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Cesc Fabregas says Arsenal declined buy-back option due to Mesut Ozil

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After signing with Chelsea for $46 million (£27m) last week, Cesc Fabregas has admitted that he chose the Blues only after Arsenal declined to exercise a buy-back option in his contract with Barcelona.

The 27-year-old Catalan native claims it was he who decided his time with the Blaugrana was up and that former club Arsenal did not chase his signature due to the presence of Mesut Ozil. That loss was Chelsea’s gain after manager Jose Mourinho convinced Fabregas of other options available to him in the Premier League.

From The Guardian:

When I decided that my time at Barcelona had ended, I looked for the best option for me. Arsenal was the first option, for contractual reasons. There was a clause that gave them the right to decide. We spoke to Wenger and he said that the space was very well filled by Mesut Özil and it was hard to find a place for both of us in the team.

I wanted to go back to the Premier League and I had to think about what my options were then. I had many very good offers, the logical options. I spoke to José Mourinho and he told me that he wanted me there. He convinced me very, very quickly. He told me what I wanted to hear; he won me over and convinced me. It was very quick. I am very happy, very satisfied and I think it will all go phenomenally well.

Despite having a number of central midfielders, Arsenal’s decision not to pursue Fabregas is one that has many Gunners fans up in arms. Capable of playing in the holding role or the attacking three, Fabregas has more quality than Mikel Arteta and would provide more offensive firepower to the first-choice holding pair of Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey. But it’s Fabregas’ ability to create further up the pitch that makes Arsenal’s decline even more surprising, as Santi Cazorla’s desire to leave North London in favor of a move to Atletico Madrid is threatening to unhitch the attacking three.

More than mere positional help, though, is the fact that Fabregas is a player who has already proven himself a brilliant fit in Wenger’s system. Noted to be ‘like a son’ to Wenger, Fabregas was raised on the Frenchman’s style of play and would seamlessly fit in with the current core of players. He is, in short, a guaranteed thing, a quality hard to find in today’s crazy puzzle of football transfers.

 

Southampton: Van Dijk won’t leave, selling days likely done

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MARCH 29:  Ralph Krueger the Southampton Chairman looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Newcastle United at St Mary's Stadium on March 29, 2014 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
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Ralph Krueger doesn’t plan on selling any more big Southampton stars, and there’s none brighter than Virgil Van Dijk.

The Dutchman is perhaps the best center back in the Premier League, regularly linked with transfers to anywhere from Manchester City to Liverpool.

[ MORE: Liverpool hires new CEO ]

But Krueger says Saints have had enough of selling big assets. Southampton has sold Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren, Sadio Mane, and Nathaniel Clyne in the past three seasons, and those are just the names to go to Liverpool. Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama have also moved on from St. Mary’s.

From Sky Sports:

“We would like to move away from that and we feel confident this summer will be a lot quieter in Southampton and we can keep the core of this team moving forward for a few years.

“That is going to be important when you see how excellent the group is right now and how exciting the football is. The game we are playing is a pleasure to watch and a pleasure to be part of.”

Saints were the more effective side in a 3-2 EFL Cup Final loss to Manchester United this weekend, but are well off the pace in the race to make back-to-back trips into Europe.

It will be hard to hold onto Van Dijk and even new bright light Manolo Gabbiadini without Europe, but Krueger is a strong leader with the ability to convince almost anyone to buy into a plan.

Real Salt Lake signs Plata to multi-year DP deal

Real Salt Lake forward Joao Plata (8) gestures while walking during an MLS soccer game against New York City FC Saturday, May 23, 2015, in Sandy, Utah. (Leah Hogsten/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP) DESERET NEWS OUT; LOCAL TELEVISION OUT; MAGS OUT
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SANDY, Utah (AP) Real Salt Lake has re-signed forward Joao Plata to a multi-year contract and he will continue to hold a designated-player spot.

The 24-year-old was acquired from Toronto FC before the 2013 season and he has 30 goals and 30 assists in regular-season play with RSL.

[ MORE: Liverpool flops vs LCFC ]

Plata ranks No. 3 on the team’s all-time assists list and No. 5 in goals. He has 33 goals and 35 assists during his MLS career.

Real Salt Lake begins the season Saturday when it hosts Toronto FC.

Gotze out indefinitely with metabolism disorder

ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - NOVEMBER 06:  Mario Goetze (R) and Ann-Kathrin Broemmel attend the MTV Europe Music Awards 2016 on November 6, 2016 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images for MTV)
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Mario Gotze’s last few seasons have not fulfilled the expectations thrust about the World Cup-winning attacker.

Gotze, 24, scored the 113th minute goal that lifted Germany past Argentina in the 2014 World Cup, but has endured successive disappointing seasons between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.

[ MORE: Liverpool hires new CEO ]

With just two goals this season, Gotze has played just 24 minutes since BVB came back from winter break. On Monday, the club revealed why: a metabolism disorder that will keep him out for an indefinite period of time. From Sky Sports:

“We are glad to know the reasons for Mario’s complaints and we are convinced that after recovering he will give us extra quality with his exceptional abilities,” said Dortmund’s director of sport Michael Zorc.

“Mario gets the full backing and maximum support from all of us at Borussia Dortmund on his way back.”

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Gotze at his best, and here’s hoping this problem is both curable and the reason for his struggles.

Liverpool hires EA Sports executive as new CEO

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Liverpool has named Peter Moore as the successor to chief executive office Ian Ayre.

Ayre, 53, is off to 1860 Munich this summer, and has stepped down early to allow Moore to take over.

[ MORE: Liverpool flops vs LCFC ]

A Liverpool-born executive, Moore was the chief operating officer at EA Sports and has also worked with Microsoft and SEGA.

The move “completes a transitional phase” which saw several new names join the fray. From The Liverpool Echo:

The appointment completes a transition plan by FSG which included appointing Michael Edwards as sporting director while Billy Hogan was promoted to the role of managing director and chief commercial officer.