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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MLS, welcome to Zlatan: Ibrahimovic joins LA Galaxy on two-year deal but will not be a DP

It’s official. It’s a deal that has been rumoured for a number of years and it’s now come to fruition as Zlatan Ibrahimovic joins LA Galaxy for what will surely be the final years of his incredible career.

The 36-year-old Swedish striker terminated his contract with Manchester United on Thursday. That meant he could join LA Galaxy on a free transfer. But in addition to that coup, the Galaxy have been able to convince him to come to MLS without being a Designated Player.

Ibrahimovic’s contract will run through the 2019 season and he will earn $1.5 million per year, according to Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl. That amount is the maximum allowed for a contract using Targeted Allocation Money. So it means Giovani Dos Santos, Jonathan Dos Santos and Romain Alessandrini will remain DP’s with the Galaxy.

“Dear Los Angeles, you’re welcome”

Ibrahimovic is one of football’s biggest characters. He is a global superstar as a result of both his incredible goalscoring exploits and his enormous ego that has made headlines wherever he has played.

He hasn’t even landed in Los Angeles but has already started his famous antics. An entire page of the LA Times was dedicated to Ibrahimovic’s signing on Friday, with a very short message from the man himself. It simply read: “Dear Los Angeles, you’re welcome.”

Ibrahimovic is expected to arrive in LA next week, on either Wednesday and Thursday. He has only played seven times since making an incredibly fast recovery from cruciate knee-ligament damage. He suffered the injury in the Europa League last April.

However, if he feels ready to play from the outset, he could make his debut in the hugely anticipated Los Angeles Derby between LA Galaxy and LAFC on Saturday, March 31 – the first ever meeting between the new rivals.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic joins LA Galaxy following a trophy-filled career. The powerful forward scored 421 goals in 21 seasons across Europe. With those goals coming for the likes of Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, PSG and Manchester United.

He is the only player to have won 13 titles in four different leagues. He is Sweden’s all-time top goalscorer. And he is the only player to have scored in the following derbies: De Klassieker, the Derby della Madonnina, the Derby d’Italia, El Clásico, Le Classique, the Manchester Derby and the North-West Derby. Don’t bet against him making an immediate impact with a goal in the first LA Derby next weekend.

MLS, welcome to Zlatan.

Crystal Palace midfielder Jordon Mutch completes Vancouver Whitecaps move

The Vancouver Whitecaps have completed the signing of Jordon Mutch from English Premier League side Crystal Palace on a one-year loan, with the option to buy. Mutch becomes Vancouver’s 10th signing of the winter and leaves Palace after failing to make an appearance this season.

The 26-year-old English midfielder has only appeared on the Eagles’ bench three times over the course of the 2017/18 campaign and will be hoping the move to Major League Soccer can help reignite his career.

The former Cardiff City and QPR man has recorded a total of 17 goals and added 26 assists in 206 club matches in all competitions over the course of his career so far. He is a box-to-box midfielder, who replaces the outgoing Tony Tchani for Vancouver.

“Jordon is a top midfielder who has played at the highest level,” Vancouver head coach Carl Robinson said. “He’s played against the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester United and now he wants to prove himself again in a new environment.

“He likes to get forward, he’s full of energy, and he’s in the prime of his career. We’re delighted to have him here.”

Mutch will spend the entire 2018 season with the Whitecaps, with the club having the option to purchase him if his time in MLS is a success.

The Vancouver Whitecaps kick off the 2018 season this weekend, taking on Montreal Impact on Sunday evening at BC Place Stadium. It’s unlikely that Mutch will be included in the lineup, given that he lacks match practice and will not have had enough time to prepare for the game.

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?

NYCFC losing Jack Harrison to Man City in £4m deal ahead of loan move to Middlesbrough

Jack Harrison’s time with New York City FC looks to be over. The talented young English winger landed in the United Kingdom on Tuesday morning ahead of a £4 million dealthat will see him join NYCFC’s parent club, Manchester City.

But Harrison’s travels don’t stop there. He is expected to immediately be loaned out to Championship side Middlesbrough, who are now managed by Tony Pulis. Harrison will remain at the Riverside until the summer, when he is expected to join up with the Man City squad for preseason training.

