SI Staff
Sunday July 3rd, 2016

The summer transfer window is open, and clubs looking to retool and restock for a run at the league and European titles are already splashing their cash. 

Manchester United, with Jose Mourinho at the helm, has already lured Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan and figures to be a big player throughout the summer yet again as it aims to rejoin England and Europe's elite. Across town, Pep Guardiola is sure to mold Manchester City into his image, and that process has already begun with the signing of Spain forward Nolito and Germany midfielders Ilkay Gundogan and Leroy Sane, with the promise of more on the way.

The spending has already commenced elsewhere, with Bayern Munich, PSG and Borussia Dortmund all positioning themselves for success, while Barcelona has made perhaps its most important move by keeping Neymar put with a new long-term deal.

Scroll below for all of the major moves around Europe's top leagues this summer as they unfold.

Associated Press
Thursday August 18th, 2016

WOLFSBURG, Germany (AP) — Wolfsburg says it has signed Germany striker Mario Gomez from Italian Serie A side Fiorentina.

The Bundesliga club gave no details of the transfer fee or the contract, but German media reported that Wolfsburg is paying around seven million euros ($7.9 million) for the 31-year-old's services.

Wolfsburg general manager Klaus Allofs says, "he and his ambitions go perfectly with us."

Gomez, who has scored 29 goals in 68 appearances for Germany, played last season on loan at Turkish side Besiktas but said he didn't want to continue with the side due to the political situation in the country.

Planet Futbol
Over/Under: European club, season predictions for 2016-17

Gomez previously played 236 Bundesliga games for Stuttgart and Bayern Munich, scoring 138 goals.

Wolfsburg said the forward would train with the side for the first time on Thursday.

Associated Press
Monday August 15th, 2016

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Congo international Yannick Bolasie has joined Everton from fellow Premier League club Crystal Palace for a reported fee of 25 million pounds ($32.25 million).

Everton announced the signing of Bolasie on a five-year deal Monday, with the 27-year-old winger saying "it was a no-brainer to come here."

Bolasie, a tricky and explosive forward, said "it's not about the money for me. It's about looking at the ambition of the club and where they are trying to get to."

Everton, which has greater financial power since Iranian-British businessman Farhad Moshiri became majority shareholder in February, bought center half Ashley Williams—the Wales captain—from Swansea last week.

Everton manager Ronald Koeman, formerly coach of Southampton, said "Yannick is a player who has been a long time on my radar."

Associated Press
Monday August 8th, 2016

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester United has made Paul Pogba the world's most expensive footballer, signing the France midfielder for around 105 million euros ($116 million) four years after releasing him for virtually nothing.

Pogba signed a five-year deal with an option for a further year, United announced early Tuesday as new manager Jose Mourinho continues to rebuild a team that is out of the Champions League this season.

Pogba was a promising 19-year-old when he left the northern England club after his contract expired, having only made seven appearances as a substitute. He joined Juventus, which reportedly had to pay 800,000 pounds (now around $1 million).

Pogba returns as one of the brightest young talents in the game after winning four successive Serie A titles, and for a fee that eclipses the 101 million euros that Real Madrid spent to sign Gareth Bale from Tottenham in 2013.

"It has always been a club with a special place in my heart and I am really looking forward to working with Jose Mourinho," Pogba said. "I feel the time is right to go back to Old Trafford. I always enjoyed playing in front of the fans and can't wait to make my contribution to the team. This is the right club for me to achieve everything I hope to in the game."

Planet Futbol
Pogba's place in Manchester United's lineup will have strong ripple effect

Juventus has already spent most of the windfall from Pogba's departure, signing Gonzalo Higuain from Italian rival Napoli for 90 million euros ($99 million) earlier this week. That ranked as the third-most expensive transfer in world football — after Gareth Bale's 101 million euro move from Tottenham to Real Madrid in 2013 and Cristiano Ronaldo's 94 million euro deal from Manchester United to Real Madrid in 2009.

Pogba is United's fourth signing since Mourinho replaced Louis van Gaal as manager of the record 20-time English champions.

"Paul is one of the best players in the world and will be a key part of the United team I want to build here for the future," Mourinho said. "He is quick, strong, scores goals and reads the game better than many players much older than he is. At 23, he has the chance to make that position his own here over many years."

Planet Futbol
Paul Pogba's four-year road from free transfer to world's most expensive player

Defender Eric Bailly, midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan and striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic have already joined to help United return to the Champions League. In the upcoming season, they will have to settle with playing in the Europa League. The same agent, Mino Raiola, represents Ibrahimovic, Mkhitaryan and Pogba.

United will be hoping the newcomers, signed at a collective cost of $190 million, can deliver the team's first Premier League trophy since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.

Pogba's expensive return to Old Trafford follows a bitter split. Ferguson accused Pogba of not showing United "any respect" and insisted he was happy to let Pogba leave in 2012, three years after joining from French club Le Havre. For his part, Pogba said he was unhappy at a lack of first-team opportunities under Ferguson, especially when there were injuries in the squad.

Although Pogba illuminated the Italian league last season at Juventus, he wasn't as dynamic or influential for France at the European Championship, where his team lost to Portugal in the final.

Clubs usually pay record amounts of cash on strikers or attacking midfielders who can guarantee goals and regular game-changing moments. Pogba is different in this respect—he is an energetic central midfielder with a strong all-round game—so United has been criticized by some pundits for the fee it is paying.

Planet Futbol
After Pogba: Which other big names may move in the summer transfer window?

Yet, Mourinho believes Pogba has the potential to be the best player in the world and will be worth the money.

"He is young and will continue to improve," Mourinho said. "He has the chance to be at the heart of this club for the next decade and beyond."

It is 20 years since an English club paid a world-record fee, with Blackburn spending 15 million pounds to sign Alan Shearer.

The Premier League has finally ended the trend of elite players moving to the two big Spanish clubs, Barcelona and Madrid, or German powerhouse Bayern Munich. And it's a statement of intent by United after three years in the wilderness following Ferguson's retirement at the start of a new era under Mourinho.

