Chris Smalling

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Transfer rumor roundup: Eriksen deal nearly done; Lemar to replace?

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A roundup of all of Friday’s biggest transfer rumors, including those involving Premier League clubs…

[ MORE: Premier League January transfer needs ]

Following up on a rumor from Wednesday, Christian Eriksen is reportedly close to completing a $26-million move from Tottenham Hotspur to Inter Milan that will take place this month. Eriksen is out of contract at the end of the season, at which point he is widely expected to leave on a free transfer. Selling him now would net Tottenham a respectable transfer fee while significantly weakening their squad through the remainder of the season.


Thomas Lemar is one potential Eriksen replacement being linked with a move to Spurs (again). The Atletico Madrid winger hasn’t shone as brightly in Spain as he previously did for Monaco, and manager Diego Simeone has refused to rule out the possibility of Lemar leaving the Spanish capital.


Norwich City defender Max Aarons is the most sought-after English player this month, with Spurs, Arsenal, West Ham United and Everton all reportedly desperate to sign the 19-year-old this month. He won’t come cheap, though, as Norwich are said to want close to $40 million.


Jerome Boateng’s time at Bayern Munich appears to be finished, with the 31-year-old German international’s name coming up in plenty of rumors of late. Arsenal are the reported favorites to land the 2014 World Cup winner, who’s recently fallen out of favor at Bayern, for a shade under $17 million.


Jadon Sancho might end up at Chelsea — or elsewhere in the PL — sometime in the near future, but it won’t be this month, as Borussia Dortmund have reportedly decided the 19-year-old winger is off-limits until the summer.


Chris Smalling is enjoying his time in Italy so much that he has reportedly told his representatives to make his loan from Manchester United to Roma a permanent transfer.

Italian newspaper condemned for ‘Black Friday’ headline featuring Lukaku, Smalling

Photo credit: Corriere dello Sport
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Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport has been widely condemned after printing the headline “Black Friday” on top of photos of Inter Milan forward Romelu Lukaku and Roma defender Chris Smalling, former Manchester United teammates set to face one another in Serie A action on Friday.

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The sub-headline went on to read: “Lukaku and Smalling, former teammates at Manchester United and today idols at Inter and Roma, this is the battle within the battle tomorrow with the scudetto and a Champions League place at stake.”

Both clubs were quick to put out statements condemning the newspaper’s coverage.

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Per the Guardian, an excerpt of the article which appeared to attempt to highlight Serie A’s problem with racism, saying, “We are all trying to tackle the issue of racism in Italian football,” before making a racially insensitive statement of its own:

“In the faces of those idiots who boo, tomorrow everyone must instead go ‘oooh’ like children. It will be a Black Friday, but this is not an end-of-season sale.” It went on to describe Lukaku and Smalling as “two giants of color.”

This comes less than a week after Serie A’s 20 clubs put out a joint statement “acknowledging a serious problem with racism” in the Italian game, while providing little or no concrete plan for action to rid the game of the very racism they acknowledged.

Lukaku has scored 10 goals in 14 league games since joining Inter this summer and Smalling has become a mainstay for Roma in recent months, scoring twice and leading the defense to a much improved record of goals conceded and five victories in six games.

UPDATE #2: Roma has banned Corriere dello Sport from “our training facilities for the rest of the year and our players will not carry out any media activities with the newspaper during this period.”

UPDATE: Lukaku and Smalling have each commented on the headline…

Serie A Roundup: Roma pummel Brescia, move top four; Lazio edge Sassuolo (video)

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Inspired by Chris Smalling‘s career night, AS Roma’s dominant, 3-0 win over Brescia highlights Sunday’s Serie A action.

 [ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

Roma 3-0 Brescia

A two-time Premier League league winner, Smalling, 30, must have a long list of “memorable” games to choose from. But after scoring once and assisting twice against bottom-dwellers Brescia on Sunday, it can be said that the Englishmen might have topped the list.

