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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.

Championship Focus: Newcastle drop more points, but remain top

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No one wants to win the Championship, and no one wants to lock up a place in the playoffs to fight for promotion to the Premier League.

The Championship’s top nine teams (all sides currently within five points of the fourth and final playoff place) have a combined nine wins from the group’s last 27 games played, including zero by the current leaders.

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Birmingham City 0-0 Newcastle United

With every opportunity to sew up the league title, Rafa Benitez‘s Magpies have two points to show for their last three league games, a run which includes a painfully (four shots on goal between the sides) scoreless draw away to 18th-place Birmingham on Saturday.

It was still somehow better than any prospective title challenger could muster…

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup — Chelsea delight, Arsenal misery ]

Leeds United 2-0 Brighton & Hove Albion

After erasing a five-point deficit with a pair of wins last week, Brighton came crashing back down to earth on Saturday, losing 2-0 away to a quickly climbing Leeds side which now sits fourth in the league table, two points back of third-place Huddersfield Town and two points clear of fifth-place Reading.

Chris Wood grew his league-leading goals haul to three with a second-half brace (63rd and 85th minutes), and Garry Monk‘s side looks to be the peaking-at-the-right-time team — seven games without a loss (four wins, three draws) — with the promotion playoffs six short weeks away.

Elsewhere in the Championship

(19th) Bristol City 4-0 (3rd) Huddersfield Town
(6th) Sheffield Wednesday 0-2 (5th) Reading
(7th) Fulham 1-4 (16th) Wolverhampton Wanderers

Premier League roundup: Chelsea delight, Arsenal misery

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Here’s what you may have missed from a seven-match day across England, including West Brom advertising for its “Behind the Badge” series (Watch Ep3 at 4:30 p.m. EDT Saturday on NBCSN) with a defeat of reeling Arsenal.

West Bromwich Albion 3-1 ArsenalRECAP

Craig Dawson scored a pair of goals and Hal Robson-Kanu added another as West Bromwich Albion heaped misery on Arsenal with a fourth Premier League loss in five outings.

Crystal Palace 1-0 WatfordRECAP

Troy Deeney headed a pinpoint effort… into his own goal as Palace gained some breathing room in the relegation battle.

Stoke City 1-2 ChelseaRECAP

Gary Cahill conceded the penalty that allowed Jon Walters to cancel out Willian‘s opener, and then scored the winner as Chelsea moved closer to coronation.

Everton 4-0 Hull CityRECAP

Hull was down 1-0 when it went down to 10 men, and Romelu Lukaku scored a brace in stoppage time to lead the Toffees sixth.

Sunderland 0-0 BurnleyRECAP

The Black Cats wasted a few chances and now sit seven points back of safety.

Bournemouth 2-0 Swansea CityRECAP

Alfie Mawson has been good of late for Swans, but saw Benik Afobe‘s shot take a turn off of him and defy Lukasz Fabianski to make it 1-0. Afobe added another, and the Cherries scooped up back-to-back wins for the first time since March 2016.

West Ham United 2-3 Leicester CityRECAP

Leicester’s heroes of 2015-16 were on point Saturday, as Riyad Mahrez, Robert Huth (!!), and Jamie Vardy all scored and Kasper Schmeichel made some key saves to make sure Manuel Lanzini and Andre Ayew’s goals were in defeat. It’s four-straight wins for the Foxes.

For more on Saturday’s action, listen to the latest 2 Robbies podcast.