Getty Images

Report: DC United pursuing Nigel de Jong

1 Comment

DC United is aching to improve its midfield, and is apparently aiming to land one of the league’s bigger busts to do it.

Granted Nigel de Jong wasn’t really in the league long enough to be considered a massive bust — we’re talking six months — but the reckless-tackling midfielder did manage to apologize to Stu Holden for breaking his leg hours before almost breaking Darlington Nagbe’s leg.

[ MORE: Correa to Newcastle? ]

That said, there’s little doubt that de Jong is an upgrade over DC’s current unit, and he’s known as a good locker room guy, which fits with their plans, according to The Washington Post’s Steven Goff.

From The Washington Post:

One source said United is “not writing off this season” but recognizes a playoff berth is almost out of the question. In addition to de Jong, the club has extended offers for a second designated player as part of an effort to begin the rebuilding process right away.

Goff also included a nugget that DC tried to land Wayne Rooney earlier this summer.

De Jong has been at Galatasaray since leaving LA, and he has not been a strong contributor according to WhoScored.com. That said, he’s landed better than 90 percent of his passes and only a trio of yellow cards.

But forgetting tactics and even potentially landing some more butts in the seats, why? DC has lost six-straight and sits 14 points out of a playoff spot. Maybe it’d be worth showing their diehard supporters that they care enough to splash the money, and perhaps there’s another piece in the midfield that would make De Jong work for the Black-and-Red.

Two reasons we’d like to see it work out and the first is that Ben Olsen seems like a super decent guy and DC has made season-ending runs as recently as last year. The second is that the petty “Salute to De Jong” video the league put online after he left for Galatasaray, a compilations of his fouls and poor moments, would become next level hilarious.

Reports: Alli unlikely to play in England’s second Group G match

AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
Leave a comment

The Three Lions may not have taken all good news away from the team’s 2-1 win over Tunisia in their World Cup opener.

[ MORE: Russia races past Egypt, likely en route to next round ]

Several reports are suggesting that England will likely be without Tottenham playmaker Dele Alli in their second Group G match against Panama on Sunday.

Alli was forced out of England’s opener with a thigh strain, which gave manager Gareth Southgate the decision to put in Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

There isn’t a timetable for the 22-year-old’s return to the pitch, but his absence will definitely present a major question for Southgate heading into the rest of group play.

Without Alli in the starting XI, it’ll likely be between Loftus-Cheek and Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard to fill the role where Alli normally sits.

In the case of Lingard, who started against Tunisia, the England boss would have to bring in another starter if Southgate opts to have the Red Devils attacker sit in as the number 10.

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

Photo by Burak Kara/Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

AP Photo/Matthias Schrader
Leave a comment

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
Leave a comment

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.”