San Jose Earthquakes appoint USMNT assistant Luchi Gonzalez as head coach

The San Jose Earthquakes have appointed Luchi Gonzalez as their new head coach, the club announced Wednesday.

Gonzalez is currently serving as Gregg Berhalter’s assistant with the United States Men’s National Team and will take his place with the Quakes following the 2022 World Cup this winter. Until then, Alex Covelo will continue to serve as interim head coach as he has done since the early-season departure of Matias Almeyda.

“Luchi has all of the attributes that we sought in our next head coach,” Quakes general manager Chris Leitch in a club press release. “He has had success coaching in Major League Soccer with playoff appearances in his first two seasons and has a very strong track record in youth development.

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“His strengths and desires align with our short and long-term goals as a club, and we look forward to him taking the reins after the World Cup.”

Prior to his time with the USMNT, Gonzalez enjoyed a three-year spell as head coach of FC Dallas – leading them to back-to-back MLS Cup Playoffs appearances in 2019 and 2020 – having spent six years as the club’s academy director between 2012 and 2018.

Gonzalez was picked sixth overall by the Quakes in the 2002 MLS SuperDraft, making eight appearances for the club before a career that saw him play in Sweden and Peru, as well as back in the United States with the Colorado Rapids, Miami FC, and Minnesota Thunder.

“I’m really excited for this opportunity with one of the league’s founding clubs,” Gonzalez said. “I thoroughly enjoyed working with the club’s leadership team throughout the interview process and was impressed by their vision for the future, both on and off the field. Chris Leitch and his team have put together a solid foundation of players and I’m looking forward to working with them.

“As excited as I am for this opportunity, I’m going to remain focused on helping the US national team be as successful as possible through the FIFA World Cup and I will be ready to give everything for San Jose once that journey is over.”

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Kylian Mbappe: Paris court reject La Liga plea to annul PSG contract

The Administrative Court of Paris has rejected La Liga’s plea to have Kylian Mbappe’s new Paris Saint-Germain contract terminated.

Mbappe had been expected to join La Liga’s Real Madrid this summer but instead put pen to paper on a lucrative new extension in Paris which sparked an intense war of words between the two leagues and a vow from La Liga to get the deal annulled over breaches of Financial Fair Play and other contract regulations.

Numerous outlets in France have now confirmed that the court has declined to grant a contract termination, arguing that there was no proof of rulebreaking.

La Liga’s argument was that the LFP, the authority for Ligues 1 and 2, should never have approved the extension, arguing that ‘falsified balance sheets’ and ‘voluntarily far-fetched projected budgets’ had seen PSG lie about their finances to make renewing Mbappe’s contract possible.

Scott SaundersGraeme Bailey & Toby Cudworth bring you Talking Transfers, discussing Erik ten Hag wanting to sign five players before the transfer window closes, and Man Utd’s attitude to selling Cristiano Ronaldo. Available on all audio platforms and the 90min YouTube channel.

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download the episode in full!

The request, which was initially made back in July, was designed to have Mbappe’s contract terminated immediately, but the court did not deem the issue important enough and postponed the case until mid-August.

A final ruling is now here and Mbappe’s contract will remain untouched.

A number of reports have claimed that, as part of Mbappe’s new contract, he was offered a significant say in the club’s transfer business – including a promise that teammate Neymar would be sold this summer.

Instead, Neymar remains at Parc des Princes and his relationship with Mbappe has hit a new low.

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Newcastle transfer notebook: Paqueta pursuit; Pulisic loan; Pedro talks

Newcastle have been busy this summer trying to find the right pieces for Eddie Howe’s puzzle.

Sven Botman and Nick Pope have already been picked up, while Matt Targett’s loan from Aston Villa was made permanent, but Newcastle still have plenty of targets for the remainder of the summer, and although they have the money to sign nearly any player they could want, the Magpies are adamant they will not be forced to pay a premium for any signing.

That respectable stubbornness has seen talks for a handful of players fall through already, but Newcastle aren’t dwelling on their misses and are continuing to scour the globe for the right targets, and there is a lot going on behind the scenes at St James’ Park.

Ideally, Howe wants a new striker, winger and creative midfielder to bolster his squad, and those in charge have a few ideas of how to provide that.

Here’s 90min‘s understanding of Newcastle’s plans for the final few weeks of the window.

Chelsea have a number of players who have been made available for transfer already, as well as a handful who could easily become available, and Newcastle have made contact with the Blues to ask for a status report.

On Newcastle’s wish list for loans are Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Conor Gallagher. The two wingers have both been told they are free to leave this summer, while midfielder Gallagher is currently part of Chelsea’s plans but could drop down the pecking order if the Blues bring in a new face.

An enquiry has also been made over striker Armando Broja, with Newcastle prepared to pay for a permanent transfer if the Albanian, who is currently on the fringes of Thomas Tuchel’s first team, is not available on loan.

Premier League rules limit clubs to one loan signing from any one club in the same division.

Scott SaundersGraeme Bailey & Toby Cudworth bring you Talking Transfers, discussing Erik ten Hag wanting to sign five players before the transfer window closes, and Man Utd’s attitude to selling Cristiano Ronaldo. Available on all audio platforms and the 90min YouTube channel.

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download the episode in full!

In the creative midfielder department, Newcastle have already had two bids rejected for Leicester’s James Maddison, whose £60m price tag is seen as unrealistic by the Magpies.

While the interest in Maddison still remains, Newcastle’s current focus is on Lyon’s Lucas Paqueta, who was among the targets back in January. He was valued at £50m back then – too much for Newcastle’s owners – but is now believed to be available for around £33m.

