Thursday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Agudelo to Stoke, David Luiz to Barcelona

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Stoke City have their eye on yet another American import, as New England forward Juan Agudelo could join three USMNT players already at the Britannia Stadium. Agudelo, 20, has scored five goals in 11 games this season, but the former New York Red Bulls and Chivas USA striker could certainly do with a fresh start. He impressed Celtic whilst on trial last year, nothing came of that, but Mark Hughes has monitored Agudelo for quite some time. With Agudelo’s pace and eye for goal, the young US national team star could get his career back on track in the Premier League. If Stoke offer MLS a good deal, it would be wrong of them to stand in Agudelo’s way. He could play on the last shoulder of defenders and use his pace to great effect in Stoke’s direct style of play. Intriguing to see this one play out.

Barcelona are apparently making a “last ditch” attempt to sign Chelsea’s David Luiz. The 26-year-old Brazilian defender has been a long-term target for the Catalan club and with their defensive options thin on the ground, new manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino has made Luiz his top target according to this report. A deal of $60 million has been offered for Luiz, and it should force Chelsea to seriously consider selling the eccentric central defender. Luiz is a top quality player, but with Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic already at Chelsea and John Terry sniffing around, do the Blues really need four top quality center backs?

Brazil’s Atletico Mineiro have apparently accepted a $32 million offer from Shakhtar Donetsk for Bernard. But the player is said to be unsure about a move to the Ukraine. Arsenal and Porto are the other frontrunners for the 20-year-old Brazilian international, with Arsenal particularly keen to add the youngster to their ranks. But with Donetsk having a fine record in elevating Brazilian stars on the European stage and offering almost guaranteed Champions League soccer each season, money talks. But if Arsenal make a similar bid for the diminutive attacker, surely Bernard would head to the Emirates? They play his style of quick, possession based soccer and he would be playing in one of the world’s best leagues ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

Fulham are closing in on Sunderland’s former captain Lee Cattermole. The fiery midfielder is no longer needed at the Stadium of Light and Martin Jol could snap up the 25-year-old midfielder. Injured for most of last season, Cattermole’s influence in the Black Cats engine room was severely missed. However new manager Paolo Di Canio doesn’t seem to have Cattermole in his plans, and Fulham could pick up the combative player for just $4.5 million. An absolute bargain for an experienced Premier League midfielder who cleans up the space in front of the back four superbly. He would add an extra bite to Fulham’s midfield as the Cottagers aim to kick on after a stagnate 2012-13 season.

Diego Lugano is set to talk with West Bromwich Albion this week, as the 32-year-old Uruguayan captain is surplus to requirements at Paris Saint-Germain. Lugano could be available for a paltry sum of $1.5 million and would add extra competition to West Brom’s central defenders. He can also slot in at full back and his vast experience at World Cups and in European competition would help Steve Clarke’s men try to step up to the next level. This could be another shrewd signing by the Baggies as they add experience and quality.

More: Monday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup, David Luiz to Bayern, Gustavo to Chelsea

More: Wednesday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup, Torres to Valencia, Barton to Everton

Roma-Chelsea reports could see Dzeko, Batshuayi… and Sturridge on the move

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Here’s a wild rumor out of Italy, as Gianluca Di Marzio has UEFA Champions League Round of 16 sides Chelsea and Roma working out a big transfer.

[ MORE: PST chats with Dzeko in July ]

Again, before we lay it out, we know that both clubs would not be able to use Cup-tied players in the UCL and that gives the rumor its unrealistic bent.

Chelsea reportedly is willing to send $62 million and striker Michy Batshuayi on loan to Roma in exchange for Edin Dzeko and Emerson Palmeiri. Reports say Roma is holding out for another $20 million, potentially add-ons.

Dzeko isn’t producing at his otherworldly rate of last season, but is far and away i Lupi’s leading scorer and bagged a brace against Chelsea in the UCL. And Batshuayi scored in Chelsea’s first two matches of the tournament.

There is something to the rumor, at least in terms of Emerson. The London Evening Standard quotes the player’s agent as saying talks are ongoing and the move is a “dream” one for Emerson, who is behind Aleksandar Kolarov on the left back depth chart since returning from injury.

