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Southampton hires Pellegrino as manager

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Southampton has hired Mauricio Pellegrino as its next manager, replacing Claude Puel.

Pellegrino has impressed at all four of his managerial stops so far, with success at Valencia and Alaves in La Liga and Argentine club Independiente and Estudiantes.

[ MORE: Fabinho has interest in Man Utd ]

Vice chairman Les Reed spoke glowingly of his new hire:

“He has an excellent understanding of the Southampton Way, and his style of play and aspiration matches the philosophy, culture and ambition of the club. We firmly believe Mauricio is the right person to help us take the next steps. He knows our players and believes we have a great squad that with some fine-tuning will be able to deliver continued success.

The Southampton Daily Echo says reports of Frank De Boer’s hiring at Crystal Palace were triggered by news that Southampton favored Mauricio Pellegrino.

Pellegrino, De Boer and Patrick Vieira had been reported as options for Saints, and Pellegrino emerged as the favorite.

The Crystal Palace job is the only vacant seats in the Premier League, with Watford hiring Marco Silva and Leicester keeping Craig Shakespeare.

Again, this is going to be a hectic time for Saints fans. That’s not because Pellegrino isn’t a promising hire; He’s a top prospect. No, we’re just worried for the amount of times Mauricio Pellegrino is going to be called by the name of former Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino.

Looks like Southampton’s again ahead of the curve.

Watch Live: Portugal vs. Russia in Confederations Cup

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Portugal looks to move to the top of Group A when it faces host Russia Wednesday at 11 a.m. in Moscow, live on Telemundo Deportes.

The match at Spartak Stadium pits Cristiano Ronaldo and Bernardo Silva against Igor Akinfeev and Aleksandr Golovin.

Russia scored in each half against New Zealand last time out but the Russians never truly looked in control of the game, while Portugal lost a chance to beat Mexico with a stoppage-time header that forced a 2-2 draw.

[ WATCH LIVE: Portugal vs. Russia on Telemundo Deportes ]

Portugal manager Fernando Santos has opted to rest some of his starters from the Mexico match including Nani and Ricardo Quaresma.

Enjoy the match.

LINEUPS

Portugal: Patricio; Guerreiro, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Cedric; Adrien Silva, Carvalho, Gomes; Bernardo Silva, Andre Silva, Ronaldo

Russia: Akinfeev, Vasin, Shishkin, Dzhikya, Kombarov, Glushakov, Smolov, Kudriashov, Golovin, Zhirkov, Samedov

Robert Lewandowski to Chelsea? Agent says striker “disappointed” with Bayern

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Reports that Antonio Conte will get a new contract to go with reassurances that Chelsea can spend on veterans players are leading to a number of big names linked to Stamford Bridge.

Leonardo Bonucci and Virgil Van Dijk are center backs in the Blues’ rumor mill, but there’s a gigantic line-leading name running through the headlines on Tuesday.

Metro has reports out of Poland that say Chelsea believes it can woo Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich, which has said it has no desire to sell the striker.

[ MORE: Latest Confed Cup news ]

The report says Lewandowski was unsettled when Carlo Ancelotti didn’t alter its final day tactics and formation to help him capture another Golden Boot, as Lewandowski finished just behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in a bid to win a third Golden Boot in four seasons.

From Metro:

‘Robert told me that he got no support and that the coach gave no call to help him in the last game to win the top-scorer title,’ Maik Barthel told Kicker. ‘He was disappointed as I have ever seen him before. He really hoped that the team [would] support him proactively.’

Well then.

Lewandowski is signed through the 2020-21 season, which would make any deal an expensive one for Chelsea. Conte would see him as an upgrade over unvalued Diego Costa, and Lewandowski probably wouldn’t mind a new challenge having dominated the Bundesliga with two clubs (two titles with Borussia Dortmund and three with Bayern).

Where could Mohamed Salah slot in at Liverpool?

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Mohamed Salah is said to be close to sealing a record $49.2 million move to Liverpool from AS Roma as Jurgen Klopp continues to rebuild the Reds.

But where will Salah fit in?

[ MORE: Real on “strange” Ronaldo situation ]

With many expecting Liverpool to buy new defenders this summer (ahem, we all know how the Virgil van Dijk situation played out) Klopp is instead close to adding yet another attacking player.

Salah’s arrival is said to be for a club-record fee of $49.2 million, with the Egyptian winger also set to become the most-expensive African player in history after excelling at Roma over the past two seasons, scoring 29 goals in 65 Serie A appearances while adding 17 assists.

