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Transfer Rumor Roundup: Bolasie nearing Everton switch, Fabregas offered to Juventus

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Everton is set to capture Crystal Palace winger Yannick Bolasie, with the Congolese international heading to Merseyside to complete a medical on Sunday, according to multiple reports.

This comes on the heels of Palace manager Alan Pardew‘s comments following an opening day loss to West Bromwich Albion, in which Pardew essentially confirmed that Bolasie is on his way out. “We know there is a big offer and a big club in for him,” Pardew told the BBC. “The deal is close and he will go with my best wishes. There’s no medical done or agreement 100% done. It’s fair to say we know his heart and soul may be elsewhere.”

Ronald Koeman has chased Bolasie for much of the summer, with a number of reported bids turned down before the two clubs settled on the current $28 million total agreed upon.

Bolasie joined Crystal Palace back in 2011, and spent two seasons in the Championship with the Eagles before earning promotion in 2013 via the playoff. He proceeded to help the club become an established Premier League side, making 90 top-flight appearances with Palace over the last three-plus seasons.

Everton has also been linked with Valencia defender Aymen Abdennour, who made just 11 league appearances in his first season with the La Liga club. This potential transfer would still be in the early stages, however, with just the Daily Mail reporting the link following the breakdown in talks for Sunderland defender Lamine Kone.

Reports out of Italy, namely from newspaper Tuttosport, have reported that Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has alerted his former club Juventus to the availability of Cesc Fabregas.

The Italian giants are looking for a replacement to Pogba’s midfield role, and Conte apparently would sacrifice Fabregas to the cause. According to the report, Juventus had made attempts to capture Axel Witsel, but those talks have not gone well. They contacted Chelsea to discuss Nemanja Matic, but Conte has instead offered Fabregas.

The report indicates that Juventus also checked in on Blaise Matuidi, but PSG had no desire to sell.

Fabregas would represent far less of a defensive presence than any other targets mentioned in this report, and indeed less than the man they intend him to replace as well, but having struck out on a number of options, it might be the only way forward for Juventus at this point.

Valencia is rumored to be close to completing the sale of Shkodran Mustafi to Arsenal. With the transfer reportedly nearing completion, the Valencia fans did something special in a last-ditch attempt to get him to stay.

Following Saturday’s final preseason friendly against Fiorentina, during the customary presentation of the players prior to the start of the regular season, the fans serenaded Mustafi in the hopes of convincing him not to leave. Mustafi was not in the lineup for the game and did not feature, fueling the transfer fire even more, but was on hand to experience the act of good will from the fans.

With the falling out between Stoke City and defender Marc Wilson following an ill-advised Twitter rampage, the 28-year-old is set to leave the Britannia, and reports indicate that Bournemouth is the most interested.

ESPN’s Pete O’Rourke has reported that the Cherries are “lining up a move” for Wilson, who played just one Premier League game last season for Stoke.

Wilson was clearly upset at both his lack of playing time and manager Mark Hughes‘ training methods, and aired that laundry out in public on social media during a Q&A with fans. Hughes responded by telling reporters at his pre-match press conference this weekend, “Marc probably feels his future lies elsewhere and it’s fair to say I probably agree with him.”

The ESPN report was corroborated by Sky Sports reporter Mark McAdam, who posted that the two clubs had agreed to a deal of $2.5 million. Wilson spent a portion of the 2006/07 season on loan at Bournemouth, while with parent club Portsmouth.

Man United reveal plans for the future; financial results announced

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Manchester United’s executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has a plan.

He shared it in a statement on Monday, as the Red Devils have picked up some momentum over the past few weeks with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side back in the hunt for a top four finish in the Premier League.

The leading man at the PL giants confirmed that producing their own young group of players in the first team is now their main aim.

“We have a clear vision in terms of football philosophy and recruitment,” Woodward said. “The significant investments that we have made in recent years in areas such as transfers, recruitment infrastructure, analytics and our Academy are already beginning to bear fruit.

“We are very proud to be shortly approaching a milestone 4,000th game featuring an Academy player, and we are particularly optimistic regarding the considerable young talent currently coming through. Our ultimate goal is to win trophies by playing exciting football with a team that fuses graduates from our Academy with world-class acquisitions.”

Academy products Marcus Rashford, Andreas Pereira and Scott McTominay are key players in United’s first team this season while the likes of Brandon Williams, Axel Tuanzebe and Mason Greenwood have all gained valuable experience.

That said, Woodward will no doubt realize that United have to spend on key additions in the upcoming windows alongside promoting their talented youngsters.

Solskjaer has already mentioned that the January transfer window is something United will look at closely, as they are currently in seventh place in the Premier League table and nine points off the top four. An attacking midfielder is likely to be their key target as they failed to bring in Sporting Lisbon’s Bruno Fernandes this summer.

