International News - Issue 214

Barca Look Set To Capture Suarez
Luis Suarez is set to complete his move from Liverpool to Barcelona by Friday. Reports in Spain claim Liverpool have finally agreed a fee for the bad-boy Uruguay striker, however Anfield sources say nothing will happen before Friday at the earliest. Suarez has remained in Uruguay since being kicked out of the World Cup for biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini and it is understood he is having his Barcelona medical in South America. Barcelona's medical team have flown to Brazil to assess the back injury to Neymar, which ended his World Cup against Colombia, and will then check out Suarez. The precise fee and schedule of payments remain a sticking point and Liverpool want £75million, while Barcelona are trying to negotiate a lower price. The Spanish giants also want to put a smaller figure down up front and pay more in installments. Liverpool are keen for a large lump sum as a down payment to fund Brendan Rodgers' summer spending spree and midfielder Lazar Markovic will be joining from Benfica for £19.8million. It is understood Suarez has already agreed terms with Barcelona on a four-year deal worth £200,000-a-week.

Meanwhile, Liverpool are understood to be relaxed by Tottenham's attempts to hijack Divock Origi's move to Anfield from Lille. Liverpool have agreed a £9.8million fee with Lille and settled on personal terms with the teenage Belgium World Cup striker. The Reds feel they are still well positioned to complete the deal, despite Spurs' late intervention.

Liverpool have rejected a £5million bid from Spanish club Sevilla for flop striker Iago Aspas – with the club confident of getting up to £7million. Aspas, who moved to Anfield from Celta Vigo last summer, was one of the most sought after forwards in Europe when he rocked up on Merseyside. But having failed to score a single Premier League goal, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has told him he can go – but not on the cheap. Sevilla made a £5million offer for the 26-year-old this week, but it was immediately turned down, with the Reds wanting closer to £7million. Good luck with that…

Arsenal are also closing in on a deal for QPR striker Loic Remy. The French international, who has just returned from the World Cup, spent last season on loan with Newcastle and is set to make his departure from Loftus Road permanent this summer. Arsenal have been keen on Remy for some time, following his impressive displays for the Magpies last term, while his £8m buy-out clause is another factor attracting Gunners boss Arsene Wenger. The 27-year-old netted 14 Premier League goals last term and would be a good addition to Arsenal’s strike force, which saw Olivier Giroud lead the line largely by himself last term. A deal between QPR and the Gunners is said to be nearing completion, although the Frenchman is yet to agree personal terms at the Emirates. 

Premier League champions Manchester City have completed the signing of Argentine goalkeeper Willy Caballero from Malaga. The 32-year-old signed a three-year deal with the Citizens for an undisclosed fee from the Spanish outfit, becoming City’s third signing of the new season following the arrival of Arsenal’s Bacary Sagna and midfielder Fernando from Portuguese club Porto. Caballero, who played under current City boss Manuel Pellegrini during his tenure in charge of Malaga, is looking forward to his new adventure in England. Caballero knows that he faces tough opposition in between the sticks with regular City glove-man Joe Hart. "I know I am coming to a big club with a very good goalkeeper,” he said. “City already have a great goalkeeper in Joe Hart, but I will try and compete for the number one spot." Caballero, who began his career with Argentine club Boca Juniors before turning out for Spanish side Elche and then Malaga, has been brought in as cover for Hart following Costel Pantilimon’s departure to Sunderland last month.

Manchester United moved closer to Arturo Vidal deal as Patrice Evra agreed to switch to Juventus. Just a month after surprisingly signing a year's contract extension at Old Trafford, France left-back Evra, 32, is moving to Turin for what is understood to be a nominal fee and a two-year contract. But the real significance of the deal is whether it will trigger a move in the other direction by Juve midfielder Vidal, who shone for Chile in the World Cup. Italian sources suggest Juve are now ready to accept a £32million offer for Vidal who new manager Louis van Gaal wants to add bite and goals to United's midfield. After eight years at United, Evra accepted he was likely to be second choice next season following United's £28m purchase of Luke Shaw but now has jumped at the chance of regular first team football with the Italian champions. Evra, who moved to Old Trafford for £5m from Monaco in January 2006, is the fourth United defender to leave this summer, following Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Alex Buttner. And his departure now leaves United needing left-back cover for Shaw.

Colombian defender Juan Camilo Zuniga will not face any punishment for the challenge which ended Neymar’s World Cup. Zuniga jumped into the Brazilian playmaker with his knee raised, resulting in Neymar suffering a fractured vertebrae. FIFA say they will not add further punishment to the player as the referee in the match saw the incident and deemed no further action necessary. “No retrospective action can be taken by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee since the incident involving the Colombian player Juan Camilo Zuniga Mosquera did not escape the match officials’ attention,” a statement read. “First and foremost though, the chairman of the FIFA Disciplinary Committee wishes to state that he deeply regrets the incident and the serious consequences on Neymar’s health.”

