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Transfer Rumor Roundup: Higuain nearing Chelsea move, City looking for Fernandinho cover

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Gonzalo Higuain has been linked with a move to Chelsea almost all winter, and all signs point to a move away from the San Siro any day now. The 31-year-old striker was left out of the AC Milan squad to take on Genoa on Monday, the most recent sign of his imminent departure.

In his pre-match press conference, Milan manager Gennaro Gattuso spoke about the likely move, saying angrily, “I spoke in my office with Higuain and it is right to leave him out. We are still waiting on the move and there’s nothing completed but I want to see people who are mentally ready and available and if I don’t get that, I’ll go into battle with those who are more prepared.”

Chelsea has had trouble finding a productive striker of late, with Alvaro Morata benched for poor performance. With Olivier Giroud injured and inconsistent, Maurizio Sarri has utilized Eden Hazard as a false nine, and the result has been just five goals over the last six matches across all competitions.


Manchester City is reportedly looking to find a player to back up defensive midfielder Fernandinho, and the name mentioned is Schalke’s Sebastian Rudy.

The 28-year-old German arrived at Schalke from Bayern Munich this past summer, but has logged just 644 league minutes. While Rudy likely wouldn’t find the starting lineup more often at the Etihad, Pep Guardiola is known for his effective player rotation at Man City, and the club could tempt him with a title race.

Fernandinho has been one of the world’s best defensive midfielders over the past few years, but with the Brazilian on the sideline for two matches earlier this season, Manchester City dropped both games and slipped behind Liverpool in the title race. Center-back John Stones was utilized in the defensive midfield role in Fernandinho’s absence, but Crystal Palace and Leicester City scored a combined five goals.

According to multiple reports in England, a short-term loan would be effective in giving Fernandinho cover for the rest of the season as City looks to catch up with Liverpool and hold of Tottenham, Chelsea, and Arenal.


Arsenal fans were put on alert with Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti in attendance at the Emirates for Arsenal’s win over Chelsea. The French defender is currently injured, and with Barcelona playing on Sunday, Umtiti was able to make his way to England and watch his countrymates Laurent Koscielny and Alexandre Lacazette.

It would be highly unlikely for Umtiti to move this winter, as he is vitally important to the Barcelona squad and is out injured for another few weeks due to a long-term knee problem. It’s plausible Arsenal could make a play over the summer, but given how Barcelona’s defense has sagged in his absence, it’s unlikely the La Liga leaders would be willing to let him go. Umtiti’s contract with Barcelona runs through the summer of 2023, so he is under clear club control for the time being.


Rumblings in England have suggested that Tottenham defender and American international Cameron Carter-Vickers could leave Spurs this winter after the club has decided the 21-year-old will not break into the first team. According to a report by TeamTalk.com, Wigan Athletic could be in play for a permanent move for Carter-Vickers, who is currently on loan at Swansea City, but has struggled for playing time with the Championship club.

The American was also linked with Ipswich Town earlier this January, although that was mentioned as another loan. Either way, it sounds increasingly likely that Spurs could recall Carter-Vickers and look for a new club to deploy him at this winter.

Watch Live: Huddersfield Town v. Manchester City

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Huddersfield Town’s long odds of Premier League survival are just a tad shorter than its chances of beating Manchester City at the John Smith’s Stadium on Sunday, but that’s why they play the games, isn’t it (Watch live at 8:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com)?

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Caretaker boss Mark Hudson, a member of the Terriers team that won the Championship, will oversee the match.

City needs a win to stay within four points of leaders Liverpool.

LINEUPS

Huddersfield Town: Lossl, Smith, Kongolo, Hogg, Bacuna, Kachunga, Diakhaby, Lowe, Mbenza, Schindler, Puncheon. Subs: Hamer, Depoitre, Pritchard, Mounie, Zanka, Hadergjonaj, Durm.

