Sunday transfer rumor roundup: Demichelis to City, Gomis to stay

Leave a comment

With less than 48 hours remaining in the transfer window things are getting very very edgy as teams look to make cut-rate bids, fill last-minute holes, and do their best to throw off the opposition.

It appears that Manchester City have all but completed a move for Atletico Madrid defender Martin Demichelis who Sky Sports is reporting will have a medical today to complete the move.  The Argentinian international is mostly a stop-gap purchase, with Vincent Kompany out for a number of weeks and young central defender Majita Nastasic only just having returned from a hamstring injury. Even without the injuries, the 32-year-old also provides a veteran replacement for Kolo Toure who left for Liverpool this window. The transfer is a bit of an unusual one, with the former Bayern Munich man having just signed on a free transfer from Malaga to Atletico earlier in July.

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has shot down rumors that many teams – most notably Newcastle – were heavily interested in his striker Bafetembi Gomis.  On Twitter last night he proclaimed, “We have to face facts, there isn’t an offer that Bafe has accepted despite (interest from) the ‘English’ and the ‘Turks’ and Lyon need a player like him.”

Gomis is on the last year of his contract, and could still be persuaded by a last-minute bid, but the fact no one has made a definitive move yet means there is very little time to complete any desired switch.

Schalke attacker Julian Draxler has made some surprising comments regarding speculation that he could be the target of a last-ditch Arsenal move, refusing to rule out a move like he has all summer.  The 19-year-old wonderkid has oftem been the target of rumors, but after signing a contract extension in May, he’s maintained his loyalty to his boyhood club.  Now, he told the media he could very well leave.  “I don’t mind people speculating” said Draxler. “If the club wants to sell me, I will not say ‘no I want to stay here’. We will see if anything extraordinary happens on Monday.” Yes, we will Julian.

source: Getty ImagesAs the Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini rumors continue to fly about their possible exit from Goodison Park to join up with David Moyes at Manchester United, the media have switched their attention to Roberto Martinez’s efforts to replace them.  It appears they have been linked with Wigan’s James McCarthy (pictured to the left), with Martinez set to bring the midfielder back to the Premier League following relegation last season.  Wigan manager Owen Coyle did confirm Everton have made an inquiry about McCarthy, but no bids have been filed yet. “I am never evasive as you know” said Coyle.”Roberto [Martinez] spoke to the Chairman the other night. They have a fantastic relationship anyway and they probably speak every other week regarding a number of things.”

It’s not a rumor anymore, but Chelsea have confirmed the signing of 21-year-old Christian Atsu from Porto. The Ghanan international becomes yet another winger/attacker that Jose Mourinho has bagged this window, although this one looks to be probably one for the future rather than this season, as Chelsea immediately sent him on loan to Vitesse Arnham.  The youngster made his full-season debut for Porto last season after being named their youth team’s Player of the Season in the 2010/2011 year.

Reports are placing wantaway Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe at St. James Park in Newcastle after he will apparently spurn advances from West Ham.  Defoe is hoping Alan Pardew makes a move after deciding that’s where he’d like to ply his trade.  It’s likely Pardew would be interested, after the aforementioned stay planned by Bafetembi Gomis at Lyon, and given Newcastle’s desperate need for a striker.

Reports in Spain are placing Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera at Old Trafford, after local papers are claiming David Moyes is ready to meet his €30 million ($40 million) release clause.  The 24-year-old was not selected by manager Ernesto Valverde, although the boss declined reports that Herrera had refused to play.  The Spanish midfielder’s father was quoted in Spanish media outlet Mundo Depotivo as claiming his son is happy at Bilbao. “Ander is getting on very well at Athletic, very content” said Pedro Herrera. “He’s fought hard to come to this club and it’s very difficult for him to leave. I think it’s Manchester United’s decision, since they have not found a replacement for Cesc Fabregas. They’ve decided to opt for a creative player and have thought about Ander.” Replace Cesc Fabregas? Interesting comments…

Finally, Fulham have been linked with 25-year-old defender Michael Mancienne of Hamburg.  Mancienne is formerly of Chelsea for a quick cup of tea before spending a long loan spell at Wolverhampton and finally his permanent move to Germany.  With the futures of both John Arne Riise and Philippe Senderos in question, Martin Jol is keen to bring on at least one new defender to the squad.  Mancienne is mainly a central defender, but can also play on the right, which would be helpful considering the Whites have zero cover for Sascha Riether at that position.  Additionally, if Riise were to leave, it would leave the left-back position thin with just young Matthew Briggs and oft-injured Kieran Richardson to man the left flank.

