Patson Daka joins Leicester City

The 22-year-old striker will join the Foxes on a five-year deal, subject to Premier League and international clearance, for around £23million.

Zambia international Daka scored 68 times across 125 appearances for Salzburg.

He told “I’m so, so excited to join this great, historic club. It has been my dream and I’m so happy and looking forward to what’s coming next.

“I have followed Leicester from the time they won the league. I feel it is the perfect place for me, because it’s a team that fights for titles. I know it’s not going to be easy, but I feel ready to face this new challenge.

“I will give my best for the club each and every day, and I look forward to seeing the Leicester City fans inside the stadium soon.”

Daka helped the Austrian side to four successive league titles and a total of seven trophies in four seasons.

He scored 27 times in just 28 league appearances last term to finish as the Austrian Bundesliga’s top scorer and was named the top flight’s player of the season.

Daka becomes boss Brendan Rodgers’ first signing of the summer as the FA Cup holders look for a long-term successor to Jamie Vardy.

Spurs close to appointing former Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo

Spurs have been looking for Jose Mourinho’s replacement since his sacking on April 19 and, after a chaotic recruitment process, have finally turned to the former Wolves manager.

Nuno left Molineux at the end of last season and looks set to stay in the Premier League after incoming football managing director Fabio Paratici persuaded chairman Daniel Levy to give him the job.

It is understood Levy had some misgivings about the Portuguese’s style of play at Wolves, having been so vocal about the need for a new manager to play “attacking” football.

Nuno is expected to be in position to take the start of pre-season training on Monday, where players not involved in international football this summer will return to Hotspur Way.

His appointment, if concluded, will bring to an end a frenetic – and at times farcical – search for Mourinho’s successor.

Spurs courted former boss Mauricio Pochettino and then, with the imminent arrival of Paratici, turned their attention to former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.

Talks were quickly shelved after it was clear Conte did not fit the profile and former Roma boss Paulo Fonseca – who Mourinho is replacing in the Italian capital – was set to get the job.

However, with contracts drawn up, Spurs again pulled the plug in favour of Gennaro Gattuso, only for the former AC Milan and Napoli boss to be immediately discarded after a strong fan reaction.

Attention then turned to Nuno and, after Paratici did his bidding with Levy, it appears he has got the job.

He has been available since May after his four-year stint at Wolves ended.

The 47-year-old took over in the summer of 2017 and immediately led Wolves out of the Championship before delivering two seventh-placed finishes in the Premier League.

They also made the Europa League quarter-final in 2019-20 but the loss of Diogo Jota and a serious injury to Raul Jimenez saw the midlands club slump to a 13th-placed finish last season.

Everton appoint ex-Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez

Benitez, who won the Champions League and FA Cup with Liverpool in 2005 and 2006 respectively, has agreed three-year contract to take over at Goodison Park.

He becomes the first man to have managed both Liverpool and Everton since William Edward Barclay in the 1890s. Barclay made the move in the opposite direction to become Liverpool’s first manager after Everton left Anfield for their purpose-built home at Goodison Park and a new club was formed in their place.

It is far from a universally popular appointment, however, with a section of the fanbase totally opposed to the notion of Benitez, whose family home has remained on Merseyside, managing their club.

Despite those dissenting voices, the Everton hierarchy, driven by owner Farhad Moshiri, are confident he represents their best choice for getting the club into Champions League contention after seven seasons finishing outside the top six, with Ancelotti managing only 12th and 10th in one and a half disappointing campaigns.

“I am delighted to be joining Everton. Throughout this process I have been greatly impressed by the ambition shown by the senior representatives at the club and their desire to bring success to this historic club,” said Benitez.

“I believe this is a club that is going places. I’m determined to play a big part in helping this great club achieve its ambitions.”

Supporters’ animosity towards the Spaniard has been raised above the usual level reserved for a Liverpool manager ever since his “small club” jibe after a 2007 Merseyside derby, although he has since sought to clarify he was referring to them having the mentality of a small team in their approach to the game.

However, when it became apparent he was the front-runner to succeed Ancelotti, who made a surprise return to Real Madrid four weeks ago, some fans campaigned against him getting the job.

Offensive messages were hung outside Goodison Park and on Monday Merseyside Police confirmed they were investigating the placing of a “threatening” banner with the words ‘We know where you live. Don’t sign’ hung over a garden wall near Benitez’s home in Caldy on the Wirral.

