Monaco release former United striker with MLS switch a possibility

AS Monaco have today announced that Dimitar Berbatov will be leaving the club this summer and the former Manchester United forward could now look to seal an MLS move.

Berbatov moved to Monaco in January 2014 from Fulham and scored a total of 18 goals in 53 games for the French side with eight assists.

The former Tottenham Hotspur star is 34 now but is likely to look for one more challenge before retiring.

A move to Major League Soccer could be a real possibility as he possesses incredible technique and would add goals to most sides across the league, though newly promoted Premier League team Bournemouth are also reportedly interested.

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He would likely have to be signed to a Designated Player contract because of his high wage demands but there are sides out there looking to strengthen this summer, particularly in attack, and so a move stateside cannot be ruled out.

Berbatov moved to the Premier League from Bayer Leverkusen in 2006 to join Spurs, where he scored 46 goals in 102 appearances, before moving to Manchester United in 2008 in a huge £30 million deal.

The Bulgarian forward netted 56 times in 149 appearances for the Red Devils before joining Fulham, and scored against the MLS All-Stars in the 2011 game at Red Bulls Arena, in a game United won 4-0.

Would a move to MLS suit Dimitar Berbatov? Which clubs could use the striker?

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Liverpool to make SHOCK move for Everton youngster – report

Liverpool are lining up a surprise move for Everton left-back Luke Garbutt this summer, according to talkSPORT.

The 21-year-old Englishman is out of contract in a matter of weeks and with talks stalling over a new deal to keep him at Goodison Park, the Reds are ready to pounce, with Bournemouth also interested.

Garbutt has been on the Everton bench in the Premier League 20 times this season and has made just four appearances in the top flight.

But he is highly regarded by the Toffees and a move to Liverpool would certainly cause a stir on Merseyside.

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Roberto Martinez came under pressure after Everton’s game at West Ham on Saturday after he decided to play Brendan Galloway at left-back ahead of Garbutt, with Leighton Baines out injured.

Martinez said that decision was made just 90 minutes before kickoff and was based solely on footballing reasons, but it is looking increasingly likely that Garbutt will move on after six years with Everton.

Liverpool are expected to make numerous changes to their squad this season, and signing Garbutt on a free could be one of their early moves.

Would Luke Garbutt be a good signing for Liverpool? How important is he to Everton?

Bournemouth looking to beat Arsenal and Liverpool to in-demand right-back

Newly promoted Bournemouth are planning an offer for Burnley right-back Kieran Tripper in order to beat Arsenal and Liverpool to his signature, according to Sky Sports’ Amy Lewis.

The 24-year-old has been linked with a whole range of Premier League clubs following the Clarets’ relegation from the top flight, including Southampton.

Trippier began his career at the Manchester City youth academy and had loan spells with Barnsley before joining Burnley on a permanent basis in 2012 after a successful season long loan.

The Englishman has played in every single one of Burnley’s Premier League games this season and although he couldn’t help Sean Dyche’s side avoid the drop, his performances have still been impressive enough to draw the attention of other clubs.

Arsenal are inundated with right-backs, so are unlikely to pursue a move for Trippier, while Southampton and Liverpool could both be in desperate need to fill the position.

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The Saints could be looking for a replacement for Nathaniel Clyne who has been linked with a summer move to Manchester United and Glen Johnson is expected to leave Liverpool when his contract expires.

However, Bournemouth have now emerged as favourites to land the defender and Trippier could be tempted with a move to the south coast having previously worked under Cherries manager  Eddie Howe when he was at Burnley in the 2011/12 season.

Would Kieran Trippier be a good signing for Bournemouth?

Aston Villa vs. AFC Bournemouth: FA Cup Preview and Prediction

Competition: FA Cup Fourth Round

Venue: Villa Park – Sunday, January 25 – 15:00

Odds: Aston Villa 13/10 – Draw 23/10 – Bournemouth 21/10

Aston Villa welcome AFC Bournemouth to Villa Park in the FA Cup on Sunday afternoon in what should be a thriller, with a high chance of a cup upset.

Villa are struggling in the Premier League once again and are the division’s lowest scorers with just 11 in 22 this season. They sit in 15th place and are without a league win in seven.

