Lallana deal is almost complete, but Liverpool still eyeing potential transfers

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Most fans’ attention remains focused on the World Cup, but meanwhile, clubs are quietly going about their business. Manchester United splashed out for Luke Shaw, Manchester City reinforced their squad with the signing of Fernando, and Liverpool … well, Liverpool are in pursuit of a whole host of players.

The Reds, looking to both compete for the Premier League title and to make a deep run in the Champions League, are doing their best to reinforce their already-talented squad (and, perhaps, to make up for the four-month absence of Luis Suárez). Liverpool opened their summer signings by bringing Rickie Lambert back to Anfield. Emre Can will complete his move from Bayer Leverkusen come July 1, and Adam Lallana’s transfer is expected to be finalized after he completes a medical.

That’s two midfielders and a striker thus far. But Liverpool aren’t yet through. Here’s a quick look at a few targets they’re hoping to hit:

Dejan Lovren
The Croatia centerback returned all too quickly from the World Cup, where his primary claim to fame was being the man who nudged Fred, causing the forward to go down in a heap and prompting a penalty for Brazil. Lovren is, of course, another Southampton player. He joined the Saints just last season, moving from Lyon on a four-year deal. However, the 24-year-old has caught the eye of many a suitor, including Arsenal, so Liverpool could miss out.

Alberto Moreno
The Reds are keen on the right-back – and most fans are likely to have had enough of Glen Johnson – but Sevilla are saying it isn’t going to happen. Apparently Liverpool’s £16m (~$27m) offer wasn’t nearly enough, especially now that Sevilla have really cashed in on Ivan Rakitić’s sale to Barcelona. Moreno has also said Sevilla is the “club of my life,” but that’s not likely to dissuade Liverpool from pursuing him.

Lazar Marković
Liverpool may have scored an absurd number of goals last season, but they’re still looking to add to their firepower. The young Marković would bring impressive pace to the squad, and he’s got a knack for a dribble. But considering he’s been at Benfica just one year, scoring five goals, should Liverpool take a risk on meeting his  £20m (~$34m) release clause?

Divock Origi
Romelu Lukaku has been a major disappointment at this World Cup, but that’s allowed yet another young, talented Belgian striker to step into the spotlight. Origi scored the late winner against Russia, keeping Belgium top of the group, and set up Jan Vertonghen’s winner against South Korea, when his low shot was spilled. Belgium are hoping to have a few more matches left at this World Cup, while Liverpool are eager for Origi to return home so they can open talks.

Yaya Toure talks future, wants to play with Paul Pogba

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There is very little debate: Yaya Toure is his own special case.

The longtime Manchester City midfielder does what he wants, flies his own flag, has the worst agent in the game, and is pleased or dismayed in unusual ways.

[ UCL: What would Real 3-peat mean? ]

Toure, 35, has been linked with a move to NYCFC now that he’s leaving Man City, but the Ivorian still wants to play two more seasons for a Champions League or Europa League club.

And he wants to get together with Paul Pogba. You can see where this is going… (from The Manchester Evening News):

“Pogba is the same size, power – but different in the way he wants to go. Technically as well, the ability to score goals as well. It is a player I want to play with, to be honest, just to teach him some things.”

That must mean both are going to Paris Saint-Germain because… Yaya at Manchester United? No way, right? Right? Even with last year’s reports from his — again — terrible agent that it was an option, that still seems too villainous.

“I don’t rule big teams out. The big teams are very important for me. What they want to achieve, the way they want to go, for me is very important. … I want to go somewhere I can win and achieve. It’s going to be hard one day to play against City, but I have to do that. It is part of my job.”

Toure later said he was “no good in an office,” which had us thinking, well, what if they properly celebrated your birthday, Yaya?

WATCH: Miami United midfield unleashes Open Cup laser

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Tomas Granitto, have yourself an extra plate at the postgame buffet.

The Miami United midfielder scored a gorgeous goal in Wednesday’s 2-0 win over fellow NPSL side Jacksonville Armada in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup’s third round.

[ MORE: 3 Key Battles for UCL Final ]

Complete with aesthetically-pleasing post-ping, the former El Salvador U-20 player laid into a 25-yard shot to open the scoring in Florida.

Granitto, 24, has played for Timbers 2, Swope Park Rangers, FC Edmonton, since leaving NCAA side Florida Gulf Coast.

Rondon wanted by Atleti, Inter Milan, and West Ham

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The big boys are looking to Salomon Rondon as a bargain striker.

Yes, $22 million is a bargain in the striker market these days.

[ MORE: Napoli hires Ancelotti ]

West Brom’s Venezuelan international, 28, stands 6’2″ and has a relegation release clause that is reportedly interesting Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid, and West Ham United.

Atleti and Inter are in the Champions League next season, but Rondon played for new West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini at Malaga, posting 25 league goals in two seasons.

He’s scored 24 goals in three Premier League seasons at West Brom, almost a quarter of the 104 produced by the Baggies.

He also picked up three assists this season as the target man for Tony Pulis, Alan Pardew, and Darren Moore (and was fouled more often than any other Baggie (Baggy?)).

Rondon and Marko Arnautovic next to each other would be a real handful for PL defenses. Then again, maybe he’ll stay loyal to West Brom and set the Championship scoring record next season.

Three German organizers of 2006 World Cup indicted for tax evasion

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) Three German organizers of the 2006 World Cup have been charged with tax evasion linked to a payment to FIFA.

German news agency dpa reported that Theo Zwanziger, Wolfgang Niersbach and Horst R. Schmidt confirmed Wednesday they are indicted by Frankfurt prosecutors in a long-running investigation.

[ MORE: 3 Key Battles for UCL Final ]

They are accused of falsifying tax returns on behalf of the Germany soccer federation (DFB) in 2006. The DFB has already paid 19.2 million euros ($22.4 million) in back taxes. All three deny the charges, which were first reported by German daily Bild

The allegations are also being investigated by Swiss federal prosecutors and FIFA’s ethics committee. They have targeted German soccer great Franz Beckenbauer, who led the 2006 tournament organizing committee.

Beckenbauer, Zwanziger and Niersbach were members of FIFA’s executive committee in turn from 2007 through 2016.

In 2016, the DFB published an inquiry report into a complex payments trail including 6.7 million euros ($7.8 million) to FIFA in April 2005. Zwanziger and the DFB claimed the money was for a World Cup opening gala and therefore tax-deductible.

However, the payment went through FIFA and ended in a Swiss account belonging to former Adidas chief Robert Louis-Dreyfus, who died in 2009.

The inquiry report did not rule out, but could not prove, that votes were bought when Germany beat a Nelson Mandela-supported South Africa bid for the hosting rights in a 12-11 vote of FIFA executive committee members in 2000.

Swiss prosecutors said in 2016 they had opened a criminal proceeding against the four German officials the previous year, on suspicion of fraud, money laundering, criminal mismanagement and misappropriation. That case spun off from a wider Swiss investigation of suspected corruption linked to FIFA and World Cup hosting votes that is ongoing.

Niersbach lost his seat on FIFA’s ruling committee when he was banned for one year for failing to disclose possible unethical conduct.

The various investigations have tarnished the reputation of the 2006 World Cup that was a popular success in the host nation, which called it the “Summer Fairytale.”