International News - Issue 222



Radamel Falcao's loan move to Manchester United was the major deadline day signing as Premier League summer spending hit a record £835m. Manchester United have signed Colombia striker Radamel Falcao in a £6m season-long loan deal from Monaco. Falcao had been linked during the summer with a move away from the French Ligue 1 side, whom he joined for £50m in May 2013. The 28-year-old scored 11 goals in 20 league appearances for Monaco, and two in three games this season. Falcao was United's second deadline-day arrival after the £13.8m signing of Daley Blind from Ajax. The versatile Netherlands international, 24, has signed a four-year deal with United. Falcao's move, meanwhile, includes an option for United to buy him for £43.5m at the end of the loan spell. The striker told his new club's website:  "Manchester United is the biggest club in the world and is clearly determined to get back to the top. I am looking forward to working with Louis van Gaal and contributing to the team's success at this very exciting period in the club's history." United, like most of Europe's top clubs, had been made aware of Falcao's availability with two days to go in the transfer window. Premier League champions Manchester City opted against pursuing a deal as they could not make space in their squad for the Colombian. Van Gaal said: "When a player of this calibre becomes available, it is an opportunity not to be missed." Falcao had also been linked with Arsenal, as well as Italian champions Juventus and Spanish side Real Madrid.

Arsenal have signed Manchester United forward Danny Welbeck for £16m. The 23-year-old, capped 26 times by England, has signed a five year deal at the Emirates Stadium. Welbeck, who scored 29 goals in 142 United appearances, was told he could leave given the impending arrival of Radamel Falcao on loan from Monaco. The Manchester-born forward, who joined United's academy aged eight, also played 28 times during a loan spell with Sunderland, and made a further eight appearances for Preston. The Black Cats were keen to re-sign Welbeck, a Premier League winner in 2013, while Tottenham were also interested. But he has joined Arsenal, who are without striker Olivier Giroud for up to four months after he broke a leg. The Gunners were not expected to sign a replacement for the Frenchman, but manager Arsene Wenger said on the eve of deadline day the club remained "very active" in the transfer market. Meanwhile, Arsenal's Japanese midfielder Ryo Miyaichi, 21, has joined Dutch side FC Twente on loan for the remainder of the season.

Manchester City's Micah Richards has ended his 12-year stay at the club by joining Fiorentina on a season-long loan deal. The Italian club have paid £3.5m for the defender which will rise to £4.7m if they make the move permanent.The 26-year-old is City's longest serving player. It is understood he turned down a number of offers from Premier League clubs in order to join Fiorentina and is "excited" about the challenge. The versatile defender, who can play at right-back and centre-back, has found his City chances limited under Manuel Pellegrini. He becomes the 24th Englishman to play for a Serie A club. City captain Vincent Kompany tweeted: "#MCFC club legend! Proud to have played 6 years alongside this man. Congratulations and good luck at @ACF_Fiorentina my brother #forzaMicah." Richards, who has made almost 250 appearances for City, has accepted he has to leave to get more games and recapture the form that made him one of the country's most exciting prospects when he first burst on to the scene.

West Ham have announced the signing of the Barcelona midfielder Alex Song on a season-long loan. The 26-year-old Cameroon international struggled to hold down a regular place at Camp Nou after a move from Arsenal in 2012 and returns to the Premier League with the Hammers – who paraded their new addition to fans before their match with Southampton. Clubs throughout Europe were put on alert when it emerged Song would be allowed to leave Barcelona – with West Ham having won the race to take him to Upton Park on a temporary basis despite reported interest from Napoli and Galatasaray. Song revealed it was a conversation with the West Ham manager, Sam Allardyce, that led to his decision to move to east London and he is targeting European qualification. “I had a very good chat with him and that’s why I am coming here. We have to do better than last season. I think the club has very good ambition and I hope we can maybe catch the European positions, because that would be very good for the club. West Ham is looking to be a very, very big club in the future. The club has a great project and it is a very big project with very big ambition. I think it’s great for the fans that the club wants to be one of the biggest in England. That’s why I chose to come here. I always said that if I was to leave [Barcelona] one day I would return to the Premier League. It was a very hard decision when you have options of a lot of clubs who are playing in the Champions League, but at the end of the day I chose West Ham because I wanted to come to the Premier League.”