 

Associated Press
Tuesday August 9th, 2016

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — John Stones became the second most expensive defender in football history on Tuesday, joining Manchester City for 47.5 million pounds ($62 million) as the latest solution to the club's defensive issues.

Embarrassingly for City, the club was beaten to the announcement of its latest high-profile signing by UEFA, which listed Stones in the English team's squad for the Champions League playoff round about 45 minutes before City tweeted the center back had joined.

Stones, who signed a six-year deal, is second behind David Luiz in the all-time list of the game's most expensive defenders—despite not being a regular at former club Everton last season. Luiz joined Paris Saint-Germain from Chelsea for 50 million pounds in 2014.

City regards Stones as one of the best young defenders in Europe and was keen to make another expensive attempt to improve its back line, after spending an estimated 60 million pounds on Eliaquim Mangala and Nicolas Otamendi over the past two seasons. Neither of those players has looked assured, and City is still heavily reliant on injury-prone captain Vincent Kompany.

"I know it will be tough getting a place in this team," the 22-year-old Stones said, "but I'm determined to become the best player I can be and help us to success."

Planet Futbol
Pogba's place in Manchester United's lineup will have strong ripple effect

Stones is City's eighth signing under new coach Pep Guardiola, and his arrival took the club's offseason spending to around $200 million.

He is a tall defender with composure, a good technique and is comfortable on the ball—Stones has been compared to former Man United and England center back Rio Ferdinand—but has been criticized by some pundits for his languid style and he made mistakes at Everton last season.

Stones was selected in England's squad for this year's European Championship but didn't make an appearance.

"We want to help John show his quality with us and improve on what he has already achieved," Guardiola said. "I like the way he plays the game."

Stones, who had a transfer request at Everton rejected last year following repeated bids by Chelsea, has been heavily linked with City since the end of last season. But he still hadn't officially joined City by the time UEFA listed Stones in the team's squad for the Champions League playoff round against Steaua Bucharest. The first leg is in Romania next Tuesday, before the return match on Aug. 24 in Manchester.

Planet Futbol
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UEFA required playoff-round clubs to submit a list of eligible players by 2200 GMT on Monday. Champions League rules let one more newly signed player be added to the list by 2200 GMT on the day before the first-leg match.

City's defense has struggled without Kompany, who has been injured for long spells in recent seasons and is currently sidelined with a groin problem. Guardiola may have decided he cannot rely on the Belgium international to be fit, choosing to bring in Stones to improve his options.

Mangala, signed for a reported 42 million pounds in 2014, wasn't included in City's squad for the Champions League fixtures, leaving his future at Etihad Stadium in the balance.

City starts the Premier League season at home to Sunderland on Saturday.

Associated Press
Monday August 8th, 2016

PARIS (AP) — French champion Paris Saint-Germain bolstered its attack by recruiting Spanish forward Jese on a five-year deal from Real Madrid.

Jese became the fifth player hired by the French champions this offseason after Hatem Ben Arfa, Grzegorz Krychowiak, Thomas Meunier and Giovani Lo Celso.

The 23-year-old Jese scored 13 goals in 62 league matches with Madrid over the last three seasons, and also featured in 15 Champions League matches.

Jese, who will work with new PSG coach Unai Emery, can play either in a central role or wide and is likely to be used as a second-choice striker behind Edinson Cavani.

"I am delighted to join Paris Saint-Germain, who have become one of Europe's most competitive clubs," Jese said. "Like Paris Saint-Germain, I have big ambitions for the coming seasons and it will be a great pleasure to work under the direction of Unai Emery, who has developed an excellent reputation in Spain, and across Europe, for his quality as a coach. I can't wait to begin this next challenge of my career."

Planet Futbol
After Pogba: Which other big names may move in the summer transfer window?

No financial details of the deal were disclosed but French newspaper L'Equipe valued the transfer at 25 million euros ($28 million).

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, whose main goal this season is to win the Champions League, said Jese's "speed and creative qualities will complement our excellent attacking players."

"With Jese, our squad is now, more than ever, armed to confront the coming challenges and meet the expectations of our fans," Al-Khelaifi said.

Associated Press
Monday August 8th, 2016

LONDON (AP) — West Ham has broken the club's transfer record to sign Ghana forward Andre Ayew from Swansea for 20.5 million pounds ($26.75 million).

West Ham announced the signing of Ayew on Monday, when the Premier League club also brought in left back Arthur Masuaku from Olympiakos on a four-year deal.

The 26-year-old Ayew joined on a three-year deal, with the option of two more years. He played alongside current West Ham star Dimitri Payet at Marseille.​

Ayew scored a team-high 12 goals last season for the Swans. It was the most he has scored in a single league season in his career, besting the 11 he scored at Marseille in 2010-11.

Associated Press
Saturday August 6th, 2016

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester City has signed another young South American forward, bringing in Colombia international Marlos Moreno on a five-year deal.

City announced the arrival of the 19-year-old Moreno in the same week the English club signed Brazil forward Gabriel Jesus, who is also rated as one of the continent's best young attackers. City said Saturday that Moreno, the seventh offseason signing under Pep Guardiola, will be loaned to Spanish team Deportivo La Coruna for the upcoming season.

No transfer fee was disclosed.

Moreno starred for Atletico National in the team's Copa Libertadores-winning campaign last season. He is in Colombia's squad at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Associated Press
Wednesday August 3rd, 2016

Manchester City signed one of Brazil's most highly rated forwards on Wednesday to continue the club's recruitment drive under new coach Pep Guardiola this offseason.

Gabriel Jesus, who is the top scorer in the Brazilian league with Palmeiras and a member of Brazil's Olympic team, completed his move to City for a reported 27 million pounds ($36 million). It took City's offseason spending to more than $130 million, following the arrival of Leroy Sane, Ilkay Gundogan, Nolito and Oleksandr Zinchenko.

The 19-year-old Gabriel Jesus has agreed to a 4 1/2-year deal starting January 2017. He will remain at Palmeiras until the end of the year so he can finish the Brazilian season with his title-chasing team.

"He is one of the most exciting young prospects in world football and plays the game in a spectacular way," said Txiki Begiristain, City's director of football.

