Chris Smalling

Koulibaly to Liverpool
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Transfer news: Koulibaly to Liverpool, Jimenez to Juventus

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The transfer rumor mill continues to hum along despite the window not opening for some time.

[ MORE: Liverpool drops points for 3rd time ]

That’s not a surprise with a lot of contracts expiring at the end of the month and some teams’ new knowledge of their fate for next season.

Koulibaly to Liverpool

A Virgil van Dijk-Kalidou Koulibaly partnership at Liverpool is a monstrous and imposing idea, but the Reds so far have only offered a discount bid on the Napoli star.

Reports out of Italy say the Reds sent a $67 million offer to the Coppa Italia champions, but that Napoli remains steadfast in their $112 million asking price.

Recently linked to Manchester United and even Newcastle if a takeover happens, Koulibaly is a massive talent.

He turned 29 on Saturday and has a contract in Naples through 2022-23. Koulibaly has 33 Senegal caps and 235 appearances for Napoli after beginning his career with Metz and Genk.

Jimenez to Juventus

Wolves’ big price tag on Raul Jimenez seems likely to turn most teams off the 29-year-old Mexican, but that won’t stop teams from circling the Molineux.

A report out of Italy says Juventus would love to woo Jimenez to Turin but that his $65 million price tag is a bit too much.

Jimenez broke Wolves’ PL single season scoring record with his 14th goal of the season in Saturday’s defeat of West Ham.

It should be noted that Jimenez has little reason to want to move with Wolves still holding the chance to qualify for the Champions League via the league route or a Europa League title.

He’s having a career year with a number of players who also look set to stick around under boss Nuno Espirito Santo. But we’re here to bring the rumors, just in case.

Vertonghen to Roma, Smalling to Roma

Longtime Tottenham Hotspur center back Jan Vertonghen has been a steady part of the club’s return to top four prominence.

He may be looking to help AS Roma steady its ship in Serie A, according to Sky Sports.

Vertonghen, 33, has made 311 appearances for Spurs since arriving from Ajax in 2012. He’s been linked with a return to the Amsterdam set or Inter Milan prior to the Roma report.

The 118-times capped Belgian could play alongside fellow PL mainstay Chris Smalling, as Roma’s reportedly ready to buy the loan star off Manchester United after one more loan campaign.

On This Day: Lingard’s sensational strike wins FA Cup for Man Utd (video)

Premier League On This Day
Adam Davy - EMPICS / Contributor
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Alan Pardew’s hips lied.

The Crystal Palace man was caught on camera doing some sort of samba after Jason Puncheon had given the Eagles a late lead over Manchester United on this date in the 2016 FA Cup Final.

Unfortunately for the London set, Juan Mata had an answer and the Red Devils overcame a Chris Smalling red card in extra time to score a 2-1 win on a picture-perfect volley from Jesse Lingard.

The win was United’s 12th in the FA Cup, bringing it level with Arsenal before the Gunners beat Chelsea the following year.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

The Eagles scored in the 78th minute. Puncheon’s corner kick was cleared away from the box but picked up by Joel Ward, who spotted the forward at the back post.

Puncheon took a touch and beat David De Gea high from close range. It was 1-0, and ‘Pards’ was loving it.

The lead lasted three minutes, as Wayne Rooney led a dribble through the Palace team and was forced to cross from the right side of the box. Marouane Fellaini’s chest trap fell to Mata, who made no mistake.

The match went to extra time, and United went down a man in the 105th minute when Chris Smalling added a second yellow card to the one he collected in the 18th minute.

Again, the joy for Palace was short-lived. Antonio Valencia drove the right flank to send in a cross that was blocked into the path of Lingard.

The technique was marvelous, and United completed its dozen of FA Cup trophies.

Southgate: Smalling could be recalled for Euro 2020

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Chris Smalling has been a revelation for AS Roma this season, and the England National Team manager has taken notice.

With Smalling back to playing some of the best soccer of his career, Gareth Southgate said in an interview with The Guardian that Smalling could be in contention for a return to the England National Team. Smalling was unceremoniously dropped from the Three Lions in 2017 in the middle of World Cup 2018 qualification, but he’s had a renaissance since moving to Italy from Manchester United last summer.

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“I think he’s done well in Italy,” Southgate said. “He’s playing at another big club. He was obviously playing at a big club before. We’re watching everybody because we’ve got to make sure we make the right decision. I’ve never ruled anybody out. I think that would be wrong.”

