International News - Issue 274



De Gea Misses Real Transfer By A Minute

Real Madrid missed out on signing David De Gea from Manchester United by a mere 28 minutes. A fee of 30 million euros had been agreed between the clubs on Monday night, in a deal that would see Madrid shot-stopper Keylor Navas head to Old Trafford as part of the agreement, yet information then surfaced that Los Blancos did not submit the necessary documentation on time ahead of the Spanish transfer window deadline. Sources at United insist they were timeous with their handling of De Gea’s paperwork and Spanish paper AS reveal Madrid were not. “Sources at the LFP confirmed that the documents sent by Real Madrid arrived at 00:28 CEST,” the Spanish publication revealed. La Liga expert and renowned journalist Guillem Balague explained the situation, revealing that United were also late in sending back the documents to Spain. "La Liga has confirmed that the documents have not reached them on time and, as it stands, the transfer is not going to take place,” he said. "Everything was done and everyone was waiting. David de Gea was at his girlfriend's house in Madrid, [Real Madrid president] Florentino Perez was at the Santiago Bernabeu. Navas was there too and was waiting to pass a medical, and everything was signed and sent to Manchester. But the information is that the documentation didn't come back from Manchester United on time. Reports say the Navas paperwork came in at one minute past midnight in Spain and therefore did not reach La Liga on time, so the transfer is not going to happen.”

Manchester United have signed 19-year-old Monaco forward Anthony Martial for £36m. The striker, who had been linked with Arsenal, was allowed to leave the France squad on Monday for a medical with Louis van Gaal's side. Martial, who scored eight goals in 31 Ligue 1 games last season, will become the costliest teenager in football history. He will also become Manchester United's third most expensive signing. The Red Devils paid £59.7m to Real Madrid for Argentina winger Angel Di Maria and £37.1m to Chelsea for Spain midfielder Juan Mata. The teenager scored 32 goals in just 21 games at youth level for Lyon before breaking into the first team in the 2012-13 season. He made just three appearances before joining Monaco in the summer of 2013 for a reported £3.5m. Martial scored two goals in 15 appearances in his first season at Monaco and 11 in 42 last season. With nine goals, he is the top scorer among the under-20 players in Europe's top five leagues since last season.  He's been likened to countryman Thierry Henry, the Arsenal legend and Barcelona star who helped France win the 1998 World Cup. Like Henry, Martial can play as a striker and also on the wings.

Bayern Munich defender Dante has joined Bundesliga rivals Wolfsburg on a three-year contract. Dante, 31, has fallen down the pecking order after struggling for form since the 2014 World Cup, with the Brazil international regularly linked with a move away from the Allianz Arena.

Inter Milan have reinforced their frontline by signing Ivan Perisic from Wolfsburg for £14.6m (€20m) on a five-year deal. The 26-year-old Croatian joined Wolfsburg in 2013, scoring 18 times in 70 Bundesliga matches.

Manchester United goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard has joined Premier League rivals West Brom Albion on a two-year deal. The Danish shot-stopper joined the Red Devils five years ago, but was utilised as a back-up gloveman, making less than 30 appearances for the English giants.

New Paris Saint-Germain winger Angel Di Maria admits he left Manchester United because of coach Louis van Gaal. The Argentine endured a tough first season in England and failed to replicate his fine form at former club Real Madrid, resulting in a switch to the reigning Ligue 1 champions. The skilful speedster has now revealed that it was Van Gaal’s philosophy at Old Trafford which was to blame for his struggles in the Premier League. "Van Gaal has his philosophy and one of the things that made me want to leave is that," he said. "It is difficult to adapt to Van Gaal. I had a couple of rows with him. I started well [at United] and after that I got injured. Things didn't go well for me and Van Gaal changed my position. I spoke with [Laurent] Blanc and his thinking was that I'd play in a similar position to where I did at Real Madrid." Di Maria debuted or his new club over the weekend, providing an assist in a 3-0 win over rivals Monaco, and was thrilled with the manner in which the capital club’s fans have welcomed him to Paris. "I didn't imagine a reception like this," he siad. "It was the most beautiful presentation I have ever had. The truth is that I'm happy to come to PSG and to have teammates like [Ezequiel] Lavezzi and [Javier] Pastore."

Manchester City have signed Belgian international midfielder Kevin de Bruyne on a six-year deal from VfL Wolfsburg. The 24-year-old German Footballer of the Year joins a City side bursting with talent and high on confidence following four straight wins at the start of the season. His most likely route into the side would be in place of Spanish right-winger Jesus Navas. Ironically, De Bruyne left another star-studded club, Chelsea in January last year after failing to break into the team. Since then, however, his star has risen and he has been the key player in Wolfsburg's rise in the Bundesliga, where they finished runners-up and won the German Cup last season.

