Liverpool are looking to get rid of winger Stewart Downing in a cut-price deal. The England international was bought from Aston Villa for almost $30 million in 2011, but now the Reds are willing to accept as little as $7.5 million for the 29-year-old. Downing hasn’t had the best if times since joining Liverpool, failing to score in his first 45 league games for the club. His move, along with the signings of Jordan Henderson and Andy Carroll have been seen as flops by many in English soccer. And now Downing could return to his native North East and provide Newcastle extra competition on the flanks.
As Tottenham continue to bring more players in, there could well be more departures from White Hart Lane. Tom Huddlestone is rumored to be leaving Spurs, with Cardiff City offering $5 million for the holding midfielder. After Paulinho’s summer arrival, Huddlestone will slip further down the pecking order. The 26-year-old midfielder, who has won four England caps, has an incredible array of passes and can sit in front of the back four and protect it. He will want to play regularly, after playing just 14 league games for Spurs last year after struggling with injury. A quality player who would boost Cardiff’s midfield, if he can stay fit.
West Bromwich Albion are leading the race to bring in Scott Sinclair on a season-long loan from Manchester City. The 24-year-old winger wants regular soccer this term, after warming the bench for most of last season. West Brom are looking to bolster their attack after Romelu Lukaku’s loan-spell ended and Peter Odemwingie is close to leaving. Sinclair is being chased by plenty of mid-table PL sides but after West Brom finished eight last season, Sinclair may think he can help them do even better. He has the talent, as he proved at Swansea, now he needs to play regularly.
PSV Eindhoven striker Ola Toivonen is open to a move to Norwich City, as the Canaries continue their summer recruitment drive. Swedish international Toivonen has scored 59 goals in 125 league games for PSV and fancies a move to the Premier League. Norwich have already added strikers Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper this summer, but Chris Hughton wants a third top striker to help the Canaries push on. Toivonen, 27, is a clinical finisher who can also play underneath the front man. He’s been a mainstay at PSV for many years and would be a steal as he’s entering the final year of his contract.
Aston Villa are hoping to snap up Japanese international midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake from Nuremberg. The 23-year-old could cost up to $16 million and Villa are hoping the sale of Darren Bent, Shay Given and Stephen Ireland will finance the deal. Villa had a bid turned down for Kiyotake earlier this summer, but an improved offer could be hard for the Bundesliga side to resist. A creative midfield presence could be the final piece in Paul Lambert’s jigsaw as he aims to push on this season. The Japanese playmaker certainly fits the bill.
More: Monday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup, Abdulrahman to Arsenal, Defoe to West Brom
Antonio Conte feels he has a bit of an embarrassment of riches in his midfield, not that it’s a problem outside of deciding who hits the pitch.
The Chelsea boss does not plan on selling Nemanja Matic despite the acquisition of N'Golo Kante — in fact Conte thinks Matic can be one of the best in the world.
[ MORE: New club for Pato ]
That’s not surprising, given that Matic was one of the keys to Chelsea’s 2014-15 PL title run.
Conte says he has some tricky selections to make in the coming days, as Chelsea prepares to open its Premier League season Aug. 15 at West Ham United.
“Kante is a good player and he was a target of our market. I am pleased the club took this player, it’s fantastic,” said the 46-year-old. “The players in a great team like Chelsea must know there are many players that can play. It’s important for me to have a good choice to try the best solution game by game. It’s important for me to see always the right attitude and behaviour from the players.
“When I have players like N’Golo, Nemanja, Cesc, Oscar and Chalobah, and Mikel who is in the Olympics, it is not easy to choose. I want to have this problem.”
For a manager who loves to keep it tight in the midfield, it would be far from shocking to see Matic and Kante behind two attacking mids (Willian and Hazard?) or even three.
Regardless, Chelsea’s match day tactics will be one of the more fascinating subplots of 2016, especially when Conte matches up against the Blues’ former boss Jose Mourinho (Oct. 22 at Stamford Bridge and April 15 at Old Trafford).
MADRID (AP) Brazilian club Corinthians says it has agreed to transfer striker Alexandre Pato to Villarreal in Spain.
Corinthians says on its club website that it has “agreed to the final administrative details of the negotiation” for Pato’s move to Villarreal.
[ MORE: MLS All Star Game preview ]
It adds that both clubs have agreed to not release the financial details of the transfer.
The 26-year-old Pato played for AC Milan from 2007 to 2013, before returning to his native Brazil with Corinthians. He played the second half of last season on loan at Chelsea in the English Premier League.
When news of Sigi Schmid’s departure from Seattle broke, there were plenty of folks wondering who could be the second coach in the Sounders’ MLS history.
One of those doing so publicly was ESPN writer Marc Connolly, who asked whether former Wigan and Everton boss Roberto Martinez could be interested in the gig.
[ MORE: Sounders, Schmid part ways ]
Fellow media member Taylor Twellman is obviously well-connected, and his reply raised some eyebrows, especially given the news that technical director Carlos Bocanegra is closing in on selecting the first manager in Atlanta United history.
Ryan is the quarterback of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, for those unaware. Martinez and Twellman worked together for ESPN this summer.
Is Martinez to MLS really a thing? He’s also been linked to the vacant Hull City job, and would be one of the highest profile coaches to make the switch in the history of the league.
Four Premier League teams were in action on Tuesday, with two picking up wins and not a clean sheet in the joint.
[ MORE: Sounders, Schmid part ways ]
MK Dons 1-3 Everton
Ronald Koeman‘s men got goals from Gerard Deulofeu, Ross Barkley and Muhamed Besic, but wasn’t entirely pleased with every facet of their game.
“The team, the players, we need to press better. The pitch in some stages of the game was too long. If you press up front, it means the midfielders they need to push up as well and it’s the same for the defenders.”
Bolton 1-2 Burnley
Andre Gray will likely be a well-known Premier League entity when his career is done, and the way he’s playing it could be by the time this season is complete. The Burnley man scored for the fifth time in four preseason games, and Josh Ginnelly also scored for the Clarets.
Barnsley 2-2 Hull City
Adama Diomande and Jarrod Bowen scored as the Tigers stayed unbeaten in preseason play.
Spurs 1-2 Juventus — RECAP