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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.

FOLLOW LIVE – Tunisia and Nigeria in AFCON third place game

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The appetizer to the main course takes place today as Tunisia and Nigeria meet in the third place match of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

Both sides fell in the semifinals on last-minute goals, with Tunisia dropping to Senegal on an extra-time own-goal while Nigeria was pipped by a Riyad Mahrez 95th minute winner.

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While this match is obviously a chance for both sides to finish the tournament on a high note, also notable is the race for the Golden Boot. Odion Ighalo is in the lead with four goals and could look to tack on to that total with Mahrez, Adam Ounes, and Sadio Mane all on three goals and playing in the final.

Nigeria boss Gernot Rohr will want to save face after a disappointing tournament, and while he received the dreaded vote of confidence from the Nigerian federation, he still will want something tangible to take home. The Super Eagles came into the tournament as the third-highest FIFA ranked African nation, but after a shaky group stage performance and a pair of narrow one-goal knockout stage wins before the loss to Algeria, the need for a quality outing is great.

Five of the six previous matches between these two teams have ended in draws, so something has to give this time in Cairo.

Guardiola to Leroy Sane: only “happy” players will see the field

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Leroy Sane has been the subject of some uncertainty this summer, and it might be getting to Pep Guardiola.

After Sane came off the bench and helped Man City pummel West Ham 4-1 in the preseason Premier League Asia Trophy, Guardiola was asked about his future with the club after reports this summer that Bayern Munich was interested in snatching him away from the Etihad.

“The club made him an offer last year,” Guardiola said. “So, I have said many times, we only want people happy to be here. We are going to help him to be the best, we know his potential and what level he is. He has a special quality that is difficult to find around the world. He knows, they all know, all the forwards, all the midfielders, how difficult it is to play, it’s difficult because of the quality we have.”

“But, at the same time I spoke to the club ten times and I want people here to be happy, if they don’t want, they go. The desire to have him be with us is always there.”

Sane was spectacular at times last season as Manchester City won the Premier League title, but he played a shrinking role as the end of the campaign pressed on, forced to come off the bench as a substitute four times after February and left as an unused substitute five other times down the stretch as well. Sane played just two full 90 minute appearances in Premier League play in the 2019 calendar year.

With that in mind, it has proven difficult to convince Sane to sign a new contract at Manchester City, with his current deal set to expire in two years. That caught Bayern Munich’s attention, and the German side has been persistent in hoping to attract the 23-year-old to Allianz Arena.

Once Guardiola made his comments about happy players, he was asked bluntly if he thinks Sane will be with the team at the start of the season. He did not want to go into the situation further, saying, “I have already answered that question really well.”

Argentina women’s team players critical of coaches after roster changes

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The Argentine national team is facing controversy after making a host of changes to its roster for the 2019 Pan American games despite a solid showing in the World Cup earlier this summer.

Most notably, 29-year-old Estefania Banini, who captained the side at the World Cup, was left off the roster. She lashed out on social media, claiming on Instagram that she was left off after making internal comments critical of the coaching staff and trying to improve the team’s ability to compete.

“No rest, not injured, permission from my club, I have enough to be in the national team,” she wrote. “From 5 years old I trained to defend the blue and white, fighting for my place equally without discrimination. The coaching staff decided to leave me out…because we have our differences, they decide to put an end to my dream of defending the shirt.”

Banini goes on to explain that she wants coaches “with enough experience we can learn from” and who can help grow the game in their country. She said what they don’t want is something they experienced at the World Cup – “being told ‘just defend because we don’t want to concede 11’ when going out to play.”

Other players left off the roster for the Pan American games are Ruth Bravo and Lorena Benitez, both of whom were starters at the World Cup less than a month ago. Bravo, along with Belen Potassa, posted similarly critical comments on their own social media accounts after being left off the roster, with much of the content word-for-word to what Banini wrote.

Argentina performed well in the group stage of the World Cup, nearly advancing in the final seconds of the group stage before a 3-3 draw with Scotland saw them fall just short of passing Japan into a qualifying spot. They managed a 0-0 draw with Japan in the opening match and fell to England by a close 1-0 scoreline.

Banini has been outspoken in the past, criticizing the Argentinian federation back in 2014 for not supporting the women’s game enough. With her most recent comments potentially costing her a place in the team, some of her teammates had her back. Soledad Jaimes and Florencia Bonsegundo, also both starters in the World Cup, resigned their places on the Pan American Games roster in solidarity with their teammates, believing them to be unfairly treated.

“While 18 teammates pack their bags for the Pan American Games, I decided to withdraw from the roster,” Bonsegundo wrote in her own Instagram post. “Today I have to take a step forward for this struggle that we all started and that few have the courage to do. I understand that in this way I am protecting you more [the fans] because I know that in a future with properly trained players, Argentina may be at the level of the world powers! I’m still dreaming of a country with greater equality, without discrimination and where the voice of women is taken into account with the same weight as that of a man”

Argentina was drawn into a group with Panama, Costa Rica, and Peru for the Pan American games, with their first match set for July 28.

Reports: De Rossi heads to Argentina to sign for Boca Juniors

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According to reports in both Italy and Argentina, Roma legend Daniele de Rossi, who left the Italian club this summer at the age of 35, is heading to Argentina to finalize a deal to play for Boca Juniors.

The reports state that De Rossi will sign a one-year contract worth $560,000.

The Roma youth product has spent his entire career with the Serie A side, making 616 career appearances for Roma across all competitions and scoring 63 goals.

There was rumored interest from MLS in the 35-year-old, with NYCFC the most frequently named club, but it seems that interest never seriously took off. De Rossi also reportedly had an offer to coach in the Italian youth ranks and interest from fellow Italian clubs Bologna and Fiorentina.

At Boca, he will look to return the club to the top of the Argentine Primera Division where they stood two seasons ago before dropping to third last campaign.