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Transfer rumor roundup: Pellegrini to Man Utd? Dabbur wants Liverpool

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As Arsenal might be losing its head of recruitment, other Premier League movers and shakers are looking to bring big names to the Top Four fight.

If Northern Ireland is the hub for transfer movement, January is going to be a wild ride for one of the Premier League’s flagship clubs.

[ MORE: Atlanta signs Watford teen ]

The Belfast Telegraph is reporting that Manchester United is pursuing young Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini in addition to the whispers linking the club to former Liverpool wizard Philippe Coutinho.

Pellegrini, 22, has two goals and six assists for Roma this season, having become a regular call-up for Italy. He reportedly has a $35 million release clause in his contract, though he is cup-tied in the Champions League (Roma next faces Porto).

His 2.6 key passes per game lead Roma and only AC Milan’s Suso and Atalanta’s Alejandro Gomez average more across Serie A. Pellegrini is second on Roma in crosses with 1.5.

How does $115 million sound for an elite 27-year-old defender? That’s what Napoli would reportedly accept from Real Madrid to bring Kalidou Koulibaly west to Spain.

The report, which also links Real with interest in Roma’s Kostas Manolas and Porto’s Eder Miliato, says United remains interested in the player despite the exit of admirer Jose Mourinho.

Anything more than $97 million, the fee Liverpool paid for Virgil Van Dijk, would break the world transfer record for a defender.

Meanwhile, Israeli striker Munas Dabbur is angling to bring his 20-goal season to Anfield.

Reports that Dabbur has turned down a move to Valencia in the hopes of joining Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, and Roberto Firmino at Liverpool.

The Red Bull Salzburg striker has scored half of his 20 goals in the Champions League and Europa League, and has 11 Israel caps.

The cost for Dabbur is said to be $28 million, but is there any guarantee Dabbur can produce at a level that would demand playing time. Divock Origi has three goals in six matches and can hardly get time for the Reds, and Daniel Sturridge has only found 576 minutes in the first half of the season.

Premier League player Power Rankings

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Who excelled and who struggled in the Premier League over the weekend? Our latest batch of player Power Rankings are out as we focus on the top performers in Week 22.

[ MORE: Full Power Rankings archive ]

Stars from Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, West Ham and Southampton all feature, as stars from the likes of Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal are misfiring.

Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League.

Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.


  1. David De Gea (Man United) – New entry
  2. Gabriel Jesus (Man City) – New entry
  3. Declan Rice (West Ham) – New entry
  4. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – Up 6
  5. Paul Pogba (Man United) – Even
  6. Marcus Rashford (Man United) – Up 5
  7. Fernandinho (Man City) – Down 4
  8. Jan Bednarek (Southampton) – New entry
  9. Fabinho (Liverpool) – Up 8
  10. Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool) – Down 3
  11. Leroy Sane (Man City) – Down 3
  12. Heung-Min Son (Tottenham) – Down 11
  13. Raheem Sterling (Man City) –  Down 4
  14. Aymeric Laporte (Man City) – New entry
  15. Jesse Lingard (Man United) – Doen 2
  16. Felipe Anderson (West Ham) – Doen 3
  17. Shane Long (Southampton) – New entry
  18. Harry Kane (Tottenham) – Down 12
  19. Abdoulaye Doucoure (Watford) – Even
  20. Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham) – New entry

Man United to open ‘entertainment centers’ in China

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Manchester United is a global brand and they will be making a big move in China over the next few years.

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The Premier League giants have announced they will open “entertainment and experience centers” in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenyang by the end of 2020.

Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s famous last-gasp winner in the 1999 UEFA Champions League final will no doubt be included within the experience centers…

The news comes in the same week that the Premier League announced it has opened a first foreign office, located in Singapore, as the Far East market continues to grow for the PL.

United claim they have over 100 million fans in China alone.

Below are more details on what you can expect from these developments in China, and who knows, maybe we will see something similar in the United States of America in the coming years.


Manchester United, in partnership with leading Chinese property developer, Harves, has announced that it will open a series of club themed entertainment and experience centres throughout China.

They will use interactive attractions and exhibitions to bring the excitement of Manchester United and its Old Trafford stadium to the iconic club’s 100 million followers in China, giving fans a place to celebrate the team they so passionately support and further deepening the special relationship the club has with China.

The Beijing centre will be located within the Beijing FUN development, in the historic Qianmen Dashilan area right next to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Each venue will feature interactive and immersive experiences, using state-of- the-art technology to bring Manchester United to life. Fans who visit will be able to experience the thrill of a matchday at Old Trafford as well as learn the history and heritage of English football’s most successful and storied club.

Each Manchester United Entertainment and Experience Centre will offer visitors a different experience and will include restaurants, along with a club retail store.

