Gattuso unsure of Bonucci future amid PSG and Manchester United links

Gennaro Gattuso says AC Milan will do everything possible to keep Leonardo Bonucci as Paris Saint-Germain reportedly step up their transfer pursuit of the Italy defender.

Bonucci’s future at San Siro is the subject of intense speculation, with Manchester United also rumoured to be keen on luring the centre-back to Old Trafford.

The Rossoneri captain, who arrived from Serie A rivals Juventus 12 months ago, shrugged off the distractions to play 68 minutes in a 2-0 friendly win over Novara on Friday as Milan opened their pre-season campaign.

Gattuso praised the 31-year-old’s attitude while admitting Bonucci is yet to fully commit to the club.

“Leo is a great professional and an incredible player, and at the moment we have to listen to what he and the other players say,” Gattuso told reporters.

“We have to respect the choices of the players. Obviously he wants to win but we also want to win. We will wait and see because he is an important player that we want to keep at all costs.”

Milan’s win over third-tier Novara came courtesy of first-half goals from Suso and Davide Calabria.

The result, which included a first outing for Nikola Kalinic since finalists Croatia sent him home from the World Cup, capped a day of good news for the Serie A side, who earlier had their Europa League status reinstated by UEFA.

The club successfully appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after their qualification was stripped by European football’s governing body due to Financial Fair Play (FFP) breaches, a decision that was welcomed by Milan’s new owners.

“Elliott is pleased that we were able to support AC Milan at the CAS and that our intervention was able to achieve a positive result for the club,” a club statement said.  

“Playing in Europe is part of the heritage of AC Milan and to have been excluded would have been a shame. We will now work hard to rebuild the credibility of the club with UEFA and show that we can succeed on the pitch while respecting UEFA FFP rules.

“Today’s legal victory is an important first step in the rehabilitation of AC Milan. This rehabilitation will not be an overnight project, and there is a great deal of hard work ahead which Elliott is ready for.”

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Lille swoop for free agent Portugal international Fonte

Ligue 1 side Lille have snapped up Portugal international Jose Fonte on a free transfer.

The 34-year-old defender has signed a two-year deal after terminating his contract with Dalian Yifang earlier this week.

He made just nine competitive appearances in China but started all four of Portugal’s matches at the World Cup in Russia.

Fonte, who previously had Premier League spells with Southampton and West Ham, has been tasked with providing leadership alongside fellow new signing Loic Remy.

“I am very proud to join LOSC, a great French club,” Fonte said.

“This is a new challenge for me, which I hope will be very successful. I will give everything to help the club as best as possible in its ambitious project.”

Fonte had a long run in England, first joining Crystal Palace during the 2007-08 season while they were in the Championship. He later moved to Southampton while the club was in League One.

The defender remained with Southampton as they worked their way back to the Premier League, and even managed to start four Europa League games for the club in 2015-16.

He moved to West Ham in January 2017 and played in 24 games in the Premier League with the London club over the next 13 months before joining Dalian Yifang in the China.

Despite making only nine appearances in China, he played every minute of Portugal’s World Cup campaign this summer, which ended with a round of 16 loss to Uruguay for the reigning European Champions. 

Lille finished 17th in Ligue 1 last term, avoiding a relegation play-off by one point.

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Leicester complete £12m Ward signing from Liverpool

Danny Ward has completed a £12 million ($15.7m) move from Liverpool to Leicester City, the clubs have confirmed.

The 25-year-old has signed a four-year contract with The Foxes, with Jurgen Klopp’s Reds happy to let the Welshman move on after signing Alisson Becker from Roma.

Klopp had originally been set to give Ward a chance at the number one spot heading into the new season, but breakthroughs in talks for Alisson saw plans change quickly at Anfield.

With the Brazilian now signed and ready to take over starting XI duties, Ward was allowed to leave, while the futures of error-prone keepers Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet remain up in the air.

Ward, meanwhile, becomes Leicester’s fourth signing of the summer transfer window after the arrivals of Ricardo Pereira, Jonny Evans and James Maddison.

Speaking to LCFC TV, Ward said of his transfer: “I’m delighted to be here and I’m really looking forward to the future with this football club.

“I’ve come here to develop my all-round game and hopefully help deliver some more success. The club has had that in recent years and hopefully there’s more to come in the future.”

Leicester boss Claude Puel also spoke, expressing his happiness in the competition Ward’s signing will bring to the club.

“I’m very happy to welcome Danny to Leicester City Football Club,” the manager said.

“Pre-season preparations have started well for us and with Danny joining the group, it will give us even more competition in the squad, which is crucial for us ahead of what will be another very competitive Premier League campaign.”

Leicester’s pre-season matches begin on July 21 with a match against Notts County, with an additional four to follow before the 2015-16 champions return to Premier League action against Manchester United on August 10.

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‘What kind of idiot goes to Paris by helicopter?’ – Napoli president slams Cavani rumours

Napoli say rumours they are signing Edinson Cavani and Angel Di Maria from Paris Saint-Germain are “fake news”, with the club president decrying the “lies” of newspapers in a radio interview.

Cavani played for the Serie A side between 2010 and 2013, the Uruguay international since becoming PSG’s record goalscorer.

But with the Ligue 1 champions reportedly keen to raise funds, Cavani and Di Maria have both been linked with moves away, although Neymar has insisted he is staying in the French capital.

Napoli, though, sought to distance themselves from the PSG duo on social media, using the hashtag #StopFakeNews to deny reports about the attacking duo.

President Aurelio De Laurentiis also hit out at rumours Napoli could seek to bring Cavani back to the club after a five-year absence, repeating past comments about the striker’s salary as well as decrying links with Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema.

“We can’t take all the newspapers because there are so many lies,” De Laurentiis said to Radio Kiss Kiss. “Di Maria and Benzema? Very much false.

“I’m very surprised because the Corriere dello Sport editor is experienced and I only wish good things for him. Is Antonio Giordano the only one I can trust to tell the truth?

“There’s an agreement between myself and [coach Carlo] Ancelotti. Why would I sign these two old men, with all due respect? I don’t have to please the fans, they play football in the bar, I respect them but they need to stay calm and let us work.

“The possibility of Benzema is not remote, it’s very remote. Cavani? He earns €20 million gross every two months. He’s brilliant, but I don’t think he’ll halve his salary. If Cavani were to call me and tell me he’s OK to cut his salary in half and fit the Napoli wage structure, great.

“A deal with Cavani? Absolute nonsense! What kind of idiot goes to Paris by helicopter? You take a jet.”

De Laurentiis rejected further media speculation surrounding Ancelotti and Monaco striker Radamel Falcao as the new Serie A season nears.

“Falcao? False! He doesn’t score anymore, it’s fake news,” the Napoli president added.

“Di Maria done? Absolute nonsense! False, very much false.

“Ancelotti resigning before the start of the season? Complete and utter nonsense!”

De Laurentiis suggested earlier this month Juventus’ new signing Cristiano Ronaldo was offered to Napoli before joining the Serie A champions in a €112m switch from Real Madrid.

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