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Dirk Kuyt unretires to help boyhood club battle for promotion

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Dirk Kuyt has one more run-in left in the tank.

The Dutch superstar has returned to the field to help his boyhood club Quick Boys earn promotion from the Derde Divisie, the Dutch fourth tier. Quick Boys sits second in the Derde Divisie table, five points back of leaders SV Spakenburg. The top spot earns automatic promotion, with the next four places qualifying for the playoff.

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Kuyt first joined Quick Boys as a six-year-old in 1986, working his way through the club’s youth system and earning his professional debut in 1998 before moving to FC Utrecht as an 18-year-old. Now at 37 years old, Kuyt retired this past summer after winning the Eredivisie title with Feyenoord.

Kuyt was already an assistant with Quick Boys, and has made his mark. The club dismissed a striker after the two argued in a league match back in mid-March, in which the striker bailed on the game at halftime.

The news comes less than 24 hours after Kuyt was unveiled as the U-19 manager in Feyenoord’s youth system.

Transfer rumor roundup: Moura, Jorgensen, Harrison… and Neymar?

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The transfer rumor mill keeps buzzing as the January transfer window moves toward its conclusion.

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Brazilian playmaker Lucas Moura prefers a move from Paris Saint-Germain to Tottenham Hotspur, according to Sky Sports. The price tag is said to be around $33 million, with Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla among the others looking into the 36-times capped Brazilian. Moura had scored 31 goals for PSG in the two seasons prior to this one, but Les Parisiens bought some guys named Neymar and Kylian Mbappe during the summer to chew up minutes on the wings.

Newcastle’s striker chase has been all over Europe, but for the past few days seems centered in the Netherlands and focused on Nicolai Jorgensen. The prolific 27-year-old from Denmark is said to have a $28 million asking price, though the Magpies’ willingness to double his salary might help force Feyenoord’s hand. Newcastle is expected to break its transfer record, set when it bought Michael Owen, to land Jorgensen.

Also:

— Fulham’s Tom Cairney is a regular in the transfer rumor mill, and the Cottagers don’t want to sell him. Yet West Ham is willing to offer $21 million for the Championship midfielder.

— PSG will reportedly agree to sell Neymar to Real Madrid — heel alert — if he leads Les Parisiens to the UEFA Champions League title. That’s not ridiculous, given the way PSG has performed in the UCL this season.

— Stoke City is reportedly willing to up its offer to $7 million in the hopes of landing hometown boy Jack Harrison from New York City FC.

Van Persie moves back to hometown club Feyenoord

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Former Arsenal and Manchester United striker Robin Van Persie has signed with his boyhood club Feyenoord after being released from his contract at Fenerbahce, the Dutch club confirmed.

The 34-year-old has only made two league appearances this season due to a knee injury, and since returning to full health in early December, he has been left out of the squad. Van Persie’s switch is a free transfer after his Turkish club allowed him to terminate his contract. It was reported back in November that the Dutchman was no longer wanted at Fenerbahce and that they would let him rot on the bench if he did not find a way out himself.

[ MORE: Friday Transfer Rumor Roundup ]

“Nothing stands in the way of a return of the 102-cap international to De Kuip,” Feyenoord wrote in an official statement, “now that he has come to an agreement with his current club Fenerbahce about the dissolution of his contract. The club and the player have reached an agreement regarding personal terms and related details for the move.”

A Rotterdam native, van Persie began his career in Feyenoord’s youth academy and made his first club appearance off the bench in a February, 2001 Eredivisie match against Roda JC. His first professional start, a KNVB-Bekker match against AGOVV Apeldoorn, saw him score an incredible five goals in a 6-1 win. Van Persie would go on to score 21 goals in 76 matches across all competitions for the club before moving to Arsenal in the summer of 2004, where he would spend the next eight seasons, arriving just after the Invincibles season and leaving in 2012 after 131 goals for the Gunners.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Chelsea still pursuing Roma duo, and more

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Chelsea is looking to make a big transfer splash as it searches for potential replacements for Michy Batshuayi and David Luiz.

According to multiple reports, Chelsea is attempting a double signing from AS Roma, forward Edin Dzeko and midfielder Emerson Palmieri. The Brazilian left-back is rated by Roma at $30.5 million but he could join Chelsea on loan. However the interest in Dzeko is much newer, and it’s unclear whether Roma would allow Dzeko to leave, especially in the middle of the season.

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With Roma preparing to face Inter Milan this weekend, talks between the two clubs have been put on hold until next week.

Dzeko’s agent confirmed that Conte is interested in the Bosnia and Herzegovina international but stated Dzeko’s desire is to remain at Roma.

After failing to beat out Sergio Aguero in the starting lineup for Manchester City, it would be interesting to see Dzeko give the Premier League another go, although he’d likely play second-fiddle again, this time to Alvaro Morata.

Here are some more transfer rumors from around Europe and the Premier League:

(more…)

Ukraine police detain 52 for Champions League fan violence

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KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) Ukrainian police say they have detained 52 people for fan violence ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League game between Shakhtar Donetsk and Dutch club Feyenoord.

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Police say they arrived at a bar in the city of Kharkiv where “a conflict had occurred between Dutch and Ukrainian fans” and took 52 people to a police station for questioning.

Police say windows were broken and the interior of the bar was damaged.

Ukraine is hosting this season’s Champions League final but has a record of soccer-related violence. Hundreds of Ukrainian and Turkish fans clashed in Kiev around a game last year.