Ryan Sessegnon

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Transfer Rumor Roundup: United nearing Wan-Bissaka capture, way off on Lukaku sale

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Manchester United has understandably been busy this summer, and while they have yet to secure any players officially, they have been linked with countless potential targets. One player the Red Devils have been connected with for weeks is Crystal Palace full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka and it appears they are coming ever closer to completing a deal.

The 21-year-old, on duty with the England youth side at the U-21 Euros, is nearing a switch to Old Trafford according to multiple reports in England. The Daily Mail says the two sides have agreed on a deal worth roughly $54 million, significant as just last week there were reports that Crystal Palace had thus far rejected Manchester United’s approach worth $44 million alongside a massive add-on total.

The early elimination of the England U-21 side from the European tournament could see this deal get done sooner than expected, as the youngster will be making his way home earlier than the side had hoped.


While Wan-Bissaka is rumored to be on his way in, Romelu Lukaku is reportedly looking for a way out, although that may have hit a snag as Manchester United is apparently not ready to let the Belgian go for cheap.

According to reports in Italy, talks between Manchester United and Inter regarding Lukaku’s valuation have so far been unproductive, with the Premier League side asking for no less than $97 million while Inter is still a solid $28 million behind that total. With such a gap in price, it’s unlikely anything will get done soon, if at all.

The Italian club is looking to replace Mauro Icardi who is set to leave after a tumultuous season resulted in a breakdown in his relationship with the team. Lukaku has been unsuccessful in recapturing his blistering Everton form at Manchester United and could be the one to replace Icardi at Inter, but with three years left on his Red Devils contract the English side is not forced to let him go for a value below their price tag.

The reports suggest that Inter could include Icardi in a swap deal, but also say that could take some convincing as the Argentinian striker is not currently interested in moving to Old Trafford.


The Serie A striker merry-go-round continues as Lorenzo Insigne could be moving on from Napoli, and while he could potentially serve as an Icardi replacement if a Lukaku deal cannot be struck, but there’s also apparently significant competition from abroad.

Atletico Madrid is hoping to replace Antoine Griezmann with a top-level striker after the Frenchman departed the Spanish side for Barcelona. Insigne, who struggled with injuries and poor form through the second half of last season. According to Italian tabloid Corriere dello Sport, Napoli would be willing to let Insigne leave but not for less than $80 million.

Insigne scored 18 Serie A goals in the 2016/17 campaign for Napoli as the club challenged for the title and finished third, a point back of Roma and five behind Champions Juventus. However, he’s only managed to match that goal total across the next two seasons combined, bagging 10 goals last season and only three from the second week of November on. There are rumblings that Insigne

With rumors of a swoop for either Hirving Lozano or James Rodriguez, Napoli is clearly looking to bolster its attacking depth and Insigne could be a casualty of that transfer activity.


Tottenham Hotspur hasn’t purchased a single player in over a year, but that could be about to change.

While there’s nothing concrete yet from more reliable sources, tabloid reports in England suggest that Spurs is nearing a deal for Leeds United winger Jack Clarke. The Premier League side has been linked with Clarke for months now, and the 18-year-old slowly gained more playing time as the Championship season plodded along.

Now, with Leeds missing out on promotion, it could be time for the 18-year-old to make the jump, as Spurs could be ready to pay $19 million for the York-born winger. With links to Fulham teenager Ryan Sessegnon over the last few months as well, it’s possible that Mauricio Pochettino could be looking to inject some youth into the side, especially on the flanks.

England U-21’s collapse late again in defeat to Romania

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A wild final 15 minutes saw Romania come out on top of England at the U-21 Euros, sealing a disappointing end to their tournament in the group stage after just two matches.

The game was 0-0 through the first half as England looked spotty and Romania struggled to get past Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson. Questions will be asked of England boss Andy Boothroyd who controversially chose to bench sparkling Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden and the team appeared toothless without him.