Sunderland have signed Liverpool forward Fabio Borini for a fee that could rise to £10m. Italy international Borini had a loan spell with the Black Cats during the 2013-14 season, scoring seven goals in 32 matches, but then rejected a permanent move to the Stadium of Light. The 24-year-old was also a target for Inter Milan, Fiorentina and Watford, but their bids were turned down. Liverpool may also sell defender Jose Enrique, who is a target for West Brom. Watford, newly promoted to the Premier League, had offered £7m for Borini, while Inter's bid was worth £6m. Fellow Serie A side Fiorentina were also keen on the striker but Borini decided to join Sunderland. The Black Cats will pay £8m up front, but the deal could eventually be worth £10m to Liverpool with add-ons.

Everton have signed Argentinian defender Ramiro Funes Mori for a fee of £9.5million from River Plate. The 24-year-old has penned a five-year deal with the Premier League side. "#EFC complete signing of defender Ramiro Funes Mori for a fee of £9.5m on a five-year deal," the Toffees tweeted. The Merseysiders also recently enlisted defender Mason Holgate from Barnsley for about £1m and 22-year-old Uruguayan striker Leandro Rodriguez from River Plate Montevideo.

Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben has warned new signing Douglas Costa over his “circus” tricks, saying he needs to respect his opponents. The Bavarians continued their impressive start to the new season with a 3-0 win against rivals Bayer Leverkusen thanks to a Thomas Muller brace and a late Robben spot-kick, with new Brazilian recruit Costa providing the assist for Muller’s opening strike. However, Robben was left less than impressed with the former Shakhtar Donetsk fancy skills and tricks after he flicked the ball over opponent Julian Brandt's head with his heel on the edge of the penalty area late in the game, insisting the 24-year-old must show a bit more respect to the opposition. "He's technically-versed, a typical Brazilian," the Dutch international told Sky Deutschland. "But I also have to say, he needs to be careful. Many tricks are nice, but belong in the circus. You should never forget that you also have to show some respect for the opponent when you are 3-0 up." Bayern coach Pep Guardiola however felt there was nothing wrong with Costa’s showmanship. "He's a Brazilian - Neymar is just like that," he told a news conference. "Douglas is a good player, and an outstanding guy. He always respects the opponent." Bayern sit joint-top of the Bundesliga standings alongside Borussia Dortmund, with both sides earning nine points from their opening three games.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has threatened to drop three players after their 2-1 defeat at home to Crystal Palace over the weekend. “I cannot say I had 11 players at the same time performing. Two or three of them, their individual performance was far from good. “I blame myself for not changing one of them. When I made the third change I needed a fourth,” Mourinho said after Palace spoiled his 100th Premiership match at Stamford Bridge. When asked to identify the players under threat, Mourinho replied; “It's the last thing I'm going to tell you.” Chelsea have only four points from four league matches this season – compared to maximum points and 15 goals scored after four matches last season. This was only Mourinho’s second home League defeat with Chelsea, and he is not used to such failure. He remains hopeful, however, that the champions will soon be challenging at the top again. “Four points in four matches is a very bad start. In another league I would say game over. In the Premier League I don't say game over,” the Portuguese said.

Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez has joined Bayer Leverkusen for £7.3m. The
Mexico international, 27, was on the bench for Sunday's 2-1 defeat at Swansea City but has not started a Premier League match for a year. He has signed a three-year contract. Hernandez scored 59 goals in 156 appearances for United after joining from hometown club Chivas de Guadalajara in 2010. He spent most of last season on loan at Real Madrid.

Italian champions Juventus have signed midfielder Anderson Hernanes from Inter Milan on a three-year contract, for an initial fee of 11 million euros (8.07 million pounds) with another 2 million euros in potential add-ons. The 30-year-old Brazilian, who joined the Nerazzurri in January 2014, scored five goals in 34 appearances for Inter last season. He has scored twice in 27 appearances for the Brazil national football team. Juventus, currently sit 17th in the league, have lost several key players like Carlos Tevez, Arturo Vidal and Andrea Pirlo this summer.

Fernando Llorente has joined Sevilla after two years of being in and out of the side at Juventus. The 30-year-old, who became one of the most feared strikers in Europe during his eight years at Athletic Bilbao, has returned to his home country to sign a three-year contract with the Europa League winners containing a buyout clause of €20m. The Spain international scored 11 goals in 30 league starts for Juve last season to help the Turin giants win the domestic double of Serie A and Coppa Italia as well as finish runners-up to Barcelona in the Champions League, a game for which he was on the bench for 85 minutes. Llorente, who had two years left on his contract with Juve, has opted to leave the club after the Italian champions strengthened their attack this summer with the arrival of Mario Mandzukic, Paulo Dybala and Simone Zaza. He has been given the No24 shirt.

