#360transfers: Arda Turan seeks Premier League move

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Wantaway: Arda Turan.

Atletico Madrid have been hit by a bombshell with the agent of attacking midfielder Arda Turan declaring he wants to leave the club and move to the English Premier League.

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Turkey ace Turan has been a key performer for Diego Simeone’s men since signing from Galatasaray in 2011. But the 28 year-old, who has made 178 appearances and scored 22 goals for Atletico in the last four seasons, now believes the time is right to embark upon a new challenge in a new environment, according to his agent Ahmet Bulut.

“His intention is to leave Spain this summer,” said Bulut. “His desire is to leave and to play in the Premier League – that is the path he would like to take.”

Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United are believed to be battling for his services, with Bulut adding: “We are currently in talks with three teams. I cannot reveal the names of the clubs but they are the best in England.”

Turan is also wanted by AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain, but Bulut said: “The Italian team is not an option because they are not in the Champions League. PSG is a possibility but Arda always has wanted to play in England.”

There is better news for Atletico, however, from the agent of another important midfield man, Koke, who has been linked to Barcelona as part of the club’s presidential race.

The Spain international’s representative, Inaki Espizua, played down the suggestion that one or more of Barca’s wannabe presidents will seek to boost their popularity by pledging to snatch Koke away from Atletico, saying: “We are not surprised but still flattered.

“It’s great to hear these kinds of things, especially from a club like Barca, but right now the player’s position is very clear. He that feels he is a key part of Atletico Madrid’s plans.”

Manager Simeone is hoping to field Koke alongside Thiago Motta next season, with the veteran Italy international threatening to leave current club PSG after failing to agree terms on a new deal.

Motta spent one season with Atletico in 2007/8 and now could return after his agent Alessandro Canovi said: “At the moment, there is no possibility of continuing contract negotiations with PSG.”

One player certain to make the move to the Vicente Calderon is Porto striker Jackson Martinez, who will join Atletico in a €35million deal after Copa America.

Confirming the move, Martinez’s agent Luiz Henrique Pompeo said: “We want to thank Milan for their interest, but you can’t be in two places at once. Atletico is a very big club – Jackson is going there to become even better.”

Although Pompeo is Martinez’s representative, Portuguese super agent Jorge Mendes and associate Pedro Pinto were required to broker the deal between Porto and Atletico. Their connections at the highest levels of both clubs ensured the transfer occurred.

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#360transfers: Roma join list of clubs interested in Bacca

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Wanted: Carlos Bacca.

Roma have joined Liverpool and AC Milan in the race to sign Sevilla forward Carlos Bacca this summer.

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Bacca, who is under contract with Sevilla until June 2018, has attracted the attention of top European clubs after his heroics inspired Sevilla to their second successive Europa League crown this season.

Roma have reportedly made a €25 million (Dh103m) bid to acquire the Colombia international.

“We want Bacca,” Roma sporting director Walter Sabatini said to Spanish newspaper ABC. “But I cannot say anything more.”

Roma, who finished runners-up to Juventus in Serie A this season, are looking to strengthen their attacking line and Bacca is considered their top target this summer.

Bacca was prolific in the Primera Division this season, scoring 20 goals in 37 appearances to help Sevilla finish fifth. The 28-year-old, who joined Sevilla two years ago from Club Brugge, also scored seven goals in the Europa League, including two in last month’s final that saw Sevilla beat Dnipro 3-2 to win the competition for a record fourth time.

Bacca is currently on international duty at the Copa America in Chile, with any decision on his future unlikely to be sorted until his participation in the tournament has ended.

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#360transfers: Liverpool have more money to spend

Carl Markham 25/06/2015
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Liverpool-bound: Firmino.

Liverpool’s £29 million (Dh167m) deal to bring Brazil forward Roberto Firmino to Anfield will not impact on further summer spending or change their stance on wantaway winger Raheem Sterling.

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It is understood the Reds will pay €30 million (about £21m) for the Hoffenheim player with add-ons likely to make the 23-year-old the club’s second most expensive signing in their history, after the £35m (Dh202m) purchase of Andy Carroll in January 2011.

Firmino, who will undergo a medical after his involvement in the Copa America is over, has agreed a five-year contract with the Reds after chief executive Ian Ayre flew out to Chile on Wednesday and the deal was finalised overnight.

The money for Firmino was outlined as planned summer transfer spending and the club do not have to sell Sterling, for whom Manchester City’s second £40million offer was rejected earlier this month as they value him at £50m-plus (Dh289m), in order to balance the books.

They still have funds left for another centre-forward, with their sights set on Sevilla’s £20m-rated (Dh115m) Colombia striker Carlos Bacca and Zenit St Petersburg’s Venezuelan Salomon Rondon, valued about £15m (Dh87m), who have both been in action at the Copa America.

Ayre is scheduled to remain in Chile for at least another 24 hours but Liverpool already had staff present at the tournament and they still retain interest in the South Americans after refusing to consider Aston Villa’s £32.5m (Dh185m) release clause for Christian Benteke.

Liverpool are also remaining patient in their pursuit of Southampton’s England right-back Nathaniel Clyne, having already had a £10m (Dh58m) bid turned down, as the recruitment programme aimed at regaining Champions League football continues.

Firmino is Liverpool’s fifth signing of the close-season having already recruited Burnley’s England Under-21 striker Danny Ings, Manchester City midfielder James Milner, Charlton defender Joe Gomez and Bolton goalkeeper Adam Bogdan.

The Brazilian spent four and a half years in Germany, scoring 47 goals in 151 appearances with four goals in nine internationals, including Sunday’s Copa America winner against Venezuela.

Manager Brendan Rodgers will hope Firmino, who made his professional debut for Figueirense at the age of 17 in October 2009 but left for Germany just over a year later, can bring more goals to his side.

Liverpool are in the process of overhauling their striking options after last season’s dismal tally of 52 league goals – 49 fewer than the previous campaign.

Main striker Daniel Sturridge was injured for most of the campaign and so their top scorer with 13 was Steven Gerrard, who has now left to join Major League Soccer side Los Angeles Galaxy. It’s understood Rodgers wants four front-line strikers to cope with the demands of domestic and Europa League football.

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