African All Stars Transfer News & Rumours: Nordin Amrabat to join Saudi club Al Nassr

Amrabat to join Saudi club Al Nassr

Morocco star Nordin Amrabat is set to pen a three-year deal with Saudi club Al Nassr from Watford, KingFut reports.

Following his decent performances at the just concluded World Cup in Russia, the winger has earned himself a deal worth $10 million [£7.5 million] and will continue his career in the Middle East with the Saudi Professional League outfit.

The former Galatasaray and Malaga player spent last season on loan at Leganes and helped them maintain their top-flight status with a 17th place finish.

Fenerbahce reach agreement with Bolasie

Everton winger Yannick Bolasie has agreed terms with Fenerbahce as he closes in on a loan move to the Turkish Super Lig, Fanatik claims.

The DR Congo international is expected to join the Istanbul outfit in a matter of days following Marco Silva’s approval for the winger’s temporary departure.

Bissouma close to Brighton switch

Brighton and Hove Albion are close to completing an £18 million swoop for Lille midfielder Yves Bissouma, according to  Record .

The Seagulls are set to beat Porto to the signature of the versatile 21-year-old who had a fine campaign in the French Ligue 1 last season.

The Mali international could be the second African player to join Chris Hughton’s side this summer after Nigeria’s Leon Balogun.

Trabzonspor keen on Didier Ndong

Trabzonspor have intensified their chase for Sunderland midfielder Didier Ndong by submitting an undisclosed offer for the midfielder, according to Taka .

Ndong has attracted interests from Cardiff City and Serie A clubs including Fiorentina and Atalanta after seeing a £6.6million move to Italian side Torino fizzle out this summer.

The Gabon international is one of the top earners at the Stadium of Light that the club want to get off their books as they prepare for life in the third tier of the English league.

Napoli demand £80 million-plus for Koulibaly

Napoli have placed an £80 million price tag on Kalidou Koulibaly to fend off interest from Chelsea, Mirror reports.

The centre-back has been a long term target for the Blues but the Partenopei are reluctant to see one of their key players follow former manager Maurizio Sarri and Jorginho to the Stamford Bridge.

Olympiacos terminate Emenike’s contract

Greek giants Olympiacos have released Nigeria international Emmanuel Emenike after struggling regain top form, according to Gunes .

The 31-year-old is now a free agent this summer despite having a year remaining in his contract with the Legends.

Emenike joined Olympiacos from Fenerbahce in July 2017 and was sent out to Las Palmas on loan where he didn’t play a single game in the second part of last season.

Gael Kakuta returns to Rayo Vallecano

Rayo Vallecano have reunited with Gael Kakuta after the DR Congo international signed a four-year deal. 

The former Chelsea forward joins the La Liga club from Hebei China Fortune after spending last season on loan at Amiens. 

Check out the full story on Goal! 

Leicester City to offer Ndidi improved contract 

Leicester City are set to have talks with Wilfred Ndidi over an improved deal as a reward for his impressive displays in the past campaign, DailyMail claims.

The Nigeria international who was the best tackler in the English Premier League last season , currently earns £35,000 per week at the King Power Stadium.

Napoli in advanced talks with Sabaly

Napoli held a positive meeting with Youssouf Sabaly’s agents over a possible move, according to Sky Italia .

The Serie A side want to agree terms with the Senegal international before coming to the table with Bordeaux who have requested around €12 million for the right-back.

Wilfried Bony wants Championship fight with Swansea 

Wilfried Bony is keen on staying with Swansea City next season and help them return to the English Premier League despite reported interests from Besiktas, according to BBC .

The Ivorian managed just two goals in 15 appearances before a torn ACL ruled him out for the rest of last season.

Bony is eager to repay the club’s faith but the Swans need to drop their top earners in order to balance their books and adapt to the Championship.

Sako turns down new Crystal Palace offer

Mali international Bakary Sako has rejected a new contract offered by Crystal Palace, Roy Hodgson has confirmed.

The 30-year-old is out of contract this summer and might bring an end to his three-year stay at the Selhurst Park.

Sako’s former club Wolverhampton Wanderers are reportedly interested in signing him on a free transfer as he continues his recovery from an ankle injury he picked up in January.

