Man City spend £375K on Millwall teen as Football Leaks allege club is set for FIFA transfer ban

Manchester City have spent an initial £375,000 ($482k) on Millwall 14-year-old Darko Gyabi, who comes from the same south London estate as Jadon Sancho.

Gyabi joined City recently and is the latest London youngster to make the move to the Etihad Stadium, following in the footsteps of the likes of Taylor Richards, Ian Carlo Poveda and Sancho, who has earned rave reviews for both Borussia Dortmund and the England national team since leaving City in acrimonious circumstances last summer.

Gyabi, an energetic midfielder who has been playing in older age groups for Millwall in recent years, has already made his City youth debut.

It is understood that the transfer could be worth considerably more to Millwall than the initial £375k should Gyabi hit a certain number targets, thought to relate the youngster’s game-time and progression through the ranks in Manchester.

The news comes amid fresh Football Leaks allegations that City are to receive a one-year transfer ban from FIFA for signing overseas under-18 players in contravention of the governing body’s regulations.

In an article on the movement of young footballers, Politiken, the Danish newspaper working in co-operation with Football Leaks that last week alleged City had struck an illegal deal with FC Nordsjaelland over the signing of west African prospects, says new documents show that FIFA’s adjudicatory chamber has recommended a two-window transfer ban for City.

The same report alleges Chelsea are set for a four-window ban, spanning two years.

FIFA rules prohibit players under the age of 18 from moving abroad unless both the player and buying club are based within 50 kilometers of a national border, or the player’s parents have emigrated for non-footballing reasons.

Last week, FIFA denied that it had reached an verdict in its investigations: “As communicated in September 2017, investigations were opened concerning the club Chelsea FC as well as other English clubs in relation to potential breaches of the Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players. The proceedings are ongoing and, to date, no decision has been passed by the FIFA judicial bodies. Thus, the clubs are to be presumed innocent unless decided otherwise. No further information can be provided as the cases are ongoing. Any update will be communicated in due course.”

City have refused to comment on any specific allegations relating to the Football Leaks stories. A statement released in light of the first batch of allegations, relating to Uefa’s Financial Fair Play regulations, reads: “We will not be providing any comment on out of context materials purportedly hacked or stolen from City Football Group and Manchester City personnel and associated people.

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“The attempt to damage the club’s reputation is organised and clear.”

Chelsea say they have “fully cooperated with FIFA and provided comprehensive evidence demonstrating its compliance with the applicable FIFA regulations”.

City are now clear to sign domestic talents once again after being banned from doing so for a year by the Premier League in May 2017. There is no suggestion that City’s move for Gyabi has breached any league regulations.


Sources: Club Tijuana set to hire FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja

Liga MX side Club Tijuana is set to announce the hiring of FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja as the team’s new manager, multiple sources have confirmed to Goal.

The Colombian coach has been in charge of FC Dallas for five seasons, earning a reputation as one of the top head coaches in Major League Soccer.

Pareja was believed to be in the running for the vacant U.S. national team job, but with Gregg Berhalter looking like U.S. Soccer’s likely pick, Pareja will now continue his coaching career in Mexico.

The 50-year-old Pareja has spent the better part of 20 years with FC Dallas, first as a player, then academy director and eventually head coach. He had stints with the U.S. Under-17 national team and the Colorado Rapids before rejoining FC Dallas for a five-year run that saw team develop into one of the better sides in MLS.

Club Tijuana has been searching for a new manager since parting ways with Argentine boss Diego Cocca following a run of poor results that left the Xolos near the bottom of the standings. Colombian Franky Oviedo has been the Xolos interim coach since Cocca’s departure.

Having guided FC Dallas through a solid bounce-back season in 2018 after a disappointing 2017 MLS campaign, Pareja previously helped lead FC Dallas to the MLS Supporters’ Shield and U.S. Open Cup titles in 2016 and netted himself MLS coach of the year honors that season. He also led the team to a run to the 2017 Concacaf Champions League semifinals, where FCD lost to eventual champions Pachuca. 

