Michu attracting Arsenal, Liverpool but Swansea slap $45 million price tag on him

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After receiving his first call up to the Spanish national team this week, it’s no surprise that Michu is being courted by some of the Premier League’s top teams.

It has been happening for a while already.

Reports in England on Wednesday suggest that both Liverpool and Arsenal are set to battle it out for the Spanish star when the transfer window reopens in January. But in order to deter those two illustrious suitors, Swansea have slapped a mammoth $45 million price tag on the 27-year-old strikers head. That will test their mettle.

(MORE: Michu finally called up to Spain squad, but will he fit in?)

See, Michu was a bargain at $3.5 million just over 12 months ago when the Swans snapped him up from Rayo Vallecano, and everyone knows it. So, for the Welsh side to be asking for a profit of over $41 million following one good season and a solid start to this campaign, it does seem a little ridiculous.

And no offense to Michu, but he’s no spring chicken, so should the Gunners and Liverpool look elsewhere?

Probably not.

As PST’s very own Mike Prindinville suggested yesterday, Michu is exactly what the Spanish national team has been missing, with his aggressive forward play and gangly genius in and around the box definitely differing from Spain’s usual tiki-taka approach. Yet his style does suit Arsenal and Liverpool superbly, with both teams playing with one out and out target forward who posts up high on the last man and can bring other attackers into the game with sumptuous balls wide and in behind the defense. Michu, despite being a great goalscorer with 27 goals in 54 games so far for Swansea, is also a creator. And if he were to join Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool, imagine the havoc he would create by threading through balls to Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge to attack from wide areas. The same could be said at Arsenal, with Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil and others onrushing to latch onto his wonderfully weighted passes.

Think about it.

Plus, both Arsenal and Liverpool have had strong starts to the season but will definitely need to bolster their rosters in January to help sustain their push for at least a top four spot. After Suarez and Sturridge, Liverpool really don’t have any top forward options, while the Gunners are even more desperate to bolster their offense, with no recognized strikers after Olivier Giroud and outcast Nicklas Bendtner.

Every player has his price, and although Swansea won’t want to lose Michu, could they really stand in his way of joining Liverpool or Arsenal?

So it’s up to those two to battle it out for the lanky Spaniard, a shed load of cash will get the job done. Is he worth it?

Independiente and Flamengo meet for South American trophy

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SAO PAULO (AP) Independiente, relegated for the first time in its history in 2013, can complete a remarkable turnaround by winning the Copa Sudamericana at the Maracana Stadium on Wednesday.

[ MORE: LA FC selects Urena, four others in MLS Expansion Draft ]

The Argentine team will go into the second leg of the final holding a 2-1 lead over Brazilian club Flamengo from the first leg.

Independiente, which has won multiple titles in South American tournaments, will be counting on 18-year-old midfielder Ezequiel Barco, one of the best players in this year’s competition.

Flamengo is also seeking to restore some pride in Rio de Janeiro. The big-spending Brazilian club, playing in its first Copa Sudamericana final, finished its domestic championship in a disappointing sixth place.

The Rio team will be without Peru striker Paolo Guerrero, who is serving a one-year doping ban.

Instead, veteran midfielder Diego will be the key player as Flamengo looks to claim its first regional title since winning the now-defunct Copa Mercosur in 1999.

After Independiente won the first leg, the club posted on its social media channels a picture of its players celebrating at the Maracana in 1995 when the two teams played for the Supercopa.

If the Argentines lose 1-0 on Wednesday, there will be a penalty shootout to decide the winner.

Last year, Brazilian club Chapecoense was awarded the title before the final after 19 players, plus club directors and several members of staff, died in an air crash.

The Copa Sudamericana is the continent’s second most prestigious tournament after the Copa Libertadores.

Bundesliga wrap: Dortmund wins in Stoger’s managerial debut

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For the first time since late September, Borussia Dortmund has won a league match, while Leipzig’s slip up opens the door for Bayern Munich to extend its lead in Germany’s top flight.

[ MORE: Chelsea tops Huddersfield, level on points with Man United ]

Here’s a brief look at all of Tuesday’s Bundesliga action.

Mainz 0-2 Borussia Dortmund

10 points separates Dortmund from league leaders Bayern Munich, who also have a match in hand, but for the moment, the bleeding his stopped. BVB picked up a crucial win on Tuesday to end its domestic woes upon manager Peter Stoger’s debut. The side’s drought stretched over an eight-match winless period. Second-half goals from Sokratis and Shinji Kagawa moved Dortmund into the top four, while Mainz remains 15th in the league table.

 

Wolfsburg 1-1 Red Bull Leipzig

Meanwhile, RB Leipzig’s form continues to slide downward after the second-place side dropped points in its fourth straight match across all competitions. The road side’s fortunes were dampened early on when Paul Verhaegh converted from the penalty spot, however, Marcel Halstenberg did manage to pull a goal back for Leipzig in the 52nd minute. Leipzig’s misfortunes carried on in stoppage time though when Dayot Upamecano was sent off after picking up his second yellow card of the day.


The rest of Tuesday’s scores

Hamburg 1-2 Frankfurt
Freiburg 1-0 Borussia Monchengladbach

Inter beats 3rd-division Pordenone 5-4 on penalties in Cup

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MILAN (AP) Inter Milan scraped into the Italian Cup quarterfinals after the Serie A leader was taken to penalties by third-division Pordenone on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Chelsea tops Huddersfield, moves level on points with Man United ]

Pordenone goalkeeper Simone Perilli pulled off several saves in regulation time to keep the game scoreless, and he almost proved to be the hero during the shootout, stopping two penalties.

But Inter prevailed 5-4, with Yuto Nagatomo tucking away the final spot kick.

Both sides hit the woodwork during the 120 minutes.

Inter coach Luciano Spalletti rang the changes, and only Milan Skriniar and Matias Vecino remained in the starting 11 from Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Juventus.

[ MORE: Burnley moves into top four after win over Stoke ]

However, he was forced by desperation to bring on Marcelo Brozovic at halftime as well as star forwards Ivan Perisic and Mauro Icardi.

Report: Cosmos coach Savarese to be named new Timbers manager

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In a time where NASL’s status moving forward is hanging in the balance, one of the league’s top managers is set to make the jump to Major League Soccer.

[ MORE: LA FC close to acquiring Red Bulls captain Sacha Kljestan ]

According to ESPN soccer analyst Taylor Twellman, New York Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese is set to be named the next Portland Timbers manager.

Savarese will take over for the recently departed Caleb Porter, who stepped down from his head coaching role with the Timbers in November.

The former professional player spent five seasons in MLS during his career, including stints with the New York/New Jersey MetroStars (now the Red Bulls), as well as the New England Revolution and the San Jose Earthquakes.

The 46-year-old has managed the Cosmos from 2013 to present, and guided the NASL side to three Soccer Bowl titles in that span.