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Transfer Rumor Roundup: Mbappe “not afraid to leave”

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Kylian Mbappe is the hottest name in world football right now, and the mercurial 18-year-old Frenchman gave some hints to his summer plans on Tuesday.

Speaking at the French Football Federation’s headquarters in Clairefontaine, France while with the French National Team, Mbappe said that he was not afraid to leave Monaco this summer but that any transfer move would be his decision alone.

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“It does not scare me to leave,” Mbappe said in response to a question about risking a transfer in a World Cup year, with the possibility of him playing less at a bigger club or getting injured. French teammate Anthony Martial‘s move from Monaco to Manchester United has so far been a dud, and Martial could be outside the France World Cup squad unless he regains a regular place in the Red Devils starting XI.

Mbappe is currently being linked with a nearly nine-figure transfer move to Manchester United and Real Madrid after exploding on the scene this past year, leading Monaco to the UEFA Champions League semifinals and scoring 21 goals in 23 starts in both the Champions League and Ligue 1.

France National Team coach Didier Deschamps was recently quoted saying he wouldn’t advise Mbappe to leave Monaco just yet. Mbappe also said recently that his first idol in soccer was current Real Madrid coach Zenedine Zidane, but the winger poured cold water on the rumors that popped up over that comment.

“I dreamed of Zidane player, not Zidane the coach,” Mbappe said. “He is a great coach who immediately got results. He is developing. But it was the player who made me dream.”

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Manchester United to reject De Gea bids

Manchester United are set to hold on to its star goalkeeper this summer.

With Real Madrid once again rumored to make a new bid for the Spanish international David De Gea, Manchester United will reportedly stand firm in their desire to keep De Gea for the foreseeable future, according to The Guardian.

De Gea nearly moved to Real Madrid on transfer deadline day in 2015 before the deal broke down in the 11th hour, a late fax to Manchester United in time reportedly scuttling the move.

De Gea, Manchester United’s starting goalkeeper and arguably the first name on the team sheet, earned 14 clean sheets in 16 wins and 35 appearances this past Premier League season. Even with Argentina National Team goalkeeper Sergio Romero in reserve, Manchester United appear unwilling to part with one of the Premier League’s top goalkeepers.

De Rossi extends with Roma

While one AS Roma legend is leaving the field this summer, another is staying around for at least another two years.

AS Roma announced Wednesday that veteran midfielder Daniele De Rossi has signed a two-year contract extension. The news comes just four days after talismanic forward and the face of the team, Francesco Totti, gave his farewell to the Roma fans and his teammates and coaches.

Like Totti, De Rossi has only played for Roma in his career, and while he has struggled at times with form and injury during his career, he’s been one of Roma’s most important players as the club made its way back into the Champions League and giving Juventus a serious challenge in Serie A.

De Rossi said last April that he somewhat regretted not making a move to the Premier League or Spain’s La Liga to get to experience life in those countries “outside the stadiums.”

The 33-year-old has played 561 times for the Giallorossi and has scored 59 goals.

Facebook, Amazon Prime could bid for Premier League streaming rights

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One day in the not-too-distant future, we could be watching Premier League games on Facebook or Amazon’s streaming services.

That’s according to Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, who confirmed that both Facebook and Amazon are expected to to bid for the Premier League’s broadcast rights when they open again in 2022.

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“Absolutely I think they’ll enter the mix,” Woodward said. “Anecdotally there was strong interest in the last cycle, and we’re hearing that around the Premier League table, but we’re also hearing that from a European perspective as well in terms of interest in the Champions League and Europa League rights.

“In the wider picture you have to look at what’s happening elsewhere at the moment.There isn’t any clear European sale to these kind of partners at the moment. But looking at the interest Facebook and Amazon had in the Indian Premier League rights, anecdotally it sounded like very big numbers.

“So I do think we are going to see an increase in engagement from these and we would welcome the interest. I think it’s going to be increasingly important to digitally engage with fans, and we think we can be complementary to partners like this coming in.”

According to reports, Facebook bid $600 million to stream India’s cricket league aptly named the Indian Premier League but lost out to 21st Century Fox’s Star India, which bid for the television and streaming rights together.

