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Lion Links: 1/3/23

Daryl Dike wins it for West Brom, MLS transfer roundup, USMNT New Year’s resolutions, and more.

West Bromwich Albion v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Adam Fradgley/West Bromwich Albion FC via Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Today is my first day back at work after a lengthy break for the holidays, so here’s hoping I remember how to do my job. Before we get into the news of the day, let’s wish Orlando City Designated Player Ercan Kara a happy 27th birthday.

As usual for this time of year, there’s a lot to discuss, so let’s get right into the thick of it.

Daryl Dike Scores a Winner for West Brom

Former Lion Daryl Dike continued to impress for West Brom on Monday, as he scored the lone goal in the Baggies’ 1-0 win over Reading. The former Orlando City forward got across his man and onto the end of a cross with a diving header in the 60th minute, and his second tally since returning from injury proved to be the game-winner. The Baggies continued an excellent run of form and have won five of the six games they’ve played since EFL Championship play resumed following the World Cup. The team is now up to ninth in the standings and sit four points off third place.

MLS Transfer Roundup

Monday was a busy day in MLS transfer news. First up, defender Aaron Long is expected to make a decision about his future soon. The shortlist of interested teams is said to include CF Monterrey, Cruz Azul, several European teams and Inter Miami and the Seattle Sounders. Charlotte FC has reportedly signed midfielder Ashley Westwood from Burnley. The 32-year-old Englishman broke his ankle in April of last year, but has since returned to training and would provide a wealth of experience to Charlotte’s defensive midfield. The Chicago Fire are reportedly finishing up the process of signing right back Arnaud Soquet from Montpellier. The French defender is said to be joining on a two-year deal. Finally, The Houston Dynamo are reportedly finalizing a deal for fullback Brad Smith, who is currently a free agent.

USMNT New Year’s Resolutions

There are several key things that the United States Men’s National Team needs to address as we step into 2023. Chief among those things is figuring out who the head coach is going to be. Gregg Berhalter is out of contract as of 12 a.m. Sunday morning, and so far there hasn’t been much real chatter about what direction the U.S. Soccer Federation is going to go with the open head coaching position. The team’s traditional January camp is right around the corner and will conclude with friendlies against Colombia and Serbia out in California, so it’ll be interesting to see what the situation is when the Serbia match rolls around on the 25th. Taking care of that, as well as improving the quality and depth at striker, center mid, and center back, in addition to determining Gio Reyna’s role on the field, will go a long way towards getting the team on the right path to the 2026 World Cup.

European Transfer Roundup

Arsenal has reportedly submitted a second bid for Ukrainian winger Mykhailo Mudryk after having an initial bid of €65 million rejected last week. With any luck, that transfer will get over the line and the Gunners will stop sniffing around Facundo Torres. Chelsea is getting closer to signing defender Benoit Badiashile from Monaco in a deal worth around €37 million. The French center back is expected to have a medical in the next 24 hours as the deal creeps toward the finish line. Speaking of Chelsea, Romelu Lukaku has said that he wants to make his loan move to Inter Milan a permanent one, and hopes to get healthy and seal a permanent return to the Italian side he enjoyed so much success with a few years ago. Finally, Erik ten Hag has acknowledged that Manchester United needs to sign a striker in the January transfer window, but emphasized that the club will take great care to make sure the correct signing is made.

Free Kicks

That’s all for me today. Y’all stay safe out there.