rubin kazan

Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Multiple reports: Watford set to hire Gracia as manager

Leave a comment

Watford looks set to appoint Javi Gracia to its managerial position, hours after firing Marco Silva and blaming Everton for the manager.

[ MORE: Watford fires Silva, blames Everton ]

Gracia led Malaga to eighth and ninth place finishes in La Liga between 2014-16 before spending last season at Rubin Kazan.

Gracia, 47, has led promotion campaigns in Spain and has plenty of experience with perceived smaller clubs battling the drop zone.

Watford will hope the Hornets don’t reach that point, still five points clear of the drop after flirting with the Top Seven for the first quarter of the Premier League season.

Financial Fair Play slams Manchester City with huge fine, squad reduction

7 Comments

Fresh off Manchester City’s triumphant Premier League season, they will be hard pressed to repeat thanks to the new Financial Fair Play rules.

Along with Paris Saint-Germain, Zenit St. Petersburg, Galatasaray, Anzhi Makhachkala, Rubin Kazan, Trabzonspor, Bursaspor, and PFC Levski Sofia, City has been found to have breached FFP regulations and will be accordingly punished.

According to the documented release by UEFA, Manchester City has agreed to:

  • Pay a fine of $82.19 million
  • Cap its Champions League roster at 21 players (down from 25), 8 of which must be “homegrown”
  • Cap its wages at their current level outside of performance bonuses
  • A break-even financial deficit for the next two fiscal years
  • Have its expenditure allowance reduced below the level of other clubs (essentially a probationary period).

Read the full UEFA report here.

The investigation found that Manchester City’s net losses of $207 million was bankrolled entirely by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan of Abu Dhabi, the club’s owner. The bankroll was covered up in sponsorships but they were too closely tied to Sheikh Mansour for UEFA’s liking.

Manchester City has released a statement claiming they have “engaged with UEFA in its introduction of the Financial Fair Play Regulations in good faith and without prejudice and in a transparent and collaborative manner.”

Essentially, they disagree with the findings of the FFP investigation, citing the facts that they’ve been “operating with no debt” and “realizing its football and commercial opportunities whilst continuing unprecedented investments in both youth development and the local community.”

However, they admit that while they would like to challenge the findings, they have decided not to for “practical realities.”  That’s because they can’t – the ruling has no appeal.

Therefore, the club confirms that the eventual punishments laid down were a “compromise agreement.” Most clubs were given the opportunity to settle with UEFA.

City claims that they already used a 21-player roster this past season for the Champions League, however the team’s official UEFA roster lists 24 players as part of their “A” list.

The punishments given to Manchester City were exactly the same as those handed down to Paris Saint-Germain, who responded with a club statement of their own.  You can view all UEFA documents pertaining to these sanctions here.

Interestingly enough, heavy spenders Monaco were not included in the FFP sanctions and appear to be safe.

Iranian teen confirms Arsenal, Milan offers

1 Comment

According to Rubin Kazan striker Sardar Azmoun, Arsenal is among a trio of top teams vying for his signature this summer.

The 19-year-old has three goals in 10 appearances in the Russian Premier Liga as well as a goal in the Europa League, and has told Iranian television that his play has attracted the world’s best.

“I have offers from three major clubs: Arsenal, AC Milan and Juventus,” Azmoun told showNavad. “I also had an offer from Barcelona, but due to their transfer ban the club is out of the picture at the moment.”

He labeled the talks with the Gunners, along with Milan, as “very serious.” The teen also said there have been conversations between the clubs as well, not just with him and his agent.

Azmoun did finish by saying he is “only focusing on the Russian league” but judging by his previous statements it’s fair to take that one with a grain of salt.

He has come on strong recently, scoring two of his three goals in Kazan’s two most recent matches, although they lost both. He has been given a chance thanks to the poor form of 32-year-old striker Ruslan Mukhametshin, who has just one goal in eight appearances, and has been benched in favor of Azmoun for five straight matches now.

Azmoun has yet to be capped by the Iranian senior team, but

After 21 matches, Kazan is in 9th position out of the 16-team league.

Mexican international Hector Moreno is a wanted man. Where will he go?

8 Comments

Mexican defender Hector Moreno is a man in demand.

Teams from the Premier League, La Liga and Russia are all chasing his signature. Moreno’s options are plentiful and varied. Where will the former Pumas UNAM man go?

Spanish reports claim that both Swansea City and Cardiff City could pounce to sign Espanyol’s defender. With a transfer fee in excess of $12 million expected by the Barcelona-based club. So far, nobody has met that valuation but today Russian side Rubin Kazan have jumped ahead of the two Welsh clubs with a $10 million bid.

Espanyol have described the player as “untouchable” but that bid from Kazan is going to test their mettle.

Moreno, 25, has played 46 times for Mexico and is a rising star in La Liga. It is clear to understand why Espanyol don’t want to sell their defensive lynchpin but with the club still battling financial problems, Moreno may have to move on.

Forever living in the shadows of cross city rivals FC Barcelona, Espanyol looked to have made a huge step forward when they moved into the brand new Estadio Cornellà-El Prat for the 2009-10 season. But the new venue has crippled the club with debt and forced them to sell off several players and they lost manager Mauricio Pochettino.

(MORE: Monday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup, Abdulrahman to Arsenal, Defoe to West Brom)

Through all of that, Moreno has remained at Espanyol. But now the tough-tackling defender should probably move on. He’s outgrown Espanyol, just like he outgrew AZ Alkmaar when he first moved to European soccer in 2008.

He can reach the very top of the European game. No doubt about that. A move to the Premier League, especially to Swansea, would suit Moreno. He is use to playing out from the back in Spain and Michael Laudrup encourages that at the Liberty Stadium. And with Swansea’s central defender Ashley Williams attracting interest from Arsenal, Moreno could be an excellent replacement in South Wales.

For now the rumor mill will continue to churn out possible destinations for Moreno. He could remain in Spain with Espanyol or another La Liga side, go to the Premier League or get Europa League soccer with Rubin Kazan.

Whatever happens the Mexican internationals steady rise to stardom will continue on European soil. In some country. Somewhere.

Europa League draw

1 Comment

While the Uefa Champions League took center stage in Nyon, Switzerland, its ugly sister, the Europa League also conducted it’s draw for the last eight. England had the most representatives with three and incredibly they all managed to avoid each other setting up the possibility of mouth-watering semi-finals.

The 1st leg matches will be played on April 4th with the return legs a week later on April 11th.

Chelsea vs. Rubin Kazan

Tottenham vs. Basel

Fenerbache vs. Lazio

Benfica vs. Newcastle United

Who fancies an all English final…?