Roberto Soldado’s arrival takes Tottenham’s summer spending over $75 million


After missing out on fourth-place in heartbreaking fashion, again, last season, Tottenham Hotspur are trying to put that right… by throwing plenty of money around.

So far Andre Villas-Boas has spent a whopping $79 million on just three players.

And if he can keep Gareth Bale at the club, Spurs will have an extremely good chance of reaching not just the top four, but making a modest challenge for the title.

That assessment may seem far-fetched.

But with new eras being ushered in at Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United, Spurs are deservedly in the upper echelons of the Premier League. And with North London neighbors Arsenal yet to spend big this summer, Tottenham could mount a serious challenge for at least a place in the top three.

(MORE: Paulinho confirms he’s on his way to Tottenham)

Of course this all depends on whether or not they can resist the overtures of Real Madrid. But let’s forget about Bale for now, and look at the three men they’ve bought in.

The first arrival of the summer was Brazilian midfielder Paulinho. He shone at the Confederations Cup and was the driving force in Brazil’s engine room as they lifted the trophy. Spurs’ midfield has been crying out for someone to really make the holding midfield spot their own. Scott Parker has been missing through injury and Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore didn’t set the world alight last season. Paulinho’s $28 million arrival from Corinthians will solidify Spurs’ midfield, with the feisty 25-year-old ready to be unleashed in the new campaign.

Then Belgian winger Nacer Chadli arrived from FC Twente for $11 million, with the 24-year-old winger expected to push for a spot out wide in Spurs’ new look attack. With Clint Dempsey gone, and the future of Jermain Defoe and Bale shrouded in mystery, Spurs will look to Gylfi Sigurdsson, Aaron Lennon and Chadli to bring pace, goals and attacking creativity from the wing. Belgian international Chadli will certainly get Spurs fans off their feet this campaign.

(MORE: What can we expect from Roberto Soldado at Spurs?)

And finally, today Roberto Soldado‘s switch from Valencia was officially sealed. The Spanish international striker cost $40 million and will spearhead Tottenham’s Champions League charge. The 28-year-old targetman will pull it all together with his goals, tireless running and cultured hold up play. If Bale does stay — as Soldado has pleaded with him to do so — this summer’s spending spree will give him plenty of top tools to play alongside and wreck havoc in the Premier League next season.

Spurs are building a fine squad. That’s what happens when you splash the cash.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

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Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.

Statement from suspended UEFA president Michel Platini

Michel Platini, UEFA & FIFA
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Statement from suspended UEFA President Michel Platini:

Early this afternoon, I was informed of the FIFA ethics committee’s decision to impose on me a provisional 90-day suspension with immediate effect. That decision, which I will of course contest in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time, had already been the subject of a deliberate leak, and I gave my opinion on that earlier in the day.

I reject all of the allegations that have been made against me, which are based on mere semblances and are astonishingly vague. Indeed, the wording of those allegations merely states that a breach of the FIFA Code of Ethics “seems to have been committed” and that a decision on the substance of the matter cannot be taken immediately.

Despite the farcical nature of these events, I refuse to believe that this is a political decision taken in haste in order to taint a lifelong devotee of the game or crush my candidacy for the FIFA presidency.

I want everyone to know my state of mind: more than a sense of injustice or a desire for revenge, I am driven by a profound feeling of staunch defiance. I am more determined than ever to defend myself before the relevant judicial bodies.

I want to reiterate in the strongest possible terms that I will devote myself to ensuring that my good faith prevails. I have received numerous messages of support today from UEFA’s member associations and the other confederations encouraging me to continue my work serving football’s interests. Nothing will make me give up on that commitment.