Monday Kickoff: Real Madrid closes in on Ozil, Bellamy set for City departure and more

Monday Kickoff: Real Madrid closes in on Ozil, Bellamy set for City departure and more

European Soccer

Monday Kickoff: Real Madrid closes in on Ozil, Bellamy set for City departure and more

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MesutOzil (ISIphotos.com)

Real Madrid hasn't spent anywhere near the amount of money this summer that it spent last summer, but the Spanish giants may be set to score their best signing of the off-season by landing German World Cup star Mesut Ozil.

Real Madrid is reported to have agreed to personal terms with Ozil, but must still finalize a transfer fee with Werder Bremen for his services.

Of Ozil arrives, he'll join World Cup teammate Sami Khedira as Real Madrid's most recent summer reinforcements for new manager Jose Mourinho. Ozil should also help Real cope with the absence of Kaka, who is sidelined after major knee surgery.

Manchester United had been believed to be in the race for Ozil as well, but appear set to make a move for Portuguese midfielder Raul Meireles instead. Manchester United begins its Premier League season today against Newcastle United (3pm, ESPN2).

Here are some other stories to get your Monday start:

BELLAMY SET FOR CITY DEPARTURE

Following his latest clash with Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini, Welsh striker Craig Bellamy looks set to leave City, with a potential move to Cardiff City a real possibility.

Bellamy has butted heads with Mancini ever since the Italian manager arrived and took over for Mark Hughes. Now the question is where will Manchester City send Bellamy. A Cardiff loan is possible, but the club has no intention of selling Bellamy to Tottenham, a known admirer of Bellamy.

MARADONA INTERESTED IN ASTON VILLA JOB

Diego Maradona walked away from his job as Argentina men's national team coach and has found a new job he apparently has eyes for. The legendary former playeris interested in the Aston Villa managerial position recently vacated by Martin O'Neill.

Maradona has no historical ties to Villa, but his agent insists that Maradona would consider taking over as boss if an offer was made.

You may now scratch your head.

Villa is coming off an impressive week one victory against West Ham under interim manager Kevin MacDonald.

Bob Bradley had been considered a candidate to replace O'Neill, but a Yahoo report last week revealed that Bradley isn't being seriously considered.

MONDAY FREE KICKS

Chelsea continues to chase Brazilian phenom Neymar.

Fenerbahce has completed the signing of Senegalese striker Mamadou Niang.

Marseille's planned move for Brazilian striker Luis Fabiano has fallen apart.

Benfica was dominant in Portugal last season, but began this season with a surprising loss to Academica thanks to the longest last-second game-winner you'll ever see.

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What do you think of these developments? Think Ozil can help Real Madrid top Barcelona this season? Can you really see Bellamy playing in the Championship? Did you burst out laughing at the thought of Maradona managing Aston Villa?

Share your thoughts below.

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