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Report: Yaya Toure lined up by New York City FC

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There are few details, but a report tabbed as exclusive by The Manchester Evening News says a new midfield force could be headed to Major League Soccer.

Yaya Toure’s resurgent 2016-17 has not been followed by a busy 2017-18, at least not yet, as the report says Yaya is set to head to New York City FC following the departure of Andrea Pirlo.

[ MORE: Koeman fired | Who’s in line? ]

Toure, who turns 35 in May, has regularly been on the subs bench for Pep Guardiola this season after signing a one-year contract. He’s played 29 minutes as a sub over the last two Premier League matches, and his lone start came in a League Cup win over West Brom, where he captained City.

Toure has 59 goals and 33 assists in 222 Premier League matches.

The Ivorian is not a pace monger, but neither were Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard and both were effective when healthy in MLS. Toure’s powerful presence in the midfield could be worth the wage packet and headache, but we’d pay a penny for Patrick Vieira’s thoughts.

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2018 World Cup Power Rankings — 10 months B.W.C.

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Can Germany become the first nation since Brazil (1958 and 1962) to repeat as World Cup winners? Can the Brazilians exorcise their demons of 7-1? Has the next wave of Spanish brilliance/impending dominance arrived?

Will Italy contend again after failing to advance from the group stage two tournaments in a row? Can one of the up-and-comers — Belgium, Colombia, Portugal or England — make good on years (decades, in England’s case) of promise and potential? What are the U.S. national team’s chances, assuming they manage to qualify?

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s 2018 World Cup coverage | USMNT | Premier League ]

These are just a handful of the questions at the forefront of so many folks’ minds, as we now sit just over 10 months from the start of the 2018 World Cup. Beginning today (10 months B.W.C.), and following every international break leading up to next summer’s tournament in Russia, the PST staff will be keeping tabs on these stories, and more, in our World Cup Power Rankings.

According to our esteemed panelists — Joe Prince-Wright, Nicholas Mendola, Kyle Bonn, Matt Reed, Dan Karell and yours truly — there are five or six sides with a genuine shot at being crowned world champions in July. As always, if you disagree with the final results, feel free to shout at all of the above, except me, on Twitter (links above).

Team Points Best Worst
Germany 116 1 3
Brazil 115 1 2
France 106 2 4
Spain 105 1 5
Belgium 91 4 10
Colombia 84 6 9
Italy 75 5 16
Portugal 72 5 16
Uruguay 71 7 11
Switzerland 61 9 13
Mexico 54 10 16
England 52 9 15
Nigeria 33 12 NR
Chile 33 7 NR
Costa Rica 23 14 NR
Japan 20 9 NR
Ivory Coast 16 14 NR
Peru 16 13 NR
Poland 12 12 NR
South Korea 9 16 NR

As you’ve probably already noticed, the USMNT didn’t make the final top-20 list. Here’s everyone’s thoughts on the USMNT, and where they slot in among 2018 hopefuls:

JPW: USA rank — 30th. The last international break summed up just how much work needs to be done between now and next summer if the USMNT qualifies for the World Cup. Getting out of the group stage would seem like a big achievement as things stand.

NM: USA rank — 25th. The U.S. entered September ranked 30th in ELO, and 26th by FIFA, though not every team in front of them will be going to Russia, either. If I project a 32-team field, placing the U.S. with a seeded team, a European team, and probably an African side or South American side (The U.S. has been in a pot with Asian sides the last two draws), it’s not good. In most scenarios, barring hosts Russia being in the U.S. group, I’d expect this current bunch to fail to reach the group stage. Of the teams who may make the field, I’d put U.S. hopes ahead of most of the Asian sides, one or two European sides, and another couple of African qualifiers.

KB: The United States is currently ranked 26th in FIFA, and that’s with a Gold Cup win that included a number of B squads. I would not put this current US team anywhere near the Top 20 until it shows it can win consistently against even mid-level sides like Honduras or Panama.

AE: USA rank — 22nd. Once you move past the top five or so sides — you know, the ones that actually have a chance of winning the World Cup — everyone is fatally flawed in any number of ways. The USMNT is no different than the rest of these, but with one favorable exception: 14 of the 23 players on the most recent roster have World Cup experience, with the majority of those having been to multiple finals tournaments. If/when they qualify, they’ll leapfrog a half-dozen other sides without that experience, making them a fringe Round of 16 side, if they get there.

