Tuesday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Moutinho to Arsenal, Rahman to Chelsea

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Multiple reports claim that Joao Moutinho is moving to Arsenal from AS Monaco.

[ MORE: Latest transfer gossip ]

The Portuguese international is a holding midfielder (rejoice, Gunners fans) and could be snapped up by Arsene Wenger for around $22 million. If that’s true, it would be a steal for a midfielder who has graced the UEFA Champions League with FC Porto and Monaco and is 28 years old. Moutinho would boost Wenger’s options in the depths of the engine room, as Francis Coquelin’s meteoric rise in the second half of last season papered over the cracks by the north London outfit appear woefully short of a true holding midfield player, with Matheiu Flamini close to a move to Galatasaray.

Elsewhere, Chelsea is closing in on Augsburg left back Abdul Baba Rahman after agreeing to sell Filipe Luis back to Atletico Madrid. Rahman, 21, is regarded as the top left back prospect in the Bundesliga and the Ghanaian international could join the Blues for a fee of around $22 million, according to the Daily Mail. Of course, Jose Mourinho is also in for Everton’s center back John Stones as the Blues weigh up whether to make an improved offer of over $40 million for the 21-year-old center back.

Rickie Lambert’s time at hometown club Liverpool appears to be over after just a season at Anfield. Lambert, 33, scored just three times in 36 appearances for the Reds last season and has seen new signings Divock Origi and Danny Ings jump ahead of him in the queue this summer, plus Christian Beneteke’s imminent arrival on Merseyside will see him move further down the pecking order. The Daily Mail and Press Association claim that Norwich and West Brom are both in for Lambert as the former Southampton striker looks to get back to playing regularly.

The Daily Telegraph say that West Ham United are in for Everton winger Kevin Mirallas. According to the report the Hammers have already failed in a $10 million bid for the 27-year-old Belgian international, but they are set to increase their offer for Mirallas. In three seasons with Everton he has scored 28 goals in 106 games but Mirallas infuriated manager Roberto Martinez last January after disobeying team orders as he took a first half penalty kick against West Brom, instead of giving the ball to regular penalty kick taker Leighton Baines, and subsequently missed. Mirallas was subbed off at half time and he has just one-year left on his current deal. A bid of $12 million should do the trick as West Ham look to replace Stewart Downing who they sold to Middlesbrough.

Kane, Sterling star as England rout Bulgaria

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On a night where racist abuse from the stands in Bulgaria marred the overall spectacle, England’s players produced an incredible result and spectacle for the visiting fans, with all things considered.

Harry Kane scored once and assisted on three others as England rolled over Bulgaria, winning 6-0 on Monday evening in the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia, Bulgaria. Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley both scored a brace for the Three Lions and Marcus Rashford’s thunderbolt from a tight angle gave England the opening goal it needed.

The blowout result was the perfect response after England had suffered its first loss in qualifying for a decade, losing on Friday, 2-1 at the Czech Republic. The six goals England put past Bulgaria was also the fourth time out of six games that England had scored at least five goals in a match. The only other time, aside from the defeat, was a 4-0 win last month at Wembley Stadium over Bulgaria.

This story will be updated.

 

Racist abuse delays England v. Bulgaria qualifier

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England raced out to an impressive 4-0 lead at Bulgaria by halftime, but the wonderful attacking display was marred by horrendous incidents from the crowd.

The match in the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia, Bulgaria was stopped on two occasions with announcements being made to ask sections of the crowd to stop their abusive language. This comes with the stadium already serving a partial stadium closure due to racist chanting from the crowd in previous qualifiers.

Below is UEFA’s protocol on how to intervene in these situations, and what transpired from lead writer Joe Prince-Wright.

Tottenham re-signs goalkeeper Vorm

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With Hugo Lloris set to miss at least another two months of action with a broken elbow, Tottenham has turned to a familiar face to provide some cover between the pipes.

Tottenham announced Monday it had re-signed goalkeeper Michel Vorm to a contract through the end of the 2019-2020 Premier League season. Vorm spent five seasons with Tottenham after signing from Swansea City in 2014. However, after playing second-fiddle to Lloris and later serving as the third backup behind current Tottenham No. 2, Paulo Gazzaniga for the past couple of seasons, Vorm was released at the end of last season.

Its certainly a boost for Tottenham that a player with a long history at the club and plenty of experience was available to help in this situation. Similar to Liverpool picking up Adrian after Alisson Becker’s injury, Tottenham know what it’s getting in Vorm and may play him a few times if Gazzaniga needs a night off in the next few months.

According to Vorm, he had been home in his native Netherlands and was watching the game when he saw Lloris get injured.

“Obviously I saw straight away that he had a bad injury and at the time I thought about how bad it was, Vorm told Tottenham’s website. “After the game I spoke with Jan (Vertonghen), he told me what was going on and I spoke also with Toni (Jimenez, our goalkeeping coach) and, yes, during the week I got the phone call to ask if I was open to come back and help out. I’ve kept in contact with a lot of the players and also with Toni. We were speaking quite regularly and on Thursday he called me, we had the conversation and from there on, it went very quickly.”

In his five seasons with Tottenham, Vorm made a total of 47 appearances in all competitions. He saw plenty of time in the League Cup, FA Cup, UEFA Europa League and Champions League during his stay at White Hart Lane.

In-form striker Duvan Zapata injured on international duty

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This international break has been particularly brutal to clubs who have seen a host of key players go down with injuries, and there’s still a few days of matches remaining.

The latest player to succumb to injury is Atalanta striker Duvan Zapata who returned from Colombia duty with an adductor strain and will miss at least three weeks, according to Sky Sports Italia (via FootballItalia). Zapata went down 23 minutes into Colombia’s 0-0 friendly draw with Chile on Friday and was sent back to Italy for tests at his club.

Those tests have reportedly confirmed the initial fears. The loss of Zapata is a massive one for Atalanta, as the 28-year-old has been steadily building for years and is having a breakout start to this campaign, scoring six Serie A goals in seven matches plus one more in Champions League play, currently on a run of four consecutive games with a goal across all competitions. With Zapata’s help, Atalanta sits third in the Serie A table, having bagged the most goals of any team with 18 through seven games.

Zapata becomes the latest high-profile injury from this international break, joining Colombia teammate Alexis Sanchez who went down late in the same match and is reportedly out until 2020 with a serious ankle injury. Chelsea has been hit the hardest, with Andreas Christensen, Mateo Kovacic, and Reese James all pulling up while N’Golo Kante was injured in France warmups but he is expected to be fit for the weekend. Luka Modric may miss time after going down in a Euro qualifier against Wales, while Gareth Bale also picked up a knock in that match. Neymar went down in Brazil’s match against against Nigeria, which forced manager Tite to explain his reasoning for the selection in a friendly. Sergio Aguero is apparently struggling to train with Argentina thanks to a mystery injury confirmed by Lionel Scaloni. Arsenal’s Dani Ceballos withdrew from Spain training earlier in the week with “hamstring overload.” Atlanta United defender Miles Robinson left USMNT camp with a hamstring problem with the MLS playoffs on the horizon.