Jadon Sancho

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Chelsea transfer ban reduced after appeal

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Chelsea will be able to sign new players in January after their transfer ban from FIFA was reduced to one transfer window after their appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was successful.

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The Blues had previously been banned for two transfer windows, summer 2019 and winter 2020, for 150 rule breaches involving 69 academy players over a period of several years, but they will now be able to sign new players from Jan. 1 when the next transfer window opens.

Despite having the ban reduced, Chelsea are far from happy with world soccer’s governing body as they released a scathing statement slamming FIFA’s handling of the situation.

“The approach taken by FIFA to this case has been deeply unsatisfactory, not least as FIFA chose to treat Chelsea entirely differently to Manchester City for reasons that make absolutely no sense to Chelsea. We respect the importance of the work undertaken by FIFA in relation to the protection of minors and has fully cooperated with FIFA throughout its investigation. However, if FIFA continues to impose inconsistent and unequal sanctions on clubs then it will not only undermine the very purpose of the regulations, but it will also bring into doubt the game’s confidence in FIFA being able to appropriately regulate this important area.”

They went on to add a bit more detail about why they were so angry at being banned from signing new players for one window.

“FIFA accused Chelsea of having breached Article 19 of the FIFA regulations in relation to 27 players, covering the period from 2009 onwards. Of those, 16 players were registered by Chelsea in exactly the same way as other Premier League clubs registered players at the time. Furthermore, Chelsea sought clarification from the Premier League in 2009 about whether it needed to apply for permission to register players in this category. The FA subsequently liaised with FIFA and it was confirmed to Chelsea that players in this category were entitled to register and that no special application was required (and in fact no special application process existed). Accordingly, the fact that FIFA brought charges against Chelsea for this category of player was perverse. We are grateful that this appears to have been corrected by the CAS.”

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard was obviously delighted with the outcome, as he can now reinforce his young squad and has plenty of cash in the bank after a no-spend summer (the deal for Christian Pulisic was sealed last January and Mateo Kovacic arrived permanently after his loan move saw a clause triggered which made it a permanent move).

“It’s a positive outcome for us,” Lampard said. “It allows us the potential to look at the market going forward. So I’m pleased from a footballing level. It was never my business to get involved in the reasons why or the legal side of it.”

Which areas should Chelsea strengthen in now they can buy again? And which players will be their top targets?

It is clear that left back is an area where Lampard will want to add a new starter as both Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmeri are fine as back ups neither have made the position their own this season. Up top is another key location where Lampard will look to strengthen as Olivier Giroud seems to be on his way out of Stamford Bridge and that would leave just Tammy Abraham and Michy Batshuayi as the options at center forward.

Elsewhere, Chelsea look pretty set, although a new center back could be handy but isn’t necessary given the fact that Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori have both been superb for most of this season and Andreas Christensen is also around with Cesar Azpilicueta also able to slot in at center back with Reece James developing well at right back.

After 12 months without spending and having transfer fees from the sale of Eden Hazard, David Luiz and Tomas Kalas and many other fringe players which brought in an incredible $180 million, Lampard will have money to spend.

Chelsea have been linked with moves for Jadon Sancho, Wilfried Zaha, Nathan Ake and Ben Chilwell, among many others, as plenty of star players will fancy a move to Stamford Bridge given Lampard’s promising start to life as their manager.

The big question now is: Given Chelsea’s great start to the season as they sit in the top four with their young team progressing together as a group, do they risk bringing in new additions to potential upset the team spirit? Is it better to wait until the summer when the likes of Pedro and Giroud, and maybe Willian, could all leave Stamford Bridge?

Report: Liverpool favorites to sign Jadon Sancho

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Jadon Sancho could be on the move sooner than we think.

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A report from Norwegian journalist, and former Premier League striker, Jan Aage Fjortoft  from Viasat claims that Sancho wants to leave Borussia Dortmund in January and he says that current Premier League leaders and European champions Liverpool are favorites to sign him.

That has led to #Sancho2020 trending on Twitter as Liverpool fans are having a moment, just as they did when reports a few months ago linked Kylian Mbappe with a move to Anfield.

As for Sancho, the England international, 19, has excelled at Borussia Dortmund over the last 18 months but after he was hauled off by BVB coach Lucien Favre in the first half of a humbling defeat at Bayern Munich last month, then criticized by his coach, Sancho’s future has come into discussion once again after previous fallings out with the hierarchy at Dortmund.

On the pitch he continues to deliver as he scored in Dortmund’s win at Hertha Berlin on Saturday, in their UEFA Champions League defeat a Barcelona last week and against Paderborn before that, as those goals added to two assists in his last five games for the German giants.

