Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Milan to offer £4.5 million to keep Becks

The news out of the San Siro is that AC Milan is looking to speak with the agent of David Beckham as well as the LA Galaxy to try and complete a deal to keep Becks with the Rossoneri permanently. Reports are they are prepared to offer £4.5 million to make the loan deal permanent. Now, it’s still unclear whether the Galaxy will accept the deal. There are also reports that while David is keen on staying in Italy, his wife, singer/entertainer Victoria “Posh Spice” Beckham, does not want to move their children to another non-English speaking country. What is clear, however, is that Becks is in good form with Milan, and the way he is playing with them, his chances of making the English team and going to the World Cup in 2010 increase that much more. Everyone had heard the rumors that the loan deal could possibly turn into something more, but now this rumor has legs and it’s running fast. Beckham has an escape clause in his contract that he can exercise after the 2009 MLS season, and if that were to happen, MLS could see its most famous player leave without compensation. It's also unclear how much Milan will have to sweeten the deal to make it so that Becks doesn't lose too much of the money from his lucrative contract he currently has with the Galaxy. We will see if the Galaxy and MLS agree to a transfer fee, but it’s quite possible that we could continue to see Becks in the Red & Black #32 shirt for a long while, possibly the rest of his career.

Monday, January 26, 2009

USA-Sweden Recap

Well, Saturday’s friendly between the United States and Sweden at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA can be summed up in 4 words: The Sacha Kljestan Show. Kljestan scored 3 goals, including an amazing free kick and a penalty kick to record the first hat trick by a U.S. player since Aldo "Buff" Donelli did it 75 years ago in a 3-2 U.S. victory. Sweden sent their B team, with only a couple of players that play regular first-team soccer for the Swedes making the trip. The U.S. team was made up of mostly MLSers, as this was not a FIFA international date, meaning that clubs didn’t have to release the players to play. This was a game for a lot of the younger talent on both sides to get some international experience. But, more importantly, it gave the young Americans confidence as they played well against a very strong side.

Yet, no one gained more confidence than Sacha Kljestan. He actually had left training camp early in the week to fly to Scotland to train with Celtic, then came back in time to record the hat trick against Sweden. I don’t know what they fed him in Scotland, but I hope he brought back the recipe. This was an excellent game for Kljestan, who keeps getting better and better the more he plays, both in MLS and on the international level. He is starting to become one of those players you have to include in your side every time out, which is great. If he can keep this form up, he will have a chance to really help lead the U.S. when they take the field against Mexico in the first World Cup Qualifier in 2 weeks.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

MotorCitySupporters.com Goes Live!

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Kaka' Rejects £100 Million Bid From Man City

On Fox Soccer Report early this morning (a rerun from last evening's broadcast), they ended the show with a report that a contingent from Manchester City, led by chief executive Garry Cook, were in Milan last night to offer a bid of £100 million for AC Milan midfielder Kaka', plus personal wages of £250,000 weekly to join City. This bid by City would have broken the world record for highest transfer fee, which currently is the £48 million that Real Madrid paid to get Zinedine Zidane from Juventus in 2001. However, ESPN Soccernet is now reporting that Kaka' has rejected City's bid, saying he wants "to grow old at Milan." Kaka's spokesman, Diogo Kotscho, also indicated that Kaka' would only leave Milan for "a strong side," something that apparently Kaka' does not believe is present at Manchester City.

So far, the new Manchester City under the leadership group from Abu Dhabi has not fared well in the transfer market, besides the shock signing of Robinho for the Premiership record of £32 million on the last day of the 2008 summer transfer window and the signing of Wayne Bridge earlier in the month from Chelsea. There are also rumors that summer signing Jô and fellow Brazilian Elano could be both gone by the end of the January transfer window. Whatever happens, it seems that so far, money has not been able to cure the problems that Man City has had on the pitch thus far this season.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

USL in Detroit?

A new article in Crain’s Detroit Business (login required) highlights how Detroit-area minor league sports franchises are trying to weather the economic storm and operate in the Detroit market. Within that article was a surprising new twist on the front of a potential soccer franchise in Detroit:

“Dan Duggan, who co-owns the Michigan Bucks soccer team in Pontiac, is meeting with investors over the next 90 days as part of a $7 million plan to launch a top-tier Detroit affiliate of the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer.

That translates into a $2 million investment to start the team, which could be moved from Europe, and to build a $5 million 5,000-seat outdoor stadium.

“I'm willing to do that because it's not about making money,” said Duggan, who is president of sales for Health-Mor Inc. in suburban Cleveland.”

The fact that Duggan is soliciting investors for a new team that will likely play in the First Division of the United Soccer League (or at the very worst, in USL-2) is an encouraging sign for Detroit soccer fans. It would be the first major step to proving the viability of a Detroit team in MLS. Also, the trends over the past couple of years have been that cities that already have USL teams have been more in the mix than cities without teams, with the exception of Philadelphia and Toronto. Dan Duggan, whose Michigan Bucks play in the USL’s Premier Development League, has long tried to solicit investors for a MLS franchise in Detroit, but having a USL team would be great as well. It would be a chance for Detroit fans to build a fanbase while supporting a team in the top level of USL soccer. Detroit is an area that has heavy participation in soccer among all ages, and it has a supporters club that is growing by the day and making noise. The next 3 months will be an important one for a potential USL team in Detroit. We will stay tuned to see what happens.