Andre

André Schürrle is Jose Mourinho’s first signing as new Chelsea manager

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Jose Mourinho has pulled the trigger on his first signing as new Chelsea manager putting pen to paper on a deal that brings Bayer Leverkusen forward André Schürrle to Stamford Bridge.

The 22 year old winger-come-striker has been a long term target of the Blues and is reportedly parting ways with Leverkusen for a transfer fee of £18 million ($28.2m).

Chelsea announced the deal via their website, releasing the following statement: “Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen have reached an agreement for the transfer of André Schürrle, subject to the completion of legal documentation and related matters, including personal terms and passing a medical.”

Schürrle has spent the last two seasons at Leverkusen where he scored 18 goals in 65 appearances. The Germany international arrived at the North Rhine-Westphalia based squad in 2011 on a €8 million ($10.7m) transfer from Mainz 05, where he played youth football and made his Bundesliga debut in August 2009. In two seasons of top-flight action with the O-Fives, Schürrle netted 20 times in 66 appearances.

To cover the loss of Schürrle, Leverkusen have signed South Korean forward Son Heung-min from Hamburg SV. The 20-year-old, who scored 12 goals last season, signed a five-year deal with Leverkusen for an undisclosed fee.

With Schürrle’s move to Stamford Bridge, huge question marks arise over the future of current Blues strikers, Demba Ba and Fernando Torres, and the potential blockbuster transfer of Edinson Cavani, Hulk, Edin Dzeko or another world-class striker.

It’s widely accepted that Schürrle’s best position on the pitch is as a winger, which bodes well for Ba and Torres. But the German can also be used in a striker role playing off a target man and if that’s how Mourinho decides to utilize Schürrle, the aforementioned Blues duo could be out the door. Torres looks the more likely to leave, with Napoli and Barcelona knocking at the door, while Ba could be headed anywhere from Arsenal to Monaco to PSG or even back to Newcastle.

If Mourinho sees Schürrle as a winger, this could spell trouble for Kevin De Bruyne, the young Beligan product who ‘The Special One’ recently hinted would be given a fair shot during preseason, and guys like Victor Moses, who has recently been linked with a transfer to Everton.

Things will get even more complicated if Roman Abramovich opens up his wallet for one of the big striker names on the transfer market. Mourinho is said to be keen on Cavani, Hulk and Dzeko, with the Napoli man looking the most likely to head to West London, perhaps in a swap plus cash deal for Torres.

One way or another, this looks to be the first of many transfers for Chelsea this summer. Stay tuned as Mourinho continues to build the army that he hopes will challenge for the Premier League title.

Pellegrini says announcing departure was mistake; Won’t jump into job

Manchester City's manager Manuel Pellegrini, right, and Bayern Munich's manager Pep Guardiola during the Champions League group D soccer match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, England, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013. (AP Photo/Clint Hughes)
AP Photo/Clint Hughes
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Former Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini thought it was the right thing to do; His club was reportedly looking for his successor, so why not let them do it in the open.

[ MORE: Barcelona could chase Mata ]

What followed Pellegrini’s announcement that he would leave at the end of season were three straight losses and, arguably, City’s chances at a Premier League title.

From Sky Sports:

“After Guardiola said he was coming to England it was my decision [to go public] because all the media was talking about Guardiola here, Guardiola in Arsenal, Guardiola in Manchester United,” he told The Guardian.

“It was not fair for all managers – when everyone knew he was coming here. If I ask if I would do that again… I have some doubts.”

Pellegrini said the announcement didn’t make it difficult for him, but for his players.

The Argentine also said he’ll wait for an interesting job to come calling, and that he could be done managing forever if such an opportunity doesn’t present itself. That said, we think he’ll find a job that’s to his liking given this comment:

“Of course, I would miss it. The challenge keeps me alive.”

Life is a good motivator.

Will upsets continue in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup’s third round?

SANDY, UT - OCTOBER 1: The U.S. Soccer Championship trophy sits on display before the game between DC United and Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium October 1, 2013 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images
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The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup hits the third round on Wednesday, with NASL teams entering the fray and at least one fourth-tier or lower side guaranteed to advance to face MLS competition.

The USASA had three teams win second round matches, and two will face each other on Wednesday. The L.A. Wolves knocked off the USL’s Orange County Blues, while L Maquina FC handed the NPSL’s Sacramento Gold an ouster. They will tangle for the right to a high-profile match-up with the L.A. Galaxy.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Gonzalez wins Liga MX with Pachuca ]

We’ll also see NASL vs. USL geographical rivalries when Carolina faces Charlotte and Rayo OKC meets Oklahoma City.

Wednesday’s third round matches
Chattanooga FC (NPSL) vs. Harrisburg City Islanders (USL)
Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL) vs. Richmond Kickers (USL)
Jacksonville Armada (NASL) vs. Charleston Battery (USL)
New York Cosmos (NASL) vs. Jersey Express (PDL)
Carolina RailHawks (NASL) vs. Charlotte Independence (USL)
Miami FC (NASL) vs. Wilmington Hammerheads (USL)
Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL) vs FC Cincinnati (USL)
Rochester Rhinos (USL) vs. Lansdowne Bhoys FC (USASA)
Indy Eleven (NASL) vs. Louisville City FC (USL)
Saint Louis FC (USL) vs. Minnesota United (NASL)
Rayo OKC (NASL) vs Oklahoma City Energy (USL)
Des Moines Menace (PD) vs. San Antonio FC (USL)
Arizona United (USL) vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL)
La Maquina (USASA) vs. L.A. Wolves (USASA)
Kitsap Pumas (PDL) vs. Sacramento Republic (USL)

Iranian woman “sneaks” into Persian League match dressed as a man

Persepolis FC
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An Iranian woman wanted to see her favorite team play badly, but knew well the unspoken rule: no females at the stadium.

The Independent has the story of a woman who dressed in layers and filmed herself in case trouble came from her attendance.

[ MORE: Police free kidnapped Mexico striker ]

Persepolis FC is the name of the club, and they play in the Persian Gulf Pro League.

From The Independent:

There is no official ban on women attending sports events in Iran, but they are often refused entry so it is rare for women to attend.

In a third video, the woman explains that she layered five T-shirts and five pairs of trousers to hide her figure and covered her face with face paint.

I recognize that this is the norm over there, but it’s still a striking story.

Report: Barcelona ready to swoop if Mourinho deems Mata surplus at Manchester United

BUCHAREST, ROMANIA - OCTOBER 01: Juan Mata (L) of Chelsea shakes hands with manager Jose Mourinho (R) after being substituted during the UEFA Champions League Group E Match between FC Steaua Bucuresti and Chelsea at the National Arena Stadium on October 1, 2013 in Bucharest, Romania.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images
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It’s a $40 million question for Manchester United: Will Juan Mata and Jose Mourinho work well together?

Their time at Chelsea was fractured when Mourinho deemed Mata surplus to requirement and shipped the Spaniard to Old Trafford.

[ MORE: Rashford signs new 4-year deal ]

Mata, 28, has been a consistent performer for United, but will his reunion with Mourinho be short-lived? It’s easy to imagine both as ready to move on and Barcelona could be an option if that happens.

Mundo Deportivo says Barcelona could make a bid of close to $40 million in order to help the midfield continue to tick. Mata was a key part of United’s possession-based approach under Louis Van Gaal, and as a player really does fit the bill of a Mourinho-minded mid.

We’re just hoping that if Mata moves, he doesn’t switch anywhere that would change his English language blog posts.