Juan Mata on his way to Old Trafford in $61 million deal.

Friday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Diego Costa to Arsenal, Mata to Napoli

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Arsenal are actively on the lookout for a new striker to join their ranks, following ankle injuries to both Olivier Giroud and Nicklas Bendtner over the festive period, and they may have found their man. Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa has been in sensational form in La Liga for quite some time, an the Brazilian born Spanish international forward has a release clause of $47 million that may tempt the Gunners. Costa, 25, has scored 19 goals in 17 La Liga games this season and would certainly add an extra punch to Arsene Wenger’s front line. But can Arsenal afford to add another megastar in January after splashing out $60 million for Mesut Ozil in the summer?

Another Premier League title contender could be losing one of their best players, as Chelsea’s Juan Mata is being courted by some of Europe’s best sides. Mata, 25, has been in and out of Jose Mourinho’s side this season and Chelsea’s manager has revealed that several teams have inquired about Mata’s availability. Chelsea do not want to sell Mata to another PL team but are quite willing to let him leave to a European outfit, with the likes of Inter Milan, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Liverpool all sniffing around. However it’s thought that Napoli have emerged as the frontrunners for Mata’s signature as the Spanish attacker wants to be reunited with Rafael Benitez who was in charge at Chelsea last season on an interim basis and got the best out of Mata, who scored 20 goals and added 35 assists.

Sticking with Chelsea another midfielder, Kevin de Bruyne, is attracting plenty of interest from overseas as Wolfsburg and Atletico Madrid are looking to grab the Belgian winger. De Bruyne, 22, has featured sparingly for the Blues but Bundesliga side Wolfsburg would have to fork out $37 million to buy him permanently. While it’s thought that Atletcio would prefer a loan deal for the young winger.

Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott could be allowed to leave the Citizens in January, as the England international searches for regular games in the Premier League. Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle, Everton and Aston Villa are all interested in Lescott, 31, and his contract is up in the summer so a deal on the cheap could be done to grab him now. Lescott starred for City when they won the PL title in 2011-12 but in the last 12 months he’s hardly featured and Manuel Pellegrini could be willing to let him leave.

Finally, Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher is being tracked by plenty of sides as the Black Cats woes continue and the Scottish international forward looks ahead to next season and beyond. Fletcher, 26, has shown his predatory marksmanship once again this season but is said to be available for just $9 million. Hull City in the PL and Scottish champions Celtic are interested but if Fletcher manages to keep the Black Cats away from relegation he may well stay at the Stadium of Light.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City SC 2-1 Montreal Impact

Cyle Larin, Orlando City SC

The game in 100 words (or less): For weeks, it was a widely held belief that the Montreal Impact would snatch up the sixth and final playoff place in the Eastern Conference with little or no resistance from their opposition. As they went six games unbeaten (four wins), all looked to be setting up perfect for the club that fired Frank Klopas midseason, but there was another team in the race for sixth that kept winning themselves: Orlando City SC. On Saturday night, Montreal and Orlando City faced off at the Citrus, with the expansion Lions claiming their fourth-straight victory with a 2-1 triumph. Montreal now holds a one-point lead on Orlando in the race for sixth, and have two games in hand, but it’s no longer a foregone conclusion L’Impact will qualify for the playoffs no resistance whatsoever.

[ MORE: | Week 30 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

33′ — Bush’s mistake gifts Larin the opening goal — Larin did what your taught to do as a striker — “put it on frame, test the goalkeeper” — but in no universe does a shot so feeble have any business finding the back of the net. Evan Bush has been great this year. Hopefully (for Montreal’s sake), this howler doesn’t turn into the yips with the playoffs looming.

43′ — Hall’s “mistake” gifts Oduro an equalizer — Dominic Oduro equalized in the 43rd minute, when he took the ball out of the hands of Tally Hall and smashed it into the back of the net, but the goal should have been disallowed due to Hall having full control of the ball.

80′ — Hines hits the winner for Orlando — Seb Hines put the ball back into the mixer and just so happened to find the back of the net in the 80th minute. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

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Man of the match: Seb Hines

Goalscorers: Larin (33′), Oduro (43′), Hines (80′)

MLS Snapshot: NY Red Bulls 2-1 Columbus Crew SC

Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York Red Bulls
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The game in 100 words (or less): Two weeks in a row Columbus Crew SC have had a chance to go top of the Eastern Conference with a victory, and two weeks in a row Crew SC have failed to take a single point from massively important fixtures. Their latest defeat, a 2-1 humbling at the hands of the East-leading New York Red Bulls, started so well for Gregg Berhalter’s side, but was undone by a pair of costly, comedic defensive errors that allowed Lloyd Sam and Bradley Wright-Phillips (15th of the season) to erase an early deficit (Justin Meram) and win all three points. The result not only keeps the Red Bulls top of the East, but gives them a three- and four-point cushion with three and two games in hand on their nearest competitors., D.C. United and New England Revoltion respectively. For Crew SC, they’re four points back of the Red Bulls in fourth place, one point ahead of fifth-place Toronto FC, who have a game in hand.

[ MORE: | Week 30 TOTW | POTW ]

Three moments that mattered

9′ — Meram pokes it past Robles for an early lead — Meram “earned” his goal all the way back in midfield, when the Iraqi international’s mazy run took a routine turnover inside Crew SC’s defensive half and turned it into a dangerous counter-attacking opportunity. Harrison Afful overlapped and provided the cross for Meram to send home.

12′ — Sam capitalizes on multiple mistakes to equalize — Crew SC pass the ball out of the back. They don’t boot it forward to clear. It’s just what they do. Sometimes, that’ll bite you. When your goalkeeper and right back both have blunders clearing the ball 10 seconds apart, you probably deserve to concede an ugly, scrappy goal.

21′ — Wright-Phillips capitalizes on more defensive gaffes — See the above description for Red Bulls goal no. 1.

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Man of the match: Damien Perrinelle

Goalscorers: Meram (9′), Sam (12′), Wright-Phillips (21′)