Chelsea Reportedly Submit €50 Million Bid for Ajax’s Edson Alvarez

Edson Alvarez could be heading to

Chelsea have made a €50million bid for the 24-year-old Mexican professional footballer, a midfielder for Ajax and Mexico, according to ESPN sources.

Blues head coach Thomas Tuchel is thought to be concerned about the club’s midfield options in the wake of Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat at Southampton and nagging injury concerns over key midfielder N’Golo Kante, who is set to be sidelined for around a month with a hamstring problem.

Sources have told ESPN that Ajax are under no pressure to sell having already allowed AntonyLisandro MartinezSebastien HallerRyan Gravenberch and Noussair Mazraoui to leave the club in the summer transfer window.

Chelsea were keen on a move for Barcelona midfielder Frenkie De Jong but the Dutchman has so far shown no interest in leaving Camp Nou.

The Blues are mindful that both N’Golo Kante and Jorginho, who has endured a difficult start to the season, have less than a year remaining on their current deals and believe Alvarez could be a long-term solution.

The transfer window in the Netherlands also closes 24 hours earlier than most of Europe due to an administrative error made by the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) meaning less time is available to complete a deal.

Gio Reyna & His U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team Mates to Be Subject of World Cup-Themed Docuseries

Gio Reyna’s World Cup preparations are headed to the small screen…

The U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team (USMNT) will be the subject of a new documentary series as they gear up for the international soccer competition featuring the 19-year-old half-Argentine American soccer player and his teammates.

Giovanni Reyna Park Stories and H.wood Media have teamed up with the U.S. Soccer Federation and Soccer United Marketing on the untitled all-access docuseries.

The series is expected to launch on a streamer around the Qatar World Cup in November.

The series will bring fans into the locker room and visit the players in their hometowns as they prepare for the tournament.

The team is competing in its first World Cup since 2014 and has an exciting team of youngsters including Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic, JuventusWeston McKennie, Barcelona’s Sergiño Dest and Borussia Dortmund’s Reyna.

Led by head coach Gregg Berhalter, the first person in U.S. history to represent the country at the World Cup as a player and a head coach, the team will fight it out against England, Wales and Iran in the group stages.

They kick off against Gareth Bale-led Wales on November 21 before facing Euros finalists England on the day after Thanksgiving before competing against Iran on November 29.

The games will air on Fox and Telemundo.

The docuseries is exec produced by Rand Getlin and Janina Pelayo for Park Stories, and John Terzian, Jeremy Allen and Brian Toll are producing for H.wood Media.

The show is directed by Getlin and Luke Korver, and Nikle Guzijan will co-produce.

“Five billion people are projected to tune in for the 2022 World Cup, and this team has the potential to impact each of them in profoundly transformative ways,” said directors Getlin and Korver. “We know it starts with their play on the field, but we’re most excited for viewers to see them as sons, brothers, fathers and leaders who care deeply about their loved ones and bringing the world closer together.”

After representing the United States at several youth levels, Reyna received his first call up to the senior United States squad for matches against Wales and Panama in November 2020.. On November 12, 2020, a day before his 18th birthday, Reyna made his senior national team debut against Wales. In the following game, a 6–2 friendly victory over Panama, Reyna started and scored his first senior goal directly from a free kick.

Konrad de la Fuente Headed to Greece’s Olympiacos F.C.

It’s all Greek to Konrad de la Fuente

The 21-year-old Dominican-Haitian American soccer player, a forward for the United States, has completed a season-long loan move to Greek professional football club Olympiacos F.C., his parent club Marseille has announced.

Konrad de la Fuentede la Fuente, 21, signed for Marseille from Barcelona for £3 million last summer, agreeing a four-year deal with the Ligue 1 side.

The winger made two Champions League appearances for Barca, but failed to make his debut in LaLiga despite being on the fringes of the first-team.

de la Fuente has been capped by the U.S. at Under-16, U18 and U20 level and received his first senior call-up in November 2020, playing 71 minutes in a goalless draw against Wales.

