Man Utd target Fabinho: This is my last season at Monaco

Monaco star Fabinho is expecting to leave the reigning Ligue 1 champions before the start of next season.

The Brazil international was strongly linked with moves elsewhere before the current campaign started, with Manchester United among those reportedly interested.

But Monaco opted to retain the services of the versatile midfielder, with Bernardo Silva, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Benjamin Mendy and Kylian Mbappe all allowed to leave.

Fabinho has not been quite as impressive this term as he was last season, though he is still sure to attract interest from some of Europe’s biggest clubs.

And those clubs will now be on alert after Fabinho confirmed his expectation of an end-of-season exit, as opposed to leaving in January.

“I don’t think so [regarding a January departure],” Fabinho said ahead of Friday’s trip to Saint-Etienne. “I’ve had no contact [from other clubs] and I’m secure at Monaco.

“[But] ordinarily, it’s my last season at Monaco. Nothing is signed.

“During the [close-season] transfer window, and even a month afterwards, it was a little difficult to live with the situation. But I don’t think about it anymore, I’ve turned the page.”

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Atletico Madrid have been highlighted as a possible destination, though Fabinho is adamant that the Spanish club are yet to approach him or his agent.

He said: “Yes, that’s a possibility, though no one from Atletico has contacted me or my agent.

“I’ve got to demonstrate that I am still at the required level to play in teams like them [Atletico]. I know that I’m not the same Fabinho of last season, but it’s hard to explain why.”

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Houston signs Elis permanently from Monterrey

The Houston Dynamo have secured the services of Alberth Elis on a permanent basis after working out a transfer with Monterrey, the MLS side announced Wednesday.

Elis spent last season on loan with the Dynamo but his status was uncertain heading into the offseason.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but reports indicate the Dynamo paid a $2.5 million fee for the 21-year-old Honduras international and gave him a three-year contract.

“We are looking forward to Alberth continuing to bring his desire to attack defenders with his speed, his decision-making, and his scoring mentality. That is something that Alberth brought in 2017 and we hope he brings that again in 2018,” Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera said in a statement. “We are going to help him develop different skills, so he can grow as a player and help the team.”

In his debut season for Houston, Elis excelled for the Dynamo, scoring 10 goals and assisting on four others in 26 league games, which included 18 starts. His addition to the attack helped Houston on a run to the Western Conference final. Elis scored one goal in four playoff games — the winner against Sporting KC to send the Dynamo through to the Western Conference semifinals.

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Prior to joining Houston, Elis made his professional debut with C.D. Olimpia in Honduras. After three seasons with the club, he moved for a half-year stint with Monterrey in Liga MX before joining the Dynamo on loan before the 2016 season.

Elis has become an important part of the Honduras side that missed out on the 2018 World Cup after falling to Australia in the inter-continental playoff, and was nominated to the CONCACAF Best XI for 2017.

He will occupy one of Houston’s three designated player slots alongside Erick “Cubo” Torres and Tomas Martinez.

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Angel Gomes signs first professional contract for Man Utd

Angel Gomes is celebrating after putting pen to paper on his first professional contract as a Manchester United player. 

The 17-year-old is regarded as one of the brightest prospects to have come out of the Red Devils academy in recent years. 

Gomes has captained England at Under-16, 17 and 18 levels, helping the Young Lions take the Under-17 World Cup title in India this year. 

And his promise has been rewarded with a new deal at Old Trafford, which he signed on Wednesday.

“Manchester United is delighted to announce that Angel Gomes has signed his first professional contract with the club,” United signalled on their official website.

Gomes said to the website: “Manchester United has always been a big part of my life.  I have been with the club since the age of six and it was a proud moment for me when I made my first team debut. 

“This club is renowned for giving home grown players opportunities to progress into the first team and that was a major factor in me signing my first professional contract at this great club. I am still young but am looking forward to continuing my development with the help of the coaching staff and I will take every opportunity that comes my way.”

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Youth team coach Nicky Butt and manager Jose Mourinho also praised the youngster.

“Angel has gone from strength to strength in his development and we are all pleased that he has signed his professional contract with Manchester United. He is still very young and has a good aptitude for learning; coupled with his natural talent, we can see that Angel has a very bright future,” Butt said.

