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Report: Man City signs Serbian youth international for $3M

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A report out of Serbia says Manchester City has identified its next striker, and that the 19-year-old will be at the Etihad Stadium next season.

Slobodan Tedic is currently with Cukaricki, where he stars for “The Hill Men” and will stay until a sale of $3.3 million is complete. Some reports say the sale is done and Tedic will go back to Cukaricki on loan.

The 6-foot-2 center forward has four goals in nine matches this season, including three in Europa League qualifying. Cukaricki was knocked out of the tournament by Molde.

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Tedic has nine goals in 49 senior appearances, making his debut at the age of 17. He’s appeared for Serbia at every youth level from U-16 to U-21, though goals have yet to arrive in a national team shirt.

Should Tedic arrive in January, he’ll have a long path to first team relevance with City. There’s a long line of players who’ve come with high expectations but struggled to fit into the program, including Marlos Moreno. The Colombian arrived at age 19 and is on his fourth loan at age 22.

TalkSport translated the comments of Cukaricki manager Nenad Mirosavljevic from the Serbian report:

“He’s been on City’s radar for a long time,” said Mirosavljevic, “with scouts often coming to see him. There have been games where we didn’t even know they were in the stands. They watched all of his games, his every move, which is quite normal for the world’s biggest clubs. When they officially contacted us, we easily and quickly agreed. This is a confirmation of our good work, but also the best possible marketing for Cukaricki, and for Serbian football in general.”

Red Star Belgrade fans park battle tank at stadium

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BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) Red Star Belgrade fans have welcomed another wartime symbol to their stadium: a real battle tank used during the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia in 1990s.

The decommissioned Yugoslav army tank was parked in front of the Red Star stadium ahead of a Champions League qualifying match against Swiss champion Young Boys.

The Red Star fan club website says the tank symbolizes their slogan “Machine Has Started.” The northern stand at the stadium is reserved for the club’s most ardent supporters, known as Delije, or roughly translated the tough boys.

The stunt has triggered a strong reaction from neighboring Croatia, which fought a war for independence from the Serb-led Yugoslavia.

Croatian media say the tank is “a clear provocation” and “a scandal.”

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Montenegro fire Serbian coach for missing Kosovo match

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Montenegro have fired their Serbian coach Ljubisa Tumbakovic after he didn’t take charge of their UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying game against Kosovo on Friday.

Tumbakovic and two of his Serbian born players who play for Montenegro, Filip Stojkovic and Mirko Ivanic, pulled out of the game under pressure from Serbia who do not recognize Kosovo as a nation.

Political pressure from Serbia

Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, and although most of the EU and the United States reocgnize it as an independent nation, several countries around the world do not. FIFA recognized Kosovo as a nation three years ago and it has taken part in officials games ever since.

In a statement released by the Montenegrin FA, they revealed that Tumbakovic, who has been in charge since 2016, has been fired.

“The executive board made a unanimous decision to relieve Tumbakovic of his duties after he decided not to be in charge of the national team for the match. Apart from being an unpleasant surprise, Tumbakovic’s move also constitutes a breach of his professional duties stipulated by his contract.”

Eintracht director: Real will probably get Jovic if they want him

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Eintracht Frankfurt director Fredi Bobic is worried he has little hope of keeping his 21-year-old star striker if Real Madrid really wants him.

Luka Jovic is scoring goal after goal in the Bundesliga and Europa League, the Serbian’s loan from Benfica made permanent by a paltry $8 million exercised in April.

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He has 25 goals and seven assists across all competitions, scoring against Inter Milan, Benfica, Marseille, Lazio, Inter Milan, and Borussia Dortmund. He also bagged five goals against Fortuna Dusseldorf, which is pretty good.

So the links to Real Madrid make sense, especially with Zinedine Zidane in search of the next Karim Benzema. Here’s Bobic, from Marca:

“I hope and want him to stay here at Eintracht, but I’m also realistic and know that if a big club like Real Madrid want him then we haven’t got a chance of keeping him.”

The quotes come on the same day that Bayern Munich’s interest in the striker was reportedly mooted, and certainly Eintracht would rather sell to a La Liga club than the Bundesliga stalwarts.

Chelsea fans will get an up-close look at Jovic in the Europa League semifinals early next month. Will the Blues, or anyone else, proffer the sort of money that would allow them to rival Real for Jovic’s affection?

Sane, Low play down injury fears after horror tackle for Germany

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Leroy Sane suffered a tackle so graphic on video that in most cases would have ended up with a broken leg. Thankfully, Sane says he’s just fine.

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Late in Germany’s 1-1 friendly draw with Serbia on Wednesday evening, Serbia’s Milan Pavkov went over the ball and hit Sane’s leg directly with the studs of his cleats. Pavkov was shown a straight red card and Sane limped off the pitch. However, after the match, Sane assured fans that he’s doing all right.

“The foul looked worse than it was, everything is fine with my ankle,” Sane said after the match. “I’m very happy, we had a few good moves. We had good phases where the final pass was lacking, but I think that will come with time. Everyone could see that we got better and better.”

With the start of Euro 2020 qualifiers ahead and the announcement last month that Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, and Thomas Muller would no longer be with the national team, Joachim Low has started pushing a youth movement in the German National Team. Timo Werner started up top with Sane, 19-year-old Kai Havertz, and 22-year-old Julian Brandt in the three attacking midfield positions.

“It was a vicious foul,” Low said after the match, via Sky Sports. “Sane was lucky and got away with not getting hurt but such fouls can break bones.”

The news about Sane is a huge boost to Manchester City, which is still in the run for the quadruple in England and Europe. Sane will certainly play a big role with Pep Guardiola‘s side down the stretch.