Goretzka chose Bayern over England, Spain and Italy – Heynckes

Leon Goretzka rejected interest from the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A in order to join Bayern Munich, head coach Jupp Heynckes has said.

The Bundesliga champions announced on Friday that a deal has been reached to sign the midfielder when his Schalke contract expires after the end of the season.

Goretzka had been linked with the likes of Liverpool, Barcelona and Juventus before agreeing to a four-year deal at the Allianz Arena.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge described the move as good news for the Bundesliga and Heynckes is also delighted to see a young Germany international stay on home turf.

“I talked to [assistant coach] Peter Hermann, who worked with Leon Goretzka at Schalke, about him,” he told a news conference. “He said Leon has a very good character. In the Bundesliga and at the Confederations Cup, he showed very good performances.

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“I assume he will give everything for Schalke until June 30 and that he wants to be in the Champions League with his club.

“For the Bundesliga, it’s very good and very important for a Germany international to stay in Germany. There were competitors from England, Italy and Spain. But, in the end, he decided to sign for Bayern.

“He is a very young player. With him, the process of rejuvenation goes on at Bayern. That’s something very positive. New players bring new impulses. You know as well as I what skills he has.”

Bayern take on Werder Bremen on Sunday looking to at least maintain their 13-point lead at the top of the table.

Heynckes confirmed striker Robert Lewandowski is set to return from a knee injury but defenders David Alaba and Mats Hummels will miss out due to illness.

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“Robert Lewandowski has made a good impression in training. He says he is hardly in any pain any more. He is available again,” said Heynckes.

“Mats had a bad cold and then a fever. He has been back on the pitch doing light fitness work, but he will not be risked against Bremen.

“David Alaba has a gastrointestinal infection, so he didn’t train and is being kept away from the team.”

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Nigeria’s Stephen Eze signs two-year contract with Lokomotiv Plovdiv

Lokomotiv Plovdiv have signed Nigeria international Stephen Eze on a two-year deal.

Kano Pillars confirmed the departure of the defender – who is representing Nigeria at the ongoing African Nations Championship – to the Bulgarian top-flight side.

The 23-year-old who moved to Sai Masu Gida prior to the commencement of the 2017-18 season has represented Sunshine Stars, Lobi Stars and FC IfeanyiUbah in the Nigeria Professional Football League.

Lokomotiv Plovdiv also confirmed that the defender will join the rest of their team in Feburary after the tournament in Morocco.

“FC Lokomotiv signed a contract with Nigerian national Stephen Eze. He will become official black-and-white player from February 2018. The term of the contract is for a period of two years,” read a statement on club website.

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Eze was voted the Man of the Match in the Super Eagles’ 1-0 win over Libya on Friday evening.

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Dortmund adamant Aubameyang to Arsenal talk is ‘rubbish’

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang may be being strongly linked with Arsenal, but Borussia Dortmund consider the rumours to be “rubbish”.

The Gabon international has emerged as a top target for the Gunners during the January transfer window, with Arsene Wenger eager to find another proven threat in the final third as Alexis Sanchez edges towards the exits.

Goal revealed earlier on Friday that personal terms have been thrashed out with the 28-year-old , along with Henrikh Mkhitaryan – with the Armenian set to form part of an Alexis trade agreement with Manchester United.

Dortmund, though, maintain that they have no formal offers on the table for Aubameyang, meaning that he remains part of their plans despite being left out of the squad for Friday’s clash with Hertha Berlin.

The Bundesliga side’s sporting director, Michael Zorc, told Eurosport of the ongoing transfer talk: “We’re planning on going with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

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“There’s a way back into the team, but professionalism is part of that, and that includes saying you’ve made a mistake in one situation or another.”

Zorc added: “There is nothing really concrete on the table. There’s a lot of rubbish.”

This is not the first time that the Dortmund director has sought to play down Aubameyang’s links to Arsenal .

After seeing Arsene Wenger quizzed on the subject of his reported interest in the forward at a press conference on Thursday, Zorc said: “We consider it disrespectful to speak about players from other clubs.

“There is no contact with Arsenal.

“We assume that Wenger has enough to do dealing with his own players.”

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Amid the uncertainty surrounding his future in Germany, Aubameyang is enjoying another profitable season in front of goal.

He has netted 21 times in the 2017-18 campaign so far, with that return achieved in just 23 appearances.

It remains to be seen where his next strike will be recorded, with Arsenal having until the end of the month to get a proposed move pushed through and Dortmund having a little under two weeks in which to try and fend off any interest.

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Atlanta United signs Ezequiel Barco from Independiente in record-breaking deal

Atlanta United has officially landed Ezequiel Barco from Independiente as a young designated player, the club announced Friday.

“Securing a player of Ezequiel’s caliber is another significant moment in Atlanta United history,” Atlanta United president Darren Eales said. “This transfer further demonstrates the commitment of our club to bring top level, dynamic young players to Atlanta and to MLS. We are excited to welcome Ezequiel to our club and our city.”

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Philadelphia Union acquire David Accam for $1.2M in allocation money

The Chicago Fire have dealt midfielder David Accam to the Philadelphia Union in a blockbuster trade, the MLS clubs announced Friday.

The Fire will receive $1.2 million in allocation money — $300,000 in general and $900,000 in targeted allocation money — making it one of the most expensive deals between MLS clubs. Half of the fee will be sent now with the other half set to be sent after the 2018 MLS season.

Accam joins the Union following three seasons with the Fire, scoring 33 goals and adding 15 assists over that span. The 27-year-old Ghanaian finished last season with 14 goals and eight assists.

“Today’s acquisition of David Accam marks an exciting moment for our club, and we are thrilled to welcome him to the Philadelphia Union,” Union sporting director Earnie Stewart said. “David possesses electrifying speed and skill to go along with a nose for goal comparable to the very best in MLS.

“We believe him to be a perfect fit as we continue to build our attacking corps. He provides an instant boost on the wing and we look forward to integrating him with our team as soon as possible.”

Accam joined MLS in 2015 as a designated player, after spending the previous three season at Swedish club Helsingborgs IF.

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