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Transfer Rumor Roundup: Sessegnon to Spurs, Arsenal back in for Zaha

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A long-rumored switch may finally be taking action this week as Fulham winger Ryan Sessegnon is reportedly set to leave for a move to Tottenham.

According to The Telegraph, the two sides have had a “breakthrough” in negotiations and Spurs could capture the player soon for around $25 million plus add-ons.

Sessegnon has reportedly been a Tottenham target for years, with the club attempting to pry him away from Craven Cottage multiple times. With Fulham relegated this past season, Sessegnon has rejected a number of contract offers from the Whites in favor of looking to find a permanent Premier League home.

The 19-year-old England youth international was a key part of Fulham’s promotion campaign two years ago, but struggled at times with the speed and physicality of the top flight last season. Still, Sessegnon is considered a bright prospect and can play either left-back or move forward into a more attacking role.

Interestingly, the report also states that Fulham is interested in a pair of fringe Tottenham players who are likely leaving the club. Both Georges-Kevin Nkoudou and Josh Onomah have been left off the preseason roster and thus are probably on the move, and the report states that Fulham could be interested in both. Whether that means they will be included in a swap deal, or cash from the Sessegnon transfer could be immediately used to then negotiate a new deal for the two is unclear.


According to a report by The Independent, Arsenal is looking for creative ways to keep a move for Wilfried Zaha on the cards despite Crystal Palace’s massive asking price. The Gunners have apparently suggested a new offer of $68 million plus $12.5 million of add-ons and a loan for young Reiss Nelson as a temporary replacement.

While Palace apparently believes this is still nowhere close to their valuation, it represents an Arsenal desire to keep negotiating despite a strapped summer budget that has them struggling to meet Palace’s asking price, which is rumored to be near $100 million.

While the report states that there is still plenty of discussions still to take place and Arsenal may have to pony up even more, it also mentions that Crystal Palace’s negotiating base isn’t exactly rock solid. Zaha has told the club he’d like to move on and while that doesn’t mean he’s at the stage of forcing a move, it does signal that it may be in the club’s best interest to concede on certain matters and cash in now rather than create an internal struggle that devalues his position on the open market even further.


A report by The Times suggests that a Manchester United deal for Nicolas Pepe is “progressing” and while talks have dragged on for much of the summer, there could be movement in the short-term.

With Liverpool not looking to spend big this summer, Arsenal’s budget a struggle and Everton reportedly focusing on Moise Kean, Manchester United could be in a position of strength among the other suitors.

His agent spoke vaguely about the possibility of a move this summer, acknowledging that Pepe has interested plenty of clubs and that a move away from Lille is likely. “All parties need to reach an agreement,” his agent Samir Khiat said to L’Equipe Mercato. “There are exchanges and discussions. He is wanted by a considerable number of clubs. For him the most important thing is to be wanted and to go to a good club in which he will play and continue to progress.”

The 24-year-old scored 22 goals in 38 Ligue 1 matches for Lille last season, helping them to a surprising second-place finish in Ligue 1. Pepe is considered to be valued at around $73 million.


The Chelsea official website has hinted that fringe pair Reece James and Lewis Baker will likely be moving out on loan this season as the club looks to get them playing time.

The club has a somewhat awkward Media Watch section on their official website that drums up interest but also gives credit to media rumors that clubs often wish to steer clear of.

James, a 19-year-old defender, spent last season on loan at Wigan and is considered to be a future first-team prospect by the club, according to the Daily Star report that Chelsea linked to on the site. While they have reportedly turned down a bid from Crystal Palace for a permanent offer, Roy Hodgson has openly admitted they need defensive options and therefore a loan could make sense to help cover the gaps in the short-term.

Meanwhile, the 24-year-old Baker has been a journeyman loan option over the past few years, seeing time at Reading, Leeds, Middlesbrough, and Vitesse over the past few years. Still without a view to the first-team, the Media Watch pointed to a report from Germany that suggests Baker could be headed to Fortuna Dusseldorf.

Every loan the Blues make this coming season will be noteworthy given their transfer ban, leaving the club looking at internal options to fill holes in the first-team squad. Therefore, any player that departs this summer thins the available pot of players the team can look to moving forward in the short-term.

Champions League wrap: Ajax, RB Leipzig, Salzburg win; Barca held

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While Liverpool and Chelsea lost in shutout fashion, only three other teams saw zeroes next to their names after 90 minutes of UEFA Champions League play on Tuesday.

[ UCL: Scores, full lineups, stats, box scores ]

You may be surprised to see that Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund kept each other off the board, while Lille was cooked by Ajax.

Red Bull Salzburg 6-2 Genk

Jesse Marsch is now officially the first American man to manage a team to a win in a UEFA Champions League game. The Red Bull Salzburg boss got a hat trick from red-hot 19-year-old striker Erling Braut Haland, who has 17 goals in nine matches this season and is also the son of former Leeds, Man City, and Nottingham Forest manager Alf-Inge Haland.

Ajax 3-0 Lille

Mexico’s Edson Alvarez now has two goals in two career UEFA Champions League games, as he joined Quincy Promes on the score sheet in a 2-0 win. American-Dutch right back Sergino Dest played 90 minutes in the win, and Nicolás Tagliafico recorded two assists. USMNT forward Timothy Weah was again absent with a hamstring tear.

Borussia Dortmund 0-0 Barcelona

Lionel Messi spent most of the match on the bench, and Marco Reus missed a Jadon Sancho-won penalty thanks to a Marc-Andre ter Stegen save.

And what a save it was!

