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Transfer Rumor Roundup: Montiel to Palace or West Ham, Coutinho to depart Barcelona

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River Plate is one of many clubs that could use this coming transfer window to earn a payday after taking losses in the coronavirus shutdown, and that could come at the benefit of one Premier League club.

West Ham is apparently one of a few teams after Argentine international Gonzalo Montiel who could fetch River Plate somewhere in the vicinity of $24 million. The right-back is a River Plate youth product who established himself as a regular for the club at just 20 years old and has spent the last three seasons earning significant minutes. Now 23, Montiel is a strong passer who can create for teammates with long-range deliveries.

Argentine publication Ole mentions that Spanish side Valencia has shown interest of late, but also states that West Ham made contact in January but was turned down by River Plate and the Hammers could be suitors again once the next window arrives. Montiel was also linked with Crystal Palace by Goal back in late March, while Argentine newspaper El Intransigente linked the player with Southampton. Palace and Saints both make sense as they are both looking to replace big-name departures of late, with Crystal Palace still yet to truly replace Aaron Wan-Bissaka while Southampton has not seen much from those brought in to take over for Cedric Soares.

Barcelona is reportedly ready to lower its asking price on Philippe Coutinho, with a bid of $86 million potentially workable for the Catalan club, according to a report by the Evening Standard.

Coutinho was extremely poor in his season-and-a-half at Barcelona, and while the Brazilian playmaker had upped his game on loan at Bayern Munich before the coronavirus shutdown, the purchase price on his loan deal is a whopping $130 million, which Bayern Munich is not willing to pay.

Barcelona is desperately in need of funds to support its summer business, with Lautaro Martinez and Neymar both heavily linked with the La Liga giants. It’s highly unlikely that both will be possible to acquire given both the team’s business of late and the coronavirus shutdown causing financial strain on clubs all over the world, and a significant sale may even be needed to get one of them over the line. Coutinho provides such a possibility, but with Barcelona not exactly in a position of strength given Coutinho’s lack of recent star power and the club’s need to sell, dropping the asking price is a highly likely eventuality.

The Evening Standard report mentions that Barcelona believes the Premier League is the “most likely possibility” for a Coutinho suitor given the league’s memories of his incredible spell at Liverpool just a few years ago.

Speaking of the Premier League, Manchester United was reportedly close to securing a marquee striker last summer before eventually sticking with Marcus Rashford up front. Speaking to Italian print publication Tuttosport on Wednesday, Romelu Lukaku’s agent Federico Pastorello said that the Belgian big man almost went to Juventus on a swap deal before Manchester United backed out of the transfer negotiations due to Dybala’s high wage demand. Eventually, Lukaku departed for Inter Milan where he settled in quickly and has contributed to a furious title challenge that just lost steam before the coronavirus shutdown.

Pastorello simply responded “It’s true” when asked if Dybala had been a focal point of Manchester United negotiations, but hedged his answer with, “Romelu, however, had always hoped to go to Inter because he was impressed by the affection of the Inter fans.”

What we love about West Ham United

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This week at ProSoccerTalk we will be detailing what we love about each Premier League club competing in the 2019-20 season and next up is Tottenham.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Each day we will release details on why who adore each team in particular as we remind ourselves just how awesome the PL is as we await its return following the suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This afternoon, we forge ahead with the Irons, the Hammers, the West Ham United Football Club.


The Bubbles: Let’s be honest here, “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” is one of the coolest song/gesture combinations in world football. The bubbles floating across the field as the Irons seek three points is *chef’s kiss.*

The Academy of Football: Current captain Mark Noble is the latest in a long line of celebrated footballers to come out of West Ham’s Academy. And there are some giants in there, including the subject of our next topic Sir Bobby Moore. West Ham has produced Joe Cole, Michael Carrick, Jermain Defoe, Paul Ince, Trevor Brooking, and Frank Lampard Senior and Junior.

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Frank Lampard and Joe Cole (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

 

 

 

Sir Bobby Moore: Can you believe we’ve got a member of the Carolina Lightnin’ on this list? Obscure American soccer jokes aside, Mr. West Ham didn’t just captain the club but also the national team that won England’s only World Cup (West Ham legends Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters were also on the team). Moore is one of the greatest defenders of all-time, having played more than 500 times for West Ham in addition to his status as a centurion for the Three Lions. A Ballon d’Or runner-up in 1970, “Sir Bobby” was an absolute monster of the game. Plus, he was in “Escape to Victory.”

