Ilkay Gundogan

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Transfer rumor roundup: New homes for Koscielny, Gundogan

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The transfer rumor mill is veteran heavy heading into the weekend.

[ MORE: U.S. falls in FIFA rankings ]

Borussia Dortmund doesn’t want to fizzle out again next season, and is hoping to lure a few special players to Germany this season.

Juve forward Mario Mandzukic, Man City’s Ilkay Gundogan, and Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny are all on BVB’s radar as the club looks to improve on the side that pushed Bayern Munich for much of last season.

Gundogan wants more playing time but City is said to be ready to let him leave on a free at the end of the 2019-20 season. Koscielny could be a victim of Unai Emery‘s need to flip his defensive script. Could both end up in Dortmund? Bild (subscription required) says so, and Koscielny could cost $13 million while Gundogan’s fee is unknown.


Bayern Munich hero Lothar Matthaus says James Rodriguez is going to find his way to a Juventus side which could become the favorite to win the UEFA Champions League.

Matthaus tells Spanish web site AS that James remains close with Cristiano Ronaldo, and that he’s ready for a reunion with good pal. Additionally, Real would benefit from the deal, as James was just on loan with Bayern and his rights remain at the Bernabeu.


Rumorinhos:

Antonio Valencia is being linked with a Premier League stay, as Sheffield United may want to bring the Ecuador captain aboard the good ship Blades.

— Would Jesper Cillessen leave Barcelona to stay a backup… at Everton? We doubt it, but maybe that says something more about the controversial season of Jordan Pickford than the status of Cillessen?

Euro 2020 qualifying: Germany routs Estonia, Belgium knocks off Scotland (video)

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Euro 2020 qualifying wrapped up for the summer on Tuesday, but not before some wild scorelines and impressive results.

Here is a rundown of the top matches:

[READ: USWNT thrashes Thailand in World Cup opener]


Germany 8-0 Estonia

Like Thailand for the U.S. Women’s National Team, Germany had its way on the field against Estonia at the Opel Arena in Mainz, Germany, as Die Manschafft rolled to an 8-0 victory. Estonia’s backline was too easily broken and was too weak to stand up to Germany’s strong attack, which found a way to score from close range time and time again. The match was punctuated with Marco Reus’ terrific free kick in the 37th minute, giving Germany its first five-goal first half since the famous 7-1 over Brazil in the 2014 World Cup semifinals. Leroy Sane late put the finishing touches with a quick strike that took Estonia’s goalkeeper Sergei Lepmets by surprise. Sane’s teammate Ilkay Gundogan also scored, along with a brace from former Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry and a goal each for Timo Werner and Leon Goretzka. With the win, Germany move three points back (with a game in hand) from Northern Ireland, which has remained unbeaten and holds a perfect 4-0 record so far in qualifying.

Belgium 3-0 Scotland

Romelu Lukaku has had a rough season in the Premier League and multiple reports state he could be leaving, but on Tuesday, he showed everyone what he’s capable of. Lukaku scored a brace, the first on a header just before halftime and the second on a rebound off a save by Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall. Lukaku nearly grabbed a third a few minutes later, flashing a strike on his weaker right foot just wide of goal. An abject Scotland side were constantly under pressure on the road and after many near-misses, Kevin De Bruyne fired a low missile home from outside of the box to put the finishing touches on the game. With the win, Belgium move to the top of Group I with 12 points while Scotland, with their second loss of qualifying, sit in fourth place behind Kazakhstan and Russia.

Here are the rest of the results around Europe on Tuesday:

Belarus 0-1 Northern Ireland

Azerbaijan 1-5 Slovakia

Hungary 1-0 Wales

Albania 2-0 Moldova

Andorra 0-4 France

Iceland 2-1 Turkey

Kazakhstan 4-0 San Marino

Russia 1-0 Cyprus

Greece 2-3 Armenia

Italy 2-1 Bosnia and Herzegovina

Liechtenstein 0-2 Finland

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.

