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Toronto want to add Torino’s Belotti along with Napoli’s Insigne

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The January transfer window is almost upon us and, naturally, all the gossip on who’s moving where is heating up. Transfer Talk brings you all the latest buzz as we count down to the 2022 winter window.

TOP STORY: Belotti could join Insigne at Toronto FC

Toronto FC have wasted little time in looking to make amends for a disappointing 13th placed finish in Major League Soccer last season, with reports that they are preparing a sensational double swoop from Serie A.

After it was reported that they have agreed a deal to sign Lorenzo Insigne on a free transfer next summer, the Reds are now looking to launch a move for Andrea Belotti to join up with his international teammate, according to Gianluca Di Marzio.

Talks have already begun over a potential move for the 28-year-old striker who, like Insigne, is set to be out of contract at the end of the Serie A season. The report adds that Toronto are prepared to offer a more lucrative contract than what Torino have previously put on the table to keep ahold of their talisman.

The Canadian side was among the lowest scorers in the Eastern Conference last season, netting just 39 goals in 34 games, but those numbers could soon show significant improvement, with Belotti’s proven marksmanship evident from 56 goal contributions during his last three seasons in Serie A.

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21.13 GMT: Napoli are continuing to look for reinforcements to their defensive line, and they have identified Axel Tuanzebe as a target for January, reports Gianluca Di Marzio. The 24-year-old defender is on loan at Aston Villa from Manchester United, but the Serie A club have enquired whether they can strike a deal that would transfer the rights to the loan to Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

20.40 GMT: A race is heating up for the signature of Gianluca Scamacca, with Arsenal and a host of Serie A clubs tracking him, according to Nicolo Schira. The 22-year-old striker has scored six goals in 19 appearances this season and has captured the attention of Juventus, AC Milan and Fiorentina, although it is reported that Sassuolo have no plans to move him on during the January transfer window.

20.07 GMT: Hugo Lloris is on the radar of Nice, with Foot Mercato reporting that the Ligue 1 club have made the France No. 1 a priority for the summer. The report states that the 35-year-old goalkeeper would be interested in returning to his former club, with his contract at Tottenham Hotspur set to expire at the end of the season, and Nice are ready to take advantage should he not agree to fresh terms in north London.

19.34 GMT: The Telegraph writes that Newcastle United are looking to get a deal for Kieran Trippier confirmed early in the January transfer window. It is reported that the move could be announced as early as Jan. 3, with the St. James’ Park hierarchy making the 31-year-old Atletico Madrid right-back a priority as they prepare to reinforce the squad.

19.00 GMT: TUDN reports that Rodolfo Pizarro is set to return to Liga MX and rejoin Monterrey on loan.
The 27-year-old Inter Miami midfielder will move back to his former club for at least one year, and potentially two, and it is reported that he has accepted a 70% pay cut to help advance the deal.

18.23 GMT: New York City FC star James Sands could be set for a move to Europe, with Ekrem Konur reporting that Rangers are tracking him.

The story suggests that the Scottish Premier League club are weighing up a loan with an option to make the move permanent. The 21-year-old defender/midfielder featured 30 times for the MLS Cup champions in 2021, and enjoyed an impressive spell with the United States during their Gold Cup triumph last summer.

17.43 GMT: Juan Mata could be set for a return to Spain, with Real Sociedad keen on acquiring him from Manchester United in the January transfer window, according to the Sun.

The LaLiga club wants Ralf Rangnick’s side to terminate Mata’s contract to allow them to sign him on a free transfer, with the 33-year-old having just six months remaining on his contract at Old Trafford. The former Valencia and Chelsea star has played just 152 minutes of football this season, and is yet to make a single appearance in the Premier League.

17.00 GMT: Fabrizio Romano reports that Denis Zakaria has told Borussia Monchengladbach that he plans to leave the Bundesliga club at the end of the season. The 25-year-old midfielder has been tracked by a number of clubs who are interested in signing him on a free transfer once his contract expires this summer, and it is reported that Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Juventus and two sides from the Premier League have started initial talks with Switzerland international’s agent.

16.14 GMT: The Houston Dynamo has agreed terms with Paulo Nagamura to be the team’s next manager, a source confirmed to ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle.

