Wednesday’s Transfer Rumor Roundup: Mata to Spurs, Ozil to Arsenal

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Tottenham and Arsenal are said to be battling it out for Chelsea’s Juan Mata, after the Spanish international was left on the bench during Monday’s 0-0 draw with Manchester United. José Mourinho stated Mata would not leave, but the 25-year-old midfielder may want to move elsewhere in London to become the focal point of Arsenal or Spurs’ attack. Mata’s father, also his agent, watched Arsenal’s win over Fenerbache at the Emirates on Tuesday night. Have the Gunners jumped ahead of Spurs?

German international Mesut Ozil, 24, is edging closer to the exit door at Real Madrid after throwing a tantrum when substituted on Monday against Granada. Ozil is reportedly top of Arsenal’s wishlist but the Gunners must be prepared to pay Ozil’s wage demands of $300,000 per week. The attacking midfielder would certainly shine in North London, but is he worth breaking the bank for?

Eliaquim Mangala could arrive at Old Trafford this week, as David Moyes aims to strengthen Manchester United’s defense. The 22-year-old FC Porto defender would add extra cover and competition across the backline, with Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic both injury prone in recent years, it might not be a bad idea to add the highly-rated French international.

Another player Real Madrid and Arsenal are reportedly chasing is Sevilla midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia. However the 20 year-old could be heading to Monaco for $25 million, according to these reports in France. The French international holding midfeilder has said to have bought out his contract at Sevilla, as he’s part owned by Doyen Sports Investments – the same company who have a stake in Radamel Falcao. So a move to Monaco would make sense.

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Will Ozil join Arsenal?

Elsewhere Manchester United are giving Chelsea a taste of their own medicine, by offering a deal worth $45 million for Brazilian defender David Luiz. The 26-year-old attack-minded center back would be a highly unlikely addition to Moyes’ United squad, however he is looking to strengthen at the back and stranger things have happened.

Sam Allardyce continues to wheel and deal in the transfer market and Honduran international striker Roger Rojas, 23, could join on loan from Club Deportivo Olimpia. Rojas has impressed for Honduras in their recent World Cup qualifying campaign and the Hammers need extra cover up front to challenge Andy Carroll. Big Sam loves a big bargain, and Rojas could become a star at Upton Park.

If Newcastle United do lose French midfielder Yohan Cabaye to Arsenal this week, Alan Pardew has Wigan’s Irish international James McCarthy lined up. The 22-year-old midfielder would love a return to the Premier League following Wigan’s relegation and move to the Magpies would suit everyone. Will the Latics let him leave for $15 million?

Real Madrid winger Angel Di Maria could be heading to Turkish giants Galatasaray, after the two clubs have reportedly agreed a fee for the Argentinian international. Di Maria, 25, may see his minutes diminish considerably at Madrid when Gareth Bale arrives. Seems like a lucrative switch to Istanbul could be on the way.

Crystal Palace may turn to QPR’s controversial midfielder Joey Barton, with the 30-year-old Englishman set to cost $5 million. Barton excelled on loan at Marseille last season but the hotheaded Liverpudlian has not yet received an offer from the French club to return to Ligue 1 and Everton were rumored to be interested. He will want a move away from QPR and the Championship if possible, but are Palace the right club?

Report: Minnesota United chasing Ecuadorian national teamer

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Minnesota United may be hoping another Ibarra can cure what ails its attack.

Romario Ibarra, 23, is on the Loons’ radar according to The Athletic‘s Kristian Dyer and Jeff Rueter, who say Minnesota would like to land the Ecuadorian when the summer transfer window opens on July 10.

[ MORE: Modric urges humility ]

Ibarra was limited to eight matches for Universidad Católica this season as he battled through a lingering metatarsal fracture. But he’s scored against Argentina and Chile in each of his appearances for the national team, both World Cup qualifiers.

From The Athletic:

Sources say that Ibarra’s contract is unlikely to make him a designated player, leaving Quintero as the club’s sole DP. (It could depend, in part, on the size of the transfer fee.) Based on league standards, his salary will likely be drawn from Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) contract seems likely.