Planet Futbol
Another Olympic men's soccer failure will be 'taking a 7-1' all over again for Brazil

Gabriel Jesus, who was named "best newcomer" in the 2015 Serie A Campeonato, is a speedy attacker who can play anywhere across the front line. He has been a constant in Brazil's youth squads.

"He is formidable," Brazil Olympic coach Rogerio Micale said. "He is still growing as a player and has some things to improve, but that's normal. Neymar went through the same process before he was able to achieve everything that he has achieved."

Gabriel Jesus said he was pleased to sign for "one of the best clubs in the world."

"We have many great talents in the team," he said, "and a fantastic manager in Pep Guardiola that I can learn so much from."

Associated Press
Tuesday August 2nd, 2016

Manchester City took its offseason spending close to $100 million under coach Pep Guardiola by signing Germany winger Leroy Sane from Schalke on Tuesday.

The 20-year-old Sane joined City for a reported $49 million, making him the most expensive German player ever and the costliest signing by a Premier League team this offseason. The English club didn't disclose the transfer fee.

Germany midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, Spain forward Nolito and Ukraine attacking midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko are the other main signings since Guardiola took over as coach in June. City has also been heavily linked with a bid for Everton center back John Stones, who is thought to have a price tag of about $66 million.

Sane, who can play anywhere across the front line and is one of Europe's most highly rated young players, said the presence of Guardiola was key to him joining City.

"I followed Pep at Barcelona and at Bayern where he achieved a lot and worked really well with young players," Sane said. "I think he can make me a more complete player.

"I think I will need a bit of time to start with because it's another league and there's a different style of play but I think I can adapt very quickly."

Sane played 42 games for Schalke last season, scoring nine goals. He also broke into Germany's national side and was a member of the squad at this year's European Championship.

He will compete for a place in City's attacking lineup with Nolito, Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Jesus Navas.

Guardiola described Sane as "a special talent and an exciting player."

"There is much to admire about the way he plays football," the Spanish coach said. "He is fast, enjoys creating chances for others, works hard for the team and scores goals, too."

Schalke signed Baba Rahman on a season-long loan from Chelsea. The Ghanaian left back failed to establish himself as a regular in his only season in the Premier League.

Associated Press
Wednesday August 3rd, 2016

LONDON (AP) — English Premier League champion Leicester signed Poland winger Bartosz Kapustka on Wednesday, adding more depth to its squad ahead of a first appearance in European competition in 16 years.

The 19-year-old Kapustka, who played at this year's European Championship, became Leicester's fifth signing of the offseason. Manager Claudio Ranieri is increasing competition and numbers in his squad, with Leicester also playing in the Champions League this season following its improbable Premier League title triumph.

Leicester said Kapustka has signed from Cracovia on a five-year deal, and didn't disclose a transfer fee.

GALLERY: Leicester's road to the 2015-16 EPL title

Goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler, defender Luis Hernandez, midfielder Nampalys Mendy and striker Ahmed Musa have also arrived at King Power stadium.

Associated Press
Tuesday August 2nd, 2016

BREMEN, Germany (AP) — Werder Bremen says it has signed Germany forward Max Kruse from Bundesliga rival Wolfsburg.

The 28-year-old Kruse, who previously played for the club between 2006 and 2009, joined after passing a medical examination on Tuesday. The club did not disclose the length of his contract, nor the transfer fee.

Bremen coach Viktor Skripnik says, "Max is flexible across the attack and gives us more options for our game. We paid attention to his (season) preparations and are certain that he can make an immediate impact on the pitch."

Kruse played for St. Pauli, Freiburg and Borussia Monchengladbach before joining Wolfsburg last summer. Altogether, he has scored 42 goals in 166 Bundesliga games.

Kruse has made 14 appearances for Germany but was dropped ahead of Euro 2016.

Associated Press
Monday August 1st, 2016

WOLFSBURG, Germany (AP) — Wolfsburg has signed Poland midfielder Jakub Blaszczykowski from Bundesliga rival Borussia Dortmund.

Wolfsburg says the 30-year-old Blaszczykowski signed a deal to 2019. Both clubs agreed not to disclose the transfer fee. Kicker magazine reports a fee of around 5 million euros ($5.6 million).

Wolfsburg sporting director Klaus Allofs says, "Blaszczykowski is a player that will do any team good. Not only because of his footballing capabilities, but also because he is a model of dedication, commitment and passion and because he gives 100% to his team."

Blaszczykowski, who played 197 Bundesliga games for Dortmund, winning the league in 2011 and 2012, spent last season on loan at Serie A side Fiorentina.

Injuries hampered his time in Italy, though he impressed at Euro 2016 with Poland.

Associated Press
Monday August 1st, 2016

MADRID (AP) — Atletico Madrid says it has acquired French striker Kevin Gameiro from rival Spanish club Sevilla.

In exchange, Atletico has agreed to loan Argentine striker Luciano Vietto to Sevilla for one season.

Atletico says Gameiro will sign a four-year contract after undergoing a standard medical exam.

The 29-year-old Gameiro scored 67 goals during three seasons with Sevilla, helping it win three Europa League titles. Gameiro will join countryman Antoine Griezmann and Fernando Torres to form the attack of an Atletico side that reached the final of the Champions League last season.

Atletico did not reveal the financial details of Gameiro's transfer.

Tuesday July 26th, 2016

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Serie A club Juventus has signed forward Gonzalo Higuain from rival Napoli, Juventus general manager Beppe Marotta confirmed to reporters Tuesday.

Higuain, 28, reportedly completed a medical with Juventus over the weekend and agreed to a deal to join the team. with Higuain’s buyout clause reportedly in the range of $98 million. According to BBC.com, the move is the most expensive Italian domestic transfer ever and the third highest of all time

The Argentine striker led Serie A with a league-record 36 goals last season, and had two years left on his deal after joining Napoli from Real Madrid in 2013.

Juventus has been heavily rumored in talks to sell midfielder Paul Pogba to Manchester United for a substantial fee even higher than what Higuain reportedly cost. Higuain would fill a need for Juve up front, with striker Alvaro Morata returning to Real Madrid after the club exercised its buy-back clause.

