Belgian teenager Zakaria Bakkali could be the next young sensation to break into the international spotlight after starting the season with four goals in four games for PSV Eindhoven. The highlight was his hat trick against NEC on Aug. 10, making him the youngest player to score one in the Dutch Eredivisie.
In the match before that, an Aug. 7 Champions League qualifier against Zulte-Waregem in his home country, Bakkali, 17, unleashed a volley after cutting in from the right wing that lashed into the back of the net.
A day later, Belgium senior team head coach Marc Wilmots called him up for a friendly against France. He did not make the game day 23-man roster, missing out because of an injury sustained in training, but he did get to play with the likes of Eden Hazard, Vincent Kompany, Marouane Fellaini and Christian Benteke.
Now, the Express in the United Kingdom is reporting that Manchester City, Chelsea and Arsenal are all interested in signing him.
This is Bakkali’s first year as a senior professional, having joined PSV as a youth player from Standard Liège in 2008. He is capped at every youth level in Belgium from the under-15 to under-21 teams.
Bakkali is another example of Belgium’s rising stock as an international power. He prefers to play on the right, and his one-on-one skills are already close to world-class. In his penchant for torching defenders repeatedly, he was bound to attract interest eventually.
The West’s first place team is switching it up in a big way.
FC Dallas is sending Homegrown Player and USMNT midfielder Kellyn Acosta to Western foes Colorado Rapids in exchange for striker Dominique Badji, according to a report by The Dallas Morning News.
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Acosta, 22, has 17 caps and a goal for the U.S., and is primarily a defensive midfielder. He’s also played right and left back.
He’s appeared 139 times for Dallas, scoring 13 times with nine assists, but had fallen out with head coach Oscar Pareja. He’s also struggled mightily on the field, according to WhoScored.
Badji, 25, has seven goals and three assists in 16 matches for the Rapids this season, building on an eight-goal, five-assist campaign last season.
FCD has gotten six goals out of forward Maxi Urruti, and there’s been little production from anyone else. Cristian Colman is out with an ankle injury and managed just a pair of goals in 399 minutes.
The risk of trading Acosta is mitigated by the continued speculation that he may test the waters of European soccer. Badji’s a quality player, but Colorado may’ve gotten a bargain in its push to escape the dregs of the West.
Minnesota United throttled LAFC on Sunday, using a Christian Ramirez brace to batter the hot expansion team 5-1 in Minnesota.
Darwin Quintero had a goal and two assists for the Loons, who took advantage of LAFC’s decision not to start dominant forward Adama Diomande and center back Walker Zimmerman.
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Quintero ripped off seven shots, putting five on goal. He now has 10 goals and five assists since joining the Loons after scoring two and eight in 29 matches for Club America last year.
Miguel Ibarra recorded a goal and an assist, while Rasmus Schuller also scored. LAFC’s goal came courtesy Benny Feilhaber.
Minnesota’s Bobby Shuttleworth and LA’s Tyler Miller each made six saves in their goals.
LAFC fails in a bid to make up points on Western Conference first seed FC Dallas, while the Loons now can eye a playoff spot in the West.
Liverpool’s 3-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund featured an injury to a position with very little depth.
The Reds lost Joel Matip to what Jurgen Klopp said could possibly be a “small tear” in one of his quads.
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If Matip, 26, needs any significant time to heal up, he’ll put a major question mark into Liverpool’s opening day center back pairing.
Virgil Van Dijk, who scored against BVB on Sunday, already won’t have Dejan Lovren as a partner thanks to a post-World Cup vacation.
That leaves Joe Gomez and Ragnar Klavan as options next to Van Dijk.
Matches at Crystal Palace and home to Brighton and Hove Albion follow the Aug. 12 visit from West Ham.
Guingamp captain Jimmy Briand is making the move from Ligue 1 to Major League Soccer.
The French side announced that the 32-year-old, capped five times by France between 28-32, is coming to the Montreal Impact.
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Briand spent time with Lyon and Hannover after a eight-year stint with Rennes, where he was teammates with former USMNT captain Carlos Bocanegra.
The center forward scored 11 goals last season in France, including markers against Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco.
Briand could provide a big missing piece of Montreal’s attack. The Impact have playmakers in Ignacio Piatti and Saphir Taidir, but haven’t found much from their forwards.