Houston Dynamo land USMNT legend DaMarcus Beasley

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DaMarcus Beasley is a Houston Dynamo.

The US Men’s National Team legend was selected by the Dynamo on Wednesday after the Texas club sent Warren Creavalle to Toronto FC for top spot in the allocation order and allocation money. Beasley signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with the Dynamo and becomes the club’s third Designated Player alongside Boniek Garcia and Alexander Lopez.

Unlike fellow USMNT players Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley, Beasley was considered a Designated Players subject to the allocation ranking. That being the case, Beasley was placed in the allocation order and, as a midseason arrival, will now count for $193,000 against the salary budget.

Beasley took to Twitter to share his excitement at the deal, writing: “Really excited to say that Im officially apart of the @HoustonDynamo family! Can’t wait to get started n meet everyone!”

Dynamo president Chris Canetti spoke with MLSsoccer.com and explained that the Dynamo had a heavy hand in the dealings over the last few weeks.

“When it became known around the first week of July that DaMarcus Beasley was looking to come back to MLS, we threw our hat in the ring and expressed interest with the league and with his agent Richard Motzkin. We played a pretty vital role in eventually getting the contract signed with the league over the course of the weeks. We were part of the driving force behind that.

“Given that we had expended energy time and effort into making the signing happen, we wanted to make sure that the process could see its way through and that he ended up with us.”

Canetti also spoke about Beasley’s abroad experience as being a major motivator in securing the deal:

“The simplest and most basic thing is we think he makes our team better. We got a veteran of the World Cup and club soccer who has played with some of the most elite clubs in the world spending time with Manchester City, Rangers, Puebla and PSV Eindhoven. He brings a lot of quality play and veteran leadership and he is a name our fans can recognize and be happy to see joining the team.”

Houston face Aston Villa on Saturday in an international friendly at BBVA Compass Stadium before Beasley arrives for the following week’s match against D.C. United.

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.