Moussa Dembele

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16-year-old Cherki scores 2 as Lyon advances in French Cup

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PARIS — Two goals and two assists from 16-year-old forward Rayan Cherki helped Lyon win 4-3 at Nantes and reach the last 16 of the French Cup on Saturday.

But the run of Reunion Islanders JS Saint-Pierroise ended with a 1-0 loss away to Epinal, which scored deep into extra time.

Cherki put Lyon ahead in the first minute, deftly rounding goalkeeper Alban Lafont and then clipping the ball beyond a defender. He made it 2-0 in the ninth, slotting the ball through Lafont’s legs after being set up by right winger Bertrand Traore.

New signing Renaud Emond headed in Moses Simon’s cross from the left to pull a goal back for Nantes in the 16th. Cherki then showed great awareness to release forward Martin Terrier with a fine pass from midfield in the 37th for 3-1.

Cherki shaved the crossbar with a shot in the 60th and won a penalty in the 67th after robbing the ball off Thomas Basila. He generously allowed striker Moussa Dembele to take it, but Lafont saved Dembele’s attempt.

Two minuter later, Cherki threaded the ball down the right to Dembele, who slotted in, and the irrepressible Cherki set up another chance for Terrier.

Lyon’s defense remains vulnerable and Simon set up Imran Louza’s goal before heading in late on to ensure a tense finish.

Saint-Pierroise had caused an upset in the previous round by knocking out second-division Niort and the players again traveled 6,000 miles (around 9,700 kilometers) from the small island in the Indian Ocean, located off the east coast of Africa.

Saint-Pierroise, the former club of France midfielder Dimitri Payet, was looking to become the first club from the Reunion Islands to reach the last 16 and almost forced a penalty shootout, despite having forward Jean-Michel Fontaine sent off in the 15th minute.

But substitute Adel Berkane rifled home a half-volley for fourth-tier Epinal with two minutes left in extra time.

Also, there were wins for first-division sides Nice, Lille, Saint-Etienne and Strasbourg.

Lille won 2-0 at fifth-division Gonfreville thanks to goals from forwards Loic Remy and Victor Osimhen, while coach Patrick Vieira’s Nice side held on to beat third-tier Red Star 2-1.

Saint-Etienne won 3-2 at Paris FC, a team fighting relegation in the second division.

Paris FC led 2-1 with goals from former Paris Saint-Germain forward Jeremy Menez and ex-Rennes winger Jonathan Pitroipa. Teen forward Charles Abi equalized for Saint-Etienne with 20 minutes left before veteran right back Mathieu Debuchy netted the winner.

Strasbourg won 5-1 at fourth-tier Angouleme.

On Sunday, Rennes plays at fifth-tier Athletico Marseille and PSG travels to face second division league leader Lorient.

Rennes beats PSG in last year’s final.

Lampard calls for Chelsea to finish chances: ‘We know where we need to strengthen’

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Chelsea’s dramatic last-gasp loss to Newcastle United was, in a way, a blessing in disguise for Frank Lampard and company.

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The Blues conceded their first first loss since Boxing Day, dropping crucial points in the league’s top-four race. With plenty of chances to score at hand, the visit to St. James’ Park is one of sheer frustration.

But at the same time, the London side learned an invaluable lesson: Chelsea are in dire need of a new striker before the January transfer window comes to a close. Chelsea registered 19 shots (4 on target) on Saturday but squandered most, while Newcastle’s netminder Martin Dúbravka did his job and saved a few.

“We know we have problems at the top of the pitch in terms of we don’t get enough goals,” Lampard said following his team’s 1-0 loss, via the BBC.
“If you don’t score you are always liable for a sucker punch and they got it.”

“If we are looking for people to bring in to the areas to win games when you are controlling it, it is scoring goals.”

From RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner to Lyon’s Moussa Dembele, Chelsea has been linked to a striker all winter long. With Olivier Giroud a signature away from sealing a move to Inter Milan, a replacement is necessary.

Sure, Tammy Abraham‘s return to Stamford Bridge is an outright success – 13 goals and two assists in 22 league appearances – but rotation is visibly needed. Michy Batshuayi replaced Abraham, but failed to show any promising signs. The 26-year-old has scored just once in 13 matches this season.

“We can’t work anymore in training on finishing,” the 41-year-old manager added. “You need to have that killer instinct in front of goal. We need to score more goals from front-line areas if we are going to get to where we want to be.”

