One of the drawbacks of scheduling these posts to go up during the 9am hour in hte eastern United States (and the fact that I ussually wrap this stuff upbefore I go to bed the night before) is that news will sometimes break within minutes of these posts going live. That happened yesterday when Zlatan announced he was returning to Manchester United.
I am pretty sure Zlatan's very Zlatan tweet depitcing him in angelic clothing arm wrestling with the devil came out within minutes of yesterday's post going live. It sort of made a headline about Alexis Sanchez being available for the first time all season kind of weak.
Anyway, Zlatan will return to the Red Devils on another one year deal. Odds are good he won't see any action until January, unless the knee injury that cut his season short heals up quicker and he is fit sooner.
In other news, the UEFA Champions League draw was held yesterday and boy were the results juicy. I, for one, am looking forward to Bayern Munich and PSG battling for Group B supremacy, the potential Battle of Diego Costa in Group C, and the madhouse that will be Group H with Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, and Tottenham. Here's the full draw:
Group A: Benfica, Manchester United, FC Basel, CSKA Moscow
Group B: Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Anderlecht, Celtic
Group C: Chelsea, Atletico Madrid, Roma, FK Qarabag
Group D: Juventus, Barcelona, Olympiakos, Sporting CP
Group E: Spartak Moscow, Sevilla, Liverpool, NK Maribor
Group F: Shakhtar Donetsk, Manchester City, Napoli, Feyenoord
Group G: AS Monaco, Porto, Besiktas, RB Leipzig
Group H: Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Tottenham, APOEL Nicosia
We also had the draw for the lesser of Europe's competitions, the Europa League. There are plenty of reasons to watch this competition. For one, it often proves less predictable than it's more lucrative sibling, and two, there are actually some strong teams out there. Arsenal is there to provide their usual hillarity. As is a very resurgent AC Milan. It may be the lesser of the continental competitions, but it certainly isn't worth ignoring. Here's the full draw:
GROUP A: Villarreal, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Astana, Slavia Prague
GROUP B: Dynamo Kiev, Young Boys, Partizan Belgrade, Skenderbeu
GROUP C: Braga, Ludogorets Razgrad, Hoffenheim, Istanbul Basaksehir
GROUP D: AC Milan, Austria Vienna, NK Rijeka, AEK Athens
GROUP E: Lyon, Everton, Atalanta, Apollon Limassol
GROUP F: FC Copenhagen, Lokomotiv Moscow, FC Sheriff, FC Zlin
GROUP G: Viktoria Plzen, FCSB, Hapoel Beer-Sheva, FC Lugano
GROUP H: Arsenal, BATE Borisov, FC Koln, Red Star Belgrade
GROUP I: FC Salzburg, Marseille, Vitoria Guimaraes, Konyaspor
GROUP J: Athletic Bilbao, Hertha Berlin, Zorya Luhansk, Ostersunds
GROUP K: Lazio, Nice, Zulte Waregem, Vitesse Arnhem
GROUP L: Zenit St. Petersburg, Real Sociedad, Rosenborg, Vardar Skopje
I thought the Neymar drama was over, but it turns out to be just getting started. Barcelona are already suing Neymar for a breach of contract and now the Brazilian star is suing Barcelona for an unpaid loyalty bonus of €26 million. Sounds like a bunch of silliness to me.
Meanwhile, Barcelona have reportedly, at long last, agreed to buy Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund as a potential replacement to Neymar. Word on the street is they've agreed to a base fee of €120 million with up to €30 million in add-ons after several previous offers were rejected. Dortmund, for their part, has no comment on the deal.
In minor transfer news that affects USMNT supporters, Spurs have are sending American center back Cameron Carter-Vickers on loan to Sheffield United. He made four cup appearances for Tottenham last year, but never saw any league action. West Bromwich Albion also signed Scottish winger Oliver Burke from RB Leipzig for £15 million.
FC Koln v. Hamburg SV- 2:30pm- FS2
Real Sociedad v. Villarreal- 2:15pm
Real Betis v. Celta Vigo- 4pm
Paris Saint-Germain v. St. Etienne- 2:45pm- beIN
New York Red Bulls v. New York City FC- 7pm- ESPN
Tijuana v. Pachuca- 10pm- Univision Deportes
Real Monacrchs v. Rio Grande Valley- 9pm- YouTube
Orange County SC v. Oklahoma City Energy- 10:30pm- YouTube