Juventus interested in Adnan Januzaj as Manchester United looks to avoid reliving the Paul Pogba misery

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Manchester United faces the possibility of losing yet another one of its young talents, Adnan Januzaj, to Serie A champions Juventus.

Januzaj, whose contract is set to expire at the end of the season, is reportedly holding out on signing a long term deal until he is provided assurances that he will be handed an active role in the club’s title defense.

Thus far the attacking midfielder has made a single Premier League appearance, coming on as substitute against Crystal Palace. The 18-year-old’s performance raised eyebrows, as he bossed the Palace defense with an array of slick skills, pin-point passes and sleek speed.

Sniffing out Moyes’ reservations in making Januzaj a regular, Juventus is reportedly making a strong push for the Belgian and have contacted his agent to begin contract negotiations as soon as possible.

If true, the move mimics last year’s push by Juve to acquire Paul Pogba after the player became disenfranchised with United following Sir Alex Ferguson’s refusal to insert him into the team. Sensing that he’d have to wait years to play, Pogba refused to sign a new contract and when his deal expired in January, signed with Juve, who welcomed him with open arms.

The acquisition of Pogba proved vital for the Turin club’s title run, with the Frenchman producing a number of fantastic midfield performances. The loss of Pogba was a difficult pill for Sir Alex to swallow but one that the manager put on himself by denying the player the playing time he deserved.

Now history may be repeating itself with Januzaj. It’s a situation that David Moyes can’t afford to mess up. Already criticized for his summer transfer deals (or lack thereof) and uninspiring tactics in last weekend’s derby, the failure to lock down Januzaj – or worse, to lose him to Juventus – would be a PR nightmare for United.

Moyes’ reluctancy to play Januzaj may stem from his youth and inexperience. The former Everton boss was notoriously timid in blooding Ross Barkley despite his obvious talent and physical development. New manager Roberto Martinez, however, has had no such problems in playing the 19 year old, who has been a creative revelation in the Toffee’s midfield.

There’s little reason to think Januzaj can’t provide a similar impact for United. Certainly his insertion could go a long way towards solving the lack of midfield creative elements at United. Januzaj would provide a fresh change of pace from the distinct lack of imagination in Ashley Young’s play, or, with Robin van Persie struggling with injury, could be a cheeky play behind Wayne Rooney.

One way or the other Moyes needs to put the Januzaj issue to bed, and fast.

Premier League Preview: Swansea City vs. Liverpool

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  • Reds clobbered Swans on Boxing Day
  • Swans six points adrift
  • Reds go third with three-goal win
  • Liverpool leads all-time 23W-8D-11L

Liverpool looks to avoid a letdown when it visits Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Monday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Swansea City has managed a win over the Reds in each of the previous two seasons, but was simply crushed by Jurgen Klopp‘s men in a 5-0 defeat at Anfield last month.

WATCH ON NBCSN AND ONLINE HERE AT 3 P.M. ET

The hosts badly need to pick up points, though few expect them to do so on Monday. Skeptics, however, will note that Liverpool under Klopp has been giants against the top teams and often lackluster against the other sides.

What they’re saying

Swansea boss Carlos Carvalhal on springing an upset“I would prefer to be Goliath, I would rather be in his position. But during my career most of the time has been spent in the position of David, and we have been able to do some surprises as David. We have done it often, we are working to make more of them. I was kind of the Goliath when I was with Besiktas and Sporting Lisbon, but during those moments Goliath was a little ill.”

Liverpool’s Klopp on goalkeeper Loris KariusMy favourite solution, always, is that we do it with our boys. They step up, they deliver, they improve. The problem they have is that everyone is watching them (through a magnifying glass) and saying ‘still not good enough!’ I will only mention one name. Everyone talks about him with us and that is Butland. I only saw the game (against Manchester United). Fantastic goalkeeper but was he perfect? No. He wasn’t in that game. But everyone says ‘still better than our boys!'”

Prediction

It’s hard to see this going in Swans favor at all, though we’ll peg them to keep it close on the score board: 2-0 to Liverpool.

Transfer rumor roundup: Schurrle to Newcastle, Spurs

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A new name has emerged on the loan market, as Borussia Dortmund forward Andre Schurrle is reportedly being made available for the second half of the Premier League season.

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Newcastle United reportedly leads the pack for the former Chelsea scorer, who is struggling to get time at BVB thanks to a glut of fantastic wingers including Christian Pulisic.

Magpies boss Rafa Benitez has a good relationship with the Westfalenstadion set, having taken Mikel Merino off their hands in August. Newcastle currently uses Christian Atsu on the left wing and Matt Ritchie on the right, but Schurrle can play center forward and Benitez may prefer to use the 27-year-old in the middle of his trident.

But they’ll face competition, and HITC says BVB is willing to pay half of his wages on an 18-month deal to keep him reasonable for some clubs. This could be a boon for Spurs.

Newcastle and Stoke City have also been linked with Galatasaray midfielder Papa “Badou” Ndiaye, with the Magpies said to have bid just a bit higher than the Potters but still under Gala’s buyout clause.

And here’s a wild one, according to ESPN: Chelsea’s rumored pursuit of current Premier League scorers now includes Marko Arnautovic. The audacious Austrian attacker cost West Ham around $35 million when his head was turned from Stoke City in the summer.

He didn’t perform well but Slaven Bilic, but David Moyes has been able to get some fine performances from the powerful Arnautovic. Chelsea has previously been linked with West Ham teammate Andy Carroll, Burnley’s Ashley Barnes, and Stoke’s Peter Crouch as it attempts to find a center forward to ease the burden placed on Alvaro Morata in his first Premier League season.

World Cup winner, England legend Armfield passes away at 82

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1966 World Cup champion Jimmy Armfield has died at the age of 82.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

Voted “the best right back” in Europe between 1962-64, the former England and Blackpool captain also had a successful management and broadcasting career.

Armfield was a member of the 1962 and 1966 World Cup squads, though a toe injury kept him from his place in the starting lineup when England won the tournament.

He spent his entire playing career with Blackpool before managing Bolton Wanderers to promotion and Leeds United to the European Cup Final, righting the ship after Brian Clough’s infamous spell in charge of the club.

There’s a statue outside Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road, and the club legend has a stand named after him inside the venue.

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Julie Ertz scores in USWNT win, discovers good Eagles news after

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Whoever scheduled the U.S. Women’s National Team’s friendly against Denmark at the same time as the NFC Championship Game on Sunday night should really consider the Ertz family in the future.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup — Auba to Arsenal, Man City tracking Evans, Fred ]

While noted USWNT defender Julie Ertz and her team cruised past the Danes in a 5-1 victory, her husband, Zach, was playing a hand in the Philadelphia Eagles’ progression to the NFL’s Super Bowl.

With Julie not knowing what to expect following her team’s match, find out how she took the news of her husband’s triumph in the video below.

While Zach’s night was certainly a memorable one for many reasons, it was Julie that arguably had the better performance — which included a goal in the 19th minute off of a close-range volley.

The USWNT had trailed through 14 minutes, but a combination of goals from Alex Morgan and Ertz in a span of two minutes quickly erased the deficit.

For Morgan, it was her 80th goal for the Stars and Stripes.

Meanwhile, a second-half brace from teenage sensation Mallory Pugh and Crystal Dunn’s finish with nine minutes to play proved to be the icing on the cake for Jill Ellis’ side, who kicked off 2018 with a bang.