Reggae Boyz striker Darren Mattocks is in hot water as he is facing two felony charges in Pennsylvania, according to media reports from the United States.

Jamaica international Kemar Lawrence has insisted he is working hard to be ready when called upon for new Belgian Premier League club Anderlecht.

The 27-year-old defender recently completed a move to the European club from United States MLS team New York Red Bull.  Lawrence made 118 appearances for the New York franchise in five years.  With the move away from the club coming ahead of the start of the new MLS season, the right-back has admitted he is a little short on match fitness.

“The guys are already midway or past midway the season so it’s already business time.  For me right now it’s about getting fit and being ready to play,” Lawrence told members of the media at his unveiling.

Lawrence qualifies to play this weekend against  Mechelen but is not yet sure he is ready to make an appearance.

“As it relates to fitness, I’m coming off a long offseason about 2 months offseason, so match fitness I’m not up to that standard yet but I should be soon.  The guys are pushing each and every day, I am about a week in, so about next week or a week and a half I should be up to 90 minutes match fitness,” Lawrence said.

“So far though the guys are being smart because you know when a player is coming back from offseason you can’t just rush him into a game because that is risking injury.”

 

Jamaica Reggae Boyz shot-stopper and captain Andre Blake insists he is looking forward to what is expected to be a big year for both his club and national teams.

The 29-year-old goalkeeper made the MLS All-Star roster in 2016 and again in 2019.  By the numbers, however, Blake had a less than impressive season between the sticks.  The Union gave up 57 goals last year in all competitions. 

Blake didn’t have a clean sheet in the team’s last 13 games of the season and only had six for the team all year.  His goals-against average rose from 1.5 in 2018 (57 goals allowed in 38 games) to 1.64 in 2019 (46 in 28).

With the Union, however, a part of the Jamaican's struggles might have to do with a tweak in the team’s gameplay, which is expected to adjust this season particularly with the addition of new personnel.

Internationally the player’s national team has made the CONCACAF Hexagonal round for the first time since the 2014 cycle and could be in line for a second appearance at the FIFA World Cup.  The Reggae Boyz finished runners-up on two occasions and then semi-finalists in the last three editions of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

“There’s a lot of soccer to play for club and country, there’s going to be a lot on the line,” Blake told the Inquirer

“I have to make sure I do everything to be ready, to stay sharp, to stay fit. I’m definitely looking forward to a big year, to do whatever it takes in the net when I’m with club and country to be successful and to help my team be successful,” he added.

 

Peter-Lee Vassell, a Reggae Boy who was last season cut by his Major League Soccer (MLS) outfit, Los Angeles FC (LAFC), after the player only managed six games for them and six out on loan with United Soccer League (USL) outfit Phoenix Rising FC.

Vassell has since been seen training with Danish second division club, HB Koge, sparking rumours he was on his way there this season.

The playmaker’s agent, Damani Ralph, confirmed that Vassell was training with the club, but would not go into any further details.

“[Vassell] is currently on trial with HB Koge, and we are hopeful for a successful trial. He has now played in two friendly games and is doing well. This is as much as I can comment on right now,” said Ralph.

Vassell was a standout at high school, playing for Cornwall College and Montego Bay United, before he began his professional career with Harbour View FC, making 44 appearances before his move to LAFC.

He debuted for the Reggae Boyz in 2018, earning 16 caps, from which he scored six goals.

Kemar Lawrence has always wanted to make the move from Major League Soccer (MLS) to Europe and his move to Belgian giants RSC Anderlecht, is a realisation of that dream but according to website Red Bulls News Network, the move is not solely driven by the player’s football.

According to the website, the Reggae Boy, while known as a fierce competitor on the field, providing yeoman’s service to the club since his time there, his decisions off the field have been problematic.

The website points to sources close to the organization which allege that Lawrence has had issues with the team since Jesse Marsch’s tenure as head coach.

Those sources say one of the many problems Lawrence displayed was a failure to report to the club after international duty.

