After Thiago Silva signs new PSG deal, who can bolster Barcelona’s defense?

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Paris Saint-Germain have finally tied down Brazilian captain Thiago Silva to a new long-term deal.

Cue images of Barcelona walking away in a sulky mood with their tails firmly between their legs.

This time Barca didn’t get their man.

Silva, 28, signed a new five-year deal and his wages were the big stumbling block as Barcelona couldn’t match PSG’s incredible bankroll. So with the cultured defender staying in Paris, Barcelona are edging closer to the La Liga season with a few defensive problems to sort out.

It’s no secret that the Catalan club wanted to strengthen at the back this summer, and so far they’ve struck out.

With Gerardo Martino now in charge, it seems they will step up up their search for a central defender but losing their top target Silva is a big blow.

Right now Barcelona have Gerard Pique as their only fully-fit and recognized center back. Legendary captain Carlos Puyol, 35, is recovering from a knee operation and Javier Mascherano, also injured for long periods, has been converted from holding midfield to play in the heart of Barcelona’s defense.

Apart from those three, Brazilian Adriano Correia has been a reserve for most of his time at the Camp Nou. And then there’s youngster Marc Bartra, who was thrown in to hep with injuries last season. And that’ it.

(MORE: Monday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup, David Luiz to Bayern? Gustavo to Chelsea?)

For a club aiming to win every single competition domestically and in Europe, they need defensive reinforcements, fast.

What about long-term target David Luiz? Reports this morning suggest Chelsea are willing to part ways with the Brazilian defender and he would probably be okay with a move to Barca. The $60 million asking price may put them off, and Bayern Munich are interested too. But Luiz in the Blaugrana would be a site to behold.

Other than Luiz, a few other names spring to mind. How about Dortmund’s Neven Subotic or Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen? Both are massive units we can dominate in the air and in the tackle, but they can also play the passing style Barcelona look to cultivate from the back and all over the pitch.

Those two, in my opinion, would be good fits and would cost nowhere nears as much as Luiz.

But what other options are out there for Barcelona’s new man in charge? There are plenty of young talented defenders in Spain and Portugal but with Champions League success a must this season, an experienced international defender to compliment Pique is needed.

Expect Barca to be busy in the next few weeks… can they tempt Luiz to the Camp Nou?

Transfer rumor roundup: Japan, South Africa strikers to Premier League

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Percy Tau’s name isn’t yet widely known outside of South Africa, what with Bafana Bafana absent from the World Cup.

But the 24-year-old Mamelodi Sundowns winger may soon get to test his skills on a much bigger stage.

[ USMNT: More accolades for Pulisic ]

Tau, who has five goals in 12 caps, will reportedly join Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League if a medical goes well, with Sky Sports saying it’ll will be the biggest transfer fee yet for a South African Premier League player.


Yoshinori Muto could be bringing his 25 caps to the Premier League.

The 26-year-old striker made just one appearance at the World Cup, but has had a nice run with Mainz since joining from FC Tokyo. He’s bagged 23 goals in 71 appearances.

Bild report says there have been no formal offers for Muto, but that Newcastle United and West Ham are interested in the striker. Newcastle badly needs a striker, but West Ham has been spending money and Magpies owner Mike Ashley hasn’t green lit much in recent seasons.

Open Cup draw postponed as Portland protests LAFC win

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The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup draw is not going as planned, as the Portland Timbers protest the roster of victorious LAFC.

[ RECAP: Four USOC semifinalists minted ]

Philadelphia, Chicago, and Houston were the other sides to get a place in the final four teams.

LAFC’s victory had already been marred by Adama Diomande‘s claims of a racial slur hurled his way, and now their victory may be in question altogether as U.S. Soccer issued a press release saying Thursday’s scheduled draw was postponed.

From a U.S. Soccer press release:

The decision comes as a result of a protest filed by the Portland Timbers in relation to the number of foreign players fielded by Los Angeles Football Club during Wednesday night’s Quarterfinal at Banc of America Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif.

The rule says a maximum five players without green cards can be in the 18. Portland started only two Americans, Jeff Attinella and Zarek Valentin, but have green cards for many others and rules are rules.

Will the Timbers take a semifinal berth via protest?

Zlatan explains tough second season at Old Trafford

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic at his most humble is still a man riding his ego through the clouds.

The LA Galaxy striker gave an interview to the BBC in which he detailed why his second season at Manchester United didn’t go according to plan.

[ USMNT: More accolades for Pulisic ]

Ibrahimovic, 36, said his “mind was ready” but his knee was not when he followed up a 28-goal, 10-assist debut at Old Trafford with just seven appearances with one League Cup goal.

From the BBC:

“When I was ready, I said to myself ‘I am not there’,” he said. “They had a Zlatan before. After, I was not ready to be that Zlatan. I was selected in many of the games but I told the coach: ‘Listen, I am not ready. I don’t want to disappoint you. The respect I have for my team-mates and the coach. Select someone else who can do the job better.’ I stood up and did it, even if I am Zlatan.”

How’s that for humble? There’s only one Zlatan…

Report: Bristol City offers $4m for USMNT GK Steffen

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Championship side Bristol City has lodged a $4 million bid for Columbus Crew and USMNT goalkeeper Zack Steffen, according to MLS insider Sam Stejskal.

Viewed as a potential long-term American No. 1 for his country, Steffen has thrived at Columbus since returning from a stint at Freiburg in Germany.

[ USMNT: More accolades for Pulisic ]

Stejskal reached Columbus coach Gregg Berhalter, who said multiple teams are interested in Steffen but did not confirm the Bristol City bid. Berhalter said, “We want to be a place where we get players and we develop them and we help them advance in their careers, wherever that may be.”

Steffen, 23, starred at Maryland before making the move abroad. He’s proven a fantastic young pro with a knack for stopping penalty kicks.

Bristol City finished 11th in the Championship last season with 30-year-old goalkeeper Frank Fielding, who had played 153 league matches for the club since 2013 and led the club to promotion from League One in 2015.

Some have openly questioned whether the Championship is a clear upgrade from MLS — don’t count this typer in that group — but this does seem like win-win for Columbus and Steffen if the player wants the move. The Championship has been good for the development of several American players including Tim Ream, DeAndre Yedlin (on loan from a Premier League club), and Lynden Gooch.