• Transfers: Roma consider Benatia renewal

    (Football Italia) Roma are reportedly ready to begin negotiations with Mehdi Benatia on a new contract, cooling talk of his exit.

    The centre-back ended an impressive first season with the Giallorossi by declaring his discontentment at an apparently ‘disrespectful’ offer a new contract, which was backed up by his agent.

    Whilst subsequently linked with the likes of Barcelona and Manchester City, the €30m-rated 27-year-old saw rumours of his departure fuelled when training alone in the first week of pre-season.

    However, on from Rudi Garcia asserting that the defender ‘will play with Roma this season’ come reports that a contract renewal is on the cards.

    Sky Sport Italia suggest that talks over an improved deal could begin once the club return from their pre-season tour of the United States and that it will present Benatia with an increased salary he has been seen as angling for from May.



  • Transfers: Fulham snap up Adil Chihi following successful trial

    The Dusseldorf-born midfielder has been looking for a new club since leaving Cologne this summer and Craven Cottage boss Felix Magath, who has an extensive knowledge of German football, offered him a trial with the west London club and he impressed enough to earn a 12-month contract, which includes the option of a second year.

    Chihi, 26, made 130 appearances for Cologne, scoring 20 goals, and has featured twice for the Moroccan national team.

    Read more at http://talksport.com/football/fulham-snap-moroccan-winger-following-successful-trial-140723103412#gUHgQ4eUfL7GbDQE.99



  • Garcia: 'Benatia stays at Roma'

    (Football Italia) Rudi Garcia assured Manchester City and Chelsea target Mehdi Benatia “will play with Roma this season.”

    The Moroccan international defender is in the squad that travelled to Boston for their US tour, which began today.

    “Mehdi is under contract and will play with Roma this season,” said Coach Garcia in his Press conference.

    “Fortunately the President manages to speak to all the players and yesterday he talked to everyone.

    “Tomorrow Benatia will play against Liverpool.”

    The Giallorossi are due to face Liverpool in a friendly at Fenway Park on Wednesday evening, kicking off at 23.30 UK time (22.30 GMT).

    Garcia was also asked about rumours Adem Ljajic is on the market following the arrival of Juan Manuel Iturbe.

    “For me the primary transfer strategy is to keep our most important players and Adem is one of them. He takes a lot of responsibility on his shoulders and I like that.

    “We have to be wary of not putting too much pressure on Iturbe. He can improve and will be important in attack, but it’ll take a while before we see him at his best in our system.”



  • Transfers: Medhi Benatia staying at Roma

    (ESPNFC) Manchester City target Medhi Benatia has joined Roma on their preseason tour of the U.S. and ruled out a move away from the Italian capital this summer.

    Benatia, 27, has been targeted by clubs in England -- most notably the Premier League champions -- while Barcelona have also been linked with the Morocco international.

    However, after having a prohibitive valuation of 61 million euros placed on him by the Serie A club, he is now resigned to staying at the Olimpico.

    "I'm staying here, definitely," Corriere Dello Sport quotes Benatia as saying to Roma fans as the team departed the city's Fiumicino airport on Monday.

    Benatia signed for Roma from Udinese in 2013 and went on to start all but four Serie A matches for the Giallorossi last term in a campaign that saw them go unbeaten throughout the entire first half of the season.



  • Moroccans Abroad: Taarabt omitted from pre-season tour

    QPR boss Harry Redknapp has omitted Adel Taarabt from the club's pre-season tour squad and he now looks set to head back to Serie A.

    Redknapp and Taarabt have endured somewhat of a rocky relationship since their time working together at Tottenham.

    The Morocco international was loaned out to Fulham for the first half of last season before joining AC Milan on loan for the second half of the campaign.

    Reports have suggested that the 25-year-old is keen on securing a move to the San Siro on a permanent basis, although it appears the two clubs have so far failed to agree a fee.

    Rafael Benitez's Napoli have expressed an interest in taking him off the R's hands but are yet to make a formal approach for his services.

    QPR are heading to Germany for the latest stage in their pre-season preparations as they look to survive back in the Premier League.



  • Transfers: Chelsea beating Man Utd and Man City in race for Roma star Mehdi Benatia

    (Express) CHELSEA are favourites to land Roma star Mehdi Benatia despite interest from Manchester United, Manchester City and Bayern Munich.

    The Blues are in the market for a new centre-back after selling David Luiz for a staggering £50million to French champions Paris St-Germain, and with new signing Kurt Zouma set for a loan move this summer, Jose Mourinho is desperate to land an experienced defender.

    Chelsea have already completed the signings of Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa from Barcelona and Atletico Madrid respectively, and today agreed a £20million for Brazilian left-back Filipe Luis.

    Despite reports in Italy claiming that the Blues are winning the race for Benatia's signature, Mourinho faces stiff competition from Louis Van Gaal at Old Trafford, who is looking to replace Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand after the pair departed on free transfers.



  • Transfers: Stoke close to signing Oussama Assaidi from Liverpool in a potential £7million deal

    (Teleghraph) Stoke manager Mark Hughes finally strikes breakthrough in pursuit of Morocco international Oussama Assaidi and could complete the signing before the weekend

    Mark Hughes is close to signing Liverpool winger Oussama Assaidi in a deal worth a potential £7million.

