ProSoccerTalk daily soccer re-set

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What we’re thinking, what we’re watching, what’s coming on the blog today and the RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day). Setting up your day in soccer:

Soccer Birthdays:

Former Scotland international Duncan Ferguson, who once was the biggest buy for both Rangers FC and Everton, tuns 41 on Thursday. The one-time captain at Goodison Park scored 69 goals in 269 top flight appearances for the Toffees before retiring in 2006.

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day:

Jean Harbor

Big important story of the day:

After a day spent focused on the English game, it’s time to bring the attention back home. At least, that’s what’s likely to happen, with a slow day in the soccer world allowing the news and rumors from Major League Soccer (and, potentially, the National Women’s Soccer League) to bubble up.

As it concerns Major League Soccer, keep an ear open for news on next month’s SuperDraft. We’re about three weeks away from the event, and the Generation adidas class (which will go a long way toward deciding the depth of the draft) is still taking shape. With each player MLS signs to this year’s GA group, the landscape of the draft subtly changes.

Ahead on the blog today:

We did this a little yesterday, but on Thursday, we’re really going to get caught up on the little pieces of news handing around after the holiday break.

We’re also going to jump back into the qualifiers in the northwest debate, with a late Wednesday update adding a new wrinkle to the possibility of games in Portland and Seattle.

Also, expect Mr. Noah Davis later in the day. We figure you’re tired to hearing me babbling on.

Twitter daps:

[tweet https://twitter.com/AbbyWambach/status/284055478751866880 align=’center’] [tweet https://twitter.com/KevinEHartman/status/282992743733673984 align=’center’] [tweet https://twitter.com/alexmorgan13/status/284146570163785728 align=’center’]

Background noise while blogging:

Been on bit of a Led Zeppelin kick of late. Right now, III is on the virtual turntable, one of the first times I’ve listened to a full album in a while.

Anybody still fighting for the sanctity of The Album is trapped in the past. Perhaps it’s a good idea, but so was the betamax.

We’ll leave you with this:

Is there some kind of Chivas USA goalkeeper curse? Dan Kennedy was pushed into submission after a season being bombarded in Carson while he predecessor as Goats’ No. 1, Brad Guzan, is on the verge of some post traumatic stress at Aston Villa.

Consider this: Villa’s defense wasn’t this porous before the American took charge. Now, Guzan’s been accosted with 12 goals since the weekend.

We’ve heard rumors about Chivas USA possibly moving Kennedy, but if there really is a curse, Kennedy’s just going to take his besieged ways to his new home. It break out the Ouija board and start asking questions before trading for the Chivas No. 1.

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

Photo by Burak Kara/Getty Images
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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

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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.