Monday Kickoff: Chelsea, Man United in for Cesc; Mourinho ready to make big splash; and more

Monday Kickoff: Chelsea, Man United in for Cesc; Mourinho ready to make big splash; and more

World Cup 2014

Monday Kickoff: Chelsea, Man United in for Cesc; Mourinho ready to make big splash; and more

CescFabregasBarcelona1-CeltadeVigo2014 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Cesc Fabregas is closer than ever to a return to the English Premier League.

After Barcelona and Fabregas’ agent put English Premier League clubs on alert and after both Arsenal and Manchester City pulled out of the running, Manchester United and Chelsea emerged as the two main contenders for the Spanish midfielder.

According to reports in Spain and England, Fabregas will be sold only for a bid of at least €40 million. Spanish newspaper Marca reports that Man United is not only ready to meet that number but are willing to offer Fabregas wages worth €6 million per year, while Chelsea would only go as high as €5 million per season.

Man United attempted to sign Fabregas in summer 2013 but Fabregas didn’t want to leave Barcelona at the time.

Fabregas, a former star for Arsenal, has played well in his last three seasons back in Barcelona but just never did enough to convince the fans and ownership that he could be a game-changer in the way that Xavi and Andres Iniesta are in the biggest games. Last season, Fabregas started 28 of 36 La Liga games he played in, and was subbed off 15 times. He scored 13 goals in all competitions.

Here are some more stories to kick off your Monday:

CHELSEA READY TO SPEND UP TO €100 MILLION ON ATLETI TRIO

Chelsea are planning to have a very busy summer transfer window.

In addition to the already reported deals for Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa and Felipe Luis, now come reports that Chelsea are interested in signing Atleti defender Diego Godin, who scored the La Liga winning goal and also another goal in the UEFA Champions League final.

If Chelsea hits the trio’s release clauses, the transfer fees alone could be as high as €100 million. Costa’s is around €50, Luis’ is at €24, and it’s thought that Godin’s release clause is in the same region.

Mourinho is also considering another swoop for 33-year-old midfielder Tiago, who is leaving Atleti this summer, and Mourinho could recall goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to London if he feels that the Belgian international is ahead of Petr Cech.

ITAQUERAO REMAINS UNFINISHED 10 DAYS FROM OPENER

Sao Paulo’s Itaquerao Stadium was only opened to 62 percent capacity for their final test match before the World Cup opener.

Only 40,000 tickets were available for sale from the 65,000-seat stadium for a match between Corinthians and Botafogo, because the local fire department refused to give a permit for one of the stands due to unsafe conditions. This means that the first game theoretically at full capacity will be the World Cup opener on June 12 between Brazil and Croatia.

The Arena Das Dunas in Natal and the Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre are also still in a race against time to finish for the World Cup.

QUICK KICKS

Sevilla star and Croatian international Ivan Rakitic reportedly has offers from Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, and Barcelona, but will only decide his future following the World Cup. (REPORT)

Liverpool confirmed the signing of Ricky Lambert from Southampton, reportedly to the tune of £4 million. (REPORT)

Kolo Toure has been included in the Ivory Coast World Cup squad despite being diagnosed with malaria. (REPORT)

Germany succumb to a 2-2 draw with Cameroon after goals from Samuel Eto’o and Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting keep Germany from a confidence-boosting win. (REPORT)

Honduras lost their second consecutive World Cup tune-up when Israel stomped Honduras, 4-2. (REPORT)

Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard both scored as Belgium beat Sweden in Solna, Sweden. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you see Fabregas moving to Man United? Think Chelsea could spend €100 million even with Financial Fair Play?

Share your thoughts below.

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