Hugo Lloris

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Transfer Rumor Roundup: De Gea replacement tabbed, Man City duo to stay

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Manchester United has been linked with a zillion players this summer, and half the battle for fans is sifting through the nonsense and finding the deals that might actually make sense for the club.

One that seems to have significant legs is a report from a number of English tabloids on Monday and Tuesday that states Manchester United has made contact with Lille over goalkeeper Mike Maignan, seeing the French club respond with a valuation of around $39 million.

It seems the Red Devils are searching for long-term plans to replace David De Gea, whether the Spaniard leaves this summer via a sale or next summer at the expiration of his contract. Contract talks with de Gea have very publicly stalled over the past few months, and rumors again have flown of his eventual exit. The reports state that Manchester United had preliminary discussions with Barcelona for backup goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen, but the Spanish side has reportedly been steadfast on holding to the Dutchman’s release clause of $67 million.

That has seen them search for cheaper options amid a summer that is expected to be expensive for the Red Devils. One could be Maignan who played every minute of Lille’s fabulous second-place Ligue 1 campaign last season, keeping 15 clean sheets and sporting the league’s best defensive record with 33 goals conceded in 38 matches. The club conceded two or more goals in a game just nine times all league season, and conceded three goals just once. The 23-year-old, who came to Lille in 2015 from PSG’s youth squad, was named goalkeeper of the year by the French professional footballers association for his fantastic campaign this year and earned his first call-up to the France national team squad for this summer’s Euro qualifiers, beating out Hugo Lloris‘s World Cup backup Steve Mandanda.


The two Manchester rivals appear to be the leaders in the chase for Benfica playmaker Joao Felix, with The Mirror stating the two clubs are in control of the market as they hope to get one last glimpse of the 19-year-old as Portugal takes on Switzerland in the Nations League semifinal Wednesday where the teenager is expected to earn his senior debut.

The report states that Felix could cost as much as a massive $150 million after a season where he racked up 15 goals and nine assists in league play for the Portuguese champions, plus another five goals and two assists in other competitions. Real Madrid and Juventus have also been linked to Felix in the past, but a report late last week said Los Blancos were scared off by his massive price, seeing a bid of around $101 million rejected, causing them to focus their efforts instead on Eden Hazard.

With superagent Jorge Mendes in tow, Felix and Benfica are both certain to cash in this summer, but it remains to be seen which club can snag his services. Manchester City would likely need to offload the likes of Leroy Sane in order to both raise the funds and create squad space for Felix.


The potential sale of Sane to Bayern Munich, which ramped up over the last week after the German side submitted a sizable bid for the 23-year-old, has seemed to hit a wall. Bayern hoped to pry Sane away from Manchester City after an up-and-down season saw the German international fail to secure a steady place in the starting lineup. Still, City seems ready to put up a fight, rejecting the bid and causing Bayern executive Uli Hoeness to declare the English club’s valuation of Sane “insane.”

While Sane’s future remains up in the air, a pair of other Man City stars look set to stay at the Etihad next season with David Silva and Ilkay Gundogan both eyeing more silverware in Manchester according to the BBC. Silva’s contract expires next summer, but at 33 years old, the club is happy to see him play out the remainder of his deal, as he would likely net very little in the transfer market this time around. Despite his increasing age, Silva has remained a critical part of the Man City attack, making 33 league appearances last season while scoring six goals and assisting eight. He started all but four of City’s final 19 matches as they battled Liverpool for the Premier League title.

Gundogan was also a fixture in the squad, shaking off an early hamstring injury that cost him all of October to make 31 Premier League appearances and starting all but one of the final 14 matches of the season to help carry the title chase. According to the BBC report, talks are ongoing to extend Gundogan’s contract which currently expires next summer. The 28-year-old joined three summers ago from Borussia Dortmund, and while he lost most of his first season with the club to an ACL tear, he has come back to prove a vital player in Pep Guardiola‘s setup.

The report does state, however, that Fabian Delph and Danilo could look to move on this summer after a season that proved trying for both to find consistent time on the pitch.


