Thursday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Hulk to Chelsea and Tevez to Juventus

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Without question the biggest transfer rumor of the day comes out of West London where Jose Mourinho looks to clean up Chelsea’s mess of missing out on Radamel Falcao by signaling his intent to bring in Brazilian striker Hulk from Zenit St Petersburg.

The Blues are reportedly willing to pay the Russian outfit £35 million for his services, which would be a £15 million loss on what Zenit paid to obtain the 26 year old striker from Porto just one year ago.

If Hulk does come to Stamford Bridge expect Mourinho to part ways with either Fernando Torres or Demba Ba, who have each provided modest returns over the course of last year. Mourinho will also need to figure out what to do about Romelu Lukaku, who impressed on a loan stint last year with West Brom, scoring 17 goals in 35 appearances.

But why stop at just Hulk? Chelsea are reportedly within a whisker of signing Bayer Leverkusen’s attacking midfielder come forward, Andre Schurrle. If reports out of Cologne are to be believed, the 22 year old is set to be Mourinho’s his first signing since returning to the Bridge.

If Schurrle does come to Chelsea, there will be question marks. While he’s a flexible player who could be deployed up top he tends to drift to the left side during matches and is best suited as a winger. The Blues, of course, have no shortage of those and whether Schurrle has the talent to displace the likes of Eden Hazard, Victor Moses or Oscar, remains to be seen.

Over at the Lane, Leandro Damiao’s agent is failing to rule out a move that will make his client a Lillywhite. “Our idea is to always work with big clubs, all players dream of playing in the Champions League,” Vinicius Prates said. “But Tottenham are an important club in London, we can’t rule them out.”

In other words, Leandro wants A) Champions League football, or B) a ton of money.

To the Midlands we go where Aston Villa continue to feel the growing shadow of clubs looming above them wanting to poach striker Christian Benteke. Mere days after rumors surfaced claiming that Atletico Madrid, Spurs and Arsenal were poised to launch bids of £17.5 million for the Belgian, the Villains have gone ahead and slapped a £40 million price tag on his head.

Ah yes, the old tag slap, a move guaranteed to drive an in-demand player positively bananas. Although I feel bad for Villa this is fast looking like a walk-out situation on Benteke’s part. While £40 million feels a bit aggressive, Paul Lambert’s side should look hard at getting a deal done for £25-30 million before things turn ugly and that price bottoms out.

Up in Manchester, we might be in for some much needed Carlos Tevez drama. Juventus are apparently looking to swoop the Argentine striker if they fail to finagle Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic away from Arsenal and Chelsea. The Serie A champions are also open to scooping up the rest of City’s scraps, including Javi Garcia, Edin Dzeko and Joleon Lescott.

Tevez to Juve could be a real possibility, especially if City snap up Edinson Cavani. If the Citizens do make a move for the Uruguayan striker, expect Carlitos to be sent to Turin for money that could be surprisingly reasonable. Such are the brakes of investing in a new player before selling off an old one.

Day Four: All the action from the U20 World Cup

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South Korea and Venezuela clinched berths in the knockout rounds of the U-20 World Cup on Tuesday, while Germany and Argentina have surprising work to do after two matches in South Korea.

[ MORE: Allardyce steps down at Palace ]

South Korea 2-1 Argentina

Barcelona B man Lee Seung-woo helped South Korea take a 2-0 lead, then hold on for the win and group lead over England.

England 1-1 Guinea

Chelsea youngster Fikayo Tomori scored a wild long range own goal to cost England the three points, but the Blues are still well-positioned to advance out of the group stage. Bournemouth midfielder Lewis Cook scored for England, and it was a beaut.

Venezuela 7-0 Vanuatu

Seven different Venezuelans have scored through a pair of shutout wins, with Caracas’ Sergio Cordova the only one to bag a pair.

Mexico 0-0 Germany

Germany has just one point through two matches, thanks largely to Pachuca’s Abraham Romero’s seven saves. Mexico was outshot 12-6.

Porto, Watford, Hull? Marco Silva in demand

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Marco Silva is one of the hottest properties in management, months after eliciting cries of “Who?” following his appointment at Hull City.

While those cries may have been a tiny bit myopic given his time at Sporting CP and Olympiacos, the 39-year-old is now visible to the world despite Hull’s relegation.

[ MORE: Real Madrid nabs $50m teen ]

Silva will be back in England to meet with Hull on Wednesday, but a clause in his contract that said he could leave if the club was relegated gives the Tigers very little hope.

Rumors have him wanted at Watford, and he’s also been linked with a number of other jobs including Southampton (should the club part ways with Claude Puel).

However, the former right back is also reportedly a target of one of the biggest clubs in his home country: Champions League side Porto.

UEFA Europa League Final preview: Manchester United vs. Ajax

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Jose Mourinho’s big European gamble takes center stage on Wednesday in Sweden, when Manchester United attempts to topple young Ajax in the UEFA Europa League Final.

United’s chances for UEFA Champions League qualification, a magnificent opportunity, are overshadowed by the pall cast over Manchester by sinister terrorist attacks at a pop concert that killed and injured many on Monday night.

Alas, there’s soccer to be played, and Mourinho is looking to make it a trio of shiny items in his first year on the job. United beat Leicester City for the Community Shield, then topped Southampton in the EFL Cup Final en route to Sweden.

United’s well-documented dearth of healthy defenders will march out one more time on Wednesday, with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones tasked with manning the center of the back line. Expect Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian out wide.

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 season reviews

Despite the injury to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mourinho’s attack is going to give Ajax fits. Marcus Rashford has been next level for most of the second half of the season, and United will also likely feature Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba atop Ander Herrera.

If someone is going to break United down, it could be midfield wizards Davy Klaassen and Lasse Schone. The creative middle men have a variety of options to find with the ball, including on-loan Chelsea man Bertrand Traore and Danish teenager Kasper Dolberg.

But how will they deal with United’s attack? Sure Ajax has stopped Lyon, Schalke, Copenhagen, and Legia Warsaw, but United and Mourinho? That’s another challenge for Peter Bosz and his men.

Ajax won the 1992 UEFA Cup, and this is United’s first ever trip to this particular final. The Red Devils are heavy favorites, and we expect United to prevail. Don’t sleep on Juan Mata heroics. Call it 3-1.

Allardyce resigns, opening up intriguing vacancy at Palace

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Sam Allardyce is walking away on top outside the relegation zone.

The veteran Premier League manager, 62, resigned his post as Crystal Palace on Tuesday, weeks after leading another team to safety.

The move ends a tumultuous eight months for Allardyce, who was fired as England manager after an undercover sting exposed unethical dealings with agents.

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 season reviews

It also comes about an hour after somebody wrote that Crystal Palace should move on from Allardyce. What a jerk, that somebody.

Rarely at a loss for words, here’s Big Sam from cpfc.co.uk:

I want to be able to savour life while I’m still relatively young and when I’m still relatively healthy enough to do all the things I want to do, like travel, spend more time with my family and grandchildren without the huge pressure that comes with being a football manager.

This is the right time for me. I have no ambitions to take another job, I simply want to be able to enjoy all the things you cannot really enjoy with the 24/7 demands of managing any football club, let alone one in the Premier League.”

All kidding aside — and I’m far from a Big Sam fan — congrats to the man on walking away to enjoy the finer things in life. He had a heck of a run, and we’ll see how long he can resist being away from the fray. Cheers, Sam.