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Deadline Day as it happened: Arsenal finally land Partey



The coronavirus pandemic has made the transfer market uncertain — the window closes for Europe’s top leagues today — but here are the rumours floating around. Plus, check out the latest major completed transfers across Europe.

Jump to: What could the big European clubs do on Deadline Day?

Window closes: England (11 p.m. BST/6 p.m. ET) | Spain (11 p.m. BST/6 p.m. ET) | France (11 p.m. BST/6 p.m. ET) | Italy (7 p.m. BST/2 p.m. ET) | Germany (5 p.m. BST/ 12 p.m. ET)

Stream a replay of FC Daily’s Deadline Day Special

TOP STORY: Arsenal sign Partey just as the transfer window closes

It took until the 11th hour but Arsenal have announced they have signed Ghanaian international Thomas Partey, after activating the midfielder’s £45 million release clause earlier in the day.

The Gunners ultimately landed their top target, with Atletico Madrid holding firm that they would not sell Partey unless the 27-year-old’s release clause was triggered.

In a separate deal, Lucas Torreira has joined Atletico on loan, while Matteo Guendouzi joined Hertha Berlin on loan earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, Manchester United have signed left-back Alex Telles, who arrives from Porto on a four-year contract in a deal worth around €15 million, and completed a deal for free agent striker Edinson Cavani.

United are also set to sign Atalanta‘s Amad Traore, although a move for the 18-year-old will have to wait until January to be completed due to work permit regulations.

Leaving Old Trafford is Chris Smalling, who completed a permanent transfer to Roma just before the Italian transfer deadline passed.


22.49 BST: Catching up on a few more newsworthy items from the end of the day…

Everton have signed competition for Jordan Pickford, bringing in goalkeeper Robin Olsen from Roma on loan.

– As we predicted earlier, PSG have signed Barcelona’s Rafinha on a free transfer. The Brazilian was told earlier this month he was not part of Ronald Koeman’s plans at Barcelona.

– Chesea’s Fikayo Tomori turned down a last-minute loan move to West Ham, electing instead to stay and fight for his place at Stamford Bridge.

– Nice landed Lyon and ex-Arsenal midfielder Jeff Reine-Adelaide on loan. The Riviera club have an option to buy the France Under-21 international next summer for €25 million.

– Barca failed to land centre-back Eric Garcia from Man City, refusing to meet City’s £20 million asking price.

– Everton flop Sandro Ramirez joins newly-promoted Elche on a free transfer.

– Benfica have landed Jean-Clair Todibo on a two-year loan from Barcelona, that can be converted into a permanent deal for €20 million.

23.36 BST: Manchester United have already signed a veteran Uruguayan in Edinson Cavani and now one for the future in Facundo Pellistri!

The 18-year-old winger joins on a five-year contract from Penarol, having already made 37 appearances for the Uruguayan giants.

“To join a club with the history of Manchester United is a dream come true,” said Pellistri. “I have learnt a lot at Penarol and I would like to thank them for everything they have done for me. To have the confidence of the manager is an amazing feeling and I know that working with him will be perfect for my development.

“I am coming into a squad full of great players who I will learn from every day. Everyone knows that Manchester United is a club that gives young players an opportunity and I am ready to work hard every day to earn those chances and prove myself in England.”

United also signed another highly-rated youngster Willy Kambwala, 16, from Sochaux.

23.20 BST: There it is!

Arsenal have announced they have signed defensive midfielder Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid.

Arsenal triggered the 27-year-old’s £45 million release earlier in the day, before Partey subsequently completed his medical.

Here’s what our resident scout Tor-Kristian Karlsen had to say about the high-profile transfer:

Partey brings a relatively rare blend of industry, creativity and mobility to the Arsenal midfield. He likes to pick up the ball deep, creating a link between the defence and the midfield — plus he also has the vision to pick out movements further up the pitch. Perhaps slightly under appreciated in Spain, but his presence, ability to shield the centre-backs and to start attacks could prove vital for Arsenal.

23.11 BST: Atletico Madrid have just sent a couple of newsworthy tweets…

So Thomas Partey is off to Arsenal, while Lucas Torreira comes the other way in a separate deal and joins Atletico on loan.

22.57 BST: Fulham have finally brought in some defensive help, the club unveiling Joachim Andersen.

The Denmark international joins on a season-long loan from Lyon, whom he joined last summer from Sampdoria for €24 million. The 24-year-old, who was excellent during his time at Samp, struggled to adapt to life in France with Lyon, starting only 17 games for OL in his debut season.

Andersen will have his work cut out for him, as he hopes to stablise a defense that has conceded 11 goals in four Premier League games. Stay tuned as it sounds as if Fulham aren’t quite done just yet..

22.45 BST: Everton want to bring in a goalkeeper to push the struggling Jordan Pickford, and reports indicate the club is closing in on Sweden No. 1 Robin Olsen.

The 30-year-old is expected to arrive from Roma, after spending last season on loan at Cagliari. Everton also pursued Manchester United’s Sergio Romero, whose wife does not seem happy to be staying at Old Trafford.

22.34 BST: Leeds have gotten a deal for Brazilian winger Raphinha over the line.

The 23-year-old, who is valued at €17 million, scored nine goals and added five assists last season for Rennes, and becomes newly-promoted Leeds’ eighth signing of the window.

22.23 BST: Southampton have brought Theo Walcott home after 14 years away.

The South Coast side have signed the former England man, who played for them during the 2005-06 season, on a loan deal. Walcott was expendable at Everton, who

22.06 BST: As expected, Man United have signed free agent striker Edinson Cavani.

The Uruguayan striker, 33, joins on a free transfer and will put pen to paper on a two-year contract with the Old Trafford club. El Matador’s prestigious CV includes being PSG’s all-time record scorer (200 goals in 301 appearances) and 19 trophies at the French club. With 50 goals in 116 caps for Uruguay, Cavani also won the 2011 Copa America with his country.

Our resident scout Tor-Kristian Karlsen ran the rule over the veteran striker’s move to Old Trafford:

Cavani should add experience, finishing quality and presence to the Manchester United attack. He may not be the player he was some years back — when he could outrun opposing centre-backs and chase balls played in behind — but he can still make himself felt in the penalty area, on the ground as well as in the air.

A low-risk signing. If it doesn’t work out, he’ll pick up a contract somewhere else and Man Utd will move on.

21.57 BST: Barcelona’s Rafinha is close to joining French side Paris Saint-Germain, sources have confirmed to ESPN. The two clubs are negotiating the terms of the transfer and a source close to the talks says a deal is “probable” before the transfer window closes in two hours.

Mundo Deportivo report that PSG will pay up to €3 million in variables for the Brazilian international, who is out of contract next summer. Barca will also receive 35 percent of any future sale.

Rafinha, 27, has been at Barca since 2006 but spent last season on loan at Celta Vigo. New Barca coach Ronald Koeman told him he wasn’t in his plans when he took over, opening the door to a move for the midfielder, whose brother, Thiago, joined Liverpool earlier this summer.

21.36 BST: What’s up with DeAndre Yedlin?

The United States international looked to be a lock to leave Newcastle this window but now it looks like he could stay. Aaron Stokes from the Daily Star reports that Yedlin will be staying on Tyneside through the deadline and will reevaluate his future in January.

The 27-year-old, whose contract expires at the end of the season, had been linked with clubs in Holland, the United States and Turkey.

21.20 BST: Celtic have got their man, the club announcing they have signed Uruguayan left-back Diego Laxalt on loan from AC Milan.

The 27-year-old, who can play left-back or left-winger, joins after spending the last two seasons at Milan. A key player at the 2018 World Cup for Uruguay, the pacy Laxalt has previously had spells in Italy with Inter, Bologna, Empoli, Genoa and Torino.

21.11 BST: Sticking with Man United for a moment, the Red Devils are set to sign young Atalanta winger Amad Traore.

The 18-year-old, who has only played 25 Serie A minutes for Atalanta, is poised to move to Old Trafford for a reported €21 million plus £20m in add-ons. The deal for the Ivorian will have to wait until January to be completed due to work permit regulations, sources added.

United turned to Traore late in the window after failing to make headway with moves for the likes of Jadon Sancho, Ousmane Dembele and Ismaila Sarr.

20.54 BST: Chris Smalling is finally a Roma player.

After months of back and forth between Roma and Man United, the clubs still left it late on deadline day, just beating the buzzer with the necessary paper work. Roma will pay €15 million plus a potential €5m more in add-ons for the centre-back, who was a revelation for Roma while on loan last season.

Smalling, 30, spent 10 years at United after joining from Fulham in 2010.

