USMNT's Gio Reyna about to get Premier League move; Liverpool, Arsenal and Man City are neck and neck

Happy Wednesday! With transfer deadline day less than 24 hours away, I’m Pardeep Cattry with a preview of things to come plus a look at the Premier League’s title race.

📺 Footy fix

All times U.S./Eastern

Wednesday, Jan. 31
🏆 Asian Cup: Iran vs. Syria, 11 a.m. ➡️ Paramount+,
🇪🇸 La Liga: Barcelona vs. Osasuna, 1 p.m. ➡️ ESPN+
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 EPL: Manchester City vs. Burnley, 2:30 p.m. ➡️ Peacock
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 EPL: Liverpool vs. Chelsea, 3 p.m. ➡️ Peacock

Thursday, Feb. 1
🇪🇸 La Liga: Getafe vs. Real Madrid, 3 p.m. ➡️ ESPN+
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 EPL: Wolves vs. Manchester United, 3:15 p.m. ➡️ Peacock

⚽ The Forward Line

✈️ Reyna’s off to Nottingham Forest

Gio Reyna’s long-awaited move from Borussia Dortmund is officially in the works. The U.S. men’s national team midfielder has settled on Premier League side Nottingham Forest, with James Benge reporting that he is scheduled to undergo a medical today ahead of a loan deal. 

The transfer comes at a pivotal point for both the team and the player. Forest sit just two points above the relegation zone and can use all the help they can get, while Reyna was not receiving regular playing time at Dortmund and Jadon Sancho’s arrival only made the situation worse for the USMNT star. Reyna is also in need of consistent minutes ahead of June’s Copa America, where the USMNT aim to impress. Chuck Booth argues, though, that a transfer to Forest is ultimately a disappointing one for one of the national team’s top talents.

  • Booth: “Interest for the midfielder has been lower than expected with relegation-threatened clubs in England and Spain interested alongside midtable sides in France and Italy. … For the USMNT to be at their best, they need a Reyna who is playing soccer at a high level regularly and if the four teams mentioned are his only options along with staying at Dortmund, there is a chance that reassessing his options during the summer with the Black and Yellow is the best move to make. With the addition of Jadon Sancho returning from Manchester United to Signal Iduna Park, Reyna has been squeezed for playing time but he has also now appeared in six consecutive league matches for Dortmund. While it’s not as consistent as if Reyna were starting matches, it is a significant improvement after only appearing in five of the prior nine matches.”

Reyna’s move will likely be the headlining act of transfer deadline day, but a few other notable deals hang in the balance before the window closes tomorrow evening. Jonathan Johnson provides a look at five transfers that could be the subject of focus on deadline day, including Nordsjaelland’s Ibrahim Osman.

  • Johnson: “The Ghana international is in high demand with West Ham United, Brighton and Hove Albion and Crystal Palace all linked with his signature. The 19-year-old is currently catching the eye in Denmark but his move could bring in a fee upwards of $20 million this month. Osman was the Hammers’ main target but Jota of Al Ittihad could also be an option with Said Benrahma set to create space in David Moyes’ squad by potentially returning to France with Olympique Lyonnais. However, the player is thought to be keen on West Ham so keep an eye on Osman these next few days.”

Other Premier League teams might be active in the last hours of the window, too, while a conclusion needs to be reached on Club Brugge’s Antonio Nusa, who once seemed destined to join Tottenham Hotspur but now is in the middle of a collapsing deal with Brentford.

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🔗  Midfield Link Play

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Premier League title race is on

One of the Premier League’s most fascinating title contests in recent memory is back with a new batch of storylines this week. While Liverpool hang onto top spot and have a chance to extend their advantage today, Arsenal and Aston Villa hit the pitch yesterday with varying results. The Gunners kept things close but ultimately oversaw Nottingham Forest in a 2-1 win and now sit just two points behind the Reds, but Villa’s hopes took a big hit with a surprise 3-1 loss to an out-of-form Newcastle United.

For Villa, the loss also makes the top-four race a little too close for comfort since Tottenham Hotspur can now overtake them with a win over Brentford today. Benge was onsite at Villa Park for Tuesday’s match and noted some room for improvement for the hosts, who might run the risk of undoing all the good they did in the first half of the season.

  • Benge: “[The match] offers [manager Unai] Emery a lengthy list of matters to resolve if this side has serious aspirations of a first season in the European Cup since the one after they won the thing. The much-vaunted high line, one missing the authoritative Pau Torres, was all too easily penetrated by Newcastle’s sweeping passes from the right channel, unlocking the pace of Anthony Gordon. Having a rejuvenated Kieran Trippier certainly helps and trying to beat the offside trap from wide seemed a shrewd move from Eddie Howe, probing the weak point in a Villa midfield four that tend to drift inside.

