Are AS Monaco the real deal after signing Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez?

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Monaco are doing it big.

No surprise there, guys.

Today the mega-rich club from the Principality of Monaco announced they’ve signed FC Porto stars Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez in a deal worth $90 million.

$90 million for just two players. They have just won promotion from the second-tier in French soccer.

I truly believe manager Claudio Ranieri when he was quoted as saying this earlier this morning, “Monaco will become the new Chelsea. The president wants to do big things here. We won Ligue 2 and our goal now is to finish third in the top flight to qualify for the Champions League.”

Fair enough Claudio put your money where your mouth…. oh wait, you’ve already done that. Carry on.

And Monaco will certainly do that, and then some.

Already linked with a huge bid for Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao, Monaco will be chasing every top player in Europe as they aim to get back into European soccer’s elite.

But just how will they do all this under the new Financial Fair Play Act? I have no idea.

(More: Falcao and the specter of AS Monaco)

Their stadium, Stade Louis II, is perhaps one of the most iconic in Europe. Incredible, considering it only holds 18,523.

That’s right, it is that small. How they are going to balance the books for a charge to the Champions League trophy with miniscule budgets coming from attendances? I don’t know. But Monaco have already rallied to reach the Champions League final in 2004 where, ironically, they lost to FC Porto.

They have won titles and cups in France, but their last was over 13 years ago. Now they are aiming to win everything with owner Dmitry Rybolovlev’s billions bankrolling their success, as they aim to challenge Paris Saint-Germain for the Ligue 1 title.

Falcao, Jackson Martínez, and Victor Valdes have all been linked with a move to the tax-free haven and so will plenty of others.

This summer, every day a new rumor surrounding a player going to Monaco will crop up. Whether or not they do challenge Europe’s elite for the biggest titles, it seems as if they’re going to have a really good go at it.

It seems as if Monaco will try to throw money at every player for years to come.

Well, at least until the money dries up or Rybolovlev gets bored. But that hasn’t happened at Chelsea, yet. So until then, let’s sit back and enjoy the ride.

Mendy a doubt for start of Man City’s Premier League season

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High-flying left back Benjamin Mendy‘s Manchester City takeoff has been delayed by a thigh injury.

Pep Guardiola revealed Thursday that Mendy is doubtful for City’s Aug. 12 Premier League opener at Brighton and Hove Albion despite passing a medical to push through a $68 million move from Monaco.

Saying Mendy is “a little bit injured,” Guardiola said to expect an absence of two to three weeks.

[ MORE: LAFC hires Bob Bradley ]

The depth chart behind Mendy is incomplete, though City has added two right backs this offseason in Kyle Walker and Danilo.

The latter would be the front-runner to start in Mendy’s place, as he did in a 3-5-2 as Man City beat Real Madrid 4-1 on Wednesday.

Man City follows its opener at Brighton with a visit from Everton and a trip to Bournemouth.

Roma gives new 4-year deal to Premier League target Nainggolan

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Hard-nosed midfielder Rajda Nainggolan has been linked to Manchester United and Chelsea for some time, but Thursday linked up long-term with his present club.

Nainggolan, 29, signed a new deal with AS Roma through the 2020-21 season, putting the Belgian box-to-box mid at the heart of i Lupi‘s plans to chase down Juventus.

[ MORE: Chatting with De Rossi ]

Nainggolan has been in the last two Serie A Best XIs.

The 29-times capped Belgian has six goals for his national team, and has 255 Serie A appearances between Cagliari and Roma. Nainggolan has 31 goals and 18 assists in those matches, scooping 62 yellows and two send-offs but never being handed straight red.

While it’s a perceived blow for his Premier League suitors, it’s a welcome retention for Roma. He’s arguably the reason Roma was ready to part with Michael Bradley in 2014, and you can see why: He plays right up to the line but knows right where it lies.

Too many fans: Udinese vs. Hannover friendly called off

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ST. VEIT, Austria (AP) Local authorities in southern Austria have called off Sunday’s friendly match between Udinese and Hannover as the estimated number of spectators exceeds the capacity of the stadium.

The city of St. Veit says about 4,000 fans, including 280 potential football hooligans, were expected for the game at the ground of local amateur club FC Alpe Adria, which has a capacity of 2,430.

St. Veit mayor Gerhard Mock says “it’s a shame … but security comes first.”

It’s not immediately clear whether the match between the Italian and German top-flight teams can be moved to a larger venue. Both Udinese and Hannover are having their preseason training camps in the province of Carinthia.

LIVE – Everton kick off Europa League campaign

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Wayne Rooney will play his first competitive game for Everton in 13 years.

[ LIVE: Europa League scores

That storyline will dominate Everton’s return to Europe as they kick off their 2017-18 UEFA Europa League campaign in front of a packed house at Goodison Park on Thursday.

The Toffees welcome Slovakian side MFK Ruzomberok for the first leg of the third qualifying round as they aim to make it back to the group stage for the first time since 2014-15.

Click on the link above to follow not only Everton’s game but all of the Europa League qualifiers going on across Europe this afternoon with the likes of AC Milan, Fenerbache, PSV, Marseille and Athletic Bilbao all in action.

If Ronald Koeman‘s side successfully navigate their way past Ruzomberok then they will be in the play-off round which is the final hurdle before the group stage.