African All Stars Transfer News & Rumours: Wellington Phoenix close in on Michael Essien

Wellington Phoenix close in on Essien

Australian top-flight outfit Wellington Phoenix are close to signing former Chelsea and AC Milan star Michael Essien, per GhanaWeb .

The 36-year-old has been without a club since leaving Indonesian side Persib Bandung last year and both parties are now in advanced negotiations to complete the deal.

Galatasaray keen on Bony

Galatasaray are interested in a deal for Swansea City striker Wilfried Bony, according to BBC Sport .

The Turkish club are among a number of overseas clubs considering a January move for the Ivorian star.

Swansea City are open to offers to sell the 30-year-old who is believed to be the club’s highest wage-earner.

Sheffield Wednesday hold Kebano talks

Sheffield Wednesday are in discussions to sign Neeskens Kebano from Premier League strugglers Fulham, reports the Star .

The Owls are hopeful of signing the versatile forward on loan until the end of the season.

Kebano who played a crucial role in Fulham’s promotion to the English top-flight has found game time restricted this season, playing just five games in all competitions so far.

Fulham eye Bryan Dabo

Fulham are targeting January move to bring Fiorentina’s Bryan Dabo to England in an attempt to boost their survival chances.

The Sun  claims the Burkina Faso international has emerged as a top transfer target for Claudio Ranieri who is in search of a defence-minded midfielder to strengthen the Cottagers.

Meanwhile, Fiorentina are ready to consider a loan option for Dabo who has appeared seven times in the Serie A this season 

Kamano frustrated by Bordeaux situation

Francois Kamano is frustrated by his lack of playing time at Bordeaux, according to But Football .

Kamano was not listed for the Girondins’ trip to Angers on Tuesday and is said to have expressed his displeasure with his omission.

The Guinea international is having a decent campaign scoring eight goals in 18 games in the Ligue 1 which has made him a target for Monaco and Watford this transfer window.

Chelsea & Man Utd battle for Wan-Bissaka

Manchester United and Chelsea are set to fight over the signing of Crystal Palace defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka this summer, the Mirror claims.

Manchester City also interested in the 21-year-old who has estabished himself in Ry Hodgson’s team since he made his Premier League bow last season.

Baba set to complete Goztepe loan

Baba Rahman has agreed to join Turkish top-flight side Goztepe on loan from Chelsea until the end of the season after ending his stay at Schalke 04.

TRT Spor reports that Goztepe have beaten the likes of Lille, Villarreal and Girona to the signing of the Ghana international.

Baba ended his 18-month loan stint in the German Bundesliga after finding playing time limited.


Gradel rejects Saudi move

Toulouse captain Max Gradel has rebuffed an offer from Saudi Arabian outfit Al Ahli to remain in the Ligue 1, according to L’Equipe .

The 31-year-old joined the Violets permanently last year after impressing during his temporary stay.

Gradel’s fine form has seen him notch eight goals and five assists in the French top-flight this season and he is not ready to switch to the Middle East.

Swansea tell Bony to leave 

Swansea City have told star player Wilfried Bony to leave the club in a bid to cut their wages and add new signings this month.

Teamtalk disclosed that the Ivorian forward could be on his way to China with clubs keen on adding to excess to his current earnings at the Liberty Stadium.

Bony has started just one game this season since he recovered from a cruciate knee injury he suffered last February.

No Trabzonspor offer for Ogu 

Trabzonspor are yet to make an offer for Hapoel Beer Sheva midfielder John Ogu who will be out of contract in May, according to Gazete  Damga .

Despite bids from several clubs, Trabzonspor have not made known their formal interest in the Nigeria international.

The Black Sea Storm currently have two Nigeria internationals – Ogenyi Onazi and Anthony Nwakaeme on their books.

Roma contact Arsenal for Elneny

Roma have approached Arsenal over the availability of Egypt international Mohamed Elneny who has struggled for game time this season, Tuttomercatoweb reports.

Roma are ready to sign the 26-year-old on loan with an option to make the deal permanent at the end of the season.

Elneny has made just a single Premier League appearance for the Gunners so far this season.

West Ham reject Fiorentina’s bid for Obiang

West Ham United have turned down a €10m bid from Fiorentina for midfielder Pedro Obiang, SkySports report.