Higuain had also been linked to Arsenal and Atletico Madrid.

MADRID (AP) — Brazilian club Corinthians says it has agreed to transfer striker Alexandre Pato to Villarreal in Spain.

Corinthians says on its club website that it has "agreed to the final administrative details of the negotiation" for Pato's move to Villarreal. It adds that both clubs have agreed to not release the financial details of the transfer.

The 26-year-old Pato played for AC Milan from 2007 to 2013, before returning to his native Brazil with Corinthians. He played the second half of last season on loan at Chelsea in the English Premier League, making two appearances and scoring one goal.

SI Staff
Monday July 25th, 2016

Wales midfielder Joe Allen is on his way from Liverpool to Stoke City after transferring and signing a five-year deal with the Potters on Monday, the club announced.

Allen, 26, starred for Wales at Euro 2016 in the Dragons' run to the semifinals, and he leaves Liverpool after four years at Anfield. His transfer cost Stoke a fee that could rise to as high as £13 million.

“Joe is a player that Mark [Hughes, Stoke manager] has admired for a considerable amount of time," Stoke CEO Tony Scholes said in a statement. “Therefore, when we became aware of the possibility of bringing him to the club it was something that we were determined to do. We have had to act swiftly to conclude the deal but we are delighted that we have managed to get it over the line.”

Allen is Stoke's second signing of the day after the club inked 19-year-old Egyptian winger Ramadan Sobhi from Al Ahly.

HAMBURG, Germany (AP) — Serbia left winger Filip Kostic has joined Bundesliga club Hamburger SV from relegated Stuttgart.

Hamburg said Kostic, who has played nine times for Serbia, joined on a five-year deal but no financial details were given. The 23-year-old Kostic was one of Stuttgart's better players last season, scoring five league goals.

Hamburg has also strengthened its squad with the signing of 20-year-old Croatia midfielder Alen Halilovic from Barcelona.

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Liverpool has signed midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum from Newcastle in a deal worth a reported 25 million pounds ($33 million).

After signing a five-year contract, Wijnaldum will now travel to Palo Alto in California to join his new teammates on their tour of the United States.

KAY: AC Milan GM thinks his team will be back among elite soon

The 25-year-old Dutchman is manager Juergen Klopp's seventh signing in the summer transfer window, following Loris Karius, Joel Matip, Marko Grujic, Sadio Mane, Ragnar Klavan and Alex Manninger.

Wijnaldum scored 11 goals in 38 league appearances in his first season in England, but is leaving Newcastle following relegation from the Premier League.

Klopp says Wijnaldum "can play a few positions for us and players that come through the Dutch system usually have a good tactical understanding and flexibility."

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona has signed Portugal midfielder Andre Gomes after securing his transfer from rival Spanish club Valencia.

The Liga champions say that Gomes will sign a five-year contract.

A skilled playmaker, Gomes helped Portugal win the European Championship earlier this month.

Transfer Tracker: Follow the latest moves around Europe

Barcelona did not reveal the financial details of the transfer.

The 22-year-old Gomes played for Valencia for the past two seasons after a move from Benfica, where he won the Portuguese league and cup.

He is the Barcelona's fourth summer signing, following the arrivals of Denis Suarez, Samuel Umtiti and Lucas Digne.

DORTMUND, Germany (AP) — Borussia Dortmund says it has signed attacking midfielder Andre Schuerrle from Bundesliga rival Wolfsburg.

By signing Schuerrle to a five-year contract, Dortmund has added a second member of Germany's World Cup winning squad in two days, following Thursday's acquisition of Mario Goetze from Bayern Munich.

KAY: Q&A with A.C. Milan GM Umberto Gandini

Schuerrle, who played for Chelsea before transferring to Wolfsburg in February 2015, provided the cross for Goetze's winning goal against Argentina in extra time of the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil. Both were substitutes.

Schuerrle will be reunited with coach Thomas Tuchel, who was in charge when Schuerrle played for Mainz.

Thursday July 21st, 2016

Your teams on the go or at home. Personalize SI with our new App. Install on iOS or Android.

German midfielder Mario Gotze has signed a €26 million ($28.7 million) contract to return to Borussia Dortmund from Bayern Munich, according to The Guardian.

Gotze wrote on his Facebook page that he regretted deciding to leave Dortmund in 2013.

“Today, three years later and at 24, I look at that decision in a different light,” he said. “I can understand that many fans could not accept my decision. I wouldn’t reach it today either.”

Gotze came up in the Dortmund academy and called Signal Iduna Park his “home.”

Gotze, 24, played three years with Bayern Munich and Pep Guardiola, helping his squad win three Bundesliga titles, two German cups, the FIFA Club World Cup and the UEFA Super Cup. He gained additional international fame when he scored the winning goal for Germany in the 2014 World Cup final.

SI Staff
Wednesday July 20th, 2016

Newly-promoted Premier League side Middlesbrough has bolstered its attacking corps by signing striker Alvaro Negredo on a one-year loan from La Liga side Valencia, the club announced on Wednesday. 

Transfer Tracker: Keep track of all the big moves across Europe

Negredo scored five times in 25 appearances with Valencia last season, and has scored 112 total goals in La Liga in 264 appearances between Valencia, Sevilla, Almeria, and Rayo Vallecano. 

Negredo has previous experience in the Premier League, having joined Manchester City from Sevilla in 2013. He scored 23 times in 49 appearances for Man City before moving to Valencia in 2014. He was also part of Spain's Euro 2012-winning squad. 

 

MUNICH (AP) — Central defender Medhi Benatia is leaving Bayern Munich to join Juventus on loan for one season.

Bayern says Juventus holds an option to sign him to a longer deal.

• Keep up to date with the latest transfer rumors

Benatia played two seasons for Bayern after arriving from Roma.

The arrival of Germany central defender Mats Hummels from Borussia Dortmund made Benatia's departure likely.

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Liverpool sold winger Jordon Ibe and defender Martin Skrtel on Thursday as manager Juergen Klopp reshapes his squad for the new English Premier League season.

