Rangers FC

Report: Chelsea win race to sign wonderkids

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Two of the brightest young talents in European soccer could be heading to Chelsea.

[ MORE: United face striker crisis

Adrian Kajumba of the Daily Mirror reports that highly-touted Glasgow Rangers teenager Billy Gilmour and Ajax teen sensation Daishawn Redan are both close to signing for the Premier League leaders.

[ MORE: Dembele to Man City?

Gilmour, just 15, has already been involved in training with Rangers’ first team this season, was close to making their first team squad for a recent cup game and the midfielder plays for Scotland at U-20 international level. Per the report, Gilmour is wanted by Barcelona, Bayern Munich and both Manchester City and Manchester United.

As for Dutch youth international Redan, the 16-year-old striker is also being tracked by Chelsea with City, United and RB Leipzig all said to be interested in enticing the youngster away from Ajax despite the Amsterdam club having an exemplary record of bringing through and nurturing young talent.

[ MORE: Conte defends Chelsea’s counter

Chelsea’s policy of stockpiling the best young talent in Europe has come under plenty of criticism in recent years but it’s hard to stop their model.

The Blues currently have over 40 players out on loan across the UK and Europe, with plenty of the most talented youngsters in the game signed up. Yet, when you look to their first team in recent years its tough to see any of their academy products who’ve broken through.

Yes, Nathaniel Chalobah, Nathan Ake and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are all in the first team squad but all three have struggled for regular minutes this season.

Reports linking Chelsea with a move for Gilmour and Redan seem very similar to that of Karamoko Dembele heading to Manchester City. Videos of the 13-year-old playing have gone viral and he has already played for Celtic’s U-21 side in Scotland.

If you were a youngster, where would you go? To Chelsea, Manchester United or Barcelona for big bucks, or to a team like Ajax, Southampton or Celtic where you’ll likely get regular minutes and develop at a faster rate?

It’s an intriguing situation to be in for these young players and if you look at the players who have come through Chelsea’s academy and ended up joining other clubs after loans spells, most have gone on to very successful professional careers.

Below is video of Gilmour and Redan, who could be the next big things on the block in west London…


Billy Gilmour

Daishawn Redan

Follow Live: Chelsea, Swans, Cherries in FA Cup replays

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Chelsea, Swansea City, and Bournemouth look to avoid upsets in replays of their third round FA Cup matches.

[ LIVE: Follow all the FA Cup scores here ]

All three matches kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET

The Blues tangle with former Premier League peers Norwich City, this time at Stamford Bridge, in a bid to host a fourth round match with Newcastle United.

Antonio Conte‘s not messing around (too much) with the XI.

Swansea City and Wolves, meanwhile, are arguably battling for a bid in the fourth round, as a trip to Notts County is on the docket for the winner of Wednesday’s replay at the Liberty Stadium.

Bournemouth is at Wigan Athletic for a replay with the third-tier Latics, with the victor hosting West Ham United on Jan. 27.

Benevento captain Lucioni banned one year for doping

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ROME (AP) Benevento captain Fabio Lucioni has been banned one year for doping.

[ MORE: Plenty to prove for Big Sam ]

Italy’s national anti-doping organization made the decision Tuesday after the steroid clostebol was found in a sample taken after Benevento’s 1-0 loss to Torino in September.

Benevento team physician Walter Giorgione was banned for four years for administering the steroid to Lucioni in a spray.

Both Lucioni and Giorgione plan to appeal.

The 30-year-old Lucioni joined Benevento in 2014 and the defender helped the team move from the third division up into Serie A this season for the first time.

Benevento is last in Serie A with only two wins in 20 matches.

The ban is back-dated to October, meaning Lucioni can return early next season.

Everton completes move for Walcott: “I’m dead excited” (video)

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Everton continues to supply its managers with top-end talent, adding Theo Walcott to its expensive season of boys which includes Gylfi Sigurdsson, Wayne Rooney, Cenk Tosun, Jordan Pickford, and Michael Keane.

[ MORE: Plenty to prove for Big Sam ]

The deal is reported to be near $28 million for Walcott, who’s made only a half-dozen Premier League appearances this season but did nab three goals in five Europa League matches.

Walcott, 28, scored 108 goals in 397 appearances for the Gunners. His 19-goal campaign last season was his second-best — he scored 21 in 2012-13 — but Walcott dipped down Arsene Wenger‘s depth charge and is leaving to pursue regular football.

And his comments will be lapped up by the #WengerOut brigade at his now former club:

“The Club has won trophies but I want them to win trophies now. The manager is very hungry and it’s just what I need. I’ve had a couple of chats with him and straightaway I felt that hunger and that desire that he wanted from me. I need that and I wanted that

The move is another exciting one for Everton, which has underachieved under Ronald Koeman and now Sam Allardyce. And it’s another sale from Arsenal which gives pause: Are the underperforming Gunners going to regret the move?

In the 2005-06 season, Walcott made his Southampton debut in the Football League Championship at the age of 16, and moved to Arsenal the next season.

Walcott has eight goals in 47 caps for England, and won two FA Cups at Arsenal.

[ MORE: Montreal nabs Algerian DP ]

Here is a useful quote from Sam Allardyce:“His physical output is excellent, he would be one of our top players in that area as well, which will hopefully bring us a lot more excitement and more ability to get forward quicker and create.

And here is an utterly useless one: ““If you analyse his goal record, then we are looking at a player who contributes goals on a regular basis.”

You don’t say. To paraphrase: If you look at all his goals, he regularly scores goals. Here’s more from the player on his move.

Montreal to nab Algerian DP Taider from Bologna

Photo by Mario Carlini / Iguana Press/Getty Images
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The loss of Swiss power Blerim Dzemaili is a big one for the Montreal Impact, but another World Cup player may be taking his place in Quebec.

[ MLS: Club-by-club SuperDraft needs ]

Tutto Bologna reports that Algerian playmaker Saphir Taider, 25, is set to sign with the Impact on a contract through 2020.

On loan to Montreal last season, Dzemaili went back to Bologna. Taider is coming back the other way and will reportedly be a Designated Player.

Taider isn’t as consistent a player as Dzemaili, but presents a skill set that should be a massive problem for MLS midfields.

He has 42 caps with five goals for Algeria, and was once property of Juventus. He spent parts of four seasons at Inter Milan, with loan stints back to Bologna, at Sassuolo, and a unremarkable time at Southampton.