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Liverpool offloads Klavan to Cagliari for cheap

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Liverpool is starting to offload some of its extra weight, and it comes at the expense of the back line.

The Reds announced the sale of central defender Ragnar Klavan to Cagliari, with reports in England claiming the transfer fee was a paltry $2.5 million.

That leaves Liverpool with a relatively thin remaining central defensive corps behind starters Virgil Van Dijk and Dejan Lovren, with just Joel Matip and Joe Gomez the only ones left as natural center-backs. It’s a bold move by the Reds in a campaign full of high expectations.

The 32-year-old Klavan joined Liverpool in the summer of 2016 from German club Augsburg for around $5.5 million, but struggled to crack the first team in a consistent manner. Klavan made 39 Premier League appearances in his time at Liverpool, but was pushed back in the pecking order after the Reds brought in van Dijk last January. Still, he made a solid eight Champions League appearances last season – three of them starts – and was an important piece of Liverpool’s squad depth.

Klavan signed a two-year contract at Cagliari, where he will compete for playing time with the likes of Marco Andreolli, Fabio Pisacane, and Luca Ceppitelli.

Serie A fixtures postponed as Totti, Dzeko, world soccer mourn Astori

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Serie A has postponed seven weekend fixtures in a gesture of sorrow and respect for Fiorentina captain Davide Astori, who passed away overnight.

The 31-year-old was found dead in his hotel room ahead of Sunday’s match at Udinese.

Astoria was a Cagliari mainstay before his time at Fiorentina, and also played for top flight power Roma after beginning his career in AC Milan’s Academy.

The center back was capped 14 times by Italy, and is mourned across Italian and world football.

Report: Toronto FC to land ex-PSG back Van der Wiel

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What can’t Tim Bezbatchenko do?

The Toronto FC general manager has apparently leapt into the European transfer market to not just replace Steven Beitashour, but upgrade from the intrepid right back as the Reds pursue a CONCACAF Champions League crown.

[ MORE: MLS teen signs for Barca ]

Gregory van der Wiel, 29, is close to a move to the treble-winning Reds, bringing 46 Netherlands caps, four Ligue 1 titles, and two Eredivisie crowns. He also was a part of the Netherlands side that finished second at the 2010 World Cup.

Van der Wiel is currently struggling for playing time at Cagliari, but is a season-and-a-half removed from an important role at Paris Saint-Germain. The Ajax Academy product was the 2009-10 Dutch Young Player of the Year.

No player is a lock to succeed in his first year crossing the proverbial bond, but Van der Wiel seems close to it should the reports come to fruition.

TFC and Colorado square off in the CCL Round of 16 on Feb. 20 and 27.

Beitashour left TFC for a move back home to California with LAFC.

Transfer rumor roundup: Chelsea after Richarlison, Carroll

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Monday’s transfer rumor roundup begins with wobbling Chelsea, who has already added Ross Barkley this January.

[ PL PLAYBACK: Man City blueprint, Alexis, VAR, relegation ]

The Blues apparently prefer to take Andy Carroll off of West Ham’s hands, viewing the Irons’ tall striker as the ideal backup for Alvaro Morata and an upgrade or competition for Michy Batshuayi.

Goal.com also says the Blues are readying a move for Watford discovery Richarlison in the summer, with the Hornets unwilling to part with the electric Brazilian this month.

Meanwhile, Manchester United’s edge over Man City in the chase for Alexis Sanchez may come down to salary, as the Arsenal star could nab as much as $25 million a year in wages from the Red Devils (really, it’s peanuts after taxes).

United also wants to pry Cagliari youngster Nicolo Barella from Serie A, though Liverpool is also after the $61 million 20-year-old with two goals this season.

Finally, Jack Rodwell is set to become a free agent, as Sunderland is willing to cancel his contract in order to let the ex-Man City and Everton man skip town. Does David Moyes want him at West Ham for a third stint together?

Cagliari forward Joao Pedro given 4-match ban for stamp

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CAGLIARI, Sardinia (AP) Cagliari forward Joao Pedro has been issued a four-match ban for simulation and stamping on Fiorentina’s Federico Chiesa.

Joao Pedro was sent off in stoppage time of Cagliari’s 1-0 defeat to Fiorentina on Friday in Serie A after stomping on Chiesa’s foot, and was given a three-match ban for that incident.

[ MORE: Analyzing Van Dijk to Anfield ]

The Brazilian was banned for another match because he received his fifth yellow card of the season for diving in the penalty area.

The 25-year-old Joao Pedro will miss Cagliari’s league matches against Atalanta, Juventus, AC Milan, and Crotone.

Cagliari is 16th in the 20-team league, two points above the relegation zone.