Reports: AC Milan headline Serie A clubs chasing Landon Donovan

16 Comments

About a day after Landon Donovan revealed he would consider a move abroad, clubs in one of Europe’s top leagues are after him.

Donovan, 31, spoke about his future earlier this week as his current contract with Major League Soccer is set to run out in January 2014.

Serie A sides Genoa, Sassulo and Hellas Verona have all made their interest clear to Donovan’s camp, while European giants AC Milan are also intrigued by Donovan’s situation. Milan are said to want a deal this summer but Donovan will likely stay in MLS until January.

It seems as if the LA Galaxy attacker will certainly have plenty of options if he does decide to leave MLS for Europe. But despite all this interest from European giants, which league or which club would suit Donovan best?

Milan could well be in the Champions League and boast a whole array of attacking talent, with Stephan El Shaarawy, Mario Balotelli and Kevin-Prince Boateng leading the way. But would Donovan’s style of play suit the Italian league? I think so. More so than the Premier League, at this point of his career.

(MORE: Are their hints of Landon Donovan leaving MLS?)

Don’t get me wrong, whatever league Donovan joins he would do well. Class is permanent. But if he did leave MLS, playing in Italy or maybe Spain would suit his style of play more. Quick one-two’s and a possession based game would allow him to get on the ball and dictate games.

The Premier League has become more and more physical in recent years, and I struggle to see Donovan keeping up with the pace of the current incarnation of the PL. Donovan had adapted his game to suit his age and how he can best manipulate the situations, he’s still quick over the first 10-15 yards but the pace of England’s top-flight is relentless.

So what options would he have in the PL? Maybe Everton where he was on loan in 2010 and 2012, as he won plenty of friends. And what about a reunion with David Moyes at Manchester United? Now that would be something. And aren’t we forgetting that despite Donovan’s stellar Gold Cup campaign this summer, his place in Jurgen Klinsmann’s World Cup squad is by no means guaranteed.

Not at all.

So a move to a big European team or league would certainly help boost Donovan’s chances of making the plane to Brazil. Klinsmann would be a huge fan of seeing Donovan in Europe. But is all this transfer talk a bit ‘pie in the sky?’ Well, if Milan is linked with Donovan, why not United?

Between now and the end of the MLS season, a potential new destination for Donovan will likely arrive every day. This is just the start of it.

Serie A, AC Milan, maybe a move back to England… Not bad for a player many chucked on the scrapheap after his self-imposed sabbatical last offseason.

Errors down, penalty kicks up after introduction of VAR in Italy

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The implementation of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in Italy has been controversial, but according to a look at the statistics, it has for the most part done its job to fix clear and obvious errors.

Italian sports paper Gazzetta Dello Sport compiled all the times VAR has been used through 346 matches, 330 in Serie A and 16 in the Coppa Italia. There were 1,736 checks (916 goals, 464 penalties and 356 red cards) with 105 corrections and just 17 errors where the referee and assistant made the wrong decision. Eight of those errors did affect the result, which is an issue that will surely be addressed by the Italian officiating organization.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

But overall, Gazzetta found that in the VAR era, referee errors only amounted to 0.98 percent during a match, as opposed to 6.03 percent in the past. In addition, fouls are down 8.8 percent, red cards are down 6.4 percent, and yellow cards are down 14.7 percent. On the flip side, penalty kicks are called 4.3 more percent of the time.

The Premier League voted recently not to add VAR to its league matches next season, while top leagues in Germany, Italy and in Major League Soccer and the United Soccer League continue to use it.

Report: New Arsenal manager will have small budget to re-shape squad

Getty Images
1 Comment

Whoever takes the helm as Arsenal’s next manager will have to do some math gymnastics this summer to stretch every penny available.

According to a report from The Telegraph, Arsenal is giving Arsene Wenger‘s successor a little less than $70 million to work with in this summer’s transfer market, citing back-to-back transfer windows with club-record signings (Alexandre Lacazette last summer and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January) and three raises given to players. Arsenal paid around $78 million alone to sign Aubameyang and around $65 million for Lacazette.

[READ: UCL Preview: Liverpool vs. Roma]

That means whoever comes in next to lead Arsenal will likely have to sell one or two players this summer to raise additional money for world-class signings.

For the last decade, Arsenal has been crying out for a new pair of centerbacks and a holding midfielder in the mould of Patrick Vieira. In addition, with Petr Cech getting older, the prospect of needing a new goalkeeper is also on the horizon.

Luckily for Arsenal, they seem to be just fine up front. From Aubameyang and Lacazette to Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aaron Ramsey, the club has the talent to challenge for a title next season in that department.

A dozen different names have been bandied about as to who will be Arsenal’s next manager, with out-of-contract and former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique reportedly on the shortlist. Vieira, former Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta, Germany National Team coach Joachim Low, Juventus boss Max Allegri and Hoffenheim’s Julian Nagelsman have all also been linked with the job.

Tunisian player who collapsed in Spain regains consciousness

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MADRID (AP) Spanish third-division club Toledo says a Tunisian player who collapsed from heart failure during practice 10 days ago has regained consciousness.

The club says doctors removed sedative medication and Lassad Nouioui was responding well to treatment on Monday.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

They will consider removing the 32-year-old Nouioui from the intensive care unit if his condition keeps improving. Nouioui has played for a number of clubs during his 14-year professional career, notably a four-year stay at Deportivo La Coruna and a one-year spell with Celtic.

Nouioui collapsed on April 14.

The game against Real Madrid B the following day was postponed because of the problem with Nouioui.

FIFA force pace on $25B Club World Cup, global league plan

AP Photo/Hassan Ammar
1 Comment

GENEVA (AP) FIFA is forcing the pace on talks over a $25 billion offer to revamp the Club World Cup and create a global national team competition.

FIFA says President Gianni Infantino hosted a meeting last Friday with invited officials from some top European clubs.

[ MORE: Everton gets past Newcastle behind Walcott strike ]

The European Club Association has strongly opposed FIFA’s hope for a four-yearly club tournament starting in 2021, which could rival the UEFA-organized Champions League.

UEFA has also proposed a Global Nations League. A similar project is tied to the FIFA-controlled $25 billion, 12-year offer from a consortium including investors from Saudi Arabia and China.

FIFA says it’s holding “informal ongoing discussions with different stakeholders on the topic of the future Club World Cups.”

Infantino is set to meet confederation presidents and general secretaries “in the near future,” FIFA says.