Saturday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Hazard to PSG, Gourcuff to Arsenal

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Chelsea are in for French youngster Kurt Zouma, with the promising teenager one of the top young defenders in Europe. The 19-year-old is highly-touted to one day be captain of France by Didier Dechamps, as the Saint-Étienne prospect has already been called into the national team. Saint-Étienne are looking for $15 million for their prodigy and may sell him earlier than this summer if the right bid comes on. Chelsea face competition from Inter Milan and Monaco, as they aim to rebuild their backline with one eye on the future.

The Gunners are looking to spend big in the transfer window as many expect a new striker to arrive at the Emirates. However it looks as though Arsene Wenger may plump for some more attacking midfielders. Yoann Gourcuff from Lyon could provide plenty of guile and ingenuity to Arsenal’s already stacked midfield with the French international looking for a move to England. Lyon would accept a bid of $6-10 million, as they look to get Gourcuff off the wage bill with the 27-year-old itching to play in the UEFA Champions League.

Sunderland are close to signing Argentine central defender Santiago Vergini from Estudiantes. The 25-year-old has been a long-term target for Black Cats boss Gus Poyet and at 6 foot 3 inches tall, he’ll add some extra strength and solidity to Sunderland’s defense. Poyet could pick up Vergini for less than $1 million, in a bargain because of Estudiantes’ perilous financial situation.

Bacary Sagna could be heading to Turkish giants Galatasaray as the 30-year-old French international continues to stall on a new deal with Arsenal. Sagna has played 17 times for the Gunners this season, as their regular right back only has until this summer on his contract. Sagna has been embroiled in long contract talks and is apparently no closer to sorting things out. Gala are apparently offering Sagna a deal worth $6.4 million per season. Will the Frenchman leave the Emirates?

Another player that is having his head turned away from London to foreign leagues is Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. The Belgian attacker, 23, is apparently being chased by Paris Saint-Germain but Chelsea boss Mourinho is reluctant to let his prized possession leave and claims “no price” would see Hazard leave Stamford Bridge. Hazard has shone this season and previously made his name in the French leagues with Ligue 1 club Lille. Does he fancy a move back to France with reigning champions PSG?

MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundup
MORE: Tuesday’s transfer rumor roundup
MORE: Wednesday’s transfer rumor roundup
MORE: Thursday’s transfer rumor roundup
MORE: Friday’s transfer rumor roundup

Report: Chicharito talks heating up with Los Angeles FC

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We’ve seen MLS teams make major splashes in the past, and one of next year’s newcomers could be a really big draw if they can manage to seal the deal on a Mexican international.

[ MORE: Schweinsteiger shares thoughts on MLS and more in interview ]

According to Metro New York, Los Angeles FC is continuing its talks with Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez about a potential deal that would prove massive in terms of MLS spending.

While LAFC won’t debut in MLS until 2018, the club could potentially make the Mexico striker the highest-paid player in league history with an average salary of roughly $10 million.

The 28-year-old Hernandez currently plays in Germany with Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen, where he’s plied his trade since joining the club during the 2015/16 season.

Additionally, the former Manchester United man has dominated the international scene for El Tri, scoring 46 goals in 90 appearances for the CONCACAF nation.

Report: Bayern Munich scouted Walker, Alexis this weekend

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German publication Kicker says Bayern Munich technical director Michael Reschke attended both of this weekend’s FA Cup semifinals and had his eye on two players in particular.

Reschke apparently wants to bring players from both North London Derby rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur to the Allianz Arena.

[ MORE: Liverpool’s Top Four plight ]

In the case of Spurs, that man is right back Kyle Walker. The 26-year-old has also played right mid in 8 of his 35 matches for Tottenham this season, and was named in the PFA Team of the Year. It’s hard to believe Spurs would have interest in selling Walker, who would help fill the role of retiring Philipp Lahm.

On the other side is Alexis Sanchez, the embattled but electric Arsenal attacker who Arsene Wenger described as an “animal” and “always ready to kill the opponent” this weekend. Wenger says Sanchez isn’t going anywhere, but Bayern does boast Chilean teammate Arturo Vidal and former Barca mate Thiago Alcantara.

Walker is signed at Spurs through 2021, while Sanchez’s contract ends after next season.

Roma lands sporting director Monchi, a reported Arsenal target

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AS Roma has found its new sporting director, and it’s a man with a keen eye for talent.

Ramon “Monchi” Rodriguez Verdejo, 48, has spent the last 18 years as the sporting director at Sevilla, which won five UEFA Europa League titles under his watch.

Monchi was discussed in the media as a target for the same job at Arsenal and was a target for other Premier League clubs, but Roma sealed the deal with the former goalkeeper.

[ JPW: Oriol Romeu — The Perfectly Poised Destroyer ]

He is considered to have a big role in discovering and developing Sergio Ramos, Jesus Navas, and Dani Alves.

Read more from ASRoma.com.

Liverpool’s murky Top Four path depends on Manchester United

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Liverpool is a historic club with incredible presence. Jurgen Klopp is a celebrated manager with a strong reputation as a players’ coach.

Those two facets will always make the club attractive to players. Missing out on the UEFA Champions League is another thing altogether and would put a huge dent in Klopp’s ambitious recruitment goals.

And right now, the Reds look destined to drop out of the Top Four.

[ JPW: Oriol Romeu — The Perfectly Poised Destroyer ]

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Chelsea 32 24 3 5 65 27 38 13-0-2 11-3-3 75
 Tottenham Hotspur 32 21 8 3 68 22 46 15-2-0 6-6-3 71
 Liverpool 34 19 9 6 70 42 28 11-4-2 8-5-4 66
 Manchester City 32 19 7 6 63 35 28 8-6-1 11-1-5 64
 Manchester United 32 17 12 3 50 24 26 7-9-1 10-3-2 63
 Everton 34 16 10 8 60 37 23 12-4-1 4-6-7 58
 Arsenal 31 17 6 8 63 40 23 10-3-2 7-3-6 57

Even if Manchester United and Manchester City draw Thursday’s derby, both will be poised to pass the Reds by winning the match-in-hand.

Injury-ravaged United is bothered by UEFA Europa League duty against Celta Vigo, and has a brutal run-in that includes Spurs and Arsenal in addition to City. Liverpool has to hope United falls off, because Man City is likely going to walk over the Top Four line even with a draw in the derby.

The worst case scenario for Liverpool, aside from continuing to flail against clubs outside the Top Seven, is United toppling City on Thursday.

As an aside, it’s extremely unlikely that Arsenal leaps into the fray but if the Gunners did it would come at the expense of United.

Really, Liverpool’s run-in is perfectly built for two of its supporters’ favorite things: Winning matches and rooting against Manchester United. Here’s how they finish:

May 1 — at Watford
May 7 — vs. Southampton
May 14 — at West Ham United
May 21 — vs. Middlesbrough

Liverpool battered Watford 6-1 at Anfield and Boro 3-0 at the Riverside Stadium, but drew both Saints and West Ham earlier this season in addition to losing to Southampton in an EFL Cup semifinal.

Say the Reds nab a perfect 12 points to finish with 78; They’ll need City to take less than 14 from six remaining matches and United to earn less than 15 from six. The latter is far more likely than the former, but will matter very little if Klopp can’t motivate and organize his men in the final four matches.