Report: Lukas Podolski agrees to terms with struggling Inter

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Arsenal fan-favorite, selfie king, and bench victim Lukas Podolski has agreed to personal terms with Serie A side Inter Milan, according to a report in Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport.

Podolski has long held true to his public displays of affection for his current club, citing a love for the fans and an appreciation for his close personal friends as teammates.

However, Podolski has played just 106 minutes this Premier League season, despite the fact that first-choice striker Olivier Giroud went down with a long-term injury. The German international has yet to start a game this season, coming off the bench in every appearance and playing more than 13 minutes just twice this season. He has yet to score as well, even finding himself behind Yaya Sanogo on the depth chart.

Podolski, who moved to Arsenal in 2012 from FC Cologne, seems to have at the least a 6-month loan in place on his way to Inter. The details that have yet to be agreed upon include the option to buy at the end of the loan. The Corriere report says if Inter’s buy clause at the end of the loan is mandatory, they are willing to pay around $7 million, while they will extend that up to around $10 million if the option to buy is just that, optional.

It will be tough to see Podolski leave the Premier League if the reports are true, since his electric playing style and jovial personality are an enjoyable part of Arsenal’s team makeup, but it’s completely understandable why he would decide to depart. What’s more confusing is why he hasn’t seen the pitch more often under Wenger. Yaya Sanogo has talent but it clearly still raw, and while Podolski isn’t a natural target man, but he seems to be a solid option in Giroud’s absence.

With Danny Welbeck – a summer purchase – in the fold, Podolski still offers a ton of pace and tactical ability on the wing, but with Arsenal’s injury troubles plaguing the central midfield and not the wingers, the 29-year-old World Cup champion still found himself clogged behind the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, and even young Serge Gnabry.

Inter is struggling mightily in Serie A, and with new boss Roberto Mancini looking for top-level talent to revive the club mired in 11th position, he’s singled out a serious lack of wide players as a serious club weakness.  Podolski would fit right in on the left wing, where Mancini last played natural left-back Dodo in their most recent 2-2 draw with Lazio this past weekend.

The Italian club has plenty of big-name talent, including goalkeeper Samir Handanovic and in-form striker Mauro Icardi, but a struggling defense (including the now-benched Nemanja Vidic, who seems to be into the declination stages of his career), and an inconsistent strike force has been their downfall. While Inter has only been held scoreless twice this season, they also managed just five goals in a crucial five-match stretch against some of Italy’s stronger sides that resulted in the dismissal of Walter Mazzari and also marked a rocky start for Mancini.

Podolski’s play will no doubt be missed, but so too will his animated friendships with his Arsenal teammates, most notably Mesut Ozil, Wojciech Szczesny, Per Mertesacker, and Olivier Giroud, who often found themselves sprinkled around Podolski’s frequent social media use.

Going by what is lacking from the report, the two clubs have yet to agree on any kind of a fee.

Neymar pays tribute to Kobe Bryant (video)

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Neymar dedicated his second goal to Kobe Bryant, who, along with eight others, tragically passed away on Sunday.

The Brazilian star approached a sideline camera after his second goal of the night, gesturing the numbers two and four with his fingers, a number worn by Bryant during his time with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Following the game, Neymar paid additional respect to Bryant via Twitter.

It reads in English: “Sad day for us in sports, for us fans and especially for Kobe’s family and friends. A legend has been made with your hands, thank you for extolling the Kobe sport … may God comfort the hearts of your family and friends”

Bryant, 41, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and six others, died in the helicopter accident on Sunday morning in Southern California.

A basketball legend and soccer fan, others within the sport paid tribute to Bryant:

Klopp admits Liverpool youngsters will feature in Shrewsbury replay

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In proper FA Cup fashion, League One side Shrewsbury Town pulled off a late draw against Liverpool, forcing a replay at Anfield.

[ RECAP: Shrewsbury forces FA Cup replay with Liverpool ]

The replay, which is set to take place during the Premier League’s winter break, is going to be a problem for Liverpool, according to manager Jurgen Klopp. First-team players have been granted the time off, forcing Klopp and company to play the “kids” for the upcoming replay of the fourth-round bout.

“We intend to honor the original idea of the break,” the Liverpool manager said on Sunday. “We have respect for the players’ welfare and they need this time off.”

“We got a letter from the authorities in April last year asking us not to organize anything during the week of the break and we haven’t,” he added. “We have given the players the time off, and some are going away. They will still be keeping fit, but they do not have to play football that week and they do not have to come in to Melwood.”

Jason Cummings’ right-footed strike in the 75th minute nulled Liverpool’s two-goal advantage early in the second half. The German also admitted that there was no reason for a replay on Tuesday 4 February or Wednesday 5 February.

“We lost the ball in the wrong moments and we never got used to the pitch,” he said. “We conceded the penalty after losing the ball and when they scored their second goal it was after we had lost two challenges in a row. We didn’t play well enough to take anything from the game, we got what we deserved. I would like to give Shrewsbury credit for their performance and the atmosphere their supporters produced. I enjoyed the atmosphere around the cup tie, I just didn’t enjoy the way we played.”

