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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.

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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.

Coronavirus: Italy may lift ban on sporting events by Monday

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MILAN (AP) The Italian government could lift its ban on sporting events by Monday in areas affected by the coronavirus if the number of cases stabilizes.

The outbreak forced a number of sporting events to be called off throughout the country this past weekend, including four Serie A matches in the north of Italy.

This week, the ban on sporting events was extended from Lombardy, Veneto and Piedmont – the areas hardest hit by the outbreak – to also include the regions of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Emilia Romagna and Liguria, until March 1.

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“If, as I hope, the statistics don’t give us different signs then maybe already by Monday these measures won’t be continued,” Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora said. “But it’s only Tuesday today and we have to wait and see what happens over the next few days. The health of the Italian citizens is the most important thing.”

Italy reported a 45% increase in the number of coronavirus cases Tuesday, from 222 to 300. Ten people have died, all of them elderly or suffering from other ailments.

“Obviously, I can’t say I’m not worried because I don’t want anyone to think we’re underestimating this emergency,” Premier Giuseppe Conte said before meeting with visiting World Health Organization representatives. “But we trust that with the measures we have implemented, there will be a containing effect in the coming days.”

Italy has closed schools, museums and theaters in the two regions where clusters have formed and troops are enforcing quarantines around 10 towns in Lombardy and the epicenter of the Veneto cluster, Vo’Euganeo.

Serie A matches this weekend are set to be played behind closed doors, including Juventus’ key match against Inter Milan. That game is not only potentially crucial to the title race but also sees the return of former Juventus coach Antonio Conte.

Inter’s Europa League match at home to Ludogorets on Thursday will also take place without any fans allowed in.

Serie C canceled all games in two leagues which have teams in the north. Volleyball and rugby games were also suspended nationwide through next weekend.

The Italian Winter Sports Federation suspended all of its events throughout the country for an entire week, although it said that “for now” next weekend’s World Cup ski races in La Thuile in the Valle d’Aosta region were still set to go ahead. Those races are operated by the International Ski Federation, which has already canceled races this season in China that were slated to test the course for the 2022 Beijing Games.

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

El Tri winger Jurgen Damm headed for MLS this summer

Jurgen Damm
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This season’s Liga MX invasion of MLS continues with Jurgen Damm announcing that he’ll leave UANL Tigres this summer after five years with the club.

TUDN has the destination as Atlanta, though previous reports have linked Damm to the LA Galaxy is the spot.

And MLSSoccer.com scribe Tom Bogert says the Houston Dynamo have his “discovery rights” (which remains the worst concept in the entire league).

Reports emerged over the past 48 hours that the El Tri man was headed for an MLS club.

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The 12-times capped winger has one goal for Mexico, but has not been capped since Oct. 2018. He has spent his entire career in Liga MX.

Damm spent the early part of his career with Tecos and Pachuca, but has been with UANL Tigres since 2015.

He won four league titles with UANL, as well as the 2018 Campeones Cup.

Ex-Arsenal man Gnabry: “London’s still red” after Bayern beats Chelsea

Serge Gnabry
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Ex-Arsenal man Serge Gnabry still has love for the club.

Gnabry tweeted that “London is still red” after he scored twice for Bayern Munich in a 3-0 beating of Chelsea on Tuesday in the first leg of a UEFA Champions League Round of 16 tie.

This after scoring four times against Spurs in a previous Champions League group stage match and Tweeting that “North London is Red.”

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So what’s with the London form?

“I’ve got a lot of friends here,” Gnabry said after the game. “A lot of them were in the stands tonight, and it seems they give me a lot of good power.”

Gnabry only scored once during his time in England with Arsenal and West Brom but is a bona fide star in the Bundesliga.

With a three-goal advantage over Chelsea heading to Munich for a second leg, however, he’s not got his head in the clouds.

“Three goals ahead gives us a little bit of confidence, but we need to be prepared for the second leg. We can’t take it not seriously enough. … We’ve seen it last year with Liverpool beating Barcelona, so we have to be careful. We have to go into the second leg with all of our focus.”

Gnabry now has 51 goals and 29 assists in four seasons since returning to Germany from Arsenal. Not terrible production for a player the Gunners offloaded to Werder Bremen for under $6 million in 2016.

What color will London be when Chelsea buys him next year? We kid, we kid…

Champions League preview: Real Madrid renews rivalry with Pep; Lyon hosts Juve

UEFA Champions League preview
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The final two ties of the UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16 begin Wednesday when Manchester City and Juventus head to Spain and France.

The focus for many will be on the former, as City continues to weather UEFA drama while its manager prepares for his fiercest foe as a player and manager.

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Pep Guardiola has managed against Real Madrid 17 times and boasts a 9-4-4 record between Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

The Catalan wizard has lost his last three versus Real, two with Bayern and once in his final El Clasico as Barca boss.

Even as Guardiola stresses preparation and plan, he knows there will be bounces and that both teams will have to cope with them.

“We have to be strong, have quality and need to have luck,” he said, via The Manchester Evening News. “At this stage, it’s important but we cannot control that. We can control what we can control and we will see. This competition, last season, against Liverpool, there are decisions. You have to overcome. You need incredible concentration in our game and game plan plus try to be a little lucky.”

Real Madrid living legend Sergio Ramos has earned the ire of Guardiola on plenty of occasions, one of the few things Liverpool and City fans have in common.

Ramos wouldn’t get drawn into rivalry talk, sying the stage somewhat negates the opponent.

“I have a lot of respect for him,” Ramos said via the club’s web site. “I think he’s a fantastic coach, with loads of experience, and his numbers speak for themselves. We’re motivated by the Champions League, regardless of the players or coaches who may have been rivals in the past. We’re up for the Champions League and our next task is to beat City. From a personal point of view, I’m just focused on making the next round.”

[ MORE: Key battles for Real-Man City ]

Wednesday’s other match sees a club long linked with Guardiola, as Juventus will play the role of heavy favorites against Lyon.

Maurizio Sarri‘s side is to bidding to win what’s eluded all Juve bosses since Marcello Lippi beat Ajax in 1996. If they succeed, it will be by going down a different path than it’s traveled in recent years.

Here’s Leonardo Bonucci, via Football-Italia:

“What the coach asks of us now is basically the opposite of what the previous coach did,” Bonucci mused. “It was usually individual against individual, now it’s more about organized team movements. Obviously, you need to train consistently to get that down and playing every three days makes it difficult. But we started this journey well aware of the positives it could bring and the difficulties of getting there.”

Lyon has been maddeningly inconsistent this season, sitting seventh in the Ligue 1 table, but has the tools to surprise if Juve doesn’t bring its best. That starts in France on Wednesday.