Report: Louis van Gaal set to open insane spending spree with signing of Luke Shaw

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Big, big changes are coming to Old Trafford. Strap in.

According to the Daily Star, Manchester United has just about wrapped up the signing of Southampton teenage sensation Luke Shaw, but with that rumor having kept us company for a while, that’s not nearly the most surprising part of this report.

Apparently, the near-$50 million the Red Devils are set to spend on the 18-year-old is just fifteen percent of the nearly $340 million van Gaal has been given to spend this summer.

For conversion purposes, that’s £200 million that he reportedly has to spend – the Star referred to it as a “war chest.”

Now, it’s a given that it’s very, very difficult for a newspaper to accurately predict a club’s spending habits for an upcoming transfer window, and even if they are right, that’s only the amount that’s available, not how much they will have actually spent come August.

However, the reports aren’t usually entirely off base.  Look at last year, when reports all summer said Arsenal had $170 million to spend, and after keeping quiet for almost the entire window, they did have the funds available to make a $68 million move for Mesut Ozil.  Did the reports accurately pinpoint the correct summer expenditure? No, but they at least knew loads of cash was available.

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Move aside, Louis van Gaal is here, and he’s brought $360 million with him.

Besides, the fact that such a high number is even being thrown around is completely bonkers. I guess United didn’t take too kindly to last year’s seventh-place finish.  But you already knew that.

Back to the current task at hand – Shaw is reportedly all but signed on to become Louis van Gaal’s first major signing of the summer.

It would make sense that the deal won’t be reported for a while, as Shaw is now gearing up to attend his first World Cup as part of England’s squad, and likely wouldn’t put the bow on the deal until after his time in Brazil is over.

However, the Southampton youngster broke through in a big way last year, and with potentially big changes coming, he’d likely slide right into the starting lineup.

In fact, according to another Star report from yesterday, van Gaal is only marking a measly four players on the current squad as completely essential: Wayne Rooney, David de Gea, Juan Mata, and Robin van Persie.  That means even the likes of Danny Welbeck and Michael Carrick, along with the entire remaining defense, have to prove their worth.

A lot of things are going to be changing around Old Trafford, from the staff to the players.  It’s the right thing to do, with the poor finish from last year showing just how much the squad has decayed since their last championship two years ago.

Buckle up, because this summer is going to be fast, furious, and fun, and when the season opens in August, expect a whole lot of things to be new about Manchester United.

Toronto FC beats Crew 5-0 to extend unbeaten streak to 8

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TORONTO (AP) Victor Vazquez scored twice and Toronto FC routed the Columbus Crew 5-0 on Friday night to extend its unbeaten streak to a franchise record-matching eight games.

[ MORE: Pulisic pleased with U.S. Soccer’s improved landscape ]

Toronto (8-1-5) is 7-0-1 since its lone league loss of the season, a 2-1 decision in Columbus on April 15. Columbus (6-7-1) has lost five of seven since topping Toronto.

Justin Morrow and substitutes Jonathan Osorio and Jordan Hamilton also scored for MLS-leading Toronto. The Canadian team also was unbeaten in eight games (4-0-4) from May 8 to July 10, 2010.

Toronto was reduced to 10 men in the 81st minute when midfielder Marky Delgado was red-carded for a studs-up tackle on Columbus captain Wil Trapp. Osorio and Hamilton then scored to pad the lead for Toronto in its sixth shutout of the season.

Toronto played without the starting forward tandem of Sebastian Giovinco (injured) and Jozy Altidore (suspended for yellow card accumulation). Defender Nick Hagglund also is injured.

Agent: Barcelona offered more than Real for Vinicius Junior

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If Vinicius Junior can become half the player at Real Madrid that Neymar has lived up to be at Barcelona, Los Blancos will be pretty pleased.

[ MORE: Man City closing in on Monaco’s Silva ]

Real closed the deal for the 16-year-old Brazilian this week, but there were several other lucrative offers on the table, according to the player’s agent, Frederico Pena.

[ MORE: Totti leaves future uncertain heading into final Roma match ]

That includes bitter Spanish rivals Barcelona.

The agent stated that the Blaugrana did in fact offer a higher deal to acquire the Brazilian, however, he felt it would have complicated matters further to seek a greater offer from Real.

“There is practically unanimous view of the deal as a success,” Pena said. “If anybody gets criticised it is Real Madrid, for the risk they have taken, but they are sure that it will work. There were other clubs interested, and one offered to pay more money … Barca’s remuneration package offer for the player was higher than Real Madrid.

“But as we had reached an agreement with Real, we did not want to make this last push for them to match it. That could have embittered the relationship. Many people think it is crazy what Madrid are doing, but they were not alone in this craziness. They were not the only ones willing to pay this much for Vinicius.”

Pena also clarified as to why Vinicius chose Real over Barcelona, citing the player’s excitement about the development of Los Blancos during recent seasons under manager Zinedine Zidane and prior.

“Because Vinicius liked Madrid’s project better. There is always the feeling that players choose based on financial reasons, but that is not true. I assure you of that. Real Madrid’s negotiating posture was better.”

Real is on the verge of winning its third UEFA Champions League trophy in the last four seasons as the club prepares to face Juventus in the upcoming final.

Zidane’s men also won La Liga during the 2016/17 campaign.

Pulisic pleased with U.S. Soccer’s improved landscape

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U.S. Soccer has come a long way over the years, and one of the nation’s most promising young players recognizes the progress the United States has made.

[ MORE: Man City acquire Monaco’s Silva after passing medical ]

Christian Pulisic, who plays for Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund, is one of several young talents that U.S. hopes to finally bring the American men a moment of glory on the biggest of stages — the World Cup.

The 18-year-old has done just about everything a player of his age could do. He’s played in one of the top leagues in the world, appeared in various UEFA Champions League matches and now he’s likely on pace to appear in the 2018 World Cup, assuming the USMNT advances out of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.

The U.S., who have reached the World Cup during seven straight cycles, have come a long way in a short period of time, and Pulisic is happy with the improving U.S. Soccer landscape.

“It’s been big flaw of ours in the soccer department that a lot of our best athletes go and play other sports,” Pulisic told The Guardian. “But I think young players have seen me, and others, go over to Europe and play in some of the best leagues — and MLS is improving so much too.

“There’s so much potential and I think it’s changing: we’ve had some bigger athletes in the past but I don’t think that defines us anymore.

“We’re going to keep moving forward, developing young players and we’re going to have a really good shot in the next few years.”

During this past Bundesliga season, Pulisic recorded three goals and added six assists for a club that has become well known for its high-powered offensive attack.

Report: Kyle Walker a top target for Manchester City

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Manchester City could be looking to bolster its backline further this summer, and the Citizens could turn to Tottenham for help.

[ MORE: Man City closing in on acquiring Monaco’s Silva ]

According to ESPN FC, Pep Guardiola‘s side is growing more and more enamored with Spurs defender Kyle Walker and believes City can acquire the experienced outside back prior to the 2017/18 Premier League season.

With City already losing Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna since the end of the PL season, Guardiola will have to address the club’s lack of depth at outside back.

Several other big clubs have been considered in the running for Walker’s services, including Chelsea, Manchester United and Bayern Munich.

The 26-year-old has been at White Hart Lane since joining Spurs in 2009 from Sheffield United and has made 222 appearances for the club in that span.