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Transfer rumor roundup: Bale to Bayern; Saliba to Arsenal

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The transfer window is officially open again and that means one thing: transfer reports are going to start kicking up a few notches.

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Here’s a look at some of the latest gossip from around the PL and Europe…


The Sun report that Bayern Munich want to sign Gareth Bale, 29, on loan for the 2019-20 campaign.

Bale is out of favor with new manager Zinedine Zidane and with Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic already arriving as new attackers in the hugely expensive summer rebuild, Real have to move some big names on. Bale, despite winning four UEFA Champions League titles in six seasons at Real, is at the top of that list.

Per the report, Bale is keen on moving to Bayern for the season so he can play regularly as he knows his time at Real is all but up. That said, he isn’t willing to move back to the Premier League and give up his staggering salary of $440,000 per week. It is believed Bayern will pay his wages and the Bundesliga champs are eager to add to their attacking options out wide after losing both Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben over the summer. Man United and Tottenham have been suggested as possible destinations for Bale, but his wages would mean he is out of reach.

Real’s fans have turned on Bale time and time again in recent seasons and in 2018-19 he was jeered on numerous occasions and the fans at the Santiago Bernabeu do not want him to return next season. If Bale doesn’t want to give up his lucrative contract, a loan move makes sense. Heading to Bayern, a team which will challenge for the domestic and European title, isn’t a bad place for him to go and play regularly and enjoy his football again.


Arsenal appear to be moving closes to signing Saint-Etienne youngster Wiliam Saliba.

According to Foot Mercato in France an agreement has been reached between Arsenal and the 18-year-old center back, with negotiations ongoing between the two clubs over a transfer fee. Other reports state that the deal isn’t as close as that and a compromise of Saliba being loaned back for next season isn’t something Arsenal want to do.

Whatever happens, this is the kind of signing the Gunners have to make this summer and beyond.

Saliba was a regular in the second half of the season for Saint-Etienne in 2018-19 and made 19 appearances in his first campaign as a professional. The French youth international is valued at around $30 million and both Man City and Man United are said to have been tracking his progress.

This move makes a lot of sense for Arsenal.

Defensively they need big improvements and after spending big on Shkodran Mustafi in the past, they’ve had their fingers burned as everyone knows they are desperate to shore up a leaky defense. Unai Emery‘s men conceded 51 goals last season and that was the main reason they finished outside of the top four in the Premier League. Laurent Koscielny and Mustafi are on the outside looking in when it comes to the starting lineup, while Sokratis is the only new defensive addition who has really improved their solidity in recent years.

Saliba may well be a signing for the future, but that is now what Arsenal, like Manchester United, must do if they’re going to have a long-term to not only get back into the top four but challenge for the PL title again.

LIVE, UCL last 16: Atletico v. Liverpool; Dortmund v. PSG

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The 2019-20 UEFA Champions League is finally back as the Round of 16 kicks off this week and Atletico Madrid host Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain head to Borussia Dortmund in what should be two epic battles.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

Liverpool are the first Premier League club to get going as Jurgen Klopp locks horns with Diego Simeone’s Atleti, who are a very dangerous team to play and they will scrap and battle for every ball against the reigning European champions. With Sadio Mane back fit, he could be the difference for Liverpool as the runaway Premier League leaders return to the stadium where they win their sixth European title at the end of last season. Madrid holds fond memories for Klopp’s boys. Atletico Madrid are struggling along in La Liga but they have played the underdog role very well in recent seasons and this encounter will be full throttle from the start.

Borussia Dortmund host Paris Saint-Germain in the other UCL last 16 first leg clash on Tuesday and that should be a cracking game between two very evenly-matched teams as former Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel takes PSG to the Westfalenstadion. Kylian Mbappe v. Jadon Sancho equals chef’s kiss.

[ MORE: Which Premier League team(s) will reach last eight? ]

Next week the other four last 16 first legs take place as Man City and Chelsea are in action against Real Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively. Out of the four Premier League teams still in the competition, Liverpool and Spurs will be the most confident of advancing.

Below is the full schedule for the two UCL last 16 first leg games on Tuesday, with bothgames kicking off at 3 p.m. ET. You can follow the action live by clicking on the link above.


