Transfer Roundup: Edson Alvarez set to replace Matthijs de Ligt at Ajax

Sportstar gives you a round-up of all the major happenings from the summer transfer window 2019, with Mexican international Edson Alvarez set to replace Matthijs de Ligt at Ajax..

America and Mexico defender Edson Alvarez, Ajax has confirmed, is set to replace Matthijs de Ligt.   -  Getty Images

Udinese signs Real Madrid striker

Udinese has announced the signing of Cristo Gonzalez from Real Madrid on a five-year contract for a reported fee of €1.5 million.

Madrid is said to have included both a buy-back clause and a sell-on fee in the deal for the striker.

Gonzalez scored 21 goals for Real Madrid's reserves last term and hit his first senior goal for the club in a Copa del Rey win at Melilla.

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Cristo Gonzalez (L) in action for Real Madrid.   -  Getty Images

Madrid, meanwhile, is closing in on the signing of midfielder Alberto Soro, according to Real Zaragoza president Christian Lapetra. Soro will reportedly sign for Madrid in a €2.5 million deal that could rise to around €5 million, before returning to Zaragoza on loan.

Alvaro Gonzalez becomes Villas-Boas' first Marseille signing

Alvaro Gonzalez has become Andre Villas-Boas' first signing at Marseille after joining on an initial one-season loan from La Liga side Villarreal.

The agreement includes an option for Marseille to purchase the Spanish centre-back on a permanent basis.

It is the first time the 29-year-old has played outside his homeland and he will be tasked with shoring up a defence that shipped 52 goals in Ligue 1 last season. His arrival comes as a welcome boost for ex-Chelsea boss Villas-Boas, who has endured a difficult few weeks since replacing Rudi Garcia.

Marseille lost 2-1 to Accrington Stanley in a friendly in Manchester and were then routed 4-0 by Rangers at Ibrox.

Star striker Mario Balotelli left the club on a free transfer at the end of last term.

Higuain named in Juventus tour squad amid Roma rumours

Juventus has included Gonzalo Higuain in its tour squad despite reports Roma have agreed a deal to sign the striker on loan.

Higuain is back at Juve after Chelsea, for whom he scored five Premier League goals during the second half of last season, opted not to extend his loan or trigger a purchase option.

Read: Sturridge banned for six weeks, fined £75,000 for breaching betting rules

The Argentinian, however, has been linked with an exit with his opportunities at Juve seemingly limited as it boasts Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala among its forward options.

Higuain thrived under new Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri when they previously worked together at Napoli and the 31-year-old may yet get a chance to stake his claim in pre-season.

Juve are set to face Tottenham, Inter and Atletico Madrid in the International Champions Cup as Sarri's side warm up for the 2019-20 campaign.

Reports in Italy claim Roma have agreed a loan deal for Higuain with Juventus but that the striker is yet to accept the move.

The Giallorossi are said to want to secure Higuain as a replacement for Edin Dzeko, who is reportedly a target for Inter.

Speaking last month, however, Higuain's brother and agent Nicola said the striker will not play for another Serie A club this term.

"Higuain in Italy will play only for Juventus," Nicola Higuain tweeted. "Two years of [his] contract remain and will be respected."

Juve's tour squad, announced by the club on Friday, includes new signings Matthijs de Ligt, Adrien Rabiot and Gianluigi Buffon, but fellow arrival Aaron Ramsey is not on the list and veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini is also absent.

Mattia Perin is missing after his move to Benfica was postponed on Thursday when a medical found the goalkeeper's shoulder injury will keep him out of action for a further four months.

Leroy Sane: No contact with Bayern Munich, says Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola remains hopeful winger Leroy Sane will stay at Manchester City and claims he has not spoken to anyone at Bayern Munich regarding the Germany international.

Bayern are on the lookout for wide players to fill the sizeable void left by Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben with Sane top of their wishlist.

Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and coach Niko Kovac have been vocal in their admiration of the 23-year-old with the former even suggesting the Bundesliga champions are "ready" to make a move should the player express a wish to leave the Etihad Stadium.

