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Transfer Rumor Roundup: Sakho to Southampton; Snodgrass to West Ham

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Is Mamadou Sakho on his way to Southampton?

The Frenchman has fallen way down the pecking order at Liverpool after falling out with manager Jurgen Klopp in the summer and being sent home from the Reds’ U.S. tour for tardiness.

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A report in France suggests that Saints are “heavily considering” a move for Sakho, 26, as they may be looking to freshen up their defense following the news on Thursday that captain Jose Fonte has handed in a transfer request and a January move to Everton or Manchester United could happen.

Sakho turned down a loan move to Stoke City in the summer which is said to have further angered Klopp, but the likes of Galatasary, PSG, Inter Milan and AC Milan have also been rumored to be in for the French international in the January window.

His quality is undoubted but his issues off the field at Liverpool over the past 12 months have led to his fall from grace at Anfield. He joined from PSG in the summer of 2014 for $22.1 million but it is unlikely Liverpool will get anywhere near that amount from Southampton and maybe a loan deal would make most sense to start with?

Can he resurrect his career alongside Virgil Van Dijk at Southampton? It would certainly seem like a good fit for both the player and clubs involved.


According to Sky Sports Hull City have turned down a $3.6 million bid from West Ham for winger Robert Snodgrass.

The Scottish international, 29, is said to be eager to move on from the Tigers and was upset that a clause has reportedly been triggered in his contract extending his deal at Hull for another year, despite his deal set to expire this summer.

Snodgrass scored a stunning free kick against Everton over the festive period and he is Hull’s leading scorer with nine goals in 21 games. New manager Marco Silva has already stated that he doesn’t want Snodgrass to leave and it appears West Ham will have to bid a lot higher for the left-footed attacker.


Staying with West Ham, Sunderland manager David Moyes confirmed on Friday that they have turned down an offer from the Hammers for Jermain Defoe.

Defoe, 34, scored twice for Sunderland against Liverpool on Jan. 2 in their 2-2 draw and has scored 11 times in 21 games in all competitions this season for the struggling Black Cats.

The former West Ham striker has been linked with a move to the London Stadium for many weeks but this is the first time Moyes has spoken about the move publicly.

“We have said Jermain is not for sale and he is not for sale. West Ham made a bid and we rejected it,” Moyes said.

West Ham’s model in the transfer window appears to be along the lines of bidding for the star players of relegation threatened squads. Prediction time: bids for Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson and Crystal Palace’s Christian Benteke coming up…

Japan upsets ten-man Colombia in Group H opener

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On paper, the 61st-ranked team in the world beating the 16th-ranked team in the world is a massive upset. But considering the circumstances within the game, perhaps this wasn’t an upset after all.

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Two set pieces were the difference as Japan defeated ten-man Colombia, 2-1 on Tuesday morning in Saransk. Colombia played with ten men for nearly the entire match, after Carlos Sanchez was sent off for a handball in the box and a denial of a goal scoring opportunity.

The game took a massive turn in the third minute, as Colombia centerback Davinson Sanchez failed to control a pass and Yuya Osako found himself free on goal. His shot was parried away by Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina but Kagawa’s rebound shot was clearly blocked by Sanchez’s right arm. The referee, Damir Skomina immediately pointed to the penalty spot and went to the back pocket, sending Sanchez to the showers.

Kagawa stepped up and cooly sent Ospina the wrong way to put Japan on top.

Late in the first half, after both teams had chances on target, Colombia came back and evened the scoreline.

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Juan Fernando Quintero, starting in place of the recovering James Rodriguez, smartly took a free kick and fired it low, under the wall as it jumped. Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima reacted late and although he arrived as the ball was crossing the line, he couldn’t keep it from going over, tying the game in the 39th minute.

Ultimately, despite its efforts, Colombia began to tire and on a corner kick, the Blue Samurai took back the lead and control of their destiny in Group H. A corner kick from Keisuke Honda was re-directed past Ospina by Osako, who jumped well over Santiago Arias, to give Japan a 2-1 lead in the 75th minute.

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Rodriguez was introduced in the 57th minute but try as he did, Colombia was unable to find the final pass in the box, and Japan held on for the unexpected victory.

With the win, Japan top Group H ahead of a meeting with Senegal, while Colombia will have to regroup to face Poland.

In a World Cup full of unexpected results, Tuesday brought yet another memorable win for an underdog.

New Zealand women footballers rebel against national coach

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Wellington, New Zealand (AP) Only weeks after New Zealand Football made headlines by signing a revolutionary equal pay deal with its female players, the organization is facing a mutiny by members of its women’s team against the national coach.

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New Zealand Football confirmed on Tuesday it had received a letter signed by a number of New Zealand players complaining about the methods and tactics employed by Austria-born coach Andreas Heraf.

The complaints follow the New Zealand team’s recent 3-1 loss at home to Japan. Heraf angered his players, and fans of the Football Ferns national team, by taking an entirely defensive game plan into the rare home international.

Heraf then further angered his players with comments defending his approach.

He said there was “a big difference in quality” between the New Zealand and Japanese players and that New Zealand “will never have that quality” to compete with top teams like Japan. He said the scoreline might have been 8-0 if New Zealand had not adopted a defensive approach.

One of New Zealand’s leading players, United States-based Abby Erceg, retired after playing 132 matches for New Zealand, citing Heraf’s approach in previous international matches.

She later told New Zealand media: “I couldn’t stand to wear that (national symbol) on my chest any more when his vision was to cower in a corner and not get beat by too much.”

New Zealand Football defended Heraf against the media and public criticism but admitted his comments were “strange” and “wrong” and did not accurately reflect his views. Heraf later apologized and said he had not expressed himself clearly.

But efforts to dampen the controversy have failed. New Zealand Football said in a statement it had “received a letter from the NZ Professional Footballers Association (NZPFA) last night with a number of complaints from the players of the Football Ferns.”

The mutiny comes only weeks after New Zealand gained international headlines for a deal which gives female pay parity with their male counterparts.

New Zealand Football signed the deal which provided female players with equal match payments, travel arrangements and prize money.

At the time, New Zealand women’s captain Ali Riley said the deal meant New Zealand would “be able to compete against the top teams, to be able to do well at a World Cup and the Olympics – this is what we needed.”

VIDEO: Colombia sees red, Japan takes early lead

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The first red card of the World Cup came just moments after fans took their seats in Saransk.

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After David Ospina blocked a breakaway opportunity from Yuya Osako in the third minute of the match, Japan star and former Manchester United midfielder Shinji Kagawa fired the rebound on goal. But his shot was blocked by the arm of Colombia midfielder Carlos Sanchez, which earned him a straight red card from referee Damir Skomina and an early trip to the locker room.

Kagawa then stepped up to the spot and calmly sent Ospina the wrong way to give Japan the shock early lead.

Colombia will play the rest of the match with ten men and no James Rodriguez, who was named to the bench for this match as he recovers from a reported calf injury.

Rodriguez out of Colombia starting XI

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Taking a page out of Egypt’s book, Colombia will be without its talismanic playmaker for its first match, Tuesday morning against Japan.

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Juan Fernando Quintero replaced James Rodriguez in Colombia’s starting Xi to take on Japan in Saransk as Colombia coach Jose Pekerman clearly hopes a few extra days of recovery for the injured Rodriguez will help him return to 100 percent fitness. Rodriguez is battling a reported calf injury.

Rodriguez scored six goals and had two assists in five games at the last World Cup in Brazil, helping guide Los Cafeteros to their first World Cup quarterfinals appearance.