Tottenham confirm Harry Kane out with ankle injury

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Harry Kane is out for Tottenham Hotspur at the worst possible time.

Kane, 25, went down after being caught by Phil Jones and Victor Lindelof late in the 1-0 defeat to Manchester United on Sunday at Wembley, and Mauricio Pochettino feared his ankle injury was serious.

His worst fears have been confirmed.

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Tottenham have revealed that Kane will be out until March, and he is going to miss some huge games in the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and their League Cup semifinal second leg at Chelsea.

Here is the official statement from Spurs.

“Following preliminary assessments, we can confirm that Harry Kane has damaged ligaments in his left ankle, sustained during Sunday’s match. He will continue to be monitored by our medical staff as he commences rehabilitation and is expected to return to training in early March.”

With Kane missing a hugely important period of Tottenham’s season, plus Heung-Min Son away throughout January with South Korea at the 2019 Asian Cup, Spurs are now putting all their eggs in one basket.

Over to you, Fernando Llorente…

Here are the games Kane is expected to miss while he spends time on the sidelines.

  • Fulham (A) – Premier League – January 20
  • Chelsea (A) – EFL Cup – January 24
  • Crystal Palace (A) – FA Cup – January 27
  • Watford (H) – Premier League – January 30
  • Newcastle (H) – Premier League – February 2
  • Leicester (H) – Premier League – February 10
  • Borussia Dortmund (H) – Champions League – February 13
  • Burnley – Premier League (A) – February 23
  • League Cup Final – February 25* if Spurs reach the final
  • Chelsea – Premier League (A) – February 27

This is a massive blow for Spurs which compounds their defeat against United (they somehow lost due to a combination of David De Gea‘s heroics and poor finishing) as they’re now nine points off first-place Liverpool and will have to play the next few months without their top goalscorer.

Kane is the joint-top leading scorer in the Premier League with 14 goals so far, but this is a familiar injury for him. The forward injured his ankle twice in the 2016-17 campaign, as Spurs fans were left to wonder what could have been if Kane had stayed fit all season long.

With Son missing, Pochettino must now turn to Llorente, who has only played in a handful of League Cup and FA Cup games as well as a few minutes in the PL, to try and spearhead their attack in the next few months. The veteran Spaniard has scored four goals in 11 appearances this season, but has yet to find the back of the net in his five PL outings.

The only other option Spurs have is Vincent Janssen, who has been out injured and scored for their U23 side at the weekend, but Pochettino revealed the Dutch striker is “not in his plans” at Tottenham.

This is far from ideal for Spurs, as this injury to Kane will have huge implications on their progress in the PL, Europe and both domestic cup competitions.

In-form Pogba: “I was in the shadows”

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Paul Pogba is on fire and is clearly loving life under Ole Gunnar Solksjaer.

The French midfielder has probably been the main beneficiary of Jose Mourinho’s departure at Manchester United in December, as Solskjaer has built the team around Pogba since taking over on a caretake basis.

[ MORE: Solskjaer hire makes sense ]

Pogba has scored four goals and added four assists during Solskjaer’s five-straight Premier League wins to kick off life at Old Trafford and his influence on United’s play was evident in the huge 1-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

His wonderful pass to set Marcus Rashford free for the game-winner at Wembley summed up his growing confidence levels and he almost scored a few times himself in the second half after galloping into the final third.

Speaking to reporters at Wembley after the game, Pogba summed up his situation and the difference Solskjaer has made in his first six games in charge.

“Before the coach arrived I was in the shadows, on the bench, and I accepted that,” Pogba said. “It is a pleasure to play again. Now I am always smiling… It’s a pleasure to be reunited with him. I knew him from the academy and the reserves, when his nickname was ‘Supersub’. He is doing a really good job. As a player he knew the mentality of this club. He has come back to help us and it is going very well.”

Solksjaer worked with Pogba in the academy and reserve team at United during his first steps as a coach and the confidence he has given the Frenchman is clear for all to see. He is flourishing alongside Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard and the pace, trickery and power of that quartet has opposition defenses retreating readily.

Mourinho never seemed to trust Pogba and always wanted to make him into a more defensive central midfielder. Solskjaer has taken the shackles off and is reaping the rewards of allowing his attacking players to do what they do best: create and score goals.

Pogba’s return to form is the biggest indicator that Solskjaer is doing a great job at reviving Manchester United on the pitch, as they’re now just six points off the top four and waiting in the shadows to pounce and secure UEFA Champions League qualification.

If Solksjaer is going to get the job on a permanent basis at the end of the season, Pogba will have to stay fit and in-form. Crucially, the World Cup winner is also emerging as a leader of this team and his influence in the dressing room will be key to keep all of the players on Solskjaer’s side.

As long as Pogba is happy and is playing in the correct position, United will be heading in the right direction.