U.S. Soccer

Mid-Day Ticker: Cesc plans on Barca return, Gulati re-elected and more



Cesc Fabregas has said that he always had a place in his heart for FC Barcelona. This summer he will reportedly embrace that sentiment to the fullest.

According to Spanish reports, the Arsenal captain and Spain international will snub a lucrative offer from the Gunners to join the Spanish giant during the summer transfer window.

Sport newspaper claims that Arsenal's £30 million offer has been trumped by a £44 million one from Pep Guardiola's side, meaning that Arsenal is likely to lose its most dynamic player, and Barcelona is about to add another one.

The 22-year-old Fabregas, a Barcelona native, played in the Barcelona youth system from 1997 to 2003 before joining Arsenal.

Despite missing four games this Premier League season, Fabregas has 11 goals and 13 assists.

Here are a few other stories from around the soccer world:


Sunil Gulati was unanimously re-elected as president of the United States Soccer Federation, meaning he will serve a second four-year term.

Gulati, who helped bring the World Cup to the United States in 1994, is the head of the movement to bring the competition back in either 2018 or 2022.

He became president in 2006, succeeding Bob Contiguglia.


Jose Mourinho's return to the Premier League could be closer to happening after "The Special One" revealed that he has a two-way buyout clause in his Inter Milan contract.

Although Mourinho is signed on at the San Siro through 2012, the former Chelsea boss can either be bought out or buy his way out of his current contract for £5.5 million.

With teams like Liverpool and Manchester City rumored to be seeking new managers in the offseason, the speculation that Mourinho could be on his way back to England will only grow even more.


Stoke City and Jamaica striker Ricardo Fuller was arrested after a nightclub incident Sunday night, according to team reports

The incident happened after Stoke's 3-0 win over Blackburn, in which Fuller played 79 minutes but did not score.

Fuller, 30, allegedly assaulted a man outside the nightclub. Police said that the victim suffered facial injuries and did not need to be taken to the hospital.


Bolton defender Gary Cahill has been ruled out indefinitely with a blood clot in his arm.

Cahill, 24, has had a strong season for the Wanderers and was hoping for a place on the England World Cup team. The Guardian reports that he could be out for the rest of the season.

Bolton is currently two points clear of the drop zone in the Premier League.


Do you think Fabregas will go home to Barcelona? Happy to see Gulati stay on as USSF president? What team would be the best fit for Mourinho? Think Bolton can stay up despite the loss of Cahill?

Share your thoughts below.

  • DCD

    Actually, rooting for any group of strangers to win a game is pretty arbitrary. Sharing a sense of local pride with your neighbors is one of the more logical reasons to choose to follow a professional team.

    But no one said it’s a “duty.” That’s a straw man. I’m a fan of a number of out-of-town teams, myself. I never really considered adopting a team with far more resources than their competition, however. To me, much of the “entertainment” is not only the on-field performance, but the competition, uncertainty, and confrontation of adversity — beating the odds. I’m not watching dancing or skiing, I’m watching soccer. When you’re watching Madrid, are you disappointed when they play well, but lose? If not, (i.e., you’re watching to see well-played soccer, rather than a particular outcome) then I guess I can understand it somewhat. Unfortunately, however, for a lot of other people, I think it’s just front-running. The Yankee fan analogy was a good one.


  • Ted

    It’s worse than that. Gulati is the guy at the front of the effort to paint club soccer in the USA as a tiny niche sport to justify our stunted pyramid. Leading the world in World Cup tickets, in a third decade of record youth participation, with the last world cup drawing more American viewers than World Series or NBA Finals games, and with European friendlies selling out our stadiums since the 1920s, and still these lame excuses.

    Gulati is not the man in charge of making our club soccer work, he’s the guy in charge of letting MLS make it work for the closed single entity few.


  • Micah King

    My problem with Gulati is who is he. You can’t find nothing on his history of soccer. Has he ever coached a professional team ? Where did he play soccer as a young person ? Did he go to college to play soccer ? Did he skip college and go straight pro ? Did he ever play for a national team ? Who is his favorite soccer team ? When did he realize he wanted to become president of US soccer ? What made him get into soccer ? How old is he ? What is his shoe size ? Does he use Ave or Gillette product or neither ? Let me know something about where this mysterious guy is from ? Who is he ?


  • Dominghosa

    Cesc and Ribery, awesome. Iniesta will have to step it up, he hasn’t been the same since coming back from injury.


  • Eurosnob

    In fairness to Arshavin, he is a midfielder who has to play out of position because of Arsenal’s lack of strikers. Arsenal should try to get Jozy Altidor, they lack physical presence upfront, and Altidore misses good service from the midfield.