The 20-year-old Ibe joined fellow English side Bournemouth for an undisclosed fee, reported in the British media to be 15 million pounds ($20 million). Ibe failed to secure a regular place under Klopp last season.

Keep up to date with the latest transfer rumors

Turkish club Fenerbahce announced the signing of Skrtel for a reported fee of 5 million pounds ($6.7 million).

The Slovakia center back had been at Liverpool since 2008. Dejan Lovren and Mamadou Sakho were mostly preferred last season by Klopp, who added more competition in the position by signing Joel Matip from Schalke.

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Barcelona has signed France left back Lucas Digne to a five-year contract after securing his transfer from Paris Saint-Germain.

Barcelona says it paid PSG 16.5 million euros ($18.3 million), with another 4 million euros depending on results, for the 22-year-old Digne.

Digne's transfer comes a day after the Spanish champions agreed to sign France central defender Samuel Umtiti.

WILSON: Is Real Madrid set for domination after Champions League win?

Digne played for AS Roma on loan last season. He was included on France's squad for this year's European Championship, but didn't play.

He and Umtiti will help rebuild Barcelona's back line after the departures of Dani Alves and Marc Bartra.

Barcelona has also signed Denis Suarez from Villarreal.

SI Staff
Monday July 11th, 2016

Graziano Pelle becomes the latest international star to bolt for China, as the Italy striker has left Southampton for a lucrative move with Shandong Luneng of the Chinese Super League.

Pelle, who scored two goals for Italy at Euro 2016, joins the likes of Ezequiel Lavezzi, Hulk, Gervinho, Ramires, Jackson Martinez, Alex Teixeira and Fredy Guarin as notable names making the move to the ambitious league. The move comes at a reported £13 million transfer fee, and Pelle will reportedly leap into the top 10 earners in the world with his wages at the club.

​Pelle, 30, follows Victor Wanyama (Tottenham) and Sadio Mane (Liverpool) out the exit door at St. Mary's, leaving Southampton in need of replenishing the ranks after a sixth-place finish a season ago. Pelle scored 23 goals in his last two Premier League seasons combined after tallying a total of 50 in two years at Feyenoord.

LEICESTER, England (AP) — English Premier League champion Leicester has made its biggest signing of the offseason, bringing in Nigeria striker Ahmed Musa for a reported club-record fee of 16 million pounds ($20.7 million).

Leicester announced Friday the club has reached an agreement with CSKA Moscow for the transfer of 23-year-old Musa, who has signed a four-year deal. The transfer is subject to approval from the Premier League and the Football Association.

Musa said "I joined because it's one of the best clubs in the Premier League and they are like a family."

The pacey Musa, who can play out wide or as a central striker, has a similar profile to Leicester's No. 1 striker Jamie Vardy.

Musa scored 13 goals in 20 games for CSKA last season.

Musa joins Luis Hernandez, Ron-Robert Zieler and Nampalys Mendy as summer signings for Claudio Ranieri's champions.

SI Staff
Thursday July 7th, 2016

Former Barcelona and out-of-favor Manchester United goalkeeper Victor Valdes has a new home at last. 

Valdes, 34, has moved to promoted Premier League side Middlesbrough on a free transfer, following an 18-month spell at Manchester United in which he played just twice for the club. Valdes was loaned to Belgian side Standard Liege last winter, playing in eight games across all competitions. Valdes was part of Spain's World Cup-winning team in 2010 and its Euro 2012-winning team and also was part of three Champions League titles at Barcelona. 

"You can't imagine how delighted I am because it's not usual to bring players like him to recently promoted teams," Boro manager Aitor Karanka said in a club statement. "I'm really pleased because he is really committed. All the the conversations we've had he knows why he is here and he is coming to add to what we have. He knows how strong this group is. It's a privilege for us to be able to bring a player like this to the club."

Valdes joins Middlesbrough on a two-year deal.

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester United signed prolific attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Borussia Dortmund for a reported fee of $33.5 million on Wednesday as newly hired manager Jose Mourinho continued his squad rebuilding ahead of the Premier League season.

Having already brought in striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and defender Eric Bailly this offseason, Mourinho secured the sought-after signature of Mkhitaryan, an Armenia international who scored 23 goals for Dortmund last season and was the German league's player of the year.

"He is a real team player with great skill, vision and also has a good eye for goal," Mourinho said of the 27-year-old Mkhitaryan.

"I believe he will make an impact on the team very quickly as his style of play is suited to the Premier League."

Mkhitaryan has agreed to a four-year deal with United, with the option of another year. His father, Hamlet, was also a footballer.

Planet Futbol
Mourinho takes dig at Wenger, hints at more Manchester United signings

"I believe playing for such a great club honors my father's memory," Mkhitaryan said, "and the inspiration and drive he gave to me when I was young."

Mkhitaryan also set up 32 goals in all competitions last season, and looks to be the ideal player to add some finishing to United's midfield that labored last season under Louis van Gaal. He made 140 appearances and scored 41 goals for Dortmund after joining from Ukrainian team Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013.

He will likely be one of the three attacking midfielders behind Ibrahimovic in United's lineup this season, probably on the right side, along with Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial.

Mourinho suggested in a news conference at Old Trafford on Tuesday that he wanted to sign four players by the start of the season.

SI Staff
Wednesday July 6th, 2016

Ever Banega is leaving three-time reigning Europa League champion Sevilla for Serie A's Inter Milan, signing a three-year deal with the Italian club.

Banega, 28, spent the last two seasons at Sevilla following a lengthy stint at Valencia that also included loans to Atletico Madrid and Argentina's Newell's Old Boys. Banega, who came up through the Boca Juniors system, was part of Argentina's Copa America runner-up side, and he'll hope to help an Inter side that will miss out on the Champions League yet again after finishing fourth in Italy's top flight last season. 

Banega had 12 goals across all competitions for Sevilla in the last two seasons and he joins countrymen Rodrigo Palacio and Mauro Icardi at Inter, where he'll play for manager Roberto Mancini.