The loss of Harrison will be a major blow to NYCFC. The 21-year-old winger has developed incredibly well under the guidance of Patrick Vieira and has learnt an enormous amount from teammates such as David Villa, Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo.

But his impressive displays have come at a price for New York City FC fans. And that price is £4 million. Harrison will no longer be preparing for what would have been his third MLS season. Instead, he will be thrust straight into the middle of Middlesbrough’s Championship campaign.

Boro are currently eighth in the second tier of English football but are in the playoff race, as they sit just four points outside the top six with 18 games to play. They will be hoping the addition of Harrison can help to inspire them to a Premier League return at the first time of asking following last season’s relegation.

Harrison was also a target of Stoke City, but the Potters weren’t prepared to match NYCFC’s valuation for the player this month. As a result the former Manchester United academy attacker will join Manchester City after seven years in the United States.

In total, Jack Harrison scored 14 goals in 59 MLS games for NYCFC, assisting a further 13 goals over the past two seasons. He was a key part of the New York City squad but they will have to now prepare for life without the exciting young Englishman.

Premier League clubs beginning to circle around NYCFC’s Jack Harrison – Report

Jack Harrison is having one hell of a season. So it comes as no real surprise that his performances with New York City FC in 2017 have caught the eye of clubs back in England, with Kristian Dyer reporting that a couple of teams are eyeing up a move.

The Stoke-born 20 year old was the No. 1 pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft and enjoyed a promising breakthrough season last term. He notched up four goals and seven assists in 21 regular season games but has stepped up another gear this campaign.

Photo: Chris Kachanoski/MLSGB

Harrison has already doubled his goal tally from last season, scoring eight in 19 games. He’s also provided five assists and has had a hand in either a goal or assist in six of his last eight matches.

But his displays mean NYCFC might have a battle on their hands if they’re to keep hold of one of Major League Soccer’s rising stars. Kristian Dyer revealed on the MSG Network that Harrison is the subject of interest from a few clubs back in England.

“One, if not two Premier League clubs are looking at him, as well as a number of Championship teams,” Dyer said.



“But the price tag might become an issue here. He would cost a lot more than Matt Miazga did two years ago, in terms of the transfer fee.”

Miazga joined Chelsea from the Red Bulls for around $5 million back in January 2016, playing twice before being sent on loan to Vitesse. He played 35 times for the Dutch club last term but is back at Chelsea now.

Harrison is the same age now as Miazga was when he moved to Europe 18 months ago. But as Dyer points out, it will take a more significant offer to lure him out of MLS.

Harrison is seemingly improving all the time. He is benefiting from the experience and leadership of David Villa and Andrea Pirlo. So he has no real reason to jump ship at the midpoint of a successful MLS campaign. But every player has their price. If a big-money offer comes in from the Premier League, NYCFC might have to plan for life without Jack Harrison.

Three reasons Man Utd need to pull out the stops to beat PL rivals to £26m-rated left-back

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is on the hunt for a new left-back and he needs to do everything he can to ensure the Red Devils beat Premier League rivals Manchester City and Chelsea to the signing of AS Monaco left-back Benjamin Mendy this summer.

The 22-year-old Frenchman has starred for Monaco as they chase a first Ligue 1 title in 17 years this season. He joined the club in a £13 million deal from Marseille last summer but is expected to be on the move again this summer, with an offer of around £26 million expected to be enough to force Monaco’s hand.

Mourinho’s critical comments about Luke Shaw in recent weeks suggest he may not see a long-term future at Old Trafford for the youngster. Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Matteo Darmian are also options at the position but none of them are natural left-backs and struggle to get up and down as much as Antonio Valencia on the opposite wing.

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Mendy would give Manchester United a fresh look and another attacking outlet down the left side. He has proven his quality in Ligue 1 and in the Champions League this season so here are three reasons United need to do all they can to sign him in the coming months…

1. Attacking threat from left-back

Mendy would offer United something they don’t currently have – a consistent attacking outlet down the left side. Luke Shaw is an attacking full-back but is clearly not one of Mourinho’s favourites, while Matteo Darmian struggles to offer regular support in the attacking third.