Lampard gave no indicator that his side are on the brink of landing a new goalscorer up top. With the transfer window open for just 13 days, however, Chelsea are going to have to get intentional on their search.

“It’s quite clear from what I am saying now that we know where we need to strengthen but we shall see.”

Transfer rumor roundup: Chelsea, Man United battle for Kumbulla; Man United scouting Dembele

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A roundup of all of Sunday’s biggest transfer rumors, including those involving Premier League outfits.

[ MORE: Premier League January transfer needs ]

Chelsea and Manchester United will battle it out – but not on the field.

The two Premier League giants have reportedly entered the race for Hellas Verona’s highly-touted youngster Marash Kumbulla, according to Calciomercato.

The English clubs aren’t alone in the race for the 19-year-old, however. Juventus, Inter Milan, and Borussia Dortmund are also chasing the Albanian defender. Kumbulla has made 13 appearances across all competition for Verona this season.


Manchester United are actively scouting Lyon’s Moussa Dembele, according to ESPN.

Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City are also monitoring the 23-year-old, who has 11 goals in Ligue 1 this season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is actively looking for a striker despite Marcus Rashford‘s productivity. Raul Jimenez and Arkadiusz Milik have been linked to a move to Old Trafford as well.


AC Milan has joined Arsenal in the race for Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng, informs Sky Sports in Germany.

The Italian side are close to signing Sevilla’s Simon Kjaer but still want to add an additional defender to their ranks.

Boateng, 31, reportedly wants a move away from the German champions this summer. The World Cup winner can leave as long as team’s meet the $16 million asking price.


Burnley goalkeeper and ex-England number one Joe Hart was an option for AC Milan following Pepe Reina‘s departure to Aston Villa.

Stefano Pioli’s side are instead opting for Bournemouth’s Asmir Begovic, who is reportedly undergoing a medical in Milan soon.

Top 10 players to watch in January window

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January is here and the transfer window is open again with plenty of big moves rumored as Premier League clubs aim to kick on in the second half of the season.

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With that in mind, here’s a look at 10 players you should keep an eye on during this month as they could be moving to or leaving the PL.

We will keep you updated with all the latest goings on throughout this month with analysis and reaction right here at Pro Soccer Talk.


Olivier Giroud (Chelsea)
The 33-year-old isn’t getting much game time at Chelsea and reports suggest he is being offered to plenty of clubs, including Lyon, as Chelsea want to bring in Moussa Dembele. Giroud’s ability to hold the ball up and score goals mean plenty of PL clubs will be looking at a January move, maybe on loan, as the French international is out of contract this summer. He will be desperate for minutes in the second half of the season as he pushes to start for France at EURO 2020 this summer.


Nathan Ake (Bournemouth)
Currently out injured, Ake has been a rock for Bournemouth since he arrived on loan then permanently from Chelsea. It is said the Blues have a $50 million buyback clause and given their defensive problems this season, that would be a smart buy for Frank Lampard‘s side. The Dutch international has also been interesting Man City and Arsenal and if he doesn’t leave Bournemouth this January, he will be a man in demand this summer.


Jarrod Bowen (Hull City)
Teams in the bottom half of the table usually take a punt on a player doing really well in the Championship. Bowen, 23, fits the bill as he’s scored 17 goals for Hull City so far this season and bagged 22 last season. A real poacher in and around the box, Bowen has been linked with a move to Leicester, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and Newcastle among others. He has come up through the ranks in non-league and seems capable of making the next step up.


Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain)
A veteran striker with undoubted quality, both Arsenal and Man United have been linked with El Matador. So too have Atletico Madrid and Inter Miami, but Cavani, 32, playing in the Premier League would be very interesting. He is more physical than Gonzalo Higuain but injuries have hit him hard in recent months. Would he would be worth a gamble for a team pushing to get into the top four?


Moussa Dembele (Lyon)
The former Fulham and Celtic forward is a man in demand after another fine season in Ligue 1 for Lyon. Chelsea and Man United are said to be interested in signing him this month even though Lyon have said they don’t want to sell until summer, if they’re going to at all. Dembele, 23, is a clinical finisher who hovers around the box and he also has the ability to make clever runs behind opposition defenders. Would cost way over $70 million.