Currently, NBC owns the Premier League rights in the U.S., including streaming rights, but perhaps in the future we could see separate deals for television and streaming sites.

However, more than likely, pressure from Facebook and Amazon Prime could drive the cost of the rights up, ensuring an even bigger payout for all 20 Premier League clubs.

On This Day: The Battle of Old Trafford

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Fourteen years ago today, Arsenal headed north to Manchester for a famous matchup with Manchester United.

Taking the field at Old Trafford, Arsenal were unbeaten to start the season, having won its first four Premier League matches before drawing a week prior at home against Portsmouth. Manchester United meanwhile had four wins and one loss in that span.

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By way of Arsenal’s FA Cup title and Man United’s Premier League title the year before, the two teams met for the annual Community Shield a month earlier, and the game descended into a physical battle. Five yellow cards were shown, Arsenal substitute Francis Jeffers was shown a red card and defender Sol Campbell was later banned for kicking at an opponent, and Man United – backed by a young Tim Howard in goal – won 4-3 on penalty kicks after the score was tied at 1-1 after extra time.

With numerous physical encounters over the years, the September 21 encounter was shaping up to be another monumental showdown, and in terms of physicality, it didn’t disappoint.

Each team were shown four yellow cards and there was a combined 31 fouls. The match took a turn when Patrick Vieira was shown a second yellow card and subsequent red card for kicking out at Man United’s Ruud Van Nistelrooy after Van Nistelrooy had fouled Vieira going for a header. The decision set off a scrum in the middle of the field.

Despite being down to ten men, Arsenal held on until the final minutes, when Martin Keown was whistled for a foul in the box on Diego Forlan, giving Man United a penalty kick. But whether it was karma or lady luck, Van Nistelrooy’s penalty clanged off the crossbar and away to safety. Arsenal held on for a goalless draw, which helped boost the team’s belief in itself.

The Gunners went on to finish the 2013-2014 season undefeated, the only team to finish a Premier League season without a defeat. Man United wound up taking the FA Cup crown, settling for third place in the Premier League.

Watch some highlights from the match below.

Former Sunderland forward Scocco scores five goals for River Plate

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Veteran forward Ignacio “Nacho” Scocco is quickly endearing himself to the River Plate faithful.

Nearly three months since joining River, Scocco scored an incredible five goals in the second leg of his team’s Copa Libertadores quarterfinal matchup with Bolivian side Jorge Wilstermann. Scocco scored a first half hat-trick and added two more in the second half as River turned around a 3-0 deficit heading into the second leg.

Scocco had a mostly frustrating spell in 2014 ahead of the World Cup with Sunderland, joining the club as they staved off relegation by one point. Scocco failed to score for Sunderland in eight appearances, all off the bench.

However, since then, he returned to his native Argentina and starred for his hometown club Newell’s Old Boys before moving this summer to River as a replacement for Sebastián Driussi, who completed a transfer to Zenit St. Petersburg.

Here’s a look at all of Scocco’s goals Thursday evening.

Tammy Abraham denies switching national teams

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Fans of the England National Team may still have a chance to see Tammy Abraham don the Three Lions crest one day.

Abraham refuted reports from earlier Thursday that he was in the process of switching his national team to Nigeria from England. The 19-year-old Swansea City forward on-loan from Chelsea has played as high as the England Under-21 Men’s National Team but because of his Nigerian father, he’s eligible for the African nation.

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Abraham confirmed that he had met with Nigeria Football Federation chief Amaju Pinnick after Swansea’s last game, but denied that he was looking to play for the Super Eagles.

“I have informed The FA that I remain available for selection for England,” Abraham said, via the BBC. “Contrary to reports in the media I would like to clarify that I have not agreed to switch my national team allegiance. I can confirm I met the President of the NFF after our last game against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday given he is a friend of my father. However, any suggestion that I have made a decision to change my international representation is incorrect and wide of the mark.”

Earlier in the day, reports emerged that Pinnick said the process was underway for Abraham to switch his international allegiance.

Abraham’s apparently decision to remain with the England set-up is good news for his club Swansea City, who will get to keep him closer to Wales on a regular basis, but Abraham may be missing a chance to play senior national team soccer at a young age.