MLS Cup Playoffs: LA Galaxy 3-1 Real Salt Lake (video)

Los Angeles Galaxy defender Jelle Van Damme (37) congratulates forward Alan Gordon (9) for scoring against the Real Salt Lake during the first half of a knockout round MLS playoff soccer match in Carson, Calif., Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)
AP Photo/Alex Gallardo
Leave a comment

The game in 100 words (or less): The LA Galaxy are through to the conference semifinals of the MLS Cup Playoffs, where they’ll take on the Colorado Rapids beginning Sunday, for the seventh time in eight years with a 3-1 knockout-round triumph over Real Salt Lake at the StubHub Center on Wednesday. Alan Gordon put the home side ahead inside the first quarter-hour before RSL drew level seven minutes later, but Emmanuel Boateng bagged a quickfire brace to complete a pair of brilliant individual exhibitions of dribbling inside the penalty area. With Steven Gerrard unavailable and Robbie Keane only fit to feature off the bench, Bruce Arena turned to Gordon, who gave way to Keane early in the second half after picking up an injury of his own, to play the fulcrum of the Galaxy attack, and it worked to near-perfection during the opening half-hour. Landon Donovan started the game and played 87 minutes, providing the kind of defensive work rate that’s been missing up and down the flanks of LA all season. Sebastian Lletget put in a near-flawless passing performance while playing deep in midfield. Don’t look now, but those are the Galaxy’s biggest question of 2016, all just about answered as the playoffs begin. I won’t say, “I told you so” if/when they win MLS Cup 2016, but…

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS Cup Playoffs preview coverage ]

Three Four moments that mattered

14′ — Gordon finishes from close range for 1-0 — Landon Donovan -> Giovani dos Santos -> Alan Gordon. Just like Bruce Arena drew it up in preseason midseason last month this week this morning.

21′ — Plata converts from the spot after Morales’ dive — Javier Morales was angling for a penalty from the moment he entered the penalty area. All Emmanuel Boateng had to do was look at him, and Morales was going down.

26′ — Boateng weaves through to make it 2-1 — Left. Right. Left. Right. Left. Boateng took advantage of some poor defending, and the Galaxy were back in the lead.

34′ — Boateng cuts inside, blows past his man, makes it 3-1 — There’s playing in top gear, and there’s having an extra gear that you rarely have to use because no one else on the field has it. Boateng falls into the latter category.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Men of the match: Emmanuel Boateng

Goalscorers: Gordon (14′), Plata (21′), Boateng (26′, 34′)

MLS Cup Playoffs: Toronto FC 3-1 Philadelphia Union (video)

Sebastian Giovinco, Toronto FC
Chris Young/The Associated Press via AP
Leave a comment

The game in 100 words (or less): 10 years later, Toronto FC are MLS Cup Playoffs victors. For eight seasons, the playoffs eluded them altogether. Last year, they were one-and-done in embarrassing fashion at the hands of their local rivals. In 2016, it was  their year — a proclamation we’d heard plenty times before — and so far, they’ve lived up to the hype. Wednesday’s 3-1 home victory over the Philadelphia Union in the knockout round gets the monkey off the Reds’ back, but more importantly, afforded Sebastian Giovinco, who bagged a goal and an assist on the night (his second straight game with such a line), 90 more minutes of game time after missing more than a month through injuries as the regular season wound down. After 270 minutes of action, the Atomic Ant looks sharp as ever, and destined to terrorize New York City FC, whom TFC will face in the conference semifinals, beginning Sunday.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS Cup Playoffs preview coverage ]

Three Four moments that mattered

15′ — Atlidore feeds Giovinco for 1-0 — The first playoff goal in TFC’s 10-year history. Poor goalkeeping, ball-watching defending, terrible touches, an overhead cross, and a strike off the crossbar. There’s a lot going on here. Watch it all right here.

49′ — Osorio slams home from the corner for 2-0 — The Union have been bad at defending set pieces all season, so is it at all surprising a set-piece gaffe effectively ended their season? No, it’s not.

73′ — Bedoya puts the loose ball home for 2-1 — Speaking of failing to effectively clear a corner kick, the Union were gifted a lifeline 15 minutes before full-time.

85′ — Altidore puts it out of reach, seals it for TFC — Ken Tribbet did not have the best night a center back has ever seen. His final blunder resulted in Jozy Altidore reclaiming TFC’s two-goal lead, and ending the Union’s 2016 season.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Men of the match: Sebastian Giovinco

Goalscorers: Giovinco (15′), Osorio (49′), Bedoya (73′), Altidore (85′)

Men In Blazers podcast: Mourinho’s Chelsea return; Bradley’s 1st point

Men In Blazers
Leave a comment

Rog and Davo break down Jose Mourinho’s return to Chelsea with Manchester United, another stumble for Manchester City and Bob Bradley’s first Premier League point.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

Subscribe to the podcast OR to update your iTunes subscriptions ]

Click here for the RSS feed ]

VIDEO: Altidore, Giovinco combine for TFC’s first-ever playoff goal

Sebastian Giovinco
Chris Young/The Associated Press via AP
Leave a comment

It’s been 10 years in the making, and Toronto FC finally have their first-ever goal in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

[ MORE: All of PST’s MLS Cup Playoffs preview coverage ]

After failing to qualify for the playoffs in each of their first eight seasons, 2015 saw the Reds venture into the postseason for the first time ever, only to be thumped in the knockout round, 3-0, by their 401 derby rival Montreal Impact, of all sides.

This is the year, though, or so we’ve said and been told all season long. While it remains to be seen how deep of a run TFC can muster in 2016, they’ll always have the Jozy Altidore‘s terrible first touch; Altidore’s wayward second and third touches; Altidore’s overhead cross; and Sebastian Giovinco’s strike, all of which you can watch in all its hilarity glory below.

[ MORE: Power rankings — Playoffs edition | MLS Cup predictions ]