Divock Origi has signed a new long-term contract at Liverpool, the club announced on Wednesday. The striker's previous deal was due to expire at the end of the 2019-20 season, but the club has moved to retain him in the wake of his heroics in Liverpool's triumphant Champions League campaign.
Origi scored twice as the Reds stunned Barcelona with a 4-0 triumph in the second leg of the semifinals and then wrote his name into Anfield folklore with a goal in the 2-0 victory over Tottenham in the final as Liverpool clinched Europe's top prize for the sixth time.
The 24-year-old told the club's official website: "I'm very happy to be able to sign this contract and it gives you a boost at the beginning of the season, as well as the end of the season last year. So I'm very happy.
"I always felt comfortable here. I made steps during my career, I say that I became a man here at this club, I signed when I was 19.
"When we had to make the decision I just wanted to speak with the club first and my entourage, but the feeling was always that I wanted to stay and extend my contract," he said.
- Balotelli leaves Marseille -
Mario Balotelli has left Marseille following the expiration of his contract, club president Jacques-Henri Eyraud has confirmed. Balotelli joined Marseille from Nice in January on a short-term contract and enjoyed a solid end to the season, scoring eight goals in 15 Ligue 1 appearances.
Marseille had been keen on keeping him at the club, but its failure to qualify for the Champions League has forced it to lower its wage budget.
"At the moment we are [working] on two or three areas to adapt if there are unexpected departures and that we would have to replace," Eyraud told L'Equipe .
"The attacking position has to be filled, since Mario Balotelli will not continue with Marseille. We are looking beyond the position of attacker, however, including centre-back."
Eyraud is hopeful highly rated 19-year-old centre-back Boubacar Kamara signs a new deal, while he also denied reports Marseille has told Rami – a World Cup winner with France last year – to look for a new club.
"I respect my players, I rub shoulders with them every day and I see how much pressure they are under," he added. "I am very surprised by the media coverage that claims Rami has already left.
"What is certain, for me, is that Adil Rami must question himself, deeply, about his status, about his job as a professional footballer, about his rights and duties as a player, and moreover a world champion.
"With Adil I am very frank, very direct, as always, and I will make a decision at the end of this discussion.
"I cannot wait to have it [the discussion with Rami], and to have this exchange with him, which will take place this week."
- Lemina admits desire to leave Southampton amid Manchester United links -
Rumoured Manchester United target Mario Lemina has confirmed he is seeking a move away from Southampton and would prefer to remain in the Premier League. The 25-year-old has been left out of the Saints' squad for their pre-season training camp in Austria amid reports that United has been given permission to speak to him.
Arsenal and Leicester City are also said to have made contact with Lemina, who arrived at St Mary's Stadium from Juventus two years ago in a reported £15.4million deal that could potentially rise to £18.1m.
But the Gabon international has made it clear he wants to further his career elsewhere, with a move to another English club his priority.
"I am physically preparing myself at the training centre, with a few other players including Charlie Austin and Jordy Clasie," he told France Football .
"I did not accompany the team in training in agreement with the coach [Ralph Hasenhuttl]. He wants to build his group with the players who want to stay at the club, so he left me out.
"The best option for me would be to stay [in the Premier League], but I do not close the door to any club, no country. I aspire to play for the biggest clubs.
"I had chosen to leave Juventus for Southampton to have more playing time - I got it. I have made a good impression in England," he said.
- Hope de Gea stays, says Solskjaer-
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains optimistic David de Gea will sign an extension at Manchester United rather than run down his contract.
The Spain international joined United from Atletico Madrid in 2011 and, after a shaky start, has developed into arguably the best goalkeeper in the world. Since the start of the 2013-14 season, De Gea has been the undisputed first choice at Old Trafford, putting in some remarkable performances.
A return to Spain has regularly been mooted, with Real Madrid having previously attempted to sign him, and his future remains uncertain. De Gea's contract expires in 2020 and prolonged negotiations have failed to yield an agreement, posing the risk United could lose one of its most valuable assets for free, but Solskjaer is not resigned to losing the 28-year-old.
"I'm positive, of course, with David. I've said many times how lucky I am and happy we are to have him in goal," Solskjaer told reporters in Perth ahead of Saturday's friendly with Perth Glory.
"David has had a close-season where he has been negotiating and we hope we can get it sorted. I am positive. We hope he stays here for many years."
( With inputs from Omnisport )
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