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Report: Larin’s strange saga ends with move from Orlando to Besiktas

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Following weeks of he-said-she-said back-and-forth over the immediate future of Cyle Larin, the details of the Canadian international’s move from Orlando City SC to Turkish giant Besiktas has reportedly been agreed by all parties, according to a report from Pro Soccer USA.

[ MORE: David Beckham’s Miami team is finally official ]

Before delving into the details, a quick refresher: Larin began garnering interest from Europe around this time last year; interest ramped up during the summer, but Orlando City refused to sell before the end of the season due to service time with the team (their percentage of transfer fee retained would go up after three full seasons); Besiktas approached Orlando and Larin this winter; having believed a deal was done, Besiktas flew Larin to Turkey where he underwent a medical evaluation and photos, along with an announcement of sorts, were shared by the club; Orlando insisted that no deal had been finalized; Besiktas contended that Larin’s contract with MLS, which included unilateral option years, was invalid by FIFA standards.

Fast-forward to Monday, and the final piece of the messy puzzle has reportedly been resolved: Orlando and the MLS league office have agreed on an unprecedented percentage split of Larin’s transfer fee — Orlando will keep 100 percent, as opposed to the league’s stand two-thirds share (for non-Generation adidas players) — from Pro Soccer USA:

Orlando City will keep the full amount of the transfer fee because of the lengthy ordeal instead of giving 30 percent to the league and 10 percent to the player as is usual for a third-year Generation adidas player, per sources.

[ MORE: Monday’s transfer rumor roundupSunday | Friday ]

This, of course, leaves MLS in yet another confusing gray area: previously, only outgoing transfers of homegrown players (Larin was drafted first overall in the 2015 Super Draft) were to net a team 100 percent of a fee paid; the league’s single-entity structure would absorb the other one-third after two-thirds went to the team (a few examples: Kei Kamara, to Middlesbrough; Fabian Castillo, to Trabzonspor; Uri Rosell, to Sporting CP).

Now, for the first time, Orlando will keep the entire fee for a non-homegrown player, which will lead to every team wanting and expecting the same treatment upon future sales. Take, for instance, Jack Harrison, who’s widely expected to leave New York City FC for either Stoke City Middlesbrough, for anywhere between $5 million and $8.5 million, in the next 48 hours.

[ MORE: USMNT draws first friendly of 2018 | Player ratings ]

What’s the threshold for time and messiness that a transfer saga must meet in order for a team to maximize that transfer revenue? It’s an absurd question to consider, but because MLS continues to fly by the seat of their pants when it comes to roster rules and regulations, here we are.

One day — soon, hopefully — a departing player caught up in a similar situation will follow through and contest MLS’s practice of unilateral option years, which is what this entire saga comes back to, in front of FIFA. That player will, hopefully, score a massive victory for every non-Designated Player in the league, many of whom live year-to-year without the financial security of a guaranteed contract. Within the current setup, power lies in the hands of the league, and the league only. It’s a toxic, but lucrative, way of doing business.

West Brom: Evans relegation release reportedly just $4M

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Jonny Evans has been fantastic for West Bromwich Albion this season, shepherding the Baggies back line while being involved in as many goals as any player not named Salomon Rondon or Jay Rodriguez.

[ MORE: High profile loan for Palace ]

So it would make sense for West Brom to hang onto the player at almost all costs given its status as a team in danger of the drop after its slow start under Tony Pulis has kept its lackluster pace under Alan Pardew.

Here’s the rub: Some big clubs would like to purchase Evans, who has 18 months left on his deal but reportedly no interest in signing a new deal the Hawthorns. Even worse? Monday’s story that a Baggies’ relegation would make his buyout clause just over $4 million.

Defenders who cost more last summer on the Premier League market include Jan Bednarek, Nathan Ake, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Michael Keane, Florian Lejeune, Mathias Jorgensen, Andrew Robertson, Bruno Martins Indi, and many others.

Heck, Evans’ buyout clause is the same price Derby County paid Liverpool for Andre Wisdom. And these fees are all pre-Virgil Van Dijk to Liverpool madness.

Considering only Swansea and Brighton have scored fewer league goals than the Baggies, who are just now committing to a two-striker approach under Pardew, does it make sense for West Brom to sell now?

Evans’ value at 18 months out will be more than it is at 12 months out even if the Baggies avoid relegation, but he’s possibly a lynch pin of the team. And the volatile value for attackers mean the $25-35 million he’d generate may not make for like-for-like value.

It’s not an easy decision, but desperate times call for similar measures. The Baggies have played in four nil-nils this season, and lost 1-0 to relegation rivals Southampton and Huddersfield Town away. Both of the reverse fixtures remain.

There are creative options here, too. Would Jurgen Klopp sanction a high(ish) profile attacker loan to WBA in order to pair Evans with Van Dijk? Same for Pep Guardiola at Man City?

