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Which PL teams were most affected by World Cup?

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With the transfer window ending earlier than usual in England and a number of the Premier League’s top talents just getting back from an altered summer vacation, it’s safe to say the 2018-19 season will be different than most years.

[ MORE: Will Tottenham rue not spending this summer? ]

The World Cup always affects the top leagues across the globe, whether that be in the transfer market or the injury department, so with a short turnaround Pro Soccer Talk decided to take a look at a few of the club’s that will be most affected by the World Cup, which saw France hoist the 2018 edition.


Manchester City

The clear favorites to repeat as PL champions don’t have many things working against them outside of a large portion of their squad having played in Russia.

While some other clubs benefitted from having their players having a summer vacation and time to rest, City had a full compliment of squad members in Russia, including Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, Fernandinho and Kyle Walker.

Players like De Bruyne, Walker and Vincent Kompany, who made deep runs in the World Cup, have had less than a month to prepare for the new PL season, which will really test their physical capabilities over a grueling nine-month season.

Manchester United

For a player like Paul Pogba, the World Cup should have greatly helped the Frenchman’s stock. After all, he did win a World Cup with France — the country’s second in its history.

However, a strained relationship with Jose Mourinho has caused more questions than answers to be raised at Old Trafford, and now with about a day to go in the transfer window the Red Devils could lose one of its biggest stars.

Meanwhile, a similar situation has transpired between Mourinho and Anthony Martial — a teammate of Pogba’s on the French national team. Martial left United’s preseason tour of the U.S. due to family reasons, which left Mourinho displeased with the attacker.

Liverpool

An early exit for Senegal and Egypt might have been the best thing for Liverpool.

With Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah coming off of a hectic season in 2017-18, the Reds’ two biggest stars needed a decent break to reinvigorate themselves for the upcoming PL campaign.

The duo have looked to be in fine form throughout preseason, and while some of their teammates like Dejan Lovren and Jordan Henderson had to deal with lengthy stays in Russia, this Reds side looks a major threat to topping Man City at the top of England.

Fulham

The World Cup helped the promoted sides greatly because it took the attention off the clubs and allowed them to handle their business in the transfer market.

It’s probably unfair to just single out Fulham because Wolves and Cardiff did their fair share of spending as well, but Fulham did a tremendous job to improve itself in every facet of their game.

That includes a deal for Nice midfielder Jean Michael Seri, which could prove to be one of the best pieces of business this summer, after he was linked with moves to several bigger clubs across Europe.

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.

From Goal.com:

“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).

Report: Chelsea, Real $38M apart on Hazard

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How much for Hazard?

Real Madrid are willing to pay $127 million, no small fee, to bring Eden Hazard from Chelsea, but that’s well off the Blues’ evaluation according to Sky Sports.

Chelsea sees Hazard’s price as $165 million. Belgian writer Kristof Terreur told Sky that Hazard wants his future sorted by June 4.

[ MORE: Bayern wins double ]

The Blues’ superstar is entering the final year of his contract, and could begin negotiating with other clubs in January and leave on a free transfer.

Hazard turns 29 in January. He recorded 19 goals and 16 assists in 51 matches this season, his best output in a Blues uniform.

The report says Chelsea feels no pressure to sell Hazard, but it would be a surprise if it dug in its heels too deeply considering the state of the Belgian’s contract.

Even for Chelsea, letting over $100 million walk out the door is wild, and for all Hazard’s won with Chelsea there’s also been consternation under several managers and a more than occasional habit of disappointing on the table.