More to follow on Goal !

Bournemouth, Hull City after Kasimpasa’s Diagne

English clubs including Bournemouth, Hull City and Reading are locked in talks for Kasimpasa attacker Mbaye Diagne, Turkish Football claims.

The Senegal international could be set to leave the Turkish Super Lig club less than seven months after joining them from Tianjin Teda in January.

Diagne scored 12 goals in 17 league games in the second half of the 2017-18 campaign – a run that attracted interests from England.

Ayew, Bolasie close to joining Fenerbahce

Swansea City forward and Ghana international Andre Ayew is close to joining Fenerbahce on a season-long loan, according to Ghanasoccernet .

Ayew who returned to the Liberty Stadium from West Ham in January, is keen on top-flight football after the Swans were demoted to the Championship last season.

Meanwhile Fanatik reports that the Turkish Super Lig side representatives are in England to convince Everton winger Yannick Bolasie over a loan move this summer.

The DR Congo international has struggled for form at the Goodison Park due to an anterior cruciate ligament injury that ruled him out for over a year.

Stoke want Liverpool’s Sheyi Ojo in Shaqiri deal

Stoke City want Liverpool winger Sheyi Ojo as part of the deal to take Xherdan Shaqiri to Anfield, according to The Sun .

The Potters are in talks with last season’s Champions League finalist to take the Anglo-Nigerian on loan as Shaqiri edges closer to a £13.5million move to the Merseyside club.

Ojo was on loan at Fulham last season and played a key part in ensuring the Cottagers return to the English top-flight next season.

Brighton in talks for Yves Bissouma swoop

Brighton and Hove Albion are in talks with French Ligue 1 club Lille over a summer swoop for midfielder Yves Bissouma,  according to DailyMail .

The Mali international is priced at £17.7 million and still has three years left in his contract with the Stade Pierre-Mauroy outfit.

Bissouma who moved to the French top-flight from Real Bamako in 2016, has attracted interests from Everton, Schalke 04, Tottenham Hotspur and Monaco.

Badou Ndiaye set for Galatasaray return

Senegal international Badou Ndiaye is for a return to Galatasaray this summer – after spending less than seven months in the English Premier League, Milliyet claims.

Following Stoke City relegation to the Championship, the 27-year-old is pushing for a move to the Turkish Super Lig and he is ready for a €750,000 pay cut from his current earning of €2.75 million per-year at the bet365 Stadium.

Chelsea agree to end Koulibaly hunt

Chelsea will no longer chase Senegal international Kalidou Koulibaly after reaching an agreement with Napoli to sign just Maurizio Sarri and Jorginho, according to Napoli CalcioLive .

Jorginho is expected to join Sarri at the Stamford Bridge when he succeeds Antonio Conte but the Italian club will still have Jose Callejon, Elseid Hysaj and the centre-back in Naples.

Koulibaly has been strongly linked with the Blues this summer following his fine defensive displays last season.

Nabil Maaloul leaves Tunisia for Qatari club

Nabil Maaloul has joined Qatar Stars League champions Al Duhail after leaving his position as Tunisia coach.

The 55-year-old guided the north African country to the World Cup in Russia as his side managed a win and two defeats before their group stage exit.

Check the full story on Goal! 

Lyon turn to Ziyech as Fekir’s replacement

With Nabil Fekir set for new Liverpool talks after the 2018 Fifa World Cup, Lyon have opened negotiations with Ajax for Hakim Ziyech’s permanent switch, Mirror reports.

The Ligue 1 club are ready to beat Roma and Liverpool to the signing of the 25-year-old who is yet to confirm a new home after disclosing his intention of leaving Holland.

Last month, Ajax boss Erik ten Hag revealed that the Morocco international has a deal in place elsewhere .

Wahbi Khazri close to joining Saint-Etienne

Tunisia international Wahbi Khazri is finalising his permanent move from Sunderland to French top-flight club Saint-Etienne, Fox Sports claims.

The 27-year-old is set to ink a four-year deal with Les Verts that will see him earn an annual salary of €4 million [ £3.5 million].

