Thursday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Tiote to Arsenal, Destro to Chelsea

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Arsenal could be in for Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote as the Ivorian hardman is looking to move away from St. James’ Park in search of European soccer. According to multiple reports, Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow are keen on Tiote but Arsene Wenger wants him at the Emirates instead. The Daily Star is reporting that the Gunners are preparing their bid to step in at the last minute and add the 28-year-old to their midfield. Arsenal are certainly lacking a destructive holding player in that position to compliment silky passers such as Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere. Tiote would fit the bill, plus, who can forget his phenomenal piledriver to earn Newcastle a wonderful comeback 4-4 draw a few years back? Obviously not Arsene.

[RELATED: Fellaini, Hernandez to Spurs?]

Chelsea’s legendary goalkeeper Petr Cech could be handed an escape route out of Chelsea, and a lovely one at that. According to the Daily Mirror, French side AS Monaco are willing to sign the 32-year-old ‘keeper who has just fallen of his perch as the number one goalkeeper at Stamford Bridge for the first time in a decade. The emergence of youngster Thibaut Courtois means Cech’s days as a regular in West London could be over and as a mark of respect the club is unlikely to stand in his way if the Czech Republic international wants a move.  Monaco have offered a three-year contract but Ligue 1 rivals Paris Saint-Germain could also be in for Cech.

Hull City may dip into the Championship after losing Robert Snodgrass through injury for six months. The Scottish international dislocated his knee cap on his debut and after the Tigers sold Shane Long to Saints last week, they are looking short in attack. According to the Daily Mail, Steve Bruce is looking to bring in Blackburn Rovers forward Jordan Rhodes for $20 million. Rhodes, 24, has scored 52 goals in 90 games for Blackburn and the Scotsman is a real fox in the box. If Hull can land their man, it will ease the pressure on Bruce’s other attackers, especially with Europa League soccer at the KC Stadium.

[RELATED: Balotelli to Liverpool?]

According to reports in France, Liverpool are pursuing AS Monaco forward Radamel Falcao. The predatory forward wants out of Ligue 1 and apparently an initial $20 million loan deal is being brokered by the Reds. The report from RMC suggests that a $80 million total deal could then be signed after this season if Liverpool so choose. Falcao, 28, moved to Monaco from Atletico Madrid last summer in a $80 million deal but tore his ACL midway through his first season in the principality. With Liverpool relying heavily on Daniel Sturridge for goals this term, perhaps Falcao’s arrival will ease the burden on him? With a rumored move for Mario Balotelli in the works, perhaps the Reds will look elsewhere now.

Finally, the Times is suggesting Chelsea striker Fernando Torres could be heading to Roma on a season-long loan with Mattia Destro heading in the opposite direction. Destro, 23, scored 13 goals in 20 games for Roma last season after returning from injury. Torres’ time at Chelsea has been a troubled one and with Diego Costa arriving as the main man and Didier Drogba being preferred from the bench instead of Torres during the opening day win over Burnley, the Spaniard may aim for a fresh challenge in Serie A rather than sit on the bench all season.

Bayern fans unhappy with Champions League ticket prices

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MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich fans were unhappy with the price of tickets for their team’s match at Anderlecht in the Champions League.

[ MORE: Study to show long-term affects of playing soccer ]

The fans held banners during Wednesday’s game saying, “Are your necks not full? Is your greed now finally satisfied?”

A Bayern fan group, Club Nr. 12, issued a statement saying Anderlecht had made 85 percent of the tickets available to the German club’s fans priced at 100 euros ($118).

“Even by the standards of the generally high-priced Champions League, this represents a new dimension for a first-round game,” said the statement, which thanked Bayern for supplementing the tickets so fans had could pay 70 euros ($82.50).

Many Bayern fans avoided the trip to Brussels altogether, while 91 percent of more than 2,500 Club Nr. 12 members said in a survey that ticket prices were “completely unacceptable.”

[ MORE: Premier League player power rankings ]

Anderlecht spokesman David Steegen told The Associated Press that Bayern fans were charged “exactly the same price” as home fans who bought single tickets to the game. He said fans who bought a three-game Champions League bundle were offered a reduction.

UEL roundup: AC Milan advances after big win; Arsenal, Everton fall

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Both Premier League sides fell in Thursday’s UEFA Europa League play, but for one side the result didn’t effect their progression into the next round.

