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Transfer Rumor Roundup: Fekir omitted at Lyon, Godin to Inter

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With a few teams already securing January moves, there’s plenty more talk going around. The title race in the Premier League is back on, with the battle for Champions League places and the relegation fight also quite close.

So, as teams look to fill holes big and small, we take a look at the biggest transfer gossip of the day.

With Liverpool now looking over its shoulder at a closing Manchester City, a familiar name has surfaced. Nabil Fekir was a summer Liverpool target, with news of the Reds chase quite public. He ultimately stayed at the French club, but with his contract expiring in 2020, the onus is on Lyon to sell before the club loses even more leverage.

Rumors have resurfaced this winter as Fekir was omitted from the Lyon squad to take on a fifth-tier club in the Coupe de France. It’s not anything terribly out of the ordinary, as Fekir’s minutes have been limited this season with the occasional rest, so it’s not too odd to see him held out of a matchup against a lower-tier club. Still, that has energized new rumors, as the belief is Lyon will see Fekir’s value drop should they wait to sell in the summer, and they could find a desperate buyer to drive up the price should they sell now.

Fekir has been solid this season, with four goals and two assists in 12 Ligue 1 appearances, plus three goals and two assists in five Champions League matches. Lyon sits third in a brutally tight battle for Champions League places in the Ligue 1 table, so losing Fekir could be tough to stomach, but holding onto him any longer could devalue his asking price considerably.


Arsenal and Chelsea have been linked countless times to Brazilian right-back Emerson, and those rumors have lit back up this winter, with his club Atletico Minero reportedly in some financial trouble, according to Brazilian publication UOL. Selling the 19-year-old could ease those burdens, and thus, January would be the perfect time to get talent-starved teams to bite. In addition, the Brazilian Serie A wrapped up its season on December 1, so the offseason could be the right time to let him leave. The club is reportedly looking to raise anywhere between $20 million and $30 million in player sales, and reports back in November mention Emerson would cost around $10 million.

According to a number of reports across the English tabloids, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Barcelona are the clubs most interested in his services. The Gunners especially are in need of full-backs, with Hector Bellerin injured and Stephan Lichtsteiner in poor form and at 34 years old.

Emerson made 23 league appearances for his club last season, scoring one goal and assisting another. Of those 23 appearances, 22 of them were starts, and he reached the full 90 minutes in all but one.


With lots of reports surrounding Aaron Ramsey‘s possible free transfer to Juventus, another marquee free transfer has flown under the radar. Atletico Madrid defender Diego Godin is out of contract this summer, and at 32 years old, Atletico is expected to let him leave after eight decorated years with the club.

According to respected Italian journalist Gianluca di Marzio, Godin has already reached an agreement with his next club, signing a two-year deal with Inter Milan with an option for a third year. Inter’s defensive record is stellar this season, with 14 goals conceded in 19 matches, second only to table-toppers Juventus. Still, it would be hard to pass up a defender of Godin’s pedigree, as he would be a positive influence on emerging 23-year-old Milan Skriniar who has already racked up 2,000 minutes this season.

Di Marzio reports that the deal still needs to be “finalized” but that it is heading in that direction. It would allow Godin to link up with former teammate Miranda, with whom Godin won the La Liga title in 2014.


According to Belgian publication HLN, West Ham, Newcastle and Cardiff City are all interested in 22-year-old Brazilian striker Wesley, who currently plays at Belgian side Club Brugge.

Wesley has scored seven goals and assisted six others among 19 appearances in Jupiler Pro League play, helping Club Brugge to second in the league through 21 matches. The report states Cardiff has already made an official bid for him but it was turned down. An amount was not given.

The report states the club would rather sell in the summer than let him go in the middle of the season, but that the situation is fluid and the club does have a price that would force its hand. Both Cardiff and Newcastle have struggled to create goals this season, and Wesley’s ability to both score and create chances.

USWNT’s 28-game run snapped in hammering by France

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Kadidiatou Diani scored twice and France ended the U.S. national team’s 28-game unbeaten streak with a 3-1 victory Saturday in Le Havre, France.

The top-ranked United States had not lost since falling 1-0 to Australia in 2017, The Americans were 25-0-3 over the span.

Marie-Antoinette Katoto also scored for third-ranked France. It has won eight straight matches.

It was the first of 10 matches the United States will play before the World Cup. The Americans are the defending champions and could meet France again in the tournament’s quarterfinals.

France went up in the ninth minute on Diani’s goal off a cross from Delphine Cascarino. Diani scored again in the 57th minute to make it 2-0. The 23-year old plays for Paris Saint-Germain.

Katoto, Diani’s PSG teammate, added a goal in the 78th minute.

Mallory Pugh scored for the United States in the final moments.

U.S. coach Jill Ellis had to tinker with her starting lineup and rested stars Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath and Julie Ertz as a precaution because of minor injuries. Also held out was Kelley O’Hara, still recovering from ankle surgery.

