San Jose Earthquakes v Sporting Kansas City

Kei Kamara looks set for Premier League move


On the heels of Brek Shea taking the next step toward England, another midwest attacker looks set to leap out of Major League Soccer and into the Premier League. And when you think about the physical qualities this man possesses, it’s little surprise Kei Kamara might get a look in England.

According to reports this morning, the Sierre Leonean striker has agreed to a deal with Norwich City, a club that currently sits 13th in the Premier League. As you’ll see here, few details are available, and an agreement between player and club is only one of many steps in the process of moving to England.

Will Sporting KC sign off on the deal? Will MLS? It looks like we’re about to find out, but the one hurdle ITV mentions in their piece (a work permit) shouldn’t be an issue. Rules for players getting into the Premier League tie eligibility to the frequency with which you’ve appeared for their senior national team. Kamara has 14 caps for Sierra Leone since 2008 and has been a regular call-in for the Stars’ recent matches.

If the deal goes through, it will be a remarkable rise for a player who, just over three years ago, was cast off by the Houston Dynamo. But Kamara has made a career for himself in Kansas City, scoring 31 of his 45 career goals since moving north. He’s also collected 18 assists since being traded to Sporting in 2009.

MORE: Sporting KC’s CEO explains Kamara move

That’s why it would be such a huge loss. Sporting have depth at striker thanks to the summer acquisition of Designated Player Claudio Bieler, but Kamara is so unique. He’s 6’3″, strong, fast and skilled. It’s a package that not only makes him a good fit for the Premier League but also a unique left-sided target man for Peter Vermes’ team. There’s really no way to make a like-for-like replacement, even from a team that also has C.J. Sapong and Teal Bunbury (currently injured) on their books.

If the deal goes through, it would be interesting to see how Chris Hughton uses Kamara. He has the physical tools to immediately step in, but there might be the temptation to see his physicality and project Kamara as a No. 9. He’s unlikely to see immediate success in that role, partly because it’s one he hasn’t played full time in Kansas City.

Going from the freedom of a mostly wide player to somebody who’ll have to constantly bang with world class center halves? It would be an adjustment, to say the least.

But maybe Norwich has seen what Kansas City’s done and feel they can leverage a unique, wide target man. If they have, Kamara could be a success in England.

EURO 2016: Who’s headed to France?

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - OCTOBER 10: Volkan Sen of Turkey in action during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group A Qualifier match between Czech Republic and Turkey at Letna Stadium on October 10, 2015 in Prague, Czech Republic. (Photo by Matej Divizna/Getty Images)
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The group stage of qualification is complete, as 20 teams have clinched a berth at EURO 2016, which kicks off next summer in France.

The top-two finishers in each group automatically qualified, as did the best third-place side out of all the groups (Turkey). France qualified automatically as the host nation.

[ MORE: EURO 2016 roundup ]

That leaves eight third-place teams to battle for the final four spots through a play-off. The draw for the matchups will take place on October 18, and those matches will be held from November 12-17 as a home-and-home play-off.

Group A

  1. Czech Republic
  2. Iceland
  3. Turkey (automatically qualified as best third-place side)

Group B

  1. Belgium
  2. Wales
  3. Bosnia and Herzegovina (qualified for play-off)

Group C

  1. Spain
  2. Slovakia
  3. Ukraine (qualified for play-off)

Group D

  1. Germany
  2. Poland
  3. Republic of Ireland (qualified for play-off)

Group E

  1. England
  2. Switzerland
  3. Slovenia (qualified for play-off)

Group F

  1. Northern Ireland
  2. Romania
  3. Hungary (qualified for play-off)

Group G

  1. Austria
  2. Russia
  3. Sweden (qualified for play-off)

Group H

  1. Italy
  2. Croatia
  3. Norway (qualified for play-off)

Group I

  1. Portugal
  2. Albania
  3. Denmark (qualified for play-off)

EURO 2016: Dutch disaster as Netherlands fail to qualify

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - OCTOBER 13:  Robin van Persie of the Netherlands (19) reacts during the UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying Group A match between the Netherlands and the Czech Republic at Amsterdam Arena on October 13, 2015 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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The group stage of qualifying for the 2016 European Championship has come to a close, and one of the top teams in the world will not be playing in France next summer.

Netherlands 2-3 Czech Republic

The Netherlands finished second at the 2010 World Cup and third at the 2014 World Cup, but have failed to qualify for EURO 2016. Playing in front of a home crowd in a must-win match against the Czech Republic, the Dutch got off to a dreadful start, falling behind 2-0 as manager Danny Blind was forced to make a substitution within the opening 40 minutes. The Czech Republic was sent to ten men before the break, but an own-goal from Robin Van Persie made it 3-0 as the Dutch couldn’t recover. A disastrous result for the Netherlands, as big changes will surely come from the top down.

[ RELATED: David de Gea fighting for starting goalkeeper position with Spain ]

Italy 2-1 Norway

Italy finishes atop Group H without a loss after defeating Norway 2-1 today. Norway took the lead through Norwich City’s Alexander Tettey, but late goals from Alessandro Florenzi and Southampton’s Graziano Pelle gave the Italians all three points.

Malta 0-1 Croatia

With Norway’s loss, Croatia jumped into second place in Group H and secured qualification to EURO 2016 with a 1-0 win away at Malta. Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic scored the game’s only goal, as Croatia advances despite having one point deducted due to inappropriate actions from their fans.

Elsewhere in EURO qualifying

Group A

Turkey 1-0 Iceland
Latvia 0-1 Kazakhstan

Group B

Belgium 3-1 Israel
Wales 2-0 Andorra
Cyprus 2-3 Bosnia and Herzegovina

Group H

Bulgaria 2-0 Azerbaijan