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

Brighton 2-2 Stoke: Seagulls remain ninth thanks to Izquierdo’s equalizer

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Three Premier League newcomers remain in close contention with one another after 12 weeks, one of which picked up another positive result today.

[ MORE: Congested PL schedule challenges the big boys ]

Brighton & Hove Albion earned a 2-2 draw against Stoke City at the Amex Stadium on Monday after Jose Izquierdo’s persistence gave the home side the leveler in the 60th minute from Glenn Murray‘s clever pass inside the box.

The result made for Brighton’s sixth consecutive match unbeaten at home this season.

A back-and-forth first half saw the on-loan Chelsea defender give Stoke the lead heading into the halftime break after a disappointing spell of defending by Brighton allowed Zouma to finish of a corner kick.

Pascal Gross gave Brighton an equalizer one minute from halftime after Davy Propper had done superbly to create space for himself down the right wing.

The visitors struck in the 28th minute after Shaqiri delivered a perfect long ball into the path of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.

The Cameroonian proceeded to control the pass beautifully from his Stoke teammate, before tucking his shot from close range into the near corner past Brighton goalkeeper Maty Ryan.

Brighton thought they had the chance to level the score prior to the equalizer when the hosts appeared to have a penalty appeal after Murray went down inside the Stoke area. However, referee Lee Mason opted against spot kick.

The two sides will both be in action on Saturday when Brighton travels to Old Trafford to face Manchester United and Stoke takes on Crystal Palace.

At the half: Zouma’s header has Stoke in front against Brighton

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It’s been a wild one thus far at the Amex Stadium, and we’ve still got 45 minutes left to play.

Stoke City holds a 2-1 advantage against newcomer Brighton & Hove Albion after Kurt Zouma gave the visitors the lead on the stroke of halftime.

[ MORE: West Brom fires manager Tony Pulis ]

Zouma headed home close range in first-half stoppage time to restore the Potters’ advantage, after Pascal Gross had equalized in the 44th minute for Brighton.

Stoke opened the scoring just prior to the half hour mark when Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting finished off a stellar move that originated from a Xherdan Shaqiri long ball over the Brighton back line.

Brighton were fortunate not to be reduced to 10 men after Glenn Murray went in late on a challenge against Stoke defender Kevin Wimmer.

Murray thought he had won himself a penalty kick minutes prior, but referee Lee Mason decided to continue play.

Miguel Almiron named MLS Newcomer of the Year

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Unsurprisingly, one of Atlanta United’s biggest stars took home some hardware on Monday after a stellar first season in Major League Soccer.

[ MORE: Previewing the MLS conference finals ]

Atlanta attacker Miguel Almiron was named MLS Newcomer of the Year today, beating out Chicago Fire forward Nemanja Nikolic and teammate Josef Martinez for the honor.

Almiron, who joined Atlanta from Argentine side Lanus, netted nine goals and added 14 assists for the Eastern Conference squad in 2017 and helped guide the club to the MLS Cup Playoffs after finishing fifth in the East.

The 23-year-old received an 37.38% average of the vote for the award, which was compiled based on votes from a combination of media members, MLS players and executives. Nikolic finished second with 24.92 percent, while Martinez checked in at number three.

Watch Live: Brighton and Hove Albion vs. Stoke City

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Chris Hughton looks to lead his Brighton and Hove Albion to a fifth-straight result as the Gulls welcome Stoke City to the Amex Stadium on Monday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

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The Gulls have won two and drawn two, powered by goals from Glenn Murray and the playmaking of Pascal Gross.

Stoke’s 3-4-1-2 has Ramadan Sobhi, Eric Choupo-Moting, and Xherdan Shaqiri attacking the final third.

LINEUPS

Brighton and Hove Albion: Ryan, Bruno, Dunk, Duffy, Bong, Stephens, Propper, Knockaert, Izquierdo, Gross, Murray. Subs: Krul, Hemed, Goldson, Schelotto, Suttner, Brown.

Stoke City: Grant; Zouma, Shawcross, Wimmer; Diouf, Fletcher, Allen, Pieters; Shaqiri, Ramadan; Choupo-Moting. Subs: Haugaard; Berahino, Jese, Afellay, Martins Indi, Adam, Crouch.