VALENCIA, Spain (AP) — Valencia has signed Portugal forward Nani to a three-year contract.

The 29-year-old Nani arrives to the Spanish league after one season at Turkish club Fenerbahce. Nani is playing for Portugal at the European Championship in France. Portugal plays Wales in the semifinals on Wednesday.

Nani's most successful stint came at Manchester United, where he helped the club win four English Premier League titles and the Champions League crown in 2008.

SI Staff
Monday July 4th, 2016

Manchester City's makeover under Pep Guardiola continued Monday with the signing of 19-year-old Ukraine midfielder Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Zinchenko makes the move from FC Ufa, and he played in all three of Ukraine's group games at Euro 2016. He scored two goals with FC Ufa last season and tallied his first with Ukraine's senior national team against Romania in a pre-Euro 2016 friendly.

Zinchenko joins Ilkay Gundogan, Nolito and Aaron Mooy as new signings headed for the Etihad.

Guardiola himself was just introduced by the club on Sunday. Former Everton and Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has retired to join his coaching staff.

SI Staff
Monday July 4th, 2016

Denis Suarez is headed back to Barcelona after the club exercised its buy-back clause on the 22-year-old Spanish midfielder on Monday.

Suarez, a Celta Vigo and Manchester City youth product, played for Barcelona B in 2013-14 and was loaned from Barcelona to Sevilla in 2014-15 before being transferred to Villarreal for 2015-16, signing a four-year deal. That deal included the repurchase clause, which Barcelona triggered for €3.25 million.

He has signed with Barcelona for the next four seasons, with an option for a fifth that is dependent on his number of appearances in the fourth season, the club announced. His new release clause has been set at €50 million.

Suarez had five goals and 11 assists in all competitions with Villarreal last season.

MONACO (AP) — Poland center back Kamil Glik has joined French club Monaco from Italian side Torino on a four-year deal.

Glik played every minute of Poland's European Championship campaign, which ended with defeat to Portugal on penalties in the quarterfinals. The 28-year-old Glik played five seasons with Torino, becoming the club captain and scoring 12 goals in 154 league games.

Glik, who has made 46 international appearances for Poland, says joining Monaco is "a very exciting new challenge."

Monaco vice president Vadim Vasilyev says Glik is the "experienced central defender we've been looking for."

SI Staff
Sunday July 3rd, 2016

Chelsea signed Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi soon after the Red Devils were eliminated from Euro 2016 with a quarterfinal loss to Wales.

Batshuayi, 22, joins Chelsea from Marseille on a five-year deal. The move is said to have cost Chelsea roughly $44 million. He scored 23 goals and added 10 assists across all competitions for Marseille last season, and his 17 league goals trailed only Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alexandre Lacazette and Edinson Cavani.

"(Fellow Belgium players) Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois have told me many good things about the club, and with Antonio Conte coming in (as coach), it's an exciting time to become a Chelsea player," Batshuayi said in a club statement.

Batshuayi scored once at Euro 2016, doing so with his first touch after coming on as a substitute in Belgium's win over Hungary in the round of 16.

SI Staff
Monday July 4th, 2016

Belgium right back Thomas Meunier is on his way to Paris Saint-Germain from Club Brugge, signing a deal through 2020 with the French champion.

Meunier was a bright spot for Belgium in its run to the Euro 2016 quarterfinals, where it fell to Wales. A presence in the attack, the 24-year-old Meunier was a stout defender in the Belgian top flight, where he had a league-best 88 interceptions, according to PSG. He becomes the third signing for new manager Unai Emery, after France's Hatem Ben Arfa and Poland's Grzegorz Krychowiak joined the capital club. 

Meunier spent the last five seasons at Brugge, and his signing may mean the end of Serge Aurier's time at PSG. The 23-year-old Ivory Coast right back was banned by the team after making insensitive comments about then-manager Laurent Blanc and a number of teammates on a Periscope video in the winter, and he was also arrested after an altercation with police in Paris in May.

SI Staff
Friday July 1st, 2016

A day after Zlatan Ibrahimovic "let the world know" that he was joining Manchester United on Thursday, the Premier League club made it official. 

Manchester United announced the signing of Ibrahimovic from Paris Saint-Germain on Friday, adding the prolific 34-year-old on a free transfer. Ibrahimovic scored 156 goals in 180 games with PSG, winning Ligue 1 titles in all four seasons there. He's won titles in four leagues throughout his career and just capped his international career in Euro 2016, concluding a run that included 62 goals in 116 appearances.

"Zlatan needs no introduction," new Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho said in a statement. "The statistics speak for themselves. Ibra is one of the best strikers in the world and a player who always gives 100%. He has won the most important league championships in the world of football, now he has the opportunity to play in the best league in the world, and I know he will grasp this opportunity and will work hard to help the team win titles. I am certain that his talent will delight fans at Old Trafford next season and that his experience will be invaluable in helping to develop the younger players in the squad."

Ibrahimovic worked with Mourinho when the two were at Inter Milan, and the Swedish striker isn't shy at hiding his feelings of working with the manager who he has lauded repeatedly since that time again.

"I am absolutely delighted to be joining Manchester United and am looking forward to playing in the Premier League," Ibrahimovic said. "It goes without saying that I cannot wait to work with Jose Mourinho once again. He is a fantastic manager and I am ready for this new and exciting challenge. I have thoroughly enjoyed my career so far and have some great memories. I am now ready to create more special memories in England."

Ibrahimovic's first match with United will come August 13 at AFC Bournemouth. His first home match at Old Trafford comes the following Saturday against Southampton.

His first time facing Pep Guardiola, with whom he has a checkered past, will be September 10 in the first Manchester derby of the season.

PARIS (AP) — French champion Paris Saint-Germain has signed Poland midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak from Spanish club Sevilla on a five-year deal, the second signing for new coach Unai Emery.

The 26-year-old Krychowiak was one of Poland's best players as it reached the European Championship quarterfinals, losing to Portugal on penalty kicks.

"I'm coming to Paris to experience strong emotions and to win as many trophies as possible," Krychowiak said. "This new challenge in my career promises to be a passionate one."

