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Top 10 loan signings for January

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The winter transfer window is opened, and that means a fresh chance for players to make an impact across the Premier League and Europe.

The Silly Season is already well underway, with confirmed moves such as Virgil Van Dijk to Liverpool and tons of un-confirmed and sometimes un-sourced rumors of Harry Kane and Dele Alli to Real Madrid, just as an example.

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However, the January transfer window presents both clubs and players with a unique opportunity. For some players, it’s a chance for them to find playing time on a new team. For clubs, it’s a chance to upgrade their squad for a second-half title push or battle against relegation.

Here’s a look at 10 potential loan signings that Premier League clubs can make this month:

10. Mathieu Debuchy, Arsenal

The marauding French right back got off to a strong start in London in 2014 after two years at Newcastle acclimating to the Premier League, but a calf strain was the beginning of his problems.

Since then, Debuchy has missed most of the last three seasons with a variety of injuries, keeping him off the field as he lost his place for both club and country. Debuchy has said he plans on leaving Arsenal in January and now fit, he’s an international-caliber signing that will improve just about any team he moves to, barring another injury.

9. Renato Sanches, Swansea City

One in a half years ago, Sanches was named the young player of the Euro 2016 tournament as Portugal won the title. The then 18-year-old had impressed enough during the season prior to the tournament at Benfica to earn a big-money move to Bayern Munich, but the last 18 months have not gone as planned.

Sanches failed to find playing time under Carlo Ancelotti at Bayern Munich and under his former assistant coach Paul Clement at Swansea City, it’s been a similar story. It would be wild for the former young player of the tournament to fail to make the 2018 World Cup squad for Portugal, but if Sanches doesn’t rescue his season, that could very well happen. On paper, Sanches should bring dynamism and energy to a central midfield, should he move to another Premier League club on loan.

8. Sergio Romero, Manchester United

The 30-year-old has been Argentina’s No. 1 goalkeeper for the last seven years. But at the club level, he’s only found regular playing time in three of those last seven, spending the last three years playing as the backup.

Now, with the World Cup coming up, Romero is looking to leave Man United for some regular playing time, giving a club a chance to bring on a talented goalkeeper in his prime.

7. Mohamed Elneny, Arsenal

With Egypt heading to the World Cup for the first time since 1990, the Egyptian National Team is going to want to make a good impression on the world’s stage.

Elneny though, a mainstay in the national team, has found himself second choice in central midfield for Arsenal this season, and could find a new club to move to where he’ll have a better shot at minutes other than in cup games or UEFA Europa League matches.

6. Theo Walcott, Arsenal

Let’s keep it with Arsenal, shall we. Another international who has found playing time hard to come by this season is Theo Walcott. First called up to the England National Team as a 16-year-old, Walcott is in danger of missing the upcoming World Cup, which amazingly would just be his second after not making the 2010 or 2014 squads.

There are reports that Walcott is looking around for a new club, and when fit, he brings a dash of speed and dribbling ability down the wings or in the center of the field, though he’s always lacked consistency throughout his career.

5. Jasper Cillessen, Barcelona

The Barcelona and former Ajax goalkeeper has had to be the backup to Marc-Andre ter Stegen for the last two seasons, and though he doesn’t have a World Cup to prepare for next summer, Cillessen has said in the past that he wants to be a No. 1 goalkeeper at a club.

While he was willing before to fight for his place at Barcelona, perhaps now is the time for him to find a new club to call home.

4. Luke Shaw, Manchester United

When he signed for Manchester United from Southampton, Luke Shaw looked like the heir apparent to Gareth Bale, a marauding left back and winger with speed to burn and technical skills that could make him a regular down Manchester United’s left for a decade.

But serious injuries have scuttled that, and with Shaw not in manager Jose Mourinho’s plans, the England youngster is looking around for a new setting where he can find his old form.

3. David Luiz, Chelsea

The Brazilian’s second spell at Chelsea hasn’t gone as well as the first one. After playing most of last season, Luiz has lost his place while injured to Andreas Christensen, and looks to be on the outside, looking in.

