Manchester City join race to sign Radamel Falcao

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Last summer AS Monaco splashed the cash to get Radamel Falcao on board, but everyone always thought the Colombian striker might not stay in the principality for too long.

Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and plenty of other super wealthy clubs have been lining up bids for Falcao this season, now Manchester City want in.

According to a report from the Manchester Evening News, City’s director of football Txiki Begiristain met with Falcao’s representatives in Madrid earlier this week with a view to signing the 28-year-old.

Monaco signed Falcao for $75 million from Atletico Madrid at the start of this season, and the lethal striker is currently recovering from an ACL injury which has put his appearance at this summer’s World Cup in jeopardy.

Ask yourself this question: do Man City really need another world class striker? Their answer, probably, ‘you can never have enough.’

With Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko, Stevan Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo on board, it is hard to see where Falcao will fit in. However Manuel Pellegrini has had to play many games without first-choice striker Aguero this campaign, as the Argentine has played in 28 games and has scored 26 times. Dzeko and Negredo have both been able back ups, with the former netting 20 times for the Citizens and the latter scoring 26 times. However both have gone though lean spells — Negredo has currently gone 11 games without a goal — and the injury-hit start to Jovetic’s career has seen the Citizens looking a little thin up top.

If Falcao decides to switch Ligue 1 contenders Monaco for the Premier League, many thought Chelsea were his favored team. But if City come calling with astronomical wages and match Monaco’s asking price, it will be hard for the Colombian hot-shot to turn down a move to the Etihad. If that does happen, Falcao and Aguero would be one of the deadliest partnerships in world soccer.

Imagine that.

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

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Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.

Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.

Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.

Like the move for Newcastle?

Lukaku pens inspiring post on hard-scrabble upbringing

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Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.

The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.

From The Players’ Tribune:

There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.

Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.

West Ham signs club record center back from Toulouse

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West Ham has reportedly set a club record with its latest signing under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Issa Diop is the player, the 21-year-old Toulouse captain and center back costing the Irons around $29 million.

[ MORE: Arsenal signs Leno ]

Diop scored three goals with an assist and eight yellow cards in 31 Ligue 1 matches this season, giving the young defender 95 apps, six goals, three assists, and 23 yellows since debuting with the senior team at 18.

Capped by France at every level below the senior team, Diop’s 2.2 interceptions per game ranked sixth in Ligue 1.

Toulose finished 18th in Ligue 1, but won its promotion/relegation playoff to stay in the French top flight.

From WHUFC.com:

“I am very happy to sign for such a historic, English club, and I hope to show my best here. I am a very ambitious player and West Ham is a very ambitious club, as we’ve seen with the appointment of the new coach. I hope to help the team win lots of games and make the fans happy.”

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 3

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In the third episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England pulls out a massive win while VAR finds its way into the World Cup spotlight.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

There will be plenty more to come over the next few weeks, with the show coming via the Men In Blazers.

Click play on the video above to watch the first episode in full.