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Transfer Rumor Roundup: Pogba to Juventus, Rebic to Manchester United

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With the World Cup over, the transfer season is now in full swing. Players have returned from Russia, some having improved their stock mightily. While the World Cup participants will likely receive an extended vacation from clubs to spend time with families and rest their bodies a bit, transfer season never rests.

According to Italian publication Tuttosport, World Cup champion Paul Pogba may have some leverage this summer and could use that to his advantage. The world could see how effective he was in a box-to-box midfield role under French manager Didier Deschamps with slightly more freedom than he saw under Jose Mourinho at Manchester United this past season where many felt he has room to grow.

The report says that Pogba might use the World Cup performances to leverage his way out of Manchester United and back to Juventus where Cristiano Ronaldo has just signed for a mega-transfer. The report states that Pogba is intrigued to join his old club and be a part of Ronaldo’s tenure in Turin. With Ronaldo at 33 years old, he might not have long at Juventus, and Pogba wishes to take advantage.

Tuttosport, which is based in Turin, says that Pogba retains at the least a professional relationship with all his former teammates, and would welcome a move back to Italy. His current Manchester United contract runs out in 2021, meaning he has three full seasons left on his current deal.

Whether Pogba stays or goes, Manchester United will be looking to improve its squad, with a World Cup runner-up in its sights. There have been rumors of a move for both Croatian wingers Ivan Perisic and Ante Rebic, but the latter seems to make more sense. Rebic is just 24 years old, and would likely be the cheaper of the two coming from Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt. At the World Cup, the Croatian displayed strength, technical ability, and an innate sense for finding space.

Rebic can play on either wing, playing on the left with his club while deployed on the right with the national team during this summer’s tournament. He would fit in nicely to Manchester United’s squad, which is light on wide attacking players outside of Alexis Sanchez. Rebic would be a perfect foil for Sanchez, preferring to stick to the touchline while Sanchez cuts inside, and enjoying allowing the full-back to overlap.

Reports around England tag Rebic with a $57 million fee, which is just slightly under what Perisic might command from Inter.

In London, there are heavy rumors swirling that Real Madrid will move to make Eden Hazard their replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo. Hazard’s national team manager spoke out on the potential move, following Belgium’s third-place finish at the 2018 World Cup.

“I believe now is maybe the right time for him to move,” Martinez told Cadena Ser radio in Spain. “With Belgium he displayed maturity and leadership to add to his outstanding talent, I believe he can play for any side. There is not one team in the world he would not fit in and that means he will be the subject of offers from elsewhere.”

“I am sure Chelsea have received a lot of interest in Eden because he is one of the select group of players whose talent is based on individual play.”

Following the completion of Belgium’s win over England in the third-place match, Hazard was quoted as saying it “might be time for something new.” He has been with Chelsea since moving from Lille in the summer of 2012. At Stamford Bridge, Hazard has blossomed into one of the world’s best one-on-one attackers.

According to Sky Sports reporter Kaveh Solhekol, Everton is in “advanced talks” with Bordeaux over Brazilian winger Malcom. The report states that Everton is closing in on a $39 million deal for the 21-year-old and Everton’s team will meat with the French club’s representatives on Thursday to hammer out the final version of the transfer.

The potential signing would be a fabulous move, given that Malcom had been linked with not just Inter Milan but other Premier League club Fulham. Reports say Inter had been looking for a loan with an option to buy, whereas Everton was ready to splash the cash now, which intrigued Bordeaux the most.

8 players score, plus an OG, in Everton’s 22-0 preseason rout

Photo credit: @Everton

Marco Silva took charge of his first preseason game as Everton manager on Saturday, and it’s practically impossible to imagine how it could have gone any better.

[ MORE: Hazard hints at Chelsea exit, has “preferred destination” in mind ]

A 23-0 victory would have been more impressive, but only marginally more so than the 22-0 that Silva’s Toffees actually achieved against Austrian fifth-division side ATV Irdning. Kevin Mirallas, who came off the bench at halftime, scored five goals himself, and the scoreboard on the club’s stream essentially ran out of room before the halftime whistle.

Cenk Tosun and Oumar Niasse‘s tallies were only slightly less gaudy, as the Turkish and Senegalese internationals each bagged hauls of four. Ademola Lookman‘s hat trick appears paltry in comparison, as does the brace of Nikola Vlasic and the individual tallies of Leighton Baines and Mason Holgate. And Irdning own goal completes the scoring at 22.

