Ordinarily, a run-of-the-mill transfer story involving a relatively unknown defender, one Premier League mid-table side and one relegation-threatened outfit, would not be ProSoccerTalk fodder.
But pay attention to this one – because the ripple effect will carry all the way to Major League Soccer. To Toronto FC, specifically.
West Brom defender Jonas Olsson was a January transfer window target of Harry Redknapp and Queens Park Rangers. The London club, which has a mighty fight ahead to avoid a drop into England’s second tier, had reportedly offered about $8 million for the Swedish international.
Today comes news that West Brom has said “thanks, but no thanks.”
Here’s the relevant matter:
Olsson would have reinforced a defense currently guided by veteran center back Ryan Nelsen. Nelsen, 35, is ready to move on to the next part of his life. He has just been named manager at Toronto, which created the very unstable situation where a manager has been named who will not be in a position to overseen pre-season training, the upcoming draft, and quite possibly a third of TFC’s regular season matches. But, you know; details, details.
Word is out today that as Nelsen looks for the emergency exit, Redknapp and QPR are increasingly determined to keep the respected New Zealand international around.
Olsson’s arrival might have helped pry Nelsen loose, adding cover and experience and generally helping soften the January blow. Well, so much for that.
Scott Nicholls and Otis Earle welcomed Bob Bradley
to their “Beyond The Pitch” podcast to discuss his time coaching the Chicago Fire, the Fire’s current squad, how MLS has evolved, the new generation of players coming into the USMNT and more.
Perhaps most interesting is Bradley talking about previous losses with stinging emotion that sounds like they happened yesterday, including the 2000 MLS Cup.
[ MORE: Latest Men In Blazers pod ]
Since being fired from Swansea City after less than 100 days, Bradley has been linked with the Norway national team gig as well as a return to Los Angeles. Keep up with the U.S. coach here, and check it out:
Every dog has its day, and the three lower-tier clubs remaining in the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup are hoping for a second.
Miami FC, Sacramento Republic, and FC Cincinnati enjoyed wins over Major League Soccer sides in the fourth round, and now get further MLS tests in this week’s fifth round.
[ MORE: Lampard linked with manager opening ]
Once FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids tangle on Tuesday, attention turns to the underdogs on Wednesday. Who has the best chance to advance?
- Miami FC vs. Atlanta United — Playing an MLS expansion side at Riccardo Silva Stadium will give Miami a bit of confidence, and this is also a side with some good experience in pressure spots. Whether it’s manager Alessandro Nesta or MLS vets Michel, Gabriel Farfan, and Michael Lahoud, MFC won’t shy away. Upset chance: Solid.
- FC Cincinnati vs. Chicago Fire — The visitors are having a heck of a season in MLS and don’t have a group which will be worried by a huge crowd, but there’s no debating that 25,000-plus in Southern Ohio give FCC more than a puncher’s chance. Upset chance: Improbable, but possible
- LA Galaxy vs. Sacramento Republic — If LA puts something close to its best side out there, Sacramento will struggle to stop its attack. Upset chance: Long shot.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, New England hosts DC United, Philadelphia visits the Red Bulls, Seattle is off to San Jose, and Houston hosts Sporting KC.
Since returning from a loan at Rayo Vallecano, Saul Niguez has been a somewhat under the radar star at Atletico Madrid.
Coming off his best season with Atleti, the 22-year-old Saul is making an even bigger name for himself at the U-21 EURO this summer.
Spain’s Saul scored a hat trick past Gianluigi Donnarumma and Italy on Tuesday, and the second goal was laced with venom.
Getting onto the ball from 30-plus yards out, Saul smashed his shot with enough power that the ball barely had occasion to rotate.
Saul is under contract at the Vicente Calderon through 2022, and has three caps for Spain’s senior team, too. He was rated Atleti’s third-best performer by WhoScored this season.
Men In Blazers are back with their latest podcast, and the boys are hitting club soccer here and abroad as well as Bruce Arena’s men in the red, white, and blue.
Rog and Davo break down transfer window activity, rumored and real; get a heat check on the USMNT heading into the Gold Cup; and recap the (Ray) Hudson River Derby.
All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:
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