Transfer needs – Manchester United, Newcastle, QPR, Southampton, Stoke

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With the summer transfer window either rushing or creeping toward completion, depending on whether you want your club to buy a new player or hold onto an asset, it’s due time we address the needs of each team with time ticking away.

[RELATED: Summer transfer window news]

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Manchester United

Well, well, well. We’ve been here before, haven’t we? This time last year David Moyes was scrambling to sign players for Manchester United at the transfer deadline and could only get a deal for Marouane Fellaini over the line and this year Louis van Gaal finds himself in a similar situation. LVG has already signed Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo and Angel di Maria for over $200 million, but United’s fans are expecting at least another two players to arrive. Nigel de Jong, Daley Blind and Arturo Vidal have been linked with the Red Devils all summer long. Can United get those three signings over the line before the deadline? Their season depends on it after a shaky start proved their current squad isn’t up to it.

Newcastle United

Alan Pardew has once again hopped over the English Channel and dipped into the French market with Remy Cabella and Emmanuel Riviere arriving from Montpellier and Monaco respectively, plus Daryl Janmaat has arrived from Feynoord. Pardew has spent nearly $60 million on transfers this summer, while Jack Colback has arrived on a free transfer. You do wonder where the goals will come from for the Magpies, as Loic Remy has gone back to parent club QPR. Newcastle have yet to score in their two opening games, so signing a new striker before the deadline wouldn’t be the worst choice in the world.

Queens Park Rangers

The QPR board have backed Harry Redknapp over the summer and so far his team have lost two out of two, conceded five goals and scored zero. No time to panic for the R’s but they may need so more additions, especially up front, if they’re going to survive after promotion. Rio Ferdinand and Steven Caulker have arrived to form a new central defensive partnership, while Leroy Fer has come in from Norwich and Jordon Mutch has signed from Cardiff City. ‘Arry has also wheeled and dealed to bring in Chilean internationals Mauricio Isla and Eduardo Vargas on loan, but two or three late additions could really help QPR. Redknapp is a master of the transfer window. He needs to be this season as his side aim to kick on from a poor start to the season.

Southampton

It has been a summer of transition for the Saints this summer as a player exodus welcomed new boss Ronald Koeman to St. Mary’s. Out went Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert to Liverpool, while Luke Shaw joined Manchester United and Calum Chambers went to Arsenal. So, how do you replace five internationals who were so influential in your success last season? Yeah, that’s a tricky one. Southampton have spent big with the likes of Fraser Forster, Graziano Pelle, Dusan Tadic, Shane Long and Florin Gardos all arriving. The loan signings of Saphir Taider and Ryan Bertrand also look like shrewd moves but one or two more players are needed. Athletico Madrid’s Toby Alderweireld has been mentioned, while Spurs winger Andros Townsend is on Saints’ radar. They will also look to keep hold of Morgan Schneiderlin and Jay Rodriguez.

Stoke City

The Potters have been active yet frugal in the window with Steve Sidwell, Phil Bardsley and Mame Biram Diouf arriving on free transfers. Playmaker Bojan Krkic has arrived from Barcelona in one of the shock signings this summer, while Dionatan Teixeira has also arrive at the Britannia. Stoke could lose U.S. international Geoff Cameron to Lazio or a whole host of other PL teams, while the Potters have to spend so more cash to strengthen before the deadline. In the past under Tony Pulis they loved to bring in three or four new signings at the end of the window but it could be too much to ask this time around.

Don’t forget to tune in to the “Transfer Deadline Day Show” on NBCSN (Monday, 6-8 p.m. ET).

Report: Mourinho to get bumper $89 million extension at Man Utd

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Jose Mourinho is in the third month of his second season in charge of Manchester United, and may join Antonio Conte as men to get a second contract early in his term.

Goal.com says Paris Saint-Germain’s interest in Mourinho will spur United chairman Ed Woodward into action.

Unlike Conte, who received improved terms and the same length at Chelsea, the report says Mourinho will get a new five-year deal.

[ MORE: Yaya Toure to NYCFC? ]

The report says Mourinho’s terms would be worth almost $89 million over the length of the deal, close to $18 million per season.

The 54-year-old has never spent more than four years at a club, his longest stay as an assistant as Barcelona. Last season, he won the Europa League and League Cup for United while finishing sixth in the Premier League.

This season, United is off to a second-place start, leading Spurs on goal differential following a first loss of the season Saturday at Huddersfield Town.

This is about money and security for Mourinho who, let’s face it, probably won’t stay at United for five seasons. It would go against his record, and it’s difficult to imagine he’ll buck his career trend and make it five years. The new deal would be a raise, keep him from PSG for now, and probably will do the trick.

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Report: Yaya Toure lined up by New York City FC

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There are few details, but a report tabbed as exclusive by The Manchester Evening News says a new midfield force could be headed to Major League Soccer.

Yaya Toure’s resurgent 2016-17 has not been followed by a busy 2017-18, at least not yet, as the report says Yaya is set to head to New York City FC following the departure of Andrea Pirlo.

[ MORE: Koeman fired | Who’s in line? ]

Toure, who turns 35 in May, has regularly been on the subs bench for Pep Guardiola this season after signing a one-year contract. He’s played 29 minutes as a sub over the last two Premier League matches, and his lone start came in a League Cup win over West Brom, where he captained City.

Toure has 59 goals and 33 assists in 222 Premier League matches.

