Wilshere: Arsenal exit was my call

Jack Wilshere claims that it was his decision to leave Arsenal, with the England international having severed ties with the Gunners after 17 years.

A product of the famed academy system in north London, Wilshere has opted to make a fresh start this summer, with a drop into the free agent pool allowing him to link up with West Ham.

It had been expected that he would be committing to fresh terms at Arsenal, with injury struggles put behind him in 2017-18 to figure on a regular basis under Arsene Wenger.

A deal put to him was changed, however, once Unai Emery took the reins at Emirates Stadium, leading Wilshere to reassess his options and ultimately head for the exits.

He told The Independent: “I decided to leave.

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“Which was a decision that took some time to come to.”

Wilshere attracted plenty of interest once it became apparent that he would be on the lookout for a new club, with West Ham winning that race as they kept the 26-year-old in London.

“I’ve had a bond with West Ham since growing up as a kid, going to Upton Park, looking up to the players,” added the all-action midfielder.

“Obviously I had to consider all my options – abroad and in England – but once I sat down, it was clear for me.

“They’ve got real ambitions, they’re playing in a big stadium in front of good fans, and we can really build something special.

“As a team, they went through quite a lot last year, but they’re really tight. That’s going to help us going forward.”

Wilshere believes he is ready to play a leading role for the Hammers under Manuel Pellegrini in 2018-19, with his game in a good place despite the fitness issues of his past and England’s decision to leave him out of their World Cup squad.

He added: “In the past, it’s been difficult.

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“But over the last couple of years, I’ve had a really good run.

“I went to Bournemouth and had a great time. The idea was just to prove to myself that I can still play at that level.

“Then I came back, and decided to stay at Arsenal and fight for my place, and I played 30-odd games [38 in all competitions]. So I’ve had a good couple of years.”

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Transfer news & rumours LIVE: Courtois & Hazard lead €300m Madrid wishlist


Courtois & Hazard lead €300m Madrid wishlist


Chelsea duo Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois are at the top of a four-man, €300 million (£267m/$350m) wishlist at Real Madrid, claims Don Balon.

The pair are long-term targets of president Florentino Perez, who is looking to rebuild Madrid following the exit of Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus. 

Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic and Milan centre-back Leonardo Bonucci complete the quartet that would strengthen new coach Julen Lopetegui’s squad.


Thiago hoping for Barcelona return


Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago would rather re-join Barcelona than sign for Manchester United, AS reports.

The Spain international could be set to leave the Allianz Arena this summer and is interested in returning to his former club.

Thiago left Barca for Bayern to work under Pep Guardiola in 2013, but is not seen as a key part of new Munich coach Niko Kovac’s plans for the coming season.


Sporting CP want Leicester’s Slimani


Sporting CP are looking to end Islam Slimani’s difficult spell at Leicester City as they hope to bring the Algeria international back to Portugal, according to the Sun.

Slimani has scored just eight Premier League goals for the Foxes since moving from Sporting in 2016, and even spent some of last season on loan at Newcastle to try to get more first-team action.

Sporting are looking to replace top scorer Bas Dost, who cancelled his contract this summer and is currently a free agent.


USMNT keeper closes in on Bristol City move


U.S. national team goalkeeper Zack Steffen is set to join Championship club Bristol City from Major League Soccer side Columbus Crew.

The Robins are currently trying to negotiate a fee with the American club, having already made a $3.9 million (£3m) bid for the 23-year-old. Steffen made his USMNT debut in May and has since played three times for his country.

Read the full story on Goal!


Man Utd eye Lewandowski & Thiago


Manchester United are considering a double swoop for Bayern Munich stars Robert Lewandowski and Thiago Alcantara,  The Independent   reports.

The pair have been linked with moves away from the Bundesliga side, while United are said to be courting a new midfielder.

The Red Devils tried to lure Thiago to Old Trafford before he joined Bayern from Barcelona and Jose Mourinho had shown an interest in Lewandowski at Chelsea and Real Madrid.


