What a massive bit of news this will be, assuming all comes to fruition: Brek Shea to Stoke City FC.
ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman had the news Friday afternoon on Twitter, reporting that the FC Dallas winger may soon be on his way to England’s Premier League club, pending a lengthy physical.
Reported sale price for the rangy 22-year-old attacker: $3.5 million, which looks a little low but surely reflects the fact that he’s coming off a poor season, not to mention coming off surgery. A year ago, coming off that breakthrough 2011 season, the price for Shea would surely have doubled, at least.
Where the story goes from here:
- The physical that Shea must pass is no small matter. He was undone by injuries last year ranging from a frustrating turf toe that bothered Shea for much of 2012 to off-season foot surgery, which prevented the Texan from joining Jurgen Klinsmann’s ongoing January camp in Southern California. Stoke City had better poke and prod with all due diligence.
- While $3.5 million doesn’t get close to an MLS mark for sell price, it does give FC Dallas some decent money to play with in the market. Technical director Fernando Clavijo, you are on the clock!
- While getting into England probably isn’t a bad thing, Stoke is a something of a different place. They play a lot of defense – and then attack almost as afterthought. It’s a helluva place for someone like Goeff Cameron, the U.S. international defender who has become a fixture in Tony Pulis’ lineup. For a winger? Well … we’ll see.
- On the other hand, Stoke is become to this decade what Fulham was to the last decade: the go-to for U.S. fans who might be looking for a second (or even first) team to support. Maurice Edu may not have worked out for the time being, but he remains Potters’ property. If this one comes to pass …
Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.
The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.
The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.
Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.
Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.
As soon as Brendan Rodgers was dismissed by Liverpool on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp’s name was tossed around as the likely successor to the then-vacant Liverpool managerial position.
However, according to Klopp’s representatve Marc Kosicke, Liverpool did not make contact with the German until after Rodgers had been officially let go.
“The first call from Liverpool came after the dismissal as coach of Rodgers,” Kosicke told Bild. “Before Liverpool there were naturally quite a few inquiries. But Jurgen always asked me not to take it any further.”
Club management was less committal than Klopp’s rep, but did say they had their eye on the German for some time. “We have learned to keep certain matters confidential. We had a meeting recently with Jurgen that he has talked about and I don’t want to talk too much about these conversations. But we have thought about him for a long time and everyone who knows football knows he is an outstanding manager.”
It’s relatively hard to believe Liverpool would have canned Rodgers without knowing for sure that a top-level target such as Klopp or Carlo Ancelotti were on board to replace him. It also would mean discussions of the contract terms and logistics would have moved at lightning speed, with just four days between the Rodgers dismissal and Klopp’s official unveiling.