Report: Manchester United agrees record fee of $98.9 mil for Di Maria

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It’s happening, it’s pricey and it’s all but official: Manchester United has agreed to pay a whopping $98.9 million to pry Angel Di Maria away from Real Madrid.

The fee is a British transfer record, 9.7 million pounds more than the record set by Chelsea in acquiring Fernando Torres from Liverpool in 2011. It’s $37 million more than United spent to snag Juan Mata from Chelsea in January.

Di Maria, 26, brings United’s summer spending bill to nearly $220 million, but will provide great service and tremendous 1v1 ability to the Red Devils attack.

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Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti is not pleased, but confirmed the departure on Sunday. From the BBC:

“Di Maria has not trained with us today and he came in to say goodbye to the players and people at the club,” said Real boss Carlo Ancelotti on Sunday.

“The decision is his and the club has done what it could to keep him here.”

It’s been quite a year for Di Maria. He was the Man of the Match at the UEFA Champions League final and scored a memorable 118th minute winner for Argentina against Switzerland in the knockout rounds of the World Cup.

From the BBC‘s Andy Brassell:

“He is not a Real Madrid reject by any stretch of the imagination. They want him to go because he wouldn’t accept the situation of getting the wages he is getting at the moment, which is much less than Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. (Real coach) Carlo Ancelotti wanted to keep him. He was one of their best players during the second half of last season. Di Maria is so determined.

Di Maria is set for a medical this morning, and will be unveiled by United shortly afterward. He would be available for this weekend’s match against Burnley. Stay tuned as the reports become official transfer business.

“Super computer” predicts final Premier League standings

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With eight games gone and 30 to go in the Premier League, now is the time that those preseason predictions start to get revised and new knee-jerk picks are made.

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Stats.com have run the numbers through their “super computer” — how big is this thing? To me, it’s the size of several rooms… — and the intriguing table will surprise many.

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Manchester City will win the title, pipping Arsenal to the crown, while Manchester United will finish in third and Chelsea will recover to finish fourth. At the bottom, only Bournemouth will be relegated out of the newly promoted teams, while it is looking bleak for Sunderland and Aston Villa.

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Do you agree with the findings of Stats.com?

Click on this link via talkSPORT to see the points tally for each team, as it promises to be a tight race for the title and against relegation.

Predicted final Premier League table

1- Manchester City
2- Arsenal
3 – Manchester United
4- Chelsea
5- Liverpool
6- Tottenham Hotspur
7- Everton
8- Southampton
9- Crystal Palace
10- West Ham United
11- Swansea City
12- Stoke City
13- Leicester City
14 – West Bromwich Albion
15- Newcastle United
16- Norwich City
17- Watford
18- Bournemouth
19- Aston Villa
20- Sunderland

After defying quit calls, Blatter mediates between FAs

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ZURICH (AP) After defying pleas from FIFA sponsors to quit immediately, President Sepp Blatter is continuing regular business at soccer’s governing body, presiding over a dispute between football federations on Tuesday.

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Palestinian Football Union president Jibril Rajoub told The Associated Press: “Blatter is functioning well and in a good mood with common sense, a sense of humor.”

According to Rajoub, Blatter ruled at Tuesday’s meeting with Saudi Arabia’s federation that a decision to force the Palestinians to play a World Cup qualifier at a neutral venue was “invalid.”

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FIFA’s World Cup committee initially ordered the Oct. 13 game to be relocated from the West Bank to neighboring Jordan after the first leg was played in Riyadh.

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Rajoub says FIFA has now agreed to postpone the fixture until a resolution is found.