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Transfer rumor roundup: Morata, Coutinho to find new homes?

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Alvaro Morata could be set for his fourth team in as many years, if a Goal.com report is correct.

Sevilla reportedly wants to pay Morata’s full wages for the rest of the season as it bids for a La Liga title, sitting seven points back of first place Barcelona.

[ MORE: Sarri says Pochettino “needs to win trophy” ]

The report says Chelsea will only let Morata leave if it acquires a suitable replacement for the 26-year-old, who has 24 goals and six assists in 72 matches with the Blues.

There’s also a wild rumor that Philippe Coutinho could be leaving Barcelona for Manchester United should someone reach the $110 million or so that the Blaugranas paid Liverpool.

Man City, Paris Saint-Germain, and Chelsea are also said to be interested, perhaps solely by virtue that they are the only clubs outside of Real Madrid who have paid more than $100m for a player. The City part seems especially egregious… on what wing?

— TeamTalk says that 18-year-old Brazilian goalkeeper Gabriel Brazao is now being chased by Arsenal, Manchester United, Inter Milan, and AS Roma.

Barca’s next signing of a Liverpool player will cost extra $114M

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Don’t expect Barcelona to sign another player from Liverpool anytime soon, unless they just so happen to have an extra $114 million they don’t particularly want or need.

[ MORE: Christian Pulisic talks Dortmund future, pride at USMNT captaincy ]

According to a report from the BBC, the two clubs agreed the add-on fee as part of last January’s $192-million transfer of Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool to Barca.

Thus, should Barca bid for another Liverpool player before the clause’s end date in 2020, they will be forced to pay $114 million on top of the standard transfer fee agreed by the two sides.

[ MORE: UEFA to introduce VAR in Champions League knockout stage ]

Barcelona signed two other Liverpool players, Javier Mascherano (2010) and Luis Suarez (2014), this decade, but neither of those deals were surrounded by the ongoing drama that Coutinho’s want-away saga quickly became.

After Neymar moved to Paris Saint-Germain last summer, Coutinho was immediately identified as one of a handful of targets to replace him, but Liverpool refused to sell in August, at which time Coutinho missed games due to “injury.” After the transfer window closed, he returned to the field and resumed regular service as one of the Premier League’s best attackers. Barca came back in for him in the winter window, breaking up Liverpool’s superstar quartet of attackers and, presumably, incurring the $114-million premium.

Coutinho, Messi too much for shorthanded Spurs

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  • Coutinho strikes early
  • Rakitic makes it 2-0 with worldie
  • Messi bags brace
  • Kane, Lamela score for Spurs

Philippe Coutinho, Ivan Rakitic, and Lionel Messi all scored wonderful goals as Barcelona outclassed injury-hit Tottenham Hotspur 4-2 at Wembley Stadium in UEFA Champions League action on Wednesday.

Messi scored a second goal for Barca, bagging a 90th minute point-blank finish.

Harry Kane and Erik Lamela scored for Spurs, who were without Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, and Jan Vertonghen.

Barca goes to six points through two matches, while Spurs have zero.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

It took less than a minute-and-a-half for Barca to welcome Hugo Lloris back to the Spurs side, with the goalkeeper’s aggressive pursuit of Jordi Alba allowing the left back to find Coutinho with a cutback. The ex-Liverpool man scored from 18 yards.

Harry Kane forced Marc Andre ter Stegen into a 25th minute save when Spurs got their first strong effort on target.

But Rakitic put the game firmly in Barcelona’s camp with an exquisite piece of technique. Lionel Messi’s cross was chested down to Coutinho, whose blocked shot had the Brazilian scrambling to pass it back atop the 18. Rakitic leapt to volley the ball off the near post and into the goal. Beautiful.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Spurs would’ve been grateful to get to the dressing room at half, and Messi underscored that by hitting the post for a second time once action resumed at Wembley.

Kane cooked Nelson Semedo with a 52nd minute cutback before curling around Ter Stegen to make it 2-1.

The enthusiasm was short-lived, because Messi did not hit the post with his next effort. The living Argentine legend started and finished a pretty play in the 56th minute, using a Luis Suarez dummy to line up a cute finish across goal.

It was 3-2 when Erik Lamela’s left-footed strike took a turn off Clement Lenglet to fool a diving Ter Stegen.

La Liga shockers: Barca loses, but Real fails to take advantage

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Maybe some foresaw Sevilla beating Real Madrid on Wednesday, but did anyone predict that decision would join a Leganes defeat of Barcelona hours earlier?

[ MORE: Bundesliga wrap – Pulisic shines again ]

Andre Silva scored twice and Wissam Ben Yedder continued his fine season with a goal past as Sevilla beat Real to stop Los Blancos from taking ahold of the La Liga lead.

Sevilla managed seven shots on target in the match, while Real only managed three. Thibaut Courtois was between the sticks for Real.

The loss stings more because Barcelona wasted a Philippe Coutinho 12th minute opener and lost 2-1 to last place Leganes at the Estadio Municipal de Butarque.

Nabil El Zhar and Oscar Rodriguez scored a minute apart early in the second half, and Leganes boosted its points total from one to four.

Alaves can join Barcelona and Real Madrid on a league-best 13 points with a win on Thursday, as no unbeaten teams remain in La Liga. Atletico Madrid has 11 points, while Sevilla and Espanyol each have 10.

