La Liga president makes Antoine Griezmann and Cristiano Ronaldo transfer claims

David Cooper 11/06/2018
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La Liga president Javier Tebas has declared he expects both Antoine Griezmann and Cristiano Ronaldo to stay put this summer.

France forward Griezmann, 27, has seen La Liga champions Barcelona long linked to paying the €100 million (Dh432.8m) release clause in his Atletico Madrid contract when it kicks in from July 1 and he said a decision on his future would occur “this week”. The prolific forward’s current employers have also been keen to agree fresh terms.

Portugal attacker Ronaldo, 33, is reportedly unsettled at Real Madrid and stated after last month’s Champions League final win that it had been “very nice” to be at the club.

But speaking to Onda Cero, Spain’s leading football administrator dismissed talk of imminent switches.

“I think Cristiano stays at Real Madrid and Antoine Griezmann stays at Atletico,” he said.

“What are the chances of Cristiano leaving? Out of 10, I would say a five or maybe even a four, I am not worried.

“Regardless of these moves, I do not think this is damaging for the league because we are becoming less reliant of our very best players.”

France boss Didier Deschamps informed his squad that he wants decisions on their futures to be made before World Cup 2018 begins. Les Bleus start their Group C-campaign on June 16 against Australia at Kazan Arena.

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Ajax warn Barcelona that highly rated midfielder Frenkie de Jong is not for sale

David Cooper 11/06/2018
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Frenkie de Jong (r) in action.

Barcelona face frustration in the summer transfer market after Ajax warned them that starlet Frenkie de Jong is not for sale, according to reports.

De Jong, 21, has earned rave reviews for the Amsterdam giants. Such praise has not gone unnoticed by the La Liga champions , who have a history dating back to the 1970s with Johan Cruyff of plundering their best talent.

De Telegraaf stated Barca faced rejection on Sunday for the €40 million (Dh173.5m)-rated Netherlands Under-21 centre midfielder and centre-back when they initiated talks with Ajax director Marc Overmars and agent Ali Dursun. Not even an offer of loaning him back to the Eredivisie runners-up for 2018/19 could convince them to do a deal, with rival interest also being registered by Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.

Barca are eager to avoid a repeat of the ongoing situation where they appear to have been beaten to the signature of 17-year-old Santos prospect Rodrygo by Real Madrid.

De Jong contributed seven assists in 22 Eredivisie games during 2017/18, despite largely playing in defence.

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Gerard Deulofeu completes €13m move from Barcelona to Watford

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Spain international winger Gerard Deulofeu has signed for Watford from Barcelona in a deal worth an initial €13 million.

The 24-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan at Vicarage Road, scoring once in seven Premier League appearances for the Hornets.

Deulofeu will now return to Hertfordshire on a five-year contract after Barcelona confirmed the transfer on Monday afternoon.

Announcing the deal on their website, the LaLiga champions thanked Deulofeu and wished him luck for the future, adding in a statement: “FC Barcelona and Watford FC have reached an agreement for the transfer of Gerard Deulofeu to the English club.

“They have agreed on a fee of €13 million, plus €4 million in variables. FC Barcelona will also receive a percentage of any future transfer operations to other clubs.”

Watford confirmed Deulofeu has signed a long-term deal, with chairman Scott Duxbury insisting the move shows the club are constantly striving to improve.

“We are very pleased to welcome Gerard back to Vicarage Road and thank FC Barcelona for their part in concluding this deal,” Duxbury told the club’s website.

“Our ambition to succeed and grow in the Premier League remains as strong as ever.”

A product of Barcelona’s academy, Deulofeu struggled to break into the first team at the Nou Camp and was loaned out to Everton.

He was a hit under Roberto Martinez at Goodison Park and, following a loan stint at Sevilla in 2014/15, was signed permanently by the Toffees.

Another loan opportunity presented itself in January 2017 as Deulofeu opted to join AC Milan on a temporary basis.

Strong showings in Milan convinced Barca to take up their buy-back option – but establishing himself in Catalonia would again be an impossible task for Deulofeu.

Yet another loan move was agreed, this time a Premier League return with Watford, who have now decided to take the player on a permanent deal.

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