Leicester complete record £24m Maddison signing

Leicester have confirmed the signing of midfielder James Maddison from Norwich City for a reported fee of £24 million ($32m).

The 21-year-old has signed a five-year contract with the Foxes, which will keep him at the club until 2023. He is Leicester’s third signing of the summer, joining Portuguese full-back Ricardo Pereira and Northern Irish centre-back Jonny Evans.

Maddison becomes the record sale for a Championship club, eclipsing Britt Assombalonga’s £17.1m ($22.5m) move from Nottingham Forest to Middlesbrough last summer.

Maddsion moves to Leicester having spent two full seasons at Norwich. He was initially signed in the winter transfer window in 2016 when the Canaries played in the Premier League, but was loaned back to previous club Coventry City before making his Norwich debut in the 2016-17 season.

A tremendous second season in the Championship saw him receive a nomination for the EFL Championship Young Player of the Year award as well as international recognition with England’s Under-21 squad, making his debut in November.

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Maddison finished the season with 14 goals in the Championship for Norwich and is looking forward to testing himself at a higher level in the Premier League.

“I’m delighted. I’m really happy to be here,” he told the club’s official website. 

“I had a good chat with the manager about football and how he wants me to play, how he likes to play and I was sold. We talked about the type of player I am, how I’m going to fit into his style of play and everything sounded really promising. I haven’t looked back since that phone call.

“Leicester just seems like the right fit for me. I’ve got a good feel about the Club and I can’t ignore that, in my head and my heart. I felt like this was the right place for me to be, so I’m delighted and can’t wait to get started.”

Leicester boss Claude Puel has been impressed with how Maddison performed in the Championship and is confident that the 22-year-old can make an immediate impact in the Premier League.

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“James is a wonderful player who is one of the most exciting young talents in English football,” Puel said. 

“He made a big contribution to Norwich City last season and I’m delighted that he has decided to make the step up to the Premier League with Leicester City Football Club. 

“He’s a young player who can create things in the attacking third and will give us even more possibilities in the squad. Of course, he has good ability and also good potential to develop even more, which is exciting for the team and for the supporters.”


Leicester announce £24m Maddison signing

Leicester have confirmed the signing of midfielder James Maddison from Norwich City for a fee believed to be £24 million (€27m/$32m).

The 21-year-old has signed a five-year contract with the Foxes, which will keep him at the club until 2023. He is Leicester’s third signing of the summer, joining Portuguese full-back Ricardo Pereira and Northern Irish centre-back Jonny Evans.

More to follow…


Sarri requests Higuain, Mertens & Koulibaly as Chelsea talks speed up

Chelsea have spoken to prospective new manager Maurizio Sarri about his transfer preferences as he targets a host of Napoli stars from past and present, Goal understands.

Talks over a deal to appoint Sarri to replace Antonio Conte continue to progress positively and, in conversations with Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia, he has stated his admiration of various Napoli stars, including Kalidou Koulibaly, Elseid Hysaj, Piotr Zielinski and Dries Mertens.

However, Chelsea will have the final say on transfers, just as they did with Conte and remain cautious about offering players aged over 30 a contract lasting longer than one year.

This policy may scupper Sarri’s interest in signing Belgium international Mertens and also Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain, whose future with the Serie A champions is the source of renewed doubts.

Higuain retains a strong bond with Sarri from their time together at Napoli, despite controversially swapping the title challengers for their fierce rivals in the north of Italy.

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Koulibaly and Mertens both interested Chelsea in the past under Conte and the Senegal defender was the subject of an ultimately failed summer-long pursuit in

Napoli have always proved difficult to work with for Chelsea as discussions continue to remove Sarri from his contract, despite club president Aurelio De Laurentiis having already signed Carlo Ancelotti to replace him.

Sarri had a £7 million ($9.4m) release clause to be paid as compensation but that expired on May 31. Chelsea had sought to pay less than this clause, as they also face a possible £9m bill to remove Conte from his position as head coach.

Talks have continued between Sarri and Chelsea, as they work on their strategy to secure his appointment, although Laurent Blanc remains a frontrunner, should the negotiations collapse.

Chelsea have shown an interest in Nice’s Jean Michaël Seri and Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, but a lack of manager has seen all transfer activity slow down at the club.

Kalidou Koulibaly Napoli

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The club’s players remain in the dark over who the new coach will be and their own futures could be affected by the next appointment. The non-World Cup players have been told that they are due back for pre-season on July 2 without knowing who the next manager will be.

The situation around the head coach has delayed potential contract renewal talks for senior players, as well as the futures of those who are among the 35-man loan group.

