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Hull City’s Diomande reunites with Bradley in LA (video)

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Adama Diomande is reuniting with the coach who helmed his most successful professional season.

“Adama is a quality goalscorer who brings the experience of playing at a high level in Europe,” said LAFC head coach Bob Bradley. “We believe he will have a strong impact in MLS.”

The Hull City man scored 25 goals in 26 matches for Stabaek when Bradley was the manager in 2015, earning a move to the English side. While at Hull, Diomande scored seven goals in 64 matches between the Premier League and Championship.

He joins fellow transfer deadline day acquisition Lee Nguyen in bolstering an LAFC attack with Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi. The signing comes on the same day that Costa Rican star Marco Urena was lost indefinitely with a facial injury.

Is this an all excuse to show Diomande’s amazing bicycle kick built for two goal with Abel Hernandez from Premier League Opening Day last season?

I’m not saying we’re silently nodding over here, but…

Bradley works miracle, leads Stabaek to European qualification

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Bob Bradly is a miracle worker. And that is probably an understatement.

On Sunday he led Norwegian minnows Stabaek to European qualification, as De blaa beat Start 3-2 to guarantee at least a third-placed finish in the Norwegian top-flight.

[ MORE: Ronaldo drops exit hint ]

Reaching the Europa League is an incredible achievement for Bradley and his talented backroom staff — which include Tomasz Kaczmarek and Jan Peder Jalland as coaches and sporting director Andre Inge Olsen — given the limited resources available to him at Stabaek and with his contract up in the next few weeks, it caps off a wonderful two years since he left the Egyptian national team and arrived as the first American coach to ever manage in a top-flight league in Europe.

Bradley, 57, told PST in September that he isn’t sure what the future holds and despite Stabaek holding talks with him about a new deal, it is widely believed the former U.S. national team head coach will now move on to his next challenge. He has been linked with many jobs in Norway, England, Germany and France in recent months, the most intriguing of which seems to be Le Harve in Ligue 2. However things pan out, Bradley has helped the profile of American coaches grow in Europe as his exploits in Norway have not gone unnoticed.

[ SPORTSWORLD: JPW visits Bradley in Norway ]

ICYMI, last summer I took a trip to Norway and followed Bradley and his team around at their modest home at Nadderud Stadion as well as on a road trip to play Norwegian powerhouses Rosenborg. Read all about that here on NBC SportsWorld. In Norway he has been lauded as the “greatest manager there has ever been” in the top-flight as well as often appearing on national TV, speaking at national coaching conferences and becoming a benchmark for managing at a time when the nation has seen an upsurge in success both domestically and with the national team.

Heading into their final game of the season the situation is simple for Stabaek. If they beat Bodø/Glimt and Stromsgodset lose or draw against Vålerenga, they will finish in second place and grab the silver medal as the runners up. When it comes to European qualification, finishing in second spot also has a big advantage over finishing in third. Whoever finishes second in the Tippeligaen qualifies for the second round of Europa League qualifying for the 2016-17 season, while the third place team has to start in the first round of qualifying.

[ MORE: Bradley chats success at Stabaek ]

Not much of a difference, but still, a second place finish means only three home and home ties would have to be won to reach the group stages of the Europa League instead of four if Stabaek was to finish in third. Stabaek last qualified for the Europa League in three successive years from 2009-13 but lost in the qualifying rounds on each occasion. The closest they came to making the group stage was in 2009-10 when they lost to Spanish giants Valencia 7-1 on aggregate in the play-off round. The Baerum side also reached the third qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League in the same season but that run of three-straight runs to Europe came amid a huge cash injection into the squad which was unsustainable and ultimately led to Stabaek almost going bankrupt, plus their eventual relegation to the second-tier of Norwegian soccer.

[ MORE: Tracking Bradley’s Norwegian adventure ]

Bradley’s achievements over the past few years usurp those previous qualifications to Europe Stabaek had. No doubt. The New Jersey native took charge of the club on a shoestring budget in early 2014 just after they had been promoted back to Tippeligaen and in each of the last two years Stabaek have been tipped for relegation. Under Bradley’s stewardship they finished an impressive ninth last season — despite losing several players to bigger clubs and having to get creative with the transfer market with extremely limited resources — after leading the way in the early months. This season they overcame a complete roster overhaul, and endured similar issues with losing key players mid-season, to fight tooth and nail with giants Rosenborg for the title as well as reaching the semifinal of the Norwegian cup in both campaigns.

The first-ever American to coach in a European top-flight has exceeded all expectations and he should be lauded and applauded for doing so. Whether he stays with Stabaek or moves onto the next challenge, we will have to wait and see. Whatever happens, Bradley’s achievements at Stabaek have been nothing short of astounding.

Report: Ligue 2 side wants ex-USMNT boss Bradley

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Having achieved a great deal in Norway, could Bob Bradley be ready to try his hand in France?

Ligue 2 side Le Havre is owned by American businessman Vincent Volpe, and the web site France Football says Volpe very much wants to bring Bradley to his club.

The former USMNT coach is currently on the precipice of European qualification for Stabaek, and previously spent time leading the Egyptian national team.

[ MORE: Lalas stokes USMNT with Arena coaching interest Tweet ]

The French club was last in Ligue 1 for a single-season, in 2009, and is better known for its youth ranks, and perhaps Bradley would relish the chance to work with the next Paul Pogba, Charles N'Zogbia or Jean-Alain Boumsong.

Loosely translated from France Football:

Currently working Norway at Stabaek, the U.S. coach is very tempted by this experience in France. Bradley is a francophile. …

The HAC also surveyed Jean-Luc Vasseur, former technician Creteil and Reims, which might be a fallback. But the goal of Vincent Volpe, which holds 90% of the club dean and must inject 10 million euros by 2017 in order to rise to the L1, is to attract prestigious compatriot.

