David McGeady

David McGeady

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New York City FC signs MLS veteran Rodney Wallace

The left-sided player joins as a free agent after the MLS club acquired his rights in a trade from Portland.

New York City FC has signed MLS veteran Rodney Wallace, the club announced Wednesday.

Wallace was a free agent after spending the last year and a half abroad. After leaving the Portland Timbers as a free agent following the 2015 season, Wallace played two games with Portuguese top division side Arouca and 25 games with Sport Recife of Brazil’s Serie A.

Can retooled Sporting KC win an MLS Cup?

The Timbers retained Wallace’s rights, so NYCFC had to acquire those rights in a trade in order to complete the signing. NYCFC sent $75K in general allocation money and $50K in targeted allocation money to Portland in the trade.

“It’s a great honor to be an NYCFC player – it’s a dream come true to get this done and be here with such a great organization and a good team,” Wallace said in a press release. “I’ve watched a lot of the NYCFC games since the team came to the league and I was attracted to the style of play.

“I want to win trophies with this club, I want to come here and add to a bigger piece. We all want to achieve big things together and I’m just really happy to be here and to work towards that.”

Prior to his time abroad, the Costa Rica international had spent seven seasons in MLS. After two campaigns with D.C. United, Wallace spent five years with the Timbers and capped off his time there with an MLS Cup win in 2015, scoring the game-winning goal in the final.

Rodney Wallace Portland Timbers MLS Cup

A left-sided player, NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira specifically highlighted Wallace’s versatility as a reason for excitement over the move.

“Rodney is a quality player who can play as a winger, as a left-back or as a left midfielder,” Vieira said. “He’s really good with the ball and he knows how to win the championship as he did it with Portland.

“He will bring his experience to this squad which is great for us – I’m really looking forward to him coming because I believe that he’s one of the top players in this league.”

Wallace has bagged 19 goals and added 22 assists in his MLS career. He has also earned 17 caps for Costa Rica, with his last appearance coming in the Tico’s 4-0 thrashing of the United States in World Cup qualifying in November.

Mertens: My parents would have been disappointed with China move

Having money is important to the in-form Belgian, but he was not ready to sacrifice his career to make a move to the CSL

Napoli ace Dries Mertens has admitted that money is important to him, but not the extent that he would move to China at this stage of his career.

Mertens is the most in-form player in Europe

The Belgium ace has been in superb form of late and is readying himself to face Real Madrid in the Champions League, but according to leaked documents he earns only €2 million per season.

While a large salary is important to him, he does not want to allow it to drive his career direction and would not be willing to move to the Chinese Super League, where numerous stars have gone lately due to the riches on offer.

It is an attitude that saw him turn down a move east, and he puts it down to the influence of his parents.

“My father drove a bus in Anderlecht and he took me to training every day in Brussels from when I was 11 to 18. I have so much respect for when my parents did. They did not raise me talking about money and I would have disappointed them if I went to China,” he told La Libre.

“My dad reads everything about me. He is very proud and I want them to be even more so.” 

Dries Mertens Napoli Palermo Serie A

He also explained that he could “never” play with players of a lower quality.

PSG destroy Barca to become contenders

“My friends tell me I would have gone mad if a pass had not arrived perfectly,” he admitted. “But maybe at the end of the month when you check your bank balance you would calm down.

“If I had been a substitute, like last season, I would have gone and chosen the money.

“We weighed up the pros and cons, my wife read testimonials from people of who live there, and you about the smog and it doesn’t seem like a healthy atmosphere. So I decided to say no, and I can tell you it’s difficult to refuse such an amount. My children and even my grandchildren would not have had to worry about their future.

“We hear players saying that they’re signing for the adventure, but no-one believes them.”

The 29-year-old did confess to being driven by money.

‘Mertens has more quality than Higuain’

Asked if a big contract is important to him, he replied: “Of course, even if it sounds a bit much. We see crazy amounts going around. But it’s just reality.”

Nevertheless, when he quits football, he will take up another job.

“But I want to have freedom to choose what I want to do,” he said. “I’m not going to lay about after my career. My wife will work, too.

