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Transfer news: Coutinho to PSG; Meunier to Man United

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Paris Saint-Germain have made Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho their top target for next summer, according to TF1.

[ MORE: Morata unhappy in London? ]

The French outlet claim that Coutinho’s agent, Kia Joorabchian, met PSG’s sporting director in a London hotel last week to discuss the future of Coutinho among many other topics.

As the report points out, the fact that Coutinho’s good friend Neymar signed for PSG in a world-record $265 million transfer from Barcelona in the summer could play a key part in the Brazilian midfielder joining PSG over Barca.

Coutinho made his intentions clear in the summer that he wanted to leave Liverpool for Barcelona but with the Reds standing firm and rejecting multiple bids from the Catalan giants, it appears an all-out battle between PSG and Barcelona next summer could see Coutinho’s transfer fee increase further.

Liverpool’s stance will likely remain that Coutinho isn’t for sale at any price, but the other issue here is simply how PSG can get away with this.

Already accused of wrongdoing by many other clubs across Europe when it comes to UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules and the signings of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar over the summer, spending close to another $180 million on Coutinho would surely tip PSG over the edge of FFP regulations despite their Qatari owners able to bankroll any deal PSG need.

Liverpool fans have been treated to some stunners from Coutinho this season (see: free kick at Leicester; powerful curler at Newcastle) but despite him getting on with his business on the pitch the Brazilian continues to be at the center of speculation off it.


Staying with PSG, their Belgian right back Thomas Meunier is wanted by Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester United, according to reports in Spain and Italy.

Meunier, 26, is said to be valued at around $40 million and the Belgian international has fallen behind Dani Alves in the pecking order at the Parc des Princes this season, much to his annoyance.

Speaking in a recent interview the former Club Brugge man revealed he was fine with rotating with Serge Aurier at right back for PSG last season but now feels totally out of Unai Emery’s plans.

“Since Alves arrived I asked myself questions, this is sure,” Meunier said. “After the good season I had last year, I told myself I would be needed, to be a bit more grateful and that my status within the line-up had changed. Emery tells me he didn‚Äôt forget the work done and that he considers me. The problem is that I feel like a second option.”

Outside of veterans Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young (who are wingers by trade) playing at right back, Mourinho’s other options in that position include an often shaky Matteo Darmian or playing center backs Phil Jones or Eric Bailly at right back.

Meunier’s ability to drive forward from right back and connect passes and whip in inviting crosses would be very useful for a United attack spearheaded by Romelu Lukaku or Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Mourinho was on the hunt for a wide player all summer long but didn’t prevail.

Is Meunier the man for Mourinho? In a World Cup year, perhaps Meunier will arrive at Old Trafford in January.

Wigan player races off for son’s birth after scoring 2 goals

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WIGAN, England (AP) It was better than a hat trick.

A player for English soccer team Wigan had a night to remember when he scored his second goal before dashing off the field and to the local hospital, where his girlfriend was in labor.

[ MORE: Chelsea advances to UCL Round of 16 after win over Qarabag ]

A picture of Ryan Colclough holding his new-born baby, Harley, while still in his soccer uniform was shared on social media by Wigan chairman David Sharpe.

Colclough said his father, sitting in the stands on Tuesday for Wigan’s 3-0 win over Doncaster in the second division, “gave me the action that the waters had broken,” but he didn’t want to come off until the ball was out of play.

“My head was a little bit battered, but I went and scored, looked at the manager and he said we’ll bring you off now,” Colclough said Wednesday of his 58th-minute goal, which he celebrated by pretending to rock a baby. “I came off and was straight down the tunnel, grabbed my keys and my phone, and went to hospital.”

Colclough had visited the midwife that day, and was told the baby was unlikely to arrive for “another couple of days.”

Lille suspends coach Marcelo Bielsa

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LILLE, France (AP) French club Lille has provisionally suspended coach Marcelo Bielsa following a string of poor results in the top tier.

[ MORE: Basel stuns Man United late to keep UCL hopes alive ]

The northern side said in a statement that Bielsa has been suspended “as part of a procedure started by the club.” Lille did not elaborate.

Bielsa joined Lille this season but has failed to make the club competitive again, with the team second to last after 13 matches.

The 2 Robbies podcast: PL sides in the UCL, Pulis sacking and more

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In today’s Euro Pod Edition, the Robbies breakdown the latest Champions League action. Man United lose at Basel, Chelsea cruise at Qarabag, Spurs impress against Dortmund, Man City continue to win, Liverpool surrender a 3-goal lead against Sevilla. Plus, the guys weigh in on the Oumar Niasse ban for diving and the Tony Pulis sacking.

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:

[ Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]

Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.

Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

Europa League preview: Arsenal looks to wrap up Group H and more

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While several teams have already booked their place in the knockout phase, the Europa League reaches its penultimate round on Thursday with many big matches in hand.

[ MORE: Yannick Bolasie finally returns to Everton training ]

Of the two Premier League sides in the competition, only one will advance to the Round of 32, as Arsenal have all but assured themselves of the top spot in Group H. The Gunners can do so tomorrow with a win over Koln or a Red Star Belgrade defeat.

The other end of the spectrum features Everton, who has already been eliminated from reaching the next round after acquiring just one point in its first four matches.

European giants AC Milan can lock up a spot in the knockout phase on Thursday despite the club’s ongoing struggles in Serie A, while fellow Italian side Atalanta can move a step closer to the Round of 32 in Group E along with Lyon.

Here’s the full rundown of Thursday’s UEL matches.

Astana vs. Villareal — 11 a.m. ET
Konyaspor vs. Marseille — 1 p.m. ET
Rosenborg vs. Real Sociedad¬†— 1 p.m. ET
Lazio vs. Vitesse¬†— 1 p.m. ET
Viktoria Plzen vs. Steaua Bucuresti¬†— 1 p.m. ET
Lokomotiv vs. Copenhagen¬†— 1 p.m. ET
Zenit vs. Vardar¬†— 1 p.m. ET
Red Bull Salzburg vs. Vitoria¬†— 1 p.m. ET
Athletic Bilbao vs. Hertha Berlin¬†— 1 p.m. ET
BATE vs. Red Star Belgrade¬†— 1 p.m. ET
Ostersund vs. Zorya¬†— 1 p.m. ET
Koln vs. Arsenal¬†— 1 p.m. ET
Nice vs. Zulte Waregem — 1 p.m. ET
Lugano vs. Beer-Sheva¬†— 1 p.m. ET
Ludogorets vs. Istanbul¬†— 3:05 p.m. ET
Braga vs. Hoffenheim¬†— 3:05 p.m. ET
AEK vs. Rijeka¬†— 3:05 p.m. ET
AC Milan vs. Austria Wien¬†— 3:05 p.m. ET
Lyon vs. Apollon¬†— 3:05 p.m. ET
Maccabi Tel Aviv vs. Slavia Praha¬†— 3:05 p.m. ET
Sheriff vs. Zlin¬†— 3:05 p.m. ET
Partizan vs. Young Boys¬†— 3:05 p.m. ET
Skenderbeu vs. Dynamo Kyiv¬†— 3:05 p.m. ET
Everton vs. Atalanta — 3:05 p.m. ET