Tuesday Champions League action

Atletico Madrid v. Liverpool
Borussia Dortmund v. Paris Saint-Germain

Champions League score predictions: Round of 16

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The 2019-20 UEFA Champions League is finally back as the Round of 16 kicks off this week and two of the four Premier League clubs are in action.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur, the two finalists from last season, are first up and both will be happy enough with their draws in the last 16.

That said, Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool know that Diego Simeone’s Atleti are a very dangerous team to play as they will scrap and battle for every ball against the reigning European champions. As for Spurs and Jose Mourinho, the news that Heung-min Son has broken his arm and could be out for the rest of the season is a huge blow but they host an inconsistent RB Leipzig.

Borussia Dortmund host Paris Saint-Germain and Atalanta host Valencia in the other last 16 ties this week and both should be cracking encounters between two very evenly-matched teams.

[ MORE: Which Premier League team(s) will reach last eight? ]

Next week the other four last 16 first legs take place as Man City and Chelsea are in action against Real Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively. Out of the four Premier League teams still in the competition, Liverpool and Spurs will be the most confident of advancing.

Below we predict the scores for the UCL round of 16 games taking place over the next two days. Feel free to make your own predictions in the comments section below, too.


Tuesday
Atletico Madrid 1-2 Liverpool
Borussia Dortmund 3-2 PSG

Wednesday
Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 RB Leipzig
Atalanta 2-1 Valencia

Lampard issues Chelsea injury update; Pulisic remains out

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Chelsea boss Frank Lampard issued a lengthy injury update after their 2-0 defeat against Man United and USMNT fans will not be happy to hear that Christian Pulisic remains out.

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Ahead of Chelsea’s pivotal top four clash at home against bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com), Lampard could be without as many as five key players.

Andreas Christensen broke his nose and came off at half time against United, while N’Golo Kante was subbed off early after yet another leg injury for the French superstar.

“Callum, no. Pulisic, no. N’Golo, no, from that today. Tammy is a maybe. It is not going our way with injuries at the moment but the players who come in they have to show that. That is what the squad is there for. It is frustrating,” Lampard told Chelsea TV when asked about availability for Saturday.

Lampard then gave an extra update on Kante, who walked through the mixed zone after the game looking okay and told the French journalists who were assembled that it wasn’t too bad.

“It is an adductor injury,” Lampard confirmed. “We will have to assess it and scan it. It doesn’t look great. It is on the same leg [as he injured before].”

With four wins in their last 14 Premier League games Chelsea are not in good form and are just one point ahead of fifth-place Tottenham ahead of their game this weekend.

They also have a nasty habit of dominating matches but are failing to put multiple chances away and with these injuries piling up it certainly makes Chelsea’s decision to not spend in the January window to strengthen their squad, especially in terms of strikers, very surprising.

With Bayern Munich coming up in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last 16 tie next week, Lampard will hope Chelsea’s luck turns and plenty of players return from injury.

FC Cincinnati coach Jans resigns amid investigation over remarks

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CINCINNATI — FC Cincinnati coach Ron Jans resigned amid an investigation by Major League Soccer of his use of a racial slur in the locker room.

Jans resigned late Monday, FC Cincinnati President Jeff Berding said: “The club had suspended Jans pending the investigation, which was prompted by a complaint from the MLS Players Association.

“As Major League Soccer’s investigation unfolded and some themes emerged, Ron offered his resignation and we agreed that it was the best course of action for everyone involved with FC Cincinnati,” Berding said.

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The club designated Yoann Damet as interim head coach while the team conducts a search. Cincinnati is training in Florida for its second season in MLS.

Cincinnati has been through two head coaches during its brief stay in the league. It fired Alan Koch after its 11th first-tier match, which left the expansion club with two wins, seven losses and two draws.

Damet also was the interim head coach while the team conducted a search that resulted in Jans’ hiring last August.

Cincinnati finished with the worst record in MLS in its inaugural season, with six wins, six draws and 22 losses. It scored a league-low 31 goals in 34 matches.

Cincinnati gained entry into MLS after a successful debut under Koch, who led the team to the semifinals of the United Soccer League’s playoffs in both 2017 and 2018.