Getty Images

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Trio chasing Dortmund youngster, Everton eyes Traore

Leave a comment

As teams motor towards preseason, front offices are hoping to wrap up deals to give the squad plenty of opportunities to gel rather than make late additions that are sometimes jarring to team chemistry. Still, there are holes to be filled and as dominoes fall, some moves affect others as the transfer window rolls on.

Borussia Dortmund has produced a stunning amount of young wingers who have gone on to become massive assets to the German side. First Christian Pulisic arrived and netted the club millions in a move to Chelsea this summer. He was pushed out by fellow teen winger Jadon Sancho who has turned into a valuable piece himself. Behind the England youngster is Danish youth international Jacob Bruun Larsen who broke into the first team setup last season alongside Sancho and made 24 Bundesliga appearances, scoring two goals and assisting two more.

According to English tabloids, Larsen is on the watch list of several Premier League clubs and, like Pulisic, could be considered expendable by the German side after the explosion of Sancho last season. Among others, the Daily Mail has linked Manchester United, Arsenal, and Liverpool to the 20-year-old who would cost somewhere in the region of $19 million, a relatively cheap price in a market that more and more values young talent more than anything.


French television program Telefoot reports that Everton is chasing former Chelsea winger Bertrand Traore who has spent the last two seasons at Lyon. The 23-year-old has come into his own in France, scoring 20 goals in 65 league appearances with Lyon.

According to the report, Traore would cost somewhere in the vicinity of $34 million, tripling Lyon’s investment two years ago when the brought Traore to France from Chelsea. That price could also increase should the three clubs find themselves in a bidding war. Traore could pair well with Richarlison, either playing on the left wing or through the middle.


Aston Villa is back in the Premier League after winning the Championship playoff, and now they look to strengthen the squad to prepare for a long stay in the top flight. One target mentioned is Bristol City defender Adam Webster who has been with his current club just one season after joining from Ipswich Town last summer.

Webster, 24 years old, started all but three of Bristol City’s league games last season and scored three goals. The Bristol Post report states that Villa has seen a $15 million bid rejected as the Championship club apparently holds out for an offer as high as $38 million, a strong position for a club in the second tier, but the new Premier League side feels they can negotiate that price down to meet somewhere in the middle.

Bristol City has sent a couple of players to the Premier League in the past few years, with Bobby Reid going to Cardiff City and Joe Bryan moving to Fulham both last summer.


According to Spanish publication El Dorsal, Newcastle is fearing the imminent departure of star attacker Ayoze Perez, who has been linked with moves to Spanish sides Valencia and Real Betis. The report states that Perez, who scored 12 Premier League goals last season and 42 in his Newcastle career, would net somewhere in the vicinity of $25 million, a surprisingly attractive price for a dangerous 25-year-old attacker.

The links are nothing new for Perez this summer, who last month was connected to Valencia by Spanish radio station Radio Cope, and now English tabloids claim that the La Liga side has held talks with Perez’s agents.


Real Madrid is hoping to keep Ajax attacker Donny van de Beek on its radar with uncertainties surrounding Paul Pogba and Christian Eriksen, according to Spanish publication AS. The report claims, as many have before it, that Zinedine Zidane prefers Pogba but Florentino Perez are hoping to pull off a move for Tottenham star Eriksen.

There are roadblocks to both moves, however. Any approach for Pogba would be extremely expensive and while Pogba has been rumored to be unsettled at Manchester United with the club missing out on the Champions League, the club at this point seems unwilling to sell one of its most valuable assets. Eriksen is a more realistic option financially, but the AS report says talks for the Danish playmaker have “ground to a halt.”

With that in mind, they have kept in touch with van de Beek who impressed in Ajax’s Champions League run and is considerably younger than the other two options at just 22 years old. However, he would be a more long-term move as the Dutch international would have to battle to beat out the likes of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.


English tabloids have claimed that Tottenham and Juventus are chasing Burnley’s Dwight McNeil who made 21 Premier League appearances for the Clarets last year on the left wing. The 19-year-old England youth international arrived in Burnley’s youth system from the Manchester United academy in 2014 and has come through the Burnley setup, becoming a regular in the squad in mid-December of last season, scoring three goals and assisting five.

