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What’s next for Benny Feilhaber?

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Last year’s move back to Major League Soccer was supposed to reignite Benny Feilhaber’s career. Instead, the 27-year-old midfielder is out of a job, with the New England Revolution having declined the 2013 option on the former U.S. international’s contract.

New England beat man Kyle McCarthy confirmed the news today, also noting that New England will retain the rights to the former Hamburg, Derby, and Aarhus player. Put two and two together and Feilhaber, who had a salary of $400,000 in 2012, is a strong candidate to return to Europe.

Over the course of two seasons in New England, Feilhaber made 52 appearances, posting five goals and nine assists. The numbers do a good job of approximating his contributions. At times (albeit infrequently), Feilhaber was New England’s best player. At others, he failed to make an impact, and after being tried both wide and in the middle, Feilhaber finished 2013 season without a clear role in Jay Heaps’ side.

Feilhaber’s best known for his contributions to Bob Bradley’s U.S. Men’s National Teams where he held down a super sub’s role prior to the arrival of Jurgen Klinsmann. Since, Feilhaber’s been a non-factor internationally, currently stuck on 39 caps. While many hoped a move out of the Austrian second division would boost the former UCLA Bruin’s national team hopes, his career has stalled.

Now it’s unclear what Feilhaber can do. In the U.S., he is respected for what he brought to the national team, contributions he was able to leverage to hook up with New England. Abroad, there might be some interest from an Aarhus-esque club in Denmark, but with two decent years in New England as the last lines on his resume, his best-case scenario seems a trade within MLS. Else, it’s take what he can get abroad.

There’s no shortage of MLS clubs that could use a Feilhaber. At his best, he can contribute for anybody. The money, however, is an issue. Feilhaber will need to take a significant step back in compensation to make sense for any Major League Soccer team.

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

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Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.

Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.

Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.

Like the move for Newcastle?

Lukaku pens inspiring post on hard-scrabble upbringing

AP Photo/Matthias Schrader
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Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.

The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.

From The Players’ Tribune:

There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.

Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.

West Ham signs club record center back from Toulouse

whufc.com
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West Ham has reportedly set a club record with its latest signing under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Issa Diop is the player, the 21-year-old Toulouse captain and center back costing the Irons around $29 million.

[ MORE: Arsenal signs Leno ]

Diop scored three goals with an assist and eight yellow cards in 31 Ligue 1 matches this season, giving the young defender 95 apps, six goals, three assists, and 23 yellows since debuting with the senior team at 18.

Capped by France at every level below the senior team, Diop’s 2.2 interceptions per game ranked sixth in Ligue 1.

Toulose finished 18th in Ligue 1, but won its promotion/relegation playoff to stay in the French top flight.

From WHUFC.com:

“I am very happy to sign for such a historic, English club, and I hope to show my best here. I am a very ambitious player and West Ham is a very ambitious club, as we’ve seen with the appointment of the new coach. I hope to help the team win lots of games and make the fans happy.”

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 3

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In the third episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England pulls out a massive win while VAR finds its way into the World Cup spotlight.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

There will be plenty more to come over the next few weeks, with the show coming via the Men In Blazers.

Click play on the video above to watch the first episode in full.