FNR DAILY NEWS
Well-placed FNR sources believe deals for Japanese legend Honda and returning Socceroo Maclaren could both be wrapped up in the coming days.
Reigning A-League champions Melbourne Victory look set to make a huge splash in the transfer market, with the acquisition of two high-profile players in the same week.
Kevin Muscat is reportedly keen to strengthen his squad after Leroy George, Besart Berisha, and Rhys Williams all departed during the off-season.
The funding for Honda’s contract will likely be provided, at least in part, by the $3 million marquee player fund provided to FFA by Fox Sports.
Maclaren’s deal, however, will have to come under the cap, as fellow Socceroo James Troisi is already on marquee wages.
The 24-year-old striker is at crossroads at his German Bundesliga II club SV Darmstadt 98, for whom he made just 7 substitute appearances last season without scoring a single goal.
His loan spell at Hibernian proved far more fruitful, with 8 goals in 15 games, including a hat trick against Rangers on the final day of the season.
Honda, meanwhile, is currently uncontracted after a spell in Mexico with Pachuca.
The realisation Australia will never see Tim Cahill don the Socceroos jersey and box the corner flag begins to creep in following the announcement of his International retirement.
Cahill officially announced the news dressed in all black, during a sombre yet celebratory farewell fit for a player of his status.
In the eyes of many, Cahill is Australia’s greatest ever footballer.
Five goals in four World Cups, an Asian Cup triumph and the title of Australia’s greatest ever goal scorer among many other accolades certainly justifies this tag.
Socceroos teammate and long-time friend of Cahill, Archie Thompson, believes Cahill was a great ambassador for the sport and will continue to do so through his off-field leadership.
“What he’s done is unbelievable, no one has worn the Australian jersey like he has,” Thompson said exclusively to FNR.
“He’s a leader and just seems to get the team up and going, and that’s what’s going to be missed.”
While Cahill was not the most technically gifted player according to Thompson, his determination and will to succeed was instrumental in putting Australia where it is on the football landscape.
“Timmy may not have had the skills of the other players, but he utilised what he did have and is what made him a star,” Thompson added.
Cahill’s retirement exacerbates concerns in relation to Australia’s ability to score, with Cahill perpetually coming to the side’s rescue even in the latter stages of his career, but the 38-year-old was confident in his press conference of the talent at hand.
Thompson labels Cahill’s off-field work with the next crop of strikers as “outstanding”, believing Cahill will continue to work with the national team in some capacity following his retirement.
“He’s got very big shoes to fill and I don’t see anyone doing it just yet, but we have an Asian Cup coming up and hopefully we have someone stepping up then.”
Thompson revealed he first met Cahill in 2002 and set the record straight as to who created the famous corner flag celebration.
“Because he’s fresh out of playing he did, but really I did,” Thompson concluded.
Thompson first used the celebration after scoring a goal against Jamaica, which caught the eye of Cahill who asked if he could take it to the English Premier League.
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Liverpool are set to break the bank to attract Roma goalkeeper Alisson, who may be the missing piece to Jurgen Klopp’s master plan.
According to the Liverpool Echo, the Reds have launched a £62 million bid, which if accepted would be the highest transfer fee for a goalkeeper.
Alisson would likely replace current goalkeeper Loris Karius, who was regarded by many as Liverpool’s biggest liability after making many embarrassing errors last season.
The 25 year-old kept 17 clean sheets in the 2017-18 Serie A campaign, and is contracted to Roma until June 2021.
The Italian club have listened to offers from Liverpool, and FNR’s Adriano Del Monte believes that he will replicate that form in the EPL next season.
“He was the best goalkeeper in Italy, and there’s no doubt he’ll do the same in the Premier League,” Del Monte said during Afternoons on FNR.
Klopp’s attacking style surfaced domestically and continentally last season as a result of a heavy focus towards recruiting playmakers and proven goal scorers, but while Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino formed the most dangerous attacking pair, the same praise could not be directed towards Liverpool’s defence.
The acquisition of Alisson, following Virgil Van Dijk’s arrival and Dejan Lovren’s discovery of form, would ease concerns over the side’s capability to defend and projects their title credentials both domestically and continentally.
“[Liverpool] have done it before with Van Dijk, and you can argue it paid off and got them to a Champions League final”, Rick D’Andrea said during Afternoons on FNR.
“They now have to break the bank in the area that cost the team the most”
In addition to the existing core group, Klopp has since added Guinean midfielder Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri, a strategic acquisition that surprised many.
Klopp has so far excelled at crafting a team capable of winning silverware, as the Reds took a giant step last season finishing in the top four and progressing to the final of the UEFA Champions League.
Alisson’s arrival would make Liverpool one of the most balanced sides in England, especially if Lovren and Van Djik continue to build on their form.
Phillipe Coutinho aside, Klopp has succeeded in maintaining a core group of players at a club that are expected to go one step further next season.
90,000 fans packed under the Eiffel Tower elatedly rejoiced as teen sensation Kylian Mbappe put the nail in the coffin and secured France’s second World Cup in twenty years.
Interestingly, the final perfectly reflected what was unexpectedly one of the greatest World Cup’s in history.
France stuck true to form and opened the match the way they did the tournament, courtesy of an own goal and VAR intervention.
It was only fitting VAR would rear it’s either beautiful or ugly head in a match as significant as this.
The six goals perfectly epitomised the multitude of goals scored and Kylian Mbappe continued to make the spotlight his own.
Croatia’s ardour which gained them global support surfaced as Ivan Perisic netted a well worked set-piece goal which would have made Gareth Southgate proud.
Daniel Subasic reflected this fervour between the sticks on one leg after eight hours of football in a fortnight and Hugo Lloris gave a shout out to the various goalkeeping blunders when he failed to get past Mario Mandzukic in the six-yard box.
The only outlier was Paul Pogba who reminded everyone of his worth when he scored France’s third and took the responsibility of trolling English fans on social media afterwards.
There was an extra element of caution for France who had fallen at this hurdle two years ago on home soil and like the Euros had the ultimate underdogs standing in their way.
But this didn’t faze the favourites. Not on this night.
This was a French side with Mbappe on one wing, Griezmann on the other and one N’Golo Kante dictating play in the middle and while the French failed to set the world alight each player consistently fulfilled a role.
One of these players, Benjamin Pavard was the unsung hero in France’s triumph. A centre back playing at right back was always going to leave the door open for pacey wingers but Pavard made the position his own, so much so a fit Benjamin Mendy would have struggled to break into the squad.
The Croatians can hold their heads equally as high due to the significant funding the Croatian FA will receive allowing for an improvement in infrastructure at a grassroots level and opening the door for future golden generations.
Russia 2018 had a profound impact on the football landscape, one which has fans screaming ‘Bring on Qatar 2022.’