Premier League’s all-time top 5 US stars

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Since the Premier League’s inception in 1992, some great American players have graced the English game. Here are the top 5 players who have had the biggest effect on the Premier League:

5. KASEY KELLER

Leicester City:1996-1999

Tottenham: 2001-2005

After moving to England to play for Millwall in the First Division in 1992, the talented goalkeeper enjoyed four excellent years there, becoming a fans favourite in the process. He moved to Leicester in 1996, by which time he was first-choice ‘keeper for the national side, and won the League Cup with Leicester in 1997. After a spell in Spain, he returned to the Premier League in 2001 with Spurs, and he played every league game for two seasons. He eventually waved goodbye to English football in early 2005. Keller won 101 caps for America.

4. BRIAN MCBRIDE

Everton: 2003

Fulham: 2004-2008

Mcbride was a big, robust striker who enjoyed an excellent time in the Premier League between 2003 and 2008. He played eight games on loan for Everton in 2003, scoring an impressive four goals, before he made a permanent move to Fulham in 2004. He scored 41 goals in his four and a half years at Craven Cottage in a side that was often struggling at the wrong end of the rankings. He was held in high regard by the Fulham supporters, who appreciated his work-rate and hunger for the game. Mcbride left in 2008 to play in the MLS. He scored 30 goals in 96 appearances for the national team.

3. CLINT DEMPSEY

Fulham: 2007-2012

Tottenham: 2012- present

He might not be enjoying a great spell at Spurs at the moment, but Dempsey has been a terrific addition to the Premier League since his first game in 2007. That was at Fulham, who he signed for from New England Revolution, and he was one of the star players at Craven Cottage, playing with Mcbride for a short period. In 2010 Dempsey helped Fulham reach the Europa League final, and his winning goal against Juventus was memorable. Last season he scored a superb 23 goals, which earned him a move to Spurs. His debut season there has not been great, but his spell at Fulham was awesome.

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2. TIM HOWARD

Manchester United: 2003- 2007

Everton: 2007- present

Nobody knew too much about Howard when he signed for Manchester United in 2003, but his career there started very impressively. An error in a huge Champions League game with Porto in 2004 ended up defining his United career, and he eventually joined Everton permanently in 2007, following an earlier loan spell. He has been hugely consistent for David Moyes’ side, becoming an integral part of an increasingly impressive squad, and he is in him prime right now. He has 85 caps and counting for America, and is a top class ‘keeper.

1. BRAD FRIEDEL

Liverpool: 1997-2000

Blackburn: 2000-2008

Aston Villa: 2008-2011

Tottenham: 2011- present

Yet another goalkeeper in the list, but Friedel is on another level to Keller and Howard. Arguably in the top 5 ‘keepers to have graced the Premier League, the fact that he is held in similar regard to Peter Schmeichal, David Seaman and Petr Cech says it all. It didn’t start off great for him in England though, after a poor spell at Liverpool. Once he left Anfield, however, he never looked back. He enjoyed eight great years at Blackburn, three at Aston Villa and is in his second season at Spurs at the age of 41. In these three spells he broke the Premier League record for number of consecutive appearances in the league: an astonising 310. His consistency, shot-stopping ability and likeable personality during his time in England has made him a true Premier League legend.

Mascherano still believes Neymar is “the future” of Barcelona

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The Neymar-to-PSG saga has escalated quickly, and signs of the Brazilian’s move to Paris are growing, but one Barcelona player remains confident that his compatriot will stay in Spain ahead of the new La Liga season.

[ MORE: Morata signs five-year contract with Chelsea ]

PSG has shown a willingness over recent days to meet Barca’s worldly $260 million transfer fee for the 25-year-old, while Neymar has reportedly alerted his teammates that he will in fact be heading to the Parc des Princes next month.

Veteran Barcelona midfielder/defender Javier Mascherano is one of the Blaugrana players that hopes Neymar will stick around and help anchor the La Liga giants for years to come despite a possible massive payday in store.

“Obviously he is young and I hope he’s here with Barcelona for many more years,” the Argentina defender said to ESPN.

“He is a really important player for the club. Because of his age, he’s the future of the club and we hope we can keep on counting on him.

“He’s accustomed to the pressure and people talking. There’s always going to be rumours and news around him.

“It’s really difficult to give advice. Firstly, I’m not anyone to be giving advice and secondly, I see him really happy here, really happy. [Barca] are a club that have made it possible for him to perform at his best. But after that, each person has to make their own decisions.”

If Neymar does bolt for Paris the complexion of the MSN-Barca attack changes drastically despite still boasting elite talents Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

[ MORE: Man United drops Man City in Houston “Manchester Derby” ]

Barca has done little in the transfer market this summer, only adding Everton winger Gerard Deulofeu and Nelson Semedo of Benfica. The club continues to pursue Liverpool attacker Philippe Coutinho, however, the Reds recently rejected a bid of $93 million.

