Friday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Morata to Arsenal, Kalou to Tottenham

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Arsenal are still in the hunt for Real Madrid youngster Alvaro Morata, but they now face competition from Inter Milan and Juventus as they try to gatecrash the Gunners. Morata, 21, is said to be available for $16 million and despite Arsenal playing it cool with regards to a new striker arriving in January, it’s believed Morata is the man they want. A clinical finisher who has always looked sharp coming off the bench for Real, Morata would be a perfect poacher to grab some important goals for the Gunners. Can Arsenal tie him down to a deal before the Serie A giants sneak in?

Salomon Kalou‘s name is still floating about, as the former Chelsea forward is linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur. Kalou, 28, is currently playing for Ligue 1 side Lille but fancies a return back to England and spurs boss Tim Sherwood believes the Ivorian attacker could be the perfect replacement for Toronto-bound Jermain Defoe. A deal for Kalou could see him cost just $4.5 million and he’s expected in London over the next few days.

Everton are still chasing striker Michy Batshuayi from Standard Liege, as the 20-year-old forward is attracting interest from Benfica. Batshuayi has apparently been training on his own this week, as the Belgian international’s agent revealed to Everton that his client was available for $10 million. Liege weren’t happy with that and it seems as though Batshuayi could be a great replacement for Nikita Jelavic who left for Hull City earlier this week.

West Ham are continuing their search for a new striker, and with a move for Southampton’s Rickie Lambert stalling the Hammers have turned their attentions to former AC Milan star Alberto Gilardino. Currently playing for Genoa in Serie A Gilardino, 31, could help solve Sam Allardyce’s problems up front and give the East London club some extra punch up top to stave off the lingering threat of relegation. The Hammers failed in a loan bid for Gilardino this summer, but seem set to nip back in and snatch up the former Italian international during the January window.

Newcastle United are braced for a monster bid from AC Milan for goalkeeper Tim Krul. The Dutch international has been earmarked by his countryman and new Milan boss Clarence Seedorf, after the 25-year-old ‘keeper has excelled in the Premier League this season. Valued at $12 million by the Magpies, it would be a massive blow if Krul left Tyneside but with a chance to play for one of Europe’s biggest teams, it’s difficult to see Alan Pardew standing in the Dutchman’s way. Let’s see how this one plays out.

MORE: Tuesday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup
MORE: Wednesday’s Transfer Roundup

FIFA force pace on $25B Club World Cup, global league plan

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GENEVA (AP) FIFA is forcing the pace on talks over a $25 billion offer to revamp the Club World Cup and create a global national team competition.

FIFA says President Gianni Infantino hosted a meeting last Friday with invited officials from some top European clubs.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Walcott strike ]

The European Club Association has strongly opposed FIFA’s hope for a four-yearly club tournament starting in 2021, which could rival the UEFA-organized Champions League.

UEFA has also proposed a Global Nations League. A similar project is tied to the FIFA-controlled $25 billion, 12-year offer from a consortium including investors from Saudi Arabia and China.

FIFA says it’s holding “informal ongoing discussions with different stakeholders on the topic of the future Club World Cups.”

Infantino is set to meet confederation presidents and general secretaries “in the near future,” FIFA says.

Video: De Rossi, Roma make classy visit to Hillsborough memorial

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On many occasions there are instances where teams and individuals exemplify the fact that real-life occurrences are more meaningful than sports.

Ahead of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League meeting, Italian giants AS Roma visited Anfield –where they will face Liverpool in the competition’s semifinals.

After walking around the venue where the two sides will compete in less than 24 hours, Roma captain Daniele de Rossi and the rest of the Roma squad visited the Hillsborough memorial at Anfield to pay tribute to the 96 victims lost in the 1989 event that rocked the entire country.

De Rossi was seen laying a floral arrangement on the site, along with a note from the club that read, “In memoria delle vittime di Hillsborough AS Rome.”

Liverpool, Roma ride major emotions into the UCL semifinals

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Four clubs remain in this season’s UEFA Champions League competition, and while two of the teams have been considered heavy dogs in the fight all year long the other two sides look to continue on their storybook run.

Liverpool, Roma, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have found themselves in the semifinals of this season’s UCL, creating a strong mix of storylines as the tournament heads towards its most critical point.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Theo Walcott’s strike ]

Anfield will be the site for Tuesday’s first leg between Liverpool and Roma, with both sides still riding major highs from their victories in the last round.

The Reds enter the final four after having disposed of fellow Premier League side Manchester City in relatively dominating fashion. Meanwhile, Roma completed a seemingly impossible comeback against Barcelona to progress in the competition.

Liverpool is led by three of the year’s top goalscorers, including Mohamed Salah — who has scored eight goals in the UCL and 41 across all competitions.

For Roma, much of the side’s success has been predicated on finding defensive strength at the right moments throughout the tournament.

Despite falling behind 4-1 in their first leg defeat to Barca in the previous round, Edin Dzeko and Co. rallied for a 3-0 win at the Stade Olimpico to stun the Catalan club by holding Lionel Messi and his side in check.

Manager Eusebio Di Francesco will have to find creative ways to halt the Liverpool attack though over the course of two legs, with the Reds boasting the top attack in this year’s UCL.

Liverpool has scored 33 goals in 10 UCL matches, while only conceding seven in the process.

Keeper Ederson hopeful he can score this season for Man City

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The prospects for a goalkeeper scoring during a match are usually uncommon, but that hasn’t halted Manchester City’s number one choice from aiming to break the trend this season.

Ederson — who has moved into the starting role at the Etihad Stadium with relative ease in 2017/18 — has dreamt of scoring a goal of his own for the Premier League champions in waiting.

“I heard the fans chanting my name, asking me to take the penalty but Gabriel went there,” Ederson said. “Unfortunately he missed it and Bernardo happily scored. But if the manager have asked me to go there, definitely I’d score.

“I’m not sure if I would be able to do set-pieces, but I’m good at penalties, either using power or technique on shooting it. But City have [their] regular penalty-takers and we are well-served.

Citizen supporters chanted for the goalkeeper to take a penalty kick over the weekend in the team’s 5-0 win over Swansea City.

However, Gabriel Jesus was the man selected for the opportunity, but had his attempt saved by Lukasz Fabianski before Bernardo Silva was in the right spot to score the game’s fifth goal.

“If Pep asks me to take it, I’m there,” Ederson said of the penalty kick. “Hopefully it will happen [before the end of the season], I’d like to score.”

This isn’t the first time Ederson has discussed exploring opportunities outside of the net, though.

The Brazilian shot-stopper has long been a fan of former Brazil international goalkeeper Rogero Ceni — who scored 65 goals for club side Sao Paolo.

Earlier this season, the 24-year-old joked around with the media, saying that he’d be more than happy to fill a role in the midfield when City was experiencing some injury issues within the squad.