Fulham, West Ham add ‘keepers, as Stekelenburg and Adrian arrive

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Two English Premier League sides added to their ranks on Wednesday, as West Ham and Fulham both picked up new goalkeepers.

The Hammers have brought in Real Betis stopper Adrian, the 26-year-old will join West Ham on July 1 after his contract with Betis runs out.

While as we revealed in the Transfer Rumor Roundup yesterday, Dutch international Maarten Stekelenburg has completed his move to Craven Cottage from AS Roma. The giant Dutchman has worked with Fulham’s manager Martin Jol before at Ajax and was keen to make the switch to West London.

“I am very happy to be joining Fulham, and to have everything sorted out so early in the summer, so I can really focus on preparations for playing in the Premier League next season,” Stekelenburg said. “It’s good that I’ll be joining Martin [Jol] again, he knows my capabilities very well, so I am just looking forward to joining up with the team in pre-season and enjoying some time with them prior to the new season starting.”

While Adrian was equally excited to be moving to the EPL.

“I am extremely happy and ecstatic to have joined such a legendary and historical club. I am really looking forward to being able to kick-off my career in the best league in the world with West Ham.”

Both ‘keepers will likely be first choice at their respective new clubs. But is that a little bit harsh on the old guys who played so well for large spells last year? Jussi Jaaskelainen was one of the league’s best ‘keepers and made more saves than any other goalkeeper last term. He was also runner-up as West Ham’s player of the year and at the age of 38, the Finn may still have a few years left in him.

While there will be a close battle for the No. 1 shirt at West Ham, no such challenge should be present at Fulham. 40-year-old ‘keeper Mark Schwarzer has made 170 appearances for the Cottagers but he hasn’t been offered a new deal and looks to be heading out of the club this summer when his contract expires.

Schwarzer wasn’t too optimistic about staying at Fulham when asked recently while on international duty with Australia, and Stekelenburg’s arrival has all but dashed any lingering hopes the Socceros ‘keeper may have had of prolonging his Fulham career.

Decent goalkeepers are hard to find and despite a few mistakes here and there over their lengthy EPL careers, Jaaskelainen and Schwarzer are top notch ‘keepers. Replacing them with promising youngsters isn’t always the right thing to do.

But Adrian and Stekelenburg have been playing regularly in La Liga and Serie A, so I think, reluctantly, it may be the end of the line for two of the EPL’s goalkeeping stalwarts.

USA 4-0 Panama: United States top Group A

KANSAS CITY, KS - OCTOBER 01:  Jordan Morris #9 of the USA celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the 1st minute of the 2015 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying match against Canada at Sporting Park on October 1, 2015 in Kansas City, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
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The United States U-23 team exploded for four goals in the second half to down Panama 4-0, as the U.S. finish atop Group A in Olympic qualifying with a perfect three wins from three matches.

They advance to the semifinals, where they will face either Mexico or Honduras.

Thanks to a 2-2 draw between Canada and Cuba earlier in the evening, the U.S. had already clinched the top spot in Group A before this match began. With the United States’ win, Canada also advances into the semifinals as the second-place team.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]

The U.S. had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 11th minute, but Panama goalkeeper Elieser Powell made a higlight-reel save on Gedion Zelalem. Maki Tall moved in and fired a low shot on goal, forcing Powell to dive down and make a stop. The rebound rolled right out to Zelalem, who had the whole goal in front of him, but somehow Powell reached to get a hand on it, deflecting the shot over the bar.

Tied 0-0 at halftime, Andreas Herzog made some adjustments to his lineup, bringing in Jordan Morris and Jerome Kiesewetter for Tall and Zelalem. The substitutions paid immediate dividends, as the United States jumped out to a three-goal lead within minutes.

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In the 51st minute, Gboly Ariyibi’s cross took a deflection off Fidel Escobar and into the net, ruled an own goal on the Panamanian defender.

Two minutes later, substitute Jerome Kiesewetter took a pass from Luis Gil and fired a right-footed shot from a tight angle to the far post, doubling the United States’ lead. It was a very clean finish from the German-born Stuttgart product.

Three minutes after scoring a goal, Kiesewetter grabbed an assist as he combined with fellow substitute Jordan Morris to make it 3-0. Kiesewetter ran down the right wing and played a low cross in, where Morris tapped home his third goal of the tournament.

Kiesewetter continued his stellar half, blowing by a defender before doing well to draw a foul in the box. Luis Gil stepped up to the spot and buried the penalty, as the U.S. went 4-0 up in the 71st minute.

With the result, the United States heads into the semifinals with a +11 goal differential, outscoring their opponents 13-2 in the group stage. A win in the semis would guarantee the U.S. a spot in the 2016 Olympics.

Bayern, Germany legend Gerd Muller suffering from Alzheimer’s

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY  01:  Gerd Muller during a media event discussing the Golden Boot comptetition in the FIFA 2010 World Cup held at the adidas Jo'bulani Central in Sandton Convention Centre on July 1, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Dominic Barnardt/Getty Images for adidas)
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Bayern Munich has confirmed that legendary goalscorer Gerd Muller is suffering from Alzheimer’s.

Muller’s 70th birthday is in November, and the club published a statement that no celebrations would be held due to his ongoing treatment.

One of the greatest strikers to ever play the game, Muller scored 525 goals during his 15-years with Bayern, the most in club history. Karl Heinze-Rummenigge is Bayern’s second leading goalscorer with 218 goals.

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Rummenigge currently serves as the club’s director, and spoke about Muller’s legacy.

Gerd Müller is one of the all-time greats of world football. Without his goals, Bayern Munich and German football would not be what it is today.

There will probably never be another goalscorer like Gerd, yet despite all his successes, he was always very humble and reserved, which particularly impressed me.

He was a fantastic team-mate and is a friend. Gerd will always enjoy a place in the Bayern family.

After he ended his playing career, he brought his experience as a coach of youngsters to the club, helping define the likes of world champions Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Müller, and we are also grateful to him for this.

Muller won the Golden Boot at the 1970 World Cup with ten goals, helping West Germany to a third-place finish. That same year he won the Ballon d’Or as the best player in the world, and helped the West German team capture the European Championship in 1972 and the World Cup in 1974.

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He is one of the top scorers in German national team history with 68 goals, second only to Miroslav Klose’s 71. However, Muller reached 68 goals in just 62 caps, while it took Klose 137 appearances to reach his mark. His 14 World Cup goals are third all-time to Klose (16) and Ronaldo (14).