MR: USA rank — 25th. Let’s face it. It’s been a difficult week for the USMNT, and while the squad is still very much in the running for a trip to Russia next summer Bruce Arena and Co. are crawling into the World Cup at this point. Solely judging this team off of what I believe they can be versus what they are right now, I’d say the U.S. can and should be a top 20 team heading into 2018, however, watching these last two matches have reiterated several of my previous concerns, especially in the central midfield. I’d put the U.S. somewhere around 25 in the field of 32 World Cup teams, assuming a bid to Russia is in the cards.

DK: USA rank — 19th. I had the USA in No. 19 because I actually am taking a more positive look at the draw in Honduras. The USA lost this game in the last World Cup cycle under Klinsmann and coming back on the road in the Honduran heat in a World Cup qualifier with everything on the line takes guts and determination. Just as the fortunes turned with the famed “snow game” in Denver against Costa Rica, perhaps this could be a moment like that for this USMNT team that basically needs to win out to ensure safe passage to the World Cup

Serge Aurier receives work permit ahead of Spurs move

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Serge Aurier has been granted a UK work permit and everything is in place for his move to Tottenham Hotspur to be secured.

[ MORE: Latest transfer news ] 

Aurier, 24, was previously denied entry to the UK last November for a UEFA Champions League game against Arsenal following his conviction for assaulting a police officer in Paris.

The Paris Saint-Germain right back appealed the two-month suspended prison sentence he was handed, which has now been reduced to a large fine.

[ STREAM: Deadline Day show ] 

With the work permit now granted it is believed Tottenham will complete the deal imminently with Aurier expected to cost around $30 million from PSG.

A powerful right back who loves to surge forward, Aurier will likely become a starter for Spurs in that position after they sold Kyle Walker to Manchester City for $65 million earlier this summer.

Kieran Trippier has struggled in that position early in the campaign and Spurs only have youngster Kyle Walker-Peters as back up at right back.

Aurier can also play in several other positions across the defense and although he comes with considerable bagged (summarized brilliantly by Rob Dauster here) there’s no questioning that at least on the pitch he is an international caliber right back who has all the tools to succeed in the Premier League.

The Ivory Coast international was linked with moves to Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona and Juventus but Spurs will

$30m Aurier awaits work permit after PSG, Spurs agree terms

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A work permit issue is the only thing stopping right-side man Serge Aurier from finally sealing a move to the Premier League, according to Sky Sports.

Paris Saint-Germain’s Ivorian would cost Tottenham Hotspur $30 million, and Sky says terms are agreed between clubs and the player.

There’s a big conditional, though, and it’s continuing repercussions from Aurier’s suspended sentence for assaulting a police officer in Paris. He had also been linked with a move to Manchester United.

[ MORE: Sterling wins it late on ]

The 24-year-old defender was not allowed into England when PSG drew Arsenal in the UEFA Champions League, and continues to wait for a ruling on an appeal of his sentence.

Capped 39 times for the Ivory Coast, Aurier has played his entire club career in France. He has 10 goals and 23 assists in 160 Ligue 1 matches, added a goal and an assist in 10 UCL encounters.

PSG’s Serge Aurier to join Manchester United?

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Paris Saint-Germain right back Serge Aurier could be heading to the Premier League, with a report in France claiming he is close to joining Manchester United.

[ MORE: Ronaldo appears in court ]

Aurier, 24, will likely find minutes hard to come by this season at the Parc des Princes after Dani Alves’ arrival and he has been linked with a move to both United and Tottenham Hotspur.

Paris United claim Aurier has agreed personal terms and his transfer fee is $25 million, and although United’s manager Jose Mourinho previously stated he wanted to sign a central midfielder (Nemanja Matic‘s move from Chelsea is edging nearer) and a winger, it appears Aurier could arrive.

There is a slight complication with this deal though as Aurier was banned from traveling to England last November for PSG’s UEFA Champions League game against Arsenal due to being convicted of assaulting a police officer outside a Paris nightclub.

The Ivory Coast international has appealed the conviction and has a hearing on Aug. 7 which will decide if the ruling is overturned.

Do Manchester United really need another full back?

With Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian, Ashley Young and Timothy Fosu-Mensah already able to play in that position, this seems like a strange move for Mourinho. That said, Aurier possesses raw power and pace and could be deployed further forward. Both Valencia and Young have traditionally been wingers who have slotted into defensive roles over the past two seasons.

Aurier’s pace, power and athleticism make him a Mourinho-esque player and his versatility and UCL experience is also a bonus.

Depending on how the Aug. 7 hearing goes, Aurier’s future seems to lie away from PSG.