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Transfer Rumor Roundup: Lindelof to Man Utd and more

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With the international season in full swing, clubs are hoping to complete deals that will see them compete at a higher level once next season starts.

Manchester United looks to be quick off the blocks, with a deal for Benfica defender Victor Lindelof apparently complete. Multiple outlets are reporting that the deal is fully done, and that it will become official on Wednesday after his international duty with Sweden is complete and he can fly to Manchester to perform the medical.

According to the reports, the purchase will cost Manchester United around $45 million. Lindelof, a 22-year-old center-back with 12 international caps to his name, was a player that Jose Mourinho was reportedly in for last winter, but instead the United boss pulled his offer with the squad already full.


With Liverpool still shaking off the embarrassment of the Virgil Van Dijk disaster, there are rumors that the Reds have begun to turn the gears on a play for Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. The 22-year-old Serbian has 11 international caps and was a regular for Lazio in midfield last season as the club finished 5th in Serie A.

The process has just begun, with Liverpool enquiring about Milinkovic-Savic’s availability, but according to the player’s agent, there are “many big clubs talking about him” (of course he would say that). The Serbian’s agent did say Juventus was not one of those suitors, and that the player is happy at Lazio, having just signed a new contract in April that lasts through the summer of 2022.

Given his brand new contract and likely interest elsewhere, it will be costly for Liverpool to bring the Serbian midfielder to Anfield. It also might behoove Liverpool to let the player continue to develop, as he shows top ability both with the ball at his feet and in the air, but still has some growing to do, as evident by his 73% passing accuracy last season over 34 Serie A appearances.


Reports in Russia have suggested that Arsenal is close to signing 21-year-old midfielder Aleksandr Golovin from CSKA Moscow. The youngster is highly experienced for his age, with 12 international caps under his belt plus two full Russian league seasons which saw CSKA finish top of the table in 2016 followed by a second-place finish this past year.

According to the report, Golovin would cost Arsenal just $13 million.

The young Russian is a superb tackler and solid passer out in front of the back line, and has a far better disciplinary record than the incumbent Arsenal midfielders. While the hope is that Golovin would eventually challenge both Francis Coquelin and Granit Xhaka for the holding midfield spot, initially CSKA is reportedly interested in taking Golovin back on loan for a season should the deal go through. The report also mentions Hull City as a possible loan destination should Arsenal decide to keep him in England.


Spurs midfielder Dele Alli has spoken about his future, in the hopes of easing Tottenham fans who may have fears of him leaving. While the young England international would not rule out any future move – even something this summer – he wanted to make sure Spurs fans knew where his head was at.

“I think people get too worried about where they are going to eventually end up,” Alli told The Guardian. “They lose focus on the journey, and are not enjoying it.”

There are endless rumors that Real Madrid are interested in the 21-year-old star, but nothing has come of that yet.

“I’m signed to Tottenham and I’m enjoying it. Who knows where I am going to end up, whether I stay at Tottenham for the rest of my career or if I do happen to go somewhere else. I’m sure if it happens, if I do go somewhere else, it will be at a time when I think that’s what’s needed. But I am just looking forward to enjoying the journey.”

Championship Focus: Bluebirds flying, Villa second-last

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The wild 46-game slate that is the Football League Championship is already howling, with all 24 teams three matches deep into their campaigns toward Premier League promotion (or avoiding relegation to League One).

The three clubs relegated from the Premier League last season all sit within the Top 8 after three match days. Sunderland is unbeaten with a win and two draws, while Hull City is 1-1-1.

[ MORE: Barcelona falls to Real… again ]

Middlesbrough has two wins from three matches, three points behind three sides who’ve started a perfect 3-0.

Wolves and Ipswich Town are two of the three, and Cardiff City leads the way. Owner Vincent Tan has seen his club score six goals without conceding once in defeats of Burton Albion, Aston Villa, and Sheffield United.

Burton is 0-3, while Steve Bruce‘s Villa is just one point better and sits 23rd.

As for individual superlatives, Bristol City’s Bobby Reid has four goals to lead the league while familiar names Lewis Grabban (Sunderland) and Abel Hernandez (Hull City) are among a quartet of players to score thrice.

Meanwhile, PL transfer target Jota of Brentford continues to impress with three assists through three matches. Will he remain in the second tier by the close of the transfer window?

MLS Snapshot: Montreal Impact 3-0 Chicago Fire

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The game in 100 words (or less)Ignacio Piatti is very good at soccer, and Chicago backstop Matt Lampson is going to see him deep into his dreams. Piatti beat Lampson up close on a turnover and then, with Montreal ahead 2-0 off a PK, the Argentine curled a surprise shot from distance around the keeper. Game, set, match, and it wasn’t even halftime. The loss keeps Chicago from using its match-in-hand to catch second place New York City FC, while the three points move Montreal to within two points of the East’s final playoff position.

