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ProSoccerTalk’s preseason predictions for: Most Valuable Player

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ProSoccerTalk’s Richard Farley says … Robbie Keane

Let’s put aside the fact that Keane was the league’s best player over its final three months. But Richard, you might say, that seems important. Just bear with me, because when the LA Galaxy get off to a decent start in their two Donovan-less months, we’re going to look at Keane’s contributions and build an early case for the 33-year-old Irishman. And as his numbers stay strong throughout the season, we’ll stop talking about his MVP case only to come back in October and say, “Gee, this was kind of a foregone conclusion, wasn’t it?”

ProSoccerTalk’s Noah Davis says … Landon Donovan

I know, I know he’s not going to play right away. But think about it: A rested and rejuvenated Donovan, who — oh-by-the-way — might want to prove a point or seven to the haters, remains the league’s most dangerous weapon, especially with the growing talent around him. David Beckham went bye bye in the off-season, which means the duty to create will fall directly on those newly lightened shoulders of Donovan. Robbie Keane, Mike Magee, and on-the-verge-of-breaking-out Jose Villarreal will be the recipients. Next year, Bruce Arena will hold preseason in Cambodia.

(MORE: full roster of ProSoccerTalk’s Major League Soccer previews and predictions)

ProSoccerTalk’s Steve Davis says … Omar Gonzalez

There’s a ton of fascinating possibilities, from the old reliables (Thierry Henry, Chris Wondolowski, Dwayne De Rosario, Robbie Keane) to the relative MLS newbies (Federico Higuain, Diego Valeri) to some really intriguing wild cards (Chris Pontius … yeah, I said that.)

And would anybody be super-shocked to see Landon Donovan come back and, if properly motivated, raise the Galaxy to another level in his belated April entrance, directing some serious MVP discussion his way? Clearly, Noah would not be.

But I’m throwing my money behind Galaxy center back Omar Gonzalez, the best guy on the field in December’s MLS Cup and the real savior behind the champs’ 2012 season, which had gone all kind of wrong before the commanding U.S. international arrived back from injury to put things right.

Southampton: Van Dijk won’t leave, selling days likely done

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 29:  Ralph Krueger the Southampton Chairman looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Newcastle United at St Mary's Stadium on March 29, 2014 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
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Ralph Krueger doesn’t plan on selling any more big Southampton stars, and there’s none brighter than Virgil Van Dijk.

The Dutchman is perhaps the best center back in the Premier League, regularly linked with transfers to anywhere from Manchester City to Liverpool.

[ MORE: Liverpool hires new CEO ]

But Krueger says Saints have had enough of selling big assets. Southampton has sold Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Sadio Mane, and Nathaniel Clyne in the past three seasons, and those are just the names to go to Liverpool. Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama have also moved on from St. Mary’s.

From Sky Sports:

“We would like to move away from that and we feel confident this summer will be a lot quieter in Southampton and we can keep the core of this team moving forward for a few years.

“That is going to be important when you see how excellent the group is right now and how exciting the football is. The game we are playing is a pleasure to watch and a pleasure to be part of.”

Saints were the more effective side in a 3-2 EFL Cup Final loss to Manchester United this weekend, but are well off the pace in the race to make back-to-back trips into Europe.

It will be hard to hold onto Van Dijk and even new bright light Manolo Gabbiadini without Europe, but Krueger is a strong leader with the ability to convince almost anyone to buy into a plan.

Real Salt Lake signs Plata to multi-year DP deal

Real Salt Lake forward Joao Plata (8) gestures while walking during an MLS soccer game against New York City FC Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Sandy, Utah. (Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP) DESERET NEWS OUT; LOCAL TELEVISION OUT; MAGS OUT
Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP
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SANDY, Utah (AP) Real Salt Lake has re-signed forward Joao Plata to a multi-year contract and he will continue to hold a designated-player spot.

The 24-year-old was acquired from Toronto FC before the 2013 season and he has 30 goals and 30 assists in regular-season play with RSL.

[ MORE: Liverpool flops vs LCFC ]

Plata ranks No. 3 on the team’s all-time assists list and No. 5 in goals. He has 33 goals and 35 assists during his MLS career.

Real Salt Lake begins the season Saturday when it hosts Toronto FC.

Gotze out indefinitely with metabolism disorder

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - NOVEMBER 06:  Mario Goetze (R) and Ann-Kathrin Broemmel attend the MTV Europe Music Awards 2016 on November 6, 2016 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for MTV)
Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for MTV
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Mario Gotze’s last few seasons have not fulfilled the expectations thrust about the World Cup-winning attacker.

Gotze, 24, scored the 113th minute goal that lifted Germany past Argentina in the 2014 World Cup, but has endured successive disappointing seasons between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

[ MORE: Liverpool hires new CEO ]

With just two goals this season, Gotze has played just 24 minutes since BVB came back from winter break. On Monday, the club revealed why: a metabolism disorder that will keep him out for an indefinite period of time. From Sky Sports:

“We are glad to know the reasons for Mario’s complaints and we are convinced that after recovering he will give us extra quality with his exceptional abilities,” said Dortmund’s director of sport Michael Zorc.

“Mario gets the full backing and maximum support from all of us at Borussia Dortmund on his way back.”

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Gotze at his best, and here’s hoping this problem is both curable and the reason for his struggles.

Liverpool hires EA Sports executive as new CEO

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Liverpool has named Peter Moore as the successor to chief executive office Ian Ayre.

Ayre, 53, is off to 1860 Munich this summer, and has stepped down early to allow Moore to take over.

[ MORE: Liverpool flops vs LCFC ]

A Liverpool-born executive, Moore was the chief operating officer at EA Sports and has also worked with Microsoft and SEGA.

The move “completes a transitional phase” which saw several new names join the fray. From The Liverpool Echo:

The appointment completes a transition plan by FSG which included appointing Michael Edwards as sporting director while Billy Hogan was promoted to the role of managing director and chief commercial officer.