Austria

Getty Images

Kevin Danso signs for Southampton

1 Comment

16 hours after the summer transfer window shut, Southampton have their man.

Due to a delay over international clearance and paperwork, Saints had to wait until the morning after the window shut to announce the signing of Austrian international Kevin Danso.

The 20-year-old initially joins on a season-long loan from Bundesliga side Augsburg and Saints have an exclusive option to buy the center back/defensive midfielder next summer.

Born in Austria, Danso moved to England as a youngster and came through the ranks at MK Dons’ academy before moving to Germany. He is happy to be back in the UK.

“I’m delighted to join a club that has produced a lot of great players. I’m ready for the challenge and really excited to get started, and also to get to know the fans and the rest of the lads too,” Danso said. “I’m looking forward to working with such a great coach in Ralph Hasenhuttl as well. He has produced a lot of young players and showed a huge amount of belief in them, so I hope I can be another one who can benefit from him. It’s a great opportunity for me to show what I can do. Southampton is a great club, the manager is a great coach, and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity.”

Danso fits Saints’ needs perfectly. It is believed he will primarily play as a center back and his no-nonsense style of play will strengthen Southampton’s defensive unit. Alongside Jan Bednarek, Janik Vestergaard and Maya Yoshida, he will battle for one of the three center back slots in Saints’ 5-3-2 system.

Hasenhuttl revealed it was imperative Saints strengthened their defense which leaked 65 goals last season.

“We have made some good additions in our attack during the transfer window, with Che Adams and Moussa Djenepo, and, like them, Kevin is another signing that fits our model of being a talented, young player who adds quality to our first-team squad. He will improve our defensive options, so this is an excellent way for us to finish our business,” Hasenhuttl added.

Southampton are moving back to their model of signing young, hungry players and dangling the carrot of regular PL minutes in front of them. We all know that the likes of Sadio Mane, Virgil Van Dijk and Victor Wanyama have gone on to great things after leaving Saints, and Hasenhuttl will be hoping Adams, Djenepo and now Danso can follow in their footsteps.

Overall, a solid window for Southampton was just made a lot better thanks to a much-needed defensive reinforcement.

USMNT drops six more spots in latest FIFA rankings

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
2 Comments

The United States men’s national team has dropped to No. 30 in the world ahead of the 2019 Gold Cup, though we can all admit that feels a bit generous right now.

[ MORE: Gold Cup predictions ]

The Yanks fell six spots in the latest FIFA Rankings, 12 below Mexico and nine ahead of Costa Rica. It’s the biggest drop of any nation in the Top 50, though Greece dropped nine spots to sit 52nd.

The 30 marker is six spots higher than its lowest ranking since the system began in 1993. The Yanks are 39th overall in Elo Ratings.

Belgium remains world No. 1, with France, Brazil, and England next. Portugal climbs into fifth.

Austria (26th) is up 8 spots, Czech Republic (41st) goes up 7 places, and Hungary (42nd) is up 9.

Jesse Marsch to take charge of Red Bull Salzburg

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jesse Marsch has completed the hat trick. He is moving on to his third Red Bull club.

The former New York Red Bulls head coach has spent the 2018-19 season as an assistant at RB Leipzig in the German Bundesliga, and now he is heading to the Austrian Bundesliga to manage Red Bull Salzburg on a three-year contract.

[ MORE: Latest USMNT news ]

Marsch, 45, will take charge of Salzburg from next season and the former U.S. men’s national team and MLS stalwart will have one of the best jobs an American coach has ever had in world soccer.

“I am really pleased and feel honored to be able to work for this fantastic club as their next coach. I will give everything to further continue the extremely successful work here,” Marsch said. “That is going to be a new challenge for me, and I can’t wait for it. I still have a lot to do with RB Leipzig until then to finish the season in the best possible way. I am concentrating completely on that before my new role at FC Red Bull Salzburg starts.”

Sporting Director Christoph Freund added that Salzburg have “followed Marsch’s career and development very closely in recent years” and that they are “completely convinced of him both as a professional and as a person. He knows our philosophy and way of playing football very well.”

