Vote: Who do you want to see in the 2017 MLS All-Star starting XI against Real Madrid?

The 2017 MLS All-Star game is rapidly approaching. The best of MLS will take on La Liga and Champions League winners Real Madrid at Soldier Field in Chicago on Wednesday night (8:30 ET/01:30 BST). But who do you want to see in the 2017 MLS All-Star starting XI?

Real Madrid are the first Spanish team to play in the MLS All-Star game. Their squad is graced with world class talent. The likes of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Luka Modric and Isco all set to play on Wednesday night.

The All-Stars have long-time European stars such as Bastian Schweinsteiger. US national team stars such as Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore. And emerging MLS talents in Kellyn Acosta and Miguel Almiron.

But who do you want to see in the 2017 MLS All-Star starting XI? Vote below now, or use this link.

Advertisements

Second Manchester United star closing in on Summer MLS move

Bastian Schweinsteiger seems destined to finish his career in MLS with reports linking him with a move stateside refuse to go away as the Manchester United midfielder is once again being targeted by the Chicago Fire, according to Guillermo Rivera.

Schweinsteiger has fallen down the pecking order at United – featuring just four times this season in all competitions – and will surely be allowed to leave at the end of the season, despite the fact he has one more year remaining on his contract with the club.

The Red Devils are believed to be willing to terminate the German legend’s contract if a suitable offer is presented to the player and so he would be able to join on a free transfer from July 1.

Chicago Fire are thought to be keeping close tabs on the former Bayern Munich hero, even though they now have two of Major League Soccer’s best holding midfielders in Juninho and Dax McCarty following a busy winter of transfer activity.

If he does complete a move to MLS, Schweinsteiger could follow his current United teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic across the pond, as the striker has been offered a pay rise if he decides against staying in Manchester to instead join LA Galaxy in the coming months.

Embed from Getty Images

Unlike Ibrahimovic, Schweinsteiger is not thought to have been offered more money to move to the United States and will instead have to accept his salary dropping from £140,000 per week to around £90,000, which works out as roughly $3.6 million per MLS season.

It is unclear just how much contact there has been between Chicago and the 32-year-old World Cup winner, although it is looking increasingly likely he will make the switch to MLS this year so don’t be surprised to see him pen a pre-contract agreement in the coming weeks.

Do you think Bastian Schweinsteiger would be a good signing for the Chicago Fire? 

Three players Mourinho needs to drop at Manchester United

Jose Mourinho’s start to life as Manchester United manager has not been as smooth as he would have hoped. While this is not a time to press the panic button, it was apparent his side were lacklustre and out of ideas in the 4-0 loss at Chelsea. Lewis Addley explores some potential changes he can make to freshen things up and stop his side from carrying passengers…

Being coached by Mourinho is something a whole host of the world’s best players have enjoyed since he put his name on the map as Porto manager 14 years ago, but the same cannot be said at this moment in time, as his ongoing struggles at Manchester United are not improving.

Mourinho admitted himself that life in Manchester has been difficult to adapt to and his time away from football is something he is not familiar to, living in a hotel and separate from his family.

While United are only six points off the top of the Premier League table in what already looks set to be the most competitive season ever, there is plenty of work to do to get the 20-time champions firing again.

Embed from Getty Images

A number of Mourinho’s marquee summer signings haven’t yet clicked into place and the squad appear to be disjointed and out of ideas, even more so apparent after going 1-0 down to Chelsea without touching the ball on Sunday.

Mourinho has a squad full of talented players and just three changes could potentially make a difference in terms of unpredictability, solidity and energy.

So let’s have a look at those three potential changes…

Forward play: 

Regardless of how many career titles and goals he has to his name, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has struggled in his last few appearances. He started the season well, scoring four goals in his first four games, but the big Swede needs a rest. He clearly has the ability to cause havoc to any opposition defence, but he seems to be getting lost and committing more fouls than creating chances.

He will be the last thing defenders want to see if Mourinho gives the 35-year-old legend a rest and brings him into a couple of games on the bounce with half an hour to go after some of his younger, more energetic teammates have worn down the opposition.

Embed from Getty Images

Verdict: Rest Ibrahimovic and play Rashford in his natural position as a striker. The Englishman will bring in more energy and pace to the attack, leaving the option for Ibra to swoop in for the kill later in the game.

In the middle: 

Everybody knows Mourinho loves a holding midfielder to dominate games with strength and the ability to break up play. But at the moment, the United midfield as a whole have failed to get to grips with fast-paced games, and they’re not being streetwise enough to stop counter attacks as well as creating moves of their own.