    Hughes, the Stoke manager, has finally struck a breakthrough in his pursuit of the Morocco international and could complete the signing before the weekend.

    Stoke had been deterred by Liverpool's strict transfer fee but are close to agreeing a fee which will see them pay an initial £4.5million.

    Hughes had turned to Norwich winger Nathan Redmond after growing frustrated in his attempt to bring Assaidi back to the Britannia Stadium, with the Championship club turning down a £3.5million bid.

    But negotiations over Assaidi have resumed over the past 48 hours and Hughes expects to permanently sign the winger, who impressed on loan last season. Assaidi, 25, will become Stoke's fifth signing of the summer.



  • Transfers: Verona announce Obbadi loan

    Verona have announced the signing of Mounir Obbadi from Monaco on loan with an option to make the deal permanent.

    Obaddi was a regular starter in Ligue 1 last season as Monaco secured second place in the table in their first season back in the top flight.

    However, with the departure of Claudio Ranieri the Morocco international appears not to be in the plans of new coach Leonardo Jardim.

    Obbadi will form part of a Verona squad looking to build on their impressive Serie A performance when they challenged for Europe before eventually settling for 10th place.

    In a statement on their official website the club announced the 31-year-old's arrival, they said: "Hellas Verona announces that it has acquired Mounir Obbadi from Monaco on a temporary basis with an option to buy.

    "The French midfielder has completed a medical (on Tuesday) and will now join up with the squad."



  • Transfer news: Hibernian sign Moroccan striker Farid El Alagui

    Hibernian have signed Moroccan striker Farid El Alagui to aid their push for promotion back into the Scottish Premiership.

    The 28-year-old, who joins on a two-year deal from Brentford after spending last season on loan at Dundee United, becomes Hibs’ second summer signing following David Gray’s arrival last week.

    El Alagui is excited about the move and is confident he can provide the goals Hibs lacked last season when they managed just 31 in 38 league games.

    "I'm really happy to be at Hibs and I'm excited about the challenge ahead,” El Alagui told the club's official website.

    "We will be doing everything we can to make sure we get back into the Scottish Premiership.

    "As soon as I came here the move felt right and I felt good about playing for Hibs."

    El Alagui had options, with St Johnstone and Dundee also in the hunt for his signature, but chose Hibs after being impressed by head coach Alan Stubbs and his vision for the club.

    "When I met Alan, I was impressed because he is young and enthusiastic and he wants to bring something new to the club,” he said.

    "I think the Scottish Championship will be a very exciting league next season and I'm looking forward to playing for Hibernian.

    "I had a few other offers to consider before I chose Hibernian. I thought this was the most exciting challenge and it was very clear in my head that I wanted to be here."

    Stubbs was delighted to be able to sign El Alagui and said he is targeting other quality signings to add to the squad.

    "We're delighted with the news Farid has decided to join the club - he will be a great addition to the club and his arrival has given everybody a lift,” Stubbs said.

    "We've had to fight off competition from Scottish Premiership clubs and also competed with clubs from down south in order to bring Farid here to the club.

    "I'm thrilled that he has seen the potential and, after we had a chat, he bought into my vision for Hibernian and the direction where we want to go.

    "We've mentioned before that we want to add quality players to the squad and El Alagui’s arrival is the type of signing we're aiming to introduce this summer.”

    El Alagui is expected to make his Hibernian debut in Tuesday's friendly at Dunfermline.



  • Transfers: Hughes holds out Assaidi hope

    (Soccerway) Stoke City manager Mark Hughes is still hopeful of securing the services of Liverpool winger Oussama Assaidi on a permanent basis.

    Assaidi spent last season on loan at the Britannia Stadium and enjoyed a relatively impressive campaign, the highlight of which came when he netted a spectacular strike to give Stoke a 3-2 win over Chelsea in December.

    Hughes is keen to add another winger to his ranks, with Barcelona's Bojan Krkic mooted as a potential transfer target.

    However, a move for Assaidi has stalled due to issues over fitness and the club's finances.

    Stoke apparently want to be sure that a knee injury that kept Assaidi on the sidelines for much of the second half of the season has healed.

    Liverpool's reported asking price of £7million is also said to be a sticking point, but Hughes has not given up on recruiting the former Heerenveen man.

    "We are where we are on that one," Hughes told The Sentinel. "Ideally, if we can do something, then yes we will.

    "He's someone we know and someone we know can have an impact, so yes we would like to see if something can be done with Ossie.

    "But obviously he isn't our player and that means the ball is in Liverpool's court."

    Hughes is pleased with the club's business so far, which has seen Stoke bring in Mame Biram Diouf, Phil Bardsley, Steve Sidwell and Dionatan Teixeira.

    And the former Manchester City and Fulham boss is eager to make further additions before the start of the new season next month.

    "People are coming back from the World Cup, so things can move on quite quickly," he added.

    "We are still keen to add to the squad if the right quality at the right price is available.

    "But we are in a good place because of the early work (four signings) already done."



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