Real Madrid land Rodriguez as Arsenal sign Ospina and eye Costa

Jul 22, 2014
Bill Mann

Colombian World Cup stars head to pastures new, as Brazilian striker seeks Ukraine escape

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The second mega-transfer of the summer has been agreed after Real Madrid refused to let Barcelona hog the transfer limelight. Following Barcelona's purchase of Luis Suarez, Madrid have swooped for Monaco's James Rodriguez, the Colombian forward who became a superstar at the World Cup in Brazil and won the Golden Boot with six goals for his country.

According to the Daily Telegraph the fee is around £63m, which makes Rodriguez the fourth most expensive player in history and means that Real Madrid can field a side containing three of them (with Rodriguez lining up against Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale).

Money is not the only motivation for a footballer to change clubs, though. Brazilian striker Douglas Costa has reportedly become a target for both Arsenal and Spurs after refusing to return to Ukraine, where he plays for Shakhtar Donetsk, the city at the centre of the country's civil war.

The Daily Mail reveals that Costa posted a message on his Instagram page alongside the Shakhtar club crest that read: "I like the club, the people, the city, but I'm afraid... We want to stay at the club, but we must have risk-free working conditions."

The Mail says the Arsenal and Spurs are keen on taking the 23-year-old on loan until the situation in Ukraine changes.

Meanwhile, another Colombian, gloveman David Ospina, has been confirmed as Arsenal's latest signing. The Independent reports that the South American shotstopper has penned a four-year deal with the Gunners worth £60,000-a-week after the north London club agreed a fee of £3.5m with French outfit Nice.

The keeper will join up with the club after their tour of the USA as he is currently on holiday following the World Cup, says the paper.

Ospina, who starred for Colombia in the recent World Cup, becomes Arsenal's third major signing of the summer following the capture of Alexis Sanchez and Mathieu Debuchy. But there could be more to come as says that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is also mulling over a loan move for Atletico Madrid right-back Javier Manquillo as he prepares to send Carl Jenkinson to West Ham for the season.

Talking of the Hammers, the Daily Star says that up-and-coming youngster Reece Oxford is being chased through E13 by representatives from Arsenal, Man Utd and Chelsea. Described by the paper as an "England starlet", Oxford is a young defender whose eye-catching performances for West Ham's youth side last season have excited interest among the Premier League's big boys. Though the Hammers want to hang on to the 15-year-old, it's thought the club would struggle to resist a big-money offer with United said to be the most likely to table a bid in the coming weeks.

United's interest may be particularly piqued now that Patrice Evra has finally upped sticks and left Old Trafford for Juventus in a £1.2m deal that will earn the veteran around £55,000-a-week. The Guardian is one of several papers to carry news of Evra's departure after nine years playing for United.

The Frenchman didn't leave for Italy without regret, however, penning an emotional open letter to the club in which he said: "After a great deal of thought I have decided the time is right for me to leave Manchester United. It is the biggest decision of my career as this club is, and will always remain, in my heart... through the good times and the bad times we have all stuck together and remained loyal. I have always said you don't just join Manchester United, you join the family and long may that tradition continue."

Elsewhere and claims that Tottenham are vying with Monaco for the hand of France international winger Antoine Griezmann. Taking as their source Spanish rag Marca, caughtoffside says that the two clubs have both offered Real Sociedad €20m for the 23-year-old wide man. They have been given short shrift from the Spanish outfit with Sociedad insisting they'll only sell Griezmann if his €32m release clause is met.

Finally, the Daily Mail reports that Atletico Madrid are "struggling" to raise the funds to bring Fernando Torres back to the club from Chelsea. The 30-year-old striker began his career at the club and is said to be open to a return after failing to make his mark at the Bridge. Atletico's chief executive Miguel Angel Gil was in London at the weekend and the Mail says he has offered £12.5m for Torres. The problem, claims the Mail, is that Torres is allegedly "reluctant to take a pay cut from his estimated £8m a year salary". Additionally, Chelsea are pushing for around £20m for a player they paid Liverpool £50m when they signed him in 2011.

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