French international Geoffrey Kondogbia has completed his move from Monaco to Inter Milan, signing a five-year deal with the Serie A club after snubbing city rivals AC Milan at the 11th hour.
Kondogbia completed his medical with Inter on Monday morning, after which a club official told AFP: “He will be unveiled to fans after 5p.m. this evening in Milan.”
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Inter have yet to publish an official statement although the club’s Twitter feed showed a picture of Kondogbia in a club shirt with a short message confirming his signature: “Contracts signed with Monaco for the transfer of Geoffrey Kondogbia.”
The 22-year-old Frenchman, who spent two seasons at Monaco after joing the Ligue 1 club from Sevilla, is expected to earn four million euros (Dhs 16.6 million) a season plus performance-related bonuses after making a last-gasp decision to snub AC Milan.
Monaco are expected to receive a fee believed to be in the region of 35m euros.
Milan CEO Adriano Galliani said Sunday he believed he had tied up Kondogbia’s move to the seven-time European champions on Friday afternoon.
However Inter flew in with a late, improved offer which appeared to sway the player and his representatives.
— F.C. Internazionale (@Inter) June 22, 2015
The marauding midfielder, who has been compared to retired French international Patrick Vieira, had also been linked with a move to Manchester City, Real Madrid, and Juventus after showcasing his talents last season when Monaco reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
Kondogbia’s physical strength, cool head under pressure and technical skill should make him a welcome addition to an Inter side that featured plenty of big names last season but which simply failed to click.
Inter sacked Walter Mazzarri last November and replaced him with Roberto Mancini, who had steered Inter to seven trophies including three consecutive league titles in his first spell in charge of Inter in 2004-2008.
But former Manchester City and Galatasaray handler Mancini failed to provide the remedy as Inter slipped to an eighth-place finish at 32 points behind four-time consecutive champions Juventus.
Manchester United are launching an audacious bid to sign Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos after the experienced central defender let it be known that he is unhappy with his club’s ongoing failure to extend his current contract, which expires in 2017.
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Ramos, 29, has been negotiating with Bernabeu president Florentino Perez throughout much of the last year, but little progress has been made and the Spain international is now attempting to force the issue by suggesting he is open to the possibility of joining one of Los Blancos’ chief rivals.
Last week Barcelona presidential candidate Jordi Majo claimed he has been offered the opportunity to sign Ramos if he wins this summer’s election.
I rarely ever allow myself to get excited about reckless transfer chatter, but the idea of Sergio Ramos in the Premier League has me giddy.
— Zack Goldman (@ThatDamnYank) June 22, 2015
And reports emerged last night that Ramos would consider joining United as part of the imminent deal which will bring goalkeeper David De Gea from Old Trafford to the Bernabeu.
Although Valencia’s Argentine international Nicolas Otamendi has been their chief central-defensive target so far this summer, United officials now believe they have a genuine chance of signing Ramos, who has spent the last 10 seasons in Madrid after starting his career with hometown club Sevilla.
Ramos’ current buyout clause at the Bernabeu stands at €200 million (Dh835.7m), but with just two years remaining on his contract United would expect to pay less than half that figure if the Spanish giants were willing to sell.
Ramos, however, is believed to be extremely serious in his discontent with Madrid chief Perez, with the recent sacking of Carlo Ancelotti adding to the unhappiness already generated by the president’s tardiness in improving the defender’s current net salary of €6m (Dh25) per year.
And United are sure to leverage their interest in Ramos to gain the highest possible price for goalkeeper De Gea, who has allowed his contract to run down to its final season and has made it clear to club officials in both Manchester and Madrid that he wants to return to Spain.
De Gea’s switch to the Bernabeu, where he will replace long-serving captain Iker Casillas, has been inevitable for the last few months but United are determined to make sure the deal does not go through easily by using Ramos’ situation as a hardball negotiating tactic.
Al Jazira have moved quickly to rubbish reports which stated key midfielder Khamis Esmail was about to make a surprise switch to Arabian Gulf League rivals Al Nasr.
Sharjah Sports posted tweets on Friday night, which were then swiftly deleted, that said the 25-year-old UAE lynchpin was on the verge of a move to Dubai.
Much like when recent stories from Saudi Arabia suggested a transfer of star forward Ali Mabkhout to Al Hilal was imminent, a club statement was swiftly released denying the claims.
“Al Jazira categorically denies the reports about the departure of player Khamis Esmail to join Al Nasr,” it read.
“The company confirms that the player will remain in the ranks of Jazira until the end of his current contract and there are no negotiations for his transfer.
“We wish to emphasise that the official website of the club, the accounts of Al Jazira Sports on social networking sites and the official spokesman for the company are the only sources of correct news.“
— Matt Monaghan (@mattmonaghan360) June 20, 2015
Meanwhile, Demba Ba looks set to be crossed off Al Ahli’s list of potential striker recruits after Besiktas reportedly agreed a €14 million (Dh 58.4m) fee with Chinese giants Shanghai Shenhua.
Reports in Turkish media stated on Saturday that only the 30-year-old’s consent was now required to complete the switch to the Far East.
The Red Knights had made enquiries about landing the prolific former Newcastle and Chelsea front man, but this was as far as they progressed, contrary to rumours about a rejected €10m (Dh 41.7m) bid.
Tangible progress will be made on solving the dethroned champions’ chronic lack of goals when senior club officials, coach Cosmin Olaroiu and his squad reconvene for pre-season training on July 10.
32.7% – @DembaBafoot has scored 32.7% of Besiktas’s Super Lig goals last term; the highest proportion of any player in the top-flight. End?
— OptaCan (@OptaCan) June 19, 2015
One forward definitely outside Ahli’s plans is forgotten man Carlos Munoz, who has completed a one-year loan switch back to boyhood club Santiago Wanderers.
The 26-year-old cost Dh40m plus 2012 UAE Olympic squad member Saeed Suroor last October from Bani Yas, but was mothballed for the second half of the campaign as Everton Riberiro, Oussama Assaidi and Kwon Kyung-won were signed during the winter transfer window.
Munoz temporarily returns to his native Chile after he scored seven goals in 15 appearances, setting his sights on fighting his way back into the international set-up.
“Being in Chile, surely I can open the door to a recall for the Chilean national team,” the 26-year-old told CDF. “I think in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, I can be included.”
— شمّا زعيمتكم (@ElAhlawyah) June 20, 2015