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El Tri star Lozano staying focused amid Barcelona rumors

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Hirving “Chucky” Lozano was a player everyone needed to pay attention to heading into the 2018 World Cup, and through two matches, the El Tri star has been every bit the price of admission for his country.

[ MORE: Group scenarios heading into the final group stage matches ]

Mexico sits atop Group F with six points at the moment, and much of the team’s success can be attributed to Lozano’s endless motor and creative attacking vision when he finds space down the wing.

The PSV Eindhoven attacker has been linked with various big clubs, including La Liga giants Barcelona, but that hasn’t halted Lozano’s pursuit of guiding Mexico to an unprecedented run at the World Cup.

“The important thing is to focus on the next [Mexico] game, do as well as possible and go step by step,” Lozano said.

Despite winning their first two games, El Tri needs at least a point in its final Group F match to ensure qualification without any complications.

Mexico will take on Sweden on Wednesday, as Juan Carlos Osorio’s side aims to remain perfect in the group stage.

Meanwhile, Andres Guardado — who has been a mainstay of the Mexican national team for years — only confirmed the work ethic of his teammate and hopes that a dream move becomes a reality for Lozano in the near future.

“It makes me very proud to say he is a kid that is very centered, despite everything he is going through,” said Guardado after Saturday’s 2-1 win over South Korea. “He is conscious that he has to continue like he’s not achieved anything.”

“He’s the same kid I met the first time he came with us,” continued Guardado. “Hopefully he stays like that and the rumors about a possible transfer to a big team become reality. It would be marvelous, he’s a great teammate.”

Lozano to Barcelona? Father says future decided after World Cup

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Mexican hero Hirving “Chucky” Lozano made the jump from Liga MX to European football last summer, and now may be set for an even bigger move.

We just won’t know until after the World Cup.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

The goal scorer from Mexico’s 1-0 win over Germany will turn 23 in late July, and is coming off a 17-goal, 11-assist campaign with PSV Eindhoven.

He’s now being linked with Barcelona amongst other teams, and his father was asked about Lozano’s future. From ESPN:

“There have been approaches, but right now there’s nothing concrete,” Jesus Lozano said in an interview with ESPN when asked about reported interest from Barcelona and other teams.

“I think after the World Cup it will be clear if he stays at PSV or leaves for another team.”

So what do you think? Should the Mexican stay at PSV for playing time? I’m kidding… see how you sound, U.S. fans?

Marcel Brands joins Everton as Director of Football

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Everton announced Wednesday that Marcel Brands has joined from PSV as their new Director of Football.

Confirmation arrived from the Toffees on the same day that Sam Allardyce was fired as their manager after just six months in charge, and Brands will arrive to replace Steve Walsh as the Director of Football at Goodison Park.

Walsh arrived from Leicester City alongside former manager Ronald Koeman in the summer of 2016 but things soon turned soured as Everton’s player recruitment was nowhere near as successful as they’d hoped.

PSV say that Brands will move on from the Philips Stadion on June 1 after eight years with the Eredivisie club who won the league title three times (2014-15, 2015-16 and 2017-18) during his leadership.

Brands has been applauded for his strong recruitment of exciting young players at PSV following his move from a similar role at RKC Waalwijk and AZ Alkmaar in the past.

“It is a privilege to be joining Everton as Director of Football and I am incredibly excited to take on this challenge,” Brands said. “The fantastic passion of the fans for their club, the magnificent history of the club over the years and the ambition and purpose we have as people tasked with driving the club forward all mean that we need to be competing for honors against the Premier League elite. It is no straightforward challenge but this must be our motivation each and every day.

“It is only a challenge such as this which could have persuaded me to leave PSV where I am indebted to the many people whose collective effort led to some great achievements. Now we will look to build something really strong and lasting here at Everton.”

Marco Silva is the overwhelming favorite to be appointed as Everton’s new manager in the coming days and his high-pressing tactics would definitely led to a dramatic squad overhaul at Everton.

Toffees owner Farhad Moshiri has chucked plenty of cash at this team and had a seventh and eighth place finish to show for it, with Everton laboring to eighth place this Premier League season under Allardyce after Koeman was fired in October after a disastrous start with his top-heavy squad.

Brands will be a busy man this summer.

Brighton nabs club record signing Jurgen Locadia

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Brighton & Hove Albion have secured a new striker for the stretch run of the Premier League season, signing Jurgen Locadia from PSV Eindhoven for a club record fee.

Locadia cost Brighton $19.3 million, breaking their old transfer record, set just last August when they brought Jose Izqueirdo from Club Brugge, by about $500,000.

The 24-year-old Dutchman has nine goals and six assists this season in 15 Eredivisie appearances for PSV, although he’s missed their last three games reportedly with a hamstring injury. He scored four goals in one game against FC Utretcht back in late September.

“We are delighted to have signed Jurgen, and pleased to welcome him to the club,” said Brighton manager Chris Hughton in the official club release. “He is a player we have been aware of for sometime, and it’s been no secret we have wanted to add a striker of his type. He is a strong, powerful and quick center-forward, with a real eye for goal and will increase our attacking options in the second half of the season.”

Locadia made his Eredivisie debut with PSV in style back in 2012, scoring a hat-trick against VVV Venlo in a 6-0 win. He would go on to score a career-high 13 goals in his first full season in 2013/14, eventually racking up 62 goals for PSV across all competitions in 176 appearances.

A PSV youth product, Locadia has been in the national team picture, riding the bench for a pair of World Cup qualifiers in October, but has not received a cap for the Netherlands. He was in the national youth setup as well, making appearances for the U-17 and U-21 sides.

Transfer rumor roundup: Lozano to Arsenal, Luiz to Newcastle

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‘Tis the season.

The January transfer window opens, no surprise, with the start of the New Year, and 2018 could be bringing some big switches as clubs aim to survive the drop or cement their Top Four stock.

Mexico star Hirving “Chucky” Lozano’s red hot start to life in Europe has him in line for a move to Arsenal, according to Metro. The 22-year-old striker just left Liga MX for the Eredivisie last summer, but boasts 10 goals and six assists in 12 league matches. Lozano scored 18 times for Pachuca between Liga MX and the CONCACAF Champions League last season.

[ MORE: Larin to UCL Round of 16 side? ]

That’s impressive even for the free-scoring world of the Netherlands top flight, and Arsene Wenger could see fit to make him “the most expensive Mexican player of all-time.” Lozano cost PSV Eindhoven less than $10 million in July, and Arsenal is said to be willing to spend as much as $56 million on him.

Arsenal had also been linked with David Luiz, but surely Antonio Conte would rather move the reportedly out-of-favor defender to a club outside of London. Enter Newcastle, as the London Evening Standard says a Luiz loan to St. James’ Park could be on the cards.

Benitez could go to a back three, but it’s more likely he’d play Luiz as more of a holding midfielder in front of a combination of Jamaal Lascelles, Ciaran Clark, and Florian Lejeune.