On Sunday, the defender became the first English player to score at least two goals in a single Serie A season since David Beckham.

The Manchester United loanee opened the floodgates in the 49th minute, heading Lorenzo Pellegrini’s lofting corner into the back of the net. Just eight minutes later, Roma scored a second from a corner-kick. 

This time, Smalling – keeping tabs on the last Brescia defender – headed the ball downwards, rebounding and finding defender Gianluca Mancini’s right foot, which set up for a simple volley strike past Jesse Joronen

In the 66th minute, the defender’s header found a well-positioned Edin Dzeko for Roma’s third and final of the night.

Now fourth in the Italian top flight, Roma prepare for Istanbul Basaksehir on Thursday, while Brescia look for their league win in eight consecutive games against Atalanta.

Sassuolo 1-2 Lazio

With the game two minutes away from the final whistle, Lazio needed a miracle to comfortably remain in Serie A’s third spot.

Substitute Felipe Caicedo was just that, scoring I Biancocelesti’s game-winning goal in the first minute of stoppage time.

 

With the frustration of not getting a penalty call go their way minutes earlier, Luis Alberto and Caicedo paced past Sassuolo’s midfield and backline, combining with a set of back-and-forth passes. Inside the box, with position to shoot at goal, the Ecuadorian’s strike bounced over two, full-stretch defender and into the back of the net.

In the first half, Serie A top scorer, Ciro Immobile, added his 15th of the season, while the home side finished the first 45 minutes with a lot of hope, following captain’s Francesco Caputo’s tap-in.

Red-hot Lazio host CFR Cluj on Thursday in Europe League play, while Sassuolo prepare for their big game against Juventus on Sunday.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Bologna 2-2 Parma

Verona 1-0 Fiorentina

Sampdoria 2-1 Udinese

Serie A roundup: Roma hold off Napoli; Juventus remain leaders (video)

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Roma’s victory over Napoli highlight Saturday’s Serie A action.

 [ MORE: Serie A scores, schedule ]

Roma 2-1 Napoli

On Saturday, at Stadio Olimpico, when Roma found themselves up 2-0 on Napoli, the game came to a pause. Referee Gianluca Rocchi made the decision to grab the ball and blow the whistle in the second half after Roma fans aimed racist chants at Napoli.

After a few minutes, the game resumed, and eventually, Hirving “Chucky” Lozano’s darting ball into the box would find Arkadiusz Milik, who extended his scoring run to four matches.

The first half had it all.

Nicolo Zaniolo opened the scoring, when his left-footed strike zoomed past Alex Meret and into the top-right corner of the goal. The 20-year-old has now scored three league goals in 11 matches. Shortly after, VAR granted Roma a penalty after concluding that Jose Callejon contacted the ball with his arm inside the box when pressured by Chris Smalling. Aleksandar Kolarov‘s penalty, however, was denied by Meret, who recorded four saves throughout the 90 minutes.

Napoli were persistent and came close several times. Giovanni di Lorenzo was denied at the goal line by a full-extended Smalling. In a matter of seconds, the visitor’s struck the woodwork twice, once by header from Milik, which was subsequently followed by a first-time volley from distance that also rattled the bar.

I Giallorossi would get a second chance from the spot in the second half. And this time they didn’t squander it.

Javier Pastore, who zipped through Napoli’s backline, saw his lofting cross crash into Fabian Ruiz’s arm. A penalty was awarded, and Jordan Veretout – on loan from Fiorentina – opened his Roma account, which ended up being the game-winning goal.

Up next for Roma, who moved to third and are only behind Inter Milan and Juventus, take on Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Europa League midweek. Napoli, on the other hand, host Red Bull Salzburg on Tuesday and aim to remain perfect in Group E of the Champions League.

Elsewhere in Serie A

Tornio 0-1 Juventus

Bologna 1-2 Inter Milan

Serie A wrap: Late Ronaldo penalty saves Juve; Smalling nets for Roma

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Italy was not happy about playing at midweek, or so it seems from the five red cards handed out across seven Wednesday matches in Serie A.

