Barcelona bid for David Luiz – Is there any hope for the Blaugrana?

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After months of speculation Barcelona have made an official bid for Chelsea defender David Luiz, according to Sky Sports.

The bid is undisclosed but is thought to be worth somewhere in the region of $26-$34 million (£17-£22m), which is considerably less than the $53 million (£34.5m) bid the Catalan giants were rumored to be preparing.

Amount of the bid aside, Barcelona have signaled their intent to get a deal done for the defender as representatives flew into London on Tuesday for negotiations.

There is little to suggest that the subject bid will interest Chelsea. Earlier in the summer Manchester United and Bayern Munich made their interest in the Brazilian known, with the later being told by the Blues that only an offer in the $80 million (£52m) would entertain.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has further dulled the prospects of selling Luiz by publicly and privately saying that the club will not be selling the Brazilian. Mourinho issued flattery towards Luiz after his side’s 2-0 pre-season win over AC Milan: “David has come back with us fantastically and we have to use his quality. He has big self-confidence and self-esteem, especially when he comes up from the back with the ball.”

Any sale of Luiz at this point would also come as a shock given how well the player has adapted to Premier League football. Arriving at the club in January 2011 from Benfica, Luiz was an athletic but unpolished talent that frequently found himself out of position and prone to mistake. Last season, however, the center-back adjusted tremendously, making himself a regular in the starting lineup and a major threat going forward.

His defensive positioning still comes into question but the mistakes are fewer and far between. Further, Luiz has proven himself to be a valuable member in the locker room with his laid-back, jovial approach. The fan favorite also has many – including John Terry – believing that Luiz could be the future captain of the club.

All of this comes at odds with Barcelona’s approach. The Blaugrana appear to have accepted that a defense comprised of an aging and increasingly fragile Carles Puyol, a slowing Gerard Pique and full-backs who take more pride in going forward than defending is not a Champions League winning combination. Earlier this summer Barca failed in their attempt to scoop up Marquinhos from Roma and as of now, the move for Luiz looks like it’s heading in the same direction.

WATCH: Camila’s wicked swerving goal for Brazil

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The Tournament of Nations got underway earlier Thursday, with Brazil and Japan drawing 1-1 in Seattle.

While some in the crowd may’ve been waiting to see the United States women’s national team and Australia in the second game of the twin bill, they got an absolute treat from Brazil’s Camila.

[ MORE: Galaxy’s season-changing signing ]

The Orlando Pride midfielder is yet to scoop up 10 caps, but blasted this 25-yard goal home with a wicked outside bend.

The aesthetics are terrific.

LA Galaxy’s second Dos Santos signing is a season-changer

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Remember this day, MLS fans, as one that perhaps helped determine an MLS Cup Finalist.

The LA Galaxy have signed Villarreal midfielder and Mexican national teamer Jonathan Dos Santos, and he’s the sort of player who could alter the landscape of the Western Conference.

Like Nicolas Lodeiro to Seattle last season and New England’s addition of Jermaine Jones in 2014, Dos Santos’ move comes with the distinct possibility of elevating LA into the next stratosphere.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

Take the Galaxy’s history of winning, and toss in a midseason coaching improvement from Curt Onalfo to Sigi Schmid, as well as MVP-in-their-own-right caliber teammates Giovani Dos Santos, Romain Alessandrini, and Jelle van Damme.

Don’t sleep on the fact that Schmid might be gathering momentum from inheriting a talented and underachieving roster and a brand new game-changing midfielder, which feels a bit like karmic retribution for Seattle firing him and signing Lodeiro the next day last season. Seattle only went and won the MLS Cup.

Schmid has used any number of formations, but could deploy a 4-3-3 with Jona Dos Santos, Jermaine Jones, and Joao Pedro in the midfielder and Giovani Dos Santos, Alessandrini, and Gyasi Zardes up top (Sebastian Lletget could return at some point, too).

Now FC Dallas is very deep, Sporting KC looks powerful, and Seattle won it all last year — plus, may be adding Derlis Gonzalez?!? — but LA’s move to add Dos Santos creates a quartet of teams with proven mettle (Houston looks decent, too, but I have concerns about their first-time as a unit in the playoffs).

Joey Barton’s gambling ban lowered by almost 5 months

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Joey Barton’s 18-month ban for betting on almost 1,300 soccer-related events has been lowered to 13 months and one week.

Putting aside the hilarity of grown men and women discussing whether an extra week was necessary, the alteration means he’ll be eligible to return to football on June 1, 2018.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Arriola attracting transfer interest ]

While that still hampers the idea of the 34-year-old playing again — he’ll be 36 when the ban ends — it’s a significant change if he’s open to the idea of returning to the game.

Barton’s original ban expired in late October 2018, well into a season. From Sky Sports:

The appeal board also agreed: “It was clear that Mr Barton was not involved in any cheating, he did not influence any games and there was nothing suspicious about his bets.

“(The reduction) reflects the overall seriousness of the breaches and also the mitigation of Mr Barton’s addiction.”

Barton’s remarkably controversial career has including several suspensions and imprisonment, but he always found his way back to the field and was very good when in form. After time at Manchester City and Newcastle United, Barton fended off naysayers with stints at QPR, Marseille, Burnley, and a regrettable move to Rangers.

We may see him on the field in August 2018.

FIFA fines Qatar after players’ political support for Emir

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ZURICH (AP) FIFA has fined Qatar’s soccer federation after national team players breached rules against political statements by displaying T-shirts of the country’s Emir at a World Cup qualifier.

FIFA says its disciplinary panel imposed a 50,000 Swiss francs ($51,800) fine and reprimanded Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host.

[ MORE: Nainggolan staying at Roma ]

The incident happened in Doha on June 13, amid a dispute with regional rivals Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Qatar’s players warmed up for a 3-2 win over South Korea wearing white T-shirts with an image of Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to show their support for him.

FIFA says the charges related to “displaying a political image” and “political displays” by spectators.