Tag: david villa

NYC FC Releases Their Inaugural Home Kit

Frank Lampard doesn’t even need to get a different jersey after his loan ends at Manchester City. Instead, he can just wear his Manchester City jersey when he plays in MLS next season and no one will be able to notice the difference. I expected so much better than this after all the mock fan designs I saw before this announcement. It is not that the Manchester City jersey’s are bad but I expected New York City FC to at least alter the look to separate themselves a little bit from their father club. “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” applies here in some way but I’m hoping the away kit takes more risks.

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Complete List Of MLS Player Salaries From 2014

Click here for the complete list of MLS player salaries in alphabetical order. Some of the highest paid players are Michael Bradley ($6.5 million), Thierry Henry ($4.35 million), Clint Dempsey (6.7 million), and  Jermaine Defoe ($6.1 million). Kaka has the highest salary with $7.2 million.

Here are two of Sports Illustrated takeaways (Of the 5):

  1. • Kaka and David Villa have very differently-structured contracts. Kaka may be getting millions, but NYCFC’s David Villa is listed as receiving a suspiciously low $60,000 in guaranteed compensation. SI.com understands that the structures of the individual players’ contracts are responsible for the massive difference in salary, and that the number next to Villa’s name will be much higher next season
  2. In all, 15 players are millionaires. The aforementioned Kaka, Dempsey, Bradley, Defoe, Jones, and Ridgewell are part of this list.The millionaire’s club also includes Galaxy’s Landon Donovan ($4.6 million), Omar Gonzalez ($1.2 million), and Robbie Keane ($4.5 million), Montreal’s Marco Di Vaio ($2.6 million), New York’s Tim Cahill ($3.6 million) and Thierry Henry ($4.3 million), Seattle’s Obafemi Martins ($1.7 million), Toronto FC’s Gilberto ($1.2 million), and Vancouver’s Pedro Morales ($1.4 million)

An important thing to note is that the league minimum is $36,500. This league has a lot of players who are making a great living playing in MLS but there are a lot of players who are making the equivalent of a entry-level salary in the sports industry. It is a livable wage but nothing compared to the league minimum of other American sports leagues.

 

Transfer Confirmations and Rumors Galore

Since my last transfer rumors post back in June, we’ve seen some players take the plunge and actually join new clubs and others have rumors swirling with different clubs:

  • Cavani is confirmed to be off to PSG instead of the rumored Chelsea
  • Fabio Contrao is now being linked with Tottenham
  • Gonzalo Higuain has been transferred to Arsenal then Napoli, yet nothing is confirmed to this point despite the latest reports saying a 37m bid from Napoli has been accepted
  • Fellaini remains at Everton and it seems talk of his “release clause” being activated was complete BS
  • Manchester United have made a 3rd bid for Cesc Fabregas after we reported they were interested in the beginning of June

So, with those 5 rumors, only one has officially come to fruition.

Recently, I posted about Arsenal possibly splashing some big cash this transfer window.  So far, none of those have happened for Arsene Wenger, much to the dismay of the Gunner’s fans.

  • Higuain (mentioned above)
  • Rooney now looks like Chelsea will be his most likely destination should he leave Old Trafford (IMO, I think he stays)
  • Felliani (mentioned above)
  • Lars Bender looks like he will be staying at Leverkusen, at least for this year
  • Stevan Jovetic is a confirmed Chelsea signing and a good potential Tevez replacement, who is confirmed to be off to Juventus
  • Micah Richards is still at Man City and his transfer rumors have cooled down some
  • Fernando Torres looks to be staying with Chelsea at least for the time being
  • Julio Cesar is still available
  • David Villa has been confirmed to stay in Spain and move to Atletico Madrid

The latest confirmed transfers and rumors involve some players not previously mentioned:

  • The 20 year old Brazilian Bernard has been the talk of the Brazilian media recently with a reported 21m move to Arsenal set to be confirmed after the copa libertores final on Thursday.  He has also been linked with Tottenham and Liverpool.  (Not many outside of Brazil know much about him but he does have some impressive highlights)
  • Soldado is being linked with a 25m move to Tottenham from his current club Valencia, although the latest reports suggest talks have broken down
  • Benfica winger Eduardo Salvio is linked with a 30m move to Chelsea
  • The puzzling rumors regarding Juan Mata continue as a potential Arsenal target (I would put this at about a -3% chance of actually happening)
  • Liverpool have reportedly made an 18m offer for Ajax midfielder Christian Eriksen
  • Aston Villa forward Chistian Benteke received a wage boost to remain at Villa next season
  • Tiago Alcantara is off to Bayern Munich as they add yet another midfielder that is already world class
  • Fellow American Jozy Altidore has officially signed with Sunderland
  • Isco turned down the chance to join Manchester City and went with Real Madrid instead
  • The latest reports on Gareth Bale see a 6 year deal reached with a move to Real Madrid
  • Luis Suarez’s suitors are still reported to be either Arsenal or Real Madrid should Liverpool decide to sell

Next week I will be posting Part 2 (of 3) of my Barclay’s Premier League Predictions.  They will be based on the above confirmed transfers and rumors.  As some squads have had some notable changes, expect the predictions to change from Part 1 posted 6 weeks ago.