[ MORE: Liverpool 5-5 Arsenal | GK hero reacts ]

Juventus moved back atop the table by a point over Inter Milan, but had to work to the wire for it, while Atalanta held firm against Napoli’s challenge to see two Roman clubs move into the Top Five.


Juventus 2-1 Genoa

It was supposed to be easier for The Old Lady at home against a Genoa side which hasn’t done much well this season, especially after a 51st minute red card for the visitors made a 1-1 score line appear destined to move toward the hosts.

Despite taking 20 more shots than the guests, Juve could not make it an easy win. Adrien Rabiot was sent off in the 87th minute, and Maurizio Sarri‘s men only triumphed when Cristiano Ronaldo converted a stoppage time penalty.

Napoli 2-2 Atalanta

The hosts lost a pair of leads as goals from Nikola Maksimovic and Arkadiusz Milik couldn’t deliver three points against the third place La Dea.

Remo Freuler’s 41st minute goal meant the score line was tied at halftime, and Josip Ilicic struck in the 86th minute to give Atalanta a share of the points in a match with 13 shots on frame.

Lazio 4-0 Torino

It was a bit of cakewalk for Lazio, who scored in the 25th and 33rd minute and saw Nicolas Nkoulou sent off in the 68th. Ciro Immobile scored two in the win, as 18-point Lazio is a point back of their fourth-place city rivals.

Udinese 0-4 Roma

Manchester United loanee Chris Smalling has his first Serie A goal, nodding in Roma’s second as i Lupi move back into the Top Four.

Roma led 1-0 when Federico Fazio was sent off, but still scored the game’s three remaining goals. Nicolo Zaniolo, Justin Kluivert, and Aleksandar Kolarov joined Smalling on the score sheet.

When asked about the performance, Roma boss Paulo Fonseca offered this gem:

“Most teams defend when down to 10, but we do not,” he said.

Elsewhere
Sassuolo 1-1 Fiorentina
Sampdoria 1-1 Lecce
Cagliari 3-2 Bologna
AC Milan v. SPAL — 4 p.m. ET Thursday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Juventus 10 8 2 0 18 9 9 5-0-0 3-2-0 26
 Inter Milan 10 8 1 1 22 10 12 3-1-1 5-0-0 25
 Atalanta 10 6 3 1 30 16 14 2-1-1 4-2-0 21
 Roma 10 5 4 1 18 11 7 2-2-1 3-2-0 19
 Lazio 10 5 3 2 22 10 12 3-2-0 2-1-2 18
 Napoli 10 5 3 2 20 13 7 3-1-1 2-2-1 18
 Cagliari 10 5 3 2 16 10 6 3-1-2 2-2-0 18
 Fiorentina 10 4 3 3 15 13 2 2-1-2 2-2-1 15
 Parma 10 4 1 5 15 14 1 3-0-3 1-1-2 13
 Bologna 10 3 3 4 14 15 -1 2-1-1 1-2-3 12
 Verona 10 3 3 4 7 8 -1 1-2-2 2-1-2 12
 Torino 10 3 2 5 11 16 -5 2-2-1 1-0-4 11
 AC Milan 9 3 1 5 9 13 -4 1-1-2 2-0-3 10
 Udinese 10 3 1 6 5 17 -12 3-0-3 0-1-3 10
 Sassuolo 9 3 0 6 16 18 -2 2-0-3 1-0-3 9
 Lecce 10 2 3 5 11 19 -8 0-1-3 2-2-2 9
 Genoa 10 2 2 6 13 23 -10 2-1-2 0-1-4 8
 Brescia 9 2 1 6 9 14 -5 0-1-3 2-0-3 7
 SPAL 9 2 1 6 7 16 -9 2-1-2 0-0-4 7
 Sampdoria 10 1 2 7 6 19 -13 1-2-2 0-0-5 5