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Torrent replaces Vieira as NYCFC boss

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Domenec Torrent has been appointed as the new manager of Major League Soccer side New York City FC after Patrick Vieira’s move to Nice in Ligue 1 was announced officially on Monday.

A hire from within the City Football Group (CFG) once again is no surprise.

[ MORE: Vieira leaves NYCFC for Nice

Torrent, 55, will leave his role as Manchester City’s assistant manager as the Spanish coach has worked under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and now Man City, winning 24 trophies along the way. He was previously the head coach of Girona.

Speaking about his appointment as just the third head coach in NYCFC’s history, Torrent is delighted to be the main man at CFG’s club in NYC.

“Though I have enjoyed a wonderful 11 years working alongside my colleague and close friend Pep Guardiola – it has always been my ambition to manage a team again and I really couldn’t have hoped for a better opportunity than at this football club” Torrent said. “I know we have a very talented team, I have watched many of the matches and I enjoy the way the team plays and I now can’t wait to begin working with the players on the training pitch.”

“Though I have been fortunate enough to visit New York on numerous occasions, I am looking forward to living and coaching in this special city and meeting the fans as soon as possible. I am eager to experience and play a part in the soccer culture of New York.”

NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna said that hailed Torrent for being “part of building some of the most memorable teams in soccer” and added that he’s excited to see the Spanish coach “continue to give opportunities to our younger players.”

So, NYCFC have moved on quickly from Vieira and, in truth, they needed to given the fantastic job he did during two-and-a-half years in charge at Yankee Stadium.

During that time Vieira turned New York City FC into genuine contenders for the Eastern Conference title and led them to back-to-back appearances in the MLS Cup playoffs after they missed out on the postseason during their inaugural season in 2015.

Torrent’s first game in charge will be at home against reigning MLS champs Toronto on Jun. 24 as NYCFC aim to keep the heat up on Atlanta United in the race for the Eastern Conference title.

NYCFC sit just two points behind Atlanta and they’re in second place in the East as they seek a third-straight postseason berth.

Vieira’s legacy will live on and Torrent’s time to become the main man has arrived.

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

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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

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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

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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.”

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 3

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In the third episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England pulls out a massive win while VAR finds its way into the World Cup spotlight.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

There will be plenty more to come over the next few weeks, with the show coming via the Men In Blazers.

Click play on the video above to watch the first episode in full.