Another Premier League attacker who could be set to stay at his current club is Champions League final goalscorer Divock Origi, who according to The Mirror has been offered a new contract. The club is reportedly confident of tying down the 24-year-old to a new deal, with his current contract set to expire next summer.

Origi was a Champions League hero, scoring twice in the miracle comeback against Barcelona before his goal sealed the title in the 2-0 win over Tottenham. His three critical goals came on his only three shots in Champions League play, failing to record many minutes prior to his appearances down the stretch as necessitated by an injury to regular striker Roberto Firmino.

Still just 24 years old, Origi has not been a regular part of the Liverpool squad since arriving from Lille in 2014, instead loaned back to Lille before a loan spell at Germany’s Wolfsburg. He decided to stay at Anfield this season and fight for a place, earning just 366 Premier League minutes and 763 minutes across all competitions. Still, his performances in the biggest games of the season have seen him become a fan favorite, and staying at Anfield will make the Liverpool faithful happy.


Amid recent rape allegations surrounding an incident in Paris, Neymar has been reportedly unhappy at Paris Saint-Germain after the club’s most recent Champions League flop and his own flurry of personality issues. Still, he is signed on with the club through the summer of 2022, leaving him under PSG control for at least the next season or two.

According to a report by French radio station RMC Sport as passed on by Spanish publication Marca, PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelafi has deemed Neymar “untransferrable” and has said the Brazilian superstar will not leave the club this summer despite interest from both Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Liverpool and Tottenham player ratings for Champions League final

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The play on the field was ugly at times, but Liverpool emerged victorious from a highly anticipated, all-Premier League Champions League final with a 2-0 victory.

With the completion of the full 90 minutes comes the beginning of postgame analysis, and with that we bring you our instant reaction. First up is the player ratings, as we run through every player who stepped on the pitch for both sides. Who do you think played well and who didn’t?

Liverpool

Alisson – 8
A Man of the Match candidate for the Reds, Alisson made a whopping eight saves throughout the match, standing strong through the final 15 minutes as Heung-Min Son and Lucas Moura both made solid efforts on net. Easily the difference from last year’s final defeat to this year, with ghosts of Loris Karius‘s mistakes officially vanquished.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 7
His distribution was woeful – finishing a dismal 8-28 passing – but he was a beast at the back, leading the match with 10 ball recoveries and tackling well on the left.

Virgil Van Dijk – 8
Probably the best player on the pitch, van Dijk put his stamp on the game with a blistering recovery to stop a late chance for Son down the left edge of the penalty area. His five headed clearances led anyone on either side in the match. Spurs attack had nothing to offer the game, and van Dijk was a big reason why.

Joel Matip – 8
Doesn’t get the plaudits that van Dijk does, but deserves them for his performance today. Collected a whopping 14 clearances – eight more than anyone else on the field – and assisted Origi’s goal. Was a monster along the back line.

Andrew Robertson – 7.5
Along with Alexander-Arnold, Robertson picked up a game-high 10 ball recoveries, and his distribution was far better at alleviating pressure than his right-back counterpart. Kept Spurs centrally located for the center-backs to do their thing.

Fabinho – 6
The Brazilian barely had a touch of the ball all match, and his distribution was quite mistake-prone, but he was able to funnel the Spurs attackers down the middle and pinch them into tight areas. Overall, did enough to win the game.

Jordan Henderson – 7
The captain deserved to lift the trophy, moving back to tackle strongly – 3-for-4 in the game, including a 3-for-3 mark in the defensive half – and helped carry the ball forward. Ran his tail off.

Georginio Wijnaldum – 5
Hardly influential on the match, Wijnaldum had a 100% passing rate – a rarity in the game – but it came on just 12 attempts. Needed more from the Dutchman for Liverpool to really put its stamp on the match.

Mohamed Salah – 5
Kept his cool on the early goal, but otherwise was completely invisible. He hardly touched the ball outside the Tottenham box, and when he did it often flowed backwards. Was not a factor in the game after his powerful 2nd minute spot-kick.

