Monday’s hottest rumor comes courtesy of France, where Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly interested in bringing Yohan Cabaye back to his native land. After Cabaye scored two in Newcastle’s 3-1 victory at West Ham on Saturday, the midfielder’s stock is rising, but rich PSG are rarely hampered by such pedestrian details. The Ligue 1 leaders, who already hold a five-point advantage, would be willing to part with as much as $42.7m to convince Newcastle to sell. Considering the Magpies are currently eighth in the table, thanks in part to Cabaye’s excellent football and seven goals, even that amount may not be enough to pry him away – although Newcastle would certainly rather see Cabaye head to France than to Manchester United.
Keeping to the continent for a moment, there’s talk of Liverpool chasing Mohamed Salah, who most likely caught their eye while playing Champions League football for Swiss side Basel. The 21 year old winger is reputedly angling for a move to the Premier League, although cost could keep the Reds from making a move. It seems Basel want $23m for the Egyptian, but sources differ as to whether Liverpool are prepared to pony up $20m or play it cool with a $13m bid.
Over to Spain now, where it seems Diego López could be on the move away from Real Madrid. The 32 year old goalkeeper re-joined the Spanish giants from Sevilla last January, and has retained his starting spot over Iker Casillas. Still, Manchester City are set to tempt him away, although no details on the offer have been provided. Poor Joe Hart – his form has vastly improved, and he must be hoping that Borussia Dortmund sounds more appealing to López.
Now it’s back to the British Isles, where media outlets are pouncing on the news that not one but two clubs might want Scottish international Alan Hutton. The right back hasn’t played a single match for Aston Villa in the past season and a half, spending last year on loan with Nottingham Forest, then relegation-battling Mallorca. The Spaniards weren’t set to buy, however, and now, one presumes, he’s simply bumming around Birmingham in between international matches. But Stoke City could change all that – if Fulham don’t get there first. Or Norwich. Hutton’s best fit might be with the Potters, however, helping Stoke get back to basics in defense and linking up with compatriot Charlie Adam once more.
Finally we land in East London. Rumor has it that West Ham are in for Arsenal centerback Thomas Vermaelen, although Sam Allardyce admits he’s unlikely to have any chance with the Belgian. Surely Vermaelen must be open to a move away from Arsenal, as the performances of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny have kept him limited to just 11 appearances in all competitions, but Big Sam’s likely being realistic when he admits it’s unlikely West Ham will get anyone of Vermaelen’s quality. Especially since Napoli, set for more Champions League play next season and desperate to add another centerback, are rumored to want the defender.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) Marcello Lippi earned his biggest victory since taking over as coach of China’s national soccer team, leading his squad to a 1-0 victory over South Korea on Thursday in a World Cup qualifier.
[ MORE: Shorthanded USMNT hosts Honduras as WCQ resumes ]
The coach, who led his native Italy to the World Cup title in 2006, was hired by China in October.
Yu Dabao scored the lone goal at Helong Stadium in Changsha with a header in the 34th minute, giving China only its second victory over South Korea in 32 matches.
China spent much of the second half defending with the visitors piling on the pressure. Ki Seung-yeung and Ji Dong-won both went close for South Korea but could not find a way past China goalkeeper Zeng Cheng.
South Korea has 10 points from six matches in Group A and is still on course to qualify for the World Cup in Russia. China, which last qualified for the World Cup in 2002, has five points.
Only the top two teams from the six-nation group qualify automatically. The third-place team will head to the playoffs.
A roundup of Thursday’s action from around CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying…
[ MORE: USMNT looks to build momentum against Honduras in WCQ ]
Paulinho‘s hat-trick helped bring Brazil back from an early deficit as the Selecao topped Uruguay, 4-1. Edinson Cavani put the hosts ahead after nine minutes from the penalty spot, but it was Paulinho that answered 10 minutes later for his first of the night. Neymar also tallied for the Brazilians, who continue to lead CONMEBOL qualifying with 30 points.
Lionel Messi scored in the first half to help lift Argentina over Chile, 1-0. The Barcelona attacker scored after 16 minutes when Angel di Maria was taken down inside the Chilean area by José Fuenzalida. Chile was held to just one shot on target throughout, and the loss leaves the reigning Copa America winners on the outside looking in at the top five.
