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Report: Pulisic agrees to Premier League transfer

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U.S. men’s national team fans, grab a paper bag and quit hyperventilating.

It appears that Christian Pulisic’s long rumored move to the Premier League is moving closer to becoming a reality.

[ MORE: Saints stun Arsenal ]

Pulisic, 20, is out of contract at Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2020, meaning he has just over 18 months left on his current deal with the Bundesliga giants.

In recent months he has lost his starting place at Dortmund to English teenage sensation Jadon Sancho, and whenever Pulisic has been asked about a move to England, he hasn’t shut it down. At all.

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Initially, a report from Cadena Ser in Spain said that Atletico Madrid enquired about Pulisic’s availability but Dortmund told them they have already agreed to sell him to a Premier League club.

And a separate report from the Daily Mail has followed up by saying Chelsea is confident of agreeing an $80-million deal for Pulisic in January, which would see him remain at Dortmund for the rest of the season then join the Blues in the summer. Per the report in the Mail, Pulisic has told Dortmund he wants to join Chelsea. Another report from Spain claims that Pulisic has agreed to join Liverpool, as Jurgen Klopp brought him to Dortmund.

Interesting. Very interesting.

Previous reports claimed that Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United all wanted to sign the USMNT superstar and one report even stated that Chelsea wanted to sign Pulisic in January.

Dortmund’s sporting director Michael Zorc has said Pulisic will not be sold in January, but Pulisic told Pro Soccer Talk recently that he would sit down with Dortmund during the upcoming winter break and discuss his future at the club.

Pulisic joined Dortmund as a 16-year-old and although the Hersey, Pennsylvania is well liked at the Westfalenstadion he is clearly no longer a guaranteed starter. For Dortmund, if they allow Pulisic to run his contract down to just a year left on it this summer they will not be able to request anywhere near the $80 million he is currently valued at.

With the January transfer window opening on Jan. 1, expect Pulisic to be linked with plenty of PL clubs over the next few weeks. Chelsea could be a perfect landing spot for Pulisic as Maurizio Sarri values players who can get on the ball, pick out passes and dictate the tempo of the game.

The likes of Willian and Pedro may be the odd ones out at Stamford Bridge if Pulisic arrives, while the future of Eden Hazard may also be in doubt if Chelsea line up this deal for the U.S. superstar.

Whether or not now is the right time for him to move to the PL remains to be seen, with question marks over his physicality remaining if he does make the jump from the Bundesliga to England’s top-flight.

But it seems like it is becoming a case of when, not if, this happens.

FOLLOW LIVE: Southampton v. Derby County

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Southampton and Derby County chase the final spot in the fourth round proper of the 2018-19 FA Cup with a replay at St. Mary’s on Wednesday.

[ FOLLOW: FA Cup scoreboard ]

The clubs drew 2-2 at Pride Park on Jan. 5, with a Nathan Redmond 2-0 lead going to waste for the Premier League visitors.

The victor gets a trip to the Crown Ground to face League One’s Accrington Stanley on Jan. 26.

Full fourth round fixture list

Jan. 25
Arsenal v. Manchester United

Jan. 26
Accrington Stanley v. Derby County or Southampton
Brighton and Hove Albion v. West Bromwich Albion
Bristol City v. Bolton
Doncaster Rovers v. Oldham Athletic
Man City v. Burnley
Middlesbrough v. Newport County
Newcastle United v. Watford
Portsmouth v. Queens Park Rangers
Swansea City v. Gillingham
Shrewsbury Town v. Wolves
Millwall v. Everton
AFC Wimbledon v. West Ham United

Jan. 27
Crystal Palace v. Spurs
Chelsea v. Sheffield Wednesday

Jan. 28
Barnet v. Brentford

Leeds’ Bielsa admits he spied “all the rivals”; How widespread is spying?

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Managerial darling Marcelo Bielsa spoke out Wednesday as fallout continues from a Leeds United scout caught spying on Derby County last week.

Bielsa says he’s spied on every team the club has played in the Championship this season.

[ MORE: Neymar praises Weah ]

How rare is this? And how big of a role has it played in Leeds’ 4-point lead in the race for automatic promotion to the Premier League? From the BBC:

“I observed all the rivals we played against and watched the training sessions of all opponents,” he said. “All the information I need to clarify, I gather it without watching the training session of the opponent, so why did I send someone to watch them? Just because I thought I wasn’t violating the norm. I gathered information that I can obtain in another way.

“We feel guilty if we don’t work enough, it [watching the opponents train] allows us to have less anxiety and in my case I am stupid enough to allow this kind of behavior.”

The 63-year-old Argentine has spent time at Lille, Lazio, Marseille, Athletic Bilbao, and Espanyol in addition to running the national teams of Argentina and Chile.

It does raise the question of how much spying is done in soccer. We know that the NFL’s New England Patriots cheated during a game against the New York Jets and that MLB teams try to steal signals, but sneaking around a training session… is that okay? Should it be?

55-goal Martinez re-ups with Atlanta through 2023

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Josef Martinez has signed a new deal with Atlanta United, with a contract tying him to the club through the 2023 Major League Soccer season.

Martinez, 25, has 55 goals in 61 games for the Five Stripes since arriving from Torino in 2017, a strike rate unlike anything the Venezuelan had been able to do in his career with the Serie A club, Young Boys, or Caracas.

[ MORE: Neymar praises Weah ]

That development has him happy to lock down a new Designated Player deal in Georgia, one that certainly would raise his transfer value. From AtlUtd.com:

“This means a lot to me because of the affection that the fans have shown me, that the fans show all of the players. It’s unique,” Martinez said. “They recognize the effort that you give and they know you did everything to win, and I think that’s why we love playing here. I have to thank everyone. My teammates, the city, my family and friends, because this is a dream I’ve always had. I’ve said before that I don’t want to go anywhere because this is my home. You can expect more work, more intensity, because that’s who I am. I want to win. I want to do everything for my teammates and for the city.”

With neither Newcastle nor Real Betis ready to meet Atlanta’s transfer fee for Miguel Almiron, the Five Stripes are in a bit of a bind with a reported deal for expected DP Pity Martinez despite having the league maximum three DPs in Martinez, Almiron, and Ezequiel Barco. Perhaps the European clubs are trying to force Atlanta’s hand.

Men In Blazers Podcast: De Gea heroics; Liverpool, Man City wins

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Rog and Davo applaud David De Gea‘s goalkeeping heroics in Manchester United’s 1-0 victory over Tottenham. Plus, wins for Liverpool and City in the title race.

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