Friday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Suarez to Chelsea, Pepe to City

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The weekend is almost upon us. But that doesn’t mean the transfer speculation and rumors are slowing down.

Oh no.

Clubs are back into the swing of things in preseason training and managers are finally talking about potential signings, as preseason press conferences continue. New kits, new ambitions and potential new signings are being discussed.

Let’s see what rumors are circulating around European soccer this morning.

This can’t be real, can it? After months of hearing Luis Suárez‘ desire to leave English football after the way he has been treated following various incidents which culminated in him biting Branislav Ivanovic’s arm, the Uruguayan forward is set to move to Chelsea. Reports from Spain suggest Chelsea have emerged of favorites ahead of mourinho’s old club Real Madrid after offering $60 million for the forward. Is José Mourinho mad? Or is this another management masterstroke from the Portuguese maestro? We shall see. But Suárez staying in England is all of a sudden a viable option. Linking up with Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar at Chelsea could see the 26-year-old score a bucket load of goals. (AS)

Alvaro Negredo is being chased by both Manchester City and Tottenham, as the Sevilla striker could leave La Liga for the Premier League. Negredo, 27, looks to be closer to a move to Manchester, with Manuel Pellegrini a big fan of the forward. Negredo scored 25 goals in 36 games last season, and he could cost City up to $35 million as Sevilla hold out for a big fee. Atletico Madrid have already had a bid rejected for the Spanish international, as Sevilla would rather sell Negredo to an EPL club rather than a La Liga rival. (The Guardian)

Southampton have set their sights high as they aim to push on in their second season back in the Premier League. Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino yesterday confirmed that the $16 million deal to sign Celtic’s Victor Wanyama isn’t dead in the water and that the EPL side are also looking at Valencia’s Ever Banega and Brazilian forward Leandro Damiao. Getting any one of those three players would be a huge coup for the Saints. Can they pull it off as they aim for a top half finish this season? (Goal.com)

French international Loic Remy has been offered the chance to leave Championship side QPR for Newcastle United, following their relegation from the EPL last season. Remy, 26, would link up with plenty of his countrymen on Tyneside and was close to joining Newcastle back in January before choosing Rangers. Despite the R’s dismal season in the Premier League, Remy scored six goals in 14 games to make him QPR’s top scorer. But is Remy the right man for Newcastle? Probably not. With Papiss Cisse already on board, Remy is a very similar player. Can’t see this one happening. (Chronicle)

Manchester City are set to be back in for Real Madrid defender Pepe. The Portuguese defender, 30, has a reputation as a hot head but Pellegrini believes he is one of the finest defenders in Spanish soccer. City are a little bit short at the back, after Kolo Toure departed for Liverpool and Joleon Lescott only has a year left on his contract. But is he really what City need in defense? Certainly the $30 million price tag seems to be steep for a player clearly out of Carlo Ancelotti’s plans at Madrid. (The Sun)

More: Tuesday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup, El Shaarway to Chelsea, Cavani to PSG

More: Wednesday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup, Fred to Man City, Matic to Chelsea

Toronto FC beats Crew 5-0 to extend unbeaten streak to 8

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TORONTO (AP) Victor Vazquez scored twice and Toronto FC routed the Columbus Crew 5-0 on Friday night to extend its unbeaten streak to a franchise record-matching eight games.

[ MORE: Pulisic pleased with U.S. Soccer’s improved landscape ]

Toronto (8-1-5) is 7-0-1 since its lone league loss of the season, a 2-1 decision in Columbus on April 15. Columbus (6-7-1) has lost five of seven since topping Toronto.

Justin Morrow and substitutes Jonathan Osorio and Jordan Hamilton also scored for MLS-leading Toronto. The Canadian team also was unbeaten in eight games (4-0-4) from May 8 to July 10, 2010.

Toronto was reduced to 10 men in the 81st minute when midfielder Marky Delgado was red-carded for a studs-up tackle on Columbus captain Wil Trapp. Osorio and Hamilton then scored to pad the lead for Toronto in its sixth shutout of the season.

