Major Link Soccer: Is Bale Worth $144 Million?

That's false advertising, man! - D Dipasupil

Gareth Bale appears to finally be heading to Real Madrid, but the real winners in this deal are likely Bale and Tottenham.

Seattle’s little buddies from the south hosted Real Salt Lake last night. The Timbers settled for the draw in a wild match that saw 3 lead changes, 2 penalties and a red card to Yordany Alvarez. In the only other MLS match last night, Chivas USA fell at home to FC Dallas by the score 3-1. New signing Bryan de la Fuente scored the only goal for Chivas, with Blas Pérez, David Ferreira and Ramon Nunez getting on the score sheet for FC Dallas in their first MLS win in nearly 3 months.

Three Serie A clubs have submitted inquiries to Landon Donovan with the intent to sign him once his contract with LA is up at the end of the MLS season. AC Milan is also interested, but only if they can have him in the current transfer window. Donovan’s teammate, Robbie Rogers will miss a few weeks after injuring his hamstring against Cartaginés on Tuesday.

The Philadelphia Union is opening its own high school in the hopes of improving its academy program.

The second set of matches of CONCACAF Champions League is underway and MLS teams aren’t faring too well with the Sounders not involved for the first time since their inaugural season in 2009. Houston was held to a scoreless draw in Trinidad and Tobago against W Connection on Tuesday night. Montreal fell 1-0 to Heredia last night. Only the LA Galaxy made it through without dropping points, after defeating Cartaginés 2-0 on Tuesday.

In UEFA Champions League, Arsenal players were kept up all night in Turkey by Fenerbahce fans using firecrackers, flares and smoke bombs. It didn’t seem to have any effect on Arsenal, as they went on to win 3-0 in the first leg of the playoff round. Elsewhere in the playoff round, Celtic fell 2-0 at Shakhter Karagandy, Real Sociedad defeated Lyon 2-0, AC Milan drew 1-1 at PSV Eindhoven and Schalke was held to a 1-1 draw at home against PAOK.

The first leg of the Europa League playoff round starts today. Some matches to keep an eye on include Terrence Boyd’s Rapid Vienna vs. Dila Gori and Aron Johansson’s AZ vs. Atromitos. La Liga’s Real Betis are also in Europa League, but their president made news yesterday by saying that the competition isn’t a real priority for them this year. This is the first time Betis finds itself in European competition since the 2005-06 Champions League.

In the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup, Atlético Madrid held Barcelona to a 1-1 draw at home. David Villa scored in his first appearance against his former team and Neymar equalized in the second half with his first competitive goal for the Blaugranes. Lionel Messi suffered a hamstring injury in the first half and had to come off at halftime. Real Madrid is also dealing with an injury issue, with Xabi Alonso likely to miss 3 months due to a broken metatarsal.

The Gareth Bale to Real Madrid deal appears to finally be finalized. The transfer fee is reportedly $144 million. Tottenham appears to already be spending a decent amount of that on new players. They are reportedly close to deals for AS Roma’s Erik Lamela and Anzhi Makhachkala’s Willian. Manchester United finally appears to be ready to agree to a deal for Wayne Rooney. Jose Mourinho will wait until after next Monday’s match between Chelsea and Manchester United to submit another bid for Rooney. With Iker Casillas suddenly finding himself out of favor at Real Madrid, Barcelona is interested in making a move for him. This would fill a need for them, with Victor Valdez leaving at the end of the season. Two players who will not be switching clubs in this window are Robert Lewandowski and Paul Pogba.

In yesterday’s only Premier League match, Chelsea narrowly defeated Aston Villa at home in a controversial match that left Villa boss Paul Lambert steaming about two no-calls that could have changed the outcome of the match. Mourinho responded to Lambert’s comments by claiming that Lambert is in need of maturity, which is a bit rich for a manager known to poke opposing coaches in the eye on occasion.

FIFPro, the global union for soccer players, has warned its members against signing for clubs in Cyprus, Greece and Turkey, due to the failure of clubs to pay players what they are owed according to their contracts.

England’s League Championship has sold more jerseys than the second divisions of the rest of the big 5 combined.

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