Do Liverpool hold the key in Hazard’s Chelsea departure with attempt to sign €80m Madrid star?

Liverpool could potentially play a key role in Eden Hazard leaving Chelsea at the end of the season as they are reportedly interested in signing Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez, so long as they qualify for next season’s Champions League.

The Colombian has been in and out of the Madrid side since joining for a whopping €80 million in 2014, but Los Blancos may well entertain offers for him this summer in a bid to fund a potential world-record transfer for Hazard.

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It’s no secret the Chelsea man is wanted by Real. Many have dubbed him a ‘Real Madrid sort of player’ and with the current state of the transfer market in mind this could be the first fee to reach over £100m.

Madrid have broken transfer records to land Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale and are unlikely to hesitate doing the same thing to bring Hazard to the Bernabeu this summer.

Chelsea are not a club renowned for selling their top players but have been making a name for themselves with the business they’ve been doing over the last few seasons in terms of selling stars they no longer need for big money. While Hazard certainly doesn’t fall into that category it shows if the right price is offered they could agree to sell him.

An offer of the sort of value that is being spoken about would no doubt be tempting for any club, no matter how good the player is and it would provide Chelsea with the purchasing power to sign a like-for-like replacement and potentially break even.

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Jurgen Klopp looks set to be preparing for the possibility of life after Philippe Coutinho, who is heavily tipped for a move to Barcelona in the coming months, so the potential purchase of Rodriguez would almost definitely have a knock-on effect across Europe.

One thing is for sure, if Real Madrid want Hazard they will do everything possible to get him. They’ve got a history of splashing huge amounts of cash on players and would no doubt be willing to spend whatever it takes to get their man, even if they were to keep hold of Rodriguez.

Will Rodriguez join Liverpool? Is Hazard on his way out of Chelsea?

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Inter Milan ‘desperate’ to bring in Andrea Pirlo on loan from NYCFC

Inter Milan are looking to bring Italian midfielder Andrea Pirlo back to Serie A just six months after leaving to join New York City FC in MLS, according to reports out of Italy.

Sport Mediaset claim Inter boss Roberto Mancini is desperate to bring Pirlo in on loan from January through to the start of the new MLS season in March.

Pirlo, who joined Inter as a 19-year-old in 1998, has said he is not looking for a loan move to fill his time during the MLS offseason as he would rather focus on his NYCFC commitments ahead of his first full season.

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“No, I do not think I will go to Europe, it would not be fair to my team,” he recently told Gazzetta dello Sport.

“All I’m thinking about is training this offseason for the 2016 campaign at New York.”

Inter Milan would not be the first Serie A side to look to MLS as a way of strengthening during the winter. Fierce rivals AC Milan twice loaned David Beckham from LA Galaxy in 2008 and 2009.

Pirlo joined New York City in July and went on to make 13 MLS appearances towards the end of the regular season. He will be disappointed not to have scored a goal but will look to improve in 2016 as the expansion franchise look to bounce back after not making the playoffs at the first attempt.

Should Andrea Pirlo consider a loan move to Inter Milan? How important will he be to NYCFC next season?

Chelsea not looking to sign Didier Drogba for a third time

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has ruled out any chance of resigning Didier Drogba to help his side improve in the new year.

The Chelsea legend, who is the fourth highest goalscorer in their history, has been unplayable since joining Montreal Impact in MLS. He has scored 12 in 12, including Montreal’s third in their 3-0 playoff win last night.

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Mourinho, speaking at today’s press conference, was posed the question of another Drogba return but ruled out the possibility.

“Do you want me to compare the Premier League with MLS?

“Didier will always offer something to a club and the group that loves him and that he loves. No doubt about it. But will I bring him back? No.”

The Ivorian goal-machine will be fully focused as he hopes to lead his side through the Eastern Conference semifinals on Sunday evening as they face Columbus Crew in the first leg.

Chelsea face Liverpool on Saturday lunchtime in what is a huge game for the club, and in particular, Jose Mourinho.

Should Chelsea consider bring Didier Drogba back to the club again?

Lampard has his say on Chelsea’s slump, backing Mourinho

Chelsea legend Frank Lampard insists his former club must stick with Jose Mourinho despite the manager going through the worst period of his career.

The Premier League champions suffered their ninth defeat of the season last night in the League Cup away at Stoke and are slumped down the table in 15th.

Lampard, who won two Premier League titles under Mourinho, says he is still the right man for the job and that his record speaks for itself.

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“For sure. His record speaks for itself,” Lampard told ITV News. “I know he’s the most successful manager in Chelsea’s history.

“I’m sure he’s tearing his hair out and wanting to turn the corner. I’m sure the players are wanting to perform.

“I know the quality in the dressing room. I know the squad. I know people like John Terry with the desire to keep Chelsea up where they always are.

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“That will turn around very quickly and hopefully they move on and be where we expect them to be.”

Lampard’s first season with New York City FC ended with a 3-1 defeat to New England Revolution on Sunday and he will be eager to impress in the next MLS campaign.

The English midfielder scored three goals in 10 MLS appearances in his debut season.