Elsewhere

Chelsea 0-1 Valencia — RECAP
Napoli 2-0 Liverpool — RECAP
Inter Milan 1-1 Slavia Prague — RECAP
Lyon 1-1 Zenit Saint-Petersburg
Benfica 1-2 RB Leipzig

Barkley sails late penalty as Chelsea falls at home

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Ross Barkley missed a late penalty as Chelsea lost its UEFA Champions League opener 1-0 to Valencia on Tuesday at Stamford Bridge.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Rodrigo scored the lone goal, and Valencia will be thrilled to collect all three points in London.

Christian Pulisic was an unused sub for Chelsea, who out-attempted Valencia 22-8 on the day.


Three things we learned

1. Pulisic down the pecking order: The American star didn’t start, and wasn’t the first name called when Mason Mount was injured. Granted Pedro played a little deeper, but not a good week for the Hershey-born Pulisic

2. Wide men the danger men: Willian was the likely Man of the Match for Chelsea despite the lack of goals, and full backs Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta were also key to the resutl.

3. Penalty drama: VAR gave Chelsea a chance to level from the spot, but Ross Barkley stepped ahead of Willian and missed the chance. The Brazilian looked aggrieved before and after the miss, and Barkley looked mighty confident right until the moment he missed his shot. Sort yourself out!

Man of the Match: Willian — No wonder he was angry to see Barkley demand the penalty, as a Willian goal would’ve been a fitting result for his clever and industrious day at the office.


Valencia keeper Jasper Cillesen made two stops early, denying Tammy Abraham to concede a corner before collecting a Marcos Alonso header on the ensuing set piece.

Would it be Christian Pulisic time when Mason Mount left the match with injury following a challenge from former Arsenal man Francis Coquelin? Nope. Pedro was called upon to fill the void.

It was a sleepy second half, with Pedro conceding a free kick to Valencia that didn’t amount to anything exciting.

Those who stuck around were rewarded with late drama, as Valencia took the lead through a Rodrigo flick off a free kick.

However, Valencia then had to watch through its fingers as Chelsea was gifted a chance at the spot through VAR when Fikayo Tomori headed a ball off the arm of Daniel Wass.

Willian was upset to see Ross Barkley take the penalty, and the English midfielder probably wishes he let someone else take it after missing over the bar.

Napoli scores on late penalty, rare Van Dijk error in 2-0 win

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The good news is that Liverpool lost to Napoli last season in the UEFA Champions League, then went on to win the whole darn thing.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Jose Callejon won a late penalty that Dries Mertens converted, and Fernando Llorente took advantage of a Virgil Van Dijk error to pad the lead as Napoli held serve at home with a 2-0 win over Liverpool on Tuesday.


Three things we learned

1. Goalkeepers immense: No, he’s not Alisson Becker, but Adrian is probably the biggest reason Liverpool didn’t open its UCL defense with a loss. He made a pair of early stops on Dries Mertens before a show-stopping effort in the second half. Napoli got two fine saves from Alex Meret, including a terrific denial of Mohamed Salah in the 65th.

2. Salah, Mane can’t deliver in key moments: Take away Salah’s penalty in the UCL Final, and Liverpool’s two top threats have not accounted for a goal in four matches inside the competition. Mane was mostly good on the day, but misled Salah on an early second half pass which would have almost certainly been a goal. Salah simply had an off day

3. Callejon sells the drama: Liverpool’s Andy Robertson lost a 50/50 with Jose Callejon, who ran into the fulback and hit the deck to win a penalty. That was the difference here, as Mertens beat Adrian.

Man of the Match: Meret was especially good, the 22-year-old Italian goalkeeper big in several key moments to edge Mertens for the honor.


Napoli thought it had gone ahead through El Tri star Hirving Lozano, who nodded over the line following two Alisson Becker saves on Dries Mertens, but the Mexican was offside.

Sadio Mane had a 20th minute chance at the other end, but pumped a point blank low shot to Napoli keeper Alex Meret which led to a corner kick.

Fabinho intervened in the 53rd minute as Napoli emerged from the locker room with energy, but the best chance of the early second half was flubbed in uncharacteristic fashion: Sadio Mane was through 2v1 with Mohamed Salah but made a miserable pass to his teammate.

The first goal arrived when Callejon tapped the ball past Robertson and leapt into the defender to earn a penalty from referee Felix Brych.

It was 2-0 in stoppage time when Fernando Llorente ran onto a Virgil van Dijk error and passed beyond Adrian.

UCL AT HALF: Marsch’s Salzburg rolling; Champions holding firm; Chelsea’s Mount hurt

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We’ve got news after 45 minutes of six more UCL matches, including a big injury at Stamford Bridge and a monumental start for an American in Austria.

[ UCL: Scores, lineups, stats, box scores ]

Chelsea 0-0 Valencia

No goals to report here, but early season hero Mason Mount has left the match with an injury for the Blues. He was not replaced by Christian Pulisic, rather Pedro.

Liverpool 0-0 Napoli

It’s been a pretty even affair, though Liverpool can thank Adrian for a pair of great saves on Dries Mertens before Hirving “Chucky” Lozano’s goal was ruled offside.

Red Bull Salzburg 5-1 Genk

Jesse Marsch is now officially the first American man to manage a team in a UEFA Champions League game.

The Red Bull Salzburg boss is also the first to hold a second minute lead, as red hot striker Erling Braut Haland scored his 15th, 16th, and 17th goals in nine matches under Marsch.

Haland also five assists on the season, having entered Tuesday’s match with 658 minutes across all competitions.

Haland is the son of former Leeds, Man City, and Nottingham Forest manager Alf-Inge Haland.

Hwang-Hee Chan has Salzburg’s other goal, and two assists.

Elsewhere

Inter Milan 1-1 Slavia Prague — RECAP
Lyon 1-1 Zenit Saint-Petersburg
Borussia Dortmund 0-0 Barcelona
Ajax 1-0 Lille
Benfica 0-0 RB Leipzig