Idrissa Gueye

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Top 5 players to watch on Deadline Day

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January has seen some familiar names come and go from the Premier League.

[ MORE: Liverpool 1-1 Leicester ]

Mousa Dembele, Gonzalo Higuain, and Alvaro Morata are on the list, and some others will likely join them on a frantic deadline day.

We’ll keep are eyes trained for the specific names below…


Make sure to tune-in for our special Transfer Deadline Day show on NBCSN on Thursday, Jan. 31 from 5 p.m. ET as we focus on all of the moves across the Premier League in the January window. You can stream the show live online right here.

Idrissa Gana Gueye, Everton — The poor man’s N'Golo Kante, Everton’s mighty midfielder has been linked with Paris Saint-Germain for much of the January window. Rumors that Marco Silva would leave the club if a sale is made sound a bit much, but Gana is a real treat for any club.

Callum Hudson-Odoi, Chelsea — Subject to massive bids from Bayern Munich, relatively speaking, the Blues’ youngster was not in the 18 for Chelsea’s 4-0 loss at Bournemouth on Wednesday.

Yannick Carrasco, Dalian Yifang — The Belgian winger is just 25, and a year removed from a $30-plus million move from Atletico Madrid to China. Linked with Arsenal and AC Milan.

Miguel Almiron, Atlanta United — He’s been photographed on Tyneside and Atlanta needs to sell him. Given the club’s stingy ownership, though, we’ll believe the signing has happened when Newcastle United announces the move and shows a photo of him in black and white.

Nathan Ake, Bournemouth — Why would Bournemouth sell the center back? Because they may have to, with rumors of a buyback clause in his contract following a Chelsea sale 18 months ago.

BONUS: Eden Hazard, ChelseaAnd by extension, Maurizio Sarri. Chelsea is going to want to cash in on Hazard should he not sign a new deal, and his value tomorrow is going to be higher than it will be at any point in the next 18 months (his contract with Chelsea expires in the summer of 2019). Real Madrid needs a jolt, and so does Chelsea. Changing managers again won’t do it. Sure, it’s a wild idea… but watch him anyway.

Transfer rumor roundup: Allan to PSG, Meunier to Everton

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Paris Saint-Germain is at the heart of a trio of transfer rumors, including their long-term pursuit of Everton midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye.

Thomas Tuchel’s club is hoping to improve their midfield in a few ways, linked with Gueye, Bayern Munich’s Renato Sanches, and Napoli’s Allan.

Everton’s play involves getting a big name player at Goodison Park, with the Toffees said to need Gueye and cash to pry Thomas Meunier away from PSG (and help with Financial Fair Play).

Meunier is two years younger than Gueye, 30-times capped by Belgium, and plays right back. Everton upgraded its left back spot with Lucas Digne in the summer, and 30-year-old captain Seamus Coleman currently mans right back.

PSG is also said to be hopeful of getting Allan for around $70 million. The 28-year-old Brazilian leads Napoli with 3.6 tackles per game and only Kalidou Koulibaly and Marek Hamsik have the ball more than Allan.

Sanches, 21, is the youngest of the bunch and has been used regularly as a sub for Niko Kovac’s Bavarians.

Calcio Mercato says Fulham, Newcastle United, and Cardiff City’s hopes for defensive reinforcements include Cameroonian defender Michael Ngadeu.

The 28-year-old Ngadeu has 18 months left on his contract at Slavia Prague, and is a regular for Cameroon.

And a former Newcastle man is being linked with a move back to the Premier League, as Rangers’ captain James Tavernier is said to be interesting Southampton to the tune of a $10 million purchase.

Make sure to tune-in for our special Transfer Deadline Day show on NBCSN on Thursday, Jan. 31 from 5 p.m. ET as we focus on all of the moves across the Premier League in the January window. You can stream the show live online right here.

Reports: Chelsea may activate Ake buyback; Gueye wanted by PSG

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Bournemouth and Everton are in the headlines for reasons other than the Toffees’ 2-0 defeat of the Cherries at Goodison Park on Sunday.

Both sides are being mentioned in Sky Sports transfer centre as potential sellers of lynchpins, which makes the rumors both eyebrow-raising and differing degrees of unlikely.