Foden came on in the 57th minute but it remained scoreless until the 76th minute when it all kicked off with a bang. Inter youth product and Palermo striker George Puscas struck from the penalty spot after Everton youth product Jonjoe Kenny tripped Romanian substitute Florinel Coman in the area.

That lit the fuse and the game exploded. Leicester City’s Demari Gray equalized three minutes later off a set-piece situation, but Romania would go in front again via Ianis Hagi, son of the great Gheorghe Hagi, who deposited a low piledriver for the lead with five minutes to go, although the game was far from over. Just a minute later Tammy Abraham collected a cross onto his chest and produced a fine cut finish for another England equalizer at 2-2.

That is where England collapsed and Coman became a hero. Having already created one chance with earning the earlier penalty, the Steaua Bucuresti winger bagged a late brace, first striking on a gift from Henderson on a speculative shot from distance that squirted underneath the goalkeeper. The second was far more deserving of a late winner, a glittering volley on the bounce from well outside the box that rose and dipped into the top-left corner.

The late flop is the second of the tournament for England and ultimately becomes their legacy for the summer. They collapsed late in a 2-1 defeat to France in their group stage opener, seeing Crystal Palace full-back and rumored Manchester United target Aaron Wan-Bissaka turn home an unlikely own-goal in the 95th minute.

Boothroyd, who signed a contract extension just this summer immediately prior to the tournament, was criticized heavily for his team selection, most notably for Foden’s initial absence but also for his handling of the 90 minutes. He brought Ryan Sessegnon off the bench at halftime, only for the Fulham youngster to pull up injured 12 minutes later, requiring a substitute himself in a move that finally saw Foden enter the fray. For a team that won eight matches in qualifying for the competition, the face-first stagger marks a downright embarrassing result.

England is eliminated no matter the rest of the group stage results, given the best they can do is finish level with France who beat them head-to-head. They still have a chance to save face as they take on Croatia in their final group stage match despite their fate already sealed. Croatia was thumped in its first game against Romania 4-1 and takes on France later today needing a win to keep them a live. Should Croatia lose that, the final group stage match between the two sides would be nothing more than a consolation prize.

Season Review: Huddersfield, Fulham, Cardiff, Brighton, Southampton

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As the 2018/19 Premier League season has come to a close, it’s time to take a very brief look back at each club’s campaign and review how they did. First, we look back at the bottom five sides and work our way up the table.

Huddersfield Town, Fulham, and Cardiff City were relegated to the Championship, while Brighton & Hove Albion and Southampton both managed to stay up, barely. Each team took its own path to where they finished in the table, so here’s a look back at some of the journeys.

Huddersfield Town

Finishing position/points total: 20 / 16pts
High point
: Doing the double over Wolves.
Low point
: Losing 5-0 to Liverpool to cap a stretch of 8 losses.

Our opinion: They struggled to score all season, with just 22 goals in 38 league matches. Shut out in a whopping 19 Premier League matches, they never had the firepower to compete.
Star player
: Aaron Mooy
Most memorable goal
: Isaac Mbenza equalized on an assist from goalkeeper Jonas Lossl to draw Manchester United on the penultimate day of the season.


Manager grade: David Wagner: C- / Jan Siewert: F
Hopes for next season
: Huddersfield needs to stabilize and regroup next season, and a top-10 Championship finish should be the target, building towards a promotion campaign the following year. Siewert wasn’t able to do anything of note in charge during the second half of the Premier League season, and the jury is still out on if he’s the right man to lead them through the Championship.

Fulham

Finishing position/points total: 19 / 26pts
High point
: Winning 3 straight under Scott Parker.
Low point
: A 4-1 loss to Watford to mark 9 straight.

