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Rumors: Fulham spree continues with links to Mawson, Herrera, Battaglia

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Newly promoted Fulham has already shelled out nearly $50 million this summer as the Whites look to secure Premier League status in the season following promotion via the Championship playoff, but they show no signs of slowing down.

The Whites, led by recruitment chair Tony Khan, have been linked to a host of new players on Friday, including a Mexican international.

Midfielder Hector Herrera, who played every minute of Mexico’s 2018 World Cup adventure, has been linked with a move to London. According to Portuguese outlet Record, in a report which has since been corroborated by The Sun in England, Fulham is chasing the 28-year-old Mexican who currently plays for Portuguese giants FC Porto. The reports state Herrera has a release clause of nearly $46 million, but that the proposed transfer fee would likely fall well short of that.

[ MORE: Friday transfer rumor roundup ]

Herrera has made 70 appearances for the Mexican international team, a mainstay over the last four years since debuting as a regular in the 2014 World Cup. He has been with Porto since the summer of 2013 when he arrived from Liga MX side Pachuca, making 192 appearances for Porto. He would join new signing Jean-Michael Seri in the Fulham midfield, alongside incumbent starters Kevin McDonald and Stefan Johansen, the former of which signed a new contract with Fulham on Friday.

Also making the rounds in Portugal is the rumor of contact with Sporting CP midfielder Rodrigo Battaglia. Record, along with a few of the TV channels in Portugal, is reporting that Battaglia has seen his Sporting contract successfully nullified following the locker room attack that has reportedly left many players wanting out. Should that be the case, it would mean Battaglia would be able to sign with any team on a free transfer.

The 27-year-old has yet to make an appearance for the Argentinian national team but was considered unlucky not to make the 2018 World Cup squad under Jorge Sampaoli. Known as a true defensive midfielder with bruising capabilities and a decent eye for distribution, Battaglia made 33 Liga NOS appearances for Porto last season after joining in the summer from fellow Portuguese club Braga. However, reports later on Friday have since suggested there may remain the possibility for Battaglia to work out a new contract at Sporting.

Another connection made to Craven Cottage has been Swansea City defender Alfie Mawson, according to WalesOnline. The Fulham back line is currently thin, with United States international Tim Ream leading the way. Still just 24 years old, Mawson has been with Swansea since 2016, joining from Barnsley and making 65 career Premier League appearances. While Swansea’s defensive record has been relatively solid over the past few years, it was their attack that floundered in their relegation season last campaign.

On the verge of sniffing the national team, Mawson has been reportedly chased by a number of mid-table Premier League sides such as Burnley and West Ham, and with the Whites looking to bolster the back line, this would seem to be sensible, quoted at around $26 million, a sizeable but sensible investment towards a youthful English defender.

Also notable remains the constant links to Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic. The Serbian international was stellar on loan in the second half of last season at Craven Cottage, pouring in 12 goals in 17 Championship appearances with Fulham in their successful push for promotion. With the other striker options thin in Slavisa Jokanovic’s possession-based system, Mitrovic seems a no-brainer for the Whites, but so far Newcastle has held firm on their valuation of around $26 million and forced Mitrovic to join the club on its preseason tour of Portugal even though Rafa Benitez has been public about his dislike for the Serbian striker. The Whites have to this point resisted that amount, but the links continue to swirl and the signing still seems to be a likely possibility.

Fulham has already broken its transfer record to bring Seri in, while also adding Borussia Dortmund winger Andre Schurrle on a two-year loan deal.

Chelsea’s Willian eager to stay in Premier League

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Chelsea and Brazil star Willian has revealed he is eager to stay in the Premier League, even if that’s not with Chelsea.

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Willian, 31, has revealed that contract talks have stopped for now during the suspension for the coronavirus pandemic, and his future is uncertain as his current deal at Chelsea expires this summer.

The likes of Tottenham and Arsenal have been linked with a move for Willian, who almost joined Spurs in 2013 but instead joined Chelsea in a last-second change of heart.

Willian told ESPN Brazil  that he wants to stay in the Premier League and he feels he is now at his peak.

“My wish is to stay in the Premier League, but I’m not ruling out playing in other leagues,” Willian said. “I’m going to play until the end of the season and then see what happens. I’m very used to life in England. I’m not thinking about going back to Corinthians at the moment. My aim is to stay in Europe. I feel that I’m at my peak at the moment. Players improve throughout their careers and I think I’m currently at my peak.”

It is not secret that Mourinho and Willian get on very well, which will intrigue Tottenham’s fans…

“I got on very well with Mourinho, learnt a lot under him and we’ve remained friends,” Willian said. “We still message each other a lot, but I don’t see him often. I haven’t managed to meet up with him since he came back to London.”

His form for Chelsea has been a little erratic this season but Frank Lampard has spoken fondly about Willian time and time again and it is quite clear Chelsea would like to extend his stay at Stamford Bridge for at least another season.

With so many young wingers around (Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount to name a few), Willian can help ease them into the first team but there’s no doubting plenty of Premier League clubs will be eager to snap him up on a free transfer this summer, or whenever the transfer window reopens.

Tottenham would seem like a particularly good fit for Willian. He would link up with Jose Mourinho, the manage who bought him to Chelsea, and his experience would be vital at Spurs as they aim to finally secure some silverware. Tottenham need to prioritize buying new defenders but if Willian is available for free, you can’t turn that deal down, even if he turned Spurs and Daniel Levy down in 2013…

Arsenal would make sense too but you’d have to say Tottenham are the frontrunners given the connection between Willian and Mourinho. Of course, he could stay at Chelsea, but with Pedro also out of contract it does feel like a changing of the guard as Lampard will put his faith totally in new signing Hakim Ziyech, Pulisic and Hudson-Odoi next season.

