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Cosmos owner Commisso offers to fund new league with $250 million

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New York Cosmos owner Rocco Commisso is ready to splash a quarter-million dollars on a new or revived soccer league.

He just wants some ground rules to be set by U.S. Soccer first.

Commisso and the Cosmos on Monday released letters sent between Commisso and U.S. Soccer that illustrate Commisso’s desire to invest $250 million in personal funds as part of a $500 million deal to fund a new league that would supposedly rival MLS and likely USL. The North American Soccer League, led by Commisso and the Cosmos, is currently battling with U.S. Soccer and MLS in a lawsuit over the federation’s decision not to give the NASL second-division status.

[READ: PL Preview: Tottenham vs. Watford]

In communication with U.S. Soccer, Commisso is asking for six changes as well as a 10-year runway for the new league to ramp up. The six changes requested are:

  • Either eliminating the close relationship between U.S. Soccer and SUM – MLS’s marketing arm, or making the conflict of interest policy clear in how certain relationships are handled.
  • Equal representation and voting power for each professional league on the USSF board.
  • Rules to keep MLS and USL from “poaching” (as Commisso puts it) clubs in the NASL or other pro leagues.
  • Barring board members with ties to professional leagues (like MLS commissioner Don Garber) from playing a role in selecting independent directors or Athlete Council members.
  • Opening the bidding process to USMNT and USWNT licenses.
  • And lastly, to re-write the Professional League Standards to include promotion/relegation.

Whether for legitimate reasons or not, U.S. Soccer has been slow to respond. Cordeiro claimed (likely correctly) that he was not around to respond to Commisso’s original letter and request due to the FIFA World Cup bid committee assessing the 2026 World Cup bid by the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

When he did respond, Cordeiro said he would likely not be able to personally meet with Commisso due to the World Cup bid but asked for a detailed proposal, something which Commisso angrily declined, stating it was clear enough in the first letter.

In another correspondence from U.S. Soccer CEO Dan Flynn, U.S. Soccer again requested another detailed league proposal, saying they were open to dialogue without “the pressures of artificial deadlines or suggestions of going to the media.”

Of course, the latter is exactly what has happened. And the ongoing litigation between the NASL and U.S. Soccer isn’t going to help this process move as fast as Commisso is hoping.

Ultimately, while the NASL may have a right to grieve over losing Division II status, there was nothing stopping the league from applying for Division II status and putting together a business plan that leads to long-term success, something that hasn’t really been around since the NASL rebirth at the turn of the decade.

It’s clear now that nothing will be determined before the upcoming 2026 World Cup vote, likely ensuring another year outside of professional soccer for the Cosmos, Miami FC and Jacksonville Armada. Hopefully the two sides can come to the table, and Commisso can move forward with his impressive personal investment into domestic soccer.

Rumored Neymar for Bale swap: Who wins?

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Who would gain more of an advantage from the rumored, sensational Gareth Bale for Neymar swap: Paris Saint-Germain or Real Madrid?

Both players are currently problems for their clubs, though neither is known as a true rabble-rouser; Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane wants to be done with the newly-minted 30-year-old Bale, while PSG knows Neymar wants to leave and would love to satiate Kylian Mbappe’s appetite to be the man at their club.

[ REPORT: Man Utd, Leicester agree Maguire fee ]

Presumably some money would be headed PSG’s way in addition to Bale, and both clubs would be getting a motivated megawatt star.

Neymar doesn’t turn 28 until February, but the difference in age may be offset by the Brazilian’s track record of injuries.

In fact, his injury status last season combines with an off-field accusation of sexual assault and a red card for confronting a fan to overshadow his production: Neymar’s 23 goals and 13 assists in just over 2300 minutes last season, including five and two in the Champions League (and a goal and an assist against defensively-stout Liverpool).

Bale presents very few personality challenges, and PSG won’t have a problem with his massive wages (especially with Neymar off the books). His numbers have dipped in two of three seasons since his otherworldly 2015-16, but La Liga is a more difficult scoring league than Ligue 1.

Neymar has twice been a Ballon d’Or finalist and, presuming his legal troubles don’t persist, could be a title fight changer in La Liga. Imagine the Neymar, Eden Hazard, and Luka Jovic trying to outgun Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, and Luis Suarez? Insane.

We’d say Real would be winning the straight-up swap, and that it’s pretty unlikely to go down that way. So it depends what PSG does with the relative Financial Fair Play freedom that would come with the money that also arrives from Spain. Is it Idrissa Gana Gueye? Someone else who helps take PSG’s Champions League hopes to the next level?

Manchester United in ‘concrete talks’ with Lille over Pepe

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Manchester United are reportedly in “concrete talks” to agree a fee with Lille for much-tracked playmaker Nicolas Pepe.

The 24-year-old attacking midfielder has been linked with Liverpool and Arsenal amongst others, and Lille has admitted he’ll be leaving the club.

[ REPORT: Man Utd, Leicester agree Maguire fee ]

United’s reported salvo was around $87.5 million. He’d give them a star who could play across from Anthony Martial or as an attacking midfielder under Romelu Lukaku.

Only Kylian Mbappe and Teji Savanier garnered better season-long ratings than Pepe in the 2018-19 Ligue 1 campaign, and Pepe’s 22 goals and 11 assists stand out from the pack. Only Mbappe had more goals and only Savanier more assists.

Pepe has four goals in 11 caps for the Ivory Coast, and made three starts in Les Elephants’ five-match run at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. He’s a fit for the Premier League, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s system. And if the Red Devils can keep him from Liverpool, well, all the better we’re sure.

Report: Manchester United, Leicester agree to monster Maguire fee

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Manchester United and Leicester City have agreed a fee for Harry Maguire, clearing the way for the English center back to join the Old Trafford set.

That fee is a whopping $100 million, according to Bleacher Report’s Dean Jones. That’s about $4 million more than the world record for a defender, set when Liverpool purchased Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton.

[ MORE: USMNT CB to West Ham? ]

Maguire has been a statistical monster for Leicester City, and he passes the eye test, too.

Manchester United has needed to upgrade its stable of center backs for some time, and now the biggest question is who will work best alongside the 6-foot-4 26-year-old.

The former Sheffield United, Wigan Athletic, and Hull City defender is now 20-times capped by England.

The move could have a ripple effect on the Premier League, as the Foxes have been expected to bid for Burnley star James Tarkowski should Maguire leave the King Power Stadium.

Transfer rumor roundup: USMNT’s Long to London, Newcastle linked with pair

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Could USMNT center back Aaron Long be headed to the Premier League?

The 26-year-old could join West Ham United’s stable of center backs, which includes Issa Diop, Fabian Balbuena, and Angelo Ogbonna.

Sky Sports says that the Red Bulls defender has drawn the interest of Lyon and Fiorentina, but been offered to the Irons should they match his $5 million release clause.

Unable to find a place with Portland and Seattle, Long spent a few seasons in the USL before earning a place with RBNY.

Now 11-times capped by the USMNT with two goals, Long could be bringing his talents to London’s Olympic Stadium.

Elsewhere in the Premier League, Newcastle United has the chance to sign oft-injured Danny Welbeck on a free transfer.

The longtime Arsenal striker, weaned at Manchester United, scored five times in 12 matches last season in a return to injury woes following a 43-match season the prior year.

Newcastle is also being linked with a former defender. James Tavernier has gone on to captain Glasgow Rangers, and the 27-year-old would cost around $10 million.

Surely Steven Gerrard would want more for the defender, but prices haven’t met quality for Scottish Premiership players as we’ve seen with Kieran Tierney at Celtic.