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Transfer rumor roundup: Simon to Liverpool, Deulofeu to Watford

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Saying the player has been “heavily scouted” as a backup to Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, The Liverpool Echo says Moses Simon could be the next Liverpool winger.

[ MORE: World Cup stadium guide ]

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.

Now he may be set for a permanent $11.5 million move, according to Sport.

The other Emmanuel Boateng — and that would only be said on this side of the Atlantic — is thinking big.

The 22-year-old Levante man has said he’s not long for La Liga, sending a message in a bottle to Old Trafford and the Camp Nou.

Speaking recently at a 442gh event, Boateng said: “I always dream big, I see myself playing in one of the great clubs of the world in the next five years. Big clubs like Manchester United and Barcelona excite me.”

Also Ghanaian, this Emmanuel Boateng is two years younger than the diminutive LA Galaxy man. The Levante star scored six goals this La Liga season and has recently made his Ghana national team debut.

Levante wins to virtually escape relegation in Spain

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MADRID (AP) Levante defeated Sevilla 2-1 in the Spanish league on Friday, practically securing its spot in the first division next season.

Levante opened a 12-point gap to the first team inside the relegation zone, Clarence Seedorf’s Deportivo La Coruna, which hosts leader Barcelona on Sunday.

[ MORE: Emery leaving PSG ]

There will be three matches left after this weekend’s matches.

Roger and Jose Luis Morales each scored to give Levante its fourth win in five matches.

Sevilla, which stayed in seventh place and in danger of missing on a Europa League spot next season, got on the board with Carlos Fernandez.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage:

USMNT-Paraguay preview: Youth served in Carolina

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Three: That’s how many USMNT players on the squad for Tuesday’s international friendly against Paraguay were with the team for the side’s 1-0 Copa America Centenario win over the visitors.

Bobby Wood “ran his socks off,” DeAndre Yedlin took two silly yellow cards, and Darlington Nagbe was an unused sub for Jurgen Klinsmann’s men on that night in Philadelphia.

[ MORE: How will USMNT line up? ]

Paraguay boss Gustavo Morinigo wasn’t there either — both clubs have changed bosses since then, with Dave Sarachan now the USMNT interim boss following Bruce Arena’s World Cup qualifying failure — but could use five starters from that match.

So there are few easy predictions other than unfamiliarity and perhaps youthful exuberance. On neutral soil, in fact, Paraguay would probably be favored to ruin Sarachan’s unbeaten run as American bench boss.

For the record, the Yanks are little better than even money to win the match in Cary, North Carolina.

Levante full back Shaq Moore could start for the U.S., having broken through for the La Liga side late last year. He told ESPN that American supporters have reason to be intrigued by the youthful roster

“Fans should feel excited — not just about me, but about the new crop of players coming through. It’s tough knowing there is no World Cup [this summer], but I think we have good things coming in the future,” Moore said.

Plenty of other youngsters will be on show, and one Paraguay star getting American eyes will be Atlanta United’s Miguel Almiron. The 21-year-old has is yet to score a senior goal for his country in 11 caps, a striking difference from his 10 goals and 10 assists in 35 appearances for the MLS side (It should come as no surprise that scoring on Chile and Argentina is more challenging than making plays against league competition in many parts of the world).

The U.S. is 3-2-2 all-time against Paraguay. Kickoff from Cary is expected shortly after 7:30 p.m. ET Tuesday.

Spanish judge reopens match-fixing case

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MADRID (AP) A Spanish judge has reopened a match-fixing case involving a soccer game between Levante and Zaragoza from May 2011.

The Valencia-based court ruled Friday that the case is ready to go to trial after finding in favor of an appeal by state prosecutors to reopen the case, which had been shelved by a lower court.

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The court agrees with prosecutors that there are indications that Zaragoza paid 965,000 euros ($1 million) to Levante’s players to lose the match. Zaragoza’s 2-1 victory at the end of the 2010-11 allowed the team to avoid relegation.

Players and the clubs have denied any wrongdoing.

Lionel Messi opens 2018 goal account with beauty vs. Levante

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Yesterday, Marcus Mariota threw a touchdown pass to himself.

Today, Lionel Messi scored his first goal of 2018, and he assisted it himself…well ok not really, but he did most of the hard work, and only Jordi Alba’s head stood between what was otherwise all the Argentinian superstar.

It took just 12 minutes of play this calendar year for Messi to score his first goal, coming in the opening stages of Levante’s trip to the Camp Nou. Messi, with the ball outside the top of the box and facing the corner flag, contorted his body and chipped a brilliant, almost no-look ball to Jordi Alba down the left edge of the penalty area. Alba headed the ball back to the center of the box, and Messi, who had followed the play immediately after sending the ball in, was there to complete the one-two and strike it into the back of the net past Levante goalkeeper Oier.

Lionel Messi scored the most goals across league competitions of anyone in Europe last year, with 37 goals in 34 matches. Tottenham’s Harry Kane scored the most across all competitions, hitting 56 times in the 2017 calendar year.

Barcelona would take a 2-0 lead before the break on a ripper from Luis Suarez. Barcelona sits top of the La Liga table, six points above everyone else and threatening to go nine clear if they can hold on for the win.