Aston Villa v Bolton Wanderers - Carling Cup Third Round

Checking on Stuart Holden, a Bolton FC man once again

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Bolton is excited. U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann is excited. Everyone is just a-bubble with excitement over Stuart Holden!

Among the many topics addressed in yesterday’s lengthy and ranging media confab with Klinsmann was Holden’s long, long road back from injury. Everyone is thrilled, if only cautiously so, that things seem progressing nicely for the once- and hopefully-future U.S. international midfielder.

Holden is back at Bolton now, having been recalled a bit early from that month-long loan at Sheffield Wednesday.

Klinsmann spoke yesterday about what a positive development it all was; Holden needs “games, games, games … minutes, minutes, minutes,” the U.S. boss said, and he wasn’t as liable to collect those with Bolton in the midst of a desperate reach for promotion playoffs. (The Championship table is here.)

He got games and minutes with Wednesday, and perhaps more are coming as Bolton closes 2012-13 matters.

Klinsmann has been in regular communication with Bolton manager Dougie Freedman, and did the same in April, he said, with Wednesday manager Dave Jones.  When Jones saw that Holden would not be around for the final stretch and needed to prep his team accordingly, all parties agreed that Holden returning to the Reebok would be the best course.

We all may have assumed that caution would rule and that Holden would not be asked to close the divide between league play and international play as quickly as this summer. But listening the U.S. manager yesterday … well, I’m not so positive that Holden won’t be invited into one of the U.S. summer camps, the “big” camp for World Cup qualifiers or the “little” camp for Gold Cup.

Said Klinsmann yesterday: “Stuart excites us. He is really coming back. What he really needs is games, games, games — minutes, minutes, minutes. It’s looking very positive.

“We do know that he doesn’t want a break! He told us, ‘I had a break for 1 1/2 years!’ ”

Klopp to the Kop: Multiple reports say deal agreed at Liverpool

TURIN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 24:  Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp shouts to his players during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match between Juventus and Borussia Dortmund at Juventus Arena on February 24, 2015 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
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Jurgen Klopp is on his way to Liverpool to sign a contract naming him the next coach of the Reds.

The celebrated manager, 48, has been on “hiatus” from football since leaving Borussia Dortmund last season.

[ MORE: Messi to stand trial in Spain ]

Reports starting emerging earlier today that an agreement was imminent, and now the BBC is among those reporting that Klopp will be rolled out Friday morning.

From the BBC:

No contract has yet been signed but that is viewed as a formality when Klopp arrives in Liverpool later on Thursday. He will be officially unveiled by Liverpool on Friday morning at 10:00 BST.

There’s not much to say besides this: Klopp’s addition to the Premier League will give more color and brilliance to the country’s footballing scene. Only a certain class of manager can be instantly expected to find a better system for an inherited group of players.

This could and should be a game changer on Merseyside.

Appeal rejected! Lionel Messi will face court trial in Spain

VIGO, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 23:  Lionel Messi looks dejected after the La Liga match between Celta Vigo and FC Barcelona at Estadio Balaidos on September 23, 2015 in Vigo, Spain.  (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
Alex Caparros/Getty Images
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It was a mere 48 hours ago that Lionel Messi looked close to in the clear when it came to tax evasion charges.

Now the question is whether a Spanish court will lock away the greatest active footballer, as a judge rejected the prosecutors’ (!!!) request to drop the charges.

[ WATCH: Hilarious spoof pegs Messi, Ronaldo as “Friends” ]

Messi and his father have already made a $5.5 million corrective payment, but there’s principle in play here. And the judge wants to know how Messi can claim he had no idea what was being done with his money.

From the BBC:

Lawyers acting on behalf of the tax authorities demanded 22-month jail sentences for both defendants.

“There are rational signs that the criminality was committed by both accused parties,” wrote the judge in a court filing, according to the AFP news agency.

Can you imagine one of the world’s richer men ending up in a Spanish prison? It’s very difficult to consider. In some ways it’s more plausible that he would buy his own island and start the “Messi Isle Premiership”.

Still, we won’t laugh off the idea, especially with FIFA apparently going down. Messi in prison. That’s something. Sepp in Switzerland. Lionel in Spain.