TRANSFER ROUNDUP: United to HIJACK Arsenal target, Liverpool’s Real Madrid swoop & Britton to MLS

Daily transfer roundup (Monday, June 1)

MLS Rumours

Swansea City‘s Leon Britton is being linked with a move away from the club after limited playing time and Major League Soccer is a possible destination. (REPORT)

Former Liverpool hero, John Arne Riise, is on the verge of signing for Philadelphia Union with Renee Mulensteen playing a key role in the move. (REPORT)

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Oguchi Onyeywu‘s future with New York City FC remains uncertain. The defender has been on a week trial with the club but they are yet to decide whether or not to sign him on a permanent basis. (REPORT)

Premier League Rumours

Manchester United are set to hijack Arsenal‘s move for Southampton‘s Morgan Schneiderlin who is seen as a long-term replacement for Michael Carrick. (REPORT)

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Chelsea have moved into pole position to sign £57m rated Paul Pogba from Juventus. The Frenchman has attracted interest from Europe’s elite clubs. (REPORT)

Liverpool are plotting a £10.5m move for Real Madrid goalkeeper, Keylor Navas, as Los Blancos are preparing for David de Gea to become their number one. (REPORT)
Done Deals
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Watford have completed the signing of Werder Bremen defender Sebastian Prodl. The 27-year-old free agent is Watford’s first signing since their return to the top flight. (REPORT)

MLS News Roundup – Thursday January 22

There’s been a lot going on in the world of Major League Soccer over the past 24 hours so it’s a good time to round up all the news in one place.

Six of the 20 MLS clubs return to preseason training today and the 2015 season is drawing ever closer.

Here are the top stories you need to know about:

1) Colorado Rapids will host the 2015 MLS All-Star Game

The MLS All-Stars are going back to Denver for the second time ever as the Colorado Rapids’ Dick’s Sporting Goods Park will host the 2015 game. Rapids coach Pablo Maestroni will coach a team of stars that is likely to include new faces Kaka and David Villa to name just a couple. An opponent has not yet been named but we’re expecting a big name as Chelsea, AS Roma and Bayern Munich have taken on the All-Stars in the past three seasons.

2) Michael Bradley says MLS free agency is worth a player strike if it comes to it

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Major League Soccer is currently in negotiations with the MLS Players’ Union over a new collective bargaining agreement as the current one is set to expire at the end of the month. One of the key issues being discussed is player free agency and Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley has said it is an issue worth going on strike over, if an agreement cannot be reached.

“We want what’s best for the league, we want to help this league grow and continue to push forward in every possible way,” Bradley said. “But it is time for some changes in the way that things are done and I think that in the end we’ll find a good way to get all that done.”

3) Michael Essien on FC Dallas radar but midfielder rejects first offer

AC Milan midfielder Michael Essien is set to move again. His current contract expires at the end of the season and Milan are not willing to offer him a new deal. The former Chelsea man does not want to return to the Premier League and is keen on a switch to MLS. FC Dallas have made an offer to the Ghanaian but he has reportedly rejected that.

4) Fabian Espindola rewarded by DC United with Designated Player contract

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Fabian Espindola was arguably DC United’s best player last season and the club have rewarded him for a fine 2014, in which he scored 11 goals and picked up 9 assists, by giving him a Designated Player contract. DC United General Manager Dave Kasper said: “Fabian is coming off his best year in MLS last season and he deserves to be a Designated Player. He is in the prime of his career and we look forward to his future contributions to our club.” However, Espindola won’t be available to play for the first six games of 2015 as he will serve a suspension picked up for pushing an official in the MLS Playoffs.

5) Montreal Impact confirm signing of Belgian international Laurent Ciman

The Montreal Impact have bolstered their defence with the addition of 29-year-old centre-back Laurent Ciman from Standard Liege. Ciman has spent his entire career in Belgium and was a part of the national team’s World Cup squad last summer. Better still, Ciman will not occupy a Designated Player contract in Montreal and he will be a key leader for the team in 2015.

6) Vancouver Whitecaps sign former Timbers defender Pa Modou Kah

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Another Canadian club have made a move to strengthen their backline as the Vancouver Whitecaps have signed Pa Modou Kah. The former Portland Timbers centre-back will bring plenty of experience to the side and head coach Carl Robinson thinks he is an important addition: “Kah is an athletic center back with a wealth of experience, both in MLS and abroad. Not only does he bring experience, but also great character, and that will be equally important to our team.”

7) FC Dallas acquire Toronto FC midfielder Kyle Bekker in trade for allocation money

Toronto FC have parted ways with Canadian midfielder Kyle Bekker as the 24-year-old has joined FC Dallas in exchange for allocation money. Bekker made 29 appearances over two seasons with Toronto after being selected with the third overall pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft.

8) Bradley Wright-Phillips refusing to change despite everything else doing so around him

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A lot has changed in New York since the end of the 2014 season. Thierry Henry has hung up his boots. Mike Petke has been fired and replaced by Jesse Marsch. But Bradley Wright-Phillips won’t be changing, despite the fact that he’ll be playing with the added pressure of a Designated Player contract this year. The 29-year-old tied the MLS single season goalscoring record in 2014 with 27 goals and he’s going to go about things the same way in 2015.

“I had an interview [with the Red Bulls] at the end of the season, I told them, ‘Don’t expect any wonders. You’re going to get what you got from me this season.’ I don’t go into a game without running hard, working hard, trying to score goals. That’s exactly what I’ll do this season,” he said on Tuesday. “If they’re expecting something more, they will be disappointed, I can let you know that now. If you are expecting me to be Thierry Henry, you will be disappointed.”