One of the worst kept secrets around is almost out, as Fulham boss Rene Muelensteen spilled the beans on Friday morning.
The Cottagers newly-appointed head coach revealed that U.S. international captain Clint Dempsey is currently undergoing a medical with his old side, and will join Fulham on loan during January and February as long as the medical goes smoothly and an agreement is reached with the Seattle Sounders.
Considering Deuce’s deal with Major League Soccer and Seattle included a clause to spend the offseason on loan, it seems likely that this move will be confirmed in the next few days and Dempsey could suit up for Fulham as early as January 1 in the Premier League.
After injuring his ankle while on duty with the USMNT in Scotland back in November, we haven’t heard too much from Deuce about his proposed loan move back to England.
But now it seems as though everything is in place for the 30-year-old forward to return back to Craven Cottage, and to the club where he spent six fantastic years establishing himself as a top attacker in the Premier League.
During Dempsey’s time at Fulham they reached the Europa League final and often finished comfortably in and around the top half of the PL, however this season the Cottagers are embroiled in a relegation battle and need all of Dempsey’s expertise to dig them out of trouble.
Ahead of the World Cup next summer, and after several nagging injuries since his move from Tottenham to Seattle last August, Dempsey will want to get regular games under his belt. He’s likely to get that at Fulham, a club where he’s still revered as a hero after being their leading goalscorer in his final season and scoring 36 times during the 2010-11 and 2011-12 campaigns.
With Dempsey’s loan deal a formality, finally “Fulhamerica” is back on the map….
Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal has declared “ugly” Atletico Madrid unworthy finalists in the UEFA Champions League.
Bayern was eliminated in the Champions League semifinal by Atleti on Tuesday, with Diego Simeone’s Spanish side advancing on away goals.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s UCL coverage ]
However, Vidal believed Bayern were the better team in the second leg, saying Atletico played “ugly football” to get through.
Today ugly football – Atletico – played against the best football in the world. The only time they saw the ball was for the goal.
They are going to be dreaming about us right up to the final. They did not have the ball, they took on the best team in the world, they took their chances and got to the final.
The best does not always win in football, like today. They are not deserved finalists.
Bayern Munich controlled more than 70-percent of possession and had 33 shots compared to Atletico’s nine, but those stats mean little as Antoine Griezmann’s away goal was enough to send Atleti to the final.
[ MORE: Former England striker Joe Cole headed to NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies ]
Atletico may not play the most attractive football, but after eliminating Barcelona and Bayern Munich in consecutive legs, it’s hard to argue anyone deserves this more than Simeone’s men.
The second leg of the Europa League semifinals kick off tomorrow, with two La Liga sides looking to make it an all-Spanish final.
[ MORE: Premier League Playback ]
Villarreal holds a 1-0 lead over Liverpool, while Sevilla scored two away goals in their 2-2 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk.
Liverpool vs. Villarreal – 3:05 p.m. ET
Villarreal won first leg 1-0
Adrian Lopez’s late winner in the first leg has given Villarreal a slight lead, while the Spanish side did well not to concede an away goal. However, Liverpool have overcome deficits at Anfield before, including their memorable 4-3 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals. Emre Can is back fit for the Reds, as manager Jurgen Klopp will hope his fellow German can help the team to a cup final in his first year in charge.
[ RELATED: Liverpool preparing for another big Thursday night at Anfield ]
Sevilla vs. Shakhtar Donetsk – 3:05 p.m. ET
First leg ended 2-2 draw
Sevilla are looking to become the first team to win three consecutive Europa League titles as the two-time defending champions face off against Shakhtar Donetsk. Sevilla are in the driver’s seat after scoring two away goals in Ukraine, and will feel confident of advancing to the final with a great home record at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.
In the latest Men in Blazers podcast, Rog and Davo celebrate Leicester City’s improbable Premier League title with Leicester’s own Arlo White.
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LISBON, Portugal (AP) Portuguese and European police say they have broken up a cell of an important Russian mafia group that allegedly laundered money through European football clubs.
Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said in a statement Wednesday the group identified EU football clubs in financial distress and infiltrated them with benefactors who brought much-needed cash.
[ MORE: Man City bounced from UCL ]
Once they were in control, the mobsters allegedly laundered millions of euros (dollars) through player transfers, TV rights deals and betting.
Portuguese and European police on Tuesday raided third-division Portuguese club Uniao de Leiria and arrested three key members of the Russian gang. Three other Portuguese clubs’ premises were searched.
Europol said the operation helped identify serious crimes in Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom, though it gave no details.