“If I decide to spend a month in Australia, I don’t want to have to worry about airline tickets or the fact a fast trip is more expensive. I’m sorry, but I’ve been working hard for this.

“I’d like to get to know the world because we travel a lot without seeing anything – except from hotels and pitches.”

Minnesota acquires veteran Bobby Shuttleworth from Revolution for Femi Hollinger-Janzen

The MLS debutantes have traded for the 29-year-old keeper, giving New England a player it lost in the expansion draft.

Minnesota United has acquired keeper Bobby Shuttleworth from the New England Revolution in exchange for Femi Hollinger-Janzen, the two MLS teams announced Wednesday.

The trade is a straight player swap with no money exchanged in the deal.

Whitecaps sign former Sounder Montero on loan

“Bobby’s a great player who has had a lot of strong performances in goal for New England,” Minnesota Sporting Director Manny Lagos said in a press release. “His experience and quality will be an important addition and asset throughout the season here with the club.”

Shuttleworth, 29, is entering his eighth season in MLS. He has spent the last four as the Revolution’s starting keeper. He helped the team to an MLS Cup final appearance in 2014 and a U.S. Open Cup final appearance in 2016.

The other keepers on Minnesota’s roster are John Alvbage, a long-time veteran of Sweden’s top division, Patrick McLain and Alec Ferrell.

Hollinger-Janzen, a third round selection in the 2016 MLS draft, made 19 appearances in his rookie campaign with the Revolution. The forward scored one goal and added a pair of assists.

Femi Hollinger Janzen New England Revolution MLS

However, the Revolution lost Hollinger-Janzen in the expansion draft earlier this offseason.

“The entire New England Revolution organization thanks Bobby for his years of service. We wish him well in the next phase of his career with Minnesota,” Revolution General Manager Michael Burns said in a press release. “We are pleased to have Femi back on the roster for the 2017 season and look forward to welcoming him back to the club.”

The trade may mean a starting opportunity for Cody Cropper. The U.S. youth international joined the Revolution in 2016 after spending the early portion of his career in the lower leagues in England. Cropper, 24, made one start for the Revolution last season — a 3-0 win over the Montreal Impact in October.

Brad Knighton and Matt Turner are the other keepers on the Revolution’s roster. 

Bayern beating shows why lethal Lewandowski never even considered joining anaemic Arsenal

The prolific Pole’s decision to ignore the Gunners’ interest in his services was vindicated during Bayern’s latest rout of the hapless Londoners


COMMENT


Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Neither Robert Lewandowski nor Bayern Munich looked overly happy with how the first 45 minutes unravelled in Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 clash with Arsenal, but the Polish hitman led the charge as Carlo Ancelotti’s men moved through the gears and broke their visitors’ resistance in all-too-familiar fashion. 

There is no doubt that the Champions League holds special significance for the Bavarians. Pep Guardiola enjoyed a wildly successful three years at the Allianz Arena, but a trio of failed campaigns for Europe’s biggest prize eventually convinced him that Manchester City and the Premier League would be a better option. In response, Bayern turned to a Champions League specialist in Carlo Ancelotti, who has lifted the trophy three times, and with two different clubs (AC Milan and Real Madrid).

Sad Arsenal blown away by Bayern

Through both the Pep and Carlo eras, Lewandowski has rarely erred. He boasts goalscoring numbers up there with the very best in world football: 25 in his first season after switching from Dortmund; 41 in 52 games the following year; and going into Wednesday’s clash no less than 23 strikes in 29 outings. 

Both world-renowned coaches came under the microscope in the Bundesliga, but kept – and in Ancelotti’s case, keeps – racking up wins built on the goals of the prolific Pole. And small wonder, as against Arsenal he proved that even when the chips are down he is capable of responding magnificently – unlike Arsene Wenger’s group of fair-weather bottlers. 

Laurent Koscielny Robert Lewandowski Arsenal Bayern 2017

During the first half, Lewandowski appeared stricken with the same collective ennui that had enveloped the vast majority of Bayern’s XI, the admirable Arjen Robben apart. He squandered a fine chance to extend the lead from close range, before finding himself inside his own box and out of his comfort zone as Laurent Koscielny won a penalty off the back of the forward’s clumsy attempt to clear. 