Mourinho should look at pulling Marouane Fellaini out of the side. Yes, the big man can cause chaos in the box offensively, but he isn’t doing it. Fellaini has features of his game that make for a player who can have an influence, but he is not a controlling midfielder, he doesn’t dominate games and doesn’t bring an atmosphere of calm to the side.

Embed from Getty Images

Verdict: Drop Fellaini for Michael Carrick or Bastian Schweinsteiger. Mourinho won’t want to backtrack on his decision to ostracise Schweinsteiger from the squad but these two players have unparalleled experience compared to their teammates and can instil a sense of calm to any top-class midfield.

The world’s most expensive player:

An awful lot has been made of Paul Pogba’s slow start to life back in Manchester and it is so obvious he needs some help. While he may be the most expensive player in the world, the Frenchman didn’t ask for that price tag and it is weighing him down. The pressure becomes more intense in each game he underperforms.

Pogba will clearly become a great, he has the talent, personality and is likeable, but he needs a bit of time out of the side to find his feet again. His confidence has been rocked and now is the time for Mourinho to offer him support, like he has done down the years with key players everywhere he has been.

Embed from Getty Images

Verdict: Make Pogba work for this place by pulling him from the starting XI, get an arm around him to make him feel valued and under less pressure. Bring Juan Mata back in, he has plenty of Premier League experience and the creative edge to his game Pogba hasn’t yet shown.

There is work to be done at United, but if they can get on a run of form they will soon silence their critics and despite some poor results, they can close the gap on the title chasing pack.

Should Mourinho make these changes at United? Who do you think should be recalled to the starting XI?

What does signing Paul Pogba actually mean for Manchester United?

The summer-long transfer saga regarding Paul Pogba was finally and perhaps unsurprisingly put to rest today as the Frenchman completed his £89 million return to Manchester United. But what does his arrival actually mean for the club? Lewis Addley explores…

In a summer market of crazy transfer fees, Paul Pogba has become the world’s most expensive player at £89 million, how long that fee will remain the highest remains to be seen. Pundits and fans alike have cast their opinion on just about every talking point regarding the 23-year-old Frenchman, from topics such as how Pogba is or isn’t worth the money to whether Manchester United actually need him.

So let’s have a look at what Pogba’s sensational return to United actually means for the club in terms of how Jose Mourinho will be able to get the best out of the highly-rated Frenchman and the impact his arrival could have on their current midfielders.

Where exactly can we expect Pogba to play?

Pogba netted eight goals last season for Juventus in Serie A from a central midfield role and in the modern game he plays a somewhat old-fashioned style. Pogba doesn’t tend to be deployed as an attacking midfielder, despite the fact that he can be a sensational finisher from inside and outside the box. He dictates the play, evident from the fact that his passing statistics are far more impressive than his shooting statistics. Pogba managed an average of 83% passing accuracy compared to 37% shot accuracy in Serie A last season.

Embed from Getty Images

Jose Mourinho is widely expected to play his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation on the opening weekend of the Premier League season. We can expect the new signings to feature from the off, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic set to lead the line. Behind him, Anthony Martial should start on the left, captain Wayne Rooney in behind in his preferred number ten role with Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the right to form a frightening trio of attacking support. With those front four slots occupied, it is clear Pogba is likely to be used in an anchoring role, deep through the centre of the park, most likely alongside Morgan Schneiderlin.

Will midfielders be leaving now Pogba has joined?

As everyone was still waiting for Pogba to be announced, Mourinho made it very clear that he was looking to bring in one more ‘high-quality player’ and have his business done before the opening weekend of the season. With that in mind it doesn’t look like the United boss is looking to offload any other players than those who have already been reported.

Juan Mata’s torrid relationship with Mourinho came into question once again after he was substituted just 27 minutes after coming on in Sunday’s Community Shield final win over Leicester City. Despite Mourinho giving what some may accept as an appropriate reason for Mata being replaced, it has only increased speculation on the Spaniard’s future at the club.

Embed from Getty Images

The future of Bastian Schweinsteiger remains up in the air. It has been made apparent that the German is surplus to requirements and he looks set to be on his way out from the club just one season after joining.

It looks likely that Mourinho has Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini in his plans, but just how much playing time the three midfielders will amass is unclear.

The remaining midfielders in question will not be expected to challenge for a holding role at the club as they are either wingers or upcoming youth talent. One worth mentioning is Daley Blind, the dutchman can play in the holding role but he has predominantly featured at the back for United.