“In some cases, he would remain out of contact with the team for several days, reportedly turning his phone off,” the website purported.

Red Bulls News Network cited an example last spring where the Philadelphia Union visited the New York stadium and delivered a beating on the team.

Lawrence was down to play in that game after coming off international duty but was a no-show. In contrast, Andre Blake, the Jamaican goalkeeper, who plays for the Union, started the game.

The website alleges that then coach of the Red Bulls, Chris Armas, covered for Lawrence pointing to his exertions during the international outing and being careful after a recent injury.

Hype Projects Agency, the organisation in charge of Lawrence’s career has denied the website’s claims, saying the left-back’s trade had everything to do with Anderlecht’s will to sign the player.

“Our client’s transfer was based solely on RSC Anderlecht’s desire to sign Kemar, regarded as one of, if not the best left-back in the MLS.  As our vision for Kemar’s growth we felt the timing and contract offer was in-line with where a player of his ability should be,” said Director of Soccer, Kevin Weinress.

Major League Soccer revealed the kits for all 26 teams ahead its 25th season in a fashion show on Thursday.

The entire collection is manufactured by Adidas and follows the same template, with the brand's iconic three stripes deployed vertically over the right shoulder of each jersey.

Despite the generic look, many have still managed to produce striking strips, with Real Salt Lake's loud red, blue and yellow number particularly eye-catching.

Each kit was presented in a fashion-show-style event in New York City, with MLS set to celebrate its 25th season when the new campaign begins on February 29.

The show featured numerous celebrities modelling the jerseys: Houston Texans' DeAndre Hopkins exhibiting Houston Dynamo's shirt, Youtuber Ninja wore New York Red Bulls' new number and Colin Hanks – son of Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks – strutted his stuff in Los Angeles FC's typically striking black-and-gold ensemble.

David Beckham's Inter Miami franchise are set for their MLS debut this season and academy players Axel Perez and Fernando Sanchez modelled their inaugural away kit, which is black with pink trim.

How close did Gareth Bale come to reuniting with Tottenham on transfer deadline day?

According to reports, the Premier League club went so far as to send representatives to Spain in an audacious attempt to lure the Wales international back to north London.

But even Jose Mourinho's backing could not force the deal over the line on Friday.

 

TOP STORY - SPURS INVESTIGATED AUDACIOUS BALE BID

Tottenham's interest in re-signing Bale prompted chairman Daniel Levy to skip across Europe for talks with Real Madrid counterpart Florentino Perez, according to the Times.

Spurs reportedly believed a "breakthrough" had been made in the hours before the window closed and had "growing confidence" a deal could be agreed.

But, per the Daily Mail, Bale's reluctance to take a pay cut on his £600,000-per-week wages meant negotiations came unstuck.

The report claims head coach Mourinho was "fully behind" the ultimately fruitless attempt to pull off what would have been a statement of intent.

 

ROUND-UP

- Tottenham's near misses did not end with Bale. Sky Sports say Spurs and Antonio Conte's Inter attempted to sign Odion Ighalo before the Nigerian striker sealed his last-gasp loan switch to Manchester United.

- Serie A champions Juventus are certain to maintain their interest in United star Paul Pogba and Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali, claims CalcioMercato.

- Arsenal made two January additions but boss Mikel Arteta still wants a holding midfielder to arrive before next season, reports The Athletic.

- Crystal Palace called off their deal for Nathan Ferguson after the West Brom defender's medical revealed a knee issue, according to the Evening Standard.

- MLS expansion side Nashville are set to capture West Ham defender Winston Reid on a six-month loan, reports the New Zealand Herald.

As the January transfer window begins to close for another season, reports have emerged that Jamaica’s Kemar Lawrence might be heading to Belgium.

Multiple reports are claiming that the 27-year-old fullback is set to leave the New York Red Bulls for Anderlecht for a fee of about US$1.25 million pending the completion of a medical and the associated paperwork.

Lawrence joined the Red Bulls from Harbour View FC in 2015. He made 118 appearances for the club, starting 19 of the 22 games he played for them last season.

He has 55 senior appearances for Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz.

Manchester United have lined up another exciting midfield transfer target amid their ongoing pursuit of Bruno Fernandes.

As the wrangling over figures with Sporting CP continues, the Red Devils have reportedly submitted a sizeable offer to Birmingham City for teenage talent Jude Bellingham.

But making the first move might only spark a European bidding war.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED SUBMIT BELLINGHAM BID

Birmingham youngster Bellingham's clear potential has convinced United to launch an offer worth more than £30million, reports the Sun and Sky Sports.

The 16-year-old midfielder has burst onto the scene this season and the Old Trafford outfit are understood to be keen to test him in the Premier League.

However, they could face stiff competition from Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool and other heavyweight clubs across the continent.

The Mirror, meanwhile, claims United have made a "breakthrough" in negotiations for Portugal international Fernandes, having reached a "compromise" transfer fee in the region of £55m.

 

ROUND-UP

- David Beckham's Inter Miami have contacted Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero to assess his interest in a switch to MLS, adds the Sun.

- Tottenham have enquired about Real Madrid winger and former Spurs star Gareth Bale, according to Spanish television programme El Chiringuito.

- Barcelona, still searching for a new striker, have ruled out RB Leipzig's Timo Werner and Lille's Victor Osimhen, suggests Mundo Deportivo, with Valencia's Rodrigo Moreno a more likely target.

- Serie A side Roma are set to discuss personal terms with Matteo Politano after agreeing a €25million fee with Inter, according to Sky Sport Italia.

- Inter, meanwhile, are said to be in discussions with United youngster Tahith Chong, who is also on Chinese outfit Jiangsu Suning's radar as his contract runs close to expiring, says Sky Sport Italia.

- Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali is interesting Premier League champions City and Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain, reports SportMediaset.

LA Galaxy have announced the signing of striker Javier Hernandez from Sevilla.

The former Manchester United forward moves to MLS after spending just four months back in LaLiga with Julen Lopetegui's side.

Hernandez, who scored three goals in 15 appearances for Sevilla, will reportedly become the highest-paid player in the United States on a base salary of $6million over a three-year deal.

Speaking to the LA Times before the deal was announced, Hernandez said the move was "the right time, the right opportunity".

The 31-year-old, who will be tasked with filling the goalscoring void left by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, said of his decision: "People are going to say it was because I couldn't make it [in Europe], but sometimes in football there are things that are not in your hands.

"The last two years, the managers decided on giving confidence to other players rather than me. And now, LA Galaxy, the manager of the club and the league, are telling me, 'Look, Javier, we want to give you all the trust, all the confidence to help us,' and that's why I'm taking this opportunity."

Hernandez began his career with Guadalajara before joining United in 2010, where he made an immediate impact.

The Mexico international scored 20 goals in his first season in England across all competitions, helping the Red Devils to win the Premier League and reach the Champions League final.

He won a second league title in 2012-13 but struggled in David Moyes' ill-fated spell in charge, and he was loaned to Real Madrid in 2014-15 when Louis van Gaal took over.

Hernandez recaptured some of his best goalscoring form after joining Bayer Leverkusen in August 2015, hitting 28 Bundesliga goals in 54 games.

He returned to the Premier League with West Ham in 2017 and scored 27 times before moving to Sevilla.

Galaxy finished fifth in the Western Conference in 2019 before losing to city rivals Los Angeles in the playoffs.

Barcelona and Juventus are in talks about a possible swap deal involving Ivan Rakitic and Federico Bernardeschi.

Rakitic was linked with an exit from Camp Nou during the close season, but ended up staying at Barca.

But he could be on his way to Turin and Bernardeschi may be heading in the opposite direction.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA, JUVE IN RAKITIC-BERNARDESCHI SWAP TALKS

Barcelona and Juventus are discussing a possible swap deal involving Rakitic and Bernardeschi, according to AS.

The report says Rakitic – who has made just six LaLiga starts this season – has already agreed personal terms with the Serie A giants.

However, the clubs are yet to reach an agreement, with Rakitic six years older than Italy international Bernardeschi.

ROUND-UP

- There is still work to be done if Bruno Fernandes is to find his way to Manchester United. The Daily Mail and The Sun report United want to pay Sporting CP £34million (€39.9m) with a further £25.5m (€29.9m) in add-ons, including bonuses for the English club winning the Premier League and Champions League.

- Atletico Madrid are not giving up on trying to land Edinson Cavani in this window. The LaLiga side are still eyeing a move for the Paris Saint-Germain forward, according to Marca, although they are hoping to negotiate a lower price than the €30m the Ligue 1 club are reportedly wanting.

- The wait continues for Inter as they try to sign Christian Eriksen. CalcioMercato reports Eriksen's agent Martin Schoots is scheduled to meet Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy in London next week as the midfielder tries to get his move to the Serie A giants.

- Chelsea are favourites to sign RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner ahead of the 2020-21 season, according to The Sun, but it may take a £68m (€79.8m) deal to land the 23-year-old.

- Arsenal are set for talks with Athletico Paranaense to negotiate a deal for midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, according to Globo Esporte.

- Staying at Arsenal and France Football reports Paris Saint-Germain left-back Layvin Kurzawa has agreed to join the Premier League club for free at season's end.

- Javier Hernandez will become one of the highest paid players in MLS. Sports Illustrated reports LA Galaxy will pay Sevilla $9.4m (€8.5m) for the forward, who is set to earn $6m annually, with the potential for that to rise due to bonuses.

Montreal Impact head coach Thierry Henry has returned to his former club Barcelona to sign Canada international Ballou Tabla on permanent terms.

Winger Tabla left the Impact as an 18-year-old to join Barcelona in January 2018, becoming a member of the club's B team.

Tabla departs after two years of a three-year deal, however, having been unable to make a first-team breakthrough at Camp Nou.

The 20-year-old had a €25million release clause in his contract, to protect Barcelona in the event he developed at a rapid rate.

Such a rise to stardom did not materialise, and there was no mention of any fee in a statement from Montreal that said Tabla had returned to them on a two-year contract, with two option years.

Impact sporting director Olivier Renard said: "We are happy to have Ballou back with us following this transfer. The talent of this young Quebecer was never put into question. Now it's up to him to do everything and bounce back."

Tabla played 30 games for Barcelona B and had a loan spell with Albacete before joining Montreal on a temporary basis last August, making four MLS appearances.

That return is now a full-time arrangement, with Tabla set the challenge of earning a regular place in Henry's team.

Reggae Boy Cory Burke may be finding his way back onto a professional pitch if his club, the Philadephia Union can have their way.

The 28-year-old Burke has been playing for Portmore United, despite having a contract with the Philadelphia Union in the United States’ Major League because he lost his P1 status early last year.

A P1 visa is applicable to athletes entering the United States to perform at a specific athletic competition as an individual athlete or as part of a team at an internationally recognized level of performance.

Burke’s misfortune was beneficial to Portmore United, for whom he turned out in the interim.

Burke’s paperwork was complete recently and he is now well on the way to being able to apply for a green card but until then, the Philadephia Union the team he has been playing on since 2017 when they bought him from the Bethlehem Steel, will be loaning him out.

The striker, who has scored 11 goals in his 20 appearances for Portmore, will now turn out for Austrian outfit, SKN St Polten.

Polten, the 2016 Austrian Champions, now sits ninth in a 12-team table, just three points from bottom.

“I think I found a pretty good solution for him. He is on his way at this moment,” said Philadephia’s Sporting Director Ernst Tanner.

“Everything is not written, but we have an agreement and Cory already has an agreement with the club.”

According to Tanner, the loan spell with St Polten is to get Burke playing at a high level again before his re-integration into the MLS system.

“I think they have a good situation for him, as he will join a club where the coach is a friend of mine and he knows everything about the player,” Tanner said.

