Friday Kickoff: Fabregas nearing move to Chelsea; Brazil won't be ready; and more

Friday Kickoff: Fabregas nearing move to Chelsea; Brazil won't be ready; and more

World Cup 2014

Friday Kickoff: Fabregas nearing move to Chelsea; Brazil won't be ready; and more

Cesc Fabregas of Barcelona

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By RYAN TOLMICH

It looks like Cesc Fabregas is headed back to London after all, but this time he won’t be wearing the color red.

The Spain international has reportedly agreed to join Chelsea this summer for a transfer fee of €33 million and will earn €10 million per season, three million more than he earned at Barcelona according to Spanish newspaper Marca. Fabregas’ family still owns property in London dating back to his Arsenal days, which gives more credit to the reports of his imminent arrival in England.

Fabregas’ move stems from the player’s perceived lack of support from both management and club supporters. The midfielder has struggled to make it into the first team and a lack of supporter backing have driven Fabregas to desire a change in scenery

Barcelona is already lining up Fabregas’ replacement in the form of Sevilla midfielder Ivan Rakitic. The Croatian international is reportedly close to signing a five-year deal with the Catalan club with a transfer fee expected to be around €20 million.

Here are some more items to kick off your weekend:

FIFA CONFIDENT DESPITE WORLD CUP PREPARATION ISSUES

Despite unfinished stadiums, transportation strikes and a slew of other delays, FIFA representatives are as confident as ever.

Soccer’s governing body stated Friday that they are confident that next week’s World Cup will go off without a hitch, despite all of the issues that have surrounded the upcoming tournament.

“The general feeling is that we have done … all we need in order to ensure that the World Cup will start on the 12th of June,” said secretary general Jerome Valcke after a meeting with the local World Cup organizing committee.

Vlacke went on to say that stadium issues are not unexpected while downplaying the idea of stadium issues.

“It’s true that if you go to Itaquera it looks like around the stadium there’s quite a lot of work still going on,” Valcke said. “But I would say it’s quite normal, and it’s even more normal when some of the stadiums were late.”

“We are in control,” continued Valcke. “We are not afraid of the next days.”

RIBERY REJOINS FRANCE AMID INJURY SCARE

Despite already claiming several world-class players, France winger Franck Ribery is determined not to be the latest World Cup-bound star to be claimed by the injury bug.

The Bayern Munich star has been fighting back problems during his time with the national team, which has forced the winger to be placed on an individual program in preparation for Brazil. Ribery rejoined his French teammates Friday and, according to Guy Stephan, should be ready to go for the upcoming tournament.

“His progress is going quite well,” Stephan said. “He’s doing a lot better but he still hasn’t trained with the team. All the most specific and specialized care possible has been taken and is still being taken. He is training with the team on Friday. If everything goes well, he will be there.

“We will get an idea of what he is capable of doing on the field and with the ball, whether he can keep going on Saturday, Sunday etc, etc. It is an important step.”

LOEW UNDERSTANDS FAILURE COULD LEAD TO FIRING

There are few jobs that turnover as quickly as that of an international manager, and few understand that as Germany manager Joachim Loew.

With Germany considered one of the favorites in Brazil, Loew understands that anything less than a group stage exit would be an absolute disaster for a team as talented as his.

“I have a contract, but I also know that a Bundestrainer [German national coach] will always be judged by the team’s performance in a tournament,” he said. “Should we be eliminated at the group stage, it would be necessary that changes are made.

“But I am not concerned with ‘what if?’ scenarios. What happens to me is not of any importance. The players are not interested in it, and nor am I. We are all focused. What happens after the World Cup, we shall see.”

Löw recently signed a two-year contract extension with the German Football Federation to take the team through Euro 2016.

QUICK KICKS

Former Manchester United manager David Moyes has turned down two offers since being sacked by Man United and wants to move to a club, in Britain or abroad, that’s in the UEFA Champions League. (REPORT)

FC Porto defender Eliaquim Mangala says he’s prefer a move to Manchester United or Chelsea over Manchester City. (REPORT)

Ghana National Team goalkeeper Adam Kwarasay is back in training after suffering a thigh injury. (REPORT)

AS Roma have completed the signing of former Barcelona midfielder Seydou Keita on a one-year contract. (REPORT)

Celtic have confirmed the signing of Norwegian Ronny Delia as the club’s next manager. (REPORT)

What do you think of the Fabregas/Rakitic deals? How do you feel about Brazil not being ready in time? Do you expect Ribery to make an impact for France? How far can Loew take Germany?

Share your thoughts below.

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