Sadio Mane – 6
Looked Liverpool’s most dangerous attacker, which isn’t saying much. He was dangerous when he had the ball, but never truly threatened on net. Earned the Liverpool penalty with a smart chip that looked halfway intentional, and came close to creating some innovative chances, but nothing else came to fruition for Mane after the handball 21 seconds in.

Roberto Firmino – 3
Usually a smart player who uses his pace and spacial awareness to trouble back lines, Firmino was utterly invisible. Whether that’s down to a lack of fitness or simply a poor performance, it’s hard to truly say, but he was useless and came off for eventual goalscorer Divock Origi.

Substitutes:

James Milner – 5
Didn’t have much to do but defend, which he did well with three clearances in his half-hour of play.

Divock Origi – 5.5
His goal was spectacular, a perfectly placed effort through the legs of a defender, past the goalkeeper’s outstretched hand, and tucked into the far corner. Otherwise, he had a heavy touch and struggled to influence the game, but he came up big when it mattered most.

Joe Gomez – n/a

Tottenham Hotspur

Hugo Lloris – 5.5
The Frenchman made one key stop, tipping Andy Robertson‘s long-range effort over the bar acrobatically, but that was the only save he would make. Guessed right on Salah’s penalty, but couldn’t get to the strong effort. Organized his back line well.

Danny Rose – 8
Tottenham’s best player in the match. Defended well to keep Mo Salah a non-factor and was powerful going forward. Completed four take-ons down the left and was 35-of-40 passing, quite a number for a match that featured such sloppiness. Created three chances as well in truly a two-way performance.

Jan Vertonghen – 7.5
A gutsy performance from Vertonghen who was injured midway through the match but stayed on through the final whistle. Distributed forward well and defended strongly, blocking two shots as well.

Toby Alderweireld – 6
Struggled with his long balls, but collected six clearances and kept Firmino and Salah locked down. Was nutmegged on Origi’s goal, never a good look for a defender.

Kieran Trippier – 6.5
He struggled down the stretch with a hamstring problem, gutting it out to the final whistle but clearly hampered. Created two chances in the final few minutes, and overall defended quite well, but wasn’t truly able to make the match his own like Rose.

Moussa Sissoko – 4
Penalized for the handball early on, an unlucky and harsh moment with his hand raised looking to organize his teammates behind him. Still, the switched-off moment defined the rest of the game. Passing was decent, but wasn’t truly able to take control of the midfield, and his marauding runs forward were nowhere to be found. Came off with 16 minutes to go struggling with injury.

Harry Winks – 6
Unlucky to be sacrificed for Lucas Moura after 66 minutes, as he put in a good shift coming in after missing nearly two months with an injury. Didn’t look completely fit, but was a controlling factor in the middle of the pitch where the game seemed to otherwise devolve.

Dele Alli – 5
Was all over the field, able to flow freely, but did not have the final product as Spurs struggled mightily in the final third. Seemed to fade as the match went on, and wasn’t ever truly on the same page with his teammates.

Christian Eriksen – 4
If this was his Real Madrid audition, he failed miserably. Spurs’ most important player had nothing to offer the match, and while he was able to contribute a bit in desperation time, it was too little too late. His characteristic creativity was missing entirely, and teammates like Harry Kane suffered greatly as a result.

Heung-Min Son – 5
Gave it his usual 110% effort, but just didn’t have close to his best on the biggest match of the season. Was just 1/5 on one-on-one take-ons, where Son is usually one of the best in the game. He had three of Spurs’ eight shots on target, but none of them truly troubled Alisson until the end of the game when the Liverpool goalkeeper came up big. A forgettable performance from the Spurs attack as a whole.

Harry Kane – 4
Invisible the entire match, many blamed it on a lack of fitness after missing the last two months, but the poor play from Eriksen and Son contributed just as much – if not more – to his inability to find the ball. Kane had just 11 touches in the first half, less than anyone else on the pitch, and nothing changed after the break. Kane finished with just one shot on the match, and Spurs failed to find the back of the net.

