Dutch international Leroy Fer seals $7 million move to Norwich City

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Norwich City have added another key cog to their squad ahead of the 2013-14 EPL season.

Highly rated Dutch midfielder Leroy Fer has joined on a four-year deal from FC Twente. The 23-year-old has joined striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel as Chris Hughton continues to bolster his squad over the off season.

Fer was previously tracked by Everton, but a potential move to the Toffees fell through back last summer. And the Dutch international impressed for Holand’s U-21 side in the European Championships this summer, as his stock around Europe rose further.

The Canaries look set to push on from their 11th placed finish last season, after Hughton’s side climbed away from relegation trouble in the final few weeks of the season. Solid defense was their mantra, but now Hughton seems to be adding some flair and creativity to their offense that struggled last season. Only Stoke and QPR scored less than Norwich’s 41 goals last season. Improvement going forward is needed.

Fer has been a key man for Twente in recent seasons after joining them from FC Feyenoord. Described as a “powerhouse” by Norwich on their website, 6 foot 3 Fer can operate in a variety of oppositions in midfield. But is that really what Norwich needed after a season of struggle in front of goal last term?

Yes Fer is a great player with a big future ahead, but players such as Jonny Howson and Bradley Johnson performed superbly in that “midfield destroyer” role last term.

Regardless, Hughton was delighted to welcome Fer on board.

He’s a very versatile Dutch international and at 23 he has that pleasing balance of having acquired experience playing over 100 games in the Dutch League – but still having plenty of time ahead of him to continue his development as a player here with us at Norwich City.

Many expected Norwich to flounder under Hughton last season, following Paul Lambert’s exit from Carrow Road. But they survived and played good football at times. Solid yet unspectacular would sum them up.

Fer has incredible qualities, no doubt. Everton and plenty of other EPL sides have been tracking him for some time. Norwich have landed the Dutchman but I’m just worried that he won’t add that much to their EPL survival bid this season.

Because despite stability last term, Norwich will have to strengthen further if they want another season of mid-table obscurity. If not, the EPL trap door may come calling.

U.S. Open Cup roundup: Poku lifts Miami; Red Bulls, Cincy win on PKs

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While MLS represents the majority of the remaining clubs in this year’s U.S. Open Cup, one side continues to defy the odds.

[ MORE: Minnesota United adds Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson ]

Miami FC reached their first quarterfinal in club history after knocking off Atlanta United late on Wednesday, behind a goal and an assist from Kwadwo Poku. The victory for Miami sets up a date with FC Cincinnati — who pulled off an unbelievable shootout win against the Chicago Fire.

Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution both advanced on the night with wins over the Philadelphia Union and D.C. United, respectively. The Red Bulls and Revs will meet in the final eight as well.

Sporting KC kept its hope of hoisting a fourth U.S. Open Cup title alive on Wednesday with a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo. The 2015 winners will take on FC Dallas — who defeated the Colorado Rapids on Tuesday night.

Here are all the results from tonight’s Open Cup action.

Houston Dynamo 0-2 Sporting KC
New England Revolution 2-1 D.C. United
Miami FC 3-2 Atlanta United
New York Red Bulls 1-1 (5-3 on PKs) Philadelphia Union
FC Cincinnati 0-0 (3-1 on PKs) Chicago Fire
San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 Seattle Sounders
LA Galaxy 2-0 Sacramento Republic

Report: City Football Group set to expand outreach with Girona deal

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City Football Group appears on the verge of adding to its global outreach, and it’s next destination looks to be in Spain.

[ MORE: Are Southampton’s days of selling behind the club? ]

The group of investors, which are known for controlling Premier League side Manchester City, are reportedly nearing a deal to purchase a partial stake in Spanish club Girona — which is set to make its La Liga debut in 2017/18.

CFG is said to be gaining a near “50 percent” stake in the club, with the rest of the club owned by Media Base, a company owned by Pep Guardiola‘s brother, Pere.

Over recent years, CFG has vastly expanded its ownership outreach and currently has a stake in five clubs around the world, with Girona set to be the sixth.

MLS side New York City FC, Australian A-League side Melbourne City FC, Japan’s Yokohama F. Marinos and Club Atletico Torque in Uruguay are all part of the CFG enterprise, alongside Man City.

New York Red Bulls ink goalkeeper Luis Robles to new deal

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The “Iron Man” will keep up his amazing journey with the New York Red Bulls, after signing a new deal with the club on Wednesday.

[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder on verge of joining Los Angeles FC ]

Goalkeeper Luis Robles has extended his contract with the reigning Eastern Conference champions, as the American continues to raise his consecutive starts streak, which stands at 157.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed in the club’s release.

Robles joined the Red Bulls back in 2012 after playing in Germany, and the shot-stopper hasn’t missed a start ever since.

Report: Minnesota United adds Hearts midfielder Sam Nicholson

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Minnesota United has had its shares of ups and down in its debut MLS season, but the Loons are on the verge making an exciting young signing.

[ MORE: Wesley Sneijder closing in on Los Angeles FC move ]

ESPN FC is reporting that Minnesota will sign Hearts winger Sam Nicholson from the Scottish Premier League on a deal that makes him a Loon until 2019.

The young attacker is expected to join the MLS side when the summer transfer window opens on July 10.

Nicholson, 22, has played with the Edinburgh side since his youth days, and made his senior debut with the club in 2013. During his time at Hearts, Nicholson scored 16 goals in all competitions for the team.

Last season, Nicholson missed 16 matches due to a significant knee injury.

According to the report, Scottish sides Rangers and Aberdeen were also among those interested in acquiring Nicholson, while English Championship clubs Bristol City and Barnsley also reached out about the attacker.