Alderweireld

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Deadline Day Morning edition

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It’s that day again, and it’s time to bring you all the smattering of news this morning as the English transfer window slams shut later tonight.

There are rumors across the entirety of the league, so we’ll run down them here.

The closest to completion at the moment appears to be Southampton‘s acquisition of Atletico Madrid and World Cup defender Toby Alderweireld (pictured).

The Belgian was a big – and successful – part of Marc Wilmots’ push to the World Cup quarterfinals and ESPN is reporting Ronald Koeman has tied up a season-long loan for the Madrid defender.  At 25 years old, he moved from Ajax to the Spanish capital last summer on the Spanish Deadline Day but he’s been in and out of the squad.

French media outlet RMC Sport is reporting that Marseille striker Andre Ayew is a wanted man in the Premier League, and that the club is looking to sell now that the Ghanan is in the last year of his contract.  The report says the 24-year-old has rejected Hull City, but is in serious negotiations with both Swansea City and Queens Park Rangers.

There’s been much talk of Southampton being done with their firesale (much to the chagrin of Morgan Schneiderlin) but Spurs aren’t done trying. According to The Independent as well as our very own Joe Prince-Wright, Tottenham have increased their offer for Jay Rodriguez in a last-ditch attempt to pry him away from his current club. The 25-year-old Burnley native is coming off ACL surgery, but that reportedly hasn’t warded off his former manager Mauricio Pochettino, who has apparently offered Andros Townsend in an improved offer. There is no word on exactly how much the new offer is for in addition to Townsend, but the report says the old offer was $23 million.  Townsend is reportedly fine with the move.

Crystal Palace is rumored to be bringing Wigan’s James McArthur back to the Premier League on a club record $11 million deal.  Multiple outlets are reporting the deal, and there is a picture that has surfaced of McArthur stepping out of a car at Palace’s Beckenham training ground.

Rumors yesterday were confirmed by the club that Toronto FC striker Jermain Defoe is a wanted man in the Premier League, and there is news that he’s currently in England. Sky Sports says he “doesn’t want to go back to Toronto.” Ouch.

It appears likely that Manchester City will be selling wantaway defender Matija Nastasic today, but the destination is yet unknown.  The Mirror‘s David Anderson has called Nastasic “hot property,” no surprise given the 21-year-old’s young age and performance in Manchester City’s runner-up season two years ago.  According to Anderson, teams in for him include Tottenham, Newcastle, Marseille, and Arsenal.

Another sale that could rock Manchester City is one involving Alvaro NegredoThere are reports that he could complete a season-long loan move to Valencia that would essentially act as a sale thanks to the “obligation” – not option – to buy for around $40 million. The Spaniard was a main component of City’s title-winning season, making 32 league appearances last year and scoring nine goals – plus five more in the Champions League – in a supporting role to Sergio Aguero.  He only joined City last summer as one of Manuel Pellegrini’s first signings.

Speaking of Arsenal, the BBC continues to maintain they are done with business for the transfer window, but that’s not stopping other media from linking them with just about every player out there.  The most recent one appears to be Swansea’s Wilfried Bony, according to the Daily Star‘s Duncan Wright.

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

Premier League Preview: Stoke City vs. Manchester United

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02:  Paul Pogba of Manchester United (L) shoots while Erik Pieters of Stoke City (R) attempts to block the shot during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Stoke City at Old Trafford on October 2, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
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  • Man Utd leads all-time 43W-34D-28L
  • Clubs even in last six (2-2-2)
  • Red Devils unbeaten in 16
  • Stoke winners of two-straight

After wins over Sunderland and Watford, Stoke City gets a higher class of opponent on Saturday at the Britannia Stadium (Watch live at 10 a.m. EDT on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Fortunately for Stoke, it’s had some success against Manchester United in recent years.

Stoke and United drew 1-1 at Old Trafford on Oct. 2, though Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils are flying now. United is hard to break down, and arguably deserved better than the 1-1 draw it earned versus Liverpool last weekend.

Stoke is now 11 points clear of the drop zone, and a win could raise its status to closer to the Top Five than Bottom Three. United, meanwhile, wants three points that would move it to precipice of the Top Four.

 

What they’re saying

Stoke City’s Glenn Whelan on facing United“There has been a wind of change there and the supporters seem a lot happier now and you get the sense that they are together as a group now. You only have to look at the players within the squad, and even the ones who are leaving, to see how much strength in depth they have there.”