Man City win the Premier League title

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  • Back-to-back PL titles for City
  • 4th PL title in 8 years
  • 14th straight win for Man City
  • 2nd highest points total (98) in history
  • Brighton took the lead
  • Aguero, Laporte, Mahrez, Gundogan score

BRIGHTON — Manchester City were crowned 2018-19 Premier League champions on Sunday, as they beat Brighton & Hove Albion 4-1 at the Amex Stadium to retain their crown as the champions of England.

Pep Guardiola‘s men have now won back-to-back Premier League titles, as their incredible run of 14-straight victories to end the season saw them finish one point clear of Liverpool, who they trailed by seven points in early January.

[ MORE: Guardiola reacts, as City cement spot in history

After Glenn Murray opened the scoring to give City a scare, Sergio Aguero equalized soon after and then Aymeric Laporte put City ahead before the break. Riyad Mahrez scored a stunner to make it 3-1 in the second half, as City eased to the title with Ilkay Gundogan adding another.

City finish the season on 98 points, one ahead of Liverpool, as they recorded the second-highest points tally in PL history, two less than the record they set last season.

With the League Cup and Premier League title already secured, Man City will now be the first English team to ever complete a domestic treble if they beat Watford in the FA Cup final next Saturday.

We are truly witnessing greatness.

City started brightly as Bernardo Silva weaved his way into the box but was eventually tackled at the crucial moment just as he was about to shoot.

Brighton then went close as a cross was whipped in that Murray nodded wide, but he was in an offside position anyway. Man City continued to dominate possession with having too many clear cut chances, as Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan fizzing went close. Then all hell broke loose.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Brighton took the lead as a Pascal Gross corner from the left saw Murray flick home to beat Ederson at his near post and give the hosts a 1-0 lead. But just seconds later City made it 1-1.

David Silva‘s flick found Aguero and he finished calmly at the near post through Ryan’s legs to equalize. Silva then went close with a header at he back post which Ryan saved as City clicked through the gears before the break.

[ MORE: Final Premier League standings ]

A bad giveaway from Murray set Mahrez free but his shot towards the near post was pushed away by Ryan and from the resulting corner City took the lead. Laporte got free of his runner and sent a towering header home to make it 2-1.

Right on half time Lewis Dunk‘s dipping free kick was fumbled and pushed onto the bar by Ederson as City survived a scare.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

In the second half City came flying out of the traps to try and put the game to bed.

They came close on several occasions before a moment of magic from Mahrez saw the Algerian jinx past two tackles and smash home to make it 3-1 and seal the title win.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Man City went close to extending their lead as Gundogan curled just wide, and moments later he did make it 4-1 as the German curled home a superb free kick to seal the glorious title win in style.

Pep urges increased focus after Man City keeps PL title control

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Pep Guardiola and Manchester City are officially over their UEFA Champions League exit, and now salivating at the idea of defending their Premier League crown following a 2-0 defeat of Manchester United on Wednesday.

And the manager is now demanding that his players get laser-focused on the game-by-game.

[ MORE: Recap | 3, er, 4 things ]

“I told the players don’t read tomorrow, don’t watch the television, just rest and sleep a lot and go in there against Burnley,” Guardiola said.

The Man City boss says the side’s early second half changes, taking off Fernandinho to move in Leroy Sane and slot Ilkay Gundogan a bit deeper made the difference from 0-0 to 2-0.

“We knew without Romelu Lukaku they would try more runs in behind,” he said. “The chances we lost came from us losing simple balls in the middle and we changed things in the second half, with Ilkay Gundogan in the middle and with Leroy Sane on we were more dynamic.”

And Guardiola tried to find the words to explain how either Man City or Liverpool will walk away from this season at second place in the league despite being two of the greatest sides ever produced by England.

“Both teams deserve the title, but it can be just one,” Guardiola said. “The team that is going to lose cannot have regrets because they have given everything. Normally with this kind of victory you can it enjoy it the most but now we have to be calm. We have to be in the right phase.”