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said there was no one but himself to blame following his side’s humiliating 7-1 semi-final defeat at the hands of Germany on Tuesday night. The Germans blew away their opponents, as two goals from Toni Kroos and Andre Schurrle, along with strikes from Thomas Muller, Sami Khedira and Miroslav Klose, secured their passage to the final of this year’s competition, before Oscar added a consolation goal late-on. "I think it was the worst day of my life, but life goes on," Selecao boss Luiz Felipe Scolari said after the match. "I will be remembered as the coach to lose 7-1 but I knew that risk when I took the job and life goes on so that is what I am going to do." And Scolari made no excuses for his side’s drubbing. "Who is the one responsible? I am,” he said. “This catastrophic result can be shared with the whole group because that is what my players say and want, but I am the one who chooses the tactics, the line-up, so the person responsible for the result is me. To the people, please excuse us for this negative mistake. I'm responsible for what the team does out on the pitch - and I am to blame for this result.” Brazil’s national manager felt the result would not have been altered if star forward Neymar had been fit to play. "I don't think it would have been different with Neymar,” he said. “He's a striker. Germany probably could have done that with Neymar in the side, also. He wouldn't have known how to defend those moves for the second, third, fourth and fifth goals."

Current La Liga champions Atletico Madrid have secured Bayern Munich's Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic. The Madrid-based club paid 22 million euros for the 28-year-old, who signed a contract until 2019. Mandzukic's agent was the link between Los Rojiblancos and the Bavarians. Mandzukic played in 88 games for Bayern Munich, scoring 48 goals. His place will be taken by former Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski. Mandzukic will look to replace Atletico's former striker Diego Costa, who was signed by Chelsea.

Southampton have captured Serbia international Dusan Tadic on a four-year deal from FC Twente. The winger, manager Ronald Koeman's first signing at St Mary's, scored 16 goals and provided 14 assists in 33 Eredivisie appearances last term. Tadic's arrival at the English side will help ease the off-season departure of Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert.

Liverpool are weighing up a move for Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema as they plan for life after star striker Luis Suarez. Reds manager Brendan Rodgers is weighing up his options after accepting Barcelona’s bid for the Uruguay ace. Liverpool know they need another striker to replace Suarez, and with Real continuing to chase Radamel Falcao, Benzema could become available. He has already reportedly snubbed one offer of a new contract and with his deal running down, Madrid could be tempted to deal.

Eintracht Frankfurt have confirmed they have made an offer for former Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner. Bendtner is available on a free transfer after seeing out his contract at Emirates Stadium earlier this summer. A number of clubs have been linked with the Denmark international with Aston Villa the latest side to be credited with an interest in the 26-year-old. Eintracht have held a long-term interest in Bendtner and executive chairman Heribert Bruchhagen has revealed they have tabled a contract offer to the player as they look to lure him to Germany.

Polish striker Robert Lewandowski was officially presented at new side Bayern Munich at the club’s headquarters on Wednesday. The former Borussia Dortmund frontman arrives on a free transfer to the reigning Bundesliga champions, penning a five-year deal with the Bavarian outfit. The 25-year-old, who will wear the number 9 shirt at Bayern, said he was looking forward to the new challenge in Munich after four successful years in Dortmund.

Filipe Luis has signed for Chelsea in a deal worth £20million, according to reports. After months of
negotiations with Atletico Madrid, it seems Jose Mourinho has finally caved in and paid full asking price for the man who he sees as a direct replacement for Ashley Cole. According to The Sun, Luis, 28, has agreed terms at Stamford Bridge and will compete with Cesar Azpilicueta for the left-back spot next season. The Brazilian full-back was instrumental in Atletico’s march to La Liga glory last season, and shone in their astonishing run to the Champions League final, which they lost in extra-time to Real Madrid. Luis will become Chelsea’s fourth signing of the summer, following the arrivals of Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa and Croatian youngster Mario Pasalic.

Romelu Lukaku has given the biggest hint yet that he will be leaving Chelsea this summer by saying he is not interested in another loan move and wants peace of mind over his future. The forward decided to air his professional grievances in public (shock, horror!) following his underwhelming showing at the World Cup for Belgium. Lukaku is well aware of the interest in him and may have hoped to play for a move or make a statement to his parent club during the competition, but the striker was ousted from the starting line-up by 19-year-old Divock Origi and didn’t put in the sort of performances expected of him.

Everton have announced the permanent signing of Gareth Barry from Manchester City, which could reportedly cost them up to £2 million. The midfielder, 33, was a free agent this summer after his contract expired at the Etihad, but the terms of his loan move to the Toffees last season are understood to entitle City to a nominal fee now that Everton have decided to retain the England international. Barry has been handed a three-year deal at Goodison Park and becomes manager Roberto Martinez’s first summer signing.

