Chelsea board may want Fábregas, but Mourinho sees needs elsewhere

2 Comments

Last night, news connecting Cesc Fábregas to Chelsea emerged, something that seemed like a good fit, on paper. With time to follow-up, reports out of England have added a new twist to the Barcelona star’s transfer story: Chelsea’s manager may not share the same excitement as his board.

According to The Independent, José Mourinho would like Chelsea to look elsewhere to bolster his third place squad. Those places include: Atlético Madrid, where Koke is being targeted; Juventus, where Paul Pogba is the object of many teams’ desires; and Porto, where central defender Eliaquim Mangala has drawn the Blues’ attention. With young Brazilian Oscar reportedly meeting Mourinho’s need for creativity in midfield, Chelsea may not be among Fábregas’s main suitors.

From The Independent:

Jose Mourinho is not convinced Barcelona’s Cesc Fabregas, with whom he has had several run-ins in the past, is the right player for Chelsea, with the Stamford Bridge board apparently far more enthusiastic about the purchase than the manager …

Mourinho will also have to put aside his past disputes with Fabregas if the west London side are to provide a return route to the Premier League for the 27-year-old former Arsenal player.

Fabregas said four months ago that his Barcelona side’s critics – he meant Mourinho – should “shut up” after the Spaniards’ win at Manchester City in the Champions League round of 16. “Some people want us to fail and some people have been talking a bit much as usual,” Fabregas said, pointedly.

If Chelsea can land Pogba and Koke, they certainly don’t need Fábregas. You can argue that you can never have too much quality in the middle, but in a world of Financial Fair Play, spending because you can is no longer a justifiable approach. The $45 million it may cost to get Fábregas (and, the wages he’ll demand) may be better spent elsewhere; or, for a team that’s pushing the limits of FFP, not at all.

Where would this leave Fábregas? Assuming he both departs Barcelona and is targeting England, Liverpool and Manchester United would seem logical options. Tottenham is another team that could justify the move, but as is the case with Manchester United, Fábregas may think twice before moving out of Champions League. As a former Gunner, he also may have misgivings about moving to such a heated rival.

So what does that leave? A move to a place like Paris Saint-Germain? FFP problems will keep the Parisians from completing that deal. Perhaps Monaco, just now coming under FFP’s guidelines, will take the plunge, but will the interest be reciprocated?

Elsewhere in Europe, there are very few teams can afford Fábregas’s transfer fee or wages (over $8 million per season). With that in mind, going to a place like United or Spurs and moving out of Champions League (if only momentarily) may make some sense.

If Fábregas is going to leave Barcelona, and if teams like Arsenal and Chelsea are not interested, he may not have that many viable options.

Mexico star Marquez back at Atlas after US drug sanctions

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Leave a comment

MEXICO CITY (AP) Mexican soccer star Rafael Marquez is back with his club more than a month after the U.S. Treasury Department named him on a sanctions list for alleged drug trafficking ties.

Atlas said Monday that the 38-year-old defender is practicing with the team again.

In August, Marquez was among 22 people sanctioned by the department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. He was accused of acting as a frontman for the Raul Flores Hernandez drug trafficking organization.

Marquez has denied any wrongdoing and said he will work to clear his name. He is not known to face any criminal charges in the United States or Mexico.

Atlas says Marquez will continue his legal fight while at the team.

Marquez has played internationally with AS Monaco, Barcelona and the New York Red Bulls.

Wolfsburg hires Martin Schmidt after firing Andries Jonker

Twitter/@VfLWolfsburg_EN
Leave a comment

WOLFSBURG, Germany (AP) Wolfsburg has hired Martin Schmidt to coach the Bundesliga side as a swift replacement for Andries Jonker.

[ MORE: PL Playback — Koeman, Everton facing significant pressure ]

Jonker was fired on Monday after less than seven months in charge, with Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Stuttgart leaving Wolfsburg with four points from its opening four league games of the new campaign.

The 50-year-old Schmidt has signed a contract through 2019 and he will take charge of Tuesday’s game against Werder Bremen.

The Swiss coach left Mainz by mutual consent in May after almost three years in charge. Mainz finished last season in 15th place in the Bundesliga, above Wolfsburg on goal difference. Wolfsburg only survived in the Bundesliga last season by a winning a playoff.

More AP German soccer coverage: http://www.apnews.com/tag/Bundesliga

Swapping cleats for gloves: Rio Ferdinand to become a boxer

ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images
Leave a comment

It wouldn’t be the first time a professional athlete has tried his hand at another sport, but this one is a bit surprising.

[ MORE: Leicester-Liverpool highlights Tuesday’s Carabao Cup action ]

The Telegraph is reporting that ex-Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is poised to become a professional boxer and is expected to announce his decision on Tuesday.

The 38-year-old has been a pundit for BBC and BT Sport since retiring from soccer 2015, but the six-time Premier League winner appears ready to tackle a new venture.

Ferdinand will attempt to follow in the footsteps of former Sheffield United striker Curtis Woodhouse — who went on to become British light-welterweight champion.

Below is a video Ferdinand posted to his Instagram account on Monday which appears to show him practice dodging with a personal trainer.

Dodging Rain Drops…. Reaction Drill… Keep Moving!! 💧🎾 @chrisvarnavas

A post shared by Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) on

Cavani, Neymar feud presents questions about PSG chemistry

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
3 Comments

Paris Saint-Germain picked up its sixth consecutive win to start the Ligue 1 season on Sunday, but something else happened during the team’s 2-0 victory over Lyon that should be a show for concern.

[ MORE: Bayern keeper Neuer injuries foot, could miss months ]

In fact, two notable sequences occurred during the match that proved money cannot buy chemistry — or how the saying goes.

The issues on both occasions were between summer signing Neymar and Edinson Cavani — who has been with PSG since 2013.

First, a free kick situation arose where Cavani had appeared that he was going to take the set piece, until Brazilian defender Dani Alves stepped in and took the ball and proceeded to give it to his national and club teammate, Neymar.

The second occurence was even more embarrassing though, as Neymar and Cavani argued over who would take a penalty kick, which Cavani ultimately got his way before having his shot saved by goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.

Below is a video containing a piece of both instances.