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Swansea sign Real Betis midfielder Jose Canas

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Swansea City have signed Real Betis midfielder Jose Canas to a pre-contract deal that will be ratified once the transfer window opens on July 1.

Canas arrives at The Liberty Stadium after a successful stint with Betis has come to an end with the expiration of his contract. The 26 year old plays as a holding midfielder and is well-known for his battering tackles and seamless distribution of the ball on the counter-attacks. These characteristics made him a fixture in Pepe Mel’s side, making 27 appearances over the course of the season.

The Swans capture Canas cost-free as his contract is set to expire in the coming weeks. Michael Laudrup’s gain is Betis’ loss after the Verdiblancos turned down a £843,000 bid from Swansea this past January, believing they needed to hold on to the player to ensure qualification for Europe.

Canas joins the Swans as they prepare for their first European experience next campaign, after Laudrup’s side qualified for the Europa League by winning the League Cup.

Signing Canas should help deflate the recent tension in South Wales between Laudrup and chairman Huw Jenkins over the level of transfer funds available for the Danish manager. Following the announcement of Canas’ signing, Jenkins said:

Myself, the manager and our recruitment staff are all agreed on the quality of players we would like to sign to help us remain competitive in the Barclays Premier League.

We are continuing to work behind the scenes, in private wherever and whenever we can, to strengthen our squad.

For that reason it’s disappointing that I have to respond to the speculation of unrest at the club after the fantastic season we have had.

There are substantial funds available to strengthen our squad over the summer while we are also in the privileged position, because of the way we’ve managed our finances over the years, that we do not need to sell anyone to fund those new recruits.

Canas becomes the fifth Spaniard to sign with Swansea after Chico Flores, Pablo Hernandez and Michu all came on board under Laudrup, while Angel Rangel has been with the club since 2007. Canas will compete with Ki Sung-Yeung and Leon Britton for a role in the pivot that Laudrup utilizes in his 4-2-3-1 scheme.

While Canas is an effective player that will have an impact at the Liberty, he’s unlikely to unseat either of the old guard but rather spell them late in matches or on days of heavy fatigue, which is bound to happen as Swansea begins their Thursday night stints in Europe.

 

 

WATCH: USMNT’s Gonzalez nets first for Pachuca, earns exuberant “Gol” call

Marouane Fellaini, ,Omar Gonzalez
AP Photo/Themba Hadebe
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Come for the goal, stay for the “Gol” call.

Or should we say the “Gol. Goool-Goool-Goool-Goool-Goool-Goool-Goool-Goool-Goool-Goool-Gol” call.

[ MORE: Angry Louis van Gaal rips journalists for “inventing” stories ]

USMNT defender Omar Gonzalez has opened his account for Pachuca with this 88th minute header, and it’s worth it if just for the auditory performance.

Gonzalez also pulls out the high-capacity weapon celebration, though he’s apparently opted to do the version closer to the “Scarface” finale (Spoiler alert).

VIDEO: Premier League Team of the Week – Round 25

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In a week where defenders scored critical goals, it’s no surprise to see a 4-3-3 in the Premier League’s Team of the Week.

Robert Huth‘s brace while blanking Manchester City leads the way for the PL’s top XI from the weekend, while Southampton’s vaunted back line and keeper have two in mix.

[ MORE: Ailing Chelsea, Man Utd showcase obvious deficiencies ]

Liverpool and Arsenal both put offensive forces on the team, while big goals for safety hopefuls Newcastle United and Aston Villa found three players between the two in the XI.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Premier League Team of the Week — Round 25 ARCHIVE ]

Goalkeeper: Fraser Forster (Southampton)

Defenders: Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Maya Yoshida (Southampton), Robert Huth (Leicester City), Joleon Lescott (Aston Villa)

Midfielders: Aaron Lennon (Everton), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)

Forwards: Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Aleksandar Mitrovic (Newcastle United), Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa)

Premier League Player of the Week — Round 25

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Score one for the Midlands.

In a season for lowlights, Aston Villa captain Gabriel Agbonlahor is celebrating a bit of hope for his beleaguered club after his classy finish gave the 29-year-old his first goal of the season.

[ REACTION: Agbonlahor says Villa now ready to produce great escape ]

It also inspired Villa to consider that eight points off the Premier League safety chase isn’t unrealistic if it can put together some more gritty performances like the 2-0 defeat of Norwich City on Saturday.

Premier League Players of the Week

Week 1: Riyad Mahrez, Leicester City

Week 2: Romelu Lukaku, Everton

Week 3: Callum Wilson, Bournemouth

Week 4: Bafetimbi Gomis, Swansea City

Week 5: Steven Naismith, Everton

Week 6: Anthony Martial, Manchester United

Week 7: Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal

Week 8: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

Week 9: Raheem Sterling, Manchester City

Week 10: Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur

Week 11: Arouna Kone, Everton

Week 12: Jesse Lingard, Manchester United

Week 15: Riyad Mahrez, Leicester City

Week 16: Ayoze Perez, Newcastle United

Week 17: Odion Ighalo, Watford

Week 19: Xherdan Shaqiri, Stoke City

Week 20: Jermain Defoe, Sunderland

Week 21: Jermain Defoe, Sunderland

Week 22: Sergio Aguero, Manchester City

Week 23: Dele Alli, Tottenham Hotspur

Week 24: Fraser Forster, Southampton

Week 25: Gabriel Agbonlahor, Aston Villa

Napoli fans wear Koulibaly masks to support defender after racial abuse

NAPLES, ITALY - FEBRUARY 07:  Fans of Napoli  during the Serie A match between SSC Napoli and Carpi FC at Stadio San Paolo on February 7, 2016 in Naples, Italy.  (Photo by Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images)
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Napoli fans showed their support for Kalidou Koulibaly on Sunday after the Senegalese center-back was the subject of racial abuse in a match against Lazio last week.

[ MORE: La Liga & Serie A roundup ]

The Lazio match was temporarily stopped in the second half as Lazio supporters hurled racial insults at Koulibaly.

At Napoli’s match against Carpi on Sunday, fans wore Koulibaly masks and painted signs in his honor to show their support for the 24-year-old defender.

A statement from Napoli’s supporters’ group read: “Everyone in Naples is offended by what happened to our young star. Because of this, we want to show our full support to Koulibaly.”

[ VIDEO: Van Gaal rips journalist who questions his Manchester United future ]

Lazio was fined more than $50,000 and will be forced to close certain sections of their stadium for the next two league matches because of the incident.