Analyzing Klinsmann’s cuts (and we’re not just talking Landon, folks)

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Well, there you have it: the United States is heading into a World Cup without the biggest name in US Soccer history.

But Landon Donovan isn’t the only player to have missed the final cut for Jurgen Klinsmann’s trek into Brazil to face Group G opponents Germany, Ghana and Portugal. As JK goes youth movement — some would say a 2018 movement  — let’s take a look at the unlucky seven, whose ages are: 32, 28, 30, 32, 29, 23 and 23.

Landon Donovan: So much to be said here (and you’ll want to stay tuned for Richard Farley’s scheduled piece on LD’s omission). Donovan carries the hearts of so many U.S. faithful, but should this move really be as surprising as it is for some? He’s 32 and has lost a step. Icon? Yes. Feature player? Debatable.

There’s already plenty of fan outrage on this cut, and surely Klinsmann is displaying plenty of guts. Why not make the omission when the 30-man roster was named? It leads you to believe something happened at camp to show Klinsmann that Donovan wasn’t the player he wanted. That seems out of place.

Then again, this is a player who took a soccer sabbatical during CONCACAF World Cup qualifying when his place was not secure. You could easily see that as something that rubbed Klinsmann in an extremely awkward way. Either way, the Donovan era is over. Wow.

Maurice Edu: A part of you has to feel for Edu as much as any of these cuts. He’s struggled to establish himself anywhere since Rangers fell apart, and his time in Philadelphia has clearly showed that he’s still got something left in the tank. Yet between 2012 and his return to MLS, Edu played in just 12 matches for club (One for Stoke, and 11 on loan to Bursaspor).

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Throw in the fact that his “no goal” in the last World Cup should’ve stood as one of the most important goals in American history, and it feels like he’s dealt with 4 years of “What ifs?” and will deal with some more.

Michael Parkhurst: It almost felt like Parkhurst’s revitalization and strong play for Columbus had him as even money to make the roster. You have to think the 30-year-old’s age was the biggest factor in his removal. And, again, you’re also forgiven if you think Klinsmann’s staring at 2018 almost as much as 2014.

Clarence Goodson: I projected that either Goodson or Evans would make it, and clearly I’m a genius. We’ll never know if Goodson’s return to Major League Soccer was a factor in Klinsmann’s decision, but the defender was strong in Gold Cup play. It’s a big of surprise that his size and experience weren’t enough to move him onto the 23.

source: Getty ImagesBrad Evans: Maybe there was only room for two Brads? The versatile 29-year-old Sounders player seemed a bit of a long shot but had performed well sliding in at right back for the States. A breakout year was not enough to push his climb to a World Cup to the summit.

Joe Corona: The 23-year-old San Diego State man was one of just a few Liga MX players to make his way onto the 30-man roster, and could not last through the final cuts. With 124 appearances for Tijuana, and 10 goals, at his young age, it’s unlikely we’ve heard the last of him.

Terrence Boyd: Klinsmann wants his best players in the best leagues, and while Boyd’s 20 goals in Austria featured some in the UEFA Europa League, they were still scored in an Austrian league that would struggle to compare with Major League Soccer, Liga MX or Eredivisie. Boyd may have a future here, but it won’t come at the expense of Julian Green. The inclusion of Green makes you wonder if there was a roster promise involved…

Fabinho admits interest in Manchester United

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If even a fraction of this summer’s transfer interest is real, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has taken every precaution against his biggest 2017 enemy: scheduled congestion.

Mourinho was a regular critic of United’s schedule last season in the run-up to its UEFA Europa League title win over Ajax, and is building his roster up for the UEFA Champions League.

[ MORE: Saief completes USMNT switch ]

The manager already had plenty of attacking options, and has added Victor Lindelof to his stable of defenders while reportedly flirting with PSG’s Marquinhos, too. Defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic is also a reported target (as are half of the world’s elite footballers).

And now, a wry smile from Monaco’s Fabinho hints that Mourinho may be making progress with another target.

‘‘It’s a tempting invitation. … I would first talk to my agent, Monaco too, to decide everything right. But it’s a great club, sure enough I would think well about it.”

