Transfer Rumor Roundup: Who’s going where?

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This morning we are going to take a quick look around Europe to see which transfer rumors have surfaced.

With plenty of big money deals already flying around, and new managers building their squads hurriedly behind the scenes, this summer is set to see plenty of transfer activity.

Let us begin.

Wesley Sneijder could be Jose Mourinho’s first signing at Chelsea, as the 28-year-old Dutchman looks to get away from Galatasaray. Sneijder played under Mourinho at Inter Milan, where they won the Champions League together. But would he fit in with the plethora of similar talents at Chelsea? He is very much in the same mold as Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar. Maybe one of those star players will have to leave to accommodate Sneijder? (The Sun)

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is considering a bid for Swansea City striker Michu. The Spaniard scored 22 times in his debut EPL campaign and Wenger is keen to add more goals to his attack. The 27-year-old would fit in with Arsenal’s possession based style, as he often set up plenty of chances for teammates and finished superbly when given the chance. Could he slot straight into the Gunners forward line? (Daily Mail)

Pepe could move following Jose Mourinho out of Real Madrid, with the Portuguese defender set for a shock $38 million move to Manchester City. Incoming City boss, Manuel Pellegrini is a huge admirer of Pepe, with the two working together at Madrid in the past. Could Pepe really be better than City’s current defensive options? I’m not so sure about that. But it does seem that Pellegrini will not hesitate to shake things up, when he finally arrives at the Etihad. Pepe has a checkered disciplinary record to say the least, and the 28-year-old defender has been in and out of the Madrid side during Mourinho’s time in charge. Jury is out on this one. (AS)

Liverpool are set to spend big money on Shaktar Donetsk midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The 24-year-old scored a record 25 goals in the Ukrainian Premier League last season, even though he plays in an attacking midfield role. The Armenian playmaker has attracted interest from the likes of Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester City but Liverpool are set to be the favorites to acquire Mkhitaryan. A fee of around $33 million has been discussed, with Brendan Rodgers keen to get the Armenian international pulling the string alongside Gerrard and Philippe Coutinho. (The Guardian)

Celtic striker Gary Hooper is a wanted man, as Sunderland have now joined his long list of admirers. The English striker has not signed a new deal with the Scottish champions and Southampton, Norwich and Hull City have all been sniffing around for a while. Hooper has scored 82 goals in 137 games since joining Celtic in 2010. His workrate is phenomenal and Di Canio is said to be a huge fan. However Celtic manager Neil Lennon is hugely reluctant to see Hooper leave, but the Glasgow side may have to cash in now, or risk losing the 25-year-old prolific hitman for nothing. (Daily Mail)

AS Roma goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg is close to sealing a move to English Premier League side Fulham. The 30-year-old Dutch stopper will apparently replace Mark Schwarzer as the Cottagers No. 1, with Martin Jol set to start his summer shopping early. Would Stekelenburg be a good choice for Fulham? Well, they’ve had plenty of success with Dutch ‘keepers in the past, remember Edwin van der Sar? Schwarzer is 40 and has had plenty of good season in the EPL, but even he has admitted his time could be up. Seems like Jol already has a replacement in mind. (The Guardian)

Chicharito says Mexican team “always feels welcome” in the United States

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Mexico will take on Wales on Monday at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA as they warm up for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Playing in the United States is nothing new for the USMNT’s southern neighbors, and it doesn’t phase them. In fact, they love it.

Star striker Chicharito told reporters that he and the rest of the squad is more than happy playing north of the border, because according to him, apart from a pair of venues, they can’t even tell they’re on the road.

“We always feel welcome here,” Chicharito said. “It’s like our second country, if we can say that, apart from Columbus [Ohio] and apart from the stadium in Miami when we played Colombia…those two stadiums, that’s the only time I’ve felt that we were the away team.”

Chicharito knows that the high population of his countrymen and women in the United States helps the Mexican team feel close to home when they play over the border. He’s all for the melting pot of the US.

