Alphonso Davies to Bayern Munich ‘a done deal’ in record MLS transfer

The record-breaking transfer that will take Alphonso Davies to Bayern Munich is “a done deal” according to multiple sources. The deal for the 17-year-old Vancouver Whitecaps star will be the most expensive in MLS history.

Bayern will pay £11.5m for the Canadian winger, which could rise to £18m according to TSN’s Kristian Jack, but he adds that Davies will remain a Whitecaps player until the end of the 2018 MLS season. That would see Davies join up with his new teammates in Germany on January 1st 2019.

The transfer will make Davies Major League Soccer’s most expensive export. Jozy Altidore’s £6m move to Villarreal in 2008 has stood as the record transfer for ten years. The deal taking Alphonso Davies to Bayern is also worth more than the record sum of £11m Atlanta United paid for Ezequiel Barco ahead of this season.

Davies has taken MLS by storm since making his debut in July 2016, when he became the second-youngest player to play in the league at the age of 15, only behind Freddy Adu. He has gone on to make 54 MLS appearances for the Whitecaps, scoring three and assisting nine.

All three of those goals and eight of the nine assists have come this season, with the pacey winger looking sharper than ever. It’s no surprise Europe’s top clubs have been tracking his progress given how quickly he has developed in such a short space of time.

Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool were reportedly interested in signing him last season but didn’t make a formal offer due to work permit concerns. But Bayern have now swooped as they look to make an investment in the North American market. Reports also suggest they are hoping to add USMNT star Christian Pulisic from Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund.

Davies, who turns 18 in November, is expected to return to Vancouver Whitecaps training after the deal is completed. He missed the weekend loss to Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders, following permission from head coach Carl Robinson. He is averaging a goal or assist every 137 minutes this season so Vancouver will need his services while they still have them for the remainder of the season.

The Canadian winger was also named to the 2018 MLS All-Star team to face Juventus on August 1st, so he will still be expected to be available for the game.

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2018 Key Transfers: New York City FC

With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we will be running through the standout transfers for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we take a look at New York City FC and their key signings ahead of the 2018 MLS season…

New York City FC had an impressive 2017 season, finishing second in the Eastern Conference. They’ve continued to build and improve since their inception into the league. They fell short at the conference semifinal stage of the playoffs for the second year in a row last season and they will now be looking to go one better in 2018. Some key players have departed the club and while the players they have signed might not be overly familiar to the masses, they look likely to make a positive impact.

Key Signings

Saad Abdul-Slaam: NYCFC have chosen to bolster their defensive options with the signing of Saad Abdul-Salaam. The right back comes in from SKC having played second fiddle last season, making just 12 appearances. He has experience of playing, and losing, in an MLS Cup final. This will be his fourth MLS season and this looks to be a good pick-up for Patrick Vieira’s side.

Jesus Medina: A new attacking midfielder who comes in for New York City to help the squad rebuild after some big names have departed. Jesus Medina has been signed as a DP and is a versatile option as he can also play on the wing. He’s known for a quick change of pace and footwork which have given him a reputation as a creator. That is something NYCFC are going to need considering both Andrea Pirlo and Jack Harrison have departed. At 20 he’s been signed for the long-term. One to watch…

Ismael Tajouri: Another young, versatile signing for NYCFC. 23 year old Ismael Tajouri is predominately a right winger can also play as a second striker. Vieira has sung his praises, speaking of his ‘power, pace and skill’ in one-on-one situations. With his ability to play in more than one attacking role it looks to be a signing with promise, similarly to Medina, to help fill the void left by big name departures.

Notable Departures

Andrea Pirlo: There isn’t much to be said that people don’t know about Pirlo and he is going to be a huge loss for NYCFC. He made a total of 60 appearances for the club, scoring once. Pirlo will go down in the history books as a designated player who was part of the first ever NYCFC squad in their inaugural season. His experience will be extremely hard to replace but now it’s time for Vieira’s side to build for the future, while Pirlo is set to enjoy retirement after a stunning career that’s seen him do it all.

Jack Harrison: This is a departure that NYCFC fans will be disappointed about. Jack Harrison has left for partner club Manchester City and has since gone on loan to Middlesbrough in the Championship. Harrison had a very impressive 2017, scoring ten goals in 34 games and he is going to be another player who is difficult to replace.

RJ Allen: NYCFC have said goodbye to another face who has been there from the beginning of their MLS journey. RJ Allen played 53 games for the club but has been traded to Orlando, to join forces with former NYCFC head coach Jason Kreis. He made 15 appearances in 2017, but only really established himself as a regular in the 2016 season. A good move for both player and club based on that, however he is still going to be a miss.

