UDINE, ITALY - MARCH 24:  Alvaro Morata of Spain looks on during the international friendly match between Italy and Spain at Stadio Friuli on March 24, 2016 in Udine, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
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Transfer Rumor Roundup: Morata to Chelsea; Ulloa, Sakho in demand

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With Diego Costa and Antonio Conte making up for now, the focus is on who could be the long-term striker at Stamford Bridge.

[ MORE: United need Griezmann

The Daily Telegraph believes that Conte will turn to Real Madrid forward Alvaro Morata in the summer as he looks to the Spanish international to be his go-to man up top. With Costa causing problems behind the scenes at Chelsea, it is believed Conte is ready to cash in on the troublesome striker despite his 14 goals and five assists putting Chelsea top of the Premier League with five games to go go.

As for Morata, the 24-year-old is stuck behind the likes of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo once again after returning to Real Madrid in the summer following two years at Juventus. Real exercised the buy-back clause in Morata’s deal in the summer and refused to sell him to Chelsea. Morata has started just six La Liga games this season but has scored five goals and Conte was the man who signed him for Juventus before he moved on to manage the Italian national team.

If Chelsea sell 28-year-old Costa to China for a big profit and then bring in Morata, that would seem like a decent deal. Conte gets rid of a wantaway player and adds a talented and hungry striker who is four years younger and ready to prove himself at the top level. What could go wrong?


The Liverpool Echo is reporting that Liverpool’s central defender Mamadou Sakho is interesting Crystal Palace.

Sakho, 25, hasn’t played for the Reds all season after a fall out with manager Jurgen Klopp in the summer. Sakho rejected a loan move to Stoke City in the summer but has only played for Liverpool’s U-23 side since. The former Paris Saint-Germain defender has also been linked with a move to Southampton in the January window but with Liverpool said to be intent on selling Sakho rather than loaning him, that considerably cuts down his options.

Palace are in need of defensive help with new manager Sam Allardyce gaining just one point from his first four games in charge. Palace also have the third worst defensive record in the PL but it would be interesting to see if the Eagles would splash out nearly $20 million on Sakho and if he would likely take a pay cut to join a team which is outside the relegation zone only on goal difference.

Allardyce is known for building his teams around a solid defense and Sakho could certainly land in worse place than south London if the Eagles manage to stay up.


Leicester City striker Leonardo Ulloa is a man in demand.

Ulloa, 30, has come off the bench time and time again this season for the Foxes but has struggled to hold down a regular spot in the team and the Uruguayan forward reportedly wants a move away from the King Power Stadium. Ulloa played the bit-part superbly last season in Leicester’s title-wining campaign, scoring valuable goals off the bench and often replacing Shinji Okazaki for the final 30 minutes of games to batter opposition defenses.

This season Ulloa has scored just once in 18 appearances in all competitions, starting just two games.

Sky Sports claim that Spanish side Alaves have placed a bid with Leicester but that has reportedly been rejected, while the Daily Express states that a quartet of Premier League clubs are sniffing around the powerful striker with West Brom plus strugglers Hull City, Swansea City and Sunderland all interested.

With Okazaki, Islam Slimani, Ahmed Musa and Jamie Vardy around, it is unlikely Ulloa will get any significant minutes for Leicester for the rest of the season. Will the Foxes really sell him to a potential rival in the battle against PL relegation though?

MLS SuperDraft Rounds 3 & 4: Thierjung to SJ, all picks

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Major League Soccer put the finishing touches on its four round SuperDraft of (mostly) college player with the third and fourth rounds on Tuesday.