Summer Transfer Update: July 8th, 2013

We’ve reached the point of the summer transfer season where many of the biggest moves have taken place and the rosters for Europe’s top teams are beginning to take shape. If history is any indication, the remainder of the transfer season should be rife with drama, unexpected acquisitions, and head-scratching rumors. However, given the moves that have occurred, let’s take a look at who has changed uniforms and how that may affect the upcoming season.

Notable Transfers

La Liga

It would not be right to start this conversation without mentioning the biggest signing of the summer – Barcelona’s completion of their multi-year courtship of Neymar, the recent Golden Ball winner at the Confederations Cup who captured the hearts of the host nation and inspired the collective belief that Brazil can win the World Cup next summer. It will be a sight to behold when Neymar lines up with Barcelona and teams up with Messi to terrorize each and every opponent. Thiago Silva is still rumored to be joining the Catalan giants, but his signing has not yet been finalized.

Never one to rest on their laurels, Real Madrid flexed their financial muscle in signing Isco, the skillful winger who turned heads this past season in La Liga and for his native Spain, winner’s of U-21 European Championship. While Isco does not arrive at the Bernabeu with the same acclaim as Neymar, he is a serious talent and adds another weapon to Madrid’s already potent arsenal (Angel Di Maria is likely to lose his spot to Isco sooner rather than later). Madrid is one of the team’s still chasing some of the bigger names rumored to be available (e.g. Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani).

As of today, it appears that the other team in Madrid, Atletico, have completed a coup of mercurial Barcelona striker, David Villa. Villa fell out of favor at Barcelona ever since his gruesome leg injury. With Neymar in the fold, Villa became the odd man out so the move should not take any by surprise. I do expect Villa to regain his form and expect him to excel in Madrid.

English Premier League

While La Liga lays claim to the two most talented signings of the transfer season, the English Premier League has dominated much of the conversation and made a number of significant signings. Chief among these signings is Chelsea’s acquisition of Jose Mourinho to finalize one of the world’s worst-kept secrets. Coupled with the addition of Andre Schurrle from Bayer Leverkusen and the return of Romelu Lukaku from loan at West Bromwich Albion, Mourinho takes charge of a team replete with talent and depth who should be favored to win the league this season.

From one billionaire-owned team to another. Manchester City opened the transfer season with a bang with their signings of Jesus Navas and Fernandinho. While these may not be the two sexiest signings of the summer, make no mistake about their importance or abilities. Both players have been mainstays at strong clubs (Sevilla and Shakhtar Donetsk) just outside of the scope of the casual soccer fan and will add diversity to an already immensely talented team.

Before discussing Manchester United, it should be noted the Tottenham have quietly made one of the best signings of the summer in acquiring Paulinho, the recent Bronze Ball winner at the Confederations Cup. The 24-year old Brazilian should solidify the central midfield and will be an imposing force for Tottenham. If ‘Spurs can retain Gareth Bale, I believe they have all the tools to finish in the top four and earn a spot in the Champions League.

While Manchester United have yet to make a major signing they are stacked with talent at nearly every position with the exception being a gifted, world-class central midfielder. However, the Red Devils are on the verge of securing the signature of Thiago Alcantara, the supremely skillful Barcelona player and son of Brazilian World Cup Winner, Mazinho. Thiago recently won man of the match at the U-21 European Championship match scoring a hat-trick with goals coming from his head, left foot, and right foot. If United can finalize the Thiago signing, they will be much more confident in their ability to defend their title, though Chelsea and Manchester City will be snipping at their heels.

Other European Leagues

I would be remiss if I neglected to mention AS Monaco who made a serious splash this transfer window with five signings. Monaco broke the bank to acquire the talented trio of Radamel Falcao, Joao Moutinho, nnd James Rodriquez. Furthermore, Monaco added Ricardo Carvalho and Eric Abdial on free transfers. It will be interesting to see how Monaco performs with all of these new, talented players so keep an eye on them.