Sancho has a host of Europe’s top clubs forming a not so orderly queue to sign him, with Man United, Barcelona, Chelsea and PSG all heavily linked with a move for the teenage sensation.

It is expected that Sancho would cost over $130 million, and Dortmund have previously admitted he won’t be with them for much longer, but do Liverpool need to strengthen in the attacking midfield/wing areas?

Nope. But what was it Sir Alex Ferguson always said about adding new players when you’re in a position of strength…

Sancho would no doubt provide serious competition to Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino for a starting spot right away, but if you look at Klopp’s options after those three, things start to get pretty thin.

Divock Origi is the next man up and aside from his legendary status among Liverpool fans, will he strike fear into the hearts of opponents if he replace one of the aforementioned trio? Probably not. After Origi there is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who can play in a wide role, then teenagers Rhian Brewster and Curtis Jones are up and Xherdan Shaqiri is around but often an injury doubt.

Liverpool are stacked in the defense and midfield but the front three have been so good and have largely remained injury free that they haven’t had to worry about their attack.

Sancho’s arrival could also suggest that one of Mane or Salah may move on in 2020 as both have been linked with moves to Real Madrid in the past. Having Sancho come in to replace them would be ideal, but a move in January seems unlikely.

But maybe Liverpool will want to get in ahead of the competition in January to sign the former Watford and Man City product before he excels at EURO 2020 for England and his transfer value skyrockets. Right now Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford are ahead of Sancho in the England pecking order but the Dortmund winger is pushing them all the way and seems to be a perfect fit for the way Liverpool play. His pace and trickery is a combination of Salah and Mane and at such a young age he has delivered at Dortmund and is starting to for England.

For Liverpool to stay on top, they need to be ruthless and strengthen their squad even when it looks like they don’t need to. Moves like this are when a great team starts to feel like a dynasty is on the way.

Bundesliga wrap: Leipzig goes top as Bayern stumbles

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RB Leipzig has seized first place on the table ahead of Sunday’s match between Gladbach and Freiburg, but Bayern Munich failed to take advantage of its chance with a home loss courtesy of a Leon Bailey double.

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That’s par for the course of this woolly Bundesliga season. Here’s what you missed.


Paderborn 2-3 RB Leipzig

The new table leaders — at least for a day — scored twice in the first four minutes and added a third in the 26th to account for a 3-0 advantage that was soured a bit in the second half. Timo Werner had a goal and an assist for Leipzig, with Patrik Schick and Marcel Sabitzer also finding the back of the net.

Bayern Munich 1-2 Bayer Leverkusen

A share of first place eluded the Allianz Arena set, as Jamaican striker Leon Bailey sandwiched a pair of goals around Thomas Muller’s 34th minute marker for the hosts. An 81st minute red card to Jonathan Tah opened the door to no avail despite nearly 75 percent of the ball and 21 shots. Bayern will finish the weekend at least three points back of the throne room.

Hertha Berlin 1-2 Borussia Dortmund

Jurgen Klinsmann’s home debut came close to a stirring result. BVB had taken a 2-0 lead after 17 minutes through goals from Jadon Sancho and Thorgan Hazard, but Vladimir Danda scored in the 34th for the hosts and Mats Hummels’ poor week continued with a 45th minute yellow card. But a 13-7 shot advantage could not produce a second goal as Hertha fell into 16th.

Hoffenheim 1-1 Fortuna Dusseldorf

The visitors came back for a point thanks in part to their American duo, as Alfredo Morales assisted on captain Rouwen Hennings‘ 87th minute equalizer and Zach Steffen made five saves and was a tidy 88 percent passer to move Fortuna a point clear of the Bottom Three.

