As statements go, Manchester City’s on Saturday regarding potential MLS ownership was as brief and to the point as it possibly could be:
“Manchester City are not buying an MLS club.”
So there you go. That was the club’s official statement.
A story had some traction here Friday – much as it could on a day when America was understandably consumed with the day’s grim news – that City was close to an agreement that would see the English Premier League gaining control of that long-talked about second MLS franchise in New York.
Reputable news outlets reported that the team owned by Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan would pay MLS $100 million to purchase a club that would operate in Queens. Bloomberg, citing sources, had an additional detail that made the story even more tantilizing: that none other than David Beckham would be potentially involved.
Beckham, of course, has been open about his MLS ownership interest, although any detail past that has difficult to pin down. One element of the contract clause regarding team ownership was the stipulation that he no longer be playing in MLS. So Beckham’s recent retirement as a player from the league (although not necessarily from competitive soccer) added weight to theories that his days as owner might be “sooner” rather than “later.”
The club would operate in Queens, according to Friday’s reports. That much is likely; there probably will be an MLS club operating out of Queens in the relatively near future. MLS seems to at the “I crossing and T dotting” stage on plans to develop a 25,000-seat facility for a new team based in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, just east of Manhattan.
And the $100 million franchise fee for New York’s second team is probably an accurate figure, one that MLS commissioner Don Garber first established NYC-2 (but not for other potential new MLS markets) about 18 months ago.
So, quite a bit of the story has merit – just not the Manchester City involvement, apparently.
Following a midweek loss against FC Edmonton, the New York Cosmos will try to rebound at home against Puerto Rico FC.
The Cosmos currently have two losses during the Fall Season, having conceded 10 goals in six matches, which is the second-most in NASL.
[ MORE: MLS weekend preview ]
With no unbeatens remaining, Spring Season champion Indy Eleven looks to keep its place near the top of the table against Miami FC.
Minnesota United looks to build off of its strong start against league leaders Rayo OKC, with the two teams separated by a mere two points.
Meanwhile, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers continue to search for their first win of the Fall Season against the struggling Jacksonville Armada.
New York Cosmos vs. Puerto Rico FC
Ottawa Fury vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies
Fort Lauderdale Strikers vs. Jacksonville Armada
Miami FC vs. Indy Eleven
Rayo OKC vs. Minnesota United
FC Edmonton vs. Carolina RailHawks
He was tabbed to be Liverpool’s opening day starter in goal, but Loris Karius could now miss the first two months of the Premier League season after suffering a hand injury in Wednesday’s International Champions Cup loss against Chelsea.
[ MORE: Real looking at Sissoko, Verratti as midfield options ]
The 23-year-old was brought to the Reds this summer from Bundesliga side Mainz for over $6 million.
Karius opted not to represent Germany at next month’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in order to avoid missing any game action with Liverpool. Unfortunately, the young keeper will now likely miss between eight and 10 weeks.
His career ended over seven years ago, but former Italy international Christian Vieri is looking to make an improbable comeback in a country that continues to attract big stars.
The 43-year-old Vieri is reportedly coming out of retirement to join the Chinese Super League, and posted a video on Twitter confirming his plans.
Last playing in 2009, Vieri finished his career where it began — in Italy — with Atalanta. During his career, the striker played for 10 clubs in his native country, while also spending time in Spain and France with Atletico Madrid and Monaco, respectively.
Vieri made his name with Inter Milan, where he recorded six straight seasons with double-digit goals. At the height of his career with Internazionale, Vieri netted 27 times across all competitions during the 2002/03 season.
While Real Madrid still holds a slim hope of winning the signature of Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, Los Blancos are said to have a viable backup plan in the event the Frenchman does the inevitable and joins Manchester United.
[ MORE: Ten most noteworthy summers transfers (so far) ]
Real is reportedly looking at another French midfielder, Moussa Sissoko, to fill the center of the park. The 26-year-old has made 118 appearances for Newcastle since joining the Magpies back in 2013.
While it may be outside option, Real is also interested in Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti, although the French champions likely aren’t willing to part ways with the player.
Andy King has signed a new four-year contract with Leicester City, after Jamie Vardy and Ben Chilwell each agreed to a new deals this summer with the Foxes.
The midfielder appeared in 25 matches last season in the team’s Premier League title-winning campaign, while also featuring for Wales this summer at EURO 2016.
Aston Villa manager Roberto di Matteo has confirmed that Everton is set to acquire Idrissa Gueye.
The 26-year-old shined during the 2015/16 season for Villa, appearing in matches as a deep-lying midfielder. Everton has reportedly met the player’s release clause of over $9 million, and is now discussing personal terms with Gueye.
Swansea City striker Bafe Gomis has joined French side Marseille on a season-long loan after netting 17 goals in 71 matches in England.
The Frenchman is likely seen as the replacement for Michy Batshuayi, who left for Chelsea this summer.