Moving on to Germany, Bayern Munich made the earliest signing when they snatched Mario Gotze, the young German starlet, from Borrusia Dortmund before their clash in the Champions League final. Also, it goes without saying that, like Mourinho above, the appointment of Pep Guardiola to manager is an extremely important move. Guardiola will have his work cut out for him, as Bayern is coming off a historic, treble-winning season, but if there is any manager that could possibly elevate Baryen’s level of play it is Guardiola.

In Italy, Fiorentina and Juventus have been the most active teams in the transfer market. Fiorentina has added Bayern’s Mario Gomez who should form a formidale duo with Giuseppe Rossi once he recovers from his rash of knee injuries. It appears that Stevan Jovetic, the current Fiorentina frontman, is on his way to Juventus. Juventus has also signed Carlos Tevez who has fleed the city of Manchester for greener pastures for the second time.

Who Still May Move?

Although much of the summer transfer season dust has settled, there is still time for players and teams to make moves. As many big fish players remain on the transfer block and many top teams remain unsatisfied with their squads, there will undoubtedly be some major signings with teams looking to reload and compete for titles. The following lists high-profile players who have been rumored to be transferring and their potential suitors:

Edinson Cavani – PSG, Chelsea, Man City

Luis Suarez – Arsenal, Real Madrid

Gonzalo Higuan – PSG, Monaco

Robert Lewandowski – Bayern Munich

Stephen El Shaarawy – Chelsea, Man City

Christian Benteke – Tottenham, Chelsea

Will Arsene Wenger Change His Meager Ways?

The summer transfer window is “officially” open.  For Arsene Wenger, time is running out for his chance to win over his critics and actually put Arsenal’s cash reserves to use.  The media knows Wenger has at least 70m in his war chest this summer.  Knowing that, Arsenal are being linked with more than a dozen different players already.  From Higuain to Rooney to Fellaini to David Villa to even Fernando Torres.  Either Wenger really is changing his spending habits or the media is just spewing rumors because it can (probably a little of both).  Below is a list of players Arsenal are reportedly after and my thoughts on each, in no particular order.

