Two more years: Keane confirms contract extension with LA Galaxy

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A skeptic that points to Robbie Keane’s age as reason to be wary of re-signing the Ireland international must not have watched enough Galaxy games last season. With 16 goals in 28 games (and an even stronger showing in the playoffs), Keane put in a MLS Best XI season, with many lauding him as the league’s best player after his return from the summer’s European Championships.

That’s why, even at 32 years old with one year remaining on his previous Galaxy deal, Keane’s contract extension is more likely to be a point of applause than concern, especially with David Beckham’s silhouette shrinking in the sunset (and Landon Donovan threatening to follow).

Yesterday on Sky Sports, Keane confirmed his new deal, saying the extension had been offered at the end of the season, and as of two days ago, he’s signed it.

“I had another year left and they offered me a new contract at the end of last season so I’ve just signed a new two-year contract two days ago.”

Obviously, this is good news for Galaxy and fans, though Keane’s age shouldn’t be completely discounted. By the end of this deal, he’ll be five months past his 35th birthday. There’s room for Keane to regress a little and still be worth his Designated Player slot, but there’s also the possibility Keane will have to start making adjustments as he enters the last phase of his career. How effective he is at accounting for those additional years will dictate whether the final season of this extension proves worth it.

Regardless, this deal was a must for the Galaxy. With only one year left on Keane’s deal, now was the time to re-up. Even with the risk, two years is the perfect length.

Keane also downplayed the likelihood he’ll be playing elsewhere this winter, saying fitness and a long year make rest a priority:

“It’s been a long season, with the Euros and what have you so I’ve a few little niggles that need to be sorted out so I don’t think at this moment in time it would be right for me to go anywhere.”

Again, this is good news for Los Angeles. With Donovan still not guaranteed to be with the team at the beginning of training camp. having an attacking focal point in the team from day one should help the Galaxy as they try to avoid last year’s slow start.

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

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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.