Benfica's Enzo Perez fights for the ball with Bayer Leverkusen's Andre Schurrle during their Europa League soccer match at Luz stadium in Lisbon

Chelsea close to snatching up Schürrle

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Bayer Leverkusen’s chief Wolfgang Holzhauser has told German publication Kicker that he believes his forward Andre Schürrle has either already signed a pre-contract agreement with Chelsea, or he will very shortly.

However, he says the clubs have yet to agree on a fee, although Chelsea has submitted a formal offer.

“Andre Schürrle has probably signed a pre-contract deal with Chelsea,” Holzhauser said. “It all depends on whether we let him go. We have received a concrete offer for a fee which we are considering.”

His current contract with Leverkusen doesn’t expire until the end of the 2016 season.

This isn’t the beginning of Chelsea’s interest in the 22-year old German.  Current Chelsea winger and fellow German international Marko Marin told German publication Sport Bild a week ago, “Andre would be a good alternative for Chelsea, the club moved to sign him last year already.”

It will be interesting to see if the impending managerial change at Stamford Bridge has any effect on the transfer, but at the moment it seems all systems are go on a move that could cost Chelsea as much as £20 million ($31 million).

Schürrle has scored 11 Bundesliga goals this season and chipped in 6 assists in 32 matches, as he led the Löwen to a solid third place finish in the German table.

Leverkusen bought Schürrle for over €8 million ($10.9 million) from FSV Mainz in January of 2011.

MLS Snapshot: Colorado Rapids 1-2 Real Salt Lake

SANDY UT - MARCH 14: Olmes Garcia #13 of Real Salt Lake celebrates his goal during their game against the Philadelphia Union at Rio Tinto Stadium on March 14, 2015 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
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The game in 100 words (or less): Real Salt Lake stays alive in the hunt for a playoff berth in the Western Conference with a crucial 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids. After falling behind early, RSL scored twice before halftime and held onto the lead for the rest of the match, moving within three points of the final playoff spot in the West. Real Salt Lake has three matches remaining, including a massive clash against the Portland Timbers, which will pretty much decide their season. For Colorado, it’s another year without playoff soccer.

[ MORE: FC Dallas clinches playoff berth ]

Three moments that mattered

16′ — Doyle heads Colorado into the lead — The former Premier League man gave the home side an early lead, thanks to a powerful header from quite a bit out. Sean St. Ledger played in a cross, where Doyle snapped a header into the top corner past Nick Rimando.

33′ — Joao Plata bends in the free kick — Trailing 1-0, Joao Plata drew RSL level with a brilliant free kick. Plata’s shot dipped over the wall and under the crossbar, as Clint Irwin stood helpless in goal for Colorado.

43′ — Mulholland fires home a volley to put RSL ahead — Luke Mulholland scored his first goal of the season, and it was a beauty. A corner kick popped out to the midfielder at the top of the box, as he rifled a shot off the bounce and into the side netting.

Man of the match: Luke Mulholland

Goalscorers: Doyle (16′), Plata (33′), Mulholland (43′)

Wenger lauds team spirit following Arsenal’s big win

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Arsenal put on a superb performance against Manchester United today, flying out to a three-goal lead in the opening 20 minutes of the match.

[ RECAP: Arsenal 3-0 Manchester United ]

United was stunned by the fast-paced, free-flowing Arsenal attack, unable to recover from the Gunners’ early dominance.

All of this came on the heels of a disappointing loss to Olympiacos in the Champions League, after which many questioned manager Arsene Wenger and his side.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Arsenal’s win vs. Manchester United ]

Following the big 3-0 win at the Emirates, Wenger praised his team’s spirit, saying there were outstanding performances throughout the side.

You go from Petr Cech up to Theo Walcott, and we had only outstanding performances. Sometimes we have that magic side in our game.

[Against Olympiacos] maybe we lacked a little bit of urgency and discipline, and that’s why we lost the game. But let’s not forget, last Saturday we won 5-2 at Leicester. Today we beat Man United 3-0.

[The players] have shown that we have an outstanding spirit in the squad. To respond the way we did after what happened to us, you need to have an exceptional spirit.

The Gunners’ performance today immediately silenced all the critics, as Wenger’s side put out on a display that many have been waiting for all season. The combination play of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott was brilliant, as Santi Cazorla continued to impress in the center of the midfield.

Wenger’s teams have not always been known to show strong heart and resiliency, but that’s exactly what they showed today against a Manchester United side that was in great form. Now sitting second on the table, Arsenal continues to climb up the Premier League.