Marcos Rojo granted UK visa, can begin Manchester United career

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On Thursday Manchester United confirmed that new center back Marcos Rojo can now play for the club.

Rojo, 24, signed for the Red Devils from Sporting Lisbon for $27 million earlier this month but has not yet played due to visa issues with the UK Border Agency.

[RELATED: Rojo signs for Man United]

The Argentine center back has been sorting things out at the embassy in Madrid but has now been given the green light to start his career in Manchester. The issue surrounding his visa application was due to an altercation Rojo had with a neighbor back in 2010. The center back has been indicted and is currently awaiting a trial but until then, he is able to play for his new club.

United’s new defender is now able to make his debut, which could come against Queens Park Rangers on Sunday Sept. 14 at Old Trafford.

Here’s the statement from United’s website, as another new face is now available for Louis van Gaal to select.

The UK Border Agency has agreed to grant new Manchester United signing Marcos Rojo a visa and the defender will therefore be available for the Reds’ next game against QPR on 14 September.

Rojo completed his move to Old Trafford from Sporting Lisbon on 20 August but the requirement to obtain a visa has thus far prevented the 24-year-old from making his debut.

There was no such delay for fellow Argentinian arrival Angel Di Maria, who already has an Italian passport as one of his grandparents is from Italy.

Rojo qualified for a (separate) work permit automatically by virtue of having played in more than 75 per cent of Argentina’s competitive internationals over the last two years.

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.