Kick Off: Transfer season heats up signatures & rumors

These are good times for the pen-makers of the world. Lots of signings taking place (get it?) or about to take place or rumored to take place.  

And we'll start with the ongoing link between QPR and MLS. Rangers manager Redknapp spoke out this morning on Sky Sports News, about potential offseason loans for Robbie Keane and Tim Cahill.

“Robbie is a top player. But again he can only be a short-term loan and that’s the problem,” said Redknapp. “To bring someone in like Robbie and then Timmy Cahill is another top player who is maybe out for a loan. But you’re taking them for about six weeks. You bring them in then you lose them at a time, especially in our position, when you’ve got maybe another 10-12 games to go to try and stay up.”

Speaking of QPR, reports in the UK claim QPR defender and vice-captain Ryan Nelsen is heading back to D.C. as an assistant coach, but The Washington Post's Steven Goff reports that head coach Ben Olsen says it's not true

The ongoing saga of reported LA Galaxy target Frank Lampard continues. John Terry posted this tribute to “Lamps” on his official Webstagram page (that’s right, he has one): “Devastated is an understatement. We should retire the number 8 shirt in honour of Lamps.”

Elsewhere in Europe, Bolgona attacking midfielder Andrea Pisanu is set to join the Italian revolution at Montreal Impact. The club confirmed on Thursday that they are “working on the finer details” of a move which would see Pisanu join on loan for a year.

Over in Spain, an 18-year-old former Sporting KC academy ‘keeper has signed for Atlético Madrid. Read Jacole Turner’s amazing story here.

OK, let's head down to South America, where the biggest news is the potential move of Seattle Sounders striker Fredy Montero to Colombian side Millonarios. On Thursday, strong reports surfaced that a six-month loan deal, with an option to buy, was imminent. Montero's possible departure leads the day on the latest edition of the ExtraTime Radio podcast.

Staying on the South America-Pacific Northwest tip, rumors persist in Portland about Argentine Diego Valeri joining the Timbers from Lanús.

Meanwhile, the Rapids inked Ecuador international Diego Calderón, with the commanding center back a huge coup for Oscar Pareja’s men. Calderón should help a Rapids defense that leaked goals in 2012. Said technical director Paul Bravo: “He has extensive experience, having won league and continental titles and been a part of his national team throughout World Cup qualifying.”

The contract pen was also busy in New England. The Revs signed José Gonçalves on loan from FC Sion. “It took a little bit longer than we'd hoped but, at the end of the day, we're glad we got it done," said GM Mike Burns. "The bottom line is that we feel like he makes us a better team.”

Columbus Crew, who will not see Sebastián Miranda return, replaced him with veteran defender Tyson Wahl, after turning out for Montreal last season. Real Salt Lake have inked Lovel Palmer after picking him up in Stage 2 of the Re-Entry Draft. 

Meanwhile, the future of MLS put pen to paper on Thursday as the league announced the first four Generation adidas signees. Find out who made it.

Roger Espinoza has made it as well, apparently all the way into Wigan's XI. The former Sporting KC man's English work permit was approved and he could play in the FA Cup as soon as Saturday.

Some of those youngsters will be dreaming of making a big impact in MLS. Just like these guys did … or might have. Check out the latest edition of The Throw-In, as Jonah Freedman picks his Fantasy XI from the many players rumored to be joining MLS over the years.

Fantasy or not, there's an interesting twist in the news about the proposed second MLS club in New York. Seems like the New York Mets now want some of the action, as city councilman Peter Vallone and the Mets put forth their belief that Citi Field could host both an MLB and MLS franchise. “We have a state-of-the-art stadium sitting there waiting to be used a few yards away,” Vallone told the New York Daily News

This goes against MLS' plans for a soccer-specific stadium in Flushing Meadow Park that was discussed by MLS officials at a Queens town hall.  

Back out to the Rockies. The Salt Lake Tribune spoke out about the possibility of switching the MLS season to a August-May timescale. Weather problems would be a major issue in SLC.

FIFA leader Sepp Blatter has had a few issues with the US soccer scene this week. Read this pulsating, honest and simply brilliant retort from Grantland’s Brian Phillips. Marvelous.

Elsewhere SI.com’s Grant Wahl released his MLS Ambition rankings. There are a few surprises here.

LA feature highly once again on Wahl's rankings, and if you fancy a trip down memory lane with their head coach Bruce Arena, then look no further. NBC Pro Soccer Talk has your fix. Arena sipping Scotch on the eve of his USMNT debut over in Israel … a tale too good to be true, surely?

Some friendly banter up in Cascadia has the mayor of Seattle eating some humble pie this week. Watch Hizzoner Mike McGinn paying up his wager to the city of Portland, after the Timbers captured the 2012 Cascadia Cup. (VIDEO)

As the world's stock markets continue to fluctuate, The New York Times explains who one thing has kept the Germany economy, and public, together: soccer.

And finally, the soccer world was rocked by yet another act of alleged racism yesterday. Watch as Kevin-Prince Boateng and his AC Milan teammates walk off the field in a friendly match with fourth-division side Pro Patria, which was marred by reported racist chants aimed at Boateng and his Milan teammates.

MLSsoccer.com Musts

Three for Thursday: Who will surprise MLS in 2013?

SmorgasBorg: Montero's potential exit sign of the future?

American Exports: Big year ahead for Yanks in Mexico


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