Atlético Madrid to reunite Diego Simeone, José Sosa in January window

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The acquisition of former Bayern Munich and Napoli attacking midfielder José Sosa would look like a curious one for Atlético Madrid were it not for the presence of Diego Simeone, the man who helped build the Argentine into a player capable of making the jump to Europe. When Sosa and the Atleti coach were together at Estudiantes de la Plata in 2006, the duo led el Léon to the Argentine Primera División title. Now, with Sosa having played in Ukraine since 2011, coach and player are set to be reunited, with Atlético ready to take the 2008 gold medal winner on loan from Metalist Kharkiv through June.

“There is a verbal agreement that José Sosa will play at Atlético de Madrid for six months,” Sosa agent Ezequiel Manera said on Tuesday. “It is a loan transfer deal with an option to make the move permanent.”

If the deal works out, Atlético have a $13.7 million option to buy, a steep price for a player who has never quite been able to make the jump from Argentine league success to impact player in Europe’s bigger leagues. A talented attacker who is most comfortable playing behind a team’s forward(s), Sosa occasionally flashed his talents during two-plus seasons at Bayern (2007-09). Unable to win a consistent spot in the team, he was back with Estudiantes come Jan. 2010, having scored only two in 32 league games while in Munich.

The next season, Sosa was in Italy, but increased playing time in Naples failed to see the Argentine make an impact. After one season, 31 all-competition appearances, and one goal, Sosa was off to Kharkiv having completed just one quarter of his four-year deal.

That move has seen Sosa finally realize some of his potential. In 64 league games over two-plus seasons, the now 28-year-old has scored 17 times. As team captain in 2012-13, Sosa helped Metalist crack Ukraine’s top two places, knocking Dynamo Kyiv into third. This year, Metalist sit only five points back of league-leading Shakhtar Donetsk, Sosa’s team again showing Ukraine’s duopoly may have to expand.

Now Sosa’s set to help Atlético try to crack a different big two, and if Sosa were four years younger, the €10 million option for a player of his production would seem like a steal. Today, it’s a low-rick move for Atlético, one that could help Sosa secure a spot at Brazil 2014.

Acquiring depth to help support forwards Diego Costa and David Villa, Simeone gets a chance to see if a player so valuable at Estudiantes can bring his Ukrainian form to Madrid. If it doesn’t work — if Sosa replicates the form that saw him fail at Bayern and Napoli — Atlético can get out of their commitment, with Sosa left to return to a club he’s helped become a contender in Ukraine.

AC Milan completes signing of forward Kalinic

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MILAN (AP) Big-spending AC Milan has signed another player, completing the transfer of Croatia forward Nikola Kalinic from Fiorentina.

In a brief statement on Tuesday, Milan said it signed Kalinic “on a loan deal with obligation to buy.”

Kalinic has signed a four-year contract through to June 30, 2021.

Milan has been in negotiations with Fiorentina for the 29-year-old Kalinic for a while, and he missed training last week as he attempted to push through the move.

Milan, which was bought by a Chinese-led consortium in April, has spent more than 200 million euros ($234 million) in the offseason, signing Leonardo Bonucci, Andre Silva, Ricardo Rodriguez, Franck Kessie, Andrea Conti, Hakan Calhanoglu, Lucas Biglia and Mateo Musacchio.

Alan Shearer has a message for Wayne Rooney

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Alan Shearer finally has a friend.

On Monday Wayne Rooney scored in Everton’s 1-1 draw at Manchester City (see in the video above) and he became just the second-player in history to reach 200 goals in the Premier League.

Rooney, 31, still has some way to go to catch Shearer’s all-time record of 260 goals in the PL but the former Manchester United striker has a few more years left in the tank to try and get as close as he can.

Take a look at the video below as Shearer (or, Mary Poppins to Newcastle fans) delivers a message to Rooney.

What’s next for Julian Green, and what’s gone wrong?

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Julian Green will have a new team again soon, in all likelihood.

A Stuttgart publication says Green is on the transfer market this month, just eight months after moving from Bayern Munich to the then-2.Bundesliga side for less than $500,000.

Now 22, Green is three and a half years removed from Jurgen Klinsmann’s long campaign to get him into a USMNT shirt. It’s been a little less time since he scored in extra time against Belgium in the World Cup, but also less than a year since he scored goals in consecutive USMNT matches. That shouldn’t be overlooked.

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Green scored one goal in 10 appearances for Stuttgart, who was promoted to the Bundesliga at the end of last season. He fell out of favor there, but was far from poor. Green completed 87 percent of his passes and averaged 1.3 dribbles per game (only four teammates had more, though 10 matches is a smaller sample size).

Before that, he spent parts of three seasons with Bayern Munich and made just four appearances, taking a loan to Hamburg in 2014-15 that saw him banished to Hamburg II after just five appearances.

What gives? Whether attitude or skill, Green has a lot of work to do to get back to a level where he’s a reasonable USMNT call-up (Green has a respectable three goals in eight call-ups, netting against Cuba and New Zealand in Oct. 2016). Still, it’s far from over for Green at 22.

There are legit questions here, as the list of not high-profile players Bayern Munich has used in its senior team at a young age and blossomed elsewhere isn’t necessarily impressive (at least relatively speaking). Nils Petersen, Thomas Kraft, and Sandro Wagner are exceptions to the rule. Better put: Bayern has a really good idea what it’s doing when it lets young players walk, and it begs discussion on the best path for Green.

It seems likely he could get a move to another 2.Bundesliga club, and there’s an outside shot he could get a look in the top flight. It would be interesting to know where the interest lies abroad. Would it be hard to acquire a work permit for France or Spain (England seems a hard sell)? Could a move to a free-flowing Eredivisie club work?

Obviously Major League Soccer clubs would welcome his talent and it’s difficult to imagine he wouldn’t be a useful piece in the United States’ top tier, even if on a short-term move as he looks to regain confidence. Would Green see it as below him?

Arsenal’s Wilshere sent-off after brawling in U-23 match vs. Man City

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Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere isn’t standing around waiting for his next team, he’s fighting.

Period.

Wilshere got into with several members of Manchester City’s U-23 side in a match on Monday, with the English midfielder taking exception to a hockey-style hip check from City’s Matthew Smith.

[ MORE: Man City 1-1 Everton | 3 things ]

Shoving the 17-year-old Smith, Wilshere saw the City man take a tumble and stay prone. Still riled up, Wilshere tangled with City’s Tyreke Wilson.

Wilshere and Wilson were sent off.

Given his injury history, we’re not surprised Wilshere took exception to a hard and needless foul in a U-23 match.

The Arsenal man has been linked with moves to Newcastle, West Ham, AC Milan, and Sampdoria, but Arsene Wenger wants to keep Wilshere at the Emirates Stadium.