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Transfer Rumor Roundup: Sanchez to Man United; Chicharito to leave

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There are some monster transfer reports around on Thursday morning.

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We’ve already heard the news that Manchester United will reportedly battle Liverpool to sign USMNT star Christian Pulisic in the summer, but there’s more. Oh yes.

According to reports from Sky Italy, Manchester United are also said to be making a move to sign Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal in January with a fee of $35 million reported, plus Henrikh Mkhitaryan could be offered up in any deal.

With Manchester City thought to be the firm favorites to sign Sanchez, 29, from the Gunners as his contract running out in July, it appears that Jose Mourinho is making a big move for the Chilean star.

Per the report, Sanchez has been offered a bigger contract at United and the Red Devils have well and truly joined the race to sign the forward ahead of their crosstown rivals.

Sanchez has scored just seven goals in 20 PL games for Arsenal this season and their gamble to not sell him last summer to Man City for over $75 million and instead try and persuade him to stick around and sign a new deal has well and truly backfired.

Wenger and Arsenal will surely sell Sanchez this month to try and recoup some cash with the Chilean free to agree a move to a non-English club right now, and free to join any PL club from July 1 on a free transfer.

Would he be better suite to United? He would certainly play a more prominent role, you would think. At City he would have Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero to compete with for a starting spot but at United he would surely start above the likes of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard.

Given the fact that Sanchez hasn’t played in the UEFA Champions League this season, he is also very valuable as he isn’t cup tied for the UCL knockout rounds.


A report from Sky Sports states that West Ham are ready to listen to offers for Mexico’s all-time leading goalscorer Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, who they only signed for $21.5 million from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer.

The 29-year-old has scored four goals for the Hammers in 21 appearances in all competitions this season, a campaign which has seen West Ham embroiled in a relegation battle and the man who signed Chicharito, Slaven Bilic, was sacked in November and replaced with David Moyes.

Moyes didn’t see eye-to-eye with Chicharito while he was manager of Manchester United in the 2013-14 season and it is believed that the Scotsman is eager to offload the El Tri star, as well as Diafra Sakho and Andre Ayew to reshape his attack.

Simply put: this move hasn’t worked out well for anyone.

Where could Chicharito go? There have been suggestions that a move to Major League Soccer could be on the cards and with LAFC having one more Designated Player spot open, could Hernandez be heading to LA to link up with Bob Bradley for their debut season in MLS which kicks off in March?

Stranger things have happened even though Chicharito has said in the past that he isn’t keen to join an MLS club right now. With his international teammate, Carlos Vela, at LAFC, maybe that will persuade him to make the move to the exciting project in the City of Angels.

If not to MLS, there will still be plenty of interest in Hernandez from the PL and elsewhere in Europe in January.

VIDEO: France stars projected onto Arc de Triomphe

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If France’s players had any doubt about the level of import their World Cup title had back home, it was erased when their photos were projected onto one of the most celebrated monuments in the world.

The photos of Hugo Lloris, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, and company made their way onto the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday, hours after France defeated Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup Final.

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The Arc de Triomphe honors those who died in the French Revolution and early 19th century wars, and sits above France’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.

How humbling must it be for those players to grace such a heavy monument (both in weight and substance).

Dalic: In one day, Croatia went from lucky to unlucky

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Ante Cacic’s Croatia was on pace to miss out on the World Cup.

Zlatko Dalic’s Croatia rallied the troops to second place in their qualifying group, a playoff defeat of Greece, and a run to the World Cup Final.

Pretty decent stuff.

[ MORE: FIFA awards Golden Ball, Golden Glove ]

And surely the 51-year-old will reflect on that, probably even this evening, but he’s more focused on a letdown after Sunday’s 4-2 loss to highly-favored France.

Key to the match was a penalty awarded to France when a partially-obscured Mario Mandzukic handled a ball inside the 18, leading to Antoine Griezmann’s pivotal goal.

The PK was awarded via VAR, and France went up 2-1 en route to a three-goal lead. From the AFP:

“I never comment on referees but in a World Cup final you do not give such a penalty,” said Dalic.

