Birmingham City

Messi new contract
Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Transfer news: Bellingham to Dortmund, Messi will have out-clause(s)

Leave a comment

Monday’s transfer rumor mill involves a one-club Ballon d’Or winner likely not going anywhere, as well as a few players possible finding new homes.

[ RECAP: Man City 5-0 Burnley ]

We’ll start with the former, as Lionel Messi’s new Barcelona deal looks close to being inked for three years, with a hitch.


Messi (back) to Barcelona

Lionel Messi’s new contract with Barcelona could keep him with the La Liga side through the 2022-23 season.

The world’s best player is reportedly close to signing a new three-year deal with Barcelona that will give him the chance to exit the deal after every season.

So, yeah, that doesn’t exactly feel like a multi-year deal inasmuch as the privilege given to one of the greatest to ever strap on a pair of boots in any uniform.

From Marca:

This term is non-negotiable for Messi as he doesn’t want to be tied down to a contract, and wants to be able to decide at the end of every season whether or not he is physically fit to continue competing at the top level, and for this reason there will always be a clause allowing him to leave if he sees it appropriate.

Messi has discussed playing for boyhood club Newell’s Old Boys and Americans fans have dreamed of a possible MLS move.

Those would be options if Messi opted to leave Barcelona, because he doesn’t seem the type to skitter away to another European address. And there’s precedence within Barca’s quasi- one club set of his generation, as players like Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez have left for lesser leagues and Carles Puyol retired as a one-club man.

The 32-year-old Messi is having another sensational year and is one goal away from 700 for his career between Barcelona and Argentina.

Meunier to Dortmund
Bellingham to Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund have won the race to add one of the world’s premier free agents, according to Sky Sports Germany. They’ll also scoop up a sought-after British talent, too, says the BBC.

Thomas Meunier will leave Paris Saint-Germain for the club it knocked out of the Champions League, agreeing to a four-year deal with BVB.

Meunier had been linked with Tottenham amongst other destinations but has found favor with the Bundesliga runners-up.

The 28-year-old Belgian right back has been with PSG since 2016 when he came from Club Brugge. Meunier has been capped 40 times by Belgium, scoring seven goals.

[ MORE: Police investigate ‘White Lives Matter’ banner ]

As for the young Belgian, the BBC says BVB has won the race to sign Jude Bellingham of Birmingham City.

Still 16 for one more week, Bellingham is said to cost approximately $25 million and has been chased by Manchester United and others for some time.

But it’s BVB’s track record with young players including fellow English youngster Jadon Sancho that may win the day with Bellingham.

The center midfielder has played 36 times for the Blues, scoring four times with three assists.

Live, FA Cup: Liverpool v. Shrewsbury headlines 4th round replays

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The FA Cup fourth round replays are here as two Premier League teams are in action on Tuesday with the youngest Liverpool starting XI in history hosting Shrewsbury the headline act as Jurgen Klopp decided to give himself and his first team time off during the winter break.

[ LIVE: All the FA Cup scores here

Liverpool are using their U23 side against third-tier Shrewsbury, Newcastle United travel to third-tier Oxford United, Cardiff host Reading and Birmingham host Coventry and Derby County host Northampton Town.

The winner of Liverpool against Shrewsbury will travel to Chelsea in the fifth round, as Neil Critchley will manage these kids once again as they knocked out Everton in the last round with Klopp as the coach. Why can’t they beat Shrewsbury? 19-year-old Curtis Jones captains Liverpool, while the likes of Harvey Elliott, Sepp van den Berg and Ki-Jana Hoever all start. The average age of the Liverpool team is 19 years and 102 days.

Shrewsbury manager Sam Ricketts has complained about Klopp’s decision to give his first team a break and that it has cost the third-tier club around $650,000 but this is a great chance for the Shrews to reach the last 16 of the competition and get a payday at Chelsea in round five.

Below is the schedule for Tuesday’s game in full, while you can follow all of the action live by clicking on the link above.

All games kick off at 2:45 p.m. ET unless otherwise stated.