Mourinho added: “I am delighted that Angel has signed his first professional contract with the club.  I gave him his first-team debut at the end of last season which made him not only the youngest Manchester United player to play in the Premier League era but also the youngest player to represent Manchester United since Duncan Edwards in 1953.”

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Atlanta United lands Darlington Nagbe in blockbuster trade with Portland Timbers

Atlanta United has acquired Darlington Nagbe from the Portland Timbers in a trade, the two MLS teams announced Wednesday.

In exchange for the U.S. international, the Timbers will receive up to $1.65 million in allocation money and an international player spot. Atlanta also received Gbenga Arokoyo in the deal.

“Darlington was our top target in the league this offseason and we’re ecstatic to welcome him to our club,” Atlanta United technical director Carlos Bocanegra said in a statement. “He is a perfect fit for our style of play as he has a dynamic ability to dribble out of trouble, maintain possession and make passes that bring additional players into the game.”

The 27-year-old midfielder was the Timbers first-ever MLS draft pick in 2011 and has spent the entirety of his professional career with the Cascadia club. He scored 27 goals and added 30 asissts over the course of 214 regular season games with the Timbers. He also added a goal and two assists over 12 playoff games with the pair of assists coming in Portland’s run to the MLS Cup in 2015.

Nagbe has been deployed both as a winger and inside as a playmaker during his time in Portland.

The Liberian-born Nagbe became a U.S. citizen in 2015 and has been capped 24 times for the U.S. national team.

“As the club’s first-ever MLS draft pick, Darlington has grown with this team from its beginnings in the league and has been a great player and representative in his seven years with the Timbers,” said Portland general manager Gavin Wilkinson in a statement. “On behalf of the entire organization, I want to sincerely thank Darlington for everything he has given this club and for helping Portland win its first MLS Cup in 2015. He will always be a part of the Timbers family, and we wish Darlington, his wife, Felicia, and their two children all the best.”

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The breakdown of the money Portland receive includes $650,000 in general allocation money in 2018, $100,000 in general allocation money in 2019 and $300,000 in targeted allocation money in 2018. In addition to those funds and the international player slot, the Timbers may receive $600,000 in future fees depending on Nagbe’s performance in Atlanta.

Nagbe will join an impressive collection of attacking talent in Atlanta, already featuring Miguel Almiron, Josef Martinez and Hector Villalba. Under Tata Martino, Atlanta scored 70 goals in its debut season, trailing the league-best attack of Toronto FC by just four goals, en route to a playoff appearance. 

Arokoyo is a 25-year-old defender who played in just one game for the Timbers in 2016 before going down with a season-ending injury before the 2017 season. Prior to signing in Portland Arokoyo played for Gaziantepspor in Turkey’s top division and Mjallby AIF in Sweden’s top league. 

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Atlanta United signs Venezuelan defender Hernandez

Atlanta United has a new addition to its back line, announcing Wednesday it has signed Venezuelan defender Jose Hernandez.

The 20-year-old left-sided player previously had spent his entire career at Venezuelan club Caracas FC. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We identified Jose as one of the young talented defenders in South America and we’re thrilled that he’s committed to continuing his development with our club,” Atlanta United technical director Carlos Bocanegra said in a statement. “In addition to his experience in first-team matches at Caracas, he’s played in big matches internationally, including this year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup final against England. He’s an aggressive 1v1 defender and has the ability to get involved in the attack.”

Hernandez played 14 games this season, all starts, for Caracas. That number was already a career high for the defender as he previously played in 10 games last season, starting just three.

In addition to his club experience, Hernandez has featured on Venezuela’s youth national teams, He started the Under-20 World Cup quarterfinal against the United States this summer, a 2-1 extra-time win for Venezuela, and the 1-0 loss to England in the tournament final.

Hernandez, who can play full-back, wing-back and in midfield, has also been called up by the Venezuela national team, though he has yet to appear in a game, making the bench on a handful of occasions.

Since entering the league last season, and under head coach Tata Martino, Atlanta has shown a robust recruiting effort in South America. Last season, the squad featured Paraguay international Miguel Almiron, Argentines Hector Villaba, Yamil Asad and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Chilean Carlos Carmona and Hernandez’ Venezuelan countryman Josef Martinez. 

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