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Yaya Toure to Major League Soccer? Arsenal, Man United also interested

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Yaya Toure is on his way out of Manchester City.

After not being included in Pep Guardiola‘s 21-man squad for the UEFA Champions League, Toure is on borrowed time at the Etihad Stadium.

[ MORE: Patience for Pulisic ]

Toure, 33, is still contracted to City until next summer but he is free to discuss a contract with any non-English teams in January 2017 and his agent, Dimitri Seluk, claims he has already had offers from China, Italy, MLS and Turkey.

Seluk also stated that there was interest from Arsenal and Manchester United but City were unwilling to do business with them for the towering Ivorian central midfielder.

Via Sky Sports, Toure’s agent discussed the options on the table for the four-time winner of the African Footballer of the Year award.

“Yaya in January can sign a pre-contract agreement with clubs abroad,” Seluk said. “He will have many offers from clubs. China and America of course they want him but we will have a lot of offers from England and Europe. He is in very good shape, very good condition, I think he lost seven kilograms. Maybe that’s not good enough for Guardiola, but then Zlatan Ibrahimovic wasn’t good enough for him (at Barcelona).”

Seluk doesn’t like Guardiola and it is pretty clear the feeling is mutual from Guardiola’s end. He’s intimated as much in multiple press conferences as Toure’s outspoken agent also suggested that millions of TV viewers in Africa will no longer watch Man City due to Guardiola’s treatment of Toure since he arrived as manager in the summer.

Along with Joe Hart, Samir Nasri, Eliaquim Mangala and Wilfried Bony, it was quite clear Toure wasn’t part of Guardiola’s plans at City. He also sold Toure when he was in charge at Barcelona and it is not a shock that Toure — who has won two Premier League titles, two League Cups and an FA Cup at City — will be moving on. However, it was a shock that he didn’t manage to get a loan move elsewhere before the summer transfer window slammed shut.

His reported wages of over $265,000 per week are probably a big reason why Toure hasn’t moved on but the fact that he could well go without regular action for the next four months could harm him when the January transfer window opens.

In MLS, he will likely have plenty of suitors with New York City FC the obvious option given their connection with Man City, plus Frank Lampard‘s contract set to expire in December 2016. LA Galaxy will perhaps no longer have Steven Gerrard with his contract also expiring in December plus Minnesota United and Atlanta United will join MLS in 2017 and Toure could be a very attractive option for teams looking for a Designated Player who can raise their global profile and also deliver goals from midfield. If they’re in to that.

In the case of Minnesota United, it doesn’t seem like signing veteran DP stars is the route they’ll go down, but who knows. China seems like a very realistic option for Toure with the huge sums of money being spent there and the Chinese Super League winter transfer window opens on Jan. 1 and will end in late February.

Wherever he ends up, let’s not forget, in the 2013-14 title-winning season Toure scored 24 goals from midfield for Man City in all competitions and over the past two seasons he’s scored 20 goals in 79 appearances in all competitions.

Even if Guardiola doesn’t want him, that’s not bad at all from big Yaya. When he is at his best, there are still very few central midfielders who can match his goalscoring ability and driving runs from midfield.

Fernandes scores first goal, says Ronaldo backed Manchester United move

Bruno Fernandes Ronaldo
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It’s probably not a surprise that a young Portuguese player would fancy Manchester United given the heroics of Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford early his career.

Bruno Fernandes admits that those images danced through his head well before he signed with the Red Devils in January.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

It’s also not a shock that United would turn to their former player for a take on the playmaker before buying him from Sporting Lisbon.

Fernandes says he’s grateful that CR7 endorsed BF18. From Sky Sports:

“I know some people asked Cristiano what he thought of me and what I was like as a player and a person,” Fernandes said. “I know he spoke highly of me and gave me a good reference, so I sent him a message after to thank him for his kind words.”

Fernandes has 19 caps and two goals for Portugal, while Ronaldo has a few more with 164 and 99.

He now has a goal and an assist in four appearances for United. Ronaldo finished with 118 goals and 69 assists in 292 appearances for the Red Devils.

Here’s the finish:

Eden Hazard suffers fracture ahead of Man City in UCL, El Clasico

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Eden Hazard is set to miss the Real Madrid’s UEFA Champions League first leg against Man City with a broken fibula.

Hazard had only returned to the lineup for two matches following a three-month absence with an ankle injury.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

The 29-year-old has made just 15 appearances for Real since arriving in a big-money move from Chelsea, scoring once with five assists.

He has never appeared in less than 30 league matches over the course of his career, five times missing one or zero matches.

Of course, all of his absences show that Real is very comfortable playing and winning without Hazard. Zinedine Zidane’s men lost Sunday to drop behind Barcelona in La Liga, but that was just its second loss of the league season.

Real will be taxed in depth like its rivals, with Wednesday’s visit from Man City followed by an El Clasico at the Bernabeu on March 1. Barcelona hosts Napoli on Tuesday.

Whether you like the playmaker or despise him, there must be some sense of sympathy for his latest ailments (even if Man City and Barca fans will likely offer a Jerry Seinfeld-esque, “That’s a shame”).

Watch Live: Manchester United, Wolves host bottom three battlers

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A pair of Premier League basement dwellers face stiff tests in their bids to win another season in the top flight.

Manchester United hosts Watford on NBCSN while Wolves welcome Norwich City on CNBC as both home sides aim to improve the health of their top four hopes in 9 a.m. ET kickoffs.

[ WATCH: Man Utd-Watford | Wolves-Norwich ]

Lineups notes from both matches:

LINEUPS

Manchester United

Watford


Wolves

Norwich City

Three Serie A matches suspended due to virus deaths in Italy

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ROME (AP) Three Serie A soccer matches scheduled for Sunday in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto were suspended late Saturday after the deaths of two people infected with the virus from China.

On orders from the Italian government, the games called off were: Inter Milan vs. Sampdoria, Atalanta vs. Sassuolo and Hellas Verona vs. Cagliari.

Three other matches in Genoa, Turin and Rome on Sunday are going ahead as scheduled.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

A dozen towns in northern Italy effectively went into lockdown on Saturday after the deaths of two people infected with the coronavirus from China, and a growing cluster of cases with no direct links to the origin of the outbreak abroad.

“The government is working on urgent measures to decisively confront and contain the cases of coronavirus contagion,” read a letter from Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora to Italian Olympic Committee president Giovanni Malago shortly before midnight local time on Saturday. “Those measures also include the sports world in order to prevent risks and to better take care of the health of those involved in the events and competition.

“Following measures taken by the cabinet for protective reasons and maximum precaution, on orders of the government I’m asking you to suspend all sports events of every level and discipline planned for the Lombardy and Veneto regions on Sunday.”

The secondary contagions prompted local authorities in the Lombardy and Veneto regions to close schools, businesses and restaurants and to cancel sporting events and Masses.

The mayor of Milan, Italy’s business capital and the regional capital of Lombardy, shuttered public offices.

A 78-year-old man infected with the virus died in Veneto. A postmortem on a 77-year-old woman in Lombardy came back positive, though it wasn’t clear if illness from the virus caused her death.

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

Andrew Dampf on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndrewDampf