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Man City skates by West Ham in Premier League Asia Trophy

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Manchester City’s youth squad did the first-half job, which meant the heavy artillery coming off the bench was that much scarier. Man City came from behind to lead at halftime, and Raheem Sterling scored twice in the second half and the defending Premier League champions were no match for West Ham in a 4-1 victory in the semifinals of the Premier League Asia Trophy in Nanjing.

Pep Guardiola started a mostly second-choice lineup from the opening whistle, with David Silva and Aymeric Laporte the only true first-teamers in the squad. Claudio Bravo manned the net to begin, with new arrival Rodri also among the starters. West Ham’s lineup, meanwhile, was a strong one with Felipe Anderson, Mark Noble, Angelo Ogbonna, Jack Wilshere, Michail Antonio, and Manuel Lanzini all among a first-choice starting lineup.

WATCH PL ASIA TROPHY MATCHES LIVE

West Ham took the lead 25 minutes in through Noble who delivered from the penalty spot, but not without help from Felipe who was the star of the first half for the Hammers and won the penalty after sending Manchester City defender Angelino to the ground.

The lead didn’t last long as David Silva leveled things up in the 33rd minute, a wonderful start to his final season at Manchester City. He received a fabulous delivery from 18-year-old Spanish youth international Adrian Bernabe who rifled one to the far post where Silva was waiting, and the 33-year-old chested it down before unpacking a low finish from a tight angle.

City would go in front three minutes later as 20-year-old Man City youth product Lukas Nmecha won a soft penalty on a foul by Ogbonna, and the youngster took it himself and buried the spot-kick for the lead.

Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane all came on at halftime for the defending Premier League champions, while West Ham brought on the likes of Robert Snodgrass, Javier Hernandez, and Andriy Yarmolenko.

The changes for Manchester City overwhelmed West Ham, with Sane picking up a loose ball near the halfway line and feeding a beautiful pass through the back line to Sterling clean on goal who put City 3-1 up on the hour mark. That saw John Stones, Kyle Walker, Ilkay Gundogan and Oleksandr Zinchenko all come in off the bench for Pep Guardiola and into the fray.

The big three did it again in the 72nd minute as de Bruyne picked Carlos Sanchez’s pocket in the attacking third and fed Sane on the left. He sent it back to de Bruyne who layed it off for Sterling’s second goal of the match.

In squad notes, a pair of England youth internationals went the distance for Man City as Ian Poveda-Ocampo and Taylor Harwood-Bellis were the only two to complete the full 90 minutes. Notable for West Ham, Winston Reid came off the bench for the final 19 minutes, his first game action in over 16 months.

Watch Live: PL Asia Trophy – Newcastle v. Wolves, Man City v. West Ham

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The 2019-20 Premier League Asia Trophy kicks off in China on Wednesday, as four Premier League teams go head-to-head in one of the premier offseason competitions.

WATCH PL ASIA TROPHY

Reigning PL champions Manchester City are involved, while Wolves, West Ham and Newcastle are also out in the Far East. This is the second time the tournament has been held in mainland China, with the two semifinals on Wednesday held in Nanjing, while the final and third-place match will be held in Shanghai on Saturday.

Below is the full schedule for Wednesday’s games in Nanjing’s Olympic Sports Centre.

Newcastle United v. Wolves – 6 a.m. ET – STREAM LIVE
Man City v. West Ham – 8:30 a.m. ET – STREAM LIVE

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.

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Dunk to Leicester City, Everton to Arsenal

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The news that Manchester United has agreed with Leicester City on a world-record transfer fee for Harry Maguire has dominated the Sunday morning transfer talk, but there are a few more deals that are seeing movement this weekend.

[ MORE: Maguire nearing $100 million move ]

Directly connected to the Maguire deal is a rumor that Leicester City has already lined up his replacement, spending half the reported Manchester United payment on Brighton Hove & Albion defender Lewis Dunk. The Sun reports that Dunk, a Brighton youth product, will take over the Leicester City transfer record from newly acquired Youri Tielemans at a price tag of $56 million.

