Another look at the Diego Costa to Liverpool situation

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Liverpool appear to be on their way to a fifth purchase in this summer’s transfer market, having submitted a $32 million (£21m) offer to Atletico Madrid for striker Diego Costa.

The bid is widely believed to have triggered the 24 year old’s release clause meaning the Reds may soon have a fifth top striker on their books come next week.

No transfer swoop would be complete, of course, without its fair share of controversy.

The first potential stumbling block in the Reds move is the aforementioned release clause. While many sources ‘believe’ it has been triggered, no one is totally convinced that such a clause actually exists.

If there is a clause and Liverpool have triggered it, then Costa is headed to the Kop pending personal terms and a medical.

If there is no such clause, then the issue is whether Los Colchoneros are willing to part with the Brazilian marksman.

The BBC and Sky Sports claim Atletico boss Diego Simeone has hinted that Costa could be allowed to move following David Villa’s arrival from Barcelona. The signing of Leo Baptistao from Rayo Vallecano only helps this point, as some believe the mere presence of the two arrivals may render Costa surplus goods.

But The Guardian notes that as of late Thursday, Atleti are denying having received an offer telling Spanish newspaper AS that the striker was not for sale.

If this feels like a bargaining standpoint that’s because it probably is.

As for Liverpool, pre-existing issues have (justifiably) made them weary of speaking to journalists in any sort of direct manner. Manager Brendan Rodgers did note earlier this week, however, that the club would bring in new signings if they were of “the right quality.”

Which makes sense, because bringing in players who are crap tends not to sit well with supporters.

So, is Diego Costa the right quality?

The powerful (6’2″) striker enjoyed a breakout season last year, firing 10 goals in 37 La Liga appearances and 20 in 44 games in all competitions. His style is raw and built on power.

He likes to drive at defenses, bullying them through the use of sheer athleticism and desire. He is a hustler. He breathes down the neck of opponents while on defense and selflessly drops deep to operate as a second striker in support of the front line.

Costa lacks the typical technique and agility seen in most Brazilian footballers. Instead, he is the product of a street soccer upbringing that didn’t see him play for an organized team until he was 16 years old when he found himself fed up with not being able to afford to take girls on dates. Thus, his late-blooming breakout.

In short, he is lightning in a bottle. It’s a fury that is both his blessing and his downfall with Costa prone to fiery outbursts and, at times, overly-focusing on winding opposing players up rather than winning the match.

It’s a temperament that many will note Liverpool already has in the likes of Luis Suarez, Iago Aspas, and, to some extent, Daniel Sturridge. Some feel that the bid for Costa could indicate Liverpool’s desire for the Brazilian to succeed Suarez although higher-ups at Anfield scoff at the notion.

Either way, if Costa makes his way to Liverpool competition for spots up front will be fierce.

A drastic difference to where Liverpool found themselves at the beginning of last year.

Watch Live: Brazil v. Mexico in U-17 World Cup final

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The 2019 U-17 World Cup final takes place in Bezerrão Stadium on Saturday as favorites Brazil host an inspired Mexico.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE, HERE

With four goals and one assist, Kaio Jorge has been Brazil’s most productive attacking player this tournament, while Mexico’s and Los Angeles Galaxy’s Efrain Alvarez is hoping to end an incredible tournament in triumphant fashion.

History between both national teams in a U-17 World Cup final dates back to 2005, when LAFC’s Carlos Vela and Mexico routed Marcelo and Brazil 3-0 in Lima, Peru.

Click on the link above to watch the game live.


U-17 World Cup final
Brazil v. Mexico – 5 p.m. ET

England finishes EURO 2020 qualifying by beating Kosovo

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England’s 2020 European Championship qualification campaign wrapped up on Sunday with a slightly flattering 4-0 victory away to third-place, and playoff qualifiers, Kosovo.

[ VIDEO: Game stopped for racist chanting; player targeted later scores goal ]

Gareth Southgate‘s side was hardly at its best just three days after thrashing Montenegro and securing qualification to this summer’s tournament. They only led by a score of 1-0 through 78 minutes, before scoring a trio of late goals to put the game out of reach and rob the hosts of any potential moral victory.

Harry Winks opened the scoring, and his England account, in the 32nd minute. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain found Winks near the top of Kosovo’s penalty area and though Winks’ first touch appeared quite poor, every player in blue stopped and stood as the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder walked in on goal and coolly slotted the ball home to make it 1-0.

[ PREVIEW: Brazil v. Mexico in U-17 World Cup final ]

From that point forward, Kosovo enjoyed control of the game’s tempo and looked every bit the Three Lions’ equal. That is, until Harry Kane finished an open chance at the back post in the 79th minute and opened the floodgates.

Marcus Rashford added a third four minutes later, followed by another first England goal — this time, scored by Mason Mount — in the 91st.

England finishes EURO 2020 qualification with a record of 7W-0D-1L and a +31 goal differential, which is second only to Belgium who sit at +32 with one game still to play. England required Sunday’s victory to confirm its place as a Pot 1 team at the draw for the group stage.

Arsenal beat Spurs in front of WSL-record crowd of 38,262

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LONDON (AP) The first north London derby in the Women’s Super League produced a record crowd of 38,262 for the competition on Sunday when Arsenal claimed a 2-0 victory at Tottenham.

[ PREVIEW: Brazil v. Mexico in U-17 World Cup final ]

The newly fully professional side held out until the 66th minute when Kim Little struck for the champions and Vivianne Miedema extended Arsenal’s lead in the 82nd minute.

It was the first time Tottenham, in its first top-flight campaign, had staged women’s football at its main 61,000-capacity stadium, which opened earlier this year.

The crowd surpassed the 31,213 at Manchester City for the visit of Manchester United on the opening weekend of the season in September.

Tottenham hosted Arsenal on the first designated Women’s Football Weekend in England which also saw 23,500 at Anfield for Liverpool’s 1-0 loss to Everton.

[ MORE: Barcelona, Lionel Messi negotiating a new deal ]

Chelsea opened the season by hosting Tottenham in front of around 25,000 at Stamford Bridge.

League leaders Chelsea were back at their usual home of Kingsmeadow on Sunday. Maren Mjelde’s penalty sealed a 1-0 victory over promoted Manchester United in front of 4,790 fans – a WSL record crowd for a game not played in a large stadium usually used by the men’s team.

VIDEO: Dutch 2nd-division game stopped for racist abuse; player later scores goal

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A Dutch second-division game between Den Bosch and Excelsior was temporarily stopped on Sunday due to suspected racist chanting and Nazi salutes performed by some of Den Bosch’s fans.

[ MORE: Barcelona, Lionel Messi negotiating a new deal ]

The game was halted by referee Laurens Gerrets in the 30 minute. Dutch winger Ahmad Mendes Moreira, who plays for Excelsior, was the player targeted by the racist chanting. He was at that time seen gesturing toward the crowd, indicating to Gerrets and teammates that he was hearing racist abuse from the stands.

In a mixed zone for media availability after the game, Den Bosch manager Erik van der Ven is reported to have called Mendes Moreira a “pathetic little man” for pointing out the racist abuse to Gerrets. Den Bosch released a statement claiming that no racist abuse occurred, that the fans were instead making “crow sounds” and treating Mendes Moreira to a “crow concert,” which they claim is part of customary treatment of opposing players.

[ PREVIEW: Brazil v. Mexico in U-17 World Cup final ]

Mendes Moreira appeared emotional after scoring a goal to put Excelsior 2-1 ahead fewer than 15 minutes after the game was restarted.