With regards to the finances, United’s net debt rose by $177.9 million which was in essence due to bringing in Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire and Daniel James this summer. However, their first quarter revenue for this year was slightly up to $175.5 million year-on-year.

They are expected to bring in $86.8 million less in the next 12 months from TV revenue and prize money as they failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, but players wages did fall 8.8 percent with the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez off the wage bill, as that now stands at $90 million.

As always, a lack of success on the pitch doesn’t really seem to hurt United off it.

Senegal, Nigeria stay perfect in African Cup qualifying

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Famara Diedhiou scored a hat trick in a game interrupted by heavy rain as Senegal beat Eswatini 4-1 on Sunday for two wins out of two in qualifying for the 2021 African Cup of Nations.

Diedhiou missed an early penalty and it was 0-0 at halftime when Senegal coach Aliou Cisse substituted Sadio Mane.

Diedhiou netted all three of his goals in a nine-minute period from the 59th to keep this year’s African Cup runner-up on course in the final stage of qualifying for the 2021 tournament. Badou Ndiaye scored Senegal’s fourth in Manzini against the kingdom formerly known as Swaziland.

Senegal lost to Algeria in the final of this year’s African Cup of Nations in Egypt and is embarking on another attempt to win the continental title for the first time.

Like Senegal, Nigeria has also won its first two of six games in the qualifiers’ decisive group stage after the Super Eagles benefited from an outstanding performance by forward Victor Osimhen in a 4-2 win over Lesotho. Osimhen scored twice and set up the other two as Nigeria again came from behind to win, like it did in its opening qualifier.

South Africa beat Sudan 1-0 with a goal by Lebogang Phiri for its first win of the qualifiers after losing to Ghana first up. Cameroon, which will host the 2021 African Cup, also registered a first win by beating Rwanda 1-0. Midfielder Ngoumo Ngamaleu scored in Cameroon’s first competitive win under new coach Toni Conceicao and first in six games.

Cameroon has already qualified as host but is still taking part in qualifying. The top two teams in each of the 12 groups will qualify with the exception of Cameroon’s group. There, the highest-placed of the other three teams – currently Mozambique – goes through to the 24-team finals which will be played in mid-2021.

Guinea and Mali sit in the qualifying positions in Group A – Mali won 2-0 in Chad and Guinea 2-0 at home to Namibia. There were also wins on Sunday for Uganda, Benin, Republic of Congo and Gabon.

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Griezmann: Playing for Barcelona is ‘not the easiest’

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Over the summer, Barcelona shelled a whopping $135 million to land Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid.

It was a match made in heaven; the rest was supposed to be history.

Only that hasn’t been the case for the Frenchman in Barcelona.

Despite scoring a brace in his debut at the Camp Nou, Griezmann’s impact and influence on the field has quickly dwindled. In 11 league appearances with the Catalan giants, the 28-year-old has scored four goals and added three assists, signs that the World Cup winner is, in fact, struggling with his new team.

Speaking to Telefoot, Griezmann revealed that playing for Barcelona is not an easy thing to do, but that with hard work, his fortunes will turn around for the best:

“It is hard, I knew it would be, it is not the easiest place. This is a new team, a new club, new tactics, a new position. I have to work, try to understand my team-mates, after they will understand me too and it will work just like that… Critics will always be there. But I am good, I am proud of where I am. Only work pays off. I have to take confidence and it will all come just like that.”

This season, Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has frequently deployed the Frenchman as a left winger, with the hope that he will link up with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. The positives form such an ideology have yet to be reaped, however. Griezmann is scoring a goal every 224 minutes, a career worst.

The 28-year-old, too, has played in a central role on a couple of occasions, specifically during the absences of Messi and Suarez, but it hasn’t worked out for a player that has made a career from roaming that part of the field.

The building clamor at the Camp Nou is borderline justifiable – mainly because it’s now evident that Griezmann is wrestling with adapting to the expectations and systems in place in Barcelona.

But the high-flying attacker has proven he’s worth the price time and time again, and now he’s on the record saying that he’ll do everything in his power to do so with his new club.

Real Monarchs beat Louisville City to win first ever USL Cup
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Real Monarchs scored three unanswered goals as they routed Louisville City 3-1 at Lynn Stadium to win their first ever USL Cup title.

Noah Powder’s goal in the 66th minute sealed the deal for the visitor’s, adding to the goals scored by defenders Erik Holt and Konrad Plewa in the first half.

Surprisingly enough, it was Lou City who got off to a superb start on Sunday night, though.

Only six minutes after the initial whistle, Lou City’s leading goalscorer, Magnus Rasmussen, scored the game’s first goal, breaking a record for the fastest goal in a USL Cup final.

The defeat brings an end to Lou City’s historic run of consecutive USL Cup-winning seasons.

On July 1, former Real Salt Lake defender, Jamison Olave, took over as the Monarchs interim coach following Martin Vasquez’s unexpected resignation.