Pareja will be the first English-speaking coach in the Club Tijuana’s short history. Xolos has been eager to capture fans in the United States, agreeing to a broadcast deal with Fox Sports to televise matches in English and producing social media content in English as well as Spanish.

Pareja earned a good reputation for developing young talent and bringing up academy players to the FC Dallas first team, attributes that surely made him an attractive coaching candidate for Club Tijuana, which has invested heavily in its academy system.

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Pareja’s move to Club Tijuana will also reunite him with former FC Dallas star Fabian Castillo, who joined Club Tijuana in July.

Pareja is the latest top MLS coach to leave MLS, with Atlanta United coach Tata Martino set to depart at the end of the season, with the Mexican national team his expected next destination. Berhalter is expected to be named the next U.S. coach. In the summer, New York Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch left MLS to become an assistant coach at Bundesliga side RB Leipzig while Patrick Vieira left New York City FC in the summer to take charge of Ligue 1 side OGC Nice.

Jon Arnold contributed to this story.


Who is Exequiel Palacios? Argentina’s ‘womanising’ wonderkid wanted by Real Madrid

Having burst onto the scene as part of a swashbuckling River Plate side that is fighting for Copa Libertadores glory, Exequiel Palacios is not short of admirers.

Real Madrid are one of the clubs interested in the 20-year-old midfielder, while over in Italy Inter are also closely following one of the top prospects to come out of Argentina in recent years. But he is also getting attention rather closer to home, and not all of it wanted.

Palacios was the star of a minor celebrity scandal at the end of August, product of a romance with former TV weather girl and model Sol Perez. There was one issue with this budding relationship: the player’s girlfriend, manicurist Karen Gramajo, whose existence was revealed to a stunned Perez live on television during one of Argentina’s infinite gossip shows.

If that were not enough, a third squeeze, called Juliana emerged to claim that she was also involved with Palacios. But that domestic strife has had little effect on the youngster’s form as he continues to go from strength to strength at the Monumental – nor has it had any visible impact on his energy levels.

A roving, dynamic central midfielder, Palacios represents a rare breed of player in Argentina, where those in the engine room tend to be divided into two broad categories: stoic anchormen whose job is to break up play and move the ball along with little fuss; and the more creative playmakers who contribute little in their own half or out of possession.

Palacios thrives while on the ball, driving through the heart of the pitch and showing intelligence beyond his years to move it on at the right moment. But he also works incessantly in the recovery of possession, while also popping up to score the odd goal at crucial moments.

It is the type of player that Lionel Messi’s Albiceleste for one have been crying out for in recent years, a priceless commodity in modern football. For that reason his path into the national team has been accelerated, interim coach Lionel Scaloni handing him his international debut in September against Guatemala.

But his time in Argentine football could be running out, with Madrid in particular ready to announce him as a Merengue player following the Copa Libertadores final on November 24 if nothing goes awry in the final stages of negotiations with River.

Exequiel Palacios Pavon Boca River Superclasico Superliga 23092018

Palacios currently has a buyout clause of €15 million (£13m/$17m) written into his contract, a bargain given the current inflated market. Even if they cannot hold on to their young star River are logically keen to raise that sum, with their hope a fresh deal that would double his release clause.

Publically at least, the Millonarios hope to keep him at the club, reacting angrily to the news he had been approached. “Up to now we thought it was all false, but no,” president Rodolfo D’Onofrio fired to Marca .

“We have confirmed it through his agent and we at River are surprised, if it is all true, that a respected institution like Real Madrid has negotiated directly with the player, without respecting a club like River and behind its back.

“I wasn’t expecting it, this does not fit with the historical ties we have with Madrid that date back from the age of Alfredo Di Stefano up to the present day.”

Exequiel Palacios River Plate GFX

Behind the scenes, however, those in charge at River are resigned to losing Palacios. A fee worth €20m (£18m/$23m) after tax would be sufficient to discourage the Millonarios from renewing his deal and let him go to Santiago Bernabeu, with a move now likely as early as January 2019 as talks between the two clubs recovered from that rocky start to find common ground, even if River continue to deny that any agreement has been reached .