Ibarra’s older brother Renato plays for Club America, and has 36 caps.

Minnesota is six points outside the West’s final playoff spot, and has scored just 17 goals in 14 matches.

Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal field set

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The 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is down to one non-MLS entrant after LAFC fought past Sacramento Republic’s dogged effort to make it two, twice equalizing en route to a 3-2 win.

[ MORE: TFC extends Bono ]

Louisville City won a battle of USL sides in Wednesday’s final day of fifth round action, knocking off Nashville SC by a 2-1 score.

Now attention turns to the quarterfinals, where USL champions Louisville City will face the Chicago Fire on July 18.

All four quarterfinals will be staged on that day, and the winner of Louisville-Chicago will face the winner of the duel between Philadelphia Union and Orlando City.

The other side of the bracket shows Houston Dynamo against Sporting KC, and LAFC against the Portland Timbers.

Chicago and KC have won the cup an MLS-best four times each, while Philadelphia has finished second twice.

The remaining quarterfinalists have not advanced to a USOC final.

Sprawling translated Emery interview talks PSG, Guardiola, more

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Arsenal manager Unai Emery has given a sprawling interview, translated by France Football News, in which he discusses his history and his philosophies.

The interview was conducted after Emery was dismissed by Paris Saint-Germain but before he was hired by the Gunners.

[ MORE: Sampaoli defends Messi ]

It’s a fascinating read, with Emery going deep into his relationship with Neymar, the need for PSG to get an “A-ha” goal for its history books, and much, much more.

The interview is with Marti Perarnau, the author of “Pep Confidential,” and there are plenty of good nuggets regarding the Manchester City boss, as well as Rafa Benitez, Zinedine Zidane, PSG, Real Madrid, and Barcelona.

It’s fairly clear that Emery figured he’d be going to a new league, and he certainly seems like a guy fit for a project like succeeding Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. For one thing, he’s proud of his team’s style.

That’s something valued by the North London set, and Emery pointed out that Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid and Pep Guardiola at Man City had to fail before they succeeded.

Let me say this: PSG played well and won. Many people don’t value that enough and believe that it is easy. But what happened to us? We lacked competitiveness in important moments. Why? Because this team is not confronted with enough moments of adversity in the league. Being competitive also means being faced with adversity. One has to suffer like Simeone’s team to win. One has to suffer like Pep’s team to win in England.

My team had two basic principles: having possession and pressing. That was the basis. Having the ball, and winning it back as fast as possible. I should add a little nuance. I’m talking about having possession and not positioning because there are moments where you can win the ball through positioning, and others where moving out of position can surprise the opponent. And like Guardiola says, if you have to win with a long ball from the goalkeeper towards the striker and that the forward scores with his ass, then so be it! We work like that as well.

And here’s just a quick nugget on the importance of playmaking, and how good players make a coach look better.

During his first match against Toulouse at the Parc des Princes, we get corner. Neymar takes it quickly and Kurzawa scores. We hadn’t worked that at all with him. Afterwards, I told Neymar, “My work is limited to your strokes of genius.”

Love it. Arsenal seems like it’s in good hands. Read the full interview here.

Khedira laughs off Swedish reporter’s offer of tickets home

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Juventus midfielder Sami Khedira brushed off a gesture from a Swedish reporter, trading a bit of banter ahead of Germany’s big World Cup match against Sweden on Saturday.

Germany fell 1-0 to Mexico in its opener while Sweden beat South Korea, leading a playful Swede to hand Khedira boarding passes for a flight home to Germany.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Khedira’s reply? He joked that Sweden won’t be a problem and he’ll use the tickets after the World Cup Final.

From Goal.com:

“After this bad start, we know that it’s super difficult, but we know that we are a strong team. We analysed the game, we saw Sweden play and we are sure that we are winning this game.

“I think we’ll need them [plane tickets] on the 16th of July.”