Mohamed Salah

Transfer rumor roundup: Ceballos to Spurs; Elliott to Liverpool

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The transfer window is officially open again and that means one thing: transfer reports are kicking up a few notches between now and Aug. 8 when the window shuts for the start of the 2019-20 season.

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Here’s a look at some of the latest gossip from around the Premier League…


Tottenham’s busy summer (like, super, super busy compared to the last few…) looks set to continue.

Spurs are reportedly in talks to sign Real Madrid and Spain U21 midfielder Dani Ceballos. According to our partners at Sky Sports, Ceballos, 22, prefers an initial loan move away from the Santiago Bernabeu so he can get more regular action.

He has four years left on his current contract at Real after joining them from Real Betis in 2017, and he may have to further bide his time to become a regular for the Spanish giants as he’s made a modest 53 appearances (mostly off the bench) in all competitions over the past two seasons. That said, do Spurs need another midfield? They’ve completed the club-record signing of Tanguy Ndombele for the defensive midfield role, while Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko will also compete for starting spots, and both Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen are in the attacking midfield roles for now.

The most likely scenario for Ceballos signing for Tottenham is if Eriksen leaves, as he said he wants to, this summer and the young Spaniard can arrive to try and prove himself in the Premier League. A loan deal also suits Spurs well, as Daniel Levy is unlikely to sanction many other big-money signings this summer.

After Ceballos’ superb displays in Spain’s victory at the U21 European Championships this summer, there are sure to be plenty of clubs trying to sign the Real youngster who reportedly has a $520 million release clause in his contract.

Nobody is going to pay that for the talented young midfielder, so a loan move is probably about right, for now.


Harvey Elliott, just 16 years old, is closing in on a move to Liverpool.

A move to Liverpool was first reported in the Daily Telegraph, as the youngster who became the youngster-ever Premier League player when he made his debut for Fulham last season has been chased by some of Europe’s top clubs over the summer.

But according to multiple reports Elliott has decided to take his talents to Anfield, a place where Jurgen Klopp gives youth a chance.

Liverpool will have to pay Fulham a compensation fee, but he cannot yet sign a professional contract as he’s under 17 years old. Elliott was wanted by Real Madrid, PSG and Barcelona among many other clubs. This is a huge coup for Liverpool.

Elliott will have seen plenty of youngsters breaking through at Liverpool in recent years as the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez are prime examples, while the signing of highly-rated center back Sepp van den Berg and the progression of the likes of Rhian Brewster, Marko Grujic and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all point to strong development of youngsters under Klopp at very different stages of their careers.

The England U17 international is an attacking midfielder and is regarded as one of the best young talents in European soccer. It will be intriguing to see how quickly he will break through in the months and years ahead, especially as Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino still have plenty left in the tank.

He has already got the haircut of a superstar…

AFCON quarterfinal preview: Can Mane, Senegal avoid upset?

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Three wins from AFCON glory, eight teams take their next steps in quarterfinal play at the Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt on Wednesday and Thursday.

[ MORE: Lukaku latest ]

Benin and Madagascar are barely inside the world’s Top 100 in Elo Ratings, but they are still alive. Does that end here?

Senegal v. Benin — Noon ET Wednesday

Benin made it to this round by tying every group stage match and then using penalty kicks to beat favored Morocco. Simply put: they are survivors. It’ll take more than that against Sadio Mane and Senegal, one the favorites to lift a trophy this summer.

Nigeria v. South Africa — 3 p.m. ET Wednesday

Finally out of their scoring doldrums, the Super Eagles outlasted Cameroon in a 3-2 thriller and now face a South Africa side which stunned Mohamed Salah and hosts Egypt. Bafana Bafana has only allowed two goals in four tournament matches, but Nigeria will put that to the test with Golden Boot co-leader Odion Ighalo.

Ivory Coast v. Algeria  — Noon ET Thursday

Wilfried Zaha may not know where he’ll be playing club ball next season, but it hasn’t stopped him from leading Les Elephants in scoring with two goals. Meeting Riyad Mahrez and Algeria will be a major challenge up north.

Madagascar v. Tunisia — 3 p.m. ET Thursday

Two sides who earned their quarterfinal berths by going perfect from the penalty spot against more celebrated competition (Madagascar defeated Democratic Republic of Congo, while Tunisia beat Ghana). Tunisia will be heavily favored to take the next step.

Africa Cup of Nations last 16 preview: Salah, Mane on collision course?

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The group stage of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations has been low-scoring, so we’ll be hoping for some early goals to open up play for the many electric stars of Africa.

That doesn’t mean we haven’t seen the big names find the score sheet, as Mohamed Salah of Liverpool and host nation Egypt has two goals — as many as anyone in the tournament — the same amount as club teammate Sadio Mane.

