The Seattle Sounders will host the Vancouver Whitecaps at CenturyLink Field as the two Western Conference sides look to become the first team from either conference to book their place in the conference finals.
The squads met on Sunday night in Vancouver, however, neither side was able to break through, with the match ending in a scoreless draw.
Brian Schmetzer and the Sounders look to become the fourth club in MLS history to win titles in consecutive years, after D.C. United, the Houston Dynamo and LA Galaxy all have previously done.
That’s why Man City’s defeat of Manchester United earlier this month in the FA Cup Final rings so true for the Citizens; The blue side of Manchester would join the red side as treble supporters, as United won the treble in 1998-99.
Below we roundup the latest done deals, reports and rumors and give our analysis on Tottenham transfer news as Joe Prince-Wright (JPW), Nicholas Mendola (NM) and Andy Edwards (AE) will guide you through a hectic next few months.
The Spurs legend has been a staple between the sticks in North London but had a tough season in a number of ways.
“We are coming to an important moment, whether for the club or for me. It’s the end of an era. I have desires for other things. … But I don’t forget that I still have a year of contract with Tottenham and that in football it is always difficult to predict what will happen. What is essential at the moment is to recover well from my injury. I’m on vacation but I continue to talk and do my training. My goal is to be on top in July, then we’ll see what the future holds for me.”
Lloris made clear in the interview that he’s not looking to retire, and that he’s not ruling out more time at Tottenham.
He says he has more to give on the pitch.
“You can’t go from a successful World Cup to being an average player in a few months,” Lloris said. “I had a few hard knocks, I was a little inconsistent in my performance, I got injured twice. I came out of the World Cup pretty dull. The pace had been hellish before that. This is the first time in my career that I am unavailable, but I’m good in my head, in my body. This period will bring me freshness to still make me happy in the effort, the performance, the work. The most important thing is to find a project in which I flourish, at Tottenham among others.” (NM)
April 9 – North London derby battle as Spurs, Arsenal scrap for Elye Wahi
Twenty-year-old Montpellier striker Elye Wahi has attracted lots of interest this season with 12 goals and three assists this season.
French site Jeunes Footeux says that Arsenal and Tottenham (as well as PSG) have not been put off by that price tag and will look to woo the striker to North London this summer.
Wahi’s a young 20, born in January, and he has a contract through the 2024-25 season so he won’t come cheap. The report says Montpellier’s asking for around $35 million.
The 6-foot center forward had four goals and an assist in his last four games entering Sunday’s visit from Toulouse. The advanced stats say he can carry the ball above average but basically has been strictly a finisher. Sounds like someone could use some schooling from a certain Harry Kane. (NM)
March 23 – Spurs linked with Dean Henderson interest
Look: A Tottenham story that isn’t about Antonio Conte or Harry Kane… at least entirely.
That’s because ESPN says that Tottenham’s interest in Manchester United property/serial loanee Dean Henderson could be used to lower the cost for Kane.
Henderson was 14 when he joined Manchester United from Carlisle United in 2011, and he made his senior move in 2015.
Henderson’s on loan to Nottingham Forest, where it’s been no surprise that he shined before going down to injury. Henderson was twice Sheffield United Young Player of the Year, on loan, and won the Championship Golden Glove in boosting the Blades into the Premier League.
Club legend Hugo Lloris has not been himself this season and is currently hurt, Fraser Forster is only under contract through 2023-24, and young keepers Brandon Austin and Alfie Whiteman have limited experience and all on loan. A solution will be needed, and soon. (NM)
You’ll remember that the German center back wasn’t exactly angling to leave the Blues but uncertainty over the club’s ownership following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Roman Abramovich’s links to his country’s president Vladimir Putin led to Rudiger moving to Real Madrid.
The 29-year-old has been a regular starter at the Bernabeu but the report says continued Real links with new backs including RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol may unsettle Rudiger, who just wants regular playing time and a stable situation. (NM)
Tottenham Hotspur confirmed transfers & signings – January 2023 window
Arnaut Danjuma – Villarreal (loan)
Jude Soonsup-Bell – Chelsea
Matt Doherty (contract termination)
Tottenham Hotspur archived rumors transfer news
Jan. 31 – Matt Doherty, Spurs mutually terminate contract
As one full back is set to arrive in north London, another has left. Right back Matt Doherty is now expected to join Atletico Madrid after mutually agreeing to terminate his contract with Tottenham. (AE)
Jan. 31 – Pedro Porro loan move nears, Doherty to Atletico Madrid, Gil moves on loan
Matt Doherty may be leaving Tottenham on loan to Atletico Madrid, according to reports, while fullback Djed Spence will also be leaving on loan.
Atleti has plenty of success with their last acquisition of a fullback from Spurs, as Kieran Trippier shined at the Wanda Metropolitano.
And Spence reportedly turned down a loan to Atleti in favor of a move to Rennes in Ligue 1, while Bryan Gil is going on loan to Sevilla.
All this as Tottenham hopes to land Pedro Porro from Sporting Lisbon in a move that’s been slow-cooking all month and had plenty of complications. The Spence and Doherty reports will give Spurs fans hope that the Porro deal is coming.
Will the second time be the charm for Arnaut Danjuma when it comes to the Premier League?
Danjuma joins Spurs on loan for the rest of the season. He’s been playing plenty of center forward and can give Harry Kane a rest, but will also be plenty happy to head to the left wing.
The Bournemouth winger scored 10 times last season in La Liga and struck six times in 11 UEFA Champions League games, including in knockout round games against Juventus and Bayern Munich.
The 25-year-old has six goals in 17 matches across all competitions this season for Villarreal. (NM)
Jan. 24 – Danjuma to make late u-turn and join Spurs?
