According to ESPN Argentina’s Alejandro Ruzal, Independiente has agreed in principle with Atlanta United over the transfer of Argentine Midfielder Ezequiel Barco. The reported fee is $15 million, with a 30 perccent of any sale before 2019 going to Independiente. If Barco is sold after 2019, the Argentine club gets 10 percent. This easily becomes the record for an MLS transfer, passing the mark previously set by Toronto FC paying $10 million for Michael Bradley from Roma. Also on the list is, you guessed it, Atlanta United, with their deal for Miguel Almiron for $8.5 million. Barco helped Independiente win the Copa Sudamericana with a penalty goal in the second leg of the final against Flamengo, and is the second-highest transfer fee for Independiente -- the highest being for Sergio Aguero.
Here is some interesting Friday afternoon reading: Graham Ruthven of the Guardian wrote a piece in which he says that Christian Pulisic has succeeded at Borussia Dortmund, and has been linked to Manchester United and Liverpool, in SPITE of American soccer, not because of it. To quote his piece:
“The temptation is to credit Pulisic’s success, at least in part, to US Soccer. But at a time when the sport in the country is tearing itself apart following the failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, with a presidential election being contested, this presents something of a paradox. The rise of America’s best player to date coinciding with US Soccer’s existential crisis doesn’t quite fit... Pulisic was given his elementary grounding in the game stateside, only leaving Hershey, Pennsylvania for Germany at the age of 16. He was part of the USSF’s US Soccer Development Academy, representing the States at under-15 and under-17 level. But Pulisic reached fruition and maturity elsewhere.”
I’ll leave the rest to Graham, as it is a very engaging and interesting article, to say the least. Give it a read.
Arsene Wenger was less up front than usual about the Alexis Sanchez situation when asked about it on Friday. On the heels of reports emerging that Manchester United are interested in buying the Chilean forward and sending Henrik Mkhitaryan to Arsenal, Wenger did not respond in his typical “they will stay until the end of the season“ answer. Instead, he said, “Nothing is really concrete at the moment. You conclude [that Manchester United are also interested] – but I don’t want to give you the wrong information. Nothing is decided one way or the other. Normally he should stay here until the end of the season but we shall see.”
Antonio Conte has stated he does not know if he will remain at Chelsea beyond next season. The Italian manager signed an improved deal at Stamford Bridge, but with his deal ending in 2019, rumors and reports are swirling that Chelsea has started looking for their next manager, with Juventus’ Max Allegri and former Barcelona man Luis Enrique being named as front-runners.
“I have another year of (my) contract with this club. But as you know very well everything is possible. In one moment you stay here, in another moment another person replaces you in your job.”
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