Simon, 22, is said to have a price tag of approximately $13.5 million following a six-goal, two-assist campaign for Gent in Belgium. He did not make the Nigeria roster for the World Cup with a hip injury, but has 17 caps with three goals.
It’ll cost just a couple million less for Watford to acquire the services of Gerard Deulofeu from Barcelona.
The ex-Everton winger, 24, went on loan to the Vicarage Road set in January, scoring a goal in seven league appearances for the Hornets.
This season, Saief has appeared in five matches for Gent, prior to completing the loan move to third-place side Anderlecht.
The 24-year-old American made his USMNT debut in the summer of 2017 in a victory against Ghana. He was also tabbed to participate in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, however, a hernia injury kept Saief out of the squad that won the tournament.
Saief holds both American and Israeli citizenships, and previously played for Israel at the youth level before making a USMNT appearance in 2017.
Elsewhere, the all-Belgian tie between Gent and Genk ended with five away goals. Tanzanian striker Mbwana Samatta led the way for Genk, bagging a brace in the 5-2 win.
Ageless Esteban Cambiasso scored as Olympiacos only managed a 1-1 home draw against Vincent Aboubakar and Besiktas, while former Cardiff outcast Andreas Cornelius scored the match-winner as Copenhapen scooped up a 2-1 home win over Ajax.
In-form USMNT winger Fabian Johnson was dangerous again as Borussia Monchengladbach notched an away goal through Jonas Hofmann in a 1-1 draw with Schalke. The match is the second between the three sides in two weeks.
Thursday’s UEFA Europa League first legs
Schalke 1-1 Borussia Monchengladbach
Lyon 4-2 Roma
Gent 2-5 Genk
Olympiacos 1-1 Besiktas
Celta Vigo 2-1 Krasnodar
Rostov 1-1 Manchester United
APOEL 0-1 Anderlecht
Copenhagen 2-1 Ajax
Well, darn. That has to be the take from Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, who has rightly lauded his team’s performance and chances in the UCL this season.
Last season it was Barcelona. Prior to that? Monaco, Bayern again, Bayern a third time, AC Milan, Barcelona. The last time the Gunners won a round in the UCL was the 2009-10 tourney, when they blasted Porto before falling to Barcelona.
Arsenal split with Bayern in last season’s group stage, winning 2-0 at home and losing 5-1 at Allianz Arena.
Given that unseeded City could’ve faced Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, or Juventus, Pep Guardiola will likely be okay with Monaco.
After a disappointing season in the Europa League last season, Monaco will hope to repeat 2014-15’s feat of knocking off a Premier League side in the Round of 16 (Arsenal). Les Rouges et Blancs then took Juventus to the limit over two legs, with just one goal scored between the sides.
Despite hamstring and head injuries, Radamel Falcao has been humming for Monaco. The same Colombian striker who managed very little production for Chelsea and Manchester City has netted 14 times in 16 matches this season.
The Foxes get tournament-tested Sevilla, although Europa League threepeat mastermind Unai Emery is now with Paris Saint-Germain.
There are a lot of familiar names in the Sevilla side, with Samir Nasri, Steven N’Zonzi, Mariano, and Vitolo.
Spurs will like their chances of heading to the next round, with current Belgian fifth place side Gent.
De Buffalo’s did advance to the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 last season, finishing ahead of Valencia and Lyon before bowing out to Wolfsburg.
Florida-born winger Kenny Saief is one of Gent’s best threats, the Israeli national team man nabbing five goals and three assists this season.
Jose Mourinho’s men have a fairly simple path to the next round of European competition, duking it out with offensively-challenged Ligue 1 side Saint-Etienne.
While ASSE is led by a clever boss in Christophe Galtier, the side is eighth in France and has trouble manufacturing goals (17 in 17 domestically; 11 in 10 in Europe). Their leading scorer in France, Robert Beric, has a grand total of three goals.
A fun subplot sees United midfielder Paul Pogba potentially going head-to-head, literally, with his older brother: ASSE centerback Florentin Pogba. Florentin hasn’t been a fixture in Ligue 1, but went 90 minutes in five of six UEL group stage matches.