TRANSFER GRADES: How did each Premier League team fare in January?

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Below is a look at how each Premier League team fared during the 2016 January transfer window.

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With plenty of ins and outs this month, it’s safe to say some did better business than others.

Do you agree with these grades?

TEAM GRADE
source:  A- Newcastle: Adding Shelvey and Townsend for $17.3 million each was pricey but worth it from the top spenders in January. Saivet will add competition and grabbing Doumbia on loan is a gamble which could save them from relegation. Brave, and a very good, window.
source:  B+ Watford: The Hornets kept splashing the cash. Bringing in Pantilimon, Suarez and Amrabat made their squad stronger and adding two prospects then loaning them out on Deadline Day. Very good way for the PL new boys.
 

source:

 B+ Stoke City: Mark Hughes and Stoke kept up their trend of surprising transfers late on in the window. Giannelli Imbula arrived on Deadline Day for a club record $26 million and will strengthen them considerably in midfield. The Potter look to keep pushing for the top six.
source:  B Bournemouth: The Cherries added plenty of bodies in attack, which is what they needed. Benik Afobe and Lewis Grabban have settled quickly, while Juan Iturbe looks dangerous. A top defensive addition would’ve made this window better.
source:  B Norwich City: Like Bournemouth, the newly-promoted Canaries added plenty of numbers as they aim to avoid the drop. Naismith and Bamford arrived up top, while Klose and Pinto arrived at the back. Promising youngster James Maddison joined late on as Alex Neil bought well.
source:  B Everton: The Toffees were very quiet up until the last day and then they signed Oumar Niasse from Lokomotiv Moscow for $20 million. Perhaps Roberto Martinez should’ve spent more on new defenders but Niasse will add goals and assists and is the Russian Premier League’s reigning player of the year. Tidy.
source:  C+ Sunderland: Kone, Khazri, Kirchhoof and N’Doye all arrived, while Sam Allardyce did some necessary trimming to their squad. Not a bad window but will the new additions be enough to keep them up?
source:  C+ West Brom: The main aim in this window was not to sell Saido Berahino to a relegation rival and chairman Jeremy Peace achieved that. Alex Pritchard coming in will add some trickery in midfield.
source:  C+ Crystal Palace: Emmanuel Adebayor arrived on a short-term deal and could deliver the goals to push Palace into the top six. With his temperament, he’s a gamble, but Palace need goals to keep their good start to the season going.
source:  C+ West Ham: The Hammers brought in Emmanuel Emenike on loan to help push them into the top five and his goals will help. Adding Sam Byram at right back is also a shrewd acquisition.
source:  C+ Leicester City: The Foxes were hoping to get a move for Loic Remy or Ahmed Musa over the line late in the window but the title-chasers did add Demarai Gray and Daniel Amarety during January. They also kept hold of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez.
source:  C Southampton: Saints had two aims in the window: keep hold of Sadio Mane and Victor Wanyama. Check. Add a striker. Check. A $6 million move for Charlie Austin could be the bargain of the season. Job done for Ronald Koeman.
source:  C- Swansea City: Leroy Fer joined on loan and striker Alberto Paloschi arrived from Chievo in Italy. Swansea fans will be concerned with the hole Jonjo Shelvey has left. A relegation battle now beckons. Can this squad cope?
source:  C- Manchester City: Not a lot going on at all for City… well, on the playing side at least. With Pellegrini confirming he’s out in the summer and Guardiola confirmed as his replacement, pretty simple to expect no ins or outs.
source:  D Liverpool: Steven Caulker arriving on loan was as good as it got for Liverpool, plus youngster Marko Grujic arrived. The pursuit of Alex Teixeira turned into a saga and Shakhtar Donestk wanted $75 million for the Brazilian. It is likely Jurgen Klopp will go back in for him this summer when his price drops.
source:  D Manchester United: Like Liverpool, a little disappointing for United. They added nobody and you have to think someone like Berahino would make a difference between now and the end of the season. Maybe Louis Van Gaal has spent all the cash?
source:  D Arsenal: Mohamed Elneny was Arsenal’s only signing and they let Yaya Sanogo and Mathieu Debuchy go on loan. This was a big chance for the Gunners to add some real depth and perhaps another attacking option to breath new life into their title charge.
source:  D Chelsea: The Blues were trying to move on Falcao and Remy until the end, and many Chelsea fans were hoping for a new striker (Pato joined on loan but is more of a winger and unlikely to feature often) to ease the pressure on Costa. USMNT youngster Miazga arrived which was big news Stateside. That said, the biggest news in January from Stamford Bridge was John Terry not being handed a new deal and he will leave this summer.
source:  D- Tottenham:  A real missed opportunity for Spurs. Berahino, again, would’ve made sense and with Jan Vertonghen going down they look a little short at the back. Just five points off the top, why didn’t Spurs board back Pochettino and give him some money to spend?
source:  F Aston Villa: A very, very bad window for Remi Garde. No new arrivals means the Villans will struggle on between now and the end of the season. How did this happen? Is owner Randy Lerner already resigned to relegation?

 

Carlos Vela scored a celestial goal. We are blessed to have seen it

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Carlos Vela is making all other spectacular individual MLS seasons look run of the mill.

I mean, look at the gumption on this guy.

[ VIDEO: Rooney sent off, Kamara scores golazo ]

The Cancun-born playmaker left the San Jose Earthquakes back line on the beach with a soft shoe routine to give LAFC its third goal in a 4-0 win on Thursday

Vela, 30, now has 25 goals and 11 assists in 25 league matches for LAFC this season. He added two goals and an assist in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play.

But this one, yeah, this one takes the cake.

First, there’s Vela’s non-chalant dummy before picking up the pass.

Then, there’s Florian Jungwirth’s body language during and after his being cooked with a nutmeg. That’s an entire mood.

Next, Vela dribbles around the keeper and allows a slide tackler so glide past him before finishing with aplomb, the magic touch his going near post as if to say, “Can I beat this guy a second time, or do I have to use the easier route?”

Diego Rossi also had a goal and an assist, while Mark-Anthony Kaye continued his strong season with an assist to ex-Fiorentina prospect Joshua Perez. It’s a first MLS goal for the California-born Perez, now 21.

WATCH: Rooney sees red for forearm shiver, Kamara scores golazo

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Midweek MLS provided plenty to talk about on Wednesday, with two red cards and a golazo in one match alone.

The two main talking points from the New York Red Bulls’ 2-1 win over DC United weren’t really part of what led the victors to three points.

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How? Well, one of the world’s marquee names earned a red card via VAR and a returning star scores an absolute stunner, that’s how.

Here’s Ola Kamara’s debut marker for the Black-and-Red, adding to a record which included 49 goals in 97 matches between Columbus and the LA Galaxy before moving to the Chinese Super League for a wildly disappointing time with Shenzhen FC.

All of that is forgotten.

As for the Rooney incident, the Red Bulls already led 1-0 when DC’s star striker went forearm shiver on Cristian Casseres Jr.

It’s the second red of the season for Rooney, who is set for Derby County in January.

Amro Tarek was later sent off for the Red Bulls, who moved ahead of DC in the standings. Kaku and Daniel Royer had RBNY’s goals.

Newcastle takeover could be back on if in holiday relegation battle

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How much do Newcastle United supporters dislike their owner Mike Ashley right now?

Enough that this report is likely to condemn many to hoping their favorite club in the world is in the Bottom 3 come Christmas.

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The Chronicle’s Mark Douglas speculates that Ashley will lower his asking price for the club if it is in a relegation fight come December — something that looks certain after the Steve Bruce-led Magpies got bossed around by promoted Norwich City.

Nothing But Newcastle transcribed Douglas’ chatter from his podcast, in which he says,

“It wouldn’t surprise me if we hear more in December because there are still people sniffing around that football club and if the team are in the bottom three, there’ll be people thinking they can get a bargain out of Mike Ashley again. … He will probably more open to listening to lower offers in January and December which is what happened last December. He was basically saying ‘take it off my hands, you now have to take the risk’'”

This is notable for two reasons. First: the social experiment of wondering how many fans could see themselves rooting for their team to take a major and perilous back step just to see the back of a man they perceive is at the root of their failures (and that perception is widespread in this case).

But second, we can see if this rumor comes true because it’s difficult to imagine Newcastle as comfortably mid table by Christmas.

Fan protests and anger are nothing new, but here’s an effort to show how wobbly Ashley’s reputation is on Tyneside: Fans have taken to selling a black and white striped shirt with player name and number but no sponsor just so they can have a Newcastle jersey that doesn’t put money into Ashley’s pockets. And this is after he broke the club’s transfer record twice in one year.

If we’ve learned anything from the past few seasons, though, it’s that boycotts and anger will spur Ashley into insisting that he’s willing to sell and just conveniently enough it will be before the January transfer window. He “won’t be able to buy any players” with the takeover in play, and talks will hit a wall come late January, when they’ll loan a couple young players from Top Six sides.

Yes he spent significant money on Joelinton, Allen Saint-Maximin, and others this summer, but one decent window doesn’t make a culture. Count us amongst the skeptical, for now.

Messi back in training, could be fit for Betis

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Lionel Messi was back in full training again on Wednesday and may be fit to face Real Betis in the Spanish league on Sunday.

Messi had been training separately from the squad since injuring his right calf in the preseason.

He missed the team’s 1-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao in the league opener on Friday.

Barcelona has not said how long it expects Messi to be sidelined.

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Coach Ernesto Valverde is also dealing with injuries to forwards Luiz Suarez and Ousmane Dembele.

Dembele is certain to miss Sunday’s match at the Camp Nou because of a left thigh injury that should keep him out for about five weeks.

Suarez also isn’t likely to play this weekend because of a muscle injury sustained before halftime of Friday’s game in Bilbao.

Two-time defending champion Barcelona hadn’t loss a league opener in 10 seasons.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports