Eales: Atlanta United ‘set the table’ for future MLS transfers to Premier League

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Atlanta United’s protracted negotiations with Newcastle United for Miguel Almiron turned out to give both sides what they want. Newcastle got a star young attacking midfielder, with Atlanta United turning a profit in a record transfer deal.

According to Atlanta United club president Darren Eales, the deal has set the table for future transfers out of MLS.

[READ: Champions League Last 16 Predictions]

“Clearly, Rafa (Benitez) wanted the player and they had done their homework,” Eales told the Newcastle Chronicle. “He was someone they had thought about. They had done their due diligence and thought ‘okay, we’re going to push the button on this one’.

“It was important for Miggy because it was his dream. It was important for the league, too, for that type of number. It is by far and away the record transfer fee for MLS. I think we have helped to set the table for future transfers.”

Almiron’s $27 million deal to Newcastle raises the value of all players coming out of MLS. With South Americans looking north and young Americans looking to move to Europe, European clubs are now beginning to see the Smerican market as a good proving ground for raw talent, and a cut-rate prices compared to Europe.

Late Boly goal saves Wolves in draw with Newcastle (video)

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  • Willy Boly‘s 95th minute header earned a draw for Wolves
  • Newcastle sit just one point above the relegation zone
  • Miguel Almiron made his Newcastle debut

Willy Boly saved the day for Wolverhampton Wanderers at home as they drew, 1-1 with Newcastle on Monday evening. The tall French centerback rose highest to head home a dramatic mistake from Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka in the fifth minute of extra time, saving a point for Wolves and denying the Magpies three vital points for the second consecutive match.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

With the draw, Newcastle sit just one point above Southampton and the relegation zone, with 25 points from 26 games.

Wolves meanwhile are in seventh place, with 39 points on the season.

Earlier in the second half, Isaac Hayden put Newcastle up front with a blast of a strike that Rui Patricio couldn’t keep out, and it seemed Newcastle were well on their way to victory against a Wolves side that seemed to be missing that cutting edge. Newcastle were later boosted offensively by the introduction of record signing from Atlanta United, Miguel Almiron, off the bench in the 72nd minute.

In the first half, Wolves certainly had more thrust and attacking vigor, working Newcastle’s right and left side early and often. However, the Magpies were resolute defensively, including the U.S. Men’s National Team’s DeAndre Yedlin at right back. Neither side was able to create too much on goal, but it seemed like whichever team tired or made the mistake first would be punished.

That happened when Wolves fell asleep in the 56th minute. Fabian Schär has acres of space to run into, and his through ball on the ground found the midfielder Hayden advancing into the box. Hayden fired on goal and perhaps surprised Patricio, scoring inside the near post to give Newcastle a lead.

With Almiron on, it seemed as if Newcastle may add to the lead. Almiron showed no fear in running at the Wolves defense but clearly isn’t at his sharpest after two months without a game.

However, it was a crucial mistake in the game’s final moments that saved a point for Wolves and stole two from Newcastle. Manager Rafa Benitez might rue this moment should Newcastle go down, missing out on four of the last six points available due to goalkeeper errors.

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.

FA Cup replay preview: Newcastle travels to Blackburn

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Mired in the midst of a relegation fight, the last thing Rafa Benitez needed was an FA Cup replay.

However, that’s exactly what he and Newcastle have received. Newcastle travels to Blackburn to play a replay match after a 1-1- draw at St. Janes Park

Benitez said before hand he was already planning on rotating his squad, either allowing youngsters to get valuable minutes or focusing his priorities in Cardiff City at the weekend, a massive relegation zone battle.

[ LIVE: Follow all the FA Cup scores here ]

A win over Cardiff City would go a long way towards ensuring survival, which at this point is Benitez’s focus. In other words, expect Blackburn to have a decent chance at home against Premier League opposition.

Elsewhere, League One’s Luton Town hosts Championship strugglers Sheffield Wednesday, and Stoke City hosts League One’s Shrewsbury Town in the rest of the FA Cup replay action.

Premier League Preview: Chelsea v. Newcastle

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  • Ruben Loftus-Cheek (back) is unavailable but Alvaro Morata (hamstring) is expected to be fit to face Newcastle.
  • Chelsea have only lost one of its 23 Premier League home matches against Newcastle
  • Salomon Rondon has scored Newcastle’s last three away goals in the Premier League.

The last in a full day of matches comes Saturday afternoon as Chelsea hosts former coach Rafa Benitez and Newcastle (12:30 p.m. ET live on NBC or live online at NBCSports.com).

The Blues are coming off a surprise scoreless draw with Southampton while Newcastle are winless in their last four. The winds are swirling at Chelsea as Cesc Fabregas departed and Callum Hudson-Odoi is a big transfer target of Bayern Munich, though Chelsea has so far refused to accept any bids for the talented 18-year-old.

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Alvaro Morata could be fit to play, but one wonders if Maurizio Sarri will go with Eden Hazard in the false nine role again. At the same time, Newcastle has plenty of injuries to deal with, and three players just coming back off the sidelines. It will be a big loss to replace Jonjo Shelvey and Yoshinori Muto.


What they’re saying

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri on his team’s scoring problems: “We need to score. We need to solve this problem. In the last match we played very well, with continuity and with a very good offensive and defensive phase, and with a great performance from a physical point of view – the best of the season – but we didn’t score. We have to work and try to solve it as soon as possible.”

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez on focusing his team against Chelsea: ”We have to realize where we are and we have to realize the only way forward is to stay united. We can’t waste too much energy. The idea last year when we were back in the Premier League was to be united. You have to realize that this is a big city and massive club.”


Prediction

Chelsea may be struggling to score goals, but Newcastle are in a relegation fight. Even without much of a striker, Chelsea should still have enough talent and firepower up top to win. Plus, with so many players out injured for Newcastle, the challenge grows even more for the visitors. Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle