Happy Saturday, everybody!
The major news in the papers this morning is that Villarreal's talks with Udinese for Cristián Zapata seem to be getting somewhere. If Marca is to be believed, cost will be €6 mil plus Matilla, who will remain in Spain for now with Granada. It had earlier been reported that Matilla had signed with Betis, but apparently the deal came unstuck.
Zapata is in the Colombian side for the Copa America, and Villarreal have told Udinese they want the deal done before that competition starts (July 1). Liverpool and Bayern Munich have both been linked with him, so it would be quite a coup if he ends up in yellow in my book.
I haven't seen Zapata play, but he's tall (6'2"), can play anywhere in the back line, and though only 24 has been with Udinese since 2005. As EPM notes, we need a central defender with Gonzalo still recovering from surgery; Ivan Ramis from Mallorca might be nice, but the islanders hate us so won't listen to any offer.
Málaga evidently didn't read yesterday's EPM or didn't believe it, because they are offering €25 million for Santi Cazorla. Without European football--and let's face it, even next year it will take time for all their new signings to get on the same page--I do not see the attraction, nor do I believe Sr. Roig will let Santi go for anything less than the release clause (€50 million, I think). I would rather see Malaga go outside La Liga for their big signing--improve the league!
Oh and by the way Sevilla might be trying to offload under-21 star Diego Capel according to AS (last paragraph of this article); his name bubbled up yesterday on twitter but he was quoted as saying he was 100% happy at Sevilla. Nonetheless...
We have no news of Marcos Senna, though as far as is known he and Sr. Roig did meet yesterday. Roig did make a comment about clubs wanting to sign Rossi, though--along the lines of be serious or don't waste our time!
Interesting news from the EPL that might affect Senna: Ipswich Town claim Swansea didn't pay them for a player they loaned to the Swans and have asked the Premier League to impose a transfer ban on them until the matter is resolved. The dispute is resolvable, certainly (it seems to turn on the question of whether the player's injury voided the loan) but it might muddy the waters on which the Swans are swimming in the short term.
No significant Barcelona-Rossi news, probably because the Barcelona-Cesc Fabregas soap opera is active again. And the media offensive seems to have switched away from Sanchez and Rossi toward Juan Mata, with David Villa saying he'd love to play with him again, etc. etc. No doubt our Valencia friends will have something to say about that.
And something which could affect the upcoming CL and Europa League, though unlikely at this point--the football corruption scandal in Greece has now extended to the Greek League president (also chairman of Olympiakos), one of 68 people named in an upcoming indictment. UEFA says nothing uncovered "so far" suggests Olympiakos's league title was tainted, though.
A reminder that the Spain under-21 team (including Villarreal B's Diego Mariño) takes on Switzerland today for the European under-2 championship (2:45 EDT) and the USA and Mexico face off in the Gold Cup final in the Rose Bowl (9:00 EDT). I believe it will be on Fox Soccer Channel and Spanish-language Univision.
The US will be without Jozy Altidore, of course. Mexico has to be favored but the Americans have often frustrated them in the US. I hope for a great game; there haven't been many of those in the Gold Cup this year.
Several countries are making their final cuts for their Copa America squads; we'll post any news we have relating to those below, as well as anything else Villarreal-related. Enjoy the day!