Gonzalo Higuain close to Juventus move while others continue the chase

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Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain could be headed to Juventus.

According to reports out of Turin, the striker is poised to sign a four year contract if the two sides can come to an agreement over his transfer fee. Los Merengues want €30-35million for Higuain while the Bianconeri are willing to shell out €22-25million for the Argentine’s services.

The Italian side won the Serie A title behind an elite midfield and a robust defense that conceded only 20 goals the entire season. The offense, however, scored six fewer goals than second place AC Milan, prompting many to believe that this summer Juve will allocate serious money to build a top-rank strikeforce. Fernando Llorente is already set to join the Turin club on a free transfer while Higuain tops a wish list that includes Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez, Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic and Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez.

Despite notching an impressive 104 goals in 185 matches since moving to the Bernabeu in 2007, Higuain has struggled this season. The Argentine has been forced to split time with Karim Benzema, resulting in only 26 La Liga appearances (17 of which were starts) where he’s netted 14 goals.

Higuain’s drop in form may be one reason why the 25-year-old was recently put up for sale by Real Madrid, who have vowed to keep hold of Benzema and to bring two new faces into the club this summer. One of those faces could be Tottenham’s Gareth Bale, who Madrid are reportedly willing to spend up to £60million to acquire.

Spurs, however, have no intent of parting ways with the Welshman and are in desperate need of a striker after enduring long spells of the 2012-13 season with either no forwards or an underwhelming committee effort comprised of Emmanuel Adebayor, Jermain Defoe and Clint Dempsey. Tottenham have also been rumored to be interested in bringing Higuain to White Hart Lane, valuing the Madrid striker somewhere in the region of £20million.

Should a deal not be worked out with Juventus, Arsenal is another club where Higuain could land. The Argentine be a major coup for the North London club. While Olivier Giroud enjoyed mild success in his first season at the Emirates question marks surround whether the former Montpellier man is a proper match for Arsenal’s style of play.

Higuain’s silky skills, link-up play and finishing ability, however, could be just what the Gunners need to challenge for next year’s title. And with a thick transfer kitty boosted by a £30m a year kit deal with Puma, Arsenal might finally be ready to splash the cash on a marquee signing.

 

At long last, Butland returns to full training with Stoke

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Stoke City’s long-coming goalkeeping dilemma will come to a head soon, as Jack Butland is back in training.

A year ago today, the Potters confirmed that star backstop Butland would miss EURO 2016 with a broken ankle. He’d need multiple surgeries as recovery dragged on and on.

[ MORE: Complete Panama-USMNT preview ]

That was more palatable thanks to the play of Lee Grant, who arrived on loan from Derby County but became a permanent Potter in January. Grant has been a key part of Stoke’s season.

Butland is contracted to Stoke through 2021, and he’ll ascend to the starting gig sooner rather than later. But Grant is in the catbird seat for now, and at least will have made himself attractive to other clubs seeking a keeper.

Report: Everton linked with $4 million swoop for Canada’s Larin

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The Sun only hits on a few of the many transfer rumors it tosses around, but this one bears a second look for fans of Everton, MLS, and Canada.

Everton is already eyeing replacements for Romelu Lukaku, according to the report, and is hunting for a bargain in Canadian national teamer Cyle Larin.

Larin, 21, was the first overall pick in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft by Orlando City SC after an electric career at UConn.

[ MORE: Complete Panama-USMNT preview ]

He’s since scored 35 goals in 63 matches for the Lions, picking up three in his first two matches of the 2017 season. The 6-foot-1 Ontario native has five goals for Canada in 19 caps.

The Sun says Larin would cost close to $4 million, a fraction of what the Toffees will get if they sell Lukaku.

Fan dies after falling off football stadium in Brazil

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SAO PAULO (AP) A Brazilian football fan has died after falling 25 meters from the top of Morumbi Stadium in Sao Paulo onto a parking lot.

The height is equivalent to an eight-story building.

Bruno Pereira da Silva, aged 23, suffered head injuries and died upon arrival at a local hospital on Sunday.

[ MORE: Complete Panama-USMNT preview ]

He and other fans were attempting to jump to a section of the stadium where they could get a better view of the Sao Paulo state championship match between Sao Paulo and archrival Corinthians. The game ended 1-1.

Friends of da Silva told Brazilian media Silva was attending his first football match.

CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers: CRC, Honduras get off the mat

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The two traditional CONCACAF powers are riding high following Friday’s round of World Cup qualifiers, while the two other sides to qualify for Brazil 2014 are licking their wounds.

Honduras and Costa Rica both found themselves on the wrong side of shutout losses to the United States and Mexico, while Trinidad and Tobago injected itself into the discussion with a home win over Panama.

[ WATCH: CONCACAF qualifiers on Telemundo ]

What’s cooking for Tuesday? Read on:

Honduras vs. Costa Rica — 5 p.m. EDT Tuesday

Two sides which love to play physical, on-the-edge soccer meet on the heels of Friday losses. Expect Jorge Luis Pinto’s Catrachos to adapt after a 6-0 beatdown at the hands of the U.S., but they’ll have to do much, much better at home.

The dates at Estadio Morazan have to be the key for Honduras to climb into the Top Three, and it’ll be buoyed by memories of its 3-1 win over T&T two rounds ago. As for Costa Rica, Los Ticos aim to respond from conceding their first two goals of the Hex.

Trinidad and Tobago vs. Mexico — 7 p.m. EDT Tuesday

Kevin Molino’s strike gave T&T its first three points of qualifying, but its odds of getting a result against visiting Mexico aren’t nearly as good. The Soca Warriors desperation will be easy to see, as June’s qualifiers include trips to the U.S. and Costa Rica.

El Tri now has wins in two of its trickier Hex matches after adding Friday’s 2-0 win over Costa Rica to its upset of the Yanks in Columbus. Ten points through four matches would be exemplary; A draw or loss leaves the door open for Costa Rica to summit the Hex table.

United States vs. Panama — 10:05 p.m. EDT Tuesday

Read our extensive preview here, but the upshot is this: The United States can rise into the Top Three by beating Panama, while Los Canaleros will be happy to scoop a draw to stem any bleeding cause by Molino and T&T.