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Transfer Rumor Roundup: Coutinho to Barcelona, Perisic latest

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There’s just 13 days until the start of the Premier League season, and teams are gearing up to bolster their squads through last minute deals. While the players will have little time to become acclimated to their new homes, transfers in these final days could prove to be vital nonetheless.

Barcelona has been reportedly pursuing Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho, but Liverpool has repeatedly turned down their advances, claiming Coutinho is not for sale at any price. Nevertheless, the rumors persist, as they always do. According to a number of reports over the past few days, Barcelona could try to tempt the Reds with the addition of midfielder Ivan Rakitic to the deal, but these swap suggestions rarely come to fruition.

The most recent update came from Barcelona president  Josep Bartomeu, but he didn’t say much. Talking to Spanish publication Sport, Bartomeu said, “He’s a Liverpool player and I have a lot of respect for Liverpool, which we do in the summer is to be very discreet about everything, so we can not confirm or deny anything.”


Inter attacker Ivan Perisic has been heavily linked to Manchester United in recent days, but the Italian club has hardened its stance. Perisic started and scored the winner in Inter’s 2-1 preseason victory over Chelsea in the International Champions Cup, helping squelch the rumors.

Going even further were the words of Inter boss Luciano Spaletti, who claimed, “There has been no more significant contact [from outside clubs] in the last few weeks [regarding Perisic],” he told Internazionale’s official website. “So for me the conversation is over. The more days that go by, the more difficult it becomes for us to replace him and therefore I would strongly oppose his departure.”


Roma has been linked to Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez as the Italian side looks to ease the loss of Mohamed Salah. Just yesterday, rumors of a new bid were abound. But today, those were squashed by the supposed buyers.

“In the case of Mahrez it’s become public knowledge, with others it hasn’t. We’ve made two offers, the second is fair and then we stopped,” said Roma sporting director Monchi. “We’re not just working on one name. It’s logical, we have different options.”


Similar to the Mahrez news is that of a rumored Premier League addition in Naby Keita. Liverpool has been after the RB Leipzig midfielder for some time, but with the German club reluctant to sell at a reasonable price, the Reds have been successfully warded off.

According to a report by ESPNFC, Liverpool will retain interest in the player but has backed off for this summer. According to the report, Keita’s contract has a release clause of $63 million, but it does not come into fruition until next summer. However, there is risk that waiting until Keita plays a season in the Champions League could mean increased competition for his signature next summer, should he perform well.

The report says that Liverpool had a pair of bids rejected by the German club, the second of which was well above next summer’s release clause, meaning RB Leipzig is willing to forego significant amounts of money to hold onto the 22-year-old.

Moore takes hold of West Brom’s promotion bid

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Darren Moore‘s spell as West Brom caretaker manager couldn’t quite pull off a miraculous run to Premier League safety, but the promise it contained has helped him to the first chance at earning promotion back to the top flight.

West Bromwich Albion announced Moore as its new manager on Monday, with the boss promising his Baggies would play attractive football while also being a side “that’s willing to fight and scrap for every ball.”

[ MORE: No World Cup for Chelsea trio ]

Moore is also happy to carry a flame for minority coaches — called BAME (Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic) — in England.

“If it does inspire others, I would be extremely proud,” he said. “I don’t just speak on behalf of BAME coaches but the young, aspiring British coaches across the board.”

Moore, 44, only lost one of his six PL matches as WBA boss, winning three times and inspiring many to wonder what would’ve happened had the Baggies’ pulled the plug on Alan Pardew — and Tony Pulis before him — earlier.

A center back in his playing career, Moore spent 18 seasons between a number of clubs including West Brom, Derby County, and Doncaster Rovers. He won promotion as a player twice with West Brom, and again with Derby.

Belgium goes to World Cup without Nainggolan

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BRUSSELS (AP) Belgium left midfielder Radja Nainggolan out of its World Cup squad despite a standout season with Champions League semifinalist Roma.

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has long had a difficult relationship with the stormy midfielder. But after being called up for a warm-up game in March against Saudi Arabia, expectations had been that he would be on the 28-man roster announced Monday.

[ MORE: No World Cup for Chelsea trio ]

On top of the troubled relationship, Nainggolan was also the victim of the unparalleled wealth of talent the small nation has produced over the past few years.

Thibaut Courtois, Vincent Kompany, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku were all named in the squad, which will be cut to 23 before the World Cup.

Nashville MLS expansion club snares ex-Liverpool CEO Ayre

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Former Liverpool CEO Ian Ayre is moving from Merseyside to the Music City.

The Tennesseean’s Joe Rexrode says Ayre is set to take the reins of Nashville SC as the first CEO in club history when it makes its debut in the 2020 MLS season.

[ MORE: No World Cup for Chelsea trio ]

Liverpool hired ex-EA Sports executive Peter Moore to replace Ayre in 2017 after the latter, 54, spent six years with the club as managing director and then CEO.

From the Tennessean:

“The MLS has huge ambitions to be one of the biggest and leading leagues in the world, and is on that trajectory,” Ayre said. “Both as a soccer fan and an executive in the industry, it’s something I’ve had my eye on because it’s important. … You talk about MLS and its growth, I think it’s becoming easier and will become easier to attract the right talent to something that’s exciting and developing. And if you have a reputation of being involved in a club like Liverpool, you hope that stands for something when you start to try and attract talent.”

The timing of Ayre’s addition hearkens back to that of former Tottenham executive Darren Eales at Atlanta United. If it has the same success, Nashville will be proud.

Report: Lampard interviews twice with Championship club

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Steven Gerrard‘s longtime England midfield mate Frank Lampard could soon be joining him in a management.

While Gerrard is tasked with rebuilding Rangers’ Scottish title push, Lampard’s reported new gig would entail leading Ipswich Town back to the Premier League for the first time since 2002.

[ MORE: No World Cup for Chelsea trio ]

Sky Sports says Lampard has already interviewed twice with Ipswich Town ownership in a bid to earn his first senior management gig.

Lampard, 39, played for Chelsea, Man City, New York City FC, West Ham United, and Swansea in a sparkling 20-year playing career.

Town finished 12th in the Championship, 15 points back of a playoff spot and 19 clear of relegation.