Embed from Getty Images

There is no doubt the arrival of Pogba will be a boost for the United camp and some of his teammates have already taken to social media to show their excitement of his return. It is clear he has already made a huge impact in terms of talking points but now it is time for him to step up and deliver, to show any doubters that £89 million is a worthwhile fee for his services.

Is Pogba worth £89 million and are United right to have resigned the Frenchman?

Are Manchester United failing in this summer’s transfer window?

It is no secret that Manchester United have missed out on a number of their transfer targets this summer, but are they failing by not adding players they so desperately need in this window?

United have added some world class players to their squad, there is no doubting that, but they have also missed out on some high caliber names, which could arguably be the difference in mounting a strong title challenge and waiting another season.


Players signed (as of August 24, 2015):

– Sergio Romero – Free
– Matteo Darmian – £12.7m
– Morgan Schneiderlin £25m
– Bastian Schweinsteiger £14.4m
– Memphis Depay £31m


Embed from Getty Images

Louis Van Gaal’s side have started the new Premier League season with two 1-0 wins and a 0-0 draw, but the Dutch manager is still rumoured to be looking to strengthen his squad before next Monday’s deadline.

Strengthening the defence as well as the attack appear to be absolute necessities if United are to challenge for the title this year, but with just a week to go in the summer transfer window, the club have missed out on almost as many key targets as those who have signed.

United were heavily linked with moves for FC Barcelona’s Pedro, who has ended up signing for Chelsea, Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos, who has signed a new five-year contract with Los Blancos and Nicolas Otamendi, who has signed for fierce rivals Manchester City.

Despite talk of needing a world class centre-back, Van Gaal’s side haven’t conceded a league goal in their opening three games. But there are many who believe the Red Devils need a new striker as Wayne Rooney has now gone 858 minutes without scoring a Premier League goal and is struggling in the lone striking role this term.

Van Gaal has insisted he does not need a striker and is happy with his options, as reported by ESPN.

“I have a lot of options. I have chosen Chicharito [Hernandez], because he is another type from Rooney, and we have also Fellaini, who is another type, then I have Wilson and Januzaj, so I don’t think we need a striker.”

Embed from Getty Images

Speculation will continue to mount regarding whether or not United need another attacking option the longer their goal scoring troubles go on in league play. With seven days remaining in the transfer window there is still plenty of time for potential deals to go ahead, but United may be ruing missed chances at this stage as panic buys could be on the way.

PHOTOS: Exclusive images of United training in Seattle, new signings featured

Manchester United start their preseason campaign on Friday night with their first International Champions Cup match taking place in Seattle against Club America.

The Red Devils then fly out to California to face the San Jose Earthquakes, before key games against FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.

New United signings Memphis Depay, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Matteo Darmian all made the trip to the United States, along with David De Gea despite ongoing exit talks.

Check out all of those players in action as our North American photographer Denise McCooey watched United train at the Seattle Seahawks’ Virginia Mason Athletic Center – the second largest training facility in the NFL:

Manchester United Training Seattle 2015 Louis Van Gaal

Manchester United Training Seattle 2015 Manchester United Training Seattle 2015 Wayne Rooney Manchester United Training Seattle 2015 Matteo Darmian Manchester United Training Seattle 2015 Schweinsteiger Manchester United Training Seattle 2015 Morgan Schneiderlin Manchester United Training Seattle 2015 Bastian Schweinsteiger Manchester United Training Seattle 2015 David De Gea Manchester United Training Seattle 2015 Memphis Depay

TRANSFER ROUNDUP: City close on £100m double deal, United spending exceeds £80m

Daily transfer roundup (Monday, July 13)

MLS Rumours

Former Sunderland defender John Mensah is set for a trial at Sporting Kansas City as he looks for a new club with teams from the middle east also interested. (REPORT)

Premier League Rumours

Manchester City have agreed a £49 million deal with Liverpool for the transfer of Raheem Sterling. He is expected to be unveiled as a City player in the next 48 hours. (REPORT)

And City won’t stop there as a move for £50 million-rated Kevin De Bruyne is believed to be close as Txiki Begiristain is due to hold further talks with Wolfsburg and De Bruyne’s representatives in an effort to seal a deal. (REPORT)

Embed from Getty Images

West Ham are working on a deal to bring former Arsenal winger Gervinho to Upton Park on loan with the option to buy him for £10 million at the end of the loan spell. (REPORT)

Done Deals

Manchester United have completed the signings of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin, with both immediately travelling to the USA for United’s preseason tour, taking the Red Devils’ summer spending over £80 million. (REPORT)

