The tale of a pair of Chicago Fire products taking their talents to Scotland has taken an interesting turn.
Steven Gerrard brought Matt Polster and Andrew Gutman to Rangers for a trial in December, and was said to be hopeful of signing both. Polster was reported as the less likely to leave the United States, but is now said to be negotiating with the Glaswegian outfit.
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The same report, from The Athletic’s Paul Tenorio, says Rangers’ bitter rivals at Celtic have pulled into pole position to sweep left back Gutman out from under them.
There’s something interesting here aside from Gutman choosing Celtic over his initial trial club Rangers, two of the fiercest rivals in the world: The 22-year-old Fire academy product isn’t as highly viewed by Chicago as he is by several other MLS sides, Celtic, and the league itself.
From The Athletic:
Sources say the Fire initially offered Gutman a minimum-value contract and that Chicago has been shopping the left back’s homegrown rights within the league. Sources indicate MLS has upped the offer to Gutman in order to try to keep him in the league, and there is interest from multiple teams within MLS. Gutman is mulling both offers, but sources indicate he is leaning toward going overseas with Celtic.
So… it’ll be a little alarming for Fire supporters, an already beleaguered bunch, if Gutman turns out to be a starter for Celtic (or another European club) and Chicago simply offered the minimum to keep him.
Gutman won the MAC Hermann Trophy as the best player in college soccer this season, and left back has been a perennial question for the USMNT. That said, the top-heavy Scottish Premiership may be a physical grind, but isn’t a guarantee to be a better testing ground than Major League Soccer. It’s certainly a better gateway to Europe, though.
The group stage finale of the 2019-20 UEFA Europa League campaign is here.
Everything is set up for an epic Thursday of action.
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Arsenal need a point away at Standard Liege to reach the Round of 32, while Wolves and Man United are already safely through to the knockout rounds.
Wolves must win to stand a chance of winning Group K, while a point for Man United will be enough for them to win Group L.
Plenty of intrigue remains around Glasgow Rangers as any team from Group G can still reach the knockout round going into the final 90 minutes of action. If Steven Gerrard‘s men beat Young Boys at Ibrox then they will definitely be through as group winners.
Groups B, C and J are all so tough to call heading into the final games with giants such as Roma, Basel and Dynamo Kiev all in danger of being knocked out.
Below is the schedule in full for Thursday’s games, while you can click on the link above to follow all the action as it happens.
Full Europa League schedule
12:55 p.m. ET
Eintracht Frankfurt v. Vitoria
CFR Cluj v. Celtic
LASK v. Sporting Lisbon
Copenhagen v. Malmo
PSV Eindhoven v. Rosenborg
Qarabag v. Dudelange
Standard Liege v. Arsenal
Basel v. Trabzonspor
Dynamo Kiev v. Lugano
APOEL Nicosia v. Sevilla
Rennes v. Lazio
Getafe v. Krasnodar
3 p.m. ET
Rangers v. Young Boys
Wolves v. Besiktas
Espanyol v. CSKA Moscow
Gent v. Oleksandriya
Borussia Monchengladbach v. Istanbul Basaksehir
Porto v. Feyenoord
Ludogorets Razgrad v. Ferencvaros
Slovan Bratislava v. Braga
Roma v. Wolfsberg
Manchester United v. AZ Alkmaar
Wolfsburg v. Saint-Etienne
Partizan Belgrade v. Astana
Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley has re-signed with the Major League Soccer franchise.
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Bradley, 32, saw his previous contract run out at the end of the 2019 season but he has now agreed a new deal with the Canadian side and Toronto have squeezed him into their salary cap by using Targeted Allocation Money (TAM).
During his six season stint so far in Toronto, Bradley has led the team to three MLS Cup finals as TFC stunned MLS with a run to the final against Seattle in 2019. They lost on that occasion but beat Seattle in 2017 and Bradley’s displays, along with that of Sebastian Giovinco, Jozy Altidore and now Alejandro Pozuelo have seen Toronto become one of the most consistent teams in MLS.
Explaining his reasons for signing a new deal in Toronto, Bradley revealed that he wants to take them onto bigger and better things.
“I feel so attached to the city of Toronto, the club, the team. I love it here and I am really proud of what we’ve been able to do over the past six years,” Bradley said. “Beyond the success, I am equally as proud of the mentality and identity this club has taken on. The relationship between the club and the city, the club and the fans are both very special and I’m proud to have played a part in that. What we have in Toronto doesn’t exist everywhere. My family and I are so happy to remain in Toronto and we’d like to thank everyone at Toronto FC for ensuring that this process was done quietly and professionally behind the scenes. I’m looking forward to continuing to play in the biggest games and competing for trophies every year.”
Bradley still has plenty left in the tank, as last season showed, and despite rumors that he would link up with his father, Bob Bradley, at LAFC, he is staying in Ontario.
That’s great news for Toronto FC as despite plenty of criticism from USMNT fans over recent years, Bradley has continued to deliver consistency and leadership at BMO Field.
Our latest Premier League player Power Rankings have landed.
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Matchweek 16 followed a similar pattern to recent weeks as players from Liverpool, Leicester City, Spurs and Man United dominated our top 20 with so many games played over the last seven days.
Remember: this is a list of the top 20 performing players right now in the Premier League. If they didn’t play in the last matchweek, they aren’t getting in this list!
[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]
Let us know in the comments section below if you agree with the selections.
1. Jamie Vardy (Leicester) – Even
2. Heung-Min Son (Tottenham) – Up 7
3. Marcus Rashford (Man United) – New entry
4. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) – New entry
5. Harry Kane (Tottenham) – Up 6
6. Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle) – New entry
7. Jonny Evans (Leicester) – New entry
8. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) – Down 4
9. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton) – New entry
10. Danny Ings (Southampton) – New entry
11. Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Man United) – New entry
12. Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool) – Down 2
13. Caglar Soyuncu (Leicester) – Even
14. Dele Alli (Tottenham) – Down 11
15. Kevin De Bruyne (Man City) – Down 10
16. Raul Jimenez (Wolves) – Down 3
17. Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) – Down 1
18. Anthony Martial (Man United) – New entry
19. Diogo Jota (Wolves) – New entry
20. Nicolas Pepe (Arsenal) – New entry
Who else could it be? Christian Pulisic has been named the USMNT player of the year for 2019.
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The Chelsea star, 21, excelled for club and country over the past 12 months and after taking a few months to settle into life in England, he’s now taking the Premier League by storm on a weekly basis.
Pulisic has now won this award for a second time after first winning it in 2017 and he becomes the youngest player in U.S. men’s national team history to win the award twice.
His achievements over the last 12 months are numerous, as he dragged a struggling USMNT to the 2019 Gold Cup final and also became the youngest player to reach double figures in goals for the USMNT.