Transfer Rumor Roundup: Spurs to snatch Laporte, Liverpool in for Reid

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With the transfer window nearly complete, there’s precious little time to make a move. This is the time when some teams look to take advantage of the slow movement by others.

Tottenham is on either end of that spectrum.

They are reportedly looking to snatch up Manchester United target Aymeric Laporte, a 20-year-old French defender playing for Athletic Bilbao in Spain. Manchester United could use a serious overhaul of its back line, with injuries and sub-par performances dotting the defensive landscape this season as the squad continues to rebuild. Laporte is reportedly a target for Louis van Gaal, but according to new reports the Red Devils are more likely to wait until the summer to begin their courting of the youngster.

This has opened the door for other sides to try and rush a deal this winter, and Spurs is one of those interested in trying to push something through, according to the Daily Star. The report says he has a very expensive $48 million release clause that Manchester United were looking to trigger in the summer, but Spurs could offer around half that to Bilbao for his transfer now, something that may entice a Spanish club in a league full of debt and financial troubles. However, it would be painful for Bilbao to lose Laporte this winter, with in 11th position but still in the relegation mix in a very crowded bottom half of the La Liga table, just five points above the drop.

Another last ditch effort leaves Spurs on the other end. Reports have tabbed them to be the leaders for West Ham defender Winston Reid should he choose to leave the Hammers (which seems unlikely at this point), but Liverpool may be jumping in to make a late play. Reid is out of a contract at the end of the season, and is one of the major reasons why Sam Allardyce’s side has found itself firmly in the top half of the table.

According to the Daily Mirror, the Reds are going to make an attempt for Reid’s services, and West Ham would be wise to sell if they don’t believe they will be in for a contract extension down the stretch. The report states that if West Ham sell Reid, they’d look to replace him with former Spurs defender Vedran Corluka, now playing in Russia for Spartak Moscow.

Finally, there’s a slightly concerning report for Chelsea fans that states the club still hasn’t agreed upon a set transfer fee with Wolfsburg for the departure of Andre Schurrle. Wolfsburg sporting director Klaus Allofs told German publication Wolfsburger Nachrichten earlier today, “There is currently no agreement. Time is running out. The possibilities are to hour less of an hour.”

However, reports out of Italy state the deal is nearing completion, and that the final hurdle is who pays a “solidarity clause” that sees a 5% payment of the final transfer fee going to the club that developed Schurrle as a youth. A similar hurdle was completed in the Juan Cuadrado transfer to Chelsea, and it’s unclear if that deal is contingent on Schurrle’s sale being completed. Chelsea appears to be in a decent Financial Fair Play position, with their transfer dealings this season at around the break-even point, suggesting the deals are likely not to be mutually exclusive.

Fulham owner withdraws offer to purchase Wembley Stadium

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Wembley Stadium is set to stay in the FA’s hands.

[READ: USMNT 1-1 Peru: Player Ratings]

The FA announced in a press release Wednesday that Fulham owner Shahid Kahn had withdrawn his offer of $790 million to purchase Wembley Stadium. Kahn first became interested in buying the stadium in February 2017, when he and FA CEO Martin Glenn met at the Superbowl. What followed was an informal offer to the FA Board of Directors before a formal offer was made.

The offer has been valued at anywhere from nearly $800 million to nearly $1.2 billion. In a statement, Kahn said that his goal to purchase the stadium was to provide the FA with a large amount of capital which it could use to improve grassroots soccer around the country.

“The intent of my efforts was, and is, to do right by everyone in a manner that strengthens the English game and brings people together, not divides them,” Khan said. “Unfortunately, given where we are today, I’ve concluded that the outcome of a vote next week would be far from sufficient in expressing the broad support favored by the FA chairman to sell Wembley Stadium.”

The FA council was set to vote on the sale next week.

Although it cost the FA and British government more than $1.4 billion (adjusted for inflation) to renovate and rebuild Wembley Stadium, the arena hosted 33 events between July 2016 and June 2017 and in its latest published financial records, the FA recorded an after-tax profit of $21 million. So it seems that along with the sponsorships and broadcast deals, Wembley Stadium is a money maker, which makes it important for the FA to hold on to.

That being said, it’s hard to turn down a deal worth close to $1 billion, even if that’s a lump sum and they won’t receive further investments from stadium revenues in the future. In the future, maybe Kahn or another owner may make another offer, one that the FA council could accept.

Report: La Liga chief going to court to compel U.S. based games to happen

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The head of La Liga is considering taking extraordinary action to ensure that a planned match this year in the U.S. goes off as expected.

[READ: What did we learn about the USMNT?]

According to Spanish radio station Cadena Cope, La Liga president Javier Tebas is set to bring a lawsuit against the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and its chief, Luis Rubiales to compel the federation to approve Barcelona’s match against Girona on January 26, which has been scheduled to be moved to Miami, Fla.’s Hard Rock Stadium.

In a way, it makes sense that Tebas and the Spanish league is considering every possible avenue to ensure that their 15-year marketing rights agreement with Relevant Sports, including league matches played abroad, can move forward as expected. However, it was clear after the announcement in August that all parties involved – especially La Liga, had not thought this through. FIFA, the RFEF, local fans and the Spanish league’s player’s union have all opposed the news, and on Wednesday Real Madrid formally sent a letter of it’s disapproval in moving La Liga matches abroad.

Tebas and La Liga would prefer for this to be resolved legally sooner rather than later, so they can market the Barcelona match in Miami and begin negotiating with the other federations that need to approve. But there’s a decent chance that the other parties – FIFA, and U.S. Soccer – could fail to rubber stamp what would be a first-of-its-kind event. In any case, watch this space.

What did we learn about USMNT during international break

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The U.S. Men’s National Team finished the October FIFA international slate with a somewhat demoralizing loss and an uplifting draw, if there is such a thing.

The young U.S. core continues to show flashes of great talent, but overall the team still seems to be stuttering along under caretaker manager Dave Sarachan, who just managed his 10th game and could likely finish out the calendar year as USMNT boss.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

Below is a look at the key takeaways from the USMNT’s October friendlies:


(more…)

Wenger: I want to return to management in January

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Arsene Wenger could be back to barking orders from the sideline once the calendar flips to 2019.

In an interview with German publication BILD, Wenger admitted that he’s received job offers all over the world and aims to return in January. Wenger hinted as well at his future, stating he was open to either international or club management.

Wenger has been without a job since parting ways with Arsenal at the end of last season, a second successive in which the club finished outside the top four.

Even with his disappointing end to life at Arsenal, it’s clear Wenger is still passionate and ready to coach again in the future. Come January, there will likely be a few Premier League openings as well as opportunities in other leagues (AC Milan? Bayern Munich? Real Madrid?). However, most of the domestic options would see Wenger take over a team likely in a relegation battle, something Wenger doesn’t really have experience with. In addition, outside of Mexico and U.S. Soccer’s ongoing coaching search, it’s unlikrly there will be a major national team opening come January.

Wenger previously said would make up his mind about his future in September, but since missing his deadline he’s continued to move the date back. Perhaps a year away will fully rejuvenate the wise manager.