Colombia v Uruguay: Round of 16 - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

Transfer Rumor Roundup: Cuadrado to Manchester United, Lukaku to Everton

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Juan Cuadrado could be on his way to either Manchester United or Barcelona according to reports in Spain. The Colombian winger, 23, is set to leave Italian side Fiorentina this summer and United or Barca are the most likely destinations. However, the $55 million asking fee could put both teams off and they may look elsewhere. Cuadrado shone for Colombia in a left-wing role at the World Cup and with Luke Shaw’s struggles to adapt to the position in Louis van Gaal’s 3-5-2 formation, maybe the Red Devils will splash the cash to sign Cuadrado.

[RELATED: Falcao to Madrid?]

Romelu Lukaku could be heading back to Everton as the forward sent out the following cryptic message via Twitter but apparently Chelsea have upped the transfer fee for their Belgian striker. Lukaku, 21, spent last season on loan at Goodison Park and scored 15 goals in the Premier League. However it is believed that Chelsea want $50 million for the bruising striker. Can Everton afford that?

Mathieu Valbuena is attracting interest from bot West Ham United and Queens Park Rangers as the 29-year-old Marseille attacker has rejected a move to Dynamo Moscow despite his club accepting a bid for the French international. Valbuena thrived in France’s impressive World Cup campaign but is said to want a fresh challenge away from Ligue 1 according to French paper L’Equipe. London calling?

[RELATED: Ronaldinho to MLS?]

Ron Vlaar also had an impressive World Cup at the heart of Holland’s defense but he is set to sit down with Aston Villa to talk about his future at the club. Vlaar, 29, has been Villa’s captain since he arrived in the Premier League but Southampton are interested in making him Dejan Lovren’s replacement at St. Mary’s. Vlaar worked with new Southampton boss Ronald Koeman at Feyenoord and is said to be relishing the chance to work with him again.

Finally, Southampton’s cash from all of their summer sales is burning a hole in their pocket as they are also keeping an eye on SC Bastia’s 24-year-old Algerian midfielder Ryad Boudebouz. The Saints will have competition from Real Sociedad for his signature but according to reports in France Boudebouz could be heading to the South Coast of England after a solid World Cup with the Desert Foxes.

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.

Statement from suspended UEFA president Michel Platini

Michel Platini, UEFA & FIFA
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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.