Could Aston Villa and Ireland defender Richard Dune be the latest man to reinforce the New York Red Bulls backline? The Daily Mail seems to think so.
Given the source, NY's trade for MLS veteran Jamison Olave, and the fact that the report states there is a £50,000-per-week salary on offer (that's $4.2 million annually for those who don't want to do the math) for a player who's struggled with injury, it seems very dubious.
The 33-year-old does bring a strong pedigree, however, with 408 Premier League (and 43 second-flight) appearances to his name in a long career with Everton, Manchester City and now Aston Villa. He's also scored eight goals in 76 appearances for the Irish national team and played in both the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2012.
Seattle Sounders left-footed genius Mario Martinez has never been afraid to express himself on the field. Or off the field, for that matter.
Earlier this season he openly discussed his dissatisfaction with his lack of playing time. Now he's talking about a move to Europe on Twitter.
On Wednesday, he dropped this line which is sure to grab the attention of the Sounders' front office: "Ufff, would Turkey be a good option?"
Ufff turquiaa seria buena opcion??
— Mario Martinez (@mariomartinez_7) December 26, 2012
When the Sounders signed Martinez on loan from Honduran side Real Espana on August 1, 2012, it was not clear how long the loan would run. But in a year-end Q&A with MLSsoccer.com, Seattle manager Sigi Schmid indicated that he expects Martinez back for a full season.
"Mario Martínez, who came to us in midseason but was in and out," Schmid said. "With him being around a whole season, I think he has a chance to make a major step forward as well."
A move to Turkey was probably not the step forward that Schmid had in mind. We'll see what the club says about this one.
Are Bill Hamid and West Brom rekindling their relationship?
After training with the EPL side at the end of the 2011 MLS season, Hamid is in England once again. Here's the message he sent out via Twitter earlier Wednesday morning.
Reporting live from the west brom v QPR match at loftus road in London. Should be a good one
— Bill Hamid (@BillHamid28) December 26, 2012
[UPDATE: D.C. United confirmed late Wednesday that Hamid is in fact on vacation in England.]
Just a few months after seeing him up close, reports from Birmingham in May 2012 claimed that Hamid was still very much on WBA's radar.
"From what I believe, West Brom was interested and came forward through emails and different ways to get in contact with me and my agent to take a close look at me," Hamid told ExtraTime Radio. "West Brom came forward and we moved from there."
In his first season in MLS, Honduran international Victor Bernardez helped lead the San Jose Earthquakes to the Supporters Shield, and, on a personal level, he was named to the MLS Best XI.
Now, it looks like he might be doing things off the field to help the club. In this Q&A with Honduran side Diez.hn, Bernardez revealed that, at the request of the Quakes' technical staff, he has networked to try to bring two more Honduran internationals to San Jose.
"I played in the national team with them," Bernardez said. "The important thing is that they are good people. That's what the president of San Jose wants: harmony in the dressing room."
Bernardez cited sensitivities around the contract negotiations and declined to reveal the names of his two potential new teammates.
More and more Hondurans have joined MLS in recent years, including Houston's Boniek Garcia, New England's Jerry Bengtson, Colorado's Henry Thomas, and Seattle's Mario Martinez, among others.
This offseason has seen several of Martinez's 2012 Olympic teammates linked to MLS. Seattle have reportedly been chasing CD Victoria defender Wilmer Crisanto for a while, while Olimpia defender Johnny Leveron, Victoria defender Jose David Velasquez, and Olimpia attacking midfielder Alex "the Honduran Maradona" Lopez have popped up on various radars.
"I'm proud because managers are becoming interested in the quality of Honduran footballer," Bernardez said.
Now, however, it's not just the British press making mountains out of what were previously thought to be molehills. According to a report in eatsleepsport.com, West Ham manager Sam Allardyce intimated that a bid could be forthcoming if he decides that the Honey Badger fits his side's needs:
"We always need a bit of help as a manager," Allardyce reportedly said. "We're never going to turn one down are we? Or two! You've always got to try. If there's anybody there who can enhance or better the team, then we would like to go for them."
South Korean legend Lee Young-Pyo said last week that he was "99 percent sure" 2013 would be his last season of professional soccer. And that leaves the Whitecaps in something of a bind, considering that Lee wasn't just a standout defender, but also led the team in chances created in 2012.