Glenn Davis, the Dynamo’s play-by-play announcer and host of Soccer Matters on ESPN Houston, was the first to report the selection of Nagamura.

Nagamura, 38, replaces Tab Ramos, whose contract wasn’t renewed following the 2021 season. The search was conducted by new Dynamo GM Pat Onstad.

Nagamura was most recently manager of Sporting Kansas City’s reserve side. In four seasons as Sporting Kansas City II manager, Nagamura recorded a record of 30-61-25, as the organization focused on youth development. He also served as an assistant with the team in 2017. During his time with the team, the Brazilian coached 15 of the organization’s homegrown players, as well as 23 academy products. Included in this group is current Venezia and United States international midfielder Gianluca Busio.

15.09 GMT: When it comes to football agents, Giovanni Branchini isn’t just old school. He’s the proverbial rock that was quarried to build the old school, way back in 1986.

He brought Romario and (the original) Ronaldo to Europe, advised Sir Alex Ferguson to sign a young Cristiano Ronaldo and brokered Pep Guardiola’s move Bayern Munich.

So when Branchini talks about agents and intermediaries, as he did on a recent episode of “Gab & Juls Meet,” he does it as an insider who knows and understands the system. He knows what he’s talking about; he thinks there should be clear rules for agents, and that FIFA made a terrible mistake when it deregulated the business in 2015.

– Marcotti: Why the transfer market and spending continue to be shrouded in secrecy

14.22 GMT: Leeds United winger and Raphinha is not going to push for a transfer during the January transfer window despite interest from Liverpool and Bayern Munich, the Daily Mirror reports.

The Brazil international is Leeds’ top scorer this season with eight Premier League goals, and has attracted attention from some of Europe’s biggest clubs.

Leeds want to offer the 25-year-old a new contract to replace the four-year deal he signed when he joined from Rennes in a £17m transfer in October 2020.

Whether talks open over an extension at Elland Road, Raphinha is set to remain at the club until at least the summer.

13.29 GMT: Barcelona are set to sign young winger Fabio Blanco from Eintracht Frankfurt in January, according to Diario Sport.

Blanco, 17, will join Barca for a relatively small fee that will increase depending on appearances and performances for the first team.

Barca first tried to sign Blanco last summer when his contract with Valencia expired, but the player preferred a move to Germany where he was promised a quicker pathway to first-team football.

However, per Sport’s report, he feels those promises have not been fulfilled and is now ready to return to Spain, where he will initially play for Barca’s B team in the third division.

If the deal goes through, it will be the second operation Blanco’s agency, Leaderbrock Sports, have done with Barcelona in a short space of time.

They also represent Ferran Torres, who moved to Camp Nou in a €55m transfer this week, and have Barca midfielder Pedri Gonzalez on their books, too.

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12.34 GMT: Manchester United have rejected a loan offer from Sevilla for striker Anthony Martial, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.

Martial has told coach Ralf Rangnick he wants to leave in January but United have turned down an approach from the Spanish side because they only offered to cover half of his wages.

Sources have told ESPN that the club will only consider offers that cover all of Martial’s wages and includes a loan fee. United are happy to keep the 26-year-old if the conditions are not met.

The France international is under contract at Old Trafford until 2024, with the option of another year, after signing an extension in 2019.

11.41 GMT: Germany international defender Matthias Ginter has announced that he will leave Borussia Monchengladbach when his contract expires in the summer.

Ginter is out of contract at the end of the season, and is therefore free to open talks with clubs outside the Bundesliga over a free transfer in July. He has been linked with interest from Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Inter Milan and Newcastle United.

The 27-year-old, who started all four of Germany’s matches at Euro 2020, wrote in a post on Instagram: “After long deliberation, I have decided not to renew my expiring contract. After five fantastic years at Borussia Monchengladbach, it is difficult for me to take this step, but I’ve decided upon a different path for my personal and professional development.

“I owe a lot to the fans of Borussia and shall always carry this club in my heart. Now I will go full steam ahead into the second half of the season. Those who know me know that I will give everything to accomplish the goals still possible in this season together with everyone else.”

10.48 GMT: Kylian Mbappe has said he will not leave Paris Saint-Germain in the January transfer window and played down reports linking him with a move to Real Madrid next season.