[ MORE: JPW’s Round of 16 predictions ]

The Reds may be on a collision course for Cairo on July 19, with Senegal the 22nd ranked team in the world via FIFA and Egypt hosting the tournament.

All five of the nations to qualify for the 2018 World Cup remain alive, with three in the top of the bracket and two in the bottom.

The 32nd edition of the competition could see a rematch of the 31st final in the quarterfinals, but it will require Cameroon emerging from a massive Round of 16 meeting with Nigeria.

Should they do so, and the hosts beat South Africa, the rematch will arrive on Wednesday in Cairo.

The Cameroon-Nigeria match may be topped by one in the upper half of the bracket, as Ghana looks to reassert itself as a power by knocking of Tunisia. The Black Stars missed out on the 2018 World Cup, and the winner is arguably a favorite to reach the final.

Premier League talents on show

Senegal – Mane (Liverpool), Idrissa Gana Gueye (Everton), Cheikhou Kouyate (Crystal Palace)

Morocco – Romain Saiss (Wolves)

Democratic Republic of Congo – Arthur Masuaku (West Ham)

Ghana – Christian Atsu (Newcastle), Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace)

Mali – Moussa Djenepo (Southampton)

Ivory Coast – Serge Aurier (Spurs), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace), Jonathan Kodija (Aston Villa)

Algeria – Riyad Mahrez (Man City), Islam Slimani (Leicester)

Guinea – Naby Keita (Liverpool)

Nigeria – Leon Balogun (Brighton), Alex Iwobi (Arsenal), Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester), Henry Onyekuru (Everton).

Cameroon – Gaetan Bong (Brighton),

Egypt – Salah (Liverpool), Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal), Ahmed Elmohamady (Aston Villa)

Round of 16 schedule

Uganda v. Senegal – July 5
Morocco v. Benin – July 5

Madagascar v. Democratic Republic of Congo – July 7
Ghana v. Tunisia – July 8

Mali v. Ivory Coast – July 8
Algeria v. Guinea – July 7

Nigeria v. Cameroon – July 6
Egypt v. South Africa – July 6

AFCON: Nigeria first team through to Round of 16 at African Cup, joined by host Egypt

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CAIRO (AP) Former champion Nigeria became the first team to reach the last 16 at the African Cup of Nations after defender Kenneth Omeruo‘s second-half goal delivered a 1-0 win over Guinea on Wednesday.

The Nigerians were unimpressive in the first half in Alexandria but lifted their game in the second. Alex Iwobi‘s rasping shot was pushed away by Guinea goalkeeper Ibrahim Kone and Ahmed Musa almost set up Odion Ighalo on a counterattack.

The former Chelsea defender Omeruo did what the forwards had not been able to do when he beat Kone with a glancing header at the near post off Moses Simon’s corner in the 73rd minute.

Nigeria, which won the title in 2013, has two wins from two games in Group B. It beat Burundi 1-0 in its first match and now needs a draw from its last fixture against Madagascar to finish top and stay in Alexandria for the last 16.

There was more good news for Nigeria when Samuel Kalu came on as a substitute near the end. The midfield player collapsed at a training session the day before the first game, suffering from dehydration, and was hospitalized.

Coach Gernot Rohr rested captain John Obi Mikel against Guinea.

Elsewhere, Egypt also confirmed a place in the knockout stages with a 2-0 win over the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ahmad Elmohamady and Mohamed Salah each scored in the first half to lead the Pharoahs to victory, the hosts second-straight win in the competition.

In the other match of the day, Uganda tied Zimbabwe, 1-1.

Follow Live: Africa Cup of Nations – Group play reaches round 2

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The first round of group stage matches is complete and now the slate reracks for teams to truly take control of their Africa Cup of Nations destiny.

[ LIVE: Africa Cup of Nations scores ]

Host nation Egypt takes the field for a second time as they meet Democratic Republic of Congo in the late match in Cairo, while Nigeria has the chance to secure advancement as they play Guinea, and Uganda can push Zimbabwe to the brink of elimination.

Egypt and Uganda can each secure passage to the knockout stage through Group A if both should win, while a loss for either side would complicate matters.The host nation will be looking for a better attacking display after Mohamed Salah was isolated in the narrow opening round win over Zimbabwe. Meanwhile, Congo DR likely did not expect to be facing elimination this early, with a team that sports West Ham’s Arthur Masuaku, former Premier League midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu, and Porto’s Chancel Mbemba.

In Group B, Nigeria can secure passage to the knockout phase with a win. The clear dominant side in a collection of countries that includes Guinea, Madagascar, and Burundi, Nigeria looked sluggish in its opener and will require a more complete attacking display to convince supporters they can challenge for the Cup.

2019 Africa Cup of Nations schedule – Wednesday, June 26

Group A
Uganda v. Zimbabwe – 1 p.m. ET
Egypt v. Congo DR – 4 p.m. ET

Group B
Nigeria v. Guinea – 10:30 a.m. ET