The teen has made six appearances for the England U-20 side, scoring and assisting in the 4-0 win over Guatemala back on June 11 in his last showing.

An aging Juventus squad is hoping to get younger, claims The Sun, while Spurs will also consider a bid in the range of $38 million.

Cole returns to Chelsea as youth team coach

Getty Images
Leave a comment

One of Chelsea’s best players in club history is back at his old stomping grounds in a new role.

Chelsea finally confirmed over their social media channels that former left back Ashley Cole is back at the club coaching in the academy, helping the next generation of stars grow and learn the games. Specifically, Cole is coaching the U-15 squad.

[READ: Top Premier League Storylines]

“I’m also doing my badges at the moment and so being here at Chelsea means I have the chance to coach every day, whereas maybe if I wasn’t working at a club it would be hard for me to get the hours in,” Cole told Chelsea’s website. “I’m learning not just how to be a coach and how to speak to people in a different environment but the side of coaching that you don’t see like planning the sessions and setting up the equipment.

“As a player, you just turn up for a session and do it. If it’s a possession drill, you just arrive and try to keep the ball but now I’m getting to understand that there are always ideas behind a particular session or practice. Organization has to be key and those are the little details that it takes to be a great coach.”

While plenty from Cole’s era have moved into the media for lucrative punditry roles, it’s nice to see players like Cole and his former teammate Frank Lampard, now Chelsea coach, go into coaching to help pass on some of the great lessons they’ve learned during their careers. .

Cole said in the interview that he wasn’t sure what was next after playing three seasons for the LA Galaxy and then joining Lampard at Derby County for the second half of last season. He added that he got his first taste of coaching kids while with the Galaxy, helping some of the academy players and taking part in video sessions.

“The Academy are very good at giving ex-players a route back to the club and a chance to learn as coaches,” Cole said. “They’re eager to bring in people who understand what it means to be at Chelsea and what it means to wear the badge. You have to be a top player to play for Chelsea so they want those top ex-players influencing and trying to help the next generation develop and be better players.”

Spanish FA once again opposes La Liga match in U.S.

Leave a comment

For the second consecutive season, La Liga and Relevant Sports have proposed a league match to take place this winter in the U.S.

And once again, the La Liga proposal doesn’t have the support of its national soccer federation.

[READ: La Liga wants to move Villarreal-Atletico Madrid to Miami]

Luis Rubiales, president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), told reporters on Thursday that it would oppose the match taking place outside of Spain’s borders, keeping a consistent line in the sand on how far globalization can go in soccer.

“It would disrupt the competition,” Rubiales said, via AS. “To play a game in Miami, La Liga needs permission from five bodies that it doesn’t have.”

The five bodies Rubiales referred to are the RFEF, FIFA, CONCACAF, U.S. Soccer and MLS.

Last time around, Relevant Sports and La Liga announced a long-term, lucrative marketing contract to expand the brand’s footprint in the Americas, and soon after, petitioned to move Girona’s home game against Barcelona to Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, the home stadium of Relevant Sports owner Stephen Ross and his Miami Dolphins.

Ultimately, La Liga president Javier Tebas and Relevant Sports were unable to get permission from the RFEF or FIFA to hold the event outside Spain and it went off as expected in Girona. At the time, Spain’s player’s union and fans groups opposed the move. Tebas has filed a lawsuit in Spain to try to force the RFEF to approve their request, but it seems unlikely to be awarded and it surely doesn’t provide any good will between the two parties.

There’s been plenty of talk about bringing league games abroad before, but it has just been talk so far. The Premier League considered adding an extra game to the season to be played all over the world, but never went through with creating plans for matches.

Associations – not leagues, to be clear – have brought things like Super Cups abroad. For example, the RFEF moved the 2018 Spanish Super Cup to Tangiers, Morocco, while the France Football Federation has brought its national Super Cup match to both the U.S. and Montreal, Canada in recent years. However, the argument in favor of bringing those games abroad is they’re basically meaningless. Meanwhile, one result in a league season could – in theory – determine whether a team is relegated or not, especially if the margin is three points or less.