  • Gonzalo Higuain – To me, this seems like the most obvious and likely transfer for Arsenal.  The player wants out of his current team because he has fallen out of favor.  That team is looking to sell and Wenger knows it.  Sounds like your prototypical Wenger transfer to me.  However, he will have to break the Arsenal transfer record, 15m for Arshavin (ouch), to bring him in.  Giroud is a good player, but not the type of player to carry a squad to points – Higuain could be that guy.
  • Wayne Rooney – Another player who has fallen out of favor with his current squad, however, also happens to be the face of the club at the moment.  Wenger will have to overpay for one of England’s most prominent players.  ‘Wenger’ and ‘overpaying’ just doesn’t belong in the same sentence.  Personally, I think Rooney stays at United.  We have heard his name as a possible transfer target for years now and always ends right back where he started.  Going by Wenger’s history, this just doesn’t sound like an ideal transfer.  Overpaying for a controversial player at the upper end of his 20’s.  Why not just pay Van Persie to keep him around?  If I were Wenger and had a choice between Higuain and Rooney, I take Higuain.
  • Marouane Fellaini – Since the departure of Alex Song and the lack of availability of Abou Diaby, Arsenal have been in need of a physically strong midfield presence.  Fellaini definitely checks those boxes to a T.  His release clause is 25m so Arsenal will yet again have to break the bank.  Would he make the squad better?  Absolutely.  Is he worth 25m + wages?  That’s debatable.  However, losing Fellaini would be a huge blow to Everton.  I think there is a slight possibility of this transfer happening as it fills a need for Arsenal, however, for the same reason Wenger won’t buy Rooney, he will not overpay for talent.
  • Lars Bender – One of the newest names linked with Arsenal has been reported by The Mirror.  They say that Arsenal had around a 20m bid rejected by Leverkusen.  It is reported that the club do not want to sell.  You can’t fault a club for not wanting to sell one of its top players.  However, it is worth noting for the next few transfer windows that Wenger will most likely keep the interest in the German and could potentially end up at the Emirates at some point, just probably not during this transfer window.
  • Stevan Jovetic – The young Fiorentina forward has been one of the first names linked with a move to Arsenal since the end of 2012.  I haven’t had the chance to watch much of Jovetic other than some YouTube clips, but from what I did watch, he honestly reminded me of a young Rooney – specifically his skills on the ball and long range shooting.  Jovetic can also play about any attacking position from central striker to attacking midfielder to out on the wing – similar to Rooney.  It’s hard to judge a player simply by watching highlight clips on YouTube, however, what I did see was very impressive and it’s no wonder Wenger is interested.
  • Micah Richards – I actually like this transfer idea.  A player who has possibly lost his starting place at his current club and is, or will be, a position of need for Arsenal as Bacary Sagna enters 30 years of age.  Richards is a young English player who has the physical presence a Premier League defender should have as well as good pace and aerial ability.  Manchester City would be looking to sell and I think it’s the type of “bargain” Wenger typically looks for and at the reported fee of 12m, he wouldn’t exactly be breaking the bank.
  • Clement Grenier – To be honest, I don’t know much about this player except for the fact he seems to be highly regarded by Arsenal and his current club Lyon.  Arsenal have been linked with the 22 year old for a while now, but recently had their latest offer rejected by Lyon.  From a tactical standpoint, this transfer makes sense.  One of Grenier and Cazorla would occupy the attacking midfielder position while the other would be sent out on the wing.  This would be an instant upgrade over Ramsey, who is a good player, but might better be suited to provide depth off the bench rather than a consistent starter.  Unfortunately, it looks like Lyon covet their playmaker too much which would make Arsenal have to up the offer and will so many other transfer targets, that money may be able to be spent elsewhere.
  • Fernando Torres – I was very surprised to see Arsenal linked with Torres.  It is not the prototypical Wenger player.  He has struggled mightily (to say the least) since joining Chelsea.  That’s not to say he can’t still produce some goals, but for his transfer fee/wage package, he’s not exactly a bargain.  I highly doubt Wenger goes out and gets Torres, unless Chelsea were simply looking to offload him for 10m or so, then I could see Arsene take that chance and one that could pay huge dividends.
  • Julio Cesar – During the Confederations Cup final broadcast, the ESPN announcer claimed that a deal has been reached for Julio Cesar to join the Gunners and will be announced shortly.  With Vito Mannone gone and Fabianski potentially seeking first team action at another club, this transfer actually makes a lot of sense.  Cesar showed in the Confederations Cup that he is still a top class keeper in his mid 30’s.  Szczesny is young and still has a lot to learn at the position.  Who better to mentor him than one of the top keepers in the world?
  • David Villa – Villa was more heavily linked over the winter transfer window than at the present time.  Barcelona rejected Arsenal’s bid 6 months ago.  That’s not to say Wenger won’t try again this summer.  I think Villa makes perfect sense for Arsenal.  He would be relatively cheap (considering his age), but is still a clinical finisher and great player going forward who still have a few good years left in the tank.  He could be very dangerous linking up with fellow Spanish teammate Santi Cazorla.

The media strongly links all of these players with a move to the Emirates.  The first 5  players listed would each cost AT LEAST 33% more than Arsenal’s all-time record transfer fee paid.  So, keep that in mind as you read about Arsenal transfer rumors.  I think a lot of Arsenal supporters lose that sense of reality and simply get caught up in the quality of names being thrown around and lose sight of what is actually realistic.

Realistically, I could see Higuain. Cesar, David Villa, and Richards as the most likely newcomers based on price and Wenger’s spending history.  I do believe that Arsenal will end up with one of Higuain, Jovetic, or Rooney, but I highly doubt more than one.

Every transfer window, huge names are thrown around as possible Arsenal targets, yet its supporters are left disappointed and angry at Wenger.  In that way, I feel sorry for Wenger.  He can’t control what the media spews as potential transfer targets.  With that said, he has no reason this summer not to buy at least three players worth 15m-20m.  I think any Arsenal fan would be happy with any combination of 3 players from the above list, which is not asking for too much really.

Will Wenger ever change his transfer tactics?  He has 60 days to prove he can.

Spain Booed During 10-0 Demolition of Tahiti

It’s not very often you see a 4 goal performance in one match.  Lewandowski was the most recently publicized 4 goal performance in the Champions League semi-finals against Madrid a couple of months back.  So many keywords from that statement makes Lewandowski’s feat all the more impressive: “Champions League”, “semi-finals”, and “Madrid” are all impressive by themselves if a player was to score 4 goals.  Put them all together and you have an incredible performance.

Fast forward to last night’s Confederations Cup match and you have a completely different story.  One of the most lopsided matches in recent memory put Spain, the #1 ranked national team in the world, up against Tahiti, the #138 ranked national team in the world.  Tahiti is ranked just below Turkmenistan and Burundi.  Apparently Spain didn’t want to underestimate their opponent because they fielded their A minus team.

