André Schürrle joins Chelsea for $27 million

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José Mourinho has finally made the first signing of his second spell at Chelsea, as German international forward André Schürrle has joined from Bayer Leverkusen.

The 22-year-old striker has been sorting out the formalities of his switch to Stamford Bridge since June 13 when the two clubs agreed a fee, but now he’s crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s Schürrle can begin to look forward to life as a Chelsea player.

Last season he scored 11 times in 34 appearances for Leverkusen, with the promising youngster also excelling for the German national team over the past few seasons. He has been handed a five-year contract for the London club and will wear the No.14 shirt.

And the blonde attacker can’t wait to get started at his new team. “I am so happy now I have signed and it is an honor for me to play for this club, with this team and for these great fans,” Schürrle said. “I am really looking forward to it.”

Schürrle will link up with his new teammates in the coming days, as Mourinho’s men start preseason.

The German star is adaptable and can play up front as a lone forward or on the wing, while his considerable size should allow him to adapt very quickly to the power and physicality of the EPL.

(MORE: Schürrle becomes Mourinho’s first signing of the summer)

Having scored seven goals in 24 appearances for the German national team, Schürrle will be keen to kick on and become a regular in the Chelsea team. That in turn will spark his chances of making the starting lineup for during Germany’s 2014 World Cup campaign.

But first and foremost, Schürrle will find it hard to get into the Chelsea side.

With the likes of Juan Mata, Demba Ba, Eden Hazard, Oscar, Ramires, Marko Marin and Fernando Torres all in his way, Schürrle will have to hit the ground running in preseason.But good, healthy competition never did anybody any harm.

Mourinho is by no means finished with his summer shopping but it has been a rather subdued scene at Stamford Bridge since he returned. No interviews, no real drama and not much movement. What is going on here? “This isn’t the Jose we remember,” is the thought going through the minds of most Chelsea fans.

But don’t despair, this man won’t disappoint. Schürrle will be the first of many new faces as Mourinho will undoubtedly wield the axe ruthlessly this summer.

If Chelsea can’t secure Edinson Cavani’s signature is it right to pile all their hopes on the youngster from Ludwigshafen? (Sorry, had to get the name of his hometown in here somewhere, just awesome.)

Only time will tell. But Schürrle’s arrival could be a signal that the floodgates are about to open at Chelsea. Expect plenty more activity in West London this summer.

French league terminates goal-line technology contract

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PARIS (AP) The French football league has terminated the contract with its goal-line technology provider after a series of glitches.

The LFP had already suspended the use of GoalControl, the German system that was deployed at the 2014 World Cup.

According to L’Equipe newspaper, the league will launch a tender in February to find a new provider of the technology that determines whether the ball crossed the line.

[ MORE: Bristol City 2-3 (3-5 agg.) Man City ]

In recent months, the French league had repeatedly expressed its discontent with GoalControl.

Goal-line technology entered soccer after a goal was wrongly disallowed at the 2010 World Cup.

FIFA is already focused on fast-tracking the next phase of technology – video assistant referees – for the World Cup in June.

Goal-line technology and VAR were provided by Hawk-Eye at the Confederations Cup last year.

Bristol City’s Johnson: “They certainly have heard of us now”

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The Premier League world may see Bristol City next season, but it seems its manager has the personality to arrive on the top flight whether or not his Robins earn promotion this season.

Johnson, 36, earned plenty of plaudits after leading his Championship club to the League Cup semifinals, famously defeated Manchester United in the quarters.

[ MORE: Bristol City 2-3 (3-5 agg.) Man City ]

Before that, Bristol beat Premier League sides Crystal Palace, Stoke City, and Watford. The Robins beat third tier Plymouth Argyle 5-0 in the first round.

Johnson was beaming after the Robins took Man City to the edge, closing to within a goal of extra time before Kevin De Bruyne‘s stoppage time number ended the tie 5-3 on aggregate.

“Absolutely I’m proud. It’s not just tonight but over the course of the season, particularly the cup run. It was a fantastic occasion, I’m sorry we couldn’t get the win but we played against the best side that I have ever seen live. They have so many good individuals.

“We kept going and it’s taken two injury-time goals to beat us. They certainly have [heard of us] now…everybody knows what we’re about. It’s been great.”

Bristol City is in the Championship’s fifth place, bidding for its first top flight campaign since 1980. Johnson should be a hot prospect to earn a shot in the Premier League should the Robins not make the jump.

League Cup semifinal preview: Arsenal vs. Chelsea

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  • Chelsea has won 4-of-7 League Cup matches vs. Arsenal
  • Arsenal leads all-time series 74W-58D-62L
  • Clubs have drawn four times this season

Hardware hopes are on the line when Chelsea hits the Emirates Stadium for a League Cup semifinal second leg with Arsenal on Wednesday.

The sides drew 0-0 at Stamford Bridge, giving Chelsea the advantage of knowing a scoring draw would do the trick and set up a date with Manchester City at Wembley on Feb. 25, though Arsenal has home field advantage in pursuit of a win.

[ MORE: Bristol City 2-3 (3-5 agg.) Man City ]

Henrikh Mkhitaryan may debut for Arsenal, though the club released an interesting note on Tuesday: He’ll wear No. 7 in most competitions, but will have to use a different number in the Europa League because Alexis Sanchez wore it to start the tournament.

Chelsea’s Antonio Conte won’t have Alvaro Morata (back) and Cesc Fabregas for the match, though Andreas Christensen will be available for selection.

The clubs are no strangers to each other in big non-PL spots, squaring off in this season’s Community Shield (Arsenal won in penalty kicks) and last season’s FA Cup Final (Arsenal won).

Nothing has separated the sides on the field aside from those penalty kicks at Wembley Stadium, as Arsenal and Chelsea have drawn 1-1, 0-0, 2-2, and 0-0 since August.

What they’re saying

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger on Henrikh Mkhitaryan“He can play in different positions, but personally I see him first in a wide position, but I’m thinking about him a possibility to play through the middle. You are certain in our job of nothing, that’s absolutely sure. But you believe and I believe he has the qualities to do well, is a team player and our game is based on team attitude and movement and I think he can absorb the quantity of movement in our team.”

Chelsea’s Conte on the lineup: “Every game is different, you change the quality of your opponent and you must be intelligent enough to understand if you should continue with the same players or make some changes.”

Javier Mascherano leaving Barcelona after 8 seasons

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says defender Javier Mascherano is leaving the club after eight seasons.

Barcelona says there will be a farewell ceremony on Wednesday with Mascherano, club president Josep Bartomeu and the rest of the squad.

[ MORE: Man City to buy $86m CB ]

The 33-year-old Argentina international will say goodbye to the fans before Thursday’s game against Espanyol at Camp Nou in the Copa del Rey. He is reportedly going to play in China.

Mascherano, who also played as a defensive midfielder, arrived in Barcelona in 2010 from Liverpool and helped the Catalan club win 18 titles. He has made 334 appearances with Barcelona, but recently hadn’t been playing much.

The club earlier this month signed Colombia international Yerry Mina to boost its defense.

More AP Spanish soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/LaLiga