IT’S BACK ON
ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman was the first to break the new Zlatan news, so to speak, via Twitter, and Jeff Carlisle followed up with a more detailed report, citing an anonymous source who called the negotiation process between Zlatan and the Galaxy “the furthest along it has ever been.”
Perhaps most strikingly, Carlisle reports that the illustrious Swede would not count as a Designated Player, with LA able to acquire him via Targeted Allocation Money.
The charismatic 36-year-old has been heavily linked to MLS before, most often LA, but injury and circumstance have intervened at various times. The Manchester United forward was reportedly close to signing with the Galaxy a year ago, only to suffer a serious knee injury; he subsequently signed a new one-year contract with the Red Devils last summer and recovered from a torn ACL ahead of schedule but he’s made only seven appearances for Man United this season, limited by a new injury complication, and faces further competition for a starting place after MUFC’s recent big-money signing of Alexis Sanchez.
Red Devils manager Jose Mourinho told reporters at a Monday press conference that he’d heard nothing of an Ibrahimovic MLS move, but that he wouldn’t stand in the striker’s way.
“He told me nothing about it. First time I read something about this is was from you, I read from somewhere or saw on some TVchannel, he never mentioned that to me so I don’t know,” said Mourinho.
“Zlatan is in last year of his contract. If, if, if – and he said nothing to it to me – but if, if, if that is true and Zlatan wants a future in another club in another country we are here to help and create conditions to help, not to make his life difficult. But the last thing Zlatan told me was he wants to recover totally and help the team.”
SCOTTISH WINGER TO SPORTING KANSAS
Attack-minded wingers are part and parcel of Sporting Kansas City’s system and the Kansas City Star have reported that Peter Vermes has added another one to his arsenal.
According to The Star, SKC have cinched up the acquisition of Scottish attacker Johnny Russell via a transfer from English Championship side Derby County and a four-year contract pending receipt his ITC and P-1 Visa.
Russell, 27, has scored four goals in 23 matches for the Rams this season, who are in the midst of the race for promotion to the Premier League, currently occupying second place in the Championship table. He has found the net 34 times in 203 career appearances for Derby across all competitions.
A product of Dundee United’s youth system who made his first-team debut at age 17, Russell has made Derby County home since 2013 and has made appearances across the Scottish youth and senior national teams. The Star reports that he’ll be acquired via the use of Targeted Allocation Money and thus will not require a Designated Player spot.
BORO STEAL MARCH IN JACK HARRISON STAKES
The London-based tabloid Daily Star (Rundown is sorry) reports that Championship side Middlesbrough and veteran manager Tony Pulis are hoping to secure New York City FC and England U21 midfielder Jack Harrison for roughly $8.5 million.
English Premier League sides Newcastle United and Stoke City also remain interested in Harrison, the Star indicates. Stoke had reportedly made a $4.5 million bid a week ago for the wide midfielder, who had 10 goals and six assists while appearing in all 34 of New York City’s 2017 league games.
While Newcastle and Stoke are locked in a Premiership relegation battle, Middlesbrough are trying to push themselves into the promotion playoff position in the Championship.
This week, NYCFC manager Patrick Vieira suggested it was a roughly even chance the club would sell Harrison before the close of the winter European transfer window.
A Stoke native who grew up playing in the youth systems of Liverpool and then Manchester United, Harrison moved to the state as a young teen and played one season of collegiate soccer at Wake Forrest before arriving in MLS via the SuperDraft.
PAZ TO MAKE AN IMPACT
Montreal Impact may be turning to Serie A sister club Bologna to acquire defensive help in the form of Argentine defender Nehuen Paz. According to Italy-based Sky Sports reporter Fabrizio Romano, the Impact are set to add Paz on a six-month loan from Bologna, winning his services ahead of Argentine side Lanus.
Paz had only recently arrived in Italy after spending most of his career with Argentine side Newell’s Old Boys. He is primarily a centre-back but can also play on the left.
The move would be Montreal’s second deal with Bologna this offseason after securing Algerian international midfielder Saphir Taider on a Designated Player contract earlier this month. Reconstructing the Impact’s defence has been a major focus for new coach Remi Garde, who dealt revered centre-back Laurent Ciman to LAFC for Raheem Edwards and Jukka Raitala following the MLS Expansion Draft in December.
Any Other Business…
Fairly slow news day, oddly, but you can find out all about the new Miami FC franchise here.