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Transfer Rumor Roundup: Trio chasing Dortmund youngster, Everton eyes Traore

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As teams motor towards preseason, front offices are hoping to wrap up deals to give the squad plenty of opportunities to gel rather than make late additions that are sometimes jarring to team chemistry. Still, there are holes to be filled and as dominoes fall, some moves affect others as the transfer window rolls on.

Borussia Dortmund has produced a stunning amount of young wingers who have gone on to become massive assets to the German side. First Christian Pulisic arrived and netted the club millions in a move to Chelsea this summer. He was pushed out by fellow teen winger Jadon Sancho who has turned into a valuable piece himself. Behind the England youngster is Danish youth international Jacob Bruun Larsen who broke into the first team setup last season alongside Sancho and made 24 Bundesliga appearances, scoring two goals and assisting two more.

According to English tabloids, Larsen is on the watch list of several Premier League clubs and, like Pulisic, could be considered expendable by the German side after the explosion of Sancho last season. Among others, the Daily Mail has linked Manchester United, Arsenal, and Liverpool to the 20-year-old who would cost somewhere in the region of $19 million, a relatively cheap price in a market that more and more values young talent more than anything.


French television program Telefoot reports that Everton is chasing former Chelsea winger Bertrand Traore who has spent the last two seasons at Lyon. The 23-year-old has come into his own in France, scoring 20 goals in 65 league appearances with Lyon.

According to the report, Traore would cost somewhere in the vicinity of $34 million, tripling Lyon’s investment two years ago when the brought Traore to France from Chelsea. That price could also increase should the three clubs find themselves in a bidding war. Traore could pair well with Richarlison, either playing on the left wing or through the middle.


Aston Villa is back in the Premier League after winning the Championship playoff, and now they look to strengthen the squad to prepare for a long stay in the top flight. One target mentioned is Bristol City defender Adam Webster who has been with his current club just one season after joining from Ipswich Town last summer.

Webster, 24 years old, started all but three of Bristol City’s league games last season and scored three goals. The Bristol Post report states that Villa has seen a $15 million bid rejected as the Championship club apparently holds out for an offer as high as $38 million, a strong position for a club in the second tier, but the new Premier League side feels they can negotiate that price down to meet somewhere in the middle.

Bristol City has sent a couple of players to the Premier League in the past few years, with Bobby Reid going to Cardiff City and Joe Bryan moving to Fulham both last summer.


According to Spanish publication El Dorsal, Newcastle is fearing the imminent departure of star attacker Ayoze Perez, who has been linked with moves to Spanish sides Valencia and Real Betis. The report states that Perez, who scored 12 Premier League goals last season and 42 in his Newcastle career, would net somewhere in the vicinity of $25 million, a surprisingly attractive price for a dangerous 25-year-old attacker.

The links are nothing new for Perez this summer, who last month was connected to Valencia by Spanish radio station Radio Cope, and now English tabloids claim that the La Liga side has held talks with Perez’s agents.


Real Madrid is hoping to keep Ajax attacker Donny van de Beek on its radar with uncertainties surrounding Paul Pogba and Christian Eriksen, according to Spanish publication AS. The report claims, as many have before it, that Zinedine Zidane prefers Pogba but Florentino Perez are hoping to pull off a move for Tottenham star Eriksen.

There are roadblocks to both moves, however. Any approach for Pogba would be extremely expensive and while Pogba has been rumored to be unsettled at Manchester United with the club missing out on the Champions League, the club at this point seems unwilling to sell one of its most valuable assets. Eriksen is a more realistic option financially, but the AS report says talks for the Danish playmaker have “ground to a halt.”

With that in mind, they have kept in touch with van de Beek who impressed in Ajax’s Champions League run and is considerably younger than the other two options at just 22 years old. However, he would be a more long-term move as the Dutch international would have to battle to beat out the likes of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.


English tabloids have claimed that Tottenham and Juventus are chasing Burnley’s Dwight McNeil who made 21 Premier League appearances for the Clarets last year on the left wing. The 19-year-old England youth international arrived in Burnley’s youth system from the Manchester United academy in 2014 and has come through the Burnley setup, becoming a regular in the squad in mid-December of last season, scoring three goals and assisting five.

The teen has made six appearances for the England U-20 side, scoring and assisting in the 4-0 win over Guatemala back on June 11 in his last showing.

An aging Juventus squad is hoping to get younger, claims The Sun, while Spurs will also consider a bid in the range of $38 million.

Premier League Preview: Man City v. Man United

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  • Man City (3rd) trail Liverpool by 11 points
  • Man United (6th) eight points out of 4th
  • Last meeting: Man United 0-2 Man City

For the first time in recent memory, Manchester City and Manchester United each find themselves failing to meet expectations — by their own respective standards, at least — as they prepare to meet at the Etihad Stadium in the 179th Manchester derby on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

Man City, the two-time defending Premier League champions, are looking increasingly unlikely to retain their crown for a third straight season but look a surefire bet to finish in the top-four, which is a place for which Man United would bite your hand off as they currently trail leaders Liverpool by more points (22) than they have points of their own (21).

[ STREAM: Every PL match live

The struggles for United have been all about consistency as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side hasn’t won back-to-back games all season. The Red Devils haven’t won two in a row in the PL since March. On the bright side, United turned in one of their complete performances of the season on Wednesday, spoiling Jose Mourinho’s return to Old Trafford and beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-1. Marcus Rashford scored both goals and Solskjaer couldn’t rave enough about his 22-year-old forward after the game. From start to finish, United were the better team and looked in majority control, which isn’t something they’ve been able to say often in 2019.

