International News - Issue 273

Cuadrado In Italy To Finalise Juventus Loan Move

Juan Cuadrado has hailed Juventus as one of Europe's best teams, as he arrived in Turin ahead of his medical with the Serie A club on Tuesday. Juventus are set to confirm Cuadrado as a loan signing from Chelsea, with the 27-year-old having been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge throughout the current transfer window. Fans of Juventus flocked to Milan Malpensa Airport on Monday to welcome Cuadrado to Italy, and the former Fiorentina midfielder claimed it was a pleasant surprise. "I didn't expect it but it was a great welcome and something that spurs you on to perform well," he told Juventus' website. "Juventus are a great team and one of the best in Europe. We've got everything it takes to fight for the Scudetto and we hope to defend our title. I'm here to give 100 per cent, work hard and prepare well for every game." Cuadrado has played just one game for Chelsea this season, coming off the bench in their 3-0 loss at Manchester City, and if his loan deal goes through, he will temporarily depart Stamford Bridge with only 13 league appearances and four starts. During his time at Fiorentina, the Colombia international played 85 Serie A matches and scored 20 goals.

Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli arrived at AC Milan for a medical on Tuesday before his return on a one-season loan deal. Balotelli is taking a pay cut to move back to Milan, with Liverpool also paying some of his wages. The Italy striker, 25, could make his second debut for the Rossoneri against Serie A rivals Empoli on Saturday. He scored just one Premier League goal for Liverpool after a £16m move from Milan in August 2014. He was left out of the pre-season tour of the Far East and Australia and has been training away from the first team. The Reds have signed forwards Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino and Danny Ings, while Divock Origi has arrived at Anfield after a year on loan at Lille. It is understood the deal will be an initial €3-million loan, with an option to buy for €10-million.

Paul Scholes says Manchester United lack quality after an uninspiring goalless draw at home to Newcastle United. The Red Devils have seven points from three games, but they have been unconvincing all season. They were fortunate to escape with any points against Newcastle on Saturday after Aleksandar Mitrovic hit the woodwork and Florian Thauvin came close at the end, and former United legend Scholes says something needs to be done sooner rather than later. "There's a real lack of excitement; a lack of quality more than anything," he said. "It's okay having pace on the pitch, which we don't tend to have, but a real sense of quality [is lacking] and a bit of urgency. Newcastle, at home, you should be beating them. If you're going to win the league, you need to be winning these types of games." 

Adidas have confirmed that the new Manchester United kit has reached record sales since its release on 1 August. Adidas penned a record deal with The Red Devils worth an astonishing £750-million to take over from Nike. The German sportswear manufacturers have since revealed that sales on the new jersey have shattered both their own and the club's records. Adidas say the launch of the new home kit delivered over a month's worth of forecasted sales within the first five days of its release. Social media posts also received more than 212m content impressions, while the launch video has been viewed more than two million times. Adidas are also expected to release the Premier League side's third/alternate kit at the end of August.

Manchester City have been dealt a blow with news that defender Pablo Zabaleta has been ruled out for one month. Zabaleta faces four weeks on the sidelines after suffering a knee injury during a City training session. The Argentine right-back sat out the Citizens' opening two matches following his duties with the national team at recent Copa America in Chile. The wing-back position has since been filled by former Arsenal defender Bacary Sagna, who is likely to continue in that position.

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has again insisted that wantaway goalkeeper David de Gea will not be allowed to leave the club. The Spanish international has his heart set on joining Real Madrid, who have so far been unwilling to meet United’s £25-million valuation of the player. De Gea has less than a year to run on his contract, but Van Gaal is adamant the Red Devils will not be bullied into selling. "I think when Manchester United wants a player he shall come, [apart from] when a club is not selling," the Dutchman says. "Okay, then it is the same with us. We are not selling De Gea. It's the same."

New Chelsea signing Pedro admits he was heartbroken to leave Barcelona, but admits he was left with very little option. The 28-year-old joined Chelsea last week and made an immediate impact, scoring one and creating another on debut as the Blues beat West Brom 3-2 on Sunday. Pedro says he always dreamt of retiring at Barcelona, but realised last season that that would not be the case. “We knew that it [leaving] was an option at the end of last season,” he said. “I’ve always wanted playing time and here, it was difficult for me to have that continuity. Leaving was the best solution and now I am looking forward to a new challenge.  I renewed my contract with the idea of continuing [at Barcelona] for a few more years. That was my wish. I know that nowhere else will be quite the same; I am leaving the best club in the world.” The Spanish international seemed dead set to join Manchester United, only for Chelsea to hi-jack the deal at the last minute. “I was very flattered by the interest from some of England's biggest clubs – United, City and Chelsea; Chelsea were the quickest to get a deal sorted out and closed. There is a real chance of winning silverware at Chelsea and that was what convinced me and motivates me.”

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger looks to have given up on signing Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema. Benzema squashed talk of a move on Twitter, saying: "For all those clowns who want to make believe things at my fans. Here this is my home ! #HalaMadridYNadaMas." Wenger later said Real have no intention of selling the Frenchman, who has also been linked with a move to Manchester United. "That story is dead," Wenger said after his side's entertaining stalemate with Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium. “That story has always been created every week. When a player has a contract it’s the club that decides. Real Madrid have said many times they don’t want to sell him. It’s the same for us when we have a player under contract."

Gerard Pique was handed a four-match ban for his abusive behaviour towards an assistant referee last Monday. The Spanish centre-back was red-carded early in the second half of the 1-1 Supercopa de Espana draw with Athletic Bilbao for allegedly telling the linesman ‘I suck on your wh*re mother’. Barcelona lost the two-legged tie 5-1 on aggregate. Pique has pleaded his innocence and teammate Ivan Rakatic has leapt to his defence, but the Spanish Football Federation has taken a firm stance. The 28-year-old will miss the games against Malaga, Atletico Madrid and Levante.

Leicester City have secured a huge coup after completing the signing of Swiss international midfielder Gokhan Inler from Italian side Napoli. The 31-year-old, who had been linked with a move to Arsenal and other European clubs for the past few seasons, says he chose a three-year contract with the Foxes over several other options.