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.
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.
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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.
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.
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′)
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.