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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

Sesko to sign new deal with RB Leipzig

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RB Leipzig striker Benjamin Sesko is set to sign a new deal with the Bundesliga side despite reported interest from a number of Premier

RB Leipzig striker Benjamin Sesko is set to sign a new deal with the Bundesliga side despite reported interest from a number of Premier League clubs, BBC Sport understands.

The 21-year-old had been linked with a move to Arsenal this summer, as well as Chelsea and Manchester United.

Sesko scored 14 goals in 31 games during his first Bundesliga season and is part of the Slovenia squad for Euro 2024, where his country will face England, Denmark and Serbia.

Having agreed to join Leipzig in the summer of 2022, Sesko remained at Red Bull Salzburg for the following season before arriving in Germany on a five-year contract that contained a release clause of around £55m.

But amid interest from elsewhere, he will now sign an improved deal with a club who finished fourth in the Bundesliga last season.

 

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Tottenham to break bank for Eberechi Eze ‘release clause’ emerges

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Eberechi Eze's hefty Crystal Palace release clause has come to light, giving Tottenham food for thought as they reportedly weigh up a summer

Eberechi Eze’s hefty Crystal Palace release clause has come to light, giving Tottenham food for thought as they reportedly weigh up a summer swoop. Eze’s stellar form at club level has earned him a spot in the squad Gareth Southgate selected to represent England at Euro 2024.

The 25-year-old made only his third senior international appearance in Monday’s 3-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina, showcasing his dazzling dribbling ability from the left-hand side and breezing past players with ease.

That game, coupled with an 11-goal season at Palace, has seen him included in Southgate’s final 26-man squad while the likes of Jack Grealish, James Maddison and Marcus Rashford were left out.

Spurs are already believed to be admirers of Eze but a positive Euro 2024 will undoubtedly draw even more eyes towards the wide man. Any interested party will be forced to fork out a sizable fee.

According to The Daily Mail, the Palace contract Eze signed last November includes a £60million release clause, but any potential buyer will also need to commit to approximately £8m in add-ons, bringing the total package to a dizzying £68m.

Palace face a fight to keep both of their most influential playmakers, with Eze and Michael Olise attracting interest from top Premier League sides. It remains to be seen whether suitors for either player are prepared to cough up the necessary cash.

The Three Lions are among the favourites to win this summer’s Euro 2024 tournament and you can get your hands on the brand new Nike home and away kits before the first whistle.

Spurs are already flush with options out wide but Ange Postecoglou may be given license to sign a player of Eze’s calibre if Richarlison is sold this summer. The Brazilian is reportedly the subject of serious interest from the Saudi Pro League but he played down speculation surrounding a move last month, insisting that he expects to remain in the Premier League next campaign.

As the 2023/24 season drew to a close, Postecoglou made it clear that another squad reshuffle would be required this summer due to the differences in playing style between him and his predecessor, Antonio Conte.

 

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Lukaku: Why I was afraid to join Al-Hilal

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Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku rejected a transfer to Al-Hilal last summer but has revealed that he is now ready to make the

Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku rejected a transfer to Al-Hilal last summer but has revealed that he is now ready to make the move to Saudi Arabia.

After a successful loan stint at Inter Milan, Lukaku was heavily linked with a move to Saudi Arabia, with the Pro League looking to add to their evolving collection of superstars.

Al-Hilal, who had already signed names like Neymar Jr., Ruben Neves, and Kalidou Koulibaly among others, were the front runners for the Belgian. However, the striker decided to make the loan move to Roma instead, and he has explained why he rejected the move to the Middle East.

Speaking to Belgian broadcaster VTM, Lukaku said: “Saudi Arabia wouldn’t stop me. The level will only increase to a much higher level than many people think. More and more football players will tend to play there, also because of how the fans there experience football. The infrastructure still needs to be improved, but all major European clubs know, ‘Saudi Arabia is coming’. You already see that in boxing, golf, Formula 1…”

Speaking of his proposed move to Al-Hilal last summer, he added: “That was really intense at the time. For two weeks. For two days in a row I thought, ‘Yes, I’m going’, ‘No, I’m not going’.

“Because everyone only went to Saudi Arabia after I could sign there, I was scared for a moment.”

After another successful loan spell, Lukaku will return to Chelsea but is unlikely to be a part of Enzo Maresca’s plans for his debut campaign at Stamford Bridge. As per reports, Lukaku will be available for £37 million ($47.3m) for any club to secure his services and it is possible that the Saudi Pro League might look to make a move for the Belgian, who is also a target for Paulo Fonseca at AC Milan.

The striker will now be focused on Belgium’s Euro 2024 campaign as they will look to gain some momentum heading towards the knockout stages. They will start their campaign with a clash against Slovakia on June 17.

 

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