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Transfer Rumor Roundup: Chicharito to West Ham, Arnautovic close

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West Ham United are said to be closing in on signing Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez from Bayer Leverkusen.

[ MORE: Auba a good fit for Chelsea?

Hernandez, 29, is said to have a $17 million release clause in his current contract and Mexico’s all-time leading goalscorer has been linked with a multitude of clubs across Europe.

The Hammers seem to be the most serious suitors and the Daily Mirror claims that more talks with Chicharito’s agent are planned and they plan to make him their highest-paid player, but no deal is imminent

Hernandez will still be on his break from action at the 2017 Confederations Cup where Mexico finish fourth, but when he returns to preseason he has a big decision to make. Following his five-year spell at Manchester United, where he became a fans favorite and his clinical finishing led Jose Mourinho to question why he was ever sold, does Chicharito have unfinished business in the Premier League?

If so, it perhaps would be better to go to a team like West Ham where he will play week in, week out and potential feed off of Andy Carroll and have the likes of Manuel Lanzini and Michael Antonio creating chances for him. If he was to go to a top six contender (Chelsea is rumored to be interested, as should every PL club with a release fee of $17 million) then the same issue which dogged him at United could crop up again: being dubbed a super sub.

In a World Cup year and with El Tri all but confirmed to be in Russia next summer, Hernandez will want to play regularly. With Leverkusen bringing in a new coach after a disappointing finish in the Bundesliga last season following their UEFA Champions League exploits, now may be the best time for Hernandez to move back to the PL. He has scored 38 goals in 54 Bundesliga games over the past two seasons and he continues to be a streaky predator in the box.

Playing in front of close to 60,000 every other week in the London Stadium and living in England’s capital isn’t too bad of a deal for Chicharito if he was to return to England.

UPDATE: Pro Soccer Talk understands that the Hammers have agreed a fee for Stoke City and Austria striker Marko Arnautovic. It is said to be a “done deal” for the 28-year-old who only signed a new lucrative long-term deal with the Potters last summer.


Jose Mourinho gave a simple answer when asked about Manchester United’s potential signing of Ivan Perisic: “no idea, no idea, my friend.”

However Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy claim that United could offer Anthony Martial in exchange for Perisic with the French international hardly in sparkling form since Mourinho arrived last summer.

Openly criticized by United’s manager, the Frenchman found it tough to become a regular in his plans (he scored just eight goals in 42 appearances in all competitions) and with Romelu Lukaku arriving this summer, plus Perisic’s potential arrival, Martial could fall further down the pecking order.

Would this be a good deal for everyone? Perhaps.

The huge sum United pay AS Monaco for Martial always seemed over the top and with the extra add-ons (one of which was triggered at the end of last season) Martial could prove to be even more expensive for the Red Devils with a deal rising to over $75 million.

Inter are looking to spend big under new manager Luciano Spalletti and their Chinese investors who have now taken over. Offloading Perisic to United and getting in a striker of Martial’s caliber seems like a good deal for everyone. Martial, 21, won’t play often at United for the foreseeable future and his direct running and ability to play out wide or central could suit Inter’s plans.

As for Perisic, he has been named in Inter’s traveling party for their tour of China and Singapore, and with United unwiling to meet the $62 million fee Inter want, the Croatian seems likely to stay in Italy. At least for now.

Jurgen Klopp hails “perfect day” for Liverpool

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Jurgen Klopp has had far from an ideal week but his Liverpool side ruthlessly dispatched Southampton at Anfield to end it on a high note.

[ MORE: Liverpool batter Saints ]

Klopp was sent to hospital earlier this week when he felt unwell but the German coach was given a big boost as Mohamed Salah scored twice in the first half, which included a stunning opener, and Philippe Coutinho finished Saints off in the second half as the Reds eased to victory and stayed in touch with the chasing pack behind runaway leaders Manchester City.

Speaking to the BBC after the game, Klopp was happy with what he saw from his side after he was fit enough to be on the bench on Saturday.

“Difficult game, Southampton are a really good football side. It was an open game, we had more chances before we scored. We need to be patient in a lively way,” Klopp said. “The first goal, wow, I have nothing to do with the goal and the second was a fantastic pass and Mo Salah makes great runs. We could have scored more often but it was a perfect day for us.”

Klopp, 50, sees his side just three points off second place after 12 games of the Premier League season, while his side remain firm favorites to qualify for the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.

So far, so good.

Yes, Man City will take some catching (and a collapse of their own) but Liverpool’s aim should be to secure a second-straight top four finish and go from there.

