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Transfer Rumor Roundup: Santos president in England to speak with Chelsea, Leicester City

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According to Goal.com’s Bruno Andrade, the president of Brazilian giants Santos is currently in England negotiating with both Chelsea and Leicester City over the possible transfer of two current Olympians.

First, Modesto Rome has apparently visited London to negotiate the departure of Thiago Maia to Stamford Bridge. The 19-year-old has been brought up through the Santos youth system and made his senior team debut this past February. He has been a critical part of the Santos squad this season (which started in May), logging 1,345 of a possible 1,350 minutes until he had to leave for the national team’s Olympic camp.

According to the report, Chelsea has been in talks with Santos for a few weeks about the possibility of bringing Maia in, although the teenager is not entirely convinced leaving his current club is the best decision at this point.

Leicester City, meanwhile, has made a late push for fellow 19-year-old winger Gabigol. While previous interest from the Blues has died out, he reportedly already has an offer in hand from Juventus and another could come soon from Inter. With this in mind, it makes the Foxes’ approach all the more intriguing. Is Leicester preparing for the departure of Riyad Mahrez? The two play primarily on the right side, so it would fit the story.

More likely, the Foxes flagged Gabigol late thanks to his current hot streak. He’s cemented a spot in the Santos first team thanks to a run of five goals in his last eight Serie A appearances, and also has two in his last four appearances for the Brazilian senior side, including one in the Copa America Centenario against Haiti. He’s struggled alongside Neymar and Gabriel Jesus in the Rio Olympics. Can Claudio Ranieri beat two Serie A giants to a bright, young talent?


West Brom has struggled mightily in the transfer window, being linked with seemingly everyone but coming up short every time. So who is their next reported target? Watford frontman Odion Ighalo is the marked man, with Sky Sports reporting that the Baggies are going after the Hornet striker following the breakdown of a deal for Diafra Sakho.

They have plenty of competition, however, with Crystal Palace and Stoke City also apparently submitting bids.


Everton is targeting Crystal Palace pacey winger Yannick Bolasie, according to multiple reports, although the two sides seem to be quite far off in their valuation of the player. Everton reportedly submitted a bid Monday of $23 million, but that was rejected, according to a report in The Guardian. Palace reportedly wants as much as $39 million for the 27-year-old Congolese international.

Bolasie has become a critical part of the Eagles squad. Last season, he struggled to produce goals, but was never dropped until a calf injury forced him to the sidelines. Bolasie scored just five goals last season, but it’s the four assists that were even more worrisome. Crystal Palace might have a tough time justifying their price tag based on his numbers last year. However, it does seem that Bolasie fits the counter-attacking style of Palace much more than the more straightforward, through the middle approach Everton has taken in recent years.

The Guardian suggests that with the addition of Andros Townsend at Palace, manager Alan Pardew could afford to part with Bolasie to secure the funds for a play at Liverpool striker Christian Benteke.

Red-hot Rebić scores again as AC Milan tops Torino

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MILAN (AP) Ante Rebić kept up his scoring form to lead AC Milan to a 1-0 win over struggling Torino in Serie A on Monday.

The Croatia international beat his marker to redirect a cross from the center of the area midway through the first half at the San Siro.

The score raised Rebić’s tally to six goals and an assist in eight matches since he earned his starting spot – a move that coincided with Zlatan Ibrahimović’s return to the Rossoneri.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Bouncing back from a derby loss, Milan moved up to eighth and just beyond the Europa League places. The seven-time European champion is hoping to return to continental competition after voluntary withdrawing from this season’s Europa League to pay for UEFA financial fair play breaches.

Torino, meanwhile, lost its fifth straight, with new coach Moreno Longo still unable to turn things around in his second match in charge.

Ibrahimović narrowly missed a curling shot shortly after the break.

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

Simeone: Liverpool intensity “makes me admire it as a rival”

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The UEFA Champions League returns at long last on Tuesday, and two of the greatest managers in the game will match wits for the first time.