Bonucci’s agent meets with PSG


Leonardo Bonucci’s agent has met with representatives of Paris Saint-Germain over a transfer, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

The 31-year-old defender only joined AC Milan last summer, but could be on his way out as the San Siro club deals with financial difficulties. 

The economics of a deal would not be a problem for the French side, and Bonucci wants to wait until the weekend to make a decision.


Chelsea could move for Donnarumma


Chelsea could move for AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma after missing out on Alisson, reports Alfredo Pedulla.

Roma goalkeeper Alisson is set to join Liverpool in a £66 million ($86m) deal,  leaving the Blues in need of a replacement if Thibaut Courtois joins Real Madrid. 

Before allowing Courtois to leave the Blues want to have a replacement confirmed, and the 19-year-old is seen as a top option. 


Tottenham in talks over Grealish


Tottenham are in talks to sign Aston Villa star Jack Grealish, according to Sky Sports News.

The 22-year-old starred for Villa last season, taking the club to the Championship play-off final, where they fell to Fulham. 

With Villa falling short of the Premier League the club will likely be forced to sell Grealish, who is valued at between £30m and £40m ($39m and $52m).


Man City monitor Under


Manchester City are keeping an eye on Roma star Cengiz Under, according to Calciomercato.com.

The 21-year-old joined Roma from Basaksehir last summer and netted eight goals in 32 appearances in his first season at the Stadio Olimpico. 

City aren’t expected to make a bid this summer, but could return for the Turkey international if he continues his ascent. 


Roma agree terms with Areola 


Roma have agreed a contract worth €3 million per season with PSG goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, according to Corriere dello Sport.

With Alisson nearing a Liverpool move the Serie A side have identified the 25-year-old as his replacement, and now must agree to a fee with the Ligue 1 champions. 

PSG is demanding €30m (£27m/$35m) for Areola, and Roma are hoping to lower that figure to €25m (£22m/$29m).


Emery lines up more Arsenal transfers


Arsenal manager Unai Emery is keen to bring in two more players before the end of the transfer window, but the north London side will have to sell players first in order to raise funds.

The Gunners have already secured the services of Bernd Leno, Lucas Torreira, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Matteo Guendouzi in recent weeks and Emery remains keen to add to his squad.

Arsenal had a £70 million ($91m) budget heading into the transfer window, however, and will have to sell before making any additional signings.

Read the full story on Goal!


Everton contact Januzaj


Everton have made contact with Real Sociedad midfielder Adnan Januzaj over a potential move, according to  Het Nieuwsblad.

The 23-year-old made Premier League clubs take notice with his fantastic goal at the World Cup against England in an otherwise low-key group stage clash. 

Januzaj has plenty of familiarity with the English top flight, having played for Manchester United and Sunderland earlier in his career. 


Zinchenko to leave Man City


Oleksandr Zinchenko is expected to leave Manchester City this summer, according to Sky Sports News. 

Though he has joined City on their summer tour of the United States, the 21-year-old, who can play left-back or in midfield, is still likely to depart. 

Wolves have registered a bid of £16 million ($21m) for the Ukrana, with Fulham also believed to be interested. 


Atletico waiting for Sporting answer on Martins


Atletico Madrid are waiting on Sporting CP to accept their offer of €15 million (£13m/$17m) plus €10m (£9m/$12m) in add-ons for Gelson Martins, reports AS

Martins unilaterally cancelled his contract with the Portuguese side due to the volatile situation at the club. 

Atletico will await a decision from FIFA should Sporting not accept their offer for the 23-year-old winger. 


Arsenal to sign Barcelona teenager


Arsenal are set to announce a deal for Barcelona left-back Joel Lopez, according to Evening Standard.

Lopez is expected to sign a youth deal with the Gunners, before he signs a professional contract when he turns 17 in March. 


Liverpool agree £66m fee for Alisson


Liverpool are closing in on the signing of Alisson after agreeing a £66 million ($86m) fee with Roma for the Brazilian goalkeeper, Goal can confirm.

The Reds have been in intensive talks with the Serie A club this week, and now have permission to speak to the player about a move to Anfield.

