Dayot Upamecano

Ndidi
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Transfer news: Ndidi to Man United; Upamecano to Arsenal

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In the latest transfer news Wilfred Ndidi has been liked with a move to Man United, will Arsenal are apparently the favorites to sign Dayot Upamecano.

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Starting off in Manchester, a report from the Sunday Express claims that Man United want to sign Leicester City midfielder Wilfred Ndidi.

The Nigerian star, 23, has been a revelation this season and is becoming one of the best holding midfielders in the Premier League. His tackling, reading of the game and ability to start attacks have been crucial in Leicester being in third place and the unsung hero isn’t flying under the radar of everyone.

Per the report, Man United will turn to Ndidi if they don’t sign Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek and PSG have cooled their interest in Ndidi. Surely this move would hinge on Man United being in the Champions League, both financially for the Red Devils and for Ndidi as Leicester look certain to qualify for the UCL.

Ndidi has been at Leicester for three seasons now and arrived as the long-term replacement for N’Golo Kante. Maybe he hasn’t reached Kante’s level in Leicester’s amazing 2015-16 title success, but he has been steady and reliable and has taken his game to new levels this season.

He would be perfect in this Man United side, who have Fred, Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay as holding midfield options. The first two were in fine form early in 2020, which came as a massive surprise, and Man United certainly need some midfield balance with their attack stacked with talent. If Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes start together in midfield then having a defensive midfielder who can cover plenty of ground is a necessity for the Red Devils.

Ndidi would provide that balance and his ex-Leicester teammate Harry Maguire knows all about his quality, as the Man United captain and center back would surely be keen on a better shield on front of the Man United back four.

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Heading from Manchester to London, a report from Italian outlet Tuttosport says that Arsenal have emerged as he favorites to sign RB Leipzig center back Dayot Upamecano.

The report mostly focuses on AC Milan being interested in Upamecano, 21, but Arsenal are the frontrunners to sign the French center back. Upamecano is out of contract next summer and despite being one of the best young center backs in Europe, he will be available at a snippet of Leipzig’s previous transfer valuation of $65 million. He will probably cost half of that value right now.

Bayern Munich, Man United and many others across Europe want to sign Upamecano and it will be tough for Arsenal to finance this deal given the wage cuts they’ve asked of players and staff due to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

With several big names reportedly leaving Arsenal this summer, new boss Mikel Arteta is ready to shuffle his pack accordingly and he certainly needs to improve his defense. David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi were surprisingly solid in February and March before the Premier League suspension arrived but long-term it appears that Arteta wants to put his faith in youth.

Upamecano would be absolutely perfect for the Gunners, who already have young French center back William Saliba arriving for the 2020-21 season after he was bought then allowed to re-join Saint-Etienne on loan for 2019-20.

Leipzig doubles up Koln behind Werner’s 25th

Koln v. Leipzig recap and video highlights
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Timo Werner hit 25 goals for the first time in his Bundesliga career and Christopher Nkunku continued his fine season as RB Leipzig overcame hosts Koln 4-2 in a Monday thriller.

Leipzig moves third with the win, moving onto 58, after Patrik Schick scored his ninth goal in 18 league matches to open the contest. Dani Olmo also scored for the victorious visitors.

[ Bundesliga: Fixtures, box scores ]

Jhon Cordoba and Anthony Modeste scored for Koln, whose top six hopes take a big hit. The Billy Goats remain 11th and are now closer to the drop zone than sixth.

Only Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich has scored more league goals (29) than Werner.

[ MORE: Sancho honors George Floyd after scoring ]

A great early save from Timo Horn on Timo Werner preceded Koln’s opener.

Elvis Rexhbecaj timed his run well and knifed to the near post, where he shot through the legs of Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi.

The ball hit the post and skittered into the box and Gulacsi could only get a piece of Cordoba’s left-footed attempt.

Leipzig leveled when Upamecano dribbled up the heart of the pitch before finding Man City loanee Angelino on the left for a perfect cross and Schick header. Angelino had an exceptional day on the left flank.

Leipzig took its lead in the 38th minute with a deft finish from Nkunku, who took Konrad Laimer’s perfect feed and popped it over a charging Horn for 2-1.

Werner finished off a lightning counter as Gulacsi collected a free kick and hit a perfect punt to the league’s second-leading scorer.

That was far from the end of the fun.

Modeste hit an absolute hammer to make it 3-2, but Leipzig restored the two-goal advantage when Olmo hit a seeing-eye shot through the traffic to cap three goals in seven minutes between the two sides.

French striker Modeste won a penalty that was denied by VAR with under 20 minutes to play, he then missed wide after beating the keeping one 1v1 break with four minutes to play.