The overall effect was a team that, far from advancing on the extreme possession tactics of Pep, indulged in the worst excesses of the playing style associated so closely with the Catalan. Arsenal took just 21.2 percent of the ball in that opening period, and yet managed more shots on goal than their ponderous hosts. It was a scenario that had the Allianz Arena restless with impatience. 

But then Lewandowski stepped up to the mark – again. The No.9 had been ineffective, even a liability before the break, and he came out of the dressing room determined to atone for his errors. A looping cross from Philipp Lahm eight minutes into the second half gave him the opportunity he was looking for.

WATCH: Robben’s stunning strike!

Soaring majestically, Lewandowski connected with a towering header that gave David Ospina no chance, breaking the deadlock and putting Bayern 2-1 ahead. Arsenal had left the door ajar for the hosts and they proceeded to batter it open with pace, strength and precision. 

Nobody embodies those qualities quite so completely in the Bayern squad as Lewandowski. Thiago Alcantara was the lucky beneficiary of a wonderful flick that left the ex-Barca man en route to goal, and another strike from the midfielder and later Thomas Muller leaves this tie, if not totally liquidated, then at least an almost foregone conclusion for Ancelotti’s men. 

Arjen Robben Bayern Munich Champions League

Do not be fooled by the scoreline. Bayern were not quite so dominant as the final result would have one believe; indeed, Arsenal went into the break sensing a glorious chance for revenge on the opponent that has ended their Champions League dreams on so many painful occasions in recent years. When it came to the tie’s decisive moments, however, they simply did not have the players with the talent or character to impose themselves and take a famous victory. 

WATCH: Casemiro’s amazing volley!

Arsene Wenger is surely aware of this. One of the players he has identified in the past to lead his forward line is none other than Lewandowski, although his hopes of landing the Pole took a serious blow in December when, amid public protestations of love for his club, Lewandowski extended his Bayern contract until 2021. 

On the evidence of the Bavarians’ latest – almost annual – victory over Arsenal, it is not hard to see why. Lewandowski showed all of his quality, both physically and mentally, to bounce back from his blooper and lead from the front in a crushing victory. He is Bayern’s hero, a player of both character and quality. How Wenger must wish he had a No.9 like Lewandowski.

Man Utd made €100m bid for Muller, Bayern confirm

The German club’s finance chief has admitted a huge offer for the Germany international from Old Trafford was turned down out of hand last summer

Bayern Munich have confirmed they rejected a bid in excess of €100 million from Manchester United for Thomas Muller last summer.

The Red Devils are long-term admirers of the Germany international and renewed their interest in bringing him to Old Trafford last year despite the departure of Louis van Gaal, who previously coached him at the Allianz Arena.

Vidal: No reason to leave Bayern

But though Bayern admit that they received a world-record offer for Muller, the Bundesliga champions insist that they will not be persuaded to sell.

United eventually broke the transfer record by signing Paul Pogba from Juventus, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Eric Bailly also joining in an expensive window.

When asked about the existence of an €100m bid from United, Bayern executive vice-chairman Jan-Christian Dreesen told Sport Bild: “There really was such a thing.

Bayern too strong for Arsenal – Redknapp

Former Spurs boss Harry Redknapp expects Munich to sweep past his old rivals…

Posted by Goal.com on Wednesday, 15 February 2017

“A fax came from England. For us, however, the sale of Thomas Muller was never discussed.

“If a player fits us, we would be stupid to take the short-term prospect of a record profit while weakening the team.”

Muller is chasing a fifth consecutive Bundesliga title with Bayern this season but has struggled to find his best form under Carlo Ancelotti.

What’s happened to Thomas Muller?

The 27-year-old has netted four goals in 26 appearances across all competitions – and just one in Germany’s top flight – after putting up a career-best 32 strikes last season.

Bayern take on Arsenal in the last 16 of the Champions League on Wednesday, hosting the first leg of the tie in Munich.

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