Monday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Marica to Arsenal, Krul to Juventus

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What’s that, you can’t believe transfers rumors regarding the January Transfer Window are already hotting up?

I know, neither can we. But the fact is folks, plenty of whispers of transfer activity across Europe is already happening, so here’s the latest word on the street.

How likely are the transfers below?

Arsene Wenger is already looking to strengthen his front line in the January transfer window, but he’s looking towards a player you probably haven’t heard of before. Romanian international striker Ciprian Marica is on the Gunners wish list as the Getafe forward is exactly what Wenger wants in a back up forward for Olivier Giroud. Marica, 28, has played for Stuttgart, Schalke and Shakhtar Donetsk in the past and would be a much cheaper alternative than the likes of Christian Benteke or Karim Benzema. Should Arsenal splash out on one of the big boys? Or go for Marica?

Tottenham are looking to add 25-year-old Sevilla winger Diego Perotti to their ranks and could snap up the Argentine for $12 million. Perotti has expressed his desire to move to England in January and is keen on helping Spurs reignite their offense as Andre-Villas Boas’ men struggle to find any goalscoring threat. Perotti has interested Arsenal and AC Milan but several small injuries this campaign has hampered his progress. If the exciting winger can get back to full fitness, a switch to the PL could be in the cards this winter. Do Tottenham really need another tricky winger? I’d say a striker is of more pressing concern.

Tim Krul has excelled in goal for Newcastle United this season… but the Dutchman could be on his way out of St. James’ Park. After a string of impressive displays the 25-year-old is being lined up by Italian champions Juventus as a potential long-term replacement for legend Gianluigi Buffon but the Magpies want $30 million for their star shot-stopper. If that mega move does go through, Alan Pardew wants to bring in Reading’s Alex McCarthy as Newcastle look to life after Krul.

Everton’s out of favor striker Nikica Jelavic could be on his way out of Goodison Park in January as West Ham look to snap up the Croatian forward amid their growing injury concerns up top. Jelavic, 29, has been stuck in a rut for over a year with the Toffees and has looked devoid of confidence ever since the start of the 2012-13 PL season. There’s no doubt he has all the talent to excel in England’s top-flight after he scored 11 goals in 16 games when joining Everton in January 2012 from Glasgow Rangers. But since then Jelavic’s goals have dried up and he scored just eight goals in 43 games last season. An initial loan move has bee mooted by the Hammers with a permanent deal worth $7.5 million in the offing if Jelavic delivers.

Dundee United wonderkid Ryan Gauld is described by many as the “Scottish Messi” and the 17-year-old certainly put on a dazzling display this weekend in the Scottish Premiership. Gauld made all four go United’s goals in a 4-1 win over Partick Thistle and the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool are sniffing around to acquire the highly-rated attacker. Dundee United want $9 million for his services and the tricky attacker has been a revelation since Jackie McNamara took charge at Tannadice. Expect to hear plenty of top European clubs linked with this kid over the coming weeks and months.

Official (finally): Salah completes move from Roma to Liverpool

Photo credit: Liverpool FC / Twiter: @LFC
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It was the summer’s first transfer rumor-turned-real-story-turned-never-ending-saga that seemed to refuse to cross the finish line, but it’s finally come to pass: Mohamed Salah is a Liverpool player.

Salah’s move from Roma to Liverpool took so long to complete that the club’s poor social-media manager probably never wants to read the words “Announce Salah” for the rest of his/her life.

The deal will cost Liverpool something in the neighborhood of $50 million, and completes the utterly terrifying attacking quartet Jurgen Klopp can’t wait to unleash on the Premier League come August — Salah on one side, Sadio Mane opposite, Philippe Coutinho in the middle, and Roberto Firmino at striker. Salah, by the way, will take over Firmino’s no. 11 shirt, with the Brazilian switching to no. 9.

Alexis sets the record, but Germany come back for draw

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Alexis Sanchez became Chile’s all-time leading goalscorer (38) on Thursday, and La Roja inched ever closer to progression at the 2017 Confederations Cup with a 1-1 draw against Germany.

[ MORE: VAR steps in to help Aussies draw Cameroon, 1-1 ]

Sanchez moved past Marcelo Salas with his 6th-minute opener (above video) to capitalize on a poor turnover and complete a quick one-two atop Germany’s 18-yard box. Arturo Vidal put a foot in to disrupt Germany’s attempt to play out of the back, and the ball fell to Sanchez who quickly played it back to Vidal, who played Sanchez into the box for a left-footed finish inside the near post.

[ MORE: Latest 2017 Confederations Cup news

Chile’s lead wouldn’t quite last until halftime, though, as Lars Stindl got on the end of Jonas Hector’s cross in the 41st minute to bring the reigning World Cup champions back to level terms and all but secure their place in the next round.

With the result, Chile and Germany remain tied on top of Group B (4 points) with one game to play. Given the distance between themselves and Australia and Cameron (1 point each) in third and fourth, a draw in their final group games would be more than enough to go through to the semifinals. One-goal defeats would even do the trick.

Kenny Saief approved for one-time switch from Israel to USMNT

Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
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Kenny Saief has been officially cleared by FIFA to make his one-time switch of international allegiance from Israel to the United States, the U.S. Soccer Federation announced on Thursday.

Saief, 23, was born in Panama City, Fla., to Druze-Israeli parents and began his youth career with Maccabi Haifa in 2005, at the age of 11. After a handful of first-team appearances for various Israeli clubs between 2010 and 2013, Saief earned a regular place in Ironi Nir Ramat HaSharon’s first team during the 2013-14 season. In the summer of 2014, he moved to Belgian side Gent, where he’s played in the UEFA Champions League and Europa League. U.S. men’s national team head coach Bruce Arena included Saief on his 40-man preliminary roster for next month’s 2017 Gold Cup.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

He appeared for Israeli youth national teams at just about every level, but having grown frustrated at the lack of a call-up to the senior team, Saief made it known many months ago he would consider a switch to the USMNT if the omission continued.

Saief figures to serve as something of a utility-man for the USMNT, at least from the start. He’s a left-footed midfielder who’s played extensively on both the left and right wings, and even a bit at left back. It’s the latter that should most intrigued USMNT fans, considering the dearth of options available at the position.

Geiger, Marrufo, Villarreal picked as Gold Cup referees

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MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) Mark Geiger, who three years ago became the first American to referee a knockout stage match at the World Cup, is among 17 referees picked for next month’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Americans Jair Marrufo and Armando Villarreal also were announced Thursday for the 12-nation tournament, which runs from July 7-26 in various U.S. cities.

[ MORE: Latest 2017 Confederations Cup news

Geiger, who is from New Jersey, was a referee for France’s 2-0 win over Nigeria in the round of 16.

Three each were picked from Mexico (Roberto Garcia, Fernando Guerrero and Cesar Ramos) and Honduras (Melvin Matamoros, Oscar Moncada and Hector Rodriguez).

Two will come from Costa Rica: Henry Bejarano and Ricardo Montero.

Others picked for the tournament are Joel Aguilar (El Salvador), Drew Fischer (Canada), Walter Lopez (Guatemala), Yadel Martinez (Cuba), John Pitti (Panama) and Kimbell Ward (St. Kitts and Nevis).