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Report: Arsenal interested in Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel

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According to a report by The Sun, Arsenal is monitoring the progress of Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

The rumor does make sense. With Petr Cech at 34 years old and having a poor season in front of net and backup David Ospina failing to challenge him for the starting job, the Gunners are looking elsewhere to bring in a potential future starter.

Schmeichel has been one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League the past two seasons. Last season he led the Foxes to the Premier League title, organizing a stunningly good defensive line of patchwork players. This season, the defense has largely regressed and let Schmeichel down, but he has still performed well and has the metrics to remain one of the league’s top shot-stoppers.

The Danish keeper is 30 years old himself, but that puts him in his prime for a goalkeeper. He has been with Leicester City since 2011, and he will tick 250 appearances for the club with his next match. Schmeichel was rumored to be a member of the secret player delegation that worked hard to see Claudio Ranieri pushed out of the club, a sentiment which he and the other players have strongly denied.

Still, with an improbable Premier League title in hand and an appearance in the Champions League quarterfinals now on the cards, there probably isn’t much else for him at Leicester City. It’s possible Schmeichel could look to bank on his past performances and secure a move to a bigger club this summer.

Should Arsene Wenger stay with Arsenal past this season, a possibility that looks more and more likely, he could look to move on from Cech despite signing the former Chelsea goalkeeper just two summers ago.

Trio of Premier League clubs eye USMNT’s Bobby Wood

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Bobby Wood may not be fit enough to feature for the USMNT over the current international break, but the Hamburg forward still has plenty of eyes on him.

[ MORE: Cameron eager for return ]

According to Sport Bild in Germany, Wood, 24, is being monitored by Premier League trio Liverpool, Leicester City and Everton as he continues to impress in the Bundesliga.

The Hawaiian born striker has scored nine goals in 23 appearances for the Bundesliga strugglers this season after joining them last summer following impressive displays at the Copa America Centenario for the U.S.

Over the past 12 months Wood has become an integral part of the USMNT — eight goals in 29 appearances for the U.S. tells only half the story as his mobility and link-up play continues to impress — and his absence for Bruce Arena’s side will be felt in their crucial World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Panama in the next week.

If any of these potential moves to the Premier League come off, which would be the best fit for Wood?

At Liverpool he may only be a bit-part player but if Daniel Sturridge leaves this summer he could be worked into the rotation, especially considering the fact that Jurgen Klopp‘s side will have European action to contend with next season. So, definitely the most high-profile option of the three clubs said to be interested but perhaps not the best option for Wood with Divock Origi, Danny Ings and Roberto Firmino also around.

It would be a very similar situation for Wood at Everton, but it all depends on the future of Romelu Lukaku.

If Wood signed for the Toffees he would also continue the long history of having American players at Goodison Park and with only on-loan striker Enner Valencia and youngster Ademola Lookman currently challenging Lukaku for a starting spot, Ronald Koeman would like some extra help up top especially with European qualification close to being secured for next season. Surely Wood could help the Toffees out but if Lukaku stays then there wouldn’t be many chances for the U.S. striker to feature.

Leicester would be an intriguing option for Wood. Basically, he’s an American Jamie Vardy. He chases down defenders, usually feeds off scraps and can play up top on his own or out wide. Plus, he is a pretty lethal finisher when given chances in the box. Maybe Wood would be another gem the Foxes have picked up from the European continent?

Whatever happens, the American striker is certainly making a name for himself.

Vardy claims “death threats” made to him, family over Ranieri firing

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Jamie Vardy claims “death threats” were made to himself and his family in the days and weeks since Claudio Ranieri was fired as Leicester City manager last month.

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Vardy was, at the time, alleged to have been a central figure in a players’ revolt against the Italian manager who last season guided Leicester to the Premier League title despite 5,000-to-1 odds prior to the start of the season. Vardy says the stories were false, even providing an alibi of sorts, while also revealing the threats made against his family — quotes from the BBC:

“It is terrifying. I read one story that said I was personally involved in a meeting after the Sevilla game when I was actually sat in anti-doping for three hours.

“But then the story is out there, people pick it up and jump on it and you’re getting death threats about your family, kids, everything.”

“When people are trying to cut your missus up while she’s driving, with the kids in the back of the car, it’s not the best.”

[ MORE: Prandelli said no to Leicester “after seeing how Ranieri was treated” ]

Whether or not Vardy was the only player lobbying for Ranieri’s dismissal, or not at all involved, threats of violence have no place in society, let alone sports. Vardy went on to say that relations between Ranieri and his players were very healthy, right up until his departure.

