Thursday Kickoff: Dortmund eying Costa; French clubs postpone strike; and more

DiegoCostaAtleticoMadrid1-AustriaViennaUCL (AP)

By DAN KARELL

It’s no secret that Borussia Dortmund are looking for a replacement next season for Robert Lewandowski, and according to reports in Germany, they have their eyes on one of the most in-form forwards in Spain.

Diego Costa, who has 13 goals in 13 La Liga games this season, is a summer target of Dortmund’s, according to German publication BILD. The report states that although Costa has a contract with Atletico Madrid through 2018, he has a release clause of €24 million to leave the club this coming summer.

The 25-year-old forward has been on a torrid pace since taking over Radamel Falcao’s place as star striker in the Atletico side, though he’s been in the headlines recently more for choosing to play for Spain over his native Brazil than any of his goals. If Dortmund can’t sign Costa, they have Porto’s Jackson Martinez, Manchester City’s Edin Dzeko, and Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke on their radar, according to the report.

Here are some more stories to start your Thursday:

FRENCH CLUBS POSTPONE STRIKE

The planned protest by French clubs of the new 75 percent tax on earners of more than €1 million has been postponed indefinitely, according to reports in France.

The Union of Professional Football Clubs (UCFP), which makes up the clubs in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 had planned on protesting the proposed tax that could go into effect next year by striking on the last weekend of November and refusing to play games that weekend. However, the games will now go on as planned, as the UCFP have postponed the strike to a later date after recent talks with French government officials. The UCFP has warned that they could strike at a future date but for now they’ll continue to negotiate an exception to the proposed tax.

If the new law is passed in France, employers with people earning more than €1 million would have to pay a 75 percent tax on the earnings. The proposed tax is only supposed to be in effect for two years, but soccer clubs in France are worried that it could drive all the top talent out of the country due to some team’s inability to cope with the extra payments they’d have to make.

SUBOTIC UNDERGOES SUCCESSFUL KNEE SURGERY

Following a terrific season with Borussia Dortmund, defender Neven Subotic’s 2013-2014 season has taken a sharp turn for the worse after he suffered torn ligaments in his right knee last Saturday.

The 24-year-old Serbian international underwent successful knee surgery on Wednesday evening in Dortmund according to the club, though there is no immediate timetable for a return. The club will assess in two months time whether or not his torn PCL will also need to be operated on.

Most torn ACL injuries take at least six months to recover to full fitness from, which leaves Subotic in a race against time to be fit for the final matches of the Bundesliga season. Perhaps luckily for Subotic, with Serbia out of next summer’s World Cup, he’ll have the entire summer available to regain his fitness and strength in his knee.

QUICK KICKS

Brazilian side Cruzeiro have wrapped up the Brazilian Serie A title with four rounds to go, after defeating Vitoria, 3-1, on Wednesday. (REPORT)

Manchester United have announced a 29 percent increase in total revenue from one year ago after they released their first quarter earnings. (REPORT)

Giuseppe Rossi returned to Italy training on Thursday but he’s likely to start on the bench, alongside AS Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi. (REPORT)

Bayern Munich have announced record sales of €432.8 million ($582 million) over the last year. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Do you see Costa moving to Dortmund? Do you feel he could be successful in Germany? Do you see the French clubs finding another day to strike? Do you believe Subotic can return before the end of the season?

Share your thoughts below.

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21 Responses to Thursday Kickoff: Dortmund eying Costa; French clubs postpone strike; and more

  1. Andre Mariner says:

    Wasn’t someone on here suggesting Jozy go to Dortmund? Sigh. Come back to reality people.

    • Chuck says:

      Yes. Together with Omar Gonzalez and Besler

    • fifawitz1313 says:

      Biff was that man. Sure looks like Jozy is high on their list. He’s probably 3rd behind Dzeko and Costa. They’ll probably call his agent tomorrow.

    • biff says:

      Some others on this board who follow BVB Dortmund agree that Jozy at the current time already is better than Dortmund back-up forward Julian Schieber. All I am saying is that I think Jozy’s style would fit the Dortmund system and Dortmund has a history under Klopp of bringing in your not-very-well-known players and Jozy fits that scenario. Klopp no doubt is looking at all sorts of players and Jozy is more than likely on Klopp’s radar screen. Transfer fee and salary costs also figure into the equation and Dortmund is traditionally tight-fisted looking for bargains.

