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Loan watch: Which PL figures could boost relegation battlers?

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The transfer window is a chance for fixes, but also for developmental time.

The incredible depth of some of the Premier League’s top dogs means that some of the top flight’s lesser lights can see their relegation fears lessened — and even saved — by an injection of short-term talent.

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Hull City and Liverpool are hoping to mutually benefit from Lazar Markovic‘s move to the Tigers, for example.

Who are some key pieces who also fit this bill? As with any loan story, the list starts with Chelsea.

1) Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Chelsea — The 20-year-old striker has yet to leave the Blues on loan, but several clubs would love to give him a run in their forward ranks. Newcastle United was linked with him, but Premier League outfits like Stoke and West Brom were also mentioned.

2) Michy Batshuayi, Chelsea — Often mentioned as a loan make-weight to bring Fernando Llorente from Swansea, Batshuayi needs PL playing time to develop into a player Antonio Conte feels he can trust.

3) Anthony Martial, Manchester United — A year ago, many — including myself — were jabbing Arsene Wenger for not matching the money Louis Van Gaal paid to bring the Frenchman to Old Trafford. What a difference a manager makes, and what a difference Martial could make at a PL relegation battler.

4) Asmir Begovic, Chelsea — He wants to play, and Bournemouth very much wants him. Now Chelsea has to decide whether an adequate replacement is available.

5) Chuba Akpom, Arsenal – Aston Villa has been linked with the Gunners striker, and the 21-year-old will not be bathing in playing time with Lucas Perez, Olivier Giroud, and many other options ahead of him.

6) Jordan Rhodes, Middlesbrough – Not a PL giant, but also surplus to plans for Aitor Karanka. Given the massive buzz around his choosing a new Championship club this season, could Boro and another PL side work out a deal that keeps him in the Boro stables? Seems unlikely Karanka would want to help a relegation candidate, so the Championship seems more likely.

Former Czech Republic defender Rajtoral kills himself

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PRAGUE (AP) Former Czech Republic defender Frantisek Rajtoral, who won the domestic league title four times before joining Turkish club Gaziantepspor, died on Sunday. He was 31.

[ MORE: Bayern scouted Kyle Walker, Alex Sanchez this weekend ]

The Czech football federation said in a statement that Rajtoral had “committed suicide in Turkey.”

His agent Pavel Zika confirmed the player’s death, describing it as a “huge tragedy.”

Gaziantepspor announced Rajtoral’s death in a brief statement on its website.

Rajtoral played 14 international matches for the Czech Republic.

In the top Czech league, he won four titles with Viktoria Plzen and played in the group stage of the Champions League twice for the club. He moved to Hannover in the Bundesliga in 2014 for half of the season, on loan.

He left Viktoria Plzen last year to move to Turkey.

Bellerin wants to represent Spain U21s despite Wenger’s wishes

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Arsene Wenger has made it clear about Hector Bellerin representing Spain this summer but the Arsenal defender is prepared to go against his manager’s wishes if he is selected.

[ MORE: Bayern scouted Kyle Walker, Alexis Sanchez over the weekend ]

The 22-year-old has said he hopes to play for Spain’s Under-21 side this summer during the 2017 European U-21 Championship but Wenger has been weary of Bellerin’s injury status and wants his fullback to maintain a clean bill of health throughout the offseason.

“I really want to play,” Bellerin told IBTimes. “Representing Spain is very important. If [Albert] Celades gives me the chance I’ll be there.

“Those are opinions of the managers. I have to keep working. The truth is that I had a difficult injury but I think that I am at 100% now and I’ll try to prove it when I get the chance.”

Bellerin signed a six-and-a-half year deal with the Gunners in November, where he has resided since coming up in the club’s academy. He has made 102 appearances for Wenger’s team in that span over all competitions.

Roma boosts bid for 2nd in Serie A by beating Pescara 4-1

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PESCARA, Italy (AP) Roma boosted its bid for second place in Serie A and automatic entry into the Champions League with a 4-1 win at Pescara, which was mathematically relegated on Monday.

[ MORE: Newcastle joins Brighton in promotion to Premier League ]

Roma moved four points clear of third-placed Napoli, which drew against Sassuolo 2-2 on Sunday. Third place in Serie A receives a Champions League playoff.

Pescara remained 15 points behind Empoli. There are only five matches left and Empoli has the better head-to-head record, which is the deciding factor if two teams finish level on points.

There were 48 goals in total in the 33rd round, matching the record set in October 1992.

Roma took control shortly before halftime, with Kevin Strootman breaking the deadlock after Stephan El Shaarawy unselfishly rolled the ball across the area.

Radja Nainggolan, who earlier hit the bar, doubled Roma’s lead two minutes later.

Mohamed Salah extended Roma’s advantage three minutes after the break and the winger doubled his tally on the hour following a swift counterattack.

Ahmad Benali got a consolation for Pescara and a Cristiano Biraghi free kick also hit the post for the home side.

Frank Yallop resigns as Phoenix Rising coach shortly after Drogba arrival

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The timing is a bit sudden and certainly leaves many questions up in the air, but Phoenix Rising will have to look for a new manager.

[ MORE: Chicharito talks heating up with LA FC ]

On Monday, head coach Frank Yallop resigned from his position with the United Soccer League (USL) club less than one day after former Chelsea legend Didier Drogba joined the organization as a player-owner.

With Phoenix seen as one of several lower-level clubs with ambitions of making the leap to MLS over the coming seasons, Yallop’s departure is surely a shock to many.

According to ESPN FC, Rising lead owner Berke Bakay was quite surprised by Yallop’s decision to step down, as was Drogba.

“Didier was as surprised and disappointed as we were that Frank is unable to continue coaching our Club,” Bakay told ESPN FC. “But, we all respect his decision to put his family first.

“Didier’s focus will remain on improving our team as a player and assisting our MLS expansion team ownership group as a co-owner. Frank will be helping with our international search for a new head coach.”

Rick Schantz, the current Rising assistant coach, will head the team’s managerial duties for the interim while the club completes a full search for a new manager.