  • BCC

    Local pride should be celebrated independent of a sports team. For many it’s no longer feasible — I have lived in four different states in the last fifteen years, which is not uncommon in a highly mobile society.

    I don’t see a need to criticize anyone for their “reasons.” Even if it’s “front-running,” why does it matter to you or anyone else? We seem to lionize people who stand by their teams through long periods of ineptitude (Cubs fans come to mind). Perhaps management would be more proactive if people took a more consumeristic approach and demanded more from their teams. In other words, not paying high ticket prices to watch mediocrity year after year just because of some vaguely defined sense of “local pride.”

    If you like the way Barca plays this year, then watch them and admire. If Juve is more to your liking next year, watch them. It’s entertainment — spend your time and money the way you want to.


  • Hunt

    I completely agree with you. As long as the Kroenke/Usmanov feud doesn’t destroy the balance of the front office, Wenger’s creation will have tremendous staying power. The American owners at United and ‘Pool are only increasing the debt loads and who knows when Abramovich will just get bored with his Chelsea toy. The number one rule is to stay patient and be frugal. English clubs should learn from Leeds United’s errors and be smarter financially. Youth + quality + experience = highly valued and Arsenal’s squad is littered with players who fit those categories.


  • Isaac

    Creativity means nothing if the team doesn’t understand how to play well together, which is what the USA showed in the Confederations Cup there was an understanding between everyone. Altidore had an understanding with Davies, Davies had an understanding with Donovan, Dempsey had an understanding ith Davies, Donovan had an understanding with Dempsey, Donovan had an understanding with Bradley, Bradley had an understanding with Clark, Clark had an understanding with the back line, and the backline had an understanding within eachother. That understanding, that belief in eachother, that fearlessness, that ninety minute fighting mentality came from Bob Bradley and I truly commend him for that.

    So, who cares if the USA can’t play an attractive style of soccer? Do teams who play an attractive style of soccer always win? NO! Look at

    Arsenal; they can play BEAUTIFUL soccer, and yet, they stay on the bottom of the top four and their insistency on playing creative, attacking soccer kills them in the face of better teams. Chelsea/Ancelotti adjusted their lineup from that diamond to a 4-3-3 for incredibly quick transition to take advantage of Arsenal’s poor defensive players and slow build up style. Neither of Chelsea’s goals against Arsenal were beautiful in the visual sense. One was a counter attack, and the other was a corner. But they were beautiful in the sense that it was amazing to see a tactic and strategy come together the way you plan it to. Manchester United is/was/were the best team in the league because Sir Alex Ferguson understood how to make players have chemistry, play well together and understand eachother.

    The best team is normally the one that plays the best together. If the team that happens to play well together happens to play quick, creative, intricate football, so be it.If the team that happens to work best together happens to play bunker balls, SO BE IT. The goal isn’t to play attractive soccer, it’s to play soccer that WORKS AGAINS THE OTHER TEAMS; even the best. Thats what Bradley did last summer against Spain, Egypt, and Brazil for 45 minutes.


  • Manny F

    That is not on Bob Bradley. Playing an attractive style is more than just the coach. That comes down to the culture of the country. This country is producing nothing but hardworking/utilitarian players and a very small amount of creative players.

    You can’t coach flair and creativity just like you can’t teach fast and hops.


  • Manny F

    The fact that he was in the youth system,is a fan of the team, and is especially more than suited for the Barca style of play.


  • Alex

    Ah I think I see your logic, Deuce. I am not the biggest fan of Gulati/Bradley so therefore I am not a fan of the USMNT.

    It also follows that I am ignorant, is that right?

    Last time I checked, individuals are allowed to have different opinions. It would help if some people on this great blog/website learned to participate in dialog without resorting to name calling.

    After all, football fans have enough of a hard time in America as it is. I’d think we’d have more respect for one another on this forum.


  • Alex

    My problem is the timing of the move. Wouldn’t it have been more prudent to have waited until after the World Cup to make this announcement?

    Or is there a chance we could lose Gulati to another soccer federation if we stall? (Sarcasm, in case Deuce is wondering.)

    Or maybe, just maybe, no one at USSF really cares how we do at the WC this year. Sounds like they’ve already made up their minds.

    Because no matter how we do, Gulati/Bradly have book of excuses to draw from. It cannot possibly be their fault. Its the talent. Its the culture. Its the club teams.


  • Northzax

    How would the USMNT’s performance in SA change anything? Bradley is gone either way (almost every major team changes after the Cup) he’s either fired or in line for a serious club job. Bob Bradley won’t be the US’ manager in 2011, you can bank on that.