20.33 BST: Fulham are expected to land two centre-backs in Joachim Anderson and Timo Baumgartl but could a talented young midfielder also be on his way to Craven Cottage?

The Athletic understands that Fulham are closing in on a loan move for Chelsea’s Ruben Loftus-Cheek, with the England man currently undergoing a medical with the club. The 24-year-old, who has struggled with injuries in recent years, would represent a coup for a Fulham side that has only scored in one of their four Premier League games since jumping back up to the top flight.

The England international has made 82 appearances for the Blues, scoring 12 goals and adding 11 assists.

20.17 BST: One from a little earlier, Newcastle put a bow on a very productive summer window, by signing Peruvian youngster Rodrigo Vilca from Deportivo Municipal.

The 21-year-old attacking midfielder becomes Steve Bruce’s sixth signing of the summer, following the arrivals of Callum Wilson, Jeff Hendrick, Ryan Fraser, Jamal Lewis and Mark Gillespie.

20.01 BST: How about some news from West Ham where there are suddenly happenings going on?

– The Hammers have terminated Jack Wilshere’s contract by mutual consent, ending a disappointing two-year run at the club.

The club is also monitoring Chelsea’s Fikayo Tomori, hoping to land the promising young centre-back on a loan deal, now that Antonio Rudiger looks set to stay at Stamford Bridge.

– Finally, Felipe Anderson looks like he could leave the club, with Porto trying to acquire the winger on a season-long loan.

It looks as if they will be working late tonight at the London Stadium.

19.47 BST: Bayern Munich have loaned out young French midfielder Michael Cuisance to Marseille.

The 21-year-old, who saw a permanent deal to Leeds collapse in midweek, will join the Ligue runners-up on a season-long loan. Cuisanace, who arrived from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2019, has made 11 first-team appearances at Bayern to date, and will continue his development in France.

The deal is the second the two clubs have done on deadline day, as Marseille sold Bouna Sarr to the treble winners earlier in the day.

19.32 BST: Good news Arsenal fans, it looks as if Thomas Partey will be a Gunner by the end of the day.

ESPN’s James Olley has confirmed that Arsenal have triggered Partey’s €50 million release clause (£45), the first step in finalising a deal for the Ghanaian defensive midfielder.

Arsenal have tracked Partey all summer and pending a medical, Mikel Arteta looks as if he will get his man despite the long wait. The rugged midfielder has been a lynchpin for Atletico in recent years and would fill a major void in Arsenal’s team. We’ll be following this one closely in the coming hours.

19.24 BST: Fiorentina have loaned out young winger Federico Chiesa to Juventus but they have quickly found a replacement in Jose Callejon.

The veteran Spaniard, 33, has joined La Viola on a free transfer after seven successful seasons at Napoli. Callejon made 350 appearances for Napoli, scoring 82 goals and supplying 78 assists, while winning two Coppa Italia titles for the Partenopei.

19.12 BST: Tottenham don’t look as if they will sign Inter’s Milan Skriniar or Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger but that doesn’t mean they won’t sign a centre-back before the deadline.

Sky Sports has learned that Spurs are working on signing a surprising target: Swansea’s Joe Rodon. Tottenham have begun talks with Swansea regarding the 22-year-old Welshman, who is rated at £18 million. Spurs don’t need to rush on this one either, as the domestic window remains open until October 16.

18.56 BST: Roma and Man United have come to a €15 million agreement plus €5m in add-ons for the transfer of centre-back Chris Smalling, according to The Athletic.

This one has dragged on all summer and there could be more drama yet, as while a deal has been agreed, the race is on to get the deal done in the closing minutes before Italy’s window closes at 7pm (8pm Italian time).

Smalling, who was excellent while on loan at last season at Roma, has been Roma’s top target all summer but the two clubs have yet to come to an agreement on a fee.

18.44 BST: Celtic are closing in on a new left-back, with AC Milan’s Diego Laxalt currently undergoing a medical ahead of a loan move to Parkhead, according to Sky Sports.

The Uruguay international, who can play as a left-back or left-winger, has been used sparingly at Milan since arriving from Genoa for €14 million in 2018.

18.33 BST: Chelsea have sent central midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko out on loan to Napoli.

The midfielder, who cost Chelsea £40 million in 2017, has been away from Stamford Bridge the last two seasons, spending a year each on loan at AC Milan and Monaco. Bakayoko made just 29 league appearances in his first season at Chelsea, and will now be reunited with fhis ormer manager at AC Milan Gennaro Gattuso.

Chelsea were hoping to sell Bakayoko outright to Milan or PSG, but were ultimately forced to settle for a loan deal.

18.20 BST: Man United have unveiled their exciting new left-back Alex Telles!

The Brazilian arrives from Porto on a four-year contract, with an option to extend the deal a further year. Telles, 27, is one of the more prolific attacking left-backs in world football, racking up 26 goals and 50 assists over the past five seasons with Porto, including 13 and 12 last season. Telles is the first player in for United on deadline day, with Edinson Cavani and Amad Traore also expected to make the move to Old Trafford.

Here’s what our resident scout Tor-Kristian Karlsen thinks of Telles’s game:

Nowadays full-backs tend to pick up more recognition for their attacking qualities than for their defending — and Alex Telles is no exception. The Brazilian is an excellent crosser of the ball and his left foot has given Porto fans many a joy from set pieces. Quick, agile and direct, he covers the whole flank and has decent vision and creativity in the last third for a (left) full-back.

18.08 BST: And one of the big dominos has fallen…

Juventus have landed their top target Federico Chiesa on a two-year loan from Fiorentina. The 22-year-old Italy international will join the Old Lady on a temporary basis with Juve having an obligation to buy the player if certain conditions are met.

Juventus will pay Fiorentina €10 million over the next two years for Chiesa and have the option to buy Chiesa permanently for €40m after that, with the potential the deal could rise to €50m based on Chiesa’s performance. The winger, who has been at Fiorentina since he was nine, has scored 34 goals and 25 assists in 153 games for La Viola.

17.51 BST: Will Spurs be landing Inter Milan centre-back Milan Skriniar?

It sounds like the answer to that question is no, as transfer guru Fabrizio Romano claims that talks between the two clubs have ended. Spurs were reluctant to meet Inter’s €60 million valuation of the Slovakia defender, and thus will turn their attention to other targets, such as Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger.

17.34 BST: The Matteo Gueondouzi saga has come to an end — at least for now.

The Arsenal midfielder has finalised his loan move to Hertha Berlin, after a bust-up in June with Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta. The 21-year-old central midfielder is highly rated as a talent but his professionalism and maturity have come under question in recent months at the Emirates.

We’ll see if a year away can repair the relationship between the Frenchman and Arsenal.

17.18 BST: European champions Bayern Munich have strengthened further, making right-back Bouna Sarr the club’s seventh signing of the window.

The 28-year-old arrives after five seasons at Marseille and joins Leroy Sane, Douglas Costa, Marc Roca, Alexander Nubel, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Tanguy Nianzou as new Bayern arrivals. Bayern, who were desperate to add a right-back, initially chased Sergino Dest — who joined Barcelona — and were also linked with Norwich’s Max Aarons.

17.10 BST: Will Dele Alli stay or go?

Sources have told ESPN’s James Olley that Alli will stay at Tottenham and fight for his first-team place despite late interest from Paris Saint-Germain. The 24-year-old has fallen out of favour at Spurs, having started just two of the club’s eight games in all competitions amid rumours of a fractured relationship with head coach Jose Mourinho.

PSG and Inter Milan had been interested in taking the England international on loan but Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy dismissed suggestions of a temporary switch, indicating instead he would prefer a straight sale. However, no club has tabled a bid and with Levy determined not to let Alli go on the cheap, the midfielder is now almost certain to stay in North London.

Alli has not agitated to move and is keen to fight for his future at the club, having joined Spurs from MK Dons for £5m in 2015.

17.02 BST: RB Leipzig have announced they have signed Roma winger Justin Kluivert on loan from Roma.

The highly-rated 21-year-old, who has never truly taken off in Rome since arriving from Ajax in 2018, will join the German club initially on loan, with Leipzig having an option to buy next summer.

16.46 BST: Olympiacos have agreed to a deal for Wolves wing-back Ruben Vinagre.

The Portuguese, 21, will join initially on a season-long loan with reports suggesting that the Greek giants have the option to buy the player outright next summer for around £22.5 million. Vinagre, who has been at Wolves since 2017, has made 70 appearances for the club, scoring three goals.

