Lion Links

Lion Links: 12/26/23

Americans in action, MLS players ready to move abroad, Jim Ratcliffe completes Manchester United investment, and more.



Dan MacDonald, The Mane Land

Happy Boxing Day, everyone! Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, and whomever you’re with, I hope you’re having a good holiday season. Personally, I’m enjoying having some time off work that I can spend with friends and family, although I’m fighting a losing battle to not completely gorge myself on delicious food. As always, we have plenty to discuss today, so let’s get after it.

Americans in Midweek Action

Soccer doesn’t stop for the holidays and that means there are a number of American players who will be playing games during this week. Later today, Matt Turner and Nottingham Forest will face Newcastle United in English Premier League action, while Antonee Robinson and Fulham will take on Bournemouth. On Wednesday, Chris Richards and Crystal Palace host Chelsea, and things wrap up on Friday with Haji Wright and Coventry City hosting Swansea City in the EFL Championship.

Potential Outbound MLS Transfers

There were a number of young players who turned in impressive campaigns during the 2023 Major League Soccer season, which means that some of them could be on the move soon. Thiago Almada is perhaps the hottest young prospect in the league at the moment, and he’s openly spoken about his desire to get a move to Europe. At 26, Drake Callender is still young for a goalkeeper and he raised his profile by getting his first call-up to the USMNT this past year. Another name that’s been mentioned in rumors regarding several European teams is Facundo Torres, although Orlando City fans will hope El Cuervo isn’t leaving the City Beautiful just yet.

Jim Ratcliffe Completes Manchester United Investment

Jim Ratcliffe has completed the purchase of a minority stake in Manchester United. The INEOS chairman has purchased a 25% stake in the club and has pledged another $300 million of additional investment into the team. There is no formal agreement currently in place for Ratcliffe to eventually become the full owner of the team, but he has right of first refusal if the Glazer family decides to sell more shares of the team. While there was interest from both Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani in a full takeover of the team, the Glazer’s ultimately opted to sell a minority stake, and will remain as majority shareholders of the club.

Midseason Premier League Best XI

We’re slightly past the halfway point of the English Premier League season, which means we’re starting to get a better idea of who this year’s standout performers have been. There are some of the usual suspects like Virgil van Dijk in the back line and Erling Haaland and Son Heung-Min up top. But there are also plenty of fresher faces who have enjoyed excellent campaigns to this point. In goal, Guglielmo Vicario has been excellent for Tottenham while William Saliba has anchored the back line for crosstown rivals Arsenal. Douglas Luiz has been outstanding in midfield for Aston Villa, as has his teammate Ollie Watkins out on the wing. The latter two have performed so well that clubs like Manchester United and Arsenal have reportedly been sniffing around and are interested in acquiring their services.

Free Kicks

That’s all I have for you today. Happy holidays!


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