Thursday Kickoff: PSG call off pursuit of Di Maria; Vermaelen could leave Arsenal; and more

Thursday Kickoff: PSG call off pursuit of Di Maria; Vermaelen could leave Arsenal; and more

South American Soccer

Thursday Kickoff: PSG call off pursuit of Di Maria; Vermaelen could leave Arsenal; and more

AngelDiMariaRealMadrid1-Levante2014 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Paris Saint-Germain are having to live with the new reality that is Financial Fair Play.

After accepting a reduced punishment from UEFA this summer for breaching FFP protocols, the French club has had to call off their pursuit of Real Madrid winger Angel Di Maria due to the Argentine’s excessive transfer fee.

“I have been in negotiations for Di María with my friend Florentino Pérez, but for me the player is too expensive and we have stopped negotiations,” PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaïfi said at David Luiz’s introductory press conference on Thursday.

The admission is the first time that PSG have publicly stated their interest in the Argentine international, who starred for Argentina at the World Cup but missed the final and semifinals due to a thigh injury.

Recent reports in Spain have claimed that PSG would need to pay a fee of 60 million euros ($80.2 million) to sign Di Maria, and after spending 50 million euros on Luiz, PSG need to bring in some revenue in order to afford Di Maria.

Here are some more stories to kick off your Thursday:

WENGER ADMITS VERMAELEN COULD LEAVE

Arsenal could have a new club captain this season.

Current captain, defender Thomas Vermaelen, is not content with a place on the bench for another season and is the subject of transfer speculation from across Europe. On Thursday at a press conference, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admitted that the club has received bids for the Belgian international.

“Manchester United are part of the group (of bidders). He could leave,” Wenger told reporters. “We have offers from abroad and ideally I would rather sell him to a club abroad. We’re in a position where it’s difficult to stand in his way.”

According to the Daily Telegraph, Man United are the favorites to sign Vermaelen but Barcelona have entered with a £10 million bid. Arsenal signed Southampton’s Calum Chambers this summer, giving them another centerback option behind starters Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.

ALL SQUARE IN FIRST LEG OF COPA LIBERTADORES FINAL

Nacional substitute Julio Santa Cruz played the hero for his club in the first leg of the Copa Libertadores final.

Santa Cruz scored from close range in the third minute of second-half stoppage time to tie the match at 1-1, sending the Nacional fans at the Estadio Defensores del Chaco into rapture. The goal canceled out San Lorenzo’s opener in the 65th minute, when Mauro Matos fired home on the volley inside the box.

The second leg of the final now moves to Buenos Aires, Argentina, as both teams aim for South American glory.

QUICK KICKS

Karim Benzema has signed a new contract at Real Madrid through 2019. (REPORT)

PSV Eindhoven have stated that exciting young forward Memphis Depay is not for sale. (REPORT)

Celtic have been knocked out of the UEFA Champions League with a 2-0, 6-1 aggregate defeat to Legia Warsaw. (REPORT)

German World Cup defender Shkodran Mustafi has completed a transfer move from Sampdoria to Valencia. (REPORT)

Ghanian international Andre Ayew dreams of playing for Liverpool but his salary of 300,000 euros per month is higher than what Liverpool would like to play for the Marseille midfielder. (REPORT)

Brazil has scheduled a friendly match in Singapore against Japan on Oct. 14. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Surprised to see PSG pull out of the Di Maria sweepstakes? Do you see Vermaelen moving to Man United?

Share your thoughts below.

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