Jurgen Klinsmann talks about the Bayern-Guardiola move

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Jurgen Klinsmann is a nice fellow. No matter what you think about the man’s managerial abilities, trust me on this one.

(FYI, my jerk-detector works pretty well; I’m not as quick as some colleagues to hand out willy-nilly the “he’s a great guy” medal. Too often in my biz, that translates to “He is pleasant when I talk to him in the locker room,” and that’s a pedestrian “nice guy” standard in my book. So, do believe this one.)

At any rate, I had a giggle when I read Grant Wahl’s interview with Klinsmann this morning, which begins with the U.S. manager commenting on Bayern Munich’s recent, splashy hire: former Barca boss Pep Guardiola will soon be on board.

(MORE: Pep Guardiola and the good fit at Bayern)

Klinsmann says twice to Wahl that Bayern is “person-related.”  I probably should not take too many liberties here, but I’m pretty sure that’s just a nice man’s way of saying “political.”  It’s a big club with big history, and it always seems there are plenty of hands trying to stir the München soup.

Remember, Klinsmann is in a great position to comment on this one. He began that long and ranging playing career in Germany, circled back into his homeland to perform at Bayern toward the back half of those playing days and then later spent a year managing the club – and dealing with all those “person-related” challenges.

What Klinsmann told Wahl about Guardiola’s challenges ahead:

It’s going to be very interesting to see how he can implement his ideas, his philosophy, at a club like Bayern Munich where there’s a lot that’s “person-related,” you know. The club is led by three elephants with [Franz] Beckenbauer, [Karl-Heinz] Rummenigge and [Uli] Hoeness, and they got a fourth elephant in there last summer [Matthias Sammer]. So it’s all kind of ‘person-based,’ what’s happened there. It’s not philosophy-based, like it was at Barcelona. Barcelona continues the build-up from [Johan] Cruyff over 20 years ago, and now [Tito] Vilanova is the next one continuing that path. And Bayern is just a different type of world. But I think it’s a fascinating decision for [Guardiola] to kind of jump into that water and give it a try.”

Klinsmann had more to say in Wahl’s piece at SI.com, about the ongoing U.S. camp, about Omar Gonzalez, about how many points he wants out of the early matches in final stage World Cup qualifiers, etc.

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

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.