[ MORE: Southgate, Simeone on Man Utd list ]

One seems wildly amiss, with Paris Saint-Germain linked with a $51 million bid for Toffees midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye (although could Marco Silva use the dough to bring in ol’ Watford pal Abdoulaye Doucoure? We digress).

The box-to-box giant would certainly help PSG boss Thomas Tuchel in his bid to succeed in the Champions League, but the money would seemingly have to be higher for Everton to consider selling a key part of Marco Silva’s attack-first XI.

The same fee is being quoted for Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake, though the Cherries might have no recourse if the 23-year-old Dutchman fancies a return to Stamford Bridge.

Sold in 2017 after a successful loan stint at the Vitality Stadium, Ake has played 60 times between the loan and permanent stints with Eddie Howe but reportedly has a $51m buyback clause in the deal.

For what it’s worth, we’re now seeing why Real Madrid and Barcelona are putting ungodly release clauses in contracts for players; Eight deals sealed by Premier League clubs this summer and fall are worth more than Ake’s release clause, which would’ve been a Top Two or Three transfer fee for a defender fee when he was signed. Now it’d be sixth.

Everton 2-0 Hajduk Split: Toffees cruise in Europa League first leg

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  • Keane nabs first EFC goal
  • Baines, Rooney with classy assists
  • Gueye scores rare goal
  • Second leg Aug. 24 in Croatia

Michael Keane and Idrissa Gana Gueye scored as Everton took a 2-0 lead over HNK Hajduk Split in a UEFA Europa League playoff round first leg at Goodison Park on Thursday.

Leighton Baines and Wayne Rooney had assists for the Toffees, while Jordan Pickford, Ademola Lookman, and Davy Klaassen also posted lively performances for the hosts ahead of next week’s second leg.

The Toffees could’ve scored four or five if not for questionable offside calls alone, and the match was interrupted in the first half when the Hajduk support section got out of hand.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Ademola Lookman won an early corner for Everton that led to nothing, and played a terrific ball into the center of the box that Davy Klaassen just missed with a sliding effort.

Hajduk had a moment in two in transition, but the Toffees handled it well. Baines in particular broke up the earliest sign of danger.

The breakthrough goal was splendid, with Baines scooping up a punched corner kick and darting past a defender to dink an aesthetically-pleasing ball into traffic for Keane to head home. 1-0, 30′.

The match was stalled for 5-10 minutes after riotous behavior from visiting Hajduk Split supporters, who tossed bottles onto the field and charged at the stewards (one appeared to punch a security guard).

The Toffees went up 2-0 off a classy assist from Rooney, who was moving away from the defense when he cut a ball to a darting Gueye. The Senegalese engine provided a rare goal in the 45th minute.

[ MORE: Europa League schedule ]

The chances were at a premium for both sides in the second half, with Everton still having the better of play. But Jordan Pickford had to get horizontal to make an outstanding two-handed parry on a Hajduk rush in the 61st minute.

Hajduk really found its game late as Everton seemed to rest on its laurels. Pickford was livid, and called into duty to make some big stops and preserve an important home clean sheet.

An under-the-radar Premier League XI

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The Premier League’s international break invites reflection on both what we’ve seen so far and what’s to come.

For example, what if we left out the superstars?

For whatever reason, this one is recalling the state of mind of 2015-16, when we were digesting that Leicester City very much looked the part of Premier League champions.

[ MORE: Herrera on “intense” Zlatan ]

For a lot of us, that meant delving into statistics and seeing what matched the eye test. Many started Googling the name “N'Golo Kante“, the dynamic disruptor who’d move to Chelsea in August.

He’s a household name now, with some personalities even arguing that he should buck the trend of Ballon d’Or nominees including only major statistic producers (There was a time when names like Fabio Cannavaro and Matthias Sammer claimed the honor, you know).

For our purposes, we’ll use a pair of advanced stats sites and the good ol’ eye test. (Of the sites we’re using, Squawka seems to skew toward high attack scores, while WhoScored tilts a bit toward the back, so life is good if a player hits both sites’ Top 50).

