The subtext of today’s surprise trade between Toronto and Portland was confusion, into which always steps speculation. This time, however, that speculation was aided by reports from The Canadian Press, who reported that a new “league designated player” category now exists, with MLS wanting such players to be playing regularly. Speculation elsewhere held Urruti, limited to 37 minutes during his time in Toronto, may have had his path steered to Portland.
That news was first published around noon Eastern. Five hours later, Major League Soccer was holding a conference call with a small group of reporters, wherein MLS Vice President of Competition and Player Relations Lino DiCuollo denied the report.
Here’s what we DiCuollo had to say:
- There’s no such thing as a “league designated player.” The league denied The Canadian Press’s report in that regard.
- Max Urruti is not a Designated Player. He was not a Designated Player when he came into the league, either.
- The league had no hand in steering Urruti to Portland. Toronto had multiple offers, MLS understands, and made their own choice. The league does not become involved in trade discussions beyond guidance on and enforcing rules.
- MLS did not pay Urruti’s transfer fee from Newell’s Old Boys. In fact, Urruti didn’t have a transfer free at all. DiCuollo confirmed Urruti moved on a free from Argentina.
All of which leaves the same confusion that arose this morning: Why would Toronto do this deal?
The pieces seemed to fit when League DPs were a thing and Major League Soccer had an interest in finding playing time for them. But with Major League Soccer denying today’s reports, we’re left wondering what went down between Toronto and Portland. Maybe this really was about getting rid of one of Kevin Payne’s signings?
Don’t expect speculation to die down entirely. For too many, this will be a smoke and fire scenario. Particularly after the Clint Dempsey signing, there’s a certain level of distrust of MLS’s guidelines. Some fans see the league office as willing to bending the rules as needed. If Dempsey needs to come in and wants to go to Seattle, how do they make the story fit? The creation of a “League DP” for the Urruti situation fit that narrative.
Regardless of whether that speculation’s true, it’s a growing perception. The Urruti deal and the short life of a “league designated player” won’t calm concerns.
NBC News is reporting that at least 19 people have been killed and another 50 are injured following a possible suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.
Multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials who are monitoring British authorities told NBC News that preliminary reports indicate that a single explosion took place outside the arena on the southwest side opposite the train station. The explosion occurred as the concert ended, catching people as they exited.
Soccer clubs, players and personalities around the world are reacting to the horrible event.
If you didn’t realize Juan Cuadrado still belonged to Chelsea, you’re forgiven.
The Colombian attacker will complete his second season at Juventus after the UEFA Champions League Final against Real Madrid, and won’t be headed back to Chelsea afterwards.
Juve has purchased Cuadrado, and the fee is $22 million, and Juve will pay it over three seasons. Cuadrado, 28, is now signed through 2020 with The Old Lady.
Cuadrado first went on loan to Juve in Aug. 2015, and has eight goals and 18 assists in 83 career appearances with the club.
Chelsea bought Cuadrado from Fiorentina for around $32 million in the January 2015 transfer window, but made just 14 appearances with the club.
Sky Sports is reporting that Jermain Defoe may head back to the south of England following Sunderland’s relegation.
Defoe, 34, spent two seasons with Portsmouth between 2008-09, scoring 15 goals in 31 appearances.
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The 56-times capped England striker had a clause in his Sunderland contract allowing him to leave the Stadium of Light were the Black Cats to be relegated, as they were this season. He’d have little interest in dropping into the Championship given his desire to stay a part of the England squad ahead of the 2018 World Cup.
Bournemouth’s strike corps includes Joshua King, who scored the most goals of any player not on a Top Seven side this season. King’s 16 goals were one more than Defoe’s 15, though the latter scored just one goal following a brace against Crystal Palace on Feb. 4.
Antonio Conte took league and national honors from the League Managers Association on Monday night.
The Chelsea boss was named Premier League Manager of the Year and Manager of the Year after leading the Blues to the PL title and an FA Cup Final in his first year on the job.
Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton nabbed another Championship boss of the year award after leading the Gulls to the Premier League. He also won the honor with Newcastle United in 2010.
The League One winner is Chris Wilder of Sheffield United. Wilder won the honor with Northampton Town last season.
In League Two, Paul Cook of Portsmouth was named the winner.