We could see another legal fight on our hands, so watch this space, there’s plenty more to come.

Rodgers excuses Maddison’s behavior after England departure

Leave a comment

Leicester City and England midfielder James Maddison made headlines for the wrong reasons after he was pictured last week watching the England match at the Czech Republic from a casino.

Despite the negative attention from Maddison’s decision to watch the game at that venue, he has the backing of his club manager, Brendan Rodgers.

“The kid went away with the international team and took ill while he was away,” Rodgers said, via the Guardian. “He wanted to stay and hopefully be ready for the second game. But the England medical staff – which I can understand, as he had flu and they didn’t want that to spread to his teammates – decided it’s best for him to leave the camp. So he leaves, gets some tablets with our guys at the club, then he feels better.

“He watched the game at home on his own on the Friday and then goes out at half-time – probably he’ll make better decisions in his life but he went to a casino on his own to sit and watch the second half by a poker table. The suggestions are he left England purposelessly and then goes to a casino but that’s totally not the case at all. But his eyes have been opened now to the wider world in terms of what he did. He knows in hindsight he’s made a mistake.”

Considering all that went on during England’s international break, from the poor performance in Prague to the horrible racism endured in Bulgaria, this is a bit of a silly scandal. To be honest, as long as Maddison is taking care of his body and himself, why does it matter if he was at a casino, or a pub, or anywhere?

However, there’s no denying that the optics look bad. Folks didn’t know that he arrived to England camp with the flu, or a flu-like illness at least, and the England medical staff are right to send him away to make sure no one else gets sick. He may have been feeling better by Friday and wanted to get out of the house. I think we’ve all been there after being sick for a few days.

The most important lesson for Maddison is to learn that his actions, out of context, can be misunderstood. In terms of soccer, after Ross Barkley’s performance for England, Maddison will have to prove in his club form that he should still have a place in the England team for the near future. There’s only two more international dates left before the 2020 Euros, so time is running out for Maddison to make an impact to Southgate.

Tierney, Lacazette available for Arsenal

Leave a comment

Arsenal are edging closer to finally having a full-strength squad.

Ahead of Monday’s prime-time matchup with Sheffield United, Arsenal manager Unai Emery confirmed that Kieran Tierney was in line to make his Premier League debut, while Alexandre Lacazette was back in full training and should be in the gameday squad.

“Today is Lacazette’s first training back with us,” Emery said in a press conference on Thursday. “He finished it well and he’s feeling well with his injuries. Tomorrow we will be training again and he will be with us. We will decide.

“The most important thing is that first he is training, then secondly it’s whether he can be with us and it depends how he can feel in the next days training with us, whether his ankle is not giving him any more problems.”

This is a huge boost to Arsenal, which has had to rely on some youngsters and have made some lineup changes to accommodate not having Lacazette on the field. Tierney meanwhile could step into a position where there’s already a decent starter, Sead Kolasinac.

Lacazette’s return also couldn’t have come at a better time. In Premier League action, Arsenal’s high-powered offense has been stymied, scoring just two goals in the last two league games. Meanwhile, against weaker defenses in the UEFA Europa League and the Carabao Cup, Arsenal has bagged a total of 12 goals.

The veteran Frenchman has scored two goals in three appearances so far this season, including a big goal just before halftime in the 2-2 draw with Tottenham. However, he suffered a long-term ankle injury in that match that has kept him on the sidelines for more than a month.

“[Tierney is] ready to play,” Emery later said. Now we have two options in that left-back role with Sead Kolasinac and him. We’re going to play a lot of matches after Monday. We will need every player. It depends how he comes into the first training with us, Sead, after his international matches. We now have two players in that position and we can use one on Monday, it depends how they are, one or the other.”

Tierney, the 22-year-old Scottish left back, has made two appearances for the Arsenal first team since recovering from a double hernia operation over the summer. Signed from Celtic for around $32 million, Tierney adds a skill that Kolasinac has struggled with – expert crosser of the ball into the box, where the likes of Lacazette, Nicolas Pepe, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can score when given a decent chance.