Friday’s transfer rumor roundup: Vidal stays at Juve, Cerci wants move

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While Jose Mourinho refutes claims that Fernando Torres could leave Chelsea and Leicester City land an Inter Milan legend, plenty of other names are making their rounds through the rumor mill this fine Friday.

Looks like the 450,00,000,000 reports that assured us that Arturo Vidal would be headed to Manchester United are going to turn out to be false after the player again said he’ll be staying at Juventus. Meanwhile, United could see Shinji Kagawa return to Borussia Dortmund and Tom Cleverley skate off to Aston Villa.

Van Gaal is close to one addition: 16-year-old Ajax prodigy Timothy Fosu Mensah, and Gazzetta Dello Sport says Inter Milan wantaway Fredy Guarin ‘dreams’ of playing at Manchester United.

[ VIDEO: Van Gaal talks Di Maria, rebuilding process ]

Sky Sports says Inter Milan is trying to pry Ezequiel Lavezzi away from Paris Saint-Germain. The Argentina attacker has been linked with several clubs across the Premier League and La Liga this summer.

Straight from the horse’s mouth, Brendan Rodgers says there will likely be more players moving out than coming to Anfield before the end of the window. One of those will not be Jon Flanagan, as Rodgers wants to get him a new contract. Jordon Ibe, meanwhile, is off to Derby County on loan.

Alex Song has a permanent seat in the Transfer Rumor Saloon — which might also be called the Bid Bar or the Medical Taproom — and today’s Sky Sports report has Sam Allardyce trying to bring the Cameroonian to the Boleyn Ground.

Hull may have picked up Palermo striker Abel Hernandez, as Goal.com has reported that Steve Bruce has obtained a work permit for the Uruguayan international.

[ REPORT: Premier League teams line up for Cavani loan ]

source: Getty ImagesTwenty-seven year-old Arsenal target and Torino attacker Alessio Cerci has reportedly asked to leave the Serie A club. Cerci can play striker in addition to his play on the wing, and his agent said there are multiple suitors for his services.

There’s some news around Newcastle United, with defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa linked with a loan move to Marseille that could become permanent. This could open the Magpies up for a much-rumored Micah Richards move, and The Chronicle’s Lee Ryder says Loic Remy has turned down a return to St. James Park from QPR.

LIVE – Champions League playoff: Nice-Napoli headlines action

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With Celtic (just about) booking their spot in the UEFA Champions League group stage on Tuesday, four more teams will join them.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ] 

Napoli, Olympiacos, Sevilla and Hapoel Be’er Sheva all have narrow leads heading into the second legs which sets things up rather nicely for the winner takes all second legs. Olympiacos and Be’er Sheva will be feeling particularly nervous after conceding at home in the first leg.

On Wednesday five more ties takes place across Europe with Liverpool looking to book their spot in the UCL group stage against Hoffenheim.

Below is the full schedule for Tuesday’s games, which kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET, while you can click on the link above to follow live commentary on all four matches.


Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League playoff second legs

Nice vs. Napoli (Napoli lead 2-0 on aggregate)
Astana 4-3 Celtic (Celtic advance 8-4 on aggregate)
Rijeka vs. Olympiacos (Olympiacos leads 2-1 on aggregate)
Sevilla vs. Istanbul Basaksehir (Sevilla leads 2-1 on aggregate)
Maribor vs. Hapoel Be’er Sheva (Hapoel Be’er Sheva lead 2-1 on aggregate)

LIVE – Premier League clubs enter League Cup

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Seven Premier League teams enter the League Cup second round on Tuesday with plenty of potential upsets lined up.

[ LIVE: Follow League Cup scores ]

All 13 PL clubs (six more are in action on Wednesday) face teams from the lower leagues with the likes of Crystal Palace, Leicester City, Bournemouth and Swansea City all on upset alert.

U.S. national team players to watch out for include Lynden Gooch who starts for Sunderland and Emerson Hyndman who is on the bench for Bournemouth.

Below is the schedule for the League Cup games on Tuesday with all games to kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET unless otherwise stated.


Tuesday
Crystal Palace vs. Ipswich Town – 2:30pm
Aston Villa vs. Wigan Athletic
Leeds United vs. Newport County
Middlesbrough vs. Scunthorpe United
Norwich City vs. Charlton Athletic
QPR vs. Brentford
Fulham vs. Bristol Rovers
Cardiff City vs. Burton Albion
Carlisle United vs. Sunderland
Doncaster vs. Hull City
Grimsby Town vs. Derby County
Brighton vs. Barnet
Accrington Stanley vs. West Brom
Sheffield United vs. Leicester City
Birmingham City vs. Bournemouth
Watford vs. Bristol City
MK Dons vs. Swansea City
Reading vs. Millwall – 3pm
Bolton vs. Sheffield Wednesday – 3pm

Celtic qualify for UEFA Champions League group stage

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Celtic survived a scare in Kazakhstan to qualify for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League for the second season on the trot.

[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]

Brendan Rodgers‘ side beat FC Astana 5-0 in the first leg of their playoff last week at Celtic Park but the trip to Kazakhstan proved much trickier with Astana leading 4-1 late in the game which had pulled the score back to 6-4 on aggregate.

However, Scott Sinclair had scored a priceless away goal to make it 1-1 at half time and despite a late flurry of goals for the hosts Olivier Ntcham scored a deflected effort and Leigh Griffiths wrapped things up late on as Celtic lost 4-3 on the night but went through 8-4 on aggregate.

Last season the Scottish champions went out in the UCL group stage after being drawn with Manchester City, Barcelona and Borussia Monchengladbach and will be hoping for a kinder draw this time around.

Premier League clubs on League Cup upset alert

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The second round of the League Cup (known as the Carabao Cup in 2017-18 for sponsorship reasons) kicks off on Tuesday with 13 Premier League clubs in action.

[ MORE: League Cup scores live ]

All 13 have been drawn against lower-league opposition and those klaxons you can hear signify upset alerts.

Below is a look at how each Premier League club will get on as they enter the competition on Tuesday and Wednesday with a ranking on each game out of 10, with 10 being the most likely for an upset to occur.

Remember: the seven PL teams in European competition will enter the League Cup in the third round.


Upset alert ranking for PL clubs

Tuesday
Crystal Palace vs. Ipswich Town – 8/10
Brighton vs. Barnet – 4/10
Accrington Stanley vs. West Brom – 7/10
Sheffield United vs. Leicester City – 6/10
Birmingham City vs. Bournemouth – 7/10
Watford vs. Bristol City – 5/10
MK Dons vs. Swansea City – 5/10

Wednesday
Newcastle United vs. Nottingham Forest – 6/10
Southampton vs. Wolves – 7/10
Huddersfield Town vs. Rotherham United – 7/10
Cheltenham vs. West Ham United – 8/10
Stoke City vs. Rochdale – 6/10
Blackburn Rovers vs. Burnley – 6/10