As for City, they’ve simply been “not good enough” without ever actually being “bad” this season, given Liverpool’s scintillating form (14W-1D-0L thus far). Realistically, City likely need to pick up all 69 remaining points this season, and even then they might still come up short.

Injuries/suspensions

Man City: OUT – Sergio Aguero (thigh), Aymeric Laporte (knee), Leroy Sane (knee), Oleksandr Zinchenko (knee)

Man United: OUT – Anthony Martial (hamstring), Eric Bailly (knee), Marcos Rojo (undisclosed); QUESTIONABLE: Paul Pogba (ankle), Nemanja Matic (groin), Diogo Dalot (groin)


Projected lineups

Man City: Ederson — Walker, Otamendi, Fernandinho, Angeliño — Rodri, De Bruyne, Silva — Bernardo, Jesus, Sterling

Man United: De Gea — Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Young — Fred, McTominay, James, Mata, Lingard — Rashford


What they’re saying

Pep Guardiola, on the derby: “It’s Man United. I respect what they’ve done for English football, European, and world football. United have huge history and their quality is always there but we must try to beat them. We play against a good team, try to follow the performances we’ve put in and try to win the game. You know my opinion on the title race.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, on his derby memories: “It took many years before I played a Manchester derby myself. Of course, Man City are a better team now than when I was playing. … Confidence is a strange thing in football; you can get performances and results like Wednesday night and it boosts it so much. And I know our boys will be up for it. 24 hours less recovery time [than City] shouldn’t matter, you go on adrenaline.”


Prediction

The win over Tottenham was impressive, no doubt about it, but City remain a challenge of an entirely different class, no matter what their points total says. If the title is well and truly gone for Guardiola’s side, then retaining superiority in Manchester will have to suffice. City 3-1 United.

Klinsmann gets first point as Hertha Berlin manager

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) Jurgen Klinsmann claimed his first point since returning to coaching as his Hertha Berlin team let slip a two-goal lead to draw with Frankfurt 2-2 in the Bundesliga on Friday.

[ MORE: Chelsea transfer ban reduced; can sign players in January ]

Hertha was clinging to a 2-1 lead in the 86th minute when Sebastian Rode hammered the ball in from a corner for Frankfurt to deny the Berlin team the win.

Hertha is in the relegation playoff spot in 16th and winless in its last six league games, while Frankfurt is 10th.

Dodi Lukebakio gave Hertha the lead with a shot through Frederik Ronnow’s legs. That goal was assisted by Marko Grujic, who later made it 2-0 with a header from a free kick.

However, Frankfurt almost immediately replied with a header of its own from Martin Hinteregger, the Austrian defender with five Bundesliga goals.

[ MORE: Brendan Rodgers signs new contract at Leicester ]

Frankfurt’s fans expressed their disapproval of the video assistant referee after it ruled out two goals for the hosts. There was a rare disallowed own goal when Hertha goalkeeper Thomas Kraft palmed a cross into his own net but was found to have been pushed while jumping.

Klinsmann took over Hertha last week on a temporary deal until the end of the season, after Ante Covic was fired with the team under threat of relegation. Klinsmann hadn’t coached since being fired in 2016 by the United States, and last worked at a club in 2009 at Bayern Munich.

Nigel Pearson appointed new Watford manager

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Nigel Pearson has been appointed new manager of Watford and been handed a very straightforward — but tall — task for the remainder of the season: avoid relegation from the Premier League.

[ MORE: Chelsea transfer ban reduced; can sign players in January ]

Pearson takes over from Quique Sanchez Flores — who only took over from Javi Gracia in September — who left his post at Vicarage Road with the Hornets sitting 20th out of 20 teams in the PL table, already seven points adrift from safety. Pearson’s contract runs through the end of the season.

The 56-year-old Pearson, who last managed in the PL with Leicester City in 2015, was most recently in charge of Belgian side OH Leuven before he was fired in February.

[ MORE: Brendan Rodgers signs new contract at Leicester ]

Pearson won’t take charge of Saturday’s game against Crystal Palace (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold). Interim manager Hayden Mullins will see out the week’s preparations and manage the team before handing the reins to Pearson on Sunday.

Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks

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Matchweek 16 is here in the Premier League as things are heating up very nicely ahead of the festive season.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

If you, like me, love to dissect all the games and predict what the score will be and which team will win, I encourage you to get involved in the comments section below. Let’s have a bit of fun.

Okay, so I’ve consulted my crystal ball and here’s how we see things panning out. Listen carefully, because this is very specific.

While you can download the NBC Sports Predictor app (below) and play the Premier League Pick ‘Em game yourself to predict the scores and win the prizes.

DOWNLOAD NBC SPORTS PREDICTOR

With the first section labelled “basically, free money” for the picks I think are dead certs. The section labelled “don’t touch this” means if you’re betting I advise you to stay clear, while the “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” section are the long shots. If it is better odds you are after, those are the picks to go for.


BASICALLY, FREE MONEY

Tottenham 3-0 Burnley – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM

Bournemouth 1-3 Liverpool – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM] 

West Ham 3-1 Arsenal – (Monday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM


DON’T TOUCH THIS…

Newcastle 1-1 Southampton – (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM]

Man City 2-2 Man United – (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Watford 1-2 Crystal Palace – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM


“SO YOU’RE TELLING ME THERE’S A CHANCE…”

Everton 2-1 Chelsea – (Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Aston Villa 2-2 Leicester City – (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Brighton 2-1 Wolves – (Sunday 11:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Norwich 2-0 Sheffield United – (Sunday, 9 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM