Emre Can

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Serie A: Juventus survives to beat Napoli, Torino and Atalanta both stroll

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Juventus survived a late scare to top Napoli and essentially wrap up the Serie A title, winning 2-1 to open up a massive 16-point lead at the top of the table.

On the road in Naples, Juve took a two-goal lead before the break, both coming after Napoli was reduced to 10 men. A horrible back-pass from Kevin Malcuit saw Cristiano Ronaldo clean through on goal, so Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret came charging out of the 18-yard box to challenge. Ronaldo touched to his left, leaving Meret grasping at nothing but air, and while the two never made contact, Ronaldo had nowhere to go but up and over the sprawled goalkeeper before crashing to the ground, and the call was easy for the referee as he sent Meret off.

Juventus immediately took the lead on the ensuing free-kick as Miralem Pjanic sent it just barely over the wall and into the top-left corner. They doubled the lead soon after when Emre Can headed home a 39th minute cross by Federico Bernardeschi.

After the halftime break, things got dicey for the league leaders. Pjanic was given his marching orders after picking up a second yellow card for a handball in midfield, a harsh call after Allan‘s looped pass hit him quickly, with little time for the Juve midfielder to react. With the game at 10 v. 10, Napoli made things interesting as Lorenzo Insigne’s cross met Jose Callejon at the back post to make it 2-1, with the Spaniard beating Georgio Chiellini.

Napoli was given a chance to get back level as the referee used VAR to give the hosts a penalty for a Alex Sandro handball. It was yet another harsh decision with Fabian Ruiz powering the ball straight into the Juve defender’s arm. Still, the referee pointed to the spot, but Insigne’s penalty came off the post and with hit the chance for Napoli to earn a result.

Elsewhere, Fabio Quagliarella scored twice inside the opening 15 minutes to lead Sampdoria to a 2-1 win over SPAL. His first was a brilliant finish, meeting Bartosz Bereszynski’s looped cross with an acrobatic scissor-kick that powered the ball into the ground and into the back of the net. His second came just seven minutes later with a towering header, and that was all the visitors needed. SPAL had a goal disallowed in the 67th minute for offside, and that proved decisive as Jasmin Kurtic would scupper the clean sheet in stoppage time, but it was ultimately nothing more than a consolation. Sampdoria moves to ninth in the Serie A table with the win, while SPAL remains five points above the relegation zone in 16th.

Torino needed 73 minutes to find the opener, but once they did the floodgates opened as they topped Chievo Verona 3-0. Andrea Belotti delivered a long-range missile with his right foot to break the deadlock, and while Torino saw the rest of the game out, they added the cherry on top in added time. In the 92nd minute Thomas Rincon made it 2-0 on a similar strike to Belotti’s opener, and Simone Zaza had the third a minute later as he beat Marco Andreolli to a bouncing back-pass and put the game away.

Atalanta fell behind Fiorentina just three minutes into the match, but they stormed back at home to win 3-1 behind goals from Josip Ilicic, Alejandro Gómez, Robin Gosens to move eighth in the table on 41 points, level with Torino but behind them on head-to-head.

Juve wins again, AC Milan cruises while waiting on Higuain replacement

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Cristiano Ronaldo missed a penalty, but that didn’t stop Juventus from taking another step toward another scudetto.

Paulo Dybala assisted two goals as Juve kept its unbeaten Serie A season in tact with a 3-0 win over Chievo Verona on Monday.

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Douglas Costa, Emre Can, and Daniele Rugani scored as Juventus stayed nine points clear of second place Napoli.

It was one of two Serie A matches on Monday, with AC Milan winning the other to pull back ahead of AS Roma and into fourth place.

Suso and Fabio Borini netted as Milan won 2-0 at Genoa with Gonzalo Higuain out of the 18 ahead of a reported move to Chelsea. Higuain is reportedly waiting for Milan to find his replacement, and the club hopes it’ll be Krzysztof Piatek.

Genoa’s general director Giorgio Perinetti has told Italian radio a meeting over Poland international Piatek, 23, will take place after today’s game and a conclusion is expected one way or another within 48 hours.

Both Juve and Milan face tests next weekend, with the leaders off to Lazio and Gennaro Gattuso’s Milan tangling with Napoli at the San Siro.

Khedira injured again, likely out for Juventus against SPAL

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At 31 years old, Juventus midfielder Sami Khedira seems to be caught in a never-ending battle with his own fitness, and losing.

The Italian club confirmed early Saturday that Khedira suffered a sprained ankle during a Saturday morning training session and is unlikely to face SPAL next weekend. The German had only just returned last weekend from a six-week absence, playing the final 16 minutes in Juventus’s win over AC Milan.

Khedira joined Juventus in the summer of 2015 on a free transfer from Real Madrid, and has actually maintained a relatively clean bill of health the last two campaigns after just 20 league appearances his first season in Turin. However, this season has been a different story, with just five Serie A appearances and eight overall.

Multiple reports now say he’s a doubt to play against SPAL next weekend, a critical match as Juventus looks to hold its six-point lead at the top of the table. Inter and Napoli behind them play 19th placed Frosinone and 20th placed Chievo Verona respectively, so a win is critical for the Old Lady.

Coming up for Juventus after the SPAL game is a Champions League meeting with Valencia in Spain, followed by league matches against Fiorentina and Inter all by December 7. Ankle sprains can linger depending on the severity, so a spell on the sidelines for Khedira that encompasses those matches is not unfathomable.

Argentine midfielder Rodrigo Betancur has been the most direct beneficiary of Khedira’s absence, without a start through four matches until Kherida’s knee injury, at which point he received seven starts over the next eight Serie A games. Emre Can would be in the mix but he has missed the last three Serie A matches after having thyroid surgery. These absences have forced Miralem Pjanic into a deeper role with Blaise Matuidi alongside him.

Emre Can reportedly a medical away from sealing Juve deal

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Emre Can was very good for Liverpool this season, but his contract status was a constant source of discussion for Jurgen Klopp and his back room men.

Can, 24, has long been linked with Juventus and is going to land there.

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The German center midfielder is apparently a medical away from making his Turin move a formal one.

Can’s eight yellow cards led the Reds despite his playing in just 26 Premier League matches, starting 24 and posting three goals with five assists.

He played 12 other matches, registering three goals.

You can see why the Reds would’ve preferred to keep Can. With him in the Starting XI, Liverpool went 19W-9D-5L. They were pretty darn good without him, too, but not on that level (12W-7D-4L).

Naby Keita and Fabinho should improve Liverpool’s midfield quite a bit, but we’re pretty sure keeping Can would’ve worked just fine for Klopp. Unfortunately, it was out of his hands.

Report: Liverpool’s Can finally agrees to deal with Juventus

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Emre Can‘s long-rumored move to Italy looks to be a formality at this point.

The Liverpool midfielder has agreed a five-year contract with Juventus, worth $7.25 million per season according to Gazzetta Dello Sport in Italy. Can was reportedly convinced by the Juventus brass that he’d have a better chance of winning titles in Turin, as opposed to either staying on Merseyside or heading to his native Germany.

For Liverpool, this could be a tough pill to swallow. The club spent nearly $14 million in 2014 to sign Can from Bayer Leverkusen when the tough and disciplined midfielder was just 20-years old. Since then, Can has developed into a reliable holding midfielder, providing grit, tactical awareness and the odd goal or two, like this one.

This season, Can has scored six goals in 33 matches, and losing him on a free transfer to a rival team in terms of the UEFA Champions League could be a missed opportunity for Liverpool to lock down one of Europe’s best young wingers.

The club must hope that incoming signing Naby Keita from RB Leipzig can fill Can’s old role, or at least supplement the current midfield of Jordan Henderson and a rotating cast that’s been the now-injured Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Georginio Wijnaldum or Can. Otherwise, it’s losing a bright young player for nothing on the free agency market.