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How Chicago traded Didier Drogba's rights and ended up with Gilberto

The ESPN FC crew go through Didier Drogba's MLS options amid talk of a move to Montreal Impact.

Chicago Fire boss Frank Yallop has every reason to be upset and to curse at the fickle soccer Gods for what they've thrown his way. For the second year running, he had a marquee player in his sights and ready to sign, only to see him slip from his grasp.

Last year, Chicago was poised to sign Jermaine Jones, only for the U.S. international to head to the New England Revolution thanks to a league-mandated blind draw. This time around, the Fire had former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba in its crosshairs,...

John Brewin profile picture  By John Brewin

Van Gaal's mixed second seasons a warning to Manchester United

ESPN FC's Craig Burley says Louis van Gaal has to be mindful of criticising his Manchester United players.

If Truus Van Gaal has her way, then husband Louis is entering his penultimate season in management. Manchester United's manager has previously claimed he will retire from football at the end of his current contract to spend more time with his wife.

However, he has also said that he could be tempted to stay on beyond 2017, but that's if he is given such a choice. At some point, he needs to win the Premier League to repeat the success at winning a title at all four previous clubs he has managed. At...

 By Nick Miller

How Bournemouth, Watford, Norwich are preparing for the Premier League

The countdown to the new Premier League season is on. The Exploding Heads run through the top 10 reasons to get excited.

The thing that united the three clubs promoted from the Championship last season was their differences. Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich all achieved their elevation via different means, with different styles of play and with different managerial strategies, proving that there really is no trusted formula to doing well in England's most gloriously unpredictable division.

Bournemouth were a model of consistency, playing rapid attacking football and guided by Eddie Howe to the top of the league....

What traits do Premier League clubs need to possess to win the title?

The ESPN FC panel answer your tweets, including whether or not Chelsea are still favourites to defend their Premier League Title.

It was a debate restarted by Thierry Henry, but one that has rumbled on through the summer, not least because Chelsea's title rivals have yet to take the necessary steps in the transfer market to match the champions. Jose Mourinho's side had just fought their way to a 0-0 draw at Arsenal in April to effectively secure the 2014-15 Premier League, so Henry attempted to outline what exactly Arsene Wenger needed to do to reach that level.

"They need a goalkeeper, they still need a centre-back, they...

Michel Platini leads the five most influential people in football

ESPN FC is counting down the top 50 most influential men and women in football, as compiled by our editors and writers from around the world.

MOST INFLUENTIAL: 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-6 | 5-1

5. Lionel Messi, Barcelona footballer

Lionel Messi has made himself one of the best players ever to grace the game.

He's a man of few words in public, but Messi's nonpareil play -- he has won the Ballon d'Or three times -- does enough talking to make him the true icon of this footballing age. Like his countryman Diego Maradona before him, Messi is redefining greatness in the...

Why Jorge Mendes, football's super-agent, is revered in Portugal

ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti discusses the most influential footballers, managers and administrators and their growing importance.

He's there even when he's not there. As Iker Casillas drew the curtain on his Real Madrid career and joined Porto recently, the name of Jorge Mendes wasn't far away. The Portuguese isn't actually Casillas' agent, but reports in Spanish media since mid-June have suggested that Mendes helped to accelerate the goalkeeper's Bernabeu exit, apparently not wanting the expected arrival of his client David De Gea to be overshadowed by any awkward tale of succession.

If it's an indication of just how...