  • madmax

    “Sunil Gulati was unanimously re-elected…”

    Very sad day for US Soccer. I don’t know who voted, but they let the country down. I have many grievances with Sunil. The latest was his dumping, along with Rongen, on the U-20 players. Sunil claimed that the US team couldn’t compete with the big soccer nations, they just weren’t skillful enough. This was at the time that soccer minnows, Korea and Switzerland were dominating, with Switzerland winning the cup. Sunil just couldn’t accept that perhaps he and Rongen were to blame, so he dumped on the kids. I wouldn’t even want as a friend.


  • Peter

    Could someone please explain to me EXACTLY what Bob Bradley has done to get such admiration. Please the only reason he has done well is he was FORCED TO MAKE CHANGES!!!! If Brian Ching doesn’t get hurt Charlie Davies never sees the field in SA. No injury to Hedjuk no Spector. Same could be said about Jay Demerit. Why did it take him so long to move Bocanegra to LB and slot in Demerit? Lets also not forget he never makes changes that affect the team positively. He only reacts when the other team makes a change and then those subs are entirely to late. Why are technically gifted players never allowed to create or hell even play. JF Torres, Charlie Davies, Freddy Adu are never given the opportunity to create, why because the don’t conform to Bob Bradleys conversative style of play. Why are other players allowed to continue to make mistake after mistake. (Bornstein, Sasha, Clark) I hate to say it but as soon as the bob bradly era is over I will be a happier fan.


  • Isaac

    What makes you feel that Davies never gets any minutes in the Confederations Cup? Adu was on the fall, so it was clear Davies was filling the super sub role. Torres, as he stated himself, was too tired to play. No, DeMerit wouldn’t have started against most teams in the Confederations Cup under Bradley, but mostly because Bocanegra didn’t really do any better of a job stopping service from his flank than Bornstein did against Maicon and Ramires. What the HECK are you taking about with Davies and Torres? Davies WAS starting until that tragic accident, and Torres got his opportunity against El Salvador(2-1) and Costa Rica(2-2,3-1), and probably would have gotten a chance against Denmark were it not for “Personal Reasons”. He’ll probably get a chance against the Netherlands in March so I don’t understand what you’re whining about. He either was never available or never would have made a difference. Bornstein is still an option at left back because he’s one of the few players even REMOTELY in form at that position who gets forward. Kljestan is someone who understands what Bradley wants in practice and during a game due to time with Chivas, plus if he gets back in form that’s more depth, which is something we could use very much right now. What has Clark done wrong? Good Confederations Cup, helped on the second goal against Brazil, provided a defensive presence when few existed in the midfield, scored against Trinidad and Tobago; he’s been crucial this Qualifying round, whether you want to admit it or not. I don’t care about creative football, I’m talking about EFFICIENT FOOTBALL. What’s this thing about substitutions? Once Feilhaber was taken off the bench and started against Brazil, there was no super sub. However, when Bradley brought him on to counter the width that Santi Cazorla, SPAINS SUB, would have brought, it worked excellently for defensive purposes and led to the second goal against Spain.

    I’m sick of people complaining about us not playing creative football, I really am.


  • reverb

    Peter’s absolutely correct, Bradley is a reactive coach not a creative one.
    Name ONE occasion where he made a tactical change to create an advantage or exploit an opportunity in an opponent. Go ahead, I dare ya.


  • jig

    i just cant wait for the moment when we have a big euro coach guiding the national team, and the players still suck. that will make me giggle.


  • gabe

    freddy adu is never given the chance to create because he is on every bench on every club he has ever played for. his own fault.

    look, don’t hate on bob or sunil. agreed, bradley isn’t a golden “guus” or a Fabio, but every elite team we’ve played has commented on our shape, discipline, and organization. That’s coaching, folks. Likewise, we play a scrappy brand because that is what our depth chart allows. Sure, our players are developing and becoming more skilled, and likely BB won’t be around after SA for one reason or another. However, he has been a solid coach with some limitations for sure. Just don’t slag him off.

    As for sunil, the dude has done some great things. From heavy pushes to land foreign players w USA lineage and a realistic view on the issues within our development and academy schemes, I think he is appropriate for the job. Again, as with BB, the US will outgrow him. However, having stable steady hands while growth and foundation is lain is intelligent on any level.

    Predictions for WC2010

    Advance to knockout round. Perhaps last 8.