Arnaut Danjuma appeared to be heading to Everton from Villarreal but the Dutch winger could now be making a very late u-turn. Danjuma, 25, has been linked with a host of Premier League clubs and looked set to join the Toffees on loan. Despite Frank Lampard being sacked, Danjuma was still expected to sign for Everton but our colleagues in the UK at Sky Sports say he is now heading to Tottenham for talks and a medical has been scheduled for him on Tuesday evening. Danjuma would be a solid squad player for Tottenham and we’ve seen flashes of his brilliance for Bournemouth and also at Villarreal. Antonio Conte wanted to sign some extra cover in attacking areas and it looks like he will get it. (JPW)
Jan. 23 – Kane ‘open’ to new contract talks at Tottenham
Harry Kane is reportedly keen and open to holding talks with Tottenham over a new contract at the club. The 29-year-old striker has been heavily linked with a move to both Manchester City, Bayern Munich and Manchester United in the past but a move to the former now seems like it has passed after Erling Haaland’s arrival. Per a report from David Ornstein, Kane and Spurs will talk in early February about a new deal and his priority is to ‘succeed with Tottenham.’ This is all quite a change from the previous years when it has seemed like Kane was very close to leaving but couldn’t force through an exit as Spurs asked for a huge transfer fee (and rightly so) for their star man. Despite Spurs struggling at the moment as they lose ground in the top four race and the future of Antonio Conte as boss is uncertain, having Kane sign a new contract would at least give Spurs fans some good news as they’ll know Kane will be around to score 20-25 goals a season for at least the next few years. (JPW)
🚨 EXCL: Harry Kane open to signing new contract at Tottenham. No dialogue since summer 2021 but talks planned for after Jan window. If circumstances right, possible 29yo will now extend past 2024. Striker’s priority is to succeed with #THFC@TheAthleticFChttps://t.co/aSnuYBX4mE
Football.London has a very Spurs-like report that Tottenham has ‘verbally offered’ $14 million for Leandro Trossard after the Brighton man expressed his wishes to leave the Amex Stadium.
Trossard has reportedly fallen out with Seagulls boss Roberto De Zerbi and Brighton’s been said to want between $25-30 million for the playmaker.
Spurs landing Trossard for under $20 million would be at-worst a good risk and at-best an absolute coup, as the Belgian has done big things for Brighton. Playing with a focal point like Harry Kane could take him to the next level. (NM)
Jan. 9 – Trossard, Raya linked with Spurs
Tottenham have been linked with moves for both Leandro Trossard and David Raya as they try to strengthen their lineup. According to The Telegraph, Brentford and Spain goalkeeper Raya, 27, is seen as the long-term replacement for Hugo Lloris. The French captain only recently signed a contract extension but Lloris, 36, has been linked with a move away from Tottenham in recent years. Per the report, Raya will become Spurs’ top goalkeeping target in the summer and he is a fine shot-stopper and is very good playing the ball out of the back with his feet.
As for Trossard, this seems like a deal which could happen in January. The Daily Mail claim that Spurs are among several clubs, including Chelsea, who are set to move for the Belgian winger. Trossard, 28, is out of contract at Brighton next summer and didn’t feature in their win at Everton or in their 5-1 FA Cup win at Middlesbrough. It seems like a move this month could be possible as Brighton will aim to recoup some cash for their talented winger/wing-back. Trossard has added goals and assists to his game over the last 12 months and was a key cog in Graham Potter’s success as a hybrid wing-back. However, Roberto De Zerbi could use Kaoru Mitoma in that role and Brighton will look to move on Trossard in January. Spurs need to upgrade their wing-back potions and if Trossard comes in on the left, it would allow Ivan Perisic to play further up the pitch. Alternatively, Trossard is also comfortable playing as a winger or attacking midfielder and he is proven in the Premier League. Is he the type of player who can turn Spurs into a guaranteed top four team? Probably not. Is he a top quality addition who has the potential to slot in seamlessly? He is. (JPW)
Dec. 29 – Tottenham, Manchester United open talks with Rennes for Martin Terrier
Yes, Tottenham’s just splashed plenty of cash on a star left winger in Richarlison, but would the versatility of Martin Terrier make him a great fit to compete with the Brazilian as well as Heung-min Son?
Terrier has scored and assisted on the regular in France’s top flight. He scored 21 goals last season and has eight in 14 matches this season. The left wing can also play center forward amongst other positions. He’s chipped in three goals in the Europa League this campaign and also had provided 11 assists across all competitions since the start of last season.
Very strong in the air and plenty good in combination play, Terrier has posted impressed xG and xA numbers and could combine with Kane but also deputize for the exhaustively-used CF. He may be a better fit for Spurs but might Man United before more willing to spend to get him? (NM)
Tottenham 2022-23 archived transfers & signings – Summer
Richarlison – Everton ($73 million) – MORE
Yves Bissouma – Brighton ($30 million)
Djed Spence – Middlesbrough (up to $24 million)
Iyenoma Udogie – Udinese ($18 million – loaned back)
Clement Lenglet – Barcelona (loan)
Ivan Perisic – Inter Milan (free transfer) – MORE
Fraser Forster – Southampton (free transfer)
Steven Bergwijn – Ajax ($31.9 million)
Cameron Carter-Vickers – Celtic ($7.4 million, plus $4.8 million possible add-ons)
Jack Clarke – Sunderland (undisclosed)
Pierluigi Gollini – Atalanta (end of loan)
Tottenham archived transfer news, rumors
August 30 – Sergio Reguilon joins Atletico Madrid on season-long loan
Sergio Reguilon has joined Atletico Madrid on loan until the end of the season. The 25-year-old was signed from Real Madrid in the summer of 2020 and initially impressed under Jose Mourinho. The Spaniard was rather quickly deemed ill-fitting by current manager Antonio Conte, and that was pretty much that. Reguilon underwent groin surgery last week and will continue his rehabilitation at Atleti. (AE)
August 19 – Tanguy Ndombele joins Napoli on season-long loan
Tottenham’s club-record signing of three summers ago ($82 million), Tanguy Ndombele, is headed to Serie A side Napoli for a season-long loan after Spurs were unable to find a club interested in a permanent transfer. Ndombele spent the second half of last season on loan to Lyon, his club prior to Tottenham, and made 11 Ligue 1 appearances and another four in the Europa League. (AE)
Aug. 16 – Tottenham makes Udogie purchase, loan-back official
And there it is: a five-year contract for the below-mentioned teenage left back, the first year going back to Udine on loan.
