Monthly Archives: December 2016

Leicester City to sign Genk midfielder Wilfred Ndidi for £15m

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Leicester City has agreed a deal to sign Genk’s Wilfred Ndidi in a deal worth £15m plus £3.5m in potential add-ons.

Born in Lagos, Ndidi was discovered by Manchester United’s Belgium scout Roland Janssen at a youth tournament in 2013. He joined Genk in 2015 and has made 62 league appearances for the Belgian club and scored four goals.

The midfielder had the first part of his medical in December and is looking to conclude the final part of the tests to join the Foxes on 1 January.

For Leicester’s part, they have applied for a work permit for the 20-year-old and will be able to announce the deal once that has come through.

The Premier League champions also had to wrestle the deal from other interested European clubs in the process. Their manager, Claudio Ranieri, sees him as the perfect replacement for French defensive midfielder N’Golo Kante, who joined Chelsea in the summer.

Leicester have struggled to replicate their performances during their title-winning campaign without the presence of the French international, and Ranieri hopes Ndidi will adapt to the Premier League quickly and help the club propel away from the relegation zone.

The club had dropped to 16th place in the Premier League table following a 2-0 defeat by Everton on Boxing day, three points above the relegation zone.

Liverpool cuts gap against Chelsea with victory over Stoke

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Liverpool cut the gap against Chelsea and took second place at the Premier League table after an energetic 4-1 victory over Stoke City.

Jon Walters headed home to give Stoke an early lead at Anfield, highlighting the home team’s persisting vulnerability in defence.

Joe Allen, a former Liverpool player, almost doubled the visitors’ lead when Jordan Henderson and Dejan Lovren failed to clear. The Welshman weaved his way into the area and shot low towards the far corner, forcing opposition keeper Simon Mignolet to produce a vital save with his foot.

However, Liverpool managed to respond positively, taking control of the game as Adam Lallana equalized by sweeping home from an acute angle after Glen Johnson failed to clear the danger inside his six-yard box. Robert Firmino then managed to somehow turn unchallenged in the box, and with a low shot bouncing in off the far and then near post gave Liverpool the lead one minute before half-time.

Jurgen Klopp’s men had the win in the bag, which moves them one point ahead of third-placed Manchester City – whom they play on New Year’s Eve – when Giannelli Imbula directed Divock Origi’s cross into his own net.

Striker Daniel Sturridge then completed the scoreline by picking up Ryan Shawcross’s careless back pass, rounding keeper Lee Grant and rolling the ball in to score his first league goal of the season.

The strong scoreline cuts the gap for Liverpool against Chelsea down to six, setting a perfect showdown as they host the Blues on New Year’s Eve, as Pep Guardiola’s men came off a convincing 3-0 victory against bottom team Hull City themselves.

Meanwhile, having recovered from a terrible start to the season, Stoke now find themselves in another poor run with four winless games, although there is a seven-point cushion between them and the relegation zone.

Crystal Palace dismisses manager Alan Pardew

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Crystal Palace dismissed manager Alan Pardew after almost two years in charge following a string of disastrous results.

Sam “Big Sam” Allardyce is the bookmakers’ favourite to replace Pardew; his representative was understood to have talks with Palace’s chairman, Steve Parish, on Thursday evening.

Pardew was appointed on a three-and-a-half-year deal in January 2015, but the 55-year-old has been dismissed after a run of one victory in 11 games.

Crystal Palace also lost eight of their past 10 league games, and 22 over the calendar year, to slump to within a point of the Premier League relegation zone.

“I would just like to take the opportunity to thank everybody at Crystal Palace for their fantastic support,” Pardew said in a statement following his dismissal. “In particular a big thanks to the players who gave me absolutely everything and Steve Parish and his board.”

“Personally I have a lot of good feelings for this football club and am sad that my time there has ended. I feel that I have a special bond with the club and hope that hasn’t been affected.”

“Relegation is so costly and I feel, with no blame attached, we got ourselves in a rut and need a change,” Parish said.

“We hope a change will change things. We all bought into the decision to play a more expansive style of football. We all believed in it. That hasn’t worked. It’s no one’s fault. The players have been running their socks off for Alan, the spirit is good. But now we’re going to wind the dial back the other way.”

Meanwhile, Palace is yet to confirm who will take charge of the team for their league fixture at Watford on Boxing Day.

PSG and Wolfsburg reaches agreement for Julian Draxler

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Paris Saint-Germain have reached an agreement with VfL Wolfsburg for the transfer of Julian Draxler during the upcoming January transfer window.

Both parties are understood to have struck a deal of €35 million with the potential to rise by another €10 million in bonuses for the man from Gladbeck, which both parties find acceptable.

Draxler, 23, has also already spoken with PSG’s director of football Patrick Kluivert, and sources claimed that only the finishing touches are missing from a three or four-and-a-half-year contract at Parc des Princes for the 2014 FIFA World Cup winner.

PSG is also reportedly keen to try and sign Draxler’s team-mate Ricardo Rodriguez, but any deal would see Rodriguez first loaned back to Wolfsburg for the final six months of the season.

Draxler started his career with Schalke 04 and enjoyed four promising years at Veltins-Arena before making the move to Wolfsburg’s Volkswagen Arena. But as the club faltered partly due to the financial impact of VW’s emissions scandal, they find themselves fighting relegation.

The versatile attacker has also been criticised for his attitude with Wolfsburg this season after failing to secure a move away this summer. But he did assist Mario Gomez’s goal in the 2-1 away win over Borussia Monchengladbach on Tuesday – in what is now expected to be his final action for Die Wolfe.

Meanwhile, the likely arrival of Draxler could opened the door for Jese Rodriguez to leave Paris in January, as PSG enter talks with the Spaniard’s hometown club of UD Las Palmas over a loan deal until the end of the season.

Jese has already agreed to the temporary switch and it is now up to the two clubs to find an agreement.