Britain Soccer Premier League

Tuesday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Are Diego Costa and Juan Mata set for swap?

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Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini claims his side isn’t in the market for a new player but is apparently keen on shipping Joleon Lescott out with Aston Villa, Newcastle and West Ham all interested. The 31-year-old has fallen down the pecking order at City and is convinced a loan or permanent move is all he needs to catch the eye of England boss Roy Hodgson.

Despite Pellegrini’s assertions to the contrary, reports rage on regarding his interest in Basel center-half Fabian Schar. The 22-year-old is in high demand since rallying his side to a Champions League victory over Chelsea last month. In fact, the Blues, Liverpool, Arsenal Borussia Dortmund, Napoli, Barcelona and PSG are all reportedly interested in giving the Swiss center-back a new home.

Staying at City, Stevan Jovetic has made just six appearances since signing in the summer due to a mixture of injury and illness. It’s form that the City fans have begun to pan with the song: “Jov the builder, can he fix it? Jov the builder – no, he’s ill!” Rumors had the 24-year-old returning to former club Fiorentina on a loan spell but the Italian side squashed the deal after Jovetic’s €5 million salary proved too much for Vincenzo Montella’s side to afford.

At cross-town rival United, David Moyes has been boosted by a transfer kitty that, depending who you believe, is between £100-£200M. His targets? A left-back, two center-mids and a striker. Topping his list are La Liga stars, Andre Herrera and Diego Costa but he’s also keeping tabs on Dortmund’s Marco Reus and Ilkay Gundogan, Southampton’s Luke Shaw and Porto’s Eliaquim Mangala. In other words, anyone and everyone who could end his misery.

Costa, however, could be headed to Chelsea if Jose Mourinho decides he wants a new striker this January. His bait? Playmaker Juan Mata, who has (inexplicably) fallen out of favor with the Portuguese gaffer. A Costa-Mata swap would be a sensational deal and one that could see Chelsea striker Demba Ba pushed out. The Senegalese hit-man has featured only eight times in the league this season with Newcastle, Crystal Palace and West Ham all inquiring about a loan deal for Mourinho’s surplus goods.

Newcastle’s interest in a striker comes amidst the eagerness of Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp to sell Loic Remy on a permanent deal to the Magpies. Redknapp has the Frenchman clocked in at £16 million and is confused as to why the Magpies have yet to pull the trigger. Of course that could have something to do with the fact that QPR’s asking price is nearly double with the R’s paid Marseille for Remy last year.

When Tottenham purchased Argentinian winger Erik Lamela from Roma last season, Spurs fans thought they had the next Gareth Bale. And in a way, they did. Unfortunately it was the Bale who began his Tottenham career with a winless streak of 25 matches, not the one who sniped 21 league goals in 2012-13. Lamela’s slow start reportedly has the North London side considering a loan deal with Lazio and Inter battling to take him on board.

One Manchester United player everyone seems to covet (except David Moyes) is Wilfried Zaha. A number of sides are interested in taking the athletic winger on loan with Crystal Palace pushing the hardest. Word has it manager Tony Pulis has made a bid for Zaha only for Moyes to deny it. Despite playing the 21-year-old appearing in only two league matches, Moyes reportedly wants to keep Zaha in the mix due to Nani’s hamstring injury.

Finally, at Villa Park, Paul Lambert wants his side to buy a proven #10. So naturally he’s lining up a bid for a former player of his at Norwich City, Wes Hoolahan. If the Villa manager can’t capture the Irish Messi, he’s expected to make moves for another diminutive playmaker, Porto’s Steven Defour.

Thibaut Courtois committed to Chelsea despite links to PSG

WATFORD, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 03:  Thibaut Courtois of Chelsea in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Watford and Chelsea at Vicarage Road on February 3, 2016 in Watford, England.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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Thibaut Courtois has denied reports he could leave London for Paris Saint-Germain this summer after a disappointing season at Chelsea.

The 23-year-old goalkeeper missed a large portion of the season through injury and failed to regain his top form when healthy as the Blues struggled throughout the year.

With a new manager in Antonio Conte taking over in June, some believed Courtois would be sold to allow the Italian to bring in a goalkeeper of his choice.

[ MORE: Atletico Madrid reach UCL final ]

Despite recent reports linking Courtois with a transfer to PSG that would make him the most expensive goalkeeper in the world, the Belgian international does not fancy a move to France.