16.25 BST: Marco van Ginkel is still somehow on the Chelsea books but it looks as if he is headed out for another loan.

The Daily Mail has learned that the Dutch attacker is set to return to PSV for a fourth straight season on loan, after signing a new contract at Stamford Bridge this past summer. The 27-year-old, who has only played four times for the Blues, has not played for Chelsea since 2013, spending time on loan at AC Milan, Stoke and PSV.

Van Ginkel, who has eight caps for Holland, missed last season while recovering from an ACL injury but scored 16 goals for PSV in 2018.

16.04 BST: Atletico Madrid’s Hector Herrera has received interest from clubs in the Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A and elsewhere in recent months, including Major League Soccer, but isn’t set to move away from Los Colchoneros in the remaining hours of the transfer window, sources have told ESPN’s Tom Marshall.

The Mexico international, who only signed for the club in July 2019, will fight for more minutes under Diego Simeone in a midfield that should be bolstered by the loan of Lucas Torreira, but may lose Thomas Partey to Arsenal by the end of the day. It had been reported that Herrera would leave to make way for Torreira.

16.00 BST: Juventus have announced that defender Mattia De Sciglio has left to move to Lyon on loan.

15.50 BST: Davy Klaassen has left Werder Bremen to return to his boyhood club Ajax.

Ajax had offered €12m for the Dutch midfielder, but Werder held out for a fee closer to €15m and the 27-year-old has moved back to the Eredivisie.

15.44 BST: Deadline Day is fun, isn’t it?

Sources have told ESPN’s Moises Llorens that Ousmane Dembele is not training with Barcelona today. But is that because he’s got his heart set on a move? We’ll see.

15.34 BST: River Plate centre-back Lucas Martinez Quarta is now a Fiorentina player.

15.31 BST: The Guardian reports that Tottenham left-back Danny Rose is of interest to FC Porto.

Porto are looking to loan the 30-year-old to replace Manchester United-bound Alex Telles.

15.18 BST: Bayern Munich have announced the signing of Douglas Costa from Juventus on loan.

Costa, 30, scored 14 goals in 77 competitive matches in his first spell at Bayern between 2015-2018 following his move from Shakhtar Donetsk.

Bayern board member Hasan Salihamidzic said: “Douglas will strengthen us on the wings, which is important for our game. With Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sané, Kingsley Coman, Jamal Musiala and Douglas we now have top players in those areas. This gives the coach the opportunity to rotate the squad sensibly. Douglas knows FC Bayern and will settle in again very quickly.”

Costa said: “I’m very happy to be playing for FC Bayern again. I had a wonderful time in Munich with lots of successes and I’m sure we’ll win titles again.”

15.00 BST: Germany under-21 captain Arne Maier has joined Arminia Bielefeld on a one-year loan from Hertha Berlin.

The injury-prone midfielder decided against signing for the likes of Sampdoria or Rangers as he is looking to win more experience as a key player.

14.51 BST: Bayern Munich have completed the free signing of striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting after he left PSG.

In early 2011, Choupo-Moting was involved in one of the great Bundesliga transfer stories as a broken fax machine scuppered his loan move from Hamburg to Cologne. Instead he joined Mainz in the summer of 2011, where he met Thomas Tuchel who, of course, later signed him for PSG. It’s fair to say that a broken fax machine in January 2011 played a part in him joining Treble winners Bayern now. – Stephan Uersfeld.

14.40 BST: Record reports that Chelsea new boy Malang Sarr will head out to FC Porto on loan.

Sarr, 21, left French club Nice on a free this summer and signed a five-year contract at Stamford Bridge. However he is behind Kurt Zouma, Thiago Silva, Fikayo Tomori and Andreas Christensen — as well as Antonio Rudiger if he’s not allowed to depart — in the centre-back pecking order.

14.26 BST: Arsenal are all the rage today and Aftobladet reports they are set to sign Malmo striker Nikolaj Duus Moller.

Moller, 18, is rated at around £500,000 and has reportedly signed a four-year deal with the club, though he will go into Arsenal’s academy.

14.15 BST: Arsenal are working on securing a deal to sign Atletico Madrid‘s Thomas Partey before Monday’s transfer deadline after indicating they are willing to pay the midfielder’s €50m release clause, sources have confirmed to ESPN’s James Olley.

The Gunners have retained an interest in the 27-year-old throughout the summer but Atletico refused to budge from their valuation with Arsenal struggling to finance the deal as they sought to trim a bloated squad.

A reminder of how release clauses work in Spain: the player’s lawyers pay the clause at LaLiga HQ. LaLiga process and approve it, release the player’s registration, pass the fee on to the club. Hence no need for talks with Atletico – Alex Kirkland

14.13 BST: More on Man United’s chase for some young wingers from ESPN’s Rob Dawson.

Man United consider Amad Traore and Facundo Pellistri first team signings if they come in. Very young but highly rated and would be given the opportunity to break into the senior squad rather than going in with the academy. Possible Traore could be done today but join in January.

14.11 BST: Barcelona have announced losses of €97m for the 2019-20 season and confirmed that their total debt has doubled to €488m. Barca had hoped to become the first club to break €1bn in revenue last season but saw their finances hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The club posted their accounts for last season on Monday, revealing a total income of €855m, down over €200m on the €1.06bn they predicted they would have brought in without the coronavirus outbreak. That would have led to profits of around €30m.

13.54 BST: From last month, but it looks like Arsenal are going to sign Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey after all.



ESPN FC’s Colin Udoh delves into where the Gunners stand in their pursuit of Thomas Partey.

13.27 BST: The Times reports that Everton want a backup goalkeeper to challenge the error-prone Jordan Pickford.

Manchester United‘s Sergio Romero and Tottenham’s Paulo Gazzaniga are being linked but Everton want a loan move, while their clubs want a permanent deal.

13.15 BST: Manchester United endured a devastating weekend as they suffered a humiliating 6-1 defeat at home to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, leading to many questions about the club’s defensive options.

Much was made of United’s expensively assembled back line and how it once again crumbled as a back four that cost £200m was systematically torn asunder by Spurs. And that’s not even factoring in the vast amount of money that have been thrown at David de Gea in contract renewals over recent years to keep him between the sticks at Old Trafford.

Indeed, since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in May 2013, United have gone out and spent a total of £375.3m on defenders, with scant improvement to show for it. Here’s where and on whom that vast sum was frittered away, and a look at the relative value United got for their money.

13.00 BST: PSG have loaned 18-year-old forward Arnaud Kalimuendo to Lens for the season.

And Atletico Madrid forward Nicolas Schiappacasse has joined Sassuolo on a permanent deal.

12.57 BST: Goal is reporting that Arsenal have made a move to sign Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey.

The 27-year-old has been the Gunners’ top target since Houssem Aouar opted to stay at Lyon, but it looked unlikely they would pull off a deal before the deadline ended.

Partey has a release clause of €50m though, so at least they know what they have to pay. Arsenal’s Lucas Torreira is closing on a loan move to Atletico but the two deals aren’t linked.

12.36 BST: Mesut Ozil is set to see out the final year of his £350,000-a-week contract despite Arsenal’s attempts to offload him this summer, sources have told ESPN’s James Olley.

Having started the first 10 Premier League matches of head coach Mikel Arteta’s tenure, the 31-year-old has found himself frozen out of the first-team picture at Emirates Stadium having not appeared in any competition since March 7.

As revealed by ESPN on June 19, Ozil has been determined to stay at the club despite being offered around Europe. There was some interest in Ozil from the Far East, while Turkish club Fenerbahce had explored the possibility of a deal with Arsenal keen to cut their wage bill to help fund deals elsewhere.

Despite reports to the contrary, Arsenal have not looked to pay out the remaining 12 months of his contract and had hoped instead to offload him. But, barring an 11th-hour miracle, Ozil will now stay in north London and aim to win over Arteta in the coming months.

12.20 BST: Bayern Munich are close to completing a €10m deal for Marseille right-back Bouna Sarr, but they already have an American with plenty of potential.



Jan Aage Fjortoft praises Chris Richards as the latest young talent to break through at Bayern Munich.

12.12 BST: Fulham have been chasing a defender, with an €18m move for Barcelona‘s Jean-Clair Todibo considered.

However, the Athletic reports that PSV centre-back Timo Baumgartl is set to complete a loan with option to buy. And they’re also exploring a loan move for Lyon’s Joachim Anderson.

11.50 BST: As Germany under-21 captain Arne Maier joins Arminia Bielefeld on a one-year loan from Hertha Berlin, the capital club are set to be busy themselves.

