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West Ham-linked Pellegrini released from Hebei contract

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Manuel Pellegrini has made himself more than readily available for the vacant job at West Ham United after Hebei China Fortune, Pellegrini’s current employer, announced the Chilean has been released from his contract and will leave his post on Sunday.

[ MORE: Chelsea top Man United to win 8th FA Cup | Three things ]

The London Stadium job came open this week when David Moyes was relieved of his duties following the conclusion of the 2017-18 Premier League season, which saw the Hammers finish 13th under the direction of Moyes and Slaven Bilic.

“We aim to appoint a high-calibre figure who we feel will lead the club into an exciting future for our loyal supporters within the next 10 days,” West Ham joint-chairman David Sullivan said on Wednesday.

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Fast-forward three days, and it would appear Sullivan and Co. have pinpointed their man, with Pellegrini, 64, set to for a face-to-face interview with the West Ham hierarchy this week.

Pellegrini’s first and only stint in the PL ended in 2016, when he left Manchester City following one PL title and two League Cups in his three seasons at the club.

Javier Mascherano leaving Barcelona after 8 seasons

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says defender Javier Mascherano is leaving the club after eight seasons.

Barcelona says there will be a farewell ceremony on Wednesday with Mascherano, club president Josep Bartomeu and the rest of the squad.

[ MORE: Man City to buy $86m CB ]

The 33-year-old Argentina international will say goodbye to the fans before Thursday’s game against Espanyol at Camp Nou in the Copa del Rey. He is reportedly going to play in China.

Mascherano, who also played as a defensive midfielder, arrived in Barcelona in 2010 from Liverpool and helped the Catalan club win 18 titles. He has made 334 appearances with Barcelona, but recently hadn’t been playing much.

The club earlier this month signed Colombia international Yerry Mina to boost its defense.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga

Report: James turned down $32 million salary in China

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An $32 million per year salary and $114 transfer fee were not enough to woo James Rodriguez and Real Madrid into a move to the Chinese Super League.

Manuel Pellegrini‘s Hebei China Fortune was the club behind the offer, according to Marca, although the second bid may’ve been done simply to raise the profile. The report says the rejection of an $84 million bid made it clear no offer would hit the spot.

[ MORE: Arsenal’s new non-league LB ]

Hebei has Ezequiel Lavezzi, Stephane Mbia, Gael Kakuta, and Gervinho on the books.

James made comments about leaving Madrid at the Club World Cup, and Marca says the Chinese club was quick to make its intentions known to agent Jorge Mendes.

Rodriguez has 4 goals and 10 assists in 18 matches for Madrid this season.

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Another star to China: Lavezzi leaves PSG for Hebei China Fortune

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Yet another star name has moved to China.

Argentine forward Ezequiel Lavezzi, 30, has signed a two-year deal with Chinese Super League club Hebei China Fortune and by all accounts he is making a fortune.

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Rumors suggest that the now former Paris Saint-Germain attacker will make in excess of $33.5 million from his salary alone over the next two years as he joins the likes of Jackson Martinez, Alex Teixiera and Ramires in the CSL.

Hebei China Fortune — owned by Wang Wenxue who runs a state owned company that focuses on real estate and specifically industrial parks — is based in Beijing and it is believed Lavezzi turned down approaches from both Inter Milan and Chelsea in favor of heading to China.

Former Arsenal and AS Roma forward Gervinho also plays for Hebei, as does Cameroon’s captain Stephane Mbia.

The Argentine international joined PSG in 2012 from Napoli and scored 35 goals in 163 appearances for Les Parisiens. He was out of contract with PSG in the summer but has signed ahead of the CSL’s transfer deadline (Feb. 26) and will be available to play when the 2016 season kicks off on March 4.

So, is anybody else extremely excited to see how all of these stars get on in China?