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Ozil shows off jersey from USWNT star, Arsenal fan Heath

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Germany’s use of a young squad for this summer’s Confederations Cup has allowed Mesut Ozil some unusual freedom this offseason.

Ozil, 28, has been spending some time in America this offseason, and apparently connected with USWNT and Portland Thorns star Tobin Heath.

Heath has long been delayed in returning to the lineup with a back injury, and Ozil showed off a signed Heath USWNT shirt on Twitter while wishing the star well in her recovery.

[ MORE: Man City in for Aubameyang ]

Heath claimed to be a big Arsenal fan back in 2011, when she and USWNT teammate Casey Nogueira visited the Emirates, and has supported the club on social media.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Salah medical, Giroud to West Ham

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Olivier Giroud has already stated this summer that he hopes to stay at Arsenal and fight for his place, saying, “my future is written at Arsenal for now.” He may not get the chance.

According to Sky Sports, West Ham is preparing a bid for the Frenchman, and the Gunners are keen to listen. Giroud lost his starting place last season as Arsene Wenger deployed Alexis Sanchez as a lone striker, and with Arsenal seemingly a favorite to sign Kylian Mbappe, Giroud’s place could become even more precarious.

The Sky report didn’t give any other details on the story, even admitting that Giroud is one of many attacking players that the Hammers are interested in, including Chelsea castaway Michy Batshuyai, Manchester City youngster Kelechi Iheanacho, and Middlesbrough lightning rod Adama Traore. Even so, the transfer would make sense given that Giroud wouldn’t have to move from London and the Hammers struggled with finishing last season.

The 30-year-old signed a new Arsenal contract in January that runs through the summer of 2020, so his future is firmly in the hands of his club.

According to Egyptian publication KingFut, AS Roma has successfully come to an agreement with Liverpool for winger Mohamed Salah and the 25-year-old will fly to England to complete his medical on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Saturday’s transfer rumor roundup ]

The report states the agreed transfer fee amounts to a whopping $50 million, which includes bonuses. That would be a record sale for Roma, smashing their previous record set by the $36 million sale of Miralem Pjanic to Juventus just last summer.

Salah had a fantastic season this past campaign, scoring 15 Serie A goals for Roma and assisting 13 more despite missing six weeks on African Cup of Nations duty. The move also represents a return to the Premier League for the Egyptian, after he was unable to crack the Chelsea lineup, making just 13 Premier League appearances for the Blues in a loan-filled Chelsea stint.

There have been conflicting reports concerning AS Monaco midfielder Fabinho, but it appears now that Premier League clubs may have missed out. According to French television channel Telefoot, Fabinho has decided he wishes to join PSG next season, much to the dismay of his current club and those chasing his signature.

The report states that, because Fabinho is under contract at Monaco until 2021, the club retains most of the control in the transfer story, and therefore could potentially reject a bid from a Ligue 1 rival such as PSG, or at the very least could charge them a premium. However, the defending champions have already prepared for Fabinho’s imminent departure this summer, signing his replacement in Zulte Waregam midfielder Soualiho Meite.

Fabinho has reportedly been a target for a number of Premier League teams, most notably Manchester United, although recent reports state the Red Devils have made Eric Dier a priority over the 23-year-old Brazilian.

Don’t expect the Gianluigi Donnarumma saga to end anytime soon. After AC Milan released the details of their contract offer to the 18-year-old goalkeeper yesterday – which was rejected – today the Italian’s agent Mino Raiola has announced he will hold a press conference.

It’s unclear what he will discuss, and there are reports that he could leave the door open for AC Milan to continue negotiations. Donnarumma and Raiola have taken plenty of heat for the decision to leave the San Siro in search of a massive payday, and that only intensified after the club publicized its sizeable final offer.

Despite the near-completion of the deal for Mohamed Salah, Liverpool has been linked with yet another winger. According to Portuguese publication A Bola, the Reds are in for expensive Sporting wide player Gelson Martins.

The report values him at upwards of $56 million, saying that Liverpool has already seen an offer of $45 million rejected.

The 22-year-old Sporting youth product has six caps for the Portuguese national team and had a stellar season last year, notching six goals and 13 assists in the Portuguese top flight, helping Sporting to a third place finish.

Alexis Sanchez ruled out for Chile’s opener against Cameroon

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Chile enters the Confederations Cup among the favorites to win the eight-team tournament, but the South American champions will have to do so without the nation’s biggest star.

[ MORE: Digging into the ramifications of a Ronaldo move from Real Madrid ]

At least for the team’s first match.

The defending Copa America champions will be without Arsenal attacker Alexis Sanchez on Sunday when Chile takes on Cameroon to open up their Confederations Cup account after the 28-year-old suffered an ankle injury in training.

“Alexis had some health troubles a couple of days ago and, on Friday, we decided we would let him rest,” said manager Juan Antonio Pizzi.

