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Vlasic, N’Koudou seal loan deals; Ospina gets Napoli medical

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Two Premier League players are departing their clubs for loan stints elsewhere in Europe, and a third is a medical away from leaving London.

Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina is reportedly undergoing a medical ahead of a move to Serie A powers Napoli.

[ MORE: Premier League Club Power Rankings, Week 1 ]

The Colombian will have a chance to start after a long-term injury to Napoli’s No. 1, Alex Meret, who was bought from Udinese for nearly $40 million this summer. Pepe Reina left Napoli in the offseason.

The club’s goalkeeping corps also includes ex-Waftford player Orestis Karnezis and 22-year-old Nikita Contini.

Everton’s Nikola Vlasic is leaving Goodison Park for a season with CSKA Moscow. Vlasic, 20, played 19 times for the Toffees last season, scoring twice.

Also on the move is Tottenham’s Georges-Kevin N’Koudou. The 23-year-old Frenchman is headed to the Bundesliga with Mainz after going on loan to Burnley last season.

Of the three, only Ospina is probable to leave his parent club after the season, with Napoli holding an option to buy the player.

Newcastle moving toward addition of two World Cup players

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A slow summer for Newcastle United may be turning up the pace in double time.

The Magpies are said to be a medical away from landing Switzerland international Fabian Schar for $4 million, and in “advanced talks” for Japan’s Yoshinori Muto.

Newcastle has struggled to land players this summer, getting Kenedy on a second loan from Chelsea, goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, and free agent Ki Sung-yeung.

[ MORE: Brighton breaks transfer record ]

Schar, 26, was relegated with Deportivo La Coruna last season and Newcastle is said to have activated a release clause in his contract.

Things aren’t quite as far along with Muto, but the Magpies may get the striker for $12 million. He’s scored 20 Bundesliga goals in 66 matches with Mainz.

The 26-year-old Muto has two goals in 25 caps for Japan, and made one start for Samurai Blue at the World Cup.

Schar played all three group stage matches at the World Cup, but missed Switzerland’s ouster at the hands of Sweden due to yellow card accumulation.

Both signings would help Newcastle a great deal, and would give Rafa Benitez the chance to go three at the back with Schar, Jamaal Lascelles, and Florian Lejeune.

That could move DeAndre Yedlin to a right wing back role, but now we’re way ahead of ourselves.

Transfer rumor roundup: Japan, South Africa strikers to Premier League

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Percy Tau’s name isn’t yet widely known outside of South Africa, what with Bafana Bafana absent from the World Cup.

But the 24-year-old Mamelodi Sundowns winger may soon get to test his skills on a much bigger stage.

[ USMNT: More accolades for Pulisic ]

Tau, who has five goals in 12 caps, will reportedly join Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League if a medical goes well, with Sky Sports saying it’ll will be the biggest transfer fee yet for a South African Premier League player.


Yoshinori Muto could be bringing his 25 caps to the Premier League.

The 26-year-old striker made just one appearance at the World Cup, but has had a nice run with Mainz since joining from FC Tokyo. He’s bagged 23 goals in 71 appearances.

Bild report says there have been no formal offers for Muto, but that Newcastle United and West Ham are interested in the striker. Newcastle badly needs a striker, but West Ham has been spending money and Magpies owner Mike Ashley hasn’t green lit much in recent seasons.

Bundesliga wrap: Mainz, Hamburg could send relegation race to wire

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With two matches to play, the Bundesliga’s relegation race is muddled and the European battle is set to go down to the wire.

There’s Bayern at the top, Koln at the bottom, and mostly chaos in between.

[ MORE: Fellaini, Pogba react to late win ]


 

Mainz 3-0 RB Leipzig

A seismic statement from Mainz, who greeted Hamburg’s hot streak with a convincing win that moved it five points clear of automatic relegation and three above the playoff spot.

Pablo De Blasis converted a 29th minute penalty kick to give Mainz an advantage that would later be buttressed by a pair of goals in the final five minutes from Alexandru Maxim and Bote Baku.

Now RB Leipzig, last year’s surprise runners-up, are on the precipice of missing out on European play altogether. Sixth-place Leipzig needs collapses from Hoffenheim and Bayer Leverkusen to finish Top Four, and could finish as low as bottom half with poor performances against Wolfsburg and Hertha Berlin.

Wolfsburg 1-3 Hamburg

The wobbly seasons continue for Wolfsburg, and this one features a massive six-point loss to Hamburg Sunday.

American striker Bobby Wood converted a 43rd minute penalty — U.S. teammate John Anthony Brooks was on the bench for Wolfsburg — and the hosts could never get level in allowing their visitors to get within two points of 16th place.

Elsewhere

Hertha Berlin 2-2 Augsburg
Freiburg 3-2 Koln
Bayern Munich 4-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Schalke 1-1 Borussia Monchengladbach
Bayer Leverkusen 0-1 Stuttgart
Werder Bremen 1-1 Borussia Dortmund
Hoffenheim 3-1 Hannover 96

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 32 26 3 3 88 23 65 14-2-0 12-1-3 81
 FC Schalke 04 32 16 9 7 50 36 14 9-5-2 7-4-5 57
 Borussia Dortmund 32 15 10 7 62 42 20 9-4-3 6-6-4 55
 1899 Hoffenheim 32 14 10 8 63 45 18 10-4-2 4-6-6 52
 Bayer Leverkusen 32 14 9 9 55 42 13 7-5-4 7-4-5 51
 RB Leipzig 32 13 8 11 47 50 -3 8-4-4 5-4-7 47
 Eintracht Frankfurt 32 13 7 12 42 44 -2 7-4-5 6-3-7 46
 VfB Stuttgart 32 13 6 13 30 35 -5 9-4-3 4-2-10 45
 Mönchengladbach 32 12 8 12 43 49 -6 8-4-4 4-4-8 44
 Hertha BSC Berlin 32 10 13 9 40 37 3 5-7-4 5-6-5 43
 FC Augsburg 32 10 11 11 42 42 0 6-4-6 4-7-5 41
 Werder Bremen 32 9 11 12 35 39 -4 6-6-4 3-5-8 38
 Hannover 96 32 9 9 14 39 50 -11 7-3-6 2-6-8 36
 FSV Mainz 05 32 8 9 15 35 49 -14 7-3-6 1-6-9 33
 SC Freiburg 32 7 12 13 29 53 -24 6-6-4 1-6-9 33
 VfL Wolfsburg 32 5 15 12 31 43 -12 2-8-6 3-7-6 30
 Hamburger SV 32 7 7 18 27 49 -22 5-4-7 2-3-11 28
 1. FC Köln 32 5 7 20 33 63 -30 3-5-8 2-2-12 22

Bundesliga wrap: Relegation playoff race stays tight

Christian Charisius/dpa via AP
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With three matches remaining for all 18 Bundesliga clubs, there’s clarity at the very top and bottom but plenty to sort in the races to qualify for Europe and avoid the relegation playoff.

[ RECAP: Man City 5-0 Swans ]

We focus on the latter here, with all three teams on 30 points losing away from home this weekend, including one to the 17th place side in Germany.

Hamburg 1-0 Freiburg

Lewis Holtby scored a 54th minute goal to keep the hosts’ slim survival hopes alive, and USMNT forward Bobby Wood got into the match for the final 23 minutes as Hamburg scooped up a rare win.

Augsburg 2-0 Mainz

The visitors had more of the ball but couldn’t rebound from a 29th minute Michael Gregoritsch goal, allowing Alfred Finnbogason to seal the result in stoppage time.

Borussia Monchengladbach 3-0 Wolfsburg

Wolfsburg has a hefty edge on Mainz and Freiburg in terms of goal differential, but won’t be feeling too confident after watching Lars Stindl, Raffael, and Christoph Kramer all score before halftime.

Elsewhere
RB Leipzig 2-5 Hoffenheim
Eintracht Frankfurt 0-3 Hertha Berlin
Stuttgart 2-0 Werder Bremen
Hannover 96 0-3 Bayern Munich
Borussia Dortmund 4-0 Bayer Leverkusen
Koln 2-2 Schalke — USMNT’s McKennie goes 90

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Bayern Munich 31 25 3 3 84 22 62 13-2-0 12-1-3 78
 FC Schalke 04 31 16 8 7 49 35 14 9-4-2 7-4-5 56
 Borussia Dortmund 31 15 9 7 61 41 20 9-4-3 6-5-4 54
 Bayer Leverkusen 31 14 9 8 55 41 14 7-5-3 7-4-5 51
 1899 Hoffenheim 31 13 10 8 60 44 16 9-4-2 4-6-6 49
 RB Leipzig 31 13 8 10 47 47 0 8-4-4 5-4-6 47
 Eintracht Frankfurt 31 13 7 11 41 40 1 7-4-5 6-3-6 46
 Mönchengladbach 31 12 7 12 42 48 -6 8-4-4 4-3-8 43
 Hertha BSC Berlin 31 10 12 9 38 35 3 5-6-4 5-6-5 42
 VfB Stuttgart 31 12 6 13 29 35 -6 9-4-3 3-2-10 42
 FC Augsburg 31 10 10 11 40 40 0 6-4-6 4-6-5 40
 Werder Bremen 31 9 10 12 34 38 -4 6-5-4 3-5-8 37
 Hannover 96 31 9 9 13 38 47 -9 7-3-6 2-6-7 36
 VfL Wolfsburg 31 5 15 11 30 40 -10 2-8-5 3-7-6 30
 FSV Mainz 05 31 7 9 15 32 49 -17 6-3-6 1-6-9 30
 SC Freiburg 31 6 12 13 26 51 -25 5-6-4 1-6-9 30
 Hamburger SV 31 6 7 18 24 48 -24 5-4-7 1-3-11 25
 1. FC Köln 31 5 7 19 31 60 -29 3-5-8 2-2-11 22