Melbourne Victory v Liverpool

Luis Suárez to talk with Arsenal, despite Liverpool rejecting bid

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Luis Suarez will hold talks with Liverpool’s Premier League rivals Arsenal… but Liverpool have no intention of selling their star striker.

The Reds are holding out for a transfer fee in excess of $75 million, after Arsenal allegedly triggered a clause in Suárez’ contract by offering just £1 pound over the £40 million fee needed for them to speak to the Uruguayan international.

Clever boy Arsene Wenger, very clever indeed.

Apparently the cheeky offer from the Gunners meant Suárez had to be notified of the bid and he now wants to hear what Arsenal can offer him.

However, the transfer fee remains the main stumbling block as Liverpool aren’t budging over their valuation of Suárez.

Is he really worth $75 million. In a word: yes.

Suárez’s talents on the field are undoubted and Arsenal certainly need a game-changer, which is something they’ve been severely lacking since Robin van Persie departed last summer. The 26-year-old Uruguayan has scored 51  goals in 96 since joining Liverpool, has 31 goals in 62 games for Uruguay and scored 49 goals in 48 games at Ajax before joining the Reds.

But don’t expect Arsenal to pay $75 million, perhaps a compromise of $65 million could be agreed.

His record as a poacher in and around the box is sensational. Just this morning we got to see that first-hand, as Suárez played his part in Liverpool’s second goal against the Melbourne Victory in Australia. A delightful jinxing run and cross set up Iago Aspas for a tap in. Will we see that in Arsenal colors next season?

(MORE: John W Henry slams Arsenal’s new Suárez bid via Twitter)

Not if Liverpool’s owner John W Henry has anything to do with it. The American businessmen lashed out at Arsenal’s Suárez bid via Twitter this morning, saying “What do you think they’re smoking over there at Emirates?”

Unimpressed with Arsenal’s tactics would sum it Henry’s mindset, that’s putting it mildly. Welcome to the cut and thrust of the Premier League, John. No mercy is shown when it comes to trying to snatch away top talent from your rivals.

But has Arsenal’s cheeky bid actually done them any good at all? The chances are that Liverpool certainly don’t want to do business with them now, and if they do they’ll rise the price up considerably.

An initial smart move by Arsenal may have backfired spectacularly. But the fact that Suárez wants to talk to them about leaving Anfield leaves Liverpool in an impossible situation.

Once and for all, it is time for Suárez to move on. Arsenal, Real Madrid, Chelsea…whoever, just get this over with.

Bayern’s Vidal says “ugly” Atletico not deserved UCL finalists

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 27: Juanfran of Atletico Madrid and Arturo Vidal of Bayern Munich argue during the UEFA Champions League semi final first leg match between Club Atletico de Madrid and FC Bayern Muenchen at Vincente Calderon on April 27, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal has declared “ugly” Atletico Madrid unworthy finalists in the UEFA Champions League.

Bayern was eliminated in the Champions League semifinal by Atleti on Tuesday, with Diego Simeone’s Spanish side advancing on away goals.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s UCL coverage ]

However, Vidal believed Bayern were the better team in the second leg, saying Atletico played “ugly football” to get through.

Today ugly football – Atletico – played against the best football in the world. The only time they saw the ball was for the goal.

They are going to be dreaming about us right up to the final. They did not have the ball, they took on the best team in the world, they took their chances and got to the final.

The best does not always win in football, like today. They are not deserved finalists.

Bayern Munich controlled more than 70-percent of possession and had 33 shots compared to Atletico’s nine, but those stats mean little as Antoine Griezmann’s away goal was enough to send Atleti to the final.

[ MORE: Former England striker Joe Cole headed to NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies ]

Atletico may not play the most attractive football, but after eliminating Barcelona and Bayern Munich in consecutive legs, it’s hard to argue anyone deserves this more than Simeone’s men.

Europa League preview: Liverpool, Shakhtar look to overcome Spanish foes

VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28:  Cedric Bakambu of Villarreal is watched by the Liverpool defence during the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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The second leg of the Europa League semifinals kick off tomorrow, with two La Liga sides looking to make it an all-Spanish final.

[ MORE: Premier League Playback ]

Villarreal holds a 1-0 lead over Liverpool, while Sevilla scored two away goals in their 2-2 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk.

Liverpool vs. Villarreal – 3:05 p.m. ET
Villarreal won first leg 1-0

Adrian Lopez’s late winner in the first leg has given Villarreal a slight lead, while the Spanish side did well not to concede an away goal. However, Liverpool have overcome deficits at Anfield before, including their memorable 4-3 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals. Emre Can is back fit for the Reds, as manager Jurgen Klopp will hope his fellow German can help the team to a cup final in his first year in charge.

[ RELATED: Liverpool preparing for another big Thursday night at Anfield ]

Sevilla vs. Shakhtar Donetsk – 3:05 p.m. ET
First leg ended 2-2 draw 

Sevilla are looking to become the first team to win three consecutive Europa League titles as the two-time defending champions face off against Shakhtar Donetsk. Sevilla are in the driver’s seat after scoring two away goals in Ukraine, and will feel confident of advancing to the final with a great home record at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

Men in Blazers podcast: Celebrating Leicester’s title with Arlo White

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In the latest Men in Blazers podcast, Rog and Davo celebrate Leicester City’s improbable Premier League title with Leicester’s own Arlo White.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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European police say Russian mafia infiltrating soccer clubs

LISBON, PORTUGAL - NOVEMBER 04:  Sporting Lisbon fans celebrate after their team score a goal during the Portuguese Liga match between Sporting Lisbon and Uniao Leiria at the Alvalade XXI Stadium on November 4, 2005 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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LISBON, Portugal (AP) Portuguese and European police say they have broken up a cell of an important Russian mafia group that allegedly laundered money through European football clubs.

Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said in a statement Wednesday the group identified EU football clubs in financial distress and infiltrated them with benefactors who brought much-needed cash.

[ MORE: Man City bounced from UCL ]

Once they were in control, the mobsters allegedly laundered millions of euros (dollars) through player transfers, TV rights deals and betting.

Portuguese and European police on Tuesday raided third-division Portuguese club Uniao de Leiria and arrested three key members of the Russian gang. Three other Portuguese clubs’ premises were searched.

Europol said the operation helped identify serious crimes in Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom, though it gave no details.