Guzan's impressive displays this season have seen top PL clubs knocking on the door.

Premier League Team of the Week: Ozil and Aguero shine

Leave a comment

There were a number of classy performances in last weekend’s Premier League, led by the stunning hat-trick of assists by Mesut Ozil and the derby day brace by Sergio Aguero.

Goalkeeper: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa)

The American put forth yet another sensational match in goal for the Villans, keeping their first clean sheet in 28 matches by parrying a top corner-bound shot by Gary Hooper in the 87th minute.

Defender: Vincent Kompany (Manchester City)

It was a master class performance by Vincent Kompany in Sunday’s derby victory over United, shutting down Wayne Rooney during the run of play and unleashing a beastly dummy run that opened up Samir Nasri to thump home the Citizens’ fourth goal of the match.

Defender: Dejan Lovren (Southampton)

The arrival of Dejan Lovren has been the difference at Southampton this season, shoring up a central defense that had a tendency to leak goals last year. On Saturday the Croatian led the Saints back line that kept Liverpool at bay and nodded home the match-winning header in the 53rd minute.

Defender: Leighton Baines (Everton)

Leighton Baines produced two incredible free-kicks to help Everton to help claim all three points from West Ham on Saturday. The full-back swerved the first into Jussi Jääskeläinen’s right corner and the second, from the nearly identical distance of 22 yards out, into the left corner.

Midfielder: Morgan Amalfitano (West Bromwich Albion)

Steve Clarke’s late acquisition of Morgan Amalfitano on loan from Ligue 1 side Marseille proved a shrewd move as the Frenchman throttled home West Brom’s third goal of the contest with a powerful far-post strike that tore the side netting.

Midfielder: Stephane Sessegnon (West Bromwich Albion)

Speaking of shrewd moves by Steve Clarke, the West Brom manager snagged what may well prove to be one of the deals of the transfer window when he spent $10.4 million (£6.5m) to snap up Stephane Sessegnon from Sunderland. In the Benin international’s first match with the Midland’s club, he made Sunderland pay for their sale by scoring the opener that would prove to be all the Baggies needs to put the Black Cats away.

Midfielder: Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)

Three goals for Arsenal on Saturday and three assists for Mesut Ozil. Pretty standard, really.

Midfielder: Robbie Brady (Hull City)

Robbie Brady is proving himself quite the tricky little customer at Hull City. He’s quick, skilled and plays the game with a chip on his shoulder. And if he keeps scoring goals for the Tigers, you can expect the former Manchester United product to become a wanted man come next summer.

Forward: Loic Remy (Newcastle)

Loic Remy snagged himself a brace in Saturday’s 3-2 home loss to Hull City. The goals came through precise positioning as Remy looks to play that classic poacher role. But really though, the Frenchman should’ve had the equalizer – and his hat-trick – when he missed a sitter in the 91st minute.

Forward: Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

Sergio Aguero makes goalscoring an art. His opener on Sunday showed fantastic positioning, technique, concentration and balance. His second was testament to how well the Argentine reads the game. Aguero remains one of the world’s most potent finishers and will be near the top of the Premier League goalscoring list come next May.

Forward: Libor Kozak (Aston Villa) 

It took only two minutes for Libor Kozak to open his Premier League scoring account, poking home Aston Villa’s match-winner. Look for the big Czech to make an impact again next weekend as Christian Benteke’s hip injury may prevent him from taking part in the match against Manchester City.

Manchester City continues to trim squad with Mangala, Nasri deals reportedly likely

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - APRIL 05:  Samir Nasri of Manchester City smiles with Eliaquim Mangala during a training session ahead of the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final First Leg match against Paris Saint-Germain at the Football Academy training ground on April 5, 2016 in Manchester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Pep Guardiola has brought in a full band of reinforcements to Manchester City this summer, and now he must make room.

With Joe Hart almost certain to move to Italian club Torino in the next few days, a few other City players banished by Guardiola may be set to depart as well.

Manchester City can only include 17 foreign players on its Champions League roster, meaning it must leave off two of the 19 currently with the club. With Hart leaving, that is one less homegrown player on the roster. That is leading Pep Guardiola to try and find new homes for the likes of Eliaquim Mangala and Samir Nasri.

France Football reports that Mangala could be headed back to his former club FC Porto on loan, and according to reports in England, the Manchester club might be forced to eat wages in order to make that happen. Tottenham is apparently also interested for a permanent move, but they’d likely want him at a price significantly cheaper than the $55 million City paid for him just two years ago. Other clubs reportedly in for Mangala include Valencia and Napoli, with the former having just sold Shkodran Mustafi to Arsenal and would likely be searching for a replacement.

According to a number of reports in Spain, Samir Nasri has piqued the interest of La Liga side Sevilla. Nasri has seen his playing time at City decline for a number of years, and in the process was ousted from the French national team. According to AS, with the possibility of Nasri’s all-out exclusion from the City squad, he has interest from the Spanish club as well as Besiktas in Turkey. Like Mangala, however, Nasri’s hefty contract is forcing City to consider much of his wages as sunk.