[ MORE: First and second round wrap ]

Here’s how they played out:

  1. Colorado Rapids – Jaime Saij, Pfeiffer
  2. Atlanta United – Andrew Wheeler-Ominu, Harvard
  3. Chicago Fire – Brandt Bronico, Charlotte
  4. Real Salt Lake – Andrew Putna, Illinois-Chicago
  5. Columbus Crew SC – Connor Maloney, Penn State
  6. San Jose Earthquakes – Christian Thierjung, California
  7. Vancouver Whitecaps – Jorge Gomez Sanchez, Temple
  8. Toronto FC – Robert Moewes, GK, Duke
  9. FC Dallas – Austin Ledbetter, SIU-Edwardsville
  10. New York City FC – Chris Wingate, New York City FC
  11. Philadelphia Union – Chris Nanco, Syracuse
  12. Seattle Sounders – Doug Goodman, Georgetown
  13. Real Salt Lake – Pass
  14. Sporting KC – David Graczek, Rutgers
  15. FC Dallas – Dakota Barnathan, VCU
  16. New York City FC – Michael DeGraffenriedt, Louisville
  17. New York Red Bulls – Jordan Scarlett, Iona
  18. FC Dallas – Wulito Fernandes, Mass-Lowell
  19. Montreal Impact – Pass
  20. Orlando City SC – Danny Deakin, South Carolina
  21. Toronto FC – Oyvind Alseth, Syracuse
  22. Seattle Sounders – Jake Stovall, Wright State

[ ARCHIVE: All of PST’s Power Rankings ]

Round 4

  1. Minnesota United – Tanner Thompson, Indiana
  2. Atlanta United – Alex Kapp, Creighton
  3. Chicago Fire – Matej Dekovic, Charlotte
  4. Houston Dynamo – Robby Sagel, Penn State
  5. Columbus Crew SC – Logan Ketterer, GK, Bradley
  6. San Jose Earthquakes – Auden Schileder, GK, Washington
  7. Vancouver Whitecaps – Nazeem Bartman, USF
  8. Real Salt Lake – Pass
  9. New England Revolution – Joshua Smith, San Francisco
  10. Portland Timbers – Russell Cicerone, Buffalo
  11. Philadelphia Union – Jack Elliott, West Virginia
  12. DC United – Pass
  13. Real Salt Lake – Pass
  14. Portland Timbers – Romilio Hernandez, Louisville
  15. LA Galaxy – Pass
  16. Philadelphia Union  – Santi Moar, Pfeiffer
  17. Toronto FC – Lars Eckenrode, Michigan
  18. FC Dallas – Marco Carrizales, Furman
  19. Montreal Impact – Pass
  20. Colorado Rapids – Peguy Ngatcha, Wright State
  21. Toronto FC – Juan Pablo Saavedra, Virginia Tech
  22. Seattle Sounders – Kyle Bjornethun, Seattle

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Everton 4-0 Manchester City: Toffees counter hammers leaky City

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 15:  Romelu Lukaku #10 of Everton celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Premier League match between Everton and Manchester City at Goodison Park on January 15, 2017 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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  • Lukaku opened scoring
  • Mirallas made it 2-0 straight out of half
  • 18-year-old hits Everton’s third

After Everton’s second goal, Pep Guardiola was shown with a gloomy expression, staring straight into the ground without even watching as the game continued on. It was a fitting expression as Everton’s cutting edge on the counter-attack downed a leaky Manchester City 4-0 at Goodison Park.

On a day of Manchester vs. Liverpool, the latter struck the first blow, leaving Manchester City a whopping 10 points adrift of the league’s top spot as Everton’s counter-attack was ruthless, a stark contrast to the toothless visitors. The Toffees picked up four shots on target on the day, and Claudio Bravo came up empty-handed on all four.

Everton looked early on for the long ball to Romelu Lukaku, while City maintained possession with little result. On the break, Everton had the ball in the net through Kevin Mirallas, but it was ruled out as Seamus Coleman was offside. Following a cagey first 10 minutes, the game sprung open.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

City had its own early chance, also on the break, as Kevin De Bruyne sprung down the left and fed Raheem Sterling one-on-one with Leighton Baines in the box. Joel Robles came out of the net and smothered the ball, taking down Sterling as well with no call from referee Mark Clattenburg. They had another on 25 minutes as de Bruyne again from the left sent a spectacular ball to the far post where David Silva was waiting all alone, but Robles was again there to smother it before Silva could get a good shot off.

