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Transfer rumor roundup: Zaha to Arsenal; Ndombele delay

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The transfer window is officially open again and that means one thing: transfer reports are kicking up a few notches between now and Aug. 8 when the window shuts for the 2019-20 season.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Here’s a look at some of the latest gossip from around the Premier League…


According to our partners at Sky Sports Wilfried Zaha has told Crystal Palace he wants to leave this summer for a fresh challenge.

The report states that he wants to sign for another club in London who play in Europe, which narrows it down to Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea. The latter have a transfer ban, so that’s not going to happen, so Zaha is eyeing north London.

He grew up as an Arsenal fan and per the report the Gunners have been sounded out about a deal and are going to be a bid in for Palace’s star who they value at $100 million. Zaha, 26, is currently away on international duty with the Ivory Coast but has started their two opening games on the bench, and would be a instant starter at either Arsenal or Spurs with his incredible pace and trickery out wide a nightmare to defend.

Zaha came through the ranks at Palace before being sold to Manchester United in 2013, but he then returned to Palace first on loan and then permanently in January 2015. It is believed United will receive 25 percent of any transfer fee Palace receive, as this is another huge blow for the Eagles who have already sold Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Man United this summer and Zaha scored  10 Premier League goals last season.

Despite signing a huge new contract last summer, Zaha spoke to the Daily Mail towards the end of last season about wanting to move on.

“For me to be better, to achieve what I know I am capable of, I have to aim to play at the very highest level, to win trophies,” Zaha said. “I’m blessed to have come this far in my playing career. But I feel like there is so much more I have to offer. I have to experience the Champions League. I just need the opportunity, that’s it. And I’ll do the rest.”

Now it’s about Arsenal putting up the cash to sign Zaha, and they’ll likely have to offload a few players to bring him in as Unai Emery reportedly has just $60 million to spend this summer after the Gunners failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League.


Tottenham may be in for Zaha in the long run, but someone they are much closer to signing is Lyon and France central midfielder Tanguy Ndombele.

But they better hurry up.

A deal for Ndombele, 22, was said to be close as Spurs closed in on a significant signing after going 18 months without a new addition to their squad over the last three transfer windows.

But Jean-Michel Aulas, Lyon’s president, has revealed he will increase the price for Ndombele to $90 million unless Spurs crack on with negotiations.

“If I wait another eight days, it will be €80m. Tottenham made us an opening offer worth €45m. Then, we discussed more. Nothing is done, I can assure you. We are not in a hurry either. Tanguy has shown his qualities with the French national team. He is one of our best players. How much is he worth? I do not know, but not just €45m,” Aulas said.

“We had people speaking all night with Daniel Levy. He talks a lot and goes back on what we’ve agreed in writing. Agreements have not at all been respected. We had email exchanges which have been contradicted, so that’s made it very complicated. It’s difficult. The Tottenham board’s theory is to explain that the economic market is very hard and so we have to get used to renegotiating.

“It’s been very, very difficult. I’ve got 25 years of experience as a president of a club and it’s our 16th participation in a European competition in a row. But this is very rare in the football world. The negotiation with the Tottenham directors has been the hardest I have ever had to undergo in these 25 years.”

Now, Lyon’s president is known for being pretty outrageous with his public comments and this is no different. It also proves what everyone knows about Daniel Levy, that he is one of the top negotiators out there.

Spurs need someone to hold down central midfield, with Victor Wanyama and Eric Dier not really working out, while Moussa Sissoko has surprisingly been a revelation in a slightly different role in central midfield. Ndombele has been superb for Lyon over the past two seasons and has broken into the French national team in recent months. His distribution, reading of the game, dribbling and ability to intercept opponents have elevated him to the this level and he’s one of the best two-way central midfielders in the game right now.

This would be a massive coup in the transfer market for Tottenham.

With Christian Eriksen expected to move on this summer, Spurs will have some cash to spend and getting in Ndombele and perhaps improving their central defense with Toby Alderweireld also rumored to be leaving, has to be the priority.

Hilarious Klopp raves about Man City: “They could’ve scored 12”

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Jurgen Klopp joined NBC’s pitch side desk at Stamford Bridge following Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Chelsea on Sunday, and as usual was an exceptional interview.