Here’s the goal line from the match:

spain tahiti

Up 4-0 at halftime, Sergio Ramos was taken off for midfielder Jesus Navas.  I guess they realized they could handle the Tahiti attack with 3 defenders (probably more like 2 defenders).  Iniesta and Fabregas even made appearances as substitutes around the 70th minute.  Spain was taking no chances against such a prolific opponent.  So prolific, they were beaten 6-1 by Nigeria.  (I wonder how many Suarez will score against Tahiti during the next match?)  Of course, with the match being played in Brazil, Spain was not exactly a crowd favorite.  Which explains the booing they received throughout the match – most notably when Mata tried to score on a bicycle kick while up 4-0.

As you can see from the scoreboard above, Fernando Torres put 4 past Tahiti as he played the entire match.  He even missed a late penalty kick that would’ve given him 5 goals for the match.  His miss, understandably so, was greeted by cheers from the Brazilian crowd.  Torres just kept celebrating as if he was accomplishing something great.  I’m assuming for someone who doesn’t score against equal opponents, he has to take what he can get.  David Villa was a little less ecstatic in his celebrations following his 3 goals.

See for yourself from the highlights:

 

It’s not like many of them were that impressive either.  Half of Spain’s goals became empty netters once the keeper came out and dove out of the way.  Not to mention Spain was throwing 3-4 attackers down the middle of the Tahiti defense which was oftentimes consisting of 1-2 defenders.  Spain knew they completely outclass their opponent and took advantage of it.  However, is that the right thing to do?  Keep the attacking pressure on while the score is 7, 8, or 9 to 0?

Then again, when this is your homeland:

can you really feel sorry for them?

While that is up for debate, one thing is for sure – How bad is Tahiti at futbol?  So bad Fernando Torres can score 4 goals against them.

Huge Transfer Deals Already Making Waves

With the Champions League finished and the European leagues coming to a close, transfer news and rumors heat up.  A few of the hottest commodities in the world are already confirmed to be on the move.  This could mean that when the actual transfer window opens for the English Premier League in July, pickings may be slim on superstars for the top clubs looking to add top quality.  Lets take a look at some of the “confirmed” transfers already in place.

1) Neymar from Santos to Barcelona – Confirmed

New Barcelona teammates Messi and Neymar

Arguably the best young talent to hit the transfer market was Brazilian International Neymar.  Reportedly, he had a choice between Real Madrid and Barcelona and chose to join forces with Messi rather than Ronaldo.  With Alexis Sanchez and Pedro losing form and the likely departure of David Villa, Barcelona were in need of a winger upgrade and what better way than to add a 21 year old prodigy to partner with the best player in the world.

Santos will receive a reported €30 million euros and Barcelona likely have to pay a substantial fee in addition to that to Neymar’s third party investors.  (Explanation of third party investors here.)  Neymar’s talent level is unquestioned, it is whether he can translate that to the rigors of “big boy” soccer in Europe after beating up on the lowly Brazilian League in his teenage years.  Either way, you can’t blame Barcelona for taking a gamble on him.  After all, take a look at some of his highlights:

2) Radamel Falcao from Atletico Madrid to Monaco – Pending Physical

Falcao celebrating after scoring for Atletico Madrid

Speculation has been surrounding Falcao since last transfer window as Atletico look to cash in on his incredible form in becoming one of the top central strikers in the world over the past few seasons.  The 27 year old looks to be snubbing the Premier League and will look to join France squad Monaco in their attempts to rebuild.  Monaco have already purchased the talented Porto duo Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez for a combined €70 million and will have to splash out another €60 million for Falcao.  Quite the spending spree for the Ligue 2 champions.  The deal is expected to be confirmed sometime following Atletico Madrid’s final match of the season.

3) Robert Lewandowski from Borussia Dortmund to Bayern Munich – Agent Confirms

As if Bayern hadn’t given enough blows to Dortmund by announcing the signing of Mario Gotze and then beating them in the Champions League final, Bayern are set to steal their top goal scorer as well.  This deal is far from official yet and no transfer fee amount is being reported, but Robert’s agent recently stated to the media that Bayern have agreed on a transfer fee and that his client is set to join following his brilliant season.  I’m willing to bet he had the attention of Bayern even before he put 4 goals past Real Madrid in the Champions League semi’s.  If the signing of Lewandowski comes to fruition for Bayern, they have to be the favorite to defend their Champions League title next season.

With 2 of the worlds top strikers supposedly off the market, it looks like squads will be forced to overpay for the next tier talents.  Cavani, Rooney, David Villa, and Dzeko (among many others) would be included in this group as possible and likely departures.  It should be a very interesting summer as the transfer season heats up so stay tuned.

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