Eden Hazard joins former teammates to become part-owners of San Diego NASL team

Eden Hazard has joined forces with fellow professionals Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye and Moussa Sow to invest in a new NASL expansion side in San Diego, in what is an intriguing move for soccer fans across the globe.

The quartet of stars are funding the formation of the new team alongside local investors in San Diego, although a full team name has yet to be confirmed.

Hazard played 115 games alongside Cabaye and 70 alongside Sow while at Lille, before playing 35 times alongside Demba Ba at Chelsea following his move to the Premier League in 2012.

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San Diego will become the 10th team in the NASL when they enter play in Spring 2018, alongside a fellow expansion team in Orange County.

San Diego is expected to welcome a professional soccer team back to the area with open arms. There are an estimated 3.3 million people in the area and more than 50,000 youth players.

Chelsea star Hazard is one of the world’s most talented and widely recognised stars. He said San Diego’s passion for soccer is one of the key reasons behind the investment.

“San Diego is a beautiful place and the love and passion the people have for soccer made this an easy choice for us. My friends and I are honored to turn this dream into a reality and we can’t wait to get started and win some games.”

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Hazard’s former Chelsea teammate Demba Ba – who currently plays for Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua but is on loan at Besiktas – is planning for success in the NASL and beyond.

“Success is our goal – with the club, with the community, with everything that we do,” Ba said. “One of our goals is to sign players who have a strong passion for the game, who are competitive and love to win.

“I look forward to competing against our fellow California clubs and the rest of the NASL, as well as MLS clubs in the U.S. Open Cup. It is going to be up to us to be the best.”

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The expansion club will play their home matches at the University of San Diego until their own soccer-specific stadium is built, with sites currently being considered in North County.

The news comes just a couple of months after Didier Drogba became football’s first player-owner with USL side Phoenix Rising and there is a sense that an increasing number of the games biggest stars may be looking to invest in US Soccer.

AC Milan legend Paolo Maldini is the co-owner of NASL side Miami FC, who are coached by Alessandro Nesta. While David Beckham’s own Miami project recently received a boost in its pursuit of an MLS Expansion Team, following the acquisition of the land needed to build a 25,000-seater stadium.


Premier League Preview and Prediction: Tottenham vs Crystal Palace

Competition: Premier League – Tottenham Hotspur vs. Crystal Palace

Venue: White Hart Lane – Sunday, September 20 – 13:30 BST (08:30 ET)

Match Odds: Spurs 1/1 – Draw 5/2 – Crystal Palace 13/5

Match Preview

Tottenham host Crystal Palace on Sunday afternoon in a key London derby in the Premier League, with Spurs looking for a first home win of the season.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side recorded their first victory of the campaign at Sunderland last week, winning 1-0, and followed it up with a 3-1 Europa League win against Qarabag on Thursday evening.

Their midweek commitments affected them several times last year and Spurs fans will be desperately hoping that the same problems don’t arise here.

Tottenham’s 2015 Premier League record: P5 – W1 – D3 – L1

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They face a really tough task in sealing all three points this weekend against a Palace side that fear no side – a point they proved in fine style with their away win at Chelsea three weeks ago.

The narrow 1-0 loss to Manchester City last weekend was harsh and Alan Pardew will hope his side can bounce back with another impressive win in this derby game.

They have been incredible away from home under Pardew since the turn of the year and will be looking for a first league win at White Hart Lane since 1997.

Crystal Palace’s 2015 Premier League record: P5 – W3 – D0 – L2

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The last meeting between the two sides ended 2-1 to Palace at Selhurst Park so this is far from being a one-sided affair.

Team News

Tottenham are struggling for options in midfield as Christian Eriksen remains out, while Moussa Dembele, Nabil Bentaleb, Ryan Mason and Eric Dier are all doubtful. Heung Min Son will expect to start his first home league game.

Crystal Palace have several injury concerns. Frazier Campbell, Kwesi Appiah, Marouane Chamakh and Joel Ward are all out. Jason Puncheon, Connor Wickham, Damien Delaney and Joe Ledley are doubts.

Key Points

Tottenham’s last five: L/D/D/D/W

Crystal Palace’s last five: W/L/W/W/L

Key Stat: Crystal Palace have won five of their last six away games in the Premier League.

Key Player: Yohan Cabaye – The French midfielder could benefit from Spurs’ midfield injury problems by controlling the game from the Palace midfield and will look to shine here.

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Score Prediction

Spurs 1-1 Crystal Palace – Tough to split the two sides going into this key London derby. Spurs will be desperate for a win but Palace are a well organised outfit and shine on the road under Alan Pardew. A narrow draw could well be the outcome here.

Premier League Preview and Prediction: Crystal Palace vs Arsenal

Competition: Premier League – Crystal Palace vs. Arsenal

Venue: Selhurst Park – Sunday, August 16 – 13:30 BST (08:30 ET)

Match Odds: Crystal Palace 15/4 – Draw 11/4 – Arsenal 7/10

Match Preview

Crystal Palace host Arsenal to kickoff Sunday’s Premier League action in what should be a fascinating London derby.

Palace got off to the perfect start by beating Norwich 3-1 on the opening weekend and will now hope to seal three points in their home opener against Arsenal.

The Gunners didn’t enjoy the first weekend of the new season quite as much. A shock 2-0 defeat at home to West Ham raised early question marks over the side’s chances of challenging for the title and a second straight London derby will see those questions resurface immediately.

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Arsene Wenger’s men had a great preseason, capped off by a Community Shield win over Chelsea and so no one foresaw West Ham winning at the Emirates last week. Now they must try and pick back up by winning their first away game of the campaign.

