Dalian Yifang

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Transfer rumor roundup: Man Utd eye Lazio star, PL clubs duel for Joelinton

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Rampant links with transfer targets happen every summer at Manchester United, especially when a manager is involved with his first transfer window.

Throw in the Red Devils recent spells outside the UEFA Champions League, and there are plenty of wrinkles this go-round.

[ MORE: Latest on USMNT’s Cameron ]

For great players on middling clubs like Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, however, Europa League football is a step up considering Lazio’s underwhelming 2018-19 season.

Lazio slapped a nine-figure price tag on the exceptional 24-year-old center midfielder; Milinkovic-Savic was the club’s top performer last season, and chipped in offensively with five goals and three assists.

That was a far cry from his 12-goal 2017-18 season, but he’s only gotten better in his defensive contributions. Sky Sports says the player likes the idea of moving to United, but would also be happy to spend another season in Rome.

Hoffenheim’s big, young Brazilian striker Joelinton is looking to take the next step in his career, with both Wolves and Newcastle interested in the 22-year-old.

Joelinton scored seven times with seven assists in his return to the Bundesliga, which came after two loan stints with Rapid Vienna. He posted a combined 15 goals and six assists in league matches with the Austrian powers.

Newcastle is in dire need of a center forward, with Salomon Rondon reportedly on the verge of a move from West Bromwich Albion to Dalian Yifang in China.

Wolves would add a target forward with playmaking abilities much like Raul Jimenez, who is 28 and will need relief with the West Midlands club eyeing up a Europa League campaign.

Benitez joins Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang

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DALIAN, China (AP) Rafael Benitez has confirmed he has joined Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang.

He tweeted on Tuesday, “After a long path… We start a new challenge! I’m happy to begin this new project with Dalian Yifang.”

Another tweet was a brief video welcome from the club.

Neither tweets defined a job title, but the announcement has come a day after Dalian Yifang’s South Korean manager, Choi Kang-hee, resigned.

Benitez saw out his manager contract at Newcastle on Sunday, and noted he wanted to stay at St James’ Park “but I didn’t just want to sign an extended contract, I wanted to be part of a project. Unfortunately it became increasingly clear to me that those at the top of the club did not share the same vision.”

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Chinese club reportedly offers $15M contract to Newcastle’s Benitez

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It would be peak Newcastle United of recent seasons to lose their coach to a squabble over the sort of players the manager wants to sign.

Rafa Benitez‘s contract expires at the end of this month, and he makes decent money at St. James’ Park, but his $6 million pales in comparison the money being offered by a Chinese Super League club.

[ MORE: Mata staying with Man Utd ]

Benitez wants to stay at Newcastle, but his concerns aren’t about his wages as much as being allowed to build a contender under stingy owner Mike Ashley. With the team possibly getting a takeover, Benitez is not guaranteed the chance to improve his roster. Not to mention Newcastle operates under club-wide restrictions.

Sky Sports says, “the former Liverpool, Chelsea and Valencia boss wants to be given the green light to sign players over the age of 26, which has been against club policy in previous years.”

Sky Sports reports that Benitez is mulling a $15 million offer from Dalian Yifang, the CSL team currently sitting in 11th place under former South Korea national team manager Kang-hee Choi.

Dalian Yifang currently employs transfer rumor mainstay Yannick Carrasco, as well as Marek Hamsik and young Ghanaian striker Emmanuel Boateng.

If Newcastle allows Benitez to leave and the takeover is not completed, it would be the most embarrassing thing for the club since Joe Kinnear couldn’t pronounce half of his players’ names. That’s saying something.

Hamsik admits he is struggling to adapt in Chinese league

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Former Napoli midfielder Marek Hamsik, who moved this winter to Chinese club Dalian Yifang, has told Chinese media that he is struggling to adapt to the new league with teammates who don’t speak a familiar language.

The 31-year-old has made six appearances for Dalian Yifang since joining – all starts – but was dropped out of the squad completely for a 4-1 loss at leaders Beijing Guoan on Sunday. Hamsik admitted that he is in uncharted territory for himself at the new club.

