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Transfer Rumor Roundup: Butland to Liverpool; Malcom to Arsenal

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Liverpool could be set to spend more of the $197 million they received for Philippe Coutinho on shoring up their defense.

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After splashing out a club-record $100 million on Virgil Van Dijk earlier in January to make him the most expensive defender in the world, the Daily Star says that the Reds will try to sign Jack Butland in the summer.

The Stoke and England goalkeeper, still just 24 years old, will reportedly be a top target to replace Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius in goal who have both struggled at times over the past 12-18 months.

With Butland battling relegation with Stoke between now and the end of the season, the Potters won’t sell him in January, but if they do go down then surely they won’t stand in the way of their England international moving on.

Butland has all the attributes to be England’s first-choice goalkeeper for the next decade and beyond and after recovering from his recent injury problems he is one of the few Stoke players who performed well this season.

Arsenal continued to be linked with a move for Bordeaux’s Brazilian forward Malcom.

On Friday, Arsene Wenger said that Malcom, 20, was a “good player but at the moment nothing is happening” with regards to a $55 million deal.

However, later in his press conference the Arsenal manager did hint that if Alexis Sanchez was allowed to leave in January then it would only be if the Gunners had a replacement lined up.

So, what is Malcolm all about? Firstly, this screamer he scored last month turned plenty of heads and the youngster has put in consistent displays in Ligue 1 over the past two seasons for Bordeaux. He arrived in France from Brazilian powerhouse Corinthians in 2015 and is a member of the Brazilian U-23 national team.

Malcom has scored seven goals in 20 appearances for Bordeaux this season and 18 in 78 appearances since 2015.

Close to $60 million is a lot to play for a promising young attacker, especially when Arsenal appear to have plenty of talent coming through the system, but if they sell Theo Walcott to Everton and offload Sanchez, Wenger will be a little short in attack.

With Tottenham and others said to have been sniffing around Malcom, Arsenal will likely have to act in January before his name is added to Wenger’s now infamous list of players “he looked at” as a youngster…

France veteran Malouda loses appeal in Gold Cup case

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) Former France winger Florent Malouda has lost his appeal against being ruled ineligible to play for French Guiana at the 2017 Gold Cup.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport says its judges dismissed Malouda’s appeal against North American soccer body CONCACAF.

French Guiana fielded Malouda in a 0-0 draw against Honduras last July despite being told he was not eligible. CONCACAF awarded a 3-0 win to Honduras and suspended Malouda.

The Gold Cup uses FIFA eligibility rules which bar players from transferring allegiance after playing a competitive game for one country.

Malouda played 80 times for France including a 2006 World Cup final loss against Italy.

The French Guiana soccer federation hoped Malouda, now aged 37, could play in the Gold Cup because it is not a FIFA member.

Report: Bobby Wood unlikely to come to MLS this summer

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A U.S. Men’s National Team forward will probably have to wait a bit longer to come to Major League Soccer if that is the path that he chooses.

Reports have recently surfaced linking Bobby Wood to MLS at the conclusion of the Bundesliga season, however, is reporting that a move for the American likely won’t come in 2018.

Wood, who remains under contract for three more seasons at Hamburg, is currently fighting relegation in Germany with his club side.

Hamburg currently sits 17th in the German top flight, eight points buried in the relegation zone with four matches remaining.

The report suggests that MLS clubs aren’t willing to compensate Wood at the current rate of his contract in Germany.

Currently, Wood is making “several million dollars” per season, and even if Hamburg is relegated in 2017/18 Wood’s contract wouldn’t decrease to a number that clubs are comfortable paying.

If Wood was to join MLS, he would be considered a Discovery signing as he is not currently on the MLS player allocation list. The Washington Post previously reported that an MLS club has Wood included on their Discovery list, although the team’s identity isn’t known.

Report: Fellaini eyes MLS, China after shooting down Man United terms

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Marouane Fellaini‘s time in Manchester looks to be numbered, and a move abroad could have the Belgian in line for one last payday during his career.

The Manchester United midfielder has rejected multiple offers to stay on at Old Trafford ahead of his contract expiring this summer, which would allow Fellaini to pursue other opportunities come June.

Fellaini is being linked to moves to Major League Soccer and the Chinese Super League, as the veteran aims to secure a sizable contract upon leaving the Red Devils after over five-and-a-half years with the club.

The Daily Mail is also reporting that Fellaini would be open to hearing options that could keep him in the Premier League, although it is unclear if there is any serious interest from English sides at this time.

Since the arrivals of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic, Fellaini has struggled to find playing time under manager Jose Mourinho.

This season, the Belgium international has appeared in just 14 PL matches and 19 in all competitions. Fellaini has scored four goals in that span.

Chicago Fire venue to be renamed SeatGeek Stadium

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The Chicago Fire won’t be moving into a new stadium 2019, however, their venue will have a new name donned on the side of it.

For years, the Eastern Conference side has played its home matches at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois, but starting next season the Fire’s home turf will be called SeatGeek Stadium as part of a rebrand.

SeatGeek is one of the largest online after-market ticket distributors, and was created back in 2009.

Toyota Park will undergo its transformation at the conclusion of the 2018 MLS season.

The venue is also home to the NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars.