Identity of potential Aston Villa owner revealed


Tevfik Arif, a business associate of Donald Trump, has been revealed by The Independent as the front-runner to buy Aston Villa from Randy Lerner. According to the English outlet’s report, the founder of New York-based property firm Baylock Group is one of six to eight parties that have expressed interest in the club.

Lerner’s desire to sell his Birmingham-based club has been known since the near the end of the Premier League season, though his potential deals were reportedly contingent on the team’s Premier League survival. Having ensured its spot in the first division, Aston Villa is set to change hands, though the identity of the club’s suitors were previously unknown.

Thanks to The Independent, however, we not only know the leading candidate but a little of his background. From today’s report:

Arif worked for 17 years in hotel management at the Soviet Ministry of Commerce and Trade, before developing the luxurious Labada hotel in Turkey after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Moving to the US, he partnered with Trump on a number of projects including the upmarket 46-storey Trump SoHo hotel and residential tower in New York.

Per the story, Arif has a link to the soccer world as an investor in Doyen Capital – a Londen-based hedge fund that holds ownership stakes in players, including Monaco’s Radamel Falcao. More notoriously:

Arif was arrested and questioned in October 2010 in a high-profile raid by Turkish police over claims that he supplied Russian businessmen and officials with Eastern European prostitutes for up to $10,000 a night … He was acquitted of all charges in April 2011.

As The Independent’s headline hints, the links to Trump, third-party ownership, and an old prostitution investigation makes his potential ownership “controversial,” but those details tell us little about how Arif himself (particularly given his acquittal). In that sense, there’s little we know today about Aston Villa’s future that we didn’t know yesterday.

What we can say for sure: There is a series of candidates; one front-runner; and that front-runner appears to be pretty rich. He also seems to have a toe in the water with the soccer world.

Beyond that, all we can really say is Aston Villa seems destined to have a new owner soon.


Juan Carlos Osorio to become new Mexico boss

Leave a comment

Mexico looks to have found a new manager in Juan Carlos Osorio.

Osorio, who had stints managing in Major League Soccer with the Chicago Fire and New York Red Bulls, was most recently coaching in Brazil with Sao Paulo.

However, the Brazilian club released a statement today that Osorio had decided to step down from his position in order to take the Mexico job.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]

Following Miguel Herrera’s firing in July, Ricardo Ferretti was named interim manager of El Tri, and will coach the side in Saturday’s CONCACAF playoff match against the United States. However, Ferretti has stated he will not stay with Mexico past that match, and will return to Liga MX, where he serves as manager of Tigres UANL.

Osorio had recently been linked with the Mexico job, but said he would take his time in making a decision.

His only other exposure to Mexican football came during a short stint in Liga MX managing Puebla. He lasted just seven matches before resigning and returning to manage in his native Colombia.

[ RELATED: Donovan says Klinsmann should be fired if USMNT loses to Mexico ]

He was in line to take charge of the Honduras national team in 2011, but he was unable to get out of the contract with the Colombian team he was managing at the time.

There has been no official confirmation of the hiring from the Mexican Federation.

Benzema and Benitez in a war of words at Real Madrid

MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 26: Head coach Rafael Benitez (R) of Real Madrid CF gives instructions to his player Karim Benzema (L) during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Malaga CF at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on September 26, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Karim Benzema has scored six goals in his eight appearances for Real Madrid this season, and is currently the top scorer in La Liga.

Despite being in great form, Benzema has continuously been substituted by manager Rafa Benitez, which has upset the French striker.

Benzema opened the scoring for Real in the Madrid derby over the weekend, but was taken off in the 77th minute. Atletico would go on to score minutes later as the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

[ RELATED: Top moments from USMNT vs. Mexico ]

Speaking after the game, Benzema said he was “fed up” with being taken off, but will continue to work to help his team.

Substitutions are what the coach decides, I’m just there to help my teammates.

It’s true I’m fed up of being taken off. I’m calm and will continue to work so I’m not always subtituted. He took me off to get a result, for defensive reasons.

It’s true that the electronic board always shows the No.9. Ask Benitez why that is.

When told about Benzema’s comments, Benitez said he made the change for tactical reasons, as Real was in the lead and he replaced the striker with a more defensive-minded player in midfielder Mateo Kovacic.

I needed to give the team some balance at that point in the game. I’m a huge fan of Benzema. If I were Karim, I’d also be angry at being taken off when I thought I was playing well and was on a great run of form.

What I’d do if I were Karim is score more goals so that next time I don’t have to be taken off and can say, ‘Hey, here I am.’

Benitez’s response comes off as a backhanded compliment, asking Benzema to “score more goals,” despite the player leading La Liga in scoring. In fact, Benzema has averaged a goal every 84 minutes this season, an incredible strike rate.

[ RELATED: Chelsea release statement on Jose Mourinho’s future ]

Over the summer, Benzema was linked with a move away from Real Madrid, but he constantly denied the rumors and said he never thought about leaving the club, which he called the best in the world. Just a few matches into the new season, there may be some trouble in paradise.