Romelu Lukaku says he has “choices to make” upon return from World Cup

1 Comment

Ever since Jose Mourinho sent Romelu Lukaku on loan to Everton despite a serious lack of firepower at the striker position, it’s never truly seemed like the Belgian’s heart has been in returning to Chelsea.

From the get-go, both parties have never seemed committed to the other, with Lukaku seeming jaded throughout his year at Goodison Park.

There have been flashes of reconciliation, but most of the last year has pointed towards an eventual exit.

With Belgium eliminated from the World Cup via a 1-0 loss to Argentina, the 21-year-old was more tactful with his approach, but came closer to saying he’s on his way out than he’d like to stay.

“I want to go on holiday first and rest with my parents and then we will see,” Lukaku said. “I want to be somewhere where I can play my best football and hopefully win titles. It’s up to me to work hard but there are choices to make. Things like that happen in football and I’m confident I will make the right choice. I’m looking at everything but first of all I want to go on holiday and relax a little bit. I’m 21 but I think I’m experienced enough now. I’ve played a lot of games and scored a lot of goals and now I want to win titles and become one of the best. I have a few ideas but we’ll see. I have to have discussions first and have to think about it. I want to go home and then I will decide. It will be soon.”

Atletico Madrid and Tottenham have shown interest, and Everton seems a logical fit to retain the player that helped them earn European play.

There’s always the option of returning to Chelsea, and we saw last year with Luis Suarez that even a player lobbying to leave a club can end up staying, but with Mourinho not showing an inclination that he rates the Belgian either, that seems less than likely at this point.

[ MORE: Romelu Lukaku wants out of Chelsea – from June ]
[ MORE: Report: Romelu Lukaku wants to leave Chelsea – from April ]

[ MORE: Could Romelu Lukaku’s Chelsea career be over before it gets started? – from March ]

Lukaku and Chelsea teammate Thibaut Courtois – pictured here – and the rest of the Belgian team is just now returning home from the World Cup:

Courtois also has serious decisions to make, having spent three years on loan at Atletico Madrid and establishing himself as a top-5 goalkeeper in the world despite potentially being behind current Chelsea number-1 Petr Cech.

Sanchez, Mkhitaryan transfer still up in the air

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The player-swap/trade/transfer between Arsenal and Manchester United still appears to be heading towards completion, but it was further delayed Friday.

Multiple reports in England state that while Alexis Sanchez seems set to move to Manchester United, Henrik Mkhitaryan has yet to agree to move the other way, as talks between the player’s agent and Arsenal continue. Mkhitaryan was seen training at Manchester United’s practice facility on Friday, and because the latest delay, both players would be unable to debut for their new teams this weekend after missing the Premier League registration deadline.

[MORE: JPW’s Premier League picks]

Arsenal hosts Crystal Palace Manchester United travels to Burnley, both on Saturday at 10 a.m. (Watch Arsenal live on CNBC, Manchester United live on NBCSN, and both live on NBCSports.com)

The London Evening Standard reports that Mkhitaryan would command a $242,000-per-week salary but that as of Friday morning he had yet to undergo a medical for the transfer. Arsenal reportedly still wants a transfer fee included for Sanchez, while Manchester United would prefer to just swap the two players.

It’s also looking as if that won’t be Arsenal’s only business in the transfer market. While it seemed like a far-fetched rumor at first, the links between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Arsenal have only grown stronger in the past few days, and the Gabon international appears to be in the Gunners sights. It appears that Bordeaux’s young striker Malcolm is now off the table.

Vancouver adds versatile Juarez, formerly of Monterrey, Celtic

Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images
1 Comment

Efrain Juarez is bringing his game to Major League Soccer.

[ MLS: 2018 Mock SuperDraft ]

The 39-times capped Mexico veteran has inked a deal with the Vancouver Whitecaps, joining a strengthened unit which came within a point of winning the West last season.

Juarez, 29, was unveiled as a midfielder by the ‘Caps, though he’s primarily played right back in his club career. He’s played at Celtic, Real Zaragoza, Club America, Monterrey, and Pumas.

Last capped by El Tri in 2012, Juarez has played every position except goal, center attacking mid, and center forward in his career (picture a ‘U’ on the pitch).

“I’m so happy and excited for this new stage in my career,” Juarez said. “It’s an opportunity for me to keep growing in a new league and to be a part of an amazing club in Vancouver. From the moment they showed interest me, Carl Robinson and the Whitecaps staff have made me feel very important. I promise to put all my effort into this club and do my best to help us achieve our goals.”

VIDEO: Asensio goal ends Real Madrid’s winless run

AP Photo/Francisco Seco
Leave a comment

Marco Asensio’s eighth goal of the season and second of this Copa del Rey put an end to an unlikely Real Madrid winless run in a 1-0 victory at Leganes.

[ MLS: 2018 Mock SuperDraft ]

The 21-year-old darted in front of a defender to volley home from in-tight, giving Real Madrid a first leg lead in the tournament quarterfinals.

More importantly, perhaps, it gives struggling Real a boost in morale after draws with Celta Vigo and Numancia, and a loss to Villarreal.

Real is home to Deportivo de la Coruna in La Liga before hosting Leganes in the second leg.

Hopeful Newcastle buyer Staveley: Offer still on the table

Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
2 Comments

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is probably happy that his for-sale club is away this weekend, even though his side’s up against Manchester City.

[ MORE: Top PL storylines — Week 24  ]

That’s because hopeful buyer Amanda Staveley has responded to claims that her hopeful takeover of the team won’t be happening any time soon.

Talks had stalled, said Tuesday reports, much to the chagrin of an #AshleyOut brigade that at times can make Arsenal’s #WengerOut brigade look like a yard full of happy puppies.

A “source” had said, “Attempts to reach a deal have proved to be exhaustive, frustrating and a complete waste of time,” but Staveley shot back on Thursday to reignite the fire. From the BBC, taken from The Times:

“Our bid remains on the table. This is an investment, but it has to be a long-term investment. Newcastle would be run as a business, but we want it to be a successful, thriving business that is an absolutely integral part of the city.”

She also said that popular manager Rafa Benitez is integral to her interest in the team, and that fact combined with her insistence that an offer remains on the table will have many Newcastle fans seething with current ownership (and there have been protests for years). It’s Ashley’s move now.