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Ex-Newcastle winger Solano detained for breaking coronavirus curfew

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Former Newcastle, Aston Villa and West Ham winger Nolberto Solano was briefly detained by police in Peru after breaking the nation’s coronavirus curfew.

Solano told Peruvian national radio station RPP that he was invited to a friend’s home for a meal and it went on longer than expected.

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“Those who know me know that I have tried to handle myself in the best way,” Solano said. “I went to a lunch and end up in a situation like the one at night that was not a party, it was just a meeting, a lunch that I was invited by a friend who we always visited. Obviously I am very sorry for all this and I apologize for the case.

“I am not going to justify it, the whole country is in the same situation, one puts oneself in the shoes of people who must live day by day, it is very hard for them, but the most important thing is, health, without that we can not do anything.”

Peru’s government on March 18 announced a curfew from 8:00 p.m. local to 5:00 a.m. local to cut down on the spread of the coronavirus.

Solano is currently an assistant coach for Peru, working with head coach Ricardo Gareca. Solano earned 95 caps for Peru, though he was not able to lead them to the World Cup despite his talent and speed along the wing.

The 45-year-old came up with Peruvian club Sporting Cristal and later played for Boca Juniors before getting snapped up by Newcastle. Solano played eight seasons with Newcastle, wowing the crowds with his athleticism between 1998-2004 and again from 2005-2007. Solano played all over England, featuring for Aston Villa, West Ham, Leicester City, Hull City, and Hartlepool United. Since his playing days, Solano served short spells as a manager, first for Peruvian giant Universitario and then for Jose Galvez. Randomly, he coached a Canadian semi-pro team for a few months in 2014 before it lost its license.

Overall, Solano played 302 Premier League games with 49 goals and 62 assists.

American group GACP unlikely to purchase Newcastle

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Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley continues to keep the club in the shop window over a potential sale, but it looks as though one American ownership group won’t be able to seal the deal, despite some recent media speculation.

General American Capital Partners CEO and Chairman Joseph DaGrosa confirmed in an interview with Pro Soccer Talk that despite positive talks between his group and Newcastle, a deal to purchase the Premier League club was looking unlikely as of press time. Although DaGrosa didn’t mention a specific reason, it’s likely that Ashley’s high valuation, or a lack of capital partners to help leverage the sale, have meant Ashley will continue to be looking for a new steward for the club.

“I can certainly confirm interest,” DaGrosa said in a phone interview. “I will confirm that I’ve had conversations with Mike Ashley’s top representative. I would describe those conversations as very positive. I would say Mike Ashley and his team are a lot easier and a lot friendlier and business savvy than anyone gives them credit for. We’re still talking. I’m not sure we’re going to reach an agreement, but that’s certainly not because of either side’s intractability or unwillingness to move forward.”

The news is a bit of a blow to Newcastle fans, who again were hoping that this holiday season would bring them relief from the Ashley ownership group. Ironically, Newcastle is having its best season in years, and currently sits in 9th place in the table with 25 points from 18 matches.

It was thought that recent events could have sped up a purchase for Newcastle from GACP Sports. On December 16, Bordeaux announced that GACP Sports had sold its stake in the club from King Street Capital Management, just 18 months after helping lead the takeover of the Ligue 1 club. According to DaGrosa, the departure was over a difference in management styles between King Street and his group.

“As we publicly announced, it was really based on irreconcilable differences with the management and operations of the club,” DaGrosa said. “We thought it was in the best interest of the club and the fans to part ways. Both sides, GACP and King Street recognized that having that much uncertainty as to how the club was going to be run going forward wasn’t in anyone’s interest, so we decided that we would do our best to part ways amicably, which we’ve done, and I certainly wish the team nothing but success going forward.”

DaGrosa lauded his business partner Hugo Varela’s work behind the scenes, making hires at coach and academy levels to turn around Bordeaux’s fortunes this season. After finishing 14th last year, Bordeaux is currently in the top ten. The on-field success would have been enticing to Newcastle fans who are desperate for some serious investment in the playing squad and coaching staff.

Even with GACP Sports gone from Bordeaux and unlikely to take over Newcastle, DaGrosa hinted they’ll be back in soccer ownership sooner rather than later.

“In terms of our other plans, we’ve maintained all along we want to be players in sports, particularly soccer, and we’re looking not only in Europe but in South America right now,” DaGrosa said. “Negotiations are going on right now with a couple of clubs, and I think the best is yet to come for GACP Sports.”

What Bordeaux sale means for Newcastle

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An American owner linked with a takeover at Newcastle United now suddenly has time, and plenty of cash available.

Bordeaux announced that majority owner King Street Capital Management had bought out the stake of American Joe DaGrosa and his group, General American Capital Partners.  DaGrosa had been the president of Bordeaux since helping purchase the club in 2018 through October 2019, but after weeks of rumors for a potential Newcastle purchase, DaGrosa has been bought out. Frederic Longuepee, who was elected club president in October, was named President and CEO by King Street Capital Management on Monday.

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According to reports in France, there were tensions between King Street and DaGrosa on how much the club would spend to improve the squad, which is currently skewed very young and as such, is in seventh place in Ligue 1, outside the European places.

