AZ Alkmaar

transfer rumor roundup
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Transfer rumor roundup: Liverpool after Leeds engine, Everton chase AZ mid

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Merseyside is the place to be for Sunday’s transfer rumors.

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Sky Sports reports on a rumor linking Everton with a move for AZ Alkmaar star Teun Koopmeiners for around $15 million.

Koopmeiners, 22, has yet to make his full Netherlands debut but has represented the nation at every level between 17 and 21.

He has 26 goals and 10 assists for AZ in 110 career appearances including a career-best 16 and three in 42 this season.

He went 180 minutes over two matches versus Manchester United in the Europa League, though neither he nor his team registered a goal or assist.

There’s another new target on Merseyside, this time the red side, according to The Birmingham Mail.

Liverpool has entered the race to sign Kalvin Phillips, though the homegrown Leeds United product may want to stay with his boyhood club upon probable promotion to the Premier League.

The price tag is said to be $37 million, with Aston Villa unable to meet the valuation but the Reds capable of doing so.

Phillips, 24, has played almost 3,000 minutes for Leeds this season and is two seasons removed from a seven goals season (He has only two since). He has 11 goals and 10 assists for his career.

Liverpool’s defensive midfield ranks include Fabinho and Jordan Henderson, the latter having the best year of his career, but Phillips has box-to-box capabilities so he could also fit the bill in the Georginio Wijnaldum or Naby Keita roles.

Phillips is having a marvelous year as the engine for Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds, averaging 2.8 interceptions per match along with 1.3 clearances and 1.3 interceptions. Could Leeds hang onto him into the PL, because he fits the Jurgen Klopp bill quite nicely .

Eredivisie cancels 2019-20 season, does not declare champion

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The Dutch top flight has officially announced the cancellation of its 2019-20 season, declaring that no champion will be crowned. The decision comes three days after the Netherlands government banned all sports through September due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The league also announced that there will be no promotion or relegation this season, meaning that teams in danger of the drop – namely ADO Den Haag (managed by Alan Pardew) and RKC Waalwijk – will remain in the top flight, while clubs in the running for promotion such as Cambuur, Volendam, De Graafschap, and NAC Breda will miss out.

The KNVB announced the decision on Friday after a vote by all the clubs in the league. The KNVB also confirmed that increasing the size of the league to 20 teams – essentially, accommodating promotion but not relegation – was not considered as a viable option in the proceedings. In the wake of the government’s decision, teams had announced their reluctant support for the abandonment of the season, with Ajax posting a statement declaring the situation “regrettable” but “inevitable” as “the interest of public health predominates all else.”

The decision not to crown a champion comes with Ajax leading the table on goal difference over AZ Alkmaar, with both teams level on 56 points. Ajax had led the entire way, but all five of their league losses had come from December 6 on, allowing AZ back in the race.

On Thursday, UEFA announced that while they can make special accommodations for leagues that see their hands forced by government decisions, they still strongly advise countries to finish their domestic seasons. UEFA also said that “in an ideal scenario” qualification for the Champions League and Europa League will come “on sporting merit,” leaving the Champions League status of clubs like Ajax and AZ Alkmaar in limbo.

Netherlands won’t have soccer until at least September

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Professional sports and all major events have been banned in the Netherlands through Sept. 1 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

That sound you hear is the bell tolling for the Eredivisie season, though UEFA still has to formalize the move. Dutch clubs are not alive in the Champions League or Europa League, and the nation’s federation says the ruling goes against closed door games, too.

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Ajax and AZ Alkmaar will finish the season with 56 points and Champions League places, while Feyenoord goes to the Europa League. Utrecht and Feyenoord will decide the KNVB Cup at a later date.

The UCL and UEL are going to be messy next year for leagues like the Eredivisie, which have qualifying playoffs.

There are a number of American prospects on top Dutch teams, headlined by USMNT right back Sergino Dest at Ajax (though he’s a man in demand). This list also includes Chris Gloster (PSV Eindhoven), Haji Wright (VVV Venlo), and Desevio Payne (Emmen).

Four-star Manchester United wins Europa League group

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Manchester United is in fine feather and showing it, smashing AZ Alkmaar in a stylish 4-0 win at Old Trafford in Europa League play on Thursday.

Juan Mata had a goal and set up two others, while Mason Greenwood scored twice after Ashley Young opened the scoring in a group-claiming victory.

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United wins the group with 13 points, conceding just twice in six matches.

The Red Devils have won three-straight matches, as AZ joins Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur in the loss column. Up next is a Sunday visit from Everton in the Premier League before Wednesday’s League Cup quarterfinal visit from Colchester United.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer handed starts to James Garner, Brandon Williams, and Axel Tuanzebe, bringing youngsters Ethan Laird and Tahith Chong off the bench.

Greenwood, 18, now has six goals in 22 senior appearances, while Mata, 31, gets on the score sheet for the first time this season.

For his career, the award-winning Spaniard is doing okay, though: 125 goals and 149 assists in 542 senior appearances.

Report shows cause of AZ Alkmaar stadium roof collapse

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) A preliminary report into the collapse of part of the stadium roof at Dutch team AZ Alkmaar says that weld connections failing led to a section of the roof falling onto seats below.

The stadium was not in use at the time of the Aug. 10 collapse and nobody was injured. Top-tier AZ is now playing its home matches at ADO The Hague’s stadium.

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The Dutch Safety Board reported Friday that it also found weaknesses in the part of the stadium roof that remained intact. The board has called on the club to check the structure and strengthen it where necessary.

The club says it will check the welds as part of an ongoing investigation it ordered after the collapse and draw up a recovery plan. The stands will remain closed to the public until safety can be guaranteed.

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