    BB hired somewhere else, probably as an MLS coach or GM.
    Guus Hiddink/Jurgen Klinsmann/Steve McClaren hired for USA

    kidding about mcclaren


  • Isaac

    Like I just said, Bringing Feilhaber off the bench in order to stop Santi Cazorla, who had come off the bench for Spain and would provide more width. That, and Feilhaber’s spark off the bench is the best the USA has. What about bringing Torres and Altidore off the bench in El Salvador? He brought Casey off the bench against both Egypt and Spain in order to hold the lead, especially since conceding a goal against Egypt would mean the USA would have been out. Torres off the bench against Costa Rica. Bringing Ricardo Clark off the bench against Mexico in the Gold Cup final that GOT US TO THE CONFEDERATIONS CUP. Also, aside from most of what I mentioned, when has the USA had amazing substitutes? They’ve hardly ever brought people off the bench that have made massive differences. Sure, we’ll normally have at least one player who comes off the bench and sparks the attack, but that’s not enough, especially against teams like Brazil that can bring amazing players like Elano and Dani Alves off the bench. The USA’s subs, no matter how late they are, are hardly Bradley’s fault. It’s their job to be in form, and hardly any of them in South Africa were, which ended up being the difference maker.


  • Jim

    I know you always find a place for a player of Cesc’s ability, but would this change the dyanmic of the team? It seems Pep is big on no letting players be content and change is good, who would go? Xavi or Iniesta or someone else? Interesting to see how it unfolds.


  • DC Josh

    Where will he fit in the Barcelona midfield? Xavi and Iniesta are better than him. Same reason he doesn’t start for the Spanish national team.

    Did anyone else sh*t their pants when they realized he is only 22 years old?

    As for our MLS brother in London:

    “Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis has already written to Barcelona to demand the Spanish giants stop their very public campaign to try to sign the midfielder.

    Gazidis wanted to know why stories keep appearing in the Spanish press and for the club’s executives to stop making statements about Fabregas.”

    Good luck.


  • Peter

    Lets see first Charlie Davies only played in the LAST GAME OF THE CC. Only when he and coached 2 horrible games prior and people were calling for his head did he decide to make changes. Up until then Charlie only received any playing time in the T&T game along with the rest of the B team during the hexagonal when the team had already advanced to the next round.You must be kidding me bringing in CASEY to help hold the leads LOL. All he did was JOG around and did nothing! You are correct about altidore and torres in El Salvador but those subs did come in the 80th min with us already down by 2. Oh and what has clark done wrong lets see stupid red card against Italy? Truth is he is a red card just waiting to happen. But if you love the non creative approach then be happy with the 3 games in SA, maybe 4 with no considerable progress there is your EFFICIENT Football.


  • inkedAG

    Don’t misunderstand me, they are a big club in the respects that you have stated and I agree that they do not have the financial problems that Chelsea and ManU have, but the last silverware was 5 years ago and considering the last couple of seasons and this season, when they have played in really big and important games, they have gotten creamed. I’m not saying they are heading into Fulham territory, but they’re not as strong as they once were and I don’t get the sense that they are improving any time soon. If they were, why would so many big names want to leave and have left?

    I also have zero faith in Kroenke. Not like the Colorado teams are hitting balls out of the park now (excuse the baseball metaphor), are they?

    Also, Arsenal’s youth system has been good for one thing….players playing professionally for other teams.

    I love Arsenal, always have and always will. But I’m also a realist.


  • Kevin

    I love how the non-Spanish media cannot figure out that the Cesc-to-Barca rumors are planted there by presidential candidates who rarely, if ever, follow through with their campaign promises. Irresponsible re-publishing, Avi.


  • marvvv01

    I couldn’t agree more, I believe he respects his time at arsenal, however his previous ties/love with Barca on top of the fact Aresenal aren’t providing him with any immediate oppurtunities for trophies means he will go to baraca sooner rather then later.


  • Harkes's Conscience

    Bradley is lame. He has been a terrible option for the US. Do you ever hear his name mentioned when a head coaching job comes up, anywhere in the world? Is he being sought after as a club coach in England, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, for that matter, Sweden, Scotland Ireland, etc.? No. The reasen is he is a terrible in game tactician and an average coach at best. US soccer has been stagnant since the last world cup. Yes, we had a good run last summer and qualified out of a region the rest of the world laughs at, but are we really better than 4 years ago…no.


  • Harkes's Conscience

    And YES, I’m a huge USMNT fan. Not a ‘hater’ as you may call people with opinions different than yours. I’ve seen the growth of the USMNT since the 80’s and feel very proud to support US soccer. It’s time for the US to move to the next level of greatness. Bradley does not have the ability to move us forward.


  • Harkes's Conscience

    Bradley kept a sub in his pocket while a man down against Brazil (1st round) to…umm…give some of the guys experience playing a man down? No one wanted to go in?

    Does this count?

    I agree with you 100%


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