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The 10 most in-demand players this summer

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Between the end of the current season and the beginning of next, there will be huge amounts of transfer business done around the world. But who are the 10 best players whose futures will be most under the microscope this summer?

10. MAROUANE FELLAINI (Everton)

The 25-year-old Everton star player is still the club’s record signing, since he joined for $23m in 2008. The Belgium offensive threat is now attracting the attention of the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal, and if Everton get a bid of something like $35m for his services it is likely he will leave Goodison Park.

9. DAVID VILLA (Barcelona)

A few years back he was the most respected striker on the planet, but he has declined since his broken leg, and there is a good chance he will leave Camp Nou in the summer. Because of his age, 31, his transfer fee will not be huge, but his wages will be. There is no doubt he is still worth taking a gamble on, and a move to the Premier League, with Arsenal interested, is a distinct possibility.

8. VICTOR VALDES (Barcelona) 

The Barcelona ‘keeper has confirmed that he will leave in the summer for a new challenge, and there will be plenty of clubs bidding for the Spaniard. In his younger days he wasn’t rated too highly, but he has matured hugely as a player. Liverpool’s Pepe Reina has been linked with a swap deal with Valdes, while Arsenal need a top ‘keeper, so like his teammate David Villa, he could soon be playing in the Premier League.

7. CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN (Ajax)

The 21-year-old Danish international is one of the most highly rated youngsters in Europe, with many great clubs monitoring his progress. A technically gifted, creative player, the Ajax star will cost a lot of money but will be worth every buck. Liverpool, in particular, have been heavily linked with acquiring his signature.

source: Getty Images

6. NEYMAR (Santos)

If the Brazilian sensation was definitely leaving Santos in the summer then he would be right at the top of this list, but his future in uncertain. Many think the 21-year-old will become the greatest player on the planet one day, and Barcelona and Real Madrid look favourites to sign the little genius. It looks more likely that he move abroad after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and expect a colossal transfer fee when he does move.

5. ROBERT LEWANDOWSKI (Borussia Dortmund)

The Dortmund and Poland starstriker is on fire this season, scoring 30 goals in 41 games, and there is much speculation about his future. Part of him will want to stay at Dortmund, especially given their current success, but the other part will be tempted by a move to a European giant. Sir Alex Ferguson has expressed an interest in the 24-year-old, while Real Madrid have also kept a close eye on him.

4. LUIS SUAREZ (Liverpool)

Like Neymar, Suarez would be higher on the list if there was more certainty that he was leaving Liverpool in summer. The little Uruguayan has been sensational in the Premier League this season, and many feel he should be at a club that can turn him into an ever more special player. His heart is telling him to stay at Anfield, but his head is telling him to join Pep Guardiola’s revolution at Bayern Munich.

3. EDINSON CAVANI (Napoli)

Suarez’s strike partner for Uruguay looks very likely to leave Napoli at the end of the season. The leading goalscorer in Serie A is regarded as one of the form players of world soccer, and he has the ability to transform a team. Manchester City are strong favourites to sign him, with Roberto Mancini unhappy at his side’s lack of goals lately. Madrid have also shown an interest. The fee could be in the region of $45m.

source:

2. GARETH BALE (Tottenham)

The 23-year-old Welshman is a phenomenon when he is in top form, and he is one of the most unstoppable players on the planet. He has probably stayed at Spurs for longer than many expected, but this summer really does look like the end of his North London adventure. Madrid are favourites to sign him, with Barcelona close behind, but don’t be surprised to see Ferguson make an audacious bid to take him to Old Trafford.

1. RADAMEL FALCAO (Atletico Madrid)

There are some hugely in-demand soccer players around at the moment, as this list shows, but none are being talked about as much as Falcao. Atletico Madrid’s 27-year-old superstar striker has been linked with every big club you can imagine, and will almost certainly join one of them for about $60m in time for next season. Madrid, Barcelona, United, Chelsea, City, Bayern, take your pick. The Colombian will end up at one of those sides in the summer.

NWSL Playoffs set: Portland, Washington, Chicago, Western New York

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The National Women’s Soccer League will crown its fourth champion in mid-October, and for the first time in three years the winner will not be FC Kansas City.

FCKC finished sixth after the 20-game regular season concluded this weekend, six points out of the final slot occupied by the Western New York Flash.

[ MORE: Allardyce on England hot seat? ]

The Flash join Chicago Red Stars and Washington Spirit in attempting to topple NWSL Shield winners Portland, a Thorns side which won the title in 2013 and has only missed the playoffs once.

Washington hosts Chicago on Friday in the first semifinal, while the Flash travel to Oregon for an Oct. 2 semi.

Portland Thorns (1) vs. Western New York Flash (4)

The two best goal differentials in the league meet at Providence Park, where Mark Parsons’ Thorns and their league-best defense will be tasked with stopping the highest-scoring offense in the NWSL. That means stopping Golden Boot winner Lynn Williams and runner-up Jessica McDonald, who’ve accounted for 21 of WNY’s 40 goals.

The Thorns are loaded. Women’s soccer legend Christine Sinclair, who once lifted a trophy for the Flash, is there with a quintet of USWNT mainstays. French star Amandine Henry, too, as well as leading goal scorer and Danish star Nadia Nadim.

