Former Lyon striker Bafetimbi Gomis had been linked with Newcastle for so long, his move to England’s Northeast seemed inevitable. But just as the big target man was set to move on from Lyon, a new suitor surfaced. Next thing you know, Gomis is his way to Swansea City.
The signing intensified speculation that Ivorian striker Wilfried Bony might leave the club, but as we found out today, it make be another Swans attacker on the move. According to reports out of England, Spanish forward Michu has undergone a physical with Napoli with an eye toward moving to the Serie A club.
Michu joined Swansea in the summer of 2012 from Spain’s Rayo Vallecano and immediately became one of the England’s most productive attackers, scoring 18 league goals in his debut season. Troubled by injuries last year, the 28-year-old only scored twice in league play as Swans struggled in the wake of their League Cup triumph.
Should he move for Napoli, Michu could provided some much-needed depth behind striker Gonzalez Higuaín and serve as an understudy for Marek Hamsik as the team’s number ten. Should head coach Rafa Benítez wish, he could play the trio together by pushing Hamsik wide. And with both Higuaín and Hamsik the subject of transfer rumors, the partenopei will have a plan B should either of its best attacker be lured away from the club.
For Swansea, the most interesting part may be the implied change in approach. For most of the time Swansea’s been in the top flight, they’ve played one striker, but with Bony and Gomis in tow, a two-front makes more sense.
If Michu stayed, you could see the team alternating Bony and Gomis, perhaps going with two strikers on occasion. If Michu leaves, the team’s best setup may see both of forwards in Garry Monk’s starting XI.
The Tournament of Nations got underway earlier Thursday, with Brazil and Japan drawing 1-1 in Seattle.
While some in the crowd may’ve been waiting to see the United States women’s national team and Australia in the second game of the twin bill, they got an absolute treat from Brazil’s Camila.
[ MORE: Galaxy’s season-changing signing ]
The Orlando Pride midfielder is yet to scoop up 10 caps, but blasted this 25-yard goal home with a wicked outside bend.
The aesthetics are terrific.
Remember this day, MLS fans, as one that perhaps helped determine an MLS Cup Finalist.
The LA Galaxy have signed Villarreal midfielder and Mexican national teamer Jonathan Dos Santos, and he’s the sort of player who could alter the landscape of the Western Conference.
Like Nicolas Lodeiro to Seattle last season and New England’s addition of Jermaine Jones in 2014, Dos Santos’ move comes with the distinct possibility of elevating LA into the next stratosphere.
[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]
Take the Galaxy’s history of winning, and toss in a midseason coaching improvement from Curt Onalfo to Sigi Schmid, as well as MVP-in-their-own-right caliber teammates Giovani Dos Santos, Romain Alessandrini, and Jelle van Damme.
Don’t sleep on the fact that Schmid might be gathering momentum from inheriting a talented and underachieving roster and a brand new game-changing midfielder, which feels a bit like karmic retribution for Seattle firing him and signing Lodeiro the next day last season. Seattle only went and won the MLS Cup.
Schmid has used any number of formations, but could deploy a 4-3-3 with Jona Dos Santos, Jermaine Jones, and Joao Pedro in the midfielder and Giovani Dos Santos, Alessandrini, and Gyasi Zardes up top (Sebastian Lletget could return at some point, too).
Now FC Dallas is very deep, Sporting KC looks powerful, and Seattle won it all last year — plus, may be adding Derlis Gonzalez?!? — but LA’s move to add Dos Santos creates a quartet of teams with proven mettle (Houston looks decent, too, but I have concerns about their first-time as a unit in the playoffs).
Joey Barton’s 18-month ban for betting on almost 1,300 soccer-related events has been lowered to 13 months and one week.
Putting aside the hilarity of grown men and women discussing whether an extra week was necessary, the alteration means he’ll be eligible to return to football on June 1, 2018.
[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]
While that still hampers the idea of the 34-year-old playing again — he’ll be 36 when the ban ends — it’s a significant change if he’s open to the idea of returning to the game.
Barton’s original ban expired in late October 2018, well into a season. From Sky Sports:
The appeal board also agreed: “It was clear that Mr Barton was not involved in any cheating, he did not influence any games and there was nothing suspicious about his bets.
“(The reduction) reflects the overall seriousness of the breaches and also the mitigation of Mr Barton’s addiction.”
Barton’s remarkably controversial career has including several suspensions and imprisonment, but he always found his way back to the field and was very good when in form. After time at Manchester City and Newcastle United, Barton fended off naysayers with stints at QPR, Marseille, Burnley, and a regrettable move to Rangers.
We may see him on the field in August 2018.
ZURICH (AP) FIFA has fined Qatar’s soccer federation after national team players breached rules against political statements by displaying T-shirts of the country’s Emir at a World Cup qualifier.
FIFA says its disciplinary panel imposed a 50,000 Swiss francs ($51,800) fine and reprimanded Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host.
[ MORE: Nainggolan staying at Roma ]
The incident happened in Doha on June 13, amid a dispute with regional rivals Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
Qatar’s players warmed up for a 3-2 win over South Korea wearing white T-shirts with an image of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to show their support for him.
FIFA says the charges related to “displaying a political image” and “political displays” by spectators.