Everton buy smart, sign Bosnian midfielder Muhamed Besic

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With clubs like Arsenal and Manchester United splashing some serious cash on teenagers during the summer transfer window, Everton have gone for the frugal yet, hopefully, hugely effective approach.

The Toffees have sealed the $7 million signing of Muhamed Besic from Hungarian outfit Ferencvaros. The versatile midfielder, 21, was born in Germany but represented Bosnia-Herzegovina at the 2014 World Cup and impressed in all three of his outings.

Roberto Martinez obviously kept a close eye on the youngster during his stint with ESPN as a analyst during the summer and has now pounced to seal deal with Besic agreeing a five-year contract at Goodison Park.

Speaking to Everton’s website, Martinez had the following  to say.

“Muhamed is a young footballer who has developed massively in the last two seasons,” Martinez said. “He has been playing as a centre-half and as a defensive midfielder at an incredible level. What he did with Bosnia and Herzegovina in the World Cup, he showed that he is a really mature footballer, that he covers the ground really well, that he is very dynamic and technically very gifted. He is bringing us really good strength in an important part of the side.”

Over the years Everton have worked the transfer market extremely well and Martinez has proved himself to slot in with that model during his time in charge of Wigan Atheltic and then in his debut season with the Toffees in 2013-14. After grabbing Romelu Lukaku, Gareth Barry and Gerard Deulofeu on loan last term, Martinez gave  his side plenty of options. However with Lukaku and Deulofeu remaining at their parent clubs for now, Everton needed some reinforcements in midfield and at the back. Their Bosnian star, who became the country’s youngest ever player when he made his debut at the age of 18, provides that and more and has plenty of potential to kick on.

Besic has linked up with Everton on their preseason tour of Thailand and he could make his debut in the famous Blue jersey on Sunday in a friendly against Leicester City.

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

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Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.

Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.

Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.

Like the move for Newcastle?

Lukaku pens inspiring post on hard-scrabble upbringing

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Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.

The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.

From The Players’ Tribune:

There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.

Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.

West Ham signs club record center back from Toulouse

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West Ham has reportedly set a club record with its latest signing under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Issa Diop is the player, the 21-year-old Toulouse captain and center back costing the Irons around $29 million.

[ MORE: Arsenal signs Leno ]

Diop scored three goals with an assist and eight yellow cards in 31 Ligue 1 matches this season, giving the young defender 95 apps, six goals, three assists, and 23 yellows since debuting with the senior team at 18.

Capped by France at every level below the senior team, Diop’s 2.2 interceptions per game ranked sixth in Ligue 1.

Toulose finished 18th in Ligue 1, but won its promotion/relegation playoff to stay in the French top flight.

From WHUFC.com:

“I am very happy to sign for such a historic, English club, and I hope to show my best here. I am a very ambitious player and West Ham is a very ambitious club, as we’ve seen with the appointment of the new coach. I hope to help the team win lots of games and make the fans happy.”

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 3

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In the third episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England pulls out a massive win while VAR finds its way into the World Cup spotlight.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

There will be plenty more to come over the next few weeks, with the show coming via the Men In Blazers.

Click play on the video above to watch the first episode in full.