Haji Wright, a 21-year-old American winger, signed a one-year contract with VVV Venlo on Friday that gives the Dutch club an additional one-year option.
Wright had been with Germany’s Schalke since April 2016 and made his first-team debut last Nov. 24 as an 88th-minute substitute against Nuremberg. He scored on Dec. 19 in a 2-1 loss to Bayer Levekusen, his only goal in seven appearances.
Wright is from Los Angeles and played for the U.S. at the 2015 Under-17 World Cup alongside Christian Pulisic and Tyler Adams. He spent 2015 with the New York Cosmos in the second-tier North American Soccer League and signed with Schalke in March 2016. He was loaned to second-division Sandhausen for 2017-18, scoring once in 15 games.
It takes time for a team to come together, but the stars are aligning to lead Cristiano Ronaldo into a high-profile UEFA Champions League match-up with his former team.
Indeed, Real Madrid and Juventus have had momentous summers already, and Juve’s looks set to become even better with the capture of soccer’s most talked-about transfer teen.
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Matthijs de Ligt has been linked with Barcelona, Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain, and Manchester City amongst others, but the 19-year-old Ajax man now reportedly has his sights set on Turin.
Sky Sports is reporting that De Ligt will become Maurizio Sarri’s first signing at Juventus, joining additions Adrien Rabiot and Aaron Ramsey.
The towering Dutch center back chipped in seven goals in 55 appearances last season, scoring against both Juve and Spurs in the latter stages of the UEFA Champions League.
Juve won the scudetto by 11 points last season, and it’s hard to believe in anyone coming much closer than that next season unless Mario Mandzukic, Ronaldo, and Miralem Pjanic all hit a wall while Rodrigo Betancur, Moise Kean, and De Light (assuming the move happens) all fail to take another step in their careers. Oh, and Joao Cancelo, Paulo Dybala, Alex Sandro, Blaise Matuidi…
One year into FC Cincinnati’s Major League Soccer voyage, it’s added another first to a long line of them: First general manager.
The name is Gerard Nijkamp, who was most notably the director of football at Eredivisie side PEC Zwolle before spending some time in Qatar.
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His resume with the Dutch side is solid, via FCCincinnati.com:
While in Zwolle, Nijkamp guided the club to a semifinal showing in the KNVB Cup (Dutch Cup) his first year, before winning it outright in his second season in 2013-14 and gaining a 2014-15 UEFA Europa League berth. That season they also won the 2014 Johan Cruyff Cup (Dutch Super Cup). While achieving PEC Zwolle’s best-ever Eredivisie finish (sixth) in 2014-15, the club also earned a berth in the Dutch Cup final. The club earned finishes in the top half of the Eredivisie table in 2015-16 (eighth) and 2017-18 (ninth).
Nijkamp’s priority will be finding the club’s next full-time manager, as Yoann Damet has been shepherding the club in an interim role since Alan Kock was fired early this season.
FCC started 2-2-2 but has won just one of its last 10 matches and sits seven points back of a playoff spot.
Alexandre Lacazette could leave Arsenal if the Gunners fail to win a place in the UEFA Champions League.
So says a report out of The London Evening Standard, which notes that Barcelona and Atletico Madrid would be interested in bringing the Frenchman to La Liga.
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Arsenal will participate in next season’s Europa League unless it beats Chelsea in this season UEL Final on May 29 in Baku.
Lacazette, 27, has 19 goals and 13 assists for Arsenal this season and struck up a tremendous partnership with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. He has not played in the Champions League since 2016-17.
Arsenal is being linked with a big attacking target, too, and is said to be intrigued with Ajax boss Marc Overmars comments that Hakim Ziyech will be allowed to leave if his $28 million release clause is met. From The Evening Standard:
“He is in focus because of his achievements in the Champions League. Many big clubs are buzzing around him, We promised Hakim that we would agree if there is a good transfer,” Overmars told the Dutch De Telegraaf newspaper.
Ziyech has played his entire career in the Dutch Eredivisie between Heerenveen, Twente, and Ajax. He has 12 goals in 23 caps for Morocco and scored five times for Ajax in the Champions League to go with 16 league goals.
Our top rumors for Sunday reside on Merseyside.
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Liverpool has “been talking” with Ajax center back Matthijs de Ligt in a bid to set up their back line for a long while.
De Ligt’s been linked with moves to Barcelona and Manchester United amongst others, but Guillem Balague says Liverpool has approached the 19-year-old about its project to bring a first Premier League era title to Anfield.
He has almost 10,000 first team minutes for Ajax despite not turning 20 until August. De Ligt has 15 caps for the Netherlands national team, scoring once, and pairing with Virgil Van Dijk could not only help his continued growth but would also give Liverpool one of the best center back pairings in the world.
Ajax will be rubbing its hands together in anticipation of a proper bidding war as the fight for De Ligt may last for some time.
Jordan Pickford is still Everton’s No. 1, but the Toffees will have insurance should the England keeper dip in form or go adventuring again.
That’s thanks to Huddersfield Town’s release of Jonas Lossl, who was outstanding in 2017-18 and just a bit less so this season as the Terriers were unable to keep their Premier League status.
The 30-year-old would take the place of former Fulham backstop Maarten Stekelenburg, who Sky Sports says is expected to leave the Goodison Park set this summer.