It’s official. After months of rumours, French football star Antoine Griezmann is on his way to Catalunya. Fútbol Club Barcelona announced on Friday that they have come to terms with Atlético de Madrid after triggering Griezmann’s €120 million release clause. He has signed a five-year contract until June 30, 2024.
Griezmann, 28, tallied 133 goals and 56 assists through 256 matches with Atlético Madrid across all competitions. He has been capped 69 times for Les Bleues, scoring 28 goals and was a member of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Champions.
“I have decided to leave [Atlético], see other things, have other challenges and with great difficulty, this is what I feel and I need,” Griezmann said earlier this year. “It’s been five great years where I’ve won my first important trophies with a club. It’s been a very important stage.”
“I have enjoyed a lot, I have left everything in the field, I have tried to behave well, I have tried to give joy to the people who have come to the Metropolitano and also away from home, and I only have gratitude for all of you.”
His buyout clause with Barcelona is €800 million, making him one of the most expensive players in World football. Griezmann’s signing adds him to a potent Blaugrana attack that already features Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. The move to Barcelona had been speculated for months in the media though there had never been any official comments from the Catalan club. The fact that the release clause in Griezmann’s contract went down from €200 million to €120 million on July 1 was good enough reason for Barça to wait.
Griezmann will be arriving in Barcelona on Sunday evening from Ibiza where he has been on vacation while waiting for Barcelona to call. He would then take the traditional photo at the Camp Nou in front of the club’s badge. On Monday the plans are for him to sign his contract with club president Josep María Bartomeu, while preparations are completed at the team store and auditorium (la Llotja del Camp Nou y el Auditori 1899), for the press conference and official presentation.
Barcelona will be going for its third consecutive LaLiga title, having also won an incredible 8 out of the past 11 titles in Spain. The UEFA Champions League, however, has proven to be a different story of late. Barcelona incredibly managed to lose in the knockout stages each of the past two years after having a three goal advantage on its opponents going into the return leg. This has prompted many fans to call for Manager Ernesto Valverde to be sacked, and for club President Bartomeu’s resignation.
Transfers, Transactions, and Reports for the second day of the MLS Secondary Transfer Window:
Toronto Football Club
Toronto FC has been active in preparing for MLS’ Secondary Transfer Window by announcing the signing of Zamora F.C. (Venezuela Primera División) winger Erickson Gallardo, via the use of Targeted Allocation Money. Gallardo, 22, will be eligible to play this weekend as the Reds take on the Impact de Montréal at Stade Saputo, a/k/a “Le Classique Canadien” for those in Québec, subject to receipt of his International Transfer Certificate (“ITC”).
After making his debut in 2014, Gallardo has made 116 combined appearances for Zamora F.C. In the past three seasons, he made a total of 91 appearances (64 starts) and recorded 10 goals and 19 assists. Gallardo was part of Zamora’s last three league championships in 2015, 2016 and 2018. In the second leg of the 2018 Apertura Final, he scored the winning goal.
“Erickson is a talented attacking player that will improve our team. He has good character and is excited to earn the respect of his teammates, meet our great fans, and he and his wife are looking forward to settling into the City of Toronto,” TFC General Manager Ali Curtis said. “He has speed, can shift directions quickly and can open up the game for himself and others. Mid-season can sometimes be challenging to step into a new team, particularly for young, international players. With that said, we’re excited to get him going because we believe he can make an impact now, and in the future.”
He won his only senior cap with the Venezuela National Team in a June friendly draw against Ecuador.
Back on June 3, TFC made another key move by also acquiring U.S. International defender Omar Gonzalez on a transfer from Atlas Fútbol Club (Guadalajara) of Liga MX.
Toronto used its first-placeposition in the allocation ranking to sign Gonzalez using TAM (Targeted Allocation Money), subject to Gonzalez passing a medical exam, as well as the receipt of his ITC. He will then be eligible for the roster on July 9 when the transfer window re-opens.
Gonzalez, 30, was in his first season with Atlas, having made 36 appearances with two goals since joining the squad in July 2018.
“Adding Omar will improve our team. He is a great competitor that will approach every training session and match with a high level of intensity. He’ll also be able to add a greater presence in the air for us, both offensively and defensively. And, while he has won numerous trophies during his career on the club and international level, he is hungry to be part of championship team in Toronto,” said Toronto FC General Manager Ali Curtis. “We were looking for a very specific profile of player. Omar’s a good guy. He will fit in well with the group, and he will be a welcome addition to the locker room and daily environment.”
