In Brief

Today’s back pages: Saracens could be forced to sell players and Reiss is the word for Arsenal

A round up of the sport headlines from UK newspapers on 7 January

Saracens’s fire sale

Many newspapers carry the comments of Edward Griffiths, the interim chief executive of Saracens, who admits that England’s dominant rugby club of the last decade might have to take some drastic action in the wake of their record fine for salary cap breaches.

These, explains The Times, will include having “to trim their wage bill by offloading players or implementing wage cuts”. 

Liam Williams, the Wales full-back, has already announced his return to the Scarlets at the end of the season but it looks like he won’t be the only player who will be leaving Sarries this year.

In November Saracens were given a 35-point deduction and fined £5.36m for breaching league salary cap regulations.

Arsenal into the fourth round

The Daily Mirror and Daily Express both report that “Reiss is the word” for Arsenal as the Gunners beat Leeds United 1-0 last night to reach the FA Cup fourth round. 

Forward Reiss Nelson scored a 55th-minute winner for Mikel Arteta’s side, who will now travel to Bournemouth in the next round. 

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Fantastic five

With England needing to take eight South African wickets today to level the series, Scyld Berry in The Daily Telegraph says that the gripping second Test in Cape Town “prove the merits of five-day Tests”. 

Last week it was revealed that cricket’s global governing body is considering shortening Test matches to four days, but events at Newlands have ensured that today’s fifth day “will see drama of a kind that no other format in cricket - and no other sport - can offer”. 

Thanks to an unbeaten 133 from Dominic Sibley, and a quickfire 72 from Ben Stokes, England have set South Africa a record target of 438. 

The hosts finished the fourth day at 126-2 and today’s fifth day finale should provide gripping entertainment.

Noisy neighbours

Tonight’s Carabao Cup semi-final first leg between Manchester United and holders Manchester City creates plenty of excitement in the press, and the Daily Express is one of several papers to report on what Sky Blues boss Pep Guardiola had to say when asked if he could ever switch sides in the future. 

“I will never train them,” Guardiola said of United. “Like I would not train [Real] Madrid. I will be in the Maldives if I don’t have other offers or on the golf courses.” 

Guardiola also had a playful dig at former United manager Alex Ferguson, and his description of City as their “noisy neighbours”. 

“I know for the years I was not here we were the noisy neighbours,” he said. “Now I don’t know who we are. But I know what the derby means to Man City fans.”

Today’s newspaper back pages

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