Chelsea sign Michael Hector and Papy Djilobodji to sure up defence

Matt McGeehan 09:32 02/09/2015
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Boyhood dream: Hector (l) has signed for the EPL champions from Reading.

Chelsea have signed Michael Hector from Reading, where the defender will remain for the season as one of the Premier League champions’ 33 loan players.

Hector joined Nantes defender Papy Djilobodji in signing for the Blues on transfer deadline day.

Senegal international Djilobodji will remain with the first-team squad after signing a four-year deal, but the 23-year-old Hector will continue playing at the Madejski Stadium.

“Chelsea Football Club have today completed the signing of Michael Hector from Reading,” a Chelsea statement read.

Hector is a boyhood Chelsea supporter, a Jamaica international and made his Reading debut in January 2014. The 21-year-old comes with a reported £4 million (Dh22m) price tag, 10 per cent of the fee said to be required to prise John Stones from Everton.

Chelsea made their move for Djilobodji after being repeatedly rebuffed by Everton over Stones, a player for whom Chelsea could 
return in January or next summer.

The 26-year-old Djilobodji said: “I’m very happy to sign for a big club like Chelsea and I want to do my best to help the team win titles.”

Hector’s arrival and swift departure takes the number of Chelsea loanees to 33.

Lucas Piazon is another Chelsea player on loan at Reading, who are managed by former Blues coach Steve Clarke Victor Moses and Islam Feruz signed loan deals with West Ham and Hibernian, respectively, while Nathaniel Chalobah followed, with Serie A side Napoli confirming his arrival on loan.

Moses signed a four-year deal before moving to West Ham while Izzy Brown, currently on loan for the season at Vitesse Arnhem in Holland, also signed a four-year contract.

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Chelsea were roundly praised for their early purchases in the summer of 2014 of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, but many supporters will be underwhelmed by this summer’s transfer activity.

Rumoured interest in Paul Pogba of Juventus refuses to subside, but it is yet to advance beyond speculation with the French midfielder remaining in Turin.

Meanwhile, Everton held firm in holding on to Stones amid a number of bids from west London.

The Blues have signed goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, left-back Baba Rahman and striker Radamel Falcao on loan from Monaco – all like-for-like replacements for Petr Cech, Filipe Luis and Didier Drogba. Pedro was added from Barcelona and Brazilian teenager Kenedy joined.

The Blues have conceded nine goals in four games in accruing four points to sit eight adrift of leaders Manchester City.

Djilobodji had one year remaining on his Nantes contract and his switch to Chelsea was unexpected but he represent a fall-back option.

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West Brom chairman hoping to 'repair damage' over Saido Berahino

Nick Mashiter 09:08 02/09/2015
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Bitter Berahino: Baggies striker has hit out at his club over dealings with Spurs.

West Brom chairman Jeremy Peace has insisted the Baggies must start repairing the damage left by the Saido Berahino saga.

The Albion owner rejected two deadline day bids from Tottenham for the striker who has appeared to have indicated he will never play for the club again. In a message on his official Twitter account, the striker seemed to hint he was prepared to go on strike at the Hawthorns.

It read: “Sad how I cant say exactly how the club has treated me but I can officially say I will never play Jeremy Peace.”

The Baggies rejected a total of four bids from Tottenham while they also turned down Berahino’s transfer request last month, and while the club are yet to address his apparent outburst directly, Peace admitted they must move on.

“We have a key player who has been very unsettled by antics which were designed to get him out of our club cheaply,” he said in a club statement.

“Those tactics have continued despite my making our position clear in my first conversation with Daniel Levy on this subject in mid-August. I said selling Saido so late in the window was not on our agenda.

“Tottenham’s offers failed substantially to reflect Saido’s true value while the timing made no allowance for our own recruitment of a suitable replacement for a proven Premier League goalscorer.

“Saido has been unsettled to the point where our head coach has not felt able to select him for our last three games.

“We are now left with the task of repairing the damage created by this unfortunate episode.”

It is understood Tottenham’s bids yesterday were marginally better than the north London club’s second offer, made last month, which would have only risen to £21 million (Dh118m) with clauses and add-ons.

The Baggies remained determined to keep the 22-year-old at the Hawthorns after Peace held talks with the player last week and reiterated he would not be sold.

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Albion are understood to be unhappy with Spurs’ approach to the deal, which has only strengthened their resolve to keep Berahino.

The frontman has been left out of West Brom’s last three squads during the speculation, with boss Tony Pulis insisting he was not in the right state of mind to play. 