Gonzalez began his professional career after being selected third overall by LA Galaxy in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. In seven seasons with the Galaxy, Gonzalez made 223 combined appearances (MLS, MLS Cup Playoffs, U.S. Open Cup, Concacaf Champions League) with 17 goals and 13 assists. With the Galaxy, he won three MLS Cups (2011, 2012, 2014), two MLS Supporters’ Shields (2010, 2011), was named to the MLS Best XI four times (2010, 2011, 2013, 2014) along with MLS Defender of the Year (2011) and MLS Rookie of the Year (2009).
In December 2015, Gonzalez was sold and signed with C.F. Pachuca (Pachuca) of Liga MX. While with Pachuca, he made 87 combined appearances with three goals and four assists. Gonzalez won three trophies with Pachuca including, the Clausura Liga MX championship (2016), 2016 Liga MX championship and the 2016-17 Concacaf Champions League.
Gonzalez has earned 49 caps for the U.S. Men’s National team. He was part of the U.S. 2013 and 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup winning sides; and the roster for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. His most recent cap came on March 27, 2019 in a 1-1 friendly match against Chile. Gonzalez was recently on the U.S. squad for the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup.
“Greg gave me a clear picture of what the team is like, where he sees the team going and where I can fit into that picture. He sold me on coming here,” said Gonzalez. “Wherever you want me to play, I’ll do it. I’ll play my role; team comes first. On the left, on the right, it doesn’t matter. I’ve got to step up; do what I’ve got to do to help the team get wins.”
The addition of Gallardo, as well as defender Omar Gonzalez (who signed with TFC on June 3), gives Manager Greg Vanney the type of players that were much-needed – a pure winger and a big defender.
New England Revolution
Longtime dormant in the transfer marketplace, the decision to hire Bruce Arena as the sporting director and head coach in May came with it a pledge that he would have the latitude to invest in the roster. A veteran coach of Arena’s caliber would certainly not be interested in taking the job and continuing the club’s low-budget, penny-pinching (aka cheap) mentality.
That pledge turned into reality Wednesday, as the Revs announced the signing of Gustavo Bou as a Designated Player from Club Tijuana of Liga MX. It is reported that New England has paid a club-record transfer fee ($6-7 million USD) to acquire the Argentine striker.
The forward, who is nicknamed ‘La Pantera’, was the most expensive signing in the ten-year history of the Xolos. His professional career spans 12 seasons in the first divisions of Argentina, Ecuador and Mexico. He has scored 85 goals with River Plate, Olimpo de Bahía Blanca, Liga de Quito, Gimnasia de La Plata, Racing Club y Xolos de Tijuana.
“He’s an experienced player,” said Arena. “He’s going to help generate attacking chances for us – whether that’s scoring goals or setting goals up or moving in the right spots to help others. He’s a player with a lot of experience, a lot of quality, and a real good track record.”
Bou, 29 years old, brings knowledge and vast on-field experience to the Revolution squad. His reputation is that of a creative player who has demonstrated an ability to play across the attacking front four, but who is most comfortable on the left wing. “In a pinch he can play the number nine position – which he’s really not natural – and he can play the 10, he can play the seven, the 11,” said Arena. “He can play a bunch of spots. Positions close to goal is where he needs to play.”
Bou has been in form recently, with seven goals and two assists in his final six games with Tijuana, and has scored at least once in all six of those contests. He ranked in the top five league-wide in both goals (10) and assists (five) in Liga MX’s 2019 Torneo Clausura.
Bou will be available for the Revolution pending completion of his medical exam, and receipt of a P-1 Visa and his ITC.
Atlanta United made their sixth Homegrown Signing in club history on Tuesday, announcing that 18-year-old defender George Campbell has been signed to a homegrown contract, effective January 1, 2020. Born in Chester, PA, Campbell joined the Atlanta United academy in 2016-17.
“George has shown remarkable progress at each step in his development and he’s earned a professional contract with our club,” Atlanta United Vice President and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra said. “As a member of our inaugural Academy teams in 2016, he’s worked hard to utilize the club’s pathway to the professional level, highlighted by his form in USL this season – most of which came before his 18th birthday.”
He’s spent a majority of the 2019 season with USL affiliate Atlanta United II, where he has 11 appearances. Campbell was named Man of the Match on his professional debut back in March, and has been one of the team’s top performers defensively.
Sporting Kansas City
Report: Sporting KC linked with Portuguese wing back Luis Martins
Sporting KC is hoping to make a few moves during the secondary transfer window and reportedly has been linked in serious discussions with one player so far.
