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Transfer Roundup: Neymar latest, Jorginho to Juve?

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Will he stay or will he go?

That’s the main question surrounding Neymar this summer. If reports out of France – and there are many – are to be believed, Neymar will have to stay.

[READ: Landon Donovan to lead USL franchise]

Le Parisien reported Wednesday that if Neymar was to leave Paris Saint-Germain this summer, it would cost an insane $337 million (€300 million) in transfer fees. With that price, and UEFA Financial Fair Play rules, it pretty much rules out any club from Europe from signing the Brazilian star. Neymar has recently been linked with a move back to Barcelona, with $112 million and other players reportedly included in a deal from Barcelona to PSG.

There’s so many moving pieces involved in any case. Antoine Griezmann is expected to leave Atletico Madrid, with Barcelona the rumored destination. But if Neymar goes to Barcelona, could Griezmann head to PSG? Meanwhile PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi pretty much called out Neymar for some of his off the field – and on the pitch – antics, likely hurting their relationship.

So while it seems like Neymar – and PSG – may want the relationship to end, PSG won’t miss out on getting its money back.

Here’s more transfer stories from around Europe:


Jorginho to Juventus? 

Jorginho is to Maurizio Sarri like red wine is to a medium-rare steak. They just go great together.

With Sarri moving to Juventus, that raises the question that Jorginho, who moved with Sarri to Chelsea, could move back to Italy this summer. There’s plenty of reasons why it could make sense. Despite playing 56 times for the Blues, including helping lead them to the UEFA Europa League title, he took plenty of criticism from the media and fans for his lack of defensive ability. Fans were also upset with Sarri’s insistence of playing Jorginho at the 6, and not at the 6 or as part of a double pivot with N’Golo Kante. In Premier League games that Chelsea was undone, it was because Jorginho was overrun in midfield.

Jorginho meanwhile could go back to Italy, where he has citizenship, plays for the national team and enjoyed so much success with Napoli.

According to reports out of Italy, Jorginho’s agent said that the player is happy in London, but they would wait and see what happens next from Juventus.

“Chelsea have a four-year contract with the man,” Joao Santos said, via Football Italia. “We’ll wait a few days to figure out whether there is any truth in this interest mentioned in the papers. His past at Napoli won’t be an issue, because Jorginho is a professional. Right now, Jorginho is happy at Chelsea. He found a great atmosphere and we can’t really say that he’d like to go elsewhere, but anything can happen on the transfer market. We’ll wait and see…”

USMNT discuss Pulisic’s best position

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He lined up centrally in the 4-0 win against Guyana on Tuesday, but where is Christian Pulisic‘s best position?

Pulisic made his Gold Cup debut and played 63 minutes of the USMNT’s first competitive game in 616 days, as he is clearly the best attacking player the U.S. have.

But where should he play?

USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter doesn’t seem too sure about that right now, as he spoke to reporters about Pulisic’s role with his national team and how that will differ when he’s at Chelsea in the Premier League this season.

“We’ve been using him more centrally, but I can see him playing out wide because of his explosive pace and ability to get by someone,” Berhalter said. “It will depend on the tactics of the team and what the manager is looking for at Chelsea, but I think he has versatility and our job over this period of time is to continue to bring different things out of him, because we know he is a top talent.”

Simply put, Pulisic can do well anywhere.

But was is his best position? As our own Nick Mendola pointed out in his player ratings for the USMNT’s win versus Guyana game, Pulisic was the most dangerous player on the field for the U.S. as he is pretty much every time he plays for them.

You have to get the right players around him so he can thrive, but in a team like Chelsea he will likely be given a role out wide as he can cut in from the flank, use his pace to get at defenders and then time his runs and passes to perfection from deeper than playing in a central playmakers role.

Pulisic can play centrally, especially for the USMNT against CONCACAF opponents where the pace is slower and his explosive bursts can see him get at oppositions defenders easily.

But we saw him struggle in more central roles against England and Italy in recent USMNT friendlies and his best trait is getting at a player one-on-one then taking them on by cutting inside or out.

The USMNT and Chelsea need to get Pulisic in those kind of positions as often as they can and that means he should play out wide, long-term.

Jose Mourinho to manage USMNT?

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Picture this.

From the Azteca Stadium dugout Jose Mourinho has just launched a water bottle into the home crowd in delight amid a cacophony of jeers after Christian Pulisic‘s last-gasp winner against Mexico sealed qualification to the 2022 World Cup for the U.S. men’s national team.

