Wednesday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Mata to Spurs, Ozil to Arsenal

3 Comments

Tottenham and Arsenal are said to be battling it out for Chelsea’s Juan Mata, after the Spanish international was left on the bench during Monday’s 0-0 draw with Manchester United. José Mourinho stated Mata would not leave, but the 25-year-old midfielder may want to move elsewhere in London to become the focal point of Arsenal or Spurs’ attack. Mata’s father, also his agent, watched Arsenal’s win over Fenerbache at the Emirates on Tuesday night. Have the Gunners jumped ahead of Spurs?

German international Mesut Ozil, 24, is edging closer to the exit door at Real Madrid after throwing a tantrum when substituted on Monday against Granada. Ozil is reportedly top of Arsenal’s wishlist but the Gunners must be prepared to pay Ozil’s wage demands of $300,000 per week. The attacking midfielder would certainly shine in North London, but is he worth breaking the bank for?

Eliaquim Mangala could arrive at Old Trafford this week, as David Moyes aims to strengthen Manchester United’s defense. The 22-year-old FC Porto defender would add extra cover and competition across the backline, with Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic both injury prone in recent years, it might not be a bad idea to add the highly-rated French international.

Another player Real Madrid and Arsenal are reportedly chasing is Sevilla midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia. However the 20 year-old could be heading to Monaco for $25 million, according to these reports in France. The French international holding midfeilder has said to have bought out his contract at Sevilla, as he’s part owned by Doyen Sports Investments – the same company who have a stake in Radamel Falcao. So a move to Monaco would make sense.

source: Getty Images
Will Ozil join Arsenal?

Elsewhere Manchester United are giving Chelsea a taste of their own medicine, by offering a deal worth $45 million for Brazilian defender David Luiz. The 26-year-old attack-minded center back would be a highly unlikely addition to Moyes’ United squad, however he is looking to strengthen at the back and stranger things have happened.

Sam Allardyce continues to wheel and deal in the transfer market and Honduran international striker Roger Rojas, 23, could join on loan from Club Deportivo Olimpia. Rojas has impressed for Honduras in their recent World Cup qualifying campaign and the Hammers need extra cover up front to challenge Andy Carroll. Big Sam loves a big bargain, and Rojas could become a star at Upton Park.

If Newcastle United do lose French midfielder Yohan Cabaye to Arsenal this week, Alan Pardew has Wigan’s Irish international James McCarthy lined up. The 22-year-old midfielder would love a return to the Premier League following Wigan’s relegation and move to the Magpies would suit everyone. Will the Latics let him leave for $15 million?

Real Madrid winger Angel Di Maria could be heading to Turkish giants Galatasaray, after the two clubs have reportedly agreed a fee for the Argentinian international. Di Maria, 25, may see his minutes diminish considerably at Madrid when Gareth Bale arrives. Seems like a lucrative switch to Istanbul could be on the way.

Crystal Palace may turn to QPR’s controversial midfielder Joey Barton, with the 30-year-old Englishman set to cost $5 million. Barton excelled on loan at Marseille last season but the hotheaded Liverpudlian has not yet received an offer from the French club to return to Ligue 1 and Everton were rumored to be interested. He will want a move away from QPR and the Championship if possible, but are Palace the right club?

Jose Mourinho’s father dies in Portugal

FC Porto
Leave a comment

Jose Mourinho’s father has passed away at the age of 79.

Vitoria Setubal confirmed in a statement that Felix Mourinho had died in Portugal and will be buried in the City of Setubal, 25 miles south of Lisbon, on Tuesday.

No cause of death has been given.

Mourinho’s father played as a goalkeeper for Vitoria Setubal before going on to be a coach and club director, while also playing for the Portuguese national team in 1972.

Felix won the Portuguese cup in 1965 and heavily influenced Mourinho’s career with Jose scouting for his father and observing his training sessions from an early age.

The Manchester United manager, who has won the UEFA Champions League with FC Porto and Inter Milan, as well as domestic titles in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain, posted the following photo of himself and his father on Instagram late Sunday but didn’t include a comment.

A post shared by Jose Mourinho (@josemourinho) on

Several of Jose Mourinho’s former clubs have also passed on their condolences to Mourinho via their social media accounts.

Dempsey, Sounders steal a point on wild night in Portland

Pete Christopher/The Oregonian via AP
Leave a comment

The game in 100 words (or less): An entire game can change in the blink of an eye. For the Seattle Sounders, that blink came in the 44th minute of Sunday’s 2-2 draw with the Portland Timbers. Up 1-0 by way of Joevin Jones’ opener in the 27th minute, the defending MLS Cup champs were poised to head into halftime with a one-goal advantage and every belief imaginable that they’d been the better team for the entire first half. Blink. Brad Evans wrapped his legs around Darlington Nagbe, giving away a penalty and earning himself a red card, just like that, in the blink of an eye. Fanendo Adi stepped up to convert from the spot, but it still was to be a hard-fought 1-1 scoreline from Seattle’s perspective. Then, Dairon Asprilla got loose, completely unmarked atop the six-yard box, on a corner kick, and it was 2-1 after four minutes of first-half stoppage time. 45 more minutes pass, and the Timbers… blink. Clint Dempsey, 34 years old but fresh off the bench 40 minutes earlier, out-leaps everyone in the box and heads past Jake Gleeson to steal a point for Seattle.

