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?

Premier League Power Rankings: Tight at the top… and bottom

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 01:  Diego Costa of Chelsea pulls on the shirt of Harry Kane of Spurs during the Capital One Cup Final match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium on March 1, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
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Chelsea’s 7-point lead atop the Premier League table still feels relatively safe, even if Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United continue their table-surging form.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

That makes a set of Power Rankings, designed to combine table situation with form, even tighter, and Spurs have really made life difficult for our rankers.

[ ARCHIVE: All of PST’s Power Rankings ]

The bottom of the table is even closer, with four teams within a single point of the final spot of safety in the Premier League.

Here are this week’s rankings.

TEAM RANKING
source: 20 (19) Sunderland: “Hello darkness, my old friend.
I’ve come to talk with you again.”
source: 19 (18) Crystal Palace: Big Sam Allardyce has famously “never been relegated”, but at this point it looks like he may go down with a better squad than he’s had at a lot of other stops. We’ll see.
source: 18 (17) Swansea City: Reinforcements are coming, but the back line is still wobbly.
Hull City logo 17 (20) Hull City: Tigers looking a lot better under Marco Silva, even in a 2-0 EFL Cup semi loss to Manchester United.
source: 16 (15) Watford: The Hornets have not won a league game since Dec. 10, its only PL win since mid-November.
200px-Middlesbrough_crest 15 (16) Middlesbrough: Aitor Karanka‘s side looks like a group that can beat the drop, but Boro needs to turn a draw into a win at some point soon.
source: 14 (11) Southampton: Claude Puel‘s unit is struggling, losers of four-straight in Premier League play. Saints are, however, a result away from the EFL Cup final.
Leicester City logo 13 (14) Leicester City: The Foxes’ 3-0 loss to Chelsea feels worse than it is, as Leicester has looked better in recent weeks.
source: 12 (9) Bournemouth: The 3-0 lead against Arsenal turned into a draw, and the Cherries backed it up with a 3-1 loss to Hull City. Down they go.
source: 11 (10) West Ham United: The Dimitri Payet saga keeps the Irons from rising even higher in the Power Rankings. Michail Antonio is fantastic.
source: 10 (12) Stoke City: The Potters haven’t made the leap to a top-end club, but continue to win most games they should.
source: 9 (8) West Bromwich Albion: No shame in getting crushed by red-hot Spurs, though it may serve as a reality check for Tony Pulis and Co.
burnley fc crest 8 (13) Burnley: Three wins in four, with the outlier being a close loss to Man City. Enjoy the high life, Clarets!
Logo_Manchester_City 7 (6) Manchester City: The mighty have indeed fallen, and how bad might it look after another match against Spurs?
Source: Everton FC 6 (7) Everton: That win over Man City is going to linger for a while, and don’t forget the Toffees took care of Arsenal not too long ago. Six with a bullet?
source: 5 (4) Arsenal: It remains hard to get a read on the Gunners, who are still aching for a statement win since back-to-back losses against Man City and Everton.
source: 4 (3) Liverpool: The EFL Cup setback doesn’t push them in our rankings, but the Reds were second-best — not by a ton — to United on Sunday. That’s enough for a flip-flop.
source: 3 (4) Manchester United: The better team in the draw against Liverpool.
source: 2 (2) Tottenham Hotspur: Took everything in our power not to boost them, but a 7-point gap is a lot. Beat Man City this week and we’ll revisit the issue.
source: 1 (1) Chelsea: Costa situation is a problem, but you wouldn’t know it from the steadied ship that ushered hosts Leicester to a 3-0 defeat.

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Tottenham 4-0 West Brom: Kane hat-trick sends Spurs second

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  • 62 goals in 99 PL games for Kane
  • Spurs win six games on spin
  • Vertonghen off injured
  • Spurs up to second in PL table

Tottenham Hotspur beat West Bromwich Albion 4-0 at White Hart Lane on Saturday as Mauricio Pochettino‘s side moved into second place and four points behind leaders Chelsea.

Spurs have now won six games on the spin and eased to victory courtesy of a Harry Kane hat trick (not a bad way to celebrate being a father for the first time six days ago) and Christian Eriksen‘s shot which was deflected into his own net by Gareth McAuley.

With the win Spurs move up to second and now have 45 points, while West Brom remain in eighth place on 29 points.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Kane went close early on as he directed Danny Rose‘s inviting cross from the left flank just wide of the far post but Spurs’ leading scorer didn’t have to wait much longer to put them ahead.

Patient build-up play on the edge of the box saw Victor Wanyama play in Christian Eriksen and his delicate pass found Kane free in the box. Kane rifled home into the top corner to make it 1-0 to Spurs after 12 minutes.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings

Spurs continued to press after going ahead and Victor Wanyama’s cross was directed goalwards by Kane but Foster scrambled to stop the loose ball spinning over the line. Moments later he was beaten as Eriksen’s shot from the edge of the box took two deflections and left West Brom’s goalkeeper moving in the right direction as the ball hit the back of the net. 2-0 to Tottenham.

