Reports: World Cup performances draw clubs to Mathieu Valbuena

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With a bright performance in the World Cup from France’s bite-size winger Mathieu Valbuena, links are beginning to trickle in with clubs interested in signing him.

With Olympique Marseille since 2006, the 29-year-old was stellar on the wing and up front as Les Bleus trounced World Cup Group E and making the quarterfinals before running into the German buzzsaw.

Valbuena played in four of France’s five matches, scoring a goal and assisting another while creating 11 chances, according to Squawka statistics.

The most interested in Valbuena seem to be La Liga’s Valencia, who are rumored to be lining up a $6 million move, according to French paper L’Equipe.

A potential teammate at Valencia could be Sofiane Fegoulhi, who also impressed heavily in Brazil and would give the Spanish club a dangerous wing pair.

Also interested appear to be Premier League club West Ham. According to the Daily Mail, Valbuena’s agent Jean-Pierre Bernes said to French radio, “[Mathieu] has a contract with Marseille and they are not a small club, they are a big club in France.  But it is true that given his performances, if there is an opportunity with a club, it is something we will examine.  Nothing is set, there is no destination fixed, and there is contact with different clubs in different European leagues.”

The Daily Mail report describes Valbuena as “keen” on a move to the Premier League, and there are other reports mentioning seemingly weaker links to Arsenal and Liverpool.

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)
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

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.