Substitutes:

Lucas Moura – 5
Did his best to be the hero again, but his two chances on net were thwarted. Wasn’t able to get on the ball and be a creative influence with Eriksen and Son struggling.

Eric Dier 5
Played the final 16 minutes in place of the injured Sissoko and helped secure the middle of the pitch as Spurs pushed forward in desperation.

Fernando Llorente – n/a
Eight minutes of time wasn’t enough to find any heroics.

Early penalty, late strike leads Liverpool to Champions League glory

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Jurgen Klopp finally has the silverware he has craved since taking over Liverpool four years ago.

A controversial penalty given in the first minute of action slotted home by Mohamed Salah set the tone for the match, and Divock Origi killed off the game with three minutes remaining as Liverpool topped Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in a Champions League final punctuated by poor passing and drab tactical organization.

The game in Madrid started in stunning fashion, with Liverpool earning a penalty after just 21 seconds of play. Sadio Mane‘s chipped cross attempt caught his defender Moussa Sissoko off guard, deflecting off the Spurs midfielder’s chest and rebounding off his outstretched arm in the top corner of the penalty area. Sissoko was clearly pointing instructions to a teammate behind him, and Mane’s cross seemed to come earlier than he expected.

That put Salah on the spot, and he delivered a powerful, thumping penalty just over the outstretched arms of a diving Hugo Lloris who guessed right but had little chance of stopping such a blast. The goal for Salah not only gave Liverpool the lead just two minutes into the game, but made him the fifth African to score in a Champions League final, and

Spurs responded well and proved the better side in the opening stages after the goal. They combined nicely at the top of the penalty area on a number of occasions in the opening 20 minutes, but couldn’t work a good look on net. The game devolved into a nervy showcase of uncertainty, with neither side quite sure what it was trying to accomplish. The atmosphere in the stadium also sported a nervous trepidation, not certain what to make of the first half-hour. Both teams passed poorly and neither team did much of anything in the attacking third. Liverpool played extremely conservative after the early opener and Spurs didn’t trouble the Reds back line much.

Finally, on 38 minutes Andy Robertson took aim from distance on the break and forced Lloris into a leaping save, tipping the ball over the bar. On the ensuing corner, Salah blasted a volley miles over the bar. Christian Eriksen down the other end on the stroke of halftime copied Salah, into a good shooting position in front of the box and ripping it into the seats.

After halftime, not much changed. Spurs held much of the possession but both sides proved sloppy. Lloris made a quality save on Robertson again from distance, beating a streaking Sadio Mane to the ball. Mauricio Pochettino brought in semifinal hero Lucas Moura on for Harry Winks with 25 minutes to go, but it was Liverpool substitute James Milner who had the earlier impact, firing a shot agonizingly wide right with Lloris rooted to the spot. Dele Alli looked to chip the goalkeeper but Alisson was on hand to collect easily.

Sissoko went down injured with 17 minutes to go, replaced by Eric Dier in midfield. Alli had a headed attempt on 78 minutes, but couldn’t get on top of the Trippier cross and struck it over the bar with Joel Matip defending. That woke Spurs up, with Son and Moura both testing Alisson in succession entering the final 10 minutes of the match.

With the momentum seemingly shifting in Spurs’ favor, Pochettino looked to capitalize by bringing on Fernando Llorente in place of Alli. Eriksen forced another fabulous save from Alisson with a close-range free kick in the 85th minute, and Son put the ball over the bar on the ensuing corner but was offside anyways.

Liverpool finally put the game to bed in the 87th minute as Origi, on in place of Roberto Firmino, fired a perfectly placed low effort through the legs of Toby Alderweireld and past a diving Lloris into the far corner. The goal for Origi is his third in the Champions League coming on just his third shot.

The final whistle sounded and saw Liverpool champions of Europe for the first time since beating AC Milan in 2005 on that epic outing in Istanbul. The European title is the first for Jurgen Klopp coming on his third try, losing once each previously with Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool.