USWNT regulars on each side
Portland: Tobin Heath, Meghan Klingenberg, Allie Long, Emily Sonnet, Lindsey Horan

WNY: Samantha Mewis

Washington Spirit (2) vs. Chicago Red Stars (3)

The two sides split the season series, with Chicago hosting a 3-1 victory on Saturday. Sofia Huerta had a goal and an assist, as she and Christen Press combined for nine shots. They’ve combined for 15 goals on the season, though the Red Stars have only found nine goals elsewhere.

No Washington player has scored more than five goals this year, and the Spirit haven’t had a multi-goal game in September, but Argentina national teamer Estefanía Banini’s five goals in 13 matches in an impressive haul.

USWNT regulars on each side
Washington: Ali Krieger, Crystal Dunn

Chicago: Alyssa Naeher, Julie Johnston, Christen Press

UEFA Champions League preview: Spurs, Foxes, and BVB hosts Real

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 02:  Gareth Bale of Real Madrid takes on Sokratis Papastathopoulos of Borussia Dortmund during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on April 2, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images
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Leicester City gets a home Champions League match, Spurs head to Russia, and two of the world’s best attacks meet in Germany; Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League slate is pretty tasty.

[ MORE: Allardyce on England hot seat? ]

An out-of-form Cristiano Ronaldo has Real Madrid in a mini-slump, and a trip to Borussia Dortmund isn’t exactly the antidote now, is it? Normally we wouldn’t dial that up, but Ronaldo has a knack for shining brightly when folks question him. We’ve seen this one before. Expect a highlight-reel night from CR7, but perhaps the same from high-flying BVB.

Spurs are buoyed by the news that Harry Kane‘s injury may not be as serious as first thought, but could be sunk back into the depths with a loss at CSKA Moscow on Tuesday. Spurs fell to Monaco, while CSKA scooped up a solid draw at Bayer Leverkusen.

Leicester City is looking to stay perfect after an impressive UCL debut at Club Brugge, and faces a big test in Portugal. Porto does quite well in this tournament almost annually, and won’t be scared by a trip to King Power Stadium. El Tri trio Miguel Layun, Jesus Corona, and captain Hector Herrera join familiar names Iker Casillas, Yacine Brahimi, and Maxi Pereira on the Porto roster.

Tuesday’s UCL matches

all matches at 2:45 p.m. ET

Sporting Lisbon vs. Legia Warsaw
Sevilla vs. Lyon
Dinamo Zagreb vs. Juventus
CSKA Moscow vs. Tottenham Hotspur
Borussia Dortmund vs. Real Madrid
Monaco vs. Bayer Leverkusen
Copenhagen vs. Club Brugge
Leicester City vs. Porto

Kei Kamara “shocked” at boos in return to Columbus

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 13:  Soccer player Kei Kamara attends the 2016 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
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Kei Kamara couldn’t gather his emotions after his return to Columbus as a member of the New England Revolution.

The star striker netted 27 times in 41 appearances for the Crew before a locker room falling-out found him traded to New England.

[ MORE: Harry Kane to return sooner? ]

The reigning MLS joint-top scorer and a member of the 2015 Best XI, Kamara was back at MAPFRE Stadium on Sunday. The Revs fell 2-0, thanks to Columbus’  new Kamara, and Kei was booed.

There was bitter, smarmy Kei (from MLSSoccer.com):

“I was shocked,” he said after the match. “Come on. You make so many sacrifices for an organization to really boost it. But hey, if I can bring some life to the stadium for once in the season, why not?”

And there was also sad, pensive Kei:

“It wasn’t something I asked for, to move,” he said. “I’ve been thinking about it a lot. It’s been tough. It’s been really, really tough. But after today, I got the final answer to everything. It’s time to move on.”

“It’s time to move on. I’m happy where I am now and I wish [Columbus] the best of luck.”

I’ve rarely understood the booing of former players unless that player grievously harmed your club on the way out the door. Here in Buffalo, I’ve seen even the least-celebrated of ex-Sabres get the boo treatment, though, so it’s not uncommon.

Winter on Allardyce corruption allegations: “Touch and go whether he survives”

England international soccer team manager Sam Allardyce, centre, his assistant Sammy Lee, left, and FA chief executive Martin Glenn, right, applaud during the launch event of UEFA Euro 2020 and the unveiling of the tournament brand and the London host city logo at City Hall, in London, Wednesday Sept. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
AP Photo/Tim Ireland
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As details continue to unfold from the Telegraph’s sting operation that may’ve caught England manager Sam Allardyce in its grasp, the question of whether the ex-Sunderland man could be fired after just months on the job is moving to the forefront.

Allardyce, 61, is on tape talking about third party ownership of players — a big no-no for FIFA — and the words have some alleging that he is giving advice on how to buck the system.

[ MORE: Watford’s Deeney rages after loss]

Given that the manager has only overseen one match for the Three Lions and had been accused, but never charged, with accepting bribes from agents in 2006, some think he may not survive the issue.

Well-connected The Times of London writer Henry Winter says it’s possible.