Michu

Michu to Napoli: Considering Swansea’s fortunes after the Spaniard’s departure

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Spanish attacker Michu’s two-year stay in Wales appears to be over, though with yesterday’s move to Napoli announced as a season-long loan, there’s still a chance the 28-year-old could return to Swansea City. But with an option to buy in the partenopei’s hangs, Swans no longer control whether their former focal point has played his last match for the club. After completing his physical Thursday in Naples, Michu is now Rafa Benítez’s charge.

We discussed the fit when rumors began circulating last month, but particularly after Swansea’s acquisition of Bafetimbi Gomis, a move seemed inevitable. With Napoli at times relying Goran Pandev as Gonzalo Higuaín’s understudy, the team had a need for depth at striker. That Michu can also fill in underneath Higuaín in Benítez’s set up makes him an ideal acquisition.

For Swans, a summer of rumors that Wilfried Bony may move has almost been weathered. Now, with the acquisition of Gomis to serve as a more traditional target, the team’s attack has come into focus. After seeing Michu’s injuries limiting him to 17 appearances and two goals, Swansea could see a boost with Gomis’s arrival, even if he may not offer the same quality as the Spaniard.

Last season in Ligue 1, Gomis averaged 0.51 goals for 90 minutes (14 goals, overall), a rate that will likely decrease with Swansea. Given how the last six goalscorers to jump from France to England have performed, expecting somewhere in the nature of half as many goals seems reasonable:

Player Year Team G/90 mins Year Team G/90 mins
Sagbo, Yannick 2012-13 Evian 0.23 2013-14 Hull City 0.12
Giroud, Olivier 2011-12 Montpellier 0.59 2012-13 Arsenal 0.43
Hazard, Eden 2011-12 Lille 0.56 2012-13 Chelsea 0.31
Maiga, Modibo 2011-12 Sochaux 0.5 2012-13 West Ham 0.44
Gervinho 2010-11 Lille 0.47 2011-12 Arsenal 0.21
Park, Chu Young 2010-11 Monaco 0.38 2011-12 Arsenal 0.00

Don’t draw anything scientific from that. Instead, just take that under consideration when evaluating the tradeoff. Whereas Swansea is losing a player who scored .14 goals per 90 minutes last year, the club’s bringing in somebody who could double that production. If Gomis stays healthy, that may mean six to eight more goals for Swans.

That does not sound like much, but it would take the team’s goal difference from even to something closer to Tottenham’s (+4) or Southampton’s (+8). Depending on luck and how those goals are distributed, it could also mean the difference between battling relegation and competing for a spot in the league’s top half.

Transfer rumor roundup: Luiz to return to Chelsea? Spurs interesting in Isco

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In a shocking twist, Chelsea could be prepared to bring back a former defender.

The Blues are reportedly lining up a bid for Brazilian central defender David Luiz, who exited the club two years ago to head to Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1. According to Daily Mail, Chelsea would pay up to roughly $41 million for the PSG centerback.

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Back in 2014, Chelsea received an astounding $65 million for Luiz from the French champions, but he has quickly grown out of favor with the club.

New manager Antonio Conte is looking to sure up the backline before end of the transfer window, and Luiz appears to be a final effort to do that after missing out on several defenders, including Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly.


AS is reporting that Tottenham could be in for Real Madrid midfielder Isco.

While Spurs currently boast one of the youngest and most promising teams in the Premier League, Mauricio Pochettino is reportedly keen on adding another playmaker into the fold as Isco’s future in Madrid is unknown.

Isco would leave on a loan deal, and while Spurs are seen as a contender for the Spaniard, Malaga is said to be interested in the player as well.


Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala could be on his way to Porto after joining the English side two years ago.

According to the Guardian, the 25-year-old would likely return to the Portuguese side on loan after disappointing for the Citizens since his arrival in 2014.

With the addition of John Stones this summer, Mangala has fallen further down the pecking order with new manager Pep Guardiola.

Calum Chambers joins Middlesbrough on loan

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 30: Calum Chambers of Arsenal and Scott Arfield of Burnley compete for the ball  during the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match between Arsenal and Burnley at Emirates Stadium on January 30, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
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Middlesbrough has impressed at times during its return to the Premier League this season, and now the club looks to bolster its backline as the transfer window closes.

[ MORE: Aguero could miss Manchester derby after FA charge ]

The club announced the loan signing of Arsenal defender Calum Chambers on Tuesday, providing the Boro with a promising young player to contribute in the back.

Chambers, 21, has made 58 appearances in the PL with both the Gunners and Southampton, while also earning three caps for England.

Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka revaled his excitement over the signing, while also stating that the player addresses a big need on the backline.

“I’m really pleased,” said Karanka. “It’s a position where we’ve been working towards bringing the right player in. We haven’t been in a hurry because Calum was the player we were waiting for, and he’s going to help us a lot.”

Arsenal adds defensive depth, signs Mustafi from Valencia

GETAFE, SPAIN - APRIL 24:  Shkodran Mustafi of Valencia applauds fans after Valencia drew 2-2 with Getafe CF during the La Liga match between Getafe CF and Valencia CF at Coliseum Alfonso Perez on April 24, 2016 in Getafe, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
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The Gunners have been heavily criticized for not spending enough during the transfer season, however, Arsene Wenger has gotten the man he wanted to help out defensively.

[ MORE: Rooney retiring from England after 2018 World Cup ]

Arsenal announced the signing of Valencia defender Shkodran Mustafi on Tuesday, after the German centerback had been previously been linked to the club for some time as their top transfer target.

Mustafi will likely figure immediately into the Arsenal defense, which has also added Rob Holding this summer. The 24-year-old made over 64 appearances for Valencia while in La Liga after beginning his academy career in England with Everton.

Hope Solo reveals she won’t play in NWSL for rest of 2016

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 09:  Hope Solo #1 of the United States kicks the ball up the field as she posts her100th career shut-out against South Africa in a friendly match at Soldier Field on July 9, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The United States defeated South Africa 1-0.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Hope Solo hasn’t had the best couple of weeks since the U.S. Women’s National Team bailed out of the 2016 Olympics.

On Tuesday, the U.S. keeper announced her decision to take a step back from her club team as well after receiving a six-month ban from U.S. Soccer.

The veteran American shot stopper took to Twitter to make her decision known, leaving her status unknown with the Seattle Reign in the future. Solo remains under contract until the end of the current campaign, however, it is not known as to how her decision to sit out will affect her financially.

Solo wil be eligible to return to the USWNT in February, but it will be up to head coach Jill Ellis to reintroduce the 35-year-old into the fold.