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Transfer Rumor Roundup: Haller nearing West Ham move, Lovren to AC Milan

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According to multiple reports across England, West Ham is close to its marquee Marko Arnautovic replacement as Sebastian Haller is nearly a Hammer.

Haller’s club Eintracht Frankfurt confirmed that the 25-year-old is on his way to London for a medical and will be a Hammer before long. His signature would represent a club-record fee of $55.9 million according to both the BBC and Sky Sports, far surpassing the $44.7 million paid for Felipe Anderson.

Haller is a goalscorer as well as a contributor, bagging 24 goals in 60 Bundesliga appearances for Eintracht Frankfurt in his two years with the club and also assisting 13 more. The analytics folks love the move.

With Lucas Perez, Arnautovic and Andy Carroll all having departed the club this summer, the addition of Haller is a much-needed boost to the West Ham attack that includes Felipe, Robert Snodgrass, and Javier Hernandez.


Divisive Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren, who infamously declared not so long ago that he is the best defender in the world, is rumored to be considering a move away from Anfield after last season’s Champions League winning campaign.

According to Nicolo Schira of Gazzetta dello Sport, Lovren is a target for AC Milan, although he would likely be asked to take a serious pay cut from his current Anfield salary. The report says that Liverpool wants at least $22 million for Lovren’s services, and that AC Milan would offer him a contract of $13.6 million over four years. That’s a significant drop from the $5.6 million a year he makes currently.

Still, if a deal can be struck, it may be enticing for Lovren considering his playing time at Liverpool has dipped in the past year. Now 30 years old, Lovren appeared in just 13 games for Liverpool last season, partially due to a pair of injuries but also having lost his place to Joel Matip. He was on the bench behind Matip for the final three matches of the Champions League run after starting the final next to Virgil Van Dijk the year before.


According to French publication L’Equipe, Southampton is in talks with OGC Nice to offload winger Sofiane Boufal. The Moroccan international joined Saints in 2016 from Lille but spent last season on loan with Spanish club Celta Vigo where hee scored just three goals in 35 league appearances.

With those struggles, his value has reportedly dropped to just $11.2 million, having been purchased for $21 million three years ago. L’Equipe says that while fellow French clubs Marseille and Bordeaux were interested, neither wanted to commit to a permanent transfer, with both wishing for a loan with an option to buy, whereas Nice has gone the extra mile.

Boufal was with the Moroccan squad in the Africa Cup of Nations this summer, appearing in three of their four matches, with all three appearances off the bench. He did not score or assist a goal.


Over the past few days there have been reports that should Leicester City cash in on Harry Maguire to Manchester United, they could pounce for Brighton defender Lewis Dunk as his replacement for about half the reported fee they would receive from the Red Devils. Now, with more time to think, that price may have spooked the Foxes.

According to Rob Dorsett of Sky Sports, Leicester City may decide to stick with internal replacements instead of spend big on a defender they don’t believe to be of accurate value in the market. Dorsett mentions 23-year-old Caglar Soyuncu and 22-year-old Filip Benkovic as possible options to receive more playing time.

Benkovic, a Dinamo Zagreb youth product who arrived at Leicester City last summer, received his Croatian international debut this summer as a reward for a solid loan spell at Celtic last season. Aside from an ankle injury that sidelined him for all of February, Benkovic was a regular in the Celtic lineup and helped them post a glittering defensive record en route to the Scottish Premiership title, conceding just 20 goals in 38 matches. Celtic also lost every Europa League match that Benkovic missed, while they won three and lost one of the four he played.

Soyuncu joined Leicester last summer as well, coming over from German side Freiburg, but only saw the field for six Premier League matches, starting four. Of the four matches he started, the club conceded just one goal in every game, and he also started the EFL Cup loss to Manchester City that saw the league champions score just once in regulation before losing on penalties.


Kieran Trippier is reportedly receiving interest from major European clubs and could be considering an exit from Tottenham this summer, despite the season drawing closer. According to Daily Telegraph reporter Matt Law, Trippier has particularly interested Atletico Madrid, who could be in for a $25 million move.

Given Trippier’s growth at Tottenham and importance to Mauricio Pochettino‘s setup, selling a player of Trippier’s quality for that low a price seems a poor decision for Spurs, but if the player has his head turned after a run to the Champions League final there may not be much the club can do.

A right-back by trade, Trippier was recently deployed by Pochettino as part of a three-center-back system that saw the England international transform into one of the most versatile defenders in the Premier League, maintaining a strong defensive stance but also swinging out wide to perform wing-back duties at times and becoming one of the Premier League’s best free-kick takers.

Trippier’s name has cropped up a few times this summer, but nothing remotely concrete has taken hold and it would at this point be surprising if Daniel Levy allows an England international in his prime with three years left on his contract to depart so cheaply.

PL friendly roundup: Liverpool win; Everton, Saints, Norwich draw

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A roundup of all of Sunday’s preseason action involving Premier League teams, wherever in the world they might be preparing for the 2019-20 season…

[ MORE: Sunday’s transfer rumor roundup | Saturday | Friday ]

Bradford City 1-3 Liverpool

James Milner scored twice — once from open play and once from the penalty spot — as Liverpool continued the long, slow build toward their PL opener against Norwich City on Aug. 9. 19-year-old Rhian Brewster continued to make noise this preseason, as he followed up his brace against League One side Tranmere Rovers during the week with another goal against another League One side on Sunday.