Brighton finished 17th last season, narrowly escaping relegation by a mere two points. Still, the defense was solid, conceding 60 goals in the campaign, fewer than any Premier League side in the bottom seven. Brighton gambled on Dunk on back in 2015 amid heavy interest in the player from Fulham, turning down a number of reported bids. The 27-year-old has repayed that faith, making 270 appearances for the club across all competitions and helping them earn promotion in 2017. Now, he will net the club an enormous payment should the move go through.


Brazilian winger Everton, who has been linked heavily with a move away from his current club Gremio, has added fuel to the fire by confirming he has a tabled offer and suggesting things are progressing rather quickly.

In quotes to Brazilian radio station Radio Grenal confirmed by The Mirror and Italian journalist Gianluca di Marzio, Everton said, “At this moment I have an offer, but I can’t say the name of the club. Just like I can’t promise that on Thursday I’ll still be playing for Gremio [against Bahia], we’ll see.”

The 23-year-old winger burst onto the scene at the Copa America this summer, helping Brazil cope with the absence of Neymar by scoring three goals and assisting two across the six games en route to the title. He has been linked with Arsenal and AC Milan, with the Gunners reportedly holding talks with his representatives. With Arsenal’s pursuit of Wilfried Zaha looking unlikely due to Crystal Palace’s high price tag, Brazilian reports state new Arsenal technical director Edu is using his many contacts in Brazil to take a deeper look at Everton’s situation.


Two days ago, reports claimed Roma representatives were in London to discuss a possible transfer of Toby Alderweireld to the Serie A side. The Belgian defender has a clause in his contract that would let him leave for a seemingly cheap price of $31.4 million before July 25, but Roma apparently wanted an even cheaper price.

According to Italian publication Il Tempo, Daniel Levy isn’t moving a muscle on the release clause, sending Roma packing. Very few clubs have shown interest in Alderweireld despite the cheap price, with rumors stating the Belgian is asking for heavy wages, and at 30 years old is not a massively valuable asset long-term. Still, it’s odd that teams like Manchester United would rather spend an exorbitant amount of cash on a defender like Harry Maguire when Aldereweireld could be had for far cheaper.


Sky Sports reports that West Ham defender Reece Oxford could be on his way out of London Stadium, with the 20-year-old being traced by Championship clubs Swansea City and Fulham as well as German side Augsburg.

Oxford was not part of West Ham’s 23-man squad that departed for its preseason trip to China, and after making just eight top-flight appearances last season while on loan at Augsburg, Oxford’s future is in flux. A West Ham youth product, Oxford has spent time on loan at Reading and Borussia Monchengladbach before last year’s half-season spell at Augsburg, and while the German club has been rumored to be in for a permanent move all summer, Swansea and Fulham entering the fray is new news.

Valencia signs Celta Vigo striker Maxi Gomez

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West Ham has lost out to Valencia for the signature of Celta Vigo striker Maxi Gomez, with the La Liga side confirming the deal on Sunday.

Valencia made the deal official on social media, bringing home the frontman on a complicated deal that included a $16 million fee plus a swap deal for 23-year-old striker Santi Mina plus a two-year loan for new Valencia signing Jorge Saenz who recently arrived from Tenerife.

According to the club, Gomez signed a five-year contract with Valencia and has a massive $158 million release clause. The 22-year-old Uruguay international has been massively prolific for Celta Vigo since arriving from Uruguayan side Defensor Sporting two years ago, scoring 31 goals in 71 La Liga matches over that span.

West Ham was heavily linked to Gomez, but according to reports, the player much preferred his new Spanish destination. In addition, English tabloids report West Ham was not willing to pay Gomez’s $56 million release clause up front, while Celta Vigo put together a more enticing offer. The Hammers will have to look elsewhere for a Marko Arnautovic replacement.

Gomez has 12 international caps and two goals to his name, and was in the squad for the entirety of this summer’s Copa America, although he was left on the bench for every match as Uruguay reached the semifinals.

Going in the other direction, Celta Vigo acquires Mina, who left the club four years ago for Valencia as a teenager and saw significant time on the field but never truly established himself as a reliable goalscorer. In 117 top-flight appearances for Valencia, Mina scored 29 goals and assisted 11 more. He now returns to his boyhood club and will make the move alongside 22-year-old defender Saenz who has yet to make his La Liga debut.