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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.

How can Chelsea, Arsenal challenge for the title?

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There are just 24 days until the 2018/19 Premier League season kicks off.

So, now seems like a good time to continue to focus on what the big boys need to do in order to challenge for the title and the top four.

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We’ve already focused on the top two from last season and what each of Manchester City and Manchester United need to do to get better, and Tottenham and Liverpool’s quest to remain among the top four.

But what about London giants Chelsea and Arsenal? They both finished outside the top four last season and they both have new managers heading into the new campaign.

Will Maurizio Sarri and Unai Emery adapt quickly to life in England? Or will the London rivals struggle to rebuild and reach the top four as they’ll both play in the UEFA Europa League?

Below we analyze the situation for both Chelsea and Arsenal and their biggest needs for the season ahead.


Chelsea


Arsenal

Perisic, Rebic linked with moves to Man United

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Following their superb displays for Croatia at the 2018 World Cup, Ivan Perisic and Ante Rebic are being linked with moves to Manchester United via a report from the Sun.

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It’s no secret that Jose Mourinho is a big admirer of Perisic as he tried to buy the left winger from Inter Milan last summer but saw plenty of bids turned down as United missed out.

Perisic, 29, then went on to become one of Croatia’s star performers this summer as he scored three goals and grabbed two assists combined with tireless displays on the left flank. Perisic grabbed 11 goals and added nine assists last season as Inter qualified for the UEFA Champions League.

[ MORE: Alisson to Liverpool back on?

Rebic, 24, also had a fine tournament with his powerful surges forward from the right flank as the Eintracht Frankfurt star scored in the win against Argentina and went close to scoring in the World Cup final but his drive was saved by Hugo Lloris. He also committed more fouls than any other player at the tournament as he tracked back and dug deep in Croatia’s best-ever finish at a World Cup.

Do United really need these two attacking wide men?

Mourinho loves to add pace and power to his teams and they certainly fit the bill in that regard, with the likes of Juan Mata, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and even Alexis Sanchez not out-and-out wingers. The transfer values of Perisic and Rebic will have soared due to Croatia finishing the tournament as runners up with Perisic valued at around $63 million and Rebic at $57 million.

Perisic only signed a new contract at Inter last season but given United’s long-time pursuit of him, he may feel like this could be his last chance to move to the Premier League, if that’s what his heart desires. While Rebic only just arrived at Frankfurt on a permanent deal after scoring twice in their German Cup final win last season, helping them win their first trophy since 1988.

If one or both of these players arrive at Old Trafford, serious doubt will be put on the future of Martial and Rashford as neither will seriously challenge Romelu Lukaku for the central strikers role.

Man City reveal squad for US tour

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Reigning Premier League champions Manchester City have announced their squad for their U.S. tour this summer.

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Pep Guardiola is without several first team stars as City had more players at the 2018 World Cup (16) this summer than any other team on the planet.

New club-record signing Riyad Mahrez will travel Stateside though, so too will Joe Hart, Claudio Bravo, Aymeric Laporte, Leroy Sane, Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy, with promising youngsters Patrick Roberts, Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz also included.

Former New York City FC star Jack Harrison will also be part of Man City’s traveling squad as he returns to American soil after starring in MLS over the past few years before his move to City and subsequent loan to Middlesbrough in England’s second-tier.

City have a busy schedule of games in the States as they kick things off on Friday against Borussia Dortmund in Chicago. They then travel to New York City and play Liverpool at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on July 25 before heading to Miami to play Bayern Munich on July 28 to round off their International Champions Cup action.

Take a look at the squad in full below.


Manchester City squad for US tour – 2018/19

Claudio Bravo
Joe Hart
Aymeric Laporte
Leroy Sane
Bernardo Silva
Benjamin Mendy
Tosin Adarabioyo
Riyad Mahrez
Patrick Roberts
Jason Denayer
Daniel Grimshaw
Oleksandr Zinchenko
Douglas Luiz
Jack Harrison
Lukas Nmecha
Phil Foden
Aro Muric
Eric Garcia
Nabil Touaizi
Brahim Diaz
Iker Pozo
Tom Dele-Bashiru
Benjamin Garre
Luke Bolton
Cameron Humphreys
Rabbi Matondo
Tyreke Wilson
Nathanael Ogbeta

Report: Liverpool in talks for Alisson

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It appears Alisson to Liverpool could be back on again.

A report from Di Marzio in Italy claims that AS Roma and Liverpool are in discussions over the transfer of Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson, with further reports from the UK stating Liverpool have offered $81 million for him.

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Their star goalkeeper, 25, was the subject of interest from Liverpool and Real Madrid before the 2018 World Cup began but Brazil’s starting goalkeeper didn’t have an outstanding tournament and Roma’s previous $100 million asking price may now have dropped.

Real may well turn their attention to Thibaut Courtois considering his recent comments that he could leave Chelsea with just a year left on his contract. As for Liverpool, their need for a new goalkeeper remains urgent following Loris Karius‘ mistakes in the UEFA Champions League final and Simon Mignolet falling out of favor.

With Karius backed by Jurgen Klopp several times over the past few months following his UCL final meltdown, Karius has continued to make mistakes in preseason games which may have accelerated Liverpool’s search for a new goalkeeper.

Although both Jack Butland and Nick Pope may well be cheaper options and have Premier League experience, Alisson is highly-regarded for his displays in Serie A and for Brazil and he is not only good with his feet but also a fine shot stopper. I mean, you have to be some goalkeeper to keep out Manchester City’s Ederson as the starter for the Brazilian national team.