Liverpool confirms club-record Darwin Núñez transfer from Benfica

The Uruguay international will bolster an already fearsome Liverpool attack

Liverpool has confirmed the signing of Uruguayan forward Darwin Núñez from Benfica.

Núñez has signed a six-year contract and arrives for an club-record fee of £64 million ($79m) up front, plus another potential £21m ($26m) in add-ons.

The 22-year-old put himself on the radar of several big European clubs by scoring 48 goals from 85 appearances in all competitions over two seasons with Benfica.

“It’s a pleasure to be here in Liverpool and I’m very happy to be a part of this great club,” Núñez, who will wear the No. 27 shirt, told Liverpool’s official website.

“I’ve played against Liverpool and I’ve seen them in lots of games in the Champions League, and it’s my style of play. There are some great players here and I think it’s going to suit my style of play here.

“As I say, I’ve watched quite a lot and it’s a very big club and I hope I can give everything that I’ve got in order to help the team.”

Liverpool’s remade attack

The arrival of Núñez continues Liverpool’s process of revitalizing its attack after the trio of Sadio Mané, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino were central for several years.

Mané, Salah and Firmino’s contracts are all set to expire at the end of next season, with their futures up in the air. Mané in particular has been strongly linked with a move to Bayern Munich this summer.

Liverpool has been bolstering its front line in the past two years by adding Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and now Núñez, as Jurgen Klopp’s side prepares for the eventual departures of some of its biggest stars in recent history.

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U.S. youth international Kobi Henry joins Ligue 1 side Reims in record-breaking USL transfer

The 18-year-old will jump from the American second division to the French top flight

Orange County Soccer Club has announced that defender Kobi Henry has joined Ligue 1 side Stade de Reims in the largest transfer deal in the history of the United Soccer League (USL).

Henry, 18, joined USL Championship side Orange County in 2020 and was called up to the U.S. national team in December 2021, becoming the first active USL player to be called up to the USMNT.

Orange County did not disclose terms of the deal but ESPN reported the transfer fee was $700,000, which smashed the previous USL record of $250,000.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for me and my family, a dream come true,” Henry said in a club release. “When I came across the country to play for OCSC, I knew that if I put in the work and followed the plan the coaches laid out for me, I would have the opportunity to  play in Europe. I can’t thank OCSC, the staff, my teammates and the fans enough for  believing in me. Playing abroad at the highest level is a great achievement in my journey as a professional soccer player and I look forward to what the future brings.” 

Henry, who has played for the U.S. at the U-17, U-19 and U-20 levels, made 30 total appearances for OCSC.

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It’s official: Erling Haaland has completed his Man City transfer

The Premier League champions will look even more formidable next season

Manchester City has confirmed that superstar forward Erling Haaland has completed his transfer from Borussia Dortmund, signing a five-year contract with the Premier League champions.

City announced last month that it had reached an agreement in principle with Dortmund over a deal for a relatively bargain price of €60 million ($63m), according to multiple reports.

“This is a proud day for me and my family,” Haaland, whose father Alf-Inge played for City in the early 2000s, told City’s official website.

“I have always watched City and have loved doing so in recent seasons. You can’t help but admire their style of play, it’s exciting and they create a lot of chances, which is perfect for a player like me.

“There are so many world-class players in this squad and Pep [Guardiola] is one of the greatest managers of all-time, so I believe I am in the right place to fulfill my ambitions.

“I want to score goals, win trophies and improve as a footballer and I am confident I can do that here. This is a great move for me and I can’t wait to get started in pre-season.”

Though he’s still only 21, Haaland is undoubtedly one of the top strikers in the world already, having scored an incredible 86 goals in 89 games during his two-and-a-half-year run with Borussia Dortmund.

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Pulisic should transfer away from Chelsea, says ex-USMNT star Dooley

Thomas Dooley thinks it might be time for Christian Pulislic to move on from Chelsea

Christian Pulisic’s future with Chelsea is cloudy if not downright murky, with irregular playing time casting a shadow on the American’s chances to stay with the London club.

While injuries factored into his availability this season, Pulisic wasn’t a consistent starter for Chelsea even when healthy.

He started 34 percent of Chelsea’s total games and played 38 percent of all available minutes. When he was healthy, Pulisic started just about half of the games for which he made the squad.

