Friday’s Transfer Rumour Roundup: Lewandowski to Chelsea, Gomez to City

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Friday morning is here, and after a busy week of transfer dealings more rumors are circulating throughout the European media this morning.

Isco went to Real Madrid yesterday, Carlos Tevez joined Juventus on Wednesday and plenty of big names are said to sifting through transfer offers as preseason training is about to begin for Europe’s top clubs.

Expect a plethora of deals to happen over the next week or so.

So let’s take one final look this week as the transfer rumors mount up.

Mario Gomez has emerged as Manuel Pellegrini’s top target at Manchester City, with the Chilean boss keen to bolster his attack after losing Carlos Tevez to Juventus earlier this week. Gomez, 27, will cost around $30 million to pry away from European champions Bayern Munich. Will the German international seek a fresh challenge away from the Bundesliga? He will bring goals to City, after scoring 99 goals across the last three seasons for Munich. Quite staggering. Pellegrini will hope the lure of big money and helping City wrestle the EPL title away from neighbors Manchester United can attract one of Europe’s most predatory strikers. Gomez would certain get plenty of chances to score with the likes of David Silva and Jesus Navas teeing him up. (The Independent)

Chelsea are after Norwich City goalkeeper John Ruddy, as José Mourinho put in a $8 million bid for the England international. But the Canaries have rejected the offer as they want much more for 26-year-old Ruddy. He joined Norwich from Everton for just $700,000 three years ago and has become a regular in Roy Hodgson’s England squad. Ruddy was out injured for much of last season but Norwich will want to hang on to their prized asset. Mourinho may want some decent competition for Petr Cech, who hasn’t really had that since he arrived at Stamford Bridge. The 31-year-old Czech Republic ‘keeper is still the No.1 but maybe Mourinho is trying to get Cech to up his game. (The Sun)

While Mourinho isn’t done with his spending, oh no. The ‘Special One’ is getting frustrated with Edinson Cavani’s situation at Napoli and may pull out of the deal to bring him to Chelsea. Instead Mourinho is setting his sights on Robert Lewandowski, as the Polish forward is being linked with every major club in Europe, as he wants out of Borussia Dortmund. Much like Cavani, Lewandowski will prosper from Morinho’s direct tactics, just as Didier Drogba did during Mourinho’s first spell in charge at Chelsea. The 24-year-old has an eye for goal — as Mourinho saw with four goals against his Real side during the Champions League semifinal — is powerful and makes intelligent runs in the box. If Chelsea can get Cavani or Lewandowski, an EPL title could be heading back to West London. (Daily Mirror)

Over in Spain, reports are linking Real Madrid striker José Callejón with a move to Liverpool, Fiorentina or Napoli. The Spanish attacker is out of Carlo Ancelotti’s plans and after initially impressing under Mourinho, it seems like a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu would be best for his career. Callejón 26, excelled at Espanyol after leaving Real’s youth system in 2008 but returned to Madrid. However he scored just eight goals in 55 appearances since 2011 and was mostly used as a sub. Liverpool need all the offensive help they can get, with Luis Suárez on his way out and Daniel Sturridge injured. While Fiorentina and Napoli are close to losing their prized possessions in Stevan Jovetíc and Edinson Cavani, respectively. A cut price deal is expected. (Marca)

Eric Abidal is close to securing a switch to former club AS Monaco, as the out-of-contract Barcelona and French international left back seeks one last challenge. Abidal, 33, has had lengthy spells out through liver problems and had to have a transplant. But now fighting fit, Abidal also revealed that Ligue 1 side Nice have been in contact and so have the New York Red Bulls. So it seems France or the USA are his most likely destination. The solid defender has excelled across Europe and for the French national team, he is reliable and has a great engine. As a free agent, it would be silly to turn him down. (Sky Sports)

More: Thursday’s Transfer Rumour Roundup: Bale to Madrid, David Villa to Spurs

More: Wednesday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup; Tevez to Juve, El Shaarawy to Madrid

More: Tuesday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup; Cavani to Chelsea, Rooney to Barcelona

Chinese clubs to pay 100% tax on foreign transfers

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The days of Chinese Super League sides spending eye-popping figures on a handful of international superstars are over — either that, or those figures are about to double — for now, at least.

[ MORE: Oscar given 8-game ban for petulant display in China ]

China’s Football Association announced Thursday that, effective immediately, any foreign player signed for a fee exceeding $6.63 million would be subject to a 100-percent tax on top of the fee paid to acquire the player. The tax will remain in effect until the end of China’s ongoing transfer window, July 14. The tax will also apply to Chinese players signed for a fee exceeding $3 million.

