Miralem Pjanic

Associated Press

UEFA Nations League: Dzeko scores, Finland wins again

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England’s 3-1 win over Spain was the biggest news of the day in UEFA Nations League play, but there was plenty else to take from the action on Monday.

Edin Dzeko bagged a double as Bosnia & Herzegovina defeated Northern Ireland 2-0. The Roma striker robbed Jamal Lewis of the ball in his own defensive third after the defender slipped, and he buried the chance before the defense could regroup. He picked up his second with 17 minutes remaining as Miralem Pjanic completely bypassed the midfield with a fantastic long chip to Dzeko waiting on the left side of the box, and he had an easy finish with the defense trailing the play.

Dzeko’s two goals were two of just five total shots on target between the two sides in an otherwise drab match, as Northern Ireland has just one win in its last six matches.

Finland topped Greece 2-0 for its fifth consecutive clean-sheet win, going ahead on a goal by Pyry Soiri who finished off a messy chance in the box just after halftime as Greece failed to clear. Finland has not conceded a single goal since falling 2-0 to Romania in mid-June, a run of 479 total minutes. The center-back pairing of Joona Toivio and Paulus Arajuuri has started and played every minute of the three UEFA Nations League wins. Midfielder Glen Kamara scored Finland’s second, ending the country’s run of three straight 1-0 victories.

Switzerland held on to beat Iceland 2-1, with Haris Seferovic and Michael Lang on target for the visitors in Reykjavik. The former headed in a perfect far-post cross from Granit Xhaka just after halftime, while Lang finished off a beautiful bit of team play as Seferovic switched play from right to left before it came back in front of net, touching two Swiss players before finding Lang on the doorstep for finish in traffic. Alfred Finnbogason picked up a consolation with nine minutes left but that would wrap things up.

Hungary drew 3-3 with Estonia in a wild match that featured a double from Hoffenheim striker Adam Szalai. The 30-year-old Hungarian bagged a brace on his 50th cap, including his second that rescued a point for his country in the 81st minute after they wasted a 2-1 lead and fell behind 3-2.

Luxembourg topped 10-man San Marino 3-0, grabbing the opener just four minutes in and cruising to the win. Belarus and Moldova drew 0-0 in Minsk as Moldova failed to register a single shot on target despite holding the majority of possession.

Juventus locks up Pjanic through 2022-23 season

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Juventus has locked down one of its best players for a long time.

Miralem Pjanic signed a new 5-year deal with The Old Lady, keeping him in Turin through 2022-23.

Pjanic has been a transfer rumor mill regular, often linked with Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain.

[ MORE: Champions League wrap ]

The Bosnia and Herzegovina international, 28, has twice led Serie A in assists and boasts two Serie A titles and matching Coppa Italia trophies for Juve.

Pjanic scored five goals with eight assists in Serie A last season, adding one and one in the UEFA Champions League.

The Metz Academy product debuted for the French side at the age of 17 before moving onto Lyon. He signed with Roma in 2011, making 185 appearances for i Lupi before moving to Juventus in 2016.

He has 79 caps and 12 goals for Juventus, who is attempting to win a record eighth-straight scudetto.

Pjanic talks up Juventus relationships despite links elsewhere

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Juventus playmaker Miralem Pjanic has dealt with transfer rumors before, and this summer is no different.

Despite links to teams such as Manchester United, Manchester City, and Barcelona, the 28-year-old Bosnian international is purely focused on his work in Turin.

“I’m here, I’m very happy in this group and I’m working well,” Pjanic said to Sky Sports Italy. “I know the market is like this, there could be things that interest you, sometimes not. But I am very happy about what I’m doing. I’m very happy with what I’ve done in the last two seasons. I’m in a good group and I have a great relationship with the coach. I’m doing my best to prepare for next season.”

[ MORE: PL teams in preseason action Saturday ]

Pjanic scored five goals and assisted 11 more in 31 league appearances last season as Juventus nipped Napoli for the Serie A title. A pure central midfield by trade, he is versatile enough to sit deep in a more defensive role or play forward and feed Paulo Dybala, Douglas Costa, and Mario Mandzukic – or maybe even Cristiano Ronaldo this season.

Pjanic started and played 71 minutes in the 2-0 friendly win over Bayern Munich, fully focused on getting ready for the coming season. His contract runs through the summer of 2021, giving him three more full years under team control.f

Transfer rumor roundup: Jorginho, Pjanic, Kenedy in the news

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Jorginho is in focus on Monday, as a Premier League club is reportedly offering a big fee to convince Napoli and the Italian that it is a better home than Manchester City.

The Etihad Stadium has seemed a foregone conclusion when it comes to the 26-year-old midfielder, a mainstay of Maurizio Sarri’s Napoli and a breakout member of the Italian national team.

[ MORE: Bobby Wood staying in Bundesliga ]

Sarri is under contract with Napoli, but no longer the manager at Napoli. Chelsea has been unable to land the manager due to an unwillingness to pay his release clause, and Football Italia says that the Serie A club is willing to pay about $71 million — $12 more than Man City’s offer — to bring Jorginho to Stamford Bridge. That would theoretically make amends for not Chelsea meeting the Sarri release clause (that they’d essentially be meeting. Yeah, it’s hard to keep up).

And Jorginho in the same midfield as N'Golo Kante and a more comfortable Tiemoue Bakayoko is frightening for much of the Premier League’s attack-minded midfielders.

Got that? Good, cause Man City understands and allegedly has a back-up plan who is also currently a Serie A star.

Miralem Pjanic is older and more expensive than Jorginho, but Calcio Mercato says Juventus may now be willing to move the Bosnian midfielder.

The 28-year-old former Roma midfielder had, oddly enough, been linked with Chelsea earlier in the summer.

With a $95 million asking price, the move would further fly in the face of what Pep Guardiola expected to be a summer without massive outlays. The report does say that Man City would start at approximately half that fee.

Back to Chelsea, they look ready to loan Kenedy back to Newcastle United after a Tuesday medical. The Brazilian left-sided man was a huge hit for Rafa Benitez in a half-season loan last season.

It would be another loan deal this year with a view to a Summer 2019 purchase should things go well. Newcastle wouldn’t be able to use him against Chelsea, obviously, but he was a game-changer in several of Newcastle’s notable second-half upsets.

Transfer rumor roundup: PL duo eyeing Asensio and more

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The ongoing World Cup hasn’t halted the transfer talk across global soccer, and on Wednesday there are a number of potentially intriguing storylines.


Two Premier League sides are chasing Real Madrid attacker Marco Asensio, including Chelsea and Manchester United, while they will have to battle Paris Saint-Germain as well.

Although Asensio is prepared to stay in Spain next season, he wants to be assured of playing time under new manager Julen Lopetegui, who recently joined the club.

The 22-year-old scored 11 goals in all competitions last season for Los Blancos.


Juventus continues to have several players at the center of transfer rumors, and Miralem Pjanic is a name that keeps popping up.

The midfielder won’t come cheap though, with Juve reportedly set to ask for $92.6 million in the event that a club wants to acquire Pjanic.

Barcelona is rumored to be seeking a move for Pjanic with Andres Iniesta now heading to Vissel Kobe in the J-League.


New Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri is reportedly looking to bring several of his former Napoli players to Stamford Bridge, including Belgium star Dries Mertens.

The Blues are seeking more attacking options ahead of the fall, and the veteran Mertens has become a proven commodity in front of goal over the course of his Serie A career.