Friday Kickoff: UEFA reveal pots for Euro 2016; Mourinho confirms Mata transfer; and more

UEFAEuro2016Logo1 (UEFA)

By DAN KARELL

Belgium are one of the eight seeded teams at the 2014 World Cup but they find themselves outside the top nine seeds for the 2016 European Champions.

UEFA revealed on Friday the six pots ahead of Euro 2016 draw next month, and pot one includes Spain, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, but surprisingly not Belgium. England, Portugal, Greece, Russia, the Netherlands, and Germany round out pot one.

The pots were based on UEFA’s national team coefficients, which takes into account performance in qualifying and at a finals tournament from the 2010 World Cup, 2012 Euro Cup, and 2014 World Cup (qualifying only).

The draw for the 24-team tournament takes place on Sunday, Feb. 23 and will distribute the nations into eight groups of six teams and one group of five teams. For the first time, Gibraltar will take part in a European qualifying tournament. Though France are hosting the tournament and qualify automatically, they’ll be placed into the five-team Group I and play each of those teams in friendly matches during the qualification period.

Here are some more stories to kick off your Friday:

MATA TO ARRIVE IN MANCHESTER FOR MEDICAL

Juan Mata’s move to Manchester United is nearly complete.

The Spain National Team midfielder is expected to arrive in Manchester on Friday ahead of a transfer move reported between £37-40 million ($61.5-66.5 million) from Chelsea. Though the London club have yet to send out a press release on the matter, manager Jose Mourinho confirmed the deal in a press conference on Friday and said that once Mata decided he wanted to leave, Mourinho wouldn’t stand in the way.

“I think that Juan was fantastic,” Mourinho said, via BBC Sport. “He gave everything, but at this point the team is doing very well, with Eden Hazard and Oscar playing well.

“I think he was frustrated and disappointed. People in this club know him better than me, but I know enough that he deserves this. If he is not happy, then even if it is another big club in England, we will not stop him being happy if they make the right offer. One day, if he comes back to Chelsea in a Manchester United shirt then the stadium will show him how much they respect him and want him.”

Mata, 25, joined Chelsea ahead of the 2011/2012 season from Valencia and became one of the English Premier League’s top players for the next two seasons. Despite being named Chelsea’s player of the year by the fans last season, Mata found himself second choice to Oscar, Eden Hazard, Ramires, and Willian this season.

This season, Mata has only played 17 times with one goal scored. Mata played just twice in Chelsea’s UEFA Champions League group stage matches. Mata could potentially make his Man United debut on Tuesday against Stoke City.

SALAH SIGNED TO REPLACE MATA

While Chelsea make a big profit off the Mata transfer, the club quickly moved to invest some of those new funds in a new player.

In addition to confirming Mata’s transfer, the club and Mourinho confirmed that a deal has been agreed with FC Basel for Egyptian international winger Mohamed Salah. Reports in England state that Salah will cost Chelsea £12 million initially with bonuses of £4 million. The move is subject to a medical and Salah agreeing terms with the club.

“I am confident he will sign,” Mourinho told reporters at a press conference. “We have an agreement and that only goes forward when there is an agreement with the player. We know he wants to come, he told me personally but now it is terms and medical he has to pass.”

MONACO CONSIDERING HULK, VUCINIC AS FALCAO REPLACEMENT

AS Monaco are on the lookout for a new forward

Radamel Falcao’s torn anterior cruciate ligament injury threw a wrench into Monaco’s plans, but because the transfer window is still open, the club are searching for a replacement through the end of this season. According to L’Equipe in France, Monaco are looking at both Brazilian forward Hulk and Juventus forward Mirko Vucinic as January signings.

Monaco could hold off on signing a new forward if they decide not to loan Lacina Traore to Everton, which is close to being completed.

Vucinic nearly moved to Inter Milan earlier this week but Inter owner Erick Thohir pulled out of the negotiations in the 11th hour. L’Equipe believes that he’d cost Monaco €9 million for a transfer.

QUICK KICKS

Robert Lewandowski begins his Borussia Dortmund farewell tour in with his first home game on Saturday since announcing that he has signed a five-year contract starting next June with Bayern Munich. (REPORT)

Real Madrid have remained at the top of the Deloitte Money League for the ninth consecutive year with revenues of €518.9 million in the 2012/2013 season. (REPORT)

Fabio Capello has taken himself off the market of available coaches this summer by extending his contract with the Russian National Team through 2018. (REPORT)

Nicolas Anelka has requested a personal hearing with the FA to dispute his charges. (REPORT)

UEFA have named former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson their coaching ambassador. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Think that England should be a top seed but not Belgium? Do you agree with Mata’s move to Man United? Like the Salah signing?