Iyenoma “Destiny” Udogie has very promising advanced stats according to FB Reference, comparable to Atletico Madrid star Renan Lodi, Spurs’ Sergio Reguilon, Gladbach’s Joe Scally, and Brentford’s Sergi Canos. (NM)
July 27 – Tottenham still hopeful of McKennie deal
Weston McKennie has been linked with a move to Tottenham approximately 1,752 times over the last 12 months and The Daily Mail are once again saying the USMNT star could swap Turin for north London. Per the report, Spurs are willing to pay up to $41 million for the Texas native. McKennie, 23, was signed for Juventus by their former sporting director Fabio Paratici, who is now in the same role at Spurs. Antonio Conte wants to strengthen his midfield options and McKennie would be a near-perfect fit in midfield in Conte’s aggressive, mobile 4-3-3 system. His versatility is also stated as a big factor for Conte.
But there’s a twist. There’s always a twist. With superstar Paul Pogba arriving back at Juventus this summer and expected to eat up plenty of the minutes McKennie was previously getting, Pogba has just gone down with a knee injury in preseason. That requires surgery and it means Juve may not move on McKennie this summer after all. Another twist? McKennie is yet to feature on Juventus’ preseason tour of the United States of America as he was unused substitute in each of their games against Barcelona and Chivas Guadalajara. During the tour Juve boss Max Allegri has stated that McKennie is working his way back to full fitness, so maybe there’s nothing to read into here, but it is a little odd that Juventus haven’t given any minutes to one of the best USMNT players on their U.S. tour, right? Perhaps they aren’t risking him being injured as a transfer away is imminent? McKennie seems fairly happy at Juventus but it seems inevitable he will end up in the Premier League at some point. (JPW)
July 19 – Tottenham finally sign Djed Spence
Tottenham have finally confirmed the signing of Djed Spence, 21, from Middlesbrough as the talented right back/wing-back becomes Antonio Conte’s sixth signing of the summer window. Spence excelled while he was on loan at Nottingham Forest last season and it is believed he’s signed for Spurs for an initial $15 million fee and add ons could take the deal to $24 million. Spence is regarded as one of the top young right back prospects in England and he will push Emerson Royal and Matt Doherty all the way for a starting spot. Spence is exactly the kind of right wing-back Conte loves in his 3-4-3 system and his attacking instincts will slot in really well at Spurs. (JPW)
Antonio Conte looks set to land the a left-sided center back he so desperately coveted this summer transfer window, with French international Lenglet reportedly undergoing a medical in London. The 27-year-old is said to have stayed Thursday night in Tottenham’s on-site hotel at the club’s training facility.
While Ben Davies was certainly a (surprising) standout performer as the left-sided center back in Conte’s back-three down the stretch last season, Lenglet represents an upgrade in quality and his arrival instantly creates depth at a vitally important (and dangerous thin) position in Tottenham’s squad. As is the case all over the field, there will be plenty of games to go around — in two condensed half-seasons either side of the World Cup, with the five-substitutes rule once again in effect as well. (AE)
July 8 – Steven Bergwijn completes Ajax transfer
Steven Bergwijn’s long-rumored move to Ajax has been completed, after Tottenham announced the 24-year-old Dutch winger’s departure on Friday. Spurs will reportedly receive $31.9 million from Ajax, nearly an identical match to the $32 million they paid to PSV Eindhoven to bring him to the Premier League in January 2020. (AE)
It’s official! Antonio Conte has added Richarlison to an attacking group that already included Harry Kane, Heung-min Son, and Dejan Kulusevski.
It’s not a crazy profit for Everton, who purchased Richarlison from Watford for $60 million at the behest of manager Marco Silva, but the Toffees need the money after risking Financial Fair Play fouls.
It's very difficult to say goodbye to a place that has become my home; fans who welcomed as if I were one of them; and a club that treated me kindly and helped me develop my sense of community and empathy. Neighter all the love I have is enough to thank you. Love you!💙🥺 pic.twitter.com/8V7Wvgdoer
Spurs aren’t messing around in the transfer market this summer, are they?
They have completed the signing of Yves Bissouma, 25, from Brighton and it is believed the transfer fee is initially $30 million and could rise to $37 million. Bissouma, a Mali international, had one year left on his contract at Brighton and that drove his transfer fee down. He’s worth at least double what Spurs paid for him and the combative central midfielder is just the type of destroyer who will thrive in Antonio Conte’s system.
🎙 “I'm very happy to be here”
Watch Bissouma’s first interview as a Spurs player! 👊
Of course, he’s smooth on the ball and has plenty of poise to his game too, but Bissouma’s arrival adds more steel to Tottenham’s team and more depth too as Ivan Perisic and Fraser Forster have already arrived this summer. Daniel Levy and Fabio Paratici are certainly delivering the additions Conte wanted. This is a very savvy addition by Spurs. With Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Rodrigo Bentancur the first-choice pairing in central midfield and Oliver Skipp around too, Conte now has four top quality options for his two central midfield spots. That will help a lot with rotating the lineup from Champions League games in midweek to PL action at he weekend. (JPW)
June 10 – USMNT DF Cameron Carter-Vickers makes Celtic loan permanent
Cameron Carter-Vickers spent the 2021-22 season on loan to Celtic, and he had a great time in Scotland, where he made 28 league appearances as the Bhoys reclaimed the Scottish Premiership title from rivals Rangers. Celtic were so pleased with Carter-Vickers’ loan spell that they made the transfer permanent and handed the USMNT center back a four-year contract. (AE)
✍🇺🇸 𝗖𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗲𝗿-𝗩𝗶𝗰𝗸𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗦𝗶𝗴𝗻𝘀!
We are delighted to announce the permanent signing of Cameron Carter-Vickers from Tottenham Hotspur on a four-year contract. #CCV2026
June 8 – CONFIRMED: Spurs sign Fraser Forster to serve as Hugo Lloris backup
Tottenham announced on Wednesday that Fraser Forster has been signed on a free transfer from Southampton. Forster will serve as backup to captain and no. 1 goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, thus guaranteeing an experienced Premier League ‘keeper in net game in and game out. (AE)
With Darwin Nunez the big name arrival last summer to help limit the impact of Sadio Mane’s departure, Liverpool want to add another big name in midfield and they strengthened an already ridiculously strong attack in January by signing Cody Gakpo.
Below we roundup the latest done deals, reports and rumors and give our analysis on Liverpool transfer news as Joe Prince-Wright (JPW), Nicholas Mendola (NM) and Andy Edwards (AE) will guide you through a hectic next few months.
Fabrizio Romano is reporting that the long-mentioned Alexis Mac Allister to Liverpool transfer is moving closer to reality.