Blues legend Gianfranco Zola, meanwhile, is being lined up for a role under Sarri and he will be offered an assistant manager position.


Arsenal the perfect stepping stone for ambitious Real Madrid fan Leno

Germany goalkeeper Bernd Leno is not short of confidence. A first-team player at Bayer Leverkusen since his debut as an 18-year-old, he has probably achieved all he can at the club, and now can prove he is as good as he believes at Arsenal.

While there, he can step out of the shadow of Germany goalkeepers Manuel Neuer and Marc-Andre ter Stegen, and show his worth to his national side as well as childhood club Real Madrid.

“It is now my goal to become one of the best goalkeepers around in Europe,” Leno told  T-Online last year.

“We are regularly playing European football with Leverkusen, but it remains my dream to one day play for a major club abroad. And Real Madrid are the team I have supported since my childhood.”

Leno has now sealed his move abroad, and is one step closer to his dream of playing for Madrid. He is an experienced goalkeeper, having played 200 Bundesliga games and over 50 European matches since his debut as a teenager in 2011. With Leverkusen missing out on the Champions League, now was the perfect time for Leno to move on and prove himself somewhere else as one of Europe’s best shot-stoppers.

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Despite a season when he was sometimes criticised for not living up to the high expectations he had set for himself, Leno helped Leverkusen return to Europe with a fifth-placed finish in the Bundesliga. Heiko Herrlich’s side only missed out on a spot in the Champions League on the last day of the season, losing out on goal difference.

In the 2018-19 Europa League, he could face his former club as Arsenal’s new €22 million (£19.2m/$25m) goalkeeper , and will be hopeful that he can make that his first piece of silverware at club level.

Leno made his debut in 2011-12 after first-choice goalkeeper Rene Adler was injured in pre-season, starting Leverkusen’s second game and keeping his place for the remainder of the campaign. Then general manager Michael Reschke knew it was a gamble to throw Leno in and make him the third youngest goalkeeper in Bundesliga history, but he was confident from what he had seen in just four days’ training after the 18-year-old moved on an initial loan spell.

“He came from the second team of VfB Stuttgart and had not played a minute of professional football,” Reschke told 11Freunde . “We decided to play him although we knew, by doing so, that we had an inexperienced 18-year-old in goal for at least 10 Bundesliga matches, three matches in the Champions League and two cup matches.”

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Despite being a regular in Germany’s top flight, Leno was just like every teenager. He was a big fan of computer games, and loved playing FIFA on the Playstation. He played against Barcelona using his favourite teams, one of which is his new club.

“I’m a fan of Arsenal and Real. Arsenal, because the club has always focused on young footballers. Real, especially for Iker Casillas,” he told the Daily  Express .

“I have sometimes dreamed as a child of becoming his successor in Madrid. [Iker] Casillas is like a cat. I often watch him on videos and try to learn.”

New Gunners boss Unai Emery is confident his new No. 1 can deliver the goods at the Emirates, praising his high quality and the experience he brings to the club. Leno will replace veteran Petr Cech between the sticks for Arsenal, with the Czech Republic international downgraded after a poor season in favour of a player 10 years his junior.

“We are very pleased that Bernd Leno will be joining us,” Emery told the club’s official website .

“Bernd is a goalkeeper of high quality and experience. He has been a top performer and regular number one goalkeeper with Leverkusen in the Bundesliga for the past seven years.

At Arsenal, Leno can show exactly why he should be considered as one of Casillas’ successors in Madrid. Keylor Navas has never fully impressed for the back-to-back-to-back Champions League winners, and every summer Real are linked with a variety of replacements.

New coach Julen Lopetegui would be wise to keep an eye on Leno, someone who has all the raw materials required to be number one at Santiago Bernabeu for the next decade. The 26-year-old has a wealth of first-team experience despite his age, has strong reflexes and commands his area well.

Marc ter Stegen Bernd Leno Germany 26052016

Ter Stegen is already at Barcelona having played 108 Bundesliga games for Borussia Monchengladbach, and Leno can be the next German goalkeeper to make it big in Europe. Germany are blessed with goalkeeping depth for the next few years, and the former Leverkusen man will need to make the next step now to challenge Neuer as Germany’s first choice.

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But, perhaps more importantly for Leno, who has often expressed his disillusion with being overlooked for Germany, the move can help him prove his value at club level.

A disappointing opening game at last summer’s Confederations Cup showed why international boss Joachim Low prefers Neuer and ter Stegen over him, even choosing PSG’s substitute goalkeeper Kevin Trapp in his final World Cup squad, cutting Leno from his preliminary selection .

