Becchio signs for Norwich

Norwich City have completed the signing of Luciano Becchio from Leeds in a deal that sees Steve Morison move the opposite way.

The 29-year-old, who has netted 19 times so far for Leeds this season, signs a three-and-a-half year deal with Norwich following the move from the Championship side.

The Argentine handed in a transfer request during the January window after talks regarding a new contract broke down, paving the way for his top-flight switch.

Becchio is looking forward to life in the English Premier League and said a couple of former team-mates had helped persuade him to sign.

The forward told the club’s website: “I spoke to Robert Snodgrass and Jonny Howson about Norwich and they both had really good things to say about the club and the city.

“I cannot wait to play my first game for Norwich. I am really happy about having the chance to play in the Premier League. It is brilliant for me personally and for my career.”

The former Boca Juniors man is also relishing the prospect of facing two of his countrymen along with the rest of the Premier League’s top talent.

“The Premier League has some brilliant players including people like (Sergio) Aguero and (Carlos) Tevez and it will be a great experience for me to play against players of that quality,” Becchio said.

The man to leave Norwich as a result of Becchio’s arrival, Morison, made 85 appearances in 18 months with the club, scoring 12 goals in that time – helping them get to the Premier League.

Leeds have received an undisclosed fee as part of the deal.

Thu 31 January, 2013
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Wenger ´convinced´ of Frimpong quality

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Emmanuel Frimpong will prove himself worthy of playing in the English Premier League.

The Ghana-born midfielder, who spent the first half of the season at Charlton, has signed a loan deal with Fulham until the end of the campaign.

Wenger said the move was vital to help the 21-year-old develop as he continues to regain sharpness following a lengthy lay-off due to a knee injury.

“At the moment he has many players in front of him and he is at an age where he needs to play,” Wenger told the club’s website.

“I am 100 percent convinced he has the quality to play in the (English) Premier League.

“He comes back from injury, the players in front of him are fit and he’s a bit stuck there. I want to give him an opportunity to play.”

Thu 31 January, 2013
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Pereirinha joins Lazio

Lazio have completed the signing of Bruno Pereirinha from Sporting Lisbon for an undisclosed fee.

The Serie A outfit were keen to add some more depth to their squad and head coach Vladimir Petkovic sees the 24-year-old midfielder, who can also operate at right-back, as a useful addition.

Pereirinha is a product of the illustrious Sporting youth academy, but never really managed to secure regular first-team action at the Lisbon giants.

He has now opted to move on in an attempt to relaunch his career at Lazio.

The former Portugal Under-21 international has reportedly signed a contract with the Stadio Olimpico side until June 2016.

Pereirinha could make his official debut against Genoa on Sunday.

Thu 31 January, 2013
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Pazzini still wanted at AC Milan

AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani insists the arrival of Mario Balotelli does not mean Giampaolo Pazzini no longer has a role to play.

Several reports suggested Pazzini could be on his way out of AC Milan following the signing of Balotelli, who signed a contract until June 2017 on Thursday.

But Galliani said the former Inter Milan striker remains an important first-team player.

“I personally phoned Pazzini before we completed the signing of Balotelli to assure him that he remains an important player for Milan,” Galliani told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“I have told him that he should remain calm and that we still count on him. He said that my explanation reassured him that he still has a role to play.”

Pazzini, 28, joined Milan from Inter in 2012 in a player-exchange deal that saw Antonio Cassano move in the other direction.

He has since scored 10 goals in 20 Serie A appearances.

Thu 31 January, 2013
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Begovic staying at Stoke

Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic insists he will not be leaving Stoke in the January transfer window.

Begovic has been touted as a transfer target for English Premier League leaders Manchester United, while Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool have also reportedly shown interest.

Despite growing speculation the Bosnian is keen to complete a move to United, the 25-year-old said he was likely to remain at Britannia Stadium and is looking ahead to the rest of the season.

“As far as I know (I am staying at Stoke) yes,” he told Sky Sports News. “I’m in for training today so I’m looking forward to staying and looking forward to the game at the weekend.

“I don’t see anything happening now. I think that time’s passed. I’m just concentrating on what I need to do here.”

Stoke manager Tony Pulis has been linked with a move for Birmingham keeper Jack Butland, with reports suggesting the club are poised to make a formal bid after the 19-year-old rejected Chelsea due to the prospect of no first-team football.

Begovic said the Englishman’s arrival would be great for the club and would only add to the healthy competition for the starting position in between the goalposts.

“(I’m) looking forward to it,” he said. “If he comes in he’s another great talent.

“Obviously we have a good group of goalkeepers already here and it’ll be good to have the competition around. I would welcome him if he comes, for sure, he’s a big talent and I’m sure he’d make us better.”

Stoke face stiff competition for the youngster’s signature with Southampton and Everton both failing to land the player in the off-season, and with Liverpool, Fulham, Newcastle and City also on alert.

Thu 31 January, 2013
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Ibrahimovic happy for Guardiola

Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic feels Pep Guardiola is privileged to be joining Bayern Munich.

Guardiola recently signed a three-year deal with Bayern, and will replace Jupp Heynckes as head coach at the Allianz Arena the end of this season.

“He’ll be at one of the five best clubs in the world, and he should make the most of that privilege,” Ibrahimovic told Marca.