Liverpool squanders lead as Shrewsbury forces FA Cup replay

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Liverpool may be crushing the Premier League, but League One side Shrewsbury Town wasn’t phased facing the juggernaut at its home ground New Meadow, not even after falling 2-0 down on a horrid own-goal. Instead, the hosts came back to draw 2-2 and force an FA Cup fourth round replay at Anfield.

Liverpool started a youthful lineup that featured youngsters Curtis Jones, Neco Williams, Pedro Chirivella, and Harvey Elliott mixed in with Takumi Minamino, Divock Origi, and Dejan Lovren. The opener came in the 15th minute via 18-year-old Jones who slurped up a fabulous through ball from Chirivella and slotted it home from a tight angle past a charging Shrewsbury goalkeeper Max O’Leary.

[ EARLIER: Man City torches Fulham | Man United hammers Tranmere ]

The second came just seconds after the second-half restart on a comical own-goal as former Manchester United defender Donald Love poked a Williams cross into his own net under absolutely no pressure. It was a brainless decision as it appeared Love meant to poke the ball behind for a corner, but with nobody nearby, he somehow finished into the lower left corner instead.

After Liverpool doubled its lead at 2-0, Shrewsbury came to life and began to challenge the young Liverpool lineup. Callum Lang found himself through on goal with a great chance to bring the hosts back into the match, but his one-on-one change was saved by the fingertips of a diving Adrian. Shrewsbury did eventually cut the lead in half after Yasser Larouci cut down Josh Laurent in the penalty area and substitute Jason Cummings slotted home the chance from the spot.

The Shrews were a tough out with confidence back high after the goal, O’Leary made a fantastic diving save to stop Divock Origi. He booted down the field and and they drew level in the 75th minute as Cummings grabbed his second as he brought down a long ball and split the Liverpool defensive duo Williams and Lovren. Once past the Liverpool defenders he slotted home cooly past Adrian to equalize.

Jones nearly won it for Liverpool late as the ball squirted across the line in a goalmouth scramble, but his sliding effort was blocked off the line by a Scott Goldbourne tackle.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Eriksen to Inter nearly complete, Spurs looking for replacement

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Tottenham Hotspur is in the news on multiple fronts this Sunday morning, for both incoming and outgoing transfer rumors.

Christian Eriksen, who has been heavily linked with a move to Inter, is nearing the completion of that deal, according to Inter CEO Beppe Marotta who went public with the news. “We are not hiding, we have been negotiating with Tottenham for some time,” Marotta told DAZN about the Eriksen move. “I am optimistic, I hope to conclude as quickly as possible. I am confident that it can be resolved in the next few days.”

Despite all the speculation, Eriksen has been playing for Spurs, but he was held out of the squad for Saturday’s 1-1 FA Cup draw with Southampton. Gianluca di Marzio reports that talks have progressed to the stage where Eriksen is expected in Italy today for a medical.

The 27-year-old’s contract is up at the end of the season, and Spurs clearly wished to offload him early rather than see him leave for nothing. However, the delay Marotta suggested is reportedly due to Spurs hoping to secure an attacking replacement. Reports state their talks for Real Sociedad striker Willian Jose have fallen flat, while Spurs have reached out to PSV about Steven Bergwjin and continue to hold interest in AC Milan striker Krzysztof Piatek.

Tottenham has also reportedly been in contact with Juventus, according to tabloid reports in England. It would cost Spurs around $33 million, a win for Juventus given they signed Can on a free transfer in the summer of 2018. The 26-year-old midfielder has yet to earn a consistent place on the Juve squad packed with midfielders, with just eight Serie A appearances this season.


Leicester City is in a fight for the top four, but the Foxes have come down to Earth a bit in Premier League play, having picked up just 10 points in their last eight matches. That could push Leicester to make a move for a January reinforcement, and they have been linked with young French midfielder  Ibrahima Diallo.

According to a report in France, Leicester City submitted a $17.6 million bid for the 20-year-old who plays for Ligue 1 club Brest. The former Monaco youth product has 18 appearances for the 13th placed side, playing 90-minute shifts in nearly all of those.

Unfortunately for Leicester City, the report states that Diallo is wary of a move too soon in his career, wanting to finish out the year. That’s still workable, with the possibility of a permanent deal to Leicester City in January followed by a loan back to Brest for the remainder of the season, if that placates the player.


Italian outlet Gazzetta dello Sport is confident that Everton will move forward with the pursuit of Inter midfielder Matias Vecino before the January deadline.

The Sunday edition of the publication claims that Inter received an offer for the 28-year-old Uruguayan who’s made 14 appearances for Inter this season but has recently been out of the squad the last few weeks. The report says he’s interested in a move to Everton, and therefore the Toffees have gone forwad with a bid.