Now you can wake up. But maybe not…

Mourinho has been speaking to Eleven Sports about his future and said he fancies switching things up a little and becoming a national team manager, and not just for his beloved Portugal.

“I want to compete in new competitions,” Mourinho said. “I think about the World Cup and the European Championships. For a long time I have had the desire to try out such an adventure. Right now, I see myself more at a national team than with a new club. Is Portugal the right team for me? Not necessarily.”

Wow. Okay.

Mourinho’s Portugal have Fernando Santos in charge and he has led them to both the EURO 2016 title and now the UEFA Nations League trophy. So, unless he wants to leave his role, he can pretty much remain in charge of the Portuguese national team for the next few tournaments.

Before we get on to where Mourinho could end up internationally, here’s what he had to say about his future aside from a national team setup.

“Winning a fifth championship in a different country or the Champions League with a third club are things I’d like to do,” Mourinho added. “I wouldn’t do it just for that. I only go where a project convinces me. I want to be happy, not necessarily win, I want to be happy and I don’t want to accept a proposal without being convinced of it, that’s what I’ve always thought. That’s why if [a club] told me ‘today there are no conditions to win, but we want you to create the conditions to win’, then I would evaluate it.”

There have been various rumors about Mourinho heading to clubs like Newcastle and Everton in the Premier League after his time in charge at Manchester United ended last December in dire circumstances, less than three seasons after he took over. It is unlikely he will take a gig outside of Europe’s elite clubs, and many national team jobs appear out of reach for him right now with England, France, Germany, Italy and Portugal all set with their managers

His combustible nature means that club jobs aren’t lasting over three years for Jose right now, so maybe the international arena is the best place for Mourinho for the rest of his career.

He will have less time around players, more time to work on scouting and less day-to-day dealings with the media. Surely these are all good things for Mourinho.

Is the USMNT a serious option? First up, U.S. Soccer would have to considerably push the boat out, financially, to hire him. Secondly, they’ve just hired a coach in Gregg Berhalter with a long-term vision even if things haven’t got off to a great start. And last but not least, would Mourinho want to manage the U.S. men’s national team?

He’s spoken about how he enjoys preseason trips each year to California and how he wants to work in Major League Soccer one day, so there is an interest in working in the USA there.

From U.S. Soccer’s perspective, if Berhalter’s young group fail miserably this summer at the Gold Cup amid a wave of negativity surrounding the team, would it be worth handing the keys over to Jose for a few years to increase interest levels if nothing else?

Not only would his huge global appeal make the USMNT relevant again across the world, his coaching style actually lines up pretty well with what the U.S. have within their pool of players. He can set teams up to defend solidly and hit opponents on the counter or channel attacks through a special playmaker like Pulisic. And, let’s be honest, the USMNT are trying to be something they’re not right now.

Mourinho to the USMNT will probably never happen, but think about it. Mourinho would get the job he wants next, the USMNT would get huge interest levels from across the globe and we would get to see Mourinho in CONCACAF qualifying which he seems ready-made for.

I’m just saying, it all kind of makes sense…

No deal: Willian, Wan-Bissaka bids rejected

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According to Sky Sports Chelsea have reportedly rejected $44 million bids from both Atletico Madrid and Barcelona for their Brazilian winger Willian.

Willian, 29, has just 12 months left on his current contract at Chelsea but given their transfer ban and after losing Eden Hazard to Real Madrid already this summer, the west London club are not willing to lose a player they believe will be key for them next season.

With Pedro and Christian Pulisic also around in the wide midfield positions, the fact that Callum Hudson-Odoi is recovering from a long-term injury also means that Willian is needed at Stamford Bridge.

He turns 30 soon and he has been linked with a move to Barca in the past. That said, his experience and quality will be needed for this young Chelsea squad and with Hazard gone he can now step up and be the main man cutting inside and scoring goals.


Another London club have turned down a bid, as Crystal Palace have brushed aside an offer of $44 million up front plus another $19 million in add-ons from Manchester United for right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

The 21-year-old was Palace’s Player of the Season in 2018-19 and excelled in his first full season as a professional.

Man United are desperate to bolster their defense, with right back and center back key areas where they want to strengthen this summer.

Wan-Bissaka is currently away with the England U21 squad for the European Championships in Italy and Palace know it will be tough to hang on to both him and Wilfried Zaha this summer as the latter has reaffirmed his desire to challenge for trophies and play in the UEFA Champions League.

