Orlando City acquires Lamine Sane from Werder Bremen

Orlando City has announced the signing of center back Lamine Sane from Werder Bremen. 

Sane, 30, joins the Lions after spending a season and a half in Germany with the Bundesliga side. 

The defender’s contract was set to expire in the summer and Orlando City was not expected to pay a fee to acquire his services. 

“Lamine will significantly strengthen our back line,” Orlando City general manager Niki Budalic said in a club statement.

“He brings tremendous experience at the highest levels of European football and we believe he will fit right in with what we’re trying to build in Orlando.”

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Sane made 38 total Bundesliga appearances in 2016-17 and 2017-18 with Bremen, scoring two goals and adding one assist. 

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The Senegal international was an undisputed starter for the club in 2016-17, before losing his grip on a starting spot this season. 

Prior to his time in Germany, Sane spent seven seasons with French side Bordeaux, making 188 appearances in Ligue 1 between 2009 and 2016. 

The center back has been capped 25 times by the Senegal national team, which is one of five African nations to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

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Schalke signs U.S. youth international Zyen Jones

Schalke has announced the signing of U.S. youth international striker Zyen Jones. 

Jones, 17, will officially join up with the Bundesliga side when he turns 18 in August, and will play for Schalke’s Under-19 side for the 2018-19 season. 

A product of the Atlanta United academy, Jones impressed on a trial with Schalke after making a name for himself with the U.S. U-17 team. 

Jones scored twice at the CONCACAF U-17 Championship last year, but did not make the roster for last fall’s U-17 World Cup.

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The Georgia native becomes fourth American in the ranks at Schalke, joining Weston McKennie, Haji Wright and Nick Taitague.

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McKennie has become a regular for the senior side, while Wright is on loan at second-tier club SV Sandhausen and Taitague is competing with Schalke’s youth sides. 

Jones’ signing came the day before fellow U.S. U-17 standout Josh Sargent, on his 18th birthday, inked a professional contract with Bundesliga side Werder Bremen.

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Teenage sensation Sargent signs professional contract with Werder Bremen

United States youth international Josh Sargent has officially signed with Werder Bremen, the Bundesliga club announced Tuesday.

The teenager had been training with the club and playing with its U-23 side, but was not allowed to actually sign a professional contract until his 18th birthday.

Sargent turned 18 on Feb. 20 and has now put pen to paper, making him a Bremen player.

“All the formalities have been completed and Josh has now signed his professional contract with us,” Bremen CEO of football Frank Baumann said in a statement. “We’re really happy that he has decided to take this next step in his career at SV Werder Bremen. He has really impressed us since the beginning of this year and has gathered experience in first team training as well as some games with the Under-23s.”

The striker had interest in the U.S. but decided to pass on signing with Major League Soccer in order to pursue a chance to play in Europe.

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Sargent has been training with Bremen since January, but could not be added to the roster because of a FIFA rule prohibiting non-European players from signing with European clubs until their 18th birthday. Fellow American teenager Christian Pulisic, who joined Dortmund at age 16, was able to get around that rule because of his Croatian ancestry.

Because Sargent’s signing happened after the January window, the earliest the teenager can feature for the Bremen first team is in the 2018-19 season.

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Sargent featured for the U.S. youth national teams at a pair of World Cups in 2017. He scored three times in five games for the U-17 side in India and found the net four times in five games at the U-20 World Cup in South Korea.

His performances at the youth level earned Sargent a call up to the U.S. senior national team in November 2017 despite not yet playing a minute of professional soccer. Though he was on the roster, he did not enter the 1-1 draw with Portugal.

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Besiktas play down Fellaini interest amid Galatasaray links

Besiktas’ head of communications has played down talk of the club’s interest in Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini.

The Turkish Super Lig side had been linked with a move for the 30-year-old Belgium international, but latest reports seem to indicate that a transfer to one of their rivals seems more likely.

Both Turkish and English media are reporting that Fellaini has agreed a five-year deal with Galatasaray ahead of his contract at Old Trafford expiring in the summer. With Galatasaray now leading the race to sign the ex-Everton midfielder, the man who was resposible for the ‘Come to Besiktas’ marketing campaign has distanced his club from Fellaini.

Candas Tolga Isik believes that Besiktas already have an abundance of similar midfielders to Fellaini, including Chile international Gary Medel, Canada’s Atiba Hutchinson and Turkish trio Oguzhan Ozyakup, Tolgay Arslan and Necip Uysal.

“I am in charge of communications, not the transfer, but I am not involved in transfers until they let me know,” Isik told Goal

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“My job starts when they decide to sign a player. I don’t know anything about Fellaini, but I am not sure we need a player in that position: We have Medel, Atiba, Oguzhan, Tolgay and Necip”.

Fellaini has also been linked with Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain, but Besiktas had been seen as the leading destination of the 80-time Belgium international before Galatasaray entered the race.

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He is currently sidelined with a knee injury, having been ruled out for six-to-eight weeks at the start of February after picking up the problem in a brief cameo against Tottenham.

As the club waited for results on the extent of the injury, United boss Jose Mourinho urged Fellaini to sign a new deal at Old Trafford, joking with reporters that he “told him sign the contract and shut up.

“I told him don’t gamble too much before you know the extent of the injury. I don’t know [if he will sign a contract extension].”

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Marchisio could make MLS move as he prepares for Juventus exit

Claudio Marchisio is likely to leave Juventus this summer with MLS a possible destination, Goal understands.

The midfielder has not featured for the Italian giants in their last two games, a Champions League clash with Tottenham and a Serie A derby against Torino.

Indeed, manager Massimiliano Allegri has preferred Stefano Sturaro in recent weeks, handing the midfielder a start against Torino at Marchisio’s expense.

Marchisio’s wife, Roberta Sinopoli, subsequently vented her anger on Instagram, writing: “Tolerance reaches the line of reciprocal respect but, once it is past that, it is transformed.”

The 32-year-old has struggled with injuries since 2016, when a knee problem ruled him out of the European Championship, and has played just 10 times in Serie A this term – missing seven games at the beginning of the season with a similar injury.

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His contract does not expire until 2020, but he could now leave this summer, with a move to America the most likely solution.

Marchisio has previously said that he would never join another Italian club out of respect for Juve and the club’s fans, with whom he has an excellent relationship.

“The only thing I’ll say on my future is that I am fine now and want to help my teammates. That is all I am thinking about,” he said in February.

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“I still have a long contract with Juventus, but I’ve always said you never can tell in football. Even if something were to happen, I would never, ever wear another jersey in ?Serie A.

“I repeat, I have a long contract and am happy here. I train every day with great determination, despite having important injury problems, because I am still highly-motivated and want to win.”

Marchisio made his Juve debut in 2005, and has since won six Serie A titles, as well as three Supercoppa Italiana titles and three Coppa Italias.

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