It’s well known that Everton have wanted to bring in Romelu Lukaku on a permanent basis, after the forward spent last season on loan with the club. Now, according to the Daily Mail, it seems Everton are quite close to landing their man.
Then again, it’s the Daily Mail, so take it with a grain of salt, Toffees fans.
The 21-year-old moved from Anderlecht to Chelsea in 2011, but has made just 10 appearances for his parent club. He spent the 2012-2013 season on loan with West Bromwich Albion, where he scored 17 goals. West Brom struggled to compensate for the loss of Lukaku, battling relegation last season, while the Belgian went on to score 15 while on loan at Everton.
It’s no wonder that Roberto Martínez wants to keep him on permanently. While the forward sometimes hits a cold streak — he scored just one goal in eight weeks last season, then was injured for a month — he’s still young, and is often lethal inside the area. His poor World Cup campaign aside, Everton know he can do the job for them.
Keeping their top scorer could help the Toffees really push for a Champions League place, having lost out to Arsenal by seven points last time. Giving Lukaku time in the Europa League may also help him be prepared for European competition when the time comes.
Lukaku was close to signing with Atlético Madrid and is wanted by Wolfsburg, but he prefers a return to Everton. As for Chelsea, they’re almost certain to be amenable to a switch, even if it means facing Lukaku twice a year. And while many questioned why José Mourinho allowed Lukaku on loan last season, despite seeing little return from forwards Fernando Torres and Demba Ba, Chelsea have now picked up Diego Costa and Cesc Fàbregas, making it even more unlikely that the Belgian will stick around.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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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