With $2.7 billion reserves, FIFA has ‘duty’ to aid virus-hit soccer

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FIFA says it has a “duty” to use its vast financial reserves to assist a football industry ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic wiping out games and creating unexpected economic hardship in the world’s biggest sport.

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The spread of COVID-19 has impacted the wealthiest clubs, with Barcelona and Juventus players taking wage cuts; those in smaller countries, with Slovakian champion Zilina entering bankruptcy; and national football federations, with Uruguay furloughing hundreds of staff.

Having amassed reserves it last reported at $2.745 billion, FIFA has the resources to give much-needed financial help to the game at many levels. Now the organization has provided more details around the need agreed two weeks ago by FIFA President Gianni Infantino and his vice presidents to explore a “support fund” for the sport.

“FIFA is in a strong financial situation and it’s our duty to do the utmost to help them in their hour of need,” world football’s governing body said in a statement to The Associated Press on Tuesday.

“FIFA is working on possibilities to provide assistance to the football community around the world after making a comprehensive assessment of the financial impact this pandemic will have on football.”

FIFA is exploring the mechanism to provide the financial lifeline to the football industry with the six regional confederations and member associations to ensure there is an announcement “in the near future.”

“The football community around the world is experiencing, to a greater or lesser extent, serious financial problems on account of the coronavirus outbreak,” FIFA said. “This threatens to disrupt and impair the ability of FIFA’s member associations and other football organizations such as leagues and clubs to develop, finance and run football activities at all levels of the game, including professional, non-professional, youth and grassroots.

“It is foreseen that in many parts of the world a considerable number of persons involved in football including both men and women players will be left in extremely difficult economic conditions.”

FIFA already operates a “Forward” development program to redistribute its wealth to member associations. In the 2015-18 cycle, investment dedicated to the scheme was $1.079 billion, of which $832 million had been approved and committed to member associations, confederations or regions, according to the last published financial results.

Premier League TV schedule: April 4-5

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We have 16 hours of Premier League programming coming your way this weekend and here is your TV schedule for April 4-5

This Saturday and Sunday we will have eight hours of programming coming your way each morning from 6 a.m. ET to 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN on your TV.

With the current 2019-20 Premier League season suspended until April 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have a lot of programming treats planned for you in the coming weeks and will keep up fully updated with a TV schedule posted every single week.

[ MORE: Sign up for NBC Sports Gold ]

Remember, during the season you can watch every single second of every single game live online via NBC Sports.com,the NBC Sports App and by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold.

Gold also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today, Sky Sports News, NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: Premier League live here ] 

If you’re looking for full-event replays of Premier League games, you can find them here for the games streamed on NBCSports.com and here for the games on NBC Sports Gold.

Below is your full Premier League TV schedule and stream links for Saturday and Sunday as we have classic matches, Goal of the Season, Behind the Badge, a focus on Liverpool v. Man City and much more coming up.


FULL TV SCHEDULE FOR NBCSN

Saturday, April 4
6-6:30 a.m. ET: Soccerbox – Matt Le Tissier [STREAM]
6:30-7 a.m. ET: Soccerbox – John Barnes [STREAM]
7-7:30 a.m. ET: Soccerbox – Sol Campbell [STREAM]
7:30-8 a.m. ET: Soccerbox – Ryan Giggs [STREAM]
8-9 a.m. ET: PL Goals of the Season: 2001-02 [STREAM]
9-10 a.m. ET: PL Goals of the Season: 2002-03 [STREAM]
10-10:30 a.m. ET: Classic Match: Liverpool v. Tottenham, Feb. 2015 [STREAM]
10:30-11 a.m. ET: Classic Match: Chelsea v. Man United, Feb. 2012 [STREAM]
11-11:30 a.m. ET: Classic Match: Tottenham v. Chelsea, Jan.  2015 [STREAM]
11:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. ET: Classic Match: Man United v. Arsenal, Aug., 2011 [STREAM]
12-12:30 p.m. ET. ET: Behind the Badge – Watford, Episode 1 [STREAM]
12:30-  p.m. ET. ET: Behind the Badge – Watford, Episode 2 [STREAM]
1-1:30 p.m. ET. ET: Behind the Badge – Watford, Episode 3 [STREAM]
1:30-2 p.m. ET. ET: Behind the Badge – Watford, Episode 4 [STREAM]

Sunday, April 5
6-7 a.m. ET: PL season in review 1998-99 [STREAM]
7-8 a.m. ET: PL season in review 1999-00 [STREAM]
8-10 a.m. ET: Match of the Week, Man City v. QPR, May 2012 [STREAM]
10 a.m. – 12 p.m. ET: Match of the Week, Everton v. Liverpool, Nov. 2013 [STREAM]
12 p.m. – 2 p.m. ET: Match of the Week, Chelsea v. Arsenal, Oct. 2014 [STREAM]

VIDEO: Top 25 moments in Premier League history

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It’s time to take a trip down memory lane and countdown the top 25 moments in Premier League history.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

There have been so many memorable goals, incidents, performances and players throughout the league’s history and back in 2017 we celebrated its 25th anniversary by counting down our top 25 moments.

From Wayne Rooney’s bicycle kick, the arrival of Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho, Leicester’s title win and Man City’s dramatic last-gasp success, there are so many wild moments packed into this video.

In truth, it was so tough to narrow down the best moments in PL history to just 25 moments.

Click play on the video above to replay some of the greatest moments in history.