Ikone to Chelsea
Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images

Transfer news: Chelsea linked with two, USMNT man to Leicester

Leave a comment

Players from France, Turkey, and England’s second tier could be headed to the Premier League if Sunday’s rumors are to be believed.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Chelsea’s the location for two of the moves, while Leicester City has its eye on an American player who nearly moved to AC Milan in January.

Ikone to Chelsea

Chelsea is being linked with a play-driving midfielder in the form of Jonathan Ikone.

The 22-year-old French national teamer scored four times with seven assists for Lille this season, one of those goals coming against Valencia in the Champions League.

He started both matches against the Blues in their UCL group.

Ikone can play anywhere in the midfield or forward three. He was developed by PSG before moving to Montpellier.

Tottenham, Inter Milan, and Newcastle have also been linked with Ikone, but Metro says Chelsea and Lille have had some discussions about the player.

Robinson to Leicester City

Sky Sports’ Transfer Centre has a report of a USMNT left back making a move to the Premier League.

Antonee Robinson has been a mainstay for Wigan Athletic and nearly made a move to AC Milan in January before a heart issue put out of action for a few months.

Whether the Rossoneri are still pursuing him is unknown, but Sky says Leicester City definitely has interest in the former Everton and Bolton man.

Robinson, 22, has started all of Wigan’s six matches since the Championship restarted play, going at least 86 minutes in each.

He has seven USMNT caps. Could he be a replacement for Ben Chilwell if the Leicester man leaves for Chelsea or somewhere else?

Cakir to Chelsea

Could Ugurcan Cakir be the man to replace Kepa Arrizabalaga at Stamford Bridge?

The Turkish goalkeeper was linked with Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in recent weeks but a report claims Chelsea has moved close to completing a $35 million deal for his services.

Cakir, 24, has two Turkey caps and is the starting backstop for Trabzonspor, whose contract runs through 2024 with an option for another year.

Any Turkish football experts out there who can detail his exploits to us?

Pulisic Watch: USMNT star subbed off, jaded v. Sheffield United

Pulisic Sheffield United
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Christian Pulisic Watch focuses on his performance each week for Chelsea and the USMNT winger had a rough day at Sheffield United.

[ MORE: New PL TV schedule ]

Pulisic, 21, was subbed off with 25 minutes to go as Chelsea lost 3-0 to Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. Pulisic was clattered early on and looked a little jaded throughout as Chelsea didn’t handle the Blades’ 3-4-3 formation well at all.

Here’s the minute-by-minute analysis of Pulisic’s performance, as he couldn’t replicate his previously sublime form since the restart but he was still one of Chelsea’s brightest players.

2nd minute: Drifts in form the left flank and dribbles centrally at the Blades, then plays in Barkley but his shot at a gal is a tame one.

3rd minute: Clattered by George Baldock as he turns away from him and shows the Sheffield United defenders a clean set of heels. Baldock is given a yellow card. Pulisic is limping.

7th minute: A lovely cross from Reece James which finds Pulisic at the back post and he heads just over the bar. Good late run.

8th minute: Links up with Mason Mount down the left, then wins the ball back and tries to get Chelsea going in attack on the edge of the box.

13th minute: Runs in from the left flank but loses possession. Sheffield United tripling up on him.

14th minute: Spins away beautifully and plays in Azpilicueta, but his cross goes out for a goal kick.

28th minute: The American winger has been quiet but pops up centrally and flicks the ball into Abraham who controls. Does the same with Mount soon after as Sheffield United are sitting deep on a solid block.

36th minute: Tries to wriggle free in the box with good footwork but Sheffield United clear. Moments later he curls a cross past Abraham.

40th minute: Goes down but doesn’t win a free kick. Pulisic is frustrated and is being closely marked. Mason Mount keeps running into his space and they are getting in the way of each other.

43rd minute: Floats a ball into the box which is nowhere near a Chelsea player. Frustrating as he’s dropping deeper and deeper to get on the ball.

47th minute: Deep in his own half, trying to flick the ball upfield as Chelsea are under pressure. Half time switch to a 3-4-3 system sees him playing on the left but drifting inside a lot more and then moving to the right flank. Lots of hefty challenges on Pulisic.

54th minute: Wins the ball on the edge of his own box, then starts a counter attack.

56th minute: Dropping deeper and deeper to get on the ball. Cross is deflected out for a corner.

65th minute: Played in by Barkley and his left-footed shot is blocked with three defenders around him.

66th minute: Pulisic subbed off for Olivier Giroud. Chelsea go with two up front. The American winger was shackled well by Sheffield United.

Pulisic explains his superb form during ‘Project Restart’

Leave a comment

In an interview with Sky Sports, Christian Pulisic has explained the reason behind his superb form during ‘Project Restart’ as the USMNT winger has been one of the best players in the Premier League since action returned in June.

[ MORE: Pulisic Watch – Analysis ]

Pulisic, 21, has scored three goals, won two penalty kicks and has consistently been Man of the Match for Chelsea as Frank Lampard’s side push for a top four finish and the FA Cup.

Speaking to our partners in the UK Sky Sports, Pulisic was asked what he did during the Premier League’s suspension to bring out his best form. Turns out his trip back home to Hershey, Pennsylvania was very, very helpful.

