Kick Off: Henry's offseason loan move to Arsenal back on?
Just when it seemed there was no chance of New York Red Bulls forward Thierry Henry returning to Arsenal this offseason, Arsene Wenger threw a couple more chips into the pot.
"I've not lost interest in him,” the Arsenal manager said, according to Arsenal.com. “He's still coming to practice with us. Our relationship is very close but, at the moment, I think he has had a second spell at the club that was very successful. You have to be cautious that it's not one time too many. ... I have not completely ruled it out, but I haven't spoken about it with him at all.”
This rhetoric flies in the face of other recent comments from Wenger and in the face of recent comments from the New York Red Bulls. But whether it happens or not, Henry could have a new Welsh teammate at Red Bull Arena: Sky Sports is reporting that Crystal Palace forward Jermaine Easter could possibly join RBNY.
On to a former DP whose moves are even more mysterious than Henry's. The David Beckham rumor mill continues to turn, but the ex-LA Galaxy star's representatives insist he won’t be rushed into a move: “David is in no hurry to make a decision. The key is making the right one as he has always done successfully in his career."
Toronto FC have a lot of replacing to do if they are going to start improving quickly. The Reds' busy offseason could continue as they are reportedly interested in a young Honduran player. Find out who.
Staying in Canada, reports in the Italian press claim that Montreal Impact captain Marco Di Vaio could be heading back to Italy. Pescara seem to be the side most interested in the onetime Bologna marksman. But Impact owner Joey Saputo responded on Friday morning, guaranteeing that "[Di Vaio] will be wearing his #9 in Mtl this yr."
No word on a possible destination, but it seems that Polish International midfielder Ludovic Obraniak is keen on a move to MLS. The Bordeaux attacking midfielder is held in high regard in Ligue 1, and would be the kind of No. 10 many clubs covet.
Just south a little, Seattle Sounders forward Eddie Johnson seems to have let the cat out of the bag … again. On Twitter, EJ seemed to confirm his call into the January USMNT camp before the official word has been given. Steady, Eddie.
When EJ suits up for the US, will he be sporting this retro badge, reportedly set to adorn US jerseys in the federation's centennial year?
Let's move to the midwest, where some observers in Kansas City see similarities between Sporting KC’s newest arrival, Claudio Bieler, and a former DP.
This time of year, many in the media do similar things: retrospectives and predictions. MLSsoccer.com continues its countdown of the top stories of 2012: At No.4: the LA Galaxy rule again. The Toronto Sun follows suit with its top 10 MLS stories of 2012.
Meanwhile, SI.com’s Grant Wahl takes a gander at what lies ahead, by making his top 10 predictions for 2013. Will LA repeat again? Will soccer pass hockey in popularity? Will the USMNT qualify for the World Cup?
And Soccer America ponders the best moves of the MLS offseason so far, with LA and Toronto featuring prominently.
One offseason move that won't be celebrated is the decision of former Dynamo and Revolution defender Ryan Cochrane to retire. Two MLS Cups, a Supporters' Shield and a brilliant moustache: Hats off to you, good sir.
Bernie Magaña is almost too young to grow a moustache, but the young American 'keeper is making a name for himself for Mexican giants Pumas UNAM.
Former New York and Vancouver winger Dane Richards starts his career in England on Jan. 1 with Burnley, and the Jamaican speedster is training with his new club ahead of the move. Big Apple Soccer takes up the story.
Plenty of American Exports will be in action this weekend, as Clint Dempsey’s Tottenham travel to Sunderland on Saturday (Fox Soccer, 7:45 am ET) looking to cement their place in the top four. Manchester City look to bounce back at Norwich (Fox Soccer, 10 am ET), after defeat at Sunderland on Boxing Day. Leaders Manchester United host high-fliers West Brom on Saturday, (ESPN2, 10 am ET) while Arsenal host Newcastle (Fox Soccer, 12:45 pm ET) in what should be a cracker at the Emirates.
Elsewhere Aston Villa’s US duo Brad Guzan and Eric Lichaj look to stop a dismal run against Wigan, in a relegation six-pointer at Villa Park on Saturday afternoon.
Finally, imagine paying $270 million for a player. It almost happened to Lionel Messi. An unnamed Russian team met Barcelona’s release clause of $270 million for the Argentine superstar, and offered Messi wages in excess of $700,000 a week. He declined.
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