Michel Vorm to undergo knee surgery, timeline for return still unknown

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Swansea City were hoping the persist pain goalkeeper Michel Vorm was experiencing in his knee could be tolerated until January, but with the Dutch international in discomfort throughout last weekend’s match against Norwich City, the player and club moved the planned procedure forward. As of Thursday, the 30-year-old is now out indefinitely, the pain he felt at Carrow Road deemed to much to carry until the start of the transfer window.

How long Vorm will be out has yet to be determined. According to the club’s website, today’s procedure required surgeons to “explore the knee before carrying out work on clearing any loose ligaments and fragments of bone.” Vorm’s prognosis will dependent on the scale of the ensuing procedure.

Having previously said a January operation was necessary to be able to play in the World Cup, Vorm should be able to return this season, provided the extent of the damage didn’t exceed expectations. Without him, however, there will be a major drop off.

Gerhard Tremmel, a 35-year-old German, has already made 10 appearances this season: six in Europa League; three in the Premier League; one in League Cup. With four wins, Tremmel has kept two clean sheets, saving 59.5 percent of the shots he’s faced.

The difference between those results’ and Vorm’s hint at why Swansea were hoping to make it to the transfer window. The normal Swans No. 1 has kept seven clean sheets in 17 starts, stopping 70.9 percent of the shots he’s faced en route to eight victories.

With three matches before the opening of the transfer window (vs. Everton, at Chelsea, at Aston Villa), Swansea will get a better look at what they have in Tremmel. Still, all signs points to a new goalkeeper making his way to Wales at some point in the January window.

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.