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Arsene Wenger aims big: “We need one or two super players”

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LONDON — Following Arsenal’s closely-fought 1-0 win over Tottenham in a fierce North London on Sunday, the sell-out crowd of 60,073 and the hoards of gathered media only wanted to ask manager Arsene Wenger one question…

‘Will you sign anyone?’

And the French manager kept every guessing but admitted he is confident of adding top quality additions before the transfer window shuts.

“We have 24 more hours, maybe we can surprise you, maybe not,” Wenger said. “I am always confident and I’ve delivered very little until now. But I am confident, yes.”

Wenger was also asked about Tottenham’s heavy-spending and how that relates to Arsenal’s need in the transfer market, Wenger set out the Gunners targets in no uncertain terms. He’s going for the big boys.

“The need is different for us,” Wenger said. “We need one or two ‘super players’ and we will try to add them.”

The 63-year-old French manager has been lambasted by many Arsenal fans all summer for not spending big and stuttering in the transfer market. However on Sunday Wenger conceded he may pay over the odds to get the big names he strives to add to his squad.

(MORE: Arsenal 1-0 Tottenham; Giroud’s strike seals tense win for Gunners)

“I am ready to pay what we can afford, ” Wenger said. “Even if it’s a bit over the market, as long as it’s not crazy, I’m not against spending.”

Many would argue otherwise.

However with Arsenal and many other clubs, most notably Manchester United, caught up in ‘transfer inactivity’ over the summer as the big players stalled to weigh up their options, Wenger admitted he’s been waiting for deals elsewhere to help him seal his targets. Now it’s all down to the final day of the transfer deadline.

“It’s a domino game,” Wenger said. “Maybe something will happen in the last 24 hours, maybe not. It’s very difficult to predict.”

Spurs have bought big during the transfer window and during the week Wenger had mentioned that it may, at first, have an adverse affect on the fortunes of his North London rivals. That certainly seemed to be the case during Tottenham’s disjointed 1-0 defeat at Arsenal.

“You need a bit of time when you buy many players, that is normal,” Wenger said. “I think the players they bought are quality, you could see that today. But you always need a bit more time when you buy more than three players.”

Arsenal fans will be desperately scouring any media outlet they can in the next 24 hours to see if Wenger will sign the ‘one or two super players’ he’s targeting.

As the famous saying goes… “Go big, or go home.”

Bayern’s Vidal says “ugly” Atletico not deserved UCL finalists

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 27: Juanfran of Atletico Madrid and Arturo Vidal of Bayern Munich argue during the UEFA Champions League semi final first leg match between Club Atletico de Madrid and FC Bayern Muenchen at Vincente Calderon on April 27, 2016 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
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Bayern Munich midfielder Arturo Vidal has declared “ugly” Atletico Madrid unworthy finalists in the UEFA Champions League.

Bayern was eliminated in the Champions League semifinal by Atleti on Tuesday, with Diego Simeone’s Spanish side advancing on away goals.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s UCL coverage ]

However, Vidal believed Bayern were the better team in the second leg, saying Atletico played “ugly football” to get through.

Today ugly football – Atletico – played against the best football in the world. The only time they saw the ball was for the goal.

They are going to be dreaming about us right up to the final. They did not have the ball, they took on the best team in the world, they took their chances and got to the final.

The best does not always win in football, like today. They are not deserved finalists.

Bayern Munich controlled more than 70-percent of possession and had 33 shots compared to Atletico’s nine, but those stats mean little as Antoine Griezmann’s away goal was enough to send Atleti to the final.

[ MORE: Former England striker Joe Cole headed to NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies ]

Atletico may not play the most attractive football, but after eliminating Barcelona and Bayern Munich in consecutive legs, it’s hard to argue anyone deserves this more than Simeone’s men.

Europa League preview: Liverpool, Shakhtar look to overcome Spanish foes

VILLARREAL, SPAIN - APRIL 28:  Cedric Bakambu of Villarreal is watched by the Liverpool defence during the UEFA Europa League semi final first leg match between Villarreal CF and Liverpool at Estadio El Madrigal on April 28, 2016 in Villarreal, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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The second leg of the Europa League semifinals kick off tomorrow, with two La Liga sides looking to make it an all-Spanish final.

[ MORE: Premier League Playback ]

Villarreal holds a 1-0 lead over Liverpool, while Sevilla scored two away goals in their 2-2 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk.

Liverpool vs. Villarreal – 3:05 p.m. ET
Villarreal won first leg 1-0

Adrian Lopez’s late winner in the first leg has given Villarreal a slight lead, while the Spanish side did well not to concede an away goal. However, Liverpool have overcome deficits at Anfield before, including their memorable 4-3 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals. Emre Can is back fit for the Reds, as manager Jurgen Klopp will hope his fellow German can help the team to a cup final in his first year in charge.

[ RELATED: Liverpool preparing for another big Thursday night at Anfield ]

Sevilla vs. Shakhtar Donetsk – 3:05 p.m. ET
First leg ended 2-2 draw 

Sevilla are looking to become the first team to win three consecutive Europa League titles as the two-time defending champions face off against Shakhtar Donetsk. Sevilla are in the driver’s seat after scoring two away goals in Ukraine, and will feel confident of advancing to the final with a great home record at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

Men in Blazers podcast: Celebrating Leicester’s title with Arlo White

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In the latest Men in Blazers podcast, Rog and Davo celebrate Leicester City’s improbable Premier League title with Leicester’s own Arlo White.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

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European police say Russian mafia infiltrating soccer clubs

LISBON, PORTUGAL - NOVEMBER 04:  Sporting Lisbon fans celebrate after their team score a goal during the Portuguese Liga match between Sporting Lisbon and Uniao Leiria at the Alvalade XXI Stadium on November 4, 2005 in Lisbon, Portugal.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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LISBON, Portugal (AP) Portuguese and European police say they have broken up a cell of an important Russian mafia group that allegedly laundered money through European football clubs.

Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said in a statement Wednesday the group identified EU football clubs in financial distress and infiltrated them with benefactors who brought much-needed cash.

[ MORE: Man City bounced from UCL ]

Once they were in control, the mobsters allegedly laundered millions of euros (dollars) through player transfers, TV rights deals and betting.

Portuguese and European police on Tuesday raided third-division Portuguese club Uniao de Leiria and arrested three key members of the Russian gang. Three other Portuguese clubs’ premises were searched.

Europol said the operation helped identify serious crimes in Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom, though it gave no details.