Saul’s phenomenal goal — watch it here — puts the onus on Pep Guardiola’s Bayern to keep a clean sheet or win by multiple goals. That’ll be quite a challenge against Diego Simeone’s stout defense, one that’s allowed 2 or more goals on just six occasions across all competitions this year. Half of those came against Barcelona.
The good news for Pep and Co.? Bayern’s good at both ends of the pitch and has the firepower to break through. The Bavarians have only been blanked in two UCL matches this season, against Arsenal and last week versus Atleti.
Man City avoided giving up a road goal to Cristiano Ronaldo-less Real in the first leg, but the Portuguese superstar looks likely to return and is a far more productive player in front of the Bernabeu faithful (whether cheering or whistling).
Man City has scored UCL road goals at PSG, Dynamo Kyiv, Sevilla and Borussia Monchengladbach, only blanked at Juventus, though their road record is far less impressive in the Premier League. Can City give Manuel Pellegrini a measure of revenge against his old employers?
With Dele Alli reported to be wanted by both Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain in recent days, the arrival of Gareth Bale and potentially another forward player could push the England playmaker further down the pecking order.
“I believe [he will]. I can even say that I’m convinced that he will be,” Mourinho told our partners in the UK at Sky Sports when ask about the Dele Alli future reports.
Ahead of Spurs’ UEFA Europa League third round qualifier on Thursday at Macedonian club Shkendija, Mourinho revealed that Alli will be in the squad for that game.
“We all know since Dele arrived from MK Dons he had ups and downs, he had fabulous periods and he also had other periods where he disappeared from top-level performances. And with me it’s no different than before. He’s had moments where he was so good, but he also had moments where he was not so good,” Mourinho said.
“I think this lack of consistency, it’s normal that when you are in great form you play because you deserve it and your production is big for the team, but when you are not in a good moment you don’t play – and it’s as simple as that. The players have to prove on the pitch with their performances; they have to prove how good they are in that specific moment.”
Mourinho added that “performance are important” and Dele Alli is the same as every other player. So, essentially, Mourinho wants him to step it up. During the Nextflix documentary ‘All or Nothing’ Mourinho called Dele Alli lazy.
That led to many believing that Dele Alli was surplus to requirements at Spurs and although he has also been left out of the most recent England squad, Mourinho clearly believes in his quality. For now, it is best if he stays at Tottenham but it would not be a shock if he leaves in January after a few months as a bit-part player.
Dele Alli is a mercurial talent and Mauricio Pochettino did his best to fit him into a system and style of play while also allowing him to express himself. Is Mourinho going to do the latter? Probably not. And therein lies the problem.
Even if he stays at Spurs for now, expect ‘Dele Alli future’ to be a term you see trending on Twitter during upcoming transfer windows.
Here’s a look at the latest transfer news in the Premier League.
Tagliafico to Manchester United the new frontrunner for a left back option?
Nicolas Tagliafico to Manchester United is gathering steam as the Argentine left back has been linked with Chelsea, Arsenal, Leicester and just about every top 10 team in the Premier League over the summer. The Sun claim that Tagliafico is lined up as a $29.3 million target for the Red Devils, but only if they can’t sign Alex Telles from FC Porto.
Tagliafico, 28, has been a big part of Ajax’s recent success but along with Dusan Tadic and Andre Onana he is one of the few players who have moved on from the team which reached the UEFA Champions League semifinal in 2018-19.
With Brazilian left back Alex Telles wanted by Manchester United and a deal for the attacking full back said to be progressing, but Porto being stubborn with the transfer fee, is Tagliafico a good fit? He is a more defensive left back than Telles and it is tough to see him being an upgrade on Luke Shaw or Brandon Williams.
Skriniar to Tottenham talks reported; Milik could arrive too
Milan Skriniar to Tottenham is moving to the next stage as multiple reports claim that Spurs have opened talks with Inter Milan about signing the Slovakian international center back. Skriniar, 25, has been a top target for Spurs this summer and after they moved to strengthen their midfield and attack with Gareth Bale, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Matt Doherty and Sergio Reguilon, adding a new center back appears to be one of the final pieces of the jigsaw.
The Inter Milan center back featured heavily for Antonio Conte’s side who lost in the UEFA Europa League final and pushed hard to close the gap to Juventus as they finished second in Serie A. However, Skriniar only featured once since the restart for Inter and they could point to his future being elsewhere. Eric Dier, Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez are Tottenham’s current back options and all three have struggled at different stages in recent months, while Japhet Tanganga is still young and Juan Foyth is expected to leave this summer.
Arkadiusz Milik to Tottenham has also arrived as a possibility, as a report from Italian outlet Calciomercato claims that Spurs will meet with Napoli’s representatives as a move to Roma fell through for the Polish international striker. Per the report, Milik will be available on an initial loan deal and with an obligation to buy for a total cost of $28.6 million.