Our opinion: An absolutely woeful defense doomed what was an otherwise entertaining attacking club. With a change of manager came a change of style, but nothing improved at the back. Fulham needs to sort out its back line for next season or a quick return to the Premier League can be thrown out the window.
Star player
: Aleksandar Mitrovic
Most memorable goal
: Jean-Michael Seri blasted an absolute stunner against Burnley early in the season. Andre Schurrle also victimized Burnley with a glorious volley as well.


Manager grade: Slavisa Jokanovic: D- / Claudio Ranieri: F / Scott Parker: C+
Hopes for next season
: The club did well to secure a permanent manager so quickly so they can get to work strengthening the squad for a promotion campaign to come straight back up. The priority this offseason will be looking to secure assets like Mitrovic, Jean-Michael Seri, and Ryan Sessegnon while looking to improve the defense.

Cardiff City

Finishing position/points total: 18 / 34pts
High point
: Beating Manchester United on the last day of the season.
Low point
: Failing to score in 4 straight, confirming relegation.

Our opinion: A club that many through would finish bottom of the league, or close to it, gave it a real fight and came close to staving off relegation a few times. The season clearly wore on Neil Warnock, who said there isn’t “a cat’s chance in hell” he ever manages in the Premier League again.
Star player
: Victor Camarasa
Most memorable goal
: Junior Hoilett‘s wonderful curler to beat Wolves in November pulled the club out of the relegation zone for the time being, but it can’t beat Camarasa’s unbelievable strike to beat Leicester City in stoppage time.


Manager grade: Neil Warnock: C
Hopes for next season
: They will be a real challenger for promotion in the Championship and should do well if they can improve the playmaking abilities up front.

Brighton & Hove Albion

Finishing position/points total: 17 / 36pts
High point
: Winning 3 straight in October, critical to staying up.
Low point
: 8 straight without a win Jan-Feb in a relegation battle.

Our opinion: Brighton was one of the most fun teams this season, with a combination of suffocating defense and an attack that could crop up at any time against any club. While they often fired blanks, when they came alive it was exciting and enjoyable. Still, the attack was too inconsistent and they’ll want to make smart improvements.
Star player
: Shane Duffy
Most memorable goal
: Glenn Murray‘s winner against Wolves capped off a critical 3-game winning streak and ultimately proved vital in keeping the club alive.


Manager grade: Chris Hughton: C-
Hopes for next season
: Sacking Chris Hughton, the man who pulled the club out of the muck and brought them to the promised land, is a bold decision. This is a team with good assets and a solid base, and they should be able to stay up again next season with the right leader.

Southampton

Finishing position/points total: 16 / 39pts
High point
: Beating Arsenal 3-2 in December.
Low point
: 6-1 loss to Man City as part of a 12-match winless run.

Our opinion: Southampton started off the season horribly and was a real candidate to go down until Ralph Hassenhuttl saved them. His management kept this team up and there’s real hope for the future with a young, scrappy squad that needs improvement.
Star player
: Nathan Redmond
Most memorable goal
: It wasn’t the best goal of the season (that would be the Redmond curler to finish off the campaign on Sunday?) but the most memorable is Charlie Austin‘s in the 85th minute to beat Arsenal and end their long unbeaten run. It sparked the turnaround for Southampton, marking their first league win in over three months and beginning a nine-match run where they picked up 15 points.


Manager grade: Mark Hughes: D- / Ralph Hassenhuttl: A-
Hopes for next season
: With Hassenhuttl in charge and improvements to the defense this summer, Southampton should be able to show more consistency next season. On their day, they’re capable of beating any team in the league and that should lead them to a belief in a top 10 finish. This team shouldn’t be battling for Premier League survival again.

Fulham hires Scott Parker as full-time head coach

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Fulham has taken its first step towards next season in the Championship by locking down a boss, hiring interim boss Scott Parker as full-time head coach, the club announced on Friday, signing a two-year deal.

Parker spent the final four years of his playing career at Fulham, making 128 appearances for the club before retiring in 2017 and joining the backroom staff. He remained part of the coaching staff through multiple managerial changes in the Premier League this season, finally being tabbed as caretaker manager after the dismissal of Claudio Ranieri in late February.