No financial details were given, but Krychowiak had three years left on his existing contract.

He also played for two seasons under Emery at Sevilla, winning the Europa League twice.

The combative central midfielder previously played in the French league for Reims, Nantes and Bordeaux.

"It's with great pride that I come back to France to wear the jersey of a club that's as ambitious as Paris Saint-Germain," he said. "Working alongside Unai Emery again obviously counted in my decision."

Planet Futbol
Despite no wins in regulation, Portugal one step from Euro final

He has scored two goals in 38 international appearances for Poland.

On Friday, PSG signed winger Hatem Ben Arfa from Nice on a two-year deal.

During an interview with Le Parisien newspaper in May, PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi praised the fighting spirit and tactical nous shown by Sevilla during its Europa League campaign.

"I'm very happy that Grzegorz Krychowiak is joining us. He's played very well over the past two seasons for Sevilla, especially in Europe," Al-Khelaifi said. "Grzegorz represents the values of rigor and combativeness that are dear to the club, to the fans and to our new coach."

Krychowiak's arrival could push Thiago Motta to the bench. The 33-year-old midfielder played mainly as a substitute for Italy at Euro 2016.

Krychowiak is likely to play in a midfield three alongside Italy starlet Marco Verratti and France midfielder Blaise Matuidi.

"He is without doubt going to be an important member of our squad," Al-Khelaifi said.

Emery replaced Laurent Blanc, who was sacked on Monday.

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Spain international Nolito became City's second signing under new coach Pep Guardiola—after Germany midfielder Ilkay Gundogan—when he joined from Celta Vigo on a four-year deal.

No financial details were disclosed, but British media reported the fee to be 13.8 million pounds ($18.3 million).

The 29-year-old Nolito, who played under Guardiola at Barcelona from 2008-11, can play as a central striker or on the wing and will freshen up City's attack. He started all four of Spain's matches at the European Championship.

"Pep Guardiola is one of the best managers in the world," Nolito said. "He knows a lot about the game and he's going to help me progress as a player, and I'm sure he'll get the best out of me."

Europe's summer transfer window opened for business on Friday and Premier League clubs are set to dominate, even more so than normal. The world's richest domestic league is starting its new domestic and international TV rights deals for 2016-19, worth around 8.3 billion pounds ($11 billion). That's an increase of around 70% from the last deal.

Thursday June 30th, 2016

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Brazilian forward Neymar has signed a new five-year contract with Barcelona, the club announced Friday.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has indicated Thursday that Neymar wanted to remain with the team and that an extension would be finalized soon, and that proved to be the case. Despite rumors that teams such as Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, or Manchester United would make a play at the forward, Bartomeu had said Neymar is “not going to leave.” 

“It is normal that other clubs are interested in him, but I am saying this clearly: Neymar has never told us that he wants to leave,” Bartomeu continued.

If teams wans to pry him from Barcelona before 2021, it'll cost them. Neymar's release clause is set at €200 million for the first year of the contract, €222 million for the second and €250 million for the final three, according to a club statement.

MORE: Neymar, Douglas Costa headline Brazil men's Olympic roster

Neymar himself hinted that his time at Barcelona will be continuing with a Twitter post on Thursday:

Neymar came to Barcelona from Santos in 2013. According to Bartomeu, the extension was derailed due issues with that transfer that resulted in the club paying the Spanish government $16.7 million in back taxes in addition to a $6.1 million fine.

In his three seasons with Barcelona, Neymar has scored 85 goals and won eight trophies.

PARIS (AP) — Winger Hatem Ben Arfa joined French champion Paris Saint-Germain from Nice on a two-year-deal on Friday, becoming new coach Unai Emery's first signing.

Ben Arfa's move follows the best season of his career. He scored 17 league goals last season, many of them spectacular solo goals, to help unheralded Nice finish in fourth place and secure a place in the Europa League. Ben Arfa was among the nominees for the French league player of the season, and earned a recall to the France side, although he missed out on the European Championship.

The 29-year-old Ben Arfa, who grew up on the outskirts of Paris, hailed the move as "a great moment of pride."

He previously played for French clubs Lyon, Marseille, and for English sides Newcastle and Hull.

GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) — Less than 24 hours after being eliminated from the European Championship, Switzerland forward Breel Embolo secured a move to Schalke in the Bundesliga.

Swiss champion Basel and Schalke confirmed Sunday that the 19-year-old striker has signed a five-year contract.

Basel said the fee will not be disclosed, though it is reportedly 25 million euros ($27.8 million).

Schalke revealed Embolo's signing to thousands of fans at its annual members' meeting, with a video message suggesting it beat interest from clubs including Barcelona, Manchester United and Arsenal.

Embolo appeared in the video wearing a Schalke shirt, saying that: "I'm happy to be a Royal Blue."

The Cameroon-born forward played in each of Switzerland's games at Euro 2016 without scoring.

On Saturday, Embolo was a second-half substitute against Poland in the round of 16. Poland won a penalty shootout after the match finished 1-1 after extra time.

Embolo has three Swiss league winner's medals with Basel, and has traded a place in the Champions League group stage for the Europa League with Schalke next season.

LONDON (AP) — Arsenal began its offseason transfer activity early by signing Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka on Wednesday, adding another talented player to the most competitive area of the squad.

Amid calls for the club to sign a prolific striker or a dominant center back, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has again chosen to bolster his midfield by signing a player who captained German side Borussia Monchengladbach to fourth place in the Bundesliga this season.

The fee was undisclosed and the 23-year-old Xhaka will join up with his new club on a "long-term contract" after playing at the European Championship with Switzerland.

"We have been watching him for a long time now," Wenger said, "and he is a player who will add quality to our squad."

Planet Futbol
Premier League superlatives from a storybook 2015-16 season

Xhaka, who has played 41 games for Switzerland, can play as a central midfielder or in the more attacking positions behind the striker. Arsenal already has fierce competition in those areas.

Xhaka has described himself as an "aggressive player and also a leader," characteristics that Arsenal's players have perhaps been lacking since the team's last Premier League title in 2004.

"I'm only 23 but I captained a good team in Germany," Xhaka said.

