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Done Deal: Transfer activity from September 1

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The penultimate day of Europe’s summer transfer season was about quality, not quantity. Instead of a slew of loan deals and squad player sales, Europe’s big five leagues saw only four deals completed, though three of them involved internationals. Particularly in a season before a World Cup, finding a place that guarantees playing time could be the difference between making your national team and being left at home.

Those details, however, are almost secondary, at this point. As of a few hours ago, it’s officially deadline day, with the chaos of inevitable transfer activity (real or rumored) guaranteed to lay siege to your sanity.

Every rumor’s an orc. Your Twitter timeline’s Helm’s Deep. (Jim White is Gandalf.)

For some of you, that means …

For others? The last day of a transfer window feels like …

Regardless, the whole thing will be over on Monday, 6:00 p.m. Eastern.

Here are the deals that went down on Sunday:

ENGLAND

Crystal Palace Jimmy Kebe is back in the Premier League. After being relegated with Reading last year, the 29-year-old French winger has latched on with Crystal Palace, who signed him to a three-year deal for a reported $3.1 million.

Manchester City – City tried to hold out for a lower fee for Martín DeMichelis (pictured), who Atlético Madrid picked up from Málaga this summer. Ultimately, because of their minor crisis at the back, the Sky Blues agreed to pay off the Atleti, though whether Atlético’s €5 million price was hit remains undisclosed.

SPAIN

Real Madrid – Apparently rebuilding, the Merengues have elected to take on 24-year-old Gareth Bale, Tottenham’s defender-cum-attacker having lost his place in Spurs’ attack after the summer acquisitions of Nacer Chadli, Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen and Roberto Soldado. It remains to be seen whether Carlo Ancelotti can get the prodigious yet raw talent to finally tap into his potential, but for $132,000, Real president Florentino Perez is wagering a change of scenery will do wonders for the Southampton product. (Author’s note: Turns out the fee was actually $132 million, which is a world record, or something.)

ITALY

Parma – Midfielder Walter Gargano, a regular for Internazionale last season, will spend the 2013-14 campaign at Parma, having finalized his loan on Sunday. The 29-year-old Uruguayan international will hope the switch ensures playing time ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

Reports say Wambach entering the fields of broadcasting, reporting

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CA - FEBRUARY 02:  America soccer player and two-time Olympic gold medalist Abby Wambach  attends the 2016 MAKERS Conference Day 2 at the Terrenea Resort on February 2, 2016 in Rancho Palos Verdes, California.  (Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for AOL)
Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for AOL
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She’s dipped her toes into the pool during the FIFA elections, and now USWNT soccer legend Abby Wambach may have found her second career.

The all-time leading goal scorer in international competition, Wambach will be branching into the media field.

[ UCL: Pellegrini hails road record | Ronaldo in ]

The Associated Press’ Anne M. Peterson says it’ll be as an analyst and contributor, while Sports Illustrated media mastermind Richard Deitsch expects her to dig a bit deeper into the reporting world.

Many athletes have succeeded in becoming broadcasters, but true reporting is a different animal. This will be an interesting story to follow.

Wambach’s name was in the news earlier this year when she plead guilty for a DUII charge. She retired from the playing field in December.

FA seeks eye-gouging ban for Dembele of more than 3 games

during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on May 02, 2016 in London, England.
Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images
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LONDON (AP) The English Football Association wants Tottenham midfielder Mousa Dembele banned for more than three matches for an apparent eye-gouge on Chelsea striker Diego Costa.

The FA retrospectively charged Dembele with violent conduct on Wednesday after the incident was missed by the match officials in Monday’s 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.

The FA says “the standard punishment of three matches that would otherwise apply is clearly insufficient.”

[ UCL: Pellegrini hails road record | Ronaldo in ]

Dembele has until Thursday to respond to the charge.

Both Tottenham and Chelsea have also been charged with three breaches of FA regulations for “failing to control their players and/or officials.”

The teams have until Monday to respond.

The draw ended second-place Tottenham’s title challenge.

How big of an upset would it be if Man City beats Real Madrid in the UCL?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 03:  The Manchester City squad warm up during a training session ahead of the UEFA Champions League Semi Final Second Leg match between Real Madrid and Manchester City at the Academy Training Ground on May 3, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
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Couple questions for you this fine Wednesday:

  1. Winning at the Bernabeu is no easy task, but would it genuinely be a massive upset if Man City takes down Real Madrid today?
  2. Even putting aside that a scoring draw would do the trick, are we sure the hype is matching up with realism here?

There’s obviously the “Combined XI” test, a flawed proposition that does provide some level of comparison nonetheless. Given the absences of David Silva and Pablo Zabaleta, Real’s depth shines here.

[ MORE: Pellegrini hails road record | Ronaldo in ]

The goalkeepers are both World Cup caliber backstops, and there’s not much difference in quality — if any — between Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas and England mainstay Joe Hart.

And while Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne and Yaya Toure are very much in the ballpark — on their day — with Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos, there are real gulfs in attacking and defending power between the clubs (especially with David Silva out for Man City).

Even in the final four of a major tournament like this, there’s a gap between both of these sides at both ends of the pitch. Even ignoring Cristiano Ronaldo which, come on, you’re looking at James Rodriguez, Isco (doubtful to play) and others.

The back line of Man City has taken injury hits, and Real’s back four might well carry any XI (especially while Vincent Kompany isn’t in peak condition). While Madrid’s backs run hot, they also can run wild. Sergio Ramos and Marcelo are upper echelon pieces.

There’s a significant edge in Manuel Pellegrini versus Zinedine Zidane, and tactically we can expect City to continue implementing its system well against Real Madrid’s 4-3-3. Forcing Real wide on the attack can work well, especially if Karim Benzema is unable to play and punish the interior in the air.

[ PL PLAYBACK: What does Leicester’s title say for the future? ]

We think it would genuinely be a surprise if City were to pull off a win, but no bigger a surprise than what Atletico Madrid pulled off once Antoine Griezmann hit his magnificent counter attack goal yesterday in Munich.

What say you?

FIFA prosecutors want life ban for Webb in bribery case

Sepp Blatter & Jeffrey Webb, FIFA
Szilard Koszticsak/MTI via AP, File
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ZURICH (AP) FIFA ethics prosecutors want a life ban imposed on former FIFA vice president Jeffrey Webb, who has pleaded guilty to racketeering charges in the United States.

The judging chamber of the FIFA ethics committee says it opened proceedings against Webb and will consider a verdict.

The ethics committee says it got a final investigation report last week from FIFA prosecutors.

[ PL PLAYBACK: What does Leicester’s title say for the future? ]

In November, Webb admitted to taking bribes worth millions of dollars linked to commercial rights for international soccer tournaments.

The former Cayman Islands banker should be sentenced in federal court in Brooklyn next month. He faces up to 20 years in prison.

Webb was president of the CONCACAF soccer body when he was arrested on May 27 at the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich.