Thursday Kickoff: Pots set for Champions League draw, Berbatov to Fulham & more

Chelsea (Getty Images)

The roadmap for the 2012-13 UEFA Champions League group stage will be set on Thursday, with one of the ultimate groups of death lingering as a possibility. The champions of England, Germany, Italy and Spain could all be drawn into the same group, with Real Madrid, Manchester City, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund put in pots 1-4, respectively.

Here are the four pots, which are based on UEFA's club coefficients:

Pot 1: Chelsea, Barcelona, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Porto, AC Milan

Pot 2: Valencia, Benfica, Shakhtar Donetsk, Zenit-St. Petersburg, Schalke, Manchester City, Braga, Dynamo Kyiv

Pot 3: Olympiakos, Ajax, Anderlecht, Juventus, Spartak Moscow, Paris St-Germain, Lille, Galatasaray

Pot 4: Borussia Dortmund, Celtic, BATE Borisov, Dinamo Zagreb, CFR 1907 Cluj, Malaga, Montpellier, Nordsjaelland

Here are a few more stories to get your Thursday going:

BERBATOV HAS FULHAM PHYSICAL

Dimitar Berbatov's whirlwind couple of days have resulted in him not leaving England after all.

After a transfer saga that has seen him reportedly go back on a verbal agreement with Fiorentina and then nearly sign with Italian champion Juventus, it appears that the 31-year-old Bulgarian striker is headed to Craven Cottage to sign with Fulham

Fulham manager Martin Jol said that Berbatov was undergoing a physical with the club Thursday, ahead of a surprise move to the London club.

"We contacted the player's agent and he said to us that Berbatov had an offer from his former coach to join Fulham," Juventus director Giuseppe Marotta told Sky Italia. "He wants to stay in England because of his family, it's a life choice, not a matter of money."

STOKE EYE LIVERPOOL'S ADAM

Stoke City have a thing for central midfielders during this transfer window, and their latest interest may have a two-pronged affect for Americans abroad.

The Potters are reportedly eyeing Liverpool's Charlie Adam and have made the Reds a £5 million offer for the Scottish central midfielder, who would potentially add another competitor for Geoff Cameron and Maurice Edu for playing time at Britannia Stadium in what is becoming an increasingly crowded depth chart for manager Tony Pulis. Stoke's loan for Tottenham's Tom Huddlestone is not completely dead, either. Stoke is not the only destination for Adam, as Fenerbahce has also reportedly showed interest in him.

Should Liverpool sell Adam, it would provide the club with more financial flexibility, which, the BBC suggests would be used to pry Clint Dempsey from Fulham and put an end to his sticky situation with the club ahead of tomorrow's transfer deadline. 

CITY, SWANSEA AGREE FOR SINCLAIR MOVE

Manchester City's latest bid to sign Scott Sinclair is apparently satisfactory enough for Swansea City.

After having a £6.2 million bid rejected earlier this week, City have had an offer that can reach up to £8 million accepted by the Welsh club, who will reportedly replace Sinclair with Valencia winger Pablo Hernandez. The offer for Sinclair includes the original £6.2 million bid along with different incentives that can have price increase. After the Sinclair transfer becomes complete, Swansea will reportedly go ahead and add Hernandez for £5.5 million.

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What are some UCL group possibilities that you are hoping for? Do you think the seeding should be done differently? Surprised to see Berbatov end up at Fulham? How do you feel about Adam potentially joining a central midfield with Edu and Cameron? Do you hope that move ends with Dempsey winding up at Anfield? Do you see Sinclair pitching in for the first team at City? Do you like what Swansea has done during this transfer window?

Share your thoughts below.

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33 Responses to Thursday Kickoff: Pots set for Champions League draw, Berbatov to Fulham & more

  1. Kevin_amold says:

    This move for Berbatov has surprised me. For once we have a quality player coming FROM Old Trafford to the Cottage rather than the other way around.

  2. William the Terror says:

    Hmmm. I see a horrible group of Manchester United, Manchester City, PSG and Dortmund.

  3. Illmatic74 says:

    United and City can’t end up in the same group.

  4. Clevelandfc says:

    I read we may hear about Dempsey today. Does anyone have an idea of where he might land? I guess we will know for sure tomorrow.

  5. William the Terror says:

    Awesome. I should have remembered that. Mthanks!

  6. K Bone says:

    Is the rumor he could go to Sunderland true at all? I really can’t imagine it is, but I’ve seen it several places, no joke. That would be terrible…

  7. Daniel says:

    Dempsey could land @ Roma, Liverpool, PSG or Arsenal. I don’t see a Sunderland move happening. He could also stay at Craven Cottage.

  8. Robert Daniels says:

    What does this move mean for Dempsey? Will this make Fulham more willing to part with him?

  9. K Bone says:

    As a United fan, I’m happy for him that he found a club that will actually utilize him. I understand why didn’t he exactly work for United, but he is a great player. Know I just hope he doesn’t score against United when they play again…

  10. clevelandfc says:

    I think they are out oer the Shields Gazette (8/29). They had interest but not now. I am hearing Arsenal may be a favorite. That would be great.

