EPL Daily 3.19: Figo says no to QPR, surprise?, Blues are raided

FIGO: Reports in England and Figo himself quashed the rumor of 35-year old Figo to Matt Pickens’ Queens Park Rangers. Yep, QPR. Either way, Figo has decided one thing for sure – that he’s definitely leaving.  

NOT LORD STEVENS: Another club – this time Birmingham City – has been raided by police. Same tune, different measure – the police are searching for signs of corruption, transfer policy violations, Martin Taylor perhaps? All of this is supposedly NOT a part of the Lord Stevens inquiry which landed Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp a while back in connection with illegal payments to to agents. Instead, the force conducting the raid has said it’s a completely separate matter. Is that a good thing?

THE RETURN: In other Birmingham news, defender Martin Taylor and Eduardo’s least favorite person returned to action in a reserve match after serving a 3-match ban for breaking the Arsenal striker’s leg.

SHAY GIVEN: If there is one guy who has been through thick and thin with the frustration that is Newcastle United, it is goalkeeper Shay Given. Starting keeper for the Magpies since he was 20, Given has amassed over 330 caps Tyneside. But in a sure sign of how Newcastle’s season is going, Given has been sidelined for 6 weeks now after finding out he needs surgery to repair a nagging groin injury. Steve Harper has done well as back-up, but the Magpies still find themselves in the thick of the relegation battle. Looking back at the 1997 season when he won over the starting position, it was a former-MLS guy he beat – Shaka Hislop. Still only 31, Given is 5 years removed from having become Newcastle’s most-capped player – so you can imagine the lead he holds on the second-most capped Magpie. It’s a shame loyalty doesn’t buy victories.

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Figo, Henry, and My Continued Souring on Beckham

First of all, consider this post a replacement for the middle section of yesterday’s awful, barely-considered post.  I’ll be addressing this later tonight.

For the moment, though, I’m busy joining the parade reversing away from/pointing out the dubious origins of the Luis Figo-to-MLS rumor; in fact, read Steve Goff’s short comment on the subject and you have to wonder how about just how far this deal was from completion. The bigger question, though, is whether any Major League Soccer (MLS) club should have spent time trying to lure the 35-year-old Figo, especially given in light of a passage contained in Goal.com’s report on the limping rumor:

“The Portuguese wizard is in his final year with the Nerazzurri and was expected to retire from professional football come June.”

[SNIP]

“’There’s a chance that I could go to the States to finish my career, but this isn’t the time.’”

Jesus, man.  What “time” would that be?  You’re 35!  In case you haven’t heard, life gets slower and fatter from here on out.  Never mind that the word “retirement” should mean a hell of a lot more to the relevant, moneyed parties. Continue reading

MLS Daily Sweeper, 01.02.08: Trade Rumors to Dull the January Jones

Last night I told my wife I was happy to have an off-season from soccer, just a little time off from building my life around the domestic calendar’s schedule.  These are the little lies that sustain a marriage…

– …and I say that ’cause a wicked craving hit the second I checked the upcoming calendar on soccertv.com. What is the next game involving either a Yank club or the Yanquis proper?  The Pan-Pacific Tournament – a.k.a. the LA Galaxy’s latest whip-round for cash – doesn’t kick off till mid-late February – and that’s more like cut-rate codeine than methadone.  I suppose the U.S. Men’s National team get first crack with the January 19 game versus Sweden, but that’s also a friendly, just like the Mexico game in early February.  So, yeah, we’re a long way from competitive soccer featuring enough Yanks to kill my personal jones; we’re probably looking at Olympic qualifying before anything else….shit.

– Speaking of those friendlies – and I know I’m way behind on this – the U.S. men have a couple camps going on, one for the full national and one for the U-23s.  That Oursports Central site has a one-stop release (yeah, I know they lifted it, but it’s where I look) that lists players for both sides.  And, quickly, here’s who either “turns” my crank, “piques” my curiosity, or makes me “titter” for the full national side: Will Hesmer (titter; where’s Ray Burse?); Zach Wells (titter); Eddie Robinson (turns; make room on the damn bandwagon); Marvell Wynne (piques); Maurice Edu (turns); Brad Davis (turns); Josmer Altidore (piques); Jeremiah White (piques); Justin Mapp (turns); Eddie Johnson (titter).  The rest strike me as more of the same…and that’s not necessarily bad.

So, yeah, we’re all standing here just biding time and holding our most precious body parts as we do so…so let’s get to the big rumor floating around. Continue reading