Saturday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Arsenal, Newcastle set to pick up new forwards?

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Despite whispers last week that Julian Draxler would not be headed to Arsenal, Saturday’s top rumor stars the Schalke forward. German sources are claiming that the clubs have already agreed on a fee, and the Gunners are now in negotiations with the 20 year old. Then again, Arsenal have also claimed that they’re not currently set to do any business this transfer window, so take your pick on who to believe on this one.

Newcastle just might be about to finally land Luuk de Jong. The striker keeps getting linked to the Magpies, but it seems this time the deal may actually get done – possibly even before their game against Norwich on Tuesday. Currently at Bundesliga side  Borussia Mönchengladbach, the 23 year old is eager for a move away after falling out with manager Lucien Favre last year, and consequently seeing his playing time reduced.

West Ham sure are getting linked to quite a few players, many of them former big names that have subsequently moved away from the Premier League. Today’s rumor is no exception: it seems the Irons are after former Chelsea man Raul Meireles. The midfielder joined Turkish side Fenerbahce back in 2012, but he reckons he’s no longer seeing enough of the pitch, and could be persuaded to return to England. AC Milan midfielder Antonio Nocerino may also come in on loan, helping to prop up Sam Allardyce’s beleaguered defense.

When your career is suffering due to making an anti-Semitic gesture, and you just can’t convince anyone that you’re not racist, but simply “anti-establishment,” what’s the next step? Why, arrange a transfer to Lazio, of course. With the Serie A side’s supporters having a reputation towards fascism and, yes, racism, this move just might be genius in its simplicity. With Miroslav Klose not knocking in nearly as many goals as last season, Lazio could use another striker, and moving to Italy gets Nicolas Anelka out of his five match (or longer) ban.

Finally, yesterday showed us all just how the transfer window makes everyone slightly crazy. Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen got a bunch of people all excited when he tweeted out “Touchdown Florence!!” from his official account. Naturally this lead to speculation that the Belgian was set to leave Spurs for Fiorentina, causing much excitement amongst viola fans, who are well aware of the side’s need for a quality defender. Alas the rumor was squashed quickly, Fiorentina fans being left with broken hearts after learning Vertonghen was simply there for a vacation.

CCL: Lodeiro from 45; Royer’s diving header — SEA, RBNY lead (video)

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After 45 minutes of their respective CONCACAF Champions League knockout-round quests, things are going unnervingly well for the Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls.

[ MORE: FC Dallas disappoint in CCL; Club America flying ]

If you’ve watched Major League Soccer teams try, try and try again — only to eventually fail in spectacular fashion — in CCL over the years, you might say things are going a little too well.

There’s still another 45 minutes to be played on Thursday — plus the return legs next week — but both the Sounders and Red Bulls hold 1-0 halftime leads, and the vitally important away goals which come with it. Nicolas Lodeiro’s 45-yard, first-time lob of the Santa Tecla (El Salvador) goalkeeper in the 15th minute has already been eternally etched into the memories of Sounders fans.

Just 15 minutes later, Daniel Royer perfectly executed the diving header and got on the end of Bradley Wright-Phillips’ curling ball into the box to Jesse Marsch’s side ahead of Honduran side CD Olimpia.

Villarreal DF Semedo charged with attempted murder

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MADRID (AP) A Spanish judge has charged Villarreal defender Ruben Semedo with attempted murder and ordered him to be temporarily detained without bail.

Court officials in Lliria say on Thursday the Portuguese player is also charged with assault, robbery, illegal detention, and illegal possession of firearms.

Semedo testified before a judge on Thursday, and left the court in handcuffs.

The 23-year-old Semedo was detained early Tuesday, accused of tying up, assaulting and threatening another man last week. Authorities say he and two other men allegedly held the victim captive while they robbed his apartment.

Semedo’s agents told Spanish media the player denies any wrongdoing.

Villarreal on Tuesday said it was investigating Semedo and would take appropriate disciplinary action.

Villarreal signed Semedo from Sporting Lisbon last summer for a reported fee of $17 million.

Wenger: Arsenal “complacent, had no ideas” in Ostersunds loss

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Perhaps Sunday’s League Cup final had already reached the forefront of their minds, but Arsene Wenger admonished his players, whom he said were “complacent, not focused” and “had no ideas” for much of Thursday’s Europa League defeat, at home, to Swedish side Ostersunds.

[ MORE: Premier League TV schedule | Man United vs. Chelsea ]

The Gunners advanced to the round of 16 on the back of their 3-0 first-leg victory last week, but Wenger was understandably displeased by the effort he saw and expressed such feelings in no uncertain terms, before quickly easing up and praising the fact they were able to pull back a goal against the current fifth-place team from Sweden — quotes from the BBC:

“We were not at the races in the first half,” said Wenger, who saw his side booed off at half-time and full-time. I think in the second half it was much better and we should have scored a few goals.

“In the first half, we were in trouble and in danger because we were complacent, not focused and were open every time we lost the ball. We had no ideas with the ball and that’s why we were in trouble.

“We responded very well because we did the job to qualify, but that’s what we have to take from the night and that’s all.”

With Arsenal now trailing fourth-place Chelsea by eight points (and seven back of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur), winning the Europa League might just be the Gunners’ last chance at qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Batshuayi racially abused by Atalanta fans

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Borussia Dortmund striker Michy Batshuayi says he was subject to racist chants from Atalanta fans during a Europa League game in Italy.

The Belgium international, on loan from Chelsea, tweeted:

Dortmund advanced to the round of 16 by drawing 1-1 to beat Atalanta 4-3 on aggregate on Thursday.

The game was played at Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia because Atalanta’s home stadium is unsuitable for UEFA games.

There have been several incidents of racism at Serie A matches this season.