Dele Alli then scored with an audacious finish but the offside flag went up after Eriksen’s through ball as Spurs carved through West Brom’s defense time and time again in the first half as Kane then forced Foster to tip his low shot onto the far post.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

In the second half West Brom started well with Salomon Rondon playing in Matt Phillips but the in-form winger dragged his shot just wide of the far post.

Foster then made two great stops in quick succession as he saved Toby Alderweireld‘s effort with his legs and then palmed away Jan Vertonghen‘s follow-up as Spurs surged forward in search of a third goal.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score

Alli then wonderfully skipped by three West Brom defenders, complete with a cheeky nutmeg, and set up Kane but his blast was saved once again by the increasingly busy Foster.

A moment of concern arrived for Spurs in the second half as Vertonghen limped off injured after badly twisting his ankle when clearing a ball and stepping off the pitch and onto the AstroTurf surface. The Belgian defender would be a big loss for Spurs.

Kane added his second and Tottenham’s third in the closing stages as Kyle Walker chased down McAuley and forced him into a mistake which Kane punished ruthlessly with a wonderful finish. 3-0 to Spurs.

Late on Kane completed his hat trick (his fourth for Spurs and third for them in the PL) after a delightful lobbed pass from Alli.

Spurs coasted to victory and their surge continues with six Premier League wins in a row. Who can stop them?

Watch Live: Tottenham vs. West Brom (Lineups, Stream)

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 25:  Dele Alli of Tottenham Hotspur argues with Claudio Yacob of West Bromwich Albion as referee Mike Jones intervenes during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion at White Hart Lane on April 25, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)
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Tottenham Hotspur host West Bromwich Albion (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE HERE

Mauricio Pochettino‘s side are looking for a sixth-straight win in the Premier League which would momentarily take them up to second in the table. West Brom have been a bit of a bogey team for Spurs in recent years, losing just one of their last seven games against Tottenham and a win would take Tony Pulis‘ men in to seventh place as their fine season continues.

Look out for an intense battle in midfield as Claudio Yacob and Dele Alli clash once again following the latter being sent off for a punch on Yacob in this fixture at the Lane last season.

In team news Spurs are unchanged from the team which beat Chelsea last time out, while Jonny Evans and Alan Nyom miss out for West Brom.

LINEUPS

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris; Dier, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Walker, Dembele, Wanyama, Rose; Eriksen, Kane, Alli. Subs: Vorm, Davies, Trippier, Winks, Sissoko, Nkoudou, Son

West Brom: Foster; Dawson, McAuley, Olsson, Brunt; Fletcher, Yacob; Chadli, Morrison, Phillips; Rondon. Subs: Myhill; Galloway, Robson-Kanu, McClean, Leko, Field, Wilson

Premier League Preview: Tottenham vs. West Brom

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: Nacer Chadli of West Bromwich Albion reacts during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester City at The Hawthorns on October 29, 2016 in West Bromwich, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
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Dele Alli returns to where everything collapsed around him.

Last year, with Tottenham pushing as high in the Premier League table as they could, looking to one-up arch rivals Arsenal, it all went wrong at home against West Brom. Alli sucker punched Claudio Yacob in the penalty area, earning him a three-match ban with four matches remaining. Spurs failed to win against the Baggies or anyone else to finish the season, ending up in third just a point behind Arsenal.

[ MORE: Diego Costa to miss Leicester City match due to fight with Conte ]

Now, Dele Alli is in the headlines for all the right reasons. Spurs have won five straight, and Alli has scored a massive seven goals in their last four, even more incredible given he’s a midfielder.

Can West Brom stop the Spurs machine that is on a tear? Tony Pulis has painted his own masterpiece with the Baggies this season. They may have fallen out of the FA Cup to a good Derby side this past weekend, but they’ve won two straight in the league and have played top teams close.

The problem is in front of goal. In their last three matches against top teams (vs. Arsenal, Manchester United, and Chelsea), they’ve held opponents to just four goals, but have scored none. Can Pulis find the answer on the attacking end?

What they’re saying

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino on Dele Alli: “[The punch of Yacob] was one season ago, he is a very clever and smart guy. Now he feels what happened last season and he is more mature now, he has learnt a lot. You try to advise and translate your experience and make them better.”

West Brom manager Tony Pulis on former Spurs winger Nacer Chadli“We had him right at a level that he wants to be, and I don’t think – even if you speak to him – he has got back to that level since his injury. But we think he’s not just a player for now, he’s a player for the future. The young players will learn off him, because his ability is fantastic.”

Prediction

West Brom’s tactics are everything that Spurs hate. Tottenham is clicking on all cylinders, but all good things must come to an end. A 1-1 draw leaves Mauricio Pochettino frustrated postmatch.