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Transfer Rumors: Walcott, Sturridge to Saints; Ings, Schurrle loans

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What will Southampton do with the $100 million they will receive for Virgil Van Dijk on Jan. 1?

Spend it on a ton of strikers, according to reports.

The Telegraph says that Southampton plan to move for Daniel Sturridge on loan from Liverpool, while the Daily Mirror says they also want to re-sign Theo Walcott after they sold him to the Gunners 12 years ago as a 16-year-old.

Sturridge has been in and out of Liverpool’s team with injuries and is struggling to get minutes ahead of Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah. With his place in the England squad in jeopardy for the 2018 World Cup, playing regularly in the PL could appeal to Sturridge.

Saints need offensive reinforcements, as well as defensive, but scoring goals has been a big problem for Mauricio Pellegrino‘s men throughout this season and for most of the 2016-17 campaign too. Top scorer Charlie Austin is out for two months with a hamstring injury and the duo of Manolo Gabbiadini and Shane Long are woefully out of form.

With Saints two points above the relegation zone heading into the second half of the season, scoring more goals is what they need to get themselves out of trouble and it’s no surprise they’re being linked with Walcott and Sturridge.

Would Walcott and Sturridge make the move to St Mary’s? Walcott grew up at the club, his wife is from the City of Southampton and he has always enjoyed a good relationship with Saints’ fans. He too needs regular minutes after playing in just 13 games in all competitions this season, scoring four goals. Walcott has played in just four PL games this season with Alexandre Lacazette, Olivier Giroud, Mesut Ozil, Alex Iwobi and Alexis Sanchez ahead of him.

Saints have also been linked with moves for Alfie Mawson from Swansea (also linked with West Ham), Luke Shaw from Southampton, Ryan Sessesgnon from Fulham and Cenk Tosun from Besiktas (also linked with a move to Everton).

Basically, because Southampton have a ton of cash from selling VVD to Liverpool for a world-record fee for a defender, they’re being linked with players galore.

There are plenty of rumors about loan strikers moving around and to the Premier League in January.

The Guardian believes West Ham are keen to sign Andre Schurrle on loan from Borussia Dortmund, while the Independent says that Danny Ings is wanted by Newcastle, West Brom, Stoke City and West Ham.

Ings has suffered two serious knee injuries since he joined Liverpool from Burnley in 2015 and although he is back fit and playing for Liverpool’s U-23 side over the past few months, plus had a handful of appearances off the bench for the first team, the form of Liverpool’s “Fab Four” seems likely to keep him out of the team on a regular basis.

A real fox in the box, Ings would surely be a starter for any of the four aforementioned teams wanting to sign him on loan with West Brom seeming to be his biggest admirers as Alan Pardew aims to stop their run of no wins in 18 PL games.

Schurrle, 27, has found minutes hard to come by at Dortmund and the former Chelsea winger is said to fancy a return to the Premier League.

The German international can play out wide or through the middle and in a World Cup year he will need to play regularly, and score goals, to get into Joachim Low’s squad. With Marko Arnautovic in form, Javier Hernandez now fit and the likes of Andy Carroll, Andre Ayew and Diafra Sakho around, it seems like David Moyes isn’t sure of attacking options.

Schurrle’s quality is undoubted and he did play well for Chelsea during his previous stint in the PL before being offloaded by Jose Mourinho. Now, we’re not saying that Schurrle will prove Mourinho wrong a la Mohamed Salah or Kevin De Bruyne, but he could well be the man to help the Hammers continue their resurgence.

Rapids hire Patel as director; Highest ranking female exec in MLS

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The Colorado Rapids have hired Ena Patel as their new director of player personnel. She becomes Major League Soccer highest ranking female executive, according to the Denver Post.

[ FOLLOW: PST’s MLS coverage ]

According to the Rapids, she’ll report to club GM Padraig Smith and “oversee player contracts, salary budget, regulatory compliance, and soccer operations protocols.”

The move comes about a month-and-a-half after Sporting KC hired Megan Cameron as an assistant director of player personnel, the first woman hired to an MLS team’s technical staff.

Patel’s resume is outlandishly strong, though this is her first foray into the sports world. Here are some words from Smith, from

“Ena’s hiring is the final piece of the puzzle for us on the front office side,” Smith, the Rapids executive vice president and general manager, said in a statement released by the club. “Bringing in a sharp, legal mind who can oversee our contractual processes and complex league mechanisms is a really important part of ensuring that we’re fielding the best possible team. We can’t wait for her to get started.”

