Monday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Rabiot to Arsenal; Vardy to Chelsea

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After yet another shocking defeat at the weekend, more reports are surfacing that Jose Mourinho will be handed plenty of cash in January to try and turn around Chelsea’s fortunes.

The Daily Telegraph believes that Mourinho has earmarked three players — Jamie Vardy, Saido Berahino and Alex Texieira — who could improve the Blues’ attack for the second half of the season.

[ MORE: Fergie praises Mourinho ]

It would take a huge fee to sign Vardy, 28, from Leicester City given his current form of 14 goals in 15 games this season but with the Blues able to offer a huge rise in wages, could Vardy turn down an astronomical contract at Stamford Bridge? It would take a lot for him to leave the Premier League leaders. As for Berahino, West Brom turned down a $30 million bid from Tottenham for him in the summer and despite the England U-21 international having plenty of upside, he’s failed to find form so far this season for the Bagges. The wildcard here is Texieira but the Brazilian attacker has been splendid for Ukrainian powerhouse Shakhtar Dontesk and has previously told others that the Blues are in talks with Shakhtar about a $45 million transfer. If he mirrors Willian‘s success at Chelsea, then why not?

Whatever happens in January, it’s highly likely changes will occur at Chelsea as Mourinho must wheel and deal to ship out under-performing stars and rejuvenate his squad with new faces if the defending champs are going to pull away from the relegation zone and make a miraculous challenge for a place in the top four.

Another London club could be doing some business in January with injuries to several key players, once again, hitting Arsenal hard. Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla have gone down with long-term knee injuries, meaning Arsene Wenger may need to dip into the market for a short-term option until those players return. A good option on that front could be Paris Saint-Germain’s Adrien Rabiot, 20, who according to the Daily Mail is seeking a loan move in January as regular minutes with his hometown team continue to evade him. Laurent Blanc has an embarrassment of riches in central midfield and Rabiot could fit the bill to help shore up Arsenal’s woes until the end of the season. Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere are scheduled to return from injury in January to help out but the skillful Frenchman may add a little something extra to the mix.

[ MORE: Man City want Vieira to return as boss ]

Another player Arsenal should move for in January is Southampton’s Kenyan destroyer Victor Wanyama. That’s according to former Gunners winger Robert Pires who has told journalists in Nairobi that Wanyama “has the speed, skill and physique. However, I think he needs to score more goals because then he will be world-class material.” Wanyama, 24, joined Saints from Celtic in 2013 for $19 million but has 18 months left on his contract at St Mary’s and Ronald Koeman‘s side blocked a summer move to Tottenham Hotspur as Wanyama momentarily threw his toys out of the pram.

Now that he’s focused, Wanyama has shored up Saints’ midfield but he has yet to score this season after netting three times last campaign. If Arsenal do move for Wanyama it could be next summer as he will have less than a year left on his deal and may be available for less than $20 million. He’d be the true destructive holding midfielder they’ve been searching for and has UEFA Champions League experience under his belt during his time with Celtic. Wanyama is ready to take the next step and follow in the long line of Saints players moving to a top four team, but will Koeman offer him a new long-term contract and will the Kenyan accept it?

Rounding up the transfer rumor roundup, Manchester United are hoping to secure the services of 15-year-old Ajax starlet Juan Familio-Castillo with the Dutch U-16 captain impressing the Red Devils scouts for over a year. According to the Daily Mail, Familio-Castillo could arrive in January as the versatile player can operate in midfield and defense and is highly-rated by the Amsterdam club.

Report: No money in January for Mourinho

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Jose Mourinho will have to deal with the squad he has for the rest of the season, according to a report the Guardian.

The report states that Tottenham isn’t making any money available for signings in January, meaning that Mourinho won’t have the chance to add to his Spurs squad. Usually, when a new coach comes in, they’re given at least a transfer window to bring in one or two players, especially mid-season, to stabilize the squad.

[READ: Mourinho speaks for the first time as Spurs manager]

It’s certainly an unusual move from Tottenham. It leaves Mourinho in a bad spot in terms of the five first-team players who will be out of contract in June. If any of them, including Jan Vertonghen and Christian Eriksen, leave on transfer, perhaps Tottenham can use those funds towards new signings. However, it’s more likely at this point that all five will finish the season at White Hart Lane and leave, setting up a massive summer for Mourinho.

At the same time, Tottenham has shown financial austerity for the past few seasons, as it struggles to pay back the loans it took to renovate its stadium. Pochettino didn’t make a single signing for the entirety of the 2018-2019 season and while the club broke its transfer record to sign Tanguay Ndombele, there wasn’t investment throughout the squad.

Considering Tottenham’s financial behavior, it does question why Mourinho took the job in the first place. But with his reported eight-figure salary, and the chance to work with Harry Kane, Mourinho may have decided it’s worth it, even if he can’t sign his players and mold the squad in the way he wants.

Looking Ahead: Mourinho’s first 10 games

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Tottenham’s stunning week continued on Wednesday with the appointment of Jose Mourinho as manager.

Taking in his first day of training, Mourinho can now get to grips with not only his squad, but what’s ahead for Spurs. Here’s a look at what Mourinho will be up against in the next two months.

