Friday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Suarez to Chelsea, Pepe to City

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The weekend is almost upon us. But that doesn’t mean the transfer speculation and rumors are slowing down.

Oh no.

Clubs are back into the swing of things in preseason training and managers are finally talking about potential signings, as preseason press conferences continue. New kits, new ambitions and potential new signings are being discussed.

Let’s see what rumors are circulating around European soccer this morning.

This can’t be real, can it? After months of hearing Luis Suárez‘ desire to leave English football after the way he has been treated following various incidents which culminated in him biting Branislav Ivanovic’s arm, the Uruguayan forward is set to move to Chelsea. Reports from Spain suggest Chelsea have emerged of favorites ahead of mourinho’s old club Real Madrid after offering $60 million for the forward. Is José Mourinho mad? Or is this another management masterstroke from the Portuguese maestro? We shall see. But Suárez staying in England is all of a sudden a viable option. Linking up with Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Oscar at Chelsea could see the 26-year-old score a bucket load of goals. (AS)

Alvaro Negredo is being chased by both Manchester City and Tottenham, as the Sevilla striker could leave La Liga for the Premier League. Negredo, 27, looks to be closer to a move to Manchester, with Manuel Pellegrini a big fan of the forward. Negredo scored 25 goals in 36 games last season, and he could cost City up to $35 million as Sevilla hold out for a big fee. Atletico Madrid have already had a bid rejected for the Spanish international, as Sevilla would rather sell Negredo to an EPL club rather than a La Liga rival. (The Guardian)

Southampton have set their sights high as they aim to push on in their second season back in the Premier League. Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino yesterday confirmed that the $16 million deal to sign Celtic’s Victor Wanyama isn’t dead in the water and that the EPL side are also looking at Valencia’s Ever Banega and Brazilian forward Leandro Damiao. Getting any one of those three players would be a huge coup for the Saints. Can they pull it off as they aim for a top half finish this season? (Goal.com)

French international Loic Remy has been offered the chance to leave Championship side QPR for Newcastle United, following their relegation from the EPL last season. Remy, 26, would link up with plenty of his countrymen on Tyneside and was close to joining Newcastle back in January before choosing Rangers. Despite the R’s dismal season in the Premier League, Remy scored six goals in 14 games to make him QPR’s top scorer. But is Remy the right man for Newcastle? Probably not. With Papiss Cisse already on board, Remy is a very similar player. Can’t see this one happening. (Chronicle)

Manchester City are set to be back in for Real Madrid defender Pepe. The Portuguese defender, 30, has a reputation as a hot head but Pellegrini believes he is one of the finest defenders in Spanish soccer. City are a little bit short at the back, after Kolo Toure departed for Liverpool and Joleon Lescott only has a year left on his contract. But is he really what City need in defense? Certainly the $30 million price tag seems to be steep for a player clearly out of Carlo Ancelotti’s plans at Madrid. (The Sun)

More: Tuesday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup, El Shaarway to Chelsea, Cavani to PSG

More: Wednesday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup, Fred to Man City, Matic to Chelsea

Iran names initial squad for World Cup

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Jalal Hosseini and Vouria Ghaffouri have both been left off Iran’s provisional 24-man squad for the World Cup.

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz did not say why Hosseini, a Persepolis defender, and Ghaffouri were not included.

There was space for midfielders Masoud Shojaei and Ehsan Hajsafi, however. Both played with Greek club Panionios against Maccabi Tel Aviv in August 2017. Iran does not recognize Israel and its supreme leader has threatened the country in the past. Both Shojaei and Hajsafi missed matches with the national team after the game.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh, a 24-year-old forward who plays in the Netherlands with AZ Alkmaar, is also in the squad, which was announced Sunday.

In the midfield, Queiroz chose Saeid Ezatolahi, although the Amkar Perm player will miss the team’s first World Cup match because he was given a red card in a game against South Korea in qualifying.

Nottingham Forest midfielder Ashkan Dejagah was also chosen.

Goalkeeper Amir Abedzadeh of Portuguese club Maritimo made the squad. His father, Ahmadreza Abedzadeh, was Iran captain and goalkeeper at the 1998 World Cup in France.

Iran will play in Group B at the World Cup with Portugal, Spain and Morocco. The team will play warm-up matches in Turkey and Greece before heading to Russia.

Goalkeepers: Alireza Beiranvand (Persepolis), Rashid Mazaheri (Zob Ahan), Amir Abedzadeh (Maritimo)

Defenders: Ramin Rezaeian (KV Oostende), Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh (Padideh), Morteza Pouraliganji (Al Saad), Pejman Montazeri (Esteghlal), Seyed Majid Hosseini (Esteghlal), Milad Mohammadi (Akhmat Grozny), Roozbeh Cheshmi (Esteghlal)

Midfielders: Saeid Ezatolahi (Amkar Perm), Masoud Shojaei (AEK Athens), Mehdi Torabi (Saipa), Ashkan Dejagah (Nottingham Forest), Omid Ebrahimi (Esteghlal), Ehsan Hajsafi (Olympiakos), Vahid Amiri (Persepolis), Saman Ghoddos (Ostersunds FK), Ali Gholizadeh (Saipa)

Forwards: Alireza Jahanbakhsh (AZ Alkmaar), Karim Ansarifard (Olympiakos), Mahdi Taremi (Al-Gharafa Sports Club), Sardar Azmoun (Rubin Kazan), Reza Ghoochannejhad (SC Heerenveen)

Six Premier Leaguers named to Argentina, but no Icardi

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Argentina’s World Cup roster features a number of the usual suspects, particularly up front, but Serie A’s top goalscorer has been surprisingly left off the list of 23.

[ MORE: Belgium goes to World Cup without Nainggolan ]

Manager Jorge Sampaoli’s squad was made official on Monday, which includes the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain.

The Albiceleste won’t be taking Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi though, which has raised some questions about the decision.

Icardi led all scorers in Italy’s top flight this season, scoring 29 goals in 34 Serie A matches, while Paulo Dybala edged out the final striker spot in the Argentina squad.

Dybala is teammates with Higuain at Italian giants Juventus.

Meanwhile, six Premier League players were named into the South American nation’s squad, including goalkeepers Sergio Romero (Man United) and Willy Caballero (Chelsea), as well as Nicolas Otamendi (Man City), Marcos Rojo (Man United) and Manuel Lanzini (West Ham).

Men in Blazers POD: FA Cup recap, UCL final preview and more

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Rog and Davo recap a spite-fueled, snear-filled, peak Phil Jones FA Cup Final, preview this weekend’s Champions League tilt between Liverpool and Real Madrid and eulogize Big Sam… gone the opposite of too soon. Plus, World Cup rosters and MLS.

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Long-term absentee Santi Cazorla will leave Arsenal

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Santi Cazorla hasn’t played a match for the Gunners since suffering a gruesome Achilles injury back in October 2016.

[ MORE: No World Cup for Spanish Chelsea trio ]

And unfortunately for the Spaniard, Cazorla won’t feature for Arsenal again after six years at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal released a statement on Monday revealing the veteran midfielder won’t return to the club in 2018/19, which isn’t unexpected given the extent of his injury.

In his time with the Gunners, Cazorla made 180 appearances in all competitions for the club, and helped Arsenal win two FA Cups.

Cazorla was also a member of the Spanish national team squads that won back-to-back UEFA EURO competitions in 2008 and 2012.