Rounding up transfer day from our side of the Atlantic

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Transfer deadline day in Europe gets to be a bigger deal each year in the United States as more American-linked talent is plucked to help fortify rosters abroad.

Several major moves linked to MLS leading men – including one that was significantly more “major” than others – highlighted the domestic influence of today’s European “secondary” transfer window closing. (The “Primary” transfer window is in summer.)

Over the last two days, three star performers who cut their professional teeth in MLS moved abroad. So did two Englishmen, including one that everyone knows quite well.

David Beckham’s move to Paris Saint-Germain broke first thing this morning, adding some drama and newsiness to the day. He may be 37, clearly in the winter of his career, but he’s still David Beckham.

(MORE: Where Beckham fits tactically for PSG and Carlo Ancelotti)

Far less heralded Simon Dawkins is moving to Aston Villa, where he will link up with U.S. internationals Eric Lichaj and Brad Guzan. That’s a bummer for San Jose, where Dawkins had been on loan from Tottenham over the last two seasons. Management at Buck Shaw Stadium had hopes of keeping the young midfielder for one more season in the Bay.

And Kei Kamara’s move out of Sporting Kansas City to England’s Norwich City reminded us of the price for success; two big years for the club has made Sporting Park a more frequent destination for scouts from abroad. Kamara probably never got quite all the credit he deserved, but check out this number: the Sierra Leone international has 30 goals over three seasons for SKC. Add that to the tracking and effort up and down the right side, and that’s flat out getting it done.

(MORE: SKC chairman Robb Heineman explains the club’s thinking)

D.C. United has a hold to fill at right back, but does have a two-third percentage of a reported $3 million transfer fee to work with. Andy Najar (pictured) went to Belgium giant Anderlecht in one of the day’s big talkers.

He leaves on good terms, and will be missed around RFK for more than all that right-sided ability. His classy open letter to fans won’t be forgotten by La Barra Brava and the other club supporters.

Considering that Najar, a 19-year-old Honduran international has been training with the Brussels club for most of the month, the move comes as little surprise. It also underscores what U.S. national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann keeps remiding us about opportunity lost, about how  that the Olympic qualification failure opened doors for young Hondurans that might have gone to American players. Najar and Roger Espinoza, who moved to Wigan Athletic in early January, were more or less “discovered” at the London Olympics.

Neither was Brek Shea’s move to Stoke City a shocker, although that one was held up as FC Dallas, MLS and Stoke City haggled over a transfer price that looked fairly low when first reported at $3.5 million. Final sale price now appears closer to $4 million, which gives FCD some money to spend in the market. They need it.

(MORE: FC Dallas attacking cupboard looks fairly bare at the moment.

Speaking of FC Dallas, former midfielder Julian de Guzman, a Canadian international who had spent almost four seasons in Toronto, moved to SSV Jahn Regensburg of the 2.Bundesliga, Germany’s second tier.

Men in Blazers: Jurgen Klopp talks loss of Coutinho and more

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Roger Bennett talks with manager Jurgen Klopp about revolutionizing Liverpool, his Greatest Show on Turf-esque offense, the loss of Philippe Coutinho and how he keeps football in perspective.

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MLS: Higuain extends with Crew, Royer gets new deal with Red Bulls

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Two key midfielders earned new deals on Thursday, as two of the Eastern Conference’s recent successes helped solidify for their attacks for the next few years.

The Columbus Crew extended Designated Player attacker Federico Higuain through the 2019 MLS season.

Higuain has been with the Crew since 2012, when the Argentine joined the club from Colon de Santa Fe in his native country.

Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls extended Daniel Royer’s contract, as the Austrian winger in the midst of his third season with Jesse Marsch’s group.

Thus far, Royer has tallied 17 goals in all competitions for the Red Bulls, including 15 during the 2017 campaign, where the former Midtjylland player finished second on the team in goals behind Bradley Wright-Phillips.

UEL: Griezmann nabs crucial away goal vs. Arsenal, Marseille cruises

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A game of back-and-forth at the Emirates Stadium set up an enticing second leg in the UEFA Europa League semifinals, while a Ligue 1 side positioned itself well to move into the final.

[ MORE: Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks ]

Arsenal and Atletico Madrid settled for a 1-1 draw in London, as Antoine Griezmann’s late strike leveled the match for the Spanish side.

The Gunners looked on their way to a victory when Alexandre Lacazette‘s goal just beyond the hour mark put Arsene Wenger‘s men in front.

The result sets up a strong showdown for the two giants in a week’s time, although Arsenal will feel it left something on the table after racking up 26 shots (seven on target) on the day, particularly after Sime Vrsaljko was sent off after 10 minutes for the visitors when he picked up a second yellow card.

Meanwhile, Florian Thauvin and Clinton Njie gave Marseille a 2-0 win over Red Bull Leipzig, giving the French side the edge it sought out ahead of the competition finale.

The two clubs will meet again at Red Bull Arena Salzburg for the second leg.


Arsenal 1-1 Atletico Madrid
Marseille 2-0 Red Bull Salzburg

Europa League, LIVE: Arsenal, Marseille host first legs

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Diego Costa brings a solid career record against Arsenal back to London in a bid to ruin Arsene Wenger‘s farewell season at the Emirates Stadium.

[ FOLLOW: Arsenal vs. Atleti ]

The now-Atletico Madrid forward returns to England on Thursday as his La Liga outfit aims to stop Arsenal from reaching next month’s Europa League Final in Lyon.

[ FOLLOW: Marseille vs. Red Bull Salzburg ]

That’s a 3:05 p.m. ET kickoff, the same as Marseille’s date with Red Bull Salzburg in France.

ARSENAL-ATLETICO MADRID LINEUPS

Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Xhaka, Wilshere, Ramsey, Welbeck, Ozil, Lacazette. Subs: Cech, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Chambers, Kolasinac, Iwobi, Nketiah.

Atleti: Oblak, Lucas, Godin, Gimenez, Vrsaljko, Saul, Thomas, Koke, Correa, Griezmann, Gameiro. Subs: Werner, Savic, Gabi, Vitolo, Olabe, Torres, Costa.