Sporting KC and United States national team defender Matt Besler is ready to say “thanks but no thanks” to interest from around Europe’s top leagues to stay in Major League Soccer.
It’s been just a few days since Besler, 27, confirmed interest from Sunderland and Fulham, stating no preference but asking for a quick resolution to the issue.
Now a report from the Kansas City Star’s Sam McDowell says Besler would turn down any European interest in order to sign a long, lucrative deal that would keep him at Sporting Park through the prime years of his career.
From the Kansas City Star:
While Besler previously conveyed interest in an opportunity to transfer overseas — an option his agent said remains in play — he would rather sign a new long-term contract to remain with his hometown club, the source said.
Eddie Rock, Besler’s agent, said his client has not dismissed the possibility of playing overseas. He declined to comment when asked if Besler is leaning one way or the other, but he acknowledged productive conversations with Sporting Kansas City over the past week as the two sides look to reach an agreement on a new contract.
Besler is under contract through the 2015 season but is searching for a raise from his $220,000 salary, which makes him the league’s 32nd-highest paid defender in Major League Soccer.
“Matt has continued to engage in discussions with the owners and executives,” Rock said. “Talks are in an advanced stage.”
A decision will be reached by the end of the weekend, as Rock doubled down on his client’s desire for a quick resolution. Besler has been at KC since departing Notre Dame in 2008 and has played 137 games for the reigning champions, currently boasting the most points and least goals allowed in the Eastern Conference.
So what’s the catch for KC? How much money is Besler looking for? His agent says he’s not looking to be the highest-paid defender in the league, while the source told McDowell that Besler is looking for less than $1 million per season.
The 6-foot-1 Besler will be 31 at the time of the 2018 World Cup, so the story begs the question of whether Jurgen Klinsmann would be okay with his starting center back staying in Major League Soccer. Klinsmann recently used Facebook to implore players to “add to the competition level“, which some took as another nod to the coach’s preference for European competition.
And we have to ask whether part of this could be a smoke screen, as also of note in the report is that KC has not received a tempting bid for Besler, according to head coach Peter Vermes. With Besler under contract with KC, it would follow suit that his agent should take advantage of his client’s World Cup performance in any way possible. If there hasn’t been a suitable offer from overseas, Rock’s job is a Besler raise and contract stability.
There’s undoubtedly a market for Besler’s services, and this report takes the conversation fodder for MLS fans up to the next level. Turning down a move to Europe to stay home is admirable for his club and league and Besler, by all accounts one of the ‘good guys’, has earned the right to do whatever he sees fit.
He’s also earned the right to ask for a raise. Could be win-win-win for MLS, KC and MB.
Jose Mourinho cannot quite get his head around Leicester City’s firing of Claudio Ranieri.
The story is on the tips of the tongues of many in the Premier League, and Manchester United’s boss is no exception.
[ MORE: UEL draw | Who is Rostov? ]
Speaking Friday ahead of United’s EFL Cup Final against Southampton, here’s what Mourinho had to say.
From the BBC:
“He deserves the Leicester stadium to be named ‘Claudio Ranieri Stadium’. The most beautiful thing in the Premier League and one of most beautiful in football history.
“Now Leicester are in the highlights again with a decision that has everyone in football united. It’s very difficult to accept. It’s important to realize how football is and we need to react. I was sacked as a champion [by Chelsea], a giant negative as I thought – peanuts compared to Claudio.
“I don’t think he needs more. Nobody can do what he did. If some of the stories have just a little bit of truth, it is difficult to find words to justify but we have to be able to cope.”
Mourinho is giving voice to what many feel, this writer included. Ranieri is in a relegation fight, yes, but to fire him days after the Foxes stole a road goal against Sevilla that gives them reasonable odds to advance in the UEFA Champions League? It’s an odd one, and smacks a bit of, “Well, we can’t fire him if he beats Liverpool or Sevilla”.
Liverpool visits the King Power Stadium this weekend, and the Foxes will need an incredible response at home to topple the rested Reds. Sure the Premier League is win now, but add me to the chorus who thinks the new manager will have the same odds to fix Leicester as Ranieri.
ROME (AP) Roma’s American president is starting to lose patience with city officials over long-delayed plans for a new stadium.
Ahead of a meeting between municipal authorities and club officials Friday, James Pallotta issued a statement saying the team expects “a massively positive result” from the encounter.
Pallotta adds “the alternative would be catastrophic for the future of AS Roma, Italian football, the city of Rome, and quite frankly for future business in Italy.”
[ MORE: PST feature on Pallotta ]
The mostly privately financed 1.6 billion euro ($1.7 billion) project received another setback this week when cultural authorities announced plans to declare the proposed stadium site – an abandoned hippodrome – as a site of “particularly important interest.”
The project in Tor di Valle, halfway between downtown and Leonardo Da Vinci Airport, also includes three office towers.
Jose Mourinho and Manchester United have learned their fate for the UEFA Europa League’s Round of 16.
The Red Devils face Russian side FC Rostov in the next round of the tournament, four victorious ties from claiming an automatic spot in the UEFA Champions League.
[ MORE: Spurs sent packing | Full UEL draw ]
So who is Rostov? Seventh in the Russian Premier League standings, Selmashi finished second last season and won the league in 1994 and 2008.
Rostov entered the Europa League after a run through the Champions League which saw the club knock out Anderlecht and Ajax, both still alive in the UEL, before finishing third behind Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich in the group stage. Rostov beat Sparta Prague in the Round of 32 of the UEL.
The club is led by former Moldova boss Ivan Daniliants. Its leading scorer is left wing Dmitri Poloz with 11 goals, and Ecuadorian national teamer Christian Noboa and Moldova veteran Alexandru Gațcan among its mainstays.
While some will make the case that a rough pitch, long trip, and stingy team makes this draw a bad one for United, Mourinho’s crew should triumph. How worse could it have been? This one won’t be easy, but consider Roma, Schalke, Borussia Monchengladbach… even a reunion with Memphis Depay and Lyon would bring more of a challenge than Rostov.
The travel is tricky, but Manchester United’s draw for the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 could’ve been much worse.
The Red Devils are off to Russia to face FC Rostov in the next round of the UEL competition.
[ MORE: Spurs out | Who is Rostov? ]
In another draw that leads you to question whether there’s anything random about it all, United and lone La Liga representative Celta Vigo drew winnable matches against Russian clubs, Roma has a tantalizing match against Lyon, and an all-Bundesliga match hits the docket.
Heck, we’ll even see an all-Belgian tie between Gent vs. Genk.
And in a draw which will have many glued to their sets, USMNT left-sided man Fabian Johnson will help Borussia Monchengladbach against German rivals Schalke. The first leg comes five days after the pair face off in Bundesliga play.
The Round of 16 legs will be played March 9 and 16.
UEFA Europa League Round of 16
Rostov vs. Manchester United
Celta Vigo vs. Krasnodar
Copenhagen vs. Ajax
Olympiacos vs. Besiktas
Lyon vs. Roma
Schalke vs. Borussia Monchengladbach
APOEL Nicosia vs. Anderlecht
Gent vs. Genk