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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.

[ MORE: Hull City agrees Snodgrass fee ]

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.

Report: Simon Dawkins making move to Minnesota

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The Loons are taking a flier on Simon Dawkins.

The London-born Jamaican international hasn’t done a ton since returning to MLS from Derby County, and turned 30 over the offseason, and Paul Tenorio says the player is on his way to Minnesota United.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

Dawkins scored 14 goals between 2011-12 with San Jose, but scored just five times in his return to California and was blanked in 14 appearances last season. He registered just 10 shots in those matches.

The left winger would join an attack with Christian Ramirez, Kevin Molino, Ethan Finlay, and a pair of Generations Adidas forwards: Abu Danladi (2017 SuperDraft) and Mason Toye (2018).

Champions League Weds. preview: Sevilla-Man Utd, Shakhtar-Roma

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Jose Mourinho says Manchester United is one round away from having legitimate hopes of winning the UEFA Champions League.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

That makes the Round of 16 tie against Sevilla — beginning Wednesday in Spain — a bit of a dream qualifier for the Red Devils.

“I normally say that Champions League dreams start around the quarter-finals and not yet in the last 16,” Mourinho said on ManUtd.com. “Last 16 still looks a long way to go. When a team reaches the quarter-finals, I think it’s the moment where even the teams that are not favourites – which is our case – they start realising that anything is possible.

The injury-hit side got a bit of a boost on Tuesday in Sevilla, where Paul Pogba, Antonio Valencia, Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera all trained ahead of the first leg.

As for the hosts, manager Vincenzo Montella admitted that he hopes Pogba won’t play, and joked that he’d prefer to tie up and “padlock” Alexis Sanchez in a bid to defend against the Chilean star.

The final Round of 16 tie to start will be Roma’s pairing with Shakhtar Donetsk, with the first leg taking place in Ukraine.

Shakhtar hasn’t played in some time, but the great equalizer is the bitter cold at Donbass Arena, where the temperature is set to be between 21 and 28 degrees Fahrenheit come kickoff.

Don’t worry, Roma fans, Daniele De Rossi is busy breathing fire into any teammates angling for excuses:

“The cold weather could affect things a little because we’re not used to it but at the end of the day it comes down to how well you perform out there. We must be mentally ready from the get-go because the cold might hit us in the opening minutes.

“If it was that much of a factor, these teams would win the Champions League every year. You don’t go through because of the weather.”

Villarreal opens probe into Semedo’s reported arrest

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MADRID (AP) Spanish club Villarreal says it is investigating the actions of defender Ruben Semedo after reports that he was arrested for a violent incident.

The club said it is “highly concerned” about the issue and “will take the appropriate disciplinary actions with utmost rigor based on the seriousness of the events.”

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

The statement was released after Spanish media reported that the Portuguese player was taken into custody early Tuesday for allegedly being involved in a hostile confrontation with another man last week.

Police did not immediately confirm Semedo’s arrest.

How to stop Alexis? “Padlock, tie him up,” says Sevilla boss

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“Well, maybe we can lock him up with a padlock or tie him up with rope.”

Vincenzo Montella has mixed it up with Alexis Sanchez in the past, and he’s not relishing the need to stop him again without using non-traditional means.

[ MORE: Chelsea-Barca recap | JPW’s 3 things ]

The Sevilla boss, 43, said he “remembered well” the Manchester United star from the Chilean’s playing time at Udinese,.

“He has improved his style a lot during his career and I think he can be a really good player in transition,” Montella said. “I think they have really good speed in attack.”

That padlock joke wasn’t the only quality quip from Montella, who said of Paul Pogba:

“He is a complete player. I hope he doesn’t play.”

Sevilla hosts United at 2:45 p.m. ET on Wednesday at Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium.