Liverpool, Manchester United, and pretty much everyone but Barcelona looks set to miss out on Matthijs de Ligt.
De Ligt, 19, has paired with Liverpool’s Virgil Van Dijk while in the Netherlands national team set-up, but reportedly is opting to join Ajax teammate Frenkie de Jong at Barcelona.
[ MORE: Brighton hires new boss ]
In the case of Liverpool, Sky Sports says that Reds boss Jurgen Klopp thinks he doesn’t need another center back.
Injuries hit Liverpool’s center backs this season outside of Van Dijk. Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren were rated highly and combined for just over 2500 minutes, while young Joe Gomez suffered a long-term injury midway through the season.
If all are healthy, Liverpool has decent depth. Yet even Gomez doesn’t have the upside to shake a stick at De Ligt if the 19-year-old was truly interested in coming to Anfield.
I mean, “Are you interested in this 19-year-old captain of a Champions League semifinalist? He’s interested in coming there” usually doesn’t yield a firm, “No.”
As for Barcelona, it will reinforce its back line a year after allowing 36 goals. That’s pretty decent, but the Blaugranas‘ third-highest total of the last decade.
It’s a fully-changed starting XI for the U.S. Men’s National Team as it closes out the group stage against Panama at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.
Omar Gonzalez and Matt Miazga start together in the backline, Jozy Altidore returns to the starting lineup up top, and Jordan Morris and Jonathan Lewis feature on the wings alongside Altidore. Ten of the 11 players now ply their trade in MLS, including the Gonzalez, who recently moved to Toronto FC.
[ FOLLOW LIVE: USMNT takes on Panama in Kansas City]
Hit the link above to follow along for the next two hours, and check back on PST for a full recap and in-depth analysis after the final whistle.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say it. Wayne Rooney just scored the most amazing goal in Audi Field’s young history.
In the 10th minute of D.C. United’s match against Orlando City SC on Wednesday evening, Rooney noticed Orlando’s Brian Rowe straying way off his line. And so, with an audacious but accurate attempt, Rooney let fly from 65 yards and SCORED. Just check this goal out below.
[FOLLOW LIVE: USMNT v. Panama]
Rooney took advantage of a crazy bounce and with his literal first touch, unleashed a thunderbolt that Rowe couldn’t catch up to. It automatically becomes one of the top contenders for the MLS Goal of the Year, and should make it on every top ten countdown this evening and tomorrow.
The legend of Joao Felix appears to have reached full market value potential.
The 19-year-old Portuguese striker is coming off a breakout year for Benfica, and now the Portuguese giants have received an impressive $143 million offer from Atletico Madrid for Felix. The club confirmed the offer in a statement on its website, stating it was analyzing the deal. Felix has a $136.5 million release clause in his contract, but it appears the additional $7 million is in processing costs.
[READ: Kroos wants to retire at Real Madrid]
Felix was outstanding at Benfica last year, scoring 15 goals with seven assists in 26 league games and three goals and one assist in five Europa League game. Felix has already made his international debut for Portugal.
If confirmed, Felix would become the fifth-most expensive transfer in world history, and the second-most expensive transfer for a teenager behind Kylian Mbappe.
CAIRO (AP) Former champion Nigeria became the first team to reach the last 16 at the African Cup of Nations after defender Kenneth Omeruo‘s second-half goal delivered a 1-0 win over Guinea on Wednesday.
The Nigerians were unimpressive in the first half in Alexandria but lifted their game in the second. Alex Iwobi‘s rasping shot was pushed away by Guinea goalkeeper Ibrahim Kone and Ahmed Musa almost set up Odion Ighalo on a counterattack.
The former Chelsea defender Omeruo did what the forwards had not been able to do when he beat Kone with a glancing header at the near post off Moses Simon’s corner in the 73rd minute.
Nigeria, which won the title in 2013, has two wins from two games in Group B. It beat Burundi 1-0 in its first match and now needs a draw from its last fixture against Madagascar to finish top and stay in Alexandria for the last 16.
There was more good news for Nigeria when Samuel Kalu came on as a substitute near the end. The midfield player collapsed at a training session the day before the first game, suffering from dehydration, and was hospitalized.
Coach Gernot Rohr rested captain John Obi Mikel against Guinea.
Elsewhere, Egypt also confirmed a place in the knockout stages with a 2-0 win over the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ahmad Elmohamady and Mohamed Salah each scored in the first half to lead the Pharoahs to victory, the hosts second-straight win in the competition.
In the other match of the day, Uganda tied Zimbabwe, 1-1.