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Transfer news: Coutinho to PSG; Meunier to Man United

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Paris Saint-Germain have made Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho their top target for next summer, according to TF1.

[ MORE: Morata unhappy in London? ]

The French outlet claim that Coutinho’s agent, Kia Joorabchian, met PSG’s sporting director in a London hotel last week to discuss the future of Coutinho among many other topics.

As the report points out, the fact that Coutinho’s good friend Neymar signed for PSG in a world-record $265 million transfer from Barcelona in the summer could play a key part in the Brazilian midfielder joining PSG over Barca.

Coutinho made his intentions clear in the summer that he wanted to leave Liverpool for Barcelona but with the Reds standing firm and rejecting multiple bids from the Catalan giants, it appears an all-out battle between PSG and Barcelona next summer could see Coutinho’s transfer fee increase further.

Liverpool’s stance will likely remain that Coutinho isn’t for sale at any price, but the other issue here is simply how PSG can get away with this.

Already accused of wrongdoing by many other clubs across Europe when it comes to UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules and the signings of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar over the summer, spending close to another $180 million on Coutinho would surely tip PSG over the edge of FFP regulations despite their Qatari owners able to bankroll any deal PSG need.

Liverpool fans have been treated to some stunners from Coutinho this season (see: free kick at Leicester; powerful curler at Newcastle) but despite him getting on with his business on the pitch the Brazilian continues to be at the center of speculation off it.


Staying with PSG, their Belgian right back Thomas Meunier is wanted by Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester United, according to reports in Spain and Italy.

Meunier, 26, is said to be valued at around $40 million and the Belgian international has fallen behind Dani Alves in the pecking order at the Parc des Princes this season, much to his annoyance.

Speaking in a recent interview the former Club Brugge man revealed he was fine with rotating with Serge Aurier at right back for PSG last season but now feels totally out of Unai Emery’s plans.

“Since Alves arrived I asked myself questions, this is sure,” Meunier said. “After the good season I had last year, I told myself I would be needed, to be a bit more grateful and that my status within the line-up had changed. Emery tells me he didn’t forget the work done and that he considers me. The problem is that I feel like a second option.”

Outside of veterans Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young (who are wingers by trade) playing at right back, Mourinho’s other options in that position include an often shaky Matteo Darmian or playing center backs Phil Jones or Eric Bailly at right back.

Meunier’s ability to drive forward from right back and connect passes and whip in inviting crosses would be very useful for a United attack spearheaded by Romelu Lukaku or Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Mourinho was on the hunt for a wide player all summer long but didn’t prevail.

Is Meunier the man for Mourinho? In a World Cup year, perhaps Meunier will arrive at Old Trafford in January.

Chelsea needs to wait “48 hours” to assess Mount

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Mason Mount‘s move from the Championship to the Premier League has been nearly seamless.

His adjustment to the Champions League was cut down too quickly to get an understanding of whether it would be too big of a jump.

[ MORE: Match recap | Barkley drama ]

Mount, 20, was chopped down by Valencia’s Francis Coquelin, the former Arsenal man, and had to leave the game after just 16 minutes.

Here’s Frank Lampard, from ChelseaFC.com:

“He’s got an ankle injury but we don’t know how bad it is. We’ll have to assess it in the next 48 hours to see the scale of the injury. It was a shame because he started the game well and it meant we had to make the change early on.”

Mount scored nine times with four assists on loan under Lampard at Derby County last season, and has already chipped in three goals for Chelsea this season.

Lampard turned to Pedro off the bench on Tuesday, but any lengthy absence for Mount will spell more time for American youngster Christian Pulisic.

UEFA Champions League Wednesday preview: Man City, Spurs debut

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Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur begin their UEFA Champions League campaigns on very different results and with very different vibes.

City is coming off a stunning 3-2 loss to injury-hit Norwich City, and is set up in Ukraine to face Shakhtar Donetsk for the third-straight season, a side which beat Pep Guardiola once in four tries between 2017/18 and 2018/19 in the UCL.

[ MORE: UCL Tues. wrap ]

But on Wednesday, Guardiola’s men are going to carry a similar feel to one of his old Barcelona teams, as Pep seemingly will have Fernandinho pull a Javier Mascherano and drop into the back line.

