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Football Reporting


Juventus ready to raid MLS after McKennie success

The coronavirus pandemic made the summer transfer market unlike any before it, but there were still plenty of deals done, and you can check out the major ones here. The window is closed across the top leagues in Europe, but here are the best rumours from around the globe.

TOP STORY: Juventus looking to MLS in January

Juventus are going on the hunt for the next Major League Soccer star after the success of USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie, Tuttosport reports.

McKennie, who was named U.S. Soccer’s Male Player of the Year last week, is spending the season on loan from Schalke at the Serie A giants and has dovetailed beautifully so far with the rest of Andrea Pirlo’s midfield.

The 22-year-old’s two goals and two assists in 14 appearances have alerted Juve’s scouting team to the potential of more talent based in the U.S.

McKennie began his career at FC Dallas before moving to Germany in 2016 and now Dallas duo Bryan Reynolds and Ricardo Pepi, as well as New York Red Bulls midfielder Caden Clark and LA Galaxy right-back Julian Araujo, are four of the main names on Juve’s wishlist as the January transfer window approaches.

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10.16 GMT: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has some issues to solve.

09.52 GMT: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has played down the prospect of the club signing a striker in January.

Sergio Aguero has missed most of the season so far with a knee injury, while Gabriel Jesus was ruled out of Saturday’s 1-0 win over Southampton.

“No I don’t think so because the economic situation around world is what it is,” Guardiola told a news conference ahead of Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup quarterfinal at Arsenal (stream LIVE on ESPN+ at 3 p.m. ET in the U.S.). “All the clubs struggle – we are not an exception.”

City have scored just 19 goals in the Premier League so far this season, fewer than any other team in the top half of the table. Guardiola admitted that his side will struggle to close the gap of eight points that leaders Liverpool have on them.

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“I don’t know,” he said. “We’re struggling, our momentum up front isn’t good. We are creating clear chances that we cannot score and when this happens we are always going to suffer.

“That’s why I’m not able to say how we will be this season. Game by game is the only thing I can do and now we go to London to play Arsenal in the Carabao Cup.”

09.09 GMT: Melbourne City have bolstered their W-League title defence by signing Japan international Chinatsu Kira for the upcoming season.

An attacking midfielder, Kira has scored five goals in 12 internationals for the Nadeshiko. The 2014 Asian Cup winner joins City after a 10-year career at Japanese top flight club Urawa Reds.

Kira, who is completing her hotel quarantine period, will add much-needed experience and goal-scoring power.

08.31 GMT: Central Coast Mariners have signed Costa Rica international Marco Urena for the upcoming A-League season.

The Mariners confirmed the 30-year-old’s signing on Wednesday, in a boost to Alen Stajcic’s team as they aim to avoid a fourth straight wooden spoon.

Urena, who scored for his country at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil against Uruguay, has made 67 appearances for Los Ticos, scoring 15 times.

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He arrives at Gosford after a stint at South Korea’s Gwangju FC and has also had stints in Russia, Denmark and the United States during his career.

Urena will link up with the Mariners squad after completing a quarantine period following his arrival in Australia.

– A-League on ESPN+: Stream LIVE games, replays (U.S. only)

08.00 GMT: Lionel Messi has said he is motivated and excited to help Barcelona fight for titles this season after turning the page on a difficult summer, raising hope that he could stay beyond this season.

Messi, 33, told Barca he wanted to leave in August, with Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain both keen on signing him, but the Catalan club refused to sanction an exit. The Argentina forward, who levelled Pele’s one-club scoring record at the weekend with his 643rd Barca goal, has revealed his failure to force a move away from Camp Nou affected his form at the start of the season. However, with five goals in his last seven league games, he says he’s moved on from that disappointment and is ready to help Barca compete on all fronts this season.

“Honestly, I am fine now,” Messi told La Sexta in an interview that will air in Spain on Sunday. “It’s true I had a bad time in the summer. It came from everything that happened before the summer, how the season ended, the burofax, all of that. I carried that into the start of the season a little bit.

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“Right now, I feel good, motivated to seriously fight for everything we have ahead of us. I feel excited.

“I know the club is going through a complicated moment — both the club and the team — and that makes everything surrounding Barcelona difficult, but I am motivated.”

Messi’s contract expires at the end of the season and his future remains unknown beyond then. He is free to talk to other clubs and negotiate a pre-contract agreement from Jan. 1.

– How Barcelona signed 13-year-old Messi with a napkin

PAPER TALK (by Danny Lewis)

PSG interested in Oblak

Paris Saint-Germain are interested in pursuing a deal for Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak, the Daily Mail reports.

The former Chelsea target’s proposed move to Stamford Bridge fell through, as Atletico refused to drop his €120m buyout clause.

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Now, however, despite the fact that Atleti is flying high in La Liga, Oblak wants to leave in search of winning consistent trophies.

Former Real Madrid custodian Keylor Navas is the No. 1 for PSG, but the French champions are seemingly going in search of something fresh.

Diallo set to finalise Man United switch

The Guardian is reporting that Atalanta’s Amad Diallo has overcome one final hurdle and will soon confirm his move to Manchester United.

The transfer for the 18-year-old was agreed in principle back in October, but the teenager was still waiting to discover whether he would receive an Italian passport, which would have allowed him to gain a work permit.

That has now happened, and Diallo will fly to England in early January to complete his €21m switch, with another €20m coming in add-ons.

Premier League trio in for Fernandes

Three Premier League clubs are contemplating a move to sign Vitoria Guimaraes sensation Jorge Fernandes, the Daily Mail reports.

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With Vitoria conceding just two goals this season in games in which Fernandes has featured, the 23-year-old centre-back is clearly a commanding force in defence.

With so many years ahead of him, the likes of Southampton, Newcastle United and Fulham are hoping to strike while the iron is hot.


— Arsenal are in talks with defender Rob Holding over a new contract with the club, Football Insider reports. The 25-year-old already has a deal that will run through until the end of the 2022-23 season, but after overcoming the injuries that have held back his Gunners career thus far, Arsenal are hoping to reward him by cementing his long-term future at the Emirates.

— Atalanta are on the verge of securing a deal for Genk defender Joakim Maehle, Gianluca Di Marzio reports. The expectation is that the right-back will be sold for a fee of around €10m and is likely to play his final game for the club on Dec. 27 before making the switch to the high-flying Italian side.

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