Ferland Mendy sees no reason why Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba can't join him at Real Madrid

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Ferland Mendy believes France team-maters Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba could easily join him at Real Madrid though he insists they have not discussed such a prospect.

The left-back was unveiled at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday after his €50 million move from Lyon.

“What can I say, why not? They [Mbappe and Pogba] are both excellent, top quality players but really we have not spoken about Real Madrid,” Mendy said.

“The only person I have spoken to about Real Madrid in the French national team is Raphael Varane.”

Mendy joins Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Eder Militao and Rodrygo in moving to Madrid as part of a €300-million summer spending spree ahead of the new season.

“Varane told me that it was the biggest club in the world,” Mendy added. “He said he’ll help me to integrate into the group and in the dressing room.
“I am very happy to play for the best team in the world and to be able to wear this shirt. I hope to win many titles here.”

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Everton closing in on a deal to sign Barcelona midfielder Andre Gomes permanently

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Everton are closing in on a deal to sign Barcelona midfielder Andre Gomes permanently.

The 25-year-old spent last season on loan at Goodison Park and was arguably their best player in the first half of the campaign, despite not making his debut until mid-October because of a hamstring problem.

Gomes always expressed a desire to return permanently and Press Association Sport understands he is now close to getting his wish with a fee in the region of £22million verbally agreed between the two clubs.

The Toffees are still working on the finer details of the transfer, which means an announcement is not imminent, but manager Marco Silva looks to have secured a man he feels is key to helping the club move forward.

Andre Gomes had a woeful time at Barcelona

Andre Gomes had a woeful time at Barcelona

Gomes, a Portugal international and member of the the Euro 2016-winning squad, moved to the Nou Camp from Valencia in the summer of 2016 for £30million and made 72 appearances, half of which were as a substitute.

A large proportion of his transfer fee will be offset by the sale of Nikola Vlasic to CSKA Moscow.

The 21-year-old, who scored eight goals in 31 matches on loan for the Russian club last season, is on the verge of a £14million move with the final paperwork just to be completed.

CSKA were quick to announce the Croatian had signed a five-year contract but Press Association Sport understands Everton cannot sign it off until a number of formalities are concluded.

Vlasic was the last signing of former manager Ronald Koeman in August 2017, joining in a £10million deal from Hajduk Split just a week after facing them in a Europa League qualifier.

Within two months Koeman had been sacked and, although he went on to make 19 appearances for the Toffees in his first season, Vlasic managed just five from January 1 with then manager Sam Allardyce clearly not impressed and he was farmed out on loan by Silva last August.

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Transfer Window Hidden Gems: Florian Grillitsch a good fit for Man United, Arsenal and more

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The rumour mill is filled with transfer speculation linking household names and high-profile young talents with big-money moves to some of Europe’s top sides.

With the inflated prices being bandied about, clubs would do well to look past the names and identify potential superstars based on encouraging performances that may have been overlooked.

Promising talents often don’t get the attention they deserve because they’re featuring in lesser clubs away from the limelight of a title challenge or the recognition that comes with topping the charts for goals or assists.

A more extensive search though could unearth some hidden gems scattered across the European circuit and in this series, we put some of those players in the spotlight.

Hoffenheim’s criminally underrated midfielder Florian Grillitsch makes our first edition.

STYLE OF PLAY

A deep-lying playmaker more by nature than trade, Florian Grillitsch is tailor-made for the role. He’s comfortable receiving the ball from the defence, carrying it through the lines and can spray passes across the pitch with both feet.

His vision and passing ability are among his chief attributes as a midfield orchestrator while a modest 83.5 per cent pass success rate in the Bundesliga last season has as much to do with him still honing his skills as a 23-year-old as it does with Hoffenheim’s style of play.

Under the tactical astute and flexible Julian Nagelsmann, the Bundesliga club would press high and strike on the break with Grillitsch having to be fairly direct and penetrative with his passes. Indeed, only Fortuna Duesseldorf scored more goals (11) from counter-attacks last season than Hoffenheim (nine).

Grillitsch impressively brought an element of composure and control to the German side but he’s just as effective in winning possession. The Austrian has good height and wins his share of aerial duels but doesn’t boast a particularly imposing physique. However, he reads the game expertly, breaking up play with clever interceptions while also being a clean tackler.

Grillitsch isn’t a pacey player but owing to his long strides he’s quicker than he looks while his anticipation and positioning holds him in good stead.

KEY STAT

The midfielder ranked sixth last season for tackles with 77 and third for interceptions with 72.

SIMILAR TO – Michael Carrick

With his physique, gait and passing range, several comparisons can be made between Grillitsch and Michael Carrick. The fact that his vital contributions largely go unnoticed only furthers the resemblance.

Like the former United star, Grillitsch won’t be racking up loads of assists and his goals will come at a premium but he pulls the strings deeper in midfield and is the kind of player his team-mates are grateful to line-up alongside.

Michael Carrick

CURRENT STATUS

After joining Hoffenheim from Werder Bremen, Grillitsch had a release clause in the region of €20 million. However, after two impressive seasons at the club, he signed a new deal this summer until 2022 which removed the clause.

He may be one of the most underrated players in the Bundesliga but if a big club comes knocking, expect the asking price to be closer to €35m now.

WHERE HE COULD THRIVE

Manchester United: The Red Devils are in the midst of a massive rebuilding project and Grillitsch could offer the perfect foundation. He would have the opportunity to establish himself at one of the biggest clubs in the world and develop along with what should be a new-look United side come the start of the season.

Arsenal: Grillitsch would also give Arsenal’s central midfield a big boost in quality and control. The Gunners have options in the final third but are often second best in the middle of the park.

Ajax: The Austrian even has the attributes to slot nicely into Ajax’s midfield. As an inexpensive replacement for Frenkie de Jong, he would have the opportunity to prove himself and perhaps even earn a dream move to major European outfit in the future.

Tottenham: Spurs were strongly linked with a move for the Hoffenheim player in January but their interest has waned following the removal of his release clause this summer. If their barren run in summer transfer windows persists though, they may be tempted to bite the bullet and snap up a player who would offer them the squad depth they lack while also providing healthy competition for Harry Winks.

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