Playing in a slower, yet more tactical and techncal league, has helped the quick centerback stand out. What’s also helped him, Smalling revealed in previous interviews since coming to Roma, was his ease at maintaining a vegan diet, which has given him new life, and perhaps another England National Team call-up. Smalling has made 21 starts this season in Serie A, recording six clean sheets and two goals.

Smalling’s success this season comes at a great time for him personally, in terms of the national team. Southgate has a crisis on his hands in central defense. John Stones is hardly playing (12 Premier League appearances so far), while Harry Maguire hasn’t had the same kind of impact at Manchester United that he appeared to have while at Leicester City.

Of most recent call-ups, only Fikayo Timori (hasn’t played in the Premier League since the turn of the year) and Tyrone Mings, he of two total caps, fit that position. And if Eric Dier is facing a suspension from the FA, that could keep him out of the Three Lions for Euro 2020. Suddenly, Southgate must look at former players he once cast out for options.

In addition to Smalling, if Joe Gomez would be fit, he’d be a decent option to pair with Maguire, but you’d like to Smalling either starting or at least in the squad to provide some insurance.

Smalling considering full-time Roma switch: ‘Long may it continue’

Chris Smalling
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Manchester United loanee Chris Smalling is talking up life in Rome amidst a possible Serie A Team of the Season campaign.

Smalling had a disappointing 2018/19 season at Old Trafford, so it’s not a surprise that Solskjaer thought he could do better than the 30-year-old.

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Instead, Smalling’s numbers are close to that of record-signing Harry Maguire in a Serie A league with slightly more scoring. Smalling ranks in Italy’s top ten for interceptions (2.2), clearances (4.5) and blocks (1.2).

Roma boss Paulo Fonseca wants the player to stay, as i Lupi are fifth in Serie A and Smalling when has played nearly every minute when healthy. Smalling told our friends Sky Sports that he has “an interesting decision to make.”

“Some of the other players said if you really hit the ground running, the love that you can have in this city is unbelievable. That’s really what I’ve felt and so have my family. Long may it continue.”

His age makes it tricky, but the advanced stats show that Smalling has been a very effective Premier League center back for four of his last six seasons.

Smalling may want to leave if Solskjaer isn’t prepared to hand him regular football, which would be a given in Rome. Now what’s the price tag?

According to WhoScored’s player comparison tool:

Chris Smalling
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Serie A: Lazio, Roma pick up important wins

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On a day when most Serie A cities were on edge as games were canceled over Coronavirus fears, two games were able to be played to their conclusion, with important results.

Ciro Immobile added another goal to his league-leading scoring mark as Lazio outlasted Genoa, 3-2, on the road. Immobile’s 51st minute goal was his 27th of the Serie A season, putting him six goals ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo.

[ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

Lazio only needed two minutes to get on the board as Felipe Caicedo played a pass forward, which right back Adam Marusic latched onto. He then had defenders bouncing off him as he slalomed his way forward into the box and fired into the roof of the net. In transition six minutes into the second half, Immobile rifled a strike home to put Lazio up 2-0. Francesco Cassata’s golazo from the top of the box, a curling effort into the top corner, gave Genoa some life, though Lazio restored the two-goal advantage in the 71st minute through Danilo Cataldi.

Domenico Criscito scored a late penalty kick in second half stoppage time to bring Genoa within one goal again, but it was too little, too late from the hosts. With the win, Lazio keep the pressure on Juventus, sitting just one point behind the leaders on the same number of games played, 25.

Roma 4-0 Lecce

Roma returned to winning ways on Sunday with a crucial 4-0 rout of Lecce at the Stadio Olimpico.

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Coming off three straight defeats and a draw in Serie A action, it was one of the young guns, who’s had an up and down season this year, get Roma first on the board. Outside of Turkish winger Cenkiz Under, it was veterans Edin Dzeko and Henrik Mkhitaryan who stole the show.

In the 13th minute, Mkhitaryan sliced through the Lecce defense before feeding a short pass to the oncoming Under, who powered a strike past Mauro Vigorito for the game’s opening goal. In the 37th minute, Dzeko combined yet again with Mkhitaryan, finding the Armenian international running into the box before Mkhitaryan slotted home.

Dzeko then in the second half scored from close range to make it 3-0, and his former Manchester City teammate, Aleksandr Kolarov put the finishing touches on the rout with a blast from the left side of the box.

Thanks to the prior defeats, Roma currently sits outside of the UEFA Champions League slots, but the win on Sunday brought them within three points of Atalanta and the fourth and final Champions League place. However, Atalanta has a game-in-hand on Roma.