Mikey Lopez: Another midfielder who is moving on, Mikey Lopez will take plenty from his time at NYCFC. Learning from the likes of Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo put any midfielder in good standing to build on and now at 24 the time is right for him to look to push his career forwards. He made 27 appearances during his two-year spell at the club.

Khiry Shelton: Big things were expected from Khiry Shelton back in 2015 when he was the No.2 overall pick in the SuperDraft, but he has been unlucky with injuries that have lead to his progress being a little stifled. However, he has shown form in stages to suggest the excitement around his name is justified. He moves on the SKC having scored six goals and a further ten assists in his 54 appearances in the hope of locking down a more regular role that a clean bill of health should allow him to do.

The Premier League’s best player is already planning a move to MLS

Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne is at the peak of his powers and is the frontrunner for this season’s Premier League Player of the Season award. He has taken the league by storm but it turns out he has eyes for MLS and a move to America in the future.

The 26-year-old Belgian midfielder loves the culture of American life and is seemingly planning to make the move to Major League Soccer once his time with Manchester City comes to an end.

He has only recently signed a huge contract extension with City that ties him down until 2023, so don’t expect a move anytime soon. But his agent, Patrik De Koster, has revealed that De Bruyne has already spoken about a potential MLS move.

“I think Kevin will end his career in the USA rather than in Belgium,” De Koster said. “He has already been to America many times on holiday, and he loves the country and its culture. We have often spoken about him ending his career in the MLS.”

“He hasn’t yet had any offers from American clubs, because they know it is not worth bothering as he is at the peak of his career. Clubs in China will probably look longingly at him, but I can’t see him going over to play there.”

De Bruyne has been in incredible form for Man City this season, picking up 14 assists. The Citizens look certain to seal a first Premier League title since 2013/14, with De Bruyne heavily tipped to be named as the league’s Player of the Season.

If he were to move to MLS in the future, it’s likely that New York City FC would be frontrunners for his signature, given their ties with Manchester City. Although the league is growing at an alarming rate and so there will be no shortage of options for a player of De Bruyne’s talent, if and when the day arrives that he is looking for an MLS move.

Do you think Kevin De Bruyne will end his career in MLS? Which club do you think he’d join?

Orlando City star linked with £2m move to Everton to replace Lukaku this summer

Everton are looking across the pond to Major League Soccer as they line up a summer move for Orlando City striker Cyle Larin, who the Toffees see as an ideal replacement for the seemingly outgoing Romelu Lukaku, according to the Sun.

Everton scouts have been watching Larin take MLS by storm since joining the league with Orlando in 2015. He’s scored a total of 34 goals in 61 regular season games and has added three assists in that time.

At 21, Larin is clearly a player with a big future ahead of him. Orlando fans would love to think they could hold onto their prolific frontman for the foreseeable future but interest from a Premier League club like Everton will have to be taken seriously by both the player and the club itself.

Larin is expected to cost around £2 million if Everton firm up their interest in the coming months, but that would surely only happen if Lukaku does indeed depart at the end of the season.

The Belgian forward has refused to sign a new five-year deal as he wants to play in the Champions League for one of Europe’s elite clubs. He is currently the Premier League’s top goalscorer after netting 21 goals in 28 appearances so far this season – the best tally of his career.

A return to former club Chelsea is on the cards as it appears increasingly unlikely that the 23-year-old talisman will be plying his trade at Goodison Park next term.

The Toffees might well look to Larin if they lose Lukaku but they can expect competition, with European rivals Besiktas, Celtic and Benfica also reported to be circling around the Canada international.

Would Cyle Larin be a good signing for Everton if they lose Romelu Lukaku? Is he ready to leave MLS for the Premier League?

Steven Taylor nearing Portland Timbers switch following Newcastle exit

Portland Timbers look set to bolster their backline as English centre-back Steven Taylor is on the verge of completing a move to the reigning MLS Cup champions.

Taylor has been without a club since leaving Newcastle, the club he had spent his entire career at until they were relegated from the Premier League last term.

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The 30-year-old’s contract was not renewed on Tyneside and so the tough-tackling defender is now looking for a new club after 13 seasons and 268 appearances with the Magpies.

That new club looks set to be the Portland Timbers. A report on Saturday suggested that the move to Portland was done, with ESPN’s Taylor Twellman then backing up those claims by revealing Taylor was at Providence Park for Saturday’s game against LA Galaxy.