According to the Kansas City Star, SKC is interested in Portuguese left back Luis Martins..
Martins was most recently with Portuguese side Chaves, where he joined in 2018. Chaves struggled in Liga NOS (Primeira Liga), Portugal’s top division, finishing in 16th place on 32 points and were relegated to the second division. Martins played in 15 of Chaves’ 34 league games, scoring one goal and playing another six games in Taça do Portugal competitions for Chaves this year. With their relegation this year, Martins and Chaves mutually agreed to terminate his contract with the club, effective June 30, 2019, which makes Martins available for Kansas City to sign on a free transfer.
Martin has also spent time with Benfica and Gil Vicente in Portugal and Spanish side Granada CF while appearing for Osasuna and Maritimo on-loans.
His arrival to SKC would give Peter Vermes another option in defense as the team is without several players due to injury. The club is recently coming off a 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire on Saturday.
In order to sign Martins, Sporting Kansas City would need to acquire an international roster spot, which they can do via a trade with another MLS club.
Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami
It was previously reported here that Inter Miami CF have been linked with two Argentine players, Julián Carranza and Matías Pellegrini, and that deals to transfer these two players have been reached. While there is no word from Inter yet, based on what has been said about the timing of the first player announcement, we should hear something during this secondary transfer window.
Any players who are transferring to Miami during this window would likely be loaned out until the end of the year. (If the reports about Carranza and Pellegrini are correct, those players could be loaned back to their clubs in Argentina or elsewhere for the fall. As an aside, the Superliga Argentina will have a new format for 2019-20 , with 24 teams playing a 23-week season starting in July 2019 and ending in December. The second half of the year, January to May, will be set aside for the Copa de la Superliga.
“We’ll definitely have players signed by the summer,” Sporting Director Paul McDonough said, without getting into further details or a more specific timeline for their first player. “I want to make it a surprise.”
Los Angeles Football Club
Defender Niko Hämäläinen returns to Queens Park Rangers
Finnish-American fullback Niko Hämäläinen has left Los Angeles Football Club due to the conclusion of his loan with the MLS club.
Hämäläinen was loaned by the London-based English Championship (2nd Division) club in February 2019 on a six month term. His loan was not extended by LAFC. During his time in the City of the Angels, the 22-year-old made three appearances, including one start.
“We would like to thank Niko for his contributions to our Club during the first half of the season, and wish him great success moving forward,” said EVP & General Manager John Thorrington.
A former member of the FC Dallas academy, Hämäläinen joined Queens Park back in 2014 but has only made three league appearances for the club to date. QPR had also previously loaned Hämäläinen to Dagenham & Redbridge on a short-term loan in 2015..
The following transactions were negotiated in advance of the opening of the 2019 Major League Soccer’s Secondary Transfer Window (July 9- August 7, 2019):
Columbus Crew SC
Acquired Costa Rican winger Luis Diaz from Herediano as a Young Designated Player. According to Jacob Myers of the Columbus Dispatch, the Crew paid a transfer fee of $1 million.
Signed 30-year old Curaçao National Team goalkeeper Eloy Room. The Black & Gold officially announced the move last Friday and Room will be officially added to the roster once the summer transfer window opens today (July 9.)
“We are excited to have a player as experienced and proven as Eloy join Columbus Crew SC,” Crew president Tim Bezbatchenko said. “Eloy is a talented goalkeeper whose leadership and shot-stopping ability will help strengthen our Club. We believe Eloy’s background competing at the European and international level will allow him to contribute to Crew SC immediately.”
Room most recently played for PSV Eindhoven from 2017-19 but was out of contract. He was a part of the 2017-18 Eredivisie championship side that qualified for the UEFA Champions League. Prior to joining PSV, Room played for SBV Vitesse of the Eredivisie from 2008-17 and spent the 2013-14 season on loan with the Go Ahead Eagles in Holland. Room made 169 appearances, 159 starts in the Dutch First Division.
He started 20 games in the KNVB Cup and played twice in the UEFA Europa League Qualifiers. The goalkeeper was an important member of the KNVB Cup winners in the 2016-17 season with Vitesse. During the run to the title, Room played in every match, helping Vitesse win its first KNVB Cup in 125 years.
Room’s should be a familiar name to those who followed the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Room started all four matches of the tournament for Curaçao, including the 1-0 loss to the United States in the quarterfinals. The goalkeeper made 26 saves in a surprising four-game run. Overall, Room has earned 30 caps for the Curaçao National Team, including nine clean sheets. He also featured internationally for the Netherlands at the Under-20 level.