Romano says that Mac Allister’s father/agent headed to England with the expectation of agreeing terms with the Reds, and that they’ve sorted a deal through the 2027-28 season.
That would then put the ball firmly in the court of Brighton to agree a fee with Liverpool for the World Cup-winning midfielder, with Romano saying it’ll be for a buyout clause “way less” than a reported $75 million. (NM)
🚨 Alexis Mac Allister to Liverpool, here we go! Full agreement completed on the contract — understand it will be valid until June 2028. Five year deal. #LFC
Liverpool will pay the buy out clause in the next days, way less than reported £60m fee.
June 3 – In-demand $40M back name checks Liverpool
Wolfsburg defender Micky van de Ven has had a dream to play at Anfield since attending a game there as a youngster.
An excellent ball progressor, Van de Ven is viewed as a $40 million target and reports have said Jurgen Klopp is an admirer.
So it’s a mutual appreciation society.
“I once went to the Liverpool stadium with my dad,” he told AZ WAZ. “That was over Christmas on Boxing Day. Liverpool vs Arsenal. That was madness. Then when ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ comes [on] – that’s a goose bump moment, that was very cool. It’s a dream to play there.”
The 6-foot-4 Van de ven turned 22 in April and has served as the captain of the Dutch U-21 national team. He moved from Volendam to Wolfsburg in the summer of 2021 and became a full-time starter in his second season, occasionally swinging to left back. (NM)
May 31 – Liverpool join Kone chase
Bild says that the Reds are turning to the Bundesliga to address their midfield.
Jurgen Klopp will turn to Borussia Monchengladbach’s Kouadio “Manu” Kone this summer, as Liverpool has reportedly told the player that it will be approaching Gladbach.
A ball progressor who reads the game very well, Kone is said to carry a price tag of more than $40 million. (NM)
May 22 – Reds closing in on Mac Allister but Man City lurks
La Nacion in Argentina says that Liverpool has agreed a transfer fee with Brighton and wages with Alexis Mac Allister as a summer transfer could be nearing in the midfield.
Mac Allister, 24, won the World Cup with Argentina this winter and has been part of a spectacular Brighton team, pairing with Moises Caicedo in a dynamic midfield.
The report claims that Mac Allister will cost Liverpool close to $75 million, a huge fee but barely half of what Borussia Dortmund hopes to get for oft-mentioned target Jude Bellingham.
Mac Allister would certainly give Liverpool a playmaking unit up there with anyone in the world, but a spectacular report later Monday claims Man City might try to hop to the front of the Mac Allister line in the case of an Ilkay Gundogan exit.
What’s the better fit for Mac Allister? (NM)
April 18 – Gravenberch angling for Liverpool move after holding talks last week
According to a report from the Mirror, Liverpool held talks just last week with representatives for Bayern Munich midfielder Ryan Gravenberch. The sides reportedly came to a loose agreement on contract terms for a summer move, with a transfer fee still needing to be agreed between the clubs.
Gravenberch joined Bayern from Ajax last summer, but the 20-year-old has reportedly grown frustrated by his lack of playing time and would like to leave this summer. Also last week, Liverpool pulled out of the race for Jude Bellingham, with a pair of starting central midfielders a high priority for Jurgen Klopp’s side. (AE)
April 13 – Klopp and Liverpool have shortlist of midfielders after Bellingham decision
After Liverpool reportedly decided to move on from signing Jude Bellingham due to the huge expected transfer fee of over $160 million, it appears Jurgen Klopp and the Reds have a shortlist of other, more attainable, options. Per our partners in Germany at Sky Sport, Liverpool have another five midfielders lined up to bolster their options in the engine room.
Per the report, Ryan Gravenberch, Nicolo Barella, Matheus Nunes, Declan Rice and Moises Caicedo are the four central midfielders Liverpool want to sign this summer. Rice will have less than a year left on his contract so he could be attainable but there would be severe competition to sign the West Ham skipper, while Caicedo may be a very good option but he could be expensive with Chelsea and Arsenal linked with the Ecuadorian in the past. Barella, Gravenberch and Nunes would perhaps be the cheaper options with the respective Italian, Dutch and Portuguese internationals solid additions but it seems like Rice should be their first choice and their midfield can be built around him. (JPW)
April 9 – Reds ready to joust for pair of World Cup midfielders
Liverpool is looking to Brighton and Real Madrid to fix their midfield.
So say the Sunday papers, with Spanish site Revelo claiming that Liverpool is ready to duel with Chelsea to land Alexis Mac Allister from Brighton.
Mac Allister’s shown he can star in the Premier League and the World Cup winner won’t come cheap. And might he want to stick around Brighton if the Seagulls and Liverpool are in the same European competition or, perhaps, if Brighton’s in the superior competiton?
As for Tchouameni, you have to ask the same questions. No, he’s not a nailed-on starter in a brilliant midfield behind Eduardo Camavinga, but he’d playing plenty at age 23 and on a perennial Champions League contender.
Mac Allister would seem the easier and less expensive — not my much — lure, but watch out for Chelsea who already has his World Cup-winning midfield mate Enzo Fernandez. (NM)
March 23 – Reds to rival biggest names in world for Florian Wirtz
Bayer Leverkusen phenom Florian Wirtz is back from a major knee injury and has shown he’s fit and firing, recalled back into the Germany set-up.
Fabrizio Romano says Liverpool is ready to rival Barcelona and Real Madrid for his services, while 90min claims that Man City, Arsenal, Tottenham, Newcastle, Bayern Munich, and Borussia Dortmund are in the chase for Wirtz.
Wirtz, 19, has a contract with Leverkusen through the 2026-27 season and his fee will be massive should he continue to show no ill effects of his ACL injury.
The teenager returned to Leverkusen’s lineup in late January and has four assists in Bundesliga play but was a thorn in the side of Monaco and Ferencvaros in the Europa League. He scored twice with two assists in four legs between the two opponents.
Liverpool has a bevy of young attack-minded midfielders in Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho, but Wirtz is legitimately one of the most exciting prospects to come out of the Bundesliga since Kai Havertz and Timo Werner came from Leverkusen and Stuttgart.
Wirtz posted 10 goals and 14 assists in 31 games across all competitions in 2021-22 but suffered an ACL injury in late March. (NM)
March 20 – Reds hope for Wolves double midfield swoop
Football Insider says that Liverpool could turn to Wolves for a pair of midfielders including club captain Ruben Neves.
Matheus Nunes is also a target for Jurgen Klopp, according to the site, who says Liverpool faces serious Neves competition from Newcastle United.
Barcelona is also going after Neves, 26, who could slide into the Blaugranas lineup and refresh the midfield for club legend Sergio Busquets. Barca, of course, also has teen midfield phenoms Gavi and Pedri, and also currently boasts Dutch star Frenkie de Jong. (NM)
March 12 – Roberto Firmino linked with St. Louis City in MLS
Roberto Firmino could be heading to MLS and sign for new boys St. Louis City FC, according to Bleacher Report. The 31-year-old Brazil international is out of contract this summer and it has been announced he will leave Liverpool and won’t sign a new contract. The free agent will have plenty of offers from some huge clubs in Europe given his incredible impact at Anfield over the last eight years. Would a move to MLS be a good idea for Firmino? You have to think he would score plenty of goals and be a star man in STL and there is a strong connection with the new MLS side as their current sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel was with Firmino in Germany at Hoffenheim. The expansion side have had a great start to life in MLS and adding a player of Firmino’s quality would be a major coup and give them a huge boost but you would think a huge number of MLS sides would be interested in signing Firmino. (JPW)
March 11 – Reds joined by Big Six rivals in pursuit of Lille teenager Carlos Baleba
Carlos Baleba’s only been in Ligue 1 for just over a year, but he’s earned his way to the wishlist of Jurgen Klopp and several other Premier League suitors.
Lille resisted an AC Milan bid for 19-year-old Baleba in January, according to 90min.com, but the calvary is coming this summer.
Liverpool has been joined by Arsenal, Manchester United, Newcastle, West Ham, and Leicester City in pursuit of Baleba, who will cost near the $35 million Lille got from Everton’s Amadou Onana last summer.
Baleba just turned 19 in January and already has 14 senior appearances. It seems like $30 million is the new $15 million when it comes to teenage talent, and that also seems like it’ll cross off a number of names from the above list.
Baleba as the 6 joining Harvey Elliott and Stefan Bajcetic as 8s — not to mention Fabio Carvalho — would give Klopp four midfielders under the age of 20. (NM)
March 3 – Roberto Firmino to leave Liverpool when contract expires this summer
After eight years at Anfield, Roberto Firmino will leave Liverpool when his contract expires at the end of the current season. The 31-year-old Brazilian has thus far scored 107 goals in 353 appearances since arriving from Hoffenheim in the summer of 2015. In his Liverpool career, Firmino has won the Premier League, UEFA Champions League (twice a runner-up) and the FA Cup.
February 27 – Liverpool among teams chasing Rafael Leao; Salah could leave
Yes, one of the greatest players in Liverpool history could skip town this summer, with the report saying that Paris Saint-Germain could be a destination. The Ligue 1 set could see Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr, or Kylian Mbappe leave Paris this summer or soon afterwards.
Liverpool has restocked its attacking cupboard with powerful (but snakebit so far) Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo joining Luis Diaz, and Diogo Jota in the team.
Leao, 23, has eight goals and six assists across 23 matches in Serie A this season, and the left winger is one of the most sought-after players in the world.
Would you, if you were Jurgen Klopp? (NM)
February 25 – Ryan Gravenberch, Nicolo Barella as Bellingham partner
Reports out of Gazetta dello Sport and Express say that Liverpool’s midfield rejuvenation is well underway.
Jude Bellingham is on every big club’s want list but Liverpool is consistently being named as a favorite for the Borussia Dortmund and England star’s service.
Would he work better with Inter Milan’s Nicolo Barella or Bayern Munich’s Ryan Gravenberch? We may find out on at least one count.
Barella, 26, came up through the ranks at Cagliari before moving to Inter in 2020. He’s an elite playmaker and ball progressor who seeks to find spaces up the pitch to receive it, too.
He has six goals and seven assists in 30 appearances across all competitions this season, and he’s up to 42 caps with Italy.
Gravenberch, 20, moved from Ajax in the summer and has made 22 appearances totaling 665 minutes as of post time, scoring a goal and an assist in cup play against Viktoria Koln.
Before making the move, Gravenberch was one of the most sought-after young players on the market. He’s not on the same level as Barella in ball movement but he’s very good at creating shots and is a harder tackler and defensive presence than Barella.
Liverpool is also named alongside Newcastle, Spurs, and West Ham as a club “monitoring” Mainz’s Anton Stach, via 90min.com. (NM)
February 24 – Jurgen Klopp acknowledges busy summer ahead
Liverpool’s forward ranks have been turned over and its injury list has been long, but the Reds’ have been bossed in the midfield for large portions of this season and things may not be better until the summer.
Jurgen Klopp’s admitted as such, and he’s known it a lot longer than Real Madrid’s 5-2 embarrassment of his Reds at Anfield: His mentality monsters might still be confident but the system’s not going to work without better players.
Then again, it’s difficult to read Klopp’s Friday comments and think he has more ways to fix things than he has reasons they aren’t working in the first place.
In other words, you can’t romanticize the relative efficiency of your club and also be mad about it, especially when a reputation is built on “Jurgen Klopp doesn’t miss on transfers” but also you’re missing on transfers.
“Of course, we are not that dumb. It’s not like, ‘Today is not good and now we have to change.’ This is clear, it was always clear. This team has a wonderful history. The way this club is led is by not splashing the money and having a look at if it works out or not. Our transfers always have to be on point. So that makes it really tricky where we cannot make four transfers before we know who will leave the club.
“Last year was not a season for a big change. We played until the last moment. If you want to change again, this club, we can’t just bring in new players and then realise later, ‘Oh, nobody wants to leave.’ It doesn’t work, it doesn’t work like that. That’s why it’s not possible to start it early because we had final after final after final. Played the season until the last minute, played the Champions League final. Then we had a short break, then we have a lot of injuries, and then the World Cup.
“All the problems we knew we would have, this came on top. And now we are in it and I know it’s too long. For me it’s too long because I have to always face you in the press conferences. Believe me, I don’t like to talk about it all the time. But I have to think it all the time. But that’s not as bad as talking about it to be honest, because I don’t have to read it the next day. That’s the situation, I cannot change it.
