Tuesday Kickoff: Italian match-fixing scandal grows, Blues win Hazard & more

Conte (Reuters Pictures)

The big names continue to be implicated in the latest alleged match-fixing scandal in Italy.

Fresh off guiding Juventus to an undefeated season, coach Antonio Conte is now reportedly under investigation for wrongdoing while he was in charge of Siena in 2010-2011. Conte denied all allegations in comments made to the Associated Press, saying, "My story speaks clearly for itself. I've always showed moral integrity, honesty, fairness in every situation, whether as a player or a coach. I am completely innocent of any of this, as are my players."

The investigation has made its way through Italian national team camp and the number of people arrested in the last year stands at 50, including Lazio captain Stefano Mauri, and it has also resulted with investigated defender Domenico Criscito being withdrawn from Italy's Euro 2012 roster.

"He would have experienced a pressure that no human being can deal with," Italy coach Cesare Prandelli said. "He wouldn't have been in the right frame of mind. And he could also have been called up by the prosecutors at any time, before a match."

Juventus defender Leonardo Bonucci is also implicated in the scandal, but he remains with the national team as Euro 2012 approaches. The team's preparations suffered a setback of a different kind as well, with deadly earthquakes in Northern Italy cancelling a scheduled friendly against Luxembourg.

Here are a few other stories to get your day going:

CHELSEA SET TO SIGN HAZARD

May continues to be Chelsea's month.

After winning the FA Cup and UEFA Champions League, the Blues have reportedly won the Eden Hazard sweepstakes, landing the Belgian playmaker from Lille for a fee of £32 million. The 21-year-old Hazard had reportedly narrowed his choices down to Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City but ultimately picked the European title holders, according to his own official Twitter feed. He'll inject youth into an aging midfield — along with other signings Marko Marin and Kevin de Bruyne — and give Chelsea a new dynamic in the attack.

The signing has not yet been officially confirmed by Chelsea.

SWANSEA HOPE FOR DOS SANTOS LOAN

Giovani Dos Santos may not have a place in Tottenham's lineup, but the Mexican attacker has no shortage of suitors, and Swansea City appears to be one of them.

The Swans are reportedly hopeful of bringing Dos Santos in next season, the final year of his contract with Tottenham. Manager Brendan Rodgers was at Mexico's 2-0 victory over Wales on Saturday, and while his club might not have the financial clout necessary to pull off a full transfer, a loan to the Premier League side would be feasible.

UNITED CLOSE IN ON KAGAWA

The rampant speculation that Shinji Kagawa would be joining Manchester United is on the verge of being validated.

The Borussia Dortmund and Japan attacker is reportedly close to a £17 million move from the Bundesliga to the Premier League but has not yet agreed to personal terms with the Red Devils. The 23-year-old Kagawa had 17 goals in all competitions for Dortmund this past season. 

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What's your take on the scandal in Italy? Do you see Hazard thriving for Chelsea? Think Swansea City would be a good landing spot for Dos Santos? Do you see Kagawa being a good fit for Manchester United?

Share your thoughts below.

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29 Responses to Tuesday Kickoff: Italian match-fixing scandal grows, Blues win Hazard & more

  1. somedude says:

    Another earthquake and another match fixing scandal in Italy? scary.

  2. poy says:

    Kagawa for MU?

  3. Mike says:

    32 million pounds for Hazard?

    At market rate, Messi must be worth near a 100 million.

  4. Adam says:

    Would probably be over 100 million, you are correct.

  5. Dempsey's worth says:

    So 40-50 million then for Dempsey?

  6. Mike says:

    I’m down with that.

  7. lovesoc69 says:

    Great games, thank for you post.

  8. timmytwoshoezzz says:

    Fulham would be to. But he only has one year left on his contract, so I doubt it would be that high.

    Hazard is such a diva, you would think he was French.

