Crewe Alexandra v Bolton Wanderers - Pre Season Friendly

Davies close to Toronto FC move?


Rumors began to circle at the start of this week about EPL veteran Kevin Davies moving to Toronto FC. Now it almost seems like a done deal.

Today the Bolton News revealed that Davies has been allowed to leave his contract early, as a good will gesture, to get his move to MLS signed and sealed as quickly as possible.

In recent months, the 36-year-old striker has seen himself out of contention for the Trotters Championship playoff push, after not making the 18-man squad for the past few games. It is rumored that Davies’ contract with Toronto would be for the rest of the season.

Davies has scored 144 goals in 714 career appearances for the likes of Chesterfield, Blackburn and Southampton and he has one England cap to his name. The target man has spent over a decade helping Wanderers survive and then flourish in the EPL.

However with the drop down to the Championship after relegation last year, new manager Dougie Freedman has decided Davies is surplus to requirements and had not offered the bruising Englishman a new deal at the Reebok Stadium.

Davies would certainly fit in with Ryan Nelsen’s plans at TFC. As the ex-Blackburn, Tottenham and QPR defender has used his extensive links in the English game to recruit plenty of players with EPL experience to Toronto already.

If I was a Toronto FC fan, I’d be extremely happy with the addition of Davies. Partnering Robert Earnshaw up front, Davies would win all kinds of knockdowns for Earnshaw to latch onto and the duo could become one of the most feared strike partnerships in MLS.

The deal obviously isn’t official yet. But it does seem to be gathering steam. With Davies out of contract and a few more years left in his legs, a move to TFC would be a tremendous fit as Nelsen continues to turn the fortunes of the Canadian club around.

Davies has been granted a testimonial with Bolton, so his move across the pond may not be as imminent as some hope. But the fact that they’re allowing him to leave before his contract runs out in June, suggests that willing suitors are already lined up. Toronto FC, its over to you.

By pairing a battering ram forward and a small, nippy striker who knows how to finish…it takes me back to the glory days of Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips at Sunderland! TFC fans, you could be in for a treat with Davies and Earnshaw.

Juan Carlos Osorio to become new Mexico boss

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Mexico looks to have found a new manager in Juan Carlos Osorio.

Osorio, who had stints managing in Major League Soccer with the Chicago Fire and New York Red Bulls, was most recently coaching in Brazil with Sao Paulo.

However, the Brazilian club released a statement today that Osorio had decided to step down from his position in order to take the Mexico job.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]

Following Miguel Herrera’s firing in July, Ricardo Ferretti was named interim manager of El Tri, and will coach the side in Saturday’s CONCACAF playoff match against the United States. However, Ferretti has stated he will not stay with Mexico past that match, and will return to Liga MX, where he serves as manager of Tigres UANL.

Osorio had recently been linked with the Mexico job, but said he would take his time in making a decision.

His only other exposure to Mexican football came during a short stint in Liga MX managing Puebla. He lasted just seven matches before resigning and returning to manage in his native Colombia.

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He was in line to take charge of the Honduras national team in 2011, but he was unable to get out of the contract with the Colombian team he was managing at the time.

There has been no official confirmation of the hiring from the Mexican Federation.

Benzema and Benitez in a war of words at Real Madrid

MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 26: Head coach Rafael Benitez (R) of Real Madrid CF gives instructions to his player Karim Benzema (L) during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Malaga CF at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on September 26, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Karim Benzema has scored six goals in his eight appearances for Real Madrid this season, and is currently the top scorer in La Liga.

Despite being in great form, Benzema has continuously been substituted by manager Rafa Benitez, which has upset the French striker.

Benzema opened the scoring for Real in the Madrid derby over the weekend, but was taken off in the 77th minute. Atletico would go on to score minutes later as the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

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Speaking after the game, Benzema said he was “fed up” with being taken off, but will continue to work to help his team.

Substitutions are what the coach decides, I’m just there to help my teammates.

It’s true I’m fed up of being taken off. I’m calm and will continue to work so I’m not always subtituted. He took me off to get a result, for defensive reasons.

It’s true that the electronic board always shows the No.9. Ask Benitez why that is.

When told about Benzema’s comments, Benitez said he made the change for tactical reasons, as Real was in the lead and he replaced the striker with a more defensive-minded player in midfielder Mateo Kovacic.

I needed to give the team some balance at that point in the game. I’m a huge fan of Benzema. If I were Karim, I’d also be angry at being taken off when I thought I was playing well and was on a great run of form.

What I’d do if I were Karim is score more goals so that next time I don’t have to be taken off and can say, ‘Hey, here I am.’

Benitez’s response comes off as a backhanded compliment, asking Benzema to “score more goals,” despite the player leading La Liga in scoring. In fact, Benzema has averaged a goal every 84 minutes this season, an incredible strike rate.

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Over the summer, Benzema was linked with a move away from Real Madrid, but he constantly denied the rumors and said he never thought about leaving the club, which he called the best in the world. Just a few matches into the new season, there may be some trouble in paradise.