“Now the people are not happy. We try to fight through and make the best of this season, that’s the idea. And stay in the period as good as a person as you can. If I said, the better you behave in the moment like this, the better the times will be after it. The more useful the bad times are because they have to be useful otherwise they are completely useless.
“But based on the way this club is led. It’s obviously different to other clubs, that’s how it is. But it worked out so far and we have to see if it will work still or if we have to adapt. Let me say it like that. But that’s something for us in the offices, when we are not in the training pitch. And for us, from my conversations with the owners. But that’s it, nothing else. It’s just work.”
Got it? No? Exactly. Jurgen Klopp needs the summer transfer window to get here, that’s for sure. But to say that reaching finals stops them from planning for the future is either an uninspired excuse or an indictment on the brains of every one inside of Liverpool including Klopp himself. The wise money is on the weak excuse. He’s one of the most impressive man motivators, tacticians, and soccer minds of his generation. Certainly he can walk and chew gum at the same time.
It also has to be exhausting to a coach to be outperforming teams but not finishing chances while also making uncharacteristic (in previous seasons) gaffes at the other end. Liverpool is still third in expected goals but is hemorrhaging xGA. It certainly looks like Klopp bet on a handful of mainstays to hold off Father Time for one more season and Father Time was like, “Nah.” And being asked about transfers by journalists might be annoying, but it sure isn’t the worst job on Earth, is it? (NM)
Liverpool completed transfers – January 2023
Cody Gakpo – PSV Eindhoven ($40 million plus incentives)
Liverpool archived transfer news, January 2023
January 19 – Liverpool prepare summer move for Mason Mount
England midfielder Mason Mount reportedly wants a raise from Chelsea, who is loading up on young talent amidst its season struggles to stay in the top four mix.
Liverpool sees a good solution for the Blues: Sell Mount to the red part of Merseyside.
The Reds would love to bring Mount to Anfield and the player has only 18 months left on his current deal at Chelsea. One thing that hasn’t often been mentioned about owner Todd Boehly’s big spending is the need to satisfy those who are currently in blue.
Mount would bridge the gulf between old and young midfielders at Liverpool, but how much money would he cost given his status as an England national team player and moving to a direct rival (but also Chelsea’s desire to balance their books)?
January 17 – Ruben Neves continues to be linked with Liverpool
It wouldn’t be a transfer window if Ruben Neves wasn’t linked with a move away from Wolves, would it? The Portuguese midfielder is currently the skipper at Molineux and is leading their charge up the table after the appointment of Julen Lopetegui. Per a report from Football Insider, Liverpool want to sign Neves this month as his contract has just over a year left on it. That means Wolves would still get a very big transfer fee for him, but nowhere near the previous $120 million they were quoting clubs.
Given Liverpool’s struggles in central midfield this season, it is believed Jude Bellingham is their preferred long-term target. They probably needs Neves and Bellingham together to rejuvenate their midfield and push them back towards the top four, at the very least. Can we see this happening? It would be pretty crazy for Wolves to sell Neves this month as they battle against relegation. That said, if the offer is big enough then they could sell. (JPW)
January 16 – Jurgen Klopp perturbed with transfer questions
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is the mouthpiece for the club, and the mouthpiece for the club would like to stop answering questions about transfers.
“It must be a language issue,” Klopp said. “It must be, that you ask these questions again and again and again,” he told reporters, via The Liverpool Echo. “I answered it already so often. We look outside as well. It’s not that we are stubborn and think, ‘That’s it. We’ll go with these boys until 2050.’ That’s not how we see it.”
Klopp said he forgave the reporters because he knows they are being asked by their bosses to ask about transfers.
“We are underperforming, definitely. I know that but I cannot sit here and blame everyone else. The players, it is my responsibility that they perform. It’s my first concern, my first job to do. … Yes, we have to strengthen. Oh yes, but is the right time to do it? I can’t see it because of the situation we are in.
“I think I know exactly how the situation is and that’s it pretty much. I can’t change the answer every week because the situation doesn’t change, even when we lose another game since the last press conference.”
Liverpool has brought in Darwin Nunez, Cody Gakpo, and Fabio Carvalho on permanent deals while also loaning in Arthur Melo. Last season, they bought Luis Diaz and Ibrahima Konate.
January 16 – Liverpool linked with discount Ruben Neves deal
There are reports that Ruben Neves’ contract situation at Wolves could give Liverpool its latest Anfield discount.
Somehow, the Reds have been able to land players below market price rather often but this one is an easier explanation: Neves only has 18 months left on his deal and Wolves may want to cash in now.
Neves is a sensational midfielder but Wolves would potentially be risking their Premier League status, though perhaps they feel Julen Lopetegui’s system can thrive without Neves.
It’s a no-brainer for the Reds, even in Klopp’s money-complaint world (see update above this one). (NM)
December 29 – Liverpool linked with Moises Caicedo as Brighton sets big price
Brighton and Hove Albion’s strong and inexpensive midfield is the envy of much of the Premier League, but the latter adjective makes Roberto De Zerbi’s club vulnerable to big-money suitors.
That’s going to be a problem as clubs like Liverpool look to strengthen in the January transfer window, and a “liked” Instagram post by one Moises Caicedo is fueling the transfer rumor mill this Thursday.
Liverpool’s said to want the ever-energetic 21-year-old Ecuadorian to help rejuvenate an aging unit led by Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, and Thiago Alcantara.
Caicedo learning from Fabinho could be a match made in Anfield heaven for Jurgen Klopp, and the young, fierce midfielder could also take some lessons from Jordan Henderson.
The pay packet rise and Champions League opportunities would make the minute dip worth the sacrifice for Caicedo, and this one could cost $30-40 million less than Enzo Fernandez. (NM)
December 28 – Liverpool confirms Cody Gakpo transfer
It’s official: Cody Gakpo is part of the Anfield set.
Liverpool announced Gakpo’s arrival on Wednesday with an interview on its web site, and manager Jurgen Klopp issued glowing praise for the Dutch forward.
“There is a lot to like about Cody. He is still only 23 years old but he already has a lot of experience. He was the captain of PSV, he was the Player of the Year in Holland last season and, as a lot of people have just seen, he also had a great World Cup with his national team. So, it is clear that he is already a really, really good player but his age also means he also has the potential to become even better. Offensively, he is very versatile and on top of this we know he is a smart footballer and also a smart person, so we are really excited to be able to work with him.”
