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Transfer news: Arsenal to extend Ceballos loan; Zaniolo to Man United

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The latest transfer news doing the rounds in the Premier League includes Arsenal trying to extend the stay of Dani Ceballos, plus Man United are among a host of clubs linked with Roma’s Nicolo Zaniolo.

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First up, a report from Spanish outlet El Confidencial says that Arsenal are keen to extend the loan of Ceballos from Real Madrid until the end of the 2019-20 season but do not plan on signing him permanently.

The Spanish midfielder, 23, has been superb for the Gunners when he’s been fit and he’s flourished in a deeper central midfield role since Mikel Arteta took charge. Ceballos, a Spanish international, has previously stated he wants to return to Real but if there’s no spot for him in Zinedine Zidane’s plans, perhaps another loan move beckons?

Arsenal probably aren’t in a financial position to buy Ceballos as the club have already agreed with their players to a pay cut over the next 12 months amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With Matteo Guendouzi, Granit Xhaka, Joe Willock and Lucas Torreira around, Arsenal have plenty of central midfield options but Ceballos has real quality on the ball and given the way Arteta wants to play, he needs someone who can retain possession and link the play effortlessly in a central midfield role.

After his injuries, a change in manager and a topsy-turvy season for Arsenal overall, it is tough to judge Ceballos’ first season in the Premier League so far but it’s obvious their midfield has more class when he’s in it.

Staying in midfield, Man United and Tottenham have been linked with Roma star Nicolo Zaniolo, 20, who is one of the top young talents in Serie A.

The Daily Star have the report, as Zaniolo is a fine midfielder who can play in a variety of positions.

Zaniolo suffered an ACL injury in January but he is expected to be fit in June and both Man United and Spurs are keen to try and test Roma’s resolve with a cut-price offer. Previously the Italian giants wanted over $63 million for Zaniolo but the report states that United could offer way below that due to Roma’s financial situation.

This seems more like a Ole Gunnar Solskjaer transfer than Jose Mourinho. Man United are prioritizing adding young players and Zaniolo fits the bill. Man United are one midfield player short, with a more creative force needed out wide on the right in particular.

Zaniolo would obviously be a lot cheaper than signing Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund and his clever running, passing and flicks would knit things together nicely alongside Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford in attack. He made his debut for the Italian national team in 2019 and scored twice in five outings for the Azzurri.

It is clear Man United are keen on signing a new midfielder when the transfer window next opens, while Tottenham will prioritize signing new defenders and more a defensive central midfielder.

Italy lockdown eases, paving way for Serie A return

Serie A
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Serie A is coming back to the training pitch soon.

Italy is moving into Phase 2 of its return from the coronavirus pandemic on May 4, meaning players can return to individual training on that day.

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Group training would begin May 18, and matches could restart June 2. There were some reports that the Coppa Italia could restart before Serie A in order to give most of the league’s clubs more time to return.

Italy’s death toll Saturday was its smallest in six weeks, but Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte stressed the need to continue social distancing measures to avoid another climb for the curve.

Things will still be very closely legislated, via Football-Italia:

From May 4 and for the next two weeks, until May 18, we will confirm the social distancing guidelines, so travel should still be reduced within a region for unavoidable work or health reasons. However, we will also allow targeted family visits, but only targeted ones with social distancing and use of protective masks. There are to be no large family gatherings from May 4.

Responses to the coronavirus pandemic have been varied across leagues. The Eredivisie is done, with no public events expected in the Netherlands until Sept. 1. The Bundesliga wants to play in May if the government gives the green light.

The goal posts are being moved often, and that’s understandable. Getting it right is the most important thing. Let’s see if Italy and Germany set the table for England and the United States.

Transfer rumor roundup: Sancho to Man Utd; Madrid’s Haaland backup plan

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A roundup of all of Monday’s biggest transfer rumors, including those involving Premier League clubs…

[ MORE: Tottenham offer stadium to help with coronavirus effort ]

Jadon Sancho is a virtual lock to leave Borussia Dortmund and return to the PL this summer, and the 20-year-old winger will almost certainly command a transfer fee of more than $150 million just three years after signing from Manchester City for just $10 million. Today, it’s Manchester United who are rumored as frontrunners for Sancho’s services, based upon reports that Sancho has “unofficially confirmed” he will choose to join Man United when the transfer window opens.

