Ten “must-buy” Premier League targets for the transfer window’s final week

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The request to compile a list of “must-buys” for the final week of the summer transfer window is an understandable but big ask, especially considering the fact that some targets are as important to the potential seller’s survival as the potential buyer’s Premier League prospects.

Note: The use of “must” includes a massive wink. This is transfer season, and things are silly.

Take, for example, Saido Berahino. The “not for sale” West Brom man can provide the moments of brilliance necessary to shuttle the Midlands side into another season of Premier League safety.

[ MORE: Premier League preview – Arsenal vs. Liverpool ]

But if the Baggies fall to the Championship, his sale price almost certainly drops significantly due to teams’ understanding of supply/demand (although what’s happening at Loftus Road with Charlie Austin may betray that notion).

And then there are players like Everton’s John Stones, who qualifies as more of a “must keep” than a “must buy”. Chelsea won’t suffer if they don’t buy the promising young English center back, but the Toffees defense certainly could falter from a sale.

So which 10 faces could make the biggest difference by the Sept. 1 deadline? We’ll keep it to players who could reasonably move:

Karim Benzema, Real Madrid — It seems Arsenal would need to pay $75 million to pry the Frenchman from the Bernabeu, but there’s little doubt he’s the quality of striker required for the Gunners to become a true title challenger.

Charlie Austin, Queens Park Rangers — Really, we’re going to let the former Poole Town man hang out in the Championship over the matter of $2-3 million. Come on Newcastle, Everton and Spurs, like you couldn’t use another Englishman on the roster?

Mario Gotze, Bayern Munich (pictured above) — Germany’s World Cup hero is in a massive slump for the Bavarian side, and a move to Arsenal — if no Benzema — or Manchester United would make a lot of sense.

Kevin De Bruyne, Wolfsburg —  Tipped for Manchester City — perhaps as early as Tuesday — the 24-year-old Belgian couldn’t find his way into the Chelsea side but had dynamite in the Bundesliga and for Belgium. His gifts would help City in its quest to navigate the UEFA Champions League.

Paul Pogba, Juventus — Perhaps the most appealing player in the world, and there’s a major question as to whether he’s unsettled at all. After Juve’s season-opening loss to Udinese, though, it’s hard to imagine The Old Lady is in a mood to sell at any reasonable price.

source: APJavier Hernandez, Manchester United — The poacher is off his game, but Chicharito needs to get some regular playing time to restore his game. Signing the Mexican would be a calculated risk for any number of Premier League sides, and El Tri fans would surely like to see their man move onto more PT.

Matty Phillips, Queens Park Rangers — His crosses are brilliant and his price wouldn’t kill a team. Anyone who watched QPR struggle knows that Phillips wasn’t the reason. Good buy here.

Joey Barton, unattached — This name may seem foreign considering his peers on this list, but at some point this winter you are going to hear of a midtable side that didn’t have the horses for a Cup tie, or needed some steel in the final 15 minutes to pull out a win. You could do much worse than a man who has cooled his hot-tempered heels in recent years but still maintains his skill set.

Virgil van Dijk, Celtic — The Bhoys have wisely held onto their Dutch back for a while and have plenty of use for him, but they could bomb out of the UEFA Champions League this week. If that happens, it would make some sense for both parties to cash in.

Berahino, West Brom — Just so we can stop reading his name every day in the dang gossip mill.

VIDEO: ProSoccerTalk team unfiltered – Review, preview, Power Rankings and more

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ProSoccerTalk is now on video as well as in written format. Unleash the beast, as they say.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ] 

Each week ProSoccerTalk writers Joe Prince-Wright, Nick Mendola and Andy Edwards will tell us what they learned from the Premier League action, rank their top five PL players based on current form, preview the upcoming weekend and handle any other news from around the soccer world.

Expect opinions, analysis and insight, as well as plenty of friendly banter along the way and maybe a beer or two…

Basically, they have these chats on their own anyway so we thought we would record them and let them loose on the Premier League, USMNT and everything in-between. This is going to be a lot of fun and a lighthearted look at all of the action from across the soccer world each week.

With JPW is based in England and heading to Premier League games and traveling to stadiums/ training grounds, plus Andy and Nick based Stateside, we will be checking in with them regularly to get their views on just about anything when it comes to Pro Soccer. Because, well, ProSoccerTalk.

Follow the ProSoccerTalk lads on Twitter below, and click play on the video above to watch ProSocccerTalk this week in full.

Champions League qualifying: How to watch, start times, odds

UEFA Champions League qualifying
Photo by Raddad Jebarah/NurPhoto via Getty Images
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The 12 clubs remaining in the race for the final UEFA Champions League group stage slots will be pared down to six in the next eight days.

There are American connections to two of the six ties.

Former USMNT midfielder Jesse Marsch manages Austria’s Red Bull Salzburg toward the next round, while Molde right back Henry Wingo came up with the Seattle Sounders.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Salzburg are significant favorites to advance over two legs, odds accentuated by Maccabi Tel-Aviv’s seven players absent due to positive COVID-19 tests.

Marsch had previously said he did not want to go to Israel due to COVID-19 concerns, calling it “dangerous,” but has accepted the task at hand.

From Austrian publication Kronen Zeitung:

“The moment UEFA said we were going to play in Tel Aviv, it wasn’t a problem for me. Maccabi has a great team. We are not naive. We understand that we have to fight tomorrow.”

