African All Stars Transfer News & Rumours: Essien retires from international football

Essien retires from international football

Former Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien has announced his retirement from international football, after over 12 years of active service with Ghana.

The 35-year-old, who is currently without a club after parting ways with Indonesian outfit Persib Bandung, last featured for the Black Stars in 2014 at the Fifa World Cup in Brazil.

Read his full comments right here on Goal!

AC Milan in talks with Samassekou

AC Milan have started discussions over the signing of RB Salzburg midfielder Diadie Samassekou, Football Italia claims [via RMC Sport].

The Rossoneri are interested in luring the Mali international who has just a year remaining in his contract with the Austrian club to the Italian top-flight.

Olympiacos table £6.2m offer for Zungu

Greek giants Olympiacos are interested signing Amiens midfielder Bongani Zungu, Soccer Laduma reports.

Following an impressive debut season in the French Ligue 1, Zungu’s former boss at Vitoria de Guimareas – Pedro Martins – is ready to lure the South Africa international to his new team with an initial bid worth £6.2m [€7m] submitted.

Torino, Lyon and Monaco are some of the top European clubs that have shown interest in the 25-year-old.

Akpom close to £2m PAOK move

Arsenal forward Chuba Akpom is set to join Greek side PAOK in the coming days after making just 12 first-team appearances for the Gunners, Goal understands.

The 22-year-old has spent several seasons out on loan with his most recent spell at Belgian side Sint-Truiden, where he scored six goals in 16 games last season.

Check out the full story on Goal !

West Ham reject Crystal Palace bid for Kouyate

West Ham have turned down Crystal Palace’s £11 million offer for Cheikhou Kouyate, Football London reports.

The Hammers are demanding £15 million for the Senagal international who still has three years left on his contract.

The arrival of Jack Wilshere in Manuel Pellegrini’s squad has made Kouyate dropped in the pecking order of options in the midfield and he might struggle for game time this season.

Fernando Adi hands Timbers transfer request 

Fernando Adi has requested for a move away from Portland Timbers after being restricted to limited playing time, according to MLS Soccer .

The Nigerian forward has struggled for form under manger Giovanni Savarese and has lost his starting spot to Samuel Armenteros. 

Timbers are reportedly in talks with MLS clubs to offload the 27-year-old designated player before the end of the American transfer window on August 8.

Eric Bailly not for sale

Eric Bailly will not be leaving Manchester United this summer despite Jose Mourinho’s plans to reinforce his defence, according to Manchester Evening News .

The Red Devils have assured the Cote d’Ivoire international that his future is secured at the club as they look to sign Leicester’s Harry Maguire and Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld before the transfer market closes.

Bailly has played in every of Manchester United’s pre-season games and he is most likely to get the nod for their Premier League opener against Leicester City on August 10.

Zaha cools Crystal Palace exit rumours

After deleting a cryptic Instagram post on Friday, Wilfried Zaha has dismissed rumours linking him with a move away from Crystal Palace.

The Sun reports that the 25-year-old posted on his Instagram story to confirm that his deleted message that reads – ‘Today is the day I make a change with everything’ – has nothing to do with football.

Aboubakar emerges as Sevilla top target

Sevilla have made Cameroon forward Vincent Aboubakar their transfer priority as they look to strengthen their attacking force, Estadio Deportivo reports.

Aboubakar who is still under contract with Porto until 2021, attracted interest from Pablo Machin following an impressive 2017-18 campaign where he scored 24 goals across all competitions.

The La Liga outfit are also targeting Fluminense youngster Pedro Guilherme Abreu to challenge Wissam Ben Yedder and Luis Muriel.


West Ham hold talks over Marega move

West Ham United are targeting a deal for £22 million-rated Porto forward Moussa Marega, according to Daily Mail .

The Hammers have opened discussions for the Mali international who scored 23 goals last season in Porto’s successful league campaign.

With Porto reportedly interested in Cheikhou Kouyate, the East London outfit could include the Senegal captain in the deal in order to make the move possible.

Ikeme retires from football

Nigeria and Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper Carl Ikeme has called time on his career as a footballer having been kept out of action for 12 months.

The 32-year-old confirmed his retirement from professional football through a statement from his club on Friday.

Check out the full story on Goal right here !

Umar joins Rizespor on loan

Aminu Umar has been given a chance to continue in the Turkish top-flight next season after reaching a season-long loan deal with newly promoted Caykur Rizespor.

The Nigerian striker scored five goals in 31 league appearances for Osmanlıspor last term but was not enough to save them from relegation.

Check out the full story on Goal right here !

Sabaly expected at Napoli

Bordeaux defender Youssouf Sabaly is expected at Napoli for medical examination on Friday, Mercato365 reports.

The Partenopei are not ready to risk the signing of the Senegal international who has problem with his medial collateral ligament.

If the result turns out positive, club President Aurelio De Laurentiis will then make the decision of either signing the 25-year-old or PSV defender Santiago Arias after ruling out the arrival of both players at the Stadio San Paolo according to Calciomercato .

Essien completes Uefa B coaching license

Chelsea legend Michael Essien is close to becoming a football manager after completing Uefa B coaching license, according to Ghana Soccernet .

The 35-year-old is now eligible to coach in Ghana Premier League but needs a Pro License to qualify for a coaching job in the English Premier League.

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Lewandowski ‘toys with going elsewhere’ but will not be sold, says Bayern boss Kovac

Niko Kovac is adamant Robert Lewandowski will not leave Bayern Munich despite the reported Real Madrid target’s open interest in a new challenge.