Taylor would bring an abundance of Premier League experience to a Portland defence that has looked lapse at times this season. Caleb Porter’s team have shipped 33 goals in 22 games so far this term – the joint-third worst record in MLS.

When you also factor in that Liam Ridgewell and Nat Borchers are both set to see their contracts expire at the end of the current season, the move to bring in Taylor makes sense for the Timbers.

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Portland’s decision to sell goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey to Norwegian side Rosenborg BK last week has freed up space on the team’s salary cap, while also opening up another international slot that Taylor could fill.

The Timbers travel to Sporting Kansas City next weekend, but it’s perhaps more realistic to expect to see Taylor make his debut against the same opponent when SKC travel to Portland on August 7 if he does indeed complete the switch to MLS.

Would Steven Taylor be a good signing for Portland Timbers? 

Portland Timbers confirm signing of English winger Jack Barmby from Leicester

The Portland Timbers’ search for a new winger is over. The reigning MLS Cup champions confirmed on Wednesday that Jack Barmby has joined the club from Premier League leaders Leicester City after days of speculation.

The 21-year-old Englishman joined Leicester from Manchester United in 2014, but failed to make a first-team appearance for either club.

He spent time on loan at Notts County earlier this season, racking up a total of six appearances for the English League Two club before returning to Leicester, where he continued to play for the Under-21 squad. He has also spent time on loan at Hartlepool and Rotherham over the past couple of seasons.

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The Timbers revealed on Wednesday that Barmby had signed on loan from Leicester, where his contract is due to expire in less than four months, but the player then took to Twitter to assure supporters that he had signed on a more permanent deal that the short-term loan being reported.

The new Portland star is the son of former Premier League great Nick Barmby, who represented the England national team on 23 occasions. Jack will now hope to forge his way into MLS history with some strong performances for the Timbers.

The Western Conference outfit have been on the search for a new winger since Rodney Wallace departed for Portuguese club FC Arouca back in January and will hope that their new man can fit seamlessly into the side.

Barmby is an exciting left-footed player who can operate on either wing or at left-back. He will hope to force his way into Caleb Porter’s first-team plans immediately but will need to dislodge Lucas Melano or Dairon Asprilla from either wing if he is to earn a regular starting spot.

WATCH: Jack Barmby’s highlight reel (via Rotherham United on YouTube):

Is Jack Barmby a good signing for Portland Timbers? 

– Header photo taken by Plumb Images.

Colorado Rapids make statement by signing Jermaine Jones as non-DP

The Colorado Rapids have made a huge statement of intent by announcing they have acquired the services of USMNT midfielder Jermaine Jones in a trade with New England Revolution.

The move puts an end to months of uncertainty regarding Jones’ future, after he failed to reach an agreement with New England with regard to staying for a third season.

Colorado have brought in the 34-year-old powerhouse in exchange for general allocation money and their first pick of the 2017 SuperDraft.

Jermaine Jones in action for New England Revolution against DC United in their Eastern Conference wildcard game during the 2015 MLS Playoffs (Photo: Matt Mathai)

Jermaine Jones in action for New England Revolution against DC United in their Eastern Conference wildcard game during the 2015 MLS Playoffs (Photo: Matt Mathai)

Jones has not penned a Designated Player contract with Colorado, though, as targeted allocation money was used on his deal instead.

Keeping Jones in MLS is a boost for the league. The 58-time capped US international proved to be one of the league’s best midfielders over the last season-and-a-half in New England and Colorado fans will undoubtedly be excited by the move.

Jones joined the Revs in August 2014, via a blind draw and went on to make 33 total appearances for the club in the regular season and playoffs combined, scoring three goals with six assists. He was a major reason behind New England’s run to the 2014 MLS Cup Final and Colorado will hope his signing can propel them up the Western Conference.

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The Rapids ended 2015 at the foot of the West and will be hoping that a busy offseason of incomings and outgoings can bring a change of fortunes this term.

They open their 2016 season away at San Jose on Sunday night, but will be without Jones for the first six games of the new campaign as he will serve a suspension for pushing referee Mark Geiger in New England’s playoff defeat to DC United last October.

How good a signing is Jermaine Jones for the Colorado Rapids? Can he help lead the team to a playoff spot?

From MLS to Premier League, and back again – has Tim Howard still got what it takes?

USA international goalkeeper Tim Howard looks set to join MLS side Colorado Rapids from Everton, according to reports by ESPN FC.

