Jurgen Locadia

Siem de Jong
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FC Cincinnati adds Ajax midfielder Siem de Jong

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FC Cincinnati got a much-needed bit of good news toward the end of a rough week in Southern Ohio.

Longtime Ajax attacker Siem De Jong has joined a talented FCC attack ahead of the club’s second MLS season.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

De Jong, 31, came up through Ajax’s vaunted academy before transferring to Newcastle United, where he suffered through a series of miserable injuries including two collapsed lungs in 18 months.

He’s been capped six times with two goals for the Netherlands in his career and will join a revitalized Cincinnati attack with Jurgen Locadia and Yuya Kubo.

“The system they want to play is quite similar to the Dutch system, and yeah, Ajax is probably one of the team’s that perfected it,” de Jong said. “Over the years I played there, I’ve learned a lot about this similar philosophy and trying to build up from the back in the Dutch style of play. That was one of the reasons why FC Cincinnati was a good fit for me. Hopefully I can help with the experience I’ve had over the years playing this style of football.”

De Jong scored three times in nine matches this season for Ajax, all of the goals coming in a cup match against third-tier Spakenburg. His other eight matches combined for just 118 minutes.

He may not be with FCC when the season starts as he waits on visa approval.

Locadia arrives in Cincinnati ahead of MLS move

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It appears that Jurgen Locadia‘s reported move to FC Cincinnati is on the verge of becoming a reality.

Once Brighton and Hove Albion’s record signing in 2018, the Dutchman is now two years later on the move again, but this time to MLS. It’s a massive coup for FC Cincinnati, now heading into its second year in the league, and gives the team another attacking threat after finishing at the bottom of the Eastern Conference in year one.

Locadia was photographed arriving at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport on Sunday afternoon, with a physical and contract signing expected to come on Monday.

At just 26-years-old, the former Netherlands youth international is coming to Cincinnati in the prime of his career. It’s no doubt a disappointment for him on a personal level that the move to the Premier League didn’t work out. In 43 appearances, he had just four goals and two assists, but the star seemed so bright around the festive period in 2018, when he scored in back to back games against Arsenal and Everton. Brighton spent a reported club-record $18 million on him in January 2018.

However, new Brighton coach Graham Potter decided not to keep Locadia going forward, and he left the club to go on loan to Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga. Now though, it appears to be time for another change, and a chance for a fresh start on a new continent for Locadia.

Reports out of Cincinnati state that Locadia’s fee to MLS is undisclosed, but you’d expect that it will cost in the millions to let Locadia out of his contract with the club.

Manchester United seals surprising loan for Odion Ighalo

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Some surprising moves catch your eye in a, “Wow! What a capture!” way. See FC Cincinnati possibly luring Jurgen Locadia away from Brighton.

Others, not as much.

On the surface, Odion Ighalo‘s reported loan move to Manchester United sits firmly in the latter category.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

The 30-year-old is available due to the coronavirus-inspired suspension to the start of the Chinese Super League season, and supported United as a youngster.

Sky Sports says the move includes an option to buy.

Ighalo has lit up the CSL in his three seasons between Changchun Yatai and Shanghai Shenhua, and has 16- and 20-goal Premier League seasons on his resume.

He’s also scored sixteen times in 35 caps for Nigeria, including five in this summer’s Africa Cup of Nations.

So there’s reason to believe he can still perform at the PL level, even given his poor final half-season at Watford.

Maybe this comes down to the change in perception at Manchester United. Is it a new normal or a temporary normal to see one of the world’s richest and powerful clubs unable to buy a striker?

It mahy sound silly for United to chase Ighalo’s signature, but they need a striker and Ighalo has been regularly bagging goals. It’s been less than a half-decade since he scored 20 in the league.

Maybe it’s not so insane?

Watch our transfer deadline day show from 6-8 p.m. ET on Jan. 31, live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com.

FC Cincinnati reportedly lands ex-Brighton record signing Locadia

Jurgen Locadia MLS
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Jurgen Locadia was Brighton and Hove Albion’s record signing just over two years ago, and now he might be coming to Major League Soccer.

FC Cincinnati would be the destination, according to reports, in a massive coup for the Ohio club.

The Dutch playmaker managed just six goals and two assists in 43 appearances for Brighton, but has four goals and an assist on loan to Hoffenheim this season.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Big MLS signings have often fallen into young players on the come up and players on the back end of their careers, but this is a powerful attacker very much in his prime (26).

The report doesn’t specify whether it would be a loan or permanent deal, but the ex-PSV star would be an almost surefire gamebreaker for FCC.

It was a mere 13 months ago that Locadia was scoring in back-to-back games versus Arsenal and Everton. There’s a surreal feeling to this report, and it would be a real show of power from MLS and FCC.

Love this signing. Make it happen. It’s record-threatening good.

Watch our transfer deadline day show from 6-8 p.m. ET on Jan. 31, live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com.

Report: Newcastle United tracking Atlanta United’s Martinez

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A report out of Newcastle says the Magpies may be returning to Atlanta United’s ranks for a January transfer swoop.

MLS record goal scorer Josef Martinez is the name mentioned as among Newcastle’s targets, though journalist Lee Ryder says there may be trepidation given Miguel Almiron’s failure to find goals at St. James’ Park.

[ MORE: Hex watch sees Canada move closer ]

Martinez, 26, scored twice more Wednesday evening for the Five Stripes, including a sensational solo goal. He has scored in 15-straight league matches and is five goals away from matching his MLS single season record set last season.

Atlanta signed Martinez through the 2023 season. Transfermarkt puts his market value around $11 million, comparing him with players like Jurgen Locadia, Yoshinori Muto, and Manolo Gabbiadini.

Newcastle broke its transfer record to land Almiron last season, then smashed it sign Joelinton from Hoffenheim in August. The Magpies have also splashed cash on Allan Saint-Maximin and there’s a clear focus on upgrading the attack.

Maybe the Magpies would view the move as a bargain which could help Almiron get back to his form of last season, but it seems there would be numerous hurdles to clear before a firm bid would be made for Martinez. If Saint-Maximin or Almiron finds form, would there be room for Martinez running underneath Joelinton? Or maybe we’re wrong and Mike Ashley is ready to spend to provide adequate depth?

Lots of questions here.