Manchester City: Ederson, Walker, Danilo, Otamendi, Laporte, Fernandinho (C), Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sane, Sterling, Aguero. Subs: Muric, Stones, Delph, Bernardo, Silva, Jesus, Foden.

Pep: Fernandinho is amazing, but we need to find him relief

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Pep Guardiola says Manchester City has “three or four” targets in mind as long-term replacements for Fernandinho.

[ MORE: JPW’s PL picks ]

There is no debate that the club has been markedly better with the 33-year-old in the center of the park, with City losing both of its Premier League matches that the Brazilian missed this season (Palace and Leicester City back-to-back).

“I think with the way we play we need a guy who has of course physicality, is quick in the head and reading where our spaces to attack are,” Guardiola said Friday ahead of a Sunday visit to Huddersfield Town.

“As many things as he can do, the better. I know it is not easy to find one player who can do everything. [You have to deal with] the price, the agents and the club if you want to buy the players so we will see.”

The 49-times capped Fernandinho has been one of the more overlooked players during his time at City, posting big performance scores even before Guardiola arrived at the Etihad Stadium.

But how long can he continue to thrive in that role? Certainly not too much longer if City can’t give him some relief. That’s no indictment on the player, rather a 33-year-old who plays with such physicality and piles up minutes across all competitions.

Premier League player Power Rankings

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Who excelled and who struggled in the Premier League over the weekend? Our latest batch of player Power Rankings are out as we focus on the top performers in Week 22.

[ MORE: Full Power Rankings archive ]

Stars from Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, West Ham and Southampton all feature, as stars from the likes of Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal are misfiring.

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League.

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.


  1. David De Gea (Man United) – New entry
  2. Gabriel Jesus (Man City) – New entry
  3. Declan Rice (West Ham) – New entry
  4. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – Up 6
  5. Paul Pogba (Man United) – Even
  6. Marcus Rashford (Man United) – Up 5
  7. Fernandinho (Man City) – Down 4
  8. Jan Bednarek (Southampton) – New entry
  9. Fabinho (Liverpool) – Up 8
  10. Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool) – Down 3
  11. Leroy Sane (Man City) – Down 3
  12. Heung-Min Son (Tottenham) – Down 11
  13. Raheem Sterling (Man City) –  Down 4
  14. Aymeric Laporte (Man City) – New entry
  15. Jesse Lingard (Man United) – Doen 2
  16. Felipe Anderson (West Ham) – Doen 3
  17. Shane Long (Southampton) – New entry
  18. Harry Kane (Tottenham) – Down 12
  19. Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford) – Even
  20. Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham) – New entry

Premier League player Power Rankings

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Ahead of Matchweek 22 in the Premier League, our latest rankings

[ MORE: Full Power Rankings archive ]

Plenty of stars from Tottenham, Man City, Liverpool and Man United are in our rankings once again, as the genuine ballers proved their worth over the busy festive period.

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League.

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.


  1. Sergio Aguero (Man City) – Even
  2. Heung-Min Son (Tottenham) – Even
  3. Fernandinho (Man City) – Up 4
  4. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal) – Up 2
  5. Paul Pogba (Man United) – Up 6
  6. Harry Kane (Tottenham) – Down 3
  7. Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool) – Down 3
  8. Leroy Sane (Man City) – New entry
  9. Raheem Sterling (Man City) – New entry
  10. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – Down 2
  11. Marcus Rashford (Man United) – Down 6
  12. Bernardo Silva (Man City) – New entry
  13. Jesse Lingard (Man United) – New entry
  14. Felipe Anderson (West Ham) – Down 4
  15. Gerard Deulofeu (Watford) – Down 4
  16. Troy Deeney (Watford) – New entry
  17. Fabinho (Liverpool) – Down 3
  18. Raul Jimenez (Wolves) – New entry
  19. Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford) – Down 2
  20. Marko Arnautovic (West Ham) – Down 2