Before getting into our team — we promise no 10-picture, click-to-reveal-next stuff — some stats that stood out.

— Three players have had outstanding “short” seasons for different reasons.

  • Leicester City’s Wilfried Ndidi took a short spell to adjust to the Premier League after arriving in January, but has been the Foxes’ most influential player in their recent turnaround).
  • Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake essentially was the Cherries’ first-half success before heading back to Chelsea where Antonio Conte won’t move him ahead of Marcos Alonso or Victor Moses (and that’s actually understandable as you’ll see below).
  • Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas just doesn’t feature a ton for Conte, but in limited time his per-90 stats on Squawka trail only Eden Hazard and Alexis Sanchez.

— The following players have risen well above most of their teammates but fall short of the league Top 50 on either site: Ben Gibson (Boro), Michael Keane and Ben Mee (Burnley), Christian Fuchs (Leicester City), Joe Allen (Stoke City), Jose Holebas and Troy Deeney (Watford), Gareth McAuley (West Brom).

— Watford, as a side, is seemingly the choose to a sort of MVP. On WhoScored, not a single player rises above 7, but there are a host in the very high sixes.

— In very different systems, John Stones (91.8) and Adam Forshaw (89.2) are thriving in pass percentage.

Oriol Romeu of Southampton and Victor Wanyama of Tottenham Hotspur (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

— Southampton’s Oriel Romeu and Stoke’s Erik Pieters rank fourth and fifth respectively in tackles per game.

— In a team that has to intervene a ton, Hull City’s Curtis Davies the league with 3.8 interceptions per game.


Honorable mention

Goalkeeper: Lukasz Fabianski (Swansea City)

Defenders: Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City), Marcos Alonso (Chelsea), Calum Chambers (Boro), Papy Djilobodji (Sunderland), Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)

Midfielders: Ake, Victor Wanyama (Spurs), Willian (Chelsea), Juan Mata (Manchester United), Harry Winks (Spurs), Manuel Lanzini (West Ham United), Victor Moses (Chelsea), Jack Wilshere (Bournemouth).

Forwards: Joshua King (Bournemouth), Fernando Llorente (Swansea City), Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace)


Goalkeeper

Ben Foster (West Brom) — With the highest performance score in the position on WhoScored, Foster has claimed all 95 balls he’s went up for and has a league-best 76 saves.

Defenders

Nicolas Otamendi (Man City, 7.49, 29.18) — One of few defenders to rate high in interceptions despite being on a team that doesn’t concede loads of chances or possession.

George Friend (Middlesbrough) — Just out of the upper echelon on the advanced stats site, he is in rarefield air in traditional stats interceptions and tackles.

Steve Cook (Bournemouth, 7.16, 22.76) — Jumps out of the advanced stats on a Cherries team which has faced plenty of attacking pressure.

Antonio Valencia (Manchester United, 7.28, 27.45) — There’s a reason Jose Mourinho rewarded him with an extension not long into the manager’s tenure at Old Trafford.

Midfielders

Ander Herrera (Manchester United, 7.44, 36.64) – Long-heralded at Athletic Bilbao, Herrera is finally showing what made him so sought. One odd stat that may be explained by his willingness to run to any situation: he’s very high in average times dribbled past.

Idrissa Gana Gueye (Everton, 7.34, 20.57) – The best player in Aston Villa’s awful 2015-16, he’s been arguably as effective as N’Golo Kante. Seriously.

Matt Phillips (West Bromwich Albion) – Once the top player on a relegated QPR, Phillips is fifth in the Premier League in assists despite missing the last four matches with injury.

Christian Eriksen (Tottenham Hotspur, 7.41, 31.89) – Second in the PL in key passes, he doesn’t get the plaudits of English teammates Dele Alli and Harry Kane. The relationships are very symbiotic.

 

Forwards

Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace, 7.44) – On an under-achieving team, Zaha’s statistics are wild. He’s the most-fouled player in the league, and attempts/completes the most dribbles in the PL. He gives the ball away a lot, too, but that happens when you’re the focal point of everything your team does in the attacking third.

Alex Iwobi (Arsenal, 30.54) – The Nigerian turns 21 in May, and has four goals and seven assists across all competitions.