Share your thoughts below.

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14 Responses to Friday Kickoff: UEFA reveal pots for Euro 2016; Mourinho confirms Mata transfer; and more

  1. William the Terror says:

    Wow. If they put France into a 5 team group and make the mataches with France friendlies, that means each of the other four teams will only play six competetive matches. That will make it almost impossible for any country but the winner of that group to qualify.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      i might be wrong, but i think france would be the *sixth* team in that “five-team” group.

      • bbstl says:

        I think that you are correct. I believe that France is the 6th team in a 5 team group. The 5 teams (not France) will get points from playing eachother and can qualify for Euro 2016.

      • David says:

        You are correct. France will be the sixth team, thus getting 10 friendly games to prepare for the tournament. The top two in each group qualify for the finals, but the 3rd place teams in the groups of six will have their results against the last place finisher dropped so that best one will qualify and the remaining teams will go into 2-leg playoffs for the last four spots. A lot of countries will have high hopes of making it when in previous tournaments they had little chance.

        • William the Terror says:

          That makes sense. I must have read it incorrectly or interpreted it incorrectly when it says “France will be placed into the five team Group I.” You are saying that France will be added to the 5 team Gruop. I interpreted it as meaning that they would just be part of the 5 team Group. My bad. Thanks for doing the extra research, which is admirable.

  2. Madden's Chin says:

    Mourinhno’s hatred of Spanish players continues onward!

  3. biff says:

    Finally, a very interesting news story updating the Jermaine Jones transfer saga. This week is gonna be interesting because Schalke has confirmed what some of us have suspected, that if Jones does not leave for a new club he most likely will not play another game for Schalke, earning a cool 2m for doing nothing. Link down below.

    Wonder whether mikey-cakes move back to MLS threw a wrench into Jones’s plans for a big move to MLS, as in seriously deflating JJ’s value. Ouch.

    • Increase says:

      Might have also made things hard for Edu. Can the MLS take both Jones, Mike and Edu in one off season? That’s a lot of money.

    • bryan says:

      i’m not so sure, i think if anything, MB’s big money move made JJ think he could get more from an MLS team. in his mind, he’s thinking if they’ll pay $6.5/year for Bradley, he should be able to get $2-3M, down from his $4-5M at Schalke, but still good money.

      problem is, his European value is higher than his US value, quite frankly. Chivas USA is immediately going to pass on taking him as a DP. since LA isn’t an option, that left Chivas USA as the LA team that could take him.

      so then he has to hope another MLS team comes in. my guess is he didn’t get many offers and he’s probably weighing any European options he received. at least i hope. him getting stuck at Schalke would be terrible. a non-DP move to MLS would be better than that unless his sole concern is money!

  4. KNPonder says:

    Would be very surprised if JJ could not get at least a loan. Even if the loan team only picks up half his wages, it is still less money out of Schalke’s pocket. Maybe they are just waiting until the last minute to see if they can actually get some kind of small transfer fee.

    • biff says:

      Good point. I have been touting Sunderland, but Stoke would also be a good destination. Jones would get good PR going to either of those teams to pair up with either Jozy or Big Geoff. It would definitely help his standing with USMNT fans and might help inflate his MLS value after the World Cup. Yeah, I can see that. Sunderland or Stoke paying half of Jone’s 2m salary for the next five months.

      • KNPonder says:

        While I am sure that there are a handful of teams that JJ could help out, Sunderland is definitely one of them. Like most USMNT fans, watching Sunderland’s midfield has been brutal (although they have been making some strides). Adding Jones would be a big help. They could pair him up with Ki. This would allow them to use Jozy and Fletcher at the same time. Even if Poyet sticks with the 4-3-3, Jones is a big improvement over Cattermole (or just about anyone other CM they have outside of Ki). Jones’ addition would allow Ki to move a bit forward in the 4-3-3. They could even consider playing Ki and Jones as a CDM pair and moving Giaccherini in as a CAM in that formation. The addition of JJ would give them better options.

      • Increase says:

        I’m not sure Sunderland have any loan slots left.

        • KNPonder says:

          Is there a cap on total loans or just from FA clubs? I believe there is a cap on two from FA clubs, but not sure about loans from foreign clubs. I believe that you can even exceed the two if there are buy-out clauses . . . could be mistaken on that though.