La Liga Transfer Talk


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Following an enthralling Copa Del Rey final and with the climax of the La Liga season still promising plenty of ups and downs Sport 4 Thought takes an inside look ahead at proposed summer transfers of the top trio Spain…

ATLETICO MADRID

Atletico are used to rebuilding phases, and this summer could be no different, despite any possible La Liga triumph. The £50m transfer of Diego Costa to Chelsea is only missing signatures. However, one fly in the ointment is the proposed extension of Thibaut Courtois’ loan contract. Courtois was (illegally) agreed to be ineligible to play in any Champions League fixture involving the two clubs. UEFA have told Chelsea he is eligible, who in turn, have threatened Atletico with the cancellation of his loan contract this summer. This is not a saga yet, but warning shots have been fired by both clubs. Atletico are already planning for life without Costa, however, and are close to agreeing the transfer of Argentine striker Mauro Icardi, of Inter Milan.

BARCELONA

Barcelona FCB’s 14-month transfer ban imposed by FIFA might not be worth the paper it is printed on, as all parties appear to sense that an appeal will result in a mild financial penalty. The transfer of goalkeeper Marc Ter Stegen of Borussia Moenchengladbach has been agreed in principle since Christmas, much to the chagrin of Liverpool’s Pepe Reina, who does not appear wanted any longer by his boyhood club. Alexis Sanchez has been made available for transfer. A host of English clubs are expected to be interested, but the only firm interest at this stage is from Juventus, who are already talking with the player’s agent. Exciting Croatian youth prospect Alen Halilovic has also agreed a 5-year contract, and Barcelona have asked to be kept updated with the status of Fiorentina utility player, Juan Cuadrado.

REAL MADRID

Real have yet to make any serious moves in the transfer market. They are keeping firm tabs on Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois (currently on loan at rivals, Atletico Madrid). Fabio Coentrao looks certain to be exiting the Bernabeu, with Old Trafford his most likely destination at this time. There are two candidates to replace Coentrao : Southampton’s English fullback Luke Shaw, and Sevilla Spaniard, Alberto Moreno. Real have also made an attempt to prise Argentinian winger Juan Iturbe away from AS Roma, who appear to be close to completing the deal for him. They will attempt to push the asking price out of Roma’s reach, with a £20m bid. Whilst Real do not wish to lose Alvaro Morata, the player is unsettled, and this may be the club’s last chance at commanding a fee for the player. Bayern target man, Mario Mandzukic has been contacted as a potential replacement.

Written by THE TRANSFER GURU

Sport 4 Thought

Beckham Quits LA Galaxy


On Tuesday, David Beckham announced he will quit LA Galaxy.

After six eventful years with the MLS outfit, the former England captain, 37, has announced his last game will be next Saturday, December 1st in the Major League Soccer Cup.

Despite an option in his contract signed in January to stay for one more season, Beckham has opted to part ways with the club, although he refuses to close the door on a return to Major League Soccer in the future.

Golden Balls’ original contract included a clause granting him involvement in owning an MLS expansion team at a later date.

He admitted, “I don’t see this as the end of my relationship with the league, as my ambition is to be part of the ownership structure in the future.”

The dead-ball specialist has set the wheels of vicious rumour in motion by declaring, “I’ve had an incredibly special time playing for the LA Galaxy, however, I wanted to experience one last challenge before the end of my playing career.”

Only last week, Football Federation Australia claimed Beckham’s agent had approached them regarding the possibility of a short spell in A-league. The Beckham camp may have labelled this as pure speculation, but there appears to be very few alternatives.

Having signed for Manchester United as a trainee in 1991, he went on to make 398 appearances for the senior team, claiming 6 Premier League titles, 1 Champions League, 2 FA Cups, 1 FA Youth Cup 4 Community Shields and 1 Intercontinental Cup.

His 4 years at Real Madrid from 2003 to 2007, saw him lift the La Liga title and he has completed two successful loan spells at AC Milan, despite tearing his Achillies the second time round, which prevented him from taking part in the 2010 World Cup.

Beckham captained England from 2000 to 2006, making 115 appearances and most famously, (apart from ‘that’ sending off against Argentina in 1998), he scored a trademark free-kick in the dying seconds against Greece at Old Trafford to single-handedly grant his country qualification to the 2002 World Cup.

As throughout his whole career, at LA Galaxy there have been high and lows, with the superstar receiving criticism from fans questioning his commitment to the team in his first few seasons. However, Beckham’s reputation has since been restored, being voted as the league’s best player by fans and helping the Galaxy capture their third MLS Cup title last year.

With the A-League expanding rapidly and attracting former top class players in the latter stages of their career such as Alessandro Del Piero and dare I say it, Emile Heskey, who has in fact outshone the Italian in recent weeks, it would appear Australia is the only possible destination for the once most hated man in football, who now turns every ball he touches into gold.

Skeptics will claim Beckham’s lust for fame and fortune is the motivating factor behind one last big publicity stunt before he retires. Football fans, however, will be delighted that the man who has given so much to the beautiful game is not hanging up his boots just yet. In a sport that breeds so many ill-mannered reprobates in the modern day, we will be afforded one final opportunity to witness a true gentlemen of the footballing world.

Written by Dom Wallace

Sport 4 Thought