He played 22 times for Marseille in all competitions last season, and will be hoping to impress for Olympiacos this campaign as he looks to gain a spot in the U.S. squad at the World Cup in Qatar later this year.

Cesc Fabregas Signs with Italian Club Como

Cesc Fabregas is Italy bound…

The 35-year-old Spanish professional footballer has signed a two-year deal with second-tier Italian club Como.

Cesc FabregasThe former Barcelona, Arsenal and Chelsea midfielder, an ex-Spain international, became a free agent after his release from Ligue 1 side AS Monaco in the close season.

Como finished 13th in Serie B last season following their promotion from the third tier in 2020-21.

They announced Fabregas’ arrival in a video on Instagram with the caption: “All the rumours are true, yeah.”

Speaking at his presentation on Monday, Fabregas said: “The MLS was not part of my plans. I wanted to remain in Europe and I believe this is the right project for me.

“I wasn’t interested in money, I wanted to join a long-term project that I would be enthusiastic about. I’m very ambitious and I would like to help Como return to where it deserves, that is in Serie A. I’m here to play and to win games. I see a long-term future with this club.

“Como offered me not just a two-year contract as a player but a long-term project. Last season at Monaco was rather difficult but the past is in the past and now I’m looking ahead. The important thing is that I’m here. I’m not only here to play but to give a helping hand off the pitch in what will be a long-term project.”

Fabregas was part of Spain’s World Cup-winning team in 2010 and won the Premier League twice with Chelsea.

Como club administrator Dennis Wise added: “Cesc will be a part of this club long term. I believe it’s a great signing. It’s not just a two-year contract as a player, as Cesc will become a Como shareholder.”

FC Barcelona Acquires Raphinha From Leeds United

Raphinha is headed to the Iberian Peninsula…

Barcelona has successfully signed the 25-year-old Brazilian soccer player after reaching an agreement with Leeds United in a deal for the Brazilian winger, beating out Chelsea for the star, according to sources.

RaphinhaThe total cost of the deal is still unknown, but the fee is thought to be worth over €60 million including add-ons, with Raphina expected to travel to Barcelona on Wednesday.

ESPN revealed in June that Leeds had also accepted an offer from Chelsea for Raphinha, but the player’s desire to move to Barca has allowed the Catalan club to win the race for his signature.

There was also interest from Arsenal, but the Gunners never returned after having an initial bid turned down by Leeds in June.

Barca’s agreement with Leeds comes following weeks of negotiations, with the Premier League side pushing for a deal similar to the one they agreed with Chelsea worth in excess of €70m.

Sources close to the negotiations previously explained that Barca’s initial offers were not deemed acceptable because they were add-on heavy and in several installments.

However, with Raphinha prepared to wait for Barca, and his agent, Deco, holding a series of meetings with the club’s sporting director Mateu Alemany to help unblock the situation, the two clubs have finally struck a deal.

The arrival of Raphinha will not have an effect on Ousmane Dembele‘s future. The Frenchman’s contract with Barca expired on June 30, but he was at the training ground on Tuesday ahead of signing a new two-year deal at Camp Nou.

Sources told ESPN that Dembele will sign his new contract no later than Thursday, with the final documentation currently being reviewed by the club’s legal team.

Raphinha is a full international with Brazil and played a key role as Leeds secured Premier League survival on the final day of last season.

His penalty in the win over Brentford was one of 17 goals he scored during two seasons at Elland Road following a €20m move from French side Rennes in 2020.

He first made the move to Europe in 2018, joining Sporting Lisbon from Vitoria Guimarães and spending one season in Portugal before his move to France.

Rafael Marquez Returning to FC Barcelona as Barca Atletic’s Coach

Rafael Marquez is returning to Camp Nou

The 43-year-old Mexican former-professional-footballer-turned-coach will replace Sergi Barjuan as coach of Barcelona‘s second team, Barca Atletic, according to ESPN.

Rafael Marquez, Barca has announced that Barjuan would not remain in the role after missing out on promotion into the second-tier of Spanish football last season.

Marquez, as first reported by Relevo, will take over, with “just the contract left to be signed” before an official announcement, according to ESPN’s sources.