It is not the first time the Spaniard has had to deal with angry fans protesting his appointment to a post as he faced similar levels of opposition when he took over at Chelsea for the final six months of the 2012-13 season.

He was received with a degree of hostility at Stamford Bridge and, despite winning the Europa League and qualifying for the Champions League with a third-placed finish, he was never accepted by Chelsea fans.

Even though he left Liverpool 11 years ago, and has had six other managerial jobs at Inter Milan, Chelsea, Napoli, Real Madrid, Newcastle and Dalian Professional since, some Everton fans remain steadfastly against his appointment.

Moshiri, however, has faith the Spaniard can restore the club’s fortunes.

“Rafa impressed us greatly with his knowledge and experience but, above all, the passion and hunger he showed to join our club,” he said.

“We are appointing Rafa because we believe he will bring success to our club and to Evertonians.

“To put it simply – we need to be competing at the top end of the league and to be winning trophies.

“Rafa is a proven winner with huge experience in coaching internationally and we have secured the best man to achieve that for us.”

Benitez has a full pre-season in which to evaluate the squad he has inherited, a squad which needs significant pruning and upgrades, but the real test will come when fans return to Goodison Park for the start of the new season.

Duncan Ferguson, who was assistant manager to Carlo Ancelotti, and goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly are to remain on the staff with further backroom appointments expected in the coming days.

Southgate undecided on Chelsea pair Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell ahead of England v Germany

The Three Lions boss has no fresh concerns to contend with heading into the eagerly-anticipated match at Wembley but a decision needs to be taken on the Chelsea duo.

Mount and Chilwell are completing the final hours of isolation having come into contact with club team-mate Billy Gilmour, who tested positive for coronavirus, after the Group D game against Scotland.

The pair missed the Czech Republic win and have had to train separately, before travelling down from St George’s Park away from the main group ahead of their release from restrictions at midnight.

“Clearly, it is really complicated because there’s the physical periodisation you would want for a game like this and then there’s the tactical training,” Southgate said.

“The meetings we’ve had, they’ve had to be in a separate room and dial in on Zoom so the whole experience for them including travelling down tonight is very, very difficult.

“But they are young players who I think can get on with things pretty well.

“As I said, it is a decision I’ve got to take when we’re looking at how they’ve been able to train and everything else. There’s a lot wrapped up in that call.”

Mount started England’s first two matches and is reportedly in serious consideration to start against Germany.

There is also talk that the Three Lions may revert back to a three-man defence flanked by wing-backs at Wembley.

“Well, you always deliberate over those sorts of decisions,” Southgate said of his selection conundrums.

“I think you have clear ideas in your head, but then you train for a reason and you observe people in training and you see whether they’re in form, whether they’re looking sharp, any physical issues they may have.

“You always give yourself time as a team of coaches to make the correct decisions and assess training, review it back.

“I think that’s a process we always go through and then you come to the decisions which hopefully are the right ones.”

Pragmatic football worth it for EURO 2020 glory says England’s Harry Kane

There has been plenty of negative discussion surrounding England’s group-stage displays, despite the fact they progressed with two wins and a draw to set up Tuesday’s round of 16 clash against Germany.

Kane has yet to find the back of the net, with Raheem Sterling scoring the only two goals England managed in Group D.

There have been more entertaining teams so far at the Euros, with Spain’s 5-3 extra-time win over Croatia on Monday evening among the highlights.

But Kane feels there would be no complaints if England went the whole way to the Wembley final on July with a string of pragmatic performances.

“I don’t think there’ll be any England fan disappointed if we end up winning every game 1-0 or winning every game on penalties without scoring another goal and we ended up lifting the trophy in a couple of weeks,” he said.

“We want to win games, of course, we’d love to play amazing football and then win every game scoring three or four goals – but we know that’s not always (going to be) the case.

“It’s been great that we’ve kept three clean sheets, that’s great for the whole team in general, to have that going forward because we’re going to need to continue that if we want to go all the way.

“Obviously a different opposition poses a different threat, different

strengths and weaknesses, and hopefully we can go out there and exploit a few of theirs – and if we can score a few goals, then great.”

Much has been made of the clash with Germany, 25 years on from the semi-final Wembley meeting at Euro 96 which the visitors won on penalties.

Current England boss Gareth Southgate missed the deciding spot-kick that night but Kane admits most of the current squad are too young to recall the incident and that it will hold no sway this time around.

