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Transfer Rumor Roundup: Nainggolan to Man Utd, Costa to Atleti

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With the transfer window officially open, Manchester United is being linked with basically every single player in all of Europe. It’s up to fans and media to parse out what deals seem more likely and what appears to be nothing but chatter.

The one that may have legs is a rumor connecting the Red Devils with Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan. The 29-year-old Belgian has been a solid box-to-box presence for Roma since arriving from Cagliari in 2014. Still, he may have reached his ceiling with the Italian club and could look elsewhere.

Nainggolan had been linked to Chelsea but the Blues have appeared to turn their attention towards Monaco’s Tiemoue Bakayoko, and that deal looks to be nearing completion.

Still, the Nainggolan rumor hasn’t made it much past the tabloids, with Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport the most adamant of its eventual completion at a rate around $48 million. Whether this comes to fruition or not, it’s clear Jose Mourinho wants another holding midfielder, as United has also linked heavily with Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic. It’s also important to remember that Nainggolan is saying all the right things, admitting a month ago he’d be happy to stay at Roma.


Another, more recent Manchester United rumor is a bit more surprising. With the future of goalkeeper David De Gea still up in the air as Real Madrid links refuse to go away, Mourinho could be weighing up his options between the sticks.

According to a number of reports, the Red Devils boss could turn to Manchester City’s Joe Hart. The England starter has admitted he is nervous about finding a new club this summer, with his City career likely over. Obviously this hinges on the potential departure of de Gea, but if the Spaniard were to head back home, could Mourinho give Hart a lifeline?


Diego Costa could be on his way out of Chelsea, leaving Antonio Conte with work to do up front. The Spanish international has been linked with a return to Atletico Madrid for some time now, but their transfer ban complicates matters.

According to a report by Spanish publication AS, the capital club would not loan Costa out for the first half of the season, instead keeping him in the reserves until they are able to register him on January 2nd. That would leave the 28-year-old on the sidelines for four months until he’s able to play again.

With Antoine Griezmann already back on board, plus the other strike options in Kevin Gameiro and Fernando Torres, adding Costa would further gluttonize the front line as Atletico Madrid opens play in The Olympic Stadium in Madrid next season. However, with such competition and only a half-season to ply his trade, Costa would likely find playing time at his old club hard to come by.


Monaco’s midfielder Fabinho has been linked with a number of Premier League targets, but it appears now his heaviest suitor comes from France.

According to reports in a pair of French outlets, L’Equipe and So Foot, Paris Saint-Germain has made a $51 million bid for the 23-year-old Brazilian, but Monaco rejected the approach in hopes of keeping Fabinho on board. Even if they do sell Fabinho, it’s likely that Monaco would hope to avoid sending him to a direct Ligue 1 rival. Nevertheless, Goal.com reporter Loic Tanzi states that Fabinho has already agreed to personal terms with PSG, and the Parisians only need to convince Monaco to sell for the deal to be completed.

With Bernardo Silva already gone, the future of Kylian Mbappe up in the air, and Thomas Lemar also drawing heavy interest, Monaco will do well to keep any of these young men at the Stade Louis II next season.


With Watford and Southampton both signing players on Saturday, Middlesbrough could be next as they have reportedly won the signature of Norwich midfielder Jonny Howson.

According to The Mirror’s print version, the 29-year-old has picked the Premier League side over his former club Leeds United. Middlesbrough will reportedly pay $6.5 million for Howson, who has one cap for the England national team.

WATCH: Camila’s wicked swerving goal for Brazil

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The Tournament of Nations got underway earlier Thursday, with Brazil and Japan drawing 1-1 in Seattle.

While some in the crowd may’ve been waiting to see the United States women’s national team and Australia in the second game of the twin bill, they got an absolute treat from Brazil’s Camila.

[ MORE: Galaxy’s season-changing signing ]

The Orlando Pride midfielder is yet to scoop up 10 caps, but blasted this 25-yard goal home with a wicked outside bend.

The aesthetics are terrific.

LA Galaxy’s second Dos Santos signing is a season-changer

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Remember this day, MLS fans, as one that perhaps helped determine an MLS Cup Finalist.

The LA Galaxy have signed Villarreal midfielder and Mexican national teamer Jonathan Dos Santos, and he’s the sort of player who could alter the landscape of the Western Conference.

Like Nicolas Lodeiro to Seattle last season and New England’s addition of Jermaine Jones in 2014, Dos Santos’ move comes with the distinct possibility of elevating LA into the next stratosphere.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

Take the Galaxy’s history of winning, and toss in a midseason coaching improvement from Curt Onalfo to Sigi Schmid, as well as MVP-in-their-own-right caliber teammates Giovani Dos Santos, Romain Alessandrini, and Jelle van Damme.

Don’t sleep on the fact that Schmid might be gathering momentum from inheriting a talented and underachieving roster and a brand new game-changing midfielder, which feels a bit like karmic retribution for Seattle firing him and signing Lodeiro the next day last season. Seattle only went and won the MLS Cup.

Schmid has used any number of formations, but could deploy a 4-3-3 with Jona Dos Santos, Jermaine Jones, and Joao Pedro in the midfielder and Giovani Dos Santos, Alessandrini, and Gyasi Zardes up top (Sebastian Lletget could return at some point, too).

Now FC Dallas is very deep, Sporting KC looks powerful, and Seattle won it all last year — plus, may be adding Derlis Gonzalez?!? — but LA’s move to add Dos Santos creates a quartet of teams with proven mettle (Houston looks decent, too, but I have concerns about their first-time as a unit in the playoffs).

Joey Barton’s gambling ban lowered by almost 5 months

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Joey Barton’s 18-month ban for betting on almost 1,300 soccer-related events has been lowered to 13 months and one week.

Putting aside the hilarity of grown men and women discussing whether an extra week was necessary, the alteration means he’ll be eligible to return to football on June 1, 2018.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

While that still hampers the idea of the 34-year-old playing again — he’ll be 36 when the ban ends — it’s a significant change if he’s open to the idea of returning to the game.

Barton’s original ban expired in late October 2018, well into a season. From Sky Sports:

The appeal board also agreed: “It was clear that Mr Barton was not involved in any cheating, he did not influence any games and there was nothing suspicious about his bets.

“(The reduction) reflects the overall seriousness of the breaches and also the mitigation of Mr Barton’s addiction.”

Barton’s remarkably controversial career has including several suspensions and imprisonment, but he always found his way back to the field and was very good when in form. After time at Manchester City and Newcastle United, Barton fended off naysayers with stints at QPR, Marseille, Burnley, and a regrettable move to Rangers.

We may see him on the field in August 2018.

FIFA fines Qatar after players’ political support for Emir

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA has fined Qatar’s soccer federation after national team players breached rules against political statements by displaying T-shirts of the country’s Emir at a World Cup qualifier.

FIFA says its disciplinary panel imposed a 50,000 Swiss francs ($51,800) fine and reprimanded Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host.

[ MORE: Nainggolan staying at Roma ]

The incident happened in Doha on June 13, amid a dispute with regional rivals Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Qatar’s players warmed up for a 3-2 win over South Korea wearing white T-shirts with an image of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to show their support for him.

FIFA says the charges related to “displaying a political image” and “political displays” by spectators.