Mendy has eight league and Champions League assists this season – more than any other defender in Europe, including Real Madrid’s Marcelo and Bayern’s David Alaba who are both rated as two of the world’s best in the position.

Antonio Valencia gives United a regular threat from right-back but they become quite one-sided due to the lack of similar support on the left, so the addition of Mendy would add balance as well as some much-needed creativity from deep.

2016/17 League Stats
Games
Assists
Chances
Created Per 90 Mins
Pass
Completion (%)
Tackles
Won Per 90 Mins
Benjamin
Mendy
21
5
1.05
76%
1.9
Luke
Shaw
10
1
1.32
85%
0.92
Matteo
Darmian
12
0
0.21
81%
2.00

Table: Benjamin Mendy’s league statistics compared to Luke Shaw and Matteo Darmian this season (stats via: Squawka).

2. Play style perfectly suits the Premier League

The table above shows how Mendy compares to Shaw and Darmian – the two most natural left-backs United have at their disposal at the moment. His stats suggest he is a well-rounded full-back, who is as adept at winning the ball back as he is creating chances. His pass completion could be better but 66% of his passes go forward, further highlighting his direct approach.

Premier League full-backs that can get forward quickly but also defend well in 1v1 situations tend to standout and Mendy fits that billing perfectly. A move to Old Trafford could see him establish himself as one of the club’s best left-sided defenders, as his approach to the game isn’t too dissimilar to that of Patrice Evra’s when he joined the Red Devils in 2006.

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3. Bright future ahead

Mendy is still only 22. That’s easy to forget considering he made his professional debut almost six years ago. But he has established himself as one of Europe’s best full-backs this season as Monaco continue to impress domestically and in the Champions League.

Mendy made his France debut last month, getting an assist in the 3-1 win over Luxembourg and a long and successful career is expected for club and country, no matter where he is plying his trade.

Luke Shaw is a year younger than Mendy but with his future unclear, the Frenchman would be an ideal replacement this summer and would potentially give Manchester United a reliable and improving left-back for many years to come.

Should Man United do everything in their power to sign Benjamin Mendy this summer?

LA Galaxy prepared to blow Man United out of water with $18m contract offer for Ibrahimovic

LA Galaxy are prepared to prove they’re serious about bringing Zlatan Ibrahimovic to MLS this summer by making him the highest-paid player in league history, with an offer that would see him pick up a significant pay rise from his current Manchester United deal, according to the Express.

Ibrahimovic currently earns around £11 million per season at United, which equates to about £210,000 per week. However the Galaxy are reportedly offering the iconic striker a deal worth £15 million a year – £290,000 per week.

That works out as roughly $18 million per season, although with Ibrahimovic currently 35-years-old it is unclear how many seasons he’ll be offered on any potential deal with LA.

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What is clear is that as things stand Ibrahimovic will be a free agent for the second time in as many years come the end of June, as he is yet to put pen to paper on a one-year extension at United despite reportedly agreeing to earlier this season.

There is a good chance an agreement will be reached with the Red Devils before the end of the season, although his decision will likely be made easier once he knows where the club’s European commitments lie next season, as another year without Champions League football might not be deemed good enough.

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Kaka is currently the highest-paid player in MLS, earning around $7.1m a season with bonuses included. So Ibrahimovic’s deal would see him earn almost three times as much as the Orlando City star and make him the highest-paid player in league history by some margin.

The Galaxy have a Designated Player spot free for Ibrahimovic should he join, following the winter departures of Robbie Keane and Steven Gerrard. Giovani Dos Santos and new signing Romain Alessandrini currently occupy two of the three DP slots.

Ibrahimovic has taken English football by storm since joining United last summer, scoring 26 goals in all competitions and firing the club to League Cup glory just a few weeks ago.

But with LA Galaxy looking very serious about a move for the former Sweden international and huge figures being thrown about, Ibrahimovic will surely be tempted to opt for the Californian lifestyle as soon as this summer.