Guardiola, speaking ahead of the Asia Trophy clash with Wolves, hinted at dissatisfaction with his former club's public pursuit and outlined his desire to keep Sane in the Premier League.

He told reporters in Shanghai: "For a long time they talk about their interest, but Leroy is our player and hopefully he can stay next season and next season and next season."

Pushed on if he had spoken to anyone at Bayern, Guardiola replied: "No."

City have been relatively quiet in the transfer window so far, with the signing of defensive midfielder Rodri from Atletico Madrid their only major acquisition.

Guardiola said: "We are so happy with the squad we have. I don't know if the players here will stay or if new players will come. But I am delighted with the players we have."

City have been linked with Leicester City's Harry Maguire although it seems Manchester United now lead the race for the England international. Guardiola suggested central defence was an area he was considering strengthening but had options in his squad should a move not materialise.

"There's a chance [of a defender coming in] but I don't know if it will be possible. We [already] have three incredible central defenders and Fernandinho can play in that position," he said.

De Ligt: Cristiano Ronaldo not the decisive factor in Juventus move

Matthijs de Ligt denied Cristiano Ronaldo convinced him to join Juventus but cited Maurizio Sarri as an important factor in his €85.5million move.

Netherlands defender De Ligt spoke to the media and was presented with the number four shirt on Friday, 24 hours after completing a high-profile transfer from Ajax.

The 19-year-old attracted interest from Barcelona, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain but confirmed his heart was already set on Juve by the time he crossed with paths with Ronaldo in Portugal last month.

They locked horns in the Nations League final, during which the Bianconeri superstar told centre-back De Ligt to choose Turin as his next destination.

"At that moment I was pretty sure it was Juventus but obviously it was nice that someone big like Cristiano Ronaldo asked me if I wanted to join," De Ligt said.

"It was a big compliment but it was not the difference between me joining and not joining."

Rather, De Ligt's interest in a switch to Serie A stemmed from his deep-rooted admiration of Italian defenders, including former Juve man and World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro.

Sarri's tactical approach runs counter to many of the country's established ideals but proved every bit as enticing for De Ligt, a player educated in possession football at Ajax.

"I spoke to him on the phone really briefly just to get to know each other," the ex-Ajax captain said.

"He's one of the reasons I wanted to come to Juventus because I heard a lot of good stories about him, the way he plays, the philosophy he has - attacking football - the defending line and how he prepares them.

"Obviously there was a big reason to come here."

Already considered one of Europe's finest in his position, the teenager is now seeking to accelerate his already advanced development as part of a star-studded dressing room.

"Ajax was a younger environment and here I hope that I can learn from great champions like [Giorgio] Chiellini, Gianluigi Buffon, Cristiano and many others," he said.

Lampard wants Zouma to stay at Chelsea

Frank Lampard intends to keep Kurt Zouma at Chelsea despite Everton's interest in the defender.

Zouma made 32 Premier League appearances during a loan spell at Goodison Park last term and the Toffees are reportedly keen to seal a permanent deal for the 24-year-old.

But after Zouma started Friday's friendly defeat to Kawasaki Frontale in Yokohama, Lampard said he wants the France international to remain at Stamford Bridge.

"In terms of Kurt Zouma, he's a very good defender for us, very good player, very good person and professional," Lampard told a news conference. 

"I want him here, simple as that. We are competitive with the centre-backs we have in the team and he had a very good season at Everton and I can understand why they want him. He's a Chelsea player and I want him."

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Chelsea manager Frank Lampard says he wants Kurt Zouma to stay at Stamford Bridge.   -  Getty Images

Chelsea's transfer ban means they cannot sign new players but Christian Pulisic made his first appearance for the club against Frontale, who won 1-0 thanks to a late Leandro Damiao header.

Kenedy and Mason Mount also featured in the J.League World Challenge clash as Lampard continues to examine his options ahead of the transfer window closing next month.

"In terms of Kenedy, my feeling coming into a big squad with a transfer ban was that I need to assess the players for as long as I can in pre-season to make sure we pick a squad with me having had good eyes on them in training and in games," added Lampard, who coached Mount at Derby County last term.