With Carlos Sanchez and Jack Wilshere still injured, the Hammers would only reconsider a deal to sell the Equatorial Guinea international if they are able to secure a replacement.

Everton line up move for Gueye’s replacement

Espanyol striker Borja Iglesias as become a £25million transfer target for Everton as they prepare to lose Idrissa Gueye to Paris Saint-Germain.

According to the Sun , the Toffees are desperate for a natural line-leader, allowing Richarlison to play in a slightly wider role.

PSG are keen on signing Gueye as the piece that will replace Adrien Rabiot at the club.

Watford keen on Kamano

Watford are interested in signing Bordeaux attacker Francois Kamano this month, according to  Daily Mail .

The Hornets are looking at a move for the versatile winger who has notched eight goals in the Ligue 1 this campaign to strengthen their attacking options as they push for a place in Europe.

Watford are seventh in the Premier League table and are unbeaten in their last three league outings.

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Cardiff monitor red-hot Samatta

Cardiff City have made known their interest in Genk striker Mbwana Samatta.

Daily Mail claims that the Bluebirds who are seeking new additions have tabled a £13m offer for the 26-year-old to hijack his move to Schalke 04.

The Tanzania international leads the scorer’s chart in the Belgian First Division A with 15 goals from 20 matches.


PSG join Chelsea in Paredes battle as Zenit hold out for €40m

Leandro Paredes is keen on a move to either Paris Saint-Germain or Chelsea and has agreed with both clubs on the terms of a proposed move but Zenit are holding firm on a fee of around €40m (£36m/$46m), Goal understands.

PSG have long held an interest in the Argentina international, who emerged as a Chelsea target this month when Cesc Fabregas left the club on a free transfer to join Monaco.

As reported on Goal earlier in the week, Zenit are yet to allow talks between Chelsea and their player over around a €10m (£9m/$11m) difference in valution of him. 

The Premier League club’s initial approach for 24-year-old was €30m (£27m/$34m), but there is caution over Zenit’s position to encourage a bidding war.

Maurizio Sarri was once again clear ahead of his side’s match away at Arsenal that he would like to see a replacement come in for Fabregas.

“You know my opinion about the replacement of Cesc,” Sarri said.

“We need a replacement, in my opinion. Marina knows very well my opinion. So I’m not frustrated at the moment.”

Chelsea are also working on a deal to bring in Gonzalo Higuain and have reached an agreement with Juventus. Their deal hinges on Milan getting a replacement in for Higuain, which is expected to be the €40m (£36m/$46m) rated Krzysztof Pi?tek.

They also need to offload Alvaro Morata, who has an agreement with Atletico Madrid, but the Blues have yet to agreed the deal on their side.

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Meanwhile, they are also hoping to resist a £35m ( €40m/$45m) approach from Bayern Munich and agree a contract renewal with Callum Hudson-Odoi.

PSG are also targeting Dortmund midfielder Julian Weigl but they believe they could accommodate both players in their squad.

Additional reporting from Sabrina Belalmi, Ruben Uria and Romeo Agresti.


Pulisic has all the quality to be a success at Chelsea – Ex-Dortmund manager Bosz

Peter Bosz’s time as Borussia Dortmund manager lasted just half a season back in 2017, but that was long enough to leave the Dutch manager with a good impression of U.S. national team star and new Chelsea signing Christian Pulisic.

Bosz coached Pulisic during his time with the current Bundesliga champions having joined the club after earning plaudits for guiding a young Ajax side to the Europa League final.

The 55-year-old’s time at Westfalenstadion coincided with a difficult period of time for Pulisic, who endured the U.S. national team’s failure to qualify for the World Cup in October of 2017.

Despite that, Pulisic was a regular starter for Dortmund under Bosz, though a disappointing Champions League group stage elimination and an eight-match winless run eventually led to Bosz’s firing and the hiring of Peter Stoger.

Since then Pulisic has dropped down the pecking order at Dortmund, and has since been snapped up by Chelsea in a deal worth $73 million (£58m), though he will spend the remainder of the season back on loan with Lucien Favre’s team.

And Bosz, who is preparing to make his return to Bundesliga as manager of Bayer Leverkusen sang the praises of the 20-year-old, believing he has all the attributes to be a success in the English game.

“I think I understand the move to Chelsea” Bosz told Goal in an exclusive interview. “[The] Premier League is different. You’ve got to be physically strong, and he is, so we’ll see.

