Mere hours after the BBC reported that Chelsea had paid Diego Costa’s $54 million transfer fee and the striker had completed a medical examination, reports out of Madrid claim Atletico Madrid have “no knowledge of anything that is being said” in the English media.
Costa, who scored 36 goals in all competitions last season helping Atletico win their first La Liga title in 18 years, has been widely tipped for a move to Stamford Bridge. According to Cerezo, however, no deal has been finalized and if one is to get done, he wants his club to be paid in full.
Diego has the attributes to become the world’s best forward but what we will not do is oblige someone to play where they do not want to. . . . If he (Costa) has an agreement with someone then let him come and tell us. If he wants to leave, let him come and deposit his buyout clause which I believe is around 42 or 43 million euros [$54.5 million].
So do Cerezo’s comments indicate a problem with Chelsea’s deal for Costa?
Not really. This is likely the Atleti president acting out over pre-mature reports. Whether the transfer fee has already been paid or Costa has already passed a medical is of little significance because from all accounts, this deal is as good as done. But there is an order of operations as to when key information surrounding these deals is to be released and it could very well be that the BBC’s report, assuming it’s true, was issued a bit earlier than Cerezo would have liked.
Cerezo’s comment concerning Chelsea’s need to pay the full buy-out clause is also significant because it indicates Chelsea will not use Thibaut Courtois or Romelu Lukaku as a makeweight to obtain Costa.
While Jose Mourinho has told Courtois that he wants to keep the Belgian netminder at Chelsea next season, Lukaku’s future remains unclear. One thing is certain, with Lukaku’s return, Costa’s imminent arrival and the remaining presence of Samuel Eto’o, Demba Ba and Fernando Torres, the summer striker shakeup at Chelsea has a lot more in store.
The U.S. Men’s National Team won’t have a busy schedule throughout the summer, but Dave Sarachan and his side will get a tiny taste of the World Cup in September.
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ESPN FC is reporting that the USMNT will likely face Brazil and Mexico — both of whom will travel to Russia in June — later this year, as the U.S. Soccer Federation is in the process of finalizing both friendlies.
The matches are set to be played during the September international window, which runs from Sept. 3 through Sept. 11.
Both fixtures will reportedly be played in the United States, although venues haven’t been determined yet.
The U.S. has already begun booking a slate of difficult matches to round out 2018, with England and Italy already confirmed opponents for the Yanks in November.
The Yanks are 1-17-0 all-time against Brazil in all competitions, while the U.S. hasn’t faced Mexico since its 1-1 draw at the Estadio Azteca in June 2017 during CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
Roger Bennett talks with manager Jurgen Klopp
about revolutionizing Liverpool, his Greatest Show on Turf-esque offense, the loss of Philippe Coutinho
and how he keeps football in perspective.
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Two key midfielders earned new deals on Thursday, as two of the Eastern Conference’s recent successes helped solidify for their attacks for the next few years.
The Columbus Crew extended Designated Player attacker Federico Higuain through the 2019 MLS season.
Higuain has been with the Crew since 2012, when the Argentine joined the club from Colon de Santa Fe in his native country.
Meanwhile, the New York Red Bulls extended Daniel Royer’s contract, as the Austrian winger in the midst of his third season with Jesse Marsch’s group.
Thus far, Royer has tallied 17 goals in all competitions for the Red Bulls, including 15 during the 2017 campaign, where the former Midtjylland player finished second on the team in goals behind Bradley Wright-Phillips.
A game of back-and-forth at the Emirates Stadium set up an enticing second leg in the UEFA Europa League semifinals, while a Ligue 1 side positioned itself well to move into the final.
[ MORE: Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks ]
Arsenal and Atletico Madrid settled for a 1-1 draw in London, as Antoine Griezmann’s late strike leveled the match for the Spanish side.
The Gunners looked on their way to a victory when Alexandre Lacazette‘s goal just beyond the hour mark put Arsene Wenger‘s men in front.
The result sets up a strong showdown for the two giants in a week’s time, although Arsenal will feel it left something on the table after racking up 26 shots (seven on target) on the day, particularly after Sime Vrsaljko was sent off after 10 minutes for the visitors when he picked up a second yellow card.
Meanwhile, Florian Thauvin and Clinton Njie gave Marseille a 2-0 win over Red Bull Leipzig, giving the French side the edge it sought out ahead of the competition finale.
The two clubs will meet again at Red Bull Arena Salzburg for the second leg.
Arsenal 1-1 Atletico Madrid
Marseille 2-0 Red Bull Salzburg