While few clubs could afford his wages, Luiz as a defensive midfielder has always been impressive, though when he’s a centerback he’s struggled as the last line of defense.

2. Arda Turan, Barcelona

Back in 2015, Turan completed a big-money move from Atletico Madrid, where he became a club legend, to Barcelona, even though he knew he’d have to sit out the first six months of the season before Barcelona’s transfer ban was lifted. Unfortunately for Turan, his patience never really paid off.

Looking to break into the central midfield, Turan played just 18 La Liga matches in each of the last two seasons, with many appearances off the bench, while this season he’s been relegated to the sidelines for the entire campaign. He’s reportedly been offered to Everton, and whoever brings him in will be getting a dynamic midfielder who is disciplined defensively as well as skilled offensively.

1. Michy Batshuayi, Chelsea

Batshuayi scored the title-winning goal for Chelsea last season, but he’s never been able to win over Antonio Conte, first playing backup to Diego Costa and now this year to Alvaro Morata.

The Belgian is fighting with Romelu Lukaku for a starting place at the World Cup, and if he wants to start, he’ll need to find another club where he can get regular minutes. It will be interesting if another Big 6 club in the Premier League takes a shot on him, provided Chelsea will allow him to leave to a league rival.

Honorable Mention: Aron Johannsson, Werder Bremen

The Icelandic-American striker has struggled to overcome injuries and find the form that earned him a place on the U.S. Men’s National Team squad at the 2014 World Cup. His new coach at Werder Bremen appears ready to count on him, but perhaps a change of scenery could yield better results.

Josef Martinez scores 2 more in win, including sensational solo work

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Josef Martinez scored his 25th and 26th goals of the MLS season, and if he challenges his MLS record of 31, he may also stare down soccer royalty.

The Venezuelan striker scored two more on Wednesday in a 2-0 defeat of FC Cincinnati in Ohio to give him goals in 15-straight league contests.

He now has 76 goals in 80 MLS games, which is good.

[ MORE: Champions League wrap ]

On the season, he’s six goals shy of matching the Major League Soccer record he set with last season’s 31 regular season goals.

According to MLSSoccer.com, he’s six games shy of tying Lionel Messi’s world record for consecutive league matches with a goal.

Even that’s a little tricky: Messi scored in 21-straight games in which he was eligible for selection, but 19-straight before missing two matches for injury. In that remarkable run of 21, he also had a run of six-straight braces.

It’s not really worth it to attempt to compare the two streaks: If Martinez gets to 21 (or even 19), it’s amazing stuff and worth celebrating on a worldwide level. Everyone has a bad game every now and again, but Martinez still finds the score sheet in ’em.

Look at the magician’s tricks he used for this one, including a back heel first touch and two freeze-frame cut moves. That’s not even mentioning the finish.

USWNT announces final matches of World Cup-winning year

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CHICAGO (AP) The Women’s World Cup champion U.S. team will wrap up 2019 with matches against Sweden and Costa Rica.

U.S. Soccer announced Wednesday that the U.S. will face Sweden in Columbus, Ohio, on Nov. 7 and Costa Rica in Jacksonville, Florida, on Nov. 10.

[ MORE: Champions League wrap ]

The team is wrapping up its World Cup victory tour next month with matches against South Korea on Oct. 3 in Charlotte, North Carolina, and on Oct. 6 in Chicago.

Coach Jill Ellis is stepping down following the match in Chicago after leading the team to a pair of consecutive World Cup titles.

The United States is 15-1-2 this year and currently riding a 14-game winning streak.

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

Report: Mane to get big raise, Liverpool contract through 2025

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Liverpool’s Senegalese sensation looks set to stay at Anfield deep into his 30s.

Sadio Mane is in talks with the Reds hierarchy over a new deal that will run through 2024-25, and pay him more than $15 million per season.

