One of the most lauded transfers one year ago turned into one of the most disappointing failures in recent Premier League memory as Fulham flop Jean-Michael Seri leaves the relegated Whites to join Galatasaray on loan.
Tracked by the likes of Barcelona and Arsenal, it seemed a coup when Fulham announced the midfielder’s capture from French side Nice for around $32 million. He started Premier League play in excellent form, hitting the ground running with smooth passing, solid link-up play, and what turned out to be Fulham’s goal of the season against Burnley early on.
That goal turned out to be his high-water mark, as the Ivorian’s form dipped sharply with Fulham’s loss total rising higher and higher. Eventually, Seri found himself on the bench behind the likes of Kevin McDonald and Calum Chambers as the season dragged on.
Seri’s loan to Galatasaray reportedly comes with a meager $1.6 million loan fee with an unreported option to buy tacked on. He will link back up with Ryan Babel who joined Fulham on a short-term contract in January and looked bright on the wing before his deal ran out and he moved to the Turkish club as a free agent.
Fulham is making wholesale changes this summer, with the departure of Babel and Seri offset by the arrival of Ivan Cavaliero and Martell Taylor-Crosswell, with more moves rumored. The Whites have been linked with Anthony Knockaert of Brighton.
Stoke City completed what could be a season-saving pickup with the addition of Senegalese international Badou Ndiaye on Wednesday.
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The $20 million price tag means only Giannelli Imbula has cost Stoke more money in the market.
Ndiaye, 27, comes from Galatasaray and is 14-times capped by Senegal with a goal. In a certain light, his success would make amends for what failed to materialize with the promising Imbula signing.
He led Gala in tackles and fouls per match. Here’s Paul Lambert‘s take on his new midfielder, from the Stoke Sentinel:
“I met him yesterday and had a quick chat and I know these things are pretty prolonged at times and I’m never sure until somebody says. I’m delighted he’s here.
“He’s going to the World Cup with Senegal. He’s a really good player which good energy for the game. Big crowds won’t faze him because he’s played in big grounds in Europe.
January addition Moritz Bauer has already started to stabilize the Potters’ back line with Kurt Zouma and Geoff Cameron, and Ndiaye could step up the middle of the park with Joe Allen.
A new name has emerged on the loan market, as Borussia Dortmund forward Andre Schurrle is reportedly being made available for the second half of the Premier League season.
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Newcastle United reportedly leads the pack for the former Chelsea scorer, who is struggling to get time at BVB thanks to a glut of fantastic wingers including Christian Pulisic.
Magpies boss Rafa Benitez has a good relationship with the Westfalenstadion set, having taken Mikel Merino off their hands in August. Newcastle currently uses Christian Atsu on the left wing and Matt Ritchie on the right, but Schurrle can play center forward and Benitez may prefer to use the 27-year-old in the middle of his trident.
But they’ll face competition, and HITC says BVB is willing to pay half of his wages on an 18-month deal to keep him reasonable for some clubs. This could be a boon for Spurs.
Newcastle and Stoke City have also been linked with Galatasaray midfielder Papa “Badou” Ndiaye, with the Magpies said to have bid just a bit higher than the Potters but still under Gala’s buyout clause.
And here’s a wild one, according to ESPN: Chelsea’s rumored pursuit of current Premier League scorers now includes Marko Arnautovic. The audacious Austrian attacker cost West Ham around $35 million when his head was turned from Stoke City in the summer.
He didn’t perform well but Slaven Bilic, but David Moyes has been able to get some fine performances from the powerful Arnautovic. Chelsea has previously been linked with West Ham teammate Andy Carroll, Burnley’s Ashley Barnes, and Stoke’s Peter Crouch as it attempts to find a center forward to ease the burden placed on Alvaro Morata in his first Premier League season.
There’s something about Brazilian players named Maicon that brings out the some of the best goals in soccer.
[ MORE: PST’s Midseason Premier League awards ]
Remember this guy?
Well, this wasn’t the Maicon we’re referring to, but you get what we’re saying.
Maicon Roque of Galatasaray scored one of the better free kicks you’ll see on Sunday during the team’s 3-1 victory over fellow Turkish side Goztepe.
Watch below as the Brazilian powerfully curls his shot into the top corner from the dead-ball opportunity to seal the points for his side.
Galatasaray moves up to second place in the Turkish SuperLig, just one point behind league leaders İstanbul Başakşehir
Dutch legend Wesley Sneijder is on his way to France to sign a 1-year contract with French side OGC Nice, where he will team up with Mario Balotelli as the club looks to push forward after a last year’s surprising title challenge.
According to Dutch journalist Mike Verweij, Sneijder was spotted boarding an airplane in Amsterdam bound for France along with his family and agent Guido Albers.
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Sneijder, 33 years old, saw his Galatasaray contract expire this summer after spending three-and-a-half seasons in Turkey. The decision was surprising given how productive he was for the Turkish club, assisting a whopping 15 goals in 28 league appearances last season, and scoring five.
With Sneijder’s creativity, Balotelli could thrive even more than he did last year, when he scored 15 goals in 23 league appearances to help Nice finish third in Ligue 1. Even with Balotelli’s goals, Nice struggled to score at times, with their 63 league goals a distant fourth in comparison with the other top Ligue 1 teams. The two previously played together for a season at Inter in 2009/10, before Balotelli departed the following summer for Manchester City.
The addition of Sneijder could help close the gap, especially with attacking midfielder Younes Belhanda leaving for Sneijder’s old club Galatasaray.
The report mentions that the signing will please the Dutch national team staff, as they prefer him to stay playing in Europe. Sneijder was linked to new MLS club LAFC, as well as with a move to China.