With Sadio Mane, Salah, Coutinho and Roberto Firmino in the form they showed on Saturday, plus a fifth clean sheet in six PL games this season at Anfield, the defensive woes Klopp’s team have faced away from home this season aren’t troubling them at home.

Next up is Chelsea at home for Liverpool, which will be a supreme test of their newfound defensive solidity at home. Their results against title contenders this season have been up and down with a draw against Manchester United, hammerings at Tottenham and Man City and a thrashing of Arsenal at home.

Liverpool’s clash against top four rivals Chelsea is followed by five winnable games before they travel to Arsenal on Dec. 22.

Between now and then we will see if Liverpool’s season will amount to more than just a top four challenge. Saturday’s shellacking of a lackluster Southampton may have been “perfect” but a much tougher test awaits next week against a rejuvenated Chelsea side who have Alvaro Morata and Eden Hazard purring in attack

Can Liverpool’s oft-fragile defense cope? We are about to find out.

Burnley’s Barnes: “Can we finish the season now?”

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Ashley Barnes broke his season duck in classy fashion, scoring and adding an assist as Burnley stayed in the thick of the race for Europe with a 2-0 win over Swansea City at Turf Moor on Saturday.

[ RECAP: Burnley 2-0 Swans ]

The win shouldn’t be a surprise, as Burnley is humming in style. The Clarets entered the day with a win at Chelsea and draws at Liverpool and Spurs, so why would a visit from Swansea lead to anything than three points.

It’s dream world, really.

From the BBC:

“We’re on a fantastic run. We’re working hard every day and today we were different class.

“Can we finish the season now? No, I’m kidding. there’s still a long way to go and we need to pick up as many points as possible.”

Every win makes more and more believers of the Burnley Football Club. Perhaps more important to the Clarets, each win makes it less likely that Sean Dyche will leave the club for a better gig (Everton), at least right now.

Crystal Palace 2-2 Everton: Toffees battle back for point

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  • Eagles took lead through McArthur, Zaha
  • Baines, Niasse equalized
  • Palace remain bottom of PL table

Crystal Palace and Everton played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

The Eagles twice took the lead in a wild first half with James McArthur giving Palace the lead less than a minute in but Leighton Baines soon equalized from the penalty spot. Wilfried Zaha made it 2-1 but Oumar Niasse equalized right on half time and it finished 2-2 after a tense second half.

With the point Palace stay bottom of the table on five points, while Everton are in 16th place on 12 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

A rapid start to the game saw Palace take the lead with just 51 seconds on the clock.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek‘s shot was saved by Jordan Pickford but McArthur was on hand to tap home and give the Eagles an early lead.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Soon after Everton were level as Oumar Niasse went down under Scott Dann‘s challenge in the box and Baines smashed home the spot kick. 1-1 with less than seven minutes in.

10 minutes before half time Palace retook the lead as Joel Ward’s cross found Zaha and his flick beat Pickford to make it 2-1. Just when it looked like Palace would lead at half time, Everton leveled.

Julian Speroni had a howler as he gave the ball straight to Idrissa Gana Gueye who played it to Gylfi Sigurdsson who put it on a plate for Niasse to make it 2-2. The Senegalese forward came so close to joining Palace on Transfer Deadline Day back in the summer and came back to haunt them.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ] 

A tense second half saw plenty of players booked in the rain in south London as Palace pushed hard for the winner with Loftus-Cheek going close but Everton’s defense held firm.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Late on Christian Benteke, on his long-awaited return from injury, also went close for Palace but the game ended even at Selhurst.

WATCH LIVE: Manchester United vs. Newcastle United

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Paul Pogba returns for Manchester United, who welcomes Newcastle United to Old Trafford on Saturday (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Zlatan Ibrahimovic makes the bench for the Red Devils, which also has Ander Herrera and Jesse Lingard as options.

Rafa Benitez will look to best his old nemesis with Dwight Gayle and Joselu up top.

LINEUPS

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Lindelof, Smalling, Young, Matic, Pogba, Mata, Rashford, Martial, Lukaku. Subs: Romero, Rojo, Shaw, Fellaini, Herrera, Lingard, Ibrahimovic.

Newcastle United: Elliot; Yedlin, Lejeune, Clark, Manquillo; Ritchie, Hayden, Shelvey, Murphy; Gayle, Joselu. Subs: Darlow, Gamez, Mbemba, Diame, Aarons, Perez, Mitrovic.