“It in no way diminishes France’s win. We were a bit unlucky. Maybe in the first six games we were favored by luck and today we weren’t.

“I have to congratulate my players. Maybe today we played our best game at these championships. Against such a strong side as France you must not make mistakes. We are a bit sad but we must also be proud of what we’ve done.”

Croatia had two-thirds of the ball and doubled France’s shot attempts, and Dalic isn’t the least bit controversial in wondering whether the match is much different if that penalty goes unawarded by referee Nestor Pitana.

Atlanta comes back to draw 10-man Seattle (video)

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A scrappy if not downright venomous affair between the lowly Seattle Sounders and high-flying Atlanta United ended in a 1-1 draw in Georgia on Sunday.

The Sounders went ahead through a Nicolas Lodeiro penalty kick, awarded via VAR a la this morning’s World Cup Final, but Atlanta leveled the score with a highlight which show every bit of the game story.

[ MORE: FIFA awards Golden Ball, Golden Glove ]

Just check Josef Martinez’s barking at Stefan Frei, who made an uncharacteristic error on the play, after his 19th goal of the season (Nice cross, Julian Gressel).

Martinez needs nine more goals to break the MLS single season record, and he has 13 games to score them.

Jordan McCrary was sent off for Seattle in the 63rd minute for a second yellow, but Seattle navigated the final half hour or so to scoop up an unlikely point.

Atlanta still sits first with its earned point but opens the door for New York City FC to reach the top of the table when it plays its match-in-hand, while Seattle is now 11 points back of the West’s final playoff spot.

Anderson arrives: Can Pellegrini unlock West Ham’s potential?

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West Ham United has sealed another impressive deal, adding $48 million winger Felipe Anderson from Lazio.

It’s a club record deal from the Irons, whose ambitions have been short-circuited in recent seasons by stop-start play under Slaven Bilic and David Moyes.

[ MORE: FIFA awards Golden Ball, Golden Glove ]

Now Manuel Pellegrini is in charge, and has made a series of purchases including Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko, Issa Diop, and Jack Wilshere amongst others.

Anderson was fantastic for Lazio last season, though he was part of a loaded attack with Ciro Immobile, Luis Alberto, and Sergej Malinkovic-Savic.

Now the challenge is gelling quickly inside a short window. As we’ve seen in the past with markedly changed mid-table sides — see: Everton’s 2017-18 season — hitting the ground running is key.

Players have been convinced of West Ham’s ambition. Here’s the latest, Anderson, from WHUFC.com:

“West Ham is a club with a lot of tradition, lots of great players have played here, like Bobby Moore, Carlos Tevez and Di Canio. They were great players and idols here, and I’m aiming big, who knows, maybe I could hit their heights and be a legend here too.”

But turning that into on-field success and in-room culture has been a challenge. The move to London Stadium didn’t help, and managerial instability has been anything but a boon to the Irons. There have been plenty of self-inflicted wounds, too.

West Ham’s lineup could be frightening, even in the face of injuries to Andy Carroll (surprise!) and Winston Reid. But managing egos new and old is a challenge, which is why the Pellegrini hire could be a masterstroke.

Consider this possible XI from Pellegrini, who largely operated his Manchester City with a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-4-2 with two holding/defensive/deep-lying center midfielders (There have been rumors West Ham could sell Cheikhou Kouyate).

There are a lot of options for Pellegrini’s front four. Anderson and Yarmolenko both prefer right wing, while Arnautovic likes the left but has proven adept as a center forward if Pellegrini becomes the latest manager to eschew the idea of Javier Hernandez up top. Manuel Lanzini‘s injury does seem to put Wilshere in the No. 10 role.

Fabianski

Fredericks — Diop — Balbuena — Masuaku

Obiang — Kouyate

Anderson — Wilshere — Yarmolenko

Arnautovic

So the ingredients are there, with Aaron Cresswell, Pablo Zabaleta, and Jordan Hugill joining Chicharito in keeping training competitive.

But Pellegrini will have to navigate a culture that saw a seedy finish to the season, with protests and ugly incidents amongst supporters and players on the field in London.

And he does seem the man for the job. But if he can’t do it… well, stay tuned.