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Transfer news: Sturridge rumors, Pato to Chelsea, Vidic to Villa

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Alexandre Pato continues to be linked with Chelsea as the Daily Express say a $12 million fee has been agreed between Corinthians and Chelsea.

[ MORE: What is Elneny all about?

The Brazilian forward, 26, will provide Guus Hiddink with some much-needed depth up top and it will also provide him with a chance to prove plenty of his doubters in Europe wrong. According to separate reports the attacker who burst onto the scene with AC Milan as a youngster is also taking a pay cut to join Chelsea on a three-year deal. Pato will bolster Chelsea’s significant Brazilian contingent while also providing cover both out wide and up top as Radamel Falcao remains out injured and his loan spell could be ended if Pato arrives.

During his loan spell at Sao Paolo over the past two years Pato has scored 38 goals in 95 appearances. Not too shabby.

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has played down reports linking Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge, 26, with a move to Upton Park in January: “That is only a rumor and there is nothing behind it,” Bilic said. “I am not talking about who we want – Daniel Sturridge is a big player and a big name – but that is only paper talk.” Sturridge has suffered multiple injuries over the past 18 months and has only featured in three games since Jurgen Klopp took over at Anfield in October, with the England international breaking down multiple times during training.

Bilic did confirm that Nikica Jelavic (who scored at Newcaste United last weekend) is available to leave, while Mauro Zarate is also close to moving to Fiorentina on a permanent deal. The Daily Telegraph believes Emmanuel Emenike could arrive on loan from Fenerbahce.

[ MORE: PL clubs dominate rich list

The Sun claims that Nemanja Vidic, 34, is in talks with Aston Villa about a deal until the end of the season. The veteran Serbian defender has had his contract canceled at Inter Milan and is a free agent. He won five Premier League titles and a UEFA Champions League during his time with United and the powerful center back would certainly bolster Villa’s defense in their battle against relegation. However, can you really see him getting stuck in to a scrap against the drop when he’s been so used to challenging for trophies for so long?

Wales Online believes Swansea City have been in touch with Liverpool about re-signing midfielder Joe Allen and have been told to come back in the summer. The 25-year-old Welsh international came up through the ranks at Swansea and played throughout their rise from the third-tier to the Premier League. Allen joined former boss Brendan Rodgers at Anfield in 2012 in a $22 million deal but has been restricted to appearances in most of the cup competitions under Klopp. With the Swans battling against relegation, they hope they’ll still be a PL club if they decide to go back in for Allen in the summer.

Man City’s attempt to block UEFA investigation denied in court

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MONTREUX, Switzerland (AP) Manchester City lost its attempt Friday to block an investigation into allegations it deceived UEFA while violating rules that monitor soccer club finances.

[ MORE: Berhalter: No “like-for-like” replacement for Pulisic ]

The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that City’s appeal against UEFA’s handling of the investigation was inadmissible. The two-time defending Premier League champions tried to stop UEFA’s club finance panel from handling a referral by investigators to impose a punishment.

“At CAS we can only hear appeals against final decisions,” said Matthieu Reeb, the court’s secretary general.

UEFA investigators had called for a severe penalty — that City be excluded from the Champions League for one season.

The file will now proceed to UEFA’s club finance judges. Any sanction they impose can also be challenged at CAS.

The latest UEFA investigation started after leaks of City’s internal correspondence and documents to German news outlet Der Spiegel last year.

The leaks implied City deceived UEFA for several years, including by hiding information that revenue from potentially overvalued commercial deals came from the club’s owners in Abu Dhabi to curb losses.

[ MORE: Report: LA Galaxy want Cavani to replace Zlatan ]

City has never disputed the authenticity of the documents.

“There was absolutely no examination of the merits,” Reeb said of the three-judge panel’s ruling. “We cannot say whether the decision of the alleged breach of financial fair play rules are real or not.”

