Declan Rice to Chelsea
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Update on Declan Rice to Chelsea for $65 million

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Declan Rice to Chelsea is a transfer report which keeps rumbling on.

The latest Declan Rice to Chelsea rumors state that the Blues have bid $65 million for the West Ham and England midfielder.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Rice, 21, dazzled for the Hammers this season as David Moyes arrived in December to take charge and steered them away from relegation trouble with Rice scoring goals, creating and dominating midfield.

The holding midfielder, who can also play at center back, was a big part of that success and West Ham aren’t keen to sell their prized asset to their London rivals.

Our partners at Sky Sports in the UK have the following update on the current situation.


West Ham have dismissed reports they have received a £50m bid from Chelsea for Declan Rice.

Rice is not for sale according to West Ham, and any £50m bid would be laughed off with the club hopeful the midfielder will stay for many years.

Rice will return to the club on Monday for pre-season training with the rest of his team-mates.


So, that is that then. Right?

Rice is a Chelsea fan and came through their academy with the likes of current first team stars Mason Mount before being released at the age of 14. He is close with plenty of the young players at Chelsea and has never hidden his love for the Blues.

Reports all summer have suggested that Chelsea boss Frank Lampard wants Rice to be his main man in central defense and even though his best position is in central midfield, you could see him developing into a fine ball-playing center back in the future.

If West Ham don’t want to sell Rice, who has a contract until 2024 and the club have the option to extend it by another year, they don’t have to.

Moyes is keen to build his entire team around Rice. However, Chelsea will clearly pull on the emotional heartstrings of Rice being a boyhood Blues fan and if he wants to take his career to the next level, leaving West Ham for Chelsea (just like Frank Lampard did all of those years ago) would clearly do that.

Chelsea badly need defensive reinforcement and stability and if they can offload plenty of their current defenders, bringing in Rice would be a smart move.

Transfer news: Doucoure to Arsenal, USMNT back to West Ham

Doucoure to Arsenal
Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images
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A pair of London clubs have been linked with players in England’s second and third tiers, one of them an American international.

[ FA Cup Final: Projected lineups | Key battles | Preview ]

The proposed interest in the latter, Antonee Robinson, came even before his below comments on his hopes for a move out of League One and into playing time.


Doucoure to Arsenal

Linked with Everton in recent weeks, Abdoulaye Doucoure is now said to be a target of FA Cup finalist Arsenal.

The Gunners are said to be hoping to land the 27-year-old Frenchman after Watford’s relegation, hopeful that the price tag may have gone down since Everton reportedly had a $50 million bid shot down in January.

A solid, physical, and technical midfielder, Doucoure’s shown the capability of the sublime with magnificent goals against Fulham a season ago and Brighton in February.

Doucoure has played 141 times for Watford since arriving from Granada in 2016. He has 17 goals and 12 assists, and

Yet he’s also spoken of moving to a Champions League side, something Arsenal will not be next year. If the club wins the FA Cup, would he accept being a Europa League player next season?

Robinson to West Ham United

USMNT left back Antonee Robinson is plotting his next move after Wigan Athletic was relegated to League One in England via points deduction.

Robinson, 22, was due to move from Wigan to AC Milan for $8 million on transfer deadline day in January but he failed a medical at the Italian giants with an irregular heart rhythm that reportedly corrected itself over the break.

Earlier this week, the Wigan Athletic man told American Soccer Now that his mindset has changed since the failed move:

“I feel like I’ve done well enough where now, wherever I go next year, I want to start. In January the idea of going to Milan, it probably didn’t even come to my head that I probably would have been on the bench… now I am more prioritizing a team where I am going to start than a team, just because they’re a big name.”

So perhaps he’s rethought Milan, where he’d be behind Theo Hernandez. Robinson has been linked to Leicester City as well as Premier League side West Ham United.

USMNT center back Aaron Long was also once linked with West Ham, where Robinson would have to overcome longtime starter Aaron Cresswell, who’s been fairly average the past few seasons.