[ MORE: Champions League wrap ]

Mane, 27, currently has a deal through 2023, but surely wouldn’t mind a raise. And Liverpool will be happy to tie him down on Merseyside a bit longer.

He’s scored six times in seven matches this season, also grabbing an assist. That’s on a better pace than his 26 goals and five assists over 50 appearances in 2018/19.

Mane has 70 Premier League goals at the moment. Do you tip him to eclipse 100 while still at Anfield? 125?

Europa League preview: Man Utd, Wolves, Arsenal begin group stage

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The Europa League begins its group stage on Thursday, with the three Premier League combatants taking on clubs from Kazakhstan, Portugal and Germany.

Manchester United’s kids are gonna get some playing time when Astana visits Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Teenager Mason Greenwood and 21-year-old Axel Tuanzebe will start, and Sergio Romero will be between the sticks.

[ MORE: Champions League wrap ]

And the Manchester Evening News notes that Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes could also start at Old Trafford, meaning the veterans in the fray will be quite important.

Enter Fred, the forgotten $68 million man from Shaktar Donetsk. The 23 minutes he played last week versus Leicester City account for his lone time on the pitch this season.

Here’s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer:

“I’m sure we’ll see more and more of Fred. We spoke about it earlier, he’s had some great games in midfield with Scott against PSG and Arsenal, for example, and we’re just waiting for that to flourish.”

Fred had an odd record under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last season, barely in the squad when the team started hot but trusted against PSG and Barcelona in the Champions League.

Speaking of little-used midfielders, Arsenal boss Unai Emery is getting a little grief for leaving Mesut Ozil behind for the Gunners’ trip to Germany for a big match with Eintracht Frankfurt.

Ozil made his first start of the season in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Watford at the weekend, playing 71 minutes and departing with the club up 2-1.

So why not even bring him abroad? Rest.

“Because we are going to play another match on Sunday,” Emery said, via The London Evening Standard. “My decision is because he played and also I’m thinking tomorrow the focus and the first 11 and after that I decided who are the players who can be the best for tomorrow and also the players not and that is Sokratis and Mesut.”

Sokrastis Papastathopoulos is also out, having played a big role in the embarrassing performance at Watford.

There have been tough times for Wolves as well, who sit in the relegation zone after five matches of the Premier League season.

They’ve been quite good in Europa League, though, dispatching a pair of minnows before winning both legs against Serie A side Torino.

Why the inconsistency? It’s not fixture congestion, according to Ruben Neves:

“I don’t think fatigue has anything to do with it, Neves said, via The Birmingham Mail. “We’re all top players, we’re used to it, we’re used to playing a lot of games in quick succession. I don’t think the Europa League has (anything) to do with our position in the Premier League. Obviously, we haven’t had the start that we’ve wanted, but it’s been a beautiful journey into the Europa League. This is a historic moment for Wolves and we’re going to do our best in this competition.”

Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men are in Portugal to meet Braga, one of three tricky opponents in Besiktas and Slovan Bratislava.

Full slate

12:55 p.m. ET
CFR Cluj v. Lazio
LASK v. Rosenborg
Getafe v. Trabzonspor
PSV Eindhoven v. Sporting Lisbon
Basel v. Krasnodar
APOEL Nicosia v. Dudelange
Copenhagen v. Lugano
Standard Liege v. Vitoria SC
Qarabag v. Sevilla
Eintracht Frankfurt v. Arsenal
Rennes v. Celtic
Dynamo Kiev v. Malmo

3 p.m. ET
Wolfsburg v. Oleksandriya
Espanyol v. Ferencvaros
Rangers v. Feyenoord
Porto v. Young Boys
Slovan Bratislava v. Besiktas
Borussia Monchengladbach v. Wolfsberg
Partizan v. AZ Alkmaar
AS Roma v. Istanbul Basaksehir
Gent v. Saint-Etienne
Manchester United v. Astana
Wolves v. Braga
Ludogorets Razgrad v. CSKA Moscow