They will sign Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi, 21, on a loan without a view to a permanent transfer, says the Daily Mirror, while Germany’s 2014 World Cup hero Mario Gotze could also still join the club, according to Bild.

Out of contract since leaving Borussia Dortmund this summer, Hertha do not have to rush to sign the 28-year-old who could still join on a free transfer once the window closes at 6 p.m. CEST.

11.33 BST: Sevilla have signed winger Oussama Idrissi from Eredivisie side AZ Alkmaar for around €12m.

The Athletic reports that they have also opened talks with Bournemouth for striker Joshua King, while Serie A side Torino have had a bid for the Norway international turned down.

11.22 BST: There are unlikely to be any more incomings at Manchester City on deadline day despite interest in bringing in a left-back, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.

Any move for another full-back would likely hinge on Oleksandr Zinchenko leaving the Etihad Stadium and he has told the club he would like to stay.

Defender Eric Garcia is still wanted by Barcelona and he wants to go, but there is still a gap in valuations. Barcelona are refusing to pay the full asking price of around £30m because Garcia only has a year left on his contract and has no intention of signing a new one.

Sources said that Garcia’s representatives are “waiting” for Barcelona’s next move.

11.18 BST: Panagiotis Retsos is set to leave Bayer Leverkusen for Saint-Etienne.

Retsos, 22, was on loan at Sheffield United during the second half of last season and now is set to join the Ligue 1 side where he could replace Wesley Fofana, who joined Leicester City. Leverkusen are hoping to reach an agreement on a loan deal with an option to sign the Greece international for €6.5m, kicker reports.

11.11 BST: Manchester United have been in a tailspin since Sir Alex Ferguson left in 2013.



Julien Laurens thinks the likelihood of Ousmane Dembele joining Man Utd has grown because of Paul Pogba’s influence.

11.03 BST: Manchester United are set to keep hold of Daniel James today despite interest from other Premier League clubs, sources have told ESPN’s Rob Dawson.

Leeds want James — either on loan or on a permanent deal — but he is unlikely to be allowed to leave, particularly because United are struggling to bring in a right winger before the deadline.

10.58 BST: Tottenham have been exploring the possibility of a loan move for Manchester City defender John Stones, says the Athletic.

City are likely to let centre-back Eric Garcia leave for Barcelona, so allowing Stones to depart as well wouldn’t be smart without a replacement.

Stones, 26, has fallen down the pecking order after the £63m arrival of Ruben Dias but Tottenham are reportedly “focusing on alternative options such as Antonio Rudiger of Chelsea.”

10.41 BST: ESPN’s Rob Dawson reports on some incomings and outgoings at Manchester United.

[Edinson] Cavani’s medical has gone well. Set to agree two-year contract with break clause available to club and player next summer. Due to sign this afternoon with announcement to follow. [Alex] Telles deal all but done. Fee of €15m with €2m in add-ons. Four-year contract plus an option.

United are set to keep hold of Brandon Williams and Daniel James today despite loan interest. Still want a right winger but [Jadon] Sancho deal looks dead and Barcelona unlikely to agree to straight loan for [Ousmane] Dembele. [Kingsley] Coman an option but getting very late.

10.35 BST: Bild reports that Werder Bremen are working on a deal to sign midfielder Marko Grujic on loan from Liverpool

Grujic, 24, has spent time on loan with Red Star, Cardiff and Hertha Berlin since joining the Reds in 2016. He doesn’t seem to be in Jurgen Klopp’s first-team so will head out again to replace Davy Klaassen, who is set to join former side Ajax.

10.30 BST: Manchester United reserves, sorry Inter Milan, have signed full-back Matteo Darmian from Parma on a season-long loan with an obligation to make the deal permanent.

10.24 BST: PSG announce the loan signing of Danilo Pereira from FC Porto with an option to sign him permanently next summer.

Interesting from ESPN’s James Olley: “Revealed in June that Arsenal were looking at Danilo Pereira as a possible alternative to Thomas Partey. Player was interested in the move but contact from Arsenal dried up and PSG stepped in. Lack of prompt sales and Arsenal’s belief Partey/Aouar deal(s) could be key factors.”

10.15 BST: Arsenal’s dinosaur mascot Gunnersaurus has been axed as part of cost-cutting measures in the club.

Jerry Quy, who has played the mascot since its introduction in 1993, worked part-time for the club and was seen as an unnecessary cost with no fans in stadiums. Sources have told ESPN that Quy will be allowed to return to the role when fans return to games.

– Jones: The untold story of Arsenal’s mascot

10.04 BST: Sky Sports reports that “AC Milan and Chelsea are in talks over a loan deal for defender Antonio Rudiger.”

Rudiger has dropped out of favour at Stamford Bridge and will be allowed to leave. PSG and Tottenham are also reportedly interested, but the 27-year-old would only be a backup option for those clubs and Chelsea want to avoid sending him to a rival, so interest from Spurs is probably a non-starter.

10.00 BST: Tottenham’s Ryan Sessegnon has headed to Bundesliga side Hoffenheim on loan for the season.

After starting just four Premier League games for Spurs since joining last summer, Sessegnon moves to Hoffenheim to resurrect a young career that has nosedived spectacularly. At Fulham the left-sided wide player looked destined for great things, but he’s failed to show much at Spurs. The open, attacking nature of the Bundesliga should provide a suitable environment for the 20-year old to recapture the threat going forward from his Fulham days. — Tor Kristian-Karlsen

09.51 BST: Bayern Munich look to have ended their interest in bringing in Callum Hudson-Odoi from Chelsea on loan, sources have told ESPN.

The Bundesliga champions tabled an offer over the weekend to loan Hudson-Odoi with the option to sign him permanently set at €70m, but Chelsea rejected the approach, sources said.

Bayern Munich were considering a follow up offer but turned attention to JuventusDouglas Costa and are close to agreeing a deal to sign him on loan for the season.

Hudson-Odoi was linked with a move away from Chelsea as the club bolstered their attacking resources in the summer, but he started their 4-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday and Frank Lampard has stated he is keen to keep the young winger at Stamford Bridge.

Bayern Munich have been long-term admirers of Hudson-Odoi and made a number of offers for him in 2019, but the winger opted to sign a new deal at Chelsea through to 2024.

09.40 BST: Ronald Koeman has said he wants two more signings and Barcelona are working to satisfy the Dutch coach’s demands, sources have told ESPN.

Personal terms have already been agreed with Manchester City defender Eric Garcia and Lyon forward Memphis Depay but financial problems are holding up the completion of any deals. Both players are out of contract next summer and Barca believe the pair would cost less than €40m, but they must sell before they can buy.

Barca are fielding offers for Jean-Clair Todibo, including one worth €18m from Premier League side Fulham, but the French defender is not sold on any of the clubs interested in him. If he leaves, sources say it’s almost certain Garcia will return to the club, having left for City in 2017.

09.26 BST: Real Madrid have beaten Barcelona to the signing of highly-rated teenage left-back Rafael Obrador, according to Marca.

The club had tracked the 16-year-old Real Mallorca youngster for several seasons, the newspaper reports, and sealed the deal in recent weeks ahead of a number of rival suitors, including the Catalan giants.

Obrador signed a long-term contract at Mallorca in October 2019, but was persuaded to change his plans by the head of Madrid’s academy Manu Fernandez.

09.11 BST: Everton winger Theo Walcott is in talks with Southampton over a season-long loan move to his former club, sources have told ESPN’s Mark Ogden.

Walcott, 31, who signed for Everton in a £20m transfer from Arsenal in January 2018, has been told he can leave Goodison Park by manager Carlo Ancelotti.

The former England international is one of Everton’s highest earners with wages of £135,000-a-week and talks are ongoing with Southampton over the size of their contribution to Walcott’s salary.

09.00 BST: Premier League leaders Everton have signed Norwich defender Ben Godfrey for around £20m, plus add-ons.

The England U-21 international has signed a five year deal and is Everton’s fifth signing of this transfer window following the arrivals of Niels Nkounkou, Allan, James Rodriguez and Abdoulaye Doucoure.

08.51 BST: Atletico Madrid‘s priority on the last day of the transfer window is to finalise departures for midfielders Thomas Lemar and Hector Herrera to make room for the arrival of Lucas Torreira, Diario AS reports.

Arsenal‘s Torreira was pictured taking a medical in Madrid on Saturday ahead of what’s expected to be a season-long loan deal with an option to buy.

Atletico need to free up wages to complete the signing, though, and according to AS, Lemar — who has been a huge disappointment since joining from Monaco for €72m in 2018 — and Mexico international Herrera could make way, with both linked to Porto.