Man City 3-1 Newcastle: Aguero with perfect hat trick

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  • Aguero nets thrice
  • Bags second half PK
  • City table lead at 12 points
  • Newcastle two points clear of 18th

Sergio Aguero scored three times to continue his mastery of Newcastle United as Manchester City bounced back to post a 3-1 win at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

Jacob Murphy scored a second half goal to pull Newcastle to within one before Aguero finished his second hat trick of the season. The Argentine scored three and posted an assist against Watford on Sept. 16.

The win gives Man City 65 points, 12 more than second place Manchester United, and improves their goal differential to 51.

Newcastle sits 15th with 23 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Newcastle high-pressed to start, and troubled Ederson was happy to see Oleksandar Zinchenko defy a Christian Atsu cross in the first 90 seconds.

The Magpies had a 3-5-2 which was five at the back when City had the ball (which was often). Leroy Sane seemed most poised to trigger a City goal, but it remained scoreless after a quarter hour.

Raheem Sterling scored an offside goal to complete a lightning counter attack, with David Silva‘s splendid pass denied an assist by the linesman’s rightly raised flag.

Silva was fouled on the edge of the 18, and Kevin De Bruyne presided over a dangerous free kick from the right only to rifled the ball over the goal.

Newcastle backstop Karl Darlow made a save a moment before City went ahead, as Aguero just deflected — we’re talking hair not head — a De Bruyne cross home.

Darlow made a fine save on De Bruyne in the 40th minute, and another just before the break as Newcastle limited the damage to 1-0.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

City again had trouble coming through Newcastle’s tight defense, and Isaac Hayden stopped a promising pass from Sane in the 61st minute.

Paul Tierney awarded a penalty to City in the 62nd minute when Raheem Sterling dove under a Javier Manquillo challenge, and Aguero placed a perfect penalty past a correctly guessing Darlow.

Murphy then got his first goal for his club on the counter, chipping Ederson after a seeing-eye pass from Ciaran Clark put the ex-Norwich man 1v1 with the goalkeeper.

Darlow denied Sterling with an outstanding diving save after Sane’s terrific cross was turned toward the Magpies’ goal.

Newcastle could’ve had it at 2-2 when Ederson stopped Mo Diame’s hard shot but spilled the ball back to the Magpies, only to save Ayoze Perez’s rebound work.

De Bruyne and Aguero both missed curling far post efforts in bids to restore the two-goal cushion. Aguero completed his hat trick thanks to a terrific Sane assist in the 83rd minute.

Follow Live: Chelsea, Swans, Cherries in FA Cup replays

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Chelsea, Swansea City, and Bournemouth look to avoid upsets in replays of their third round FA Cup matches.

[ LIVE: Follow all the FA Cup scores here ]

All three matches kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET

The Blues tangle with former Premier League peers Norwich City, this time at Stamford Bridge, in a bid to host a fourth round match with Newcastle United.

Antonio Conte‘s not messing around (too much) with the XI.

Swansea City and Wolves, meanwhile, are arguably battling for a bid in the fourth round, as a trip to Notts County is on the docket for the winner of Wednesday’s replay at the Liberty Stadium.

Bournemouth is at Wigan Athletic for a replay with the third-tier Latics, with the victor hosting West Ham United on Jan. 27.

Stoke 0-1 Newcastle: Magpies fend off second-half rush from hosts

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Newcastle picked up a crucial 1-0 road victory on Monday at the bet365 Stadium against Stoke City, bringing the Magpies up to 13th place in the Premier League.

[ MORE: Leicester cruises past Huddersfield behind Mahrez, Slimani brilliance ]

Ayoze Perez was the hero for the Magpies in the attacking third, after finishing off Jacob Murphy‘s low cross. Perez did well to get a right foot to the bouncing ball, and smashed it past Jack Butland.

Meanwhile, Karl Darlow‘s brilliance in net helped preserve the Newcastle lead on the road despite a massive amount of pressure from Stoke’s attack in the second half.

The Magpies were the far superior side in the opening half, with Christian Atsu providing a great deal of pressure early and often against goalkeeper Butland and Stoke.

Atsu’s best chance came in the 14th minute, when he broke free down the right side before forcing a brilliant save by Butland with his legs.

At the half hour mark, Ciaran Clark had a wonderful opportunity to break the deadlock after Ayoze Perez flicked on the initial corner kick, however, Clark put the close-range effort over the crossbar.

The second half surely flipped more in favor of the hosts though as Stoke began to test goalkeeper Darlow on a more regular basis.

Maxim Choupo-Moting nearly gave Darlow a fit six minutes into the second stanza, but the keeper did well close down the attacker and made the subsequent save.

Kurt Zouma had a legitimate header that trickled just wide off of a free kick in the 68th minute, which kept Stoke off the scoresheet.