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Transfer rumor roundup: New homes for Koscielny, Gundogan

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The transfer rumor mill is veteran heavy heading into the weekend.

[ MORE: U.S. falls in FIFA rankings ]

Borussia Dortmund doesn’t want to fizzle out again next season, and is hoping to lure a few special players to Germany this season.

Juve forward Mario Mandzukic, Man City’s Ilkay Gundogan, and Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny are all on BVB’s radar as the club looks to improve on the side that pushed Bayern Munich for much of last season.

Gundogan wants more playing time but City is said to be ready to let him leave on a free at the end of the 2019-20 season. Koscielny could be a victim of Unai Emery‘s need to flip his defensive script. Could both end up in Dortmund? Bild (subscription required) says so, and Koscielny could cost $13 million while Gundogan’s fee is unknown.


Bayern Munich hero Lothar Matthaus says James Rodriguez is going to find his way to a Juventus side which could become the favorite to win the UEFA Champions League.

Matthaus tells Spanish web site AS that James remains close with Cristiano Ronaldo, and that he’s ready for a reunion with good pal. Additionally, Real would benefit from the deal, as James was just on loan with Bayern and his rights remain at the Bernabeu.


Rumorinhos:

Antonio Valencia is being linked with a Premier League stay, as Sheffield United may want to bring the Ecuador captain aboard the good ship Blades.

— Would Jesper Cillessen leave Barcelona to stay a backup… at Everton? We doubt it, but maybe that says something more about the controversial season of Jordan Pickford than the status of Cillessen?

Rodriguez, Buffon leave Bayern Munich, PSG, respectively

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Two stars of past World Cup are looking for a new club to play for this summer.

Bayern Munich made it official on Wednesday, announcing that midfielder James Rodriguez would be leaving the club following a two-year loan deal and be, on paper, heading back to Real Madrid. Also on Wednesday, PSG announced that goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon would be leaving the club after just one season.

[READ: Previewing the USWNT’s World Cup group stage opponents]

In his two years in Germany, Rodriguez leaves with four trophies, 67 appearances and 15 goals and 20 assists. While that constitutes some success, for sure, Rodriguez never became as big of a star as the likes of Robert Lewandowski or Thomas Muller. Rodriguez also battled with multiple injuries, including an injury that ended his league season late in April.

Buffon meanwhile split the season with France National Team goalkeeper Alphonse Areola and at age 41, is now looking for another new destination as he could potentially prolong his career.

So, what’s next for the pair? The latest reports have seen Rodriguez linked with a move to Juventus or Napoli, though the Colombian denied those claims to the Colombian media after a friendly match with Panama ahead of the Copa America, stating he’d rather be in Medellin, his hometown in Colombia. For Buffon, meanwhile, it’s another year where he has to decide if he wants to continue playing or retire.

Both players would be interesting pickups for the Premier League, should any teams be willing to take a flyer on them. Would Manchester United bring James in to play behind Marcus Rashford up top, or if Mesut Ozil does leave Arsenal, could James replace him? Buffon could likely be an upgrade, even at his age, for most Premier League defenses, and perhaps he could have a season like Esteban Cambiasso did at Leicester City before retiring.

 

Bayern Munich confirms James Rodriguez will have request to leave granted

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Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed on Tuesday that the club will not activate the purchase clause on James Rodriguez’s loan deal, seeing the Colombian playmaker return to his parent club Real Madrid.

Rodriguez had a $47 million purchase clause built into his two-year loan at Bayern, but the club will not take up that option. “In principle, the decision was made because he came to me before the end of the season and asked me not to activate the option [to buy him],” Rummenigge said on Tuesday. “Activating the option now against his will makes no sense.”

His future at Real Madrid is in doubt as well given Eden Hazard‘s likely arrival and Zinedine Zidane’s return to the managerial position. Zidane’s use of Rodriguez in the 2016/17 season marked the lowest minutes and appearances totals of James’s three seasons at the Bernabeu before departing to Bayern.

While James was a useful player for Bayern over the past two seasons when healthy, injury problems made it hard for the club to rely on him consistently. This past campaign, knee and calf problems saw James able to make just 20 Bundesliga appearances. When on the field, he was a force, completing four key passes per 90 minutes played, the highest total in the league according to WhoScored.

According to the English tabloids, James has seen some level of interest from Liverpool, Arsenal, and Manchester United in the Premier League plus PSG also keeping tabs. Italian tabloids have noted that Cristiano Ronaldo has made his thoughts known at Juventus, hoping to bring his former Real Madrid teammate to the 10-time Serie A champs.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez himself is focused solely on the Colombian national team at the moment, posting pictures of himself on Twitter in action with Colombia as the news broke of his departure from Bayern. That fits with his quotes from Monday in Mexican publication Marca Claro, where he made sure to tell fans, “I’m calm, and I just want to think about the Colombia team and later we’ll see.” Colombia plays Peru in a friendly on June 9 before beginning Copa America play against Argentina on June 15.

Van Gaal: Woodward has ‘zero understanding of football’

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Tell us how you really feel, LVG.

Former Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal apparently has more in common with old pal Jose Mourinho than we even knew, lashing out at Red Devils CEO Ed Woodward in a recent interview.

[ MORE: Liverpool looks to lock up Klopp ]

Saying he accepts that he was fired when Mourinho was on the market and adding that it made business sense to the club — a bit of a jab given what you’re about to read — Van Gaal says United is lagging behind the top teams in the world due to a lack of football in the front office.

From Sky Sports:

“At Bayern, the people in charge are football men. I always appreciated that,” Van Gaal told German magazine 11 Freunde. “At Manchester United, on the other hand, Ed Woodward was installed as CEO – somebody with zero understanding of football who was previously an investment banker.”

Somewhere, Mourinho just raised his glass to the sky while simultaneously doing the chef’s kiss with his other hand.

Woodward probably doesn’t care too much, with only the Glazer Family above him and the business end going fairly well off the field. With a big retool underway, however, Woodward has to know that the first transfer window of the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era — the fourth boss post-Alex Ferguson — is a big one for not just the club but his reputation.

Liverpool ready to give Klopp new contract

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Liverpool are hoping to extend Jurgen Klopp‘s stay at Anfield with a bumper new deal.

Klopp is currently contracted to the club through 2022 at almost $9 million per season, but has been linked to his former rivals Bayern Munich.

[ MORE: Inside the UCL Final ]

Reds chairman Tom Werner has said he believes Klopp is “committed to Liverpool” and that the club wants him to stay “as long as he likes” following a triumph over Tottenham Hotspur which provided the Anfield set with their sixth UEFA Champions League title.

The 51-year-old Klopp has won 57 percent of his matches in charge of Liverpool, even better than his sterling run at Borussia Dortmund. He led Mainz to Bundesliga promotion before winning two German league crowns and a German Cup.

Bayern president Franz Beckenbauer admitted that he’d like to “one day” see Klopp manage Bayern Munich, who recently won another Bundesliga title and retained manager Niko Kovac.

That’s not happening any time soon, as Klopp attempts to give Liverpool something it hasn’t seen in the Premier League era: A domestic title.