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.

Juve’s Kean could leave club over tractor dispute

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No tractors, no teenager.

Moise Kean, 17, broke into the Juventus senior team last season with a trio of Serie A appearances that concluded with a goal against Bologna on May 27.

He also made a token appearance in the UEFA Champions League against Sevilla, which all-in-all is a pretty solid debut for the century’s first birth to make an appearance in a Top Five league in Europe.

[ MORE: Fabinho has interest in Man Utd ]

About that contract, though.

Kean’s father, Biorou, says Juventus has broken a contractual promise to his family, and that could send the teenager into the transfer market. Biorou says that his son’s 18th birthday — Feb. 28, 2018 — could trigger Moise Kean leave town as “an adult.”

From Sky Sports:

“Juventus offered a contract of €700,000-a-year, which was fine, but the problem is they had also promised me some tractors for my agricultural business in the Ivory Coast, but now they say there is no budget for them.

“I own several hectares of land in the Ivory Coast which I would like to cultivate with rice and corn. I’m an agronomist. I asked for agricultural materials and they told me “no problem.”

Now, though, those tractors are not in the Ivory Coast, and Biorou claims that he never signed a contract with agent Mino Raiola. It all sets the table for further complains and a transfer, so it’s worth keeping an eye on this odd saga.

FIFA takes no further action on Mexico-New Zealand clashes

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ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) FIFA will not intervene after reviewing two volatile clashes between New Zealand and Mexico players and coaches.

FIFA says “it has been verified that there are no grounds for any disciplinary action to be taken.”

Tempers flared in a running brawl late in Mexico’s 2-1 comeback win on Wednesday in Sochi.

[ MORE: Fabinho has interest in Man Utd ]

Three players were shown yellow cards after match officials paused the game to review video.

Replays showed at least one other player went unpunished after running into the melee to strike an opponent in the head.

In the first half, Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio was caught on the TV broadcast aiming a verbal obscenity at New Zealand coaching staff.

Osorio later apologized for the profanity provoked when New Zealand continued an attack as a Mexico player appeared injured.

Fabinho admits interest in Manchester United

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If even a fraction of this summer’s transfer interest is real, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has taken every precaution against his biggest 2017 enemy: scheduled congestion.

Mourinho was a regular critic of United’s schedule last season in the run-up to its UEFA Europa League title win over Ajax, and is building his roster up for the UEFA Champions League.

[ MORE: Saief completes USMNT switch ]

The manager already had plenty of attacking options, and has added Victor Lindelof to his stable of defenders while reportedly flirting with PSG’s Marquinhos, too. Defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic is also a reported target (as are half of the world’s elite footballers).

And now, a wry smile from Monaco’s Fabinho hints that Mourinho may be making progress with another target.

‘‘It’s a tempting invitation. … I would first talk to my agent, Monaco too, to decide everything right. But it’s a great club, sure enough I would think well about it.”

Fabinho played mostly right back in 2014-15 before splitting time between that position and defensive midfielder the following year and seeing most of his time at CDM last season. Mourinho has lavished praise and given a contract extension to right back Antonio Valencia and has Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick, and Paul Pogba at CDM (though the latter can certainly operate higher up the field).

Chinese clubs to pay 100% tax on foreign transfers

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The days of Chinese Super League sides spending eye-popping figures on a handful of international superstars are over — either that, or those figures are about to double — for now, at least.

[ MORE: Oscar given 8-game ban for petulant display in China ]

China’s Football Association announced Thursday that, effective immediately, any foreign player signed for a fee exceeding $6.63 million would be subject to a 100-percent tax on top of the fee paid to acquire the player. The tax will remain in effect until the end of China’s ongoing transfer window, July 14. The tax will also apply to Chinese players signed for a fee exceeding $3 million.

It’s Chinese authorities’ latest attempt to prevent big spending by CSL clubs, which has in every instance been detrimental to the development of young Chinese players making their way through the academy system. The taxed money will then be reinvested in “youth training, construction of public sporting facilities and scientific progress in football development,” according to a statement by the CFA.

Just last week, China was eliminated from contention to qualify for next summer’s World Cup in Russia. The only time China has ever qualified for the World Cup was in 2002.