Source: Southampton FC

Southampton seal $17 million deal for Serbian star Dusan Tadic

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The exodus has finally stopped at St. Mary’s Stadium. Now the influx can begin.

Southampton’s new manager Ronald Koeman has signed his first player as Saints boss, as 25-year-old Serbian playmaker Dusan Tadic has arrived for a reported $17 million from FC Twente.

Tadic has dazzled as a playmaker in the Dutch top flight over the past few seasons and last year he led the Eredivisie assist table with 14 and his 16 goals made him the fourth-highest scorer in the division. Watch the below from his old club FC Twente to get a flavor of what Tadic is all about.

If Saints were looking for the perfect replacement for recently departed captain Adam Lallana, they have their man in Tadic. Coupled with the departure of Lallana to Liverpool, the team who finished eighth last season in the PL also lost Rickie Lambert to Liverpool and Luke Shaw to Manchester United this summer.

At last, there’s some good news for Saints fans.

The Serbian international has 25 caps for his country and has played in the Dutch leagues since 2010. Tadic is a pure playmaker and created more chances, plus played more key passes than any other player in the Dutch top-flight during the 2013-14 season.

Speaking of his move to the Premier League to Saints’ website, Tadic was delighted to join a club that he felt shares his own attacking philosophy.

“I watched a lot of the games last season and saw that the Club plays really nice football which will suit me because I like to play in the same way,” Tadic said. ” The manager obviously knows me from the Dutch league so when he called me and told me his plan it was an easy decision to make.”

Koeman shared his delight in capturing Tadic’s signature, as clubs such as Everton were reportedly interested in the attacker. The Dutch legend in charge of Saints also pointed towards more players arriving at St. Mary’s in the coming weeks to replace those lost. Feyenoord striker Graziano Pelle is expected to sign for Saints in the coming days as Koeman looks to his homeland to recruit new players.

“It was very important to get this signing done – not only for me, but for the rest of the squad and for our fans,” Koeman said. “It’s fantastic news. We’ve lost some good players but we want to continue the ambition and philosophy of the club, so it’s a great signal to have brought in our first player. He’s a great player. I know him very well from Holland, where he had a great season last year. We now look forward to bringing in more players because we want to continue and maybe even better what Southampton did last season.”

“Overweight” Costa comes to Mourinho’s defense

Diego Costa, Chelsea FC
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Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.

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Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”

Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:

“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.

“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.

Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.

[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]

Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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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.