Jose Mourinho praises newly-extended Antonio Valencia“I don’t think it is a reward, I don’t see it in this perspective. I just think he is the best right-back you can have. There is no better right-back in football. It is just for us to keep the best. I don’t think it is a reward. It is a privilege for us to have such a good player and such a good man.”

Prediction

United gets it done, only barely. Stoke will put up a brave battle for boss Mark Hughes, but there are too many weapons to suppress. United, 1-0.

AFCON wrap: Results keep Group C undecided

Ivory Coast's Wilfried Bony controls the ball on his head during their training session at the Stade Akoakam, Oyem, Gabon, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017, ahead of their African Cup of Nations Group C soccer match against Congo. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
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Like Group A, Group C in the Africa Cup of Nations has very little decided ahead of the final group stage match.

[ MORE: Guardiola “said goodbye to title” ]

Ivory Coast 2-2 DR Congo

A thrilling first half had DR Congo leading 1-0 and 2-1, with only Wilfried Bony netting for the Ivory Coast. Les Elephants grabbed a draw through Serey Die’s 67th minute goal.

DR Congo now leads the group and is primed to advance with a result against Togo or a Morocco loss or draw against Ivory Coast.

Morocco 3-1 Togo

Mathieu Dossevi gave Togo a surprise fifth minute lead lead, but Aziz Bouhaddouz kickstarted the Moroccan attack to plug the victors into Group C’s second spot ahead of a Jan. 24 showdown with Ivory Coast.

Saturday’s matches

Ghana vs. Mali — 11 a.m. ET
Egypt vs. Uganda — 2 p.m. ET

Premier League Preview: Liverpool vs. Swansea City

SWANSEA, WALES - MAY 01:  Jefferson Montero of Swansea City is challenged by Nathaniel Clyne of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Liverpool at The Liberty Stadium on May 1, 2016 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)
Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images
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  • Liverpool leads all-time 22W-8D-10L
  • Swans lost five-straight at Anfield
  • Reds unbeaten in 7 PL matches

One of the Premier League’s top attacks hosts the division’s leakiest defense, as Liverpool may be licking its chops ahead of a visit from struggling Swansea City on Saturday (Watch live at 7:30 a.m. EDT on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Liverpool has drawn at Sunderland and Manchester United in its last two Premier League outings, and sits seven points back of leaders Chelsea.

Swansea City has allowed multiple goals in five of six PL matches since beating Sunderland 3-0 on Dec. 10. It’s no surprise that they’ve lost those five (the sixth being a 2-1 win at struggling Crystal Palace).

What they’re saying

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp on the match“We’re really looking forward to this game. I don’t know when it happened but in England every game now is like a final. Swansea are trying to survive. I don’t know when the title run-in will start, maybe now and we’re in the race. I hope for a special atmosphere tomorrow.”

Swansea City back Federico Fernandez on Liverpool“They are a team that is very strong going forward and that is shown by the number of goals they have scored. If you lose a little bit of focus against these teams then they have the players that will punish you every time. But it’s not only defending strongly when they are attacking, it is also how we keep hold of the ball and how we use it when in possession.”

Prediction

Swansea boss Paul Clement has his hands full, and is grabbing reinforcements in the transfer window (Luciano Narsingh, Martin Olsson, Tom Carroll). That won’t be enough to handle what Liverpool will dish out Saturday, as the Reds break free with a 3-0 win.

Saints’ Fonte moves to West Ham for $10 million

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West Ham has been linked with big name strikers since the summer, but the Irons’ big January transfer to date is a center back.

EURO champion and Southampton mainstay Jose Fonte is moving to London.

[ MORE: West Brom finally sells Berahino ]

Fonte, 33, makes an approximately $10 million move from the South Coast, where the Portuguese back will better Slaven Bilic‘s back line while forcing Southampton to find an answer alongside Virgil Van Dijk.

It’s been a strange trip to London for Fonte and Southampton, detailed by our own Joe Prince-Wright here. Fonte joined Saints during the 2009-10 season, and became a cult hero at St. Mary’s in helping the club move from League One to the Europa League in just over a half-decade.

Something won’t feel right about seeing Fonte in claret and blue, and Saints host West Ham on Feb. 4. Should be quite interesting.