Aston Villa home record in all competitions: Played 13 – Won 4 – Drawn 2 – Lost 7

On the other hand, Bournemouth are flying high in the Championship and sit top of the pile after 27 games. They have lost two of their last three however and failed to score for just the third time in the league this season in Tuesday night’s 1-0 loss at Leeds.

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The Cherries are the Championship’s top scoring side (57) and have been incredible away from home, winning eight of their 14 in the league – also the best record in the division.

Bournemouth’s away record in all competitions: Played 17 – Won 11 – Drawn 3 – Lost 3

Eddie Howe’s side beat Rotherham United 5-1 away from home in the third round of the FA Cup earlier this month and will be confident of progressing against the Villains on Sunday.

Aston Villa beat Blackpool 1-0 in the last round but that is the only goal Paul Lambert’s side have scored in six.

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He will hope that they can their turn their fortunes around against Championship opposition again but this will be a real test for the seven-time FA Cup winners.

This will be just the fifth meeting between the two sides, and the first in 27 years. Villa have won two of the previous four games, while Bournemouth have only beaten Villa once in their history – a 3-0 win back in 1971.

Aston Villa’s last five in all competitions: D/D/W/L/L

Bournemouth’s last five in all competitions: W/W/L/W/L

Key Stat: To goal or not to goal – Aston Villa are the lowest scoring side (11) in the top four tiers of English football, while Bournemouth are the top scorers (57) of all the Football League and Premier League clubs in England.

Key Player: Matt Ritchie – The Bournemouth playmaker has been in fine form this season, scoring seven goals and picking up 11 assists in 27 appearances. Expect him to be at the heart of the Cherries’ attacking play.

Aston Villa vs. Bournemouth Prediction: Aston Villa 0 – 2 AFC Bournemouth

Darren Mattocks fails to impress Bournemouth, moves on to IFK Göteborg

Vancouver Whitecaps striker Darren Mattocks is set for another weeklong training spell away from the MLS club and is set to join up with Swedish side IFK Goteborg during a preseason tour of Turkey.

The 24-year-old Jamaican spent the past week with Championship side AFC Bournemouth but clearly failed to impress enough as he has moved on already.

Mattocks only netted six times in 30 league appearances in 2014 and the Whitecaps could be looking to offload him if the right offer comes along.

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By allowing him to train with other clubs, Vancouver must be hoping that someone is interested in the former first round SuperDraft pick, but the likelihood is that he will return to MLS with the team this season.

“I’ve had a lot of conversations and a lot of talk about my players,” Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson admitted in November.

“I’ve kept it open at the moment. I haven’t said that I’m looking at doing anything unless something good comes to mind, but you never say never.”

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Mattocks admitted that he was still developing as a player and was looking ahead to the 2015 season when speaking at the end of the last campaign.

“I’m adapting,” he said. “It’s good. I’m always going to be adapting, and next season’s going to be the same thing: keep getting better and try my best to help the team move forward.”

The Whitecaps could just be sending Mattocks out to train with other clubs in order to keep him sharp and hope that he improves as a player, but the chances are they are hoping he impresses someone and a reasonable offer comes along.

What do you make of the Darren Mattocks situation? Should he return to MLS with Vancouver for 2015?

Vancouver Whitecaps striker Darren Mattocks joins Bournemouth for training stint

Vancouver Whitecaps forward, Darren Mattocks, has joined high-flying English Championship side AFC Bournemouth in a weeklong training stint.

A week in England with Bournemouth will allow Mattocks to compare his ability to those in the squad of the Championship leaders, and the pacey forward will hope to impress as the Cherries are well on their way to the Premier League at the midpoint of the season, having not lost in 14 league games now.

The Jamaican striker was drafted second overall by the Whitecaps in 2012 and has made over 70 appearances for the club, scoring 16 times. A goal return that could be significantly better and there have been rumours that Mattocks could be traded away this offseason.

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Six goals and three assists in 30 appearances last season is not a bad return, but Mattocks and the Whitecaps know he is capable of more.

“I always think I could be better, regardless of what [I do],” Mattocks said at the end of last season.

“I always can work on stuff. Movement, finishing, everything. Even if I scored a bunch of goals this season, scoring, movement, all the stuff a player needs to work on to get better over time.

“I’m adapting, it’s good. I’m always going to be adapting, and next season’s going to be the same thing: keep getting better and try my best to help the team move forward.”

What do you make of Darren Mattocks’ move to Bournemouth for a weeklong training spell?