TUESDAY

Liverpool v. Shrewsbury
Cardiff City v. Reading
Birmingham City v. Coventry City 
Derby County v. Northampton Town
Oxford United v. Newcastle United – 3:05 p.m. ET

Transfer rumor roundup: Man Utd eyes $32M teen phenom; Bruno Fernandes latest

Transfer rumor roundup Manchester United
Clint Hughes/EMPICS/PA Images via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Friday reports claimed Bruno Fernandes may be in the stands as a Manchester United player as soon as Sunday’s match with Liverpool.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Then came claims that Sporting Lisbon had waffled on either price of payment plan for their megastar midfielder, throwing the deal back in the balance.

Sky Sports says the deal is far from dead, with Fernandes “desperate” to make the move to Old Trafford, one made by countrymen Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani before him.

Still, it’s all a bit wild after Friday, where United fans watched the Lisbon Derby just hoping for the player’s healthy passage in what was largely viewed as a farewell to the fans.

It still may be, but nothing’s coming easy for the Red Devils these days.

The Times claims that United is making a big investment in its long-term future with more than $30 million in the offing for a 16-year-old Championship star.

There would reportedly be an 18-month loan back to Birmingham City for Jude Bellingham, whose Championship side is lagging near the bottom of the table.

Bellingham doesn’t turn 17 until the summer and has already rung up 25 senior appearances with four goals and an assist for the Blues.

United’s Sunday rivals Liverpool are also eyeing a youngster, albeit one with less first team experience.

Pedro Brazao of Nice is 17 years old and being tracked by plenty of teams, according to RMC Sport, with Liverpool joining the fray.

The Portuguese youth international made his Ligue 1 debut off the bench in April, but has yet to hit the pitch this season. Nice isn’t exactly channeling goals, either, but Brazao is an exciting prospect.  Chalk this one as one for the future.

Southampton formally adds strikers Adams, Ings

Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Southampton’s strike force officially got much stronger on Monday.

The club announced its capture of Birmingham City forward Che Adams on a reported $19 million deal, and formalized the addition of hometown boy Danny Ings after a loan at St. Mary’s last season.

[ MORE: USWNT-England preview ]

Adams delivered on his promise to the tune of 22 goals and five assists in the Championship last season. He turns 23 on July 13.

Ings, still just 26, signs on for a reported $26 million. The deal runs through 2022 after joining from Liverpool last season, when he produced eight goals and three assists in around 1750 minutes.

The move comes weeks after the club added winger Moussa Djenepo, who was on the same UEFA Golden Boy list with Christian Pulisic. Here’s Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, via the club’s official web site.

“I am delighted to have signed Che and Moussa ahead of the start of pre-season. They are both young, dynamic players with the level of enthusiasm and hunger we are looking for that can help us improve as a team.”

When healthy, Ings is a specimen. He had 11 goals and four assists in his only complete Premier League season, a season after scoring 21 and 7 in the Championship.

Redknapp claims innocence for Birmingham’s overspending, deduction

Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Harry Redknapp claims that he is not at all responsible for the nine-point recently handed to Birmingham City as punishment for “breaching profitability and sustainability rules” in the EFL Championship.

[ MORE: Mourinho “preparing” for next job; expects to start “in June” ]

Despite managing the club for five months, from April to September 2017 — a period in which the Blues signed nine new players (six for transfer fees, three on free transfers) and saw the overall wage bill continue to rise — Redknapp has washed his hands of the entire situation and believes “I don’t think any of the signings were mine” — quotes from the Guardian:

“There were three lads from Brentford that came in [Jota, Harlee Dean and Maxime Colin]. They were all good players but they weren’t on my shopping list. I’d never even see any of them play, they were brought in by other people above my head.

“We brought in Isaac Vassell for $1.3 million [from Luton] and he will be worth massive money in my opinion. He was an absolute bargain, but I can’t even take credit for that because he was nothing to do with me, to be truthful. I don’t think any of the signings were mine. I was taking [John] Ruddy on a free transfer from Norwich and instead they brought in David Stockdale from Brighton. The director of football [Jeff Vetere] wasn’t brought in by me either.”

Only, with regard to the signing of Spanish midfielder Jota, Redknapp had the following to say hours before his signing was made official, per Guardian columnist Daniel Taylor:

“I’m hoping it will be done. It’s not done yet. I just identify them, then it’s up to other people to get them in.”

[thinking-face emoji slash upside down smiling emoji]

While Redknapp is hugely disingenuous in accepting zero responsibility, those in charge of the various clubs at which he has run up massive debts managed could try something entirely new: tell the man, “No.”