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The prospect of Palacios joining up with newly confirmed Madrid boss Santiago Solari – who himself made the step up from River to Real, by way of rivals Atletico – is a tantalising one, and one which can only be a positive step not just for the Blancos’ efforts to rejuvenate their flagging squad, but also Argentina’s endeavours to bring in the next generation of talent, with or without Messi as their standard-bearer.

In the meantime there is only one thing on the club – and Palacios’ – mind. Sunday’s Copa Libertadores final first leg against hated rivals Boca Juniors ended in a 2-2 draw at the Bombonera, a game in which Palacios uncharacteristically failed to make his usual impact leading a midfield left rather stretched by River’s decision to line up with five defenders and play a more direct counter-attacking game.

November 24 sees the two giants meet again in the second leg of the showpiece, with no more than a place in the Club World Cup and a date with none other than Madrid in Abu Dhabi on the line. If the Millonarios are to prevail Palacios’ attacking dynamism and quality will be key – and you can be sure that with so much on the line he will not be distracted by any more off-field scandals.


Pogba to Barcelona rumours fuelled as Man Utd star meets Messi in Dubai

Lionel Messi and Paul Pogba might not be involved for France and Argentina during the international break but they did have time for a deep conversation while having dinner in Dubai.

Not available for their respective nations during the two-week break in their domestic campaigns, both have travelled to the United Arab Emirates for a short holiday.

Pogba missed Manchester United’s last game at Manchester City due to a thigh problem, while Messi has only played once for Barcelona since breaking his arm in mid-October .

The pair bumped into each other while at Salt Bae’s Turkish steak house and engaged in a lengthy discussion regarding a number of topics.

Reportedly, among them was Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante, who Pogba claimed marked Messi out of their World Cup round of 16 clash in the summer.

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The impromptu meeting may naturally concern United fans, who read with great interest speculation linking Pogba with a move to Camp Nou.

Reports in Italy claimed that the Frenchman agreed a five-year deal to move to the Catalan giants worth €100 million (£89m/$114m).

Agent Mino Raiola made no secret of his desire to move his client away from Old Trafford after he was criticised by manager Jose Mourinho.

Defender Gerard Pique said he would welcome the arrival of the 25-year-old if he did indeed complete a move to the La Liga champions.

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“We would be happy to have him here,” Pique said in August .

“I know little about what he is going through in Manchester and the relationship that exists [between Mourinho and Pogba].

“Pogba is a very good player, but a Manchester United player right now and we’ll see if something happens in the future.”


‘I’m settled at Newcastle’ – Rondon hints at permanent move

On-loan Newcastle forward Salomon Rondon says he and his family are settled in the North East and has suggested that he’d be happy to make a permanent transfer to Rafael Benitez’s side.

The 29-year-old, who joined the Magpies on a season-long loan deal from West Brom in August, scored his first two league goals for his new side in their 2-1 win over Bournemouth last weekend.

That victory was Newcastle’s second in a row having not won a single league match beforehand this season.

Rondon has missed parts of the season with injury but is now fully fit and has claimed that he is very settled in the North East.

“Ever since I arrived here it has been friendly,” the striker told the Newcastle Chronicle.

“When I first signed some people recognised me around the city and they came over to say welcome.

“They shook my hand and I asked them about the city.

“I was settled here quickly.”

The Venezuela forward has recently moved his family to the area, which could be a sign that he feels he will be at Newcastle beyond his loan deal.

Rondon opted to leave West Brom following their relegation to the Championship.

He’s scored 28 goals for the Baggies since his Premier League arrival in 2015, with his previous clubs including the likes of Zenit St. Petersburg, Rubin Kazan and Malaga.

“I have played around the world but to be settled already is good,” Rondon continued.

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“I am settled and my family is settled, I now have to just keep on working.”

Newcastle, who sit 14th in the Premier League, have a favourable run of fixtures ahead and will travel to Burnley for their next league fixture.

Their victories over Watford and Bournemouth prior to the international break lifted them out of the relegation zone, having only registered three points before their win against the Hornets earlier this month.