New York City FC is turning to the Scottish Premiership in a bid to improve its attack.
Aberdeen winger Gary Mackay-Steven, 28, is the name in question. The former Fulham and Liverpool youth is out of contract with Aberdeen after the season.
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Mackay-Steven has six goals and two assists in 19 matches, one of the markers come in Europa League qualifying against Burnley.
Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes said NYCFC has reached out to the club, but that Mackay-Steven was unaware of it. From MLSSoccer.com:
“We have been in a fight to get Gary and others to commit for a while now but it is their right to let their contract run down and assess their options. All we’ve asked Gary and his agent is ‘are we still in the running to keep you?’ and they said ‘absolutely’.”
Mackay-Steven would allow Ishmael Tajouri-Shradi to stay on his preferred right side as NYCFC enters the post-David Villa era, although the club has Jesus Medina and Jonathan Lewis under contract as well.
As long as he’s careful near the Hudson in winter, he could do pretty well in MLS. But we’d expect NYCFC to be looking for a center forward who could produce more than Jo Inge Berget‘s four goals and four assists in 24 games last season.
The tale of a pair of Chicago Fire products taking their talents to Scotland has taken an interesting turn.
Steven Gerrard brought Matt Polster and Andrew Gutman to Rangers for a trial in December, and was said to be hopeful of signing both. Polster was reported as the less likely to leave the United States, but is now said to be negotiating with the Glaswegian outfit.
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The same report, from The Athletic’s Paul Tenorio, says Rangers’ bitter rivals at Celtic have pulled into pole position to sweep left back Gutman out from under them.
There’s something interesting here aside from Gutman choosing Celtic over his initial trial club Rangers, two of the fiercest rivals in the world: The 22-year-old Fire academy product isn’t as highly viewed by Chicago as he is by several other MLS sides, Celtic, and the league itself.
From The Athletic:
Sources say the Fire initially offered Gutman a minimum-value contract and that Chicago has been shopping the left back’s homegrown rights within the league. Sources indicate MLS has upped the offer to Gutman in order to try to keep him in the league, and there is interest from multiple teams within MLS. Gutman is mulling both offers, but sources indicate he is leaning toward going overseas with Celtic.
So… it’ll be a little alarming for Fire supporters, an already beleaguered bunch, if Gutman turns out to be a starter for Celtic (or another European club) and Chicago simply offered the minimum to keep him.
Gutman won the MAC Hermann Trophy as the best player in college soccer this season, and left back has been a perennial question for the USMNT. That said, the top-heavy Scottish Premiership may be a physical grind, but isn’t a guarantee to be a better testing ground than Major League Soccer. It’s certainly a better gateway to Europe, though.
Might Jermain Defoe and Tim Weah define the Scottish Premiership title fight?
Okay, okay, maybe that’s a bit rich, but Celtic and Rangers have both added exciting new loan strikers this week.
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Rangers announced a 18-month loan deal with Bournemouth’s Defoe on Sunday, and Celtic confirmed their capture of Paris Saint-Germain and USMNT youngster Tim Weah on Monday.
Weah turns 19 on Feb. 22, and has two goals in six appearances for PSG but is stuck behind Edinson Cavani, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe on the depth chart. He’s eight-times capped with one goal for the United States.
Here’s what Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers had to say about his new forward:
“Timothy’s a young talent who is full international player. He has a long career ahead of him but he has those natural attributes in terms of his pace and technique. He’s hungry too. …
“He has really good qualities technically, and tactically is always improving his game. Physically he’s very good, very fast and is a strong player. He’ll add competition to the squad.”
Celtic is also taking Oliver Burke on loan from West Brom in its bid to win its eighth-straight Scottish top-flight title, and 50th all-time.
Could Jermain Defoe swing the Scottish Premiership title race to the side of the Glasgow Rangers?
Bournemouth announced the veteran striker’s loan on Sunday after weeks of speculation, and manager Steven Gerrard is thrilled to bring the fellow and former English national team striker to the Ibrox Stadium.
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The 36-year-old hasn’t scored in 254 minutes this season, only 21 of which came in the Premier League. He scored four times last season after bagging 30 combined PL goals for Sunderland in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons.
Defoe last place in a league similar to Scotland when he joined Toronto FC in 2014, scoring 11 times in 19 matches for the Reds. Provided he’s not totally lost his game, it could be possible he puts up a similar strike rate for Gerrard’s men.
The majority of Defoe’s 57 caps came during Gerrard’s time with England, so there’s going to be a solid bond there, and his leadership should further help 22-year-old Alfredo Morales find consistency.
Emerson Hyndman is heading back to Bournemouth, but for how long? And might he get playing time for the Premier League club in the immediate future?
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The American midfielder, 22, will not have his loan stint at Hibernian extended by the Scottish outfit, with the BBC saying it’s because his parent club is short on center midfielders.
Only Andrew Surman and Jefferson Lerma are available – and the latter is on the brink of a two-match suspension, having received nine yellow cards in the Premier League.
The Cherries host Watford on Wednesday before entertaining Brighton and Hove Albion for an FA Cup match on Saturday.
Hyndman went on loan to Rangers in 2016-17 before this half-season with Hibs, where he played 19 matches and scored a goal in just over 1,050 minutes.
At Bournemouth last season, he played the 59 minutes in the final match of the Premier League season following 105 minutes in Cup competitions.
He’s twice capped by the USMNT, and will be looking to impress new boss Gregg Berhalter as quickly as possible. A return to Hibs or a loan to another club wouldn’t be a surprise if he can’t earn Bournemouth playing time in the absence of competition.