At 3:10 in some sportsbooks, Marsch’s men are the only club favored to win the first leg away. Salzburg is led by Dominik Szoboszlai and Patson Daka, who’ve helped the team thrive despite the sales of several stars including Erling Haaland and Takumi Minamino.

Molde has a much tougher test with Hungarian side Ferencvaros, who knocked off Celtic. That tie could go either way, while Slavia Prague and Olympiakos are respectively noticeable favorites to beat Midtjylland and Omonia Nicosia.

Dynamo Kiev will be expected to outlast Gent over two legs, while it would be a minor upset if PAOK takes down Krasnodar.

How to watch the UEFA Champions League qualifying playoff round

Kickoff: 3 pm ET Tuesday and Wednesday
Stream: CBS All-Access (subscription required)

UEFA Champions League playoff round matches

All 12 legs will kickoff at 3 pm ET between Tuesday and Sept. 30.


Maccabi Tel-Aviv 1-2 Red Bull Salzburg
Slavia Prague 0-0 Midtjylland
Krasnodar 2-1 PAOK


Gent v Dynamo Kiev
Molde v Ferencvaros
Olympiakos v Omonia

Sept. 29

Ferencvaros v Molde
Dynamo Kiev v Gent
Omonia v Olympiakos

Sept. 30

Midtjylland v Slavia Prague
PAOK v Krasnodar
Red Bull Salzburg v Maccabi Tel-Aviv

League Cup: How to watch, start times, as Premier League powers enter

League Cup
Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images
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Fifteen Premier League teams eye dates in the fourth round when the League Cup returns for another September midweek.

The congested nature of the season will see some PL sides play three matches in as many weeks, though the European qualifying teams are just entering the fray this week.

[ LIVE: Follow League Cup scores ]

That includes Europa League sides Arsenal and Leicester City, who will stage the lone all-PL scrap of the round come Wednesday at the King Power Stadium.

Tuesday was going to see Tottenham Hotspur visit a club sponsored by Spurs striker Harry Kane, but Leyton Orient is in the news after positive COVID-19 tests have threatened to forfeit Spurs into the next round.

VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Manchester United will hope to snap out of its season-opening funk when it begins its tourney Tuesday at Luton Town, while Chelsea hosts Barnsley on Wednesday.

Liverpool is off to Lincoln City on Thursday, kicking off its League Cup at the same time Manchester City welcomes Bournemouth.

Because of the aforementioned congested September in the tournament, the fourth round draw has already been held and those fixtures are at bottom of the page.

League Cup third round draw

All times ET

Leyton Orient v Tottenham Hotspur — Postponed
West Brom 2-2 Brentford – (Brentford win on penalty kicks)
Newport County 3-1 Watford 
West Ham United 5-1 Hull City
Luton Town 0-3 Manchester United 

Preston North End v Brighton — 2 pm
Millwall v Burnley — 2 pm
Fulham v Sheffield Wednesday — 2 pm
Stoke City v Gillingham — 2 pm
Chelsea v Barnsley — 2:45 pm
Leicester City v Arsenal — 2:45 pm
Fleetwood Town v Everton — 2:45 pm
Morecambe v Newcastle United — 2:45 pm

Bristol City v Aston Villa — 2 pm
Lincoln City v Liverpool — 2:45 pm
Manchester City v Bournemouth — 2:45 pm

League Cup fourth round draw

Lincoln City/Liverpool v Leicester City/Arsenal
Millwall/Burnley v Manchester City/Bournemouth
West Brom/Brentford v Fulham/Sheffield Wednesday
Fleetwood Town/Everton v West Ham United/Hull City
Bristol City/Aston Villa v Stoke City/Gillingham
Leyton Orient/Tottenham v Chelsea/Barnsley
Newport County/Watford v Morecambe/Newcastle United
Preston North End/Brighton v Luton Town/Manchester United

How to watch League Cup third round streams and start time

Kickoff: Tuesday through Thursday
Online: Select games on ESPN+
Updates: Follow League Cup scores via NBCSports.com

Premier League player Power Rankings

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Premier League player Power Rankings are here!

Our second player Power Rankings of the 2020-21 season have arrived, as all 20 teams have played and we are coming off the highest scoring matchweek in Premier League history with 44 goals scored across the 10 games.

Simply put: it was incredibly tough to put 20 players in this list based on the crazy results across the Premier League.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA

Stars from Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal and Everton dominate our second player Power Rankings and there are plenty of new signings who have impressed early in the season.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League. If they didn’t play in the last matchweek, they aren’t going to be in this list!

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.

1. Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
2. James Rodriguez (Everton)
3. Kevin de Bruyne (Man City)
4. Harry Kane (Tottenham)
5. Heung-min Son (Tottenham)
6. Fabinho (Liverpool)
7. Tariq Lamptey (Brighton)
8. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)
9. Raul Jimenez (Wolves)
10. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)
11. Gabriel (Arsenal)
12. Dani Ceballos (Arsenal)
13. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
14. Vicente Guaita (Crystal Palace)
15. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton)
16. Patrick Bamford (Leeds)
17. Timothy Castagne (Leicester)
18. Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)
19. Andy Robertson (Liverpool)
20. Kalvin Phillips (Leeds)