Crystal Palace v Bolton - npower Championship

Manchester United grabs its next potential star: Wilfried Zaha

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Mighty Manchester United scored one of the big wins of the winter transfer window when the long-rumored switch became official, seeing Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha move to north to Old Trafford.

Important to note here is that Zaha, the 20-year-old winger who already has one full international cap for England, will remain at Crystal Palace through the spring season; signed to a pre-contract, Zaha (pictured at right) will begin playing for United this summer.

That’s important for Palace, which currently sits fourth in the npower Championship, England’s second tier.  The top two spots gain automatic promotion into the (financially lucrative) Premier League. The next four spots move into a playoff for one additional promotion spot.

The final sale price is about $23 million. That’s a big payday for Palace, money the South London club can deploy to help the once-prominent club retake some of its lost ground.

As for Zaha, a zippy winger, he’ll have a lot of competition at United and must keep improving his game in order to collect playing time. On the other hand, United is a place where young players have reliably been provided a chance. Sir Alex Ferguson will, in fact, play his young talent or extend loan deals to get them playing time, as United did with Danny Welbeck.

In “pretty good listener” Klopp, Liverpool has breath of fresh air

Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool FC
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In some ways, all managers are the same: intelligent football men messing around with the puzzle that is winning matches.

But to listen to Jurgen Klopp’s introductory press conference is to get a different view. While some managers sound like they create the puzzles, or even create the game itself, Klopp speaks of the challenge with reverence.

[ MORE: Klopp unveiled as “the Normal One” ]

In other words, it seems unlikely we will be hearing him utter phrases designed at painting himself as a Picasso of the pitch, rather that of a museum curator.

For example, here’s the new Liverpool boss on the club’s history.

From JPW on Merseyside:

“Twenty-five years ago [since the last league title] is a long time,” Klopp said. “History is only the base for us, [we shouldn’t] keep the history in our backpack all day. I want to see the first step next week and not always compare with other times. This is a great club with big potential. Everything is there. Let’s try to start a new way. Everything is different – I don’t know it all but I’m a pretty good listener.”

The “normal one” speaks like an honor student, not the know-it-all professor demanding students regurgitate facts from the book he wrote and tossed on the syllabus.

And perhaps this is the manner in which the Reds will add a new, positive chapter to their storied history.

Kreis, Schmid dismiss Messing’s job switch comments

Sigi Schmid
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Broadcaster and New York soccer hero Shep Messing caused quite a stir with his comments during the Red Bulls/Impact match on Wednesday, and those words have cause plenty of reaction in MLS.

If you missed it, Messing claims that New York City FC is ready to move on from Jason Kreis after just one season, and that Seattle coach Sigi Schmid is set to swap jobs with the NYC boss.

Messing also claims that Caleb Porter could end his disappointing run in Portland to head back to college soccer.

Kreis and Schmid disagree. The latter says he loves the Sounders and is committed to bringing an MLS Cup to Seattle. Kreis was just flabbergasted.


“I was watching the game last night, and it caught me completely by surprise. I thought that was an absolutely ludicrous statement and unfounded,” Kreis said after training Thursday. “I have no knowledge of that information at all, and I kind of scratch my head because at the end of the day I’m very happy here.”

So is there any truth here? The Porter part makes sense, especially if the Timbers fail to make the postseason again and the brash coach wishes to go back to a place where he’s had success.

As for Schmid and Kreis, that’s a curious one. Maybe NYC’s star studded roster would like a change, and Schmid has more success with big egos. And Kreis would thrive just about anywhere, but why would NYC ditch a man who built this from scratch? They’ve invested so much in the ex-RSL legend.