Getty Images

LIVE: Transfer Deadline Day – Window closed

Leave a comment

The day has arrived.

Teams looking to make mid-season improvements or jettison want-away players have until 6 p.m. ET to do so, with a flurry of deals set to take place between now and then.

[MORE: Latest transfer news]

Arsenal started the day off with a bang, signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Borussia Dortmund for a record fee, and there are more deals expected to be completed today, including Olivier Giroud to Chelsea and Michy Batshuayi to Chelsea. In addition, with the World Cup six months away, some other players will be looking for a loan around Europe for more playing time.

And remember, there is a live Deadline Day show on NBCSN and online from 5 p.m. ET today which you can steam by clicking on the link below.

[STREAM: Deadline Day show]

Let’s get stuck in…

6:10 p.m. ET – The window is closed, but moves can still be announced.

Check back, and tune into our Deadline Day show for all the latest.

Situations to keep an eye on include goalkeeper Martin Dubravka to Newcastle, Benik Afobe loan away from Bournemouth, Andy King moving from Leicester City.


5:39 p.m. ET – Newcastle has apparently sealed a deal for the center forward its needed since last season:


3:30 p.m. ET – Badou Ndiaye has finally been confirmed as a member of Stoke City, the Potters fending off competition from Newcastle United for the $18 million center midfielder. The Galatasaray man’s fee is less than only one other Stoke purchase: Giannelli Imbula


2:40 p.m. ET – A day after stating he needed more experience to cope with the Premier League level, Everton has loaned Ademola Lookman to RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga. Another Englishman moving abroad this year.


2:30 p.m. ET – Here it is! Some transfer drama with just a few hours until the deadline. Lille’s captain Ibrahim Amadou has taken the train to London, hoping to sign with Crystal Palace or West Ham. But an agreement between the clubs and player has not been reached…


2:25 p.m. ET – Some transfer news to catch up on.

Official: Mathieu Debuchy completes a permanent transfer from Arsenal to AS Saint-Etienne. Arsenal also sends Krystian Bielek on loan to Walsall.

Official: Liverpool loan Ovie Ejaria to Sunderland.

Called off: Aleksandar Mitrovic‘s proposed loan to Anderlecht has fallen through, per Sky Sports.


2:10 p.m. ET – Newcastle has loaned Rolando Aarons to Hellas Verona in Serie A through the end of the season.


2:05 p.m. ET – In news that may interest some El Tri fans, Mexican centerback Hector Moreno is set to complete a move from AS Roma to Real Sociedad.


2 p.m. ET – A couple of Watford notes. Stefano Okaka is set to remain with the club, but Ben Watson is moving on-loan to Nottingham Forest FC until the end of the season.

The club also announced the signing of Swedish 19-year-old goalkeeper Pontus Dahlberg, loaning him back to IFK Goteborg through the summer.


1:56 p.m. ET – Oh look, another Arsenal player leaves on-loan. This time it’s Chuba Akpom to Sint-Truiden in Belgium.

1:50 p.m. ET – Mesut Ozil is getting in on the fun. Doesn’t look like an Arsenal contract down there though…


1:45 p.m. ET – Another DONE DEAL! Lucas Moura is officially a member of Tottenham. And it appears this deal has been done for a while, considering how much time Moura and his teammates have had to work on their handshake routines.


1:30 p.m. ET – Well, it’s a bit of a change from the earlier reports, but the Guardian’s Jamie Jackson fills us in on the Riyad Mahrez to Manchester City saga…


1:25 p.m. ET – In case you forgot, in addition to the transfer window craziness, there’s also *SEVEN* Premier League matches tonight. Our Joe Prince-Wright is at Wembley Stadium for Tottenham vs. Manchester United. Should be a good one.


1:22 p.m. ET – With Emerson Palmieri signing for Chelsea, AS Roma has gone back to South America for a replacement left back, signing Argentine native Jonathan Silva from Sporting Lisbon for $7.5 million.


1:20 p.m. ET – Another Arsenal player is on the move. Jeff Reine-Adelaide is back in France, joining Angers on loan.

1:15 p.m. ET – L’Equipe is reporting that Tottenham is paying $34.8 million with an additional $5 million in bonuses.


1:05 p.m. ET – Looks like Michy Batshuayi is having fun in Germany already.


12:50 p.m. ET – Catching up in the Premier League…

Eliaquim Mangala has a loan deal agreed with Everton, per Sky Sports, and Watford has signed Didier Ndong on loan with an option to buy from Sunderland.


12:45 p.m. ET – Elsewhere, Atletico Madrid midfielder Augusto Fernandez has joined Chinese club Beijing Renhe and Englishman John Bostock has left RC Lens to join Bursaspor.

In addition, former Arsenal striker Niklas Bendtner has turned down a move to join Bordeaux to stay with Rosenborg in Norway.


12:30 p.m. ET – According to the Mirror, Yaya Toure has turned down big-money offers from China in order to stay in Manchester and help Man City attempt the quadruple.


12:15 p.m. ET – Where’s he headed? One day after terminating the contract of Samuel Eto'o, Turkish club Antalyaspor terminated today the contract of Samir Nasri, just six months after signing him to a two-year contract.


12:10 p.m. ET – More news of Arsenal departures. Backup right back Mathieu Debuchy is reportedly headed back to his native France to join AS Saint-Etienne.


12:05 p.m. ET – Another Done Deal: Michy Batshuayi heads to Borussia Dortmund on loan until the end of the season. That’s what we call a three-team trade.


12:03 p.m. ET – WOW. Here’s some big news. Pep Guardiola‘s attempts to sign Riyad Mahrez have been rebuffed, and it appears Man City has exited that race as it did for Alexis Sanchez.


Noon ET – Now it’s official. Another Done Deal. West Ham’s Reece Oxford is back on loan for the rest of the season with Borussia Monchengladbach.


11:50 a.m. ET – DONE DEAL. Olivier Giroud, hours after featuring for Arsenal at Swansea City, is now a Blue. Signs for Chelsea on an 18-month contract and should get more playing time.

11:45 a.m. ET – Catching up here. Watford’s Isaac Success moves away on loan to Malaga. Lewis Grabban is headed to Aston Villa in the Championship from Bournemouth, and West Ham target Leon Dendoncker didn’t take part in Anderlecht training and could be leaving the club.


11:40 a.m. ET – Interesting note here for Arsenal fans. Of course, they’ve added Henrik Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang this month alone.


11:35 a.m. ET – One to watch for the future. FC Basel announces it has promoted and signed 17-year-old Noah Okafor to a new contract and handed him the 11 shirt. Okafor scored two goals and set up four others during the group stage of the UEFA Youth League this past fall.


11:25 a.m. ET – Lucas Moura watch! The Paris Saint-Germain winger has reportedly finally completed his move to Tottenham, signing a contract this morning. Thus ends Lucas Moura watch.


11:15 a.m. ET – Lots to catch up on. Olivier Giroud’s deal from Arsenal to Chelsea is nearly complete, per many reports. Sounds like he’ll be moving for $25.5 million. In addition, there’s more reporting on Arsenal looking to sign a last-minute defender. Either David Luiz or AS Roma’s Kostas Manolas.

Lastly, our old friend Demba Ba has signed for Goztepe in Turkey.


10:50 a.m. ET – Javier Pastore, who was expected to leave as Paris Saint-Germain has to deal with the ramifications of Financial Fair Play, will be staying in Paris for the time being, per his agent.


10:37 a.m. ET – Swansea City is about to reunite the Ayew brothers. Reports are that the club is close to a deal with for Andre Ayew worth $25-28 million.


10:27 a.m. ET – Here’s some intrigue. David Luiz to Arsenal in the Olivier Giroud swap. Arsenal really taking a book out of American sports teams with their trades this window.

10:20 a.m. ET – Well well. Apparently David Moyes isn’t prepared to make Reece Oxford a part of his first-team squad. The youngster is set to move back on loan to Borussia Monchengladbach.


10:12 a.m. ET – Manchester City has reportedly made a 4th offer for Riyad Mahrez worth more than $92 million plus a player to Leicester City. Will Leicester agree to a deal today?