Khazri was on loan at Rennes last campaign where he returned nine goals in 24 matches across all competitions.

Genoa approach Christian Kouame

Genoa have offered Serie B side Cittadella €4 million [£3.5 million] for the signing of Ivorian forward Christian Kouame, according to Football365 .

The 20-year-old could be heading to the Italian top-flight this summer after an impressive form of 12 goals and 11 assists in 43 league appearances last term.

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Four more years! Mbappe-inspired France can create a football dynasty

France’s path to World Cup glory began with the bitter taste of defeat.

Two years ago, with Les Bleus expected to claim the Euro 2016 title on home soil, they came up short against Portugal. An extra-time goal from Eder consigned them to a devastating 1-0 loss in front of nearly 76,000 fans at Stade de France. It was a harsh lesson in game management and tournament football, one that forced Didier Deschamps to assess both his personnel and tactics.

At times, their progression has not been obvious. Deschamps initially failed to impose a clear identity on his side, who stumbled and stuttered their way through qualifying before arriving in Russia without having settled upon a formation or clear game plan.

Their 4-2 victory over Croatia in Moscow on Sunday was the result of four weeks of intense development, in which the coach and his squad showed that they had learned from their European Championship heartbreak.

First and foremost, France made themselves difficult to beat. They produced the tournament’s outstanding defensive performance in the semi-final win over Belgium and were largely superb at the back. When big mistakes were made, these came in moments in which they already had insurance. 

While they served to frustrate neutrals due to their preference for a safety-first approach when they had a whole arsenal of attacking talent, the maturity and streetwise attitude of the team was formidable. 

“We had imperfections,” Deschamps admitted shortly after lifting the trophy. “We had some today. We didn’t do everything well but we showed decisive mental and psychological qualities in this World Cup, in which controlling possession was not enough.”

They managed their games almost flawlessly throughout, solved whatever problems were put in their way and played magnificent, measured, tournament football.  

It was the performance of a team at its peak – and yet what is most exciting about this France side is that so many of their players are so far from their zenith.

Of the 32 teams that arrived in Russia in the middle of June, only Nigeria could boast a younger squad.

From the 11 players that Deschamps started on Sunday, only Olivier Giroud, Blaise Matuidi and possibly Hugo Lloris are unlikely to be challenging for a place in the squad in 2022. The trio are all 31 – everyone else was aged 27 or younger. 

In the entire 23-man panel, only eight are aged 26 or over, and two of those are goalkeepers, Lloris and Steve Mandanda. 

Didier Deschamps PS

Counting only the players who were given game time, France had an average age of 25 years and 10 months – only the Brazil team of 1970 have won the cup with a younger squad, and only by a month.

Deschamps has not yet spoken of the future beyond confirming that he will remain in charge, but when he does, he will have to recognise that he is leading what has become the team to beat in world football.

When the World Cup rolls into Qatar in around four-and-a-half years, France will undoubtedly travel as one of the favourites. And so they should – Sunday’s success has teed them up for a generation of success.

Many of their young squad will be approaching their peak in 2022, while Mbappe could feasibly play the final of that competition two days before he turns 24 on December 20. 

They already have all the tools required to win the competition. Beyond the all-important winning mentality, they have a flexibility to play in several different ways, having won a slugging match with Argentina in the last 16 before coming out on top in a chess game against Belgium in the semi-finals.

Deschamps also has a depth of quality that is the envy of anyone in the international game. Indeed, it is to the team’s credit that there is no individual who is utterly key to how it performs.

France Croatia World Cup 15072018

Talents such as Kingsley Coman, Adrien Rabiot, Anthony Martial and Alexandre Lacazette did not even make the 23-man squad for Russia yet will all have set themselves the long-term ambition of making up part of the group that travels to the next World Cup. 

And there is no dearth of talent coming through the youth ranks, with a raft of promising players currently working their way through the academy systems at the likes of Rennes, Lyon, Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain. 

This ability to produce youngsters of the highest quality in France, develop them at first-team level and then sell them on to top clubs is reaping rewards for individuals, clubs and for the national team.

The exposure to senior football early is a theme that runs throughout the current team and has allowed Deschamps’ side to flourish young.