Room’s addition to the Crew roster will be part of the plan to bolster the goalkeeper position after U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper Zack Steffen was sold to Manchester City of the English Premier League in the offseason for a record fee. Steffen won the 2018 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year award. Steffen made his final appearance for Columbus in 2-2 draw with New York City FC on June 1.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Reached a deal to make Iraqi left-back Ali Adnan‘s loan a permanent move from Serie A Club Udinese.
The multi-million dollar transaction sets a new record for the fullback position. Although the exact figure is unknown, it is thought that the the transfer fee is somewhere in the vicinity of $2-2.5 Million USD. The new contract runs through the end of the 2021 season, with an option for 2022. Adnan will now occupy a Designated Player slot for Vancouver. He was unable to feature for the club last weekend due to a gap in his initial loan expiring on June 30th and the transfer window opening today, at which point he is now once again eligible.
Part of what made the Ali Adnan move possible was the “buying down” of Joaquin Ardaiz’s Young Designated Player contract,which freed up a Designated Player Spot that the Whitecaps could then use on Adnan.
“Ali has been a great addition to our club since arriving in March” said Marc Dos Santos “He understands our defensive principles and has an incredible ability to join the attack, create in the last third, which is very important for teams that want to have an impact offensively using their fullbacks.”
Acquired centre-back Maikel van der Werff.
Van der Werfff was acquired using Targeted Allocation Money (“TAM”). He will be added to the active roster pending the receipt of his P1-Visa and International Transfer Certificate (“ITC”) when the Secondary Transfer Window opens today (July 9th).
Van der Werff, 30, spent the last seven seasons in the Netherlands’ Eredivisie with Vitesse (2015-19) and PEC Zwolle (2013-15). In the recently concluded 2018-19 season, van der Werff made 30 appearances for Vitesse across all competitions, where he scored four goals and added four assists. He has captured two Dutch Cups, one Johan Cruyff Shield and most recently wore the captain’s armband for Vitesse for parts of the 2018-19 season. A native of Hoorn, Netherlands, van der Werff will occupy an international roster spot on FC Cincinnati’s roster.
“We are pleased to be able to add a quality player and we’d like to welcome Maikel to FC Cincinnati,” FC Cincinnati General Manager Gerard Nijkamp said. “He brings a high level of experience and leadership to our backline and will be an excellent addition as we solidify our style of play. We look forward to integrating Maikel with our current group and eagerly anticipate his future as an FC Cincinnati player.”
“I’m very happy and proud with this move to FC Cincinnati,” van der Werff said. “I was able to visit for the match against the LA Galaxy and the atmosphere was great. I’m looking forward to playing and being part of this team.”
Van der Werff has a combined 247 first-team appearances, including 207 starts, during the course of his 11 professional seasons in the Netherlands. He has scored 23 goals and added 19 assists across all competitions with Vitesse, PEC Zwolle and Dutch second-tier side FC Volendam (2008-13).
Acquired Ghanian winger Edwin Gyasi.
Bulgarian side CSKA Sofia agreed to loan winger Edwin Gyasi to FC Dallas with an option to buy for the MLS side. Born in Amsterdam, Netherlands to Ghanaian parents, the Ghanaian midfielder has 5 caps for the Ghana National Team. He made his senior debut for the Black Stars on Sept. 5, 2017, and scored his first international goal in a World Cup Qualifier versus Egypt on Nov. 12, 2017.
Gyasi, 27, has played for De Graafschap, FC Twente, Roda JC, and Aalesund as well as other clubs during his career prior to joining CSKA Sofia. Gyasi played more than 50 games for Sofia, scoring 6 goals and adding 10 assists.
FC Dallas used Targeted Allocation Money (“TAM”) to complete the loan deal. He will be eligible to add to Dallas’ roster pending receipt of his ITC and P-1 Visa.
Atlanta United FC
Signed former US youth national team star Emerson Hyndman.
Atlanta signed former US youth national team star Emerson Hyndman on a loan from AFC Bournemouth of the English Premier League. Atlanta has the option to purchase at the end of this season.
Hyndman was part of the FC Dallas Youth Academy. Atlanta acquired Hyndman’s Discovery Rights from Dallas in exchange for an international roster slot in 2019 and 2020 and $200,000 in General Allocation Money.
