Between the 2011 Gold Cup and their recent win over the United States, Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz have gotten pretty scary. They’ve firmly reclaimed the threat they posed while qualifying for the 1998 World Cup, and with today’s news coming from the north, the Jamaicans might be ready to get a whole lot scarier (at the expense of a CONCACAF competitor).
According to TSN’s Luke Wileman, the Jamaican federation is hoping to add two Premier League players for their Hexagonal push:
De Guzman, a midfielder for Swansea, has been a source of frustration for Canadian fans, with a will-he won’t-he vibe from the younger brother of Julian leaving some wishing he’d just go away. Eligible to play for four countries (Canada, the Netherlands, Jamaica, the Phillipines), odds are he will.
Hoillett, a 22-year-old attacker for Queens Park Rangers, hasn’t been as overt flirtatious, though he did play for Canada at youth levels. That he could turn around and play for Jamaica (after previously saying he would consider playing for England) is potentially Hargreavesian.
If one or both of these players join Jamaica, it would have a major impact on CONCACAF’s final round of qualifying. Jamaica would go from an underdog to make the World Cup to a slight favorite to finish in the top three (along with Mexico and the United States). Costa Rica, Honduras, Panama — the three nations that seemed set to tussle with Jamaica for a spot behind the big two — could be left fighting for the fourth place playoff spot.
That’s all on paper, of course. Who knows how any of these teams will play (except Mexico)? Jamaica could have trouble assimilating their new players and be left scrapping in the Hex’s bottom half. They could also get a bigger boost than anticipated and make like very interesting (and scary) for the United States.
This will definitely be a story to watch over the next two-to-three months.
A week after bidding Manchester City an emotional goodbye, Pablo Zabaleta has announced he’ll be staying in England.
The 32-year-old right back is moving to London, where he’ll join West Ham United on a two-year deal beginning July 1.
[ MORE: Three key battles in FA Cup Final ]
The San Lorenzo youth product went to Espanyol in 2005 to begin his European adventure, joining Man City in 2008. He won two PL titles, two League Cups, and an FA Cup, and was named the club’s player of the season in 2012-13.
“Manchester City gave me the opportunity to come to this wonderful league, the Premier League, something I’ve been enjoying a lot as a player and of course for me it was probably the right time to move on.
“Also, as a player, I thought I wanted to keep playing in the Premier League. For me, after being in this country for so long, this is a new challenge for me in the Premier League and I’m ready for it and looking forward to it.”
Maybe he just wanted 3G.
Young Sam Byram can learn plenty from Zabaleta, and the signing means that star right-sided man Michail Antonio likely won’t have to be wasted at right back in emergency situations. Good risk by the Hammers.
Jose Mourinho has made no secret of his Antonio Valencia appreciation, and the Manchester United manager has rewarded his fullback with a new deal.
Valencia is nine appearances away from 300 in a Manchester United kit, with 22 goals and 61 assists as a Red Devil.
[ MORE: Monaco star’s Man City medical ]
Valencia said United has “been my life” since arriving from Wigan Athletic in 2009, while Mourinho heaped praise on the Ecuadorian captain’s character with glowing praise.
“It is no secret that I had been an admirer of Antonio’s long before I joined the club. I knew what a fantastic player he was and he has not disappointed me on that front. However, what I could never have imagined was what a great person he is. I know I have said this before but I truly believe it is a real privilege for us to have such a good player and such a good man. I am delighted he has extended his contract.”
Only Ander Herrera and Eric Bailly recorded better tackle rates at Old Trafford last season, and Valencia was credited with a team-best 1.5 crosses per game.
Forget a return Stateside, as Geoff Cameron is sticking around the Potteries.
The versatile American midfielder and defender, 31, has extended his stay at Stoke City by two years, the Premier League club announced Friday.
Cameron has played 165 times for Stoke since arriving from the Houston Dynamo in 2012. He’s been capped 50 times by the USMNT.
Turning 32 next in mid-July, Cameron missed three-and-a-half months with a knee injury this season. That span saw Stoke go 6-5-5.
Advanced stats site WhoScored rated Cameron as Stoke’s best player — by far — this season. He was a bright spot along with loan man Bruno Martins Indi, and his extension is good news for both U.S. and Stoke fans.
Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland is preparing for more banter:
Pep Guardiola is looking to Monaco in his chase for (lowers sunglasses) Silvaware.
Thanks, we’ll be here all day.
Bernardo Silva is in Manchester on Friday, with the Manchester Evening News saying the playmaker is close to joining unrelated surname sharer David Silva in the Sky Blues’ attack.
[ MORE: Three key battles in FA Cup Final ]
“The 22-year-old arrived at Manchester Airport on Thursday night on a flight from Mallorca and is believed to have had a medical at the club’s academy on Friday morning,” writes James Robson.
At 22, Bernardo Silva has already made 124 appearances for Monaco, registering 25 goals. He scored eight goals in Monaco’s Ligue 1 title run, adding three in the Champions League.
He’s also been capped 12 times by Portugal.
Where does Silva fit? He featured heavily at right wing for Monaco this season — 43 of 56 apps — also spending time in an attacking central midfield role. In City’s final match of the PL season, Gabriel Jesus lined up wide right next to David Silva