Elsewhere
Schalke 2-1 Union Berlin — Friday
Koln 1-1 Augsburg
Borussia Monchengladbach v. Freiburg — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Wolfsburg v. Werder Bremen — Noon ET Sunday
Mainz v. Eintracht Frankfurt — 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 RB Leipzig 13 8 3 2 36 15 21 3-2-1 5-1-1 27
 Mönchengladbach 12 8 1 3 24 13 11 4-1-1 4-0-2 25
 FC Schalke 04 13 7 4 2 24 16 8 3-3-1 4-1-1 25
 Bayern Munich 13 7 3 3 34 18 16 4-1-2 3-2-1 24
 Borussia Dortmund 13 6 5 2 28 19 9 4-2-0 2-3-2 23
 SC Freiburg 12 6 4 2 21 13 8 3-2-1 3-2-1 22
 Bayer Leverkusen 13 6 4 3 20 17 3 2-4-1 4-0-2 22
 1899 Hoffenheim 13 6 3 4 18 20 -2 3-1-3 3-2-1 21
 VfL Wolfsburg 12 5 5 2 13 10 3 2-3-1 3-2-1 20
 Eintracht Frankfurt 12 5 2 5 21 18 3 4-2-1 1-0-4 17
 1. FC Union Berlin 13 5 1 7 16 19 -3 4-0-3 1-1-4 16
 FC Augsburg 13 3 5 5 18 25 -7 2-2-2 1-3-3 14
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 13 3 3 7 16 24 -8 2-1-3 1-2-4 12
 FSV Mainz 05 12 4 0 8 17 31 -14 2-0-3 2-0-5 12
 Werder Bremen 12 2 5 5 19 26 -7 1-2-3 1-3-2 11
 Hertha BSC Berlin 13 3 2 8 18 27 -9 2-0-4 1-2-4 11
 1. FC Köln 13 2 2 9 12 28 -16 1-1-4 1-1-5 8
 SC Paderborn 13 1 2 10 16 32 -16 1-0-6 0-2-4 5

Champions League wrap: Barca, Leipzig advance; Marsch’s Salzburg win again

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Only two teams in Groups E-H of the UEFA Champions League advanced to the knockout rounds on Wednesday, leaving the final match day packed with tension.

[ RECAPS: Liverpool-Napoli | Valencia-Chelsea ]

Barcelona and RB Leipzig are the teams in question, joining the six teams from Groups A-D to have clinched berths: Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Juventus, Tottenham Hotspur, Paris Saint-Germain, and Real Madrid.

Genk 1-4 Red Bull Salzburg

Jesse Marsch’s men aren’t messing around, and Liverpool won’t be caught off guard in Austria given the firepower on show. Salzburg now has 16 goals in five group stage matches, eight coming courtesy of 19-year-old Erling Braut Haland. Salzburg can only advance with a defeat of Liverpool that doesn’t come with three or more goals from the Reds.

RB Leipzig 2-2 Benfica

Down 2-0 and risking their knockout round status, Leipzig got a pair of Emil Forsberg goals in the final six minutes of play. High drama.

Zenit Saint-Petersburg 2-0 Lyon

Artem Dzyuba and Magomed Ozdoev scored near the end of each half as the Russians moved into second in Group G. Both sides have seven points. Lyon next hosts already-qualified RB Leipzig, while Zenit travels to Benfica, who has four points.

Slavia Prague 1-3 Inter Milan

Romelu Lukaku had a goal and set up Lautaro Martinez’s brace as the Italians moved level with Borussia Dortmund for second place in Group F. Dortmund hosts Slavia Prague on Dec. 10 while Inter hosts Barca.

Lille 0-2 Ajax

Hakim Ziyech and Quincy Promes scored, the former’s goal coming on a beautiful team goal started by a sensational flick from USMNT back Sergino Dest. Watch that here.

Barcelona 3-1 Borussia Dortmund

This is the sort of match that Barcelona imagined when it signed Antoine Griezmann this summer. Lionel Messi scored and set up Griezmann and Luis Suarez for markers before Jadon Sancho pulled one back for Dortmund off a Julian Brandt assist. That’s 16-straight knockout rounds for the Blaugranas.

Look at this pass, which he’s done 100 times. The best ever.

Joao Felix tops Jadon Sancho for Golden Boy award

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Atletico Madrid youngster Joao Felix has won the 2019 Golden Boy award as the best player in Europe under 21 years old.

The award, given out by Italian publication Tuttosport, saw Felix edge Borussia Dortmund attacker Jadon Sancho and Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz among its top three vote-getters.

Felix scored 18 goals for Benfica last season while assisting 10 more, before a massive $138 million move to Atletico Madrid. The Portuguese international has not burst off the page at his new club just yet, with just two goals and an assist through 10 league games while struggling with an ankle injury.

“I am very proud,” said Felix. “It is the second time that a player from Atletico Madrid has won this award and I am happy.”

Sancho finished second in the voting after a 2019 calendar year that saw him score 12 goals and assist 19 more for Borussia Dortmund. The England international started this season strong, scoring three goals and assisting five more in the first five league goals of the campaign, elevating Dortmund to an early title challenge. Since, however, they have fallen off the table, currently sitting sixth with a five-point gap off the top.

Phil Foden and Mason Mount were among the 20-man list of nominees that also included Matteo Guendouzi and Moise Kean. Last year’s award was won by defender Matthijs de Ligt, while Kylian Mbappe took home the honors in 2017.