10:00 a.m. ET – With Slimani coming in, Aleksandar Mitrovic has been deemed surplus to requirements at Newcastle. He’s heading back to his former stomping grounds at Anderlecht.


9:54 a.m. ET – Islam Slimani watch has been going on for hours in Newcastle. He arrived on a private jet just a few minutes ago and has been whisked away to St. James’ Park for a medical ahead of signing for Newcastle. He seems happy here.


9:51 a.m. ET – Arsenal began the day with the big move, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finally made the switch to the Gunners. How do you think he’ll adjust to the Premier League?


9:48 a.m. ET – Sandro Ramirez’s time at Everton has likely come to an end, after just 276 minutes. He’s joined Sevilla on loan for the rest of the season.


9:41 a.m. ET – Who’s ready for the final day of the transfer window. I’m so excited I just can’t take it.

 

U-20 World Cup preview: Ramos to make history

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The United States U-20 side is set to begin its 2019 World Cup campaign on Friday when it begins Group D play in Poland.

Tab Ramos will make history in the process, equalling the FIFA record of most championship tournaments participated as a player or coach. The 52-year-old will officially take part in his 11th FIFA championship event, matching the record held by Germany’s U-20 women head coach Maren Meinert.

United States

The United States side is one of the best ever on paper, with a mix of emerging domestic talent alongside youngsters from the best clubs in Europe. They will take on Ukraine, Nigeria, and Qatar in high-leverage group stage play. Riding on the result of group play is a place in the knockout phase, with a massive gulf in difference between finishing first and second in the group. The first-place finisher in Group D draws the strongest third-place side from Groups B, E, and F – possibilities include the likes of Mali, South Korea, Panama, or Italy. Meanwhile, the second-place finisher from Group D takes on the winner of Group E, which will almost definitely come in the form of championship hopeful France.

An exciting group of young American players with more well-known names including Timothy Weah and Paxton Pomykal mixes with supreme talents like Barcelona youth product Konrad de la Fuente in attack and Bayern Munich teen Chris Richards who will look to anchor the defense. While the U.S. isn’t exactly a favorite to win the tournament, they are a strong contender looking to reach at least the quarterfinals if not further.

US U-20 squad

GK: CJ Dos Santos (Benfica), David Ochoa (Real Salt Lake), Brady Scott (Koln).
DEF: Sergino Dest (Ajax), Chris Gloster (Hannover 96), Aboubacar Keita (Columbus Crew/Richmond Kickers), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union), Matthew Real (Philadelphia Union), Chris Richards (Bayern Munich).
MID: Edwin Cerrillo (FC Dallas), Chris Durkin (D.C. United), Richard Ledezma (PSV Eindhoven), Alex Mendez (Freiburg), Paxton Pomykal (FC Dallas), Brandon Servania (FC Dallas).
FWD: Ayo Akinola (Toronto FC), Konrad De La Fuente (Barcelona), Ulysses Llanez (Wolfsburg), Justin Rennicks (New England Revolution), Sebastian Soto (Hannover 96), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain/Celtic FC)

Potential breakout players

Aside from the United States squad, there is a host of young talent at the tournament in Poland. These are the players you should keep a close eye on.

Diego Lainez (winger, Mexico) – Mexico’s 18-year-old winger has been a fixture for the national team at every youth level, playing every minute for the U-17 side in the 2017 World Cup. He has since earned a quartet of senior side call-ups and looked electric in his time on the field.

Radoslaw Majecki (goalkeeper, Poland) – At just 19 years old, Majecki has been the starting goalkeeper for Champions League regulars Legia Warsaw since he won the job in November. While he has yet to make his CL debut (having earned the starting job after Legia Warsaw was eliminated from the competition in the qualifying stages), he is as experienced as they come for players in this competition and a huge asset for his country.

Jackson Porozo (defender, Ecuador) – The 18-year-old was an absolute monster in the South American U-20 championships back in late January and early February, helping Ecuador keep five clean sheets and finish the competition on a stunning 298-minute streak without conceding a single goal as they shocked the continent by winning the tournament. Porozo, who joined the Santos youth setup last summer, was a man among boys in the South American championships, and long with his goalkeeper Moises Ramirez – who also has high expectations for a solid future – this Ecuador side has a shot at making it out of an absolutely loaded Group B.

Interesting storylines

Group B – The most loaded group in the tournament sees Mexico, Italy, Ecuador, and Japan all come together for a brutal battle. While the top two teams are guaranteed to advance, it could also be a factor for one of the coveted third-place spots, of particular interest to the United States, who would take on a Group B third-place qualifier should they win Group D. Mexico won the CONCACAF U-20 championships, Ecuador stunningly reigned supreme in CONMEBOL over traditional superpowers Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia, while both Italy and Japan performed quite well in their own tournaments, each reaching the semifinals. This is easily the most fun early storyline.

France as favorites – Portugal, Poland, Nigeria, and Argentina are all firmly in the mix, but France is considered the favorite according to most oddsmakers. Bernard Diomede will have a challenge as Lyon’s young star Amine Gouiri will be missing as he takes part in the U-21 UEFA championships this summer, but he does have Borussia Dortmund youngster Dan Axel-Zagadou leading the back line. While the French senior side is on top of the world, the youth team has plenty of talent coming down the pipeline.

Can Argentina bounce back? – The six-time champions slipped a bit at the CONMEBOL championships earlier this year, falling to both Ecuador and Brazil in the final stage while beating Uruguay and Colombia by just a goal. The traditionally dominant South American powerhouse has proven fallable over the last year or so, and while they most certainly have a squad capable of placing in this tournament, they will need more consistency. The squad sports Atlanta United winger Ezequiel Barco, who has four goals in eight MLS appearances this season and is in good form. Other big names include Atletico Madrid defender and youth team captain Nehuen Perez, Boca Juniors goalkeeper Manuel Roffo – who trained with the senior team earlier this year – and midfielder Santiago Sosa who has dabbled in the River Plate senior squad at just 19.

FIFA scraps 48-team expansion for 2022 World Cup

Getty Images
1 Comment

FIFA has confirmed the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will remain a 32-team tournament, abandoning plans to expand the event to 48 teams.

The world football governing body made certain to cite that Qatar’s implausibility to host such an expanded tournament as the sole reason for the decision, essentially confirming that the 2026 World Cup – joint hosted throughout North America – will remain expanded as confirmed back in January of 2017.

FIFA and Qatar have jointly explored all possibilities to increase the number of participant teams from 32 to 48 teams by involving neighboring countries at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” FIFA said in a statement. “Following a thorough and comprehensive consultation process with the involvement of all the relevant stakeholders, it was concluded that under the current circumstances such a proposal could not be made now.”

Qatar has been criticized for its lack of infrastructure and relative inability to host a tournament of the World Cup’s magnitude, and the FIFA statement hinted that nearby options in the Persian Gulf were severely limited. Along with the country’s own limitations, there is political strife between Qatar and many of its immediate neighbors such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, making a joint expanded effort nearly impossible.

“A joint analysis, in this respect, concluded that due to the advanced stage of preparations and the need for a detailed assessment of the potential logistical impact on the host country, more time would be required and a decision could not be taken before the deadline of June,” FIFA said. “It was therefore decided not to further pursue this option. The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will therefore remain as originally planned with 32 teams and no proposal will be submitted at the next FIFA Congress on 5 June.”

FIFA clearly made certain to cite Qatar’s inability to handle such an expansion as the sole reason for the status quo, not a blanket desire to keep the tournament at 32 teams permanently. FIFA has come under fire after announcing the expansion of the 2026 games, with widespread critics claiming the move would water down not only the tournament itself but also qualification, lessening the amount of high-leverage games both at the event itself and between tournaments in qualifying. The governing body had looked to speed up expansion for 2022, but today’s news ended that idea.

16-year MLS veteran Chad Marshall retires

Associated Press
Leave a comment

Stalwart defender Chad Marshall, who spent his entire 16-year career in Major League Soccer, retired on Wednesday at 34 years old. The announcement confirmed that Marshall’s decision was made largely due to a knee injury that has kept him out of action for most of the last month.

Marshall split his career between just two MLS teams, drafted second overall out of Stanford by Columbus and playing 10 years for the Crew before being traded to Seattle in 2013. He spent five full seasons with Seattle and began the current campaign as a significant part of the squad, but made it just two months in before the injury took over.

“After more than 15 years of living my childhood dream, the time has come for me to hang up the boots,” Marshall said in the official team release. “I’d like to thank everyone that has played a part in my career. To my teammates, support staff and coaches: you’ve been my second family. The locker room is what I’ll miss the most.”

Marshall was named MLS Defender of the Year three times throughout his career, winning it in his first professional season, again in 2008 just one year removed from concussion problems, and most recently with Seattle in 2014. He won the Supporters’ Shield four times – three with Columbus – and also racked up two MLS Cups and one US Open Cup. Overall he made 458 professional club appearances, 272 of which came for the Crew.

“Thank you to the fans of Seattle and Columbus for supporting me throughout the years, as well as the Sounders FC and Columbus Crew SC organizations for giving me a chance to represent them on the field,” Marshall said. “Most importantly, I’d like to thank my family. I’m forever indebted to them for the sacrifices they’ve made in allowing me to pursue this dream. From heartbreaking losses to MLS Cup wins, own goals to cartwheels, it’s been a blast.”

While Marshall was a rock at the back of the Columbus and Seattle defensive units, he was also an imposing force in the air, scoring 26 goals in his career. Marshall also earned 12 caps for the U.S. Men’s National Team, debuting in 2005 with a goal against Colombia and playing in the 2009 Gold Cup, and he was called back into the squad for a 0-0 friendly draw with Serbia in 2017 after a seven-year absence.

Why Aston Villa deserve Premier League promotion

Getty Images
Leave a comment

With the Championship playoff final at Wembley Stadium on May 27, the richest game in soccer will see one of Aston Villa or Derby County promoted to the Premier League.

[ MORE: Latest Championship news ]

Which club deserves a spot in the English top-flight more? You can use metrics such as fanbase, stadiums, players, historical success and quality of coaches to try and sort this out, but the fact of the matter is, the playoffs are always a complete, and utterly brilliant, lottery.

The path Villa and Derby took to get to the final this season proves that.

Here’s a look at why Villa deserve to return to the PL after a three-year absence, while tomorrow we will focus on Derby…


Everything about Villa is a Premier League club.

Their incredible home at Villa Park is among the most historic and boisterous in England when it gets going and the Holte End is the jewel in its crown.

European champions in 1982, Villa are the biggest club from England’s second-city, Birmingham, and their fanbase is loyal, if not overly pessimistic as most Brummies are. The fact that there are no PL teams from Birmingham is astonishing. It is like having no top level sports teams in LA.

For three years they’ve now fought to get back into the top-flight after several seasons of struggle as former American owner Randy Lerner cut costs wherever he could. Under manager Dean Smith, a lifelong Villa fan, they now play wonderfully attractive soccer and have youngsters like Jack Grealish, Andre Green and Tammy Abraham leading the way.

Villa would be fun to watch if they were promoted to the Premier League. That much is sure. They’ll concede a lot of goals, but they would score a ton too.

There is also the potential for Villa to emulate Wolverhampton Wanderers. Seriously.

Their ownership group has strengthened in recent months with Chinese businessman Tony Xi selling 55 percent of his stake in the club to Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris and American billionaire Wes Edens.

If Villa come up the financial fair play shackles which restricted them in the Championship in recent years will come off. The potential for them to spend big is there, but they have a team full of players on loan from PL clubs who have formed a bond and could likely be kept together and bought permanently this summer.

Quite simply, Villa are a top 10 team in the Premier League. They have suffered due to Lerner’s decision to pull out his investment but they have now rebuilt themselves with a strong core of young talent and have a manager in place who is progressive and ambitious both with his style of play and where Villa can get to in the PL.

Under Steve Bruce, Villa lost to Fulham in the playoff final last season at Wembley. But with local lad Grealish leading their charge there is a sense that failure last year was a blessing in disguise. This Villa side are young and hungry and they are exciting to watch.

That is why Villa deserve to be promoted to the Premier League for the 2019-20 season.