  9. K Bone says:

    I believe Dempsey had more goals, but didn’t Hazard have the better overall stats, including assists? I read he was the only player besides Messi to have at least 15 goals and assists this season. I’d wager he’s better than Dempsey, in both performances this season and in overall soccer ability. Plus he’s much younger, and his potential is through the roof. He is worth much, much more than Dempsey…

  10. K Bone says:

    Are you saying you’re surprised he’d go there? He’s been one of United’s main targets for awhile now and I’m glad they (hopefully) are tying this up sooner than later…

  11. K Bone says:

    As a United, if Hazard wasn’t going to United, I’m glad he went to Chelsea and not City. I can just imagine the look on Mancini’s face when he found out Hazard wasn’t going to City. I would assume once they won the title and could throw the money at Hazard, they figured he’d beg to join them, but I guess he didn’t count on Hazard wanted more than money. Hazard kind of comes off as a bit full of himself, but good for him for ultimately choosing a club where they agreed to basically build the team around him. I’m not actually sure he’d be a good fit at United, aside from his obvious talent and huge potential, I’m not sure Ferguson was willing hand the team over to a 21 year old who has only proved himself in France so far. Doesn’t seem like a United player. Besides, Kagawa’s stats were almost as good and he starred for the German champs…

  12. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    Funny… I used to like Swansea…

  13. wanks abroad says:

    Only in the mind of a Yanks Abroad jock sniffer.

  14. CJ says:

    Will the “Youth” have to give back another Scudetto?

  15. Aquaman says:

    I still have to like Swansea, my family is tied to the club. So, good luck Gio, I guess?

  16. Tom says:

    Over a hundred mill, easily, no doubt. Man City would probably pay 150 million, which is only what, three times what Fernando Torres last went for?

  17. Felix says:

    Not a fan of this move. Personally, I think Man U need more of a holding/defensive midfielder – perhaps a couple. Kagawa is going to occupy space that Rooney loves to roam in. Personally I think Rooney should be embraced as a #10, someone who likes to start deep and make devastating runs which opens space for their wingers and forwards which he can in turn pass to. Rooney is a very underrated passer, he then can make late runs into the box which further disrupts defenses. He roams too much to be a classic CF.

    So instead of another AM like a Kagawa, or Wesley Sneijder, they should be looking at a defensive midfielder which will free up midfeilders like Michael Carrick or Paul Scholes and protect their back 4 which has struggled with injuries recently.

  18. Jeff says:

    Where have you been? Manchester City doesn’t have to pay premiums any more. Champions! Anyway, who needs Messi, we’ve got Balotelli!

  19. Jeff says:

    Ah, you ABCs are so predictable. Funny that Hazard didn’t rush to sign for the team with the ‘richest history’.

  20. K Bone says:

    What’s an ABC, I’m not familiar with that term. I can’t defend myself until I know…

  21. K Bone says:

    However, if you’re saying I’m one of those United fans that was all about Hazard until he chose another team, and now I think he’s a bad fit for United, I’d prefer you not lump me in that category since you likely have no idea what goes on in my head. Potentially he’d be a great player for any club, and any team would love his talent. However, I’ve always assumed United was his third choice once Chelsea won the Champions League, seeing how City won the title and can offer more money and Chelsea I’m sure was more than willing to pay him whatever he wanted and promised him he’d be the star of the team. So while I agree there are plenty of United fans that are bashing Hazard now but would be worshiping him if he signed, I am not one of those. I really am glad they are signing Kagawa, I just hope he’s able to rise to the occasion and score the goals United needs from midfield…

  22. Jeff says:

    Anyone But…well, you know who. 01–>02 years.

  23. Jeff says:

    Fair enough. I was just winding you up a bit. In response to the Mancini bit.

  24. K Bone says:

    Ha, understood. Although you have to admit I’m sure he was thinking to himself, you’ve got to be kidding me, if they hadn’t won the Champions League by some miracle, Hazard would be a City player right now…

  25. K Bone says:

    They definitely need a holding midfielder, but they also need someone like Kagawa so Rooney doesn’t have to play the number 10 role. They need someone in the midfield who can pick up the slack and score more goals. From what I’ve read it seems like United could have Rooney up top by himself, and have Kagawa play right behind him. Then they could have Carrick and a new guy, like Strootman or Martinez, boss the midfield. It’ll be interesting to see how they use him, assuming they do finally sign him…

  26. Kevin G. says:

    Not ganna happen, no way Arry lets Dos Santos go for free.

  27. bryan says:

    the two prices listed above are a prime example of what hype can do. two players who are essentially the same age and both had fantastic seasons. the one who was a champ in a top 4 league, however, is going for half the price of the other guy. all because everyone has been talking about hazard for so long. and because he is not japanese. i feel like americans probably have more bias against them then japanese players, but still, they suffer a similar bias against them when compared to european players.

  28. bryan says:

    it’s a loan, not a transfer…

  29. bryan says:

    *and because he IS japanese