There could hardly be a better time for this move whether you’re discussing in terms of the club or the player. Injuries to Luis Diaz and others have opened the door for a strong player to make an instant impact, and Gakpo certainly showed at the World Cup that he’s on his game.
Might this be the difference for the Reds as they charge onward in both the Premier League’s top four race and the UEFA Champions League?
An initial report from The Times said the talks were ‘advanced’ as they look to pip their rivals to sign the Dutch star who was excellent at the World Cup. The 23-year-old is expected to travel to Liverpool for a medical soon and according to The Athletic an initial fee of close to $45 million has been agreed with PSV Eindhoven for Gakpo.
Where would Gakpo slot in at Liverpool? With Liverpool already having Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez, Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino in attack, this is going to be intriguing. Gakpo, Nunez and Diaz will be Liverpool’s front three for the next five years plus if all goes well, and that is a trio full of trickery, intensity, clinical finishing and directness. This is a surprising move by Liverpool but it slots in superbly with their recruitment model and Gakpo seems to be the kind of player who is ready to break out in a big way and score 20 plus goals a season in the Premier League. Just like they did with Luis Diaz, Liverpool have snuck in ahead of their rivals. (JPW)
December 22 – Huge offer to arrive for Argentine star Enzo Fernandez?
With Liverpool linked continuously with Jude Bellingham and the quartet of Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Fabinho and Thiago Alcantara either in or approaching the twilight of their careers, it appears Liverpool’s main need is in central midfield.
That is where Enzo Fernandez comes in. The 21-year-old midfielder announced himself to the world at the World Cup as he scored and created goals, snapped into tackles and his driving runs all contributed to him being named the young player of the tournament. In many ways he and Bellingham are very similar players. According to the latest report from Record in Portugal, Benfica have rejected a $105 million bid from an unnamed club for Fernandez. His release clause is said to be around $126 million.
When you think about his qualities as a player, Fernandez would perfectly slot into this Liverpool side. They haven’t been shy about splashing the cash on players needed in key areas of the pitch in the past (Virgil van Dijk and Alisson prove that) and Fernandez slots into that category as Liverpool’s midfield needs strengthening and his signing would allow them to be pretty settled for the next four to five years. Yes, it’s a lot of money for Fernandez and they may pay a premium due to his displays at the World Cup. But he’s still cheaper than Bellingham. (JPW)
July 7 – Joe Gomez signs long-term contract extension
Joe Gomez might not be a first- (or second-) choice center back for Liverpool anymore, with Ibrahima Konate and Joel Matip both out-appearing him last season, but the 25-year-old is keen to continue his seven-year stay an Anfield. Gomez signed a five-year contract through the summer of 2027. Gomez has since spoken to the club’s website:(AE)
“It’s obviously a special moment for me and my family. Another one that you dream of as a kid, and one I don’t take for granted.
“It is an unbelievable place to be. In my eyes, probably one of the best — if not the best — clubs in the world at the minute. The opportunity to extend my stay here was an easy decision to make, really.
“Obviously, I have been here quite a while now, but in the grand scheme of things I still feel young and, like you say, the best years are ahead of me. I have got more to learn and the time to do that.
“I think I have the platform here to do it with the manager and the coaching staff around me and my teammates, to make sure the best years are ahead. I think as a group, the sky is the limit. We want to go one, if not two, better than last season and aim for it all.”
July 1 – Mohamed Salah signs new Liverpool deal
So, updating the note below…
It’s a three-year deal for Salah, who will join holdovers Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz, Roberto Firmino in addition to new signing Darwin Nunez in chasing down Manchester City.
June 25 – Liverpool open to selling Salah this summer
Liverpool are reportedly open to selling Mohamed Salah this summer as the Egyptian star has just one year left on his current contract. The Reds have been locked in talks with Salah for months about a new deal and per a report from the The Sun, Liverpool could sell Salah this summer for $74 million. Per the report, Real Madrid are the club Salah could move to as they look to bolster their attack after missing out on Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland this summer.
Should Liverpool cash-in on Salah just like they did with Sadio Mane earlier this week? With one year left on his contract and no real movement on talks, the situation is pretty similar and Salah has won everything he can at Liverpool. With Darwin Nunez and Luis Diaz arriving over the last six months at Anfield, it feels like Liverpool have already made the moves to replace Mane and Salah long-term. Now it’s all about whether they sell Salah this summer or risk him running down his contract and leaving for free next summer. The latter option would not be good for Liverpool from a business sense, especially as they’ve been very good in terms of net spend and bringing in like-for-like replacements over the last six years. (JPW)
June 22 – Sadio Mane unveiled by Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich is claiming Sadio Mane as a coup for its club and league after the Bundesliga champions unveiled the 30-year-old on Wednesday.
“In Sadio Mane a top international star is coming to FC Bayern, who has left his mark on world football. We’re proud to have brought him to Munich. Sadio made it clear from the first minute in our talks that he now only wanted to play for FC Bayern. Everyone knows his outstanding technical qualities as well as his incredible mentality. He will contribute a lot and help to lead our team, which has a great structure. The fact that he’s joining FC Bayern shows that our club and he have big aims. Sadio Mané fits perfectly with the football that FC Bayern play under Julian Nagelsmann.” (NM)
June 22 – Liverpool, Monaco agree transfer fee for Takumi Minamino
Takumi Minamino’s time at Anfield appears to be over after Liverpool and Monaco reportedly agreed a transfer fee for the 27-year-old Japan international. The fee is said to be just shy of $16 million, with an additional $3 million possible in add-ons. After signing Minamino for $9 million two and a half years ago, Liverpool are set to make a small profit in the deal (plus any loan fee they received from Southampton in 2021. (AE)
June 21 – Sadio Mane arrives in Munich ahead of move to Bayern
The Senegal star is inching closer to his move to Bayern Munich as he is in Bavaria for his medical. Mane, 30, will soon become a Bayern player after the clubs agreed a fee of over $43 million. Liverpool fans will be sad to see these scenes but Mane leaves a legend as he scored 120 goals in 269 games for the Reds and epitomized what they were all about under Jurgen Klopp. At Bayern he will be the main man (Robert Lewandowski is expected to leave) and it felt like he was keen to have a fresh challenge in his career after winning every trophy possible with Liverpool over the last six seasons. Mane’s incredible consistency, intensity and quality will be tough to replace and he will always be a hero at Anfield. (JPW)
Highly-regarded right back Calvin Ramsay, 18, has arrived from Aberdeen in a deal reportedly worth $8 million. Ramsay was wanted by plenty of Premier League clubs but Liverpool’s pull was too strong and given Jurgen Klopp’s record of nurturing young talent (Harvey Elliott, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Curtis Jones to name a few) this move makes a lot of sense.
