Juan Mata deal edges closer, Manchester United table $65 million bid with Chelsea

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As the January transfer window comes to a close, we all know some negotiations take longer than others.

But in the case of Juan Mata’s highly public potential switch from Chelsea to Manchester United, things appear to be moving at a rather rapid pace.

Mata did not train with his Chelsea teammates on Wednesday at the clubs Cobham training ground, as Spanish soccer expert Guillem Balague confirmed and revealed that the deal is practically sealed for Mata to become a United player in this transfer window. On Sunday Chelsea defeated United 3-1 at Stamford Bridge, and it is thought the idea of the Red Devils purchasing Mata was mooted then.

Like I said, this has all been moving very quickly.

Now, according to reports from Sky Sports, the Red Devils have tabled a bid of $65 million for Mata through a third party and it’s thought that all parties are keen for a deal to be hashed out in the coming days.

  • Mata, 25 wants to play regularly in the Premier League before Spain head to the World Cup this summer
  • Chelsea will make a handsome profit on the $38 million they paid Valencia in 2011 for Mata
  • Manchester United will finally have a marquee signing Moyes can build his midfield around

So, simply put, everyone would be happy if this deal is pushed through.

These things take a little time though, as Spanish and English lawyers combine to go through all the fine print of the transfer deal itself, then the contract offer and all this has to be done before January 31.

(MORE: Report – Chelsea, Manchester United agree ‘provisional’ $65 million fee for Juan Mata)

Mata to United makes sense in so many ways, but some are reluctant to see how the diminutive Spaniard will fit into United’s often abrasive style of play. Personally I think he will turn into the glue that holds everything together, if he does make the switch to Old Trafford in January.

Linking midfield with forwards Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney, what’s not to like about this deal?

Plus it may actually help out Chelsea in the title race by selling Mata. That’s right, Jose Mourinho could be up to his old tricks as United still have Manchester City and Arsenal to play in the PL. So Mata could help United take points from Chelsea’s main rivals for the PL crown.

Like I said earlier, this deal makes sense for everyone involved, on so many levels.

2-year doping ban upheld for Finland, CSKA Moscow player

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) The Court of Arbitration for Sport has upheld a two-year ban for CSKA Moscow midfielder Roman Eremenko for a positive test for cocaine.

[ MORE: Morata signs five-year contract at Chelsea ]

CAS says the ban imposed by UEFA was “appropriate” and dismissed the Finland international’s appeal.

[ MORE: Vertonghen says Spurs need to “level up” like rest of PL contenders ]

The ban will expire on Oct. 5, 2018, when Eremenko will be 31.

Eremenko tested positive after playing in a Champions League game for CSKA Moscow against Bayer Leverkusen last September. The 2-2 result was not affected despite Eremenko scoring CSKA’s second goal.

Born in Moscow, Eremenko grew up in Finland and has represented its national team 73 times.

Webb says De Jong would have been sent off with video review

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NEW YORK (AP) Howard Webb says he would have given Dutch midfielder Nigel De Jong a red card in the 2010 World Cup final if a video assistant referee had been in place.

The retired English referee showed De Jong a yellow card in the 28th minute for his karate kick into the chest of Spain’s Xabi Alonso. Hired in March to oversee video technology for professional soccer in the U.S. and Canada, Webb held a media seminar Friday ahead of its Aug. 5 launch in Major League Soccer.

Webb says: “Yes, it was a clear red card. It was a clear and obvious error on my part not to send the player off, and VAR would have been able to recommend a review to me, and I would have been able to make the right call.”

Now 46, Webb was a Premier League referee from 2003-14. He worked the Champions League and World Cup finals in 2010, became director of referees at the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, and started in March as manager of video assistant referee operations for the Professional Referee Organization.

MLS Snapshot: Orlando City 0-1 Atlanta United (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Friday night’s effort at Orlando City Stadium wasn’t the prettiest for either side but Atlanta United will gladly take three points from the fixture as the Central Florida venue proved to be a fortress once more. The Lions were far superior in their attacking threats throughout the match, testing USMNT and Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan on multiple occasions. However, it was Hector Villalba that proved to be the difference when he blasted a long-distance effort to beat Joe Bendik in the 86th minute. Atlanta extends its unbeaten streak to four matches with Friday’s decision, keeping Tata Martino’s side in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, while Orlando City moves into fifth.

Three moments that mattered

36′ — Guzan stands tall, denies Rivas — Carlos Rivas thought he scorched this one (and he did…), but Brad Guzan acted like it was nothing as he held his ground to make the stop.

39′ — Spector gets ripped off by Guzan — The U.S. goalkeeper is at it again… What a save!

86′ — Villalba unleashes stunner to propel Atlanta — Sometimes it just takes one good hit as a striker.

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Man of the match: Brad Guzan

Goalscorers: Hector Villalba (86′)

Report: Man City adding Mendy to continue backline restoration

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Fresh off of completing a record deal to help bolster the club’s back line this summer, Manchester City is back at it with the Premier League season looming.

[ MORE: Alvaro Morata signs five-year contract at Chelsea ]

The Citizens are reportedly on the brink of signing Monaco left back Benjamin Mendy to yet another world-record fee — which will total over $67 million.

Confirmation of the deal has yet to be announced by either team, but L’Equipe is reporting that the Citizens are hot on the 23-year-old’s trail in adding to their pricy back four.

Manager Pep Guardiola and Man City have not been shy readjusting their defensive unit over the past year, adding expensive first-team choices John Stones and Kyle Walker.