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Sebastien Le Toux is headed back to the Philadelphia Union


They were never good apart. The 2012 season showed us that, so it’s no surprise that Philadelphia and Sebastien Le Toux are looking to get back together.

Le Toux, after being made a contract offer by New York earlier today, has been sent back to the team for whom he excelled in 2010 and 2011, with Philadelphia sending allocation money and Josue Martínez to the Red Bulls.

It’s a great move for both teams. New York had no use for Le Toux, the chance they took on him in exchange for the to-depart Dane Richards failing to paying off. No big deal.

For Philadelphia, while the team hds attacking talents like Michael Farfan and Jack McInerney, they produced with the inconsistency of a squad that lacked a focal point – a group that was searching for something that might click instead of relying on something that would. Having scored 26 goals over his two seasons in Philly, Le Toux represents a chance to fill that void.

Last winter Le Toux was shipped west and was expected to lead a revamped Vancouver attack. He eventually fell victim to Martin Rennie’s tinkering and found himself shipped back to New York. There, Le Toux was a complementary player, with Hans Backe deploying him wide, up top , or not at all as the Red Bulls searched for the right combination.

Between his two 2012 stops, Le Toux combined for five goals in 34 appearances.

Based on opportunity alone, Le Toux should better that mark in 2013. If new coach John Hackworth didn’t intend to give him that chance, it’s hard to see Philadelphia justifying the acquisition.

The bigger questions are (a) whether Le Toux can produce, and (b) if he can mesh with the players who emerged in his absence: Farfan, McInerney and to a lesser extent Antoine Hoppenot and the returning Roger Torres.

It’s a risk worth taking for a Philadelphia franchise that took a major step back in 2013. After making the playoffs in their second season, the Union fell to eighth in the east in year three, parting ways with Peter Nowak early in the campaign.

Le Toux’s return harkens back to those happier times. Until the real games start, he’ll be a source of hope. Once the first whistle blows, though, he’ll have to start improving on his lost 2012.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

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Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.

Statement from suspended UEFA president Michel Platini

Michel Platini, UEFA & FIFA
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Statement from suspended UEFA President Michel Platini:

Early this afternoon, I was informed of the FIFA ethics committee’s decision to impose on me a provisional 90-day suspension with immediate effect. That decision, which I will of course contest in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time, had already been the subject of a deliberate leak, and I gave my opinion on that earlier in the day.

I reject all of the allegations that have been made against me, which are based on mere semblances and are astonishingly vague. Indeed, the wording of those allegations merely states that a breach of the FIFA Code of Ethics “seems to have been committed” and that a decision on the substance of the matter cannot be taken immediately.

Despite the farcical nature of these events, I refuse to believe that this is a political decision taken in haste in order to taint a lifelong devotee of the game or crush my candidacy for the FIFA presidency.

I want everyone to know my state of mind: more than a sense of injustice or a desire for revenge, I am driven by a profound feeling of staunch defiance. I am more determined than ever to defend myself before the relevant judicial bodies.

I want to reiterate in the strongest possible terms that I will devote myself to ensuring that my good faith prevails. I have received numerous messages of support today from UEFA’s member associations and the other confederations encouraging me to continue my work serving football’s interests. Nothing will make me give up on that commitment.