Alex Sandro

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Most notable absentees from 2018 World Cup rosters

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Leroy Sane was left off the Germany squad for this summer’s World Cup, an omission that makes Landon Donovan circa 2014 look like forgetting the baby formula at the store.

(Sorry, LegenD. You’re still a big, big, big deal to us, and you understand the baby nourishment point these days).

[ MORE: Karius was concussed ]

But good, even great players get left off great teams, and Germany is stacked for another run at glory. And Sane’s not alone, with World Cup hero Mario Gotze not getting a call from his nation alone.

Honorable mention to Spain’s Marcos Alonso and Cesc Fabregas, as well as Sergi Roberto. Wow. Spain is deep.

10. Adrien Rabiot, France — A substandard club season may’ve claimed Rabiot, but he’s also struggled to get regular call-ups. The surprise is a bit less than the others, though his status on the nation’s best domestic club suggests it should be higher.

9. Jack Wilshere, Arsenal — Beyond Ruben Loftus-Cheek, I simply don’t see a ball mover of Wilshere’s caliber on the Three Lions roster.

8. Mario Gotze, Germany — Sentimental, yes, but I think there’s something to be said for Germany and its support knowing a World Cup winner is sitting on the bench or at least waiting in the wings.

7. Anthony Martial, France — Incredible talents are always left out of the French side, but this one is not based solely on one club manager’s squad selection in Jose Mourinho. Martial has scored once in 18 caps for his country.

6. Mauro Icardi, Argentina — He’s only this low for two reasons. 1) Argentina is stacked in attack and someone has to miss out. 2) He’s just not a terrific dude.

5. Alexandre Lacazette, France — Scored 14 goals for Arsenal in limited time, and bagged two against Germany in November. Yet it seems the knee injury that cost him part of Arsenal’s season and a pair of March friendlies ultimately dropped him off the cliff.

4. Alvaro Morata, Spain — His form dipped massively outside of the FA Cup run, but Morata had five goals in his last four Spanish outings before surprisingly being dropped in March and beyond.

3. Alex Sandro, Brazil — To say that the Juventus wide man was one of the top players in Serie A is a given, but given his potential to do just about anything on the left side, it’s surprising to see Filipe Luis getting the nod ahead of him. Maybe it’s that Sandro is too close to Marcelo in style, and Tite wanted another style of left back?

2. Radja Nainngolan, Belgium — This is a massive risk from Roberto Martinez for a golden generation of Red Devils, and it’s an addition by subtraction move. And Belgium has fellas who can do his job, but at his best there are few that do it as well as this mad man.

  1. Leroy Sane, Germany — The Julians, Draxler and Brandt, got spots ahead of Sane, and here’s the only thing I can really produce about the omission: Sane’s success at Man City is built around the fact that Pep Guardiola would prefer the player to have the ball about 20 yards out from the end line, probably more so than even Kevin De Bruyne in the center-right. Perhaps Joachim Loew thinks Sane won’t work as well when the focus is not on him?

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Coutinho to Barcelona, Roberto to Man United

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With Barcelona frantically looking to replace Neymar before the window closes, Philippe Coutinho remains their top priority, and while it still seems unlikely, they are taking a “never say never” stance, according to Spanish journalist Guillem Balague.

According to Balague’s reports on Twitter, Liverpool is still refusing to sell at any price, having already officially rejected an offer of $94 million in as little as 45 minutes after it was received. Barcelona knows that the best way to push Liverpool to act is player pressure, and Balague reports they already have a deal hammered out with Coutinho, although that seems hard to believe because it would almost certainly have enraged the Reds for tapping up.

It seems likely that the only way Barcelona can get Liverpool to sell is if Coutinho were to ask for the transfer himself, because the Reds are holding their ground to keep their best player.


According to a report by The Sun, Bayern Munich is hoping to test Tottenham Hotspur over the availability of midfielder Eric Dier.

It’s hard to see Spurs chairman Daniel Levy allowing Dier to leave after cashing in on Kyle Walker, especially after the club already rebuffed Manchester United for Dier earlier in the summer. Bayern apparently hopes that Spurs turned United down after not wanting to sell to a league rival, and that they’d have a better chance of securing the England international with a move out of the Premier League.

Spurs have been criticized this summer for failing to bring in reinforcements, with in-house replacement Kieran Trippier set to replace Walker. Therefore, it’s tough to envision Dier being successfully pried away.


With Manchester United unable to grab Dier from Spurs, they seem to be targeting another midfielder in Barcelona’s Sergi Roberto. According to Spanish outlet Don Balon, the Red Devils are considering triggering Roberto’s release clause of $47 million.

United is hoping to cash in on the chance that Barcelona could bump Roberto down the depth chart if they replace Neymar with another midfielder. In addition, Roberto was often a scapegoat for some of Barcelona’s failures last season, and he might be available for departure should a team want to pay up.

The 25-year-old is under contract at Barcelona until 2019, but should Manchester United trigger the release clause, that would not matter, as they found out in the Neymar saga. The Red Devils reportedly would face competition from Chelsea and Roma.


