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Transfer Rumor Roundup: Nainggolan to Man Utd, Costa to Atleti

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With the transfer window officially open, Manchester United is being linked with basically every single player in all of Europe. It’s up to fans and media to parse out what deals seem more likely and what appears to be nothing but chatter.

The one that may have legs is a rumor connecting the Red Devils with Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan. The 29-year-old Belgian has been a solid box-to-box presence for Roma since arriving from Cagliari in 2014. Still, he may have reached his ceiling with the Italian club and could look elsewhere.

Nainggolan had been linked to Chelsea but the Blues have appeared to turn their attention towards Monaco’s Tiemoue Bakayoko, and that deal looks to be nearing completion.

Still, the Nainggolan rumor hasn’t made it much past the tabloids, with Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport the most adamant of its eventual completion at a rate around $48 million. Whether this comes to fruition or not, it’s clear Jose Mourinho wants another holding midfielder, as United has also linked heavily with Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic. It’s also important to remember that Nainggolan is saying all the right things, admitting a month ago he’d be happy to stay at Roma.


Another, more recent Manchester United rumor is a bit more surprising. With the future of goalkeeper David De Gea still up in the air as Real Madrid links refuse to go away, Mourinho could be weighing up his options between the sticks.

According to a number of reports, the Red Devils boss could turn to Manchester City’s Joe Hart. The England starter has admitted he is nervous about finding a new club this summer, with his City career likely over. Obviously this hinges on the potential departure of de Gea, but if the Spaniard were to head back home, could Mourinho give Hart a lifeline?


Diego Costa could be on his way out of Chelsea, leaving Antonio Conte with work to do up front. The Spanish international has been linked with a return to Atletico Madrid for some time now, but their transfer ban complicates matters.

According to a report by Spanish publication AS, the capital club would not loan Costa out for the first half of the season, instead keeping him in the reserves until they are able to register him on January 2nd. That would leave the 28-year-old on the sidelines for four months until he’s able to play again.

With Antoine Griezmann already back on board, plus the other strike options in Kevin Gameiro and Fernando Torres, adding Costa would further gluttonize the front line as Atletico Madrid opens play in The Olympic Stadium in Madrid next season. However, with such competition and only a half-season to ply his trade, Costa would likely find playing time at his old club hard to come by.


Monaco’s midfielder Fabinho has been linked with a number of Premier League targets, but it appears now his heaviest suitor comes from France.

According to reports in a pair of French outlets, L’Equipe and So Foot, Paris Saint-Germain has made a $51 million bid for the 23-year-old Brazilian, but Monaco rejected the approach in hopes of keeping Fabinho on board. Even if they do sell Fabinho, it’s likely that Monaco would hope to avoid sending him to a direct Ligue 1 rival. Nevertheless, Goal.com reporter Loic Tanzi states that Fabinho has already agreed to personal terms with PSG, and the Parisians only need to convince Monaco to sell for the deal to be completed.

With Bernardo Silva already gone, the future of Kylian Mbappe up in the air, and Thomas Lemar also drawing heavy interest, Monaco will do well to keep any of these young men at the Stade Louis II next season.


With Watford and Southampton both signing players on Saturday, Middlesbrough could be next as they have reportedly won the signature of Norwich midfielder Jonny Howson.

According to The Mirror’s print version, the 29-year-old has picked the Premier League side over his former club Leeds United. Middlesbrough will reportedly pay $6.5 million for Howson, who has one cap for the England national team.

Transfer rumor roundup: Mari to Arsenal; Defoe makes permanent Rangers move

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s biggest transfer rumors, including those involving Premier League outfits.

[ MORE: Premier League January transfer needs ]

Arsenal are reportedly hours from adding a defender to Mikel Arteta‘s squad.

Flamengo’s Pablo Mari has reportedly arrived in London and set for a medical at Arsenal, Sky Sports reports. The 26-year-old Spaniard will join the North London side for the remainder of the season with an option to buy.

It won’t be Mari’s first time signing for a Premier League side, however.

In 2016, the center-back signed with Manchester City, but never featured for the defending champions, instead making appearances for Girona, NAC and Deportivo La Coruna on loan.


Jermaine Defoe is not returning to Bournemouth.

On Saturday, Rangers announced that Defoe signed a pre-contract to join Rangers on permanent basis in the summer.

The storied 37-year-old English striker has 20 goals in 57 appearances since joining the Scottish giants last January on a 18-month loan. Defoe’s new contract runs through the 2020-21 season, a one-year deal.

“It’s fantastic news,” Rangers manager Steven Gerrard told the club’s website. “It’s something we have been working on over the weeks and it is great to finally get that done and dusted.”

“He is an incredible professional with the way he goes about his work on and off the pitch – he is a credit to himself and his family. And also on the pitch, which is the main thing. He is still contributing heavily – he is a major part of this group, this team and this squad and hopefully together we can go and share some success as I think he deserves that.”

This season, Defoe has scored 16 goals in 28 games.


Crystal Palace are in talks to sign Belgium international Yannick Carrasco, according to Sky Sports.

Carrasco, 26, wants to leave Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang and is currently training in Belgium, ahead of a return to European play.

