Some very interesting names now available through Major League Soccer’s re-entry process

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Major League Soccer announced its list of players eligible for the 2013 Re-Entry Draft, and there are some very, very intriguing names.

The process from here is all about “value.” These are mostly guys who still have some value (even to the club that just took a big step toward cutting ties with them). But the clubs have generally assessed that these players aren’t achieving “value.” That is, they aren’t worth the money about to applied to the 2014 salary cap.

Clubs may still sign these guys through 5 p.m. ET on Dec. 11, but it’s probably too late for most of them at their current addresses. Here is the entire list, along with explanations of the process.

We’ve picked out a few of the most intriguing names available for selection in Stage One of the Re-Entry Draft on Dec. 12.

Chicago’s Chris Rolfe: A lot of us believed the Chicago Fire livewire would do fantastic things in 2013. (*Sheepishly raises hand*) Well, he was neither live nor a wire … and his season needed rescuing, just like the entire team’s, by league MVP Mike Magee.

D.C. United’s Dwayne De Rosario: A year ago, several teams may have jumped at the chance to sign the former league MVP (2011) and veteran Canadian international. But his decline this year was staggeringly sharp. “De Ro,” once such a swashbuckling figure, could essentially play one good game a month, or so it seemed. He is 35 now. Still, might some team take him during the process and attempt to negotiate a deal knowing he can be influential only here and there?

Houston Dynamo’s Bobby Boswell: The Orange’s longtime fixture at center back is out of contract (rather than having had his option declined, as with most players about to go through the re-entry process). Either way, the guy has been a starter for nine years in MLS, and he will be just 31 next year. Some team will surely take him.

Seattle Sounders’ Mauro Rosales and Steve Zakuani: This means big changes around on Sounders roster. Sadly, Steve Zakuani (pictured above) has never recovered completely from that devastating 2011 injury. Rosales certainly has talent and vision, and can create from the right side. But he’s 32 … and it’s an old 32.

New York Red Bulls’ Fabian Espindola: He came over in a big trade just a year ago from Real Salt Lake. But, again, the Red Bulls find that playing alongside Thierry Henry is all kinds of problematic. Henry is among the most talent forwards ever to kick an MLS ball, but talk about high maintenance. Last year he didn’t like 18-goal-scorer Kenny Cooper, so the mercurial American talent was gone. Espindola is a different case; the chemistry with Henry just wasn’t right, and “Espy” wasn’t starting by mid-season. Still, can’t the guy (Henry) find someone he likes playing alongside?

LA Galaxy’s Sean Franklin: This guy will play in MLS in 2014 if he wants. He was a starter on both of Los Angeles’ recent (2011 and 2012) MLS Cup championship sides. And he started 29 times last year for a good Galaxy bunch. The team decided, however, that $250,000 (plus any scheduled increase for 2014) was too much to pay. Franklin can play right back or in the midfield.

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.