“I’ll be totally honest, the majority of players don’t remember that game,” he told talkSPORT.

“A lot of them weren’t born, I think I was only three years old, of course you see highlights and stuff like that but the bottom line is we’ve moved on, we’re a different team, a different squad.

“We’ve won penalty shoot-outs the last three, four years so the most important thing from our point of view is that we’re trying to get the job done in 90 minutes and if called upon we’ll be ready to do whatever it takes.”

Kane also insists beating Germany takes precedence over his own goalscoring ambition.

“I’ve always said as a striker you go through spells – good spells and sometimes spells that just don’t quite go your way,” he added.

“The most important thing for me is that we’re winning games. The first objective was to qualify, which we’ve done. The second is to now try and reach the quarter-finals, so whether I’m scoring (or not) the most important (thing) is that we’re winning.

“That’s all I’m focused on tomorrow night, that’s all the team are focused on, however we get it done. That’s our main objective, and we’ll do everything in our power to get through.”

It was the previous game at Euro 96 – a penalty shoot-out win over Spain – which remains England’s last knockout victory at the European Championship.

Germany, meanwhile, have won the Euros on three occasions and reached the final another three times and now Kane wants to see England begin a new history by eliminating Joachim Low’s men.

“German teams in general seem to go far in a lot of tournaments,” he added.

“We need to try to break that mould from our point of view. Our history isn’t as good. I think we’ve only won one knockout game in 50 years or so in this competition.

“It’s a challenge for us as players to write our own history and put a marker down hopefully for the rest of the tournament.”

Police investigating “threatening” anti-Rafael Benitez banner

An image shared on social media showed a white sheet with the words ‘We know where you live. Don’t sign’ – referring to Benitez’s likely impending appointment at Everton – hung over a garden wall in the former Liverpool manager’s home village of Caldy.

“We can confirm police are investigating reports of a threatening banner at a location in Caldy today, Monday 28 June,” said a statement from Merseyside Police.

“At around 7am, it was reported that a banner made from bed sheets had been placed over a wall and bushes on a residential driveway, with wording which is thought to target football manager Rafa Benitez.”

There has been considerable opposition among some sections of Everton’s fanbase to the likelihood of Benitez becoming Carlo Ancelotti’s successor at Goodison Park.

Offensive banners have previously been put up at the stadium but this incident was close to Benitez’s home.

“This message has understandably caused some distress and worry for residents in the area,” said Detective Inspector Darren Taylor.

“Due to the football language used, we suspect that it was aimed at Rafa Benitez – but whoever placed the message left it outside the wrong house.

“If anyone has information about who produced the banner or helped to put it up, please let us know as soon as possible.”

CCTV and witness enquiries are being carried out in the area.

Benitez, who won the Champions League and FA Cup with Liverpool in 2005 and 2006, has emerged as the front-runner to replace Ancelotti, himself a three-time Champions League winner, who made a surprise return to Real Madrid four weeks ago.

Everton fans’ animosity towards the Spaniard were raised above the usual level reserved for a Reds boss ever since his “small club” jibe after a 2007 Merseyside derby, although he has since sought to clarify he was referring to their small team mentality in the game.

Another former Everton manager Sam Allardyce faced a significant level of opposition when he took over from Ronald Koeman in November 2017.

“I have seen there are a lot of Everton fans unhappy about the situation because of the rivalry between (Liverpool) the two clubs,” he told Sky Sports.

“The fans are on your side when you start winning, that is what it is all about.

“Rafa’s track record is very good. You can talk about the style of football that you play, first it is winning and then winning and playing well is the ultimate goal.

“The style of football is talked about so much, it overshadows what is more important, winning matches and finishing up the league to match the expectation and money spent.”

Fernandinho signs Manchester City extension

The 36-year-old will stay on at the Etihad Stadium until 2022 and is targeting another shot at the Champions League, having lost to Chelsea in their first final last month.

“In my head and my mind, the job is not done yet and so that’s why I decided to stay here another year and try to help the team and the club to achieve the goals that they’re looking for,” said the Brazilian.

“In my point of view, we can do that, there’s still places to improve and to get those targets.

“Obviously, for me and for my family it’s a pleasure to stay in Manchester for one more year.

“If I can keep doing the same way, leading them inside the pitch, off the pitch, to help them to improve and get better and to perform better during the games, I would be the most happy person there.”

