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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.

Juventus suffers blow with apparent Higuain injury

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The back-and-forth battle at the top of Serie A continued on Sunday as Juventus topped Torino at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino, however, the visitors suffered a big injury scare in the process.

[ MORE: Man United draws Brighton, Chelsea gets Leicester in FA Cup ]

Alex Sandro‘s winner came in the 33rd minute, but the focus of the match will leave all eyes on Gonzalo Higuain — who exited after just a quarter of an hour.

The Argentine international was looking to latch onto a through ball from Miralem Pjanic in the fifth minute, before jumping over an oncoming Salvatore Sirigu — goalkeeper for Torino.

Higuain appeared to land awkwardly on his ankle, though, and while he attempted to continue on in the match he was substituted off for Federico Bernardeschi 10 minutes later.

The extent of Higuain’s injury is unknown to this point, however, it comes at a very bad time for Juventus.

The Italian giants are heavily involved in the Serie A title race, holding a two-point lead over Napoli at the top of the table.

Additionally, Juve has important fixtures coming up in both the Coppa Italia and Champions League against Atalanta and Tottenham, respectively. Higuain and Co. are level at 2-2 with Spurs heading into their UCL second leg in early March, and Juve will surely need the striker’s presence to have a shot at advancing to the quarterfinals.

Rochdale 2-2 Tottenham: Davies stuns Spurs late

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A valiant effort from a League One side has rewarded the minnows with a replay set to be played at Wembley Stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur looked on its way towards the FA Cup sixth round on Sunday, but a late finish by Steven Davies gave Rochdale a 2-2 draw with the Premier League club at the Spotland Stadium.

[ MORE: Willian stars as Chelsea routs Hull in FA Cup ]

Harry Kane — who scored his 34th goal on the season in all competitions — converted from the penalty spot in the 88th minute, however, Davies had the final say deep into stoppage time to send the two sides towards a replay.

Ian Henderson’s finish in the 45th minute gave Rochdale a gift at the conclusion of the first stanza, after the hosts capitalized on a Spurs giveaway near midfield.

Meanwhile, Tottenham managed to level the match at 1-1 on the hour mark when Lucas Moura calmly slotted his close-range shot past goalkeeper Josh Lillis after a timely through ball from Moussa Sissoko picked out the former PSG man.

The visitors began pressing on in the second half, with Mauricio Pochettino‘s side having trailed at the halftime break.

The two sides will now meet on either Feb. 27 or 28 in the reverse fixture to decide which team advances. The winner will either meet Sheffield Wednesday or Swansea City in the quarterfinals.

Scholes: Pogba didn’t earn Man United spot in 2012 before Juve stint

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Paul Pogba‘s young career has been bright, but a former Manchester United legend suggests that there was a time where the Frenchman struggled to find his way at Old Trafford.

[ MORE: Man United draws Brighton, Chelsea gets Leicester in FA Cup quarters

The 24-year-old Pogba is now in his second stint with the Red Devils, after spending four seasons in Italy with giants Juventus.

Former United midfielder Paul Scholes says though that back in 2012 — prior to Pogba’s move to Juve — that the physical player wasn’t pleased with the fact that he wasn’t getting regular minutes with the first team.

“Ferguson wanted me initially to come back and coach the reserve team with Warren Joyce,” he told BT Sport. “I said in September I’d come back. So I started helping Joycey, and I was training with the reserves.

“I was training every day with the likes of Pogba, Lingard, all these types of players. They were a really good side and I was really enjoying training. I was getting fit, I felt great, and it got to December time and the team was struggling a bit.

“They had a load of injuries, no central midfield players were fit. They ended up playing Phil Jones and Fabio da Silva in central midfield in a game against Blackburn at Old Trafford.

“Funnily enough that was the end of Pogba, because he thought he should have been playing instead of them. But he wasn’t doing well enough.”

Scholes, who had retired briefly in 2011, came back after just six months for the Red Devils, and ended up playing a year-and-a-half more following the decision to end his playing career.

It is widely believed that Pogba’s decision to head to Juventus was largely due to the impact of Scholes in the United squad.

Video: Rochdale puts Tottenham on upset alert at the half

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It’s been a tremendous season for Ian Henderson, particularly in the FA Cup, and now he and his side are one half away from upsetting one of the Premier League giants.

Henderson’s finish on the brink of halftime has put League One side Rochdale up 1-0 against Tottenham Hotspur, as the minnows aim to become the first non-PL side to advance to the quarterfinals in this season’s tournament.

A sloppy giveaway from Spurs near midfield created the attack for the hosts, and allowed Rochdale to capitalize on one of its few attacks during the opening stanza.