Americans Abroad: American midfielder Tyler Adams continued his streak of playing in every Leipzig match since the break when he came off the bench just before the hour mark.

Adams hit 94 percent of his 18 passes, drawing three fouls, making an interception, and winning three of four duels.

Bundesliga return: 10 Premier League transfer targets to watch

Bundesliga return
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At least two of the most talked-about transfer targets in the world will be taking the pitch this weekend when the Bundesliga kickstarts its title race.

Jadon Sancho and Kai Havertz have been linked with Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, and pretty much every other big club in the world.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

We’ll still tell you a bit about them — the talent is massive — but they are far from the end of the list.

Here are 10 players to watch, their stats this season, and when they’ll be playing this weekend. We’ll add some more names, too.

We’ll also leave several Americans off the list, as Weston McKennie (Schalke), Giovanni Reyna (BVB), and Tyler Adams (Leipzig) are all desired inside and outside of Germany.

They get plenty of coverage in this space, as does Canadian export and thrill-a-minute wide man Alphonso Davies of Bayern Munich. Plus, only McKennie may move soon.

10. Denis Zakaria, Borussia Monchengladbach — A tidy passer with offensive skill, Zakaria is a monster in the middle of the park. The 23-year-old is averaging 2.1 tackles and 1.6 interceptions this season. Twenty-eight times capped by Switzerland, Zakaria has been connected to Liverpool, Arsenal, and Manchester United.

9. Amine Harit, Schalke — Harit started life at Schalke red hot after signing from Nantes in 2017, but dipped last season. He’s got a career-best seven goals this season and has matched a high with seven assists. The Morocco signed a new deal in December but has been linked with Barcelona for some time.

8. Christopher Nkunku, RB Leipzig — Only Jadon Sancho and Thomas Muller have more assists than Nkunku’s 12, which come with a league-best 2.8 key passes per game. Was linked to Arsenal in January.

7. Milot Rashica, Werder Bremen — The 23-year-old’s seven-goal, four-assist season has him on the radar of Liverpool and Southampton.

6. Marcus Thuram, Borussia Monchengladbach — The son of World Cup, EURO, and UEFA Cup winner Lilian, Marcus is a wildly-productive and electric forward who’s pitched in 10 goals and nine assists this season. Newcastle and Liverpool are whispered as possible new homes.

5. Achraf Hakimi, Borussia Dortmund (on loan from Real Madrid) — Where hasn’t Hakimi been linked? Hakimi can play right and left back as well as further up the pitch, and has seven goals and 10 assists this season. Arsenal and Chelsea are said to be PL clubs looking into his services.

4. Dayot Upamecano, RB Leipzig — Just 21 and beginning to discover his powers, the monstrous center back is averaging 2.1 tackles, 1.7 interceptions, and 3.3 clearances per Bundesliga outing this season. If you’re a top club in the PL, you’ve been linked with him.

3. Timo Werner, RB Leipzig — He seemingly wants to go to Liverpool, but there’s no shortage of suitors across the board. Only Robert Lewandowski (25) has scored more goals in league play than Werner’s 21, who’s 24.

2. Kai Havertz, Bayer Leverkusen — He hasn’t hit the heights of his 17-goal season in 2018-19, but the soon-to-be 21-year-old is a playmaker of the highest order in the No. 10 role.

1. Jadon Sancho, Borussia Dortmund — Unlike many English talents hyped up before their time, Sancho has delivered again and again. The 20-year-old Man City academy product is said to be Manchester United’s top target.

I mean, bags of technique on this cat, who has 26 goals and 33 assists in league play the past two seasons despite being a teenager until late March.

Transfer news: Upamecano to Man City, Man United; Mertens to Chelsea

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The latest transfer news continues across the Premier League and here’s a look at some of the juiciest rumors.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Dayot Upamecano, 21, is one of the hottest young center backs in the game and the RB Leipzig man has been constantly linked with a move to the Premier League.

Our partners in the UK Sky Sports report that both Manchester clubs are interested in signing the French defender when the transfer window reopens.

Upamecano is a powerful, dominant center back who is good in the air, quick on the turn and comfortable in possession. He has been a star at Leipzig over the last three seasons and they are not only challenging for the Bundesliga title but also in the last eight of the UEFA Champions League.

Which Manchester club would be the best fit for Upamecano? If he joined Man City he would start right away alongside Aymeric Laporte, while at Man United he may be a little too similar to Harry Maguire. Plus, Maguire has formed a pretty decent partnership with Victor Lindelof but it appears Man United may be looking to sign a new defender as they’ve also been linked with

Look, Upamecano is a defensive lynchpin for a young, exciting team in Leipzig so if he was to leave it would have to be for a very special project. That would surely be playing for Pep Guardiola and having the potential to become the long-term replacement for Vincent Kompany.