Speaking to French newspaper Le Parisien, Courtois said he is happy at Chelsea and will “100-percent” be back at Stamford Bridge next season.

I have never had any contact with PSG. I have played a lot against PSG recently – twice last season, again this season in a friendly and twice more in the Champions League this year.

They are a good club who win their league easily. Me, I like playing in England. Paris is a very good club but I am happy at Chelsea.

I have a contract for three years, so I will say 100 per cent [be staying at Chelsea]. Rumours affect any club where things are going badly. People think the top players want to leave because they are not in the Champions League.

Those words show quite a change from Courtois’ opinion a few months ago, when he cast doubt over his Chelsea future.

At just 23, Courtois has already made more than 200 appearances in his career for Atletico Madrid and Chelsea. Although he did not have a standout season this year, Courtois has shown his talent as a potential top-five goalkeeper in the world and Conte would be wise to keep him.

Former CONMEBOL president has petition to stop extradition rejected

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ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) Paraguay’s top court has rejected a petition by Nicolas Leoz, the former head of the South American football confederation, to halt his extradition to the United States.

Leoz is being held under house arrest in Paraguay. He is accused of receiving millions in bribes and kickbacks and was among dozens of top officials indicted in the FIFA corruption scandal.

[ FOLLOW: Leicester City’s miracle ]

Leoz’s lawyer Ricardo Preda told The Associated Press that his petition was turned down, but that he would continue to appeal against the extradition.

Leoz was the head of CONMEBOL from 1986 until 2013 when he resigned, and was replaced by Eugenio Figueredo of Uruguay.

Figueredo is under house arrest in Uruguay on similar charges. Figueredo was replaced by Juan Angel Napoul of Paraguay, who is under house arrest in Miami.

Cristiano Ronaldo back healthy for Real Madrid; will play vs. Man City

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 03:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid warms up during a training session ahead of the UEFA Champions League Semi Final Second Leg between Real Madrid and Manchester City at Valdebebas training ground on May 3, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo is “100-percent” for Wednesday’s Champions League semifinal match against Manchester City.

Ronaldo missed the first leg at the Etihad while recovering from a thigh injury, which ended a scoreless draw.

[ MORE: UCL semifinal preview ]

The Champions League’s all-time leading scorer with 93 goals, Ronaldo has not featured for Real since suffering the injury in a La Liga match against Villarreal on April 20.

Real Madrid had the better of chances in the first leg in Manchester, but Joe Hart’s heroics stopped Zidane’s side from grabbing an all-important away goal. However, Ronaldo’s absence was clearly visible and his return is a massive boost for Real.

[ RELATED: Atletico Madrid eliminate Bayern Munich, advance to UCL final ]

Even if Ronaldo is not 100-percent fit as Zidane claims, his inclusion in the lineup is still vital for Real’s success. A threat in so many different aspects of the game, his presence alone can throw off opposing defenses, leaving more time and space for his teammates to expose a City back-line that has its flaws.

Premier League chairman: Leicester City made mugs of all of us

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 03:  Leicester reacts to Leicester City's Premier League Title Success on May 03, 2016 in Leicester, England.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
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Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore has been around football for a long time, but even he can’t explain Leicester City’s miraculous title run.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s Leicester coverage ]

With the Foxes now officially champions of England, Scudamore hailed the achievement as “the biggest sporting story ever.”

Speaking to BBC Sport, the Premier League’s top exec said Leicester’s run has silenced all the bookmakers and critics who said it could never happen, but that he wouldn’t want it any other way.

It’s probably the biggest sporting story ever and the biggest sporting achievement ever.

Nobody saw it coming and even when it was halfway through the season nobody said it could be sustained.

We don’t know what the future holds because we’ve all become completely hopeless at predicting anything, including the bookmakers and everybody else – because this one nobody saw coming.

It’s made mugs of all of us and that is just the most fantastic feeling.

If the bookmakers had it as a 5,000-1 event, you would imagine you should achieve these type of things once every 5,000 years. It gives us 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years of being able to say: ‘Leicester 2016. Just remember Leicester 2016.’

Pegged as pre-season favorites for relegation, Leicester defied the odds (5,000-1 odds) and claimed the most unlikely of championships. A top executive with the Premier League since 1999, even Scudamore had to admit he had a bit of egg on his face.

[ VOTE: What is the top moment from Leicester’s fairytale run? ]

Scudamore may not have believed in the Foxes, but few outside the city really did. One thing the chairman did have right though, is that we will all remember ‘Leicester 2016.’