Mbappe epitomises this more than anyone else, having been handed his Monaco debut as a 16-year-old then thrust into the spotlight of the Champions League less than a year later. His progress has been astounding. 

“I want to do even better but being a world champion already is good,” he told TF1 after winning the award for the tournament’s outstanding young player – a gong it was barely worth even voting for given his outstanding World Cup.

If he and his squad can retain the hunger and togetherness they have shown over the last four weeks over the next four years, they have the potential to become one of the truly great international sides.

France have had their first taste of glory in 20 years, but with this generation, it is hard to imagine they will have to wait that long before another major title follows.

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Golden Glove winner Courtois refused to watch ‘anti-football’ France win World Cup final

Chelsea and Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has admitted that he turned his TV off during Sunday’s World Cup final as he didn’t want to see France win.

The Belgium shot-stopper helped his side finish third in the competition, beating England 2-0 in the third-fourth place playoff on Saturday, but after losing out to France in the semi-finals he could not stand to watch as Les Bleus stormed to a 4-2 victory over Croatia in Moscow.

A Mario Mandzukic own goal got France underway, and though Ivan Perisic hit back, a controversial Antoine Griezmann penalty was followed by second-half efforts from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe to push them clear.

Mandzukic took advantage of a terrible error from Hugo Lloris to add a little excitement to the game late on, but Courtois, who branded France an “anti-football team”, had no intention of viewing until the end.

“I watched the final, but I turned off my TV in the 94th minute, I didn’t want to see France celebrating their win,” the 26-year-old told RTBF . “But I didn’t miss the whole thing.”

Courtois claimed the Golden Glove, the award for the best goalkeeper at World Cup 2018, and he concedes that made him turn the TV back on after full-time.

“When my mates told me, I turned on the TV again and went back to it live,” he said. “It’s an incredible honour.

“I’m glad that I had a lot of moments that helped the team, but that was not the most important thing. I wanted to go as far as possible.”

Courtois has become just the second Golden Glove-winning goalkeeper not to have lifted the World Cup trophy.

The only one before him was Germany custodian Oliver Kahn, who helped his country to the final of the 2002 competition, in which they were defeated 2-0 by Brazil. The legendary Bayern Munich keeper also lifted the Golden Ball award for being the best player overall at that competition.

Third-placed Belgium enjoyed their best performance ever at a World Cup, having previously finished fourth in the 1986 edition. 

Eden Hazard, who was another major component of their success, finished second in the Golden Ball voting behind Croatia’s Luka Modric but ahead of Griezmann.

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Ronaldo arrives for Juventus medical ahead of sensational €100m transfer

Cristiano Ronaldo is undergoing a medical with Juventus as he finalises a sensational transfer from Real Madrid.

The striker agreed terms last week over a €100 million (£88m/$117m) switch to Serie A, a move that shook the world of football in the middle of the World Cup. 

Under the deal, Ronaldo will receive a bumper €30 million (£26.5m/$35m) a season contract that will run for the next four years. 

And, ahead of a presentation as Juve’s latest summer signing on Monday afternoon, he is in Turin to complete the formalities of the transfer. 

Ronaldo will be put through his paces in a series of physical tests before being introduced to the world as a Bianconeri player. 

On Sunday he was snapped landing at Caselle airport in the company of partner Georgina Rodriguez.

Having spent a night in new surroundings, the 33-year-old was back under the spotlight on Monday morning as he headed for his medical.

A jubilant Juve fan base got their first look at the club’s new arrival, with thousands of supporters in attendance at the J-Medical centre – with many chanting “Ronaldo, bring us the Champions League”.

Ronaldo moves to Serie A after nine trophy and record-laden seasons at Madrid, where he arrived in turn from Manchester United in 2009. 

The Portugal star lifted an incredible four Champions League trophies with the Merengue, including three in the last three seasons. 

Madrid also took the Liga title twice during his time at the club, while Ronaldo was honoured with four Ballon d’Or awards. 

In total the striker smashed 450 goals in 438 official Madrid games, a strike-rate of over a goal a game and a mark that establishes him as the highest scorer in Blancos history.

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