Kei Kamara looks set for Premier League move

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On the heels of Brek Shea taking the next step toward England, another midwest attacker looks set to leap out of Major League Soccer and into the Premier League. And when you think about the physical qualities this man possesses, it’s little surprise Kei Kamara might get a look in England.

According to reports this morning, the Sierre Leonean striker has agreed to a deal with Norwich City, a club that currently sits 13th in the Premier League. As you’ll see here, few details are available, and an agreement between player and club is only one of many steps in the process of moving to England.

Will Sporting KC sign off on the deal? Will MLS? It looks like we’re about to find out, but the one hurdle ITV mentions in their piece (a work permit) shouldn’t be an issue. Rules for players getting into the Premier League tie eligibility to the frequency with which you’ve appeared for their senior national team. Kamara has 14 caps for Sierra Leone since 2008 and has been a regular call-in for the Stars’ recent matches.

If the deal goes through, it will be a remarkable rise for a player who, just over three years ago, was cast off by the Houston Dynamo. But Kamara has made a career for himself in Kansas City, scoring 31 of his 45 career goals since moving north. He’s also collected 18 assists since being traded to Sporting in 2009.

MORE: Sporting KC’s CEO explains Kamara move

That’s why it would be such a huge loss. Sporting have depth at striker thanks to the summer acquisition of Designated Player Claudio Bieler, but Kamara is so unique. He’s 6’3″, strong, fast and skilled. It’s a package that not only makes him a good fit for the Premier League but also a unique left-sided target man for Peter Vermes’ team. There’s really no way to make a like-for-like replacement, even from a team that also has C.J. Sapong and Teal Bunbury (currently injured) on their books.

If the deal goes through, it would be interesting to see how Chris Hughton uses Kamara. He has the physical tools to immediately step in, but there might be the temptation to see his physicality and project Kamara as a No. 9. He’s unlikely to see immediate success in that role, partly because it’s one he hasn’t played full time in Kansas City.

Going from the freedom of a mostly wide player to somebody who’ll have to constantly bang with world class center halves? It would be an adjustment, to say the least.

But maybe Norwich has seen what Kansas City’s done and feel they can leverage a unique, wide target man. If they have, Kamara could be a success in England.

Arsenal hires Dortmund man who “found” Pulisic, Aubameyang

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Arsenal has a new head of recruitment, and he’s the scout who helped bring Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Christian Pulisic, and Ousmane Dembele to Borussia Dortmund.

The name is Sven Mislintat, and he’ll take the place of 25-year Arsenal vet Steve Rowley. Reports say Bayern Munich unsuccessfully recruited him in the summer.

[ MORE: Busy week for PL big boys ]

Mislintat also has perhaps the beck nickname of any scout in recent memory: “Diamond Eyes.”

Here’s Arsene Wenger on the move, from Arsenal.com:

“We are delighted that Sven is joining us. Identifying and developing talent is a core part of our philosophy and Sven has an outstanding track record over many years. We look forward to him taking our existing recruitment approach forwards.”

Congested schedule challenges Premier League big boys

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Every Premier League team will play two league matches in, at most, five days beginning with Leicester City’s trip to West Ham on Friday.

Throw in UEFA Champions League and Europa League, and this could throw a wrench into the Top Four ambitions the big boys.

[ MORE: Pulis sacked | What’s next for WBA? ]

The schedule and table status makes life a bit more forgiving for a number of the giants. Man City and Spurs have already advanced, while Manchester United is almost completely through the door. Arsenal’s onto the knockout rounds of Europa, too.

Liverpool and Chelsea can move on with wins over Sevilla and Qarabag, respectively, and the Reds get one more day’s rest before hosting the Blues. Traveling back from Azerbaijan and heading to Anfield makes life even harder for Chelsea.

The European competitions could be great news for all of next midweek’s opponents, but especially for Stoke and Swans. They’ll be getting Chelsea and Liverpool on the heels of two difficult matches each.

We’ll leave Everton out of this, having been eliminated from Europe and likely to start a very green squad from its deepest depth on Thursday.

Manchester City
vs. Feyenoord — Tuesday
at Huddersfield Town — Sunday
vs. Southampton — Nov. 29

Manchester United
at Basel — Wednesday
vs. Brighton — Saturday
at Watford — Nov. 28

Chelsea
at Qarabag — Wednesday
at Liverpool — Saturday
vs. Swansea City — Nov. 29

Arsenal
at Koln — Thursday
at Burnley — Sunday
vs. Huddersfield Town — Nov. 29

Tottenham Hotspur
at Borussia Dortmund — Tuesday
vs. West Bromwich Albion — Saturday
at Leicester City — Nov. 28

Liverpool
vs. Sevilla — Tuesday
vs. Chelsea — Saturday
at Stoke City — Nov. 29

PL Preview: Brighton vs. Stoke City

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  • Stoke leads all-time 16W-14D-9L
  • First league meeting since 2006
  • Potters have won last 8 in series

Brighton and Hove Albion meets Stoke City for the first time in Premier League history when the two battle at the Amex Stadium on Monday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Brighton is unbeaten in its last four PL matches, with a pair of away wins and two draws at home.

They’ve been led at the back end by Shane Duffy and in attack by Pascal Gross, but it’s been a well-traveled Premier League veteran filling the goals. Glenn Murray has historic motivation to keep scoring, knowing that a marker versus Stoke would make him the first Brighton player to ever score a goal in four successive top flight matches.

Stoke followed up its win over Watford with a draw against Leicester City. The Potters have two goals and four assists from Swiss attacker Xherdan Shaqiri, and three and one from Senegalese scorer Mame Biram Diouf.

What they’re saying

Brighton’s Chris Hughton on bagging wins“For a club like us to get back-to-back wins would show the level we are playing at. It’s tough. I remember being told by somebody with one of the promoted teams that they didn’t get their first away win until February-March. That can happen and it’s exactly the same for a team getting promoted to get back-to-wins. They are hard to come by. Any way we are able to do that would certainly be a major boost for us.”

Stoke manager Mark Hughes on Xherdan ShaqiriHe is taking on more the role of the main instigator of our attacking threat. When he gets the ball, I think the whole team responds to that. You sense that maybe something’s going to happen. And I think the crowd sends it as well. And I know opposition team sense it too.”

Prediction

Few matches are more of a toss-up than this one, and there’s no recent match-ups on which to rest our heads. So we’ll side with the home team managing a point, and maybe a pair of old-timer goals from Murray and Peter Crouch, in a 1-1 draw.

Italy soccer chief resigns after failure to reach World Cup

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ROME (AP) Italian football federation president Carlo Tavecchio has resigned a week after the Azzurri failed to qualify for the World Cup.

Monday’s announcement came following calls for a complete overhaul of the nation’s most popular sport, from the amateur leagues right up to Serie A and the national teams.

[ MORE: What’s next for West Brom? ]

Sweden’s playoff win over Italy kept the four-time champion out of the World Cup for the first time in six decades.

Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura was fired two days after the loss.

For the last week, Tavecchio has resisted calls to step down but he eventually lost the support of the federation’s board of directors.

Former federation chief Giancarlo Abete said as he left the board meeting where Tavecchio resigned that a new election would be held within 90 days.