Benitez: Higuain will face Arsenal

The Napoli coach has confirmed that the Argentine is set to debut against the Gunners, having joined from Real Madrid in July

Napoli coach Rafael Benitez has confirmed that “top-class” Gonzalo Higuain is set to make his debut against Arsenal on Saturday.

The Argentina international joined the Serie A runners-up from Real Madrid as a replacement for Edinson Cavani in July, with the Gunners failing in their attempts to sign the Argentine attacker.

Now he is set to feature against the north London club in Napoli’s opening fixture of the Emirates Cup and Benitez expressed his delight at landing the striker.

“I don’t know how long [he will play] but I think that he has to play because he is training well, he is fine, but we’ll have to manage it at the time,” the Spaniard said.

“He’s a great player and it was an easy decision for me [to sign him], I told the chairman that I liked the player, so the technical director and the chairman, they were quick and after we signed the player [I was] really pleased because he is a top class player.”

Benitez also said he was surprised to be able to land Pepe Reina in a loan deal from Liverpool but was thrilled to acquire his services.

“Obviously, I know the situation and I was surprised, because we were trying to sign Julio Cesar,” the Stadio San Paolo boss continued.

“It was a surprise for us when Pepe Reina was available, so for us it’s a big boost, really important because he’s a great player.”

'Fabregas must decide future' – Martino

The midfielder scored twice in his side’s 8-0 win over Santos on Friday and his coach has pleaded with him to remain at Camp Nou

Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino says Cesc Fabregas must decide his own future, amid speculation he could join Manchester United.

The 26-year-old has attracted intense and public transfer interest from the Red Devils, who are believed to have fielded a final €40 million offer for the midfielder.

Having watched Fabregas score twice from the bench in Barca’s 8-0 drubbing of Santos on Friday, Martino admitted he wants the ex-Arsenal captain to stay at Camp Nou but says the Spain international will have the final say.

“I’m not thinking about Barca without Cesc,” he told reporters. “I’ve talked to him, I’ve explained my ideas. He’s one of the best in the squad, but there’s also a part that he has to decide.

“If it depends on me, he’ll stay, and I believe he will, so I haven’t thought about who I’d sign to replace him yet.”

Martino had announced to Camp Nou from the pitch before the match that he was hoping to help the side to numerous successes this season having taken over from Tito Vilanova in July.

“I just wanted to say that it is with enormous happiness that I am here with the team,” the Argentine added. “I want to pass on my pride of being a part of this club and I hope this year will see championship-level achievements for the club.”

Fabregas avoided talk of speculation when writing on his Twitter after the match, but shared his delight at the dominating victory over Neymar’s former club.

He wrote: “I’m pleased with this good start and to win the [pre-season] Gamper trophy is always special for us!”

Wallace on verge of joining Inter

The right-back’s agent has confirmed there are just a few details to sort out before he can complete his loan deal

Chelsea starlet Wallace is on the verge of joining Inter on a one-year loan deal.

The 19-year-old has been linked with a temporary switch to the Italian outfit for a while now and his agent Frederico Moraes revealed an agreement between the two clubs has been reached.

“We are truly only a step away from completing the deal,” he told FCInterNews.

“We are really only a few details away from the transfer. At this point, if all goes well, he should meet up with the team in the United States. We were told it was a straight loan but the teams are discussing those terms.

“Inter have already agreed terms with the player,” he added. “There’s no problem.”

Wallace signed with Chelsea from Fluminese in December, but he remained in Brazil to close out the season.

He made his debut for the Blues in July’s 1-0 victory over the Singha All-Stars, though Jose Mourinho has opted to allow the player to get some regular first team football under his belt in Serie A.

Lugano leaves Paris Saint-Germain for West Brom

The Uruguay captain has moved to the Hawthorns on a two-year deal and is eagerly anticipating fulfilling his ambition of playing in the Premier League

Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed the sale of Diego Lugano to West Brom.

The experienced centre-back, a Uruguay international and captain of his country, moves to the Hawthorns on a two-year deal.

The 32-year-old spent time on loan with Malaga last season but the Premier League side have snapped up the defender.

“Paris Saint-Germain thanks [Lugano] for the professionalism he has shown throughout his contract and wishes him well in the English league,” a statement on the PSG website read.

Lugano also confirmed the move on his personal Twitter account, saying he was looking forward to fulfilling his ambition of playing in the Premier League.

“[It is] Without doubt the most beautiful and competitive league in the world,” he tweeted.

West Brom had already completed the signing of 34-year-old Premier League veteran Nicolas Anelka this summer.

Dembele and Vertonghen convinced Chadli to join Tottenham

The Belgian pair, who play alongside the winger internationally, told the former Twente man he “had to come” to Spurs, who the 24-year-old believes were his best option this summer

Nacer Chadli says he was persuaded to join Tottenham by fellow Belgians Mousa Dembele and Jan Vertonghen.

The former Twente winger joined the club in July and could make his first appearance for the club in a pre-season friendly against Monaco on Saturday after training with the squad on their recent tour of Hong Kong.

Chadli has made 14 appearances for Belgium and says compatriots Vertonghen and Dembele played a crucial role in convincing him to move to White Hart Lane.

“They said a lot of good things about Spurs,” Chadli told the club’s official website.

“They said ‘you have to come’. I was very happy I made the transfer. I’ve already played with them for the national team and we have good contact.

“I expect a lot from myself this year and I hope I can make everyone happy.”

Chadli scored twice for former club Twente against Tottenham, as they met in the 2010-11 Champions League.

The 24-year-old was impressed with the experience of playing the London club, and believes it also helped make his mind up about where he would play this season.

“I remember playing at White Hart Lane, we lost 4-1 but I scored the goal for Twente,” he said. “I came on after 15 minutes because of an injury and it was unbelievable, the stadium, the feel of the pitch, the supporters [were] so for the team and I liked it.

“Some clubs wanted me this summer but Tottenham Hotspur was the best choice for me and the best club, a club I can fit in to. I played here three years ago for Twente and I was really impressed with the club, the stadium and all the players.”