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Gonzalez joins Porto from Barcelona in €8.5m deal

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Porto have completed the signing of Nico Gonzalez from Barcelona in a deal worth €8.5million.

The 21-year-old midfielder has signed a five-year contract to keep him at the club until 2028.

Barcelona have inserted a €30million buy-back clause into the deal, which is active until the summer of 2025. A sell-on clause has also been included, with Barcelona entitled to 40 per cent of any future sale.

Gonzalez, a graduate from La Masia, broke into the Barcelona first-team alongside Gavi in 2021 before spending the 2022-23 season on loan at Valencia, featuring 26 times in La Liga.

He was one of the candidates to take over the holding midfield role at Barcelona left vacant by the departure of Sergio Busquets this summer. However, Xavi did not trust Gonzalez in this position and preferred him in a more advanced role where there was not room for him in the squad due to Barcelona’s depth of options.

Before embarking on their pre-season tour of the United States, Xavi and Gonzalez had an internal meeting where the forward was informed that he was not going to have an important role to play this season and was advised to look elsewhere for regular first-team football.

Upon signing for Porto, Gonzalez said: “I can’t be more excited to start playing here. Since the rumours appeared, everyone has spoken well of FC Porto. I had some Portuguese teammates who spoke very well and everyone created great expectations for the club.

“I really want to meet everyone, especially Pepe, who is a great example and from whom I can learn a lot. I can promise the fans a lot of sacrifice and a lot of work on the field, but above all that I will fight to give them titles.”

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Transfers

Chelsea, Arsenal get Osimhen transfer boost

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The priority of Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen this summer is a move to the Premier League, according to transfer expert Ben Jacobs, with Chelsea, Arsenal and French giants PSG among the clubs keen to sign him this summer.

Osimhen recently signed a contract extension until June 2026 with Napoli, but the Serie A champions are prepared to part company with their star striker, who has a release clause in the region of €130m included in his new deal.

“We still can’t rule out Arsenal in the race for Osimhen,”Jacobs’ sources claim.

“It’s also true that PSG have Osimhen very, very high on their list of targets and can move in the market because they will free up money due to Kylian Mbappe’s departure,” the journalist told Givemesport.

“I’m still told by sources that Osimhen’s priority is the Premier League, which is encouraging for Chelsea and Arsenal. He would be looking for about £250,000 per week, which Arsenal, Chelsea and PSG would all be happy to pay.”

Osimhen has scored twice in two matches against Barcelona in the Champions League and Cagliari in Serie A under Francesco Calzona since returning from AFCON. He now has 10 goals in 20 games across all club competitions.

The Nigeria international joined Napoli in 2020 and has scored 69 goals in 121 matches with the Partenopei, becoming Serie A’s Capocannoniere in 2022/23, when Napoli won their first Scudetto in 33 years.

 

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Real Madrid ’99 percent’ certain to land Mbappe, says Liga boss

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Spain’s La Liga chief Javier Tebas believes it is almost certain that superstar striker Kylian Mbappe will be playing for Real Madrid next season, he told French daily L’Equipe in an interview published on Friday.

The 25-year-old France captain told his club Paris Saint-Germain earlier this month that he would leave them at the end of this season.

“Knowing that he is leaving PSG, there is a 99 percent chance that Mbappe will sign for Real. But I don’t know if he has already signed,” the La Liga president Tebas said.

Mbappe has never hidden his admiration since childhood of Real Madrid, who are favourites to land one of world football’s biggest talents.

“It’s big news for Real and for Spanish football. He is one of the best players in the world. From my point of view, (Jude) Bellingham, (Erling) Haaland and Mbappe are the three dominant players on the planet, and two are already at Real Madrid,” said Tebas.

Sources close to the matter say wage negotiations between Real and Mbappe are advanced.

Tebas also praised the way Real Madrid is run.

“Economically, they are very responsive,” he said.

“Currently their financial results are very good and they can spend much more than they do. Real were very prudent financially and prepared for the signing of Mbappe.”

 

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Transfers

Don’t join Arsenal, Henry warns Osimhen

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Barcelona and Arsenal legend, Theirry Henry, has tasked Napoli striker, Victor Osimhen, to be more consistent in scoring but urged the forward not to join Arsenal if he eventually made the move to the English Premier League.

The Frenchman stated this after Osimhen;s goal against Barcelona in Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 first-leg clash in Naples kept the Partenopei in the tie.

The Nigerian striker drew Napoli level at 1-1 with his only attempt on goal in the encounter 15 minutes after Robert Lewandowski broke the deadlock on the hour mark.

The goal was his first in as many games since rejoining Napoli after playing for Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations in December.

It was also his sixth in six Champions League games for the Partenopei at the Diego Armando Maradona stadium.

He now sits behind Erling Haaland (12) and Kylian Mbappe (nine) for recent home goals scored in the competition over the last two seasons.

Furthermore, his goal against Barcelona saw him tie Napoli captain, Giovanni Di Lorenzo, and Lorenzo Insigne for goals scored in the Champions League with Napoli, and sits just behind Dries Mertens, who netted 11 in Europe’s premier club competition.

Speaking with CBS Sports Golazo, the French U-21 coach challenged the 25-year-old to prove himself outside of the Italian Serie A where he won the Scudetto and won the Capocannoniere.

“I think he needed the goal today (on Wednesday),” Henry said on the UEFA Champions League show with CBS Sports Golazo.

“At the AFCON, we saw him, he can lead the line, run into the channels, and he has excellent hold-up play.

“How good can he be? He showed last year what he could do and won the African Player of The Year along the way, winning the Scudetto with Napoli and getting to the final with Nigeria.”

Henry, a Champions League winner with Barcelona in 2009, urged the Nigerian to prove himself in other European leagues.

The 25-year-old has been linked with moves to Chelsea and PSG but Henry warned against a switch to Arsenal.

“I’d like to see him now, what he can do in the Premier League or wherever he’s going or Paris Saint-Germain. Not Arsenal, I won’t go there.

“I want to see him take the next step and be more consistent with his output, but to be able to win the title with Napoli the way he did will stay in history forever, so all the best to him in his career.”

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