No we’re not talking about Lucien Favre and Thomas Tuchel, the meeting of the minds in Tuesday’s other kickoff between Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain in Germany.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp will go head-to-head with Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone in Spain, and the fiery German thinks it will be “absolutely interesting.”

From The Liverpool Echo:

“People say I emotional on the sideline,” Klopp said. “I am only on level 4, Diego is level 12. Really I am the kindergarten cop against him. He is so impressive after all these years, after so many years at the club – eight years. That is really long and having still this emotional level, still, wow. So impressive. I say, his teams are always organized world class.”

The admiration is mutual.

Simeone expects a huge challenge from a Liverpool team he regards on a historic plane.

“We are facing a magnificent team, really well-trained by a coach who is different and has different alternatives in his team,” he said, via The Independent. “We have always spoken about great teams throughout time and I have no doubt this Liverpool is going to go down in history as a great team because it is different to teams that we have admired. This team is much more intense, more adaptable, and it makes me admire it as a rival.”

The bettors say Liverpool is the heavy favorite in the first leg despite the match’s location at the Wanda Metropolitano. With football geniuses like Klopp and Simeone, however, either could have a plan to throw the other for a loop.

CONCACAF Champions League preview: Five MLS sides eye history

CONCACAF Champions League preview
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Once the Premier League and La Liga had taken their final bows of the day on Saturday, there felt was a particular absence, one soon-to-be filled by domestic soccer.

Yes, MLS is coming soon, and the CONCACAF Champions League is even closer.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Five MLS sides begin their Round of 16 ties over the next three evenings, some with easier paths than others to elusive CCL glory.

The competition may not have burned itself onto the mainstream, lagging behind continental competitions in Europe and South America, but those who’ve embraced it (hint: this guy) love the thing.

For all the progress Major League Soccer has made in its quarter-century, it’s yet to find much success in dealing with Liga MX powers in the fight to qualify for the Club World Cup.

MLS sides have not won the competition since it was rebranded the CCL. Only three MLS sides have made the CCL final this decade, with Real Salt Lake (2011), Montreal Impact (2015), and Toronto FC (2017) all coming up short at the last step.

The CCL provides everything you love and hate about World Cup qualifying, and those dicey pitches with sometimes worse lighting mean the favorites aren’t guaranteed much.

The top half of the bracket sees three MLS teams — Montreal, Seattle, and NYCFC — and just one Liga MX side, while the bottom half gives us a Liga MX v. MLS match-up straight away.

That’s Leon v. LAFC, and it begins Tuesday night in Mexico. That tie carries the added intrigue of MLS superstar Carlos Vela bringing his act back to his home country for the first time… ever.

Bracket

Saprissa (Costa Rica) v. Montreal — 8 p.m. ET Weds.
Olimpia (Honduras) v. Seattle — 10 p.m. ET Thurs.

San Carlos (Costa Rica) v. NYCFC — 8 p.m. ET Thurs.
Alianza (El Salvador) v. UANL Tigres — 8 p.m. ET Weds.

Leon v. LAFC — 10 p.m. ET Tues.
Portmore United (Jamaica) v. Cruz Azul — 8 p.m. ET Tues.

Comunicaciones (Guatemala) v. Club America — 10 p.m. ET Weds.
Montagua (Honduras) v. Atlanta United — 10 p.m. ET Tues.

The 2 Robbies podcast: VAR carnage at Stamford Bridge

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Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle dissect a crazy game at Stamford Bridge that saw Chelsea on the wrong side of several VAR decisions (00:45).

The gents also recap the big moments from the weekend; Liverpool beat Norwich (18:30), Son’s late winner against Aston Villa (24:45) and Arteta‘s attackers thrash Newcastle United (30:15).

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

To listen to more lively conversations and passionate debate from Robbie Earle and Robbie Mustoe, subscribe to The 2 Robbies Podcast on Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

And you can follow them on Twitter @The2RobbiesNBC here.

Click here for The 2 Robbies archive ]