Everton had fewer chances, but took the one big one it had. After Gael Clichy gave the ball away in midfield, 18-year-old Tom Davies threaded a perfect through-ball to Mirallas, and his square pass across the box to Lukaku allowed the Belgian to simply touch home.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings

After going down, City continued to pummel the Everton goal. Sterling unleashed a vicious one from outside the box that went just wide on 38 minutes. Manchester City finished with a massive 71% possession, but nothing to show for it.

Out of halftime, Everton stunned the visitors straight away. Yaya Toure gave the ball away this time, and Ross Barkley fed Mirallas who hit into the far corner just past a sliding John Stones, just 62 seconds into the second half, leaving Pep Guardiola staring straight into the ground.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Changes were rung past the hour mark, as Guardiola replaced Pablo Zabaleta with striker Kelechi Iheanacho, while Ronald Koeman brought on Morgan Schneiderlin for his Everton debut, but it was another first that put an exclamation mark on the game as the 18-year-old Davies picked up his first Premier League goal with a smart finish dinked over a charging Claudio Bravo.

They’d get a fourth in laughable fashion, through 19-year-old Ademola Lookman on his Premier League debut. John Stones, in an attempt to clear the ball, fired it against Seamus Coleman. The ball caromed back into the box straight into the path of Lookman, who hit through the legs of Claudio Bravo and into the back of the net.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score

The Everton win brings them up to 33 points, although the gap between their 7th place and Manchester United in 6th is still a large six points with the Red Devils still yet to play. Manchester City, meanwhile, drops a full 10 points behind leaders Chelsea, while they remain outside the top four, two back of both Liverpool and Arsenal.

PL Saturday roundup: Spurs, Arsenal win big; Costa-less Chelsea get back on track

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 14: Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur (R) scores his sides fourth goal during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion at White Hart Lane on January 14, 2017 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
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Both ends of the table continue to provide intrigue after another busy day around the Premier League, including the division’s top three sides each picking up convincing victories.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Here, we take a look back at Saturday’s action from around England’s top flight.

Tottenham 4-0 West Bromwich Albion — RECAP

Mauricio Pochettino‘s side is hitting its stride at the right time, and now Spurs find themselves all the way up to second in the PL. Harry Kane‘s hat-trick helped guide Tottenham to an easy home win over West Brom on Saturday at White Hart Lane as Spurs picked up their sixth-straight victory. The Baggies have now lost three of their last five matches despite sitting in the top 10.

Swansea City 0-4 Arsenal — RECAP

Swansea’s struggles continued on Saturday despite a lively start from the hosts. Once again though, the Gunners proved that they can punish any team in the blink of an eye if given the opportunity. Goals from Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez, as well as two own goals, helped guide Arsenal up to third in the table as the top of the league remains congested. Meanwhile, the Swans still sit at the bottom of the PL on 15 points.

Leicester City 0-3 Chelsea — RECAP

No Diego Costa, no problem. While speculation over the Spaniard’s future continues to swirl, the Blues got back on track against the reigning top-flight champions. A brace from Marcos Alonso and a third from Pedro helped give Chelsea all three points and a tentative seven-point advantage over Spurs at the top of the PL. The Foxes once again fell short on Saturday for their ninth loss of the campaign, after having fallen just three times a season ago. Claudio Ranieri‘s men are now just five points above the bottom three with 17 matches remaining.

Burnley 1-0 Southampton — RECAP

The Clarets continued their impressive home record this season with another home victory. Joey Barton‘s first goal since returning to Burnley helped push the hosts up to 10th in the standings after the midfielder came on as substitute. All eight of Burnley’s victories have come at home this season, while 25 of the team’s 26 points have been picked up at the Turf Moor.