“We will introduce him slowly so he can maybe join us later. He’s still recovering, he’s maybe not ready yet but we will wait until Sunday to see what’s best for him and what’s best for the team considering it’s the first game.”

Meanwhile, Sanchez isn’t the only big casualty for Chile when they kick off play in Russia. Goalkeeper Claudio Bravo is likely out as well for the opener after sustaining a calf injury back in Premier League play with club side Manchester City.

Chile will face Germany and Australia to round out Group B play following Sunday’s opening match.

Report: Oxlade-Chamberlain contract talks not progressing

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With just one year remaining on the contract of England international Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, talks were expected to advance easily on a new deal for the Arsenal star, but with no news since the end of the season, reports are now surfacing that the player is becoming frustrated with the lack of progress.

The 23-year-old has been with Arsenal nearly his entire career, moving to the Emirates in 2011 from Southampton. This past season, he saw his playing time drop significantly, but came on strong as he impressed in the wing-back role after Arsene Wenger switched to a back-three.

[ MORE: Can any club justify the cost of signing Cristiano Ronaldo? ]

However, according to a report by the Mirror, Arsenal has not even produced an official approach to begin talks of an extension, and with just a year left on his current deal, Oxlade-Chamberlain must consider his future. Should he not earn a new contract in the next few weeks, the club may look instead to sell him, hoping to earn a fee rather than let him go for free after next season.

The 23-year-old had been set to hold contract talks two weeks ago according to ESPN, but talks have reportedly not yet begun.

Oxlade-Chamberlain is one of many Arsenal players with just one year left on their deal, and the Gunners must determine who to keep and who to unload. Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, and Per Mertesacker all see their contracts expire in the summer of 2018. All players have contributed heavily to the Gunners over their career at the Emirates, but with the disappointing 5th place finish last season, the club knows some changes must be made in order to secure a return to Champions League play next season.

With so many players’ futures to determine, it’s not a surprise that progress is slow, but at the same time, with no movement on any player yet to report, it’s understandable that Oxlade-Chamberlain would wish to consider his future with only a limited time until the transfer window slams shut.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Italian full-backs on the market

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A pair of Italian full-backs are dominating the Saturday morning transfer headlines, and they could have a direct effect on each other’s futures.

Roma is reportedly interested in Manchester United right-back Matteo Darmian, and according to a number of reports from Italy, are challenging Inter for his signature. The Milan club has been linked with Darmian for some time, but Roma’s name next to his is a new one.

The 27-year-old has struggled for playing time, often serving as second-fiddle to Antonio Valencia who Jose Mourinho seemed to prefer. Darmian was often moved to left-back to fit into the United squad, but even then saw competition from Daley Blind and Luke Shaw.

24-year-old Mattia de Sciglio could also be on the move, with his AC Milan contract running out next summer. Like Gianluigi Donnarumma, he seems intent on a move elsewhere rather than a new deal at the San Siro, and both Napoli and Juventus seem the most likely destinations.

[ Thursday Transfer Rumor Roundup | Wednesday | Tuesday ]

According to Italian newspaper Il Mattino, de Sciglio could be on his way to Napoli on a four-year contract, but he has also long been linked with Juventus, especially with the potential departure of Dani Alves and heavy interest in Alex Sandro. Manchester City is also known to be in the market for a full-back, but they have yet to be specifically linked to de Sciglio.

Speaking of Alex Sandro, Juventus confirmed they have rejected a bid from Chelsea for the Brazilian full-back. Sandro dazzled Europe during Juventus’s run through the Champions League, and has earned himself links to other big clubs throughout Europe.

Juventus executive Guiseppe Marotta told reporters early Saturday, “We said no to a very good offer from Chelsea for Alex Sandro. But we know that we are competing with clubs that are in a position to offer wages that are not rational for us and players are always their own boss.”

Reports all over England tabbed the “very good offer” at a whopping $70 million, which would potentially be a Chelsea transfer record, with the 2011 capture of Fernando Torres currently at the top of the chart.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has been looking to strengthen his defensive line with a season of Champions League play to come. Sandro would likely end up fitting into Conte’s three-at-the-back formation on the wing, giving competition to Marcos Alonso down the left.

As the Kylian Mbappe saga continues to drone on, Arsenal remains a hot destination for the French youngster to land. However, Arsenal is not often known to drop the amount of money possibly required to land the Monaco teenager. Therefore, the possibility of a player moving in the opposite direction remains high.

With Arsenal in a massive battle with Real Madrid for the 18-year-old, a report in the Sun has suggested that Olivier Giroud could be sent to Monaco in addition to a world record fee. This would be an attempt by Arsenal to counter the $150 million Madrid bid reported by L’Equipe a few days ago.

Giroud has repeatedly stated his desire to stay at Arsenal and help them return to Champions League play, and would have to agree to a move away from the Emirates in order for the deal to work.