Real Madrid midfielder Lucas Silva has joined Marseille on a one-year loan deal. The 22-year-old only joined Madrid from Cruzeiro in January but made just eight appearances last season as he failed to break the midfield partnership of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos. Silva is the third high-profile midfield acquisition Marseille have made this summer, following the arrivals of Lassana Diarra and Abou Diaby.

Lionel Messi has become the first two-time winner of the UEFA Best Player in Europe award after scooping the 2014-15 accolade in Monaco last Thursday. The Argentina international beat off competition from Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona team-mate Luis Suarez to land the award, which was voted for by a panel of journalists after the Champions League draw. The 28-year-old scored 58 goals in 57 appearances last term, helping Barcelona win a La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League treble. Messi won the inaugural award in 2011 and other previous winners include Andres Iniesta, Franck Ribery and Ronaldo. Recently-retired Germany forward Celia Sasic won the women's award ahead of compatriot Dzsenifer Marozsan and Lyon midfielder Amandine Henry.

Senegal defender Papy Djilobodji has signed a four-year deal with Chelsea, Nantes have announced. The Premier League champions made their move for the 27-year-old after seeing their overtures for Everton's John Stones repeatedly rebuffed.

The John Stones saga is over after formally rejecting the defender's request to join Chelsea last week. Chairman Bill Kenwright issued a succinct three paragraph statement on Thursday night to reaffirm the stance Everton have taken all summer – that Stones is simply not for sale. Stones submitted his request on Tuesday in the hope of forcing through a move to Stamford Bridge but Everton manager Roberto Martinez told him during a meeting at the club’s Finch Farm on Thursday that the club would not grant his wish. It is understood that Chelsea returned with what they regarded to be a fourth and final bid earlier last week – it was in the region of £38million – but with that being rejected, it became clear that Everton’s position would not alter. The 21-year-old had been Jose Mourinho's prime target all summer. He has regarded Stones as being John Terry’s long-term successor and has had ambitions of pairing the England international alongside Kurt Zouma sooner rather than later. But Everton have refused to buckle under intense pressure – Chelsea’s interest in Stones goes back months and there have been bids of £20million, £26million and £30million – even though they were aware of Stones' desire to join the Champions.  

West Ham have signed Barcelona midfielder Alex Song and Chelsea winger Victor Moses on season-long loan deals, with Hull City striker Nikica Jelavic also arriving for about £3m. Cameroon World Cup player Song, 27, made 31 appearances in all competitions for the Hammers last season. Moses, 24, joined after signing a new four-year deal with his parent club. Croatia international Jelavic, 30, has signed an initial two-year contract with an option for a further two years.  Song joined Barcelona in 2012 from Arsenal for about £15m with an £63m (80m euros) release clause. He played 206 times for the Gunners between 2005 and 2012, and has made 39 appearances at the Nou Camp. The Hammers have the option of extending the deal for a further season.  Former Crystal Palace and Wigan player Moses moved to Stamford Bridge in August 2012, but has spent the last two seasons on loan at Liverpool and Stoke. Jelavic's arrival at the Boleyn Ground sees him reunited with his former Croatia national team boss Slaven Bilic. The ex-Everton striker scored 16 goals in 54 Premier League appearances during a two-year spell at Goodison Park. After a £6.5m move to Hull in January 2014, he scored a further 12 top-flight goals in 45 matches.

The UEFA Champions League group stage is set following the draw in Monaco on Thursday. Chelsea manager José Mourinho will return to Porto, with whom he won the UEFA Champions League in 2004, while Paris Saint-Germain are up against Real Madrid in Group A. In Group D, meanwhile, last season's runners-up Juventus will face Manchester City as well as 2014/15 UEFA Europa League winners Sevilla. The holders, Barcelona, take on Bayer Leverkusen, Roma and BATE Borisov.

2015/16 UEFA Champions League group stage draw
Group A: Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Malmö
Group B: PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, CSKA Moskva, Wolfsburg
Group C: Benfica, Atlético, Galatasaray, Astana
Group D: Juventus, Manchester City, Sevilla, Borussia Mönchengladbach
Group E: Barcelona, Bayer Leverkusen, Roma, BATE Borisov
Group F: Bayern München, Arsenal, Olympiacos, Dinamo Zagreb
Group G: Chelsea, Porto, Dynamo Kyiv, Maccabi Tel-Aviv
Group H: Zenit, Valencia, Lyon, Gent

Group stage dates
Matchday one: 15–16/09/14
Matchday two: 29–30/09/14
Matchday three: 20–21/10/14
Matchday four: 03–04/11/14
Matchday five: 24–25/11/14
Matchday six: 08–09/12/14