"It's a fight (in the Premier League)," he added. "I like that but Arsenal can also play football and that's very good."

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Manchester City has signed midfielder Ilkay Gundogan from Borussia Dortmund, the first addition to the squad since Pep Guardiola took charge.

The 25-year-old Germany international, who signed a four-year contract, has been ruled out of the European Championship with a knee injury. Gundogan says after five years at Dortmund "the opportunity to work with a coach like Pep Guardiola is something I am really looking forward to and I am flattered to be the first signing the club has made this summer."

City director of football Txiki Begiristain says he hopes fans enjoy the "work ethic and technical ability" of Gundogan, who he describes as "intelligent and versatile."

City won the League Cup last season and has to contest a playoff to reach the group stage of the Champions League.

TURIN, Italy (AP) — Miralem Pjanic has moved from Roma to Juventus, with the Serie A champion paying 32 million euros ($36 million) for the 26-year-old.

Pjanic scored 30 goals in 185 appearances for Roma after joining from Lyon in 2011. He also weighed in with 12 assists last season.

The Bosnia and Herzegovina midfielder says "It's a great feeling, and I hope to score lots of goals, play well and win. I just want to make the Juve fans happy." Pjanic adds "It's always been difficult to play here against a great side, a great club ... I'm very happy and I hope our opponents will have the same difficulty and we'll win a lot together."

Juventus secured a second consecutive Italian league and cup double in May. It was a fifth successive Serie A title.

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Benfica is selling 18-year-old midfielder Renato Sanches to Bayern Munich for 35 million euros ($40 million), with the Bundesliga champion possibly spending an additional 45 million euros depending on performances.

The Portuguese club said in a statement to the Lisbon stock exchange on Tuesday that Sanches' contract and agreement on meeting unspecified performance targets runs through June 2021. Sanches came through Benfica's junior ranks, and made his first-team debut in the Portuguese league last October. He has 59 appearances, two goals, and earned broad acclaim.

He made his Portugal debut in March, and has two caps. He's a chance to be in the Portugal squad for the European Championship next month.

Bayern said in a statement on its website that Sanches "rates as one of the most talented young players in European football" and that there was "big-name international competition" to sign him. It said he passed a medical in Munich on Monday.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said the club had been following Sanches for a long time.

"Renato is dynamic, a good tackler and a technically skilled midfielder who'll add even more strength to our team," he said.

SI Staff
Friday June 17th, 2016

USA midfield prospect Emerson Hyndman is headed to the Premier League after signing with Bournemouth, the club announced on Friday. 

Hyndman, 20, has been with Fulham since emerging through its academy, but he is out of contract this summer and makes the move up from the League Championship side to the top-flight Cherries on a free transfer. The Dallas native and grandson of former FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman, Emerson Hyndman has three caps with the senior U.S. team–most recently playing in a pre-Copa America tune-up against Puerto Rico–and was the captain in last summer's FIFA Under-20 World Cup. 

Hyndman, a central midfielder, made his debut with Fulham's first team at 18, and he scored a valuable goal in helping keep the club in England's second tier this season against Cardiff, on his 20th birthday, no less.

For more on Hyndamn's rise through Fulham's academy, read Brian Straus's in-depth story on him and the American ties to the London club.

Monday June 27th, 2016

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Former FC Barcelona defender Dani Alves has joined Juventus on a free transfer, the club announced Monday. 

The Brazilian star has signed a two-year deal, which includes an option to extend the contract for 12 months.

Alves spent eight seasons with Barcelona after previously playing for Sevilla and Brazilian club Bahia.

The 33-year-old has won 23 trophies during his time with Barcelona, and has been named to the FIFA FIFPro World XI five times. 

Juventus is coming off winning the Serie A title in 2015–16, the 32nd title in club history. Midfielders Miralem Pjanic and Mario Lemina have also joined the team during the transfer period. 

SI Staff
Tuesday May 10th, 2016

Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich have reached an agreement that will see Mats Hummels join the four-time reigning league champions next season.

Dortmund says the two clubs have reached a deal in principle and that a formal completion of the transfer is expected in the coming days. Bayern says it has agreed on a deal with Hummels through 2021. The news comes in tandem with Bayern signing rising Portuguese star midfielder Renato Sanches from Benfica for $40 million, signing him through 2021 as well.

Hummels played his youth career in the Bayern system and began his professional days with the club. He left for Dortmund on loan from Bayern in 2008 and eventually made a permanent move to Dortmund the following season, where his career took off.

Hummels was on the Germany squad that won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil—scoring the winner against France in the quarterfinals—and has been a captain for Dortmund, which will finish second in the Bundesliga behind Bayern. He will be the third Dortmund player to leave for Bayern in recent seasons, after striker Robert Lewandowski and attacking midfielder Mario Gotze—scorer of Germany's winning goal against Argentina in the World Cup final two years ago.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

SI Staff
Thursday May 12th, 2016

Borussia Dortmund has landed another one of Europe's rising stars. 

Ousmane Dembele will join Dortmund from Ligue 1's Rennes, with the 18-year-old forward signing a deal through 2021, Dortmund announced on Thursday.

Dembele, who turns 19 on Sunday, has been one of the most sought-after prospects in Europe, voted as Ligue 1's best young player after scoring 12 goals in his first season of top-flight action. He reportedly drew interest from the likes of Barcelona, Mancheser City and Manchester United. He joins a Dortmund side that has cultivated some of Europe's top rising talents over the years and will finish second in the Bundesliga behind Bayern Munich. 

"Ousmane can play nearly every position in attack. He is strong one-on-one, he can play with both feet, he is good at nutmegging and dribbling, and he is fast and dangerous in front of goal," Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc said in a statement. "I have nothing but respect when I see how many high profile offers from all over Europe Ousmane has turned back and how he has stood firm about his commitment to BVB over such a long period of time."

The Dembele signing comes on the heels of Bayern luring Mats Hummels back from Dortmund while also signing a rising star of its own, 18-year-old Portuguese midfielder Renato Sanches. Sanches signed for a reported $40 million. The transfer fee for Dembele has not been disclosed.

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