Christian Eriksen (Tottenham)
Available on a free this summer, Eriksen could well stay at Spurs and see out his contract but chairman Daniel Levy loves a good deal and if they can get a transfer fee for Eriksen now perhaps he will leave. Eriksen has been indifferent throughout this season as he’s been linked to Man United, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and other giant clubs across Europe. He has all of the ability to excel wherever he ends up and maybe it would be best for everyone if he moved on this month.


Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)
Perhaps the man most coveted in this window, Zaha wanted to leave in the summer but Arsenal and Everton didn’t match Palace’s valuation. After a fine few months leading up to January he will probably go for close to $110 million and Chelsea are the frontrunners to sign him. Zaha’s pace and trickery are his main strengths and he is desperate to return to a team challenging for trophies and playing in the Champions League. At 27 years old, now seems like the perfect time for Zaha to make the step up.


Thomas Lemar (Atletico Madrid)
The French winger has reportedly been offered to Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs and other Premier League clubs as Atletico try and move on the man they paid Monaco $66.5 million in the summer of 2018. Lemar, 24, has got regular minutes for Atletico but has only scored three times in 49 La Liga appearances. Surely, Spurs and maybe even Chelsea will see this as a cheaper, and very decent, alternative to buying someone like Sancho or Zaha.


Kyle Walker-Peters (Tottenham)
Crystal Palace, Southampton and others have been linked with a loan move for Spurs’ young right back who hasn’t been able to jump ahead of Serge Aurier. Walker-Peters needs game time to keep his development going and it is unlikely he will leave permanently. A no-brainer for PL clubs further down the table who want some extra help in defense.


Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea)
Another January, another loan move on the cards for Batshuayi. The Belgian international has joined Borussia Dortmund, Valencia and Palace in recent windows and the likes of Palace and Aston Villa have been linked with a loan move for him this time around. Batshuayi is second-choice behind Tammy Abraham and Chelsea will not be willing to let him go if they fail to bring in Dembele, or someone else, in attack.

Transfer rumor roundup: Sancho deal off; Dembele to Chelsea, Man Utd

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It appears that Jadon Sancho will not be heading to the Premier League in January.

Our partners at Sky Sports in Germany claim that the Bundesliga giants will not sell Sancho, 19, in January and will instead focus on getting the best deal possible for the winger this summer as they won’t be able to replace him this month.

Sancho has been linked with moves to Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United, as the former Watford and Man City youth product has shone for Dortmund over the last 18 months as he’s become a regular for England.

Dortmund have already admitted that Sancho won’t be around much longer as they continue their incredible record of attracting the top young talent in Europe, getting a few years out of them and then selling the stars on for big profits.

Chelsea have been linked strongly with a move for Sancho as the likes of Willian and Pedro are the wrong side of 30 and the former has yet to sign a new contract at Stamford Bridge.

Keeping Sancho until this summer is a smart move by Dortmund. Financially they will get more if they start a bidding war for him in the summer transfer window, when most clubs are willing to do business as they know better what their revenue streams will be in the upcoming year.

With Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid all linked with a move for Sancho too, the Premier League’s big boys know they will have to splash out over $130 million to sign the teenager who took Christian Pulisic‘s place in the Dortmund team.

Man United and Chelsea seem the most likely to bite the bullet and pay big bucks for Sancho, with Man City and Liverpool well stocked in the attacking areas of the pitch.


Talking of Man United and Chelsea, the duo are locked into a battle to sign Lyon’s Moussa Dembele.

The former Fulham and Celtic striker, 23, has been the subject of bids in January and various reports state that Chelsea have made an offer of over $50 million to sign Dembele.

A report from the Daily Mail also suggests that Chelsea will offer French national team forward Olivier Giroud as a makeweight in the deal for Dembele, as Lyon play hardball over their top goalscorer from last season.

He’s scored 10 goals in 18 Ligue 1 appearances this season and has been linked with a move back to the UK consistently.

Dembele would provide great competition for Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham and Man United’s Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, and it would appear Chelsea are pushing hard to sign the French striker. Aside from Abraham they only have Michy Batshuayi and Giroud as center forward options and Frank Lampard is keen to spend in January as his young side are keen to kick on in the second half of the season to seal a top four finish.

With the Blues able to sign players again as their transfer ban is over, they have the financial edge in this deal. They also have the greater need to add a center forward. Chelsea seems like a very good for Dembele and the next logical step on his career path.