Chelsea tried to sign attacking midfielder Dries Mertens in January and failed but it has been suggested that Frank Lampard is still keen on signing the prolific Belgian.

A report from Gazzetta dello Sport state that Mertens, 32, is stalling on a new contract offer from Napoli after positive talks on March 1 and Chelsea will come back in with a new transfer bid when the summer transfer window opens.

Lampard has said Chelsea will do things very differently to Liverpool and Man City as they’ve dominated the top of the Premier League in recent seasons, which seems to suggest they will continue with their infusion of youth and try to buy ‘the next big thing’ instead of the finished product.

That said, Chelsea have had success this season by blending youth with experience as the likes of Willian, Cesar Azpilicueta and more recently Olivier Giroud have delivered on the pitch but also seem to be helping Chelsea’s talented youngsters develop.

Mertens has been at Napoli since 2013 and probably has one more big contract left in his career. The diminutive playmaker has become more of a central striker in recent seasons and has scored a staggering 121 goals in 309 appearances for Napoli in all competitions.

With Chelsea set to lose Willian, Pedro and Giroud who are all out of contract this summer, perhaps a move for Mertens makes sense to make sure there isn’t a vacuum of experience in the team. Mertens can be deployed as a winger or a false nine and he would certainly give Lampard plenty of options in the fluid front three he likes to play behind a central striker.

Bayern Munich, Leipzig wasteful in scoreless draw

Bayern Munich v. RB Leipzig recap and video highlights
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Chances were wasted at the Allianz Arena.

Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig staged a 0-0 draw on Sunday, as the table-leading hosts maintained their one-point lead on the second-place visitors.

American midfielder Tyler Adams went 90 minutes for Leipzig, making two interceptions and three tackles. He completed just 53 percent of his passes, also blocking a shot and registering a key pass (Stats).

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Bayern was the better team in the first 45 minutes, and Leipzig would’ve been content to get to the team room with zeroes on the scoreboard.

The second half changed that, with Leipzig missing two gilt-edged chances. The most surprising was when a lively Christopher Nkunku cut a pass across the 18 to a wide-open Timo Werner.

The Bundesliga’s second-leading scorer thumped it wide.

Hungarian international Péter Gulácsi was also influential in the second half, making an incredible save off a 1-2 between Leon Goretzka and Robert Lewandowski.

He was credited with two saves on the day.

Bayern will feel it should’ve claimed all the points on the day, though RBL center back Dayot Upamecano joined Gulacsi in making life difficult for the serial champions.

Elsewhere, Koln’s visit to Borussia Monchengladbach was postponed, leaving ‘Gladbach three points behind Leipzig and four back of Bayern.

Bayern doesn’t play fellow title chasers Borussia Dortmund or Gladbach until April.

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 21 13 4 4 58 23 35 7-2-2 6-2-2 43
 RB Leipzig 21 12 6 3 53 25 28 6-3-1 6-3-2 42
 Borussia Dortmund 21 11 6 4 59 32 27 7-3-0 4-3-4 39
 Mönchengladbach 20 12 3 5 38 23 15 8-1-1 4-2-4 39
 Bayer Leverkusen 21 11 4 6 35 27 8 5-4-2 6-0-4 37
 FC Schalke 04 21 9 8 4 32 27 5 5-5-1 4-3-3 35
 1899 Hoffenheim 21 10 3 8 31 32 -1 5-1-5 5-2-3 33
 SC Freiburg 21 9 5 7 30 30 0 5-2-3 4-3-4 32
 Eintracht Frankfurt 21 8 4 9 37 31 6 6-3-2 2-1-7 28
 VfL Wolfsburg 21 7 7 7 25 26 -1 3-5-3 4-2-4 28
 1. FC Union Berlin 21 8 2 11 25 32 -7 6-0-4 2-2-7 26
 FC Augsburg 21 7 5 9 33 44 -11 5-2-3 2-3-6 26
 1. FC Köln 20 7 2 11 27 38 -11 5-1-4 2-1-7 23
 Hertha BSC Berlin 21 6 5 10 25 37 -12 3-2-6 3-3-4 23
 FSV Mainz 05 21 7 0 14 31 48 -17 3-0-7 4-0-7 21
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 21 4 5 12 20 42 -22 3-2-5 1-3-7 17
 Werder Bremen 21 4 5 12 25 48 -23 1-2-7 3-3-5 17
 SC Paderborn 21 4 4 13 26 45 -19 2-1-8 2-3-5 16