The Reds boss was asked whether the five-point advantage his side holds over second place Man City is significant, and Klopp issued a fantastic response.

[ MORE: Match recap | 3 things ]

“Did you watch the game yesterday? Do you think you can get rid of a team like that? They come from Ukraine, have absolutely no time to prepare, no time to rest and play that game. The first 15 minutes (makes explosive noise) what was that? They could’ve scored 12. It is really a joy to watch to be honest. … Eighteen points after six matches is a pretty impressive numbers, but 32 to come is another big number.”

This is why Klopp is delightful. Yes, he serves his team purpose by taking the title talk away from the team, but he also shows how much he loves the game (He also issued a questionable language statement on the nature of 2-0 leads).

What City did on Saturday against Watford was and is amazing to everyone. And we love the competition with Pep that clearly lives in both of their minds.

Lampard explains why Pulisic is not playing

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LONDON — Frank Lampard made it crystal clear as to why Christian Pulisic isn’t playing for Chelsea right now.

He isn’t quite ready to be a regular in the Premier League.

The USMNT star was an unused substitute for the third game running, as Chelsea lost 2-1 at home to Liverpool on Sunday.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned

Asked by Pro Soccer Talk after the game if Pulisic was a victim of Chelsea suffering three injuries to players during their defeat to Liverpool, Lampard said that wasn’t the case at all.

“He wasn’t a victim of the injuries. I’ve got a squad to pick from. Before that he had played a few games,” Lampard said. “Willian has come back in and been sharp and looked good. I decided to go with Mason [Mount] today, because we needed to stay strong in midfield and play Mason high up the pitch. That is my choice to make. He will get ample opportunities. He is a young player as well as everyone is talking about Mason and Tammy and Fikayo. He is actually as young, if not younger, than some of them. His chances will come.”

There have been some suggestions in the British media this week that Pulisic has been described as being shy and has struggled to fit in and settle down since his move from Borussia Dortmund to Chelsea in the summer.

Asked if Pulisic was struggling with his new life in London, Lampard said he didn’t think that was the case and again pointed to other players, aside from Pulisic, deserving more minutes too.

“No, I can’t speak exactly for him, but no, that is not the case,” Lampard said. “I have to make choices. There is him sitting on the bench, Pedro sitting on the bench, Ross Barkley on the bench, Batshuayi, who deserves more minutes for the way he’s training at the minute. Those are the unfortunate choices I need to make.”

Right now, Pulisic is suffering from Chelsea switching formations and the likes of Willian and Pedro returning to fitness. Add in Callum Hudson-Odoi soon to return from injury and Pulisic could slip to being Chelsea’s fifth-choice winger.

It is far too early to say this is a problem for the U.S. men’s national team, but Pulisic’s decision to join Chelsea in January may be seen as a step back if he doesn’t soon secure regular minutes.

Lampard obviously rates him and pointed to Pulisic only turning 21 years old earlier this week, but it is clear he doesn’t rate him enough to start the Pennsylvania native over the likes of Mount, Willian and Pedro.

That is a big problem for Pulisic.

Three things we learned: Chelsea v. Liverpool

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LONDON — Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-1 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, as Jurgen Klopp‘s men stay top of the Premier League table with a perfect record after six wins from six. 

First half goals from Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino set them on their way, with a disallowed goal for Chelsea, via VAR, causing plenty of debate. N’Golo Kante’s sublime strike in the second half set up a tense finish and Chelsea should have at least grabbed a point.

[ MORE: Match recap | Klopp reacts ]

Here’s what we learned from a dramatic encounter at Stamford Bridge.


VAR DELIVERS ALMIGHTY MOMENTUM SWING

In the space of about 60 first-half seconds Chelsea went from scoring a deserved equalizer to trailing 2-0. An almighty momentum swing was delivered, courtesy of VAR, and Chelsea never quite recovered. The fact Mason Mount‘s toe was offside made the pill even tougher to swallow, as just like the incident involving Heung-Min Son for Spurs at Leicester on Saturday, it knocked the stuffing out of Chelsea.

They had recovered after going 1-0 down to a piece of magic from Alexander-Arnold, but after prolonged celebrations following Cesar Apzilicueta’s ‘equalizer’ the moans and groans around the Bridge reflected how the home players felts as their shoulders slumped in unison. Premier League teams are still dealing with the momentum swings VAR decisions bring, and Chelsea’s youngster didn’t cope well with it at all. Initially.