Today, Liverpool take part in arguably the highest-profile match of the day when they host Chelsea. The Blues might be finding consistency with only one loss in their last seven, but Jurgen Klopp’s side remain the favorites in the matchup. The new variable in this round of Premier League fixtures, though, is Erling Haaland. Pep Guardiola said that the Norwegian striker will finally be in the mix today for the first time in nearly two months, which could kickstart their title chase in earnest especially now that Kevin de Bruyne has also recovered from his hamstring injury.

Liverpool still have a little cushion atop the table with a five-point lead over the reigning champions, who have a game in hand but would still need more to overcome the gap. That said, a full-strength City — plus an Arsenal team that has yet to quit — means there’s very little room for error.

🔗  Top Stories

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Reyna to Forest: More on Reyna’s impending move, including the connection between the player’s new agent Jorge Mendes and his new club.

Messi vs. Ronaldo off: Cristiano Ronaldo will sit out Al-Nassr’s friendly against Inter Miami with an injury, missing a match that was billed as the latest edition of his rivalry with Lionel Messi.

🏆 AFCON quarters set: Ivory Coast are in, Senegal and Morocco are out, and the Africa Cup of Nations has cemented its status as the most unpredictable soccer tournament out there.

🇰🇷 Korea advance: South Korea beat Saudi Arabia in penalties to reach the Asian Cup quarters in dramatic fashion, continuing the tense saga of Jurgen Klinsmann’s spell in charge of the national team for at least one more game.

🇪🇺 UWCL chaos: Here’s a recap of Tuesday’s UEFA Women’s Champions League action, in which a young American had a breakout moment and Group C had 18 different scenarios at play before Bayern were knocked out.

🆕 Manager search: Guillem Balagaue offers a look at Barcelona’s managerial search with Xavi’s exit confirmed, while the Morning Footy crew make their picks for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool successor.

🔴 Rashford resolution: Manchester United announced that Marcus Rashford returned to training after “taking responsibility for his actions” following his alleged nightclub visit last week.

💰  The Back Line

💵 Best bets

  • Premier League: Manchester City vs. Burnley, Wednesday, 2:30 p.m.
    💰 THE PICK: Over 3.5 goals (+130)
    — This is as lopsided a matchup as it gets, and with Haaland and de Bruyne back in the mix for Manchester City, this one is poised to have a lot of goals in it.
  • Premier League: Liverpool vs. Chelsea, Wednesday, 3 p.m.
    💰 THE PICK: Under 2.5 goals (+115) — Liverpool are the favorites and should be able to pull out another win, but it seems unlikely that they will do with a lopsided scoreline. Expect a fairly routine victory.

📺 What’s on CBS Sports Golazo Network

☀️ Morning Footy (Weekdays 8-10 a.m.): Hosts Susannah Collins, Charlie Davies, Nico Cantor and Alexis Guerreros help fans get their day started on the network’s flagship morning show with highlights, interviews and the biggest soccer storylines. Morning Footy is also available in podcast form, so you’ll never have to miss an episode.

📦 Box 2 Box (Weekday afternoons): The news-driven show quickly recaps all the latest headlines from around the world with panelists previewing the top matchups of the day. Catch Box 2 Box on CBS Sports Golazo Network on the CBS Sports app, PlutoTV and Paramount+. 

3️⃣ Attacking Third (Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening): The leading women’s soccer podcast and social brand is now a live studio show. Just because the NWSL season is over doesn’t mean that our coverage of the women’s game is going anywhere. Our analysts will be breaking down the USWNT. NWSL offseason and European domestic season all winter long.

👟 Kickin’ It (Tuesday, 7 p.m.): CBS Sports Golazo Network’s new unfiltered interview show returns Tuesday Hosted by Kate Abdo, Clint Dempsey, Mo Edu and Charlie Davies, the group chat candidly with the biggest names from the Beautiful Game and share their stories from on and off the pitch. 

Call it What You Want (Monday night): A weekly podcast where Jimmy Conrad, Jesse Marsch and Charlie Davies cover all things USMNT and the state of the beautiful game in the United States.

🥅 Scoreline (Daily): Scoreline is the newest place for fans to catch up on all the biggest news and results impacting global football, match highlights from the top soccer competitions and all the can’t-miss goals from the day’s action, starting Thursday and airing seven days a week.

📺 How to watch: CBS Sports Golazo Network is a free 24/7 channel exclusively dedicated to offering unparalleled coverage of all the top soccer competitions worldwide. You can stream for free on the CBS Sports app, Pluto TV and Paramount+.

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