Tottenham’s Grant Ward, who spent time on loan with Chicago Fire in 2014, has joined Rotherham on a short-term loan deal. (REPORT)

Stoke City have sold Asmir Begovic to Chelsea in a deal believed to be worth £8 million. (REPORT)

Bournemouth have signed Italy U20 left-back Filippo Costa from Chievo on a season-long loan. (REPORT)

TRANSFER ROUNDUP: United’s DONE DEAL, Liverpool target Madrid man

Daily transfer roundup (Friday, June19)

MLS Rumours

Manchester City‘s Samir Nasri has reiterated his desire to play in Major League Soccer but for the meantime he is focused on regaining the Premier League title. (REPORT)

Franz Beckenbauer has urged Manchester United target, Bastian Schweinsteiger to ignore their interest as he would be better suited to a MLS move in the near future. (REPORT)

Embed from Getty Images

Premier League Rumours

Manchester United have agreed a £13.1m fee for Hoffenheim midfielder Roberto Firmino and are negotiating personal terms for the highly sought after 23-year-old Brazilian. (REPORT)

Liverpool are closing in on a £15m move for out of favour Real Madrid man, Asier Illarramendi. The midfielder has had minimal playing time since joining the Spanish giants. (REPORT)

Embed from Getty Images

Arsenal are close to signing Petr Cech after agreeing terms with the 33-year-old ‘keeper who wanted assurances that he would be Arsene Wenger‘s number one. (REPORT)

Done Deals

Tottenham Hotspur have completed the signing of Burnley‘s Kieran Trippier on a five-year deal. (REPORT)

Derby County have signed West Bromwich Albion midfielder Chris Baird on a two-year deal. (REPORT)

Gael Kakuta has left Chelsea for Sevilla on a free transfer after his contract expired. The Frenchman played just 16 times for the club and had six different loan spells. (REPORT)

 

German legend urges £25m United target to focus on future MLS switch instead

German football icon Franz Beckenbauer has told Bayern Munich star Bastian Schweinsteiger to ignore interest from Manchester United as a move to Major League Soccer in the near future would be better suited.

Schweinsteiger is being strongly linked with a move away from Bayern this summer as he has just one year left on his contract and doesn’t appear to be close to penning a new deal.

Manchester United boss Louis Van Gaal is believed to be keen to sign the German midfield powerhouse, who is rated at £24.6 million by transfermarkt.co.uk, with Chelsea also linked.

Embed from Getty Images

But Beckenbauer believes a move to the Premier League at this stage of Schweinsteiger’s career would only be detrimental to the 30-year-old World Cup winner.

“Adapting to a different European league is difficult at his age,” Beckenbauer told German outlet Bild.

“He has played with great force and put a lot of pressure on his body for many years. That saps energy. He could end his career in the USA instead.

“If I was in his place, I would stay one or two years more at Bayern. Until then, he can still perform at the highest level.”

It’s not the first time Schweinsteiger’s name has been linked with a move to MLS as only as recently as April, the New York Red Bulls were being tipped as a possible destination.

Embed from Getty Images

While in February, the player himself told the LA Times that he likes the idea of a move to the United States.

“We will see what happens in the future. But to be honest, I like the States.

“The quality is going to be better and better and [so] I could see that,” he said when asked about an MLS move.

Should Bastian Schweinsteiger ignore Manchester United interest this summer? Should he move to MLS when his Bayern Munich contract expires?

TRANSFER ROUNDUP: United in for Bayern star, Liverpool boost & French forward to MLS

Daily transfer roundup (Thursday, June 11)

MLS Rumours

Montreal Impact are keen on signing Frenchman Andre-Pierre Gignac. The forward has been with Marseille since 2010. (REPORT)

Premier League Rumours 

Manchester United are on alert as Bayern Munich‘s Bastian Schweinsteiger is in no rush to sign a new contract. The midfielder still has one year to run on his current deal. (REPORT)
Embed from Getty Images
Radamel Falcao could be set to snub Chelsea for a move to Liverpool. The Colombian forward is keen to stay in the Premier League(REPORT)
Arsenal have been told they must pay £24.6 million for Geoffrey Kondogbia. The Monaco forward has attracted interest from a number of clubs after impressive performances in the Champions League. (REPORT)

Done Deals 

LA Galaxy captain, Robbie Keane, has agreed to sign an extension to his current contract. The details of the deal have not yet been released. (REPORT)

Embed from Getty Images