Lewandowski’s agent, Pini Zahavi, has previously confirmed his client’s hope to move on from the Allianz Arena and Kovac is aware of the desire.

European champions Madrid have long been linked with the Poland international, who would go some way to easing the goalscoring burden left by Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure to Real Madrid.

Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke added further fuel to the transfer speculation by revealing he would be willing to spend €100 million to bring Lewandowski back to his former club.

Kovac, though, is not prepared to lose his star striker.

“There’s nothing new with Robert, it’s clear that he will not leave this club because we have a top striker and we certainly do not want to relinquish him or give him away,” Kovac told Sky Sport Germany.

“We want to achieve a lot with him. He is a great footballer, who has achieved a lot in the Bundesliga, scored many goals and now in the new season certainly will score many goals.”

Though he acknowledged Lewandowski’s interest in leaving, Kovac described the 29-year-old as a “full professional” that would not attempt to force a move.

“It’s true that Robert toys with going elsewhere. Only [he has] one thing he likes, the other is what we like to do,” the former Eintracht Frankfurt coach said.

“Robert has a contract – I do not know how long – and he will certainly stay as long as possible here.”

Bayern next face off against Manchester United in their final friendly before squaring off against DFB Pokal winners, and Kovac’s former club, Eintracht Frankfurt in the German Super Cup. 

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Buffon not assured of Paris Saint-Germain starting spot

Gianluigi Buffon may be a decorated great of the game but the veteran goalkeeper insists he is not guaranteed to be Paris Saint-Germain’s first choice.

The 40-year-old ended his long affiliation with Juventus this summer by joining PSG on a one-year contract.

Buffon is one of three well-credentialed options in a strong group of shot-stoppers that includes Alphonse Areola and Kevin Trapp, who were selected for the World Cup by France and Germany respectively.

PSG boss Thomas Tuchel looks to have made his experienced new signing the frontrunner by starting him in International Champions Cup clashes with Bayern Munich and Arsenal.

But with 3-1 and 5-1 defeats in those matches, and the looming return of last season’s incumbent Areola, Buffon is braced for a battle to be number one.

“I haven’t spoken to anybody, but it’s important for me to say one thing: in my 24-year career, nobody has ever told me ‘you will be the main goalkeeper’,” he said at a media conference.

“I believe that one has to train and put himself in the best condition to play when called.

“And once again I am here to do my best when I am called by the coach, but also to help everybody improve. So I have two functions.”

Buffon’s surprise switch to the Ligue 1 champions came in the wake of his decision to end a successful 17-year stay at Juventus.

The World Cup-winning Italy icon says he has no regrets ahead of his first season outside Serie A.

“I feel very well,” he said. “If I have chosen to continue playing and accept such a challenge it’s because I love challenges, I love to do well and I love finishing my job in the best possible way.

“That’s the challenge that I liked the most and the only one that could keep me playing. And I want to win this challenge with everybody’s help. I could never do it alone.”

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Barcelona clear Digne for expected €25m Everton move

Everton appear on the verge of completing a swoop for French defender Lucas Digne after Barcelona allowed him to leave their California training camp.

Digne, 25, has been linked with the Toffees for several weeks and has been permitted to “finalise his departure” ahead of a €25 million (£22m/$29m) move.

Goal previously reported the two clubs had agreed a fee for the left-back after Digne went through a frustrating campaign with the La Liga champions. 

The former Lille, Paris Saint-Germain and Roma player has been unable to dislodge incumbent left-back Jordi Alba in two seasons at Camp Nou, managing just 29 La Liga starts over that span.

He was part of France’s squad at the 2014 World Cup, but found himself overlooked for the country’s triumphant 2018 campaign.

Digne would likely serve as the heir to veteran Leighton Baines, with Everton having been linked to numerous left-backs this window. 

The Toffees are looking to pick up the pace in a transfer period that has been slow for them following the appointment of former Watford manager Marco Silva.

Silva has seen multiple players depart the club, with Wayne Rooney and Ramiro Funes Mori among them. 

The Premier League transfer window slams shut August 9, but things may be picking up as the club finalised the signing of one of Silva’s former Watford players, Richarlison, last week to a five-year contract. 

Everton have also featured in the race to sign Digne’s team-mate Yerry Mina, with the Colombian international also struggling to break into the team under Ernesto Valverde.

However, the Colombia international is believed to favour a move to Lyon should he leave Barca.

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Faouzi Benzarti returns for fourth stint as Tunisia coach

Faouzi Benzarti has been appointed the new coach of Tunisia for a period of two years, with an option for a contract renewal.

The post was vacated after Nabil Maaloul handed in his resignation on the back of an underwhelming 2018 World Cup campaign where the Carthage Eagles suffered a group stage exit.

Maaloul proceeded to join Qatari reigning champions Al Duhail, and the Tunisian Football Federation have afforded Benzarti his fourth stint at the helm, after occupying the position in 1994, 2010 and 2011.

“Faouzi Benzarti has been appointed to coach the Tunisian National team for two seasons with a possibility of renewal,” a statement from the federation read.

“He’s been tasked to select his assistant coaches as well.”

Top on the former Libya coach’s priority list is qualifying the nation for 2019 African Cup of Nations to be held in Cameroon.

And he kick-starts his fourth reign with a trip to Swaziland for an Afcon qualifier on September 7.

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