Jose Mourinho

Chelsea ready to spend on strikeforce – but Mourinho won’t break the bank

Leave a comment

José Mourinho is set to employ a delicate balancing act come summer. The Chelsea manager has already made assurances that Fernando Torres will be staying on, despite the Spaniard’s lowly tally of four goals in the Premier League. But, after the midweek loss to Paris Saint-Germain, Mourinho also made it clear that he’s extremely displeased with his strikers – leading him to employ André Schürrle in a false nine against PSG.

But Mourinho, for all his criticism of his players this season, is also intent on keeping his stars, particularly Oscar and Eden Hazard. This being Chelsea, the deep pockets of Roman Abramovich would normally mean that the Blues could keep as many players as needed, while still spending £200 or £250m on four or five players.

However, the introduction of financial fair play puts some restrictions on Chelsea. Should they want to splash the cash come summer, they’ll have to sell first.

Instead, it seems, the club will be looking to bring in one strong striker, with Mourinho saying that they’ll be able to afford to spend about £50m (~$87m) on the player.

Despite three defeats in five matches, the Portuguese tactician is not prepared to overhaul the squad this summer. Instead, he feels stability is the key:

“Part of the evolution is based on stability and part is about bringing players in the transfer window like we did in January and what we’re going to try and do in the summer. It’s evolution based on stability. It’s not through selling the best players. It’s not through selling 10 and buying 10 that we’re going to reach it.”

Chelsea are set to host Stoke City in Saturday’s late kickoff. With Samuel Eto’o out with a hamstring injury, it’s likely Torres or Demba Ba could get the nod up top. Watch for yourself (12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) to decide just how much money the Blues should put toward a striker this summer.

Klopp’s Liverpool squad enthusiasm: “Everything is there”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 09:  Jurgen Klopp is unveiled as the new manager of Liverpool FC during a press conference at Anfield on October 9, 2015 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

It isn’t Dortmund, but that’s a good thing for Liverpool.

Our own Joe Prince-Wright was on the scene for Jurgen Klopp’s unveiling as the latest Reds manager, and the 48-year-old German had a lot to say.

Perhaps most poignant for Liverpool fans are Klopp’s words on the talent he inherits from Brendan Rodgers. Sure there are quips that will hit the headlines, but how about Klopp’s assertion that success shouldn’t take nearly as long as his dramatic work at BVB.

From JPW on Merseyside:

“We did in Dortmund what we had to do, to improve the players, to work for a common idea of play. That is what we did and its the same thing we want to do here. They are not the same players of course,” Klopp told NBC Sports ProSoccerTalk. “These players from Liverpool are better, more experienced in some ways and younger in other cases. Everything is okay, I am here. I am not here only because LFC was calling. I believe in the potential of this team. Four or five strikers you can work with when they are not injured, midfielders is really good, defenders experienced and very young, goalkeeper is really good. Everything is there.”

Everything. A powerful word and one that doesn’t get lost in translation. Liverpool has a batch of world class talent, and Klopp’s is anxious to organize it in world class fashion. Strap in, Anfield.

CONCACAF Cup preview: Ultimate guide to USMNT vs Mexico

Beasley, and other US veterans, have been asked to take the young guys under their wing.
Leave a comment

So here we go: the biggest rivalry in U.S. Soccer, the one that sends fans racing for the stadia for a glimpse of history.

It’s the U.S. and Mexico for the right to go to the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia, and it will play out at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night.

National pride is on the line, and national jobs may rightly be in jeopardy. Let’s swing through our coverage, and what’s at stake in just over 24 hours time.

The Battles

Who is the key to Saturday’s match? Is it Michael Bradley? Fabian Johnson? Andres Guardado? Will Klinsmann opt for players with Liga MX experience, stay Euro Heavy, or appease the domestic set? Read more here.

The XI

So how will Klinsmann line ’em up? JPW has his preference, some options, and a prediction of what the manager will do.

The history

What are the chances this one finds its way into the upper echelon of matches in the Mexico/U.S. rivalry? This is the company it could join.

Klinsmann’s future

The folks in the anti-Klinsmann brigade seethe with pure detestation of the USMNT boss. Any quote from him is self-serving and dishonest, any success accidental. Beat Germany or the Netherlands in friendlies on the road? Coincidental and Unimportant. Lose a friendly to Brazil? The worst thing ever.

[ MORE: The case for firing Klinsmann after a loss ]

So this match, being meaningful and testing his unbeaten mark vs Mexico, is going to be a clarion call for U.S. Soccer fans. Barring a cataclysmic loss in horrific blowout fashion, he won’t be canned. But a win will be validation for his supporters while a loss would cue a genuine hot seat. And for his detractors, already foaming at the mouth from the words of icon Landon Donovan? Kablammo.