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Transfer rumor roundup: Japan, South Africa strikers to Premier League

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Percy Tau’s name isn’t yet widely known outside of South Africa, what with Bafana Bafana absent from the World Cup.

But the 24-year-old Mamelodi Sundowns winger may soon get to test his skills on a much bigger stage.

[ USMNT: More accolades for Pulisic ]

Tau, who has five goals in 12 caps, will reportedly join Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League if a medical goes well, with Sky Sports saying it’ll will be the biggest transfer fee yet for a South African Premier League player.


Yoshinori Muto could be bringing his 25 caps to the Premier League.

The 26-year-old striker made just one appearance at the World Cup, but has had a nice run with Mainz since joining from FC Tokyo. He’s bagged 23 goals in 71 appearances.

Bild report says there have been no formal offers for Muto, but that Newcastle United and West Ham are interested in the striker. Newcastle badly needs a striker, but West Ham has been spending money and Magpies owner Mike Ashley hasn’t green lit much in recent seasons.

Report: Bristol City offers $4m for USMNT GK Steffen

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Championship side Bristol City has lodged a $4 million bid for Columbus Crew and USMNT goalkeeper Zack Steffen, according to MLS insider Sam Stejskal.

Viewed as a potential long-term American No. 1 for his country, Steffen has thrived at Columbus since returning from a stint at Freiburg in Germany.

[ USMNT: More accolades for Pulisic ]

Stejskal reached Columbus coach Gregg Berhalter, who said multiple teams are interested in Steffen but did not confirm the Bristol City bid. Berhalter said, “We want to be a place where we get players and we develop them and we help them advance in their careers, wherever that may be.”

Steffen, 23, starred at Maryland before making the move abroad. He’s proven a fantastic young pro with a knack for stopping penalty kicks.

Bristol City finished 11th in the Championship last season with 30-year-old goalkeeper Frank Fielding, who had played 153 league matches for the club since 2013 and led the club to promotion from League One in 2015.

Some have openly questioned whether the Championship is a clear upgrade from MLS — don’t count this typer in that group — but this does seem like win-win for Columbus and Steffen if the player wants the move. The Championship has been good for the development of several American players including Tim Ream, DeAndre Yedlin (on loan from a Premier League club), and Lynden Gooch.

Barcelona adds $42m center back Lenglet from Sevilla

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Barcelona has confirmed the signing of Clement Lenglet from Sevilla for $42 million.

That was the value of the defender’s release clause, and his new one has jumped up a bit.

[ MORE: Kenedy seals loan ]

Barca is slapping a $350 million release clause on the 23-year-old French center back, who spent a year-and-a-half with Sevilla after moving from Nancy.

Lenglet has been capped by France at every level from U-16 to U-21, and played the most amount of minutes (3002) in league play for Sevilla last season.

It’s Barcelona’s second $40-million plus move this week, as its capture of Gremio’s Arthur could reach as high as $47 million.

Lenglet joins a Barca corps of backs which includes countryman Samuel Umtiti as well as Gerard Pique, Yerry Mina, and Marlon Santos.

Reports: Conte out at Chelsea

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Multiple reports say Chelsea has parted ways with head coach Antonio Conte, ending a tumultuous year at Stamford Bridge.

Conte led Chelsea back to a Premier League title in 2016-17, but this season was rife with acrimony.

[ MORE: Kenedy seals loan ]

The Londoners are expected to appoint ex-Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri as Conte’s replacement.

Chelsea won the FA Cup this season, but finished five points back of the Top Four in league play. The Blues fell to Barcelona in the Champions League’s Round of 16.

Conte was vocal about his desire for player signings before last season, and it seemed unhappy marriage from very early in the campaign.

Newcastle gets 2nd Kenedy loan, sells Merino to La Liga

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Kenedy is returning to Newcastle United.

The Chelsea man will take a second loan season with Rafa Benitez after making a strong impression on Tyneside in the second half of the 2017-18 season.

The Magpies will have the option to buy Kenedy.

[ MORE: Mourinho on England, Croatia ]

The Brazilian left-sided man can play virtually any field position besides center back, and scored two goals with two assists for the Magpies last season.

“I am so happy with this interest from Rafa Benítez, that he came back for me,” said Kenedy. “I want to keep it going, the work that I did here before, for the new season.

Meanwhile, Mikel Merino‘s whirlwind time at St. James’ Park is done after just one season.

Newcastle is selling the Spaniard to Real Sociedad. Merino burst onto the scene on loan from Borussia Dortmund, and the Magpies quickly exercised an option to buy the silky midfielder.

But Merino dropped down the depth chart, making just two starts after New Year’s Day.