Leno has shown his worth in the Bundesliga, even with his stats not being as impressive in 2017-18 as they had been in the previous campaign when he led the league in goals prevented. His consistency sometimes lets him down, but this is something he can build on now that he has moved on from the familiarity of Leverkusen, and show Real Madrid why he should be their future.


Transfer news & rumours LIVE: Man Utd, Chelsea & PSG eye Asensio

Man Utd, Chelsea & PSG pursue Asensio

Manchester United, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain are set to battle it out for Real Madrid forward Marco Asensio, according to  El Gol Digital.

The Spain international is keen to stay at Santiago Bernabeu but wants assurances of his playing time from new Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui.

And should he not get the answer he wants from the former Spain boss then he could look to depart the Spanish capital.

Sarri wants Mertens as first Chelsea signing

Maurizio Sarri wants to make Dries Mertens his first signing as Chelsea manager, according to the Daily Mirror

The former Napoli boss is closing in on a move to take over the Blues, and wants the 31-year-old to come to London along with him. 

Mertens scored 22 goals under Sarri last season, as Napoli finished runners-up to Juventus in Serie A. 

De Gea to be best-paid keeper

Manchester United are prepared to make David de Gea the best-paid goalkeeper in world football with an £18.4 million-a-year ($24m) deal, reports Marca .

The Spain international is poised to pen a new five-year deal at Old Trafford which will end renewed talk of interest from Real Madrid.

Wilshere announces Arsenal departure

Jack Wilshere has announced that he will leave Arsenal after 17 years, despite having agreed to sign a new contract on reduced terms.

In a message on Instagram, the 26-year-old confirmed that new manager Unai Emery had told him he wouldn’t be guaranteed consistent playing time should he stay with the Gunners. 

Wilshere is set to become a free agent, with plenty of interest in the Premier League and Italy in the midfielder’s services. 

Read the full story on Goal!

Serie A giants in for Grujic

Serie A heavyweights AC Milan and Lazio have joined the race to sign Liverpool midfielder Marko Grujic, Goal understands.

Cardiff City remain the frontrunners to take the Serbia international on loan having spent the second half of last season with the Bluebirds.

But there is now interest from Italy while Fulham are also monitoring his situation.

Read Neil Jones’ full story for Goal!

Leno completes €22m Arsenal move

Arsenal have completed the signing of Bernd Leno from Bayer Leverkusen for €22 million (£19.2m/$25m).

The 26-year-old goalkeeper is expected to replace Petr Cech as the Gunners starter next season. 

Leno has been capped six times by Germany, but failed to make his country’s World Cup squad this summer.

Read the full story on Goal!

Guardiola makes Kroos top target

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has made Real Madrid midfielder his top target for the summer transfer window, reports Don Balon .

The Germany international is currently away on World Cup duty, but the Premier League champions are preparing to step up their efforts to bring him to England.

Ramos wants Courtois at Real

Sergio Ramos has warned Real Madrid off a big-money deal for Roma goalkeeper Alisson and urged the Blancos to sign Thibaut Courtois, claims Diario Gol .

The Chelsea star has been linked with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu for some time, making no secret of his desire to return to Spain, and the Belgium international may be on the move this summer.

Monaco seal €20m deal for Geubbels

Monaco have completed the €20 million (£18m/£23m) signing of 16-year-old forward Willem Geubbels from Lyon.

Geubbels is one of the brightest prospects in Europe, having already made his senior debut for Lyon in the 2017-18 season.

The France Under-17 international also became the youngest player to ever appear in the Europa League last season.

Read the full story on Goal!

Arsenal tell Bellerin he’s ‘untouchable’

Arsenal boss Unai Emery has told right-back Hector Bellerin he is one of five “untouchable” players the Gunners will keep at any cost, reports the Mirror

Bellerin has been linked with a move to Manchester United, Juventus and Barcelona, but Emery views the 23-year-old as a vital piece in his side.

West Ham land Diop in club-record deal

West Ham have announced the signing of centre-back Issa Diop from Toulouse for a reported £22 million (€25m/$29m) fee.

The 21-year-old has become the club’s record signing after impressing in Ligue 1 and with the France U-21 side. 

West Ham beat a host of European clubs to Diop’s signature, with Everton and Sevilla reported to be interested. 

Read the full story on Goal!

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Palace to offer Zaha new contract

Crystal Palace will offer star Wilfried Zaha a new contract to keep him away from interested Premier League clubs, reports the Mirror

Tottenham are leading a host of clubs hoping to land the 25-year-old, who only just signed a new contract at Selhurst Park last summer.

But Palace hope that a still-better contract worth £120,000 (€136,000/$158,000) a week will keep him away from a big-money move elsewhere.