Sky Sports believe that a straight offer of $65 million would be accepted, and United will likely return to pay what Palace want for one of the most promising right backs in the Premier League.

How does Sarri’s exit impact Chelsea, Pulisic?

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USMNT fans will have been thinking about one thing after Maurizio Sarri left as Chelsea’s manager to take charge of Juventus on Sunday.

How does this impact Christian Pulisic?

Pulisic, 20, signed for Chelsea in January for $73 million and was then loaned back to Borussia Dortmund for the rest of last season. He is now officially a Blues player and even though Sarri was initially a little bemused about the signing, he had recently spoken positively about Pulisic’s arrival.

But now those words do not matter. Sarri is out.

Chelsea legend and a member of their coaching staff, Carlo Cudicini, has also been speaking about the high hopes Chelsea have for Pulisic as they hope he fill the considerable void after Eden Hazard departed for Real Madrid, but it all hinges on who the new manager is.

If, as expected, Chelsea legend Frank Lampard arrives as their new manager in the next few weeks, this could change things drastically for Pulisic at Chelsea.

On the face of it, Pulisic working under Lampard day in, day out would be wonderful for his development. Having one of the best attacking midfielders in history to learn from would be the perfect fit. Who better to teach Pulisic about timing runs into the box and when to shoot and pass in the final third?

But with Lampard and his assistant coach Jody Morris (former U-18 head coach in Chelsea’s academy) eager to give other youngsters from the academy the chance to shine, Pulisic could be the odd man out in some regards.

With a heavy emphasis to play youngsters next season, whoever the manager is, here’s what a Chelsea ‘young XI’ could look like post-Sarri and maybe under Lampard.


Chelsea’s young starting XI, 2019-20 season

—– Kepa —–

— Ampadu — Timori — Rudiger — 

—- James —- Loftus-Cheek —- Mount —- Emerson —-

—- Pulisic —- Abraham —- Hudson-Odoi —-


The team above would have 10 players 24 years old or younger in the starting lineup, with Rudiger the eldest at 26. The lineup above is drastic and leaves out experienced players like Cesar Apzilicueta, David Luiz and N'Golo Kante, Olivier Giroud and Jorginho, but it shows you what the future could look like at Chelsea. Not bad, right?

Of course, Pulisic’s quality on the pitch will be the determining factor of whether or not he plays regularly. But there’s a sense that if Lampard and Morris are in charge, they could favor the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Loftus-Cheek (when they are back fit) in attacking midfield positions over Pulisic. There is also the case that neither Willian or Pedro seem likely to move on this summer now that the transfer ban, barring a last-minute reprieve from the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS), will be confirmed.

Throw in the likes of Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount returning from hugely successful loan spells at Aston Villa and Derby County last season, and there’s even more competition for places in the attacking lineup for Pulisic to get past.

Look, he’s been in this situation before at Borussia Dortmund and handled it pretty well. His quality is undoubted and Chelsea will give him plenty of chances to prove his worth over the next 12 months as they have to work with the squad of players they have and cannot add any new faces.

But Sarri’s possession-based style suited Pulisic’s game well. Now, that will change, and Lampard’s more direct, counter-attacking will take over if he takes charge. Pulisic can certainly launch counters and thrive on the break with his pace, trickery and direct running, but some of Chelsea’s other wide attacking midfielders have more out-and-out pace than he does. That could be a problem for him.

Regardless of what happens with Chelsea’s transfer ban this summer, just look at this lineup below and what is their strongest XI, in our opinion, for next season. Plus, the players they can have on the bench is pretty mind boggling.

Not a bad 35-man roster for a club in the middle of a managerial and transfer crisis…


Chelsea’s strongest possible XI, 2019-20 season

—– Kepa —–

—- Azpilicueta — Rudiger — Luiz — Emerson —-

—– Jorginho —– Kante —-

—- Hudson-Odoi —- Barkley —- Pulisic —-

—– Giroud —–

Rest of the squad
Willy Caballero
Reece James
Davide Zappacosta
Ethan Ampadu
Matt Miazga
Jay Dasilva
Fikayo Timori
Kurt Zouma
Andreas Christensen
Marcos Alonso
Trevoh Chalobah
Tiemoue Bakayoko
Danny Drinkwater
Lewis Baker
Marco Van Ginkel
Charly Musonda
Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Kasey Palmer
Kenedy
Willian
Pedro
Tammy Abraham
Michy Batshuayi
Izzy Brown