In fairness, they roared back in the second half and should have grabbed a point from this game. But VAR is delivering the correct decisions, no matter how close the calls are, and players aren’t quite able to cope with the loss of momentum.


LIVERPOOL GRIND OUT YET ANOTHER WIN

Liverpool have now lost just once in their last 45 PL games, and are unbeaten in 23, their longest run in PL history. The last time they were unbeaten in 23 league games was back in 1990.

1990 was the last time they won the title.

It is now six wins from six this season and 15 victories Premier League victories in a row for Jurgen Klopp’s side. And just like the rest of this season, so far, Liverpool barely had to get out of second gear. That is the scary thing about this team.

The fact Jordan Henderson was barking at Alexander-Arnold for a slightly misplaced pass when Liverpool were 2-0 up tells you about the desire of this team. They aren’t happy with simply winning. They are becoming perfectionists and their five point lead atop the table feeds into that narrative. They are perfect six games in, and bigger tests than beating an inexperienced Chelsea side await. But the ease with which Liverpool are brushing aside their opponents is becoming all too familiar.

We are only six games into the season but Klopp’s side are a well-oiled machine who will push Manchester City all the way for the title once again. They were far from their best at Chelsea but they have a very handy habit of winning regardless of their performance.


DEFENSIVE ISSUES HOLDING CHELSEA BACK

Sure, Emerson Palmeri and Andreas Christensen went off injured in the first half and Antonio Rudiger is out, but the basic errors Chelsea are making continue to cost them. Lampard’s men could do nothing about TAA’s moments of magic from a free kick but to allow Firmino a free header six yards out is just not on. Chelsea have now conceded the second-highest number of goals (13) in the Premier League this season and unless they can somehow shore up their leaky defense a top four finish seems unlikely.

N’Golo Kante’s stunning strike gave the scoreline the look it deserved and his return from injury solidified midfield, as Liverpool’s famed speed on the counter barely surfaced. Chelsea are a work in progress under Lampard and the biggest area he has to work on is at the back. After creating numerous chances going forward, they won’t be worried about scoring goals this season. Keeping them out is their Achilles heel.

Lampard’s side were applauded off the field at the final whistle and the home fans are encouraged by the progress this young side is making. It wasn’t enough to get the past Liverpool, but if Chelsea can cut out silly defensive errors, the rest of their game is looking good.

Klopp: Liverpool almost made statement in Chelsea win

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Liverpool is a perfect 6-0, even after a not-so-perfect 2-1 win over Chelsea on Sunday, and that result under those circumstances only seems to underscore its power.

The Reds built an early 2-0 lead that nearly disappeared and perhaps should’ve led to a draw had Michy Batshuayi and Mason Mount provided the finishing touch.

[ MORE: Match recap | 3 things ]

But they didn’t, and a sloppy second half at the back didn’t hurt the Reds aside from N’Golo Kante’s undressing of Fabinho.

Yes, there’s a certain vibe of destiny around this unit, and everything is going according to Jurgen Klopp‘s plans.

He’s downright giddy, but you can tell he cares about matching performances like Man City’s 8-0 clobbering of Watford and that any goal against his men is a bit of luck.

“3-0 would have been a statement but then N’Golo Kante makes his little run and with his big toe kicks it in.

“Then it is completely normal that you come under pressure but we defended well. There were a couple of good saves from both goalkeepers. Good situations in an exciting game and that is how it is in the top six and in the Premier League.”

Apologies to Klopp, but the Kante quip is an absolute scream. Chelsea’s midfielder left Fabinho for dead and then took advantage of slow-to-react Joel Matip and Virgil Van Dijk to smash a delightful goal past Adrian with the side of his foot. Just tip your cap, Jurgen.

The Reds are now the first PL team to go 6-0 to start consecutive seasons, though it seems there’s a certain team in his head.

“It is exceptional. What can I say? We have to keep on going. It never looks as easy as it did for City yesterday but we have not had these games yet. We have to work for it.”

Circle Nov. 10 at Anfield, okay? The next round of Klopp v. Pep.