Marquez was one of the first signings of Joan Laporta‘s first spell as Barca president in 2003 and went on to win two Champions Leagues with the club.

Laporta and Marquez have maintained a good relationship ever since and the Barca chief first attempted to bring him back to Camp Nou last summer.

He had been earmarked to take over the Under-19 team, but a deal fell through at the last minute due to his presence on a list in the United States linking him to drug trafficking.

The sanctions imposed by the U.S. Treasury Department could have had a knock-on effect for Barca in terms of their commercial activity in the United States.

However, Marquez, who always maintained his innocence, was removed from the list last September, finally teeing up his return to Barca.

It will be his second coaching job in Spain following a fleeting spell working as the manager of Alcala de Madrid‘s U16 side.

Barca Atletic play in the third tier of Spanish football and act as the bridge between the youth academy and the first team.

GaviNico Gonzalez and Ronald Araujo are among the players who have recently made the jump from the second team to the Xavi Hernandez‘s first-team squad.

Ernesto Valverde One Step Closer to Return to Coaching Roster at Athletic Bilbao

Ernesto Valverde could be making a big return…

The 58-year-old Spanish football manager and former player appears set to return to coaching at Athletic Bilbao after a candidate who pledged to sign him won the election for the presidency of the Spanish club on Friday.

Ernesto Valverde Jon Uriarte won a four-year term after he beat two other candidates with 46% of the 22,000 votes cast by members.

One of Uriarte’s campaign pledges was to bring back Valverde for a third stint as Bilbao’s coach.

Valverde has not spoken publicly on the chance to come back to the club that fields only players from the northern Basque Country region bordering with France and surrounding areas.

Another candidate for Bilbao’s presidency, Inaki Arechabaleta, promised to bring back Argentine Marcelo Bielsa for a second stint as coach.

Valverde has not coached since he was fired from FC Barcelona in January 2020. Barcelona let him go despite having won back-to-back Spanish league titles and the Copa del Rey under Valverde and with his team still leading the league.

Valverde, a former player, coached Bilbao to a club record 306 games in 2003-05 and 2013-17. He has also coached ValenciaOlympiakos, Villarreal and Espanyol.

Bilbao is, along with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Osasuna, the last Spanish clubs owned by club members, not shareholders. The club members elect presidents and board members to run the club. Candidates must have been a club member for at least one year to run.

Barca Femeni Star Jennifer Hermoso Heading to Mexico’s Pachuca

Jennifer Hermoso is headed to Mexico…

Mexican club Pachuca have completed the signing of the 32-year-old Spanish professional soccer player and the 2021 FIFA’s The Best runner-up on a free transfer as she announced her departure from Barcelona.

Jennifer HermosoHermoso, who is Barca Femeni‘s all-time leading scorer with 174 goals, announced she is making the switch to Pachuca after turning down a contract extension at the Camp Nou.

“To have won everything with this jersey is something that I will take with me forever,” Hermoso said in a message posted to Instagram.

“To play in a sold-out stadium, to celebrate a goal at the Camp Nou and to lift high up our first Champions [League]… Now is time for a new adventure that fills me and that make me feel truly valued.”

Hermoso, who has scored a record 45 goals in 91 appearances for Spain, has been ruled out for Euro 2022 after sustaining ligament damage in her right knee and is expected to miss the start of the Liga MX Femenil season, which kicks off on July 12.

Hermoso has won seven league titles during her 18-year career, including five at Barca, who she initially played for between 2013 to 2017 and rejoined in 2019 from Atletico Madrid.

Hermoso was also a crucial part of Barca Femeni’s first European title when they won the Women’s Champions League in 2021.

She has also had spells at Paris Saint-Germain, Rayo Vallecano and Tyreso FF.

Aston Villa Completes Permanent Signing of Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona

Philippe Coutinho is making things permanent…

Aston Villa has completed the permanent signing of the 29-year-old Brazilian professional footballer from Barcelona, the two clubs announced Thursday.

Philippe CoutinhoBarcelona said they had accepted a €20 million transfer fee with Barca also inserting a sell-on clause of 50% for any future transfer.

