A WINTER OF DISCONTENT
The name Yaya Toure is never far away from speculation and kids, that’s the sign of a bloody good agent. Most football fans have an image of Yaya either complaining about the size of his birthday cake, falling out with Pep Guardiola or scoring versus rivals Manchester United at Wembley but if the image you have is of Yaya Toure wearing a sky-blue football shirt… you’re in luck.
Jeff Rueter reports that Yaya Toure could be swapping the climate of Manchester for New York, it seems the chiefs at New York City FC would rather like him Stateside in January but may need to bend to the whim of their more established counterpart club as Manchester City would prefer a summer transfer.
Now that Andrea Pirlo, a luxury designated player, has retired, that opens up the possibility of the 34-year–old Ivorian filling Pirlo’s boots in the New York City FC engine room but with Toure in the twilight of his illustrious career surely the priority for NYCFC is a goal scorer to share the burden with David Villa? Miguel Almiron continues to set the standard for Atlanta United as a shining example of a hungry young designated player and while a player of similar name and age wouldn’t shift tickets or shirts short-term, it would add to a core group of young players looking to establish the club for future success.
ESCOBAR ATLANTA BOUND
Speaking of the Five Stripes, Franco Escobar has reportedly agreed a deal with the residents of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Buenos Aires-based journalist Cesar Luis Merlo claims that Atlanta United have signed Newell’s Old Boys 22-year-old centre back for three years with an option for an additional two.
Escobar has only ever turned out for Newell’s but is capable of playing either centrally or at right back. His arrival would strengthen the link between Atlanta and Newell’s Old Boys considering that Atlanta’s head coach Tata Martino spent the majority of his playing days at Newell’s and served as coach in 2012 and 2013.
LICHAJ OF NOTTINGHAM
The Nottingham Post has revealed that US international Eric Lichaj could be departing Nottingham Forest to join New England Revolution, although they aren’t the only MLS side pursuing the veteran full back’s signature.
Having spent his entire career thus far in England with the likes of Aston Villa, Leeds United and Nottingham Forest, he has now entered the final year of his contract and if a new agreement remains unsigned, the January window will be the last opportunity for Forest to receive a fee for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup winner.
THE NOMINATIONS ARE IN
Several annual award categories have been announced with the winners to be announced on ESPN during December including US Soccer Male Player of the Year, for which two of Toronto FC’s big hitters are nominated for and two from MLS Cup Final opponents Seattle Sounders.
US Soccer Male Player of the Year nominations: Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris and Christian Pulisic.
Young Male Player of the Year nominations: Josh Sargent, Tim Weah, Tyler Adams, Luca de la Torre, Jonathan Gonzalez and Erik Palmer-Brown.
US Soccer Female Player of the Year nominations: Julie Ertz, Lindsey Horan, Samantha Mewis, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe.
Young Female Player of the Year nominations: Savannah McCaskill, Sophia Smith, Tierna Davidson, Jaelin Howell and Kate Wiesner.
Disabled Player of the Year nominations: Sean Boyle, Drew Bremer, Kevin Hensley and Michael Archer.
Any Other Business…
2. German Bundesliga outfit FC Union Berlin have taken former Columbus Crew player Kekuta Manneh on a week’s trial, the 22-year-old winger traded Vancouver Whitecaps for the Crew in late March… Ronald Matarrita has signed a contract extension with New York City FC despite an injury-marred 2017 campaign… LA Galaxy midfielder Joao Pedro is attracting interest from ‘a couple of teams’ according to Metro’s Kristian Dyer.