[READ: 5 things Mourinho must do at Tottenham]


Game 1: Tottenham at West Ham, Saturday, Premier League

Mourinho’s first game in charge is a London derby, which is a pretty tough way to start life at the club. Coming on the road, you can expect a packed house, tons of media attention, and possibly a re-energized squad. That’s what Mourinho will be hoping for, anyways.

Sebastian Haller has struggled recently, and with just four goals in 11 Premier League games, he could be looking at this matchup as a way to get back on the scoresheet. It will be up to Mourinho to re-organize a want-away defense.

Game 2: Tottenham v. Olympiakos, Nov. 26, UEFA Champions League

Game 3: Tottenham v. Bournemouth, Nov. 30, Premier League

Game 4: Tottenham at Manchester United, Dec. 4, Premier League

Mourinho only has to wait three weeks before his first trip back to Old Trafford. Even though it’s coming soon, it’s not a guarantee that it will be Mourinho v. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who is under a lot of pressure himself. Things haven’t improved at Man United much since Mourinho was sacked, and a win for him on the road would be the kind of grudge match he lives for.

Game 5: Tottenham v. Burnley, Dec. 7, Premier League

Game 6: Tottenham at Bayern Munich, Dec. 11, Champions League

If the Champions League stopped today, passed Go and went directly to the knockout rounds, Tottenham would be in. Despite all the Premier League troubles, Spurs have done well enough to stay ahead of Red Star Belgrade and Olympiakos in the standings. Should Tottenham beat Olympiakos in November, and Red Star loses to Bayern Munich, it will be set. However, if Tottenham hasn’t secured a place in the knockout round by then, it may need a result against Bayern at home. That will be one of Mourinho’s biggest tasks moving forward.

Game 7: Tottenham at Wolves, Dec. 15, Premier League

Game 8: Tottenham v. Chelsea, Dec. 22, Premier League

Tottenham opens the busy holiday period against Mourinho’s other Premier League former club, and the place where he made his name in England. At this point, Mourinho will have been with Tottenham for an entire month and if things are going well, Tottenham could challenge Chelsea in this match. If Tottenham remain at its current level, Chelsea could certainly win a match like this on the road at the new White Hart Lane. Another side plot will be Mourinho facing his former star midfielder, Frank Lampard.

Game 9: Tottenham v. Brighton and Hove Albion, Dec. 26, Premier League

Game 10: Tottenham at Norwich City, Dec. 28, Premier League

Mourinho will have to navigate some tough matches, including big six derbies against Chelsea and Man United, plus a trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers. However, it certainly could have been worse for Tottenham. Spurs has five home games, along with matches against Burnley, Bournemouth, Norwich City and Brighton and Hove Albion. Despite 10 games in the rest of 2019, and a busy holiday period, Mourinho has a shot to turn Spurs’ season around and put them in contention for fourth place by May.

UEFA investigates player’s claim of racial abuse in Romania

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NYON, Switzerland (AP) UEFA has called for further investigations into allegations by a Sweden player he was racially abused by Romania fans at a European Championship qualifying game.

After Alexander Isak reported his claim to the match referee last Friday, play in Sweden’s 2-0 win was briefly stopped to broadcast a warning to fans in Bucharest. The stadium will host four Euro 2020 games in June.

[READ: How the USMNT found and kept Sergino Dest]

UEFA says it opened a disciplinary investigation, and also charged Romania’s soccer federation for separate incidents of an alleged “illicit banner” and “illicit chants.” Those charges will be judged on Dec. 12.

Romania faces more severe UEFA action because it was already under one year’s probation for previous incidents of offensive fan behavior.

Only accompanied children were allowed to attend Romania’s home qualifier against Norway last month.

The next UEFA punishment could affect Romania’s next game in the Euro 2020 playoffs round in March.

Report: Austin FC hire Reyna as sporting director

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Months after locking in Josh Wolff as head coach, Austin FC is reportedly on the verge of naming one of MLS’ best sporting directors to the same role.

The Athletic reported on Wednesday that Anthony Precourt’s Austin FC has hired Claudio Reyna from New York City FC to be the expansion club’s new sporting director. It’s the second expansion club that Reyna is working for since he joined NYCFC in 2013 as its first director of soccer operations.

[READ: MLS takes big step with All-Star game update]

If true, it’s a shrewd move by Precourt to bring in a man who knows MLS like the back of his thumb, and to pair him with a former teammate from the U.S. Men’s National Team. Wolff’s spent almost his entire career in professional soccer in MLS too, so the club now has two influential individuals who are knowledgable about the league and it’s various roster mechanisms.

Austin FC doesn’t enter MLS until 2021, so locking in Reyna now gives him more than a year of runway towards building an MLS-ready roster. Precourt has surely seen the best-case scenario – Seattle, Los Angeles FC, Atlanta United – where a team loaded with top-heavy talent and good role players can make a deep playoff run in its expansion season. But he’s likely also seen the worst-case scenarios – look at Minnesota United in the past and FC Cincinnati this year.

Bringing in Reyna certainly makes it more likely that Austin FC’s future will lie in the former category.