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AC Milan to pay tribute to Kobe Bryant ahead of cup game

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MILAN (AP) The AC Milan soccer team will wear black armbands and observe a minute’s silence during an Italian Cup game on Tuesday in memory of devout fan Kobe Bryant.

[ MORE: Neymar leads tributes to Kobe ]

The seven-time European champions host Torino in the quarterfinals at the San Siro.

Bryant, an 18-time NBA All-Star with the Los Angeles Lakers and a lifelong soccer fan, died Sunday with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, California. He was 41.

Bryant grew up in Italy between the ages of 6 and 13 while his father, Joe Bryant, played basketball in the country.

Milan tweeted an interview with Bryant when he visited the club’s training facility a few years ago.

“Watching (Ruud) Gullit, (Frank) Rijkaard, (Marco) Van Basten and (Paolo) Maldini was always a dream for me,” Bryant said in Italian, wearing a Milan jersey. “It’s always been my favorite squad. Back in Los Angeles I have an AC Milan shirt and scarf inside my locker and I see them every day.”

Milan obtained special clearance for the tribute from the Italian league.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Eriksen seals Inter move; Fernandinho signs new contract

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Christian Eriksen has finally sealed his move to Inter Milan as he has already trained with his new team.

Antonio Conte really loved the Premier League, huh?

Eriksen, 27, joins Ashley Young, Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez as Premier League stars which have swapped England for the San Siro and Inter need the Danish playmaker to hit the ground running as they sit three points behind Juventus in the race for the Serie A title.

The deal reportedly bagged Spurs a $23 million transfer fee, which isn’t bad at all for a player who was out of contract this summer. Eriksen will also significantly increase his wages to over $160,000 per week, so everyone wins here. Even his former club Ajax, who receive a 10 percent sell-on fee.

With Eriksen finally gone, Spurs have moved fast to sign Giovani Lo Celso on a permanent deal and and are close to signing Dutch winger Steven Bergwijn from PSV Eindhoven.

It is true that Eriksen’s final few months at Tottenham have been far from stellar as he’s been booed by his own fans at times and has put in several lackluster displays since he revealed after the UEFA Champions League final last June that he wanted to leave Spurs and was ready for the next challenge.

Overall, though, Eriksen’s six-and-a-half seasons at Spurs can be deemed a huge success as he was a key part of making the Champions League in four-straight seasons under Mauricio Pochettino. His set pieces, pinpoint crosses and drifting between the attacking and midfield lines gave Spurs something a little different and his connection with Harry Kane and Dele Alli in particular was incredibly strong in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 campaigns.


In other news, Fernandinho has signed a new contract at Man City as the 34-year-old Brazilian midfielder (who has played at center back for most of this season) continues to be a key player for the reigning Premier League champions.

Fernandinho has won three Premier League titles, one FA Cup and four League Cups during his seven season stay at Man City and the former Shakhtar Donetsk star was delighted to commit to Pep Guardiola‘s side until the end of the 2020-21 season.

“This is the best possible news,” Fernandinho said. “I want to take this opportunity to put on record how grateful I am to my teammates and the backroom staff here at City. Without them, this deal would not be possible, so sincere thanks to every single one of them. I have enjoyed every second of my time here. I never expected to build such a meaningful relationship with the club and the fans, but it has happened, and I am grateful every single day.”

Fernandinho said he wants the recent success under Guardiola to carry on “for as long as possible” and there’s no doubt he will be connected with Man City for many years to come in a coaching or ambassador capacity after his playing days are over.

A proper pro, Fernandinho is so reliable and his passing is underrated too as he sets the tone from the engine room.

Tottenham sign Lo Celso, close in on Bergwijn

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Tottenham Hotspur have signed Giovani Lo Celso from Real Betis, triggering a clause which turns his loan into a permanent transfer for $35.3 million.

Lo Celso, 23, arrived on loan this summer and after injuries disrupted his first few months in England he has settled in very nicely in recent weeks with a surging run to set up Heung-Min Son to score at Southampton at the weekend showcasing his ability.

The Argentine playmaker has signed a contact through 2025 and is the direct replacement for Christian Eriksen who is Inter Milan bound.

Spurs are also closing in on a deal for Steven Bergwijn as PSV Eindhoven left the winger out of training and he has flown to London for a medical.

Bergwijn, 22, is a rising star in the Dutch Eredivisie and according to our partners at Sky Sports he will join Tottenham for $32.5 million, rising to $35 million with add-ons.

With Christian Eriksen’s move to Inter Milan completed on Tuesday, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has brought in a younger, promising attacking player to help freshen up the attack alongside Lo Celso.

Tottenham have got their dominoes in order and now they are falling.

Bergwijn is highly-rated and scored 16 goals in a struggling PSV side last season and has six goals to his name in 29 appearances in all competitions so far in 2019-20. He has recently broken into the Dutch national team and is regarded as one of the top young wing talents in Europe.

This is exactly the kind of transfer Spurs need to be making. Mourinho loves to have tricky and direct wingers in his teams to feed off a central striker and Bergwijn is on the up and is hungry to prove himself in England. It makes total sense with Eriksen on his way out for about $22 million, so it could be yet another shrewd bit of business from Levy and Co.

Aside from Bergwijn there is a push for a striker to arrive on a short-term deal with Harry Kane out injured until April, but given the form of Heung-min Son, Lucas Moura and Dele Alli in attack, perhaps Mourinho and Levy will resist the urge to bring in a short-term solution up top.

Krzysztof Piatek, Willian Jose, Edinson Cavani and many others have been mentioned as potential stop gaps for Kane but the fluid movement of Son, Moura and Alli could be the way to go in attack. With Bergwijn added to the mix alongside the January loan addition of midfielder Gedson Fernandes, Spurs are getting younger and things have been freshened up quite nicely by Mourinho.

All things considered, not a bad window for Spurs, as they sit six points off the top four with 14 games to go and are still in the FA Cup and now have a plan without Kane for the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds and the final months of the season.

Premier League January Transfer Window 2020: When it closes, notable players, more

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The Premier League January Transfer Window closes in just a few days, and clubs are still facing half a season with glaring needs all over the pitch. So far just $49 million has been spent by Premier League clubs this winter, and that could climb sharply as the window nears its conclusion. Below is all you need to know about the 2020 January transfer window deadline.

When is Transfer Deadline Day?

The January window slams shut on Friday, January 31st at 6 p.m. ET (11 p.m. GMT). Coincidentally, that’s also the exact same time the windows in Germany, Spain, Italy, and France all close as well. The Portuguese window closes on February 2nd.

What teams and players are likely to be involved?

Many of the top Premier League teams have something to fight for and may look for help from around Europe and beyond. Manchester United and Arsenal both continue to need defensive help, with both teams relying on flawed players like Phil Jones and David Luiz for much of the season. Tottenham is looking for a Harry Kane replacement, while a number of teams near the bottom look for help in avoiding relegation. Chelsea is also looking for an option at striker with Tammy Abraham suffering an ankle injury, although so far they have come up empty.

Who has already brought in players?

Early in the transfer window, Liverpool snagged RB Leipzig midfielder Takumi Minamino, who has already made an impact in the Reds’ injury stricken midfield. Tottenham Hotspur recently brought in Benfica midfielder Gedson Fernandes, Watford snagged Udinese winger Ignacio Pussetto. Newcastle picked up a loan for former Spurs youth product Nabil Bentaleb from Schalke, and Aston Villa purchased Mbwana Samatta from Belgian club Genk.

Players around Europe like Emre Can, Thomas Lemar, and Krzysztof Piatek could be in high demand for Premier League teams looking for midfield or attacking reinforcements.

How to watch Transfer Deadline Day coverage?

Watch the Transfer Deadline Day show from 6-8 p.m. ET on January 31 live on NBCSN or live online at NBCSports.com. There will be analysis on all of the late deals and how each Premier League club fared during the January window. Rebecca Lowe will host the show, with studio analysts Kyle Martino and Robbie Mustoe. Arlo White and Graeme Le Saux will also appear from their station in the UK, and Sky Sports chief reporter Bryan Swanson will be a guest on the show. There is also extensive coverage from Sky Sports.

What were the major 2019 January Deadline Day deals?

The winter transfer window last season was a flurry of activity. Newcastle secured Miguel Almiron from Atlanta United on this day last season, while Leicester City snagged Youri Tielemans on loan from Monaco, a deal which they later made permanent. Burnley grabbed Peter Crouch on loan from Stoke City before the storied striker in the summer. Fulham desperately tried to shore up its porous defense with a loan move for Havard Nordtveit from Hoffenheim, but it was too little too late.

Ten possible transfers to monitor this week

Transfer rumors
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It’s been an active-enough transfer window from a wide perspective. Manchester United, Chelsea, and fans of other contenders may still be waiting for their breakthrough, but there’s been a lot to see world wide.

[ MORE: Deadline Day needs ]

Erling Haaland has a new home, and his housewarming party has been spectacular. Javier Hernandez headed from Sevilla to Major League Soccer.

Takumi Minamino joined Liverpool from Salzburg, and Gedson Fernandes found a home at Tottenham.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

So what’s still (possibly) to come before the transfer window slams shut at 6 p.m. ET Friday?

Aaron Long from New York Red Bulls to West HamA loan-to-buy bid’s been rejected, but could David Moyes skip the trial period. USMNT center back Long wants to go the Premier League, and RBNY are not in the CONCACAF Champions League so there’s time to replace him.

Antonee Robinson from Wigan Athletic to AC Milan — Speaking of USMNT-related transfers, could-be left back of the future has become a fixture at the DW Stadium but reports of his replacing Ricardo Rodriguez at Milan are many.

Paco Alcacer from Borussia Dortmund to Newcastle — The Magpies need another striker with Joelinton struggling to find form, and the BVB man is open to leaving on account of Haaland’s arrival.

Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon to Manchester United — A difference of $12 million seems likely to be made up by Friday.

Moussa Dembele from Lyon to Chelsea — He’s thrived at Fulham in the Championship, Celtic in the Scottish Premiership, and Lyon in Ligue 1, so the Premier League may finally get to see a mature Dembele. He made two appearances for Fulham in 2013/14.

Mykola Matviyenko from Shakhtar Donetsk to Arsenal — Twenty-two years old with 26 caps for Ukraine, reports of a try-it-before-you-buy-it with the Gunners seem very friendly to Arsenal.

Boubakary Soumare from Lille to Chelsea or Manchester United — Sixty-six senior appearances for a Ligue 1 side at age 20 is an eye-popper, and Soumare’s ceiling as a defensive midfielder is high.

Edinson Cavani from Paris Saint-Gerrmain to Atletico Madrid or Chelsea — The reports have all said Atleti is the front-runner, but the longer is takes the more you wonder…

Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli to Manchester United — Not in January with Napoli a month away from Barcelona in the UCL, right? Right?

Gareth Bale,  Krzysztof Piatek, Willian Jose, Mario Gotze, Steven Bergwijn, Alcacer, pretty much forward to Spurs — Self-explanatory. Spurs are transfer rumor bait as much as anyone not called Manchester United thanks to the injury to Harry Kane and the clear need for refreshment.

Watch our transfer deadline day show from 6-8 p.m. ET on Jan. 31, live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com.