Do you think we’ll see Zlatan Ibrahimovic move to MLS as soon as this summer?

West Brom complete club-record £13m deal for Chadli – but is he worth it?

*Header photo by Adam Fradgley - AMA/Getty Images

West Bromwich Albion have today completed a club-record transfer for Nacer Chadli, with the Belgium international joining from Spurs for a reported fee of £13 million.

The 27-year-old was one of the seven players signed by Tottenham with the money raised from Gareth Bale’s then world-record transfer in 2013, with Chadli going on to make 119 appearances for the club, scoring 25 goals.

He departs the north London club having fallen down the pecking order under Mauricio Pochettino, with the likes of Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, Josh Onomah and Heung-Min Son all getting attention ahead of Chadli so far this term.

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The switch to West Brom will allow the Belgian winger to reinvent himself in a team that will place higher importance on his abilities than he ever enjoyed at White Hart Lane.

Chadli is primarily a left-winger, although he can also operate on the opposite flank or as an out-and-out striker. He will likely replace James McClean in the Baggies’ starting lineup, with fellow summer signing Matt Phillips occupying a place on the right, behind striker Salomon Rondon.

West Brom manager Tony Pulis has spoken of how Chadli will improve the squad and has labelled him as a “top, top player”.

“I’m delighted we’ve got him, Pulis said. “I said last week that these signings all had to be about players who would improve our squad – and Nacer does precisely that.”

But just how will the new man improve the Baggies?

Table: Chadli's 2015/16 Premier League statistics compared to James McClean and Chris Brunt (stats via Squawka).

Table: Chadli’s 2015/16 Premier League statistics compared to James McClean and Chris Brunt (stats via Squawka).

As the table above shows, Chadli is much more of a goal-threat than West Brom’s current left-sided options in James McClean and Chris Brunt.

The former FC Twente man scored more goals than Brunt and McClean combined last season, despite playing significantly fewer minutes than his new teammates.

Chadi also created more than twice as many chances than McClean per 90 minutes last season, and also fired more shots per game too.

The Irishman is more direct in the sense of getting his head down and taking on an opposing defender, but Chadli will add quality to the Baggies attack, with his crossing and eye for goal just two aspects that should help Pulis’ men going forward.

At 27, Chadli should be entering the prime of his career and Pulis will now be looking to get the best out of his new acquisition.

For Chadli, playing regular first-team football will help him rediscover his best form and should also increase his chances of getting back into the Belgium national team picture.

The transfer makes sense for both parties, although paying a club-record fee for any player increases pressure and Chadli will need to try and inject some pace into the team’s attack from the word ‘go’.

He will expect to make his debut in West Brom’s next game away at Bournemouth on September 10 following the international break.

Is Nacer Chadli a good signing for West Brom?

USMNT star DeAndre Yedlin completes £5m move to Newcastle from Spurs

US International right-back DeAndre Yedlin has completed a move to English Championship side Newcastle United for a reported fee of £5 million after making just one senior appearance for Tottenham Hotspur.

Yedlin’s move to Newcastle should guarantee him first-team football as he has replaced Dutch full-back Daryl Janmaat, who joined Watford earlier today.

The 23-year-old moved to England from the Seattle Sounders in January 2015 but struggled to force his way into Mauricio Pochettino’s plans.

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A loan move to fellow Premier League side Sunderland last September saw Yedlin develop his talents under Sam Allardyce, but he was still behind Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier in the Spurs pecking order once returning to North London and so a move elsewhere makes sense.

Yedlin will have undoubtedly angered Sunderland fans with a move to fierce north-east rivals Newcastle but he is now looking to impress on a weekly basis under Rafa Benitez as the Magpies look for an immediate return to the top flight.

Yedlin made a total of 23 league appearances for Sunderland last season, and became an integral part of the team as they escaped relegation, starting all of the Black Cats’ final 13 matches.

He will now hope to build on those displays at the top end of the Championship with his new teammates, while regular playing time will also keep him at the forefront of Jurgen Klinsmann’s USMNT plans.

Is the move to Newcastle a good one for DeAndre Yedlin? Is he too good for the Championship?