First appearing in MLS in 1998 for MetroStars (now the New York Red Bulls), Howard then moved to Manchester United in 2003, before signing for Everton in 2007 after a year-long loan spell.

After 13 years of service in the Premier League, he’s finally returning home to the USA for a transfer fee believed to be in the region of $600-750k.

Howard will reportedly sign a contract with the Rapids until 2019, which will see him earn around $2 million per-year.

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It comes after initial reports had indicated that he was after a deal that would have seen him receive an annual salary of $5m.

Either way, he’s about to become the highest-paid goalkeeper in MLS, but the question is, is he really worth it?

Here’s a look at his Premier League stats over the last four seasons:

Tim Howard's Premier League stats since 2012 (via Squawka)

Tim Howard’s Premier League stats since 2012 (via Squawka)

Despite enduring one of his more uncomfortable seasons between the sticks for Everton so far, including losing his place in the side to Joel Robles, Howard has maintained a fairly consistent level of performance.

A closer look at the stats shows that he’s actually performed better in some areas this season than he did in the last campaign, with a higher clean sheet percentage and more saves-per-goal, although he has conceded more goals-per-game.

The 2013/14 season was particularly outstanding, but if you compare this year to 2012/13, his numbers are very similar, so he hasn’t gone downhill over the course of time.

The 36-year-old has been a stalwart for both club and country over the years, making more than 400 appearances for Everton and gaining 106 caps for the US national side, including being part of the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cup squads.

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He also made 77 appearances for Manchester United, winning the FA Cup and League Cup during his three-year tenure with the Red Devils.

Verdict: Tim Howard will be an excellent signing for the Colorado Rapids and provides stability, experience and most importantly, top quality goalkeeping. He’s bound to be a hit in MLS and could provide the Rapids with performances that make the difference between winning and losing games.

Howard’s transfer from Everton to Colorado Rapids is expected to go through when the MLS summer transfer window opens in July, meaning he will remain with the Toffees until the end of the Premier League season.

Will Tim Howard be a good signing for Colorado Rapids?

Tim Howard ‘wants $5m per season’ to make MLS switch to Colorado

The Colorado Rapids are continuing their pursuit of Everton and USMNT star Tim Howard, but the latest reports suggest the 36-year-old goalkeeper wants almost $20 million over four seasons if he is to return to Major League Soccer.

Howard currently earns around £70,000 per week at Everton – just short of $100,000 dollars-a-week – and wants to remain on the same sort of money if he is to return stateside, according to The Sun.

The report also claims the 2001 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year is also looking for a four-year contract if a move to Colorado is completed, meaning he is looking for around $5 million per season until 2020.

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It’s tough to know how accurate these figures are but it is clear that the Rapids remain in the hunt to sign the 106-time capped US International.

Howard has over two years remaining on his Everton contract and so a transfer fee might also be required to complete a switch to Colorado in the immediate future.

He has made 23 Premier League appearances for the Toffees this term, keeping six clean sheets but faces competition from Joel Robles.

Is Tim Howard worth $5 million per season?

Chelsea set to announce £3.5m signing of Red Bulls star ‘within 24 hours’

Chelsea look to have won the race for New York Red Bulls defender Matt Miazga, with the young USMNT star set to seal a move to the Blues by the weekend.

Miazga has been linked with a move to the Premier League for several months now, and Chelsea look to have beaten Leicester and Stoke to his services, according to ESPN FC.

The 20-year-old centre-back has left the USMNT training camp early in order to fly to London, where he is expected to undergo a medical and sign a contract by the end of Thursday.

The reigning Premier League champions will pay a transfer fee of around $5 million (£3.5 million) for the Red Bulls academy product, who will not require a work permit based on the fact that he holds a Polish passport.

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Miazga, who has been regarded as the best American prospect in MLS over the past year, only has 11 months left on his current Red Bulls contract, and so the club have been left with little choice but to sell their young star for profit, rather than losing him for free at the end of the 2016 season.

Miazga helped the Red Bulls to lift the MLS Supporters’ Shield in 2013 and then again last season. He will now hope to learn from one of the game’s best central defenders in John Terry if his proposed move to London goes through.

Chelsea have a tendency to loan out young prospects, who are not seen as ready for first team duty at Stamford Bridge, but that is not set to happen to Miazga, who will remain with the Blues until the end of the current campaign before his short-term future will then be decided in the summer.

Will Matt Miazga be a good signing for Chelsea? Is he ready for a big move to Europe?