Angel Di Maria, in a phrase, has the soccer world by its Brazucas.
The 26-year-old Argentine is fresh off a Man of the Match performance in the UEFA Champions League final, and is set to represent Argentina in a South American setting during this summer’s World Cup.
And the man with the tremendous crossing ability is in demand. Real Madrid would really like him to stick around, but no fewer than a half-dozen world class suitors are said to be begging the attacker to join their sides.
The Express is reporting that Arsenal, Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain have all made bids for Di Maria, while both Manchester giants and Juventus are also trying to bring him aboard.
And for the record, a silly season source told South American site UOL Sport that Di Maria wants out of Madrid:
But reports in Argentina claim that Di Maria is set to disappoint Real and could even agree a deal to leave within the next few weeks.
According to UOL Sport, a source close the player said: “It is true that he is leaving because he wants to go.
“It is very likely that he will leave before the end of the World Cup in Brazil.”
Well if he’s leaving cause he wants to go, who can stop him?
A player like Di Maria can instantly make an entire group of strikers better with his passing and crossing, let alone how lethal he can be given space. Perhaps his move will be the biggest of the summer, even if he ends up signing a lucrative extension with Real Madrid.
Where would you like to see Di Maria play in 2014/15?
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?
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 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.
“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.”
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.