Yes, Fernandinho and Nicolas Otamendi are Manchester City’s hopes at center back, now that John Stones has joined Aymeric Laporte on the shelf.

“For me as a manager it’s an incredible challenge,” said Pep Guardiola. “But I believe a lot, people don’t know the spirit and resolve to solve this problem. The players going to come back with Dinho, Eric Garcia, Taylor Harwood-Bellis. … It’s happened, but what we are not going to do is complain. We have to have 11 players on the pitch and I like it, to find a solution. For the players as well to find an incredible step forward.”

Spurs, meanwhile, will simply be trying to build on any momentum gained by a 4-0 demolition of Crystal Palace at the weekend, a win which came after manager Mauricio Pochettino begged his side to “re-focus” after a relatively poor start to the season.

Now a bit more relaxed, Spurs head to Greece as the clear favorites against stingy Olympiacos. These are, after all, the finalists of last season’s tournament.

Pochettino won’t be sleeping on the challenge, from The London Evening Standard:

“They have good players and if we are not focused and don’t take our best game we are going to suffer. But last season we played in the final of Champions League, so it’s normal people think before the game, Tottenham is one step above Olympiacos but in the end you need to show it on the pitch.”

Spurs are one of two early kickoffs on Tuesday.

Full UCL Wednesday schedule

12:55 p.m. ET
Club Brugge v. Galatasaray
Olympiacos v. Tottenham Hotspur

3 p.m. ET
Bayer Leverkusen v. Lokomotiv Moscow
Paris Saint-Germain v. Real Madrid
Atletico Madrid v. Juventus
Dinamo Zagreb v. Atalanta
Bayern Munich v. Red Star Belgrade
Shakhtar Donetsk v. Manchester City

American coach Marsch speaks after landmark Champions League day

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Jesse Marsch made his UEFA Champions League debut on Tuesday, a historic first for not just the Wisconsin native but also his country.

Marsch, 45, oversaw Red Bull Salzburg’s 6-2 demolition of Genk, becoming the first American to win a UCL match as manager.

[ MORE: Champions League Tues. wrap ]

“We knew we were going into the match full of confidence,” he said, via the Salzburg site. “We knew too that we could put in a performance of this quality. I wasn’t pleased with a few situations, such as conceding for 3-1. That shows our incredible mentality though as it prompted us to give a few more percent and immediately score two goals.”

The ex-New York Red Bulls manager and RB Leipzig assistant manager got another three goals from incredible 19-year-old striker Erling Braut Haland, who nows has 17 goals in nine matches this season.

“It is an absolute joy to work with this team. We have a lot of players who just know how to battle, and that rubs off on the others. You can see that on the pitch on nights like tonight.”

There will be tougher nights ahead for Marsch, who is in a group with Liverpool and Napoli, but Tuesday was a fine start for the tactician. And it was a banner moment for American coaches abroad, who’ve been led by past and present USMNT coaches Bob Bradley and Gregg Berhalter.

Maybe one day that’ll be Marsch’s title… but it seems like he may have some loftier ground to cover on his path through world soccer.

Klopp: Liverpool made wrong decisions; Penalty also incorrect

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is going to bat for his left back after Andrew Robertson gave away what became the decisive penalty in a 2-0 loss to Napoli in UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday.

“I don’t think it’s a penalty,” Klopp said. “What can I say, for me, it is clear and obvious no penalty. He jumps before any contact, we can’t change that.”

[ RECAP: Napoli 2-0 Liverpool ]

For what it’s worth: It sure seemed like both a foul on Robertson and a comical embellishment from Callejon, but we digress.

Liverpool just didn’t have it on the day, like when Sadio Mane played a terrible pass to Mohamed Salah on what could’ve been an easy 1-0 lead.

In the moments they did have it, there was Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret making a splendid save.

“We played a lot of good football but didn’t finish it off. We controlled moments but had not enough chances in the end. We made decisions that were not right and have to accept the result. It was very often the final ball that was not right.”

Also, forgive Klopp if he has stopped enjoying the beautiful country of Italy.