[ MORE: Ex-Brazil forward Robinho handed nine-year prison sentence ]

Arsenal dropped a 1-0 result to Cologne, however, the Gunners still moved into the Round of 32 after their Group H counterparts, Red Star Belgrade and BATE Borisov settled for a scoreless draw.

Meanwhile, Everton’s 2017/18 woes continued on the day as the Toffees suffered a brutal 5-1 defeat at home against Serie A side Atalanta. The win secures Atalanta’s place in the knockout phase, along with fellow Group E club Lyon — who also won on Thursday.

AC Milan put up five goals of its own in a convincing win against Austria Wien, while Lazio, Nice and Red Bull Salzburg were among the other sides to move into the next round after picking up the necessary results.

Below are all of the scores from Thursday’s Europa League action.

Astana 2-3 Villareal
Konyaspor 1-1 Marseille
Rosenborg 0-1 Real Sociedad
Lazio 1-1 Vitesse
Viktoria Plzen 2-0 Steaua Bucuresti
Lokomotiv 2-1 Copenhagen
Zenit 2-1 Vardar
Red Bull Salzburg 3-0 Vitoria
Athletic Bilbao 3-2 Hertha Berlin
BATE 0-0 Red Star Belgrade
Ostersunds 2-0 Zorya
Koln 1-0 Arsenal
Nice 3-1 Zulte Waregem
Lugano 1-0 Beer-Sheva
Ludogorets 1-2 Istanbul
Braga 3-1 Hoffenheim
AEK 2-2 Rijeka
AC Milan 5-1 Austria Vienna
Lyon 4-0 Apollon
Maccabi Tel Aviv 0-2 Slavia Praha
Sheriff 1-0 Zlin
Partizan 2-1 Young Boys
Skenderbeu 3-2 Dynamo Kyiv
Everton 1-5 Atalanta

Ex-Brazil forward Robinho sentenced to nine years in prison

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Former Brazil international Robinho has been sentenced to nine years in prison after being convicted of rape on an Albanian woman back in 2013.

[ MORE: Study will look at long-term effects of playing soccer ]

At the time, Robinho was playing for Serie A side AC Milan.

The court decision came down on Thursday after the 33-year-old forward had failed to attend any court hearings in Italy, where the crime reportedly took place.

Robinho is believed to have acted in the crime with five other Brazilians, to which their whereabouts are unknown to this point.

Reuters has reported that Robinho is entitled to up to two appeals and “Italy would only launch extradition proceedings once this legal process is exhausted.”

The Brazilian is known for his club playing days at AC Milan and Manchester City, among other clubs in addition to his time with the Selecao. Robinho took part in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups with Brazil.

Premier League Preview: West Ham vs. Leicester City

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  • West Ham is winless in last six against Leicester
  • Jamie Vardy has two goals, two assists in last 4 games vs. West Ham
  • Hammers have nine points through first 12 matches

West Ham United will host Leicester City from the London Stadium on Friday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET Friday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as David Moyes and Co. look to climb out of the relegation zone.

[ MORE: Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks ]

Moyes and West Ham currently sit 18th in the Premier League through 12 games, and will be hoping to see an improvement in their form with the potential returns of Andre Ayew and Marko Arnautovic.

The Hammers are without Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Michail Antonio, as well as James Collins.

The Foxes are winless in their last two matches, and coming off of a 2-0 defeat to Manchester City over the weekend. Robert Huth and Matty James remain sidelined for Puel’s group, but otherwise, the club is relatively healthy.

What they’re saying

West Ham boss David Moyes on turning the team’s form around: “We need to give the supporters something to shout about and something that looks half decent, and then they will support us. I want everyone to be together. I am not aware of the problems before I came, I was a bit surprised when I heard (chanting against the board). “I want them behind us to give us a chance of winning.”

Leicester’s Claude Puel on confidence in his players“I have a good feeling with the players; they listen, they work hard on the pitch and I feel their ambition. We will see in the next games, with a good adaption and rotation, to see them approach it with a positive attitude.”

Prediction

The Hammers are missing several key attacking pieces, including Hernandez, which will surely make the defensive task easier for Leicester. The Foxes attack hasn’t been at its finest, but they’ll be facing a West Ham back line that allows over two goals per game (25 in 12 matches).
West Ham 1-3 Leicester