After 22 years playing for some of the world’s greatest football teams, David Beckham has retired.  For the first time in his adult life he has the freedom to do whatever he wants – and to mark the occasion he’s going on an adventure. He’s chosen Brazil, on motorbikes, and is travelling with three of his closest friends – Anthony Mandler, world renowned photographer and video director; Derek White, an experienced motorbike rider who’ll get them out of a mechanical fix; and Dave Gardner, his best friend since they were 14 years old.

Galatasaray have confirmed the appointment of former Italy boss Cesare Prandelli as their head coach. The 56-year-old replaces fellow Italian Roberto Mancini on a two-year deal, the Turkish club disclosed on their website on Monday. Prandelli quit the Azzurri almost two weeks ago following the country's disappointing first round exit at the World Cup.

Algeria coach Vahid Halilhodzic on Sunday confirmed his departure from the job despite pleas that he stay after taking the north African nation to the knockout phase of the World Cup finals for the first time. Halilhodzic received a personal plea from Algeria president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to stay after a hero's welcome in Algiers for the French-Bosnian coach and his squad on Wednesday, after they were narrowly beaten 2-1 in extra-time by Germany in the last-16 of the World Cup in Porto Alegre last week. But Halilhodzic confirmed his departure saying “family obligations and the lure of new sporting challenges weighed heavily in my choice”.  The 61-year-old Halilhodzic is expected to be named the new coach of Turkey’s Trabzonspor next week. Algeria have had Frenchman Christian Gourcuff lined up as Halilhodzic’s successor after he said several months ago he would not renew his contract after the World Cup. Halilhodzic, a former Yugoslav international striker, had a testy relationship with the Algerian federation leadership and the country’s media but emerged a folk hero after Algeria got past the group stage of the World Cup for the first time in four attempts.

Manchester United have unveiled their new kit for the 2014-15 season, bearing the logo of new shirt sponsors Chevrolet – and although the shirt itself seems to have got the thumbs up, the fact Marouane Fellaini is wearing it has not gone down so well. The club’s chosen wording on the Tweet - New era, new shirt. This is how Louis van Gaal’s #MUFC will look – is an unsubtle attempt to wipe away memories of last season’s debacle, as David Moyes failed spectacularly to follow in Sir Alex Ferguson’s footsteps. But although Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Shinji Kagawa line up at the front of the picture, poking his head out of the crowd at the back is Fellaini – a man forever identified with the Moyes era, following him from Everton to Old Trafford and failing to score a single goal in a miserable first season. Unforgiving fans have been quick to bemoan his inclusion in the picture...
@ManUtd you mean Fellaini's staying, then?
I don't even mind the new kit it looks decent on the players except for fellaini because fellaini is a tree and trees shouldn't wear shirts
The most upsetting thing about United's new shirt is Fellani appears to still be wearing one

FIFA has banned Nigeria from all international football activities with immediate effect as a result of interference from the government. The world football governing body had in a letter dated July 4, 2014 demanded for the immediate reinstatement of the ousted Aminu Maigari-led board of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) which was removed by the Minister of Sports, Tamuno Danagogo, in line with an order from a High Court in Jos. FIFA has disapproved of the appointment of Lawrence Katken as Acting Secretary-General of the Federation, and refused to recognise the emergency extraordinary general meeting which it said was organised contrary to the NFF's statutes, as an elective congress was already due on 26 August 2014. FIFA insist the ban will only be lifted once the court action is withdrawn, and the elected executive committee members are reinstated.

Equatorial Guinea have been expelled from the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers after being found guilty of using an ineligible player, the Confederation of African Football announced last Friday. Equatorial Guinea were found to have used Cameroon-born player Thierry Fidieu in their two-legged preliminary round tie against Mauritania in May. Mauritania protested and CAF found that Fidieu had no connection with Equatorial Guinea and was therefore not eligible to play for them. The small oil-rich West African country has in recent years topped up its national team with imports from Brazil, Colombia and other African countries, given passport and paid to play. The practice has gone on with impunity in recent years, including seeing the tiny country’s women’s team qualify for the last World Cup in Germany with a team full of Brazilians. Fifa rules say players can only play for a country if they are born there, have a blood connection or a reasonable spell of residency. This is the first time CAF have taken action against Equatorial Guinea for using foreign mercenaries despite several previous complaints from other opponents. Previously CAF said it would take no action against the country because it could not judge invalid a legal document, like a passport which had been issued by any African government. Ironically Mauritania, who now play Uganda in a two legged tie in July and August in the next round of the Nations Cup qualifiers, are among several other African countries who strengthened their national team in the past with players who had no previous connection with the country.

Cafu was thrown out of the Brazil dressing room in the wake of the 7-1 defeat to Germany on Tuesday. The 2002 World Cup-winning captain was consoling the players, only to be expelled by the president of Brazil’s football federation. “José Maria Marin said he didn’t want any strange people in the dressing room,” Cafu revealed. “I told him that I wasn’t a “strange person”, that I was just there to give the boys a hug and comfort them. To my surprise, I was practically thrown out.”