Report: Arsenal bid $82 million for Edinson Cavani. Remy, Falcao, Welbeck linked


Arsenal are apparently making a move for Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani, as Arsene Wenger is eager to bring in one more striker before the transfer window slams shut next Monday.

The Gunners have been rocked by a bad injury to French striker Olivier Giroud, who is expected to be out for several months after reportedly fracturing his ankle. Cavani may be the Gunners’ main target but the likes of Loic Remy, Radamel Falcao and Danny Welbeck have all been linked with a move to the Emirates.

[RELATED: Gustavo to Arsenal?]

Wenger is expected to be without a recognized forward until January 2015 at the earliest, as Arsenal are worried about deploying new $60 million signing Alexis Sanchez in the lone forward role after his struggled in that unorthodox position against Everton on Saturday.

Various reports in England, from the Daily Mirror, Daily Express and Daily Star have Cavani heading to the Emirates in a $82 million move before next Monday, as they scramble for a top class forward to help them on their way. This deal hinges, of course, on the Gunners getting past Besiktas in their Champions League play-0ff on Wednesday, as the expected $100 million windfall they’d get for making the UCL group stages can be spent on Cavani right away.

Cavani’s career at Paris Saint-Germain hasn’t gone exactly as he would have expected following his $90 million move from Napoli last summer. Despite being shunted out to the wing as Zlatan Ibrahimovic plays the role as the lone forward, Cavanis still scored 25 goals in his debuts season for Les Parisiens.

However with rumors circling about Karem Benzema possibly joining PSG from Real Madrid, could the stars align to allow Cavani a move to North London? Other options include Remy from QPR, Falcao from Monaco and Welbeck from Manchester United but it seems as though Cavani is the number one target.

The Uruguayan, known as El Matador, will be the main forward at Arsenal and his physical style of play will suit the Premier League superbly. The 27-year-old is ready to step up and be the main man for a top club in Europe and with the rest of the Gunners side looking in good shape, their only issue is up top.

If Wenger pulls this deal off, it would cap off a huge summer of spending at the Emirates with over $175 million dished out to bolster the Gunners’ squad. If they are serious about being title challenge this campaign and not just battling for a top four spot, they need a central striker of the highest caliber, especially in Giroud’s absence.

Cavani’s arrival would send a huge message out to the rest of the PL: Arsenal aren’t here to mess around anymore. They’re here to win the damn thing.

FOLLOW LIVE: 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs knockout round

Sporting Kansas City forward Dom Dwyer, center, is congratulated by teammates, including midfielder Roger Espinoza (27), following his goal during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the Houston Dynamo in Kansas City, Kan., Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
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The knockout round of the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs concludes on Thursday, as four teams vie for the final two places — one in the Eastern Conference, one in the Western Conference — in the conference semifinals, which begin on Sunday.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: MLS Cup Playoffs knockout round ]

Up first, the East’s fourth-seeded D.C. United welcome the five-seed Montreal Impact to RFK Stadium for the two sides’ third meeting of the 2016 season. Each of the year’s first two clashes finished a 1-1 draw, in July and August. Didier Drogba is expected to be unavailable for the win-or-go-home tie. United finished the regular season with four wins in the last five games, while the Impact won just two of their last eight.

[ MORE: Preivewing Thursday night’s knockout-round games ]

In the nightcap, the West’s fourth-seeded Seattle Sounders will take on the five-side, Sporting Kansas City, at CenturyLink Field. Sporting were victorious in both regular-season meetings this year — 1-0 on opening day, and 3-0 in late-July, the day the Sounders essentially quit on Sigi Schmid. Since that blistering hot day in KC, the Soudners have lost just twice in 14 games (eight wins, four draws).

Thursday’s MLS Cup Playoffs schedule

D.C. United vs. Montreal Impact — 7:30 p.m. ET
Seattle Sounders vs. Sporting KC — 10 p.m. ET

Cristiano Ronaldo says Ashley Cole is the toughest player he faced

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Cristiano Ronaldo has faced the best defenders in the world during his time with Manchester United, Real Madrid and the Portuguese national team.

He has also caused fits for most of those defenders with goal after goal for club and country. But, there have been some players who have at least made it difficult for the all-time leading goal scorer in Real Madrid and Champions League history.

According to Ronaldo, former Chelsea and Arsenal defender Ashley Cole was the toughest player he has faced in his career.

[ MORE: VIDEO: Incredible Pelle goal in China ]

“Over the years I had some great battles with Ashley Cole, he does not give you a second to breathe,” Ronaldo told Coach Mag. “He was such a tenacious player when he was at his peak, quick, tough in the tackle. You knew it would never be an easy game.”

During his time with Manchester United, Ronaldo faced Cole on numerous occasions while Cole was with Arsenal and Chelsea. The two have also faced off in international competition between Ronaldo’s Portugal and Cole’s England.

It’s certainly high praise for Cole, who now plays in MLS for the LA Galaxy. At the age of 35, Cole has started 25 matches for the Galaxy this season, scoring one goal.

Phil Neville praises Juan Mata’s play to Manchester United

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Juan Mata has appeared in 116 matches for Manchester United since moving to Old Trafford in 2014. In that time, Mata has scored 29 goals and recorded 18 assists.

Despite his performance for the team, some thought Mata would be moved when Jose Mourinho came to town, including former United player and assistant coach Phil Neville.

Neville told Sky Sports, “I actually thought he would be the first out of the door when Jose came, but he’s actually becoming one of the most important players.”

Neville praised Mata’s contributions and versatility for United. “He is never injured, he provides a lot of assists, he plays in two or three different positions, and he scores important goals.”

Manchester United has lacked an identity under Mourinho and recently faltered in the Premier League as the team is winless in its last three matches.

[ MORE: Mourinho gets FA charge ]

Could Mata be the answer to some of United’s problems?

The Spaniard is a classic No. 10 with the ability to dictate his team’s attack and create scoring opportunities for his teammates. Mata can also put the ball in the back of the net as evidenced by his winner against Manchester City in the EFL Cup.

Mourinho has options in the center midfield with the likes of Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick in addition to Mata on the roster.

However, given the team’s Premier League struggles, it could be worth giving Mata a chance as the team’s No. 10.

David Moyes faces FA charges after being sent off during EFL Cup

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David Moyes and Sunderland have gotten off to one of the worst starts in Premier League history.

If they fail to earn a point against Arsenal this weekend, they will tie the 1995-96 Manchester City team for the worst start ever through 10 matches with two points.

It appears those frustrations carried over to the EFL Cup for Moyes. On Wednesday, the manager was forced to leave the dugout toward the end of Sunderland’s 1-0 loss to Southampton after he protested a no-call from referee Chris Kavanagh.

Moyes was charged by the FA for his protests, saying the manager “used abusive and/or insulting words towards a match official”.

It’s just another thing to add to Moyes’ plate as he looks to keep Sunderland’s hopes of safety alive in the Premier League.