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transfer rumor roundup
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Transfer rumor roundup: Meunier to Spurs, Newcastle linked with trio

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Soon-to-be free agent Thomas Meunier is being linked with a move to North London.

The sought-after Belgian defender, 28, has been with Paris Saint-Germain since a 2016 move from Club Brugge.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Meunier has been linked to Manchester United and Everton since the start of 2019, but Spurs are said to be leading the race according to Le Parisien.

Also carrying 40 Belgian caps with seven goals, Meunier is a third-place finisher at the World Cup and has won three Ligue 1 crowns.

Separate reports have added Chelsea and Juventus to Meunier’s list of suitors, as transfer fee-free players could be all the rage this summer as teams monitor their budgets during the coronavirus pandemic.


Newcastle United continues to be linked with nearly every player under the sun.

James Rodriguez is the latest, the Colombian star looking for a home away from Real Madrid.

James will cost around $34 million, and has also been linked with a bevy of clubs including MLS new boys Inter Miami CF.

And while Manchester United fans wait to see whether Shanghai Shenhua will allow Odion Ighalo to extend his loan, Newcastle is said to be open to meeting the Chinese Super League side’s $23 million asking price for a permanent deal.

Ighalo, who turns 31 in June, has fit the bill as a fill-in striker for the Red Devils, who had lost Marcus Rashford to injury. He has four goals in eight appearances for United after 46 goals in three seasons abroad.

The Magpies have a star goalkeeper in Martin Dubravka, but they are also being linked with a massive $56 million bid for Benfica star Odysseas Vlachodimos.

The 26-year-old Greek backstop has 16 clean sheets this season and six caps for his national team.

USMNT drops six more spots in latest FIFA rankings

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The United States men’s national team has dropped to No. 30 in the world ahead of the 2019 Gold Cup, though we can all admit that feels a bit generous right now.

[ MORE: Gold Cup predictions ]

The Yanks fell six spots in the latest FIFA Rankings, 12 below Mexico and nine ahead of Costa Rica. It’s the biggest drop of any nation in the Top 50, though Greece dropped nine spots to sit 52nd.

The 30 marker is six spots higher than its lowest ranking since the system began in 1993. The Yanks are 39th overall in Elo Ratings.

Belgium remains world No. 1, with France, Brazil, and England next. Portugal climbs into fifth.

Austria (26th) is up 8 spots, Czech Republic (41st) goes up 7 places, and Hungary (42nd) is up 9.

Greek Cup final to limit fans over crowd violence fears

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) The Greek Cup final between champion PAOK Thessaloniki and AEK Athens on Saturday will be played in front of a limited number of invited fans due to fears of crowd violence.

No tickets will be sold for the match at the Olympic Stadium in Athens and Sports Minister Giorgos Vassiliadis said Monday’s decision follows police information that fans of both teams – and of other teams – were planning trouble on the sidelines.

PAOK and AEK have met in the past two finals with the 2017 game marred by extensive clashes in the stands.

Violence still plagues Greek soccer, despite repeated pledges by successive governments to impose order.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

PAOK first undefeated team in Greek league season for 55 years

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ATHENS, Greece — PAOK has become only the second team to go through an entire Greek league season without losing.

PAOK had already secured the title and ended its season with a 2-0 win at Giannena on Sunday. The Thessaloniki side won 26 of its 30 games, with four draws, to finish five points ahead of runner-up Olympiakos.

Both PAOK and Olympiakos qualify for the Champions League next season.

Last year’s champion AEK finished third, 23 points behind PAOK.

AEK, fourth-place Atromitos and Aris in fifth qualified for the Europa League.

Panathinaikos was undefeated 55 years ago in the 1963-64 season.

VIDEO: PAOK wins first Greek title in 34 years, fans celebrate accordingly

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THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) PAOK won the Greek league with a round to spare after beating Levadiakos 5-0.

Yevhen Shakhv scored twice for the hosts, along with goals from Diego Biseswar, Fernando Varela and Karol Swiderski.

With one round left, PAOK is five points ahead of second-place Olympiakos.

This is the third league championship for PAOK, after 1976 and 1985 titles.

A huge celebration at the city’s waterfront was planned later Sunday.