Carrasco has scored 24 goals in 52 appearances since making a move to China from Atletico Madrid in February 2018.


Norwich City are actively pursuing Danel Sinani, according to the Daily Mail.

The 22-year-old Luxembourg winger is out of contract with Luxembourg side FC Dudelange this summer. If the parties involved can’t reach a deal this week,  the Canaries are reportedly ready to propose a pre-contract agreement.

Mourinho hints Spurs to sign Lo Celso permanently: ‘I think the boy is earning the decision’

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Tottenham Hotspur loanee Giovani Lo Celso is closer to permanently stay in North London than he is to return back to Sevilla.

[ MORE: Spurs, Saints draw and force 4-th round FA Cup replay ]

The 23-year-old Argentine, who arrived at Spurs from Real Betis last summer on a season-long loan, experienced a rocky start in the Premier League. Lo Celso – with only 44 minutes of English top-flight playing time under his belt – suffered a hip injury with Argentina, ruling him out two months in the fall.

Since, the attacking midfielder has worked his way up Jose Mourinho’s pecking order, featuring heavily in the Portuguese’s scheme over the past few months. Most recently, on Saturday, Lo Celso displayed his well-balanced virtues in Tottenham’s 1-1 draw with Southampton in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Following the match, Mourinho addressed questions on whether or not his club is going to sign the midfielder on a permanent contract. Praiseworthy of Lo Celso’s learning abilities, Mourinho hopes the midfielder will be a part of the club’s long-term plans.

“It’s not an obligation, it’s an option,” Mourinho said of Lo Celso, who is reportedly available at reduced price of $35 million. “I think the boy is earning the decision. He’s making an easy decision for the club to execute the option.”

“Incredible evolution since I arrived,” he added. “Barely played a game, I think he played against Red Star Belgrade, with me a little bit difficult to come in the first few weeks. But he understood what we wanted. Good learner, good kid and I think by himself he made the decision that the club is going to execute the option. That’s normal, he earned it.”

With Christian Eriksen on the verge of departing the London side, Mourinho and company will have additional funds to land Lo Celso this winter before his price spikes in the summer.

Everything points to the creative midfielder having a future in London, but will Spurs brass follow suit and make it official soon?

Netherlands forward Rob Rensenbrink dies at age 72

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Rob Rensenbrink, the forward who was centimeters away from delivering the Netherlands a World Cup title in 1978, has died at age 72, the Dutch football association said Saturday.

“We have heard with sadness of the death of football legend Rob Rensenbrink,” the association said in a tweet.

Rensenbrink played most of his club football in Belgium with Club Brugge and Anderlecht, where his weaving runs earned him the nickname “Snake Man.” He also played briefly for the Portland Timbers in the United States in 1980.

He was a regular for the Netherlands national team in its period of dominance in the 1970s.

He played 46 times and scored 14 goals for the Dutch team known for its slick, position-swapping “total football.”

But he will always be best remembered for the goal he didn’t quite score in the 1978 World Cup final.

With the scores tied at 1-1 between the Netherlands and host Argentina and the seconds ticking away in injury time of the final in Buenos Aires, Rensenbrink’s shot hit the post. The match went to extra time and Argentina scored twice to win 3-1.

It was the second straight World Cup final defeat for the Netherlands, which has appeared in three finals and lost them all.

Rensenbrink was diagnosed with a muscle disease in 2012 and died as a result of the illness, according to Dutch national broadcaster NOS.

Anderlecht said he died Friday night.

“Thanks for everything Robbie!” the Belgian club wrote on its website. “We will never forget you.”

Serie A roundup: Ilicic powers Atalanta in historic win over Torino (video)

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Atalanta’s historic and overpowering win over Torino highlights Saturday’s Serie A action.

 [ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

Torino 0-7 Atalanta

Josip Ilicic scored a hat-trick, including a center-line strike, as Atalanta humiliated Torino 7-0 on Saturday, handing the hosts their worst home loss ever in Serie A play.

With only nine men on the field towards the end of the match for Turin-based side, Atalanta were able to capitalize, elevating their goal count to 57 goals in 21 games this season. Gian Piero Gasperini’s men, who are back in Champions League contention, lead the league in goals.

Robin Gosens and Duvan Zapata, who scored a minute before the break, added to Ilicic’s first of three. A three-goal advantage after the first 45 minutes foreshadowed what Torino was going to encounter in the second half: more goals.

Eight minutes into the final 45 minutes of Saturday’s bout at the Olimpico di Torino, Ilicic quick-fired two more past an exposed Salvatore Sirigu.

With less than 10 minutes to go, Luis Muriel took the field for the visitors. And just six minutes after his first foot on the natural surface, the Colombian striker had a brace to his name.

“All we can do is apologize,” Torino coach Walter Mazzarri said. “In so many years of my career I had never had such a game.”

In fourth place with 38 points, Atalanta look to increase their seven-goal performances this season to three as they host struggling Genoa in a weeks time. Torino, on the other hand, meet AC Milan on Tuesday in the quarterfinal’s of the Coppa Italia.

Elsewhere

SPAL 1-3 Bologna

Fiorentina 0-0 Genoa