Updating a transfer rumor from last week, Real Madrid are still very much in on another Dortmund starlet, Erling Haaland, but that doesn’t mean they’re putting all of their eggs in one basket. Los Blancos are reportedly eyeing Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, a former Dortmund man himself, as a backup option should Haaland remain at Dortmund or land elsewhere this summer. Aubameyang, who’ll turn 31 this summer, isn’t likely to move for less than $60 million, which could prove a stumbling block.

If the rumors are to be believed, this summer will be a costly one for Man United, who are also interested in Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez. The price tag on the 25-year-old? Close to $170 million. It would seem unlikely that United could afford Niguez (at that price) without getting $100 million (at least) for Paul Pogba.

Another current Arsenal (and former Dortmund) player, midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, hopes to turn his loan to Roma into a permanent move this summer. Arsenal are expected to ask $22 for the 31-year-old, but the Serie A side is hoping to pay closer to $12 million instead.

Serie A: Lazio, Roma pick up important wins

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On a day when most Serie A cities were on edge as games were canceled over Coronavirus fears, two games were able to be played to their conclusion, with important results.

Ciro Immobile added another goal to his league-leading scoring mark as Lazio outlasted Genoa, 3-2, on the road. Immobile’s 51st minute goal was his 27th of the Serie A season, putting him six goals ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo.

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Lazio only needed two minutes to get on the board as Felipe Caicedo played a pass forward, which right back Adam Marusic latched onto. He then had defenders bouncing off him as he slalomed his way forward into the box and fired into the roof of the net. In transition six minutes into the second half, Immobile rifled a strike home to put Lazio up 2-0. Francesco Cassata’s golazo from the top of the box, a curling effort into the top corner, gave Genoa some life, though Lazio restored the two-goal advantage in the 71st minute through Danilo Cataldi.

Domenico Criscito scored a late penalty kick in second half stoppage time to bring Genoa within one goal again, but it was too little, too late from the hosts. With the win, Lazio keep the pressure on Juventus, sitting just one point behind the leaders on the same number of games played, 25.

Roma 4-0 Lecce

Roma returned to winning ways on Sunday with a crucial 4-0 rout of Lecce at the Stadio Olimpico.

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Coming off three straight defeats and a draw in Serie A action, it was one of the young guns, who’s had an up and down season this year, get Roma first on the board. Outside of Turkish winger Cenkiz Under, it was veterans Edin Dzeko and Henrik Mkhitaryan who stole the show.

In the 13th minute, Mkhitaryan sliced through the Lecce defense before feeding a short pass to the oncoming Under, who powered a strike past Mauro Vigorito for the game’s opening goal. In the 37th minute, Dzeko combined yet again with Mkhitaryan, finding the Armenian international running into the box before Mkhitaryan slotted home.

Dzeko then in the second half scored from close range to make it 3-0, and his former Manchester City teammate, Aleksandr Kolarov put the finishing touches on the rout with a blast from the left side of the box.

Thanks to the prior defeats, Roma currently sits outside of the UEFA Champions League slots, but the win on Sunday brought them within three points of Atalanta and the fourth and final Champions League place. However, Atalanta has a game-in-hand on Roma.

Serie A: Roma beaten 3-2 by Bologna as crisis deepens

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ROME — Musa Barrow scored twice to help Bologna win at Roma 3-2 in Serie A on Friday as the Giallorossi’s crisis worsened.

[ MORE: Report: Bayern make $22-million bid for USMNT’s Dest ]

Bologna moved up to sixth, one place below Roma, following a third successive win.

Roma was booed off the pitch. The Giallorossi have won only one of their past six league matches, losing four of them.

Roma was looking to bounce back from losing to Sassuolo 4-2 but gifted the opener to Bologna in the 16th minute as Chris Smalling inexplicably left Barrow’s cross, allowing Riccardo Orsolini to tap in at the far post.

Roma leveled in the 22nd when Bologna defender Stefano Denswil bundled Aleksandar Kolarov’s cross into his own net, but Barrow restored the visitors’ lead just four minutes later as his effort was deflected into the top corner.

[ MORE: Guardiola hopes, thinks Messi will finish career at Barcelona ]

It was Barrow’s first start since joining on loan from Atalanta and he doubled his tally six minutes into the second half when he raced from the halfway line before curling into the bottom right corner.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan headed in Bruno Peres’ cross to halve the deficit but Roma’s chance of leveling diminished 10 minutes from time when Bryan Cristante was shown a straight red card for his challenge on Orsolini.