The deal would make the 25-year-old the most expensive goalkeeper in history.

Read the full story on Goal!


Chelsea near deal for Rugani


Chelsea representative Fali Ramadani met with Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici on Wednesday to discuss a deal for centre-back Daniele Rugani, Goalunderstands. 

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The talks in Milan are understood to have gone well, with the 23-year-old defender nearing a move to Stamford Bridge. 

Chelsea are thought to be offering €40 million (£36m/$47m) for Rugani’s services, while Juventus are holding out for €50m (£45m/$58m).

Read the full story on Goal!

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Man Utd & Real Madrid rumours no distraction for Lewandowski

Robert Lewandowski continues to shrug off mounting transfer talk, with the Bayern Munich striker having turned a deaf ear to Manchester United and Real Madrid rumours during the World Cup.

The 29-year-old has seen his future called into question on a regular basis during recent windows, with a big-money move away from the Allianz Arena often being touted.

Madrid has been mooted as a possible landing spot for some time, while Premier League sides such as United and Chelsea are also said to be keen.

Lewandowski has, however, never publicly stated a desire to leave Bayern and maintains that the speculation which surrounds him did not impact on a disappointing showing for Poland at Russia 2018.

He told Przeglad Sportowy: “I didn’t think about it because I’ve been playing football for many years and this sort of situation has happened with all my transfers – whether it’s from Znicz to Lech [Poznan] or from Lech [Pruszkow] to Borussia Dortmund or from BVB to Bayern.

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“I’ve learned how to handle these situations.”

Lewandowski’s decision to make Pini Zahavi his new agent in February was considered by many to be a sign indication that he is ready to take on a new challenge.

The Israeli ‘super agent’ has claimed that the Pole is actively seeking a move elsewhere, telling Sport Bild in May: “Robert feels he needs a change and a new challenge in his career. The managers of Bayern know about it.”

Lewandowski has, however, revealed that he told Zahavi not to inform him of any interest during the World Cup.

He added: “Yes, it was exactly like that. From the very beginning of the group stage, I kept repeating: you are handling this and I’m playing. Do not write about anything and do not call.”

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New Bayern boss Nico Kovac has spoken with Lewandowski about his future plans since inheriting the reins in Bavaria and claims to have been offered no indication that the prolific frontman is looking to move on.

He said: “I do want to keep the players here, but obviously I know things can happen in the transfer market. Currently, there’s nothing to report.

“I was on the phone with Lewandowski and told him my opinion. I’m looking forward to working with him. He’s a world-class striker who has achieved a lot at this club [and] in the future will continue to perform that way.”

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African All Stars Transfer News & Rumours: Bolasie to complete Fenerbahce move this week

Goal brings you all the latest news, rumours and deals related to African stars in the summer transfer market


Bolasie to complete Fenerbahce move this week


Everton winger Yannick Bolasie is expected in Istanbul this week to complete his loan move to Fenerbahce, according to Milliyet.

Fenerbahce director of football Damien Comolli has struck a deal with both Everton and the DR Congo international who has struggled at the Goodison Park due to injuries.

The 29-year-old who would be the second Toffees player to move to the Turkish Super Lig this summer after Henry Onyekuru joined Galatasaray.


Newcastle yet to contact Swansea over Ayew


Newcastle United are yet to make an inquiry to Swansea City over the availability of Andre Ayew this summer, WalesOnline reports.

The Magpies are yet to table an offer for the Ghana international despite being are reportedly interested in signing him.

Ayew remains a real target for Beskitas who have offered a season-long loan deal for the forward.


Stoke, Swansea & West Brom chase Amartey


Championship clubs West Bromwich Albion, Stoke City and Swansea City are weighing up a move for Leicester City utility player Daniel Amartey, according to Birmingham Mail .

The Ghana international has found it difficult to break into Claude Puel’s team where he managed 14 appearances across all competitions before suffering an hamstring injury in March that ended his 2017-18 season.


Dortmund to offer Schurrle as part of Zaha deal


Borussia  Dortmund are willing to offer Andre Schurrle plus money to Crystal Palace in an effort to sign Wilfried Zaha this summer, claims Bild .