Spurs had been searching for more firepower to help Harry Kane and, despite signing Son Heung-min from Bayer Leverkusen, maintained their interest in Berahino. 

Though the Berahino switch never materilised it was a productive day for West Ham who brought in a quartet of new faces – with a fifth arrival still a possibility.

The long-anticipated return of Alex Song on a second successive season-long loan from Barcelona was the first completed deal of the day and he was soon joined by a trio of attacking talents.

Victor Moses also moved on a season-long loan deal having penned a new four-year contract with Chelsea beforehand, with Nikica Jelavic and Michail Antonio signing from Championship outfits Hull and Nottingham Forest while Tottenham’s Emmanuel Adebayor is still a target.

The Togo international cannot join on loan due to Premier League rules meaning no other domestic loans can be completed with 
Moses and Arsenal’s Carl Jenkinson already on board.

There is still scope for Adebayor to move to West Ham but it is understood he is demanding £5m (Dh28m) from Spurs to terminate his contract a year early and the club are not willing to pay such an amount.

Elsewhere, Southampton completed the signing of defender Virgil van Dijk from Celtic. The 24-year-old Dutchman has signed a five-year contract for a fee in the region of £11m (Dh61.8m) after two successful years in Scotland.

Everton signed Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon on a three-year contract, as the 28-year-old returns to Goodison Park on a permanent deal after spending the second half of last season on loan.

Despite Lennon’s arrival, Everton’s transfer business has left fans distinctly frustrated.

The arrival earlier in the day of River Plate defender Ramiro Funes Mori filled one of the slots Martinez was targeting, although the fee of £9.5m (Dh53m) was £4m (Dh22m) more than was touted last week when the 24-year-old Argentinian came travelled to finalise the move.
However, the Everton manager’s search for a player who could operate in the No10 role proved fruitless and appears to have left the squad a little light.

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#360view: Getting De Gea to start best solution for United and Spaniard

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Starting Xi on sight: David de Gea.

It was an astonishing situation. Two of the biggest football clubs incapable of getting a transfer completed in time after roughly three months of negotiations. 

Real Madrid went on the offensive first yesterday, blaming Manchester United for the collapse of the David De Gea deal. The Red Devils responded seven hours later. 

Unsurprisingly, their version of events was dramatically different.

Conspiracy theories abound that either United deliberately sent the paperwork late to ensure they kept De Gea for the season or Madrid didn’t want to pay the £29 million (Dh163m) fee, knowing they’ll sign him for free next summer. 

Certainly the latter is the most plausible. Quite what United have to gain by keeping an even more unhappy player, losing £29m in the process and embarrassing Madrid – a club a certain Gareth Bale plays for – and the world’s most powerful agent in Jorge Mendes, is hard to understand. 

But while words are exchanged, Madrid mull over lodging an appeal which is, based on precedents, likely to be unsuccessful and the rest of the world laughs at the situation, the reality is that De Gea remains at Old Trafford and is a United player until June 2016.

It will now be a test of his character how he reacts to this unfortunate set of circumstances, as it was a transfer that appeared destined to happen even as the clock ticked towards midnight in Madrid on Monday night. 

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You can envisage a scenario now where De Gea knows he will, barring a dramatic change of heart from Los Blancos, be in the Spanish capital next summer and decides to spend the remainder of his time in the north west of England training and not mentally committing to first-team activities. 

However, Euro 2016 should ensure that doesn’t come to pass as De Gea has not yet usurped Iker Casillas as Spain No1.

With Sergios Rico and Asenjo also snapping at his heels, he knows he cannot afford a sustained period of inactivity. 

A return to his form of last term will surely guarantee he lines up between the posts for La Roja next summer, but first he must get back in the team. 

On merit, it shouldn’t be a problem as Sergio Romero has done little to display he is capable of taking over. Last Sunday’s 2-1 defeat at Swansea was enough to show up his limitations. 

But standing in De Gea’s way is a rather strong-willed Dutchman who hasn’t exactly been accomodating towards one of his star players these last few weeks. 

Louis van Gaal has claimed that with the interest from Madrid, De Gea hasn’t been properly focused to play for United – the distraction proving too great. 

The concern must now be he’s still not mentally fit to play, given De Gea’s dreams have turned to dust. Van Gaal, however, must simply do what’s best for Manchester United, which, in turn, is also what’s best for him. And that’s to get De Gea back into the starting XI as soon as possible. 

Time away with the national team will clear the tension to an extent and De Gea can return determined to win his place back. 

In the short term it makes sense for United, and in the long run a display of professionalism will reflect well on the 24-year-old. 

It’s making the absolute best out of what has rapidly become a bad situation for both parties.

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