It’s safe to say Salah will be eager to prove himself in the PL after a disappointing debut season at Chelsea (he joined for $15 million from FC Basel in January 2014) which then saw him shipped out on loan to Fiorentina and Roma before joining the latter permanently in the summer of 2016. At 25 years old he is entering his prime and with Liverpool having a UEFA Champions League qualifier to negotiate, they’ll have plenty of games to give everyone minutes this season.

With Liverpool having Sadio Mane on one wing, potentially Salah on the other and Philippe Coutinho underneath Roberto Firmino, the obvious odd-man out here is Adam Lallana. Will the England international, who shone for the first half of last season, suddenly move down the pecking order at Liverpool? If Klopp switches to a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2- formation it could slot everyone in, but then that would mean Salah or Lallana playing in wing-back roles, which won’t get the best out of their attacking talents.

Salah’s best talents include dribbling, finishing and crossing and those talents should link up well with the extreme pace of Mane and the trickery of Coutinho in-behind Firmino. Salah is quick too, but he’s not Mane quick.

It will be intriguing to see how this all slots together, but with Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum occupying the two central spots, Salah’s imminent arrival certainly congests the forward areas, especially when you consider that Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and Danny Ings will all be fighting for a role next season.

Here’s a look at how Liverpool could line up after Salah’s arrival.


—– Mignolet —–

—- Clyne —- Lovren —- Matip —- Milner —-

—– Henderson —– Wijnaldum —–

—- Salah —- Coutinho —- Mane —-

—— Firmino —— 


The lineup above looks like the most balanced and obvious way Salah will slot into the team because, let’s face it, if you spend a club-record fee on a player who has been ripping it up in Serie A then you obviously want him to become an integral part of your team.

Below is another way Salah could slot in to the starting lineup at Liverpool with Lallana also handed a spot as Klopp could somehow shoehorn all of his top attacking talents into the same lineup. It would be risky, but the German coach has always been a huge proponent of attack being the best form of defense. Plus, everyone loves a 3-4-3 these days…


—– Mignolet —-

—- Klavan —- Matip —- Lovren —-

 Salah — H’son — Wijnaldum — Lallana

—- Coutinho —- Firmino —- Mane —-


Transfer Rumor Roundup: Star defenders to Chelsea; Rodriguez to West Brom

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According to multiple reports, Jay Rodriguez is said to be interesting West Bromwich Albion with Southampton asking for a fee of $19 million.

[ MORE: Mourinho tax fraud claim ]

Rodriguez, 27, started just nine times in the Premier League last season for Saints and even with Claude Puel fired last week, the Englishman looks set to move on from St Mary’s. West Brom desperately need a fresh approach up top as striker Salomon Rondon scored just once in his last 23 appearances for the Baggies last season.

The only worry about this deal for West Brom is Rodriguez’s fitness. Over the past three years he has struggled mightily with multiple issues after rupturing his ACL in April 2014.

It is worth remembering that prior to that injury Rodriguez had broken into the England squad and had scored 15 goals in a Premier League season for Saints. The talent is in there, as we saw during flashes last season when he scored six goals (including a stunner at Bournemouth) but playing consistently is a must for Rodriguez if he’s ever going to regain the form which saw him take the PL by storm from a wide position in 2013-14. Saints haven’t been able to offer him that, but maybe West Brom can.


Chelsea are said to be pushing for a move for Leonardo Bonucci from Juventus.

The 30-year-old defender has excelled for the Italian giants and the Italian national team and was chased by both Chelsea and Manchester City last summer before signing a new deal at Juve. However, the London Evening Standard believe that Antonio Conte is making his former center back a main summer target (with Kurt Zouma allowed to leave on loan) but Bonucci will not come cheap.

Despite being the wrong side of 30 it is thought Juve want over $60 million for the silky central defender. Bonucci would fit into Chelsea’s three-man defense superbly and his arrival would spark an intriguing battle between himself and David Luiz for the central role in defense.

Per the report, Chelsea are also interested in bringing Virgil Van Dijk to Stamford Bridge. Southampton’s captain, 25, was at the center of a very public spat between Saints and Liverpool earlier this month as the latter were forced to apologize amid reports of VVD being flown up north to meet with manager Jurgen Klopp.

Although a move to Liverpool seems incredibly unlikely for Van Dijk, plus Southampton’s continued stance that he’s not for sale, it will be intriguing to see if an offer of $70 million comes in from Chelsea for the Dutch international. There’s no doubting Chelsea have plenty of weapons going forward, but the reigning champs certainly need extra stability in defense. Both Bonucci and Van Dijk provide that, plus ooze class when they’re on the ball.