Nasri’s departure is less imminent, however, considering Guardiola’s praise of him after the 3-1 win over West Ham on Sunday. The Spaniard said Nasri could stay, and while the player appreciated the sentiments, he also admitted a switch is yet possible. “Yes, there could still be movement,” Nasri said. “It depends on a lot of things in fact. There’s been a lot of speculation. Things that are true. Things that are false too because they’ve never shown me the door or anything like that.”

Even Stevan Jovetic has been looking for a way out of the Etihad, but a possible move to Fiorentina apparently was nixed over a disagreement on wages.

Joe Hart’s agent confirms loan move to Torino

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28: Joe Hart of Manchester City warms up prior to the Premier League match between Manchester City and West Ham United at Etihad Stadium on August 28, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Joe Hart‘s Manchester City departure seems all but complete.

According to a report in Italy, the goalkeeper’s agent has confirmed a loan move to Torino is complete pending a medical.

“Yes, Joe Hart will play for Toro,” agent Jonathan Barnett told Tuttosport. “It’s all done, the goalkeeper said yes to the Granata and now Manchester City have given the green light. It’s all true, it’s secured. Tomorrow Hart will have a medical in Turin.”

Earlier Monday, it was reported that Hart was considering the offer but had not decided yet if this was the right course of action. Reports over the last week have stated the 29-year-old has been looking to leave Manchester City after being benched by Pep Guardiola, but preferred a permanent move to a loan due to the uncertainty for his family that comes with the short-term nature of a loan.

To back this up, Sky Sports reporter Gemma Davis tweeted that Hart has been given permission leave the England squad to travel to Torino for a medical. This is unlikely to affect Hart’s place in the England team, given they do not play until Sunday.

After two games in Serie A play, Torino sits seventh in the league table with a win and a loss so far. 30-year-old Daniele Padelli has started both games in goal, playing the full 90 minutes. Padelli has been the main man for Torino since his arrival in 2013, missing just a chunk of games two seasons ago when benched early in the year.

Reports: Nigel de Jong preparing to leave LA Galaxy for Galatasaray

Los Angeles Galaxy's Nigel de Jong, right, strikes the ball in front of San Jose Earthquakes' Quincy Amarikwa during the first half of a MLS soccer game Saturday, March 19, 2016, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Multiple reports across both the United States and the Netherlands have claimed Nigel de Jong is close to a move to Turkish giants Galatasaray.

A report by AD writer Maarten Wijffles states that De Jong is currently in the country for talks. However, while L.A. Times writer Keith Baxter confirms that a deal is in progress, he claims the player is still currently situated in the United States and has not left for Turkey yet.

According to reports in Turkey, Galatasaray began its interest in De Jong only recently, when Newcastle enforcer Cheick Tiote apparently failed a medical. Other reports citing sources with Newcastle and the player have disputed this, saying talks instead broke down over personal terms.

De Jong had only joined Los Angeles at the end of the January transfer window, moving from A.C. Milan after the termination of his contract. The 31-year-old Dutchman made 18 appearances for the Galaxy and did not score a goal.

Between Tiote and De Jong, the Turkish club is clearly targeting a certain style of player. De Jong has been known throughout his career as a midfield enforcer, sometimes on the border of dirty play, and that did not change during his short time in Major League Soccer. He made several cringe-worthy tackles, including one in April on Darlington Nagbe that caused many to fear for Nagbe’s career until it was revealed he suffered just a sprained knee. Another in early July earned De Jong a straight red card against Vancouver in early July.

The Dutchman was thought to be taking over Steven Gerrard‘s Designated Player spot next year after his retirement at the end of the current season, but De Jong’s departure means the Galaxy could have an open DP slot next season.

Lionel Messi picks up hamstring injury, will travel with Argentina anyways

BARCELONA, SPAIN - AUGUST 20: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona looks on during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Betis Balompie at Camp Nou on August 20, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Lionel Messi’s “return” to the Argentinian national team may have to wait.

Barcelona has revealed their superstar picked up a left hamstring injury at an unspecified time, and discovered them during tests earlier on Monday. The statement said he would still travel to Argentina to link up with the national team for the international break, and will have more tests there.

Argentina, sitting in the third spot in CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying and just two points above elimination, have vital matches against Uruguay and Venezuela over the next week. “His presence in those matches will depend on how the injury develops,” the statement from Barcelona read.

It is unclear when Messi developed this injury. He has played the full 90 minutes in all four of Barcelona’s matches this season, including the 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, the first of the four matches in which he did not score or assist a goal.

This also could be a bit of gamesmanship from Barcelona. Obviously, it benefits clubs for their players to rest during international breaks instead of play international matches, and for them to suddenly announce an injury to Lionel Messi would put pressure on Argentina to consider sitting their superstar. Of course, in attempts to dispel this idea, Barcelona included in their statement that the injury report was “approved by the FC Barcelona Medical Services and the Argentinian Football Association.”

A legitimate injury to Messi would be a devastating blow to Argentina considering Sergio Aguero has already withdrawn from the squad following an injury picked up against West Ham this weekend. Aguero was substituted in the 88th minute of Manchester City’s 3-1 win over the Hammers.

Messi was expected to make his first appearance to the national team setup after his brief “retirement” following the loss in the Copa America finals.