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Transfer Rumor Roundup: Montiel to Palace or West Ham, Coutinho to depart Barcelona

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River Plate is one of many clubs that could use this coming transfer window to earn a payday after taking losses in the coronavirus shutdown, and that could come at the benefit of one Premier League club.

West Ham is apparently one of a few teams after Argentine international Gonzalo Montiel who could fetch River Plate somewhere in the vicinity of $24 million. The right-back is a River Plate youth product who established himself as a regular for the club at just 20 years old and has spent the last three seasons earning significant minutes. Now 23, Montiel is a strong passer who can create for teammates with long-range deliveries.

Argentine publication Ole mentions that Spanish side Valencia has shown interest of late, but also states that West Ham made contact in January but was turned down by River Plate and the Hammers could be suitors again once the next window arrives. Montiel was also linked with Crystal Palace by Goal back in late March, while Argentine newspaper El Intransigente linked the player with Southampton. Palace and Saints both make sense as they are both looking to replace big-name departures of late, with Crystal Palace still yet to truly replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka while Southampton has not seen much from those brought in to take over for Cedric Soares.

Barcelona is reportedly ready to lower its asking price on Philippe Coutinho, with a bid of $86 million potentially workable for the Catalan club, according to a report by the Evening Standard.

Coutinho was extremely poor in his season-and-a-half at Barcelona, and while the Brazilian playmaker had upped his game on loan at Bayern Munich before the coronavirus shutdown, the purchase price on his loan deal is a whopping $130 million, which Bayern Munich is not willing to pay.

Barcelona is desperately in need of funds to support its summer business, with Lautaro Martinez and Neymar both heavily linked with the La Liga giants. It’s highly unlikely that both will be possible to acquire given both the team’s business of late and the coronavirus shutdown causing financial strain on clubs all over the world, and a significant sale may even be needed to get one of them over the line. Coutinho provides such a possibility, but with Barcelona not exactly in a position of strength given Coutinho’s lack of recent star power and the club’s need to sell, dropping the asking price is a highly likely eventuality.

The Evening Standard report mentions that Barcelona believes the Premier League is the “most likely possibility” for a Coutinho suitor given the league’s memories of his incredible spell at Liverpool just a few years ago.

Speaking of the Premier League, Manchester United was reportedly close to securing a marquee striker last summer before eventually sticking with Marcus Rashford up front. Speaking to Italian print publication Tuttosport on Wednesday, Romelu Lukaku’s agent Federico Pastorello said that the Belgian big man almost went to Juventus on a swap deal before Manchester United backed out of the transfer negotiations due to Dybala’s high wage demand. Eventually, Lukaku departed for Inter Milan where he settled in quickly and has contributed to a furious title challenge that just lost steam before the coronavirus shutdown.

Pastorello simply responded “It’s true” when asked if Dybala had been a focal point of Manchester United negotiations, but hedged his answer with, “Romelu, however, had always hoped to go to Inter because he was impressed by the affection of the Inter fans.”

What we love about Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace
Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images
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This week at ProSoccerTalk we will be detailing what we love about each Premier League club competing in the 2019-20 season and next up it is Crystal Palace.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Each day we will release details on why who adore each team in particular as we remind ourselves just how awesome the PL is as we await its return following the suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.


Kayla: You may have not known her name, but Kayla the eagle is Crystal Palace’s mascot and flies around the stadium before matches. Canadian-born, she also bears the distinction of being featured in Kings of Leon’s “Only By The Night” album artwork. Stolen from the wild as a chick, she’s now one of the faces of a Premier League club. Learn more about her here.

Ageless Roy: Okay, he has an age. Roy Hodgson is 72, and he’s been in the dugout for club and countries since 1976, leading (clears throat and applies monocle): Halmstad, Bristol City, Oddevold, Orebro, Malmo, Neuchatel Xamax, Switzerland, Inter Milan, Blackburn Rovers, Inter Milan again, Grasshoppers, Copenhagen, Udinese, UAE, Viking, Inland, Fulham, Liverpool, West Bromwich Albion, England, England U21, and Palace. He’s won a lot more than he’s lost and has silverware from seven of his stops. Plus he seems like a delightful man.

Crystal Palace
(Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

An unusual derby: As we stated on the post for Palace’s rivals, there’s something glorious about the animosity that flows about 40 miles. Palace may be from South London and Brighton from the seaside, but the M23 Derby is still a date to circle on the fixture list and part of many Premier League supporters’ soccer bucket list.

