You think gossip’s going to take a Monday off? Pssh, please.
Petr Cech has already sealed his Arsenal move, while another London club has sold a player to China. Paulinho is reportedly heading to Guangzhou Evergrande for around $15 million.
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Spurs may not be done today, at least as sellers, as the London Evening Standards says the club may be ready to sell Etienne Capoue to Watford. Also, Sky Sports reports that 23-year-old Czech striker Matej Vydra (right) will be keeping his high-scoring ways at Watford as the club hits the Premier League this season. Vydra scored 16 goals for the Hornets while on loan from Udinese last season.
Italian outlet Rai Sports says Inter Milan is on the verge of taking relatively-unused back Martin Montoya away from Barcelona.
And as Barcelona’s presidential campaigns go on, candidate Joan Laporta says he’s the man to bring Paul Pogba to the Camp Nou once the club’s transfer ban is lifted in January.
“We feel that the key to a potential signing of Pogba is Mino Raiola, with whom we get on with very well, both [Eric] Abidal and myself,” he is quoted as saying in AS.
MLS news from our own Andy Edwards at Sporting Park:
Could Fabio Borini be on his way to West Ham for $12 million?
Top Drawer Soccer says 17-year-old American winger Brooks Lennon has acquired an Irish passport, allowing him to sign with Liverpool. He’s been with the Liverpool U-17 side, and the U.S. U-18 side.
Liverpool is leading the way through the transfer rumor mill this Monday morning, with a trio of players linked with Anfield moves.
One of those, Barcelona’s Martin Montoya, is said to have agreed to terms with the Reds, though no transfer fee has been agreed between the clubs.
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The 24-year-old right back has long been behind Dani Alves in Barca’s pecking order. Alves is out of contract this summer, but the 31-year-old is still wanted by Barcelona.
Here’s Barca president Josep Bartomeu (from Sky Sports):
“Alves is much closer to staying at the club than to leaving. We have asked him to stay,” he told Catalan TV station TV3.
“We are negotiating with his agent because he is an important player, not just now but for many years.
“He is eager to continue to fight and work hard.”
Gossip power Fichajes.net says Montoya will head to Liverpool to help the Reds replace Glen Johnson and Jon Flanagan.
Liverpool is also said to be joining the fight for Burnley right back Kieran Trippier, according to The Daily Star, while also holding interest in Bayer Leverkusen’s prolific 22-year-old forward Son Hueng-Min.
The above Vine of Barcelona defender Martin Montoya floating a 30-yard, cross-field ball and hitting nothing but net through a basketball goal is either a really skillful piece of ball striking by the player, or a really skillful piece of video editing by the video production team.
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You be the judge, but it looks pretty real to me. The flight of the ball looks natural, just like a Andrea Pirlo hitting a 60-yard diagonal to the opposite flank. It’s not crazy to think that someone who plays for Barcelona could do this. The challenge is, as always, having a camera running and pointed in the right direction when something like this happens.
The biggest question, for me, is what in the world a basketball goal is doing on the training field of Barcelona.
Barcelona may have coughed up its chance to win La Liga with a stunning 1-0 defeat at Granada on Saturday. The Blaugranas now trail both Madrid clubs, Atletico and Real, in the race for the Spanish title, and were dismissed from the UEFA Champions League by the former during the week.
It’s messy. It’s surprising. It’s anti-Barca.
And defender Martin Montoya admits the club is in a bad, bad funk — just not an inescapable one.
From the BBC:
“Mentally we’re pretty screwed up,” the 22-year-old defender said. “We will fight for the league until the end, we still have games left and hopefully our rivals will lose points.”
Club legend and current midfielder Andres Iniesta weighed in as well:
“We made a mistake in the play that led to their goal and that really hurt us,” said the 29-year-old after Barca’s first La Liga defeat by Granada.
“Sometimes it’s hard to find an explanation, we did everything we could to score.”
Yet they didn’t. If Atleti does what it should against Getafe today, Barca will be four points back of title track. It takes destiny out of their hands, which is certainly not a familiar position. It’s yet another turn in a nutty, nutty La Liga race.
It wasn’t quite as dominant as Bayern Munich, but just about.
Barcelona wanted to equal the record Primera Division points total, and they didn’t even bat an eye, beating Malaga 4-1 without Lionel Messi to make it to exactly 100 points on the year.
That ties Real Madrid’s record set just last season. Madrid finished second this year, 15 points back.
They needed just three minutes to start the scoring, and when it was all said and done, Barcelona shared the success as David Villa, Cesc Fabregas, Iniesta, and Martin Montoya all grabbed goals. Montoya’s goal was his first and only of the year, making him the 17th player to score for Barca this season.
It was also a special match for Eric Abidal, who said he will leave Catalonia in a teary-eyed farewell. He came on as a substitute for Gerard Pique, and the players threw him into the air after the match.
The season was a bit of a disappointment after they were picked apart by Bayern Munich in the semifinals of the Champions League, but the La Liga success will surely give them something to be proud of. They’ve now won four of the last five La Liga titles, and six in the last decade.
Reaching 100 points on the season also gave Barcelona exactly 3800 lifetime top flight points, second only to Real Madrid’s 3938.