After a lengthy pursuit, Chelsea and Jose Mourinho have finally landed their man as Diego Costa is heading to Stamford Bridge.
Costa, 25, has had the release clause in his contract at Atletico Madrid met by the West London outfit as Chelsea confirmed the agreement on Tuesday via the club website.
Personal terms are believed to be a formality, with the Brazilian-born Spanish international striker set to get a huge boost in wages when he switches to the Premier League.
During the 2013-14 season at Atletico, Costa drove the side from the Spanish capital to their first La Liga title since 1996 and the UEFA Champions League final where they lost to crosstown rivals Real in extra time. Costa also scored against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge as Atletico knocked the Blues out of the UCL at the semifinal stage. In total Costa scored 36 goals in 52 games for Atleti last season and scored 64 times in 135 appearances in total. This summer he struggled through injury, looking a shadow of his usual self in the World Cup as Spain crashed out at the group stage. Chelsea will be hoping he has a long rest this offseason to come back fit and ready to lead a title charge.
Does Chelsea need a new striker? Yes. On the same day that announced the agreement for Costa, they also stated that Samuel Eto’o will not sign a new deal at the club.
With Fernando Torres continuing to underwhelm, at least in the goals scored column, and the likes of Eto’o and Demba Ba hardly prolific, Chelsea badly needed a goal threat to challenge for the PL title during the 2014-15 campaign and beyond. Last season Mourinho’s men finished in third place in the PL and midfielder Eden Hazard was their top scorer with just 14 goals.
Costa will provide those goals. Along with plenty of guile and hard work as his play looks to suit the PL perfectly. He battles, scraps and runs himself into the ground during every single game, plus his predatory instincts are second to none in and around the box. Paired with Romelu Lukaku, who is expected to return to Chelsea from his two-year loan spell, he and Costa could tear the PL apart next season.
Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)
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Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.
That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.
One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.
[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]
Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.
Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.
Statement from suspended UEFA President Michel Platini:
Early this afternoon, I was informed of the FIFA ethics committee’s decision to impose on me a provisional 90-day suspension with immediate effect. That decision, which I will of course contest in the appropriate manner at the appropriate time, had already been the subject of a deliberate leak, and I gave my opinion on that earlier in the day.
I reject all of the allegations that have been made against me, which are based on mere semblances and are astonishingly vague. Indeed, the wording of those allegations merely states that a breach of the FIFA Code of Ethics “seems to have been committed” and that a decision on the substance of the matter cannot be taken immediately.
Despite the farcical nature of these events, I refuse to believe that this is a political decision taken in haste in order to taint a lifelong devotee of the game or crush my candidacy for the FIFA presidency.
I want everyone to know my state of mind: more than a sense of injustice or a desire for revenge, I am driven by a profound feeling of staunch defiance. I am more determined than ever to defend myself before the relevant judicial bodies.
I want to reiterate in the strongest possible terms that I will devote myself to ensuring that my good faith prevails. I have received numerous messages of support today from UEFA’s member associations and the other confederations encouraging me to continue my work serving football’s interests. Nothing will make me give up on that commitment.