With yesterday’s news that Thiago Alcantara has signed for Bayern Munich, Manchester United has begun to re-launch its campaign to find a new central midfielder for the 2013-14 season.
According to Sky Sports, the Red Devils are preparing to launch a bid to bring Cesc Fabregas back to England. News of United’s interest in Fabregas emerged before the 2012-13 Premier League season even ended, with Barcelona reportedly looking for a $31 million (£20m) transfer fee for the Spain international.
In response to the rumor, Fabregas repeatedly claimed to be happy at Barcelona and noted his desire to stay at his hometown club. No official comment was made by Barcelona.
But now reports claim that United’s current bid will be in the range of $53 million (£35m), a $22 million (£15m) dollar increase of the initial fee Barcelona reportedly sought. That’s the kind of money that just might catch Barcelona’s attention, especially considering the $44 million (£29m) transfer fee the Blaugrana paid Arsenal to acquire Fabregas in August 2011.
If United’s proposed bid sounds a bit high, it could be as outlets outside of Sky Sports are reporting the bid could be more in the range of $39 million (£26m). Nevertheless, the Red Devils seem to be done ‘playing around’ in the transfer market. Having already lost Alcantara to Munich, United manager David Moyes just happened to mention his ebullience at working at a club that is minted:
Isn’t it great that the club says, ‘There’s no budget here, you go get who you want to get, just go and do it’. We are looking at the best players. I do think it’s important that we show people we are carrying on the traditions and trying to take the club forward.
Jose Mourinho has identified perhaps the most underrated position on the pitch as a place he needs to upgrade his squad this summer.
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According to a report from The Guardian, the Manchester United manager is looking to sign Tottenham wing back Danny Rose and potentially another full back in the summer transfer window. With Luke Shaw likely to leave the club, Mourinho is left with incumbents left back Ashley Young and right back Antonio Valencia, both on the wrong side of 30-years old and both converted wingers playing out-of-position.
Mourinho last December decried crosstown rivals Man City for spending more than $140 million to sign wing backs Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker last summer. Though Mendy missed most of the season with a torn ACL, Walker and fellow outside back Danilo helped give Man City’s attack another dimension out wide, as the wing backs in the 3-4-3 or Man City’s 4-1-4-1 with Fernandinho dropping back into the centerback pairing become ever more important.
Rose has had a contentious last 18-months or so at Tottenham and could be looking to leave this summer. But it will likely take a bid north of $75 million, around what it cost Man City to sign Walker last summer, to buy Rose out of his Tottenham contract.
Matteo Darmian meanwhile, another potential outside back for Man United, could also be departing the club this summer, as Man United looks to replenish its side.
The implementation of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in Italy has been controversial, but according to a look at the statistics, it has for the most part done its job to fix clear and obvious errors.
Italian sports paper Gazzetta Dello Sport compiled all the times VAR has been used through 346 matches, 330 in Serie A and 16 in the Coppa Italia. There were 1,736 checks (916 goals, 464 penalties and 356 red cards) with 105 corrections and just 17 errors where the referee and assistant made the wrong decision. Eight of those errors did affect the result, which is an issue that will surely be addressed by the Italian officiating organization.
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But overall, Gazzetta found that in the VAR era, referee errors only amounted to 0.98 percent during a match, as opposed to 6.03 percent in the past. In addition, fouls are down 8.8 percent, red cards are down 6.4 percent, and yellow cards are down 14.7 percent. On the flip side, penalty kicks are called 4.3 more percent of the time.
The Premier League voted recently not to add VAR to its league matches next season, while top leagues in Germany, Italy and in Major League Soccer and the United Soccer League continue to use it.
Whoever takes the helm as Arsenal’s next manager will have to do some math gymnastics this summer to stretch every penny available.
According to a report from The Telegraph, Arsenal is giving Arsene Wenger‘s successor a little less than $70 million to work with in this summer’s transfer market, citing back-to-back transfer windows with club-record signings (Alexandre Lacazette last summer and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January) and three raises given to players. Arsenal paid around $78 million alone to sign Aubameyang and around $65 million for Lacazette.
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That means whoever comes in next to lead Arsenal will likely have to sell one or two players this summer to raise additional money for world-class signings.
For the last decade, Arsenal has been crying out for a new pair of centerbacks and a holding midfielder in the mould of Patrick Vieira. In addition, with Petr Cech getting older, the prospect of needing a new goalkeeper is also on the horizon.
Luckily for Arsenal, they seem to be just fine up front. From Aubameyang and Lacazette to Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aaron Ramsey, the club has the talent to challenge for a title next season in that department.
A dozen different names have been bandied about as to who will be Arsenal’s next manager, with out-of-contract and former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique reportedly on the shortlist. Vieira, former Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta, Germany National Team coach Joachim Low, Juventus boss Max Allegri and Hoffenheim’s Julian Nagelsman have all also been linked with the job.
MADRID (AP) Spanish third-division club Toledo says a Tunisian player who collapsed from heart failure during practice 10 days ago has regained consciousness.
The club says doctors removed sedative medication and Lassad Nouioui was responding well to treatment on Monday.
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They will consider removing the 32-year-old Nouioui from the intensive care unit if his condition keeps improving. Nouioui has played for a number of clubs during his 14-year professional career, notably a four-year stay at Deportivo La Coruna and a one-year spell with Celtic.
Nouioui collapsed on April 14.
The game against Real Madrid B the following day was postponed because of the problem with Nouioui.