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Barcelona jets in for a day to beat South African champs

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JOHANNESBURG (AP) Ousmane Dembele, Luis Suarez and Andre Gomes scored as Barcelona beat South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 on Wednesday in a friendly marking 100 years since the birth of Nelson Mandela.

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Lionel Messi didn’t start the game at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg but drew a roar from the crowd as big as any other on the night when he got up off the bench and started to warm up 20 minutes into the second half. He came on for the last 15 minutes. Andres Iniesta did start in his return to the stadium where he won the World Cup for Spain in 2010.

Dembele, Suarez and Gomes all took advantage of defensive errors, with Dembele curling a left-foot shot into net in the third minute and Suarez doubling the lead in the 18th minute. Gomes added the third in the 66th.

Sibusiso Vilakazi scored Sundowns’ goal late on but the Spanish champions were in cruise control against the South African league winner. Barcelona returns home to play its last game of the Spanish season on Sunday against Real Sociedad, Iniesta’s farewell match after 22 years at Barcelona.

Tottenham in talks over Barcelona’s Andre Gomes

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Tottenham Hotspur are pushing ahead for a Deadline Day move for Barcelona’s Andre Gomes.

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Spurs signed Serge Aurier early on Deadline Day from Paris Saint-Germain for $30 million, while they are close to announcing an $18 million deal for Swansea City striker Fernando Llorente.

As for Gomes, the Portugal international only joined Barcelona last summer from Valencia for $45 million but it is believed he is available on a season-long loan deal with Spurs in talks to get the deal over the line.

Tottenham were said to have competition from Premier League and London rivals West Ham for Gomes’ signature but the central midfielder looks likely to head to north London and Spurs.

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The 24-year-old has found it tough to break into Barca’s first team last season and is not in Ernesto Valverde’s plans this season with no appearances for the Catalan club so far.

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino had previously been linked with a move for Ross Barkley but with the Everton midfielder struggling with an injury and short of match fitness it is believed Spurs may move for Barkley in the January transfer window instead.

Right now Gomes, a creative central midfielder, seems to be their main priority as he will provide valuable competition for Christian Eriksen, Mousa Dembele and Harry Winks in central midfield as a two-way player rather then compete with holders Victor Wanyama and Eric Dier.

Report: Barca open to selling EURO champ Gomes

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File this under farfetched, but also put it on file: Andre Gomes could be on the market.

Purchased by Barcelona just last year, Marca is reporting that the Portuguese youngster could leave the Camp Nou because of the club’s inability to sell Arda Turan.

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The biggest problem with this rumor? New Barca manager Ernesto Valverde hasn’t even trained Gomes yet after the midfielder’s time at the Confederations Cup earned him two weeks away from the club.

That Barca would move on from Gomes would be a bit stunning, but a loan move is possible and almost every team imaginable would want a look at the midfielder, who turned 24 on Monday.

Gomes made his name on loan at Valencia before earning a full-time move to the Mestalla Stadium. In 2016 he moved to Barca, and posted three goals and three assists in 47 appearances. That’s underwhelming to be sure, but this is a EURO-winning midfielder who regularly trots into the XI on one of the best international teams in the world.

Barcelona captures EURO star Andre Gomes from Portugal

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A summer of transition continues at Barcelona, but there are no signs the club is weakening.

The La Liga champions have added one of the breakout stars of EURO 2016, Andre Gomes of Portugal, for an undisclosed fee and will announce the move next week.

Real Madrid was whispered as Gomes’ destination, but Valencia has agreed to sell the 22-year-old midfielder to Barca.

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Gomes stands 6-foot-2 and began his career at Benfica before going on loan to Valencia in 2013. That led to a purchase, and Gomes surged for club and country.

Barca has added backs Lucas Digne and Samuel Umtiti this offseason, as well as attacker Denis Suarez.

Dani Alves, Sandro Ramirez and Marc Bartra are among the 2015-16 contributors to leave the Camp Nou this summer.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Chelsea for Gomes, Matuidi to Manchester

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Manchester United is having one heck of an offseason, as new boss Jose Mourinho has now added Henrikh Mkhitaryan to go with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Eric Bailly.

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And now comes a report from that French midfielder Blaise Matuidi has been given time off from France’s preparation to face Germany in Thursday’s EURO 2016 semifinal to talk to United. A domino like that could cause several big names out of Old Trafford as well.

So how will other Premier League teams counter? Let’s sift through the rumors.

Chelsea wants 22-year-old Portugal wizard Andre Gomes, but reports say Valencia turned down a bid of approximately $52 million for the young gun. Spanish outlet Marca says Real Madrid and Barcelona are prepared to bid for Gomes as well.

Newcastle United attacker Moussa Sissoko is having a decent EURO with France, and has not been shy in stating his desire to play for Arsenal. But Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund are lurking in the weeds. Sources close to the Newcastle Chronicle say it will take an “astronomical bid” to land him, while the Championship club has already landed several players and is rumored to be close on Atletico Madrid’s Jesus Gamez.

On the heels of the news that Robin Van Persie could be returning to the Premier League with Middlesbrough, it seems another former Manchester United could also join Boro. Spanish goalkeeper Victor Valdes is said to be close to a deal.