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Transfer Rater: Tonali to Chelsea

Football Whispers
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Nico who? Meet Nico Barella, the Cagliari youngster at the top of Juventus and Chelsea's wishlists

Nico Barella has only scored one goal this season but his influence in midfield for Cagliari is undebatable.
Nico Barella has only scored one goal this season but his influence in midfield for Cagliari is undebatable.

If Nicolo Barella saw a bunch of coffee stained papers down the local bar or a bundle of well-thumbed and dog-eared sports dailies in the common room at Cagliari's Assemini training ground last week, the likelihood is he would have spotted his name and image front and centre. It was hard to miss.

Last Thursday, the blonde midfielder, who turns 22 at the start of February, was splashed all over the pink front page of La Gazzetta dello Sport. Then on Saturday, Sunday and Monday it was Il Corriere...

If the 2022 World Cup started today: Looking at the major nations

ESPN FC's Stewart Robson shares his thoughts on the team most likely to win the World Cup if it were to take place tomorrow.
Gianni Infantino believes Russia 2018 is the benchmark for Qatar to live up to at the 2022 World Cup.
Watch E:60's eye-opening segment on the migrant worker issues in Qatar.

The next World Cup is four years away, but if the tournament began today, how would the biggest countries line up? Further, what do they need to do between now and kickoff on Nov. 21, 2022?

We asked our writers to look into the future. Click on the flags below to see that nation.

ARGENTINA

Starting XI if the World Cup began today
Sergio Romero; Renzo Saravia, Juan Foyth, Nicolas Otamendi, Nicolas Tagliafico; Giovani Lo Celso, Leandro Paredes, Exequiel Palacios; Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala,...


U.S. ends 2018 and Dave Sarachan era with predictable defeat to Italy

The United States ended 2018 with a loss to Italy on a late goal, despite a strong performance from goalkeeper Ethan Horvath.
After a lackluster 2018 played entirely with an interim head coach, former U.S. international Herculez Gomez says the USMNT is at an all-time low.

GENK, Belgium -- The U.S. men's national team finished off 2018 with a 1-0 defeat against four-time World Cup champion Italy. In a match that Italy dominated from start to finish, U.S. goalkeeper Ethan Horvath stood tall, but Matteo Politano's goal in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time proved to be the difference.

Here are three thoughts from the match.

1. Sarachan era ends with a disheartening, predictable defeat

Tuesday's match was almost certainly going to be the last in charge...

Italy making rapid progress under Roberto Mancini a year after hitting rock-bottom

Portugal will go to the UEFA Nations League final after they held Italy to a goalless draw in Milan.

"I must confess I'm a little surprised," Roberto Mancini said after Saturday's stalemate with Portugal. His team had dominated the European champions for an hour, closing the first half with 72 percent possession. The performance lived up to the hype Italy had generated in the last international break when Poland and Ukraine were outclassed with skill, slick passing and fluid movement.

Those displays went some way to explaining why fans turned out en masse for Saturday's game. It helped that the...

Transfer Rater: Sandro Tonali to Chelsea, Edin Dzeko to Southampton

Things change in the blink of an eye in football. The Football Whispers Index takes the latest transfer rumours and gives them a score out of five; the higher the score, the more realistic and reliable the Whisper.

Here are today's top five emerging whispers. And keep an eye on Transfer Talk for all the latest gossip.

Toby Alderweireld to Barcelona

Barcelona will look to bolster their defensive options with a January move for Tottenham's Toby Alderweireld, according to the Mirror. The...

Germany's slump shouldn't result in Low's exit, Italy show signs of regeneration

How quickly things change. Germany went into the World Cup as reigning world champions, Confederations Cup champions and European U21 champions. It wasn't just the present that was rosy, but the future too. And Joachim Low got a big contract extension through 2022.

Fast-forward to the present day. Saturday's 3-0 defeat away to the Dutch -- a team that failed to qualify for the last two major tournaments, featured two debutants (Denzel Dumfries and Steven Bergwijn) and had Ryan Babel in attack...