VIDEO: Liverpool opens Champions League final with Salah penalty after 20 seconds

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For Liverpool, it was a dream start. For Tottenham, it spelled complete disaster.

The Reds opened the scoring in the Champions League final with a Mohamed Salah penalty, deposited following Moussa Sissoko‘s handball in the box after just 20 seconds of play.

Off the opening kickoff, Sadio Mane received the ball and pulled back play on the top-left corner of the penalty area. With Sissoko defending Mane, Sissoko began pointing instructions to teammates and was caught off guard by Mane’s chipped cross. It clipped Sissoko’s shoulder and rebounded onto his outstretched arm, an incredibly unlucky break for the Spurs midfielder.

After a few minutes of protest, Salah stepped up and blasted the penalty home past Hugo Lloris, with the effort quite central but with plenty of power, ripped past the Frenchman who had little chance to make a reflex save despite guessing correctly with his dive.

Anytime a second-minute opener arrives in such a big match, it can set the stage for 90 minutes of mayhem, but for neutrals it actually fell a bit flat. While the hot start no doubt gives the match even more of an edge, it felt slightly undeserved, unlucky on Spurs rather than well worked for Liverpool. Still, the Reds will take it and now Spurs must work to calmly respond.

The goal is also a milestone moment for Salah, who has now scored in every single Champions League round for Liverpool in just two seasons at the club. He also becomes the fifth African player to score in the Champions League final after Rabah Madjer, Samuel Eto'o, Didier Drogba and Sadio Mane.

Ranking top 10 Premier League players at each position

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There are 25 players in each Premier League squad, but who not only starred for their respective clubs but also elevated themselves to the upper echelons of the league this season?

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

We pondered that as we analyzed those who rose to the challenge best over the past nine months.

Below is a look at our complete list of the top 10 players in each position based on their play during the 2018-19 campaign.


Goalkeepers
1. Ederson
2. Alisson
3. David De Gea
4. Kepa
5. Ben Foster
6. Lukasz Fabianski
7. Hugo Lloris
8. Jordan Pickford
9. Rui Patricio
10. Martin Dubravka


Right backs
1. Trent Alexander-Arnold
2. Matt Doherty
3. Aaron Wan-Bissaka
4. Cesar Azpilicueta
5. Ricardo Perreira
6. Kyle Walker
7. Seamus Coleman
8. Kiko Femenia
9. Pablo Zabaleta
10. Yan Valery


Left backs
1. Andrew Robertson
2. Lucas Digne
3. Ben Chilwell
4. Luke Shaw
5. Jonny Otto
6. Patrick Van Aanholt
7. Ben Davies
8. Nacho Monreal
9. Jose Holebas
10. Emerson Palmeri


Center backs
1. Virgil Van Dijk
2. Aymeric Laporte
3. Toby Alderweireld
4. Jan Vertonghen
5. Vincent Kompany
6. Sokratis
7. Antonio Rudiger
8. Conor Coady
9. Michael Keane
10. Issa Diop


Central midfielders
1. Fernandinho
2. Joao Moutinho
3. Moussa Sissoko
4. David Silva
5. Jordan Henderson
6. Andre Gomes
7. Abdoulaye Doucoure
8. Fabinho
9. N'Golo Kante
10. Youri Tielemans


Attacking midfielders
1. Eden Hazard
2. Bernardo Silva
3. Kevin De Bruyne
4. Christian Eriksen
5. Gerard Deulofeu
6. Dele Alli
7. James Maddison
8. Gylfi Sigurdsson
9. Paul Pogba
10. Diogo Jota


Wingers
1. Raheem Sterling
2. Bernardo Silva
3. Sadio Mane
4. Mohamed Salah
5. Wilfried Zaha
6. Ryan Fraser
7. Pedro
8. Ryan Babel
9. David Brooks
10. Nathan Redmond


Strikers
1. Sergio Aguero
2. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
3. Harry Kane
4. Roberto Firmino
5. Alexandre Lacazette
6. Raul Jimenez
7. Heung-Min Son
8. Jamie Vardy
9. Marcus Rashford
10. Salomon Rondon