Le Havre is 12th, six points ahead of the drop and six points behind the promotion pace. Is France’s second-flight a step up from Norway’s top group? Maybe not, though it’s intriguing only for the chance at promotion and a Ligue 1 job.

We have no doubt that Bradley will be an in-demand coach once the Norwegian season ends in three weeks, especially if he clinches a spot in Europe for tiny Stabaek (If you haven’t read JPW’s piece on Bradley and Stabaek, do so ASAP).

It feels safe to assume Bradley’s Stabaek adventure will be over after two years, and he could be considered for any European job opening over the course of this long season.

Sunderland yet to make approach for Bob Bradley

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Former U.S. national team head coach Bob Bradley has emerged as one of the front-runners to take over at Premier League side Sunderland.

However, ProSoccerTalk can confirm that Sunderland have yet to make an approach to his current club, Stabaek, about talking to Bradley, 57, about their vacant managerial positions. But the American coach — who has also been linked with taking over at Norwegian giants Molde — is currently able to speak with other clubs himself as his contract runs out in November.

If Bradley does end up at Stadium of Light, he will become the first American to manage in the Premier League.

[ MORE: Chelsea statement on Mourinho ]

Bradley has led tiny Norwegian outfit Stabaek to second place in the Tippeligaen with four games of the 2015 season remaining, and the former Chicago Fire, New York MetroStars, USMNT and Egypt head coach has worked wonders in just his second season in charge of the modest club in Oslo’s suburbs who were only promoted to Norway’s top-flight for the 2014 campaign.

His current deal runs out at Stabaek in the coming months, with Bradley telling ProSoccerTalk last month that the club believes there “needs to be an opportunity at a higher league” for Bradley and it is clear Stabaek wouldn’t stand in his way if this move came to fruition and he had to leave his role early. He also added that “when we get to the end of the year we will size up everything and figure it out.”

[ SPORTSWORLD: Bradley’s Norwegian journey – “That’s Football” ]

That suggests that the man who led the U.S. to the Confederations Cup final in 2009 and the World Cup last 16 in 2010 may well see out the final four games of the season at Stabaek, which would mean he wouldn’t arrive at Sunderland until November 8 at the earliest. That’s unlikely to happen but with Rosenborg eight points clear of Stabaek at the top of the Tippeligaen with four games to go, results in the next matchday could mean Stabaek’s title hopes will be over on October 17. If that is the case, Bradley will still likely want to stick around and finish his two-year project with European qualification but the lure of a move to manage in the world’s most recognizable league could be too much of a pull.

Other candidates for the Sunderland job include former Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson and Sam Allardyce who are the joint favorites ahead of Bradley, plus Burnley manager Sean Dyche is also being linked with the role. Harry Redknapp has ruled himself out of taking the job, while Pearson and Allardyce are also believed to be unsure. 

The job at Sunderland has become a poisoned chalice in recent seasons with many managers wary of damaging their reputation by joining the Black Cats. American owner Ellis Short has pumped millions into the north east club but players under-performing and managerial instability has riddled the Mackems as they once again find themselves in a perilous situation after a few weeks of the season. In each of the last two campaigns both Gus Poyet and Dick Advocaat led Sunderland to dramatic late escapes from relegation, while the latter left his role on Sunday after failing to secure a victory in the opening eight games of the current PL season which leaves the Black Cats in 19th spot on three points. Advocaat was heavily critical of the directors and said that “the squad is too thin” upon departing the Stadium of Light.

If Bradley is offered the chance to take on the mammoth challenge of rescuing Sunderland from relegation, a task of that magnitude is not alien to him after he led the Egyptian national team through a revolution to the brink of the 2014 World Cup and has worked miracles at Stabaek, a club with one of the smallest stadiums and budgets in Norwegian soccer, where he has them challenging for the title and they’ve reached the cup semifinals in each of his two seasons in charge so far. 

Many fans of U.S Soccer would believe now is the time for Bradley to show what he can do in a top league in Europe. 

Report: Bradley approached by Norwegian giant Molde

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While no one in the world — not even the man himself — knows exactly what’s next for Bob Bradley, Norwegian newspaper VG reported on Monday that the former U.S. national team head coach and current Stabaek (Norway) manager has been approached by Norwegian giant Molde regarding the defending Tippeligaen champions’ vacant managerial job.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]

Bradley, who’s been at Stabaek, a relatively tiny Norwegian club, for almost two full seasons now, has won respect and plaudits across Norway’s top division since the day he stepped foot in Scandinavia. In Bradley’s first season, De blaa (the Blue Ones) finished 9th in their first season back in Norway’s top division. This season, Bradley has the miniscule-budgeted Baerum (near Oslo) club second with five games to go. If the season were to end today, Stabaek would qualify for next year’s UEFA Europa League.

With his contract expiring at the end of the 2015 season, Bradley is rightly a hot commodity in Norway — there’s the new Molde rumor to go along with Stabaek’s desire to re-sign the 57-year-old American — though higher acclaim still seems fitting.

[ EXCLUSIVE: JPW talks to Bob about time at Stabaek, what comes next ]

While the clubs from the likes of England, Germany and Italy haven’t yet come calling for his services, perhaps moving to and having even greater success at Molde is what finally puts Bradley on the map for first-division jobs in the aforementioned countries. Succeeding at a club with higher expectations and a much larger budget is a task Bradley is likely to face anywhere within the “big time” of European football.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spent four years in charge of Molde before getting the call from Premier League side Cardiff City in January 2014.