Sources previously told ESPN that PSG rejected a €200m offer from Madrid in August despite Mbappe having made it clear he did not wish to renew his contract at the Parc des Princes.

Mbappe, 22, is free to negotiate a move away from Paris in January, as he will be a free agent next summer, but said he doesn’t plan on leaving the French capital next month.

“I will give everything I have to win the Champions League, the league and the cup,” Mbappe told CNN. “And to give all the pleasure to the fans, because they deserve it.”

When asked if he planned on moving to Madrid in the summer, Mbappe laughed and replied his “mind is to beat Real Madrid in February and March” when both sides meet in the Champions League.

In October, Mbappe confirmed that he expressed his desire to leave PSG last July and said he doesn’t regret his decision being open about his future.

“I was honest. I gave a feeling, I gave what I have in my heart,” he added. “I’m happy to stay … it’s my city too. I’m French … I want to win everything this season.”

09.53 GMT: Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley could make a return to boyhood club Everton on loan in January, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Barkley, 28, made his professional debut for Everton in 2011 after coming through the youth ranks, and made 150 Premier League appearances for the Toffees before joining Chelsea in 2018 for a £15m transfer fee.

However, he has only started one Premier League match under Thomas Tuchel since returning from a loan spell at Aston Villa in the summer.

09.00 GMT: Manchester City will not replace Ferran Torres in the January transfer window and will instead renew their efforts to sign a striker next summer, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.

Torres was officially confirmed as a Barcelona player on Tuesday after City accepted a bid of €55m with another €10m in add-ons.

But instead of trying to bring in another forward in January, City are set to use the money to boost their bid to sign a striker in the summer.

They still hold an interest in Harry Kane, while Erling Haaland is also among their list of targets.

Academy graduate Cole Palmer, 19, is set to play a more prominent role during the second half of the season to compensate for the loss of Torres.

PAPER GOSSIP (by Adam Brown)

Napoli are looking to acquire a left-back and have identified two candidates as potential recruitments, according to Foot Mercato. The first is Lucas Digne, who has found himself outside of Everton‘s starting XI, but the 28-year-old is also on the shortlist of Chelsea. The Serie A club are also keen on Layvin Kurzawa, who could be much easier to sign, having featured in just nine minutes for Paris Saint-Germain this season.

Ekrem Konur writes that AC Milan are keen to sign Hakim Ziyech on loan. Chelsea are open to letting their 28-year-old attacking midfielder go despite a recent upturn in form, and Serie A is one of the destinations that is possible in the January transfer window, though it’s unclear whether the Blues will insist on an obligation to make the move permanent as part of the deal. Ziyech has scored just twice in 17 appearances this season.

– AC Milan are also in the market for centre-back, and Sport Italia reports that they are the latest side to join the race for Attila Szalai. The 23-year-old centre-back has attracted interest from multiple clubs over the last few months, with Atletico Madrid also linked in a potential move. He has been a stalwart for Fenerbahce this season, starring in 25 games.

– A new name has been added to Newcastle United‘s shopping list, with reports that the club are targeting Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos in the January market, according to Ekrem Konur. The 25-year-old has been in impressive form since joining the Scottish side, and he is the club’s all-time top European scorer, though a move to St. James Park would be the forward’s first experience in Europe’s top-five leagues.

Tottenham Hotspur are the latest club to be monitoring Mattias Svanberg, writes Nicolo Schira. The 22-year-old Bologna star has caught the attention of multiple clubs in the past months, with Manchester City rumoured to have sent scouts to watch him during a Serie A clash against AS Roma in December. He has contributed to four goals in 14 games when being deployed as a central midfielder this season.

Fabrizio Romano reports that former MLS star Alvaro Medran is set to join Saudi club Al-Taawoun. The 27-year-old midfielder was a regular for the Chicago Fire last season, contributing to nine goals in 32 appearances. And despite receiving offers that would have seen him remain in MLS, he has decided to continue his career in Saudi Arabia.

Sport Italia writes that Antonio Rudiger‘s move to Real Madrid is just “a matter of time.” The 28-year-old centre-back has made no signs of progress on a new deal with Chelsea despite the club keen on keeping him at Stamford Bridge, and now it looks as though he will be the latest free agent to head to the Santiago Bernabeu. The report adds that he will receive a €10 million per year salary.



