Report: Julian Green to train with U.S. national team in Arizona, contemplating USMNT future

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For all of you on board the ‘Julian Green for the U.S. national team’ bandwagon, get ready to kick it up a few gears.

It seems like the Bayern Munich youngster is incredibly serious about representing the U.S. national team, and will be heading to the U.S. for a training camp with Jurgen Klinsmann’s team in April.

On Tuesday 18-year-old Green spoke with SI.com’s Grant Wahl, as it was confirmed that Jurgen Klinsmann’s request for Green to train with the USMNT squad in Glendale, Ariz., before facing Mexico on April 2, had been accepted by his club.

Bayern has to make special arrangements for it to happen, as the friendly falls outside of an official FIFA international date with players from Major League Soccer likely to make up the majority of Klinsmann’s squad for the rivalry match with El Tri. When asked if he has ambitions of playing for the U.S. at this summer’s World Cup, Green had the following to say.

“Yes, I think so,” Green said. “If I can play a World Cup at 18 years old, it would be great, amazing. But I have to train hard.”

(MORE: Klinsmann hails U.S. youngster Green, how influential could he be?)

Green also confirmed that Klinsmann has mentioned the chance of him going to the World Cup but hasn’t guaranteed the Bayern youth product a spot on the plane if he picks the USA over Germany. Throughout his international youth career green has represented Germany at various level, however he has yet to decide which nation he wants to represent as a full international.

This news comes after Green already trained with the U.S. national team in Frankfurt before their friendly with Ukraine earlier in March, as Klinsmann aims to integrate the talented teenager born in Tampa, Florida.

Can Green make a charge to the World Cup squad? He’s deemed by many to be a certainty to make the U.S squad if he does pick choose to represent USMNT over Germany. What a bombshell that would be if Green, just 18, was on the plane to Brazil to represent the Stars & Stripes.

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.