If Ben Chilwell leaves Leicester, Robinson would rival 19-year-old Luke Thomas to start the season as Christian Fuchs is out for another 10-12 weeks.

Premier League Best XI of 2019-20 (and Project Restart)

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We had a nearly year-long Premier League season thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, and in some ways it feels like we had two seasons.

There was the one that saw a dominant Liverpool run away with the league, Leicester City cruise into the top two, and Manchester United search for form.

[ MORE: What has Project Restart changed for ‘Big Six?’ ]

Then there was the mini-season called Project Restart in which the Reds laid claim to the league but the two Manchester sides looked the best, Leicester fell off a cliff, and Southampton surged up the table.

[ MORE: Grades for every club ]

So before we dig into the incredible challenge of naming a Best XI for the 2019-20 Premier League season, let’s take a moment to laud the men who crushed the restart.


Premier League Project Restart Best XI

Even though Van Dijk had a dud against Arsenal and wasn’t legendary against Man City, the Dutchman was still one of the best to do it since the league returned from the coronavirus pause. But there were so many attackers to fit into this, so…

Southampton had the fourth-most points of any team during the restart and Ings and Ward-Prowse were the key parts to their solid play.

Everton stumbled but it was impossible to pin it on Keane and (until late in the restart) center back mate Mason Holgate.

This is hard on Michail Antonio, but it was him or Ings.

Project Restart Best XI

E. Martinez (Arsenal)

 — Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) –Keane (Everton) — Azpilicueta (Chelsea) —

— Ward-Prowse (Southampton) — Fernandes (Manchester United) — De Bruyne (Man City) —

— Pulisic (Chelsea) — Ings (Southampton) — Rashford (Manchester United) —

Pulisic news
(Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Premier League 2019-20 Best XI

This was the year of the attacker and there are a bevy of incredible talents who will not make the Best XI, Second XI, or even Third XI if you don’t cheat with positions.

Liverpool had Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah combine for almost 40 goals and 20 assists, while Man City’s Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling were electric. Heck, Riyad Mahrez had one of the best minute-for-minute seasons in the league when he managed to get field time.

Then there are Kane, Vardy, Aubameyang, and Willian. There are Ings, Rashford, Jimenez, and Traore.

It’s bonkers. So we’re prepared for your anger as we roll out our teams.

Best XI

Ederson (Man City)

— Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) — Van Dijk (Liverpool) — Maguire (Man Utd) — Azpilicueta (Chelsea) —

— Henderson (Liverpool) — Ndidi (Leicester City) —

— De Bruyne (Man City) —

— Traore (Wolves) — Aubameyang (Arsenal) — Salah (Liverpool) —


Premier League 2019-20 Second XI

Not being able to find places for Aguero, Jimenez, and Rashford is really difficult, and both Alisson Becker and Dean Henderson fans will feel aggrieved by the inclusion of Pope.

Maybe most upset will be Spurs supporters, as they Kane loses out to Golden Boot winner Vardy and Hugo Lloris was simply wonderful down the stretch but missed too many games with an elbow injury.

Moutinho just gets in over teammate Ruben Neves, and Georginio Wijnaldum was considered here as well.

One thing’s for sure: We’d bet on two of these teams looking very different next season, and let’s hope that the first XI named on this post isn’t required.

Second XI

Pope (Burnley)

— Wan-Bissaka (Man Utd) — Tarkowski (Burnley) — Soyuncu (Leicester City) — Digne (Everton) —

— Fabinho (Liverpool) — Rodri (Man City) — Moutinho (Wolves) —

— Mane (Liverpool) — Vardy (Leicester) — Sterling (Man City) —

(Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images )

Aston Villa avoid relegation on final day

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Aston Villa avoided relegation on the final day of the Premier League season as they drew 1-1 at West Ham United and other results went their way.

Jack Grealish put them 1-0 up late on and even though Andriy Yarmolenko equalized moments later, head coach Dean Smith and his Villa players were celebrating wildly at the final whistle.