“There’s obviously a pathway here – that’s one of the reasons I chose it as well. It’s not just a massive club, they give young players chances in the first team,” Ramsay said.
“So if I can come in in pre-season, put my mark down, then there’s no reason why I can’t push to get in the first-team squad.”
Ramsay has been sensational for Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership and is a Scotland U21 international already. He will have his work cut-out to replace TAA at right back but perhaps his arrival will allow the Alexander-Arnold to move further forward or even play in central midfield? (JPW)
Ramsay is a Red 🙌🔴
We are delighted to announce the signing of @calvinramsay03 from Aberdeen, subject to international clearance.
Liverpool is awaiting a fresh bid from Bayern Munich for star winger Sadio Mane, as reports claim the Senegalese has agreed to terms with Germany’s serial champions.
Mane, 29, has been linked to Bayern for some time and Fabrizio Romano says that it’ll be a three-year contract for the forward.
Liverpool has signed Darwin Nunez this summer and added Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota last season to reinvigorate its attack. This asks more questions of Mohamed Salah, who is entering the final year of his deal at Anfield (NM).
June 14 – Darwin Nunez unveiled by Liverpool
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is excited by the potential of his latest massive purchase, especially because possible nine-figure striker Darwin Nunez is already very, very good.
“Darwin is a wonderful player; already really good but so much potential to get even better,” Klopp said. “That’s why it’s so exciting, to be honest. His age, his desire, his hunger to be even better than he currently is. His belief in our project and what we are looking to do as a club.”
Read more about the League Cup and FA Cup winners’ latest big cash splash, here (NM).
June 12 – Liverpool set to sign Darwin Nunez for club-record $105 million
Darwin Nunez to Liverpool looks to be close to completion, as the Uruguayan ace is reportedly on his way to Anfield.
According to Fabrizio Romano, the 22-year-old Benfica star has agreed a six-year contact at Liverpool and the Premier League giants have also agreed a transfer fee with his current club. Per the report, Liverpool will pay Benfica a guaranteed $84 million and could pay up to another $21 million in add-ons. After being on international duty with Uruguay over the last few weeks, Nunez left Uruguay’s camp and has flown to Madrid, Spain and is set to travel to England to complete his medical and sign the contract on Monday.
Darwin Nunez impressed Klopp when Liverpool played against Benfica (Nunez scored in each leg) and is a rising star in world soccer. His aggression, clinical finishing and pace mean he is perfect for this Liverpool team and will slot in well alongside Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah (at least for next season) up top. Liverpool don’t mess around once they identify a player they want to sign and Nunez ticks all of the boxes Jurgen Klopp wants from a striker. This deal make so much sense it’s almost too perfect of a fit. (JPW)
June 8 – Reds ready to break their transfer record for Darwin Nunez
Jurgen Klopp could bring Uruguayan center forward Darwin Nunez to Anfield as the Reds continue to spend as much as much as the next guy. The 22-year-old Nunez is going to cost significantly more than Manchester City paid for Erling Haaland, who had a release clause in his Borussia Dortmund contract.
June 7 – Liverpool lose Aurelien Tchouameni race as Real Madrid seal $107-million deal
Liverpool were reportedly one of three clubs in the final running for Aurelien Tchouameni, but the 22-year-old Monaco midfielder is likely headed to Real Madrid after the reigning European champions got the best of the Reds once more. It’ll be $85 million upfront, with the remaining $22 million available through add-ons. (AE)
June 7 – Liverpool reject opening bid from Bayern Munich for Sadio Mane
Bayern Munich reportedly offered $26 million (plus $5 million in add-ons) for Sadio Mane, but the Bundesliga giants were quickly turned away by Liverpool. Bayern will no doubt be back with another offer, though they hope to cap their costs at around $50 million. (AE)
May 31 – Darwin Nunez on Liverpool’s radar
According to a report from FootballTransfers, Uruguayan forward Darwin Nunez, 22, is a target for the Reds this summer. After a superb season at Benfica the center forward is a wanted man as Manchester United, Newcastle, Real Madrid and several of Europe’s top clubs are chasing his signature. With Sadio Mane looking to be on his way out and question marks over the future of Mohamed Salah, Klopp may need to strengthen this attack this summer. After bringing in Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota over the last 12 months, Liverpool have strength in-depth but Nunez would give them something very different in attack with his hold-up play, runs in-behind and ability to run the channels from a central position. (JPW)
Ibrahimovic, 41, was limited to just four games this season due to injuries to his knee, calf, and hamstring, scoring one goal over 144 minutes. His last appearance goes down as a 17-minute cameo for Sweden in a EURO qualifier loss to Belgium on March 24.
Nominated for 11 Ballons d’Or and finishing fourth once, Ibrahimovic was named to four UEFA Teams of the Year and was honored thrice as the Serie A Footballer of the Year and three more times as Ligue 1 Player of the Year. Ibrahimovic was four-times the Swedish Male Athlete of the Year.
He’s also the only player to score in the UEFA Champions League for six different teams, and the only player to win the Capocannoniere — Serie A’s Golden Boot — for two clubs (AC Milan and Inter Milan).
Ibrahimovic claimed trophies at virtually every stop of his career besides childhood club Malmo and Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy, where he set the MLS single-season goals record with 30.
He won two Eredivisie crowns at Ajax, Serie A scudetti with Juventus, Inter Milan, and AC Milan, a La Liga title with Barcelona, four Ligue 1 victories with PSG, and the League Cup and Europa League for Manchester United. He also scored the 25,000th goal in Premier League history.
Ibrahimovic retires a Swedish centurion, scoring 62 times in 122 caps including six goals in 13 EURO appearances. He failed to score in five appearances for Sweden between the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.