Strong reports out of Europe suggest Chelsea are close to signing André Schürrle from Bayer Leverkusen.
The clubs are said to be near to agreement over a $30 million transfer fee and a five-year contract for the versatile 22-year-old Germany international, who can play out wide or as a central striker. He has nine goals in 29 Bundesliga games this season for Leverkusen, who are third in the standings.
Planning ahead and getting transfer business done early in the summer is prudent. But if Chelsea do sign Schürrle it will underline the relative lack of influence that its managers possess within the club’s hierarchy. After all, interim boss Rafael Benitez is leaving at the end of the season, so no one knows who Chelsea’s next manager will be.
Even as more English clubs adopt the sort of formal, structured approaches to scouting and signing players that are routine in continental Europe, it still seems odd to spend big money on a player without knowing for sure that the next manager actually wants him. But influential technical director Michael Emenalo has long been an admirer of Schürrle and is close to owner Roman Abramovich.
Aware that last summer’s failure to replace Didier Drogba has been costly, expect Chelsea to also go after a conventional, goalscoring center forward in the close-season. After winning the Champions League last May it seemed as if Chelsea’s transfer policy was to stockpile tricky, small playmakers – your Oscars, your Eden Hazards – without really giving enough thought to who was going to be in the box to finish the chances these midfield wizards would create. Of course, everyone at Chelsea hoped that man would be Fernando Torres, but his future will be a matter for conjecture once again. On the one hand, the Spain international has rarely looked convincing and is surely not the player he was at Liverpool and Atletico Madrid. Then again, he’s managed to score 20 goals in all competitions this season all the same.
The game in 100 words (or less): Vancouver is a long way from Houston. That could’ve been a problem for a Dynamo team that had yet to see a road point through six games. DaMarcus Beasley made sure to put the Dynamo on the front foot with a goal that turned back the hands of time and, after a shoving match between Alex and Pedro Morales left both sides down a man, Octavio Rivero scored an outside of the foot goal to level things up. Russell Teibert was an artistic passing machine for the ‘Caps, and both Tyler Deric and David Ousted made terrific stops as it ended 1-1.
Three moments that mattered
20′ — Beasley scores a beauty — This run, dribble and finish is something this man has done many-a-time in his long and storied career.
42′ — Alex and Morales trade shoves, see red — No reason for this, fellas.
52′ — Rivero scores an attractive equalizer — A measured, bending shot from a man capable of authoring beauty with his feet.
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Man of the match: Russell Teibert
Goal scorers: Beasley (20′), Rivero (52′)
What did Jurgen Klinsmann learn from Tuesday’s win over Ecuador?
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Michael Bradley will be lying deep, while Bobby Wood is in for Graham Zusi and Ale Bedoya completes the midfield picture. Kyle Beckerman is out.
Oh, and left back belongs to Sporting KC center back Matt Besler. With Timmy Chandler injured, Edgar Castillo just arriving and Fabian Johnson going 90 against Ecuador, this was one of his only moves.
Still no Darlington Nagbe in the starting lineup, nor Christian Pulisic. Both were inspired subs against Ecuador.
The Yanks and Bolivia kick off from Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City at 8 p.m. ET, and this is how Jurgen Klinsmann has chosen to line up his USMNT.
Lineup: Guzan; Besler, Brooks, Cameron, Orozco; Jones, Bradley, Bedoya; Wood, Dempsey, Zardes.
The world was treated to the rare sight of a shirtless Cristiano Ronaldo as he celebrated the clinching penalty in a win over Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final in Milan on Saturday.
Jokes aside, one of the greatest players of his generation did get a moment to remember despite having a rather forgettable 120 minutes beforehand. Ronaldo buried the final penalty to give Real a 5-3 win in kicks after a 1-1 score line post-regulation.
[ MORE: Match recap | Bale reacts to second title ]
He almost sounded apologetic after the match, one that saw Real struggle to assert itself after a strong 45 minutes.
From the BBC:
“The penalties are always a lottery, you never know what will happen but our team showed more experience and we showed it by scoring all the penalties. A fantastic night for us.
“It is the end of the season and people are not fit, we have to rest and we have to go for the Euros.”
Then again, when you’re a superstar and have a trio of UCL crowns, you can feel however you like. Ronaldo’s never been a man for John Wooden-style quotes — heck, we’d even take David Beckham’s personality from him — but he’s won it all thrice.
And to be fair, the other two were better games (and performances from him). Ronaldo scored for Manchester United against Chelsea and capped off the scoring in the 2014 Real win over Atleti.
It took 120 minutes and penalty kicks, but Real Madrid outlasted Atletico Madrid for the second time in three seasons to win its 11th UEFA Champions League final on Saturday in Milan.
[ MORE: Match recap ]
Welsh star Gareth Bale made his spot kick before Cristiano Ronaldo took advantage of Juanfran hitting the post on his attempt, and Real won 1-1 (5-3) on the night.
Bale was thrilled.
From the Fox Sports broadcast:
“What an amazing feeling. In extra time a lot of people became cramped but we showed resilience, what we’re made of and we won the 11th.
“They gave it a great game. We feel a little bit sorry for them but you have to win a final.”
Afterwards, Bale said Wales would try to win the Euro 2016 because, “Why not?”
Why not, Gareth? Why not?