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Report: Vardy, Sanchez lined up by Atletico Madrid

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When you think about it, these two players are perfect for Atletico Madrid.

Absolutely, positively, perfect.

[ MORE: United’s top transfer target? ]

A report from Miguel Delaney in The Independent states that both Jamie Vardy and Alexis Sanchez are high on the list of striking options for Diego Simeone this summer.

Of course, these moves are dependent on two very important factors: a) Simeone still being in charge next season and b) Atletico get an 18-month transfer ban lifted by FIFA. A decision on the latter is expected in June (Atleti have appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport) after Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid were both sanctioned by soccer’s governing body due to breaking rules regarding signing U-18 players.

And, the other big factor around all of this is Antoine Griezmann potentially leaving Atletico this summer with the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea constantly linked with a move to sign the Frenchman. Griezmann scored in Atleti’s 2-1 win on Wednesday night in their UCL semifinal second leg but his side crashed out to Real Madrid 4-2 on aggregate and reports suggest he could move on for a fee of around $100 million.

Sticking with Vardy and Sanchez, both would likely snap up a move to La Liga and be part of a team which always seems to overachieve and goes deep in the UEFA Champions League. With Leicester not in the UCL next season, plus Arsenal struggling massively to make the top four, it would be tough to turn down guaranteed Champions League action for both.

It would sort of be a two-for-one deal as Griezmann would leave and both Vardy and Sanchez could come in, and of course it was Arsene Wenger‘s plan to pair Vardy and Sanchez together at Arsenal this season but Vardy rejected the move to remain at Leicester.

With their pacey, hard-working style of play under Simeone, both Vardy and Sanchez would surely be at home at Atletico and the former is said to have impressed Simeone during their UCL quarterfinal win over Leicester and there are surely few people at the club who would stand in his way if a move was arranged.

When it comes to Sanchez, we know that his future is uncertain with just one year remaining on his contract and even though Arsenal would sell him reluctantly this summer, they’d be much happier to sell him to La Liga rather than a PL rival. The Chilean forward became the first Arsenal player since Robin Van Persie to score 20 PL goals with his fine strike at Southampton on Wednesday but his future remains uncertain at the Emirates Stadium.

As Atletico prepare for life at their new 70,000 home at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium next season, they could well have some new strikers to smooth over any big-name sales this summer as goalkeeper Jan Oblak is also rumored to be interesting Manchester United and many others.

Signing both Vardy and Sanchez would be a stretch but not out of the realms of possibility, especially if Griezmann moves on.

Mascherano out 6 weeks, will miss Argentina vs. Brazil

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says defender Javier Mascherano will be out of action for six weeks to recover from a right knee injury.

[ MORE: Luis Enrique leaves Barca with feeling of accomplishment ]

Barcelona’s season is over, but the injury will rule out Mascherano from Argentina’s friendly against Brazil on June 9.

Mascherano injured his leg early in Saturday’s final of the Copa del Rey, when Barcelona beat Alaves 3-1 to defend its title for a third straight season.

He also cut his head during the collision with an Alaves player that produced the leg injury. He returned on crutches to join the team celebration.

Argentina doesn’t play its next World Cup qualifier until it plays Uruguay on Aug. 28.

Courtois aiming at new Chelsea contract after strong season

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There’s a wide range of players that were integral in Chelsea’s Premier League-winning season in 2016/17, but one of the most underrated was arguably goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

[ MORE: PL clubs may miss on Celtic’s Dembele and more transfer news ]

The Blues shot-stopper started all but two PL matches this past campaign, and now the Belgian international is seeking an extension with the London club.

“Contract talks haven’t opened but I am happy at Chelsea,” Courtois told Sky Sports after Chelsea’s loss to Arsenal at Wembley.

“I hope they reward me with a good contract, then there will be no doubt I will sign it.”

The 25-year-old keeper has been in at Stamford Bridge since arriving from Genk in 2011, but Courtois spent three seasons in Spain on a loan spell.

Courtois likened this PL campaign to his time on loan at Atletico Madrid, stating that while his side’s achievements in the league were everything Chelsea could have hoped for that there was still more the Blues could have done.

“It’s not a good feeling now,” Courtois told Chelsea’s official website. “I had the same thing in Spain when I won the league and then lost the Champions League.

“We wanted to end on a high, now we feel sad. Winning is everything so this is hard to face but we have to try to forget it.”

Francesco Totti on bench for final Roma match

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Sunday marks Francesco Totti’s final match with Roma after a stellar 24-year career, but the striker won’t be starting at the Stadio Olimpico.

[ MORE: Reus could miss at least six months after suffering knee damage ]

The 40-year-old was named to the bench for his club’s 2016/17 Serie A finale against Cagliari, with Roma needing a victory to capture second position in Italy’s top flight.

Napoli currently sits just one point behind the Giallorossi and hold a slight two-goal edge in goal differential, which could be a decisive factor in which side finishes second.

It would be quite odd for Roma to not give Totti playing time in his final outing, after a career that featured over 300 goals across all competitions for his hometown club.

Transfer rumor roundup: PL clubs losing ground for Dembele and more

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With all the major leagues across Europe either closing or already have finished it’s the season of transfer rumors once again.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Arsenal’s FA Cup win vs. Chelsea ]

Here are several of the juiciest pieces from Sunday:

Three London sides could potentially miss out on Celtic star Moussa Dembele as AC Milan has emerged as a favorite to sign the top-rated Frenchman. Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham have all expressed great interest in the promising attacker, who scored 17 goals this season for the Scottish champions.

After struggling at times this season to keep goals out, Liverpool could turn to France as a potential outlet to fix the cracks in their back line. AS Monaco’s Benjamin Mendy already has significant PL interest from Manchester United and Manchester City, but Jurgen Klopp‘s side could also put up a fight.

West Ham is looking to bolster its attack this summer, and with Pep Guardiola likely making significant changes at the Etihad Stadium, Kelechi Iheanacho could be on his way to the Hammers ahead of the 2017/18 PL season.

Manchester City higher ups are keen on having Guardiola bring back goalkeeper Joe Hart from Torino this summer. Hart spent last season on loan with the Italian club after Guardiola sent him away from England early in his managing tenure at the club.