Coutinho, who joined Aston Villa on loan in January, became Barcelona’s record signing when he joined from Liverpool for €160m in January 2018.

In a statement, Barcelona said they “would like to publicly state their thanks to Philippe Coutinho for his commitment and dedication, and wish him success and all the best for the future.”

Sources told ESPN earlier this week that Aston Villa had an option to sign Coutinho for €40m at the end of the season but were not willing to invest so much money.

Coutinho accepted a wage cut to join Villa in January due to his desire to play regular football again having fallen down the pecking order under Barca coach Xavi Hernandez.

At Villa Park under his former Liverpool teammate Steven Gerrard, he has scored four goals and supplied three assists in 16 Premier League appearances.

“This is a brilliant signing for Aston Villa. Phil is a model professional and his impact on the group has been very clear since he joined in January,” Gerrard said in Villa’s announcement.

“With the way he conducts himself on and off the pitch, he’s also a valuable role model for our younger players who can only benefit from his experience.

“As we look to build towards next season, it is incredible to work at a club that executes its business so decisively and smoothly.”

Jordi Alba’s Stoppage-Time Goal Helps Barcelona Secure Qualification for Champions League Football Next Season

Jordi Alba will be getting a hero’s welcome…

A stunning goal from the 33-year-old Spanish professional footballer deep into injury time gave FC Barcelona a 2-1 victory at Real Betis to secure qualification for the Champions League next season.

Jordi Alba, BarcelonaAlba’s unstoppable volley at the back post means Barca now has an unassailable 11-point lead over fifth-placed Betis with three games of the LaLiga season remaining.

Earlier, Barcelona had taken the lead with a first goal since January for Ansu Fati in the 76th minute. But Barca were pegged back almost immediately when former Camp Nou defender Marc Bartra headed home a corner just three minutes later.

Alba’s late goal means Xavi Hernandez has achieved his main aim after taking over midseason. It also gives Barcelona a healthy five-point cushion in second place, although third-placed Sevilla have played a game fewer.

“It’s a weight off our shoulders,” Xavi said afterward. “It could have been an even tougher season but the team has competed well since we arrived in November.

“We have not always played excellently, but we have a winning spirit and we are competitive. We’ve been all the other top half teams in the second half of the season. It’s clear we have to pay better. We have to analyze things. But the effort has been huge since November. We’re in the Champions League, a competition we deserve to be in, now we want to finish second.”

Betis forward Juanmi had the first sight of goal in an entertaining match, but his effort could only find the side-netting in the seventh minute.

Ten minutes later Manuel Pellegrini‘s side lost goalkeeper Claudio Bravo to injury as he hurt himself stretching to reach for the ball and was replaced by Rui Silva.

The Portuguese substitute, however, produced an excellent display, starting with a superb save from Ronald Araujo‘s bullet header minutes after entering the pitch.

Betis created more opportunities in a lively first half, but substitute Fati put the visitors ahead after the break with a low shot towards the left corner in the 76th minute.

“Ansu has a gift, others find it more difficult,” Xavi said. “It’s a great feeling to have him back. The goal was something we had talked about this week regarding the Betis defensive line.

“He’s a difference-maker. He just needs half a chance to score, even with a bad shot. He told me best to play him wide. I told him he could change with Auba, but he wanted to be on the left. He’s always a danger coming inside. He gets two chances, scores one and the other is dangerous. He has a gift. He’s comfortable around the box.”

Despite Bartra leveling for the Copa del Rey champions with a header, Alba sealed the game in the dying minutes.

Barcelona, who have won 10 of their last 12 league matches, are close to wrapping up second place and snatching the 3.4 million euros that the club would make by going to the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia.

Both Copa del Rey finalists — winners Betis and runners-up Valencia — will be joined in the 2023 Spanish Super Cup finals by top two teams in the LaLiga standings.

Betis, meanwhile, missed an opportunity to move level on points with fourth-placed Atletico in their bid to secure a spot in Champions League next season, as they remain fifth with 58 points.

Before the match, Barcelona gave a guard of honor to the Betis players for their cup victory last month.