Tuesday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Benzema to Arsenal, Berahino to Tottenham

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Karim Benzema has sent Arsenal fans into meltdown, with the Real Madrid striker sending out the following message on Instagram.

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Laissons le passé au passé.. #rip #directionturfu

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Benzema’s message, which he sent from a private jet, translates to: “Let the past remain the past” with the hashtag saying “looking to the future.”

However it has since been confirmed by Real that the French international, 27, is still his teammates in China for their final International Champions Cup friendly against AC Milan on Thursday, and the cryptic message from the French international was from earlier this summer. That said, Arsene Wenger has been a long-time admirer of Benzema, and with the Gunners reportedly having $300 million to spend on transfers, it seems like a player of his caliber is no longer out of the question. Manchester United have also been linked with Benzema this summer. Let’s see if any of this adds up to Benzema having a new club, or the Frenchman is just having a bit of fun.

[ MORE: Latest transfer news

Across north London, Tottenham Hotspur is said to be readying a bid for West Bromwich Albion’s Saido Berahino. Spurs, who play in the MLS All-Star Game in Colorado on Wednesday, left both Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado out of their squad for the trip to the U.S. and only have Harry Kane as a recognized striker. Berahino, 21, has been consistently linked with a move to Spurs and Liverpool, but the Daily Mail reports that Tottenham lead the chase for the striker valued at $30 million. Although West Brom have got a little upset by the persistent rumors and the club has even released the following message on Twitter.

Spurs’ manager Mauricio Pochettino has a strong pedigree in getting the best out of young players, and if Berahino does arrive at Spurs they could possess the future starting strikers England’s national team in Kane and Berahino. The latter scored 20 times in 45 appearances for the Baggies last season, and his goals could help Spurs crack the top four in the coming season’s if Kane’s heroics continue.

According to the London Evening Standard Tottenham are also interested in Yannick Bolasie. The Crystal Palace winger, 26, lit up the PL last season with his direct runs, outrageous pace and audacious flicks. The DR Congo international could replace the likes of Erik Lamela, Andros Townsend and Aaron Lennon as wing options for Spurs, as the Townsend and Lennon were left out of their squad for the game against the MLS All-Stars this week. Bolasie has been criticized for failing to finish chances when he gets in the box, but he certainly created a lot for Palace last season and if placed in the right team, he would flourish.

FOLLOW LIVE: Seattle v. Portland, ATLUTD v. DCU on a busy MLS Sunday

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Strap yourself in for a very busy Sunday of soccer, as four MLS games are set to consume your attention for the rest of the day.

[ FOLLOW: MLS scoreboard, for the next 7.5 hours ]

The day begins with Atlanta United hosting D.C. United in a 3-versus-2 matchup in the Eastern Conference, and ends with the Seattle Sounders hosting the Portland Timbers in arguably the biggest and best rivalry in MLS.

In between all that, a suddenly resurgent Orlando City SC hosts the New York Red Bulls, and FC Cincinnati hosts the red-hot (unbeaten in nine games) New England Revolution, in case you feel the need to cram a little more soccer into your afternoon/evening.

Sunday’s full MLS schedule

Atlanta United v. D.C. United — 4 p.m. ET
FC Cincinnati v. New England Revolution — 6 p.m. ET
Orlando City SC v. New York Red Bulls — 7:30 p.m. ET
Seattle Sounders v. Portland Timbers — 9:30 p.m. ET

Rumored Neymar for Bale swap: Who wins?

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Who would gain more of an advantage from the rumored, sensational Gareth Bale for Neymar swap: Paris Saint-Germain or Real Madrid?

Both players are currently problems for their clubs, though neither is known as a true rabble-rouser; Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane wants to be done with the newly-minted 30-year-old Bale, while PSG knows Neymar wants to leave and would love to satiate Kylian Mbappe’s appetite to be the man at their club.

[ REPORT: Man Utd, Leicester agree Maguire fee ]

Presumably some money would be headed PSG’s way in addition to Bale, and both clubs would be getting a motivated megawatt star.

Neymar doesn’t turn 28 until February, but the difference in age may be offset by the Brazilian’s track record of injuries.

In fact, his injury status last season combines with an off-field accusation of sexual assault and a red card for confronting a fan to overshadow his production: Neymar’s 23 goals and 13 assists in just over 2300 minutes last season, including five and two in the Champions League (and a goal and an assist against defensively-stout Liverpool).

Bale presents very few personality challenges, and PSG won’t have a problem with his massive wages (especially with Neymar off the books). His numbers have dipped in two of three seasons since his otherworldly 2015-16, but La Liga is a more difficult scoring league than Ligue 1.

Neymar has twice been a Ballon d’Or finalist and, presuming his legal troubles don’t persist, could be a title fight changer in La Liga. Imagine the Neymar, Eden Hazard, and Luka Jovic trying to outgun Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, and Luis Suarez? Insane.

We’d say Real would be winning the straight-up swap, and that it’s pretty unlikely to go down that way. So it depends what PSG does with the relative Financial Fair Play freedom that would come with the money that also arrives from Spain. Is it Idrissa Gana Gueye? Someone else who helps take PSG’s Champions League hopes to the next level?

Manchester United in ‘concrete talks’ with Lille over Pepe

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Manchester United are reportedly in “concrete talks” to agree a fee with Lille for much-tracked playmaker Nicolas Pepe.

The 24-year-old attacking midfielder has been linked with Liverpool and Arsenal amongst others, and Lille has admitted he’ll be leaving the club.

[ REPORT: Man Utd, Leicester agree Maguire fee ]

United’s reported salvo was around $87.5 million. He’d give them a star who could play across from Anthony Martial or as an attacking midfielder under Romelu Lukaku.

Only Kylian Mbappe and Teji Savanier garnered better season-long ratings than Pepe in the 2018-19 Ligue 1 campaign, and Pepe’s 22 goals and 11 assists stand out from the pack. Only Mbappe had more goals and only Savanier more assists.

Pepe has four goals in 11 caps for the Ivory Coast, and made three starts in Les Elephants’ five-match run at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. He’s a fit for the Premier League, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s system. And if the Red Devils can keep him from Liverpool, well, all the better we’re sure.

Report: Manchester United, Leicester agree to monster Maguire fee

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Manchester United and Leicester City have agreed a fee for Harry Maguire, clearing the way for the English center back to join the Old Trafford set.

That fee is a whopping $100 million, according to Bleacher Report’s Dean Jones. That’s about $4 million more than the world record for a defender, set when Liverpool purchased Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton.

[ MORE: USMNT CB to West Ham? ]

Maguire has been a statistical monster for Leicester City, and he passes the eye test, too.

Manchester United has needed to upgrade its stable of center backs for some time, and now the biggest question is who will work best alongside the 6-foot-4 26-year-old.

The former Sheffield United, Wigan Athletic, and Hull City defender is now 20-times capped by England.

The move could have a ripple effect on the Premier League, as the Foxes have been expected to bid for Burnley star James Tarkowski should Maguire leave the King Power Stadium.