Transfer Rumor Roundup: Who’s going where?

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This morning we are going to take a quick look around Europe to see which transfer rumors have surfaced.

With plenty of big money deals already flying around, and new managers building their squads hurriedly behind the scenes, this summer is set to see plenty of transfer activity.

Let us begin.

Wesley Sneijder could be Jose Mourinho’s first signing at Chelsea, as the 28-year-old Dutchman looks to get away from Galatasaray. Sneijder played under Mourinho at Inter Milan, where they won the Champions League together. But would he fit in with the plethora of similar talents at Chelsea? He is very much in the same mold as Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar. Maybe one of those star players will have to leave to accommodate Sneijder? (The Sun)

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is considering a bid for Swansea City striker Michu. The Spaniard scored 22 times in his debut EPL campaign and Wenger is keen to add more goals to his attack. The 27-year-old would fit in with Arsenal’s possession based style, as he often set up plenty of chances for teammates and finished superbly when given the chance. Could he slot straight into the Gunners forward line? (Daily Mail)

Pepe could move following Jose Mourinho out of Real Madrid, with the Portuguese defender set for a shock $38 million move to Manchester City. Incoming City boss, Manuel Pellegrini is a huge admirer of Pepe, with the two working together at Madrid in the past. Could Pepe really be better than City’s current defensive options? I’m not so sure about that. But it does seem that Pellegrini will not hesitate to shake things up, when he finally arrives at the Etihad. Pepe has a checkered disciplinary record to say the least, and the 28-year-old defender has been in and out of the Madrid side during Mourinho’s time in charge. Jury is out on this one. (AS)

Liverpool are set to spend big money on Shaktar Donetsk midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The 24-year-old scored a record 25 goals in the Ukrainian Premier League last season, even though he plays in an attacking midfield role. The Armenian playmaker has attracted interest from the likes of Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester City but Liverpool are set to be the favorites to acquire Mkhitaryan. A fee of around $33 million has been discussed, with Brendan Rodgers keen to get the Armenian international pulling the string alongside Gerrard and Philippe Coutinho. (The Guardian)

Celtic striker Gary Hooper is a wanted man, as Sunderland have now joined his long list of admirers. The English striker has not signed a new deal with the Scottish champions and Southampton, Norwich and Hull City have all been sniffing around for a while. Hooper has scored 82 goals in 137 games since joining Celtic in 2010. His workrate is phenomenal and Di Canio is said to be a huge fan. However Celtic manager Neil Lennon is hugely reluctant to see Hooper leave, but the Glasgow side may have to cash in now, or risk losing the 25-year-old prolific hitman for nothing. (Daily Mail)

AS Roma goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg is close to sealing a move to English Premier League side Fulham. The 30-year-old Dutch stopper will apparently replace Mark Schwarzer as the Cottagers No. 1, with Martin Jol set to start his summer shopping early. Would Stekelenburg be a good choice for Fulham? Well, they’ve had plenty of success with Dutch ‘keepers in the past, remember Edwin van der Sar? Schwarzer is 40 and has had plenty of good season in the EPL, but even he has admitted his time could be up. Seems like Jol already has a replacement in mind. (The Guardian)

Portugal considers resting Ronaldo ahead of group stage finale

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Portugal is on the verge of reaching the semifinals at this summer’s FIFA Confederations Cup, and the reigning European champions could be set to rest their biggest star ahead of their group stage finale on Saturday.

[ MORE: Confed Cup scenarios before final group stage matches ]

The team currently sits tied on four points with Group A leaders Mexico through two matches, and with New Zealand — who is already eliminated from advancing — left on the docket for Portugal, manager Fernando Santos is prepared to rest Cristiano Ronaldo.

“Everybody wants to watch Cristiano Ronaldo, even I want to watch Cristiano Ronaldo,” Santos said on Friday.

“I don’t know if I’m going to play with Cristiano or without Cristiano. Obviously, rotation will take place, that I can tell you.”

Portugal will be playing its third match in a seven-day span on Saturday, which certainly warrants a rest for Ronaldo and possibly some others for Santos’ side.

Hosts Russia sit one point behind Mexico and Portugal though, so it would be a bit of a gamble for Ronaldo to miss the New Zealand match, which will be played at Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg.

Reports: Arsenal nearing deal for Lyon striker Lacazette

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Arsenal appears to be on the verge of adding another French international striker, but the Gunners will have to pay up in order to secure the goalscoring specialist.

Various reports have linked the Premier League side with Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette since last summer, but now, Arsenal is nearing a deal for the 26-year-old.

L’Equipe is reporting that Arsene Wenger‘s team is willing to pay over $67 million for Lacazette, who is coming off of a 28-goal season for Lyon in Ligue 1.

Meanwhile, Sky Sports confirmed the report, stating that the Gunners are in open talks with Lyon as the London side attempts to acquire the highly-touted forward.

Over the last four seasons, Lacazette has tallied over 20 goals in all competitions for the French club. The Lyon native had a career year in 2016/17, tallying 37 goals in all comps.

