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Who might emerge -- as Messi once did -- at South America Under-20 Championships?

In 2005, South America's under-20 tournament proved a springboard for Lionel Messi to U20 Wrld Cup and global stardom.

Venezuela are the only South American nation never to have made it to a World Cup. But they are convinced that their time will come in 2022 -- and their optimism is based on much more than mere faith. Two years ago they went to the final of the Under-20 World Cup, where they missed a penalty before losing 1-0 to England.

In Venezuela, they believe this generation will carry them all the way to Qatar -- an illustration of the importance that South America attaches to its under-20 teams.

There is...

Transfer Talk: Arsenal willing to pay Mesut Ozil to leave the club

Craig Burley says Arsenal's recent poor form was always expected, and the club have to respect Unai Emery's treatment of Mesut Ozil.
With reports Mesut Ozil would reject a January loan move, ESPN FC's Raf Honigstein examines how he can get in Unai Emery's squad on a regular basis.
With Mesut Ozil reportedly missing out on Arsenal's trip to Liverpool, the FC crew assess his future at the club and the issue his wages present.

The transfer window for Europe's biggest clubs is open again. Transfer Talk has been scouring the world's media and setting our correspondents loose to see who could be heading to/out of your club this month.

Ozil out, whatever the cost

Arsenal are willing to pay some of Mesut Ozil's wages after he leaves the Emirates if that would make a potential move more likely, according to the Mirror.

Just one year ago, the German signed a new contract that made him the club's highest-earning player on £350,000...

Premier League will lose its most unique player when Mousa Dembele leaves Tottenham

Dembele's skills as a disruptive, creative and aggressive central midfielder probably won't be found again.
Dembele's skills as a disruptive, creative and aggressive central midfielder probably won't be found in the same player again.

Promising young footballers are regularly compared to a current or former great and it's usually based upon a couple of attributes: the new Thierry Henry, the new Lionel Messi, the new Ronaldo. They rarely live up to the billing, but it's a useful shortcut for describing their style. It's difficult, though, to imagine anyone being an accurate "new Mousa Dembele" -- not because the Belgian was so magnificent that no one could possibly come close, but because Dembele is unlike anyone else before...

Emery says Arsenal can sign only loan players ... and the reason should worry fans

Last week, Arsenal boss Unai Emery said something surprising: "We cannot sign players where we have to make a payment ... we can only make loan signings." That's not what you'd expect to hear from a club that is six points away from fourth place and in danger of finishing outside the Champions League spots for the third successive season after 19 consecutive years of playing in the world's biggest club competition.

Nor is that what you'd expect from a club that ranked sixth in the most recent Deloitte...

Fabregas and Morata row over whether eggs crack on grass for some reason

Willian's sublime second-half curler gave Chelsea a 2-1 win over Newcastle, at Stamford Bridge.
Willian's sublime second-half curler gave Chelsea a 2-1 win over Newcastle, at Stamford Bridge.
Willian's sublime second-half curler gave Chelsea a 2-1 win over Newcastle, at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri says he needs to have cover for Jorginho after Cesc Fabregas left the club to join Monaco.

Cesc Fabregas may no longer be a Chelsea player, but he has aimed a parting shot to former teammate Alvaro Morata that may have kicked off 2019's first social media craze.

If you are one of the many people who are trying to cut meat and dairy out of your diet for "Veganuary," or just bristle at the sight of food being wasted, best look away now.

At some point during a standard day at training, Morata obviously took Fabregas aside and told him about his theory that an egg won't break if it lands...

Tom Rogic, Chris Ikonomidis earn 8/10, cover Australian defensive lapses vs. Syria

Tom Rogic's injury-time winner over Syria confirmed Australia's place in the Asia Cup knockout rounds.

Australia progressed to the Asian Cup Round of 16 courtesy of a second-place finish in Group B, but did so in less than convincing fashion by narrowly defeating Syria 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Positives

Despite having pressure put on them by a Syrian team that needed a win to finish second in the group themselves, the Socceroos found just enough grit to get the job done, which will please coach Graham Arnold ahead of the more difficult contests.

The performances -- and goalscoring -- of Awer Mabil and...