Official: Ilicic joins Fiorentina

The Florence club confirmed the transfer on Tuesday and Viola chief Andrea Della Valle insists that the side’s spending this summer is not over yet

Fiorentina have confirmed the signing of Josip Ilicic from Palermo for an undisclosed fee believed to be €9 million plus add-ons.

Palermo need to balance the books having been relegated to Serie B last season sees the Slovenian midfielder join the Viola though the 25-year-old’s contract length is yet to be disclosed.

Fiorentina chief Andrea Della Valle has insisted that the club’s summer spending spree will continue, as they look to build on signing the likes of Mario Gomez, Massimo Ambrosini, Marcos Alonso and Joaquin.

“Ilicic will arrive and the surprises aren’t over yet,” he told fans at a pre-season training camp on Tuesday. “We will reinforce the midfield and make this team even stronger.”

The transfer of Ilicic, who had been linked with AC Milan and Liverpool, is the first sign of activity from the Florence club since selling Stevan Jovetic to Manchester City earlier in July.

The 22-times capped Slovenia international scored 11 times in 32 Serie A and Coppa Italia appearances last season.

Luis Enrique: Barcelona talk just hearsay

The Celta coach insists the rumours linking him with the role Gerardo Martino has filled were just hearsay and sent his best wishes to Tito Vilanova

Luis Enrique has denied holding talks with Barcelona about replacing Tito Vilanova and insisted that the rumours were just hearsay.

The current Celta coach was reported to be one of the favourites to step into the resigned Vilanova’s shoes, but the job ultimately went to Newell’s Old Boys boss Gerardo Martino on Tuesday.

Enrique, who spent eight years at Camp Nou during his playing career and shone as Barcelona B’s trainer between 2008 and 2011, was keen to distance himself with ever having been in line for the position but admitted being linked with the club was flattering.

“Either from the club or by me, there has been no contact, it is simply hearsay,” the Spaniard told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday.

“These are things which from within the club we have been oblivious all week. I’ve been continuing with the same idea of preparing for pre-season.

“With Barca, I will be eternally grateful because I played there for eight years and they were the first to trust me as a coach.

“So the fact that I am being linked with a club of that size and level is always a compliment, but the people inside football forever must stick to reality, not the words or the comments.”

Enrique was also keen to send his best wishes to Vilanova, who opted to resign on Friday to focus on his battle with cancer.

“I want to send him a big hug,” he added. “He’s a natural fighter. I hope the recovery goes as well as possible. We are all with him.”

Chelsea sign Chile starlet Cuevas

The 18-year-old Chile Under-20 international, who can play either as a left-back or left-winger, has signed a contract keeping him at Stamford Bridge until the summer of 2018

Chelsea have announced the signing of Cristian Cuevas from Chilean side O’Higgins.

The 18-year-old, who can operate either as a left-back or left-winger, has signed a contract which will keep him at Stamford Bridge until the summer of 2018.

Cuevas came through the youth ranks at O’Higgins to make a handful of senior appearances, before shining with Chile at this summer’s Under-20 World Cup, playing in four of their five matches.

The Blues moved to tie up the deal after the youngster impressed on trial at the club in November and he was expected to sign this summer.

Cuevas becomes Chelsea’s fourth signing of the transfer window, following the arrivals of Andre Schurrle from Bayer Leverkusen, Marco van Ginkel from Vitesse and free agent Mark Schwarzer.

Di Natale reveals Milan snub

The veteran forward says he preferred to finish his career at his current club rather than join San Siro this summer and spoke of his World Cup hopes

Antonio Di Natale has revealed that he turned down an approach from AC Milan to sign a new contract at Udinese.

The 35-year-old confirmed reports that the Rossoneri made an offer but he instead opted to stay true to his vow to finish his career at the Stadio Friuli, putting pen to paper on an extension until 2015.

“I thank Milan boss Massimiliano Allegri and vice-president Adriano Galliani for the offer,” he told the Messaggero Veneto.

“To be honest, they were not the only club to make my agent a proposal, but I’ve always said that I want to end my career at Udinese.

“Now everybody is happy. The club, the fans and myself.”

Di Natale also revealed his ambition to play at the 2014 World Cup for Italy though he knows he will need to continue his goalscoring in the 2013-14 season to convince coach Cesare Prandelli.

“To be able to play at the Maracana, just once in my life, would be the icing on the cake for my career which has nevertheless been fantastic,” he added.

“However, in order to convince Cesare Prandelli then I have to think about training well and having a great season for Udinese.”

Pique: Manchester United wasting time on Fabregas

The defender, who spent four seasons at Old Trafford, believes his team-mate will not leave the Liga giants after returning “home” two years ago

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has insisted Manchester United are “wasting their time” pursuing Cesc Fabregas.

The Premier League champions will make an improved third bid worth €41 million for the midfielder following the rejection of their latest offer.

But Pique is confident Fabregas will resist a move from Camp Nou as he worked so hard to rejoin the club he left at the age of 16.

“United are wasting their time,” Pique is quoted as saying by The Sun.

“It took a long time for Cesc to get his dream move back home and he won’t give it up. This is home, it is where his family is and he is playing with his closest friends.

“He has told us he is happy and that he intends to stay with Barcelona.”

Moyes has publicly admitted United may be forced to accept defeat in their pursuit of Fabregas should they fail with a third bid, with the likes of Luka Modric, Yohan Cabaye and Marouane Fellaini all earmarked has potential back-up options.