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Top 5 players to watch ahead of Deadline Day

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It appears that unlike recent summer transfer windows we will see plenty of monster deals done in the final days of the window.

[ MORE: Bale to Man United?

Deadline Day should be a fun one. Bring it on.

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Below is a look at the top five Premier League players who could well be on the move on or before Thursday’s 6 p.m. ET deadline with the future of several of the PL’s biggest stars shrouded in uncertainty.


Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) – To Barcelona

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With Liverpool bidding a club-record $71 million for Monaco’s Thomas Lemar, it seems like there’s some movement in this situation. Why would a club already loaded with attacking talents (Mane, Salah, Firmino, Sturridge, Lallana et al.) try to add another attacking midfielder? Coutinho, 25, is said to be “desperate” to make the move to Barcelona happen but the Catalan club have had several bids turned down, the last for over $190 million. Liverpool insist he is not for sale but if Barcelona come in with one more massive bid, does the Brazilian playmaker go?

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) – To Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City

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Part of the “I’ve got one year left on my contract” brigade at Arsenal, the Ox has turned down a new deal with the Gunners and both Chelsea and Liverpool are said to be seriously sniffing around his situation. The versatile England international just turned 24 and has shone in a wing-back role for Arsenal over the past 6-8 months. Oxlade-Chamberlain can get UEFA Champions League action at both Liverpool and Chelsea, while Manchester City are said to be long-time admirers too. with the situations regarding Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere and others just as unclear about Oxalde-Chamberlain’s future at Arsenal, this will be intriguing to see what decision Arsenal make. Do they cash in on the Ox or risk losing him for nothing? Arsenal is said to want $45 million for him and Chelsea have reportedly agreed a fee.

Diego Costa (Chelsea) – To Everton, Atletico Madrid

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The saga of the summer is set for an interesting finale. Diego Costa, 28, is still hanging out in Brazil and refusing to return to Chelsea until they sell him to Atletico Madrid. With the Spanish outfit unable to register new players until January 2018, that presents a signficannt spanner in the works of any deal. Chelsea is said to want over $60 million for Costa but Atleti know he is proving difficult and their offer is said to be way short of that. Everton have emerged as contenders to sign Costa, perhaps on loan until January or maybe even permanently with Ronald Koeman stating he needs a new striker to complete his big-money overhaul. The thought of Costa playing in front of Wayne Rooney and Gylfi Sigurdsson will have fans of the Toffees salivating.

Virgil Van Dijk (Southampton) – To Chelsea, Liverpool

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Southampton insist their team captain Virgil van Dijk is not for sale despite the Dutchman training with the reserves for most of preseason and also handing in a very public transfer request. Van Dijk, 26, saw a move to Liverpool completely evaporate early in the window after the Reds apologized publicly for allegedly reaching out directly to the player. Despite Jurgen Klopp‘s side saying they have “ended their pursuit” in the player, it appears the Reds may make a late move for the towering center back. Southampton continue to state VVD isn’t for sale but if Liverpool or Chelsea offered over $80 million for the elegant defender, surely it would make them reconsider. Saints have handled life without VVD very well for the past eight months since he was injured but there’s no doubt he would make whatever team he is playing for better. If van Dijk is still a Southampton player on Sept. 1 then he will face the prospect of either making up and playing for Saints at least until January, or sitting out the opening half of the season in a World Cup year. Neither scenario is ideal.

Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) – To Manchester City

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The Chilean star returned for Arsenal at Liverpool on Sunday but cut a forlorn figure as the Gunners were hammered 4-0. With less than 12 months on his contract remaining (Arsenal’s contract strategy boggles the mind) Sanchez holds most of the aces in negotiations. Arsene Wenger has repeated multiple times that he’s hopeful Sanchez will stay, but given another summer of unrest and a poor start to the season Sanchez must be hoping to get out of the Emirates Stadium as quickly as possible. Sanchez, 28, has been chased by Manchester City and linking up with the man who took him to Barcelona, Pep Guardiola makes sense. Do City need another attacking player? Probably not. But when has that ever stopped them in the past? Arsenal selling to a direct PL rival seems unlikely but if a bid of over $70 million comes in for Sanchez between now and Thursday it would make a lot of sense to sell him and move on from this sorry saga.

Bonus: Gareth Bale‘s situation at Real Madrid could be an intriguing one to follow with Manchester United said to have offered over $118 million for the Welshman, while Thomas Lemar could be closing in on a move to Liverpool with the Arsenal target the subject of a $71 million bid from Liverpool.

MLS Snapshot: POR carve up 9-man ORL, keep pace with VAN, SKC

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The game in 100 words (or less): All of a sudden, the Western Conference has sprung to life as the 2017 regular season winds down — Vancouver Whitecaps, winners of five of their last seven games (unbeaten); Portland Timbers, winners of four of their last six following Sunday’s 3-0 victory over 10-man nine-man Orlando City SC at Providence Park; Sporting Kansas City, losers of just two of their last 15 games; Seattle Sounders, who had their 13-game unbeaten run snapped on Saturday; and Real Salt Lake, winners of four of their last five. With fewer than a handful of games remaining, Vancouver’s lead on Portland and Sporting KC remains one point after all three sides won this weekend; RSL and Seattle are separated by just three points, three points back of second and third. As for Saturday’s game, Diego Valeri is now a top-two candidate for MVP after scoring two more goals (his 19th and 20th, to go with 9 assists) against 10-man Orlando.