Borussia Dortmund have signed Manchester United midfielder Adnan Januzaj on a season-long loan. Januzaj, who has three years left on his current United deal, started three of United's past four games but was deemed surplus to requirements at the end of the transfer window. The Belgium international, who was also a target for Everton and had been linked with West Ham and Sunderland, was allowed to leave as United prepared to bring in French forward Anthony Martial from Monaco for £36 million. With Januzaj joining the club, Dortmund have allowed two players a move away from the club. Jakub Blaszczykowski is set to join Fiorentina following eight years at the club, while Kevin Grosskreutz is set to leave after six years at Dortmund. The midfielder is currently in Istanbul, where he is to undergo a medical at Galatasaray. The winger had a breakthrough season in 2013-14, when he flourished under David Moyes, but started only eight league games under Louis van Gaal and scored a solitary goal, the winner at Aston Villa earlier in August.

Real Madrid have let go of two players as the close of the transfer window draws closer. Portuguese defender Fabio Coentrao has joined French outfit Monaco on a one-year loan deal, replacing Paris Saint-Germain-bound Layvin Kurzawa. Coentrao made just nine La Liga appearances for Real last season as he was hampered by injury, though he was second fiddle to Marcelo in any case. Also leaving is Asier Illarramendi, who returns to Real Sociedad just two years after leaving for Real. He rejoins on a six-year deal, having moved to the Bernabeu for a massive €32-million in 2013. In another European transfer, AS Roma have signed Lucas Digne from PSG on a season-long loan.

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal says he will use Marouane Fellaini more as a striker this season. The Belgian international scored a crucial last-minute goal in the 3-1 1st leg UEFA Champions League qualifying win against Club Brugge last week. This follows the struggles of Wayne Rooney, who last scored in the league in April, the sale of Robin van Persie to Fenerbahce and the decision not to keep Radamel Falcao. Van Gaal argues that given all the midfield reinforcements this summer – the likes of Bastian Sweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay – he can afford to push Fellaini further up the pitch. “Fellaini can play in a No 9 position and a 10,” Van Gaal said. “He can also play six and eight, but this year he shall play more as a nine and 10 than as a six and eight because we have other players there. His goal last week was very important because now we can start this game with a lot of more confidence.” Fellaini says he will be happy to move forward, saying: “In the past I played number 10 and number nine, sometimes when I had to help the team. I can play there and help my team-mates and my team. It’s not important where I play – it’s important to win the game. It is different to play as a midfielder than as a striker or number 10, but I enjoy all the positions I can play.

Premier League side Liverpool have announced the signing of talented Nigerian youngster Taiwo Awoniyi. The 18-year-old striker joins from Imperial Academy in Nigeria, yet has been immediately sent out on loan to Bundesliga II side FSV Frankfurt. “This is the biggest club in the world and I’m privileged to be here,” he told Liverpool’s official website. “I’ll try to develop myself very well so that when I come back to Liverpool I’ll be able to add value to the team. When I’m in the red shirt, I will always give my very best to make the fans happy.” Awoniyi is a regular in the national youth teams, having played for Nigeria at both the U-17 and U-20 World Cups, while also earning a call up to the senior squad two years ago. Meanwhile, compatriot Brown Ideye has left EPL side West Brom for Greek side Olympiacos, having scored just four goals in 26 appearances for the Baggies since joining last year.

It will be a North London Derby in the third round of the League Cup following last week’s draw. Tottenham Hotspur will host Arsenal on September 21 in one of four all Premier League ties. Elsewhere, Norwich City are up against West Brom, Sunderland host Manchester City and West Ham United travel to Leicester City. Liverpool have been handed a seemingly easy home tie against Carlisle United, Manchester United host Ipswich Town, while holders Chelsea travel to Walsall.

FULL DRAW
Middlesbrough v Wolves
Norwich City v West Brom
Hull City v Swansea
Leicester City v West Ham
Aston Villa v Birmingham
Tottenham v Arsenal
Manchester United v Ipswich Town
Liverpool v Carlisle United
Crystal Palace v Charlton Athletic
Fulham v Stoke City
Sunderland v Manchester City
Newcastle United v Sheffield Wednesday
Reading v Barnsley or Everton
Preston v Bournemouth
Walsall v Chelsea
Milton Keynes Dons v Southampton

West Brom captain Darren Fletcher has welcomed the signing of former Manchester United teammate Jonny Evans. Evans, 27, joined the Baggies on Saturday, having started his career with the Red Devils in 2006. Fletcher told his club's website: "Jonny is a fantastic player, a great leader. He is a top player. He has been at Manchester United for a long time. "He has had a few injuries in the last few years which maybe stunted his progress in that respect. But if he gets a run of games you are going to see a real top-class player. I'm delighted he is at West Brom because I can't speak highly enough of him. He is a top-class centre-half."