Defender Tierna Davidson came in for Emily Fox in the 53rd minute, marking her first appearance since she fractured her left ankle in a match for Stanford in September.

Davidson decided to leave the Cardinal with a year of eligibility remaining to focus on making the World Cup team. She was the first overall pick in last week’s National Women’s Soccer League draft by the Chicago Red Stars.

The match at La Stade Oceane was sold out with over 25,000 in attendance. The stadium is one of the nine venues that will host World Cup games. The Americans’ next visit to the stadium will be for the final match of the World Cup group stage against Sweden.

“I’m not worried,” Ellis said following the loss. “We know who we are and what we can do.”

Next up for the United States is a match against Spain on Tuesday at Estadio Joss Rico Perez in Alicante. The U.S. women trained in Portugal ahead of the two-match European trip.

Serie A: Roma climb into 4th; anti-racism showing at Inter

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in Italy’s top flight…

[ MORE: What we learned in the Premier League, Week 23 ]

Roma 3-2 Torino

Nicolo Zaniolo announced himself as one of Europe’s most promising young talents, with the opening goal in Roma’s 3-2 victory over Torino, a game in which the 19-year-old was the best, most dangerous attacker for the whole of 90 minutes.

Zaniolo was initially denied by Salvatore Sirigu, but the young Italian managed to collect the rebound and put it home on the rebound, all while on the ground. Aleksandar Kolarov made it 2-0 not long after the half-hour mark, and Roma appeared to be on their merry way to a third straight victory.

The score was 2-2 by the 67th minute, thanks to Tomas Rincon and Cristian Asnaldo. Stephan El Shaarawy had other ideas, though, as he slammed home the winner, courtesy of a perfect through ball from Lorenzo Pellegrini, in the 73rd.

Now fully recovered from a disastrous start to the season (just five wins from their first 15 games), Roma sit fourth in the table, a point ahead of capital rivals Lazio.

Inter Milan 0-0 Sassuolo

Elsewhere in the top-four, third-place Inter Milan were held to a scoreless draw by 12th-place Sassuolo, but the game’s real story took place in the stands.

With Inter serving the second of its two-game ban on fans being allowed inside the San Siro due to racist chants, more than 10,000 local children were invited to attend as part of an initiative against discrimination. Brothers Universally United hung anti-discrimination signs around the stadium and the players word “BUU No to discrimination” on their shirt sleeves.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Udinese 1-2 Parma

Sunday’s Serie A schedule

Frosinone v. Atalanta — 6:30 a.m. ET
Fiorentina v. Sampdoria — 9 a.m. ET
SPAL v. Bologna — 9 a.m. ET
Cagliari v. Empoli — 12 p.m. ET
Napoli v. Lazio — 2:30 p.m. ET

La Liga: Atleti cut into Barcelona’s lead; Real Madrid move into 3rd

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ MORE: What we learned in the Premier League, Week 23 ]

Huesca 0-3 Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid cut Barcelona’s lead in the title race to two points with a resounding victory away to 20th-place Huesca. Barcelona will host 15th-place Leganes on Sunday.

Lucas Hernandez opened the scoring in the 31st minute, and while his finish inside a heavy fog would ultimately be enough for Diego Simeone’s side, Santiago Arias (52nd) and Koke (71st) tacked on insurance goals in the second half.

Real Madrid 2-0 Sevilla

In a battle of two sides level on points in a battle for third place, Real Madrid turned in one of their better performances on the season en route to a 2-0 victory over Sevilla.

Sure, Los Blancos didn’t break the scoreless deadlock until Casemiro unleashed his long-range blast in the 78th minute — thus the result was in doubt for much of the game — but Madrid were in complete control despite the goal coming late on. Sevilla managed just four shots over 90 minutes and held just 31 percent of possession.

Even still, the score remained tight at 1-0 until stoppage time, when Luka Modric 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric put the game to bed.

Now in sole possession of third place — three points clear of Sevilla, but still seven back of Barcelona — Santiago Solari’s side appears to have righted the ship enough that they’ll cruise to a top-four finish.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Celta Vigo 1-2 Valencia

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Real Betis v. Girona — 6 a.m. ET
Villarreal v. Athletic Bilbao — 10:15 a.m. ET
Rayo Vallecano v. Real Sociedad — 12:30 p.m. ET
Levante v. Real Valladolid — 12:30 p.m. ET
Barcelona v. Leganes — 2:45 p.m. ET

USMNT youngster joins NYCFC on loan from Benfica

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NEW YORK (AP) U.S. national player Keaton Parks has been acquired by New York City FC on loan from the Portuguese club Benfica for the 2019 season.

The 21-year-old Texan is a versatile central midfielder. He joined Varzim of Portugal in 2015 when he turned 18 and then signed with Benfica in 2017.

He made his national team debut in May, entering in the 62nd minute of a 3-0 victory over Bolivia in Philadelphia.

New York sporting director Claudio Reyna said Saturday that Parks “comes to us highly motivated” and can “make a strong impact” in midfield.