Manchester City striker Alvaro Negredo has joined Valencia on a season-long loan deal. The Spanish club have an obligation to make the deal for the 29-year-old permanent at the end of the season. Spain international Negredo joined City last summer from Sevilla and scored 23 goals in his debut season to help the club win the Premier League title. However, he failed to score in the last 16 games of the campaign and has not featured for the club this season. Valencia revealed the news of the signing on their official website, stating that Negredo will be officially presented at the Mestalla stadium on Tuesday. After an impressive start to his City career his form tailed off, partly as a result of injury, over the second half of his debut season.

Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez has joined Spanish side Real Madrid on a season-long loan. Real have an option to buy the 26-year-old, who joined United from Guadalajara in 2010, at the end of the deal. The Mexican international is surplus to requirements at United after they agreed to take Colombia striker Radamel Falcao on loan from Monaco. European champions Real were looking to add to their attack following Alvaro Morata's £15.8m move to Juventus. Hernandez, who is under contract with United until June 2016, will provide back-up at the Bernabeu for first-choice striker Karim Benzema.

Manchester United’s agreed a reported €18 million fee with Ajax for the transfer of Dutch international Daley Blind. United confirmed on Saturday morning they had agreed a deal with the Amsterdam club for the versatile 24-year-old. Blind was part of Louis van Gaal’s World Cup squad earlier this summer and is the son of former Dutch defender Danny Blind. The Ajax youth academy product can play in a variety of positions, including left back and in central midfield.

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo was named European Footballer of the Year last Thursday, the Portuguese striker topping the journalists' poll ahead of Germany's World Cup winner Manuel Neuer and Dutchman Arjen Robben. Ronaldo is the fourth recipient of the award, succeeding Franck Ribery, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi. France's Ribery won the award last time around ahead of Messi and Ronaldo. This time Ronaldo prevailed in a vote by 54 European journalists which took place on the sidelines of the draw for the Champions League group stages in Monaco. "I've worked hard for this award, I am very happy, I thank all my team, because without that kind of team individual awards couldn't exist," said the reigning Ballon d'Or title holder, after receiving his award from Uefa chief Michel Platini. Ronaldo failed to sparkle at the World Cup in Brazil where Portugal were eliminated in the first round, but inspired Real Madrid on the European stage. The 29-year-old broke the record for goals, 17, by a player in a Champions League campaign last season as Madrid claimed their tenth European title. "It was amazing, something that Madrid had looked to do for many years," said the striker. "As Madrid players we feel as though you have to win the Champions League. It was a fantastic season - we won the Champions League, the Spanish Cup and the (Uefa) Super Cup."

Chelsea have announced the signing of Queens Park Rangers striker Loic Remy on a four-year deal. Chelsea triggered a £10.5m release clause in Remy's contract on Saturday lunchtime and he was then left out of QPR's squad to face Sunderland last weekend. "I feel very happy and very proud," said Remy, 27. "When I heard Chelsea wanted to sign me I said 'let's go'." Arsenal also made an enquiry for the Frenchman on Saturday night but quickly ended their interest. Chelsea had been seeking to reinforce their attack after Fernando Torres moved to AC Milan on loan. Remy was close to a move to Liverpool earlier on this summer when the Reds also met his release clause but the transfer fell through after reports of a failed medical. Remy scored 14 goals in 26 Premier League appearances for Newcastle last season.

Chelsea midfielder Marco van Ginkel has joined AC Milan on a season-long loan. The 21-year-old Dutchman joined Chelsea from Vitesse Arnhem for £8m in July 2013, but has made just four appearances for the Blues. Van Ginkel said: "Milan is a great club. I think that I will have the chance to play at Milan in a great league against strong sides."

Fernando Torres' supreme fitness helped him break all previous records when undergoing his AC MIlan medical, boss Filippo Inzaghi has revealed. Torres ended a disappointing four years at Chelsea after his £50million switch from Liverpool, when he completed a two-year loan deal with the Rossoneri. And Inzaghi has revealed the Spanish striker has made an instant impact at the club before he has even kicked a ball. Inzaghi said after their 3-1 win over Lazio: “He (Torres) will give us a big hand and the opportunity to make the most of counter-attacks. He had his medical tests today and set a new record for the team. He added: “What are our objectives? There are perhaps three teams who have something more, but with hunger, temperament and our fans back at San Siro, we could be a surprise.”

Southampton added Atletico Madrid defender Toby Alderweireld and Red Bull Salzburg winger Sadio Mane to their squad on deadline day. Alderweireld, 25, joined on a season-long loan while Mane, 22, completed a £10million switch from the Austrian League to begin his career in the English Premier League.

