Kick Off: Everton reportedly set sights on Charlie Davies

English Premier League side Everton are dipping into the US market for help this transfer window and it does not involve Landon Donovan.

The Liverpool Echo cites reports in France that link Everton with a move for Charlie Davies, who played for D.C. United in the most recent MLS campaign. But United decided not to exercise the option for a reported $1.3 million transfer from Sochaux.

The question US soccer fans will have: Did Davies do enough with D.C. to show he can be competitive at Everton?

It’s been barely two weeks that the LA Galaxy won MLS Cup and they have already made their first major signing of the offseason, according to reports.

Well-traveled Brazilian Marcelo Fazzio Sarvas, who plays for Costa Rican club Alajuelense and who played every minutes of two Champions League group matches against LA, has apparently decided to accept the offer from the Galaxy and will join the champs for the next two years. That’s what his agent announced to a news program in Costa Rica. (SPANISH)

One player who won’t be on his way to MLS is Nicolas Anelka, who has come to an agreement on a contract with Shanghai Shenhua in China.

Anelka’s former French national team strike partner, Thierry Henry, is getting a statue unveiled on Arsenal’s grounds at the Emirates Stadium on Friday. The Gunners’ all-time leading scorer and New York Red Bulls star is expected to be there.

"I love it here." Those are Landon Donovan’s words and they were not referencing SoCal or the USA. He uttered the phrase while in Australia for the Galaxy’s Asia-Pacific tour, where he claimed A-League clubs are “pretty even” compared to their MLS counterparts and went as far as saying that he “always thought about playing [in Australia].”

With managing director Jeff Plush exiting the scene, the Colorado Rapids are without a head coach or GM just one year removed from their MLS Cup triumph. This report highlights the coaching candidates the Rapids have interviewed, including Denis Hamlett, Richie Williams and Steve Sampson, who indicated that a move to Colorado was “not in the cards.”

Is it in the cards for Didier Drogba to make a move to MLS during the offseason? After a sensational display against Valencia in the UEFA Champions League yesterday, Drogba refused to speak about his contract situation: “My future is not important,” he says at 02:10 mark in this video.

The Portland Timbers hit the jackpot with the unveiling of their limited edition retro third jersey yesterday, winning over fans around the league. The jerseys were made from recycled materials in a local Portland factory. “We’ve got no plans to do anything like it in the future,” said an adidas executive.

They may be retro in look, but not in quality. Mick Hoban, who played for the Timbers in 1975, says the material used back then forced players “to wear Band-Aids on our nipples."

Also yesterday, the national TV matchups for opening weekend were announced. FC Dallas will host the first MLS match on NBC Sports Network and Montreal Impact fans learned they would be playing their first ever MLS match at BC Place in Vancouver against the Whitecaps.

Whitecaps manager Martin Rennie spoke at the 2011 Vancouver Southsiders, saying that he believes he can sign better players than are available in the Re-Entry Draft: “Between now and the start of the season, there will probably be about eight or nine players that I think will make a significant difference to the squad we’ve got,” he said.

While Logan Pause (Chicago Fire), Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA) and Luiz Camargo (Houston Dynamo) all received extended stays with their MLS sides yesterday, Greek papers are making it sound like a done deal that goalkeeper Michael Gspurning is heading to the Seattle Sounders. (GREEK)

D.C. United got some good news yesterday in the form of support from city council member Tommy Wells, who introduced a resolution that the D.C. government “should take active steps to create strategies and solutions that keep D.C. United as a professional soccer team located within the District of Columbia.”

In the women’s game, WPS officials traveled to Chicago to make their case in front of the US Soccer Federation yesterday and this article sums up the serious issues the league faces.

Provided that context, it’s interesting to read Vancouver Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi explaining why he thinks the WPS is “going to cripple you financially” and how a women’s league “needs to be a semi-pro league … that understands it’s very early times for the sport.”

For anyone who doesn’t think American goalkeeper Brad Guzan has what it takes to hold his own as he steps in to become a starter in the English Premier League for Aston Villa, he makes this much clear: “There's no better preparation than facing the likes of [Darren Bent] and [Gabriel Agbonlahor] every day. … When you train with these guys every day, it prepares you really well.”

Is there anyone more prepared than the FBI to carry out an investigation into the World Cup bidding process that drew so much suspicion and controversy last year? Well, the government agency apparently has unearthed “really great intelligence” of malpractice and has “substantial evidence” of attempts to hack the e-mail accounts of the US 2022 bid.

It looked like a hack job by ESPN soccer analyst Taylor Twellman and NFL star receiver Wes Welker as they wrapped gifts yesterday for a good cause. (PHOTO)

Welker and his NFL colleagues will have to make room on Sunday afternoon for the EPL. Fox has reportedly decided to show Arsenal vs. Manchester United on over-the-air Fox network on Jan. 22 as it leads up to the broadcast of Chelsea vs. Manchester United on Super Bowl Sunday.

In other international soccer news, former Real Salt Lake forward Yura Movsisyan could be readying for a big move to CSKA Moscow.

Meanwhile, another former MLS forward, 2010 World Cup striker Herculez Gomez, is using Facebook to poll fans as to where they want him to play since he “may be elsewhere next season.”

Lastly, it promises to be another dramatic day in the UEFA Champions League with Manchester United needing at least a point in Switzerland at Basel (2:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer and Fox Deportes) and Manchester City needing to win against Bayern Munich (2:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Plus).

MLSsoccer.com Must-Reads:

The SuperDraft Big Board: Listing the best 2012 prospects

Former youth national team star Lee Nguyen signs a multi-year MLS contract

Rumor Central: Get the lowdown on all the chatter surrounding player comings-and-goings


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