West Ham United’s commitment to taking the next step is pretty clear, and the Irons may have finally found their big, young European striker.
Maxi Gomez, 22, has scored 32 times with 10 assists in two seasons at Celta Vigo, and has his choices down to Valencia and West Ham.
Both clubs have seen $36.5 million accepted by Celta Vigo, and now it’s down to the player to choose between testing the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League.
Should West Ham add Gomez, it will be the second $30 million-plus buy of the summer and add to last summer’s record-breaking purchase of Felipe Anderson. Pablo Fornals joined the Irons earlier this week.
He scored against both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid last season, and both Barca and Real Madrid the previous season. Gomez made the Uruguayan squad for the 2018 World Cup, making two appearances off the bench, and has scored twice in 12 caps.
West Ham has a decent striker in Marko Arnautovic, but the 30-year-old has been mercurial at best in his commitment to the club. Andy Carroll is leaving the club this summer.
The club has also placed a $15 million bid for another La Liga player, 24-year-old midfielder Joan Jordan of Eibar.
A more box-to-box player with attacking and wing experience, Jordan scored four times with four assists last season. He was linked with Arsenal during the season.
Barcelona remained nine points clear at the top of the La Liga table with five matches remaining thanks to a 2-1 home win over Real Sociedad.
Clement Lenglet beat his mark Mikel Merino in the air, scoring a header off a corner just before halftime to put Barcelona up, and after Real Sociedad leveled things up just after the hour mark, Jordi Alba was on hand to restore the lead with a right-footed blast low past Geronimo Rulli who reacted late on the shot through traffic.
Down the other end of the table, Celta Vigo earned a critical win in the relegation battle, knocking off Girona 2-1 on a 69th minute winner by former Southampton attacker Sofiane Boufal. The Moroccan international worked a tiny bit of space before delivering a fabulous curler that tucked in the far corner. That proved the difference after Iago Aspas and Portu had cancelled each other out on either side of the break. The win allowed Celta to rise up to 14th, three points above the drop with a crowded group below them.
Atletico Madrid extended its lead in second place with a 1-0 win over Eibar, needing an 85th minute breakaway goal by Thomas Lemar to seal the deal. That pushed them seven points ahead of Real Madrid, with Los Blancos still set to play on Sunday. It also saw Atletico keep pace with Barcelona, although it would take a massive collapse down the stretch by the leaders for Atletico to have a shot at the title.
Finally, Rayo Vallecano drew nearer to relegation with a 0-0 draw against Huesca at home, leaving them four points back of 18th placed Real Valladolid and five shy of safety. Rayo could only muster three shots on target of the 16 efforts they ripped off, failing to create many truly big chances.
Mexican national team defender Nestor Araujo is the latest member of El Tri to join a La Liga outfit.
Araujo, 26, is off to Celta Vigo on a five-year deal after a half-decade at Santos Laguna in Liga MX.
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Left off the Juan Carlos Osorio’s World Cup roster, Araujo joins Miguel Layun (Sevilla), Hector Moreno (Real Sociedad), Andres Guardado (Real Betis), and Oswaldo Alanis (Getafe) in Spain.
Araujo has 27 caps for Mexico with three goals, but oddly enough none of those caps have come against the United States.
Like Rey and Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba are having some sort of force connection on Thursday.
The pair teamed up for three goals – two for Messi and one for Alba in the opening 28 minutes of the match as Barcelona stormed out to an early 3-0 lead (5-1 on aggregate) in the Copa Del Rey against Celta Vigo.
On the first two goals, Alba crossed from the left and found Messi in space inside the box, where he was able to finish with aplomb. But on the second goal, Messi plays what Ray Hudson would call a “magisterial” pass, through the entire defense onto the foot of Alba, who slotted it home.
Yes, Messi had no pressure on him and no one caught the run of Alba down the left wing. But the ball was placed on a dime, perfectly through the entire Celta Vigo team but still far enough away that goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez couldn’t ready it.
Watch, and be ready for your mouth to drop.
Giuseppe Rossi tore an ACL for the fourth time this past April, and is nearing a return from his injury.
The New Jersey-born midfielder has signed with Genoa, the club announced. He had been released from his Fiorentina contract in July after suffering the injury while on loan with La Liga side Celta Vigo in a 2-0 loss to Eibar.
It is the first ACL tear in his left knee after suffering three serious injuries in his right knee.
His injury came just as the 30-year-old was finally starting to reach a return to form. He had scored a hat-trick against Las Palmas the previous match and started in three of the team’s previous five matches.
Genoa will present Rossi to the public at a news conference on Tuesday. Genoa sits in 17th in Serie A, even on points with 18th placed SPAL, sitting above the relegation zone on goal differential alone. However, they are coming off a win at Crotone followed by a hard-fought draw with Roma where they played the final 21 minutes down a man. They are currently in play against Hellas Verona.