"I thought Mason's performance was really good and it was a continuation of how he played for me last year and how he's trained for me since last Friday as he's not been with us long, but his energy and his quality…Mason's part of the first-team squad this year and it's time for him."

Read: Chelsea beaten by Kawasaki Frontale in Lampard's third game

Pulisic's Blues debut also impressed Lampard, who tasted defeat for the first time in his third game in charge since succeeding Maurizio Sarri.

"He has been here a couple of days really in terms of training, so I have been really impressed," Lampard said of the United States international. "He's comfortable on the ball and I think he should have had a penalty towards the end of the game.

"He wants to try to take people on, he's the sort of player the fans are going to like so we have to give him a little bit of time to adapt slightly. But the way he has trained, the way he has come in with his personality looks great so I am really pleased to have him."

Alberto Soro to join Real Madrid 'in a matter of hours'

Midfielder Alberto Soro will join Real Madrid imminently, according to Real Zaragoza president Christian Lapetra.

It has been reported Soro will sign for Madrid in a €2.5million deal that could rise to around €5m, before returning to Zaragoza on loan.

Lapetra said on Friday he expected the transfer to be formally announced "in a matter of hours".

"As president, I have to sign off on the sale and I want to announce Soro will join Real Madrid in a matter of hours," he said, as reported by AS.

"All that remains is to sign a deal that is already done."

The 20-year-old made 29 appearances in a breakout season in the Segunda Division last term, scoring twice.

Maldini: Modric would be 'perfect' but Milan did not bid for Madrid star

Paolo Maldini insists AC Milan did not make an offer for Luka Modric this close season, although he admits the Real Madrid man would be "perfect" at San Siro.

Modric is expected to stay at Madrid, where he has been since 2012, but the 33-year-old was linked with moves to Inter last year and rivals Milan in recent months.

Maldini, acknowleding the midfielder's blend of experience and talent, says there was never any negotiation for the 2018 Ballon d'Or winner.

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Luka Modric was linked with Inter Milan last summer and the Croat is rumoured to be joining AC Milan in recent months.   -  Getty Images

 

"We never negotiated for Modric, but we've said to [coach Marco] Giampaolo this club are looking for good young players and some experienced ones," Rossoneri technical director Maldini told a news conference.

"The growth of young players takes place through the presence of experienced players. Modric would be perfect here, but we've never negotiated for him."

Maldini was speaking alongside Rade Krunic and Theo Hernandez as they were presented as Milan players on Friday.

Hernandez, a left-back just as Maldini was in his playing days, was delighted to have joined Milan.

"It is a real honour to be sitting next to [Maldini]," Hernandez said. "He will always be the best full-back in the world.

"We met in Ibiza, where he had some very beautiful and sincere words for me. Since then, I have had the desire to join Milan. I trained hard to succeed and in the end I did it."

Ajax to sign Mexico international Edson Alvarez

Ajax has confirmed it is set to sign Edson Alvarez, the defender's arrival helping to address the loss of Matthijs de Ligt.

Club captain De Ligt completed his long-awaited move to Serie A champion Juventus on Friday, as the Italian club paid an initial €75m with the deal including a further €10.5m in add-ons.

Ajax has wasted no time in splashing some of the cash on 21-year-old Mexico international Alvarez, who will come in from America on a five-year deal for a reported €15m fee.

The Dutch giant, which has also lost Frenkie de Jong to Barcelona ahead of the 2019-20 campaign, confirmed central defender Alvarez will arrive subject to a medical.

Reported Arsenal target Izzo commits to Torino

Armando Izzo has signed a new contract at Torino, ending speculation he could move to the Premier League.

Arsenal was reportedly interested in the centre-back, who has also been linked with Manchester United and Everton.

But Izzo, who made his first Italy appearance in a Euro 2020 qualifier in March, has instead signed a new five-year deal with Torino.

Speaking last month, the 27-year-old indicated he would commit to the Granata and he is thrilled to have agreed an extension.

(with inputs from agencies)