Guardiola happy to reach final, knows Man City to be judged by hardware

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Bristol City made its interesting late with a pair of goals, but Manchester City’s League Cup destiny was never in jeopardy in a 3-2 second leg win at Ashton Gate Stadium on Tuesday.

[ RECAP: Bristol City 2-3 (3-5 agg.) Man City ]

That sent the club into the Feb. 25 final with a 5-3 aggregate win, and it’s very difficult not to leap to the story line that is Pep Guardiola‘s chance at a first significant title in his reign at Man City.

The closest City came to hardware last season was being bounced by Arsenal in the FA Cup semifinal. This time, City is the favorite to win at least three of its four entered competitions: the Premier League, the League Cup, and the FA Cup.

But to hear Pep say it, for now the club is just happy to have earned one final berth. From the BBC:

“We are so happy to be there, to reach this final. We played an amazing game until 2-0 and then we lost control, these type of games never end until the end. This is a lesson for next weekend in Cardiff in the FA Cup and especially for the Champions League.

“It’s not for me, it’s for Manchester City, a club who are trying to reach another level. … I know that we will be judged by trophies we win but we are so happy. Nobody can take away what we have done, but Chelsea or Arsenal are strong teams.”

Guardiola was serious about not overlooking the Robins, as he rolled out a very similar lineup to the full-strength bunch that beat Newcastle United 3-1 at the weekend. That may have cost City late, but it had already built a 4-1 aggregate lead with two superior away goals.

Yes, Guardiola is a man who measures himself by the way his club plays but also by winning in that attractive fashion. Expect a determined club to stride into Wembley late next month.

Chelsea and Arsenal square off Wednesday at the Emirates Stadium for the right to match up with Man City, who won the tournament in 2014 and 2016. Even year dominance?

Man City into League Cup final (video)

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  • City outshoots Bristol 28-5
  • Sane, Aguero put MCFC up 2-0
  • Pack, Kent pulls two back for Bristol
  • De Bruyne answers in stoppage
  • City wins 5-3 on aggregate

A pair of late goals put a scare into Man City, but the Premier League leaders scored just before and right after halftime to insure its first leg lead en route to a 3-2 win over Bristol City at Ashton Gate Stadium on Tuesday.

City wins 5-3 on aggregate in the League Cup semifinal, with Sergio Aguero, Leroy Sane, and Kevin De Bruyne scoring in the second leg.

Pep Guardiola moves to within 90 minutes of his first significant title as Man City boss, and will face either Chelsea or Arsenal on Feb. 25 at Wembley Stadium.

Marlon Pack and Aden Flint scored for Bristol City.

[ MORE: Full stats, box score ]

Sane scored in the 43rd minute and Sergio Aguero struck less than four minutes after the teams returned from the halftime break.

An errant John Stones clearance helped Bristol to the scoreboard in the 64th minute, with Pack scoring the goal.

Flint then nodded home in stoppage time to give the Robins hope for a miracle win, but new contract hero De Bruyne scored within a minute to burn those hopes to the ground.

Bristol would be in the Football League Championship playoffs if the season ended now, sitting in fifth place.

Midfielder Lassana Diarra joins PSG on short-term deal

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PARIS (AP) Paris Saint-Germain has made its first signing of the winter transfer window by hiring midfielder Lassana Diarra on a short-term deal until June 2019.

The 32-year-old holding midfielder will once again try to revive his career in the French league after a successful stint at PSG’s bitter rival, Marseille, that ended last year.

The much-traveled Diarra, who was born in Paris, then played for a few months with United Arab Emirates club Al Jazira.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

Diarra, a former Chelsea, Arsenal and Real Madrid player, won English and Spanish league titles in 2006 and 2012. He has 34 caps for France and featured at the European Championship in 2008.

His strong performances with Marseille earned him a recall from France, but he eventually pulled out of Didier Deschamps’ squad for Euro 2016 because of a left knee injury.

“I am very happy to have signed for my hometown club,” Diarra said. “Paris Saint-Germain represents a lot to me and, with the international dimension the club has taken in recent seasons, it is every player’s dream to play here. I am lucky enough to make this dream come true.”

Diarra joined on a free transfer and his signing won’t affect PSG’s bank accounts, which are under UEFA’s scrutiny.

PSG is under pressure to sell players to balance the books after splashing out 402 million euros ($473 million) on forwards Neymar and Kylian Mbappe last year. That led to Qatari-owned PSG being placed under investigation by UEFA for potential breaches of Financial Fair Play rules.