Alexis Sanchez should be fit to start after coming on last time out and he will certainly make Arsenal stronger. Failure to win this one would put Wenger under some early season pressure and the club could do without that before the transfer window has even shut.

Alan Pardew has turned Palace into a fiercely competitive side since taking over at the turn of the year. With three points on the board already, they will have some nerves lifted and will look to enjoy the occasion against the Gunners.

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It has been 36 years since Crystal Palace last beat Arsenal at home though, so history would suggest the Eagles have it all to do if they are to keep their 100% record going through two weeks.

The last meeting between the two ended 2-1 to Arsenal at Selhurst Park back in February as goals from Santi Cazorla and Oliver Giroud helped them on their way before a late Glenn Murray consolation.

The Gunners have won each of the last five Premier League clashes between the two and will be favourites to seal all three points, even after their contrasting starts to the campaign.

Team News

Julian Speroni, Fraizer Campbell, Kwesi Appiah and Marouane Chamakh are all ruled out for Palace so Alex McCarthy should keep his place in goal. Yannick Bolasie and Jason Puncheon will be pushing to start, though Wilfried Zaha is expected to keep his place in the team after scoring last weekend. Connor Wickham will hope to start in place of Glenn Murray.

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Arsenal have two players ruled out as Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky will play no part, while Danny Welbeck remains a doubt but is close to returning. Alexis Sanchez should start, while Wenger has a big choice to make up front as Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud battle for the lone striking role. Hector Bellerin will hope to return to the squad at right-back after Mathieu Debuchy started last week.

Key Points

Crystal Palace’s form: W

Arsenal’s form: L

Key Stat: Crystal Palace have only beaten Arsenal once in the Premier League era. But that came back in 1994 and it has now been nine games without a league win in this fixture for the Eagles.

Key Player: Yohan Cabaye – Palace’s record signing started life back in the Premier League with a fine display and a goal at Norwich. Expect him to be influential in midfield in his home debut.

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Score Prediction

Crystal Palace 1-1 Arsenal – Tough to see Arsenal having enough to beat Palace this week, especially after last weekend’s disappointing display. If they play like that again, they’ll lose, but an improved performance is expected. Alan Pardew’s side are hard to beat and should do enough to earn at least a point here in what should be a close contest.

TRANSFER ROUNDUP: United £45m DONE DEAL, Liverpool star exit looming?

Daily transfer roundup (Friday, July 10)

MLS Rumours

Chelsea legend Didier Drogba is still hoping for a move to Major League Soccer after turning down the chance to stay in Europe with FC Porto. (REPORT)

Premier League Rumours

Manchester United‘s Angel Di Maria has reportedly agreed a deal in principle to leave the club for Paris Saint Germain in a £45 million deal. (REPORT)

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Manchester City are set to make a third bid for Liverpool‘s Raheem Sterling. City have already had two offers for the Englishman declined. (REPORT)

Arsenal‘s David Ospina is considering a move to Everton. The Colombian is uncertain of his future at the club since the arrival of Petr Cech from Chelsea. (REPORT)

Done Deals

Crystal Palace have announced the signing of former Newcastle United star Yohan Cabaye. The Paris Saint Germain man will join for a club record fee of £10 million. (REPORT)

Arsenal receive DOUBLE midfield boost as £17m-rated target hints at move

Arsenal look to have received two boosts ahead of the summer transfer window as Mikel Arteta is on the verge of signing a new contract, while long-term target Yohan Cabaye has hinted he will leave Paris Saint Germain this summer with Arsene Wenger ready to swoop.

Arteta’s current Arsenal contract is set to expire at the end of the season and despite missing five months of action through injury this season, the Spanish midfielder is reportedly set to pen a new one-year extension.

The 33-year-old Spaniard joined the Gunners for £10 million from Everton in 2011 and has gone on to make 136 appearances for the club.

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Arsenal are yet to officially announce the deal but it is expected to be revealed in the next few days as Arteta will remain a Gunner for at least another season.

He could be joined by a new face in the heart of the Arsenal midfield next season as PSG’s Yohan Cabaye has hinted at a summer exit as he wants to play regular football.

Cabaye, who has also been linked with moves to Liverpool and Tottenham, has been a long-term target of Arsene Wenger’s and Arsenal had a £10 million bid rejected for the Frenchman in August 2013 while he was still with Newcastle.

He went on to join PSG in January 2014 but has made just 35 league appearances in the past 18 months and could be set for a Premier League return.

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“It is a distinct moment in my career,” Cabaye said with regard to his future. “I have never been through this before.

“One has to accept it but also try to change it. It is super important for me, I want to play Euro 2016.

“I need to speak to the boss and my representatives to see what is best for me.”

Would Yohan Cabaye be a good signing for Arsenal this summer? Does Mikel Arteta deserve a new contract?

Arsenal preparing move for £10m-rated former Newcastle star

Arsenal are weighing up another move for Paris Saint-Germain and former Newcastle United midfielder Yohan Cabaye, according to the Daily Mirror.

Cabaye has made 19 appearances for PSG this season, nine of which have come from the bench, and could be open to a move in the search of regular first team football.

Arsenal were unsuccessful in signing the French international twice during his time at Newcastle but  it looks like Arsene Wenger has a great chance of landing his man this summer.

It is reported that Arsenal could sign the 29 year old for as little as £10m and his wealth of Premier League experience would make him a steal for such a low fee.

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Arsenal appear to be lacking a quality holding midfielder and Cabaye could be a perfect addition to the side. Francis Coquelin has been excellent in midfield for the past few months but Cabaye offers something different.

The midfielder possesses the qualities to score goals and is renowned for his set piece speciality, and his wide range of passing from a deep midfield position could be something Arsene Wenger values highly.

Should Arsenal make a move for Yohan Cabaye this summer?