“If there was an issue, you went and did it in the gaffer’s office or you went and did it on the tactics board, because he was happy for you to come in and put your opinion across.

“The stories were quite hurtful to be honest with you. A lot of false accusations were being thrown out there and there was nothing we, as players, could do about it.”

Prandelli: I said no to Leicester “after seeing how Ranieri was treated”

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The managerial fraternity may seem large, in that there are literally thousands of football clubs the world over, but when you consider the planet’s population, those with experience as coach and/or manager is microscopic.

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As such, one can fairly safely assume that managers talk. “Don’t go there, the owner’s an idiot,” or “I’d take that job, that player’s going to be a star.” Thus, it’s probably wise for football clubs to treat their employees — this includes often-egotistical, millionaire managers, especially — in a manner which you’d hope for him to express to the rest of the fraternity.

On the other hand, if you treat someone so poorly that tales needn’t even be exchanged, you might just make life a whole lot harder on yourself down the road. Take, for instance, Leicester City’s search to replace recently-departed Claudio Ranieri, whose countryman, former Italian national team boss Cesare Prandelli, was offered the job in the days or weeks following Ranieri’s departure — translated quotes via the Guardian:

“I immediately said no. You don’t accept a job like that. You don’t go there after seeing how Ranieri was treated. I am not going there. Full stop.”

“He’s a coach who won a memorable, historic title and is then dumped after a few months.”

[ MORE: The “mature” one — Mourinho says he’s matured at Man United ]

Craig Shakespeare will serve as interim manager for the remainder of the 2016-17 season, at which point the club’s board will decide between keeping him on permanently or replacing him with someone who’s either, 1) not friends with Ranieri, or 2) sympathetic to his perceived mistreatment.

Premier League Power Rankings: Man Utd up, Arsenal slides

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Leaps for Leicester City, Manchester United, and Bournemouth highlight our Power Rankings heading into this international break.

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TEAM RANKING
source:
20 (20) Sunderland: Jermain Defoe says he needs to play in the Premier League to represent England, which means the Black Cats would be hit extra hard by relegation.
200px-Middlesbrough_crest 19 (19) Middlesbrough: Finally scored a goal against Manchester United… but allowed three.
Hull City logo 18 (18) Hull City: Once Tom Huddlestone was sent off, the Tigers essentially quit against Everton. That’s troubling for manager Marco Silva.
source: 17 (15) Swansea City: A disappointing loss that threatens to halt Swans’ momentum toward safety.
source: 16 (11) Watford: Losers of three in four, and by almost any manner possible. The latest? Troy Deeney‘s pinpoint header into his own goal.
source: 15 (16) Crystal Palace: Another win! But it’s a bit alarming that it took an own goal for Palace to finish the job against Watford.

14 (14) Burnley: The Clarets haven’t won since the tail end of January.
logo_westham 13 (12) West Ham United: Slaven Bilic‘s future has to be in question as the Irons have regressed to below even Sam Allardyce era levels.
source: 12 (17) Bournemouth: Winners of consecutive PL matches for the first time since March 2016, and not a moment too soon for Eddie Howe‘s Cherries.
11 (13) Leicester City: Six points clear of safety and facing Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals.
source: 10 (10) Southampton: Lost to a fine Spurs side after winning two-straight, and probably was good enough to get a point.
source: 9 (8) Stoke City: A gut punch to lose late to Chelsea.
source: 8 (5) Arsenal: Matches-in-hand keep Top Four dreams in play, but the Gunners have been awful.
source: 7 (9) West Bromwich Albion: Beating Arsenal after a pair of losses is the definition of rebounding in style.
source:
6 (3) Liverpool: An Adam Lallana missed sitter away from a much improved feeling, but that’s the Liverpool season in a nutshell.
5 (6) Everton: Given a remaining Merseyside Derby and the inconsistent play of both Liverpool and Arsenal, the Top Five isn’t out of the question.
Logo_Manchester_City 4 (4) Manchester City: Looked very much like a team nursing UCL wounds in the 1-1 draw against Liverpool, but it sure could have been worse.
source: 3 (7) Manchester United: Last Premier League loss? October 23.
source: 2 (2) Tottenham Hotspur: Scrapped a 2-1 win against tricky Southampton. Virtually identical season as Chelsea in terms of goals, goals conceded… just not wins.
source: 1 (1) Chelsea: Have won 10 of 15 on the road in league play after wins at Stoke and West Ham.