Argentina v Bosnia-Herzegovina: Group F - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

Everton in pursuit of Bosnia-Herzegovina midfielder Muhamed Besic

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Multiple sources indicate that Everton are closing in on a $6.9 million transfer for Ferencvaros midfielder Muhamed Besic.

Speculation over the Bosnian’s transfer to Goodison Park has been rife for well over a month and, despite a false-alarm last Friday that a deal was in place, all indications are that Besic will be joining the Toffee midfield by the start of the Premier League season.

Born in Berlin, Besic began his career with Hamburg before disciplinary issues limited his first-team appearances and prompted the club to sell him to Hungarian side Ferencvaros in 2012. It was there that Besic earned a name for himself making 50 appearances for the club over the course of two seasons.

A player with great versatility Besic can play as center-back, right-back or holding midfielder, where his tough-tackling and fiery temper enables him to excel at breaking up play and frustrating the opposition. Which is exactly what Lionel Messi experienced in Argentina’s first group stage match against Bosnia-Herzegovina when the 21-year-old’s tireless engine frustrated La Pulga. Besic went on to feature in all three of Bosnia-Herzegovina’s World Cup matches.

Capturing Besic’s signature would be a major coup for Everton boss Roberto Martinez as his side look to maintain their Premier League success while also making a name for themselves in the Europa League. Those kind of lofty hopes require depth and Besic prove a key cog in spelling James McCarthy and Gareth Barry in the holding midfield role.

The Bosnian’s presence would also allow Martinez to use Leon Osman’s creativity in a more advanced role, where he is better suited. Besic’s presence could, however, spell trouble for Darron Gibson, who is recovering from knee ligament damage suffered last October. While most feel the Republic of Ireland international will remain at Everton there are whispers that Besic’s presence, and Burnley’s interest, could prompt the sale of Gibson.

Additional value for Besic comes in his ability to play as a center-back where he’ll provide added depth to Phil Jagielka, Sylvain Distin, John Stones and Shane Duffy. While the time-proven combination of Jagielka and Distin will be the expected starting partnership, Stones will undoubtedly factor in after his glittering performances last spring. With Duffy waiting in the wings, it would seem there’s little need for Besic except that transfer rumors continue to rage over Stones. Given Martinez’ nurturing of Stones, selling the 20-year-old feels highly unlikely. Adding Besic, however, does provide cover.

From all indications, Besic would factor in perfectly to the balanced squad Martinez seeks to create. His temper will need some adjusting but no better role models for that than Barry, Jagielka and Distin. His youth will need inspiring but no better confidants than Stones, McCarthy and Ross Barkley.

It’s not a question of whether the piece fits but rather, when it will be added.

Viktoria Plzen set to sign midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz

Obafemi Martins, Oniel Fisher, Andreas Ivanschitz
Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
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PRAGUE (AP) Czech champion Viktoria Plzen is close to signing Austrian midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz.

Plzen says Ivanschitz agreed terms for a contract lasting 1 + seasons and will sign it when the team returns from a training camp in Spain. Ivanschitz has already joined the squad at the Oliva Nova resort, the club says.

Ivanschitz helped the Seattle Sounders win their first MLS Cup in December.

[ NEW HOMES: Fonte | Berahino ]

No financial details were given.

The 33-year-old Ivanschitz also played for Rapid Vienna and Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, Mainz in the Bundesliga, Levante in Spain and Panathinaikos in Athens.

Ivanschitz played 69 games for Austria in 2003-14, scoring 12 goals.

FIFA allows Matip to represent Liverpool during AFCON

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: Joel Matip of Liverpool heads to score his team's third goal during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool at Selhurst Park on October 29, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images
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Joel Matip is going to get to play for Liverpool during AFCON after all.

The center back had turned down the chance to represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations, and Liverpool was forced to apply to FIFA for a waiver.

[ PL PREVIEW: Swansea vs. Liverpool ]

Matip suffered an ankle injury in December, adding to his desire to stay at Anfield. He declared himself internationally retired and was one of six Cameroon players who refused call-ups for AFCON.

He last played for the Reds on Dec. 11, and can be selected by Jurgen Klopp against Swansea City on Saturday.

Man United captain Rooney raises $1.5m from charity game

FILE - A Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017 file photo of Manchester United's Wayne Rooney leaving the field after the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England. Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says he raised 1.2 million pounds ($1.5 million) for charity from a friendly game against former club Everton last year. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)
AP Photo/Dave Thompson
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MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says he raised 1.2 million pounds ($1.5 million) from a friendly game against former club Everton last year.

That represents the profits, after operational costs, from August’s sellout match at Old Trafford and goes toward the Wayne Rooney Foundation’s target of raising 5 million pounds for children’s charities.

[ NEW HOMES: Fonte | Berahino ]

Rooney said: “I’d like to thank all the fans who came to the testimonial and made it such a special night. They’ve raised a huge amount of money for children who are disadvantaged and it will make a real difference to their lives.”

Rooney is one goal from breaking Manchester United’s scoring record, with the striker currently tied with Bobby Charlton on 249 goals.

Rooney joined United from Everton in 2004.

WATCH: Lewandowski’s juggling stoppage time winner

Bayern's Robert Lewandowski celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the German soccer Bundesliga match between SC Freiburg and FC Bayern Munich in Freiburg, Germany, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017. (Patrick Seeger/dpa via AP)
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Robert Lewandowski picked up where he left off.

The Polish striker scored twice for Bayern Munich, once in stoppage time, as the Bavarians improved their Bundesliga lead to six points after toppling Freiburg 2-1 on Friday.

[ MORE: Bundesliga second half preview ]

And what a winner it was, Lewandowski taking a Douglas Costa cross with two juggling touches before hitting an offspeed bouncer inside the post.

It was the league’s first match following the winter/holiday break, giving Bayern a cushion before RB Leipzig takes the pitch against Eintracht Frankfurt in a Top Five tilt on Saturday.

Lewandowski moves closer to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the goal scoring chart. His 13th and 14th goals have him two back of Borussia Dortmund’s striker, as Lewandowski pursues a third Golden Boot in four seasons.

Full Weekend Schedule
Freiburg 1-2 Bayern Munich — Friday
Augsburg vs. Hoffenheim — Saturday
Schalke vs. Ingolstadt — Saturday
Darmstadt vs. Borussia Monchengladbach — Saturday
Werder Bremen vs. Borussia Dortmund — Saturday
Wolfsburg vs. Hamburger SV — Saturday
RB Leipzig vs. Eintracht Frankfurt — Saturday
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hertha Berlin — Sunday
Mainz vs. Koln — Sunday