Fabinho played mostly right back in 2014-15 before splitting time between that position and defensive midfielder the following year and seeing most of his time at CDM last season. Mourinho has lavished praise and given a contract extension to right back Antonio Valencia and has Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick, and Paul Pogba at CDM (though the latter can certainly operate higher up the field).

Chinese clubs to pay 100% tax on foreign transfers

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The days of Chinese Super League sides spending eye-popping figures on a handful of international superstars are over — either that, or those figures are about to double — for now, at least.

[ MORE: Oscar given 8-game ban for petulant display in China ]

China’s Football Association announced Thursday that, effective immediately, any foreign player signed for a fee exceeding $6.63 million would be subject to a 100-percent tax on top of the fee paid to acquire the player. The tax will remain in effect until the end of China’s ongoing transfer window, July 14. The tax will also apply to Chinese players signed for a fee exceeding $3 million.

It’s Chinese authorities’ latest attempt to prevent big spending by CSL clubs, which has in every instance been detrimental to the development of young Chinese players making their way through the academy system. The taxed money will then be reinvested in “youth training, construction of public sporting facilities and scientific progress in football development,” according to a statement by the CFA.

Just last week, China was eliminated from contention to qualify for next summer’s World Cup in Russia. The only time China has ever qualified for the World Cup was in 2002.

Young Englishman Oxford goes abroad, to Gladbach, on loan

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MOENCHENGLADBACH, Germany (AP) Borussia Moenchengladbach has signed English central defender Reece Oxford on loan for the season from Premier League club West Ham.

Gladbach sporting director Max Eberl says “Oxford has gone through all the England youth teams and is one of the biggest defensive talents in Britain.”

The 18-year-old Oxford, who spent the second half of last season on loan at second-division club Reading, is Gladbach’s fifth arrival of the off-season.

Qatar stadium safety concerns again raised by death investigation

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An investigation into why a British man fell to his death on a building site for the 2022 Qatar soccer World Cup has raised concerns about stadium roof safety.

World Cup organizers on Thursday released partial findings of an assessment of the accident at the Khalifa International Stadium, but said the full report cannot be released while local authorities continue their own investigation. It is one of two work-related deaths detailed in Qatar’s latest welfare report on preparations for the 2022 soccer tournament, which currently involves 12,367 workers on eight construction sites.

The 40-year-old British man fell 39 meters in January after one end of the roof catwalk he was installing dropped and a safety rope snapped.

“During the course of the investigation, the team had raised concerns with the method of installation of the raised catwalk system,” the welfare report from Qatar’s World Cup organizers stated. “This required further investigation regarding the method itself and the supervision skills of the specialist contractor staff.”

It has led to “corrective and preventative actions” being implemented by the contractor, a joint venture between Belgian and Qatari firms, along with safety checks across all stadium sites, the report said.

“These included a review of all working-at-height activities across all SC projects, an enhanced process when reviewing specialist activities within construction sites, and a detailed review of all roof and gantry designs,” the Supreme Committee overseeing stadium projects added.

The British man is the only European working on Qatar stadiums to have died in a country relying on a low-paid migrant workforce from south Asia to prepare for the first World Cup in the Middle East. Six non-work related deaths have been announced by organizers, with most suffering from heart or breathing problems.

Hassan Al Thawadi, the supreme committee’s secretary general, said medical staff are trying to raise awareness of the “importance of healthy lifestyles” by evaluating diets and identifying health issues, including hypertension and diabetes. Cooling helmets have also been developed in an attempt to make it safer for workers on outdoor sites during the searing summer heat.

World Cup preparations have been dogged by concerns about the welfare of workers since the natural gas-rich Gulf nation won the FIFA vote in 2010. Mounting international pressure led to Qatar raising living standards and worker rights. Inspections led to three contractors being blacklisted and 14 entities “demobilized” from projects for failing to tackle welfare issues, the World Cup report reveals.

“There is still work to be done to ensure our workers’ welfare standards continue to have a tangible impact on the ground and we are comprehensive in our attempts to tackle the myriad of issues facing migrant workers across the SC program,” Khalid Al-Kubaisi, who oversees worker welfare at the Supreme Committee, said in a statement.

The report has been released as Qatar is gripped by a diplomatic crisis that has seen it isolated in the region. Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar earlier this month and blocked air, sea and land traffic over its support for Islamist groups and ties with Iran. Qatar denies the charges and says the allegations are politically motivated.