Fernandinho joined from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013 and has made 350 appearances and won 12 domestic trophies during that time, becoming the joint-most decorated player in League Cup history last season when he won a sixth Carabao Cup.

“Fernandinho’s contribution to Manchester City cannot be overstated,” said director of football Txiki Begiristain.

“He is an outstanding footballer – one of the best in the world in his position – and an exemplary professional.

“Since he arrived in 2013, his attitude and consistency have been exceptional, and he has developed into one of our most influential players.

“He is our captain; our leader and it is a position he has excelled in. There are a number of talented young players in our squad and, therefore, it is vital we have somebody with Fernandinho’s knowledge and experience.

“He remains an important player for us and we are delighted he has committed to another year.”

Leeds closing in on Barcelona defender

Leeds United are closing in on the signing of Barcelona defender Junior Firpo, and an announcement is expected this week.

When the move goes through, Firpo will be Leeds’ first signing of the summer, and fill a position that Marcelo Bielsa’s side were light in.

The expected departure of Ezgjan Alioski will leave a void in their starting XI, and signing Firpo from Barcelona clearly shows the pulling power of Bielsa. According to reports, he turned down a loan move to AC Milan in favour of Leeds, which is some achievement considering Milan are back in the Champions League next season.

Alioski has reportedly been offered a contract extension, but no announcement on his future has been made yet. A move to Galatasaray was expected towards the end of last season, but eventually broke down.

When Firpo left Real Betis to join Barcelona two years ago, he was expected to pressure Jordi Alba for the left-back position, but he was largely frozen out by Ronald Koeman since he took charge. As a result, Leeds are expected to get the 24-year-old for around €15m.

Quick, athletic and with a keen eye for goal, Firpo could prove a snip if he can settle into Bielsa’s unique style at Elland Road.

Crystal Palace set to appoint Patrick Vieira as new manager

Crystal Palace are set to announce Patrick Vieira as their new manager.

The 45-year-old Frenchman has seemingly came out of nowhere to lead the race to replace Roy Hodgson at Selhurst Park, and an official confirmation could come sooner rather than later.

The Eagles have been one of three Premier League clubs who have been frustrated in their search for a new job this summer, along with Everton and Tottenham Hotspur.

Frank Lampard, Lucien Favre and Nuno Espirito Santo were all heavily linked with the position, but all walked away from talks over the past months.

Vieira has been out of work for just over six months, having been sacked by French side Nice in December 2020, after a run of five straight defeats. Before Nice, he was manager of New York City FC and enjoyed some success, taking them from 17th to 4th and 2nd in his two seasons in charge.

The former Arsenal man will return to London to work for the first time in 16 years if he does take the job, and has his work cut out this summer. There are still many players at Palace out of contract in the coming days, and a rebuild is needed in order to improve on their 14th place finish last season.

Matty Longstaff linked with Newcastle exit in 2021

Longstaff has less than year to run on his current deal at St. James’ Park with speculation growing that he wants to move on from the club.

The 21-year-old won’t be short of offers if he does choose to leave this month with reports from the Newcastle Chronicle claiming West Brom, Norwich City and Middlesbrough are all tracking him.

And if Longstaff does eventually decide that his future lies elsewhere next season, Steve Bruce will be on an immediate hunt to replace him in the Magpies squad.

As per a separate report from the Chronicle, Southampton outcast Mario Lemina has already been targeted by Bruce with the Saints willing to accept £8m for him.

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Manchester City prepare £100m bid for Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish

Pep Guardiola is a big fan of the England star and Villa have a strong hand in negotiations due to Grealish’s contract at the club.

City’s deep pockets have given Villa confidence of securing a record fee for their captain despite the defending champions never paying over £65m in the past.

And despite the rumours, the gridlock is unlikely to be broken before the end of Euro 2020.

Grealish is rumoured to be open to a move to the Etihad but at this stage Villa are expected to stand firm on him.

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Raphael Varane demands huge salary as part of Manchester United talks

United have been tracking the Frenchman since the start of 2021 with contract extension talks at Real Madrid continuing to stall for the centre back.

Madrid are rumoured to be open to selling Varane in the coming months, if he rejects their improved deal, with the La Liga giants looking to make a profit as he enters the final 12 months of his current contract.

However, despite United remaining confident they can secure a package in the region of £35m, his wages could be an issue.

According to reports from the Manchester Evening News, Varane has rejected a €9m annual salary from Madrid and he wants at least £200,000 a week to join United.

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