MLS Power Rankings — Week 17: East leads the way at the top

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The Western Conference has dominated MLS Cup for the better part of a decade, but it’s the East that continues to shine bright as this MLS season hits the midway point.

Here are PST’s latest MLS Power Rankings as we head into another busy weekend:

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TEAM RANKING (Last Wk)
 

22 (21)

21 (22)

 

20 (20)

Real Salt Lake: A win over Minnesota in their last outing was solid but the Claret and Cobalt still remain just one point above bottom out West.

D.C. United: A nice comeback win over Atlanta helped D.C.’s stock slightly, and apparently they’re one of the few clubs that has figured out how to have success against Tata Martino’s group.

Colorado Rapids: The Rapids were brought back down to earth after their three-match win streak. Despite that run, Pablo Mastroeni and Co. remain last in all of MLS.

19 (16) New England Revolution: Jay Heap’s group were flying high after a big win against Toronto, but another strong Eastern Conference side (the Chicago Fire) reminded the Revs how talented the East is.
18 (15) Philadelphia Union: Three straight losses have the Union back to where they were early in the season… at the bottom of the East.
17 (18) Minnesota United: There’s no doubt the Loons picked up their most exciting win thus far on Wednesday night against Portland. Adrian Heath and Co. will attempt to do something they haven’t accomplished yet in MLS; win back-to-back games.
16 (16) Montreal Impact: The Impact are unbeaten in four, but the Canadian side still has the fewest wins in MLS (4) through 14 matches played.
15 (19) Seattle Sounders: Rough conditions at Yankee Stadium shouldn’t have been anything the Sounders weren’t used to but the reigning champions couldn’t get it done against NYCFC before following it up with a solid draw against Orlando.

 

14 (14) Vancouver Whitecaps: A solid result against FC Dallas has the Whitecaps sitting in the final playoff spot out west.
 

13 (11) San Jose Earthquakes: The Quakes are winless in three and have scored just twice in the process. The club is hoping new signing “Vako” will be the DP spark the team needs.
12 (8) Columbus Crew: Greg Berhalter’s men have proven to be one of the better home sides in MLS. They’ll welcome a hungry Impact side on Saturday.

 

11 (13) Atlanta United: D.C. appears to be this club’s kryptonite. Atlanta will host last-place Colorado this weekend.
10 (10) Portland Timbers: It was an ugly match against Minnesota, but despite back-to-back losses the Timbers still sit third in the West.
 

9 (12) Orlando City: The Lions continue to show signs of improvement from their first two seasons in MLS. They’re late equalizer against the Sounders was the latest showing.
8 (9)  New York Red Bulls: 6-1 is the Red Bulls record against NYCFC. Even better for the Harrison side is that they haven’t lost at home to their New York rivals.
7 (7) LA Galaxy: Props to the Galaxy for their turnaround, but Curt Onalfo’s men need to clean things up at home. The Galaxy currently boast the worst home record in all of MLS at 1-3-3.
6 (5) FC Dallas: The defending Supporters’ Shield holders have a brutal schedule upcoming, which begins with another Texas Derby on Saturday.

 

 

5 (3) Houston Dynamo: This team keeps quietly going about its business, and despite it’s poor road record (0-6-2) the Dynamo sit second out West.
4 (6)  New York City FC: A big win over the Sounders should have Patrick Vieira’s men buzzing heading into their second Hudson River Derby in a span of 10 days.
3 (5) Sporting KC: Peter Vermes and Co. will face one of their biggest challenges to date when they head west to take on the surging Galaxy.
2 (2) Chicago Fire: The Fire are now unbeaten in eight, and it’s very fair to say that this club is pushing hard for the top spot in the East and the Supporters’ Shield.
1 (1) Toronto FC: Unbeaten in nine of their last 10, Toronto is still the odds-on favorite to win MLS Cup this season.

Celtic’s Griffiths tears into Rangers chairman after “gulf” comments

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Celtic star Leigh Griffiths took the Old Firm bait and promptly swallowed the fisherman.

If you missed it, Rangers chairman Dave King said Celtic should’ve been even further ahead of their rivals given the setbacks handed to Rangers, who finally climbed back to the Scottish Premiership this season.

Celtic went unbeaten, drawing just four of 38 matches and finished 39 points ahead of Rangers on the table.

[ MORE: Fabinho has interest in Man Utd ]

If Celtic won all 38, they could’ve finished 47 points clear of Rangers. So, we guess the gulf could be bigger.

Here’s what Griffiths had to say:

“What was the gulf? 30-odd points. How does he expect that to be bigger? They were touting at the start of last season that they were going to win the league and this and that.

Joey Barton was coming up and saying he was going to be the best player in Scotland – he lasted a few months. In the first [Old Firm] game, they got hammered 5-1 and they got hammered 5-1 at the end of the season. So, the gulf couldn’t be any bigger. This season, they’ll be trying to bridge the gap.

“Ultimately it’s about what we do and if we are at our best nobody in Scotland can live with us.”

It was absurd talk from King, who doesn’t need to amp up one of the world’s best rivalries and also doesn’t have a leg to stand on considering the dominant season from the Bhoys. Wow.