History and music: An amateur club called Crystal Palace began playing, no surprise, at Crystal Palace Park in 1861 and played in the first FA Cup. That club’s existence has not been officially connected to the current group, which was founded in 1905, but is mentioned in club history. 1861! The Selhurst Park faithful also belt out a version of The Dave Clark Five’s “Glad All Over” before matches in one of the unique and stirring connections between a rock and roll band and a top level side; The Dave Clark Five played Selhurst Park in 1968 to kickstart the tradition.

Crystal Palace
(Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

PL Club Power Rankings: Week 29

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Roy Hodgson‘s got the Eagles flying up our PL power rankings.

Crystal Palace keeps finding ways to win, and Hodgson’s men are rising up the list as notable sides Spurs and Everton falter at the start of the stretch run.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Green: New season-high ranking
Red: New season-low

[ MORE: PL Club Power Rankings archive ]


20. Norwich City — A Saints visit presents a rare opening for the Canaries.
Last week: 20
Season high: 10
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Sheffield United
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Southampton

19. Aston Villa — Take away Tyrone Mings, and Villa’s defense reminds me of McBain’s goggles.
Last week: 19
Season high: 6
Season low: 19
Last match: Lost 4-0 at Leicester City
Up next: 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday v. Chelsea

18. Bournemouth — Gotta build off the performance at Liverpool, but Palace has looked good lately.
Last week: 18
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Lost 2-1 at Liverpool
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Palace

17. Watford — Can Nigel Pearson take advantage of his former side?
Last week: 17
Season high: 13
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Crystal Palace
Up next: 8:30 a.m. ET Saturday v. Leicester City

16. West Ham United — Home field is about all the Irons have going for them versus Wolves (aside from Wolves’ penchant to sleep a bit versus lower-half sides).
Last week: 14
Season high: 5
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 1-0 at Arsenal
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Sunday v. Wolves

15. Brighton and Hove Albion — Running out of time and opportunity.
Last week: 15
Season high: 6
Season low: 18
Last match: Drew 0-0 at Wolves
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Arsenal

14. Southampton — Still almost got a point despite an early red card versus Newcastle.
Last week: 12
Season high: 7
Season low: 20
Last match: Lost 1-0 v. Newcastle
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Norwich City

13. Newcastle United — The Magpies faithful deserves a player like Allan Saint-Maximin.
Last week: 16
Season high: 11
Season low: 20
Last match: Won 1-0 at Southampton
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Sheffield United

12. Everton — What was that, Carlo? Suddenly a head-scratching winless in three.
Last week: 6
Season high: 5
Season low: 19
Last match: Lost 4-0 at Chelsea
Up next: 4 p.m. ET Monday v. Liverpool

11. Tottenham Hotspur — Pretty sure everyone near Spurs wants this season to be over already.
Last week: 5
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Drew 1-1 at Burnley
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday v. Man Utd

10. Sheffield United — Chris Wilder‘s men will want a measure of revenge from Saturday’s trip to the Northeast. Play to the whistle, Blades.
Last week: 11
Season high: 5
Season low: 17
Last match: Lost 1-0 v. Norwich City
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Newcastle

9. Burnley — Steadily hanging around the UEL race.
Last week: 10
Season high: 5
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 1-1 v. Spurs
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Man City

8. Crystal Palace — Three-straight 1-0 wins and the fixtures will get dicey after Saturday’s trip to the Vitality Stadium.
Last week: 13
Season high: 5
Season low: 18
Last match: Won 1-0 v. Watford
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Bournemouth

7. Arsenal — Don’t sleep on the Gunners and the top four.
Last week: 9
Season high: 4
Season low: 13
Last match: Won 1-0 v. West Ham
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday at Brighton

6. Leicester City — Grateful for their fixture list. Harvey Barnes has pure star quality.
Last week: 8
Season high: 2
Season low: 10
Last match: Won 4-0 v. Aston Villa
Up next: 8:30 a.m. ET Saturday at Watford

5. Wolves — May look at the Brighton draw as the result that kept them out of the UCL.
Last week: 3
Season high: 3
Season low: 17
Last match: Drew 0-0 v. Brighton
Up next: 10 a.m. ET Sunday at West Ham

4. Chelsea — A really nice win over Everton after an FA Cup ouster of Liverpool. Has Frank Lampard refound his footing?
Last week: 4
Season high: 2
Season low: 12
Last match: Won 4-0 v. Everton
Up next: 1:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Aston Villa