“I am not particularly satisfied with my performances,” the Slovakian international midfielder told Chinese channel China Central Television, as quoted by global news agency AFP. “I have always tried my best to help the team but I’ve not encountered a situation like this before. There are big differences between Chinese and European football, but I will try to overcome this and adapt.”

Hamsik does not have a goal or assist yet in 513 minutes of Chinese Super League play, and he believes it comes down to familiarity. “Many times I want to communicate with my teammates, for example on pitch, but because of the language I can’t, so I can only use gestures,” Hamsik said.

The struggles may not just be down to his new club, however. Hamsik was a bit-part player for Napoli this season before moving on, and in 13 Serie A appearances totaling 922 minutes, he did not register a goal or assist either.

Still, the Slovakian international is not the only one from overseas struggling at Dalian Yifang. His current teammate Yannick Carrasco, who started Super League play with a bang registering three goals in the season’s first two matches, is also said to be wanting out. The Belgian told domestic outlet HLN back in late March, “I would like to return to Europe,” saying that he looked for a way out in the winter but couldn’t make it work.

Carrasco cited the struct rules in China as part of the reason for his uncomfortable state, referring back to a training ground fight last fall that resulted in the Chinese government temporarily revoking his passport, which caused him to miss a pair of international matches. The 25-year-old was benched in the loss at Beijing Guoan on Sunday, left as an unused substitute marking the first match he has missed this season.

Hamsik calls time on legendary Napoli career, off to China

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Marek Hamsik has left Napoli for a big money deal with Chinese Super League club Dalian Yifang.

Hamsik, 31, apologized to fans of the Neapolitan club and praised them for their support over 520 matches, which included 121 goals, 111 assists, two Italian Cups and one Italian Super Cup.

[ MORE: Icardi stripped of captaincy ]

He joins ex-Atletico Madrid winger Yannick Carrasco and former Benfica star Nicolas Gaitan on DL Yifang.

Still, the veteran is emotional about leaving Italy.

“Napoli. I got it tattooed on my skin, just like the first victory in the Italian Cup after 25 years. It’s impossible to forget that party. It’s impossible to forget the moment when I broke Bruscolotti’s record or when I beat Maradona’s goal record.”

Hamsek has 110 caps for Slovakia and definitely had more top-end time with him on the European stage, but felt the need for a rich new adventure. Napoli’s administration has made it clear there will always be a home for him, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he returned sooner rather than later.

 

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Napoli nel cuore 💙 Per prima cosa mi devo scusare con voi tifosi azzurri: volevo, speravo, sognavo di salutarvi con un grande giro di campo abbracciato dal vostro applauso. Mi avete sempre sostenuto e amato incondizionatamente nei momenti belli o difficili: di questo ve ne sarò sempre grato. “Napoli” ce l’ho tatuato sulla pelle: così come la prima vittoria in Coppa Italia dopo 25 anni. Impossibile dimenticare quella festa 💙 impossibile dimenticare il momento in cui ho battuto il record di presenze di Bruscolotti o quando ho superato il record di gol in maglia azzurra del DIO del calcio Diego Armando Maradona. Questo mi rende estremamente orgoglioso. Qui a Napoli sono nati i miei 3 figli, napoletani a tutti gli effetti ☺ Desidero ringraziare tutti: il Presidente che mi ha dato la possibilità di rimanere qui per 12 anni e che ha accettato la mia volontà di provare una nuova esperienza; tutti gli allenatori che mi hanno allenato, ai quali devo la mia crescita come calciatore e come uomo; tutto lo staff medico, tecnico e la Società Sportiva Calcio Napoli tutta; i miei amici, dei quali sentirò la mancanza, ma che so non mi abbandoneranno mai perché sono parte della mia famiglia. Appena sarà possibile spero mi concederete un ultimo giro di campo al San Paolo, per dedicarvi e ricevere il saluto che meritiamo. Vi amo e amerò questa città per sempre. GRAZIE DI CUORE a tutti 💙 e un grandissimo in bocca al lupo ai miei compagni per il resto della stagione: spero riuscirete a vincere l’Europa League! #sempreforzanapoli💙

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