On the plus side, now there should be plenty of time, and rumors, of conversations between DaGrosa and Peter Kenyon, who is reportedly leading negotiations between Newcastle owner Mike Ashley and potential buyers.

Of course, Newcastle has been reportedly on the verge of gaining new ownership around this time in each of the last few years, only for the deals to fall through at the last minute. It’s safe to say that this is one to watch, but it’s no guarantee.

Should DaGrosa purchase Newcastle, he’d be the latest American to get into English soccer ownership. Americans currently have majority ownership of Liverpool, Manchester United, and Arsenal in the Premier League.

USMNT notes: Robinson moves to Wigan, and more

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It’s been a busy day of U.S. Men’s National Team related news, from Tyler Boyd signing with Besiktas to U.S. Soccer announcing a friendly match with Mexico in September at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Here’s everything else you may have missed today relating to the USMNT and Americans Abroad.


Robinson joins Wigan in permanent transfer

Antonee Robinson is heading back to the Championship, but this time, he won’t be heading back to Everton at the end of the season.

Robinson on Monday completed a permanent transfer to Wigan. where he spent last season and helped the club avoid relegation. Robinson has signed a three-year contract and he joined for a reported $2.5 million transfer fee, per Wigan Today. He battled injuries to make 26 appearances in all competitions.

Robinson, born in England to an American father and British mother, came up in Everton’s Finch Farm academy but never broke through to make a first team appearance. Instead, he spent time in the lower levels on loan to Bolton and then Wigan. With Everton’s signing last year of Lucas Digne, the left back spot is locked up for quite a while, leaving Robinson second-choice and in search of first team minutes again.

For the USMNT, Robinson made his debut in the 3-0 win over Bolivia in late May, 2018, and has gone on to make seven appearances for the senior team, including a start against Jamaica, though it didn’t go well in a 1-0 defeat at home. Robinson was on the 40-man provisional Gold Cup roster for coach Gregg Berhalter and he also took part in a European-based training camp for the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team as the team starts preparing for Olympic qualifying, which will likely take place later this year.

Robinson will likely play a key role in helping the U.S. make it to their first Olympics since 2008 in Beijing.


Reyna heading to USA with Borussia Dortmund

Claudio Reyna’s son Giovanni Reyna is off to a strong start after officially being announced as a signing by Borussia Dortmund. Whether for marketing reasons or sporting reasons, Reyna was one of the 26 players to make the flight to Seattle as Dortmund takes some preseason action in the U.S.

BVB will face the Seattle Sounders in Seattle on Thursday before heading to take on Liverpool in South Bend, Indiana on Saturday.

It’s a quick burst in the U.S., but perhaps Reyna can get a few minutes of action in his home nation before heading back to Germany to try and see if he can break into the squad.


Scott set for Newcastle? 

British-born American midfielder Kyle Scott appears that he will still be on the books at a Premier League club next season.

According to multiple reports, including the Newcastle Chronicle, Newcastle FC is interested in signing Scott, thanks to a reported recommendation from former coach Rafa Benitez. Scott, 21, has spent the past 12 years in Chelsea’s academy and reserves, but he’s hardly sniffed a match, at least for the first team. He spent some time on loan with Dutch second-division side Telstar last year, but it wasn’t declared permanent.

Now, having been let go by Chelsea, Scott is looking for a new club. It’s unclear, however, considering his lack of first team experience, if he’d be able to step into the lineup at Newcastle and really make a difference so soon.

In the past, Scott has appeared for the U.S. Under-18s and U-20s. Perhaps some regular playing time in the Premier League can get him into the senior national team.

Report: Discussions being held between Newcastle and Bruce

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If talks go well, Newcastle could bring a life-long fan of the club in as its new manager.

Steve Bruce confirmed on Saturday after a Sheffield Wednesday friendly match in Portugal that talks are being held between he and Newcastle over the club’s open managerial position. Newcastle has been without a manager since June 25 when Rafa Benitez left the club due to a difference in opinion between he and Newcastle owner Mike Ashley.

[READ: Pogba refuses to discuss transfer rumors]

“It’s in the hands of the clubs,” Bruce told BBC Sheffield, via the BBC website. “It’s come from nowhere over the last two or three days, so let’s see what the weekend brings. It’s happened so quickly that I’ve got to take stock of the whole situation. We’ll see what develops over the next 24 to 48 hours.”

It’s an interesting development for Newcastle, but it would always be difficult for them to replace a manager as good as Benitez with another one with his experience and man management. With Newcastle constantly on the verge of being sold it’s a tough job for any manager, which likely won’t get the backing from the front office they need to succeed.

As such, perhaps it makes sense that the only manager Newcastle is going for is one who was born nearby and is a long-time fan. Bruce once managed Sunderland in the Premier League but blamed his firing mid-season in 2011 on tribal hatred from Sunderland fans who wouldn’t let an “outsider” into the club.

By hiring Bruce, who hasn’t coached in the Premier League since taking Hull City up in 2013 and down in 2015, Newcastle could also be looking to try and win over the fans first, who may be disenfranchised by Benitez leaving, and the fans could potentially give the manager some slack if it’s another season without a top-ten finish.