A close friend of current Geordie star Bruno Guimaraes, Paqueta is thought to be open to the idea of linking up with his former Lyon teammate.

No 9 they like Joao Pedro, but also held talks recently about Goncalo Ramos – again these are continuing about both players.

Howe is a big fan of Callum Wilson but wants to add more goal threat to his squad and there are two names which are being spoken about more than most at St James’: Joao Pedro and Goncalo Ramos.

A bid of just under £20m for Pedro was quickly knocked back by Watford, who insist the Brazilian is not for sale. Newcastle haven’t given up hope but are exploring other options, one of which is Ramos of Benfica.

A fresh round of talks was recently held with Benfica over the 21-year-old, who has four goals and three assists in four games this season.

Negotiations over both players are ongoing.

It is wingers who have caused Newcastle the most trouble this summer.

Pursuits of Leeds’ Jack Harrison and Bayer Leverkusen’s Moussa Diaby both ended in failure, while an early approach for Hudson-Odoi was knocked back before the Chelsea man asked for a move away from Stamford Bridge.

Talks over Marseille’s Bamba Dieng have stalled amid Newcastle’s reluctance to pay too much up front. Financial Fair Play concerns have limited the Magpies’ spending power this summer and they are looking to strike deals which would allow them to save now and spend big further down the line.

It’s for that reason that loan moves for Pulisic and Hudson-Odoi are high on the priority list, but Newcastle would likely demand a contribution to either player’s wages from Chelsea.

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West Ham push for Jakub Kiwior and Hans Vanaken after Thilo Kehrer arrival

West Ham United are working on deals for Jakub Kiwior and Hans Vanaken after completing the signing of Thilo Kehrer from Paris Saint-Germain, 90min understands.

The Hammers confirmed the signing of Germany international Kehrer on a four-year contract with the option of a further two years on Wednesday afternoon, after agreeing to pay €12m (£10.1m) plus add-ons to the Ligue 1 champions.

Kehrer became West Ham’s sixth major summer signing in the process, following Nayef Aguerd, Alphonse Areola, Flynn Downes, Gianluca Scamacca and Maxwel Cornet to the capital, but he’s unlikely to be the last arrival at London Stadium.

Indeed, the club’s hierarchy intend to continue spending in a bid to strengthen David Moyes’ squad, with further reinforcements in defence top of the Scot’s priority list.

West Ham have been dealt a number of early season injury blows – most notably losing Aguerd for three months because of ankle surgery and Craig Dawson to a hamstring complaint – and begin a hectic run of fixtures on Thursday with the first leg of their Europa Conference League play-off clash against Viborg FF.

Kehrer is expected to come into the side immediately and provide some much needed stability, but 90min understands that talks are ongoing with Spezia over a deal for another centre-back – Polish international Jakub Kiwior.

Scott SaundersGraeme Bailey & Toby Cudworth bring you Talking Transfers, discussing Erik ten Hag wanting to sign five players before the transfer window closes, and Man Utd’s attitude to selling Cristiano Ronaldo. Available on all audio platforms and the 90min YouTube channel.

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click here to download the episode in full!

The 22-year-old, who has been linked with a move to Serie A champions AC Milan in the past, debuted for his country against Netherlands in the UEFA Nations League earlier this year and sources have confirmed to 90min that the Hammers are working on a move to bring him to the Premier League.

West Ham are also continuing to push for Club Brugge midfielder Hans Vanaken despite seeing a €10m bid for the 29-year-old rejected on Tuesday.

The attacking midfielder, who has scored double-digit goals in all competitions for 11 seasons in a row, is a player that manager Moyes is a big fan of – and the Hammers will resume talks to see if an agreement can be reached with the Belgian giants.

One move that has hit the rocks is West Ham’s pursuit of Chelsea full-back Emerson Palmieri, with a deal currently off the table because of a disagreement over personal terms and fees. Other targets will now be assessed.

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Diego Cocca defends Atlas FC after string of bad results: ‘We are not a disaster’

Atlas FC head coach Diego Cocca defended his side’s start to the 2022 Liga MX Apertura, firmly claiming the team “is not a disaster.”

The team has seen just two victories in nine matches, dropping to 11th on the Liga MX table with a mere eight points and record of 2W-5L-2D. But Cocca blamed the string of negative results on the club’s tight schedule.

“You have to put yourself in the context; we came from playing a clasico with a heavy pitch and with everything that the clasico means and playing after 3 days without training is complicated with a rival who had been resting without having played, it is a tough rival,” he said at a press conference.

“We must draw the positive and conclusions for what is coming because the challenge is this: we play every 3 days without preseason and come out two-time champions. If we had won we wouldn’t have been the best and today we are not a disaster. We are in the process of finding ourselves.”

But expectations remain high after Atlas managed back-to-back Liga MX titles.

In 2021, the Black and Red lifted their first trophy since the 1950-1951 campaign by defeating Leon in penalties 4-3 after the aggregate draw of 3-3. The team came back stronger in 2022, bringing home the third title when triumphing 3-2 against Pachuca. 

Now, fans demand the same strength that brought back two consecutive trophies and Cocca remains committed in bringing it back. 

“I consider that football is a whole; there is the physical, tactical, strategic and mental part, it is all together. In all these areas we have to be at 100 and it is very difficult to demand it now with this preparation, but I have no doubt that the team is committed,” added the coach. 

“We have to be careful that players are not injured, hopefully there will be fewer expulsions and we have those with the highest hierarchy on the field so that the team is what it was before, we will continue working, there is no other.”

The team returns to action on Saturday when hosting Pachuca at Jalisco Stadium. 

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