Clarence Goodson set to miss eight more weeks

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A left toe problem has cost San Jose center back Clarence Goodson four out of the Earthquakes’ last five games. Now, former starter Jason Hernández’s place in the team’s first XI is about to be prolonged. According to Major League Soccer’s website, Goodson will miss the next eight weeks, with his foot set to spend four weeks immobilized while his toe heals.

Through injury and time with the U.S. national team, Goodson’s been limited to 10 league appearances, his first full campaign since returning to MLS from Europe. If the timeline head coach Mark Watson quoted at today’s practice holds up, Goodson will miss the same number of games over the next two months, with an eight-week layoff leaving him ready to comeback Sept. 28 at Colorado.

According to Watson, the eight-week projection includes time it will take to regain match fitness.

“We’ve been told eight weeks for the isolation and the rehabilitation side combined,” Watson said, via the league’s website, with isolation referring to the period Goodson’s foot will have to be immobilized. Watson also conceded forward Steven Lenhart, suffering with a knee injury, could undergo minor surgery that could sideline him up to four weeks.

As is the case up top, San Jose has enough depth to cover in central defense, where Hernández can temporarily resume his former starter’s role.

“You have two national-team center backs that are very good players,” Watson said, referring to Goodson and Honduran partner Víctor Hernández, “but the other guys have done well and deserve to play. We’re fortunate enough that we have an incredible amount of depth at that position.”

In this case, the quality is as important as the depth. Though Hernández may be a step down from Goodson, the extent of that step is debatable, let alone whether that extent will matter over the small part of the season. San Jose’s gotten by with Hernández before. There’s no reason that can’t do the same now.

The more interesting question is where this leaves Goodson. If the injury heals without issue, it will leave him back where he started: In San Jose’s starting lineup. Still, this is a guy who turned 32 in May, somebody who we hampered by injuries at the beginning of the season, too. Though he’s been strong in central defense for the Earthquakes, he’s also decidedly in the last phase of his career, one which could involve more injuries, if not an entirely missed step.

Maybe this is why Hernández, capable of starting for a number of teams, is still in San Jose. Particularly given Bernárdez’s place in the Honduran set up, central defense for the Earthquakes may not be a true two-man job any time soon.

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

whufc.com
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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.