08.45 BST: Could there be half a chance that Man United land Ousmane Dembele from Barcelona on loan today?



Julien Laurens thinks the likelihood of Ousmane Dembele joining Man Utd has grown because of Paul Pogba’s influence.

08.34 BST: River Plate centre-back Lucas Martinez Quarta will undergo a medical in Buenos Aires on Monday ahead of his permanent transfer to Fiorentina, according to TyC.

Quarta, 24, becomes a free agent next summer but the Argentina international will join La Viola for a reported €7m transfer and sign a five-year contract.

08.25 BST: Inter Milan are making one last attempt to bring back Víctor Moses to the club, Sky Italia reports.

The Nerazzurri are reportedly in talks with Chelsea to sign the Nigeria winger on a season-long loan.

Moses moved to Inter in January and made a total of 20 appearances for the club. Inter did not exercise the option to sign Moses permanently from Chelsea this summer but are hopeful of convincing the London club to loan the 29-year-old again for the season.

07.58 BST: Ajax are closing in on the signing of Davy Klaassen from Werder Bremen, sources have told ESPN’s Tom Hamilton.

Klaassen will undergo his medical on Monday morning and is then expected to sign for €12m.

The move sees him return to Ajax having left the club for Everton in 2017 for £24m. After an underwhelming season at Goodison Park he joined Werder in 2018 but he now returns to Amsterdam to help Ajax steer their season back on course after their 1-0 defeat to Groningen at the weekend.

07.45 BST: ICYMI – Everton striker Moise Kean will spend the rest of the season with Paris Saint-Germain after completing a loan move to the French champions on Sunday.

Italy international Kean, who arrived at Everton from Juventus in August 2019, has scored four goals in 37 appearances for the Merseyside team in all competitions. The 20-year-old has struggled for regular first-team opportunities under Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti.

07.39 BST: Manchester United will complete some final day ins and outs, says Mark Ogden, with Edinson Cavani likely to be the most high profile name arriving at Old Trafford.

The Uruguayan forward, a free agent following his summer exit from Paris Saint Germain, underwent a medical in Manchester on Sunday night, as did Porto left-back Alex Telles. Both deals are expected to be wrapped up today and United are continuing to look for a winger after missing out on top target Jadon Sancho.

Defender Chris Smalling is close to sealing a permanent move to Roma, while goalkeeper Sergio Romero and winger Daniel James could leave if interest from a group of clubs progresses before the deadline.

07.00 BST: Welcome to the start of Transfer Deadline Day. ESPN will have you covered across all of the major deals after a frankly ridiculous weekend of action in soccer.



Julien Laurens gives the latest on Ronald Koeman and Barcelona’s pursuit of Lyon’s Memphis Depay.

What could the big European clubs do?

By Jon Molyneux-Carter

LIVERPOOL: A backup option at centre-back is probably the only area the Reds need to strengthen, but it’s been a quiet few days and nobody has really been linked. Forward Xherdan Shaqiri could depart, as his place in the squad looks under threat. Another backup goalkeeper would also be useful after Alisson’s injury.

MAN CITY: Pep Guardiola says he’s happy, but the club’s poor start to the Premier League shows there are gaps to be filled. It’s unlikely anyone will fill them, though, and centre-back Eric Garcia could leave for Barcelona, while Oleksandr Zinchenko could also go.

CHELSEA: After spending over £220m on a host of new players, the Blues will be looking to raise some funds. Fikayo Tomori, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Emerson Palmieri and Antonio Rudiger could depart on loan. West Ham’s Declan Rice is top of the list as Frank Lampard still wants a defensive midfielder but, at £80m, is likely to be too expensive.

MAN UNITED: Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho was top target, but former PSG striker Edinson Cavani will arrive on a free transfer, and young winger Facundo Pellistri should come, too. Ousmane Dembele won’t happen but could a move for Bayern’s Kingsley Coman come off? Defence hasn’t seemed to be a priority, though it should be, and a backup for left-back Luke Shaw should arrive in the form of Porto’s Alex Telles. Diogo Dalot has joined Milan on loan, and there’s still time for Chris Smalling to get his move to Roma done.

ARSENAL: Lyon‘s Houssem Aouar and Atletico Madrid‘s Thomas Partey were key midfield targets but both look unlikely. Chelsea‘s Jorginho could be an option in an area the Gunners need to strengthen. Any or all of Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Shkodran Mustafi and Calum Chambers could leave, with midfielder Lucas Torreira expected to head to Atletico Madrid and Matteo Guendouzi to Hertha Berlin. Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith-Rowe could go out on loan; Mesut Ozil will likely stay but his friend Sead Kolasinac could join Leverkusen.

TOTTENHAM: Dele Alli continues to be linked with a loan move away to PSG, but Tottenham got their backup striker in Carlos Vinicius from Benfica. Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar is rated at €60m and Spurs want him, but they could go for Chelsea’s Rudiger as a backup if a deal can’t be done. Ryan Sessegnon has joined Hoffenheim on loan.

BARCELONA: It’s been a real mess, but new manager Ronald Koeman says that a centre-back and a No. 9 are needed. Man City’s Garcia is the top defensive target, while Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez was the attacking option but is too expensive at over €100m. Memphis Depay could yet come from Lyon for around €25m. Samuel Umtiti and Jean Clair Todibo could go, but only if a new defender arrives.

REAL MADRID: Nothing to see here. Real have done nothing all window and are happy with their options, especially now they’ve got rid of Gareth Bale on loan. PSG striker Kylian Mbappe and Rennes teenager Eduardo Camavinga will be targets in 2021.

JUVENTUS: A move for Fiorentina winger Federico Chiesa would usually cost around €60m, but they’ve seemingly managed a two-year loan, while links appeared to Aouar before the midfielder decided to stay at Lyon. Defender Daniele Rugani left for Rennes and Mattia de Sciglio could be allowed to leave as well.

BAYERN MUNICH: Marseille‘s Bouna Sarr will fill the right-back hole for around €10m, while Espanyol’s Marc Roca has arrived to provide depth in midfield for €15m. A free transfer for Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, after he left PSG, will provide backup for Robert Lewandowski, but Joshua Zirkzee should go out on loan as a result. The club failed with a loan move for Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi but could bring Douglas Costa back to Bavaria with a loan move for the Brazil international, who played for Bayern Munich from 2015 to 2018.

PSG: Links with Tottenham’s Alli continue to surface, but FC Porto‘s Danilo Pereira came in on loan to strengthen the midfield, while Everton forward Moise Kean should help fill some gaps up front after his loan move to the Ligue 1 giants was confirmed on Sunday.



Ale Moreno explains how Barcelona managed to cede possession Sevilla early in their challenging 1-1 draw.

PAPER TALK (by Danny Lewis)

Barcelona keen to make Depay-Dembele switch

Lyon sporting director Juninho has admitted that Memphis Depay is close to completing a move to Barcelona.

Speaking to Telefoot Chaine, he said: “He has 12 months left on his contract, so. … He has got an agreement with Barcelona, we don’t hide that. It is possible that Memphis signs for Barcelona, but it is not certain. He is the most likely to go. If he stays, he will help us.”

This could be facilitated by the departure of Ousmane Dembele, as sources have told ESPN’s Moises Llorens that Barca are expecting a call from Manchester United for the Frenchman before the deadline ends.

However, for Depay to arrive, sources said that Dembele must leave first. There was interest from Manchester United but the Premier League side would prefer a loan, while Barca want to bring in a transfer fee for the France international, meaning he is likely to stay.

Chiesa to Juventus loan deal close

Juventus are close to completing a deal to bring Fiorentina winger Federico Chiesa in on loan, reports Gianluca Di Marzio.

The transfer journalist says that the player has already agreed to terms with the Serie A champions, while the two clubs have agreed on a financial structure.

This will see an initial €2m paid in the first year and €10m in the second campaign of the loan, which will then be followed by a conditional obligation to sign him for €40m.

The only things now holding up the move is that Chiesa needs to sign a new deal with Fiorentina first, and he wants assurances that the club will match Juventus’ wage offers if the permanent move does not come to fruition.

Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)
– Ratings: Coutinho scores in 7/10 outing for Barca

Barcelona working on pair of loan deals

Barcelona are working on a deal with FC Porto that would see the Portuguese outfit get two players on loan, while the Catalan giants would get one loanee in return, says AS.

The report says that they are looking to send out Rafinha and Jean-Clair Todibo, who have both had other suitors throughout this transfer window.

In return, they would get the centre-back Diogo Leite, who is also wanted by Valencia.

Rafinha’s stance is said to be the only thing that can hold up this deal as he weighs up his other options, but Barcelona are keen to get Leite into the club.


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Way-too-early 2021 MLB Power Rankings: What’s next for Dodgers, Rays and all 30 teams



We can only hope 2021 will be a more normal season, with 162 games and fans in the stands and hot dogs to eat and overpriced beer to drink. We don’t know what the state of things will be come April 1, when the 2021 season is scheduled to begin, but we can speculate on the state of the 30 franchises.

Yes, we’re back with our annual Way-Too-Early Power Rankings. There are a few obvious teams at the top, a handful at the bottom and a whole bunch in the middle. Throw in the difficulty of analyzing a 60-game season and the uncertainty of how the offseason will play out due to the financial losses of this season, and these are the most difficult rankings we have had to do. But we fearlessly move forward.

(Title odds for 2021 from Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill)

2020 record: 43-17
Won World Series
2021 title odds: 4-1

They’re reigning champs. They’ve won eight straight division titles. They have Mookie Betts signed for the long term. They have young starters such as Walker Buehler, Dustin May, Julio Urias and Tony Gonsolin to keep the rotation strong for years to come. They have players capable of better seasons (Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Gavin Lux). They have a good farm system. They have financial flexibility, with only Betts signed past 2022 and all those young players to help them keep the payroll in check. Justin Turner is a free agent, but he would be a nice DH option if the NL makes that permanent. We know they will be good. But we know it’s really all about October.

2020 record: 35-25
Lost NLCS to Dodgers
2021 title odds: 12-1

The offense gives them a high floor:Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, even Travis d’Arnaud and Adam Duvall raked in 2020. Marcell Ozuna is a free agent and it would be nice to bring him back, but rookie center fielder Cristian Pache is ready and he looks like he’ll be valuable on both sides of the ball. The rotation will see the return of Mike Soroka from his Achilles injury and a full season of Ian Anderson to back up Max Fried. Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson have potential, and Atlanta will probably bring in a veteran starter on a one-year deal the way they did with Dallas Keuchel in 2019 and tried to do with Cole Hamels in 2020. The Braves will be favored to win a fourth straight division title even if they don’t do anything this offseason.

2020 record: 37-23
Lost Division Series to Dodgers
2021 title odds: 17-2

Sure, an argument can be made to put the Padres ahead of the Braves, but I think we have to first make sure Dinelson Lamet and Mike Clevinger are completely healthy in spring training. San Diego brings back essentially every significant player after running out the youngest lineup in the NL, with Jake Cronenworth and Trent Grisham looking like foundation additions alongside Fernando Tatis Jr. (All were acquired in trades; good job, A.J. Preller!) We’ll see if Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers can match their 2020 rate of production, but if Luis Patino and MacKenzie Gore become impact starters, the Padres are poised to make a multiyear run in challenging the Dodgers for NL West supremacy.

2020 record: 40-20
Lost World Series to Dodgers
2021 title odds: 10-1

The Rays won their first division title since 2010 and did it in quite remarkable fashion, with 12 different relievers recording a save and the pitching staff overcoming a slew of injuries along the way. They were able to pull that off because of the depth of their staff, but having expanded rosters over the 60-game season made it possible to rely so heavily on the bullpen. Of course, you can argue that pitching depth will be even more valuable over 162 games. The offense isn’t elite, although we can’t wait to see what Randy Arozarena will do over a full season or if super rookie Wander Franco is ready to make an impact at some point in 2021.

2020 record: 35-25
Lost Wild Card Series to A’s
2021 title odds: 12-1

Much like the Braves, the offensive firepower of the White Sox should give them a high floor. Even if you see some regression coming from Jose Abreu or Tim Anderson, Luis Robert and Yoan Moncada should improve and a full season of Nick Madrigal will help. Michael Kopech, who opted out of 2020, will hopefully be back, but he hasn’t pitched in two years, so finding another veteran arm to go with ace Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel will be key. Closer Alex Colome is a free agent, but the White Sox have several power arms in their organization, including 2020 first-round pick Garrett Crochet, who could be a dominant reliever right away. Manager Rick Renteria and longtime pitching coach Don Cooper got the boot, with A.J. Hinch a possible replacement for Renteria. That would be an upgrade.

2020 record: 33-27
Lost Division Series to Rays
2021 title odds: 6-1

You can make an argument to put them a couple of spots higher, but not winning the AL East in 2020 points to some flaws. They simply can’t count on Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton being healthy for an entire season, plus DJ LeMahieu and Masahiro Tanaka are free agents, two important players to re-sign or replace. Of course, we know the Yankees will do something big, perhaps signing J.T. Realmuto and moving on from Gary Sanchez or trading for Francisco Lindor and shifting Gleyber Torres to second. Getting Luis Severino back from Tommy John surgery will be a big boost as well.

2020 record: 36-24
Lost Wild Card Series to Astros
2021 title odds: 14-1

The Twins didn’t do it quite like they did in 2019, when they bashed a record 307 home runs (although their 162-game pace for 2020 was still 259), as their team batting average dropped nearly 30 points, and they fell from second in the AL in runs to 10th. Still, they’ve established a foundation of success with three playoff appearances in four seasons. The big issue is they have a lot of free agents to replace or re-sign, starting with 40-year-old Nelson Cruz, but also Jake Odorizzi, Marwin Gonzalez, Rich Hill, Tyler Clippard, Trevor May and Homer Bailey. Those players were minor contributors, but with Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton and Taylor Rogers getting more expensive in arbitration, the Twins may not be able to fill out the roster with minor free agents the way they’ve done of late. They need a healthy Josh Donaldson, especially if Cruz leaves, and they will have to discard the emotional baggage of 18 consecutive playoff losses to get revved up for 162 games just to get back to October again.

2020 record: 36-24
Lost Division Series to Houston
2021 title odds: 14-1

The A’s weren’t as impressive as they were in 2019 — Matt Olson morphed into an extreme “three true outcomes” slugger, Matt Chapman‘s OBP dipped to .276 and Marcus Semien declined from his third-place MVP performance. They still coasted to the AL West title though, and the division projects as being pretty soft, at least right now. Semien and closer Liam Hendriks are free agents as are several other key role players, so this ranking is not presented with a high degree of confidence. The A’s always seem to maximize their talent, and I do think the rotation will be much better, making up for some of the likely bullpen regression.

2020 record: 26-34
Tied for fourth in NL East
2021 title odds: 30-1

I feel like we need another National League team here, but let’s be honest: There is a wide gap between the NL’s top three teams and the block of mediocre teams in the middle. Let’s roll the dice on the Mets with new owner Steve Cohen to the rescue (once he gets formally approved). Let’s just say Mets fans are pumped about Cohen’s WAW (wins above Wilpon). There have already been reports about all the money he’ll sink into the franchise, not just on players but things like building out a more robust analytics staff. Aside from any splashy moves Cohen may make — trading for Nolan Arenado or Francisco Lindor? Signing J.T. Realmuto or Trevor Bauer? — there is a strong base of talent here. They ranked third in the majors in wOBA (behind the Braves and Dodgers) and fifth in the majors in pitcher strikeout rate. They should be better — a familiar refrain for Mets fans, unfortunately.

2020 record: 34-26
Lost Wild Card Series to Marlins
2021 title odds: 25-1

Everyone was down on the Cubs, especially after that sad two-and-out to the Marlins, but we do need to point out Chicago still won the NL Central despite Javier Baez (59 OPS+), Kris Bryant (73) and Kyle Schwarber (88) all producing well below an average major league hitter and Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras performing below their career norms. That continues a downward trend for this once-great offensive core, from second in the NL in runs in 2016 and 2017 to fourth in 2018, fifth in 2019 and 10th in 2020. Baez, Bryant, Schwarber and Rizzo are all free agents after 2021, but frankly, the trade value for Bryant and Schwarber — and even Baez, to a lesser extent — has cratered. Theo Epstein also hinted that 2021 will be his last season with the Cubs. Does this group get one last chance? In a weak division, with some bounce-back potential, the Cubs could be better than everyone believes. Or maybe the front office will just tear it all down.

2020 record: 29-31
Lost ALCS to Rays
2021 title odds: 20-1

It promises to be a busy winter for the Astros. George Springer, Michael Brantley and Josh Reddick are all free agents, while Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers Jr. and Zack Greinke are set to be free agents after 2021, as are Justin Verlander and Roberto Osuna, both of whom will likely miss the season following Tommy John surgery. They’ll need more from Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman (and don’t forget about Yordan Alvarez) but they could have a strong rotation if they keep McCullers and Greinke to go with Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier and Jose Urquidy. The outfield free-agent market is thin, so if Springer and Brantley sign elsewhere, the Astros may have to scramble to find help for Kyle Tucker.

2020 record: 35-25
Lost Wild Card Series to Yankees
2021 title odds: 20-1

We start with one of the biggest questions of the entire offseason: Will Cleveland trade Francisco Lindor? It seems weird to say this, but there isn’t an obvious fit, as most of the top teams are set at shortstop. It will be interesting to see if a team tries to pull the Mookie Betts maneuver: trade for Lindor, then sign him to a big extension before he hits free agency after the 2021 season. Aside from the Lindor issue, it’s going to be a similar Cleveland team as we’ve seen the past two years: enough starting pitching to be a playoff team, but an offense that may prevent them from getting there. Please, find some competent outfielders. Cleveland’s outfielders hit .196/.270/.304.

2020 record: 30-28
Lost Wild Card Series to Padres
2021 title odds: 30-1

In one sense, it’s harder to evaluate what the Cardinals did in 2020 than any other team, with them having to play 11 doubleheaders after the team’s COVID-19 outbreak early in the season. On the other hand, they were exactly what we thought they would be: below-average offense with no power, good defense, good bullpen, decent starting pitching. I just don’t how they’re going to get better, especially given that some of their pitching peripheral numbers don’t quite match the ERA figures. Look, as always, you can never discount the Cardinals. They haven’t had a losing season since 2007. The division is wide open. Jack Flaherty will be better. Dylan Carlson could give them an impact outfielder. The bullpen projects as a big strength.

2020 record: 26-34
Tied for fourth in NL East
2021 title odds: 30-1

No team had less incentive in 2020 than the Nationals, and once Stephen Strasburg went down, it kind of felt like the entire team went down with him. Juan Soto played at an MVP level for 47 games, leading the NL in batting average and the majors in OBP and slugging. It wasn’t a full season so I’m not saying it compares, but his 212 OPS+ was the best since Barry Bonds in 2004.

There are concerns in the starting rotation, however, beyond Strasburg’s nerve issue. Anibal Sanchez fell apart, Patrick Corbin got knocked around (85 hits in 65⅔ innings) and even Max Scherzer had his highest ERA since 2012.The real problem may have been the defense: The Nationals ranked last in the majors with minus-43 defensive runs saved. As always, depth is an issue and they need youngsters Carter Kieboom (no home runs in 99 at-bats) and Victor Robles (.608 OPS) to contribute at the plate. If Strasburg is healthy, don’t ignore the 2019 champs.

2020 record: 32-28
Lost Wild Card Series to Rays
2021 title odds: 50-1

The Blue Jays face a very interesting offseason after making the playoffs as a wild card and ranking third in the AL in runs. The offense potentially looks even better if you’re buying the breakouts of Teoscar Hernandez and Rowdy Tellez. Worth noting: The Jays hit much better at their temporary home in Buffalo, so we have to be careful about overrating the offense. Hyun-Jin Ryu was terrific (at least until his playoff start), but the rest of the rotation was so problematic that the Jays acquired Taijuan Walker, Robbie Ray and Ross Stripling for the stretch run. Walker and Ray are free agents, but Nate Pearson will help, and the Jays should have some money to spend in free agency.

2020 record: 28-32
Third in NL East
2021 title odds: 40-1

It’s hard to see the Phillies much better than the .500 team they’ve been the past three seasons, which led to general manager Matt Klentak being reassigned within the organization. They had two great starters in Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler and finished fourth in the NL in runs, but the bullpen (6.92 ERA, worst of all time) undermined all the positives. The Phillies allowed a .345 average on balls in play, and maybe that would drop over a full season, but it stands as the highest ever. This has been a multiyear problem. They were middle of the pack in BABIP allowed in 2019, but fifth-worst in 2018 and sixth-worst in 2017. They’ve been unable to fix the defense. Anyway, J.T. Realmuto and Didi Gregorius are free agents. The payroll would have been more than $200 million given a full season in 2020, so you wonder if there is room to re-sign Realmuto and fix the bullpen and replace/re-sign Gregorius and maybe add another starter.

2020 record: 26-34
Fourth in AL West
2021 title odds: 40-1

Billy Eppler is out as general manager after a five-year run that included no winning seasons. Yes, he inherited the bad Albert Pujols contract, but he also inherited Mike Trout and was never able to build a successful team around him, despite additions like Andrelton Simmons, Shohei Ohtani and Anthony Rendon. Simmons is a free agent, Pujols is finally down to his final season and Jared Walsh (.971 OPS, nine home runs in 99 at-bats, a low 13.9% strikeout rate) has to play. The immediate concerns are trying to turn Jo Adell into a major league hitter (.161, 55 strikeouts, seven walks in 132 PAs), figure out what happened to Ohtani (.190) and Justin Upton (.204) and — as always — address the pitching. Sounds like the same story as the past five years.

2020 record: 29-31
Lost Wild Card Series to Dodgers
2021 title odds: 50-1

This is a difficult team to read. The Brewers didn’t hit at all in 2020 (I think the NL must have stored its balls in Lake Michigan, because nobody could hit). Two-time batting champ and 2018 MVP Christian Yelich hit just .205, and I know it was just 58 games, but his strikeout rate went from 20.3% to 30.8%. Something doesn’t add up there.

They do have two great one-two combos in Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes in the rotation and Devin Williams and Josh Hader in the bullpen. Does Williams’ stunning breakout (53 K’s in 27 innings) make Hader trade bait? Burnes certainly looked like the real deal with his new cutter, but he’ll have to prove he can do it over 30 starts instead of 10. David Stearns is one of the more creative GMs around, although he’d probably like a do-over on the Trent Grisham/Zach Davies for Luis Urias/Eric Lauer deal.

2020 record: 24-36
Fifth in AL East
2021 title odds: 60-1

This was the hardest team to project. The pitching was so awful — 5.85 runs per game, the most for the franchise since 1932 — that it’s easy to assume it will be bad again in 2021. It was also bad in 2019 (5.11 runs per game), so we have a two-year track record. Maybe they get Chris Sale back at midseason and Eduardo Rodriguez returns from his COVID-related heart issue. There is a nice offensive core with Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Alex Verdugo and Christian Vazquez (and J.D. Martinez if he bounces back). I’m not sure what Bobby Dalbec will be. I guess his upside is Joey Gallo, if that’s a good thing. More importantly, is Chaim Bloom playing the long game or will there be pressure to get the Red Sox immediately back into contender status?

2020 record: 31-29
Lost Wild Card Series to Braves
2021 title odds: 25-1

The Reds sneaked into the playoffs as a wild card with a late surge, but the team embarrassingly exited with two shutouts to the Braves, including a 13-inning defeat. The Reds have morphed into the most extreme example of a “three true outcomes” offense we’ve seen in this launch-angle era. They ranked fourth in the NL in home runs and first in walks, but hit a pathetic .212. The entire package added up to ranking just 13th in the NL in runs, then you dig deeper and realize they hit 55 home runs at home and 35 on the road, so much of their power was simply a result of their home park. It’s a bad offense, and I’m not sure it improves much in 2021. Trevor Bauer is a sure bet to sign elsewhere as a free agent, and we still don’t know if Nick Senzel is the solution in center field or an injury-prone role player.

2020 record: 31-29
Lost Division Series to Braves
2021 title odds: 60-1

It was a fun ride to their first postseason trip since 2003, but once you get past the starting trio of Sixto Sanchez, Sandy Alcantara and Pablo Lopez, holes remain. The pitching staff was next to last in the majors in strikeout rate, and the team’s top five relievers were all 30-something guys you can’t necessarily count on for 2021. There are no offensive stars as the lineup relied on stopgap veterans, while the young hitters still have trouble controlling the strike zone (and the young hitters aren’t really all that young). The minus-41 run differential is a little misleading as the Marlins had to use more players than any other team due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but I’m not sure I see another .500 season unless some of the young hitters suddenly develop into solid regulars.

2020 record: 29-31
Third in NL West
2021 title odds: 80-1

Call me skeptical. They went from the second-worst offense in the NL to a top-five offense — without making any significant additions. Brandon Belt with a 1.000 OPS? Mike Yastrzemski and Alex Dickerson over .900? Donovan Solano chasing a batting title? I smell a lot of regression coming on, and the Giants don’t have the rotation to back that up. They also had the oldest lineup in the league: Mauricio Dubon is the only returning regular who won’t be 30 or older in 2021. Maybe catcher Joey Bart makes an impact, but a 41 to 3 strikeout-to-walk rate suggests he’s not ready for prime time. Several of their big contracts come off the books after 2021 if you factor in buyouts, so look for the Giants to wait until that big 2021-22 free-agent class to start flipping over the roster.

