Slaven Bilic

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Transfer rumor roundup: Maguire on record fee, Rondon to Newcastle

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We begin this post with a doozy.

This is just too much, but that’s the price you pay for English national team center backs in the Premier League.

Manchester United is said to be prepared to offer Leicester City a wild $113 million to bring Harry Maguire to Old Trafford, a bid almost $13 million more than Man City’s reported ceiling (itself an eyebrow-raiser).

Either fee would break the transfer record Liverpool set on Virgil Van Dijk, and just embarrass the $15 million Leicester spent to bring Maguire from Hull City two summers ago.

While the fee is insane, Maguire brings invaluable consistency in his performances and does have plenty of punch in the box on attacking corner kicks.

United was also said to be in on Wilfred Ndidi, and spending over $160 million on two players from the same club sure would say something. Do you think Brendan Rodgers prefers the players or the money?


Speaking of wacky transfer values…

Newcastle’s hopes of landing Salomon Rondon from West Bromwich Albion have been given a boost.

Why? Because Dwight Gayle‘s incredible Championship record has Slaven Bilic valuing the Newcastle man about as much as Rondon’s fee.

Gayle, 28, has twice scored 23 goals in a Championship season, once with Newcastle and once on loan to West Brom last season. He’s scored 7, 6, 3, and 5 goals in four Premier League campaigns.

Meanwhile, the 29-year-old Rondon has scored 9, 8, 7, and 11 top flight goals in four seasons between West Brom and Newcastle.

For their values to deliver a straight swap is something Rafa Benitez or whoever’s in charge of Newcastle by the end of summer will love deeply.

Bilic back in England at Championship side West Brom

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WEST BROMWICH, England (AP) Former Croatia coach Slaven Bilic is back in club management at second-tier team West Bromwich Albion in England.

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Bilic has been out of work since being fired by Saudi club Al-Ittihad in February, only five months into the job. Prior to that, he spent two-plus years at West Ham in the Premier League before being fired in November 2017.

West Brom lost in the League Championship playoffs last month and is preparing for a second season in the second tier.

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Bilic says “Albion have convinced me they want to return to the Premier League. Albion have a short-term project and a long project and they do not clash.”

The 2 Robbies: Alexis/Mkhitaryan transfer saga and more

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Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle recap all the key stories from the latest Premier League Saturday fixtures including Manchester City’s 3-1 win over Newcastle (0:20), Chelsea’s 4-0 victory at Brighton (10:15) and the latest on the Alexis Sanchez/Henrikh Mkhitaryan saga after wins for Arsenal and Manchester United (19:00). Plus, a closer look at the bottom of the table and thoughts go out to James McCarthy after his serious injury against West Brom (29:00).

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

All of the The 2 Robbies content can be accessed by clicking on this link:

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Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

Swansea reportedly looking at Bilic, De Boer

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Swansea City may turn a recently-fired Premier League manager, but perhaps not the one many expected when the Welsh side fired Paul Clement.

Countryman Tony Pulis is not in the running for the gig, according to the BBC, which is an eyebrow-raiser considering the veteran PL manager recently hit the market after being fired by West Brom.

[ PL PREVIEW: Everton-Chelsea ]

Yet there are two other men who started the year with PL clubs in the discussion: Short-lived Crystal Palace boss Frank De Boer and longer-running West Ham man Slaven Bilic.

De Boer didn’t get much time to sort himself out at Palace and was without talisman Wilfried Zaha for some of the run, but has seen quick exits from his last two managerial gigs after a good career at Ajax (itself dealing managerial instability this week).

As for Bilic, the colorful personality led West Ham to the Europa League but didn’t make it out of qualifying and could not rediscover that success last season or early this season.

Leon Britton is the current caretaker boss, a 15-year veteran of the Swans set-up.

Chicharito returns to West Ham training

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Mexican striker Javier Hernandez has returned to West Ham training following his recovery from a hamstring injury, and is expected to be ready to play this coming weekend against Chelsea.

The club posted a video of Chicharito back in training on their official Twitter account, although slightly embarrassingly, they showed video of him taking shooting practice, and of the six shots he took on video, none of them found the back of the net.

According to ESPN’s injury expert Ben Dinnery, Chicharito should be ready to go on Saturday for the Hammers’ visit to Stamford Bridge. The 29-year-old has been out since injuring his hamstring on international duty in mid-November, in a 3-3 friendly draw against Belgium. He has missed four Premier League matches, during which the Hammers have scored just two goals and have earned just a single point.

Chicharito has not played since Slaven Bilic was fired and David Moyes took over, so it will be interesting to see how the Scottish manager utilizes his new piece up front. A large part of Bilic’s downfall was the inability to effectively deploy both Hernandez and Andy Carroll in the same lineup, often wasting Chicharito out wide where his poaching abilities were minimized. Carroll is currently injured, so Moyes will not yet be tested with that scenario, and will welcome Hernandez’s return, already forced to play winger Michail Antonio as a striker against Manchester City due to a lack of options.

Hernandez was at Manchester United when Moyes took over for Sir Alex Ferguson, and was used only sparingly before being loaned to Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen months later. It would seem much harder for Moyes to keep Chicharito sidelined this time around, with the attacking options incredibly thin and the team looking for some kind of attacking spark.