[ MORE: San Jose fire Kinnear after 2.5 seasons ]

Three Four moments that mattered

27′ — Jones gets two chances, puts the second away — It’s a classic case of “I dropped my controller” from Alvas Powell, who just stops as Jones cuts across the penalty area. There’s no reason Jones should get a second look on this one.

44′ — Evans brings down Nagbe in the box, sees red — Goodbye, lead. Goodbye 11 versus 11. Things would unravel very quickly for Seattle.

45+4′ — Asprilla rises above to make it 2-1 — Seattle’s marking of Asprilla was nonexistent, and the Colombian showed off some serious hops to get his head to David Guzman’s corner kick.

90+4′ — Dempsey heads home deep in stoppage time — A costly turnover by Asprilla, a hit-it-and-pray cross by Roman Torres, and Dempsey snatches a point at the death.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Cristian Roldan

Goalscorers: Jones (27′), Adi (45′ – PK), Asprilla (45+4′), Dempsey (90+4′)

Russia has reasons for optimism despite Confed Cup exit

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images
Leave a comment

MOSCOW (AP) When the anger subsides after another group stage exit and another goalkeeping blunder, Russian fans might find they can be proud of their team at the Confederations Cup.

Russia failed to reach the knockout rounds of a fourth major tournament in a row, but there’s no shame in losing by one goal to European champion Portugal and North American champion Mexico.

“We will move on,” coach Stanislav Cherchesov said after Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Mexico. “We have won (the fans’) hearts and minds to a certain extent in this month that we have been together … I think that we have given some reasons to feel optimistic about us.”

If Russia’s fans agreed with Cherchesov that Russia had done well to limit Portugal to a single Cristiano Ronaldo goal, there was frustration that Russia hadn’t done better against a poor Mexican side.

Russia wasted chances to exploit Mexico’s ragged defending and add to Alexander Samedov’s opener, while goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev performed an inexplicable lunge which allowed Hirving Lozano to head in the winner. Akinfeev was lucky not to be red-carded, too, after his foot caught Lozano in the chest.

Akinfeev was the immediate scapegoat for Russia’s exit, with fans and newspapers calling for his removal.

The most-capped player in the squad – the Mexico game was his 101st international appearance – Akinfeev’s bulletproof consistency in the Russian Premier League has kept him the undisputed national-team No. 1 for years.

When the world is watching, though, he gets flustered and makes mistakes.

Against South Korea at the 2014 World Cup, an innocuous long shot slipped from his grasp and went in, paving the way for another early Russian exit from the tournament. There have been more than a few blunders in the 43 games since Akinfeev last kept a clean sheet for CSKA in the Champions League, too.

But it’s hard to see who could replace him. The naturalized Brazilian reserve keeper Guilheme is agile but injury prone, while Vladimir Gabulov is a solid but unspectacular veteran. Zenit St. Petersburg’s Yuri Lodygin challenged Akinfeev for a while, but was brought low by his own tendency for embarrassing errors.

On the positive side for Russia, defender Georgy Dzhikiya was solid in all three group games after having only made his debut on June 5, and Cherchesov’s three-man back line was mostly reliable.

Less successful was Cherchesov’s attempt to bolster the midfield by starting Roman Shishkin – usually a defender – in a defensive midfield role against Portugal and Mexico, while 33-year-old ex-Chelsea winger Yuri Zhirkov did his World Cup hopes no favors with a red card Saturday.

Russia’s run of injuries before the tournament weakened the midfield in particular, with Alan Dzagoev and the promising Roman Zobnin both missing out. Forward Artyom Dzyuba’s absence left Cherchesov relying heavily on Fyodor Smolov, who showed touches of class but missed a good chance against Portugal.

Perhaps the biggest damage from Russia’s Confederations Cup exit will be to Russian pride.

Officials have often bragged that the home advantage for next year’s World Cup could drive Russia to new heights, perhaps a repeat of South Korea’s charge to the semifinals in 2002. Those expectations are now being reviewed.

Just one World Cup host in history – South Africa in 2010 – has failed to get out of the group stage. Avoiding a repeat may be the most Russia can hope for.

FOLLOW LIVE: Timbers host Sounders in PNW showdown

Photo by Diego Diaz/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images
Leave a comment

They don’t get much bigger, or more heated, than this one in MLS — it’s Portland versus Seattle, the Timbers versus the Sounders, tonight at Providence Park (10 p.m. ET).

[ FOLLOW LIVE: Timbers vs. Sounders ]

To keep up-to-the-second informed on proceedings in Portland this evening, hit the above link, or click right here.

Seattle won the first meeting between these sides, 1-0 back on May 27, on their home turf at CenturyLink Field. Cristian Roldan, who’ll depart for U.S. national team camp following Sunday’s game, scored the only goal that afternoon in Seattle, a 4th-minute header from three yards out.