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Saturday’s transfer rumor roundup: Hiddink wants Vardy; James to Man Utd?

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With a pair of Premier League managerial positions recently changing hands — and another possibly imminent — the world of transfer rumors has officially gone mad.

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Major star players, among others, reportedly on the move or being targeted for moves in January, as of Saturday: Real Madrid’s James Rodriguez; Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy; Bayer Leverkusen’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez; and Chelsea’s Radamel Falcao.

The Sun pegs interim Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink as hot for Vardy, Leciester’s scorer of 15 league goals this season. The question isn’t “why would they want Vardy” — it’s pretty plain to see — but more of “why don’t they want Riyad Mahrez, too/instead?” Hiddink has also reportedly placed West Bromwich Albion striker Saido Berahino atop his wish list, as the Blues search for a replacement and/or cover for the still-misfiring Diego Costa.

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup | Sunday’s PL preview ]

Elsewhere on the Chelsea striker’s front, Falcao could be off to MLS in January. Swansea City have reportedly made a loan offer for Loic Remy, according to the Mirror. A $1.5-million loan fee has reportedly been offered, as well as a willingness to pay Remy’s wages for the remainder of the season. Crystal Palace and Newcastle United are said to also be interested.

James Rodriguez, who a small sector of the world’s population believes — for some unknown reason — to be on his way out of Madrid, is the apple of Louis Van Gaal‘s eye, according to the Metro. Rodriguez is reportedly unhappy playing for Rafael Benitez at Madrid, though that could be just as much a contract negotiating ploy as actually wanting a move away. Regardless, Man United continue to be linked with mega-stars they will most likely fail to ultimately sign.

[ MORE: Friday’s transfer rumor roundup | Thursday | Wednesday ]

According to Talksport, another former Man United striker, Hernandez, could be on his way to Arsenal. Arsene Wenger is said to be weighing up an offer for the 27-year-old Mexican striker, who is in red-hot form at the moment. The report reckons Hernandez could be had for as little as $10 million, but that sounds awfully low for a striker who’s scored 17 goals in his last 14 games.

LIVE — USMNT seeks ‘payback’ v. Canada in CONCACAF Nations League

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The USMNT’s CONCACAF Nations League hopes are on the line when it meets Canada in Orlando at 7 p.m. ET on Friday.

[ FOLLOW: USMNT on Twitter ]

The Yanks seek to avenge a 2-0 loss to the Canucks in Toronto last month, one that heaped pressure on coach Gregg Berhalter.

If the USMNT fails to win on Friday, a match Canada also needs for its World Cup qualifying hopes, it will bow out of the tournament before the semifinal round.

There’s no place for DeAndre Yedlin in the back line, as Tim Ream‘s been chosen to play right back with a center back pairing of John Brooks and Aaron Long. Sergino Dest starts on the right.

The midfield will have Jackson Yueill lying deep, with Weston McKennie and Sebastian Lletget also getting the call.

Gyasi Zardes starts at center forward with Jordan Morris and Paul Arriola on the wings.

EURO qualifying wrap: Sweden joins Finland in qualifying

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Finland and Sweden have qualified for EURO 2020 after posting big wins on Friday, the former doing it at home to relative minnows Liechtenstein while the latter scored an impressive win away to Romania.

[ WATCH: G. Jesus’ comical penalty miss ]


Romania 0-2 Sweden

Marcus Berg and Robin Quaison scored first half goals as Sweden qualified for its sixth-straight EURO. Both are having decent starts to the club season. The veteran Berg has scored five times for Krasnodar, while the 26-year-old Quaison has scored four times for Mainz this season.

Spain 7-0 Malta

The Spanish had seven different goal scorers beginning with Alvaro Morata and Santi Cazorla providing a 2-0 halftime lead. Spain out shot Malta 25-1, with Pau Torres, Pablo Sarabia, Dani Olmo, and Gerard Moreno also scoring for an experimental squad.

And what if we told you Jesus Navas scored? Cause he did.

Denmark 6-0 Gibraltar

Christian Eriksen scored twice in the final five minutes after Robert Skov’s brace came sandwiched around Christian Gytkjaer and Martin Braithwaite goals. The Danes climbed to the top of Group D, one point better than the Swiss and three better than Republic of Ireland (who it meets on the last match day).

Switzerland 1-0 Georgia

Granit Xhaka went 90 minutes and Cedric Itten scored the game’s lone goal as the Swiss joined the Danes in climbing above Republic of Ireland.

Bosnia and Herzegovina 0-3 Italy

The Azzurri were clinical on Friday, with Francesco Acerbi, Lorenzo Insigne, and Andrea Belotti bagging

Elsewhere
Norway 4-0 Faroe Islands
Finland 3-0 Liechtenstein — RECAP
Armenia 0-1 Greece

WATCH: Gabriel Jesus comically misses penalty; Messi pots winner on Argentina return

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As long as Lionel Messi is on the field, Argentina and Brazil is going to be must-watch no matter the location.

Messi converted a rebound of his own won and saved penalty to score his 69th international goal in Argentina’s 1-0 win in a Saudi Arabia-hosted friendly on Friday.

[ MORE: Finland makes history ]

It was Messi’s first match with Argentina since the summer, when he was banned three months for claiming the 2019 Copa America tournament was fixed for hosts Brazil.

Let’s be real, though: You should be here for this terrible penalty miss from Gabriel Jesus.

The Brazilian also won his penalty, but his miss was a dreadful dribble wide of the frame. It clicked three boxes of terrible: no direction, no conviction, no technique.

Pique: Griezmann growing into Barca role “little by little”

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This summer, there was plenty of talk that Barcelona’s players wanted Neymar in town and quite the opposite regarding Antoine Griezmann.

The Atletico Madrid star was the player purchased by Barcelona.

[ MORE: Finland makes history ]

Griezmann, 28, has four goals and three assists in 15 matches, but the bulk of that outlay came in two matches and he’s without a goal or assist in the UEFA Champions League.

A bit different from his 21 goals and 10 assists in 48 matches last season, at least on the goals end, but the Frenchman is settling into a new club and city.

While it’s not like his new teammates think he’s garbage, they aren’t sugarcoating their opinion of his transition nor downplaying their lofty opinion of Barca.

Here’s Gerard Pique, via AS.com:

“Real Sociedad and Atlético were teams who played for Griezmann. That’s not the case at Barca, because the level is higher and he has to find his place in the side. Little by little he’s finding it. He’s got the quality and talent for it.”

Pique also blew off Barca’s extra rest before the new El Clasico date, and talked about Leo Messi’scontract talks as well as his relationship with Sergio Ramos. It’s all here.