The 23-year-old began his professional career with Fulham Football Club in 2014 and played two seasons in London with the English Championship side before moving up to the Premier League with Bournemouth in 2016. However, his career with the Cherries never materialized and he played in just eight games for the club.
Hyndman was loaned by Bournemouth to Glasgow Rangers in 2016-17 and Hibernian in 2018-19, playing a total of 36 games in Scotland, with five goals and four assists.
Hyndman has two appearances for the U.S. men’s national team.
“We’re excited to bring a talented young player like Emerson in to bolster our midfield,” club vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra said in a prepared statement. “In addition to his technical, on-the-ball abilities, he performed well in two physically demanding leagues in the Scottish Premiership and English Championship.”
Atlanta manager Frank de Boer has said any player he signs is expected to be able to contribute right away. Thus, expect Hyndman to join the rotation with Julian Gressel, Darlington Nagbe, Eric Remedi and Jeff Larentowicz as a box-to-box player. He is eligible to appear for the Five Stripes beginning today when the Major League Soccer secondary transfer window opens.
San Jose Earthquakes
Added Mexican winger Carlos Fierro.
San Jose has signed Mexican winger Carlos Fierro for an undisclosed transfer fee, using Targeted Allocation Money. Fierro can be added to San Jose’s roster once he receives his P-1 Visa and ITC.
Fierro has previously played for Earthquakes head coach Matias Almeyda. The midfielder made 64 appearances for Almeyda from 2015-18 and 11 under Quakes assistant coach Benjamin Galindo (2013) while competing for Chivas de Guadalajara.
“I know Carlos from my time at Chivas,” said Almeyda. “I know him as a person and as a professional. I know he can help us a lot with his style of play. He’s a player that I can use in various positions. I thank the club and the effort they made to be able to buy him. Hopefully he does a great job, which is what everyone hopes for.”
Fierro, 24, has been a part of several trophy-winning teams in his native Mexico, helping his former clubs claim a trio of Copa MX titles (2015, 2016, 2017) and one Liga MX championship (2017).
In addition to club success, Fierro has made significant contributions to Mexico’s youth level national teams, having been a selection at the U-17, U-20 and U-23 levels, scoring four goals in 14 total appearances. He was a key player for Mexico at the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup, where Mexico finished with a perfect 7-0-0 record and became the first host nation to win that championship. Fierro scored twice in the Group Stage, the game-winning goal in the Round of 16, and the game-winning goal in the Quarterfinals to earn the Bronze Ball as the tournament’s third most outstanding player. He later helped Mexico win the 2013 Concacaf U-20 Championship with a perfect 6-0-0 record, including a 3-1 victory over the United States in the Final.
Fierro most recently played for Monarcas Morelia of Mexico’s Liga MX on loan from Cruz Azul. During his one year with Morelia, the midfielder scored one goal and contributed four assists in 32 appearances across Liga MX and Copa MX competitions.
A native of Guadalajara, Fierro originally joined the Chivas youth academy in 2008, later making his first team debut in August of 2011 at the age of 17. During his first professional season, Apertura 2011, he was the club’s most often used substitute. Fierro made 135 appearances for Chivas between 2011-15, tallying 11 goals and 13 assists and helping the club win the Apertura 2015 Copa MX Final, two months after Almeyda’s arrival.
The Major League Soccer secondary transfer window opens today, Tuesday, July 9 and runs through August 7, 2019. Clubs are now permitted to register new signings.
Pursuant to FIFA regulations, in order to complete a signing, loan or transfer, an MLS club must request an International Transfer Certificate (“ITC”) from the national association where the player was last registered. For example, a player being transferred from Real Betis to an MLS side would need an ITC issued by the Real Federación Española de Fútbol (RFEF). This is known as the International Clearance Process. (See more at kennethrusso.com/fifa-regulations-on-the-transfer-of-players/)
A team may have negotiated and completed a deal prior to the transfer window; receipt of a player’s ITC is required in order to add a player to the official roster and for that player to be eligible to play in competitive matches.
A number of deals have already been completed leading up to the window. Deals completed
Intra-League Trades Also Open
Coinciding with the opening of the transfer window, the trade window within MLS for players once again is open, and runs until August 8th.
As a reminder, trades for non-player assets, including international roster slots, allocation money, allocation order slots and MLS SuperDraft picks, can take place any time and are not restricted by the transfer window periods.
Roster Freeze On The Horizon.
The 2019 Roster Freeze Date is August 30, 2019, at which time clubs must submit their final 30-man roster. Rosters cannot be changed from that date through the day after MLS Cup.