Enter mystery man Andres Fresenga. The Uruguay-based Canadian U-23 international (yeah, he was the dude who shut down Brek Shea in Olympic qualifying) is reportedly set to join Martin Rennie's squad in January for an extended trial.
Ok, so Rustu Recber only played four games for Barcelona, and that was nearly a decade ago. But still ... Barcelona. You clicked.
Anyway, our good friends at TheBrotherlyGame are reporting that the longtime Turkey No. 1, who actually retired this summer at the age of 39, has been in talks with the Union about a switch to MLS. And that he's already rejected one offer, but is open to something with, perhaps, another zero attached.
It would mark the second time in three years that Philly have brought in a veteran international netminder. Back in 2011 it was Colombian Faryd Mondragón, who went on to lead the Union to their first, and to date only, playoff appearance.
What bearing this would have on Zac MacMath, who struggled in his first season as a fulltime starter, remains to be seen. But it's clearly a spot that could be upgraded.
The Union have already added veteran central defender Jeff Parke, as well as forwards Sébastien Le Toux and Conor Casey this offseason.
EDIT: Of course, this isn't the first time that Recber has been linked to an MLS side. As BrotherlyGame mentioned, there were rumors floating around Turkey that the Galaxy had designs on getting his signature.
As always with these types of things, you have to bring your own grain (shaker) of salt.
Hitting the "undo" button on unpopular transactions is so in these days.
A week after the Philadelphia Union traded for Sébastien Le Toux, bringing the fan favorite back to PPL Park, it looks like the Vancouver Whitecaps could be considering a similar move.
According to Marc Weber at The Province, Davide Chiumiento was back in Vancouver this weekend and even had lunch with 'Caps head coach Martin Rennie to discuss a possible return to MLS.
Vancouver sold the popular attacking midfielder to FC Zürich in July for what was deemed "family reasons" at the time. But it's no secret that the 'Caps missed the Swiss-Italian's attacking spark after he departed, especially as they limped into the playoffs by winning just once in their final 10 games.
Chiumiento didn't do much to calm the rumors, if you check his Twitter feed. His fans certainly would welcome his return, too, judging by the responses he got.
We'll keep tabs on this one, as Whitecaps fans would certainly be ecstatic to welcome Chiumiento back to BC Place, stat.
Brazilian set-piece maestro Juninho Pernambucano has been linked to the New York Red Bulls for a couple weeks now, and the latest tidbit out of Brazil seems to indicate that the Red Bulls are stepping up their interest in the veteran midfielder.
This report from Globo Esporte [PORTUGUESE] quotes the player's agent, José Fuentes, as saying that New York have "pre-registered" Juninho. The language used by Fuentes, who explains the move gives the Red Bulls exclusive rights to negotiate with the player, seems to indicate that the Red Bulls have placed a Discovery Tag on Juninho.
The article also states that Juninho has not reached a decision on his future yet, but could announce his decision as early as next week. It should also be noted that the Discovery Tag applies only within MLS, so Juninho is still free to negotiate and sign with other Brazilian and foreign clubs.
Though he will turn 38 at the end of January, Juninho still seems to have some life left in his legs, having scored 13 goals in 49 apperances across all competitions in 2012. And who could say no to having a free-kick taker of this caliber (at least as good as David Beckham, I would argue) bending them home in MLS?
This should be an interesting one to follow, especially since Red Bull director of global soccer Gérard Houllier is familiar with Juninho from their time together at Lyon, so check back at MLSsoccer.com throughout the weekend and next week for more updates.
Credit this one to BigAppleSoccer.com, who've been all over the New York coaching situation since the days of Eddie Firmani taking mid-afternoon naps at his desk.
Acccording to crack BAS reporter Kristian Dyer, the Red Bulls are on the verge of naming Scotsman Gary McAllister the new bossman, in a move that could come as soon as next week.
Should this come to pass, it'll be no surprise. McAllister has been the frontrunner since early November, back when Hans Backe's contract wasn't renewed. He's reportedly close with new RBNY sporting director Andy Roxburgh, and has had previous managerial runs with Coventry City and Leeds United, as well as a caretaker stint with Aston Villa.
McAllister would become the sixth head coach - including two-time interim boss Richie Williams - since Red Bull took over the franchise in 2006.