Under Parker’s guidance, Fulham finished the season strong despite being strapped with relegation. They lost their first five matches under Parker, but three of those came against Manchester City, Chelsea, and Liverpool. They then won three in a row against Everton, Bournemouth, and Cardiff City in mid-April despite having won just four matches all season previously.

“Scott was brave to accept a very difficult challenge in February when appointed as our Caretaker Manager,” said club chairman Shahid Khan in the official team announcement . “Since that time, day by day, whether in training or on matchday, we’ve undeniably become a better football club. Scott will now have another challenge to face, and that is to return Fulham to the Premier League. I fully believe Scott is more than up to the task.”

The 38-year-old former Fulham captain feels he is ready for his first managerial gig, having previously played nearly 600 career matches for Charlton, Chelsea, Newcastle, West Ham and Tottenham.

“Now, the challenge lies with me to move things forward,” said Parker in the official team release. “Ultimately, success comes from a culture and a desire – that needs to be our foundation. We’ll drive a culture here that our fans will recognize.”

A big focus for Parker is the atmosphere in the dressing room, which Parker believes he can influence as a recent player. “I’ve got 20 years of playing experience and 20 years of being in changing rooms,” Parker said. “I want to use that experience to help the club be successful and move things forward.”

The job ahead is a tough one moving forward given the Fulham squad is in a state of horrible flux. Young winger Ryan Sessegnon is out of contract next summer and therefore likely to be sold unless he changes course and signs and extension with the club. Striker Aleksandr Mitrovic and midfielder Jean-Michel Seri could also be out the door given their level of talent, potentially avoiding dropping down a league with the club. Sergio Rico, Calum Chambers, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Havard Nordveit, Andre Schurrle, and Luciano Vietto are all loanees scheduled to return to parent clubs after the season ends. Denis Odoi, Floyd Ayite, and Neeskins Kebano are all out of contract this summer and could depart as well.

Wolves beat Fulham, all but seal seventh (video)

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  • Dendoncker scores winner
  • Wolves stay in 7th place
  • Fulham’s run of wins ends

Wolverhampton Wanderers all but secured seventh place in the Premier League table as they beat Fulham 1-0 at Molineux on Saturday.

Leander Dendoncker‘s volley was enough to seal all three points, as Nuno Espirito Santo‘s side went close on several occasions as Diogo Jota was a constant menace.

With the win Wolves move on to 57 points, and that means that unless Leicester City win their final two games and Wolves lose to Liverpool on the final day of the season, the newly-promoted club will finish in seventh which would secure European qualification if Watford lose to Man City in the FA Cup final later this month.

Already-relegated Fulham ended their run of wins after three-straight and they will finish in 19th place.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Early on Jota went down on the edge of the box under a hefty challenge, and was then booked for simulation after going down in the box.

Jota was then denied by Sergio Rico who made a fine stop down to his left to deny the in-form Wolves forward.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

That man Jota then flashed an effort just wide of the far post as Wolves continued to push forward. Joao Moutinho‘s whipped cross then found Leander Dendoncker but his header hit the crossbar.

Wolves failed to break through before the interval and Fulham had a decent chance as Joe Bryan forced Rui Patricio into a stop.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

In the second half Jota dragged another effort just wide as Wolves huffed and puffed, but didn’t work Rico.

At the other end Aleksandar Mitrovic squandered a wonderful chance as Ryan Sessegnon set him up but the Serbian blasted over from a great position.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Ruben Neves then smashed in a low effort which was saved by Rico, and Matt Doherty was brilliantly denied by Rico at the back post.

Wolves won it late on as Doherty crossed for Dendoncker who volleyed home to spark wild celebrations at Molinuex.

Jota smashed the crossbar late on, but Wolves were worthy winners as they all but secured seventh place.