“The goal is to give him match practice on the higher level than he has had so far and bring him back at the beginning of May if possible,” he added.

“He can re-apply for a green card by the end of April, and that’s what we have in mind. Loan him out until then and then bringing him back.” 

Manchester United or Real Madrid?

Ajax star Donny van de Beek is a wanted man following his exploits for the Eredivisie champions.

But the LaLiga giants are reportedly poised to get their target at the end of the season.

 

TOP STORY – VAN DE BEEK SET FOR MADRID

Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek is on the verge of joining Real Madrid instead of Manchester United, claims The Mirror.

United have reportedly emerged as a suitor for Van de Beek in January due to injuries to Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay.

But a transfer to Madrid at the end of the season "is more than 80 per cent certain", according to the report.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Metro says Premier League champions Manchester City have joined the race to sign Aston Villa's Jack Grealish. Rivals United have been heavily linked to the midfielder.

Tottenham are nearing a deal to bring Benfica midfielder Gedson Fernandes to London on an 18-month loan contract, reports Sky Sports. West Ham have also been looking to sign the 21-year-old.

- United midfielder Nemanja Matic is in talks to swap Old Trafford for MLS outfit Chicago Fire, according to The Sun. Linked to Atletico Madrid, Inter and Milan, the Fire want to bring in the veteran as a replacement for Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Arsenal are considering a loan deal for Milan midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu, reports The Mirror.

- La Gazzetta dello Sport says Inter have reached an agreement with Christian Eriksen for a contract until 2024. Now, Inter must strike a deal with Tottenham for the soon-to-be free agent. Spurs reportedly want €20million (£17m) for the Dane.

- Sporting CP captain Bruno Fernandes has agreed personal terms with United for a contract until 2025 with yearly wages of €6m, according to Italian journalist Nicolo Schira.

Tottenham appear close to landing a replacement for Harry Kane, while Thomas Lemar could also be set for the Premier League.

Kane needs surgery on his left hamstring and is not expected to return to training for Spurs until April.

It seems the Premier League club are nearing a move for Milan forward Krzysztof Piatek, although there are contrasting reports over the status of the deal.

And, Atletico Madrid midfielder Lemar could also be heading to London.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS CLOSE TO LANDING PIATEK AS KANE REPLACEMENT

Tottenham have agreed a deal worth £28million (€32.95m) for Piatek, according to The Sun.

However, the Mirror reports Spurs have had a loan bid for the 24-year-old Poland international rejected, although talks are continuing.

After netting 11 times in 21 games for Milan last season following a January move from Genoa, Piatek has four goals in 18 this campaign.

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea and Tottenham are both trying to sign Atletico's Lemar on loan until the end of the season, according to The Telegraph. Lemar is linked with an Atletico exit after just nine LaLiga starts this season.

- While Christian Eriksen's possible Spurs exit will dominate headlines this month, it appears the midfielder will not be heading to Old Trafford. Sky Sports reports Manchester United have ruled out making a bid for the Denmark international this month.

- Searching for a right-back, Tottenham are keen on signing Barcelona's Nelson Semedo, according to the Mirror. The position has been a problem for Spurs since Kieran Trippier's off-season move to Atletico.

- Javier Hernandez's stay at Sevilla could be coming to an end. Marca reports the club could let the forward, who has one goal in nine LaLiga games this season, leave amid apparent interest from LA Galaxy.

- Leicester City are trying to sign Juventus defender Merih Demiral, according to the Mirror. Manchester City and Everton are also reportedly interested in the Turkey international.

- Piatek aside, there may be other moves at Milan. La Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira says Roma are interested in Suso and Cengiz Under could be heading to San Siro, while Milan are still eyeing Inter's Matteo Politano.

- Could David Moyes and Marouane Fellaini reunite for a third time? Sky Sports reports Moyes' West Ham are interested in signing the Shandong Luneng midfielder, who played under the Scot at Everton and Manchester United.

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