Thursday’s latest stories from the world of football in ESPN FC’s What’s Trending…
WORLD CUP QUALIFYING: Barcelona, Manchester City and Arsenal could all lose star players such as Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Alexis Sanchez due to the intercontinental World Cup playoff in November.
– FIFA has ordered that a World Cup qualifier between South Africa and Senegal be replayed after the referee awarded a penalty for a non-existent handball and was banned for life for match manipulation.
ARSENAL: Former Monaco frontman Kylian Mbappe has revealed he spoke to Arsene Wenger about the very real possibility of moving to the Emirates, but the 18-year-old followed his heart to PSG instead.
– And Jamie Vardy believes he has been proven right to turn down Arsenal given their lack of recent success and Champions League football this season, but the England international says he would still consider leaving Leicester if it meant winning more major trophies.
– Arsene Wenger says the decision to keep Alexis Sanchez at Arsenal this season comes “at a huge price” for the club, while he will not change his style of play despite Arsenal’s poor start to the season.
BARCELONA: Kylian Mbappe has revealed he encouraged Ousmane Dembele to join Barcelona to “become a great player alongside [Lionel] Messi and [Luis] Suarez.”
– The club have announced they’ve signed 19-year-old midfielder Carles Alena to a contract extension which increased his buyout clause to €75 million on Wednesday.
– Andres Iniesta has contradicted Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu, denying that there is an agreement in principle for him to extend his contract at the Camp Nou beyond its expiry at the end of the season.
WEST HAM: The back and forth between Sporting CP and the Hammers over a failed summer move for William Carvalho continued on Wednesday, with a set of email emerging showing that Slaven Bilic’s team had submitted a transfer proposal to the Portuguese club despite their sporting director’s protests to the contrary.
MAN CITY: Manchester City are considering legal action against La Liga president Javier Tebas after he accused the club of “financial doping” and “cooking the books” by manipulating the price of players loaned to sister club Girona. A club statement has dismissed his claims as “pure fiction.”
BAYERN MUNICH: Chelsea and Arsenal are two teams very interested in Bayern’s Thomas Muller, who could try to force a January move from Bavaria in order to find more playing time. That’s in our latest Transfer Talk blog.
REAL MADRID: Football fans worldwide are familiar with Cristiano Ronaldo’s exploits on the field, but his bizarre brand association with an Egyptian steel production corporation led us down the path into the weird world of the Real Madrid and Portugal star’s many, many, many endorsements.
– Marcelo has admitted he remains “in awe” of playing for Real Madrid despite being at the club for 11 years, and has promised Brazil will get back to the top of the game in the 2018 World Cup is Russia.
– Meanwhile, the play of Marco Asensio and Isco could be forcing two-thirds of the “BBC” into backup roles for Zinedine Zidane.
LIVERPOOL: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain says Jurgen Klopp was one of the “instrumental” reasons why he left Arsenal for Liverpool this summer. Where does the Ox fit in at Liverpool?
– Steven Gerrard will manage Liverpool in the UEFA Youth League, the club have confirmed.
– Chris Coleman says he feels vindicated over his use of Liverpool’s Ben Woodburn in the Wales team even though he said Jurgen Klopp had worried they had rushed the youngster into international duty.
SUTTON UNITED: Former Sutton goalkeeper Wayne Shaw has been fined £375 and suspended for two months by the Football Association for betting-related offences.
The ex-Sutton keeper was found guilty at an independent disciplinary hearing on Wednesday, after he was alleged to have intentionally influenced betting markets in Sutton’s 2-0 FA Cup fifth round defeat to Arsenal in February.
SERIE A: Leonardo Bonucci has joined Gonzalo Higuain as Serie A’s highest-paid player, according to figures published by La Gazzetta dello Sport on Thursday.
FIFA: Germany are set to return to the top of the world rankings when they are next released on Sept. 14. Jogi Low’s team are joined by Brazil, Portugal, Argentina and Belgium in the top five. Full story.
– FIFA has opened a disciplinary case against the German football federation after fans chanted Nazi slogans during a World Cup qualifying game in the Czech Republic.
CHILE: Arturo Vidal has announced he will retire from Chile duty after the 2018 World Cup but admits the end of his international career may come sooner with his national team in a “terrible” position.
UNITED STATES: Bobby Wood late equaliser for the U.S. earned the team a huge point, but if their progression to Russia is to be successful they still have plenty of work to do.
MLS: Jack Harrison scored his ninth goal of the season in the 84th minute, helping New York City FC beat Sporting Kansas City 1-0 on a rainy Wednesday night.
– Orlando City midfielder Will Johnson was arrested on misdemeanor battery charges stemming from an alleged domestic abuse incident, MLS and the club confirmed on Wednesday.
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