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Chelsea and Liverpool prove Premier League excitement, even if title is a foregone conclusion

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LONDON — Manchester City have shown themselves to be in a league of their own, so the Premier League should be thankful that Chelsea and Liverpool are still able to keep us all entertained. Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge helped neither team and only consolidated City’s vice-like grip on the top spot, but football is about jeopardy, risk and overcoming flaws, and when it all comes together, you get an unforgettable game like this one.

Even before City moved 11 points clear at the top of table with a 2-1 win at Arsenal on Saturday, this second-versus-third clash was always a case of both sides needing to win to maintain faint hopes of catching Pep Guardiola’s winning machine. City’s win at the Emirates was their 11th successive Premier League victory and they have all been won with such monotonous ease, scoring 33 goals and conceding just seven, that every three points is now met with little more than a shrug of inevitability.

Barring an unlikely collapse in the second half of the season, City will win a fourth league title in five years and you will struggle to count on the fingers of one hand the times they have had to dig deep into their reserves to overcome adversity during that period. Guardiola has built one of the all-time great teams in English football history during his six years at the Etihad, but they may simply be too good to contribute to games like this one.

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Chelsea and Liverpool gave us such a pulsating encounter because they both have weaknesses that can be exploited by their opponents. And as a result, they both had to take risks in an attempt to secure a crucial victory.

And they also had to go into the game with unwanted distractions hovering over both clubs.

Chelsea, with three wins from their past eight in the league, were without £97.5 million striker Romelu Lukaku, dropped by coach Thomas Tuchel because of an outspoken interview about his failure to impress so far at Stamford Bridge since returning to the club from Internazionale in the summer. And Liverpool were without manager Jurgen Klopp, goalkeeper Alisson, defender Joel Matip and forward Roberto Firmino — all isolating because of COVID-19.

City, in contrast, have enjoyed a remarkably serene run of successes since losing to Crystal Palace in October, which is why they are free-rolling to another title. But the Premier League is regarded as the most exciting in world football because of games like this, and teams like Chelsea and Liverpool and the drama they create.

From the first minute, when Sadio Mane was fortunate to escape a red card for appearing to strike Cesar Azpilicueta in the face with an elbow after just 14 seconds, the game was incident-packed. Azpilicueta later said it was a “clear red card” when interviewed after the game.

Christian Pulisic, playing centrally in the absence of Lukaku, wasted a golden chance to open the scoring on seven minutes when, with only stand-in keeper Caoimhin Kelleher to beat, he was indecisive and allowed the youngster to smother the ball. It proved a costly miss when, two minutes later, Mane took advantage of his lucky escape from a sending off by pouncing on a mistake by Trevoh Chalobah to score.

Chelsea were in disarray and Liverpool looked like the team that won the title in 2019. When Mohamed Salah made it 2-0 on 26 minutes with a stunning near-post finish after gliding past Marcos Alonso, it seemed as though Liverpool were about to give Chelsea the kind of hammering they inflicted on Manchester United during a 5-0 rout at Old Trafford earlier this season.

Liverpool were unable to score a third, though, and two Chelsea goals in the space of three minutes at the end of the first half turned the game on its head.

When Kelleher punched Alonso’s in-swinging free kick clear on 42 minutes, the keeper looked to have done well to deny the Chelsea defender. But the ball dropped the Mateo Kovacic on the edge of the penalty area and, as he was backpedaling, the midfielder somehow guided a volley beyond Kelleher and into the net. It was a spectacular display of technique by the former Real Madrid player and it gave Chelsea a foothold back into the game.

And it took them just three minutes to score the equaliser when Pulisic atoned for his earlier miss by latching onto N’Golo Kante‘s pass before beating Kelleher with a precise left-foot shot past the Republic of Ireland international. As the chaos continued on the pitch, Mason Mount almost put Chelsea 3-2 up in first-half stoppage time with a scuffed volley that bounced just wide of the post.

When a game is so eventful in the first half, it rarely delivers a second half of the same quality because of coaches plugging the holes that had led to the earlier excitement. But while the goals stopped flowing, the entertainment didn’t.

Salah forced a crucial save from Edouard Mendy with a 25-yard lob on 57 minutes and Mane was also denied by the Chelsea keeper. Kelleher, not to be outdone, then produced a stunning save to prevent Pulisic from scoring his second of the game.

