Monday Ticker: Zenit lands dynamic duo Hulk and Witsel, Liverpool owner addresses fan concerns, & more

Monday Ticker: Zenit lands dynamic duo Hulk and Witsel, Liverpool owner addresses fan concerns, & more

European Soccer

Monday Ticker: Zenit lands dynamic duo Hulk and Witsel, Liverpool owner addresses fan concerns, & more

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By BRYAN ROBISON

After weeks of speculation on where the Brazilian striker would end up, the aptly named Hulk is headed east to FC Zenit Saint Petersburg. This comes just days after his current club, FC Porto, reportedly declined a rumored €50 million offer.

Following that offer, speculation grew that he could be headed to Stamford Bridge to play for the Blues of Chelsea. However, Chelsea bowed out due to the significant amount of money FC Porto was demanding. But the persistent Russian club continued thier discussions with FC Porto, making the move official in an announcement posted on their website this afternoon.

Also headed to the St. Petersburg club is Belgian international Axel Witsel. He too will be leaving Portugal, as he leaves Benfica after one season with the club. The midfielder's buyout clause is said to be around €40 million. Benfica signed Witsel away from Standard Liege for just €6.5 million last year.

Here are some more stories to get you through your Labor Day:

HENRY PENS LETTER TO LIVERPOOL FANS

After a rough start to the Premier League season, with Liverpool opening 0-1-2, Liverpool owner John W Henry has gone to the task of writing a letter to Reds fans to declare the season is not lost.

This comes just days after the club dropped a 2-0 match to Arsenal, and after a transfer window that closed without the signing of American Clint Dempsey, who was linked to the club for months.

Henry wrote "No one should doubt our commitment to the club. In Brendan Rodgers, we have a talented young manager, and we have valued highly his judgement about the make-up of the squad. This is a work in progress. It will take time for Brendan to instill his philosophy into the squad and build exactly what he needs for the long term."

You can read a full transcript of the letter here.

PARDEW SUSPENDED TWO MATCHES

The Newcastle United manager was suspended for two matches following an investigation that found the former Manager of the Year guilty of improper conduct after shoving an assistant referee against Tottenham in the season-opening match on August 18th.

He will also be fined £20,000 for the infraction. With the suspension taking place immediately, Pardew will miss the next two matches, as the Magpies will take on Everton on September 17th, and Norwich City on September 22nd.

BERBATOV RIPS FERGUSON

After leaving Manchester United for Fulham last week before the end of the summer transfer window, forward Dimitar Berbatov has made it clear what his opinion of his former manager in Sir Alex Ferguson is. The Bulgarian spoke with reporters following his debut for his new club.

"I don't think I deserved such treatment at United – with not playing in the last year," said Berbatov. "I went more than 10, probably 15, times to ask the coach if they need me. And every time I was told that I'm an important player and should not leave, but then again I was not in the team."

He also declared that he is not frustrated that he will no longer be playing in the Champions League, stating "It won't kill me not to play in the Champions League anymore. I want to play football, to enjoy the game."

AC MILAN LOSES PAIR TO INJURY

Even after a successful weekend for AC Milan, with a 3-1 victory over Bologna over the weekend, the negatives still continue to find their way into the Rossoneri's season. After losing Alexandero Pato, Robinho, and Ignazio Abate to injury earlier in the year, the Italian club will now be without Riccardo Montolivo and Kevin-Prince Boateng for at least the next three-four weeks.

Montolivo suffered the injury during the match against Bologna, as he was kicked in his thigh, forcing him to be carted off the field in a stretcher. Meanwhile, Boateng played the entire match, but broke a bone his hand, requiring him to undergo surgery.

MEXICO'S BARRERA OUT FOR SEASON WITH TORN ACL

Barrera suffered a torn ACL in Cruz Azul's match against Pachuca on Saturday, forcing the forward to undergo season-ending surgery. The Mexican international was expected to be called up for El Tri's pair of upcoming matches against Costa Rica on September 7th and 11th.

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What do you think of Zenit breaking the bank for Hulk and Witsel? What do you make of Henry's letter to Liverpool fans? Surprised to hear Berbatov sound off on Ferguson?

Share your thoughts below.

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