And while new American ownership certainly could factor into the construction of the roster and Pulisic’s visibility, it is possible that Chelsea may not be the best fit for the young American.

Former United States international Thomas Dooley, who played almost a decade in the German Bundesliga before joining MLS in 1997, thinks that Pulisic should be pursuing a pathway out of Chelsea and to a situation where playing time will be regular.

“Of course he should [leave Chelsea]. Either it is about money or prestige. Is it that much better to sit for a big club on the bench or at another club and play all the time? I don’t like to sit on the bench, no matter what. When the coach [Erich] Ribbeck came to Leverkusen with 14 national team players … and when that coach put me on the bench, I went to the management and asked them to let me go – even though the manager begged me to stay,” Dooley told Pro Soccer Wire.

“I went to Schalke, a team who just came up from the second Bundesliga because I wanted to play and not sit on the bench.”

Dooley would go on to help Schalke win the 1997 UEFA Cup over Inter. He played 81 times for the USMNT including at the 1994 and 1998 World Cup.

Currently, Dooley is the head coach of the Philippines national team, having spoken to Pro Soccer Wire recently about the challenges facing him in what is now his second tenure with the federation. The selection is off to a solid start in Asian Cup qualifiers with a draw and a win.

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Tchouameni joins Real Madrid in €100m transfer from Monaco

Real Madrid splashed the cash to bolster their midfield

Aurélien Tchouameni has completed a massive transfer to Real Madrid, with the France midfielder moving from AS Monaco in what Goal reports is—between the transfer fee and potential bonuses—a €100m deal.

Tchouameni has been a fixture in deep-lying midfield for Monaco over the past two seasons, helping them to two straight 3rd place finishes in Ligue 1 as well as this past year’s Europa League knockout stages.

With France, he took over a first-choice role in the late stages of World Cup qualifying last year, including playing the full 90 in the 2021 UEFA Nations League final. Barring injury, he seems like a lock for Didier Deschamps’ World Cup roster.

Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool were both at times linked with a move for Tchouameni, but Real Madrid emerged recently as the most likely landing spot. Tchouameni joins Antonio Rüdiger on the list of incoming summer transfers for los Blancos.

While the Real Madrid midfield is as packed with top-tier stars as ever, the European champions are very reliant on the health of Casemiro, the only truly natural No. 6 in the squad. Tchouameni, at just 22, will likely be a big factor in how Carlo Ancelotti plans for the next few seasons as an aging core group is slowly phased out of the starting eleven.

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Gareth Bale: LOL I’m not going to Getafe

“It’s not a joke,” said Getafe, but Bale is laughing anyway

Gareth Bale laughed off rumors that he would sign with Getafe. As in, he literally laughed them off.

Bale’s Real Madrid contract is up at the end of June, and rumors have swirled about where he’ll go next. UK-based oddsmakers have listed Cardiff City as the favorites lately, while previous reports from The Washington Post have said that he’s had informal talks concerning a move to MLS with D.C. United.

The latest rumor? Staying in Madrid and La Liga with Getafe. The club’s president Angel Torres said that Bale’s agent had contacted Getafe to offer him to the club, adding that the claim “is not a joke” and saying that he’d be talking to the club’s coaching staff about the prospect.

Unfortunately for Torres and Getafe, Bale seems to disagree with that last statement, as he shot down the rumor in a press conference with reporters ahead of Wales’ UEFA Nations League match against Belgium.

“I’m not going to Getafe, that’s for sure,” said Bale, laughing along with the reporters present.

 

‘It’s not a joke!’ – Getafe president says Gareth Bale has been offered to them

“It’s not a joke,” said the Madrid club’s president Angel Torres

Getafe president Angel Torres has said that his club has been offered the chance to sign free agent attacker Gareth Bale.

Bale has seen his Real Madrid contract expire after nine seasons with the club, and is currently looking for a new home.

He may not have to look far as Getafe, located in a suburb of Madrid, has said it has been given the chance to sign the 32-year-old.

“Someone may take it as a joke, but 45 or 50 minutes ago I spoke with his agents, and they offered him to us. It is not a joke,” Torres told reporters.