“I had that first game on my mind. I was really hungry the whole time to get back and get back on the field. I was training hard and I’m really happy now to be able to make an impact,” Pulisic said. “I was able to get some work in back in the States, as well, and be able to continue to work on my game but also rehabbing and making sure I was 100 per cent fit and ready to go. So during a really tough time for a lot of people, that was the one positive thing that I could do for myself.”

The full interview is definitely worth your time as it is chocked full of stats, graphics and more from Pulisic about his stunning form since the Premier League returned.

“When I came in, you don’t know what to expect but I was working hard through it all and wanted to be on that field,” Pulisic said. “I thought I had a few good games here and there. Maybe my confidence wasn’t fully there, I wasn’t fully ready for the whole thing. But I’ve just learned and taken every experience little by little throughout the season. I just want to continue to grow as a player. I’m feeling really good right now and my confidence is high and that’s most important. I feel more and more trusted by my team-mates, which is really important for me and it feels great.”

Asked once again about the comparisons between himself and Chelsea legend Eden Hazard, Pulisic brushed them aside and stated he will not change the way he plays.

“I’m really happy I can do that as of recent and my style is always going to continue to be that very attacking-minded and creative kind of player. I’m happy I can help the team any way I can,” Pulisic added. “I want to be a part of this team. Every day in training I work hard because I want to start and I want to be on the field and I want to create goals and I want to score goals. That’s where I want to be. I want to continue to make a big impact every week and every game.”

Alongside Bruno Fernandes from Manchester United, Pulisic has been the main man in the Premier League throughout June and July.

USMNT fans everywhere are salivating as they watch the Pennsylvanian Messi rip it up for Chelsea on a weekly basis. Long may that continue.

Report: USMNT keeper Steffen to be Man City No. 2 next season

Zack Steffen Man City
(Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

United States men’s national team starting goalkeeper Zack Steffen will not be loaned by Manchester City next season, according to ESPN.

Steffen, 25, is set to back up Ederson for Pep Guardiola’s side next season after a year on loan to Fortuna Dusseldorf in the Bundesliga.

Steffen needed the loan because he had not yet qualified for a work permit in the United Kingdom. Instead, he starred in plenty of games for promoted Fortuna before suffering a nagging knee injury. Fortuna was relegated to 2.Bundesliga on the final day of the season.

[ MORE: Man City sets a very Pep record ]

There were rumors earlier this year that Claudio Bravo might head for New York City FC in MLS in order to make way for Steffen.

The 17-times capped USMNT bolted for Freiburg in Germany after making his name at the University of Maryland. He returned to the U.S. and became a star with savvy penalty-stopping ability with now-USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter and the Columbus Crew.

Guardiola has usually given his No. 2 plenty of time to shines in cup matches, and City expects to compete for every trophy it can. If the club’s European ban is upheld, however, there will far fewer matches on the schedule for the serial Champions League qualifier.

U.S. host cities for 2026 World Cup move to next stage with FIFA

2026 World Cup
Getty Images
1 Comment

U.S. host cities for the 2026 World Cup have met with FIFA as 17 potential host cities needs to be whittle down to 10.

[ MORE: New PL TV schedule ]

FIFA have held workshops with all host cities for the first-ever 48-team World Cup tournament, with three host cities from each of Canada and Mexico previously meeting with world soccer’s governing body.

As a reminder, 80 games will be played at the 2026 World Cup with 60 games scheduled to be played in the USA and 10 in each of Canada and Mexico.

The latest workshop was to make sure all of the host cities bids were on track and the next step is for individual meetings with each potential host city as the host cities will be named in 2021.

This also suggests that any reemergence of Vancouver and Chicago as host cities is well and truly over as FIFA moves to the next stage of selecting host cities for the tournament.

Here’s more from FIFA:

Confirming the high level of interest sparked by the FIFA World Cup across the three host nations, today’s interactive online workshop gathered all 17 candidate host cities from the USA and followed on from meetings with all Mexican and Canadian candidate host cities held earlier this year in Mexico City and Toronto, respectively.

Representatives from the following 23 candidate host cities attended the workshops:

Edmonton, Montreal, Toronto

Guadalajara, Mexico City, Monterrey

Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York/New Jersey, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and Washington DC.

So, the show goes on as the World Cup in six years time will be one of the biggest, and greatest, sporting events the world has ever seen.

Previously at ProSoccerTalk we’ve ranked where the 17 U.S. cities lie in terms of how likely they are to become officials hosts.

Here’s a reminder of that list, and feel free to reveal your own rankings in the comments below. Remember, only 10 U.S. cities will become hosts for the 2026 World Cup.

Ranking potential 2026 World Cup venues

Host cities
1. New York/New Jersey
2. Los Angeles (Rose Bowl Stadium or new Inglewood NFL stadium)
3. Washington, D.C.
4. Miami
5. Seattle
6. Atlanta
7. San Francisco/Bay Area
8. Dallas
9. Boston
10. Denver

Missing out
11. Kansas City
12. Philadelphia
13. Houston
14. Nashville
15. Orlando
16. Baltimore
17. Cincinnati