Clint Dempsey to Seattle: $9 million fee, $8 million salary sees Deuce back to MLS

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All the money the Seattle Sounders have been banking with those huge CenturyLink Field attendances? They’ve paid off with one of the bigger transfer gets in Major League Soccer history, one that’s seen the club guarantee $41 million to bring U.S. international Clint Dempsey to Seattle.

Multiple sources within Major League Soccer have informed NBC Sports’ ProSoccerTalk that Tottenham Hotspur will receive a $9 million transfer fee for the U.S. captain’s services – roughly 95 percent of the £6 million Spurs reportedly paid for Dempsey last summer.  To complete the unexpected move, Seattle have guaranteed the 30-year-old attacker $32 million over the next four seasons, making him one of the most expensive players in league history.

Dempsey’s base salary will eclipse that of David Beckham and Thierry Henry, though other facets of Beckham’s contract gave him a percentage of the Galaxy’s revenue. The $32 million, however, is the largest base salary commitment a player has ever received from an MLS franchise.

The $9 million transfer fee will also be the highest paid in league history and the second major purchase made by the Sounders this summer. Seattle paid La Liga’s Levante $4 million to get striker Obafemi Martins out of his contract.

As a Designated Player, the former New England Revolution attacker will not have to go through the allocation process, to which internationals like Sounder Eddie Johnson and newly signed Chivas USA defender Carlos Bocanegra were subjected when they returned to MLS.

Dempsey was originally seen flying to Seattle last night, with rumors of Seattle’s connection to the U.S. international circulating Thursday morning. On Friday, ESPN originally reported Dempsey’s agreement with Seattle, with ProSoccerTalk confirming the story shortly there after.

Dempsey is set to return to the United States after six-and-a-half seasons in the Premier League, all but one of which were spent at Craven Cottage. During his time in England, Dempsey scored 72 time in 268 all-competition appearances, including a 23-goal season in 2011-12 with Fulham.

Tottenham Hotspur acquired the former Cottager on transfer deadline day last August, with Dempsey immediately moving into André Villas-Boas’ starting lineup. While his playing time decreased as the season progressed, Dempsey still scored 12 times in 43 all-competition appearances, his third-highest goal total since leaving New England in 2006.

He joins a Seattle Sounders team that sit seventh in the Western Conference, threatening to miss the postseason for the first time in franchise history. The addition of Dempsey, however, will bolster an attack that’s 14th in Major League Soccer in goals scored, one that already features fellow Johnson and Martins.

How Dempsey fits with those two strikers remains to be seen; however, Thursday on Seattle-based radio station KJR, Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said the team was looking for a central or attacking midfielder to fill the Designated Player spot freed up by Shalrie Joseph’s renegotiated contract. Capable of playing in an attacking midfielder’s role, Dempsey could allow Schmid to incorporate his new star without sacrificing any of his existing goal scorers.

Yaya Toure talks future, wants to play with Paul Pogba

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There is very little debate: Yaya Toure is his own special case.

The longtime Manchester City midfielder does what he wants, flies his own flag, has the worst agent in the game, and is pleased or dismayed in unusual ways.

[ UCL: What would Real 3-peat mean? ]

Toure, 35, has been linked with a move to NYCFC now that he’s leaving Man City, but the Ivorian still wants to play two more seasons for a Champions League or Europa League club.

And he wants to get together with Paul Pogba. You can see where this is going… (from The Manchester Evening News):

“Pogba is the same size, power – but different in the way he wants to go. Technically as well, the ability to score goals as well. It is a player I want to play with, to be honest, just to teach him some things.”

That must mean both are going to Paris Saint-Germain because… Yaya at Manchester United? No way, right? Right? Even with last year’s reports from his — again — terrible agent that it was an option, that still seems too villainous.

“I don’t rule big teams out. The big teams are very important for me. What they want to achieve, the way they want to go, for me is very important. … I want to go somewhere I can win and achieve. It’s going to be hard one day to play against City, but I have to do that. It is part of my job.”

Toure later said he was “no good in an office,” which had us thinking, well, what if they properly celebrated your birthday, Yaya?

WATCH: Miami United midfield unleashes Open Cup laser

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Tomas Granitto, have yourself an extra plate at the postgame buffet.

The Miami United midfielder scored a gorgeous goal in Wednesday’s 2-0 win over fellow NPSL side Jacksonville Armada in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup’s third round.

[ MORE: 3 Key Battles for UCL Final ]

Complete with aesthetically-pleasing post-ping, the former El Salvador U-20 player laid into a 25-yard shot to open the scoring in Florida.

Granitto, 24, has played for Timbers 2, Swope Park Rangers, FC Edmonton, since leaving NCAA side Florida Gulf Coast.

Rondon wanted by Atleti, Inter Milan, and West Ham

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The big boys are looking to Salomon Rondon as a bargain striker.

Yes, $22 million is a bargain in the striker market these days.

[ MORE: Napoli hires Ancelotti ]

West Brom’s Venezuelan international, 28, stands 6’2″ and has a relegation release clause that is reportedly interesting Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid, and West Ham United.

Atleti and Inter are in the Champions League next season, but Rondon played for new West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini at Malaga, posting 25 league goals in two seasons.

He’s scored 24 goals in three Premier League seasons at West Brom, almost a quarter of the 104 produced by the Baggies.

He also picked up three assists this season as the target man for Tony Pulis, Alan Pardew, and Darren Moore (and was fouled more often than any other Baggie (Baggy?)).

Rondon and Marko Arnautovic next to each other would be a real handful for PL defenses. Then again, maybe he’ll stay loyal to West Brom and set the Championship scoring record next season.

Three German organizers of 2006 World Cup indicted for tax evasion

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) Three German organizers of the 2006 World Cup have been charged with tax evasion linked to a payment to FIFA.

German news agency dpa reported that Theo Zwanziger, Wolfgang Niersbach and Horst R. Schmidt confirmed Wednesday they are indicted by Frankfurt prosecutors in a long-running investigation.

[ MORE: 3 Key Battles for UCL Final ]

They are accused of falsifying tax returns on behalf of the Germany soccer federation (DFB) in 2006. The DFB has already paid 19.2 million euros ($22.4 million) in back taxes. All three deny the charges, which were first reported by German daily Bild

The allegations are also being investigated by Swiss federal prosecutors and FIFA’s ethics committee. They have targeted German soccer great Franz Beckenbauer, who led the 2006 tournament organizing committee.

Beckenbauer, Zwanziger and Niersbach were members of FIFA’s executive committee in turn from 2007 through 2016.

In 2016, the DFB published an inquiry report into a complex payments trail including 6.7 million euros ($7.8 million) to FIFA in April 2005. Zwanziger and the DFB claimed the money was for a World Cup opening gala and therefore tax-deductible.

However, the payment went through FIFA and ended in a Swiss account belonging to former Adidas chief Robert Louis-Dreyfus, who died in 2009.

The inquiry report did not rule out, but could not prove, that votes were bought when Germany beat a Nelson Mandela-supported South Africa bid for the hosting rights in a 12-11 vote of FIFA executive committee members in 2000.

Swiss prosecutors said in 2016 they had opened a criminal proceeding against the four German officials the previous year, on suspicion of fraud, money laundering, criminal mismanagement and misappropriation. That case spun off from a wider Swiss investigation of suspected corruption linked to FIFA and World Cup hosting votes that is ongoing.

Niersbach lost his seat on FIFA’s ruling committee when he was banned for one year for failing to disclose possible unethical conduct.

The various investigations have tarnished the reputation of the 2006 World Cup that was a popular success in the host nation, which called it the “Summer Fairytale.”