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Transfer Rumor Roundup: Chicharito to West Ham, Arnautovic close

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West Ham United are said to be closing in on signing Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez from Bayer Leverkusen.

[ MORE: Auba a good fit for Chelsea?

Hernandez, 29, is said to have a $17 million release clause in his current contract and Mexico’s all-time leading goalscorer has been linked with a multitude of clubs across Europe.

The Hammers seem to be the most serious suitors and the Daily Mirror claims that more talks with Chicharito’s agent are planned and they plan to make him their highest-paid player, but no deal is imminent

Hernandez will still be on his break from action at the 2017 Confederations Cup where Mexico finish fourth, but when he returns to preseason he has a big decision to make. Following his five-year spell at Manchester United, where he became a fans favorite and his clinical finishing led Jose Mourinho to question why he was ever sold, does Chicharito have unfinished business in the Premier League?

If so, it perhaps would be better to go to a team like West Ham where he will play week in, week out and potential feed off of Andy Carroll and have the likes of Manuel Lanzini and Michael Antonio creating chances for him. If he was to go to a top six contender (Chelsea is rumored to be interested, as should every PL club with a release fee of $17 million) then the same issue which dogged him at United could crop up again: being dubbed a super sub.

In a World Cup year and with El Tri all but confirmed to be in Russia next summer, Hernandez will want to play regularly. With Leverkusen bringing in a new coach after a disappointing finish in the Bundesliga last season following their UEFA Champions League exploits, now may be the best time for Hernandez to move back to the PL. He has scored 38 goals in 54 Bundesliga games over the past two seasons and he continues to be a streaky predator in the box.

Playing in front of close to 60,000 every other week in the London Stadium and living in England’s capital isn’t too bad of a deal for Chicharito if he was to return to England.

UPDATE: Pro Soccer Talk understands that the Hammers have agreed a fee for Stoke City and Austria striker Marko Arnautovic. It is said to be a “done deal” for the 28-year-old who only signed a new lucrative long-term deal with the Potters last summer.


Jose Mourinho gave a simple answer when asked about Manchester United’s potential signing of Ivan Perisic: “no idea, no idea, my friend.”

However Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy claim that United could offer Anthony Martial in exchange for Perisic with the French international hardly in sparkling form since Mourinho arrived last summer.

Openly criticized by United’s manager, the Frenchman found it tough to become a regular in his plans (he scored just eight goals in 42 appearances in all competitions) and with Romelu Lukaku arriving this summer, plus Perisic’s potential arrival, Martial could fall further down the pecking order.

Would this be a good deal for everyone? Perhaps.

The huge sum United pay AS Monaco for Martial always seemed over the top and with the extra add-ons (one of which was triggered at the end of last season) Martial could prove to be even more expensive for the Red Devils with a deal rising to over $75 million.

Inter are looking to spend big under new manager Luciano Spalletti and their Chinese investors who have now taken over. Offloading Perisic to United and getting in a striker of Martial’s caliber seems like a good deal for everyone. Martial, 21, won’t play often at United for the foreseeable future and his direct running and ability to play out wide or central could suit Inter’s plans.

As for Perisic, he has been named in Inter’s traveling party for their tour of China and Singapore, and with United unwiling to meet the $62 million fee Inter want, the Croatian seems likely to stay in Italy. At least for now.

Top 25 players in the USMNT pool right now

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Christian Pulisic is the best American soccer player in the world.

Of this, there is little debate.

But there is a debate to who is second, third, and well down the line, and we’ve got our last chance to really assess the full crop with Major League Soccer now out of season for a few months.

[ USMNT: Most to gain/lose from November ]

Let’s set some ground rules:

  • The ranking is meant to illustrate who would be most likely to positively affect a USMNT match, regardless of manager or teammates, right now.
  • Health doesn’t matter to our rankings if a current injury isn’t one which could drastically alter the player’s skill set moving forward.
  • Age/potential/experience doesn’t matter either, at least not much; It’s how likely you are to contribute to the team if put on the field right now. Obviously Chris Richards of Bayern Munich II is a better long-term prospect than 32-year-old Tim Ream, but most would rather have the Fulham man in a big spot right now.