“I have to think about it and talk to the coach. I don’t know if he will come. Of course it’s a possibility, all great footballers are.

“They have offered it to me and I have kindly listened. From there I will consult with the coach. Anything is possible.”

Bale would be battling for much different objectives at Getafe than he is used to at Real. Last season Getafe finished 15th in La Liga, just one point ahead of the relegation zone.

Bale’s future

Bale was reported to be considering retirement after leaving Madrid but with Wales reaching the World Cup, he will now be on the lookout for a new club as he prepares for the tournament that starts in November.

Bale was asked if his retirement would be postponed after Wales defeated Ukraine to reach its first World Cup in 64 years.

He replied with a laugh: “For a little bit.”

The BBC has reported that Welsh outfit Cardiff City is looking to bring Bale home, which could be challenging given that it plays in the second-tier Championship.

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New England Revolution sell Adam Buksa to Lens for reported $10m

Between three major sales, the Revs have now generated around $24 million in less than a year

The New England Revolution have agreed to transfer striker Adam Buksa to Ligue 1 side RC Lens, the MLS club announced on Tuesday.

New England did not disclose the transfer fee, but the Boston Globe reported that the figure was $10 million.

That represents a healthy profit on the reported $4.5 million the Revs paid in late 2019 to acquire Buksa from Polish side Pogoń Szczecin.

Since Buksa’s arrival he has become one of the top strikers in MLS, scoring 29 goals and adding eight assists in 64 total league appearances.

The 25-year-old also became a Poland international during his time with the Revs, and has now scored five goals in eight appearances as he chases a roster spot for the 2022 World Cup.

Another major sale for the Revs

The Revolution won the MLS Supporters’ Shield in 2021, setting a new league record by amassing 73 points.

Since then, the Revs have made three major sales of players who were key to the team’s success last season.

Canadian star Tajon Buchanan joined Belgian power Club Brugge after last season, while goalkeeper Matt Turner will soon depart for Arsenal.

Buchanan and Turner each cost a reported $7 million, meaning the Revs have now secured around $24 million in transfer fees in less than a year.

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It sounds like Gabriel Slonina only wants to play for Real Madrid

Gabriel Slonina’s agent has said that his client has his heart set on a transfer to Real Madrid

Gabriel Slonina has been linked to a host of the biggest clubs in the world in recent months, but it sounds like he’s got his heart set on just one: Real Madrid.

The Chicago Fire teenager is considered one of the world’s top young goalkeepers, and a move to Europe appears to be imminent.

Chelsea and Bayern Munich have been credited with an interest, while MLSsoccer.com reported this week that Real Madrid has already seen a bid for Slonina rejected.

Speaking to MLSsoccer.com, Slonina’s agent Jaime Garcia revealed that his client has a clear preference for where he’d like to play.

“It should be an honor for Chicago, and MLS, to have Real Madrid take notice in one of their players,” Garcia said. “We are hoping Chicago can find an agreement with Real Madrid to realize Gabriel’s dream of playing for this club.”

Antonio Rüdiger completes Real Madrid transfer after leaving Chelsea

The rich have gotten richer as one of the world’s top defenders heads to the Spanish capital

Antonio Rüdiger has completed his move to Real Madrid on a free transfer from Chelsea.

Fresh off a season in which they completed a Champions League-La Liga double, the Spanish giants have further strengthened their squad by signing one of the top defenders in the world.

Rüdiger, 29, has signed a four-year contract at the Santiago Bernabéu.

The Germany international spent five years with Chelsea, during which he won a host of honors including the Champions League, Europa League, Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup and FA Cup.

The most recent season was one of Rüdiger’s finest, as he set career highs in appearances and goals with 54 and five, respectively.

In Madrid, Rüdiger will be reunited with ex-Chelsea teammates Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois, as well as his Germany teammate Toni Kroos.

How will Chelsea replace Rüdiger?

Rüdiger’s departure will leave a major hole in Chelsea’s defense, especially with Andreas Christensen close to joining Barcelona on a free transfer and Cesar Azpilicueta potentially to follow, per reports.

Chelsea has reportedly identified Sevilla defender Jules Kounde as a top target to help fill the center-back void, and the Blues have also been linked with RB Leipzig’s Josko Gvardiol and Brighton’s Marc Cucurella.

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