The Bundesliga side are ready to include the former Chelsea player who is surplus to requirements at the club in the deal as they look to free up wages for the Cote d’Ivoire international.


Crystal Palace close to signing Sassuolo’s  Babacar


Crystal Palace are finalising a £12 million deal for Senegal international Khouma Babacar barely two weeks after he moved to Sassuolo, Mirror reports.

Babacar joined the Serie A club permanently on July 1 after impressing during his loan spell from Fiorentina last campaign.

The forward scored seven goals in 31 matches last season and he is expected to spearhead the Eagles’ attack alongside Christain Benteke next season.


Huddersfield keen on Diakhaby


Huddersfield are interested in signing Monaco striker Adama Diakhaby, according to Sky sources .

The 22-year-old who is eliglible to play for Senegal scored two goals in 16 Ligue 1 games in the 2017-18 season after moving from Rennes last summer.


Porto still want Mbemba


Portuguese league champions Porto are still keen on signing Chancel Mbemba from Newcastle United, according to A Bola .

The DR Congo international has agreed a four-year contract with the Dragons but are unwilling to pay the £8 million asking price from the Magpies.

The 23-year-old is reported to be a transfer priority for Sergio Conceicao this summer.


Brighton sign Bissouma


Brighton and Hove Albion have signed midfielder Yves Bissouma on a five-year deal from French giants Lille.

The Mali international becomes the Seagulls’ sixth summer signing and will play alongside Nigeria’s Leon Balogun and Cameroon’s Gaetan Bong in Chris Hughton’s team.

Read the full story on Goal!


Awoniyi pens new long-term Liverpool deal


Taiwo Awoniyi has inked a new five-year contract with Liverpool as he set sights on breaking into Jurgen Klopp’s team.

The Nigeria youth international has spent last season on loan at Royal Excel Mouscron – where he scored 10 goals and provided four assists in the Belgian top-flight.

The 20-year-old is yet to make an appearance for the Reds due to work issues that will see him go out on loan again this campaign.

Check out the full story on Goal!


Khazri completes Saint Etienne move


Tunisia international Wahbi Khazri has completed his move from Sunderland to Saint Etienne, after signing a four-year contract.

Khazri has been at Sunderland since January 2016, spent last season on loan in the Ligue 1 with Rennes where he returned nine goals in 24 league matches.

Check out the full story on Goal!


Al Nassr plot £40 million move for Ahmed Musa


Saudi Arabia club Al Nassr are ready to splash a whopping £40 million to sign Nigeria’s World Cup star Ahmed Musa from Leicester City, Leicester Mercury claims.

Following his impressive performances at the World Cup, the 25-year-old has attracted interests from several European teams this summer including Galatasaray, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Huddersfield Town.

Musa joined Leicester City from CSKA Moscow for £16 million in January 2016 but has been restricted to regular first-team action in Claude Puel’s team.


Leicester, Sevilla locked in battle for Djene Dakonam


Leicester City and Sevilla are locked in the transfer race to sign Getafe’s centre-back Djene Dakonam, Lequipe reports.

The Togo international had an excellent campaign in the Spanish top-flight where he played in all of his club’s league matches but two during the 2017-18 season.

Sevilla are looking at the 26-year-old as replacement for Clement Lenglet who left for Barcelona this summer while Leicester want to bolster their ranks with the defender’s capture.

Dakonam who joined Getafe last summer has a release clause of £30 million. 


Jeremie Boga nears Chelsea exit


Chelsea have agreed to sell Cote d’Ivoire midfielder Jeremie Boga to Serie A club Sassuolo for £3.5 million, Goal understands.

The 21-year-old is now set to agree personal terms with the Italian side after spending last season on loan with Birmingham City in the Championship.

Read the full story on Goal !


Goztepe make loan move for Omeruo


Turkish Super Lig club Goztepe have made an inquiry to take Chelsea defender Kenneth Omeruo on a season-long loan, according to Sporx

The Nigeria international is yet to play a competitive game for the Blues since his transfer from Standard Liege in 2012 and he has spent the last three seasons on loan in the Turkish top-flight with Alanyaspor and Kasimpasa. 


