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“Neymar is not expensive” says concerned Jose Mourinho

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Jose Mourinho is not a man who says things to get in the headlines.

Said no one ever.

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With Neymar edging closer to a world-record $262 million transfer to Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona, Manchester United’s manager has openly, and bluntly, shared his thoughts on the current transfer market throughout much of this summer.

Speaking after Man United’s victory against Sampdoria in Dublin on Wednesday, the final game of their preseason tour which consisted of seven games in three countries, Mourinho shared his thoughts on the huge transfer fee for Neymar with the forward set to make over $53.4 million a year in wages after tax.

“Expensive are the ones who get into a certain level without a certain quality. For £200m, I don’t think [Neymar] is expensive,” Mourinho said. “I think he’s expensive in the fact that now you are going to have more players at £100m, you are going have more players at £80m and more players at £60m. And I think that’s the problem. Neymar is one of the best players in the world, commercially he is very strong and for sure PSG thought about it. So I think the problem is not Neymar, I think the problem is the consequences of Neymar.”

Actually, he has a point.

Just like Man United did when they signed Paul Pogba from Juventus for a world-record fee of $123.3 million (pocket change for PSG…) last summer, the French giants have paid for the commercial machine which is Neymar as well as his quality on the pitch.

Sure, Brazil’s captain will score 30 goals and added 15 assists in Ligue 1 as well as potentially helping them reach at least the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League, but his value off the pitch means Les Parisiens could recoup a large part of their initial investment.

Neymar will spend his prime in Paris and the Qatari owners have done all they can to make it happen, even if UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules will be scrutinized heavily around this deal for many months to come.

The ripples from this deal are quite severe as the domino effect could see Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele, Kylian Mbappe and others head towards Barcelona, meaning there is now an influx of cash for their clubs to spend and so the cycle goes on and on.

Take Liverpool, for example. If Barca do offer over $130 million for Coutinho, as has been reported, then all of a sudden they are backed into a corner when buying a replacement. Everyone knows they have plenty of cash coming in and clubs like RB Leipzig and Southampton will be licking their lips when it comes to selling Naby Keita and Virgil Van Dijk respectively.

It’s a vicious circle and this deal for Neymar will send shockwaves through an already record-breaking summer of transfer deals.

Mourinho has done his business early with Romelu Lukaku, Victor Lindelof and Nemanja Matic arriving for a combined total of $180 million.

This deal doesn’t directly or indirectly impact Mourinho, but he wants you to know how he feels about it.

Reports: Alli unlikely to play in England’s second Group G match

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The Three Lions may not have taken all good news away from the team’s 2-1 win over Tunisia in their World Cup opener.

[ MORE: Russia races past Egypt, likely en route to next round ]

Several reports are suggesting that England will likely be without Tottenham playmaker Dele Alli in their second Group G match against Panama on Sunday.

Alli was forced out of England’s opener with a thigh strain, which gave manager Gareth Southgate the decision to put in Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

There isn’t a timetable for the 22-year-old’s return to the pitch, but his absence will definitely present a major question for Southgate heading into the rest of group play.

Without Alli in the starting XI, it’ll likely be between Loftus-Cheek and Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard to fill the role where Alli normally sits.

In the case of Lingard, who started against Tunisia, the England boss would have to bring in another starter if Southgate opts to have the Red Devils attacker sit in as the number 10.

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.”