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Aston Villa signs Pepe Reina
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Pepe Reina returns to Premier League with Aston Villa

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Three-time Premier League Golden Glove winner Pepe Reina is coming back to England in a brand new role.

The serial trophy chaser is joining Aston Villa on loan from AC Milan in a bid to help the Villans stay in the top flight.

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Reina, 37, made 395 appearances for Liverpool between 2005-2014, winning the FA Cup, League Cup, and UEFA Super Cup.

His last first team appearance was Oct. 5, a 2-1 win over Genoa. Now he’ll take the gloves for an Aston Villa side missing Tom Heaton for the rest of the season.

From AVFC.co.uk:

“At the start of the summer we were looking for an experienced goalkeeper and brought in Tom Heaton. Unfortunately, his injury has ruled him out for the rest of the season but Pepe fits our criteria not just because of his experience but also because of his leadership qualities.”

Reina is closing in on 800 career senior appearances, all with big European clubs. He began his time with Barcelona in 1999 before moving onto Villarreal, Liverpool, Napoli, Bayern Munich, and AC Milan.

He was on the Spain squads that won the 2008 and 2012 EURO tournaments as well as the 2010 World Cup.

WATCH: Zlatan scores in first season start for AC Milan

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores for AC Milan
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Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored in his first start since returning to Serie A as AC Milan won 2-0 at Cagliai on Saturday.

The big Swede came off the bench at midweek, but started in place of Krzyzstof Piatek at Sardegna Arena.

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Ibrahimovic slotted a Theo Hernandez pass inside the far post to join Rafael Leao on the score sheet in the win.

It was the 38-year-old’s first Serie A goal since a May 6, 2012 brace in the Derby della Madonnina with Inter Milan. He’s scored 123 times in Italy’s top flight and 57 times overall in a Milan shirt.

He posted two shots, hit the post, and was credited with two interceptions. Ibrahimovic was involved in 22 duels, winning only nine.

Milan meets SPAL in the Italian Cup on Wednesday before a visit from Udinese on Jan. 18.

Transfer rumor roundup: Piatek to Spurs, Lookman to Newcastle

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Transfer rumors, am I right?

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The Times reports that Tottenham Hotspur is getting aggressive in a bid to ease its center forward woes.

AC Milan striker Krzysztof Piatek has been linked with Premier League suitors Newcastle United, Crystal Palace, and Aston Villa, but Spurs will reportedly make a bid.

Piatek, 24, will command around $30 million and may be willing to leave Milan after the club signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

He has four goals in 18 matches this season but collected 30 between Milan and Genoa last season, his first in Italy. Milan reportedly beat Newcastle to his signature last January.

Speaking of Newcastle, the Magpies may be a medical away from getting help in attack.

Ademola Lookman has not been getting many minutes for RB Leipzig after a big summer buy, and several reports say he wants to come back to England.

Lookman was fantastic in a loan campaign to Leipzig two seasons ago, but failed to impress under Marco Silva back at Everton and was sold to Leipzig for close to $30 million.

Newcastle would loan the ex-Everton man with an option to buy according to Sky Sports and others, though local paper The Chronicle says there’s nothing cooking yet.

Back to Spurs, Football.London cites Di Marzio that Christian Eriksen’s representatives are headed to Italy to talk with Inter Milan. The same publication says Juan Foyth would like to leave Spurs, quoting his agent as “evaluating the possibility” of departing in January.

Zlatan welcomes ‘top-level challenge’ at AC Milan

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MILAN — Zlatan Ibrahimovic is giving himself six months to see if he can still play elite-level soccer with one of Europe’s storied clubs.

The 38-year-old striker was presented by AC Milan on Friday after signing a deal until the end of the season with an option to extend for another year.

“These six months will be key to see if I’m in form and can provide results. Otherwise, I’m not going to stay just to be here. That doesn’t interest me,” Ibrahimovic said. “The challenge of being at the top level provides me with a lot of adrenaline.

“I haven’t seen many 38-year-old footballers return to a club like this. But if they’ve signed me, it means they believe in me. It’s a test for me to see if I’m doing the right thing. … I received more requests at 38 than I did at 28.”

Ibrahimovic said his children helped him select the No. 21 shirt. He could make his debut against Sampdoria at the San Siro on Monday.

Returning to the club he left nearly eight years ago, Ibrahimovic is being counted on to make an immediate impact on a team in 11th place and still reeling from a 5-0 loss to Atalanta — Milan’s biggest Serie A defeat in more than two decades.

“Milan is still Milan. History can’t be changed,” Ibrahimovic said of the seven-time European champions. “I’m coming to help the club. We can do much more but let’s go one match at a time. It’s a marathon, not a 100-meter sprint.”

Added Zvonimir Boban, Milan’s chief football officer: “I wouldn’t want to forget about the (Atalanta) match, which was an unacceptable defeat. We shouldn’t hide behind Zlatan’s broad shoulders. We need to change the direction of this season and we hope that his presence will help us.”

Ibrahimovic helped Milan to its last Serie A title in 2011. He has since played for Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and the LA Galaxy.

“Milan is like my home,” he said. “It brings me back to the joy of playing football.”

Serie A: Juve buys $40M Kulusevski, Milan introduces Zlatan

Two Swedish stars find new Serie A clubs
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Two of Italy’s most celebrated sides unveiled significant Swedish additions on Thursday, one signing half the age of the other.

Juventus purchased 19-year-old Dejan Kulusevski from Atalanta for $40 million on Thursday, while AC Milan introduced Zlatan Ibrahimovic after the legendary Swede passed his medical.

Kulusevski has one cap for Sweden. Ibrahimovic? 116 caps and a national record 62 goals.

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Juve will allow their teen Swede to continue his loan at Parma, where he’s scored four times with seven assists in 17 Serie A appearances this season. He’s committed to The Old Lady through 2023/24.

The winger has represented Sweden at nearly every level, rising from the U15 level all the way to his first senior team cap in November.

Only Lazio’s Luis Alberto has more league assists than Kulusevski, who is rated 18th in Serie A by WhoScored and 50th by SofaScore. The latter site says his 35 successful dribbles are tired for fifth in the league.

As for Zlatan, he’s passed his medical to rejoin AC Milan after leaving the club in 2012 to join Paris Saint-Germain.

The move, announced late last month, gives Milan much-needed center forward reinforcements. Star striker Krzysztof Piatek has just four goals in 17 league matches this season.

Ibrahimovic will wear No. 21 when he makes his Milan debut. The side restarts Serie A play on Monday morning at Sampdoria.