Despite winning their group and advancing to the round of 16 in Champions’ League play, Schalke 04 has decided to relieve manager Huub Stevens of his duties following a 3-1 loss to Freiburg on Saturday. The loss dropped Schalke to 7th in the Bundesliga standings, after standing in second place earlier in the season.
The Dutchman joined Schalke last year, and was signed through 2013. However, Stevens was only slightly better than he was in his first stint as the club’s manager from 1996 to 2002. In that first stint, Stevens led the club to a UEFA Cup title in 1997, but he has only enjoyed marginal success in several stops throughout the Bundesliga circuit.
Schalke Under-17 coach Jens Keller has taken over as interim head coach.
It will be interesting to see how the firing impacts Jermaine Jones’ potential participation in the U.S. Men’s National Team’s January camp. A year ago Stevens allowed Jones to take part in the USMNT January camp while he served out an eight-match ban, but whoever is ultimately hired to replace Stevens on a more permanent basis may not be as understanding with Jones, who is set to serve a four-match suspension for a red card.
Here are some other stories to get you through Sunday:
Arsenal close to signing Jack Wilshere to new contract
After returning from an ankle injury that kept him out of action for over a year, the English midfielder is set to sign to a new contract with his longtime club. Having been with the club throughout his youth career, and moving up to senior action in 2008, the 20-year old is close to signing a contract worth £20 million.
“I am talking to the club and probably will be committing my future in the next couple of weeks,” said Wilshere, who along with committing to the Gunners, is also committed to manager Arsene Wenger. “There is no question he is the right man.”
Manchester City not interested in purchasing MLS franchise
Amidst speculation that the owners of the Premier League club, Manchester City officials have announced they are not interested in becoming involved in owning a franchise in Major League Soccer. This comes just days after speculation began that the next, and 20th franchise, which is expected to land in New York City, would receive financial support from Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour.
Manchester United unlikely to make additions during January window
While speculation for the other Manchester club involves decisions across the pond, the current Premier League leading Red Devils are not expected to sign any players during the January transfer window. Manager Sir Alex Ferguson made his intentions known, simply stating “I will not be bringing anybody in, in January, definitely not”.
After making several moves over the summer, which included the acquisition of forward Robin Van Persie, Ferguson will keep the club status quo heading into the second half of the season. This, despite the possible acquisition of Borussia Dortmund forward Robert Lewandowski and Arsenal midfielder Theo Walcott circulating the rumor circuit.