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Weah chose to fight for PSG spot over loan spell

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While USMNT youngster Timothy Weah may be just 18 years old, he has hopes of competing not just with the best players on his team, but the best players in the world.

At USMNT camp this morning, the American teenager told the media today that he made the decision himself to reject a loan spell this season in favor of staying at PSG and attempting to earn a place in the team. Sticking around at a team with Champions League title aspirations might sound daunting enough, even before considering who he’s competing with.

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Weah had a strong preseason and earned a spot in the PSG squad early in the season, and found the field enough to score his first competitive goal for the club in the 4-0 season-opening Trophee des Champions victory over Monaco. He then came off the bench to score in the regular season opener against Caen. Unfortunately, that was before the big guns came back.

As superstars Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, and Edinson Cavani slowly trickled back from World Cup duty and regained their fitness, Weah once again faded into the background. 31-year-old Cavani was the last to return, and once that happened, Weah was no longer even among the substitutes.

However, now that Mbappe will miss three matches due to a red card suspension, it’s possible that Weah could make a return to the matchday squad and play a part. That’s likely what Weah’s season hinges on – injuries, suspensions, and anything else that creates an opening in the otherwise logjammed attacking presence at Parc de Princes.

Aside from Neymar, Mbappe, and Cavani, Weah has to compete with the likes of Angel Di Maria, Julian Draxler, Jese, fellow PSG youth product Moussa Diaby, and now new signing Eric Maxim Chupo-Moting. That’s an absolutely star-studded squad that Weah might find it hard to crack. Nonetheless, his performances in both preseason and the beginning of competition this season may go a long way towards helping him earn Thomas Tuchel’s trust.

It will be interesting to see if Weah can find playing time with so much major competition, but even if he’s simply a bit-part player, at just 18 years old, being with that first team could provide valuable experience and go a long way towards his future development. If the opportunities don’t arise, he could always move out on loan in January.

Report: West Ham has $45m striker bid rejected

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Duvan Zapata’s career half-year has made him an almost inexorable force in Serie A.

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The 27-year-old’s four-goal haul this weekend led him atop the Italian top flight in goals, level with Cristiano Ronaldo and Fabio Quagliarella.

Here is where it’s appropriate to pause and note that Quagliarella is going to turn 36 this month and we still think that number is too low. Didn’t he partner with Roberto Baggio or something?

His productivity has West Ham idealizing him as a fitting replacement for Marko Arnautovic, whether immediate or for next season, and Atalanta has reportedly spurned a $46 million offer for Zapata.

The five-times capped Colombian has 10, 11, and 14 goals in his last three Serie A campaigns, and the last number folds into his 17 across all competitions for Atalanta this season.

It would’ve essentially been a pound-for-pound deal for West Ham, who could allow Arnautovic to fly the coop for China.

Report: Atlanta “playing poker” with Newcastle over Almiron

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Atlanta United seems prepared to ride out the January window in the hopes that it lands a better deal for Miguel Almiron.

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Atlanta president Darren Eales had made it clear that he wouldn’t be accepting any offer that doesn’t start with a 3, and West Ham initially was linked with interest in a $33 million Almiron move.

Newcastle United has been consistently linked with Almiron, but for no more than $19 million. Eales and Atlanta have stayed consistent in their stance.

Here’s South American football writer Tim Vickery, via The Chronicle:

“They have done very, very well out of him and it seems at the moment they are playing poker. They are prepared to wait until the end of the window to try and get the best deal possible for him. …

“So they have lined up a replacement and now it is all about playing poker until the closing of the transfer window, hoping that either they can get a better deal from Newcastle or they can smoke out some other interest.”

The end of the January window is moving closer. Atlanta has its Almiron replacement in the form of Pity Martinez, who is in the United States as the worst-kept secret in recent MLS history (although Ezequiel Barco, one of Atlanta’s other recent DPs, had a similar arc in his arrival).

Atlanta’s path toward selling Almiron and getting down to the MLS maximum of four Designated Players is a fascinating one. Clearly the club has a plan should no one reach their asking price, but what if famously-stingy Newcastle won’t budge any higher or, even worse, pulls out of the running?

Again, fascinating. And Atlanta is playing high stakes games with one of the most alluring transfer assets in the league.

As for Newcastle, you could make a Best XI with the players initially linked with the Magpies before the club balked at the fee and let another Premier League club buy the player: Michy Batshuayi, Alexandre Lacazette, Virgil Van Dijk, Dele Alli, Mohamed Salah

Almiron’s success in the Premier League is a big question mark, not because of talent or drive but because of size. There’s an air of uncertainty that comes with attackers coming from lesser leagues, and — even for Newcastle — it’s somewhat forgivable that the club isn’t rushing to meet the Five Stripes’ asking price.

Reports: Bellerin to miss rest of season with ACL tear

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Arsenal’s fears regarding Hector Bellerin‘s leg injury were founded in truth, as the Spaniard is set to miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL.

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Bellerin, still just 23, was stretchered off of Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat of Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium this weekend after his knee appeared to buckle during a non-contact play.

He’s already made 181 appearances for the Gunners, with seven goals and 24 assists.

Stephane Lichtsteiner and Carl Jenkinson are in Arsenal’s right back corps, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles capable of logging minutes, too.

US investors take over Spanish 2nd-division club Reus

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MADRID (AP) American investors are taking over Spanish second-division club Reus, keeping it from being dissolved and dropped from the league.

The club says real estate investment bankers Russell Platt and Clifton Onolfo have purchased 99.7 percent of Reus’ shares.

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Financial details were not immediately released, but local media say the club’s debt has reached 5 million euros ($5.7 million).

The statement by Reus on Monday says the new group plans to build an 18,000-capacity stadium and an entertainment complex.

The club says Platt was a founder of Morgan Stanley Real Estate, while Onolfo was a former owner of the Connecticut Wolves, a team which used to play in the United Soccer League.

The takeover will allow Reus to keep playing in the second division and avoid the immediate risk of extinction. Last month, players demanded out of their contracts because they hadn’t been paid in months.

The new owners will have to show the club from near Barcelona is in compliance with rules by the Spanish league and other stakeholders.

Reus’ match against Las Palmas on Saturday was suspended because of the team’s situation.

The Catalan club is 20th in the 22-team second-division standings.

Among the players affected by Reus’ situation was young United States defender Shaq Moore, who was playing on a loan from Levante. He returned to Levante this month.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports