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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.

Arsenal to reportedly lose head of recruitment Mislintat

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The man expected to usher in an era of exciting new young talent at Arsenal may be leaving the club after less than 14 months.

Arsenal head of recruitment Sven Mislintat, 46, has been hailed as the man who discovered Christian Pulisic and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang while at Borussia Dortmund.

[ MORE: Atlanta signs Watford teen ]

Well-connected reporter Raphael Honigstein says Mislintat is frustrated by a change in recruitment policy since Ivan Gazidis left the Emirates Stadium. Gazidis hired Mislintat to use analytics and stats to find diamonds, whereas new head of football Raul Sanllehi prefers to work his own network for players.

Mislintat is considered the key to bringing in Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi, as well as clear connections like former BVB center back Sokratis Papastathopolous.

His departure would be a shot across the bow of an organization which enjoyed stability under Gazidis and Arsene Wenger for years.

FA Cup: Newcastle wins in extra time

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Newcastle United was the only Premier League club in action during a trio of FA Cup third round replays on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Premier League player power rankings ]

The Magpies overcame a lost 2-goal lead to defeat Blackburn Rovers and earn a fourth round home FA Cup date with Watford.

Blackburn Rovers 2-4 (aet.) Newcastle United

Joselu‘s goal in the first half of extra time

Lively from minute No. 1, the Magpies took a 2-0 lead through a pair of 21-year-olds and their first senior goals: A deflected Sean Longstaff strike and clinical side-footed finish from Callum Roberts are moments the pair won’t soon forget.

But ex-Newcastle striker Adam Armstrong pulled one back for Blackburn, and Darragh Lenihan mashed a bullet header into the goal to leave it level at the break.

Fabian Schar’s 105th minute rip was parried to a questionably onside Joselu, and the Spaniard slotted past countryman David Raya. Another Spaniard, Ayoze Perez blasted a tight-angled shot off Raya’s right hand and into the side panel in the 107th.

Stoke City 2-3 Shrewsbury Town

Tyrese Campbell scored twice, the 19-year-old helping his Potters to what could’ve been an easy enough victory had they finished a few more chances at the bet365 Stadium. James Bolton pulled one back for the Shrews with just over a quarter-hour left in the second half.

The League One visitors made it 2-2 through a Fejiri Okenabirhie penalty, opening up their hopes for a fourth round visit from Watford. That arrived when Josh Laurent scored Shrewsbury Town’s third goal in 11 minutes.

Luton Town 0-1 Sheffield Wednesday

Longtime Owls striker Atdhe Nuhiu scored just after halftime. Wednesday will head to Chelsea on Jan. 27 for the fourth round.

Transfers: Atlanta adds Watford teen; Harkes heads to Scotland

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When Atlanta United CEO Darren Eales tweeted that the Five Stripes were about to announce a DP signing, few figured he meant initials.

No, Pity Martinez was not announced on Tuesday, but Atlanta did unveil an intriguing signing in his own right.

Dion Pereira, 19, made a pair of Premier League appearances for Watford at the end of the 2016-17 season, and Atlanta is betting that a move across the Atlantic will transform him into its next prized young asset.

The Watford-born forward scored 13 goals in PL2 last season.


Going the other way, from MLS to Scotland, is DC United and Wake Forest product Ian Harkes.

The son of longtime USMNT captain John, Ian Harkes is 23 and played 37 times with four goals and two assists for the Black-and-Red last season.

Harkes is headed to Dundee United, who sits third in the Scottish Championship and is just three points back of table-leading Ross County.

Fulham brings revitalized Babel back to the Premier League

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Ryan Babel is back in the Premier League, at least for the next few months, after spending the better of the decade away from English football.

The ex-Liverpool winger, 32, will wear the white of Fulham for the rest of the season, heading to Craven Cottage from Besiktas for the rest of his contract.

[ MORE: Morata to Atleti? ]

The deal runs through the season, which has seen Babel score six goals in 19 matches.

From FulhamFC.com:

“My first impressions are good and I’m very excited. I definitely have faith that Fulham can stay up. That’s one of the reasons that I’m here, to try and help that to happen. I’m ready to go, I’m excited and I can’t wait.”

Capped 54 times by the Netherlands, Babel has traveled a lot since leaving Liverpool in 2011. He made stops at Hoffenheim, Ajax, Kasimpasa, Al Ain, and Deportivo la Coruna before heading to Besiktas in 2017.

He scored a career-best 15 goals in all competitions for Besiktas last season, his top campaign since bagging 10 for Liverpool in 2007-08.