It’s Chinese authorities’ latest attempt to prevent big spending by CSL clubs, which has in every instance been detrimental to the development of young Chinese players making their way through the academy system. The taxed money will then be reinvested in “youth training, construction of public sporting facilities and scientific progress in football development,” according to a statement by the CFA.

Just last week, China was eliminated from contention to qualify for next summer’s World Cup in Russia. The only time China has ever qualified for the World Cup was in 2002.

Young Englishman Oxford goes abroad, to Gladbach, on loan

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MOENCHENGLADBACH, Germany (AP) Borussia Moenchengladbach has signed English central defender Reece Oxford on loan for the season from Premier League club West Ham.

Gladbach sporting director Max Eberl says “Oxford has gone through all the England youth teams and is one of the biggest defensive talents in Britain.”

The 18-year-old Oxford, who spent the second half of last season on loan at second-division club Reading, is Gladbach’s fifth arrival of the off-season.

Qatar stadium safety concerns again raised by death investigation

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An investigation into why a British man fell to his death on a building site for the 2022 Qatar soccer World Cup has raised concerns about stadium roof safety.

World Cup organizers on Thursday released partial findings of an assessment of the accident at the Khalifa International Stadium, but said the full report cannot be released while local authorities continue their own investigation. It is one of two work-related deaths detailed in Qatar’s latest welfare report on preparations for the 2022 soccer tournament, which currently involves 12,367 workers on eight construction sites.

The 40-year-old British man fell 39 meters in January after one end of the roof catwalk he was installing dropped and a safety rope snapped.

“During the course of the investigation, the team had raised concerns with the method of installation of the raised catwalk system,” the welfare report from Qatar’s World Cup organizers stated. “This required further investigation regarding the method itself and the supervision skills of the specialist contractor staff.”

It has led to “corrective and preventative actions” being implemented by the contractor, a joint venture between Belgian and Qatari firms, along with safety checks across all stadium sites, the report said.

“These included a review of all working-at-height activities across all SC projects, an enhanced process when reviewing specialist activities within construction sites, and a detailed review of all roof and gantry designs,” the Supreme Committee overseeing stadium projects added.

The British man is the only European working on Qatar stadiums to have died in a country relying on a low-paid migrant workforce from south Asia to prepare for the first World Cup in the Middle East. Six non-work related deaths have been announced by organizers, with most suffering from heart or breathing problems.

Hassan Al Thawadi, the supreme committee’s secretary general, said medical staff are trying to raise awareness of the “importance of healthy lifestyles” by evaluating diets and identifying health issues, including hypertension and diabetes. Cooling helmets have also been developed in an attempt to make it safer for workers on outdoor sites during the searing summer heat.

World Cup preparations have been dogged by concerns about the welfare of workers since the natural gas-rich Gulf nation won the FIFA vote in 2010. Mounting international pressure led to Qatar raising living standards and worker rights. Inspections led to three contractors being blacklisted and 14 entities “demobilized” from projects for failing to tackle welfare issues, the World Cup report reveals.

“There is still work to be done to ensure our workers’ welfare standards continue to have a tangible impact on the ground and we are comprehensive in our attempts to tackle the myriad of issues facing migrant workers across the SC program,” Khalid Al-Kubaisi, who oversees worker welfare at the Supreme Committee, said in a statement.

The report has been released as Qatar is gripped by a diplomatic crisis that has seen it isolated in the region. Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar earlier this month and blocked air, sea and land traffic over its support for Islamist groups and ties with Iran. Qatar denies the charges and says the allegations are politically motivated.

Official (finally): Salah completes move from Roma to Liverpool

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It was the summer’s first transfer rumor-turned-real-story-turned-never-ending-saga that seemed to refuse to cross the finish line, but it’s finally come to pass: Mohamed Salah is a Liverpool player.

Salah’s move from Roma to Liverpool took so long to complete that the club’s poor social-media manager probably never wants to read the words “Announce Salah” for the rest of his/her life.

The deal will cost Liverpool something in the neighborhood of $50 million — a new Liverpool club record — and completes the utterly terrifying attacking quartet Jurgen Klopp can’t wait to unleash on the Premier League come August — Salah on one side, Sadio Mane opposite, Philippe Coutinho in the middle, and Roberto Firmino at striker. Salah, by the way, will take over Firmino’s no. 11 shirt, with the Brazilian switching to no. 9.