Andre

André Schürrle is Jose Mourinho’s first signing as new Chelsea manager

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Jose Mourinho has pulled the trigger on his first signing as new Chelsea manager putting pen to paper on a deal that brings Bayer Leverkusen forward André Schürrle to Stamford Bridge.

The 22 year old winger-come-striker has been a long term target of the Blues and is reportedly parting ways with Leverkusen for a transfer fee of £18 million ($28.2m).

Chelsea announced the deal via their website, releasing the following statement: “Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen have reached an agreement for the transfer of André Schürrle, subject to the completion of legal documentation and related matters, including personal terms and passing a medical.”

Schürrle has spent the last two seasons at Leverkusen where he scored 18 goals in 65 appearances. The Germany international arrived at the North Rhine-Westphalia based squad in 2011 on a €8 million ($10.7m) transfer from Mainz 05, where he played youth football and made his Bundesliga debut in August 2009. In two seasons of top-flight action with the O-Fives, Schürrle netted 20 times in 66 appearances.

To cover the loss of Schürrle, Leverkusen have signed South Korean forward Son Heung-min from Hamburg SV. The 20-year-old, who scored 12 goals last season, signed a five-year deal with Leverkusen for an undisclosed fee.

With Schürrle’s move to Stamford Bridge, huge question marks arise over the future of current Blues strikers, Demba Ba and Fernando Torres, and the potential blockbuster transfer of Edinson Cavani, Hulk, Edin Dzeko or another world-class striker.

It’s widely accepted that Schürrle’s best position on the pitch is as a winger, which bodes well for Ba and Torres. But the German can also be used in a striker role playing off a target man and if that’s how Mourinho decides to utilize Schürrle, the aforementioned Blues duo could be out the door. Torres looks the more likely to leave, with Napoli and Barcelona knocking at the door, while Ba could be headed anywhere from Arsenal to Monaco to PSG or even back to Newcastle.

If Mourinho sees Schürrle as a winger, this could spell trouble for Kevin De Bruyne, the young Beligan product who ‘The Special One’ recently hinted would be given a fair shot during preseason, and guys like Victor Moses, who has recently been linked with a transfer to Everton.

Things will get even more complicated if Roman Abramovich opens up his wallet for one of the big striker names on the transfer market. Mourinho is said to be keen on Cavani, Hulk and Dzeko, with the Napoli man looking the most likely to head to West London, perhaps in a swap plus cash deal for Torres.

One way or another, this looks to be the first of many transfers for Chelsea this summer. Stay tuned as Mourinho continues to build the army that he hopes will challenge for the Premier League title.

PREVIEW: Tottenham Hotspur’s “To Dare Is To Do”

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The latest Premier League Download makes its debut on Sunday, as we dive deep into Tottenham Hotspur.

With a brand new stadium under construction and a solid look at perennial top-end pushes, Spurs are among the more intriguing stories in the Premier League.

[ MORE: JPW’s Premier League Picks ]

Spurs host Stoke City on Sunday at 8:30 a.m. EDT on NBCSN, and “Tottenham Hotspur: To Dare Is To Do” debuts at 11 a.m. EDT, right after the match.

Ahead of Boro, Allardyce rips his Palace players

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 04: Sam Allardyce, Manager of Crystal Palace looks on during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Sunderland at Selhurst Park on February 4, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
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Sam Allardyce continues to have a public go at his players.

The embattled Crystal Palace boss says his resume should have his Eagles players latching onto his directives. He’s previously said he “thought it would be easier“.

The Eagles, seemingly, aren’t. Palace has dropped in form since Allardyce took over for Alan Pardew, and sits 19th in the PL table.

[ MORE: Who is Man Utd opponent Rostov? ]

That’s only two points from safety, and Allardyce isn’t massaging his players to get them over the hump. From The Guardian:

“The advice I’ve given [players] over the years must have been pretty good because I’ve been managing at this level for such a long time now,” said Allardyce.

“My experience and my qualifications are far greater than theirs. They can talk about tactics and systems, that’s fine, but they’re players are they’re paid to play. I’m the manager, and the system and tactics are my expertise, not theirs. When I set those out, they have to put them into practice. Stay focused, stay within the game-plan.”

Allardyce has won less than 36 percent of his matches at every stop except West Ham since 2007, and he went 68W-46D-68L with the Irons. Palace has a massive match against visiting Middlesbrough this weekend, and this is one heck of a risky ploy to motivate his troops.

Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks – Week 26

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Premier League action is back after the FA Cup break, with plenty of big games on the way.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live ] 

If you, like me, love to dissect all the games and predict what the score will be and which team will win, I encourage you to get involved in the comments section below. Let’s have a bit of fun.

[ VIDEO: Previews of every game

Okay, so I’ve consulted my crystal ball and here’s how we see things panning out. Click play on the videos below to hear my score prediction and preview of each game.

[ STREAM: Premier League “Goal Rush”

With the first section labelled “basically, free money” for the picks I think are dead certs. The section labelled “don’t touch this” means if you’re betting I advise you to stay clear, while the “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” section are the longshots. If it is better odds you are after, those are the picks to go for.


BASICALLY, FREE MONEY

Leicester City 1-4 Liverpool – (Monday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Hull City 2-0 Burnley – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime) – [STREAM]

West Brom 3-1 Bournemouth – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime) – [STREAM]

Chelsea 3-1 Swansea City – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

DON’T TOUCH THIS… 

Crystal Palace 1-1 Middlesbrough – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, CNBC) – [STREAM]

Everton 1-1 Sunderland– (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime) – [STREAM]

Watford 1-2 West Ham – (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) – [STREAM]

“SO YOU’RE TELLING ME THERE’S A CHANCE…”

Tottenham 2-2 Stoke City – (Sunday, 8:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Report: Sounders on verge of adding AC Milan’s Honda

MILAN, ITALY - JANUARY 21: Keisuke Honda of AC Milan attends prior the Serie A match between AC Milan and SSC Napoli at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on January 21, 2017 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images)
Photo by Getty Images
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The Seattle Sounders may have a game-changing transfer on their hands (inasmuch as a game can be changed for a reigning MLS Cup winner).

AC Milan is reportedly willing to release Keisuke Honda from his contract, clearing the way for Seattle to add the 30-year-old attacker.

Honda has 36 goals in 82 caps for Japan, and has played just 15 minutes in Serie A since Oct. 25 despite his status as a regular call-up for country.

[ MOURINHO: Ranieri firing is absurd ]

This untenable situation would be a boon for Seattle, who would gain Honda despite recent gossip linking him to Watford, Southampton, Spurs, and others.

The idea of Honda on the pitch with Nicolas Lodeiro and Clint Dempsey could spell a major sophomore season for forward Jordan Morris.

If this Japanese import has even a modicum of the success as another Seattle team’s look to Asia — See: Suzuki, Ichiro — look out.