The Europa League final often has subplots aside from the final match score, as do most major European matches.However, the one that came from the stands of yesterday’s match between Sevilla and Benfica is an odd one.
Former Manchester United manager and current board member Sir Alex Ferguson was spotted chatting with Juventus manager Antonio Conte, and the Italian media instantly cooked up a few fresh transfer rumors for us to munch on.
The most notable of these just-add-water rumors is that apparently the two discussed bringing midfield rock Arturo Vidal to Manchester United, for around $55 million.
All things considered, it makes sense in some ways but there are also significant hurdles that would have to be overcome. First, Vidal reportedly rejected a number of high-profile moves as recently as March, with Real Madrid and Barcelona apparently circling.
And if he’s happy enough to stay in Turin despite the best efforts of two of the top teams in the world right now, it would be shocking to see him move to Old Trafford which won’t be seeing any European play at all next season. He also signed a contract extension in December keeping him at Juventus until 2017.
Another possibility raised by the media is the idea of a transfer for midfielder Paul Pogba. United has rued the day they sold the youngster to Juventus, but the player in early May told the public how Ferguson himself failed to give him playing time and therefore resigned himself to a departure.
Something else that many will want to keep in mind are the late-April reports that the United board were looking into Conte as a possible option for long-term manager. However, that also seems a bit farfetched, especially with Louis van Gaal reportedly already in the driver’s seat for the position.
Scott Nicholls and Otis Earle welcomed Bob Bradley
to their “Beyond The Pitch” podcast to discuss his time coaching the Chicago Fire, the Fire’s current squad, how MLS has evolved, the new generation of players coming into the USMNT and more.
Perhaps most interesting is Bradley talking about previous losses with stinging emotion that sounds like they happened yesterday, including the 2000 MLS Cup.
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Since being fired from Swansea City after less than 100 days, Bradley has been linked with the Norway national team gig as well as a return to Los Angeles. Keep up with the U.S. coach here, and check it out:
Every dog has its day, and the three lower-tier clubs remaining in the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup are hoping for a second.
Miami FC, Sacramento Republic, and FC Cincinnati enjoyed wins over Major League Soccer sides in the fourth round, and now get further MLS tests in this week’s fifth round.
[ MORE: Lampard linked with manager opening ]
Once FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids tangle on Tuesday, attention turns to the underdogs on Wednesday. Who has the best chance to advance?
- Miami FC vs. Atlanta United — Playing an MLS expansion side at Riccardo Silva Stadium will give Miami a bit of confidence, and this is also a side with some good experience in pressure spots. Whether it’s manager Alessandro Nesta or MLS vets Michel, Gabriel Farfan, and Michael Lahoud, MFC won’t shy away. Upset chance: Solid.
- FC Cincinnati vs. Chicago Fire — The visitors are having a heck of a season in MLS and don’t have a group which will be worried by a huge crowd, but there’s no debating that 25,000-plus in Southern Ohio give FCC more than a puncher’s chance. Upset chance: Improbable, but possible
- LA Galaxy vs. Sacramento Republic — If LA puts something close to its best side out there, Sacramento will struggle to stop its attack. Upset chance: Long shot.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, New England hosts DC United, Philadelphia visits the Red Bulls, Seattle is off to San Jose, and Houston hosts Sporting KC.
Since returning from a loan at Rayo Vallecano, Saul Niguez has been a somewhat under the radar star at Atletico Madrid.
Coming off his best season with Atleti, the 22-year-old Saul is making an even bigger name for himself at the U-21 EURO this summer.
Spain’s Saul scored a hat trick past Gianluigi Donnarumma and Italy on Tuesday, and the second goal was laced with venom.
Getting onto the ball from 30-plus yards out, Saul smashed his shot with enough power that the ball barely had occasion to rotate.
Saul is under contract at the Vicente Calderon through 2022, and has three caps for Spain’s senior team, too. He was rated Atleti’s third-best performer by WhoScored this season.
Men In Blazers are back with their latest podcast, and the boys are hitting club soccer here and abroad as well as Bruce Arena’s men in the red, white, and blue.
Rog and Davo break down transfer window activity, rumored and real; get a heat check on the USMNT heading into the Gold Cup; and recap the (Ray) Hudson River Derby.
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