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Soccer notes

Attacker on Revolution radar

By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / May 10, 2011

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Revolution coach Steve Nicol usually presents a low-key approach to player acquisitions. Nicol and team management are discreet regarding business dealings, and the limitations imposed by Major League Soccer have reinforced that. So, it was surprising for Nicol to confirm the Revolution’s plans to sign a designated player candidate after a 0-0 tie with the Colorado Rapids Saturday night.

The plan is to add an attacking player after the international transfer period opens in June. The Revolution are willing to offer $1 million-plus in salary for a player who would be considered a difference-maker. In the past, the Revolution were interested in shelling out for a high-profile performer who also would attract attention from sponsors, and negotiations went to advanced stages with Rui Costa, Luis Figo, Joao Pinto, and Rivaldo.

Now, the idea is to bring in someone who can raise the technical level, regardless of celebrity. And this is likely one reason for Nicol’s outspokenness. Expectations have been raised and speculation can begin.

According to multiple MLS sources, the Revolution have targeted a European player who is among the top goal-scorers in his national team’s history. In fact, Nicol first raised this possibility before the season, saying the team’s prospective addition was competing in Turkey. But the Revolution are unlikely to conduct negotiations publicly, partly because of the chances of the operation failing, partly because of the chance they could be used as leverage for other dealings.

Millwall on right track Second-tier Millwall FC’s climb up the ladder of England’s Football League was halted last week as the Lions failed to advance to the promotion playoffs. But chairman John Berylson has started planning for next season and believes the club could join another Boston ownership group in the Premiership.

Berylson, chairman and chief executive of Chestnut Hill Ventures, did not spend nearly as extravagantly as Red Sox owner John Henry did for Liverpool, though. Berylson has invested $21 million in Millwall, which was on the verge of being forced into administration when he took over in 2008. That is less than the price Henry paid for either of his first two player acquistions for Liverpool, Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez.

Millwall exceeded expectations this season, finishing in ninth place with 67 points, eight behind Nottingham Forest, the last of the playoff participants.

“We need another year in The Championship, at least,’’ Berylson said yesterday. “If we had been promoted it would have been a bridge too far. It’s like the Patriots making it to the Super Bowl in 1986 and losing [to Chicago], 46-10. How long does it take to recover from that?’’

Berylson and manager Kenny Jackett have teamed to guide Millwall from the edge of relegation from League One to fifth- and third-place finishes, winning promotion to The Championship last year.

But Berylson plans to keep expectations reasonable and will remain cautious in the transfer market. Berylson stays in contact with other US investors in European soccer and knows about the hazards of high spending.

“I’m sure Randy Lerner thought Aston Villa had a shot to get into the top four,’’ Berylson said. “Instead, it has cost him a fortune just to stay up [in the Premiership]. Darren Bent is the reason they were able to stay up and he spent 24 million pounds for Bent.

“I root for Liverpool, because they are a Boston team. They know what they need to build the team and I hope they do it. It’s like they are the Red Sox and they are going against the Yankees.

“We need three positions and we’ve filed 30 names, we have our financial parameters and we’ll start talking to people,’’ Berylson said. “We didn’t start until July really seriously to do that last year. So, now we have a head start. If we were in the playoffs and got promoted, we would have taken the money but we probably would have been relegated.’’

Meanwhile, Liverpool routed Fulham, 5-2, yesterday to boost its chances of playing in the Europa League next season.

The win lifted the Reds two points above Tottenham into fifth place, the automatic qualifying spot for Europe’s second-tier club competition.

Barcelona declines FC Barcelona’s interest in investing in the MLS is history, club president Sandro Rosell said yesterday.

“There will be no other Barcelonas in the world,’’ Rosell said during a conference call announcing the team’s summer tour of the US. “El Barca is in Barcelona and there are no others. Schools, academies, yes. Other Barcas, no.’’

Barcelona attempted to be involved in a prospective team in South Florida before the MLS expanded to the Pacific Northwest and Canada, a project of Barcelona’s previous administration, according to Rosell.

Barcelona and Manchester United will meet in the Champions League final May 28 in London and in an exhibition July 30 at FedEx Stadium in Landover, Md. Barcelona also will meet CD Guadalajara Aug. 3 in Miami and Club America Aug. 6 in Arlington, Texas.

Happy Breakers Four Breakers were named to the US roster for the sixth Women’s World Cup. Forward Lauren Cheney and defenders Rachel Buehler, Stephanie Cox, and Amy LePeilbet will be on the team for the tournament, scheduled June 26-July 17 in Germany.

The US team is preparing for games against Japan Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, and May 18 in Cary, N.C. The US will meet North Korea in its WWC opener June 28 in Dresden.

This will be the first time the Cup roster will not include Kristine Lilly, whose retirement ceremony is scheduled before the Breakers-Philadelphia game May 22.

Material from wire services was used in this report.

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