Roma would need a UCL-eligible center forward, as Czech youngster Patrik Schick has been unable to find his scoring boots since a summer move from Sampdoria. Football Italia says, sensationally, that Roma would use some of the money to pry Daniel Sturridge from Liverpool.

Maybe the Emerson move goes through, but the striker swap feels like a headscratcher for Dzeko and Chelsea.

Pardew the latest to scratch head at transfer fees

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West Bromwich Albion manager Alan Pardew is the latest to find himself baffled at the prices on the transfer market.

To be fair to the Englishman, 56, it doesn’t sound like he’s raving in ‘old man yelling at the sky’ fashion. Rather he thinks the numbers are hard for fans to gauge and perhaps it’s causing a disconnect.

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And for him, at least, it’s a challenge to sort out whether the prices he’s being quoted are reasonable relative to the market. That makes sense, considering that as Newcastle boss in 2012 he sold Fraser Forster to Celtic for about $3 million and PSG bought Yohan Cabaye — then 28 — from him for $26 million.

Both fees would be a little different right now, we think (from the BBC).

“It’s difficult with the prices now to gauge what’s good value,” Pardew said. “We live in a hyper-inflated world because of the TV money received by the football clubs. Therefore, transfers and wages are going way out of kilter with real life. I think we’re all losing the plot with the figures. It’s just becoming, ‘Oh okay,’ and not even reacting to things any more.”

Now, to play devil’s advocate, if Pardew is actually just old man yelling at the sky, he’d better get out of the manager’s box. The fees aren’t changing for top clubs, which is why Jonny Evans is at risk from a Man City bid but not Newcastle United or Crystal Palace. And the TV money he talks about is going to allow clubs like WBA to hold onto players by offering better wages if they choose that route.

But it’s a fair sentiment regarding how to gauge these numbers. While it’s usually a bit laughable when fans and writers estimate whether clubs have paid too much or sold for too little, managers and administrators risk looking foolish if they agree too low or too high a fee relative to other teams.

Stanford’s Andi Sullivan is the No. 1 pick in NWSL draft

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The Washington Spirit have selected midfielder Andi Sullivan out of Stanford with the first pick in the National Women’s Soccer League draft on Thursday.

Stanford won the NCAA College Cup championship last season. Sullivan scored in the 3-2 Cardinal victory over UCLA. She also won the Mac Hermann Trophy for the nation’s best soccer player.

[ MORE: Top PL storylines — Week 24  ]

Sullivan has made seven appearances with the U.S. national team and has been called into January training camp as the team begins to prepare for World Cup qualifying in the fall.

The Spirit also had the third overall pick, which they used to select midfielder Rebecca Quinn out of Duke.

The Boston Breakers took forward Savannah McCaskill out of South Carolina with the No. 2 overall pick.

The day also featured a number of high-profile trades, including a deal between the Reign and the Royals that sent midfielder Diana Matheson to Utah in exchange for veteran defender Yael Averbuch.

Stoke City adds versatile Greek left-sided man on loan

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New Stoke City boss Paul Lambert is tasked with shoring up a defense which has been bottom half in goals allowed for several seasons, and has made his first move.

[ MORE: Top PL storylines — Week 24  ]

Kostas Stafylidis is a 24-year-old left-sided player with 22 Greek caps to his name, but he’s fallen out of favor at Bundesliga side Augsburg and managed just 31 minutes this season.

He’ll head on loan to the Potteries, where he’ll attempt to aid the leakiest side in the Premier League. Stoke’s 50 goals allowed are eight more than its closest competitor (Watford).

Stafylidis has played left back and left mid for club and country, though he had his most league success last season at left back. He scored four goals and was rated Augsburg’s best field player by WhoScored and its top player overall by Squawka.

And he wants to be there (from StokeCityfc.com):

“As soon as I heard I told my agent directly that I wanted this move,” he added. “I left it to him then, he spoke to the Club more, and then to the trainer and we all wanted to make this move happen. It is good for me, it is good for the Club to bring me here for five months and I am very happy about that.”