Chelsea have been told there is “no chance” they will sign Juventus full-back Alex Sandro.

Old Lady boss Massimiliano Allegri said after a friendly in London against Tottenham, that, “Alex Sandro is a Juventus player and he will stay one.” When asked again, he said “no chance.”

Sandro was linked with Chelsea after a stellar season at Juventus where he helped the club reach the Champions League final. The Blues seemed like a perfect landing spot with Sandro excelling in a three-CB system at Juventus, the same system that Conte plays at Stamford Bridge.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Italian full-backs on the market

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A pair of Italian full-backs are dominating the Saturday morning transfer headlines, and they could have a direct effect on each other’s futures.

Roma is reportedly interested in Manchester United right-back Matteo Darmian, and according to a number of reports from Italy, are challenging Inter for his signature. The Milan club has been linked with Darmian for some time, but Roma’s name next to his is a new one.

The 27-year-old has struggled for playing time, often serving as second-fiddle to Antonio Valencia who Jose Mourinho seemed to prefer. Darmian was often moved to left-back to fit into the United squad, but even then saw competition from Daley Blind and Luke Shaw.


24-year-old Mattia de Sciglio could also be on the move, with his AC Milan contract running out next summer. Like Gianluigi Donnarumma, he seems intent on a move elsewhere rather than a new deal at the San Siro, and both Napoli and Juventus seem the most likely destinations.

[ Thursday Transfer Rumor Roundup | Wednesday | Tuesday ]

According to Italian newspaper Il Mattino, de Sciglio could be on his way to Napoli on a four-year contract, but he has also long been linked with Juventus, especially with the potential departure of Dani Alves and heavy interest in Alex Sandro. Manchester City is also known to be in the market for a full-back, but they have yet to be specifically linked to de Sciglio.


Speaking of Alex Sandro, Juventus confirmed they have rejected a bid from Chelsea for the Brazilian full-back. Sandro dazzled Europe during Juventus’s run through the Champions League, and has earned himself links to other big clubs throughout Europe.

Juventus executive Guiseppe Marotta told reporters early Saturday, “We said no to a very good offer from Chelsea for Alex Sandro. But we know that we are competing with clubs that are in a position to offer wages that are not rational for us and players are always their own boss.”

Reports all over England tabbed the “very good offer” at a whopping $70 million, which would potentially be a Chelsea transfer record, with the 2011 capture of Fernando Torres currently at the top of the chart.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has been looking to strengthen his defensive line with a season of Champions League play to come. Sandro would likely end up fitting into Conte’s three-at-the-back formation on the wing, giving competition to Marcos Alonso down the left.


As the Kylian Mbappe saga continues to drone on, Arsenal remains a hot destination for the French youngster to land. However, Arsenal is not often known to drop the amount of money possibly required to land the Monaco teenager. Therefore, the possibility of a player moving in the opposite direction remains high.

With Arsenal in a massive battle with Real Madrid for the 18-year-old, a report in the Sun has suggested that Olivier Giroud could be sent to Monaco in addition to a world record fee. This would be an attempt by Arsenal to counter the $150 million Madrid bid reported by L’Equipe a few days ago.

Giroud has repeatedly stated his desire to stay at Arsenal and help them return to Champions League play, and would have to agree to a move away from the Emirates in order for the deal to work.

Transfer rumor roundup: Sandro to Arsenal; Morgan, Rodriguez to Newcastle

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The Premier League season is coming to a close and most sides know where they’ll be playing their football next season.

That has newly-promoted teams active in the market, relegated sides quizzing their future, and clubs with European ambition buttressing their talent with depth.

And then there’s Manchester United, who as we told you earlier may need UCL qualification to nab James Rodriguez.

Ah, to the rumors:

Newcastle United boss Rafa Benitez had been vocal that another big summer of turnover would be headed to the Northeast if his Magpies clinched promotion. They did, and are dancing through the rumor mill today.

Benitez has been linked with 27-year-old Southampton striker Jay Rodriguez, who has failed to gain a lot of playing time under Claude Puel. He’s also been tipped to make Christian Atsu‘s loan from Chelsea a permanent transfer, and to make a push for Leicester City captain Wes Morgan.

And is an upgrade between the sticks coming? Newcastle may lead the way for $11 million goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis of Udinese.

Talksport has reports of another Serie A import to the Premier League, as Arsenal may be ready to shell out big for Juventus left back Alex Sandro. The Gunners are said to be preparing a $43 million bid, though the club has long been linked with the addition of Schalke left back Sead Kolasinac.

Elsewhere, injury-hit Bournemouth man Max Gradel sounds ready to hit the market:

“It’s unfair. Of course. My situation at Bournemouth is unfair. Like I said before, I won’t let them put me down. I continue to do what I need to do. I have three years left on my deal after this season. I don’t have too much pressure. If I have to leave Bournemouth, I’ll leave, but I won’t do so for the sake of it, that’s for sure.”