Football notes: Ex-Barcelona prez says Mbappe has ‘signed’ for Real Madrid, Troyes snap up American, more


The transfer window is now closed until summer but that will not stop the speculation surrounding Kylian Mbappe’s future and a potential move from Paris Saint-Germain to Real Madrid. Elsewhere, a USMNT hopeful has made a loan move permanent, Borussia Monchengladbach have bid farewell to their sporting director and Steve Bruce is back in the game in England’s second tier.

That and more right here.

Gaspart claims Mbappe-Real deal

According to former Barcelona president Joan Gaspart, the French superstar has already “signed” for Real from PSG and told Marca of this “exclusive” when he said: “I will give you the scoop. Kylian has already signed for Real. I am sure of it. I know (Real president) Florentino (Perez) and I am certain of it.”

Why it matters: Mbappe’s future has been the subject of intense speculation, and this will do nothing to quell those flames as we build up to PSG’s meeting with Real when the UEFA Champions League (on Paramount+ and CBS) resumes. Bild have already had their claims along similar lines shot down by the 23-year-old’s entourage, so this is unlikely the last we have heard of these rumors.

Troyes acquire Palmer-Brown

The City Football Group-owned Ligue 1 outfit have moved to permanently sign 24-year-old American Erik Palmer-Brown after an initial loan spell. Palmer-Brown was one of just two CFG-owned prospects left in Bruno Irles’ squad at the end of January.  

Why it matters: Having bounced around various European clubs since his move from Sporting Kansas City, the man from Napoleon, Ohio, finally has a place he can call home in Stade de l’Aube. Like Philippe Sandler’s stop-start experience as part of the CFG talent pipeline before joining Feyenoord, this should boost Palmer-Brown’s USMNT hopes in the long run as he finally gets the stability he needs to develop.

Gladbach’s Eberl steps aside

The Bundesliga outfit are in a tailspin at present, and they must now face the future without their emblematic sporting director who announced that he is stepping down with immediate effect: “This is by far the hardest press conference I have had to hold in my time as sporting director at Borussia,” said the former player. “I am drained. I am tired. I no longer have the energy to carry on fulfilling this role in the way the club deserves.

“After 23 years, I am calling time on what has become my life. My work here has always been a joy but there are things in and around the job that are no fun anymore. I extended my contract 13 months ago and would never have thought that I would be sitting here today. I am somebody who puts 100% into everything I do. I have done that for 13 years as sporting director.”

Why it matters: Not only was Eberl one of the longest serving in his field in Germany, he is also considered one of the best after he played a significant role into turning Gladbach into a springboard club for a number of top European talents as well as establishing them as a consistent Bundesliga presence at a time when many traditional names like Hamburger SV, Schalke 04 and Werder Bremen have all dropped into the second tier.

Bruce back with Baggies

West Bromwich Albion have appointed the 61-year-old as their replacement for Valerien Ismael who left after one win in seven games. Bruce left Newcastle in October just after their Saudi takeover and the ex-Aston Villa, Birmingham City, Sunderland and Hull City boss takes over at the Hawthorns with the Baggies in sixth.

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to manage a club that has such great history and tradition,” said Bruce. “It is a club I obviously know well from my time in the Midlands, and I am already relishing the challenge of taking it forward. I did not envisage I would return to management this quickly, but once I got the phone call from Ron, I knew I could not resist the challenge of getting this club back to where they want to be. I am coming in with one aim — to get Albion to the Premier League.”

Why it matters: Not only is Bruce a promotion and survival specialist, he is also something of a regional expert on the West Midlands after his Villa and Blues spells which bodes well for a West Brom side looking to turn around their faltering form to get back into automatic promotion contention.

Italian community mourns Zamparini

The ex-Palermo president died at the age of 80 this week and although he was known for being trigger happy and often impulsively changing coach, he presided over important spells for both the Rosanero and Venezia to write himself into Calcio folklore.

“The Palermo family is united in its pain for the passing of Zamparini,” read a club statement. “The most decorated president in Rosanero history, who is always in the heart of every fan.”

Zamparini took Palermo to Serie A after a 31-year absence, saw them reach a Coppa Italia final and go on various European adventures between 2002-18. He also led Venezia from the fourth-tier to the top flight in 1997 while he was also known for unearthing gems such as Edinson Cavani, Paulo Dybala and Andrea Barzagli who all went on to enjoy decorated careers.





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