“It’s a personal decision. He has to do what he feels is right, and I think that’s the most important thing. It’s a great opportunity for him and he has to take it.

“He should be happy, because not everyone gets that opportunity. It’s a great club, with great players and an impressive structure and organisation.

“He has another chance to repeat the job he did at Barcelona.”

Guardiola is enjoying a one-year sabbatical after leaving Barca at the end of last season.

Thu 31 January, 2013
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Vidic warns United against complacency

Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic says the English Premier League title race is not over despite his side’s seven-point lead.

United capitalised on Manchester City’s 0-0 draw against Queens Park Rangers by battling their way to a 2-1 victory over Southampton at Old Trafford thanks to a Wayne Rooney double.

But, while Vidic agrees United are in a favourable position, he said his side had not yet done enough to win back their crown.

“All in all, we have to be pleased with the result,” he told MUTV. “If you look at the other teams, they all drew, so we’re in a good position now.

“We have to now focus for the next game against Fulham. Away games are always hard so we need to think about that.

“We know that we have to forget the games that come before and always focus on the next ones. Nothing is finished yet. There is a long way to go but we’re in a good position.”

United had to withstand intense pressure from Mauricio Pochettino’s men in the second half, and the Serbian agreed with manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who felt Southampton were among the most impressive teams they had faced at home this season.

“We had to fight to win this game at the end,” Vidic said. “You see we couldn’t have possession of the ball and they were attacking all the time.

“Sometimes it’s important to win this type of game. Obviously, the performance in the second half, we’re not really pleased with, but I think we played some good football in the first half and had some good chances.

“Of course you have to show character – sometimes even when it’s not happening for you. You have to defend and I think the whole team was pushed to the limits physically. It was a hard game and the pitch did not help.”

Thu 31 January, 2013
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Samba joins QPR in record deal

Christopher Samba has signed a four-and-a-half-year deal with QPR after completing a 12.5-million-pound switch from Anzhi Makhachkala.

QPR activated the centre-back’s release clause on Wednesday and have now put the finishing touches to a deal to bring the Congo-born stopper back to the Premier League.

Harry Redknapp has been desperate to reinforce his defence following the departures of Anton Ferdinand and Ryan Nelsen this month and had previously been linked with a move for Fulham’s Brede Hangeland.

“I’ve been linked with the club for a long time. With Harry here though, he is really passionate and he wants to do something with the club,” Samba told the club’s official website.

“Unfortunately things haven’t gone the way the club would have wanted so far this season but there’s still a lot of time and I’m sure we can get out of it.

“I know what is going on with the project here. There is a very important fan base here – I’ve played at Loftus Road before and it’s fantastic.

“The club is ambitious and I’m sure it’s a good challenge for me.

“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe we could get out of trouble.”

Redknapp also described Samba, who will wear the number five shirt at Loftus Road, as a ‘monster’.

“This is an unbelievable signing,” he said. “Tony Fernandes deserves a lot of credit for this one – he has worked so hard on bringing him in.

“I was speaking with him a month ago and he asked me who I would want to sign if Ryan Nelsen left, he asked me to give him a couple of names.

“I said to him, ‘Well, these aren’t possible to get but if you’re asking me who I’d have, I’ll give you a couple of players’. One of them was Chris Samba.

“The next thing I know he’s telling me that he’s working on bringing him in! It’s amazing.

“Chris is just what we need. He’s a monster. Great in the air, quick, a leader, strong, fantastic in both boxes, hard as nails. He’s a proper centre-half.”

Thu 31 January, 2013
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Wanyama rules out January move

Celtic defender Victor Wanyama says he will not be joining Manchester United in the January transfer window.

Wanyama has been one of the Scottish Premier League outfit’s standout performers this term, scoring the first goal in the club’s memorable 2-1 win over Barcelona in November and impressing with a fine all-round display.

Speculation has linked United with the Kenya international for several months, and the English Premier League leaders have reportedly been scouting the 21-year-old all season.

But despite talk of a late 12-million pound bid from Sir Alex Ferguson, Wanyama has ruled out a switch, insisting he wants to remain at Celtic through their Champions League adventure.

“I can confirm to you that I will be at Celtic,” he told the Daily Record. “We are playing well and our Champions League dream is on right now, so I am looking forward to the big game against Juventus.”

Reports had indicated Wanyama would be open to a transfer to England and, although he reiterated his desire to remain at Celtic, he hinted his situation may change at the end of the campaign.

“A lot has been said about my intended move but I have not given it much thought and even my manager feels I should play until the end of the season for Celtic,” he said.

“Then, from that point, the doors can be open for a move.”

Thu 31 January, 2013
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El Shaarawy set to extend AC Milan stay

Stephan El Shaarawy’s agent Roberto La Florio says the attacker could soon sign a new contract with AC Milan until 2018.

The Italy international inked a fresh deal with the San Siro giants until June 2017 at the start of this season, but AC Milan are ready to offer him a new and improved contract for one additional season following his fine performances in 2012/13.

“We will open contract talks with Milan over a new deal until 2018 in the upcoming days,” La Florio told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The 20-year-old joined AC Milan from Genoa in 2011, and has since developed into an important first-team member at the Serie A giants.

El Shaarawy has already netted 15 goals in 22 league appearances this term, helping AC Milan to fifth spot in the league after a difficult start.

Thu 31 January, 2013
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