Queens Park Rangers completed a transfer deadline day double swoop for Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Sandro as well as Dynamo Kiev attacking midfielder Niko Kranjcar. Sandro, 25, joins for £10million while Kranjcar, 30, completes a second season loan deal which sees him return to QPR after already serving with them in the previous campaign.

Bayern Munich have signed Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso from Real Madrid for an undisclosed fee on a two-year contract. The 32-year-old had been at Real for five years following his £30m move from Liverpool in 2009. The Spaniard, a Champions League winner in May, only signed a new two-year deal in January. Alonso announced his retirement from international football on Wednesday after 114 caps. Bayern moved for the central midfielder after Toni Kroos joined Madrid after the World Cup and fellow Spaniard Javi Martinez was ruled out until 2015 with a knee injury. "He has bags of experience and a big personality," said Bayern boss Pep Guardiola. "We need a player with his quality and vision. I know he's 32 but that doesn't matter in this position, where you need intelligent players, rather than the legs and stamina for the flanks." Alonso said: "I had a great time here, we have won big things and now a new chapter opens for me. It was the hardest decision I've ever had to take. The club did not want me to go. It was my decision and I asked them to understand. The club didn't share my idea but they understood my need to start a new chapter, to start from zero in a new club."

Midfielder Shinji Kagawa has rejoined Borussia Dortmund from Manchester United for an undisclosed fee. The 25-year-old has signed a four-year deal with the German club, for whom he played from 2010 to 2012, prior to his move to Old Trafford for £12m. Japan's Kagawa scored six goals in 57 appearances for United during a two-year spell in which he found it difficult to secure a regular starting spot in the first XI. "I wanted to realise my Premier League dream but now I'm happy to be back in Dortmund in this great team. Dortmund is like a family," the midfielder said. He made just one appearance under new United manager Louis van Gaal this season - in their 4-0 Capital One Cup defeat against MK Dons. "I said on the day of my departure that my story with Borussia Dortmund was not completed," Kagawa told Dortmund's official website. Kagawa joined Dortmund from Cerezo Osaka and went on to make 61 appearances for the Bundesliga club, scoring 24 goals. His departure comes as United this week completed the British-record £59.7m signing of midfielder Angel di Maria from Real Madrid.

Hull City were one of the more active teams on deadline day with no less than four new signings to add to their ranks. Their biggest addition was the record £10million acquisition of Palermo striker Abel Hernandez. Elsewhere, they completed a switch for Southampton’s Gaston Ramirez for an undisclosed fee while also adding the likes of Hatem Ben Arfa and Mohamed Diame on loan from Newcastle United and West Ham United respectively.

Liverpool announced on Saturday that they have sold Denmark international defender Daniel Agger to his former club Brondby for an undisclosed fee. The 29-year-old centre-back joined Liverpool from Brondby in 2006 and made 232 appearances for the club, scoring 14 goals and winning the League Cup in 2012, but his spell at Anfield was frequently disrupted by injuries. "Liverpool have been such a big part of my life and my family's lives for so long, that leaving is extremely difficult," Agger told the Liverpool website. "The opportunity arose for me to return home to Brondby and at this stage of my career, it felt like the right decision for me. "I wouldn't leave here to go anywhere else and that has been proven by my actions in recent seasons – I have turned down many offers to move to other Premier League and European clubs. I would like to thank the Liverpool supporters for the incredible backing they have given me in my time here and the warmth and generosity of spirit displayed to my family." Agger slipped down the pecking order at Liverpool following the arrivals of Dejan Lovren, Mamadou Sakho and Kolo Toure over the past year, but manager Brendan Rodgers paid tribute to his achievements. Agger began his career with Brondby and spent two seasons with the club, winning a Danish league and cup double in 2005, before joining Liverpool in 2006 for a fee of around £6 million.

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi will not feature in Wednesday’s international friendly between this year’s Fifa World Cup finalists Germany and Argentina due to injury. The Albiceleste captain picked up a knock in his club’s 1-0 win over Villarreal on the weekend, and will not feature for his country in the international break as a precautionary measure.