  11. Jason says:

    All that I’ve been hearing is that Liverpool would take him if they can offload Adams. Will that happen within the next 24 hours? Who knows. Quite frankly I’m not holding my breath as the whole situation is a mess.

    There’s even been talk of Dempsey going to West Ham in a Dempsey-Mark Noble swap. I’m a Hammers fan, so that would be fine by me. However I think it’s very doubtful. Besides, it looks like West Ham is set to sign Miralem Sulejmani from Ajax, so that would probably make a Dempsey to West Ham move even more unlikely.

  12. Funny how Porto ends up in Pot 1. Their best asset? Probably their president.

  13. biff says:

    I am not going to be surprised to see Clint end up at a team that nobody is expecting, although the usual suspects are more likely. I still think Everton would be a great move, and David Moyse apparently in the past wanted him. After watching most of the Roma match Sunday I do not think that would be a good move for Clint.

    (SBI should put up a poll where fans think he should go, and a second where they they think he will actually be when the transfer window closes.)

  14. Jermaine Jones is the man says:

    UEFA club team coefficients. What a stupid way to seed groups. And completely unfair to teams like Borussia Dortmund (and whoever draws into the same group). Meanwhile a team like Arsenal gets to surf along on a wave of mediocrity.

  15. away goals says:

    Is this the part where we mention clint dempsey and then list a bunch of teams we know?

    Liverpool, juve, QPR, cruzeiro, bundesliga.

  16. rory says:

    Why in the world is Arsenal in the first pot and City in the second? The league Champions ought to be in a better pot than the third place team.

  17. pd says:

    Somewhere in London Clint Dempsey better be firing his agent.

  18. Obi-wan McSnarky says:

    Well done, pad’uan

  19. Rory says:

    Oh I want to play…

    Newel’s Old Boys
    Something S-Pulse from Japan
    New York Cosmos
    Joe Public
    Castil di Sangra

    All are rumored to have told a guy once that Dempsey was a good player. His move is immenant.

  20. Clevelandfc says:

    Poll – Please pick the team you think Clint will end up at:
    1)Liverpool
    2)Arsenal
    3)Roma
    4)PSG
    5)Everton
    6)West Ham
    7)Fulham
    8)Sunderland
    9)Oher

  21. John says:

    It’s based on a points system ranking based on several past years of European play. Arsenal has made the Champions League every year for the past decade and City is a relative newcomer to the European game.

  22. Illmatic74 says:

    Coefficient is based of European performance. Since Arsenal make the knockout stages every season they are in the first pot.

  23. away goals says:

    From yahoo.uk for what it’s worth:

    –Fulham also confirmed that contract rebel Clint Dempsey, who wanted to join Liverpool but was never given a formal offer, will be allowed to join Sunderland.

    He is expected to cost around £7m, with versatile midfielder-defender Kieron Richardson going the other way in part exchange.–

  24. Dimidri says:

    we’ve disagreed before, but 100%-Everton would be a fantastic move, a place where Dempsey could really be that missing piece to put them over the top.

    Oh and they’re much more likable than Liverpool.

  25. John says:

    Porto’s yearly participation in Europe and Europa and Champions League championship has padded thier European coefficient quite nicely. No conspiracy here, just great results over years.

  26. Dimidri says:

    +1

    Joe McGinnis woo!

  27. gtv says:

    Clint needs to stick to his guns. CL team, LFC, or stay @ FFC. I’d actually love to see what he could do paired with Berbatov.

  28. biff says:

    As for the glamor-factor, Liverpool under Brendan Rodgers would be my first choice. But seeing how Rodgers is not afraid to bench Andy Carroll the 35-million man and some of those other expensive players, makes me a bit nervous whether Clint could hold a starting spot. Do you think he would at Everton?

    As for a big surprise, we cannot forget the Klinsmann factor, meaning that a team in Germany could still be possible. Dortmund would be great, but probably never happen, Schalke possible. I would love to see Clint at Gladbach, MB’s old team. Gladbach got knocked out of Champions League last night, but put up a brave performance in Kiev, wiinning 2-1, not enough to overturn a 1-3 loss last week. The team is young and could benefit from Dempsey’s experience, and coach Lucien Favre is exceptional and they will be playing Europa League now. Hannover and Hoffenheim are two other possibilities, with rural Hoffenheim a good spot for Clint’s young family. They also could use some experience and grit up front.

  29. biff says:

    Martin Jol splashed gasoline on the smoldering embers and unnecessarily created a firestorm of fan hate toward Clint. The bridge between Clint and Fulham has been burned forever.

    “There are two sides to the story. The truth will come out soon.”

  30. away goals says:

    They said the same thing about rooney at united, modric at spurs, and beckham at galaxy.

    If dempsey stays at fulham, the bridge will be repaired the moment he scores his first goal.

  31. Andy in Atlanta says:

    Keep working on your daily Jol hatchet job… fact is… you know the same as everyone else… for all we know this was a joint ploy to get bids in from Clint and Jol

  32. AcidBurn says:

    Nah, I think W Connection would be a better fit for Dempsey than Joe Public.

  33. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    Oher