Even “ridiculous” money won’t buy Michu

Leave a comment

Don’t even think about it.

That’s the advice Swansea manager Michael Laudrup has doled out to Arsenal amidst rumors that the Gunners are interested in buying Spanish sensation Michu.

After sputtering out in their pursuit of Gonzalo Higuain, Luis Suarez and Wayne Rooney, Arsenal are reportedly turning their interest to alternative options up top, with the Swansea hitman topping the list.

But Laudrup has set forth to squash any hope that Arsene Wenger may have before it grows too large. Having previously stated that he values Michu in the region of £30 million, Laudrup explained his feelings in detail.

“I think economically the club is very good,” said Laudrup. “I know if they (Arsenal) came in with a very late bid, I know that the reaction from the board and chairman will be ‘No’, even if the money is ridiculous, as we will not have time enough to find a replacement who is near enough to the same standard.”

Laudrup was also quick to quell any belief that huge money could sway his position. “You can say we would get a lot of money but why be the richest club in the championship? What is that worth?”

Of course, while Laudrup may not see the upside in “ridiculous” money, that’s not to say that chairman Huw Jenkins wouldn’t feel otherwise. The two were at odds earlier this summer over transfer market expenses, with Laudrup eventually winning out as he was given £12 million to sign striker Wilfried Bony, a deal which smashed the previous club record by £6.5 million.

But thus far there is no indication that Jenkins is seeking to recover those funds or the £7.5 million Laudrup spent on defender Jordi Amat and midfielder Jonjo Shelvey (the Swans other signings were all free transfers or undisclosed).

At the end of the day keeping Michu at the Liberty Stadium is all part of the agreement made between manager and player. “I spoke to Michu last year,” Laudrup added, “and he extended his contract and asked me about mine and I said ‘I am going to stay here’, and he said, ‘So am I’.”

So there you have it.

Michu and Swansea City host the mighty Red Devils of Manchester United this Saturday at 12:30 pm EST on NBC.

 

Report: Sporting KC on verge of signing French midfielder Croizet

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Sporting Kansas City could be adding some European flair to its midfield this offseason.

According to multiple reports, the MLS club is in negotiations to sign French midfielder Yohan Croizet, who currently plays for Belgian first division side KV Mechelen. Croizet, who reportedly cost Mechelen a transfer fee worth more than $1 million, has started all 15 games he’s played for his side this season but has been substituted off on seven occasions and Mechelen are currently struggling in the league, sitting in 13th place with 18 points from 18 games.

Croizet hasn’t played since November 17, and appears on his way out.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes, a Hungarian-American, is no stranger to the European market and has brought over plenty of diamonds in the rough from Europe to star with Sporting KC. Some previous examples, though in different positions from Croizet, include current winger Gerso, Krisztián Németh, Uri Rosell, and Aurelien Collin.

It will be interesting to see where Croizet plays in the Sporting KC side should it sign him, and how he works with Benny Feilhaber, who is turning 33-years old in January.

Arsenal lands Ostersunds in Europa League draw

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Arsenal will face a team with an English connection in the UEFA Europa League Round of 32.

The Gunners were paired with Swedish side Ostersunds in the Europa League knockout stage draw Monday, with matches set to be played on February 15 and February 22. Ostersund are managed by Englishman Graham Potter, who played in the Championship and lower in England before starting his managerial career with Ostersunds in 2010 in the fourth tier of Swedish soccer.

[READ: UCL draw+analysis]

Ostersunds surprised many earlier this year winning the Swedish Cup to qualify for the Europa League, and then advanced out of a group that included Hertha Berlin and Athletic Bilbao.

It represents an interesting draw for Arsenal, which will have to balance the squad during a tough February. The weekend prior to the first-leg match is the second leg of the North London derby against Tottenham, and following the second match with Ostersunds is a showdown with Manchester City.

Here’s a look at how the rest of the draw shook out:

Champions League last 16 draw sets up huge clashes

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Round of 16 draw for the UEFA Champions League did not disappoint.

[ MORE: Champions League schedule

We have some monster clashes with Chelsea facing Barcelona, once again, and the reigning champs Real Madrid paired with the favorites Paris Saint-Germain.

With five Premier League teams remaining, Tottenham have been handed a tough draw against Italian champions Juventus who were also runners up in the UCL last season, while Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool will all be rather happy with their draws.

United have been drawn against Spanish side Sevilla, Liverpool will face FC Porto and Man City clash with Basel.

Below is the draw in full, while UEFA has also released the schedule for the games with Man City, Spurs, Liverpool and Man United all playing their second legs at home.


Report: Whitecaps teen sensation Davies could have Man United trial

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP
Leave a comment

The 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup saw a lot of young faces in competition, and one name that really seemed to stick came from Canada’s national team.

[ MORE: Five players LA FC should consider selecting in MLS Expansion Draft ]

Vancouver Whitecaps attacker Alphonso Davies has been doing it for both club and country since making his Major League Soccer debut in 2016, and now the young Canada international could be making a massive leap.

According to CTV Edmonton, the 17-year-old has been contacted by Premier League side Manchester United for a trial in January.

Davies would need clearance from the Whitecaps to join the Red Devils to train, however, with it being MLS’ offseason it’s hard to imagine the Cascadia club not allowing the former Edmonton Strikers player to seize the opportunity.

In 2017, Davies appeared in 26 matches for the Whitecaps and registered one assist for Carl Robinson’s side.

Davies has already become a regular with the Canada national team, after previously receiving call ups from the Under-15, U-18 and U-20 teams.