Amrabat joins Saudi club Al Nassr


Morocco star Nordin Amrabat has penned a three-year deal with Saudi club Al Nassr from Watford.

Following his decent performances at the just concluded World Cup in Russia, the winger has earned himself a deal worth $10 million [£7.5 million] and will continue his career in the Middle East with the Saudi Professional League outfit.

Check out the full story on Goal!


Olympiacos terminate Emenike’s contract


Greek giants Olympiacos have released Nigeria international Emmanuel Emenike after struggling regain top form, according to Gunes .

The 31-year-old is now a free agent this summer despite having a year remaining in his contract with the Legends.

Emenike joined Olympiacos from Fenerbahce in July 2017 and was sent out to Las Palmas on loan where he didn’t play a single game in the second part of last season.


Napoli in advanced talks with Sabaly


Napoli held a positive meeting with Youssouf Sabaly’s agents over a possible move, according to Sky Italia .

The Serie A side want to agree terms with the Senegal international before coming to the table with Bordeaux who have requested around €12 million for the right-back.

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Sources: USMNT goalkeeper Steffen nearing Bristol City move after $3.9 million offer

Last season, for the first time in two decades, there were no U.S. national team goalkeepers playing in either of England’s top two divisions.

That void is on the verge of being filled.

League championship side Bristol City has made a $3.9 offer for Columbus Crew and U.S. national team goalkeeper Zack Steffen, and sources tell Goal that Steffen is leaning towards agreeing to a move once the two teams agree on a final price.

The offer, first reported by MLS Soccer on Wednesday, would be the highest price ever paid for an MLS goalkeeper, surpassing the $3 million Manchester United paid for Tim Howard in 2003 (though the Howard fee would be worth $4.1 once adjusted for inflation).

Steffen has established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in MLS after signing with the Crew in 2015 following an unsuccessful stint with German club Freiburg. The 23-year-old helped lead the Crew to the Eastern Conference finals in 2017, and followed up his excellent run of form in the playoffs with a call-up to the U.S. national team, where he is seen as one of the leading candidates to take over the starting spot as the USMNT prepares for a new World Cup qualifying cycle.

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The Crew have yet to formally accept Bristol City’s offer, but sources tell Goal the sides are close on a fee, so a deal is expected to be agreed upon. Steffen is ready for another move to Europe after being largely unhappy with his transfer to Freiburg in 2015. He only spent a year in Germany before returning to the United States and landing with the Crew. The biggest hurdle remaining to the move is MLS agreeing to a price on the deal.

Among the factors that could lead Steffen to decide the time is right for a move is the cloud of uncertainty currently hovering over Columbus, with rampant rumors that club ownership will move the team to Austin, Texas. That, coupled with the persistent rumors that Gregg Berhalter is a leading candidate to become the next U.S. national team coach, could compel Steffen to take another shot at plying his trade in Europe.

Berhalter didn’t seem opposed to the move either, telling MLS Soccer: “Every transfer window we’ve had we’ve been getting calls about some of our players, so this is pretty much normal. What I’d say is that, like always, we want to be a place where we get players and we develop them and we help them advance in their careers, wherever that may be.”

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Bristol City, which finished in 11th place in the Championship last season, is in the market for a goalkeeper, with manager Lee Johnson confirming the club’s search for one on Wednesday.

“Yeah, there’s no secret about that. We are looking to do that. I think I’ve said that before,” Johnson told Bristol Live when asked about the search for a goalkeeper. “Well, it’s one of those where I wouldn’t say there’ll be someone signing tomorrow but the plates are spinning and it could happen. It’s not something that’s definitely going to happen but it could.”

Steffen would look to follow in the footsteps of a long list of American goalkeepers who enjoyed success in England, with U.S. national team stars Brad Friedel, Kasey Keller, Marcus Hahnemann, Brad Guzan and Tim Howard having all played for English clubs. 

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