Elsewhere
Athletic Bilbao 0-3 Villarreal
Valencia 1-1 Celta Vigo

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Barcelona 6 4 1 1 17 7 10 2-1-0 2-0-1 13
 Real Madrid 6 4 1 1 12 6 6 3-0-0 1-1-1 13
 Atlético Madrid 6 3 2 1 8 4 4 2-1-0 1-1-1 11
 Sevilla 6 3 1 2 13 6 7 1-1-1 2-0-1 10
 Alavés 5 3 1 1 8 5 3 1-1-0 2-0-1 10
 Espanyol 6 3 1 2 6 4 2 3-0-0 0-1-2 10
 Celta Vigo 6 2 3 1 11 9 2 1-2-0 1-1-1 9
 Villarreal 6 2 2 2 5 3 2 0-1-2 2-1-0 8
 Real Sociedad 6 2 2 2 9 9 0 0-1-1 2-1-1 8
 Girona 5 2 2 1 7 8 -1 1-1-1 1-1-0 8
 Getafe 5 2 1 2 4 4 0 1-1-1 1-0-1 7
 Eibar 6 2 1 3 5 7 -2 2-0-1 0-1-2 7
 Athletic 5 1 3 1 7 9 -2 1-2-1 0-1-0 6
 Betis 5 1 3 1 3 5 -2 1-1-1 0-2-0 6
 València 6 0 5 1 4 6 -2 0-3-0 0-2-1 5
 Levante 5 1 1 3 8 11 -3 0-1-2 1-0-1 4
 Leganés 6 1 1 4 6 11 -5 1-1-1 0-0-3 4
 Rayo Vallecano 5 1 1 3 5 12 -7 0-0-2 1-1-1 4
 Huesca 6 1 1 4 6 16 -10 0-0-2 1-1-2 4
 Valladolid 5 0 3 2 3 5 -2 0-0-2 0-3-0 3

USMNT 0-2 Brazil: Young hosts no match for Neymar, Firmino

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Brazil coach Tite named a very strong starting lineup, with the likes of Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, and Casemiro. That was always going to be a struggle, and it was, but the United States was far from run off the field in East Rutherford on Friday night as they fell 2-0 to the World Cup quarterfinalists in an international friendly meeting.

The United States came out of the opening whistle with a very high press, and it seemed to trouble the Brazilians from the start, but the visitors began to figure things out and struck in the 11th minute. Douglas Costa straight burned Antonee Robinson who over-committed on the flank, and his cross found Roberto Firmino at the back post who had drifted back from an oblivious Matt Miazga. Brazil nearly grabbed a second as Costa again torched Robinson, this time cutting inside, but his ball into the box was fumbled at the penalty spot for Neymar.

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The US had its best chance down the other end on the half-hour mark as Yedlin crossed to Weston McKennie, but his promising shot was blocked. The ensuing corner resulted in a header by Miazga on a delicious cross from Julian Green, and again it went out for a corner. Again McKennie had a massive chance, but Alisson came off his line to smother the shot from the far post. A fourth corner again came sizzling in, but Wood couldn’t get his head to it and instead found himself shaken up on the turf.

Again Brazil almost had a second, but a Coutinho shot from the top of the box was blocked bravely by Robinson and Zack Steffen saved the follow-up from Fabinho. They would double the lead before the break when Fabinho went down softly in the penalty area trying to squeeze between John Brooks and Wil Trapp, and the referee pointed to the spot. Neymar sent Steffen the wrong way for his 53rd international goal. At the break, Brazil had most of the possession while the United States was left with little to savor.

With no substitutions for either side at halftime, Brazil came out of the break with the intent. Douglas Costa toasted Paul Arriola down the right, and nearly found Firmino but his poor first touch killed off the chance. Yet again, Costa beat Robinson on 52 minutes – this time through the middle – and fed a delicious pass to Neymar, but his shot was slowed by Steffen and eventually cleared off the line by Matt Miazga right on the doorstep.

[ MORE: U.S. to hire new head coach by end of 2018 ]

Sarachan brought on Timothy Weah and Kellyn Acosta for Paul Arriola and Julian Green as the game neared the hour mark, a positive substitution. Tite countered with the addition of Arthur for Manchester United midfielder Fred, while Douglas Costa was removed for Chelsea winger Willian. McKennie had a chance to put the U.S. on the board soon after, but he put his effort just wide on the end of a curling free-kick.

Another change for either side saw Gyasi Zardes replace Bobby Wood, while Paqueta made his international debut for Brazil replacing Coutinho. The U.S. nearly found an opening as Wil Trapp forced a shaky save from Alisson with a long-distance shot low and to the left. Down the other end, Robinson picked Firmino’s pocket to save a breakaway opportunity. The U.S. again had a chance on a set-piece with 15 minutes to go, but Alisson stopped a weak effort as two U.S. players came together for the shot.

With three minutes remaining, the U.S. had one last chance as Tyler Adams sent a cross in that went just over the head of Gyasi Zardes, while substitute Christian Roldan had his follow-up cutback cleared away. The loss is just the second for the United States in seven matches since the failure in Trinidad & Tobago, and will provide Dave Sarachan and the rest of the coaching staff plenty of tape to teach the players how to match up against the best in the world.