Milik, 26, has battled back from some serious injuries in recents seasons and is a mobile yet clinical forward. With Bale, Harry Kane, Heung-min Son, Dele Alli, Erik Lamela and Steven Bergwijn around, do Spurs need another striker?
Milik would be more in the role of Kane and would perhaps be signed to play in the Europa League and give Kane a rest. Whatever happens, Mourinho is making moves and Tottenham look to have momentum in the transfer market after signing Bale on a season-long loan.
Considering Bayern Munich won a historic treble and surged to the UEFA Champions League title, it will likely be Lewandowski or Neuer, but Kevin de Bruyne has been consistently fantastic for Manchester City over the past 12-18 months.
This award is handed out by European soccer’s governing body and is based on players’ performances in UEFA club competitions and their own domestic leagues. The winner will be announced on Oct. 1 during the Champions League group stage draw ceremony, along with a host of other awards such as coach of the year and positional award winners.
🌠 NOMINEES: 2019/20 UEFA Men's Player of the Year 🌠
De Bruyne equalled the record for the most assist in Premier League history with 20 and had 15 goals and 22 assists across all competitions. De Bruyne drove Man City to the quarterfinals of the Champions League but couldn’t do it all on his own as Man City’s defense collapsed in the UCL quarters against Lyon.
Lewandowski scored an incredible 55 goals in 47 games, including 15 in the Champions League to lead the way, while Neuer only missed one game all season for Bayern and kept six clean sheets, including in the final, as Bayern won the Champions League.
UEFA player of year, Top 10
Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City) Manuel Neuer (Bayern)
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern)
The shortlist of three players was selected by a jury comprising the 80 coaches of the clubs that participated in the group stages of the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League (32) and UEFA Europa League (48), along with 55 journalists selected by the European Sports Media (ESM) group, one from each of UEFA’s member associations.
Jury members chose their top three players, with the first receiving five points, the second three and the third one. Coaches were not allowed to vote for players from their own team.
Which players were snubbed?
Sadio Mane, Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Memphis Depay, Josip Ilicic, Mario Pasalic, Timo Werner, Dayot Upamecano
The European season is back in full flow, Major League Soccer is hitting its stretch run, and we have USMNT calendar news.
Yet it’s the transfer market that’s inspired us to revisit our periodic ranking of the top 25 players in the USMNT player pool.
Sergino Dest looks destined for either Barcelonaor Bayern Munich, while Weston McKennie is off to Juventus and is currently learning midfield next to Adrien Rabiot, behind Aaron Ramsey, over Arthur, and under the watchful eye of Andrea Pirlo.
Where is the player pool now? As a reminder, here are some ground rules:
The ranking is meant to illustrate who would be most likely to positively affect a USMNT match, regardless of manager or teammates, right now.
Health doesn’t matter to our rankings if a current injury isn’t one that could drastically alter the player’s skill set moving forward.
Age/potential/experience doesn’t matter either, at least not much; It’s how likely you are to contribute to the team if put on the field right now. Obviously Konrad de la Fuente is a better long-term prospect than 30-year-old Jozy Altidore, but most would rather have the Toronto FC man in a big spot right now.
22. Matt Turner, New England (NR) — Incredible season alert.
23. Aaron Long, New York Red Bulls (NR)
24. Tim Ream, Fulham (13)
25. Henry Wingo, Molde (NR) — Unsure where the Norwegian league rates in relation to MLS, but Wingo’s moved from non-regular with Seattle to starting right back on a team knocking on the door of the UEFA Champions League group stage. Plus I had like nine names I liked for spots 23, 24, and 25.
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Columbus’ resurgence this season has seen Zardes and Nagbe shine. It’s difficult not to place them higher than we initially planned.
Judging the center back pool has become fraught. Chelsea’s Matt Miazga and Tottenham’s Cameron Carter-Vickers are on a loan recycling program and have done well but we haven’t really seen them outside of the Championship. MLS regulars Walker Zimmerman, Miles Robinson, and Aaron Long are good on inconsistent teams. After John Brooks, who knows?
Dropping out are DeAndre Yedlin, Jozy Altidore, Cristian Roldan, Ike Opara, Michael Bradley, Fabian Johnson, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Miles Robinson, Paul Arriola, and Jackson Yueill.
Small sample size, but if you’re the top rated player on Besiktas then you’re Tyler Boyd and you’re getting a higher spot than we anticipated when we started the post.
Last five out: Chris Richards, Bayern Munich; Duane Holmes, Derby County; DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle United; Timothy Chandler, Eintracht Frankfurt; Frankie Amaya, FC Cincinnati.
Keep an eye on: Ulysses Llanez, Heerenveen (loan from Wolfsburg); Cole Bassett, Colorado Rapids; Julian Araujo, LA Galaxy; Chris Mueller, Orlando City; Konrad de la Fuente, Barcelona; Indiana Vassilev, Burton Albion (loan from Aston Villa); Paxton Pomykal, FC Dallas; Jozy Altidore, Toronto FC; Cristian Roldan, Seattle Sounders; Walker Zimmerman, Nashville SC.