2020 record: 27-33
Third in AL West
2021 title odds: 100-1

There were some nice positives in 2020: Kyle Lewis may win Rookie of the Year, Justus Sheffield was much improved, Marco Gonzales solidified himself as one of the most underrated starters in the majors, Dylan Moore turned into one of the best utility players as a power/speed combo. But there is still zero star power here, at least until Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez arrive as potential All-Star outfielders, Kelenic in 2021 and Rodriguez probably in 2022. Jerry Dipoto will have to reconstruct a bullpen that was one of the worst in the league (5.92 ERA). The Mariners are on the rise and have other potential impact prospects, including pitchers Logan Gilbert and Emerson Hancock, but look for them to hold the course in 2021 and push forward in 2022.

2020 record: 26-34
Fourth in AL Central
2021 title odds: 150-1

The Royals have some interesting young pitchers in Brad Keller, Brady Singer and Kris Bubic, with Josh Staumont as a potential closer, but there are still huge gaps across the roster, especially on the offensive side of things. They need to figure out center field, second base and left field, and even Adalberto Mondesi Jr. now looks like just a placeholder at short until Bobby Witt Jr. arrives in a couple of years. This ranking could be selling the Royals a bit short, as young pitching can carry a team if it comes fast (and 2020 top pick Asa Lacy may not need much time in the minors), but they need to find some hitters.

2020 record: 25-35
Fifth in NL West
2021 title odds: 60-1

That was ugly, and the fans are turning on the team after a couple of years of trades (Paul Goldschmidt, Zack Greinke and the deadline deals this season) that don’t appear to have returned any front-line talent. Ketel Marte and Eduardo Escobar, so good in 2019, fell off, with Marte inexplicably deciding he no longer wanted to walk. Robbie Ray couldn’t throw strikes and was finally traded. Merrill Kelly hurt his shoulder. Madison Bumgarner didn’t win a game. The problem for 2021? The Diamondbacks had the second-oldest lineup in the NL (six of their top eight regulars were 29 or older). Bumgarner now looks like a bad $80 million gamble. They’re only a season removed from going 85-77, so there is rebound potential, but the Snakes are a mess at the moment.

2020 record: 25-35
Fourth in AL East
2021 title odds: 150-1

Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of positives in 2020, especially after losing 108 games in 2019 and 115 in 2018. Anthony Santander had a small-sample breakout with the metrics to back it up. Ryan Mountcastle looks ready to join the lineup in 2021 and Trey Mancini will hopefully be back at full strength after finishing his chemo treatment in September. Keegan Akin and Dean Kremer could be arms to watch for the rotation.

They do have financial flexibility, especially as they get closer to the end of Chris Davis‘ deal, and with Adley Rutschman close to the majors and starters D.L. Hall and Grayson Rodriguez perhaps ready in 2022, the farm is better than it’s been in at least 10 years. But the base level of talent here remains pretty low.

2020 record: 26-34
Fourth in NL West
2021 title odds: 100-1

Right now, Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story are still on the roster. Will they be there come spring training? The relationship between Arenado and the Rockies is strained, making him a trade candidate this winter. He won’t be easy to trade, though: He didn’t have a good 2020 at the plate, ended the season on the IL, has a full no-trade clause and can opt out of his deal after 2021. If Arenado is traded, you could see the Rockies dealing Story as well since he’s a free agent after 2021. Mostly, this team just needs a makeover. They ranked eighth in the NL in runs, and for a Rockies team, that’s horrible. (They had finished below fifth just one other time in franchise history.)

2020 record: 23-35
Fifth in AL Central
2021 title odds: 200-1

Sometimes you just have to point out the obvious: Jeimer Candelario was the team’s best player in 2020 — a 26-year-old first baseman who hit .203 the year before. Look, Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal project as good starters at some point, but their struggles in limited action in 2020 suggest that may not be in 2021. Along with Spencer Turnbull and prospect Matt Manning, there is a rotation to dream on, but there is no offense, and Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene, their top position player prospects, are more on a 2022 timetable.

2020 record: 22-38
Fifth in AL West
2021 title odds: 100-1

The Rangers continue to go backward. They were bad in 2020 in a year they thought they could contend, they weren’t particularly young and the farm system has struggled to develop pitchers and turn toolsy position players into quality hitters. The offense had a brutal year — and not just because of the new park. They didn’t hit on the road either. It’s time to admit that Joey Gallo and Rougned Odor are never going to be the core of a championship lineup, and if Lance Lynn is traded — he’ll be a free agent after 2021 — the rotation will have a huge hole to fill.

2020 record: 19-41
Fifth in NL Central
2021 title odds: 300-1

Let’s see, a small-market team coming off the worst record in the sport, won’t spend any money in free agency, and whose three best players in 2019 were all terrible in 2020. The first step is to hope Josh Bell, Bryan Reynolds and Kevin Newman rebound, but with most of the organization’s top prospects still a ways off, the short-term outlook looks bleak. Heck, the long-term outlook isn’t exactly full of roses and puppies.


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Bryant, out 2 years, joins Ravens practice squad



OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Dez Bryant is back in the NFL.

The Baltimore Ravens signed the three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver to their practice squad, the team announced Tuesday. Bryant has been out of the league for two years.

Bryant appeared to acknowledge the deal in a tweet Tuesday: “My emotions running high right now… I’m thankful…I can’t stop crying”

The biggest question is when Bryant will suit up for the Ravens. Baltimore’s wide receivers rank last in the NFL in receptions (58) and receiving yards (737).

Bryant, 31, could become a physical possession-type receiver for reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson and can complement the speed of Marquise Brown.

The addition of Bryant might lead to a high-profile reunion on Dec. 3, when the Ravens play host to the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday Night Football. Bryant starred for the Cowboys for eight seasons, totaling 531 receptions for 7,459 yards and a franchise-record 73 touchdown catches.

“Obviously, that’s kind of like an ‘OG’-type guy,” Ravens tight end Mark Andrews said when asked about Bryant on Monday. “He’s been around the league for a long, long time. He actually followed me on Twitter a year or two ago, so I’m excited to meet him, and I’m excited to [be] around him hopefully, and just learn.”

This marked Bryant’s second workout with Baltimore in two months. When Bryant left in August without a contract, he was told to improve his conditioning, a source said.

The Ravens are off to a fast start at 5-1, but their passing game ranks 31st in the NFL. It looks as if Jackson would benefit from another target on the outside because Brown is the only Baltimore wide receiver with more than 11 catches this season.

Bryant is attempting to become the second Pro Bowl wide receiver to miss two full seasons and then return to the NFL since the 1970 merger, according to Elias Sports Bureau research. Josh Gordon was the first.

Bryant hasn’t played in a game since December 2017.

In November 2018, Bryant signed a one-year, $1.25 million deal with the New Orleans Saints. But he tore an Achilles tendon during his first practice with the Saints and has been out of the NFL since.

Bryant’s 531 career receptions would be the most by any wide receiver before missing two full seasons and then returning to the NFL, according to Elias’ data.

To make room for Bryant, the Ravens waived safety Marcus Gilchrist from the practice squad.


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Augusta National to host College GameDay during Masters



ESPN’s College GameDay Built By the Home Depot show has originated from dozens of college campuses across the country since 1993.

On Saturday, Nov. 14, the show will combine two of sport’s greatest traditions — college football and the Masters.

ESPN announced on Tuesday that College GameDay will originate from Augusta National Golf Club, which is hosting the postponed Masters Tournament next month, Nov. 12-15.

Top matchups that day are No. 9 Wisconsin at No. 13 Michigan and No. 2 Alabama at LSU.

“Any time College GameDay travels to a new destination, it’s special, and the opportunity to be on the grounds of Augusta National Golf Club during the Masters is extraordinary,” said Jimmy Pitaro, chairman, ESPN and Sports Content. “As this iconic event coincides with the college football season for the first time, we look forward to getting fans ready for a football Saturday while also showcasing the Masters and the greatest golfers in the world.”

Longtime ESPN hosts Rece Davis, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and others will broadcast from the par-3 course from 9 a.m. to noon ET.

In its 13th year at the Masters, ESPN will once again televise the first and second rounds, Nov. 12-13, from 1 to 5:30 p.m. There will also be expanded coverage on ESPN+, including exclusive practice-round coverage Nov. 10-11.

Golf fans will also be able to watch featured holes coverage on ESPN+ on Nos. 4, 5 and 6 in each of the four rounds of the Masters.


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