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Hanley signs new Blackburn deal; Higuain confirms summer exit

Blackburn Rovers centre-back Grant Hanley has signed a new five-year deal with the club.

Blackburn Rovers centre-back Grant Hanley has signed a new five-year deal with the club, Sky Sports understands.

Hanley, 21, joined Blackburn from Scottish giants Rangers F.C. in 2008. He made his English Premier League debut for Rovers in a 1-0 win over Aston Villa at Villa Park on 9 May 2010.

The 21-year-old defender, who broke into Rovers’ first-team in 2011-12, has formed a reliable partnership with Scott Dann at Ewood Park.

According to reports, Everton boss David Moyes was interested in signing Hanley in the summer of 2012 but no deal materialised.

“As soon as the end of the season came and I heard that the club wanted me to sign a new deal, I couldn’t wait to get it done and it feels brilliant,” said Hanley.

“I’ve been at the club for a while now, it’s a great club and I’m really happy to extend my stay here.”

The Scotland international, who made his international debut against Wales in the Nations Cup on 25 May 2011, scored four goals in 48 appearances (44 starts) for both club and country last season.

Blackburn manager Gary Bowyer is delighted that Hanley has agreed to stay at the club.

“First and foremost, this is fantastic news for the football club. It is vitally important that we keep hold of our young, home-grown talent, who the supporters can identify with,” added Bowyer.

“I have been delighted with Grant’s progress from the youth team to the first team and this new contract is richly deserved after a superb season for the club.

Higuain confirms summer exit

Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain has confirmed he will leave the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu this summer, ESPN reports.

Higuain, 25, has bagged 122 goals and 46 assists in 250-plus appearances for Los Blancos over the past seven seasons.

The 25-year-old Argentina international is expected to join Italian champions Juventus when the transfer window reopens in July.

Higuain is also attracting interest from a number of Premier League clubs, including the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.

“I feel that my time here has come to an end and I want a change of scenery. I have experienced seven intense, tough and happy years here,” said the Argentina international.

“It was a decision I have been thinking about for some time. It’s tough, it wasn’t easy to make, but I will go to another club to seek new challenges.

“My family have suffered a lot too. It’s a decision the club and me took together, and I hope it’s for the best.”

Higuain, whose current contract at Real Madrid expires in the summer of 2016, scored 16 goals in 28 league appearances for the La Liga runners-up last season.

Sun 2 June, 2013
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