FA chairman calls Manchester City, Chelsea’s lack of English talent “pretty depressing”

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Football Association chairman Greg Dyke made headlines in England Saturday night after calling the prospect of a Manchester City title “pretty depressing,” commentary related to the executive’s desire make radical chances to his country’s league system. Noting England “[hasn’t] got the best development program in the world by any means,” Dyke pointed to Chelsea and City as examples of his country’s inability to produce talent that can compete at the top of the Premier League.

Dyke conceded Liverpool, two points back to league-leading City, has brought through a number of English players, but pointing to the paucity of domestic talent on the league’s two other title contenders fed into his larger point: England’s system needs to be overhauled.

From The Guardian:

“It’s been a great league this year,” Dyke said. “I think the Premiership has been brilliant. But I think there are probably two [regular] England players playing at City [Joe Hart and James Milner], and two or three at Chelsea [John Terry, Gary Cahill and Frank Lampard], although there won’t be that many next year – that’s pretty depressing.”

For some, the state reflects clubs’ (perhaps over-) eagerness to look beyond England for talent. Others align themselves closer to Dyke, who later went on to note clubs’ incentives to develop talent may not be aligned with The FA’s:

“What do they [owners] care about? A lot of them, because they’re spending a lot of money on academy programs, are saying: ‘But hang on, what am I getting back for this?'” he said. “When Chelsea have not had a player out of their academy and into their first team consistently since John Terry you wonder, well, hang on, this is probably the most expensive academy in Britain.”

That so many in that academy are from overseas is what Dyke finds depressing. It’s also why The FA’s chairman wants to push through his reforms. If England is going to compete — not just on the international team level but also have players compete for playing time at the highest club levels — the country needs to reconsider how its developing its talent:

I always love England because it’s so opposed to any change … “And yet you have to say: ‘Well, hang on, guys. We might have the best league in the world but we haven’t got the best development program in the world by any means.'”

The Guardian has more from Dyke, who seems on the cusp of giving his plan the hard sell. With Richard Scudamore and most of the Premier League said to be against it, Dyke has two months before the league’s summer meetings to draw support.

Klopp to the Kop: Multiple reports say deal agreed at Liverpool

TURIN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 24:  Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp shouts to his players during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match between Juventus and Borussia Dortmund at Juventus Arena on February 24, 2015 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
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Jurgen Klopp is on his way to Liverpool to sign a contract naming him the next coach of the Reds.

The celebrated manager, 48, has been on “hiatus” from football since leaving Borussia Dortmund last season.

[ MORE: Messi to stand trial in Spain ]

Reports starting emerging earlier today that an agreement was imminent, and now the BBC is among those reporting that Klopp will be rolled out Friday morning.

From the BBC:

No contract has yet been signed but that is viewed as a formality when Klopp arrives in Liverpool later on Thursday. He will be officially unveiled by Liverpool on Friday morning at 10:00 BST.

There’s not much to say besides this: Klopp’s addition to the Premier League will give more color and brilliance to the country’s footballing scene. Only a certain class of manager can be instantly expected to find a better system for an inherited group of players.

This could and should be a game changer on Merseyside.

Appeal rejected! Lionel Messi will face court trial in Spain

VIGO, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 23:  Lionel Messi looks dejected after the La Liga match between Celta Vigo and FC Barcelona at Estadio Balaidos on September 23, 2015 in Vigo, Spain.  (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
Alex Caparros/Getty Images
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It was a mere 48 hours ago that Lionel Messi looked close to in the clear when it came to tax evasion charges.

Now the question is whether a Spanish court will lock away the greatest active footballer, as a judge rejected the prosecutors’ (!!!) request to drop the charges.

[ WATCH: Hilarious spoof pegs Messi, Ronaldo as “Friends” ]

Messi and his father have already made a $5.5 million corrective payment, but there’s principle in play here. And the judge wants to know how Messi can claim he had no idea what was being done with his money.

From the BBC:

Lawyers acting on behalf of the tax authorities demanded 22-month jail sentences for both defendants.

“There are rational signs that the criminality was committed by both accused parties,” wrote the judge in a court filing, according to the AFP news agency.

Can you imagine one of the world’s richer men ending up in a Spanish prison? It’s very difficult to consider. In some ways it’s more plausible that he would buy his own island and start the “Messi Isle Premiership”.

Still, we won’t laugh off the idea, especially with FIFA apparently going down. Messi in prison. That’s something. Sepp in Switzerland. Lionel in Spain.