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Transfer Rumor Roundup: Giroud to Dortmund; Nainggolan to Chelsea, Man United

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Olivier Giroud has admitted he is unsure if he will be an Arsenal player next season and the vultures already appear to be circling.

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The Daily Mirror reports that up to five clubs want to sign the 30-year-old striker, with Borussia Dortmund the latest to express their interest.

Are Dortmund preparing for the exit of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang? Let’s wait and see, but there’s no doubt that Giroud would be a hit in the Bundesliga with his phsyical play and aerial ability perfect for a team like Dortmund who love to get the ball wide early and often, then cause havoc with crosses into the box.

Per the report Everton, West Ham, AC Milan and Marseille are all interested in signing Giroud who has been pushed further down the pecking order at Arsenal after the arrival of club-record signing Alexandre Lacazette for $64.1 million. Ironically Giroud starts ahead of Lacazette for the French national team, but it appears that won’t be the case at Arsenal.

Giroud and Lacazette both came on as second half subs in Arsenal’s 2-0 friendly win against Sydney FC in Australia on Thursday, with Lacazette scoring on his Gunners debut.

It appears increasingly likely that Giroud will be playing elsewhere this season as his five-year stay at Arsenal is coming to an end. He’s won three FA Cups and scored 98 goals in 226 games in all competitions for the Gunners but with his role a bit-part one last season, he can expect more of the same and that’s not what he needs in a World Cup year.


Radja Nainggolan could become the new Romelu Lukaku. Confused?

The Daily Mail reports that Manchester United and Chelsea are set to tussle for Nainggolan in the same way they battled it out for Lukaku and we all know how that ended up. Ah. The penny has dropped.

Nainggolan has been a long-time target for plenty of Premier League clubs and it appears United may make a move for the Belgian international with Tiemoue Bakayoko heading to Chelsea and reports stating the Blues are unwilling to sell Nemanja Matic to United and their former boss Jose Mourinho.

Reports also state that United also want to sign Eric Dier from Tottenham Hotspur, but with Spurs seemingly not keen to do that deal United may turn to 29-year-old Nainggolan.

A true terrier, the man with the blonde Mohawk has been a sensation for Roma since joining in 2014 but it is believed new Sporting Director Monchi may be willing to let him leave. Imagine Nainggolan and Ander Herrera snapping into tackles in United’s engine room? Very Mourinho-esque.

Per the report, Antonio Conte is a big fan of Nainggolan and is willing to add him along with Bakayoko as Chelsea’s boss wants more protection for his defense from his midfielders. All of this sets up an intriguing few weeks in the window as United and Chelsea continue to battle it out for the same players.

Real Madrid come from behind to win in Club World Cup semis

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Real Madrid made things on Wednesday a bit more complicated than they would have preferred, but the two-time defending European champions are through to the final of the Club World Cup for the second straight year.

[ MORE: Newcastle sale closer after improved bid of $400 million ]

Zinedine Zidane’s men came from behind to beat United Arab Emirates side Al Jazira (winners of the U.A.E. Pro League, the tournament’s host country), courtesy of second-half goals scored by Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, 2-1 at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Al Jazira held a 1-0 halftime lead, thanks to Romarinho’s opening goal in the 41st minute. The advantage lasted just a dozen minutes, though, as Ronaldo used Madrid’s first genuine chance of the game to bring Los Blancos back onto level terms in the 53rd minute. Luka Modric slipped the Portuguese superstar through, and the recently crowned Ballon d’Or winner finished with ease to make it 1-1.

[ MORE: West Ham targeting Wilshere in January transfer window ]

The winner didn’t come for quite some time after that, as Madrid were made to wait — and work — for their place in Saturday’s final, where they’ll face Brazilian side and Copa Libertadores winners Gremio. Bale had only just come off the bench seconds earlier, when Lucas Vazquez cut the ball back for Bale to hit it hard and low past the goalkeeper.

The Welshman nearly made it 3-1 with four minutes to go in regular time, but his scissor from the edge of the box was saved to deny Madrid a stunning insurance goal very late on.

Madrid are aiming to become the first side to win back-to-back Club World Cup titles after beating Kashima Antlers, 4-2 after extra-time, in the 2016 final.

Watch Live: Man City, Man United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs in action

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Seven Premier League games are coming your way from 2:45 p.m. ET on Wednesday, and you can watch them all live online.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ]

Manchester City head to Swansea looking to extend their winning streak to a record-breaking 15-straight in a season, while Manchester United host Bournemouth and Tottenham welcome Brighton to Wembley. There’s a big London derby between West Ham and Arsenal, while Liverpool host West Brom, in-form Leicester head to Southampton and struggling Newcastle clash with Everton.

[ MORE: Sign up for NBC Sports Gold ] 

You can access additional games by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold which also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: “Goal Rush” here ]

For those of you familiar with the Premier League Breakaway Show during busy days (Boxing Day, New Year’s Day, Championship Sunday etc.) in the PL, this will follow that model of being similar to the NFL RedZone with action shown from all of the games in the 10 a.m. ET window. More info is available here.

The schedule for the seven games on Wednesday is below and you can stream each game live by clicking on the links.


Wednesday’s Premier League schedule

2:45 p.m. ET: Swansea City vs. Manchester City – NBCSN [STREAM]
2:45 p.m. ET: Newcastle United vs. Everton – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
2:45 p.m. ET: Southampton vs. Leicester City – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM

3 p.m. ET: Liverpool vs. West Bromwich Albion – NBC Sports Gold  [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: Manchester United vs. Bournemouth – NBC Sports Gold  [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Brighton & Hove Albion – NBC Sports Gold  [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: West Ham United vs. Arsenal – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

Copa Sudamericana finals, leg 2: Flamengo vs. Independiente

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SAO PAULO (AP) Independiente, relegated for the first time in its history in 2013, can complete a remarkable turnaround by winning the Copa Sudamericana at the Maracana Stadium on Wednesday.

The Argentine team will go into the second leg of the final holding a 2-1 lead over Brazilian club Flamengo from the first leg.

Independiente, which has won multiple titles in South American tournaments, will be counting on 18-year-old midfielder Ezequiel Barco, one of the best players in this year’s competition.

Flamengo is also seeking to restore some pride in Rio de Janeiro. The big-spending Brazilian club, playing in its first Copa Sudamericana final, finished its domestic championship in a disappointing sixth place.

The Rio team will be without Peru striker Paolo Guerrero, who is serving a one-year doping ban.

Instead, veteran midfielder Diego will be the key player as Flamengo looks to claim its first regional title since winning the now-defunct Copa Mercosur in 1999.

After Independiente won the first leg, the club posted on its social media channels a picture of its players celebrating at the Maracana in 1995 when the two teams played for the Supercopa.

If the Argentines lose 1-0 on Wednesday, there will be a penalty shootout to decide the winner.

Last year, Brazilian club Chapecoense was awarded the title before the final after 19 players, plus club directors and several members of staff, died in an air crash.

The Copa Sudamericana is the continent’s second most prestigious tournament after the Copa Libertadores.

Germany’s players have big-money incentive to win World Cup

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BERLIN (AP) Germany’s players will each receive $410,000 bonus if the team defends its World Cup title next year in Russia.

The German soccer federation says it has agreed to a performance-related bonus system for the team, as it did for the successful 2014 World Cup campaign and the last two European Championships.

Bonuses will only be paid upon reaching the quarterfinals, when each player would receive $90,000. That will increase to $150,000 for reaching the semifinals, $175,000 for third place and $235,000 for reaching the final.

Only Italy (1934 and 1938) and Brazil (1958 and 1962) have won back-to-back World Cup titles.