Alex Oxlade Chamberlain started and played 45 minutes, as did all 10 outfield players before Jurgen Klopp made wholesale changes at halftime. Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne, both of whom have been linked with moves away from Anfield this summer, also started.

Arminia Bielefeld 2-2 Norwich City

Dennis Srbeny and Josip Drmic scored a goal each for Norwich City, but the newly promoted PL side conceded an 88th-minute equalizer away to German second-division side Arminia Bielefeld.

The Canaries suffered injuries to a pair of key players on Sunday, with both Louis Thompson and Ben Godfrey being forced off. Head coach Daniel Farke indicated after the game that Thompson suffered a hamstring strain, while Godfrey left the stadium on crutches.

Other PL preseason results

Sion 0-0 Everton
Altach 1-1 Southampton

Man United, Arsenal battle for Mario Lemina

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Southampton’s Mario Lemina probably wasn’t at the top of the list when it came to the names to focus on in the transfer window this summer, but two Premier League giants are battling it out for his signature.

According to a report from the Southern Daily Echo, and since confirmed by multiple outlets across the UK, both Arsenal and Manchester United, as well as Leicester City, have enquired about signing Lemina, 26, with United not yet reaching the fee Saints want.

The Gabonese central midfielder hasn’t gone on Saints’ preseason tour of Austria and has revealed he and his agent have spoken with the club and they’ve agreed he can leave if the right price is agreed for the former Marseille and Juventus man.

Saints paid $20 million for Lemina in the summer of 2017 and it is believed they want to recoup all of that and make a small profit if they sell him this summer. That would be quite a bargain for a player of his quality, as Leicester may now have backed out of any deal due to their permanent signing of midfielder Youri Tielemans. 

Do United or Arsenal need to sign Lemina?

He’s a powerful, skilful central midfielder who has shown flashes of brilliance during the past two seasons at Saints, but there are question marks regarding his fitness and attitude. He missed a large chunk of last season with an abdominal injury and Saints are pretty set in central midfield without him as Oriol Romeu, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and James Ward-Prowse have all impressed under new manager Ralph Hasenhuttl.

In many ways Lemina is the odd man out at Saints, and both United and Arsenal know that which could see them grab a bit of a bargain.

United have lost Ander Herrera but still have the likes of Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay and Fred in central midfield, while the future of Paul Pogba is up in the air. Arsenal may sell Lucas Torreira this summer, while Matteo Guendouzi, Mohamed Elneny and Granit Xhaka are their other options in the engine room after losing Aaron Ramsey on a free transfer.

So, both clubs could do with an extra body in central midfield.

Lemina has the potential to be a breakout star, if he wants to be. If a move to one of the PL’s top six fires him up, it’s a deal both United and Arsenal should do considering what $30 million buys you in this current transfer market.

Live, Africa Cup of Nations: Morocco v. Benin, Uganda v. Senegal

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The knockout rounds of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations begins in Egypt on Friday, as two favorites to win it all hope to avoid upsets.

[ LIVE: Africa Cup of Nations ]

Morocco clash with Benin at Cairo’s Al Salam Stadium after winning Group F with three wins from three, while Benin drew all three of their group games as they held powerhouses Cameroon and Ghana. The Atlas Lions should not take Benin for granted and their secret weapon is former Sunderland and West Brom attacker Stephane Sessegnon.

As for Senegal, they are led by Liverpool star Sadio Mane but they had a rather disappointing group stage effort as they lost to Algeria and finished second in Group C. That has set up a clash with Uganda who finished second in Group A behind Egypt, but alongside Mane Senegal have a heavyweight PL midfield with Cheikhou Kouyate and Idrisse Gueye in the engine room and they are the heavy favorites to advance where they’ll likely meet Morocco in an epic quarterfinal clash.

Below is the full schedule for the AFCON action on Friday, while you can follow all of the action live by clicking on the link above.


2019 Africa Cup of Nations schedule – Friday, July 5

Round of 16
Morocco v. Benin – 12 p.m. ET
Uganda v. Senegal – 3 p.m. ET

Africa Cup of Nations round of 16 predictions

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The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Round of 16 is almost here, as the first-ever 24 team version of this tournament is very intriguing indeed.

[ LIVE: Africa Cup of Nations scores ]

Some of the giants have struggled a little so far, while the likes of Mali and Madagascar have exceeded expectations by both winning their respective groups.

Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have shown flashes of brilliance with two goals each, while the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Riyad Mahrez have yet to hit top gear.

But we all know that when the knockout stage starts, the stars come out to play. Here’s hoping that is the case in Egypt.

Below you will find our predictions for the Round of 16 games over the upcoming four days.


Round of 16

July 5: Morocco defeat Benin
July 5: Senegal defeat Uganda

July 6: Nigeria defeat Cameroon
July 6: Egypt defeat South Africa

July 7: Madagascar defeat DR Congo
July 7: Algeria defeat Guinea

July 8: Mali defeat Ivory Coast
July 8: Tunisia defeat Ghana