“We feel at home [in the United States],” Chicharito said. “We have plenty of Mexicans here, so I don’t know what else to tell you, we feel welcome, we feel glad, happy to be in touch with those people here. They are sacrificing a lot of things, and they are all enjoying their lives that they decide to live in the USA…it’s great. It’s great when you come to another country and you feel like you are home. You see all the stadium green, shouting and screaming your names, screaming your goals, so yeah, it’s great.”

Mexico will play Wales on Monday at 9:00 p.m. ET, and will return home to take on Scotland at Azteca on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. ET.

England international Delph expecting child in middle of World Cup

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England international Fabian Delph could face quite the dilemma if England advances past the group stage of the World Cup.

Delph’s wife Natalie is expecting the couple’s third child on June 30, which is two days after their pivotal group stage match against Belgium, and two days before the squad would take the field July 1 for its Round of 16 game should they win Group G. If they finish second in the group, they would play their Round of 16 game on July 3.

When asked what his plans are, Delph joked that his wife would manage on her own. “She’s tough, she’s a Yorkshire lass so she’ll deal with it,” Delph said with a smile.

He then coughed up the truth: they’re not quite sure what the plan is.

“We’re not 100% certain, with a game on the 28th there might be an opportunity to fly back and then get back fast,” he said. “[England manager] Gareth [Southgate] has been fantastic. There’s nothing more important than family to me – family always comes first and always will.”

There’s another dilemma that Southgate must navigate involving Delph. The 28-year-old is a natural winger, but played wing-back in Pep Guardiola‘s title-winning system for much of the year and saw a massive uptick in form in the new role, playing in place of the injured Benjamin Mendy. Southgate must decide where he wants to deploy Delph – if at all – and if he wishes to fit his formation and tactics to mold Delph’s season under Guardiola.

Authorities drop assault charges against Hope Solo

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KIRKLAND, Wash. (AP) — Prosecutors in Washington state have dropped domestic violence charges against former U.S. national team star goalkeeper Hope Solo.

Solo was charged with two counts of fourth-degree assault in 2014 after police said she assaulted two family members at a home in Kirkland, east of Seattle. The case was delayed by appeals.

KING-TV reports that city prosecutors dropped the charges Wednesday, saying the witnesses in the case wanted to move on with their lives and did not want to participate in a trial. An attorney for Kirkland, Melissa Osman, wrote in court documents that the circumstances were unlikely to be repeated.

The longtime national team goalkeeper and two-time Olympic gold medalist recently ran unsuccessfully for president of the U.S. Soccer Federation. She has called for equal pay and equal treatment for the U.S. women’s team.

Mark Hughes signs new long-term contract at Southampton

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Mark Hughes has gone from Stoke City outcast to Southampton savior in little under six months time.

The Welsh boss was let go from Stoke City with the Potters 18th in the table and headed towards eventual relegation, but he was picked up by fellow relegation candidates Southampton after the departure of Mauricio Pellegrino. He steered the club to safety, finishing three points above the drop in 17th.

With the Saints in the top flight for another season, the club has announced the signing of Hughes to a new three-year contract.

“Mark, Eddie and I are thrilled to have signed long-term contracts with the club. It was the only option we considered, having spent the last eight weeks with the club,” Hughes said of himself and his assistant coaches Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki. “Now it is vital that we take the unbelievable support we received from the fans during the last few games into next season. The staff and the players will work hard every day to deliver the success this club deserves, and with everyone pulling together we will achieve our goals.”

Hughes guided Stoke City to three consecutive ninth-placed finishes, the highest the club had ever finished in the English top flight, but they finished 13th last year and regressed even further this campaign. The sale of playmaker Marko Arnautovic was particularly damaging, and the club scored just 35 goals in 38 games as a result.

At Southampton, Hughes took over a club that sat in 17th with just eight matches to go. He lost three Premier League games in a row to start his tenure and only won two league matches with Saints the rest of the way, but managed to keep the club barely afloat.