The Ivorian is not a pace monger, but neither were Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard and both were effective when healthy in MLS. Toure’s powerful presence in the midfield could be worth the wage packet and headache, but we’d pay a penny for Patrick Vieira’s thoughts.

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Italy’s once-vaunted ‘BBC’ defense is showing its age

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ROME (AP) With a combined age of 99, Italy’s once vaunted “BBC” defensive trio is showing its years.

The Azzurri will still rely on Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini in a World Cup playoff against Sweden next month but the signs in Serie A lately have not been encouraging.

[ MORE: Koeman fired | Who’s in line? ]

Bonucci’s red card with AC Milan over the weekend was the latest in a series of poor performances after his high-profile transfer from Juventus made him the highest-paid player in Italy.

Chiellini and Barzagli were beaten for goals twice by Ciro Immobile in Juventus’ 2-1 home loss to Lazio less than 10 days ago, and Chiellini was again off form in the Bianconeri’s 6-2 victory over Udinese on Sunday.

Chiellini was fooled by Stipe Perica for Udinese’s first goal and then left Danilo unmarked to head in another as he appealed for an offside call that never came.

Bonucci is 30, Chiellini is 33 and Barzagli is 36.

While Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura has shown interest in developing new talent, he has shown no indication that he plans to cast aside the “BBC” when it counts.

After all, Italy has historically been slow to incorporate younger players, especially defenders.

[ MORE: MLS Playoff Bracket set ]

That means the likes of Daniele Rugani (who plays for Juventus), Alessio Romagnoli (Milan) or Mattia Caldara (Atalanta) – who are all in their 20s – may have to wait for their chances with the Azzurri.

But Ventura would do well to remember how Marcello Lippi kept Fabio Cannavaro and other veterans in the lineup at the 2010 World Cup only to acknowledge after the first-round exit that he made a mistake and was overly influenced by the older players’ performance en route to the title four years earlier.

From Franco Baresi to Giuseppe Bergomi to Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Nesta, Cannavaro and the “BBC,” strong center backs have been a source of uninterrupted pride for the Azzurri for decades.

Gianluigi Buffon in goal has also provided a security blanket for nearly 20 years but he, too, is approaching the end of his career and will likely retire after this season – or after his record sixth World Cup if Italy qualifies.

Italy’s hopes of avoiding the playoffs were dashed with a debilitating 3-0 loss in Spain last month that offered a first hint of defensive problems. The defeat ended Italy’s 11-year unbeaten run in qualifiers for World Cups and European Championships.

[ MORE: Mbappe named Golden Boy ]

The Azzurri attributed the loss to Spain on Sept. 2 to a lack of physical condition so early in the season.

Bonucci, it was figured, just needed some time to adapt to his new surroundings at Milan.

In July, Bonucci completed a surprise transfer from Juventus, where he clashed with coach Massimiliano Allegri last season and was memorably left in the tribune for a Champions League match at Porto.

The transfer fee topped 40 million euros (nearly $50 million) and Bonucci signed a five-year contract worth up to 10 million euros (nearly $12 million) per season. He was also made captain before he ever wore a Milan shirt.

When Milan started to falter a month ago, physical trainer Emanuele Marra was fired – reportedly in large part because Bonucci demanded better fitness preparation.

But Bonucci was out run by Mauro Icardi on Inter Milan’s first goal when the striker scored a hat trick in a 3-2 derby win eight days ago. He was also to blame for the second, failing to mark Icardi in the area.

Things got even worse for Bonucci when he was sent off in the first half of Milan’s 0-0 draw at home with Genoa on Sunday for elbowing a defender in the head as he jostled for position on a free kick.

[ LIGUE 1: Neymar sent off ]

Bonucci will likely be given a multiple-match ban, which would exclude him from facing Juventus next Sunday and could affect his form for the Nov. 10 and 13 playoffs.

“Leo is a champion,” Buffon said. “He’ll become decisive again. But it makes me feel calmer knowing that we won’t have to face him on Saturday.”

More AP Serie A coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/SerieA

Andrew Dampf on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/asdampf

MLS Playoff bracket, dates set: Chicago, Vancouver host Tues.

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Major League Soccer’s playoff bracket is set. Our staff predictions are coming Tuesday before the first round match-ups, but here’s what we’ll be watching…

[ MORE: Mbappe named Golden Boy ]

The chase begins with Chicago and the Red Bulls, and San Jose heading to Vancouver. The Quakes drew the ‘Caps just over a week ago, on Oct. 15.

First round
(E3) Chicago vs. (E6) New York Red Bulls — 8:30 p.m. ET Tuesday
(W3) Vancouver vs. (W6) San Jose — 10:30 p.m. ET Tuesday
(E4) Atlanta vs. (E5) Columbus — 7 p.m. ET Wednesday
(W4) Houston vs. (W5) Sporting KC — 9:30 p.m. ET Wednesday

Conference semifinals
(W1) Portland vs.  San Jose, Houston, or Sporting KC
(W2) Seattle vs. Houston, Sporting KC, or Vancouver
(E1) Toronto vs. New York Red Bulls, Atlanta, or Columbus
(E2) New York City vs. Atlanta, Columbus, or Chicago

Conference finals
Eastern Conference — Nov. 21 and Nov. 28 or 29
Western Conference — Nov. 21 and Nov. 30

MLS Cup Final
At finalist with best record — 4 p.m. ET Dec. 9

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