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The Daily Dirt, December 16: Romero deal in doubt

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Could Romero be headed to China?

Soccer: 2016 Copa America Centenario-Costa Rica at Paraguay Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta United could be facing its first big transfer disappointment, with the word breaking last night that Shanghai SIPG of the Chinese Super League outbidding them for the services of Oscar Romero. Andre Villas-Boas’ club has been ultra-aggressive in recruiting players, it is also after Oscar for crazy money.

The numbers being thrown around are speculative, but it appears Shanghai has offered a slightly larger transfer fee for Romero and nearly double the salary. Some Argentine media outlets have reported that it is now down to the player to decide where he wants to go.

The Chinese Super League outspent the Premier League in the last transfer window. Younger than MLS by about ten years, the CSL runs a similar calendar and just saw Guangzhou Evergrande win this year’s championship. Teams are allowed five foreign players in their squad, with only four on the field at any given time.

Billionaire owners are throwing large amounts of money into the game, but many clubs are operating at steep losses. Didier Drogba spent six months with Shanghai Shenhua in 2013 before leaving for Galatasaray before leaving in a controversial fashion.

Chinese team owners are choosing to heavily invest in foreign stars, banking on them to spark a soccer revolution in the country of 1.3 billion people. Atlanta United might lose Oscar Romero to that bet.


Domestic

It’s time for a “conclusion” in Miami for MLS (Miami Herald)

A look at the ten cities in the mix right now for MLS expansion (FOX Sports)

A potential buyer negotiating with the Cosmos (Big Apple Soccer)

Portland Timbers part ways with Steven Taylor (Stumptown Footy)

Zoumana Simpara unhappy with the New York Red Bulls (Once a Metro)

International

Everton looking to grab two players from Manchester United in January (Manchester Evening News)

A profile of Roma’s legend Francesco Totti (NY Times)

Highlights from River Plate’s 4-3 win over Rosario Central in the Copa Argentina final (Mundo Albiceleste)