Top 25 USMNT players – November 2019

*not currently a part of USMNT squad due to injury
**not currently a part of USMNT squad due to coach’s decision

  1. Christian Pulisic, Chelsea*
  2. Tyler Adams, RB Leipzig*
  3. John Brooks, Wolfsburg
  4. Weston McKennie, Schalke
  5. Alfredo Morales, Fortuna Dusseldorf
  6. Sergino Dest, Ajax
  7. Jordan Morris, Seattle Sounders
  8. Matt Miazga, Reading (on loan from Chelsea)**
  9. Josh Sargent, Werder Bremen
  10. Zack Steffen, Fortuna Dusseldorf (on loan from Man City)*
  11. DeAndre Yedlin, Newcastle United
  12. Jozy Altidore, Toronto FC*
  13. Tim Ream, Fulham
  14. Timothy Weah, Lille*
  15. Julian Green, Greuther Furth**
  16. Cristian Roldan, Seattle Sounders
  17. Ike Opara, Minnesota United**
  18. Michael Bradley, Toronto FC*
  19. Fabian Johnson, Borussia Monchengladbach**
  20. Cameron Carter-Vickers, Stoke City (on loan from Spurs)**
  21. Tyler Boyd, Besiktas
  22. Sebastian Lletget, LA Galaxy
  23. Miles Robinson, Atlanta United*
  24. Paul Arriola, DC United
  25. Jackson Yueill, San Jose Earthquakes

Next up, established: Antonee Robinson (Wigan Athletic), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC), Eric Lichaj (Hull City), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas), Duane Holmes (Derby County), Bill Hamid (DC United).

Next up, youth: Konrad de la Fuente (Barcelona U19), Alex Mendez (Ajax U19), Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund U19), Ulysses Llanez (Wolfsburg U19), Chris Richards (Bayern Munich II), Richie Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven), Donovan Pines (DC United), Sam Vines (Colorado Rapids)

Leaked image shows big fines that face Chelsea rule breakers

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Frank Lampard‘s ready to go into his players’ wallets if they disobey his laws.

A posted list of fines for Chelsea players, signed by the manager, has been confirmed and we would completely understand if the Blues were on time all the time.

[ MORE: Salah out for Egypt ]

A player is fined about $640 per minute he’s late to a meeting, and if he misses a practice, well, wow: The fine is nearly $26,000.

If a phone rings during a meeting, that’s gonna be $1,300.

And if any fine isn’t paid within two weeks, it doubles! Seems like Christian Pulisic and his teammates will have a lot of alarms set on their phones.

From The Telegraph:

Lampard has also banned agents from the training ground, unless on official business, and players must inform the club if they intend to travel abroad, even on scheduled days off.

The average Chelsea salary last season was approximately $6.6 million, meaning players make on average $127,000 per week.

The full list of fines is below.

Kompany: Liverpool’s Premier League title ghosts should ‘be to City’s advantage’

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Vincent Kompany says history could help Manchester City climb back into the Premier League title race even after his former team dropped nine points back of first place Liverpool.

[ MORE: Salah out for Egypt ]

Now at Anderlecht, the center back also said history might’ve played a role in City’s 3-1 setback at Anfield. In a rare bit of explicit honesty, the often interesting Kompany said that players do deal with demons of a club’s past.

“We always struggle at Anfield,” he said, according to Sky Sports. “I said that on Super Sunday, you’re fighting 25 years of not winning at Anfield and that’s difficult, it’s two games in one game: You’re playing a great team and you’re fighting history.”

“Flip it around and the same will happen for Liverpool. They will fight the history of not winning the league for 30 years. That should be to City’s advantage I still think.”

Do you buy that? Most of the buzz around the Premier League is that this Liverpool is a different team than even the dominant one of last season, and City has suffered big injury problems. The Reds players almost went out of their way last year to say they weren’t worried about blowing their table lead last season (which was bigger, later in the season).

Kompany also said that he believes City doesn’t need to add a center back in January, which is bonkers unless he’s coming back, but the Belgian has proven time and again that he’s one of the better minds in the game.

The guy did title  his MBA dissertation, “How professional football clubs in the Premier League can benefit from home game advantage and achieve game-changing levels of improvement” after all. Then again, I’m not sure any of our dissertations on the same topic would’ve been approved had we done that.

Liverpool’s Salah to miss Egypt’s first two AFCON qualifiers

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Good news for Liverpool, not so much for Egypt.

Mohamed Salah will not suit up for the Pharoahs this month as Egypt begins qualifying for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

[ MORE: Will Zlatan rejoin LA? ]

Salah has been dealing with ankle problems since a rough tackle from Leicester City’s Hamza Choudhury, and it’s acting up following a tackle from Fernandinho in the Reds’ 3-1 defeat of Man City on Sunday.

Egypt needs Salah, but it’s no surprise he’s erring on the side of caution given the tumultuous relationship between the superstar and his country (and Liverpool’s status as a contender in five (!!) tournaments).

Salah, 27, has 41 goals in 67 caps. The next five leading active Egyptian scorers have a combined 31 goals in their careers over 284 caps. The youngest of those is Aston Villa’s Trezeguet (25), followed by Besiktas’ Mohamed Elneny (27).

Egypt are heavy favorites to finish in one of the top two spots and qualify for AFCON 2020, even with the injury. The 49th ranked Pharoahs (FIFA ranking) are in a group with Kenya (108), Togo (124) and Comoros (142).

Egypt hosts Kenya on Thursday to kick off qualification, and visits Comoros on Monday.