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Reports: Fulham signs goalkeeper Sergio Rico from Sevilla

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Craven Cottage continues to be a hub of activity this summer as the wheeling and dealing from the Khan family continues.

Already with seven signings this transfer window, Fulham has gone out and reportedly grabbed another. According to reports in both Spain and England, the Whites have grabbed Sevilla goalkeeper Sergio Rico on loan. Upon completion, Rico would be Fulham’s eighth signing of the summer and second goalkeeper inked this window. The signing is being reported by both AS in Spain and Sky Sports in England, among others.

The move is a slightly odd one. Fulham shelled out $5 million to sign Besiktas netminder Fabri, but the 30-year-old Spaniard has been shaky in his preseason appearances.

[ MORE: Chelsea announces Courtois move to Real Madrid ]

Considering Fabri’s weak start in White, this move seems to suggest that the club was pushed by one of two possible factors: either Fabri’s poor start was so alarming to the club that they felt obligated to make immediate amends, or incumbent starter Marcus Bettinelli is either injured or on his way out. 26-year-old Bettinelli, a former England U-21 international, was spectacular last season for Fulham in the Championship, snatching the starting job from David Button midway through the season and lost just two games of the 26 he started.

One would think, based on resumes, that Rico would come in and immediately become the starter. While Bettinelli is a local hero and a fan favorite, he doesn’t have the track record that Rico does despite his young age. The Spaniard has made 170 total appearances for Sevilla since joining the senior team from the youth squad as a 20-year-old in 2014. In addition, it’s possible Bettinelli is hurt, which may have triggered the transfer in the first place.

No matter the circumstances, the signing is a quality one for the Whites. Goalkeeper was one position that still felt shaky heading into the season, in part due to Fabri’s unconvincing preseason. Now, it becomes yet another squad strength. The Whites have had a busy summer, signing the likes of midfielder Jean-Michael Seri, winger Andre Schurrle, and defenders Alfie Mawson and Calum Chambers.

On the other side of things, the departure of Rico is an odd one for Sevilla. Rico lost his starting spot late last season to 25-year-old David Soria, but he has since left for Getafe. If Rico does indeed head out as well, it would leave just 29-year-old Thomas Vaclik as the only goalkeeper left on the senior team.

Premier League Friendly Roundup: Leicester, Norwich in action

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Ayoze Perez got off to a great start for his new club on Tuesday, as Leicester topped Scunthorpe United, 1-0.

Perez, who arrived earlier this month from Newcastle in a $38 million transfer, scored on a first-time strike in the box that proved to be the difference in the game.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Brendan Rodgers side got a chance to get minutes for plenty of first-team regulars. Johnny Evans, Jamie Vardy, Perez and Youri Tielemans all started. Wes Morgan, new signing James Justin, Rachid Ghezzal all came off the bench.

An interesting note was that Harry Maguire, the target of serious transfer interest from Manchester United, came off the bench at halftime and played the second half of the game. According to the latest reports, Man United and Leicester City are still very far apart regarding a transfer fee, so Maguire looks set to remain for the time being.

Elsewhere, Norwich City continued its preseason tour of Germany with a friendly match held behind closed doors. Norwich beat Bonner SC, 4-1, with goals from Adam Idah, Onel Hernandez and Teemu Pukki.

UCL Roundup: Red Star, The New Saints (Wales) advance to second round

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Second legs are underway in the UEFA Champions League first qualification round, and both Red Star Belgrade and The New Saints from Wales are through to the second round.

Here’s a short roundup of UCL action on Tuesday:


Red Star Belgrade 2-1 Sudova (2-1 on Aggregate)

The Serbian giants advance to the next round with a big 2-1 win over Lithuanian Champions Sudova. Richmond Boakye and former Chelsea midfielder Marko Marin both scored in the first half. Red Star Belgrade was set to keep a clean sheet but Sudova scored late.

With the win, Red Star Belgrade moves on to face HJK Helsinki in Finland in the second round.


The New Saints 1-0 Feronikeli (3-2 on aggregate)

Welsh Premier League side The New Saints defeated Kosovan club Feronikeli, 1-0, thanks to a goal from Irish forward Dean Ebbe. Ebbe came off the bench and headed home a lofted ball into the box.

Feronikeli had chances to take the lead early, including twice in the first ten minutes, but blasted shots in the box well over the wall.

UEFA Champions League Second Leg Results

Shkendija 1 – 2 Nõmme Kalju 
Saburtalo 1 – 3 FC Sheriff
Valletta 1 – 1 F91 Dudelange
HB 2 – 2 HJK 

Solskjaer: ‘We just need consistency’

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In a vague, general word, Manchester United manager knows exactly what his club have been missing. Consistency.

More specifically, consistent success.

In a sit-down interview with the BBC, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer mentioned striving for consistency in performances on no less than four occasions, including when speaking about Alexis Sanchez. Man United won eight straight matches in all competitions and 10 of its first 11 under the Norwegian manager.

[READ: De Ligt lands in Turin ahead of Juventus move]

And yet, the consistency wasn’t there late in the season, when Man United faltered down the stretch and won just two of its last ten matches to close the season on a sour note. Man United finished in sixth place, and while Solskjaer said he believed it would be a challenge to break into the top four, he said with some consistent performances, Man United could achieve its goals.

“We have to aim for further up than fourth,” Solskjaer told the BBC. “I would rather be an optimist and be wrong than a pessimist and be right. I am not used to us being fifth or sixth but that is where we are at. That is the size of the challenge. I love that challenge.

“We have to work with the players, sign the right types and gradually make our way to the challenging line. Our players do have quality. They do have a chance. We just need consistency. We have to keep working every single day and not take our eyes off the target. Everyone gets off line at some point but you can’t let it drift too far because then you won’t get to the overall goal.”

Some Man United fans have been mumbling and rumbling due to the slow start in this summer’s transfer window. Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia have both departed on free transfers, while only Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have come in. While it’s not the improvements some fans were hoping for, it’s helped give some of the young players, like James Garner, Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes and Mason Greenword, some hope that they can get minutes.

Perhaps the push from the young players for first team minutes will make Man United a bit more competitive in training again, which can only help in terms of having success on the field.

The big question remains, which Man United team will we see this season. The one from Solskjaer’s first two months on the job, or the one from his last six weeks.

MLS Notes: Shea out for season with torn ACL, and more

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It appeared Brek Shea had finally gotten his career back on track, only for a serious injury to end his season prematurely.

Atlanta United announced on Tuesday that Shea had suffered a “right knee injury” that will involve season-ending surgery. An earlier report from the Athletic stated it was a torn ACL, which could leave Shea sidelined into the start of next season.

[READ: de Ligt arrives in Turin]

Shea has made 10 starts out of 19 appearances so far this season for Atlanta, where he’s often played as a left wing back or left midfielder, offering speed down the flank and a deeper starting position to connect with Atlanta’s talented attackers. A good season from Shea could have propelled him back into the USMNT conversation, especially if he took part in next season’s January camp. Now, that option is off the table.

Here’s some more MLS news and notes:

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