Bargain Bucket – A look at best free transfers & loans available from Adnan to Yedlin

2 Comments

While the world is focused on nine-figure megawatt transfers and the big-name clubs competing for them, several out-of-contract players and loan possibilities could help teams firm up their chances at everything from a Top 4 spot to Premier League safety.

So who are these names, and how much of a risk would they be?

[ MORE: Tuesday’s transfer rumor roundup ]

Joey Barton — The former QPR and Newcastle man is 32-years-old and has a combustible personality, but is certainly not among the top reasons the R’s were relegated last season. Could fill in the gaps as a minute-eater or final quarter substitute that adds a bit of steel to the side.

DeAndre Yedlin — Those in the know say the USMNT youngster is in high demand as a potential right wing on loan from Tottenham. Will he stay in England?

Ron Vlaar — The Villa man is out until the new year with a knee injury, but could see himself as anything from a lynchpin for a lower club’s defense to a depth move for old boss Louis van Gaal. His health will be a situation to monitor over the Fall months.

Dimitar Berbatov —  Fancy taking a chance on ‘The Incredible Sulk?’ The 34-year-old Bulgarian scored nine goals in 38 matches for AS Monaco last season, seven coming in Ligue 1 play.

Jonas Gutierrez — Certainly a ways off from his days as a plug-and-play midfielder for Newcastle, but the Argentine is a boon to any locker room and can give a lift to any midfield. Can play defender in a pinch, but does seem headed back to South America.

source: Getty Images
(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Adnan Januzaj (right) —  For a guy many have tipped for a surefire loan away from Old Trafford, the young Belgian has looked stronger, quicker and more confident this young season under Louis van Gaal… and more importantly he’s been on the pitch, too.

Wilson Palacios — Has the experience in English football if he’s willing to play an ancillary role. Otherwise, it’ll be off to the Championship if he wants to stay in England.

Yoan Gourcuff — Once a hot-button transfer target from Lyon, he has not signed for another club since his contract expired. At age 29, did he wait too long to come to England? Was linked with Arsenal earlier this window.

Michu —  Remember when he lit the Premier League on fire for a brief time with Swansea City? Well Garry Monk doesn’t want him around any more. Perhaps a loan move will do?

Also available for “free”: Oguchi Onyewu, Shola Ameobi, Cristian Ledesma, Carlton Cole.

Atletico Madrid roster for MLS All-Star Game includes Felix

Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Major League Soccer fans will get a good luck at one of the hottest prospects in world soccer when the MLS All Stars take on Atletico Madrid in next week’s MLS All Star Game.

Joao Felix, the $142 million 19-year-old, is among the roster announced by Diego Simeone for the match.

[ MORE: Newcastle in for $28M Saint-Maximin ]

Felix scored 20 times with 11 assists in 40 matches for Benfica before moving to Atleti in the summer. Those numbers include a hat trick against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League quarterfinals first leg.

The other stars will be there, too, provided no transfers happen in the interim. Koke, Thomas Lemar, Diego Costa, and Saul Niguez are in the squad.

New Atleti defender Kieran Trippier and longtime El Tri hero Hector Herrera will also be sure to help drive attendance in Orlando City.

The full roster is here.

Leagues Cup preview: MLS gets its next shot at Liga MX

Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images
Leave a comment

It’s not a typo; The s is very real.

The Leagues Cup — not the League Cup — is the new competition pitting Major League Soccer sides against some of the top sides from Mexico’s Liga MX.

The tournament has been expanded before it’s even seen a ball kicked in competition, as the second edition with go from eight to 16 teams.

[ MORE: Newcastle in for $28M Saint-Maximin ]

For now, though, we’ve got four American and four Mexican sides meeting over the next two months in a bid for North American supremacy not unlike a CONCACAF Champions League stripped of all the minnows.

Much like the CCL, the Mexican sides will be expected to triumph, even with all of the quarterfinals being staged in the United States.

Chicago Fire hosts Cruz Azul on Tuesday, followed by the LA Galaxy’s visit from Club Tijuana.

Wednesday will see the Houston Dynamo host Club America, and Tigres UANL at Real Salt Lake.

The winners meet Aug. 20, while the final will be played Sept. 18 in Las Vegas.

There’s a lot of promise in this, and it gives MLS another chance to make some statements about the distance between it and Liga MX. The Mexican sides have flat out dominated the CCL, and it’s not difficult to make the same prediction for this tournament.

But, like many tournaments, it also gives success-starved clubs a chance to give their fans something big and their players a tonic. For Bastian Schweinsteiger‘s Chicago, for one, it’s a huge opportunity. And for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the Galaxy, it’s a look toward another piece of silverware for one of the world’s biggest trophy cases.

USMNT prospect Ledezma earns praise from van Nistelrooy

Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Even for talents of the highest levels with top soccer education, sometimes a kid’s gotta learn how to eat.

Richard “Richie” Ledezma, 18, is in the midst of his first year at Eredivisie side PSV Eindhoven, a spot which beckoned after a five-match, one-goal season in the USL with Real Monarchs of the USL.

[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]

Ledezma starred for U.S. U-20 team at the World Cup after his first half-season with PSV, which saw him play with the U-19s while trying to lose some weight.

From Goal.com:

“PSV help me with my nutrition, with my food and how I eat. It’s the quantity of food you eat, I guess,” he added. “Because I came a little chubby, when I got here, I guess. They all called me ‘fatty’ and stuff, so I was like, cool, you know? So no more McDonald’s.”

Goal’s James Westwood had a wide-ranging interview with Ledezma and also spoke with soccer royalty: longtime Real Madrid and Manchester United scorer Ruud van Nistelrooy was Ledezma’s coach with the U-19s.

“He’s making a difference in midfield with very quick-thinking passes, movement, can score a goal, play people in, he’s creating chances for the whole team.”

That’s not just good praise from a legend, but a solid sign for fans of the United States men’s national team. A proper No. 10 or playmaking midfielder could allow Gregg Berhalter or another future USMNT coach to use Christian Pulisic on the wings.

Ledezma has some work to do before he breaks into the first team of the Dutch runners-up, who have signed former Stoke City man Ibrahim Afellay and has Gaston Pereiro in the fold as well.

Newcastle reportedly in for $28M mercurial Nice attacker

VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images
Leave a comment

L’Equipe says that Newcastle United have returned to Nice in the hopes of landing Allan Saint-Maximin.

The Ligue 1 outfit wants $28 million for the playmaker, who could team up with Miguel Almiron and (maybe) Joelinton to give the Magpies a much-improved attack.

[ MORE: Chicago adds USMNT hero ]

Saint-Maximin, 22, has 10 goals and 10 assists across his last two seasons with Nice, and played everywhere in attack for Patrick Vieira: both wings, center forward, second striker, attacking mid… even some left and right midfield.

The player, however, has been a headache for Vieira at times, with the manager saying Saint-Maximin believes that he has enough talent to reach the highest level without the required amount of work.

That said, the youngster’s skill set is electric. He’s a March birth date, too, so a relatively young 22. That $28 million would be another transfer record broken for Newcastle, assuming it happens ahead of the Joelinton move.

Or… as Newcastle fan knows, neither could go through.