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Laurens: Lyon face their toughest tests

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Montes return sure to help Leon

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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Real Madrid, Manchester United battle for Athletic Bilbao's Aymeric Laporte

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti explains the reported move of Gabriel Paulista to Arsenal, where the 24-year-old defender would prove to be a valuable additional to the Gunners' defence.

The winter window is now open, and that means the LIVE transfer blog swings back into action. Find out the latest news, gossip and deals here.

- Transfer Window Chat with ESPN FC insider Tor-Kristian Karlsen

TOP STORY: Real, United to battle for Bilbao's Laporte

Manchester United have been linked with young Real Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane due to his struggles for first-team football at the Bernabeu. Even though Real Madrid have one defender struggling to find time, the Daily Mail reported...

Without Lacazette, Lyon face tests of their Ligue 1 title credentials

Lyon head coach Hubert Fournier was pleased with his side for a job well done after their 2-0 Ligue 1 win over Metz on Sunday.
Lyon forward and Ligue 1 top scorer Alexandre Lacazette has played down suggestions from club president Jean-Michel Aulas that he is worth more than Gareth Bale.

Go on, admit it. You have been seduced by this Lyon team. I have and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

You have fallen in love with the elegant Alexandre Lacazette and his 21 goals in 22 league games. The manager Hubert Fournier reminds you of your school teacher but in a good way. You have been bowled over by the revelation that is Nabil Fekir, with his left foot and silky skills. Corentin Tolisso has a cool goal celebration and, at only 20, is also a very promising, versatile player.

And we can't forget...

Riquelme the last great leader of Argentine football

Juan Roman Riquelme announced his retirement after an illustrious career with Barcelona, Villarreal and Boca Juniors.

BUENOS AIRES -- Juan Roman Riquelme was mulling over the idea for years. Everyone remembers when, in 2012, with the strange backdrop of a Copa Libertadores final against Corinthians, he announced he was leaving Boca Juniors, that he was empty, that soccer had nothing left to offer him.

Then, faced with a concerted outcry, Riquelme returned to the fold. Full of sentimental phrases, he recovered from his fleeting apathy to renew his vows to his beloved team.

Now, it seems, he is leaving for good....

Luis Montes' return can spark Leon to playoff run

The return of creative playmaker Luis Montes will be a welcomed sight at Leon.
The return of creative playmaker Luis Montes will be a welcomed sight at Leon.

Leon is struggling this season.

Despite the 2015 Clausura being just three weeks in, the Guanajuato club is in last place and has scored only twice. It's a disappointing start for a team that won a second straight Liga MX title less than a year ago.

There are a few reasons why this might be happening to the club. For one, Leon is still adapting to the tactics of Juan Antonio Pizzi, the Argentine manager who was hired last month to replace Gustavo Matosas. Also, it was quiet winter at the club,...

Klinsmann's U.S. national team January camp his most intriguing yet

ESPN FC's Steve Nicol broke down the 25 most important players of the United States, with Tim Howard left off the list.
ESPN FC's Steve Nicol discusses the top 25 most important players for the United States, which includes a few younger players such as Julian Green.

Jurgen Klinsmann doesn't have a state of the union address to give, but if he did, he might point out that if ever there was an exception to the apparent hysteria under which January U.S. national team camps usually operate, it might be this year.

Yes, we can look at the debutante's ball feel of the January camps; for every fringe player who introduces themselves and goes on to play in Russia in 2018, there will be five destined to become trivia answers. But it would be a mistake to assume these...

The United States' 10 best players under the age of 21

ESPN FC's Steve Nicol discusses the top 25 most important players for the United States, which includes a few younger players such as Julian Green.
ESPN FC's Steve Nicol broke down the 25 most important players of the United States, with Tim Howard left off the list.
USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann comments on how younger players are meshing with the senior squad.

The end of every World Cup cycle brings about major change in the composition of the U.S. national team, and the retirement of Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley means that this time around has proved no different.

For that reason, eyes will be cast on prospects beginning to emerge and, given the quest by U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann to find the holy grail of an attack-minded, proactive playing style, it will require contributions from some rising stars if that goal is to even come close to fruition. 

With...