Toronto played without the starting forward tandem of Sebastian Giovinco (injured) and Jozy Altidore (suspended for yellow card accumulation). Defender Nick Hagglund also is injured.

Agent: Barcelona offered more than Real for Vinicius Junior

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If Vinicius Junior can become half the player at Real Madrid that Neymar has lived up to be at Barcelona, Los Blancos will be pretty pleased.

[ MORE: Man City closing in on Monaco’s Silva ]

Real closed the deal for the 16-year-old Brazilian this week, but there were several other lucrative offers on the table, according to the player’s agent, Frederico Pena.

[ MORE: Totti leaves future uncertain heading into final Roma match ]

That includes bitter Spanish rivals Barcelona.

The agent stated that the Blaugrana did in fact offer a higher deal to acquire the Brazilian, however, he felt it would have complicated matters further to seek a greater offer from Real.

“There is practically unanimous view of the deal as a success,” Pena said. “If anybody gets criticised it is Real Madrid, for the risk they have taken, but they are sure that it will work. There were other clubs interested, and one offered to pay more money … Barca’s remuneration package offer for the player was higher than Real Madrid.

“But as we had reached an agreement with Real, we did not want to make this last push for them to match it. That could have embittered the relationship. Many people think it is crazy what Madrid are doing, but they were not alone in this craziness. They were not the only ones willing to pay this much for Vinicius.”

Pena also clarified as to why Vinicius chose Real over Barcelona, citing the player’s excitement about the development of Los Blancos during recent seasons under manager Zinedine Zidane and prior.

“Because Vinicius liked Madrid’s project better. There is always the feeling that players choose based on financial reasons, but that is not true. I assure you of that. Real Madrid’s negotiating posture was better.”

Real is on the verge of winning its third UEFA Champions League trophy in the last four seasons as the club prepares to face Juventus in the upcoming final.

Zidane’s men also won La Liga during the 2016/17 campaign.

Pulisic pleased with U.S. Soccer’s improved landscape

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U.S. Soccer has come a long way over the years, and one of the nation’s most promising young players recognizes the progress the United States has made.

[ MORE: Man City acquire Monaco’s Silva after passing medical ]

Christian Pulisic, who plays for Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund, is one of several young talents that U.S. hopes to finally bring the American men a moment of glory on the biggest of stages — the World Cup.

The 18-year-old has done just about everything a player of his age could do. He’s played in one of the top leagues in the world, appeared in various UEFA Champions League matches and now he’s likely on pace to appear in the 2018 World Cup, assuming the USMNT advances out of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

The U.S., who have reached the World Cup during seven straight cycles, have come a long way in a short period of time, and Pulisic is happy with the improving U.S. Soccer landscape.

“It’s been big flaw of ours in the soccer department that a lot of our best athletes go and play other sports,” Pulisic told The Guardian. “But I think young players have seen me, and others, go over to Europe and play in some of the best leagues — and MLS is improving so much too.

“There’s so much potential and I think it’s changing: we’ve had some bigger athletes in the past but I don’t think that defines us anymore.

“We’re going to keep moving forward, developing young players and we’re going to have a really good shot in the next few years.”

During this past Bundesliga season, Pulisic recorded three goals and added six assists for a club that has become well known for its high-powered offensive attack.

Report: Kyle Walker a top target for Manchester City

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Manchester City could be looking to bolster its backline further this summer, and the Citizens could turn to Tottenham for help.

[ MORE: Man City closing in on acquiring Monaco’s Silva ]

According to ESPN FC, Pep Guardiola‘s side is growing more and more enamored with Spurs defender Kyle Walker and believes City can acquire the experienced outside back prior to the 2017/18 Premier League season.

With City already losing Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna since the end of the PL season, Guardiola will have to address the club’s lack of depth at outside back.

Several other big clubs have been considered in the running for Walker’s services, including Chelsea, Manchester United and Bayern Munich.

The 26-year-old has been at White Hart Lane since joining Spurs in 2009 from Sheffield United and has made 222 appearances for the club in that span.