PSV 17-year-old attracting interest in England after fast start to season

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Belgian teenager Zakaria Bakkali could be the next young sensation to break into the international spotlight after starting the season with four goals in four games for PSV Eindhoven. The highlight was his hat trick against NEC on Aug. 10, making him the youngest player to score one in the Dutch Eredivisie.

In the match before that, an Aug. 7 Champions League qualifier against Zulte-Waregem in his home country, Bakkali, 17, unleashed a volley after cutting in from the right wing that lashed into the back of the net.

A day later, Belgium senior team head coach Marc Wilmots called him up for a friendly against France. He did not make the game day 23-man roster, missing out because of an injury sustained in training, but he did get to play with the likes of Eden Hazard, Vincent Kompany, Marouane Fellaini and Christian Benteke.

Now, the Express in the United Kingdom is reporting that Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal are all interested in signing him.

This is Bakkali’s first year as a senior professional, having joined PSV as a youth player from Standard Liège in 2008. He is capped at every youth level in Belgium from the under-15 to under-21 teams.

Bakkali is another example of Belgium’s rising stock as an international power. He prefers to play on the right, and his one-on-one skills are already close to world-class. In his penchant for torching defenders repeatedly, he was bound to attract interest eventually.

Klopp to the Kop: Multiple reports say deal agreed at Liverpool

TURIN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 24:  Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp shouts to his players during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match between Juventus and Borussia Dortmund at Juventus Arena on February 24, 2015 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp is on his way to Liverpool to sign a contract naming him the next coach of the Reds.

The celebrated manager, 48, has been on “hiatus” from football since leaving Borussia Dortmund last season.

[ MORE: Messi to stand trial in Spain ]

Reports starting emerging earlier today that an agreement was imminent, and now the BBC is among those reporting that Klopp will be rolled out Friday morning.

From the BBC:

No contract has yet been signed but that is viewed as a formality when Klopp arrives in Liverpool later on Thursday. He will be officially unveiled by Liverpool on Friday morning at 10:00 BST.

There’s not much to say besides this: Klopp’s addition to the Premier League will give more color and brilliance to the country’s footballing scene. Only a certain class of manager can be instantly expected to find a better system for an inherited group of players.

This could and should be a game changer on Merseyside.

Appeal rejected! Lionel Messi will face court trial in Spain

VIGO, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 23:  Lionel Messi looks dejected after the La Liga match between Celta Vigo and FC Barcelona at Estadio Balaidos on September 23, 2015 in Vigo, Spain.  (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
Alex Caparros/Getty Images
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It was a mere 48 hours ago that Lionel Messi looked close to in the clear when it came to tax evasion charges.

Now the question is whether a Spanish court will lock away the greatest active footballer, as a judge rejected the prosecutors’ (!!!) request to drop the charges.

[ WATCH: Hilarious spoof pegs Messi, Ronaldo as “Friends” ]

Messi and his father have already made a $5.5 million corrective payment, but there’s principle in play here. And the judge wants to know how Messi can claim he had no idea what was being done with his money.

From the BBC:

Lawyers acting on behalf of the tax authorities demanded 22-month jail sentences for both defendants.

“There are rational signs that the criminality was committed by both accused parties,” wrote the judge in a court filing, according to the AFP news agency.

Can you imagine one of the world’s richer men ending up in a Spanish prison? It’s very difficult to consider. In some ways it’s more plausible that he would buy his own island and start the “Messi Isle Premiership”.

Still, we won’t laugh off the idea, especially with FIFA apparently going down. Messi in prison. That’s something. Sepp in Switzerland. Lionel in Spain.