Three moments that mattered

6′ — Piatti starts the party — Gifted a chance with the keeper by a sloppy missed clearing attempt, the Argentine deftly pops the ball over Fire keeper Matt Lampson.

36′ — Lampson hurts his cause — Chicago’s backstop wasn’t at fault on the opening goal, but he was for the second. After chopping down Matteo Mancosu in the box, Lampson guessed wrong on the striker’s penalty kick and the Fire went down 2-0.

38′ — It’s not your night, Lamps — Pretty sure you can anyone named Lampson, Lamps. Anyway, this time it was one of MLS’ top newcomers who set up Piatti for a goal. “Nacho” has his 12th of the season thanks to Blerim Dzemaili, and my goodness did Piatti do well here.

Man of the Match: Piatti.

Forbes ranks the top supporters in Major League Soccer

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Forbes claims the shared honor will give two Cascadia Cup rivals one less thing to argue about, but we completely disagree.

The celebrated magazine says their metrics show the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders tied for the honor of who has the best fans in Major League Soccer.

The post says the determination was made through four factors: attendance, local TV ratings, merchandise sales, and social media followers on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Attendance was weighted heaviest, which certainly gives Atlanta United hope to go charging up the rankings in the future. For now, the “Five Stripes” are not included in the list.

The Galaxy finish third in the rankings, while the sixth-place New York Red Bulls edge New York City FC by one spot.

For the report and full explanation, head here.

Europa League preview: Everton, Milan, Marseille take next steps

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The UEFA Europa League playoff round takes full flight Thursday, a day after Utrecht struck a blow for the Eredivisie with a 1-0 win over Zenit Saint-Petersburg in a Wednesday first leg.

Premier League participants Everton will be seeking a result at home against Hajduk Split, the third-place team from Croatia’s top flight.

Gylfi Sigurdsson passed his medical at Goodison Park but will not be available for Everton on Thursday.

[ MORE: Barcelona falls to Real… again ]

As for the match, manager Ronald Koeman knows the Thursday matchdays for the UEL will try his club’s endurance and depth. From EvertonFC.com:

“We know English teams have some problems. I think it is more mental than physical because if you play in the Champions League – so Wednesday and Saturday – you have the same amount of days to recover. I try to put out the strongest team to start the game. That will take into account the tactical aspects of each game. That will mean different players start and different options in terms of substitutions.”

Captained by Zoran Nizic and managed by Joan Carrillo, Hajduk has a young star in the making in the form of 19-year-old attacking midfielder Nikola Vlasic, but Everton is heavily favored at home with Hajduk given 12:1 odds by bookmakers.

[ MORE: Barca GM says Coutinho, Dembele “close” ]

Those numbers are a relative sure thing compared to AC Milan’s visitors. Macedonia club Shkendija are a 33:1 underdog for its trip to Italy.

Elsewhere, Slovenian side Domzale is a longshot at home to visiting Marseille.

Speaking of bookmakers, Arsenal won’t enter the competition until the group stage but is considered the favorite to win the UEL by a hair over Milan. Everton, Villarreal, and Athletic Bilbao are level with third-best odds.

UEFA Europa League playoff first legs
Utrecht 1-0 Zenit — Weds.
BATE Borisov vs. Oleksandriya — 1 p.m. ET Thursday
Apollon Limassol vs. Midtjylland — 1 p.m.
Krasnodar vs. Red Star Belgrade — 1 p.m.
Dinamo Zagreb vs. Skenderbeu — 1 p.m.
FH vs. Braga — 1:45 p.m. ET Thursday
PAOK vs. Ostersund — 2 p.m. ET Thursday
Vardar vs. Fenerbahce — 2 p.m.
Plzen vs. AEK Lamaca — 2:15 p.m. ET Thursday
Altach vs. Maccabi Tel-Aviv — 2:30 p.m. ET Thursday
Ludogorets Razgrad vs. Suduva — 2:30 p.m.
Panathinaikos vs. Athletic Bilbao — 2:30 p.m.
Domzale vs. Marseille — 2:45 p.m. ET Thursday
Osijek vs. Austria Wien — 2:45 p.m.
Viitorul vs. Red Bull Salzburg — 2:45 p.m.
Ajax vs. Rosenborg — 2:45 p.m.
Legia Warsaw vs. Sheriff — 2:45 p.m.
AC Milan vs. Shkendija — 2:45 p.m.
Club Brugge vs. AEK — 2:45 p.m.
Partizan vs. Videoton — 3 p.m. ET Thursday
Everton vs. Hajduk Split — 3:05 p.m. ET Thursday
Maritimo vs. Dynamo Kyiv — 3:30 p.m. ET Thursday