      As for Omar and Besler, the stars are in fine alignment after the Subotic injury to possibly convince Klopp to bring one or both in for, at the very least, some off-season training and take a look at him. I am not saying this is going to happen, only that I will not be surprised if after the Vienna game Klinsmann puts out a press release saying Omar will stop off for a week or two of fun in Dortmund on his way back to LA. Dortmund has one of the best training centers in the world and would be great for some USMNT guys to experience and I hope Klinsmann gives Klopp a call and suggests it.

      • Increase says:

        Julian Schieber is mega bad. Jozy is not a top striker but I do agree that he is a lot better than Schieber.

        • biff says:

          I cannot figure out why Klopp did not ax Schieber last summer and bring in a new striker. I thought Daniel Ginzcek, who Dortmund last year loaned to St. Pauli (where he was loved) was better than Schieber, yet Dortmund sold Ginzcek to Nurnberg. It’s really kind of weird Dortmund is still hanging on to Schieber after so easily letting go of Terrence Boyd and Ginzcek, both relatively young and both with potential.

    • AcidBurn says:

      Laughing at this one. Altidore or Diego Costa? Hmmm.

      BVB isn’t shopping in the bargain bin, sorry.

      • Steevens says:

        Actually I think with the inflated prices in the transfer market most would agree that a €24 million buy-out would definitely place Costa in the bargain bin.

        BVB does not really have the money to buy established stars. They can’t even keep the stars that they develop.

        • Steevens says:

          If that buy-out clause is no longer valid there’s no way BVB get Costa.

        • biff says:

          yeah, apparently Bild got it wrong. appears that after Costa’s contract extension in August his release fee rose to 38 million euros, and apparently Chelsea and Arsenal are both highly interested.

  2. Huh says:

    Really Dan? A race to play at the end of the season which is 6months away just about exactly. I don’t think that’s gonna happen bud. I swear AP ruined timetables for ACL injuries. Ppl expect way too much. Don’t rush back Neven, see you next year

  3. k says:

    gotta say Atletico Madrid has had some fantastic strikers over the past decade

    Fernando Torres, Sergio Aguero, Diego Forlan, Falcao and now Costa

    well you can add David Villa to that list as well, though he’s not as good as he was 5 years ago

  4. Tuck says:

    I don’t think costa will go to Dortmund. I think their gonna end up getting Benteke because he is te one most likely to leave his club. If costa leaves, it’ll probably be to Madrid or barca

    • biff says:

      and I have seen on some boards that the 24m release clause is no longer valid, that it is now much higher. not sure if that is right, though.

  5. PTM9 says:

    My favorite part:

    “Perhaps luckily for Subotic, with Serbia out of next summer’s World Cup, he’ll have the entire summer available to regain his fitness and strength in his knee.”

    Serbia choked in both the last Euros and WC qualifiers. That’s gotta sting.

  6. Matt C says:

    Always love these lines:

    The 24-year-old Serbian international underwent “successful knee surgery”.

    Tampa Bay Lightening hockey play Stamkos also underwent “successful surgery” yesterday to fix his broken leg.

    How does one measure a “successful operation”.

    Just be/c you live through and operation, or you don’t have a stroke on the table… does NOT make it successful.

    We won’t know if the surgery was successful, until the guy is back and playing without complications.

    • Andre Mariner says:

      The point of the surgery is not to make him game-ready–it’s to fix whatever is damaged. There are baseline measurements that have to be met.

      A surgery is successful if whatever is broken is fixed without further medical complication. In this case, his leg infrastructure was repaired successfully. Rehab is another process.

  7. Andre Mariner says:

    The players that Rongen selected instead of Subotic for the World Cup before slandering him in the media so bad that Subotic switched countries.

    Tim Ward – doesn’t play soccer anymore after nobody in MLS wanted him
    Anthony Wallace
    Julian Valentine – doesn’t play soccer anymore
    Amaechi Igwe – wasn’t resigned by lowest division team in Germany – doesn’t play anymore
    Nathan Sturgis – Rapids

    This is why we’ve sucked for so long. THIS.

    • AcidBurn says:

      Yeah, anyone who doesn’t think that Rongen’s idiotic comments in the media didn’t push Subotic out are dreaming.

      If Rongen thought Subotic wasn’t ready, he should have made those comments in private and maybe came up with a development plan or something. Not shouting his mouth off to newspapers about how one of his players wasn’t ready.

    • slowleftarm says:

      Agree that Rongen’s choices and actions were ridiculous but that didn’t mean Subotic had to turn his back on us. I think saying we suck is a bit harsh too. Considering soccer is probably fourth in terms of overall popularity here I think we do quite well, although of course I hope and expect that we’ll do better in future.