackstock
Getty Images

Nottingham Forest striker Dexter Blackstock has

turned down a loan move to League One side Sheffield United.

The 28-year-old has only played one game this season after a missing most of last term with a knee injury.

But manager Stuart Pearce said that Blackstock is still part of his plans and expects him to go out on loan.

"He had an option to go but didn't feel it was right. If something does come up then it might be the way forward," Pearce told

BBC Radio Nottingham.

England out for revenge - Cook

Cricket

England captain Alastair Cook says England are out for "revenge" in the upcoming one-day international series against Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka beat England in both the Test and ODI series in England this summer, amid rumours of bad blood between the teams over

a controversial run-out by Sachithra Senanayake in the ODI series.

Moeen Ali will open the batting with Cook in tomorrow's first warm-up match; Alex Hales is dropped.

Cook says it's "tough" for Hales, but "not the final decision".

QPR eye Alvarez

Latest gossip

QPR are taking a look at Argentine defender Pablo Alvarez ahead of a possible move, reports

the Daily Mail.

The 30-year-old free agent is reported to be training with Rangers in the hope of securing a contract over the coming days.

He was released by Catania in the summer.

Get involved

#stateofthegame

We've been asking you for your thoughts on the state of the game in England...

Catchwords: I agree with Terry Venables that the influx of foreign players is HELPING English players to raise their game.

Duncan McKay: More money in the Championship means that league is going the same way as well. An important league for developing players.

Iannish Posooa: If we want the best football league in the world, how can we expect most of the players to be from England? Isn't this arrogant?

Keep them coming at #stateofthegame on Twitter and via the

BBC Sport Facebook page.

Sneijder dampens transfer talk

Football

Wesley Sneijder
Getty Images

Galatasaray midfielder Wesley Sneijder has told the club's in-house TV station that he has no intention of leaving.

The Dutchman has been consistently linked with a move to Manchester United, as well as Italian club AC Milan.

But he told Galatasaray TV: "I feel good with the team and with the guys and I am not thinking of leaving here at any time."

Bulgaria sack coach Penev

Football

Luboslav Penev
Getty Images

Bulgaria have sacked coach Luboslav Penev after a poor start to their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

A 2-1 loss to Norway and a 1-1 draw with Malta in the latest qualifying rounds proved the final straw for Penev.

If nothing else, that coat has to be a sackable offence.

West Brom news conference

Football

Alan Irvine
BBC Sport

Here's more from West Brom manager Alan Irvine.

He talks about the challenge of facing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge: "We have a chance; the players believe that. We can't be passive".

West Brom news conference

Football

News conferences galore at the moment. The latest man in front of the microphone is West Brom manager Alan Irvine, who's talking about his side's visit to Chelsea on Saturday.

Irvine reveals that left-back Sebastien Pocognoli remains an injury doubt for the game, while fellow defender Jonas Olsson is still out. All other players who were involved in internationals over the break have returned fit.

Swansea news conference

Football

Here's more from Swansea City manager Garry Monk:

On opponents Manchester City: "There's always pressure on teams going for major honours. It's a challenge playing a squad five times more than you're worth, but that doesn't dictate games on the pitch."

Leicester news conference

Football

Nigel Pearson
Getty Images

More from Leicester boss Nigel Pearson ahead of Saturday's visit of Sunderland:

"We have to find a way of winning games and I am sure we will do. You have to be able to deal with criticism but we have to keep some perspective.

"We have had a start where we would prefer to have more points and the run we are in is not the best reading. Having said that, there are going to be plenty of opportunities to continue our improvement.

"I have been asked questions about strikers not scoring goals. I accept we have not created enough opportunities but still scored more goals than a number of teams."

Swansea news conference

Football

Swansea City manager Garry Monk is also speaking to the media ahead of his side's game against Manchester City on Saturday:

On players returning from international duty: "They are all back in one piece with no injuries which is good. It wasn't as intense as the last break so it's good."

On losing Wilfried Bony to the African Cup of Nations in January: "It's bittersweet. I'm happy for him, he's playing for his country to qualify for major tournaments but it's disappointing to lose him for a period. We have other players who can step in."

He adds that Bony's new deal is a "clear indication" that the striker wants to remain at Swansea.

Leicester news conference

Football

Leicester boss Nigel Pearson speaks to the media ahead of his side's home match against Sunderland on Saturday:

"Sunderland are a good side with quality players. They are a side that people can underestimate.

"We need to find a way of getting the right result. I can't tell you how the game will pan out, but we're in need of a result."

Barcelona news conference

Football

Messi and Mascherano
PA

Javier Mascherano is speaking at a news conference ahead of Barcelona's weekend match against Sevilla.

"I don't see any problem with Messi at Barca or with the Argentine team. He's in good form.

"It's impossible to discredit one of the best players in history. You can't have any doubts about Messi.

"Defeats always cause doubts, for that reason it's always important to win. Our idea is to win everything in the end. We want to finish the year in the best possible way."