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Transfer rumor roundup: Shaqiri to Liverpool, Seri to Fulham

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Xherdan Shaqiri is closing in on a move to Liverpool from Stoke City.

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The Swiss winger is believed to have a release clause of $17.2 million and after Stoke were relegated from the Premier League in 2017/18 he has already stated he has no desire to play in England’s second-tier.

Shaqiri, 26, joined the Potters in 2015 from Inter Milan and has scored 15 goals in 85 Premier League appearances, including eight last season as he led their offense.

Do Liverpool need another pacey winger? Probably not. But Shaqiri’s flexibility to play across the frontline and also the price he’s available at provides Jurgen Klopp with a very good deal. Shaqiri could easily come in for Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino or Sadio Mane and offer very similar qualities.

Would Shaqiri start every game at Liverpool? Probably not. But working him into their rotation for the UEFA Champions League and domestic cup games makes perfect sense. With Daniel Sturridge and Danny Ings unlikely to hang around at Liverpool much longer, Shaqiri heading to Anfield makes sense for everyone involved.

It appears that Premier League new boys Fulham are now the frontrunners to sign Jean Seri from Nice.

The Ivory Coast midfielder came close to joining Barcelona last summer and has been linked with moves to Arsenal and Chelsea, but the Cottagers are said to have agreed a $24 million fee with Nice.

Reports in Italy state that Seri, who has a $45 million release clause in his contract which runs out next week, is still wanted by the likes of Napoli and Borussia Dortmund but he is in London trying to finalize his move to the Premier League.

Fulham’s midfield duo of Tom Cairney and Stefan Johansen was a big reason behind their promotion back to the PL via the playoffs last season and Slavisa Jokanovic believes in possession-based play. Seri’s box-to-box abilities (he scored twice and had five assists in Ligue 1 last season) and calmness on the ball mean he would be a great fit for Fulham.

If the Cottagers manage to pull this deal off it would be a major coup.

Charlton wins promotion to Championship in stoppage time

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Charlton Athletic struck a wildly late blow to clinch the final place in the 2019-20 Football League Championship, defeating Sunderland 2-1 in Sunday’s promotion playoff at Wembley Stadium.

A stoppage time free kick in a cagey affair led to a scrum in the box, with Patrick Bauer sliding to strike a shot off a Sunderland defender and into the goal.

[ MORE: Real, Chelsea debate Hazard fee ]

The goal came at the 3:55 mark of four minutes stoppage time, and was the 26-year-old defender’s first goal of the season.

Ben Purrington had leveled the score line for Charlton after Sunderland went ahead via an early own goal. The Addicks were relegated from the Championship after the 2015-16 season, while Sunderland went down last year.

It had to feel extra special to manager Lee Bowyer, who played with Sunderland local rivals Newcastle United from 2003-06.

Pique: Copa-losing Barca still “really hurting” from UCL exit

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Barcelona was the favorite to win La Liga, the UEFA Champions League, and the Copa del Rey for the majority of the season, but only claimed one.

Liverpool’s amazing comeback to beat Barca in the second leg of the UCL semifinals met Saturday’s loss to Valencia in the Copa del Rey Final to give Barca a league title alone.

[ MORE: Real, Chelsea debate Hazard fee ]

Even with that La Liga advantage being decisive — Barca carried the table by 11 points over Atletico Madrid and finished 19 ahead of Real Madrid — there’s a very dour mood and promised change for the Camp Nou set.

And Gerard Pique says it all traces back to the loss against Liverpool. From The Liverpool Echo:

“I believe that if we had gotten through at Liverpool, we would have won the treble. We would have come here [to the Copa del Rey final] with a different mood, and I’m convinced we would have won the Champions League final, but that is football. We are really, really hurting.”

There are hints of a massive clear-out at Barcelona, with Lionel Messi and Pique two of the only safe bets to stay. When will Barca get over it?

Brazilian team tangles in locker room futmesa (video)

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It was defense versus attack in the Brazil dressing room.

Neymar and Gabriel Jesus squared off with international teammates Filipe Luis and Ederson in a game of futmesa/table soccer this week.

[ MORE: Real, Chelsea debate Hazard fee ]

Neymar and Filipe Luis are used to be on different sides of the field from their time in La Liga, while Jesus and Ederson are teammates at Manchester City.

Brazil is hosting this summer’s Copa America and is the favorite to win its first tournament since 2007, when it claimed its fourth in five tries.

It’s really impressive stuff for us normal to subpar athletes, even if standard for those with such deft talent.

Quite a winner from Man City’s young striker.

Jovic could see himself in Premier League, Serie A

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Maybe Luka Jovic’s presumed move to Real Madrid won’t happen this summer.

Or at all.

[ MORE: Real, Chelsea debate Hazard fee ]

The Eintracht Frankfurt striker has been tipped for a move away from the Bundesliga after another strong campaign, and taking the center forward reins from Karim Benzema at Real Madrid.

Several outlets reported the deal as done, but Jovic isn’t speaking that way (or at least the Serbian is throwing us off the scent.


“In terms of the physique, the Bundesliga is very demanding, but after the games against Chelsea or Inter Milan, I personally had the feeling that I could feel even better [playing] in the Premier League or Serie A. … The way the teams play there suits me better.”

Jovic scored 27 times in 48 appearances for Frankfurt, adding seven assists at the tender age of 21. Ten of those came in the Europa League, and we’re not talking about flooding the nets of minnows; Jovic scored against Chelsea (twice), Marseille (three), Lazio (two), and Inter Milan (once).