[ MORE: TFC’s Shield celebration delayed | RSL end Seattle’s run at 13 ]

Three moments that mattered

15′ — Valeri extends his streak, makes it 1-0 — The last time Valeri failed to score in a game, the date was July 23.

29′ — Mattocks taps it home after Asprilla’s cross — Huge credit to Diego Chara for the through ball to spring Dairon Asprilla into acres of space. The ball to Mattocks was simple, and he got it right.

59′ — Valeri gets no. 20, makes it 3-0 — Joe Bendik managed to deny Mattocks’ initial effort, but Valeri followed up when everyone in white had already quit on the play.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Diego Valeri

Goalscorers: Valeri (15′ – PK, 59′), Mattocks (29′)

The 2 Robbies: City Sparkle, Chelsea Shine, Liverpool Hold On

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Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe take a look at some of the weekend’s biggest storylines, including Liverpool’s thrilling victory over Leicester City, Tottenham Hotspur’s frantic win away to West Ham United and Manchester City’s demolition of Crystal Palace.

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

All of the The 2 Robbies content can be accessed by clicking on this link:

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Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

Ederson harbors no ill will after Mane’s personal apology

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As far as Ederson is concerned, Sadio Mane‘s studs-to-face assault is a thing of the past — save for, the elongated scar he’ll likely wear on the left side of his face for the rest of his life, of course.

[ PL ROUNDUP: Goals galore on a wild Saturday ]

The Manchester City goalkeeper, who was forced from his side’s 5-0 victory over Liverpool on Sept. 9 after his face was raked by the studs of the Reds’ star attacker, revealed this weekend that he received — and accepted — Mane’s personal apology in the days immediately thereafter — quotes from Goal.com:

“Yes, I had contact with him, he sent me a message. I told him to stay calm, those things happen inside the pitch, it could happen anytime. I told him to not worry and wished him a good season.”

“I ended up having a hard hit in the face, but in the same week, I was ready to play in Champions League. I felt a strong kick, but I was always conscious. I knew it had been a long cut. I wanted to keep playing but, for medical issues, I couldn’t keep playing.

“But I was always conscious, even if I had my face a little bit swollen. But after a week it was normal again. In the same week, I was ready to play in Champions League. I faced that game full of confidence again, without any fear and happy for the result we achieved.”

Bundesliga: Leverkusen throttle HSV; Hannover remain unbeaten

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BERLIN (AP) Three days after being cleared to play by FIFA, Argentine striker Lucas Alario scored one goal and set up another on his debut for Bayer Leverkusen to beat Hamburger SV 3-0 in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

Alario struck midway through the first half, converting a cross from Leon Bailey, who also set up Kevin Volland’s opening goal just three minutes before.

A moment of class from Julian Brandt sent Alario through with less than 10 minutes remaining, and the Argentine had the awareness to spot the better-positioned Volland to seal the win.

Alario went off moments later to warm applause from fans.

“The goal is the cream on top. He played very well, scored the goal and combined with others. He worked well coming back and his first goal wasn’t so easy to score,” Leverkusen coach Heiko Herrlich said.

Alario’s first appearance for Leverkusen was held up when previous club River Plate objected to his transfer through the Argentine soccer association (AFA), which denied his playing rights.

The Buenos Aires-based club contended that Alario’s transfer was invalid as Leverkusen paid his release clause of $28.6 million on Aug. 31, after the Argentine season began, which it said was against FIFA rules.

Leverkusen then took the case to FIFA, which ruled in its favor on Thursday.

Leverkusen’s second win in six games eased the pressure on new coach Herrlich after a difficult start.

Counterpart Markus Gisdol remains in need of a change in fortune, however, after four straight defeats. Hamburg next faces Werder Bremen, Mainz and Bayern Munich.


Cologne fought its way to its first point in a 0-0 draw at promoted Hannover after starting the Bundesliga with five straight defeats.

Now the last-place side hopes it can build on the point.

“The luck will come back and the chances we had today will go in,” Cologne goalkeeper Timo Horn said. “We’ll start winning the games again. But the precondition was this performance that we delivered today.”

Peter Stoeger’s side, which has scored only one goal all season, hasn’t netted in its last four league games. That highlighted the extent to which Cologne relied on French striker Anthony Modeste, sold in the offseason in a big-money move to Chinese side Tianjin Quanjian.

Modeste scored 25 Bundesliga goals for Cologne last season. His replacement, former Mainz striker Jhon Cordoba, is yet to score in six games.

“We all have to be satisfied with the draw,” said Hannover general manager Horst Heldt, whose fourth-place side remains one of three unbeaten in the Bundesliga this season.

Hannover coach Andre Breitenreiter remained unbeaten in 15 games across two divisions.