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Transfer Rumor Roundup: Giroud to Dortmund; Nainggolan to Chelsea, Man United

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Olivier Giroud has admitted he is unsure if he will be an Arsenal player next season and the vultures already appear to be circling.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The Daily Mirror reports that up to five clubs want to sign the 30-year-old striker, with Borussia Dortmund the latest to express their interest.

Are Dortmund preparing for the exit of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang? Let’s wait and see, but there’s no doubt that Giroud would be a hit in the Bundesliga with his phsyical play and aerial ability perfect for a team like Dortmund who love to get the ball wide early and often, then cause havoc with crosses into the box.

Per the report Everton, West Ham, AC Milan and Marseille are all interested in signing Giroud who has been pushed further down the pecking order at Arsenal after the arrival of club-record signing Alexandre Lacazette for $64.1 million. Ironically Giroud starts ahead of Lacazette for the French national team, but it appears that won’t be the case at Arsenal.

Giroud and Lacazette both came on as second half subs in Arsenal’s 2-0 friendly win against Sydney FC in Australia on Thursday, with Lacazette scoring on his Gunners debut.

It appears increasingly likely that Giroud will be playing elsewhere this season as his five-year stay at Arsenal is coming to an end. He’s won three FA Cups and scored 98 goals in 226 games in all competitions for the Gunners but with his role a bit-part one last season, he can expect more of the same and that’s not what he needs in a World Cup year.


Radja Nainggolan could become the new Romelu Lukaku. Confused?

The Daily Mail reports that Manchester United and Chelsea are set to tussle for Nainggolan in the same way they battled it out for Lukaku and we all know how that ended up. Ah. The penny has dropped.

Nainggolan has been a long-time target for plenty of Premier League clubs and it appears United may make a move for the Belgian international with Tiemoue Bakayoko heading to Chelsea and reports stating the Blues are unwilling to sell Nemanja Matic to United and their former boss Jose Mourinho.

Reports also state that United also want to sign Eric Dier from Tottenham Hotspur, but with Spurs seemingly not keen to do that deal United may turn to 29-year-old Nainggolan.

A true terrier, the man with the blonde Mohawk has been a sensation for Roma since joining in 2014 but it is believed new Sporting Director Monchi may be willing to let him leave. Imagine Nainggolan and Ander Herrera snapping into tackles in United’s engine room? Very Mourinho-esque.

Per the report, Antonio Conte is a big fan of Nainggolan and is willing to add him along with Bakayoko as Chelsea’s boss wants more protection for his defense from his midfielders. All of this sets up an intriguing few weeks in the window as United and Chelsea continue to battle it out for the same players.

Italian soccer federation signs deal with Chinese government

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ROME (AP) The Italian soccer federation has signed a wide-ranging memorandum with the Chinese government to promote soccer between the two countries.

The deal foresees playing the Italian Super Cup or Italian Cup in China within the next three years.

[ MORE: Upsets in EURO qualifying ]

The Italian Super Cup – which pits the Serie A champion against the Italian Cup champion – has already been played in China four times over the last 10 years.

The meeting with China Media Group head Shen Haixiong also focused on TV content and rights, collaboration over developing young Chinese players in Italy and instruction for using the video assistant referee.

Shen was in Rome for the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Italian federation president Gabriele Gravina says, “Soccer has shown once again to be a bridge between different cultures.”

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

WATCH: Asprilla scores terrific bicycle kick on USL cameo

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Portland Timbers forward Dairon Asprilla has had to spend some time in the USL Championship this season, and the second tier would probably like to see Gio Savarese keep the Colombian in Major League Soccer.

[ REPORT: Liverpool to sell Keita? ]

Asprilla scored twice and added an assists on Saturday night in a defeat of Eric Wynalda’s Las Vegas Lights, and he put up a near picture perfect bicycle kick on the highlight reel.

Watch as he sets himself up, willingly or not, for the endeavor before splashing a shot in the side panel for an amazing aesthetic.

Report: Bayern, BVB ready to buy Keita from Liverpool

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A report claims that Liverpool is ready to admit defeat in the case of Naby Keita.

Keita, 24, was bought from RB Leipzig last season and arrived at Anfield in the summer, but has struggled to find consistent playing time under Jurgen Klopp.

[ VIDEO: USMNT’s Saief shines for FC Cincinnati ]

Viewed as the missing link between the Virgil Van Dijk and Liverpool’s torrential attack, Keita has not come close to replicating the form that saw his price tag reach $69 million.

Indeed, Team Talk says Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich look prepared to pay around $53 million to bring Keita back to the Bundesliga.

Keita has played 27 matches in all competitions for Liverpool, accumulating 1,388 minutes and just one assist. He had nine goals and seven assists in more than double the minutes one season ago.

According to WhoScored.com, he’s passing the ball better and taking almost a foul less than last season, but almost every other measurable has declined since he moved to England.

I’m as guilty as anyone of thinking Keita would be everything the Reds required after an improved 2017-18, but he’s either being used very poorly or having trouble adjusting to the culture.

It’s early to quit on a player so talented, but maybe Klopp and he just don’t mesh well. But if it isn’t a case of clashing with the club, it may be worth waiting out a player who looked a giant just eight months ago.

EURO qualifying: Hungary stings Croatia, Israel hangs 4 on Austria

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It wasn’t just Germany and the Netherlands staging a tight and entertaining match in EURO 2020 qualifying on Sunday.

[ VIDEO: Saief, Manneh lead FC Cincinnati ]

Hungary 2-1 Croatia

Ante Rebic’s early goal made a “business as usual” statement for the World Cup runners-up, but Hungary can be a handful against any opponents and rallied at home.

Hoffenheim striker Adam Szalai brought the hosts level at halftime, and Mate Patkai gave Hungary a deserved 2-1 win in Budapest.

Coming three days after a loss in Slovakia to start qualifying, it was an early almost-must-win for Marco Rossi’s men.

Israel 4-2 Austria

Marko Arnautovic‘s brace in defeat couldn’t have come with different vibes. His eighth minute marker gave the Austrians a leg up, his 75th minute goal meaning very little with the side having conceded four-straight in between.

China-based striker Eran Zahavi scored a hat trick for Israel, and RB Salzburg star Munas Dabbur scored the fourth goal to keep the hosts within sight of first place Poland.

Austria is winless through two qualifiers.

Elsewhere
Wales 1-0 Slovakia
Cyprus 0-2 Belgium
San Marino 0-2 Scotland
Netherlands 2-3 Germany — RECAP, VIDEO
Northern Ireland 2-1 Belarus
Poland 2-0 Latvia
Slovenia 1-1 Macedonia
Kazakhstan 0-4 Russia