After letting him leave as a teenager, Manchester United are set to step up their chase for French international midfielder Paul Pogba. The 20-year-old Juventus star has been attracting a whole host of Premier League clubs, including Arsenal and Manchester City, as they aim to bring him back to England. Pogba came through United’s academy and was destined for big things. However he left for Juve in 2012 and hasn’t looked back since after becoming a regular and being hugely successful in their Serie A title win last season. An industrious midfielder who has drawn comparisons with French legend Patrick Vieria, could Pogba leave Italy to return to England?
Another 20-year-old midfielder on Arsenal’s radar — as if they need another quality playmaker — is German international Julian Draxler. Chelsea have been long-term admirers of the Schalke star but it could be the Gunners who make a move for the highly-rated attacking midfielder. January may be too soon to pry him away from the Bundesliga but by next summer, many expect him to be playing in the Premier League. Draxler has admitted Arsenal interest him and a move after the World Cup could happen.
Newcastle could add a ninth Frenchman to their first-team squad, as Bordeaux striker Cheick Diabate may join the Magpies growing of French stars in England’s North East. The gangly 25-year-old has been scouted by West Ham and Arsenal, but Newcastle are set to offer $7.5 million for the big target man in the January window. With Papiss Demba Cisse struggling for form and only Loic Remy and Shola Ameobi as other options up front, Alan Pardew could do with another forward. Is Diabate the man?
Bacary Sagna could be on the move from Arsenal in Janaury, as Champions League rivals Napoli look to snap up the French international right back. This move is a bit of a strange one as Sagna has impressed, especially going forward, for the Gunners this season. But reports in Italy suggest Sagna could link up with Rafael Benitez as Arsene Wenger may prefer to go with 21-year-old right back Carl Jenkinson instead.
Nigerian international Eddy Onazi looks set to snub Everton in favor of Merseyside rivals Liverpool. The 20-year-old midfielder has been impressing at Italian side Lazio and talked about his admiration for the Reds. Onazi would add some extra trickery and depth to Brendan Rodgers attacking core and a move in January ahead of the World Cup could be in the cards.
The United States looks to finish the international break in an automatic qualifier spot in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying table when it faces Panama in Panama City at 10:05 p.m. EDT Tuesday.
A lot of the faces are the same from the 6-0 demolition of Honduras in California on Friday, though John Brooks and Sebastian Lletget are out with injury.
Jermaine Jones replaces Lletget while Tim Ream moves into the fray for Brooks. Geoff Cameron played Friday’s match with a minor injury, and moves out of the XI for Graham Zusi.
USMNT: Howard; Villafana, Gonzalez, Ream, Zusi; Bradley, Jones, Nagbe; Pulisic, Dempsey, Altidore
Subs: Bingham, Rimando; Beasley, Besler, Camron, Zimmerman; Acosta, Arriola, Bedoya, Kljestan, McCarty, Pulisic; Wondolowski
Diego Reyes’ 58th minute header off a corner kick gave Mexico a lead it wouldn’t give up in a 1-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago at Hasely Crawford Stadium in World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.
The win gives Mexico a table-topping 10 points, seven ahead of last-place T&T.
[ MORE: Honduras 1-1 Costa Rica ]
The Soca Warriors were in fine, stingy form early, and looked to have gone ahead on the counterattack when Joevin Jones belted a left-footer into the Mexico goal.
The linesman, however, ruled that Jones was offside. He almost certainly was not, as Mexico’s supreme luck in CONCACAF play continued for at least one night.
Hector Herrera hammered a shot off the far goal post early in the second half as Mexico attempted to grab control.
T&T goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams jammed Miguel Layun’s shot over the bar moments before the breakthrough from Reyes.
Williams then saved Javier Hernandez’s 64th minute offering as Mexico looked to put three points to bed.
Joevin Jones won a free kick in the 76th minute that gave a brief moment of light to T&T’s hopes, but Jones hit the wall and Mexico cleared the ball.
Honduras did the United States a favor by taking a point from visiting Costa Rica in Tuesday’s CONCACAF World Cup qualifier in San Pedro Sula.
Anthony Lozano pushed a 35th minute chance past an indecisive Keylor Navas, as Los Catrachos set the stage for a hopeful three points.
[ STREAM: T&T-Mexico, Panama-USMNT ]
Vancouver Whitecaps center back Kendall Waston’s haphazard defending helped allow the goal, but he scored off a late Costa Rica corner kick to ensure Costa Rica will finish the international break in second place.
With four points, Honduras moves ahead of Trinidad and Tobago and the United States before both sides play Tuesday.
Costa Rica beat the U.S. 4-0 in 2016, while the Yanks battered Honduras 6-0 on Friday.
France and Spain used the Video Assistant Referee program on Tuesday in a friendly, and the French likely rue that decision.
Antoine Griezmann had an incorrectly allowed goal reverse for offside, while Gerard Deulofeu saw an initially ruled offside goal allowed upon review in Spain’s 2-0 win over France.
[ MORE: Bolivia stuns Messi-less Argentina ]
Here’s an example, as Griezmann’s barely offside goal was overturned in less than a minute (Both calls took less than a minute to decide):
At the risk of sounding like a caveman, I really don’t like these razor thin offside calls being subject to review.
When you consider the improbability of timing the moment of contact with the ball — how many times have you seen a freeze frame conveniently used to make a case? — it just seems to mess with the spirit of sport.
What do you think?