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The Bobby Moore statue outside Wembley Stadium (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Mark Noble: There’s something remarkable about everyman Mark Noble, and not because the 32-year-old finishes penalties like a surgeon and looks like the definitive everyman. Doesn’t he give hope to every average-built person on earth? Poor Mark is five appearances from 500 for his career, and will likely meet that milestone by the end of this season, presuming it comes! His 60 goals are seven shy of Carlton Cole’s modern West Ham standard of 67, while his 59 assists lap the field.

Noble (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Eight West Ham players have coronavirus symptoms

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West Ham United have eight players in self-isolation who are showing coronavirus symptoms.

The vice-chairman of the Premier League club, Karren Brady, has revealed that several Hammers players are doing okay but are in self-isolation with their families during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I am relieved to say they are all showing mild symptoms and, along with their families, seem to be well. But it is no more than a handshake, sneeze or cough away from any of us, so no one should be complacent,” Brady said in her column in The Sun.

The Premier League’s main aim is to continue play as soon as possible but the previous date for games to begin again was April 30 and that is looking increasingly unlikely.

Previously Brady had revealed her belief that the Premier League should be deemed ‘null and void’ and ended right away with no title awarded and no promotion or relegation but following a recent meeting between Premier League clubs, the main aim is to finish the 2019-20 season whenever they can, even if that means playing games in July, beyond the deadline of June 30 set by UEFA.

“When we – all Premier League clubs – last spoke, we agreed to get going again as soon as possible,” Brady said. “And that games will run into July, if required, to get this campaign finished. This is the plan. This is what we want to deliver. It may be games have to be played behind closed doors, which no one wants – especially the players and fans. But we hope it might just be possible to go ahead once the sharp graph of it bottoms out.”

Premier League clubs and officials are determined to finish the season but the situation is escalating across the UK each and every day as the possibility of restarting the season seems at least 6-8 weeks off.

Antonio forced to don Spurs jersey after losing to Sessegnon at FIFA

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The Premier League derby between Tottenham and West Ham was meant to be on Friday. With the coronavirus postponing all Premier League activity through at least April 30, the real game has yet to take place.

Still, West Ham winger Michail Antonio and Spurs wide man Ryan Sessegnon decided to hold the game anyways despite their isolation during the shutdown. Virtually.

The two agreed to a match of FIFA between the two clubs, and spent two days promoting the event before grabbing the Playstation controllers and streaming the game live on Twitch.

Even their clubs got involved to promote the event, with the two sides streaming the event as well as putting it up on Twitch.

Ryan Sessegnon came out victorious via a 2-0 scoreline, with both Giovani Lo Celso and Lucas Moura on the virtual scoresheet. The second goal was a lovely bit of play between Moura and Dele Alli in the box, which had Antonio reminding himself the stream had to be kept PG despite his frustration.

Antonio was frustrated with his performance, calling it “embarrassing” at halftime and posting that “The passing was off, shooting was bad and couldn’t tackle,” on social media, although he jokingly caveated that by saying “my controller must have been broken.” After the loss, per the rules of the bet, Antonio was forced to don a Tottenham kit, which he did so extremely begrudgingly.

Which Premier League players would you like to see play each other in FIFA to decide the outcome of an otherwise postponed match?

Report: Chelsea eyeing Declan Rice signing next window

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A number of top Premier League clubs are almost certain to line up for Declan Rice‘s services during the next transfer window — whenever that may be, whether this summer or closer to fall — with Chelsea the first known suitors, according to a report from Sky Sports.

[ MORE: Chelsea’s Hudson-Odoi “feeling fine and back to his usual self” ]

According to the report, defensive midfield is high on Frank Lampard‘s list of priorities when the Blues participate in their first transfer window since January 2019. Chelsea were handed a two-window ban which prevented them from making any signings last summer, and though the ban was reduced by half they still signed no one in January.

Rice, a player who Chelsea had in their youth academy from ages 7-14, would likely cost north of $60 million, if not significantly higher. He also remains close friends with Chelsea first-teamer and academy graduate Mason Mount. At just 21 years old, Rice has quickly become West Ham United’s most important, if not also their best, player.

[ MORE: Transfer rumors: Aubameyang to Man United, Skriniar to Man City ]

Playing alongside the likes of N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mount, Rice would seem to fit right into Lampard’s team from day one. Not only would he fill out perhaps the thinnest area of the squad, but he would add immense quality to a perennial top-four contender and PL title hopeful.