HULL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 14: Tom Huddlestone of Hull City (C) celebrates his side third goal with his Hull City team mates during the Premier League match between Hull City and AFC Bournemouth at KCOM Stadium on January 14, 2017 in Hull, England. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)
Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Hull City 3-1 Bournemouth — RECAP

Marco Silva received everything he could have wished for on his PL debut for the Tigers. Despite going down early after Junior Stanislas converted from the penalty spot, it was all Hull the rest of the way. An Abel Hernandez double helped put Hull out in front against the Cherries, while a Tyrone Mings own goal sealed the fate of the visitors on Saturday. Hull now has four wins on the season, moving the Tigers up to 18th in the table.

Sunderland 1-3 Stoke City — RECAP

Marko Arnautovic and Peter Crouch both scored for the visitors as Stoke City rose to ninth on Saturday against the Black Cats. While Jermain Defoe continues to keep Sunderland in the hunt to climb out of the relegation zone, the Englishman lacks a supporting cast up front. Sunderland remains in the bottom three on 15 points, although the Black Cats are just one point behind 17th place Crystal Palace.

Watford 0-0 Middlesbrough — RECAP

Both sides remain above the drop zone despite an uneventful encounter at Vicarage Road. Middlesbrough failed to record a shot on target on Saturday, however, the visitors came the closest to finding an opener when Cristhian Stuani knocked home a flicked ball from Alvaro Negredo. Unfortunately for Boro, the finish was called back for offsides.

West Ham 3-0 Crystal Palace — RECAP

The Hammers remain in fine form as of late courtesy of Michail Antonio‘s three assists against the Eagles at the Olympic Stadium. Manuel Lanzini, Sofiane Feghouli and Andy Carroll all punched their names on the scoresheet for West Ham, who now move up to 12th in the league. None were better than Carroll’s bicycle kick strike which put an exclamation on the match. Palace, however, have fallen all the way to 17th after failing to win in their last seven matches.

Swansea City 0-4 Arsenal: Gunners hammer sorry Swans

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  • Giroud, Sanchez, two own goals
  • Arsenal move above Liverpool in table
  • Swansea rock bottom of PL

Arsenal breezed past Swansea City on Saturday at the Liberty Stadium with goals from Olivier Giroud, Alexis Sanchez and two unfortunate own goals from Swansea won it for Arsene Wenger‘s men.

The Gunners led 1-0 at the break through Giroud’s goal and then Alex Iwobi was instrumental as Swansea’s Jack Cork and Kyle Naughton scored own goals. Sanchez nabbed one to seal the win as Arsenal recovered well after a good start by the Swans.

With the win Arsenal move in to third place above Liverpool on goal difference, while Swansea slip to the bottom as new manager Paul Clement has it all to do.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Swansea started well with Jack Cork sending a shot over the bar and the Swans kept the pressure on Arsenal early on in south Wales.

Giroud had a tame header at goal but that was as good as it got for Arsenal in the opening stages.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings

Swansea continued to press Arsenal high and pinned the Gunners back with Alexis Sanchez having an effort from distance which Lukasz Fabianski saved easily.

Arsenal took the lead eight minutes before half time as Alexis Sanchez’s cross from the left was headed down by Mesut Ozil and the loose ball fell to Giroud who slotted home for his fifth goal in his last five  games. 1-0 to the Arsenal.

Before half time South Korean midfielder Ki went down in the box but no penalty kick was given and the Swansea man was handed a yellow card for simulation. It looked like the right call from the referee.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Arsenal started the second half brightly as Sanchez passed up a great chance to score, then Aaron Ramsey forced Fabianski into a fine save.

Moments later the Gunners were 2-0 ahead as Iwobi’s shot deflected off Cork and looped into the net.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score

Swansea stuck with it and Federico Fernandez should’ve done better with a chance inside the box but Arsenal looked fairly comfortable as they added some more gloss to the scoreline. Another own goal arrived as Iwobi’s cross was deflected into his own net by Kyle Naughton.

Late on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain pulled the ball back and Sanchez swept home to make it 4-0. Game over. A bad day at the office for the Swans as Arsenal continue their push up the table.