‘Nothing is impossible’: Bonucci brings hope to AC Milan

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MILAN (AP) Nothing is impossible. That’s AC Milan’s new unofficial slogan following Leonardo Bonucci’s surprise transfer from defending six-time Serie A champion Juventus.

[ MORE: Neymar reportedly tells Barca teammates he’s off to PSG ]

Presenting fans to Bonucci via Weibo on Friday, Milan CEO Marco Fassone recounted how Italy’s top defender moved to a rival club.

“It started by chance and it seemed impossible but Leo interrupted me right away and said, `Nothing is impossible. When there’s desire to do things you can get them done.”‘

Milan has been on a spending spree following the club’s sale to a Chinese-led consortium for $800 million in April, and Bonucci is the top acquisition, so far.

“Leo doesn’t require introductions,” Fassone said. “It’s an extraordinary reinforcement for us. … He completes a mosaic sought after by (Milan chief sport officer Massimiliano) Mirabelli – a mix of younger players and experienced leaders who will make the road ahead easier.”

Other recent signings by Milan included forward Andre Silva from FC Porto; midfielders Ricardo Rodriguez (Wolfsburg), Franck Kessie and Andrea Conti (Atalanta), Hakan Calhanoglu (Bayer Leverkusen) and Lucas Biglia (Lazio); and defender Mateo Musacchio (Villarreal).

Bonucci thanked Kessie for letting him wear his preferred No. 19 shirt, and pointed to Milan’s seven European Cups and Champions League titles as a reference point for a club that did not even qualify for continental play the last three years and hasn’t won Serie A since 2011.

“Milan deserves to be among the elite again in Italy and Europe,” Bonucci said. “When you are united you win. The strength has to be that of the squad whereas singular players alone can do nothing. We can get back to the top and that’s what this club deserves.”

Bonucci’s transfer fee reportedly topped the 40 million euro ($45 million) mark, and the center back was signed to a five-year contract worth up to 10 million euros ($11 million) per season, including bonuses – making him the highest-paid player in Italy.

Meanwhile, Juventus is reportedly near to signing prized winger Federico Bernardeschi from Fiorentina for a reported fee of 40 million euros ($45 million). The Gazzetta dello Sport reported Juventus will sign the 23-year-old Bernardeschi to five-year contract worth 4 million euros ($4.6 million) per season.

Vertonghen: “We need to level up” like rest of PL contenders

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Tottenham put up a heck of a title fight in 2016/17 as the club attempted to chase down Premier League champions Chelsea, but Spurs have been inactive this summer as Mauricio Pochettino‘s group gears up for next month.

[ MORE: Striker Morata signs five-year contract with Chelsea ]

The London side finished second in the PL a season ago — a record-high for the club during the modern Premier League Era.

[ VIDEO: History of the North London Derby ]

However, Pochettino and Co. have made no moves in the transfer market this summer, while its competitors — Chelsea, Manchester United, etc. — have all made significant roster additions to bolster their lineups.

Defender Jan Vertonghen says that Spurs must compete with the rest of the PL’s elite in the transfer market if the club is to finally realize its goal of finishing atop England’s top flight.

“The way our rivals are strengthening this season, we need to be aware of that and we need to level up as well,” Vertonghen told ESPN FC.

“I’m not saying with new players, but we need to take our levels up and I think we can. I’m the oldest outfield player in the team and I feel very fit. The younger guys can improve even more. It can definitely be our year and we want it to be our year.

“Luckily we almost kept everyone from this year. Obviously the window is not closed yet but if we can keep these guys, we can do the same thing again. It’ll be a bit harder because we play at Wembley! [The pitch] is a lot bigger but the training pitches have already been adapted.

While Spurs certainly benefit from having one of the strongest young groups of players in England, the club’s lack of spending is a bit concerning, especially after its recent loss of Kyle Walker — who joined Manchester City for a record fee.

Zouma signs new Chelsea contract, is immediately loaned to Stoke City

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Kurt Zouma‘s long-term future is secure at Chelsea, but his short-term future will be away from Stamford Bridge.

The France international centerback signed a new six-year contract with Chelsea and was promptly sent out on a season-long loan to Stoke City. Zouma made just three starts and nine total appearances last season as he came back from a torn ACL suffered in February 2016.

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“It is fantastic Kurt has chosen to commit his future to Chelsea,” Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo said in a statement. “He has shown his talent since joining us three years ago, and has returned from a serious injury with a fantastic attitude.

“Now he has the opportunity to play regularly in the Premier League and we will be monitoring his progress closely while he is at Stoke.”

The move to Stoke will give Zouma a new experience, playing for a mid-table side in the Premier League, and it will be interesting to see where he fits in at centerback, battling with American Geoff Cameron and Englishman Ryan Shawcross.

Even with John Terry leaving the club, Zouma was likely to be second-choice in the back three for Chelsea and if he wants to make France’s squad for the 2018 World Cup, he’ll have to play regularly.