Schalke 04's Draxler celebrates a goal against Werder Bremen during the German first division Bundesliga soccer match in Gelsenkirchen

Loyalty – Julian Draxler has it

4 Comments

A leprechaun, Odin’s 6-legged horse, and loyalty in soccer. What do those things all have in common?

They’re mythological. That is, until Julian Draxler showed up and changed the game.

Having just signed a new 5-year extension with his boyhood club Schalke, the German international is still a wanted man.

According to the German media outlet Bild, Draxler’s new contract includes a €45.5 million ($59.2 million) release clause.

Apparently a number of bigtime clubs were not only willing to match the release, but were also willing to offer the starlet a wage raise up to €12 million ($15.6 million) per year.

Schalke were quite interested in making a deal as well, as it would represent a record-high transfer fee in the history of the Bundesliga.

Instead of making the move 99.9% of players would accept in a heartbeat, he instead told those interested, simply, no.

“This season will be the shortest of my career, and therefore I do not wish to accustom to elsewhere” Draxler said.  “Instead, I will play with Schalke in the Champions League and then fly with the national team to the World Cup in Brazil.”

At just 19 years of age, that kind of loyalty to refuse a massive sum of money is not only extraordinary, it’s groundbreaking.

If you think he stuck around at Veltins-Arena for any reason other than he loves Schalke, think again. After signing his new contract a month ago, he addressed the possibility of having moved to Borussia Dortmund by saying, “”Under no circumstances will I play for Borussia Dortmund in the coming season. I’d have to be brainwashed to join Dortmund.”

This kid loves Schalke, and nothing – not even money…lots and lots of money – can make him think otherwise.

Find me another player in the game like that.  You can’t. Especially not a 19-year-old. A round of applause for Julian Draxler, please.

Southampton: Van Dijk won’t leave, selling days likely done

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 29:  Ralph Krueger the Southampton Chairman looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Newcastle United at St Mary's Stadium on March 29, 2014 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ralph Krueger doesn’t plan on selling any more big Southampton stars, and there’s none brighter than Virgil Van Dijk.

The Dutchman is perhaps the best center back in the Premier League, regularly linked with transfers to anywhere from Manchester City to Liverpool.

[ MORE: Liverpool hires new CEO ]

But Krueger says Saints have had enough of selling big assets. Southampton has sold Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Sadio Mane, and Nathaniel Clyne in the past three seasons, and those are just the names to go to Liverpool. Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama have also moved on from St. Mary’s.

From Sky Sports:

“We would like to move away from that and we feel confident this summer will be a lot quieter in Southampton and we can keep the core of this team moving forward for a few years.

“That is going to be important when you see how excellent the group is right now and how exciting the football is. The game we are playing is a pleasure to watch and a pleasure to be part of.”

Saints were the more effective side in a 3-2 EFL Cup Final loss to Manchester United this weekend, but are well off the pace in the race to make back-to-back trips into Europe.

It will be hard to hold onto Van Dijk and even new bright light Manolo Gabbiadini without Europe, but Krueger is a strong leader with the ability to convince almost anyone to buy into a plan.

Real Salt Lake signs Plata to multi-year DP deal

Real Salt Lake forward Joao Plata (8) gestures while walking during an MLS soccer game against New York City FC Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Sandy, Utah. (Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP) DESERET NEWS OUT; LOCAL TELEVISION OUT; MAGS OUT
Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP
Leave a comment

SANDY, Utah (AP) Real Salt Lake has re-signed forward Joao Plata to a multi-year contract and he will continue to hold a designated-player spot.

The 24-year-old was acquired from Toronto FC before the 2013 season and he has 30 goals and 30 assists in regular-season play with RSL.

[ MORE: Liverpool flops vs LCFC ]

Plata ranks No. 3 on the team’s all-time assists list and No. 5 in goals. He has 33 goals and 35 assists during his MLS career.

Real Salt Lake begins the season Saturday when it hosts Toronto FC.

Gotze out indefinitely with metabolism disorder

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - NOVEMBER 06:  Mario Goetze (R) and Ann-Kathrin Broemmel attend the MTV Europe Music Awards 2016 on November 6, 2016 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for MTV)
Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for MTV
Leave a comment

Mario Gotze’s last few seasons have not fulfilled the expectations thrust about the World Cup-winning attacker.

Gotze, 24, scored the 113th minute goal that lifted Germany past Argentina in the 2014 World Cup, but has endured successive disappointing seasons between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

[ MORE: Liverpool hires new CEO ]

With just two goals this season, Gotze has played just 24 minutes since BVB came back from winter break. On Monday, the club revealed why: a metabolism disorder that will keep him out for an indefinite period of time. From Sky Sports:

“We are glad to know the reasons for Mario’s complaints and we are convinced that after recovering he will give us extra quality with his exceptional abilities,” said Dortmund’s director of sport Michael Zorc.

“Mario gets the full backing and maximum support from all of us at Borussia Dortmund on his way back.”

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Gotze at his best, and here’s hoping this problem is both curable and the reason for his struggles.

Liverpool hires EA Sports executive as new CEO

Leave a comment

Liverpool has named Peter Moore as the successor to chief executive office Ian Ayre.

Ayre, 53, is off to 1860 Munich this summer, and has stepped down early to allow Moore to take over.

[ MORE: Liverpool flops vs LCFC ]

A Liverpool-born executive, Moore was the chief operating officer at EA Sports and has also worked with Microsoft and SEGA.

The move “completes a transitional phase” which saw several new names join the fray. From The Liverpool Echo:

The appointment completes a transition plan by FSG which included appointing Michael Edwards as sporting director while Billy Hogan was promoted to the role of managing director and chief commercial officer.