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Premier League transfer rumors
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Transfer rumor roundup: Kabasele to Arsenal, Man Utd; Spurs, Newcastle eye Cyprien

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Oh, the rumors are picking up around England…

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Newcastle United is looking into perhaps the perfect cure for what ails them, but faces competition from Spurs.

The Magpies have incredible depth at the back and have made good investment across the top, but have been lacking a star midfielder to drive the attack since Yohan Cabaye or Georginio Wijnaldum.

Enter Wylan Cyprien, the $30 million rated Nice playmaker.

Cyprien, 24, has seven goals and three assists for Nice this season. Ranked 10th in Ligue 1 for goals and shots, he’s also a terrific passer and quality on set pieces.

Why Nice would sell him in season is the question, and it seems likely Patrick Vieira would revolt if his top playmaker left with the club in competition for the Champions League places.


The Magpies are the least likely of a host of teams reportedly chasing Watford defender Christian Kabasele.

The 28-year-old Belgian center back is very much wanted by the Vicarage Road set, but will enter the final year of his contract next summer.

If Watford cannot lock him down, he’ll have no shortage of suitors. Le 10 Sport links Newcastle, Manchester United, Arsenal, and West Ham wil his services.

Kabasele has appeared 88 times for the Hornets since arriving from Genk, pitching in five goals. It’s odd to see him linked with Newcastle, as he’s more needed at the other reported members of the trio.


Aston Villa is not messing around when it comes to January transfer targets.

The Villans have already added Pepe Reina, and are reportedly seeking another pair of Serie A stars.

Jose Callejon and Fernando Llorente will be familiar to most who watch the European game.

The former, 32, has a goal and eight assists for the Neapolitans this season as part of a glittering career. The latter arrived from Spurs this summer and has four goals on the season.

Villa definitely needs a center forward with Wesley Moraes out for the season, but Llorente has scored more than six goals in a season since his 15-goal campaign for Swansea City in 2016/17.

Mbappe returns, scores as PSG beats 9-man Nice 4-1

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NICE, France (AP) Angel Di Maria scored twice and Kylian Mbappe marked his return from injury with a goal as Paris Saint-Germain stretched its lead in the French league with a 4-1 win at nine-man Nice on Friday.

Di Maria got the visitors off to a flying start in the first half before Mbappe sealed the win in the 83rd minute after the home side had two players sent off. Mbappe also set up Mauro Icardi for PSG’s fourth goal in injury time.

[ MORE: Interview with Claudio Reyna ]

Mbappe, who recently missed a month with a thigh injury, hadn’t played since suffering a reaction to his original injury in Champions League win over Galatasaray on Oct. 1.

The win lifts PSG five points clear of Nantes ahead of the rest of the 10th round of matches.

Di Maria opened the scoring in the 15th minute after being sent through all alone from the halfway line by Icardi as Nice’s defenders all pushed up. The Argentine stayed cool with only goalkeeper Walter Benitez to beat and picked his spot inside the far corner.

Di Maria’s second goal six minutes later was even better as he lifted the ball over Benitez with his first touch from a difficult angle.

Marquinhos replaced Brazilian compatriot Thiago Silva for the second half and struck the crossbar with a header from a corner.

A Marquinhos mistake – made while attempting a backpass to Presnel Kimpembe – allowed Ignatius Ganago to pull one back for Nice in the 67th.

But the home side’s hope of an equalizer were hit in the 74th when Wylan Cyprien was sent off with a second yellow card after he criticized the referee for not awarding a foul against him.

Christophe Herelle followed Cyprien off minutes later with a straight red after the video referee picked up a slap he gave Leandro Paredes, who fell theatrically to the ground.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Nice fires player for stealing teammate’s watch

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NICE, France (AP) French soccer club Nice says it has fired one of its players for stealing the watch of a teammate from the locker room.

Nice says the contract of 18-year-old foward Lamine Diaby Fadiga was canceled on Tuesday with immediate effect “following the theft of Kasper Dolberg’s watch from the professional first team’s changing room.”

The club says “above and beyond all sporting and financial consideration, Nice cannot and will not accept such behavior that betrays the confidence that unites all the club’s employees and all the members of the Rouge et Noir family.”

Diaby Fadiga, who has played for France’s youth teams, was in his third season with Nice’s senior side.

Dolberg, a striker from Denmark, joined Nice from Dutch club Ajax in the offseason.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Referee stops Ligue 1 game for removal of homophobic banners

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For the third time in two weeks, a high-level league game was temporarily stopped due to homophobic abuse occurring inside the stadium.

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Wednesday’s Ligue 1 game between home side Nice and visitors Marseille was stopped by referee Clement Turpin in the 28th minute for the removal of homophobic banners displayed by Nice’s fans, along with reports of homophobic chanting. The stoppage lasted 10 minutes.

According to writer and broadcaster Tom Williams, the banner and/or chants were aimed at British chemical company INEOS, the club’s new owners led by British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe who completed their purchase of Nice on Monday.

[ MORE: Bolton Wanderers saved as takeover completed ]

It’s the second such (high-level) incident to have occurred in France after French referee Mehdi Mokhtari stopped a Ligue 2 game between Nancy and Le Mans due to homophobic chanting, and the second such instance this week after Brazilian referee Anderson Daronco stopped the first-division game between Vasco da Gama and Sao Paulo for homophobic chanting.

French football officials have presumably made it abundantly clear to the country’s referees that eradicating homophobic abuse — along with racist abuse, perhaps — is a high priority. Mokhtari and Turpin wasted no time in halting their respective fixtures, which could prove the most effective method for putting an end to various types of abuse, at least inside stadiums.

Newcastle adds mercurial Saint-Maximin, Dutch back Willems

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Newcastle has now filled three needs in the transfer market window, taking on combustible wizard Allan Saint-Maximin from Nice and loaning Dutch international leftback Jetro Willems from Eintracht Frankfurt.

[ MORE: Maguire, meet expectations ]

Saint-Maximin, 22, is known for his many tricks and adventurous dribbles, and will be expected to fill the void left by Ayoze Perez. The fee is expected to climb above $22 million, and the player is comparable to former Newcastle fan favorite Hatem Ben Arfa in both skill and attitude, having had some issues with Patrick Vieira at Nice last season.

The young right wing has 11 goals and 14 assists in 74 appearances for the Ligue 1 outfit, and was Nice’s second-best rated player last season according to WhoScored.com. His 4.2 successful dribbles per game ranked second in Ligue 1, behind only… Ben Arfa.

Watch him go:

Newcastle has a loan-to-buy deal when it comes to Willems, who leaves much-changed Eintracht with 22 Netherlands caps, a German Cup, and a decent trophy case from his time with PSV Eindhoven.

At 25, Willems is a candidate for Newcastle to buy after the season and also would give Steve Bruce some flexibility going to a back four, as Paul Dummett has been a decent left center back in a 3-5-2 but not so good at out-and-out LB.

Here’s how the Magpies could line up in both a 3-4-3 and 4-2-3-1 next season if no more players arrive at St. James’ Park.

3-4-3

Dubravka

Lascelles — Schar — Dummett

Ritchie — Shelvey — Longstaff — Willems

Saint-Maximin — Joelinton — Almiron

4-2-3-1

Dubravka

Yedlin — Lascelles — Schar — Willems

Shelvey — Longstaff

Saint-Maximin —  Almiron — Muto

Joelinton