With the point Villa stayed up by a point as Watford lost and Bournemouth won on the final day and Villa took 10 points from the last 12 possible to drag themselves out of the relegation zone. As for West Ham, the point sees them on 39 points in 16th.


Aston Villa held their own early on, as John McGinn flashed a shot wide of the far post and although West Ham had a lot of the ball, Villa were solid and sat back.

Tomas Soucek almost got on the end of a cross to head home as West Ham improved, while at the other end Grealish had a chance at the back post but hit his shot straight at Lukasz Fabinski.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Villa started well in the second half as McGinn had a low shot blocked and the away side pushed forward.

West Ham had a few chances but Villa were good in the second half and Grealish smashed over.

Late on the Villa captain scored a beauty to make it 1-0 and cue wild celebrations but moments later Yarmolenko’s deflected shot looped over Reina and in to set up a tense finish but Villa never looked like conceding a goal which would have sent hem down.

West Ham – Aston Villa: How to watch, stream, start time, prediction, odds

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West Ham – Aston Villa on the final day of the season on Sunday (start time, 11am ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) will be nerve-wracking for every single Villa fan across the globe.

WEST HAM – ASTON VILLA STREAM

Dean Smith’s side beat Arsenal last time out to drag themselves out of the relegation zone, on goal difference, with one game to go but they know they have to better the result achieved by Watford and Bournemouth to stay up. Jack Grealish will have to inspire Villa to record a third win in their last four games of the season to secure their Premier League status.

If Villa win and Watford win at Arsenal on the final day, it will go down to goal difference and Villa have the edge. By one goal. This will be tense.

[ MORE: Relegation scenarios explained ]

West Ham and David Moyes are safe from relegation after an impressed draw at Manchester United and the Hammers have been dangerous since the break with Michail Antonio a threat and Thomas Soucek dominant.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of West Ham – Aston Villa.


Team news

West Ham give promising young right back Ben Johnson more minutes, as he looks to be lining up at left back with Aaron Cresswell out, while Moyes has gone with his strongest possible lineup to finish the season with a win.

Aston Villa lost Ahmed Elmohamady early on against Arsenal to a hamstring injury and Frederic Guilbert came on and did really well to replace him at right back and starts on Sunday. Wesley and Tom Heaton remain Villa’s long-term absentees.


What they’re saying

Jarrod Bowen on West Ham’s fine finish to the season: “I said when I joined, the quality in the squad is unbelievable and we shouldn’t be in the position we were in, but we couldn’t complain about it. We just had to play to everyone’s strengths and we’ve got a big squad and everyone plays their part. We’ve done that recently and now we’ve picked up the point that’s mathematically kept us up. We’ve got a lot of confidence going into the last game and we want to finish the season strongly. It’s only four or five weeks [until the new season starts] so there is not much time between when we finish to when we get started again, so we can use the memories of our performances at the start of next season because the way we have finished the season has been very strong.”

Dean Smith after the win v. Arsenal on his players having the edge due to their one-off game experience: “I certainly hope so. We’ve got enough players who have been through one-game situations before in their final last year. I said the last four games were our [playoff] semifinals and now we are through to the final. We will certainly be ready for it but we know there can be no complacency. There was no celebrating from the players tonight, just the relief and satisfaction for the performance.”


Odds and ends (full matchweek odds)

The hosts West Ham are the favorites (+220) and with the pressure off David Moyes’ side, they can enjoy themselves and go on the front foot. That may suit Aston Villa (+123) who obviously need a win to keep their destiny in their own hands, although the tie (+245) is an attractive bet.


Prediction

Both teams have been in really good form since the restart but both have very different motivations heading into the final day. The Hammers are safe and are playing to stay in 15th place in the table, while Aston Villa need a win to try and secure their safety. With Grealish on form and a defensive unit playing so well, I think Villa will just edge this as they’ve finally delivered solid performances. West Ham 1-2 Aston Villa. 


How to watch West Ham – Aston Villa stream and start time

Kickoff: 11am ET Sunday
TV Channel: NBCSN
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com