After Thiago Silva signs new PSG deal, who can bolster Barcelona’s defense?

Leave a comment

Paris Saint-Germain have finally tied down Brazilian captain Thiago Silva to a new long-term deal.

Cue images of Barcelona walking away in a sulky mood with their tails firmly between their legs.

This time Barca didn’t get their man.

Silva, 28, signed a new five-year deal and his wages were the big stumbling block as Barcelona couldn’t match PSG’s incredible bankroll. So with the cultured defender staying in Paris, Barcelona are edging closer to the La Liga season with a few defensive problems to sort out.

It’s no secret that the Catalan club wanted to strengthen at the back this summer, and so far they’ve struck out.

With Gerardo Martino now in charge, it seems they will step up up their search for a central defender but losing their top target Silva is a big blow.

Right now Barcelona have Gerard Pique as their only fully-fit and recognized center back. Legendary captain Carlos Puyol, 35, is recovering from a knee operation and Javier Mascherano, also injured for long periods, has been converted from holding midfield to play in the heart of Barcelona’s defense.

Apart from those three, Brazilian Adriano Correia has been a reserve for most of his time at the Camp Nou. And then there’s youngster Marc Bartra, who was thrown in to hep with injuries last season. And that’ it.

(MORE: Monday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup, David Luiz to Bayern? Gustavo to Chelsea?)

For a club aiming to win every single competition domestically and in Europe, they need defensive reinforcements, fast.

What about long-term target David Luiz? Reports this morning suggest Chelsea are willing to part ways with the Brazilian defender and he would probably be okay with a move to Barca. The $60 million asking price may put them off, and Bayern Munich are interested too. But Luiz in the Blaugrana would be a site to behold.

Other than Luiz, a few other names spring to mind. How about Dortmund’s Neven Subotic or Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen? Both are massive units we can dominate in the air and in the tackle, but they can also play the passing style Barcelona look to cultivate from the back and all over the pitch.

Those two, in my opinion, would be good fits and would cost nowhere nears as much as Luiz.

But what other options are out there for Barcelona’s new man in charge? There are plenty of young talented defenders in Spain and Portugal but with Champions League success a must this season, an experienced international defender to compliment Pique is needed.

Expect Barca to be busy in the next few weeks… can they tempt Luiz to the Camp Nou?

Who will replace Koeman at Everton?

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Where will Everton turn in search of their next manager?

U23s coach David Unsworth is the front-runner to take over, according to several betting sites — not that we’d partake in such madness — and the 44-year-old boasts 312 career appaearances for the Toffees.

[ MORE: Everton sacks Ronald Koeman ]

As for who else could be in frame for the gig, there are names (quite) familiar and new.

David Moyes — This one is an eyebrow-raiser, as Moyes has had little if any success since leaving Everton and ended his time at Sunderland with a sexist takedown of a journalist. But the 54-year-old Scot spent more than 11 years at Everton before leaving for Manchester United, and it’s not like the Toffees wanted him to skip town. He was thrice League Manager of the Year at Goodison Park.

Sean Dyche — The Burnley boss has overachieved time and again at Turf Moor, and the Clarets are one of the smallest outfits the Premier League has ever seen. A move to Everton could be a big and safe enough step to warrant his affection.

Carlo Ancelotti — He’s said he’s not returning to a manager’s seat this season, but the Italian may relish the chance to take a skillful team and organize it into its rightful potential. And we think he’s do a magnificent job.

Chris Coleman — He’s waffled on staying in his position at Wales, and the club’s absence from this summer’s World Cup must have him eyeing the club scene. He’s hasn’t led a club since 2012, having led AEL, Coventry City, Real Sociedad, and Fulham.

Phil Neville — The Manchester United and Everton playing legend doesn’t have first chair experience, but may be able to rally the troops. His latest stint was as an assistant in brother Gary’s tough, short campaign at Valencia.

Although… his recent prediction record isn’t hot.

Longshots: Mikel Arteta, Luis Enrique, Eddie Howe, Thomas Tuchel, Sam Allardyce, Manuel Pellegrini, Frank De Boer.

Follow @NicholasMendola

Three seriously injured, 120 detained in Bruges hooligan riot

Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Leave a comment

BRUSSELS (AP) Authorities are investigating a hooligan riot which seriously injured three people and forced Brugge police to detain 120 following the match between Club Brugge and Antwerp.

[ MORE: Mbappe wins Golden Boy ]

Local police chief Dirk Van Nuffel says one policeman was among the seriously wounded as authorities sought to contain a brawl between Belgian fans reinforced by others who had come from the Netherlands.

By Monday morning all were released but investigators were still seeking to see who was at the core of the fighting. Van Nuffel says such hooligan fighting “hadn’t been seen for years.”

Everton fires Ronald Koeman

Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images
1 Comment

A 5-2 home loss versus Arsenal sent Everton into the Premier League drop zone, and that’s apparently a bridge too far for the Toffees when it comes to their managerial position.

Ronald Koeman is out at Goodison Park.

[ MORE: Who will replace him? ]

Everton sits 18th in the Premier League with eight points, it’s minus-11 goal differential second-worst in the top flight. Its 18 goals conceded are third-worst, and only three clubs have scored fewer goals than its seven.

The Toffees won two rounds in the Europa League, beating Ružomberok and Hajduk Split, but have lost to Atalanta and Lyon while drawing Apollon Limassol in Group E play.

Everton faces Chelsea in League Cup play on Wednesday before a critical early season match at Leicester City on Sunday.

[ MORE: Mbappe named Golden Boy ]

Follow @NicholasMendola

The Best: Neymar, Ronaldo, Messi — Is there a front-runner?

Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
Leave a comment

While France Football has its Ballon d’Or winner somewhere on a 30-man shortlist, FIFA’s “Best” men’s player is down to an unsurprising three ahead of Monday afternoon’s ceremony.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Neymar are up for the award, and there was no major summer tournament outside of the Confederations Cup — only Ronaldo participated — to help tilt the scales in one’s favor this summer.

[ MORE: Mbappe named Golden Boy ]

Of course, Ronaldo claimed another UEFA Champions League crown, but was far from the simple standout of the club. In international play, both Ronaldo and Messi’s World Cup qualifying campaigns came down to the wire while Neymar captained Brazil’s dominant ride through CONMEBOL.

The award, which is said to be for on- and off-field behavior, was voted on by national coaches, national captains, select members of the media and fans.

Ronaldo is the favorite according to hardware, while Messi’s numbers and Neymar’s playmaking both can lay claim to the throne.

Stats since start of 2017

Lionel Messi

Club goals: 46
Club assists: 16
Country caps: 6
Country goals: 4
Accolades: World Cup qualifier, Copa Del Rey winner

Neymar

Club goals: 24
Club assists: 21
Country caps: 6
Country goals: 2
Country assists: 3
Accolades: World Cup qualifier, Copa Del Rey winner

Cristiano Ronaldo

Club goals: 31
Club assists: 7
Country caps: 11
Country goals: 11
Country assists: 4
Accolades: Confederations Cup semifinal, World Cup qualifier, Champions League winner, La Liga winner

Follow @NicholasMendola