In total, there were 25 chances over the 90 minutes, with both sides registering six on target. Neither could find a winner, though.

“For the outside world it was quite a good game to watch, but we came here for three points and didn’t get them,” Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk said.

Even if one team had done enough to claim all three points, it’s difficult to imagine they would have been able to close the gap on City, who are destined for another title. And the challenge facing both chasing clubs only grows more daunting in the next month, with Salah (Egypt), Mendy and Mane (both Senegal) now heading off to the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

But the Premier League still knows how to excite, even if the title is already a foregone conclusion.

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Michael Scudamore has Do Your Job in mind for Doncaster | Racing News

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Doncaster’s Lightning Novices’ Chase could be next on the agenda for Do Your Job following his creditable effort in defeat at Kempton over the festive period.

Runner-up to My Drogo and Belfast Banter in Grade Two and Grade One novice hurdles in the spring, Michael Scudamore’s stable star made a successful start to his chasing career at Warwick in November.

The eight-year-old fell at the eighth fence when stepped up in class for the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown, but bounced back to finish second to Edwardstone in the Wayward Lad last week.

With Scudamore keen to avoid a rematch with the winner, who is seemingly bound for the Kingmaker at Warwick, Do Your Job could instead bid for Grade Two honours at Doncaster on January 29.

Reflecting on his Kempton performance, the trainer said: “I was very pleased. He jumped well and travelled well and did everything right, he was just beaten by a better horse on the day.

“The main objective was a clear round really and maybe if we hadn’t fallen at Sandown we might have pressed on a bit more and made it more of a staying race.

“The most important thing was to get a clear round under his belt and get some more experience over fences for him.

“I think we’ll stick to novice races while we can and we might look to the race at Doncaster. That is what we have pencilled in at the moment, anyway.

“It would certainly be Plan A to try and avoid Edwardstone and I was very pleased to read he was going to go for the Kingmaker. Hopefully they stick to that plan!”

While Do Your Job looks set to remain in novice company on his next start, Scudamore admitted is considering a step into the handicap arena for the Grand Annual at Cheltenham – a race he won with Next Sensation in 2015.

He added: “I’m sure he’ll have an entry in that. He also ran very well at Aintree last year, so there’s that to consider as well.

“He looks like a horse that could have the right sort of profile for a Grand Annual and we’ll see nearer the time.

“In some ways it might make more sense to go for a handicap now, but as we saw at Kempton some of these novice events don’t have a lot of runners in them and there’s some decent prize-money on offer, so it seems silly to pass them over when you’ve only got one chance to run in them really.”



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Adiwang hopes to fight Saruta next

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Lito Adiwang was booted out of ONE Championship strawweight rankings after coming up short against Jarred Brooks. ‘The Thunder Kid’ is already itching to step back inside the cage and hopes to fight a ranked fighter next.

Of the fighters in the ONE Championship strawweight division rankings, the 28-year-old Filipino seeks to score a date with No.2-ranked Yosuke Saruta.

“I want a big comeback. I still want a big name. I want to challenge Yosuke Saruta. Maybe if ONE allows it, and he wants it, then I’ll take it. Saruta is someone who I really want to test myself against,” said Adiwang in an interview with ONE Championship.

The 28-year-old admits it is a dangerous fight and a huge risk to take. The high-risk, high-reward scenario is something that Adiwang would like to take as he seeks to put his name back in the rankings again by beating a former champion.

“It’s a big risk for me because I’m coming off a loss, but I want a great comeback and a big name in my return so I don’t fall far off from the rankings.”


Lito Adiwang seeking for a better year in 2022 at ONE Championship

Adiwang now holds a professional record of 13-4 and has been competing in ONE Championship since October 2018. He won his first five fights before receiving his first loss against Koha Minowa via a split decision two years later.

The Benguet-based fighter had three fights in 2021. However, he also suffered his second loss in ONE Championship against Jarred Brooks.

Still in his prime, Adiwang goes back to the drawing board and seeks to polish his MMA skills in 2022.

“I have to check my mistakes inside the Circle, but I also have to check my mistakes outside the Circle. It has to be a balance. Sometimes, I forget other personal obligations and those are the things that I have to work on. I have to balance things out based on last year. I have to correct this in 2022.”




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