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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?

Russia extends winless run ahead of World Cup

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MOSCOW (AP) Russia will go into its home World Cup without a win in seven games after drawing 1-1 with an under-strength Turkey team on Tuesday.

[ MORE: World Cup stadium guide ]

Alexander Samedov put Russia ahead in the 36th minute with an elegant chip over goalkeeper Serkan Kirintili from a tight angle off a pass from Alan Dzagoev. However, Turkey leveled in the 60th when Russia failed to close down substitute midfielder Yunus Malli, allowing the former Germany under-21 player to hit a shot low and hard from distance past Igor Akinfeev.

Fyodor Smolov could have restored Russia’s lead after getting in behind the Turkish defense in the 72nd but shot wide of the far post.

Russia opens the World Cup at Moscow’s vast Luzhniki arena June 14 against Saudi Arabia – the only team in the competition which is lower in the world rankings – and then meets Egypt and Uruguay in Group A.

Turkey hasn’t qualified for the World Cup since 2002.

Champions League Final to return to Istanbul

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Here’s a bit of news which will put smiles on Liverpool supporters’ faces ahead of the weekend’s big UEFA Champions League Final against Real Madrid.

The UEFA Champions League Final is headed back to Istanbul, the city known for boasting perhaps the most celebrated moment in Liverpool history.

[ MORE: Next USMNT-Mexico date set ]

Istanbul’s Ataturk Olympic Stadium will host the 2020 UCL Final, 15 years after the Reds rallied from a 3-0 halftime deficit to defeat AC Milan in penalty kicks.

The 2019 final will be held in Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, home of Atletico Madrid.

Arda Turan gets record suspension for pushing official (video)

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Arda Turan probably wishes his 2.5 year loan from Barcelona was a bit shorter.

The Basaksehir midfielder is going to miss the rest of the season and the next 14 matches of next season following a record suspension for pushing a referee.

[ MORE: Rooney’s proposed DC move has good precedence ]

Turan has also been fined a little over $9000 for the incident, and the suspension works out to “10 matches for attacking the assistant referee, three matches for insulting him and another three for threatening him.”

Well, the insults!

Turan quit the Turkey national team after reports that he assaulted a sports journalist, so his anger isn’t limited to a single profession.

He also once threw a shoe at a linesman while playing for Atletico Madrid.

Turkey hands bid plans for Euro 2024 to UEFA

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NYON, Switzerland (AP) Turkey has given UEFA its hosting plan for the 2024 European Championship, citing “unprecedented state support” to help beat Germany to stage the 24-team tournament.

Turkish soccer federation president Yildirim Demiroren says the latest attempt is “our best bid ever.” Ten stadiums proposed include two in Istanbul.

Turkey bid with Greece for EURO 2008, then alone for the 2012 and 2016 editions.

[ MORE: TFC’s “heart has been ripped from chest” ]

Before UEFA chose a multi-nation EURO 2020 hosting plan, Turkey was strongly favored before focusing on Istanbul’s failed 2020 Olympic bid.

Turkey has never hosted a major soccer tournament. West Germany hosted the eight-team EURO 1988 and a unified Germany hosted the 2006 World Cup.

The UEFA executive committee will pick a winner on Sept. 27 in Nyon.