Ivory Coast will not be allowed to host their African Nations Cup qualifier against Sierra Leone in Abidjan because of fears over the Ebola virus, the country’s football federation announced. The Ivory Coast government has told the football federation they will not allow the match to take place as they have banned all travel between the two countries. “The authorities are taking no chances against a possible Ebola outbreak,” media officer Eric Kacou told reporters. The move follows Congo’s demand their scheduled qualifier in Nigeria next weekend be moved to a neutral venue because they are reluctant to travel. Nigeria and Sierra Leone are among the countries affected by the hemorrhagic fever that has killed at least 1427 people in the deadliest outbreak of the disease to date. Sierra Leone and Guinea, another where there have been deaths, have already been ordered by the Confederation of African Football to move their home qualifiers to neutral venues, but the Ivorian ban is the first time a government has told its own team it cannot play at home. Ivory Coast are scheduled to hosts Sierra Leone on September 6 in a Group D qualifier, but must scramble to find a neutral venue. Sierra Leone have similar problems as they battle to find a country willing to allow them to host their second game in the group, against the Democratic Republic of Congo on September 10. Guinea have moved their Group E opener against Togo on September 6 to Casablanca in Morocco. Nigeria, where there have been five reported deaths because of the Ebola virus, are still on course to host their opening Group A match against Congo on September 6, but the Congo Football Federation have written to CAF to ask for it to be moved to a neutral venue. Ebola can kill up to 90 percent of those infected though the fatality rate in the current epidemic is around 60 percent. There are two rounds of Nations Cup qualifiers scheduled on September 5-6 and a second on September 10 as the group phase of the preliminaries for the finals in Morocco next year get underway.

New Everton signing Samuel Eto’o has announced his retirement from international football, joining Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso in confirming they will no longer play for their respective countries. Eto’o hangs up his international boots after 17 years, having made his debut as a 15-year-old against Costa Rica in 1997. As Cameroon’s all-time leading goal-scorer, the four-time African Player of the Year finishes his international career with 56 goals in 113 appearances for his country, twice winning the African Cup of Nations while also winning gold at the 2000 Olympic Games.

English Premier League Transfer deadline day: Confirmed deals
Biggest signing this window by British club: Angel Di Maria - Real Madrid to Manchester United for £59.7m.
Radamel Falcao - Monaco to Manchester United (season-long loan)
Michael Keane - Manchester United to Burnley (loan until January)
Nick Powell - Manchester United to Leicester (season-long loan)
Danny Welbeck - Manchester United to Arsenal (£16 million)
Hatem Ben Arfa - Newcastle to Hull City (season-long loan)
Tom Lawrence – Manchester United to Leicester (£1 million)
Sadio Mane - Red Bull Salzburg to Southampton (undisclosed)
Kevin Doyle – Wolves to Crystal Palace (loan)
Krisztian Adorjan – Liverpool to Novara Calcio (undisclosed)
Toby Alderweireld – Atletico Madrid to Southampton (loan)
Morgan Amalfitano – Marseille to West Ham (undisclosed)
Niko Kranjcar - Dynamo Kiev to QPR (season-long loan)
Alvaro Negredo – Manchester City to Valencia (season-long loan)
Oussama Assiadi – Liverpool to Stoke City (season-long loan)
Gaston Ramirez – Southampton to Hull City (season-long loan)
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa - Newcastle to Roma (season-long loan)
Sandro - Tottenham to QPR (£10 million)
Micah Richards – Manchester City to Fiorentina (season-long loan)
James McArthur - Wigan Athletic to Crystal Palace (£7 million)
Ryo Miyaichi - Arsenal to FC Twente (season-long loan)
Zeki Fryers – Tottenham to Crystal Palace (£3 million)
Kris Scott – Swansea to Leicester (free) 
Daley Blind - Ajax to Manchester United (£14 million)
Ricky Alvarez - Inter Milan to Sunderland (season-long loan)
Mohamed Diame - West Ham to Hull City (£3.5 million)
Sebastian Coates - Liverpool to Sunderland (season-long loan)
Lewis Holtby - Tottenham to Hamburg (season-long loan)
Abel Hernandez - Palermo to Hull City (£10 million)
Javier Hernandez - Man Utd to Real Madrid (season-long loan)
Brian Lenihan - Cork City to Hull City (undisclosed)
Karim El Ahmadi - Aston Villa to Feyenoord (undisclosed)
George Boyd - Hull City to Burnley (£3million)
Modou Barrow - Ostersunds FK to Swansea (undisclosed)
Modibo Diakite - Sunderland (released)
Tomislav Gomelt - Tottenham to Bari (loan)
Souleymane Coulibaly - Tottenham to Bari (undisclosed)
Marco van Ginkel - Chelsea to AC Milan (season-long loan)
Benjamin Stambouli - Montpellier to Tottenham (undisclosed)
Nathaniel Chalobah - Chelsea to Burnley (loan)
Valentin Roberge - Sunderland to Stade de Reims (season-long loan)
Jose Canas - Swansea to Espanyol (contract cancelled by mutual consent)