Friday’s ruling extends a long-standing conflict between City and UEFA in the era of “Financial Fair Play” rules which began in 2009 after consultation with clubs. The project was intended to protect clubs from reckless overspending.

UEFA rules limit cash injections from wealthy owners, which critics say penalize emerging clubs with big ambitions. Commercial deals such as shirt sponsorships that are suspected of being inflated are also assessed for the fair market rate.

City was deducted $22 million of Champions League prize money by UEFA in 2014 in the first round of FFP judgments.

Report: Bruce hopes to bring Xhaka to Newcastle in January

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Steve Bruce has prioritized a loan move to bring Granit Xhaka to Newcastle United in January, according to a report from Sky Sports.

[ MORE: Berhalter: No “like-for-like” replacement for Pulisic ]

Xhaka, now the former captain of Arsenal after his recent confrontation with the club’s fans, is expected to leave Arsenal in January and Bruce hopes that Fabian Schar, a longtime teammate of Xhaka with the Swiss international team, will be able to persuade the 27-year-old midfielder to choose the Magpies over what will surely be a long list of clubs desperate to acquire his services.

According to the report, a number of clubs in Italy have already expressed an interest in signing Xhaka — whether or loan or permanently — therefore Bruce and Co., are likely to face plenty of competition. However, the chance to remain in the Premier League and prove his detractors — many of them Arsenal fans — wrong could be appealing to Xhaka.

[ MORE: Report: LA Galaxy want Cavani to replace Zlatan ]

Xhaka, who is not currently injured, hasn’t made an appearance for Arsenal since the incident occurred late last month. Schar recently said that he “can’t wait to give [Xhaka] a hug” next time the two players see each other.

VIDEO: Each PL team’s best and worst player of October

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PST’s Joe Prince-Wright looks at the best (and worst) player of October for each Premier League team as the league enters its final international break of 2019.

[ MORE: Berhalter: No “like-for-like” replacement for Pulisic ]

With Liverpool and Leicester City flying high, picking the Reds’ or Foxes’ best player presented plenty of worthy candidates. As for terribly underperforming sides like Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United and Southampton, it was a challenge for the opposite reason, though JPW wasn’t short on options when it came to worst performers.

Hit Play on the above video to see who graded out well — and not so well — for your club, and feel free to agree or disagree all you want in the comments below.

Unhappy in Madrid, Bale ‘more excited’ to play for Wales

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Thanks to the ongoing FIFA-mandated international break, life is currently pretty good for Gareth Bale, who says he “definitely have a bit more excitement playing for Wales” compared to when he’s playing — or not playing — for his club, Real Madrid.

[ MORE: Sterling backs Gomez after boos were heard at Wembley ]

Bale confirmed on Friday what the entire world has known for a couple of years now: that he’s thoroughly unhappy at not being allowed to leave Madrid this summer; that he never truly adapted to his home since the summer of 2013; and that his on-field performance has suffered for those reasons, as well as his extensive injury history — quotes from the BBC:

“With Wales, I’m speaking my own language and feeling more comfortable. I definitely have a bit more excitement playing for Wales.

“I’ve been with most of the players, especially the older ones, since we were in the Under-17s. It’s like playing with your mates down the park on a Sunday.

“But it still doesn’t change what I give on the pitch. I always give 100 percent wherever I am, and that’s what I always strive to do.”

As for how Bale has been painted by the Spanish media, he says he only pays attention to the negative coverage when his friends since him “funny pictures or whatever they write,” but it’s clear he feels like an outsider and that’s a key reason he was so keen to leave the club and country when a(n even more) mega-money offer came from China this summer.

“I’ve heard some stories but I don’t really take notice. My friends tend to send me some funny pictures or whatever they write.

“I find it hilarious to be honest, especially some of the pictures and stuff my friends send me. On one, it said ‘triple bogey’ and I’ve never had a triple bogey. At least give me an albatross! It’s funny.”

Unfortunately for Bale, he’ll have to continue playing nice with manager Zinedine Zidane, until January at least.