[ MORE: Chelsea reveal new manager Sarri, midfielder Jorginho ]

Everton will take on League Two side Bury on Wednesday, at which point they’re (presumably) expected to get some vital preseason work in, and to be held under the 20-goal mark.

Reports: Everton to secure Rennais defender Bensebaini

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According to L’Equipe, Everton is nearing the completion of a transfer for Stade Rennais defender Ramy Bensebaini. The  L’Equipe report states the two clubs are in “very advanced negotiations.”

Bensebaini is primarily a central defender but can also play left-back, where he played primarily for his club last season. The 23-year-old Algerian international made 29 Ligue 1 appearances for Rennais in the 2017/18 campaign, completing the full 90 minutes in all but six of them.

The report from the French news outlet states, as many other English reports have corroborated, that Bensebaini’s transfer will cost Everton in the vicinity of $17.5 million. Bensebaini is under contract with Rennais until 2020, meaning this summer is the time Rennais will get peak value for the Algerian before he reaches the final year of his contract.

Rennais finished a surprising fifth in the Ligue 1 table, helped by Bensebaini as the club allowed just 44 goals over the 38-match season, good for the sixth-best defensive record in the French top flight. He played the full 90 minutes as Rennais gave runaway champions Paris Saint-Germain just their third loss of the season on May 12th in the season’s penultimate match.

Bensebaini has made 12 appearances for the Algerian international team, scoring one goal which came back on June first in a friendly against Cape Verde.

Wayne Rooney signs for DC United in MLS

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Wayne Rooney‘s move to Major League Soccer is now official. The legendary forward is now a D.C. United player.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

The move was announced on Thursday, hours after the all-time leading goalscorer for England and Manchester United sent out a photo of himself flying to the U.S. to complete the move.

In a statement on DCU’s website it was confirmed that Rooney, 32, will be playing in Washington until at least the fall of 2021 after signing a three-and-a-half-year deal.

“This is a seminal moment for our fans and organization,” said United Managing General Partner and CEO Jason Levien. “Wayne is a global soccer icon and his presence at D.C. United will elevate our product on the pitch and soccer as a whole in our city and in this country. Wayne has thrived when competing at the most elite levels of soccer and we’re thrilled to have his leadership as we enter this new era at Audi Field.”

Speaking about his move to MLS, Rooney is delighted to get the chance to lead DCU into a new era.

“It is fantastic to be joining D.C. United at such an exciting time in the club’s history with the new stadium opening in just a few weeks,” Rooney said. “Moving to America and MLS fulfills another career ambition for me. I have the hunger to be a success here and will give D.C. 100 percent – as I have always done for every team I have ever played for.”

Rooney’s MLS debut is expected to be on July 14 against the Vancouver Whitecaps at D.C. United’s new 20,000 capacity, $180 million home at Audi Field.

Although DCU are bottom of the Eastern Conference, they have 15 of their remaining 22 games at home in 2018 and Ben Olsen’s boys are expected to make a surge up the standings in the second half of the season.

D.C. United announced the deal in the following fashion.

Report: Rooney to sign with DC United by end of week

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Wayne Rooney to Major League Soccer will be confirmed Thursday, according to Sky Sports.

A Monday press conference will follow, where DC United will unveil its latest acquisition.

Rooney, 32, posted 10 goals with two assists for Everton this season, his first with the Merseyside club after a record-shattering time at Manchester United.

[ MORE: Rodwell to MLS? ]

And Carl Robinson’s Whitecaps could be staring down England’s leading goal scorer when they help DC christen Audi Field.

According to Sky:

He could then make his debut against four days later against Vancouver Whitecaps at the opening of the new £140m 20,000-seater Audi Field stadium in Washington.

Once his MLS career is over, Rooney is expected to return to Goodison Park as a coach after reportedly negotiating a deal with Everton.

As we detailed previously, Rooney is likely to succeed in MLS almost regardless of the measuring stick. If he doesn’t, at least DC will get a bunch of sell-outs and sell a whole lot of black-and-red shirts nationwide.

Jermain Defoe, the England star and ex-TFC man, told Sky Sports that he believes MLS is a place where previously under-scrutiny Premier League players can “enjoy their football”:

“There is not so much pressure on and off the pitch. He could probably enjoy his life a little bit without constantly watching what you do and the things you say.”