Thursday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Tiote to Arsenal, Destro to Chelsea

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Arsenal could be in for Newcastle midfielder Cheick Tiote as the Ivorian hardman is looking to move away from St. James’ Park in search of European soccer. According to multiple reports, Russian side Lokomotiv Moscow are keen on Tiote but Arsene Wenger wants him at the Emirates instead. The Daily Star is reporting that the Gunners are preparing their bid to step in at the last minute and add the 28-year-old to their midfield. Arsenal are certainly lacking a destructive holding player in that position to compliment silky passers such as Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere. Tiote would fit the bill, plus, who can forget his phenomenal piledriver to earn Newcastle a wonderful comeback 4-4 draw a few years back? Obviously not Arsene.

[RELATED: Fellaini, Hernandez to Spurs?]

Chelsea’s legendary goalkeeper Petr Cech could be handed an escape route out of Chelsea, and a lovely one at that. According to the Daily Mirror, French side AS Monaco are willing to sign the 32-year-old ‘keeper who has just fallen of his perch as the number one goalkeeper at Stamford Bridge for the first time in a decade. The emergence of youngster Thibaut Courtois means Cech’s days as a regular in West London could be over and as a mark of respect the club is unlikely to stand in his way if the Czech Republic international wants a move.  Monaco have offered a three-year contract but Ligue 1 rivals Paris Saint-Germain could also be in for Cech.

Hull City may dip into the Championship after losing Robert Snodgrass through injury for six months. The Scottish international dislocated his knee cap on his debut and after the Tigers sold Shane Long to Saints last week, they are looking short in attack. According to the Daily Mail, Steve Bruce is looking to bring in Blackburn Rovers forward Jordan Rhodes for $20 million. Rhodes, 24, has scored 52 goals in 90 games for Blackburn and the Scotsman is a real fox in the box. If Hull can land their man, it will ease the pressure on Bruce’s other attackers, especially with Europa League soccer at the KC Stadium.

[RELATED: Balotelli to Liverpool?]

According to reports in France, Liverpool are pursuing AS Monaco forward Radamel Falcao. The predatory forward wants out of Ligue 1 and apparently an initial $20 million loan deal is being brokered by the Reds. The report from RMC suggests that a $80 million total deal could then be signed after this season if Liverpool so choose. Falcao, 28, moved to Monaco from Atletico Madrid last summer in a $80 million deal but tore his ACL midway through his first season in the principality. With Liverpool relying heavily on Daniel Sturridge for goals this term, perhaps Falcao’s arrival will ease the burden on him? With a rumored move for Mario Balotelli in the works, perhaps the Reds will look elsewhere now.

Finally, the Times is suggesting Chelsea striker Fernando Torres could be heading to Roma on a season-long loan with Mattia Destro heading in the opposite direction. Destro, 23, scored 13 goals in 20 games for Roma last season after returning from injury. Torres’ time at Chelsea has been a troubled one and with Diego Costa arriving as the main man and Didier Drogba being preferred from the bench instead of Torres during the opening day win over Burnley, the Spaniard may aim for a fresh challenge in Serie A rather than sit on the bench all season.

VIDEO: Tunisia equalizes on controversial penalty kick

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England centerback Kyle Walker put his arm up to halt the forward progress of Fakhreddine Ben Youssef. Unfortunately for Walker, Ben Youssef was in the box and Walker’s elbow caught Ben Youssef’s face.

Referee Wilmar Roldan quickly whistled for a penalty kick and despite the protests from a half-dozen of England players and a check from the VAR, the called stood. Ferjani Sassi’stepped up to the spot and found the lower-left corner, just barely beating Jordan Pickford to tie the game in the 35th minute.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news

How will England respond?

VIDEO: Captain Kane puts England on the board early

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It may be the easiest goal-scoring opportunity Harry Kane‘s ever had in an international competition, and he finished it as easy as you’d like.

Kane side-footed home after Tunisia goalkeeper Mouez Hassen made a terrific save on John Stone’s header off a corner, but the save was directed right into a wide-open Kane who was standing ready inside the six yard box. The 11th minute goal will surely settle some of the Three Lions’ nerves as they open their World Cup bid in Russia.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news

After slow start, Belgium takes care of business against feisty Panama

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All it took was one goal to bring Belgium to life.

Following a frustrating first 45 minutes, in which Belgium put a pair of shots into the side netting and forced saves from Panama goalkeeper Jaime Penedo, Dries Mertens 47th minute goal opened the floodgates, as Belgium went on to defeat Panama, 3-0, Monday afternoon in Sochi.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

But Panama never made it easy for the Belgians. From the opening whistle the CONCACAF nation showed its incredible spirit, chasing down Belgium all across the field and making life incredibly difficult for Belgium attackers Romelu Lukaku, Mertens and Eden Hazard. Hazard was hacked down all over the field, and while he did earn fouls and a few yellow cards were issued to Panamanian players, it was enough to get in Hazard’s head.

Two minutes into the second half, everything changed. A wonderstrike from Mertens opened the game, and forced Panama to attack and try and tie the match, which gave Hazard, de Bruyne and Lukaku more space to operate.

In the heat and humidity of the Sochi summer, Panama’s veteran defense began to tire, allowing de Bruyne the space to deliver a terrific assist to Lukaku in the box, putting Belgium up 2-0 in the 69th minute.

 

Six minutes later, Lukaku was put through on the break, chipping over Penedo to confirm the victory.

With the win, Belgium moves to the top of Group G. Up next for Belgium is Tunisia on Saturday, while Panama takes on England on Sunday.

VIDEO: de Bruyne delivers gorgeous assist on Lukaku goal

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It took a little bit of patience, but Romelu Lukaku finally got on the scoresheet at the 2018 World Cup, thanks to a delicious assist from crosstown club rival Kevin De Bruyne.

The Manchester City playmaker delivered a spectacular outside-of-the-boot cross into the box, where Lukaku’s head met it and guided it towards the far post for Belgium’s second goal of the day.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news