James Rodriguez rescued Colombia on Thursday as the Real Madrid winger capitalized off of his penalty-kick rebound to give Los Cafeteros a 1-0 win over Bolivia. Goalkeeper Carlos Lampe did his best to preserve a draw for the visitors, recording six saves on the afternoon, however, it wasn’t enough to tame Colombia.
Meanwhile, Paraguay knocked off Ecuador, 2-1, behind goals from Bruno Valdez and Junior Alonso. The visitors pulled a goal back in the 70th minute when Felipe Caicedo converted from the penalty spot, but it wasn’t enough for Ecuador.
Peru battled back with two second-half goals to preserve a 2-2 draw against Venezuela on the road. The hosts got out to a 2-0 advantage before halftime when Mikel Villanueva and Romulu Otero scored for Venezuela, however, the Peruvians struck back in the second stanza to knick a point. Andre Carrillo and Paolo Guerrero scored in the 46th and 64th minutes, respectively, for Peru.
Colombia 1-0 Bolivia
Paraguay 2-1 Ecuador
Uruguay 1-4 Brazil
Argentina 1-0 Chile
Venezuela 2-2 Peru
Updated CONMEBOL table
- Brazil — 9-3-1 — 30 pts.
- Uruguay — 7-2-4 — 23 pts.
- Argentina — 6-4-3 — 22 pts.
- Colombia — 6-3-4 — 21 pts.
- Ecuador — 6-2-4 — 20 pts.
- Chile — 6-2-5 — 20 pts.
- Paraguay — 5-3-5 — 18 pts.
- Peru — 4-3-6 — 15 pts.
- Bolivia — 2-1-9 — 7 pts.
- Venezuela — 1-3-9 — 6 pts.
PORTSMOUTH, England (AP) Michael Eisner, the former chief executive of The Walt Disney Co., is in talks to buy English soccer club Portsmouth.
The fourth-tier club says it has entered into a 70-day exclusivity agreement with Eisner for takeover talks to take place.
Eisner wrote on Twitter: “Exciting times! Looking forward to coming over and meeting you all. Good luck against Newport County on Saturday!!”
Portsmouth, which is based on the south coast, spent beyond its means in the pursuit of glory. The team endured financial turmoil in the years following its 2008 FA Cup win, sinking from the Premier League to the fourth tier.
After entering bankruptcy protection, Portsmouth was rescued by the fans through a trust in 2013.
Through two rounds of play in the Hexagonal, everything has gone according to plan for Mexico and Costa Rica.
Not so much though for the U.S. Men’s National Team.
[ MORE: Shorthanded USMNT hosts Honduras as WCQ resumes ]
While Los Ticos and El Tri currently sit in the top two positions of the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, the U.S. is left at the bottom and faces a difficult match against Honduras when play resumes on Friday night.
[ MORE: Five questions for USMNT ahead of Honduras match ]
Mexico and Costa Rica will face off at the Estadio Azteca in the second of Friday’s three slated qualifiers, and while both nations surely expect to reach the World Cup in Russia, both CONCACAF heavyweights have the opportunity to put their stamp on the group.
For Costa Rica, a victory could potentially open up a five-point gap over El Tri, while a win for Mexico would bring Juan Carlos Osorio’s side the opportunity leap over their Central American foes.
Friday’s action will kick off at 7 p.m. though when third place Panama travels to Trinidad & Tobago, who seeks its first points of the Hex. Trinidad will be led by captain Kenwyne Jones of Atlanta United as well as Minnesota United midfielder Kevin Molino, with the duo scoring a combined 39 international goals for the Soca Warriors.
Below is the schedule and current table ahead of Friday’s CONCACAF matches as the region turns its attention to Matchday 3 of the Hexagonal.
Trinidad & Tobago vs. Panama — 7 p.m. ET
Mexico vs. Costa Rica — 9:50 p.m. ET
USMNT vs. Honduras — 10:30 p.m. ET (PREVIEW)
1. Costa Rica — 2-0-0 — 6 pts.
2. Mexico — 1-1-0 — 4 pts.
3. Panama — 1-1-0 — 4 pts.
4. Honduras — 1-0-1 — 3 pts.
5. Trinidad & Tobago — 0-0-2 — 0 pts.
6. USMNT — 0-0-2 — 0 pts.