“Chelsea’s not easy because a lot of good players are there, but I think [Pulisic] has the quality to be successful at Chelsea.

Christian Pulisic USMNT 11152018

“He’s a good kid. He still is really young. When I worked with him in Dortmund he was really young, but really talented also.

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“He’s fast. He’s got a good shot. His mentality is outstanding. He’s always fighting, he’s always working and he’s a good player.”

Bosz is back in the Bundesliga after having been hired by Leverkusen in December to replace Heiko Herrlich, with his new side currently sitting ninth in the table as they prepare to face high-flying Borussia Monchengladbach on Saturday in their first match following the winter break.

He will come face to face with former side Dortmund on February 24, who in turn restart their campaign against RB Leipzig on Saturday as they aim to hold off the challenge of Gladbach and Bayern Munich in the title race.


Leicester City defender Benalouane joins Nottingham Forest

Yohan Benalouane has joined English championship side Nottingham Forest from Leicester City on an 18-month contract for an undisclosed fee.

On Monday, the Reds announced Martin O’Neill as the new manager following the departure of Aitor Karanka and he has made the 31-year-old his first signing in his quest to boost his side’s promotion at the end of the season.

Reacting to the move, the former Atalanta player is looking forward to working with the new gaffer and hoping to improve under him.

“I spoke with him before and he is a really nice man. He is a person who knows what he wants, that is important and it is an honour to work for him,” Benalouane told club website.

“He is a big personality in England and with this club. Everyone knows him so I can’t wait to work with him because I think I will learn a lot with him. If I can improve every day then that can only be good.

“I am really happy. It is a big club with a big history so I am really proud to be here. Hopefully we can do something important with the team.

“I know it is a big club. There are great supporters and I have been told about this club. Honestly, I am really happy to be here and hopefully we can achieve something together.

“It is a tough league. It will be important to get the results and the team have the quality to have a good end to the season. With the new manager, I hope we can work in the right way and hopefully we can do something positive together.

“I have been in England for four years, I have played many games here so I know the country, I know the mentality and that I think is important.

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“I know the language and that is really important to be able to communicate with players in the team. That is why I think it is a great opportunity for me and, like I said before, I hope to do something positive with the team.”

The 31-year-old joined Leicester City in August 2015 and made 16 Premier League appearances.

Forest, ninth in the league standings with 39 points from 27 games play host to Bristol City on Saturday and Benalouane could make his debut in the encounter.


Atletico Madrid close in on summer deal for Porto’s Telles

Atletico Madrid are closing on the summer signing of Porto left-back Alex Telles, Goal understands.

Last week saw representatives of the Liga club meet with the player’s agents, resulting in a preliminary agreement being struck between the parties.

Atleti must now negotiate a suitable deal with his club, something which proves to be fraught with risk given the interest that Telles has provoked in some of Europe’s biggest sides.

Telles, 26, is under contract in Portugal until June 2021 and holds a release clause of €40 million (£35.2m/$45.4m) should he wish to leave the current leaders of the Liga NOS.

Porto are reluctant to sell, but the club are in far from rude financial health and the defender’s exit would go a long way to balancing the books.

The Dragao remain under supervision from UEFA’s Financial Control Committee, and have committed to progressively reduce their spending and budget deficit. Atleti hope to push forward with a deal that would leave Porto satisfied but which stops short of the €40m buyout.

Diego Simeone’s men are acutely aware of the lack of depth possessed out wide at the back, an issue that could worsen over the coming months.

Brazilian Filipe Luis is out of contract at the Wanda Metropolitana at the end of the current season and looks unlikely to renew, while Lucas Hernandez has been consistently stalked by Bayern Munich.

Lucas Hernandez Atletico Madrid 2018-19

While publicly both club and player have stated a transfer for Lucas is not on the cards, Atletico are nevertheless wary of losing their star should an astronomic bid materialise.

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One player who will be returning to bolster the capital side in defence is Spain international Jonny.

The 24-year-old, who can play on either side of the backline, is currently on loan at Wolves but will come back to Atletico at the end of the season, having made a positive impression so far in the Premier League.

Sime Vrsaljko could also return to Madrid, as the prospect of Inter using their purchase option for the on-loan full-back looks dim due to his underwhelming performances in Italy.