Sunday Transfer Rumor Roundup: Papiss Cisse to Qatar, Luuk de Jong wants out

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Reports have surfaced prior to Newcastle’s match today that embattled Magpies striker Papiss Cisse could be on his way to the future site of the World Cup.

The Mirror reported the Senegalese striker is the subject of a £9 million ($14.8 million) bid from an unnamed Qatari club, but other reports suggest the bid was turned down.

Later, the Daily Mail reported Newcastle manager Alan Pardew won’t allow Cisse to leave for anything under £10 million ($16.5 million).

Since bursting onto the Premier League scene last year with 13 goals in his first 12 matches, things have gone downhill fast for the 28-year-old.  He has just six starts on the Premier League season (none since early October), and just a single goal since last April.

Borussia Monchengladbach striker Luuk De Jong reportedly wants out of the Bundesliga club.  Having joined Monchengladbach in the summer of 2012 in a big-money move from FC Twente, the 23-year-old has struggled to make the starting lineup ever since arthroscopic knee surgery last October.

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Luuk De Jong has struggled mightily to find the pitch at the Dusseldorf club this season, and would welcome a move elsewhere.

This season, De Jong has made 13 league appearances, but all have come off the bench and only amount to 85 total minutes.  He has not logged a goal yet.  The frustration has boiled over for the Dutch striker, who told Bild that his manager Lucien Favre “does not give me the impression that he wants to build with me.”

He has been linked to Newcastle, although any Premier League club in need of goals with some cash to spend could benefit from a move for the Dutchman. Back in December, Stoke’s Dutch defender Erik Pieters endorsed a move for his countryman.

Today David Moyes was spotted in Sardinia watching the Serie A match between Juventus and Cagliari.  It’s reported the Manchester United manager was interested in scouting Cagliari central defender Davide Astori as well as Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio, who scored in the match.

Manchester City goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon impressed in his understudy duties for Joe Hart, and it’s alerted clubs who wish to make him a starter.  La Liga bottomfeeders Real Betis are reportedly the first to make a move, hoping to lure the Romanian shot-stopper with a spot in their starting eleven.

Pantilimon’s defensive teammate Jolean Lescott was rumored to be on his way out after a long spell on the bench, but manager Manuel Pellegrini shot that down in the media.  “When this transfer window is over at the end of January, we will see what happens. At the moment, Joleon will stay here with the team.” Pellegrini also confirmed no bids have been submitted for his services.

The rumors of Kevin De Bruyne‘s move to Wolfsburg took another step forward with reports that the move is near completion. The Daiy Star quoted Wolfsburg director of sport Klaus Allofs as declaring, “It’s not that we can confirm the deal just yet, but we are no longer so far apart with Chelsea that we can’t bridge the differences.”

Day Four: All the action from the U20 World Cup

Hong Hae-in/Yonhap via AP
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South Korea and Venezuela clinched berths in the knockout rounds of the U-20 World Cup on Tuesday, while Germany and Argentina have surprising work to do after two matches in South Korea.

[ MORE: Allardyce steps down at Palace ]

South Korea 2-1 Argentina

Barcelona B man Lee Seung-woo helped South Korea take a 2-0 lead, then hold on for the win and group lead over England.

England 1-1 Guinea

Chelsea youngster Fikayo Tomori scored a wild long range own goal to cost England the three points, but the Blues are still well-positioned to advance out of the group stage. Bournemouth midfielder Lewis Cook scored for England, and it was a beaut.

Venezuela 7-0 Vanuatu

Seven different Venezuelans have scored through a pair of shutout wins, with Caracas’ Sergio Cordova the only one to bag a pair.

Mexico 0-0 Germany

Germany has just one point through two matches, thanks largely to Pachuca’s Abraham Romero’s seven saves. Mexico was outshot 12-6.

Porto, Watford, Hull? Marco Silva in demand

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Marco Silva is one of the hottest properties in management, months after eliciting cries of “Who?” following his appointment at Hull City.

While those cries may have been a tiny bit myopic given his time at Sporting CP and Olympiacos, the 39-year-old is now visible to the world despite Hull’s relegation.

[ MORE: Real Madrid nabs $50m teen ]

Silva will be back in England to meet with Hull on Wednesday, but a clause in his contract that said he could leave if the club was relegated gives the Tigers very little hope.

Rumors have him wanted at Watford, and he’s also been linked with a number of other jobs including Southampton (should the club part ways with Claude Puel).

However, the former right back is also reportedly a target of one of the biggest clubs in his home country: Champions League side Porto.

UEFA Europa League Final preview: Manchester United vs. Ajax

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Jose Mourinho’s big European gamble takes center stage on Wednesday in Sweden, when Manchester United attempts to topple young Ajax in the UEFA Europa League Final.

United’s chances for UEFA Champions League qualification, a magnificent opportunity, are overshadowed by the pall cast over Manchester by sinister terrorist attacks at a pop concert that killed and injured many on Monday night.

Alas, there’s soccer to be played, and Mourinho is looking to make it a trio of shiny items in his first year on the job. United beat Leicester City for the Community Shield, then topped Southampton in the EFL Cup Final en route to Sweden.

United’s well-documented dearth of healthy defenders will march out one more time on Wednesday, with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones tasked with manning the center of the back line. Expect Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian out wide.

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 season reviews

Despite the injury to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mourinho’s attack is going to give Ajax fits. Marcus Rashford has been next level for most of the second half of the season, and United will also likely feature Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba atop Ander Herrera.

If someone is going to break United down, it could be midfield wizards Davy Klaassen and Lasse Schone. The creative middle men have a variety of options to find with the ball, including on-loan Chelsea man Bertrand Traore and Danish teenager Kasper Dolberg.

But how will they deal with United’s attack? Sure Ajax has stopped Lyon, Schalke, Copenhagen, and Legia Warsaw, but United and Mourinho? That’s another challenge for Peter Bosz and his men.

Ajax won the 1992 UEFA Cup, and this is United’s first ever trip to this particular final. The Red Devils are heavy favorites, and we expect United to prevail. Don’t sleep on Juan Mata heroics. Call it 3-1.

Allardyce resigns, opening up intriguing vacancy at Palace

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Sam Allardyce is walking away on top outside the relegation zone.

The veteran Premier League manager, 62, resigned his post as Crystal Palace on Tuesday, weeks after leading another team to safety.

The move ends a tumultuous eight months for Allardyce, who was fired as England manager after an undercover sting exposed unethical dealings with agents.

[ MORE: Full 2016-17 season reviews

It also comes about an hour after somebody wrote that Crystal Palace should move on from Allardyce. What a jerk, that somebody.

Rarely at a loss for words, here’s Big Sam from cpfc.co.uk:

I want to be able to savour life while I’m still relatively young and when I’m still relatively healthy enough to do all the things I want to do, like travel, spend more time with my family and grandchildren without the huge pressure that comes with being a football manager.

This is the right time for me. I have no ambitions to take another job, I simply want to be able to enjoy all the things you cannot really enjoy with the 24/7 demands of managing any football club, let alone one in the Premier League.”

All kidding aside — and I’m far from a Big Sam fan — congrats to the man on walking away to enjoy the finer things in life. He had a heck of a run, and we’ll see how long he can resist being away from the fray. Cheers, Sam.