Fulham could face transfer embargo over signing of French teen

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French Ligue 2 side Lens are furious over the transfer of 18-year-old midfielder Ange-Freddy Plumain, and could potentially take Fulham to court over the move.

Fulham confirmed the free transfer of Plumain on Thursday, but Lens claim in a statement on their official website that the Paris-born midfielder was still under contract and therefore could not be sold on a free.

According to Lens, Plumain was under contract, and had been absent from the club since July 8, therefore in violation of the contract.  They also said he had not received permission to speak with any other clubs.

The official statement from the club reads:

English club Fulham recently reported the signing of Ange-Freddy Plumain. Racing Club de Lens is surprised to hear the information to the extent that the player still under contract, and had no authorization on a possible engagement. The player has been absent from his place of work since July 8, without a valid reason. A procedure has been initiated against the various parties concerned.

This situation bears eerily similar basic pretenses as the spat Lens had with Chelsea in 2007 over the transfer of striker Gael Kakuta.

Kakuta, then with Lens in Ligue 1, signed with Chelsea against his former club’s wishes, who then complained to FIFA.  The world governing body imposed an immediate and shocking 2-year transfer embargo on Chelsea.  Kakuta was suspended from play for four months, as FIFA declared both player and club were “jointly and severely liable.”

Chelsea appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, who then ruled Kakuta’s contract with Lens was not valid and therefore could not be breached, lifting the embargo in the process.  Chelsea also came to an agreement with the French side, compensating Lens about £100,000 for the player.

It would be hard to imagine, having already gone through the process once, that Lens would be putting a wrong foot here.

This could be a devastating situation for Fulham if a transfer embargo were to be placed on the club, and would serve as a serious blow to new owner Shahid Khan.  Many fans are expecting Khan to inject new money into the club to be used in the transfer market this summer.

MLS Snapshot: Colorado Rapids 1-2 Real Salt Lake

SANDY UT - MARCH 14: Olmes Garcia #13 of Real Salt Lake celebrates his goal during their game against the Philadelphia Union at Rio Tinto Stadium on March 14, 2015 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
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The game in 100 words (or less): Real Salt Lake stays alive in the hunt for a playoff berth in the Western Conference with a crucial 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids. After falling behind early, RSL scored twice before halftime and held onto the lead for the rest of the match, moving within three points of the final playoff spot in the West. Real Salt Lake has three matches remaining, including a massive clash against the Portland Timbers, which will pretty much decide their season. For Colorado, it’s another year without playoff soccer.

[ MORE: FC Dallas clinches playoff berth ]

Three moments that mattered

16′ — Doyle heads Colorado into the lead — The former Premier League man gave the home side an early lead, thanks to a powerful header from quite a bit out. Sean St. Ledger played in a cross, where Doyle snapped a header into the top corner past Nick Rimando.

33′ — Joao Plata bends in the free kick — Trailing 1-0, Joao Plata drew RSL level with a brilliant free kick. Plata’s shot dipped over the wall and under the crossbar, as Clint Irwin stood helpless in goal for Colorado.

43′ — Mulholland fires home a volley to put RSL ahead — Luke Mulholland scored his first goal of the season, and it was a beauty. A corner kick popped out to the midfielder at the top of the box, as he rifled a shot off the bounce and into the side netting.

Man of the match: Luke Mulholland

Goalscorers: Doyle (16′), Plata (33′), Mulholland (43′)

Wenger lauds team spirit following Arsenal’s big win

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Arsenal put on a superb performance against Manchester United today, flying out to a three-goal lead in the opening 20 minutes of the match.

[ RECAP: Arsenal 3-0 Manchester United ]

United was stunned by the fast-paced, free-flowing Arsenal attack, unable to recover from the Gunners’ early dominance.

All of this came on the heels of a disappointing loss to Olympiacos in the Champions League, after which many questioned manager Arsene Wenger and his side.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from Arsenal’s win vs. Manchester United ]

Following the big 3-0 win at the Emirates, Wenger praised his team’s spirit, saying there were outstanding performances throughout the side.

You go from Petr Cech up to Theo Walcott, and we had only outstanding performances. Sometimes we have that magic side in our game.

[Against Olympiacos] maybe we lacked a little bit of urgency and discipline, and that’s why we lost the game. But let’s not forget, last Saturday we won 5-2 at Leicester. Today we beat Man United 3-0.

[The players] have shown that we have an outstanding spirit in the squad. To respond the way we did after what happened to us, you need to have an exceptional spirit.

The Gunners’ performance today immediately silenced all the critics, as Wenger’s side put out on a display that many have been waiting for all season. The combination play of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott was brilliant, as Santi Cazorla continued to impress in the center of the midfield.

Wenger’s teams have not always been known to show strong heart and resiliency, but that’s exactly what they showed today against a Manchester United side that was in great form. Now sitting second on the table, Arsenal continues to climb up the Premier League.