Even “ridiculous” money won’t buy Michu

Leave a comment

Don’t even think about it.

That’s the advice Swansea manager Michael Laudrup has doled out to Arsenal amidst rumors that the Gunners are interested in buying Spanish sensation Michu.

After sputtering out in their pursuit of Gonzalo Higuain, Luis Suarez and Wayne Rooney, Arsenal are reportedly turning their interest to alternative options up top, with the Swansea hitman topping the list.

But Laudrup has set forth to squash any hope that Arsene Wenger may have before it grows too large. Having previously stated that he values Michu in the region of £30 million, Laudrup explained his feelings in detail.

“I think economically the club is very good,” said Laudrup. “I know if they (Arsenal) came in with a very late bid, I know that the reaction from the board and chairman will be ‘No’, even if the money is ridiculous, as we will not have time enough to find a replacement who is near enough to the same standard.”

Laudrup was also quick to quell any belief that huge money could sway his position. “You can say we would get a lot of money but why be the richest club in the championship? What is that worth?”

Of course, while Laudrup may not see the upside in “ridiculous” money, that’s not to say that chairman Huw Jenkins wouldn’t feel otherwise. The two were at odds earlier this summer over transfer market expenses, with Laudrup eventually winning out as he was given £12 million to sign striker Wilfried Bony, a deal which smashed the previous club record by £6.5 million.

But thus far there is no indication that Jenkins is seeking to recover those funds or the £7.5 million Laudrup spent on defender Jordi Amat and midfielder Jonjo Shelvey (the Swans other signings were all free transfers or undisclosed).

At the end of the day keeping Michu at the Liberty Stadium is all part of the agreement made between manager and player. “I spoke to Michu last year,” Laudrup added, “and he extended his contract and asked me about mine and I said ‘I am going to stay here’, and he said, ‘So am I’.”

So there you have it.

Michu and Swansea City host the mighty Red Devils of Manchester United this Saturday at 12:30 pm EST on NBC.

 

CCL: Lodeiro from 45; Royer’s diving header — SEA, RBNY lead (video)

AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter
Leave a comment

After 45 minutes of their respective CONCACAF Champions League knockout-round quests, things are going unnervingly well for the Seattle Sounders and New York Red Bulls.

[ MORE: FC Dallas disappoint in CCL; Club America flying ]

If you’ve watched Major League Soccer teams try, try and try again — only to eventually fail in spectacular fashion — in CCL over the years, you might say things are going a little too well.

There’s still another 45 minutes to be played on Thursday — plus the return legs next week — but both the Sounders and Red Bulls hold 1-0 halftime leads, and the vitally important away goals which come with it. Nicolas Lodeiro’s 45-yard, first-time lob of the Santa Tecla (El Salvador) goalkeeper in the 15th minute has already been eternally etched into the memories of Sounders fans.

Just 15 minutes later, Daniel Royer perfectly executed the diving header and got on the end of Bradley Wright-Phillips’ curling ball into the box to Jesse Marsch’s side ahead of Honduran side CD Olimpia.

Villarreal DF Semedo charged with attempted murder

AP Photo/Alberto Saiz
Leave a comment

MADRID (AP) A Spanish judge has charged Villarreal defender Ruben Semedo with attempted murder and ordered him to be temporarily detained without bail.

Court officials in Lliria say on Thursday the Portuguese player is also charged with assault, robbery, illegal detention, and illegal possession of firearms.

Semedo testified before a judge on Thursday, and left the court in handcuffs.

The 23-year-old Semedo was detained early Tuesday, accused of tying up, assaulting and threatening another man last week. Authorities say he and two other men allegedly held the victim captive while they robbed his apartment.

Semedo’s agents told Spanish media the player denies any wrongdoing.

Villarreal on Tuesday said it was investigating Semedo and would take appropriate disciplinary action.

Villarreal signed Semedo from Sporting Lisbon last summer for a reported fee of $17 million.

Wenger: Arsenal “complacent, had no ideas” in Ostersunds loss

Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Perhaps Sunday’s League Cup final had already reached the forefront of their minds, but Arsene Wenger admonished his players, whom he said were “complacent, not focused” and “had no ideas” for much of Thursday’s Europa League defeat, at home, to Swedish side Ostersunds.

[ MORE: Premier League TV schedule | Man United vs. Chelsea ]

The Gunners advanced to the round of 16 on the back of their 3-0 first-leg victory last week, but Wenger was understandably displeased by the effort he saw and expressed such feelings in no uncertain terms, before quickly easing up and praising the fact they were able to pull back a goal against the current fifth-place team from Sweden — quotes from the BBC:

“We were not at the races in the first half,” said Wenger, who saw his side booed off at half-time and full-time. I think in the second half it was much better and we should have scored a few goals.

“In the first half, we were in trouble and in danger because we were complacent, not focused and were open every time we lost the ball. We had no ideas with the ball and that’s why we were in trouble.

“We responded very well because we did the job to qualify, but that’s what we have to take from the night and that’s all.”

With Arsenal now trailing fourth-place Chelsea by eight points (and seven back of fifth-place Tottenham Hotspur), winning the Europa League might just be the Gunners’ last chance at qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Batshuayi racially abused by Atalanta fans

AP Photo/Martin Meissner
Leave a comment

Borussia Dortmund striker Michy Batshuayi says he was subject to racist chants from Atalanta fans during a Europa League game in Italy.

The Belgium international, on loan from Chelsea, tweeted:

Dortmund advanced to the round of 16 by drawing 1-1 to beat Atalanta 4-3 on aggregate on Thursday.

The game was played at Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emilia because Atalanta’s home stadium is unsuitable for UEFA games.

There have been several incidents of racism at Serie A matches this season.