3. Manchester United — Unbeaten in 10 and Paul Pogba‘s gonna be back soon enough. Can hardly wait to see if he works well with Bruno Fernandes.
Last week: 7
Season high: 2
Season low: 16
Last match: Won 2-0 v. Man City
Up next: 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday at Spurs

2. Manchester City — Can Pep Guardiola‘s men reclaim form ahead of second leg versus Real Madrid?
Last week: 2
Season high: 1
Season low: 6
Last match: Lost 2-0 at Man Utd
Up next: 11 a.m. ET Saturday v. Burnley

1. Liverpool — Title incoming.
Last week: 1
Season high: 1
Season low: 3
Last match: Won 2-1 v. Bournemouth
Up next: 4 p.m. ET Monday at Everton

Ayew the hero for Palace against Watford

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Crystal Palace beat Watford 1-0 at Selhurst Park on Saturday in a tight, feisty clash between two teams who know each other very well.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Jordan Ayew was once again the hero for Crystal Palace as he rifled home a fine goal in the first half and Roy Hodgson‘s side held on for the all three points thanks to a third-straight shutout and 1-0 win. Nigel Pearson‘s Watford huffed and puffed but remain in the relegation scrap after they failed to build on their incredible win against Liverpool last weekend.

With the win Palace move into 10th place and have 40 points, as they are just five points off the top four. Watford remain in 17th place and only out of the relegation zone on goal difference.


3 things we learned

1. Ayew having a sneaky good season: Eight goals in the Premier League is his best-ever return and Ayew has been so important to Palace, especially with Wilfried Zaha not hitting top form week in, week out this season. Ayew isn’t the most natural finisher in the world but he works hard and is taking a lot of the chances Palace create for him. He has now scored one goal on eight occasions this season and on each occasion he has scored Palace are unbeaten with six wins and two draws.

2. Watford’s inconsistency infuriating: They have now beat Liverpool, Wolves and Man United since Nigel Pearson arrived but are still in the thick of the relegation battle. Nigel Pearson’s Watford just can’t string together a run of wins against teams just above them.

3. Hodgson underrated: The 72-year-old Palace coach has led them to 11th and 12th place finishes in the last two seasons and they are now 10th. Does he get the credit he deserves? Probably not. Hodgson signed a one-year contract extension this week and after not being given funds to strengthen in January and after Aaron Wan-Bissaka was sold in the summer, you have to applaud the job he has done. What you see is what you get with Hodgson. His teams are organized and grind out wins. Palace may not be the best team to watch but they are getting it done.

Man of the Match: Christian Benteke – So often a scapegoat, the center forward held the ball up, almost scored with an acrobatic effort and brought out the best in Ayew and Zaha around him. Benteke gets plenty of stick but he is finally playing regularly and even if the goals aren’t flowing he provides a focal point to Palace’s attack.


Abdoulaye Doucoure almost squeezed home a shot at the near post early on and from a corner soon after Watford caused all kinds of problems but Crystal Palace cleared.

Will Hughes then dragged a shot wide as Watford came flying out of the traps and were obviously buoyed by their win against Liverpool.

Palace then took the lead with a superb goal as Ayew smashed home from the edge of the box after a lovely flowing move down the left which saw Zaha play in Benteke who found James McArthur to assist Ayew.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

The game was very feisty with plenty of flash points, most involving Wilfried Zaha, as Watford and Etienne Capoue in particular targeted the Palace winger.

Zaha responded by going on a mazy run and forced Ben Foster into a fine stop down low as Watford’s goalkeeper stood tall.

Troy Deeney forced Vicente Guaita into a fine stop after his powerful effort from outside the box, then Christian Benteke sent one of his trademark acrobatic efforts inches wide.

WATCH: Ayew scores pretty goal to give Crystal Palace the lead

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Jordan Ayew is having one heck of a season.

The Ghanaian scored a beauty on Saturday to give Crystal Palace a 1-0 lead over Watford at Selhurst Park, making a bit of personal history in the process.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

The goal is his eighth of the Premier League season, a single-season high since he arrived from Lorient. He scored a career-best 12 with the Ligue 1 outfit in 2014/15.

Ayew had scored seven twice, once for Aston Villa and once for Swansea City.

Ayew’s work was pretty stuff, as he dug a ball out from his feet to lash a shot past Watford stalwart Ben Foster.