There is no doubt that Marsch has landed a very decent job, and the way he transformed the fortunes of the New York Red Bulls in MLS (a Supporters’ Shield and Coach of the Year award in 2015 the highlight) shows he deserves it. His work to develop young players has been particularly impressive, and Salzburg have a record of improving and selling on plenty of talented youngsters such as Sadio Mane and Kevin Kampl. Salzburg’s link with Leipzig is a close one, and if Marsch excels in Austria, there is a strong possibility he could head back to Germany to take charge of Leipzig in the future.

As for Salzburg, they reached the semifinals of the UEFA Europa League last season and the last 16 this season, while they are currently top of the table in Austria and if they win the title they will be in the UEFA Champions League playoff round next season.

Many believed Marsch should have been a leading candidate for the USMNT head coaching job during its recent vacancy, but it always seemed like he was more focused on making waves in club management in Europe.

With this job at Salzburg, he certainly has the chance to do that.

EURO qualifying: Hungary stings Croatia, Israel hangs 4 on Austria

Photo by Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images
Leave a comment

It wasn’t just Germany and the Netherlands staging a tight and entertaining match in EURO 2020 qualifying on Sunday.

[ VIDEO: Saief, Manneh lead FC Cincinnati ]

Hungary 2-1 Croatia

Ante Rebic’s early goal made a “business as usual” statement for the World Cup runners-up, but Hungary can be a handful against any opponents and rallied at home.

Hoffenheim striker Adam Szalai brought the hosts level at halftime, and Mate Patkai gave Hungary a deserved 2-1 win in Budapest.

Coming three days after a loss in Slovakia to start qualifying, it was an early almost-must-win for Marco Rossi’s men.

Israel 4-2 Austria

Marko Arnautovic‘s brace in defeat couldn’t have come with different vibes. His eighth minute marker gave the Austrians a leg up, his 75th minute goal meaning very little with the side having conceded four-straight in between.

China-based striker Eran Zahavi scored a hat trick for Israel, and RB Salzburg star Munas Dabbur scored the fourth goal to keep the hosts within sight of first place Poland.

Austria is winless through two qualifiers.

Elsewhere
Wales 1-0 Slovakia
Cyprus 0-2 Belgium
San Marino 0-2 Scotland
Netherlands 2-3 Germany — RECAP, VIDEO
Northern Ireland 2-1 Belarus
Poland 2-0 Latvia
Slovenia 1-1 Macedonia
Kazakhstan 0-4 Russia

Huge blow for West Ham as Arnautovic out injured

Getty Images
Leave a comment

West Ham United will be without their main man for the busy festive period.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live

Marko Arnautovic suffered a hamstring injury against Cardiff City on Tuesday which will keep him out for at least a month, as the Hammers will have to do without their top goalscorer until January.

Arnautovic, 29, has been a revelation since arriving at the London Stadium from Stoke City in the summer of 2017. From January 2018 onwards he has often lined up as their lone striker, but the Austrian will now spend some time on the sidelines after suffering a few knocks in recent weeks.

“We know how important Marko is for our team,” Pellegrini said. “We have too many players injured in a month that we have to play seven games and then in January, six more games. But I always have the same answer – we have a squad and it is a chance for another player to demonstrate why they are here.”

In recent weeks Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez has grabbed his chance with both hands, as the Mexican star scored twice in the 3-0 win at Newcastle United last weekend. Lucas Perez also scored a brace in West Ham’s 3-1 home win against Cardiff City on Tuesday and if others continue to step up, plus Felipe Anderson continues to create chances galore, the Hammers should be just fine without Arnie.

West Ham are now up to 13th in the table after a slow start under Manuel Pellegrini and have an extremely favorable schedule over the festive season with games against Crystal Palace, Fulham, Watford, Southampton, Burnley and Brighton their next six games coming up.

By the time Arnautovic returns they could well be pushing for a spot in the top eight.