Lille sign Jonathan David
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Lille sign $35-million Canadian star Jonathan David

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Lille sign Jonathan David: Lille announced on Tuesday their signing of Canadian star Jonathan David from Belgian side Gent for a reported transfer fee of $35 million.

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The fee paid is a record not only for a Canadian player, but also makes David Lille’s club-record signing and the most expensive player ever sold by a Belgian club.

David had been linked with a move to dozens of clubs across Europe, including a handful of Premier League sides, in recent weeks but it would appear that Lille’s recent success with young players starring in the first team, before selling them to those bigger European sides for massive profits, was an important factor in David’s decision to move to Ligue 1.

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The 20-year-old operates predominantly as a center forward but has, on rare occasions, played as a second striker underneath the main man. David racked up 48 goals and 20 assists in his two seasons at Gent, including a number of standout performances in the Europa League.

Report: Lille, Gent agree record fee for Jonathan David transfer

Jonathan David transfer
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Jonathan David transfer update: Lille has agreed to pay a club- and Canadian-record fee of more than $35 million to acquire Canada’s newest rising star, 20-year-old forward Jonathan David, from Belgian side Gent, according to a report from TSN’s Kristian Jack.

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David burst onto the radars of some of Europe’s top clubs almost immediately upon making his first-team debut with Gent in August of 2018. He scored on his debut that day and finished the season with 14 goals (all competitions) at the age of 19. He followed his stellar debut campaign with an even better record in 2019-20: 23 goals in 40 appearances.

David was previously reported to have already agreed to contract terms with Lille, making it a virtual foregone conclusion that he would join the Ligue 1 side once the two clubs agreed a transfer fee.

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The fee of $35 million would surpass Monaco’s outlay of $30 million (the current record paid to a Belgian club) to sign midfielder Youri Tielemans from Anderlecht in 2017. Likewise, it surpasses Lille’s club-record outlay to acquire Victor Osimhen ($24 million), who officially joined Napoli for $83 million last week, just one year ago. Finally, it dwarfs the $13 million (up to $22 million with add-ons) that Bayern Munich paid to Vancouver Whitecaps and MLS for fellow Canadian international Alphonso Davies in 2018.

Transfer news: Gabriel to Arsenal; Lewis to Liverpool

Gabriel to Arsenal
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In the latest transfer news Gabriel Magalhaes has been linked with a move to Arsenal, while Jamal Lewis to Liverpool is a surprising transfer rumor.

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Starting in north London, Arsenal appear to be kicking on with their pursuit of Brazilian defender Gabriel Magalhaes who has also been linked with Manchester United, Everton and Napoli.

The Lille center back, 22, is certainly a wanted man and Gabriel will cost $35 million. According to France Bleu, Arsenal are now at the front of the queue for Gabriel.

Arsenal want to strengthen their defensive unit and big changes are expected at the back with Pablo Mari, William Saliba and now Gabriel expected to be the new wave of talent at center back. That said, with David Luiz and Rob Holding playing really well in recent weeks, plus Shkodran Mustafi turning things around too and Sokratis and Calum Chambers around, why do Arsenal need so many center backs?

If Mikel Arteta could move on plenty of these defensive players then he should be good to bring in Gabriel. Expect plenty of outs at Arsenal this summer as the north London club continue to battle through the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jamal Lewis to Liverpool
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Moving up to Liverpool and a slightly surprising report, as Norwich’s Jamal Lewis to Liverpool is not a move many expected this summer.

Multiple reports claim that Liverpool value Lewis at $13 million but Norwich want closer to $26 million, so there’s some negotiating that needs to happen here.

Lewis, 22, is a rising star at left back but with Andy Robertson around at Liverpool, he will be an understudy for many years to come. The Northern Ireland international had a very solid first season in the Premier League with Norwich as he and Max Aarons stood out as attacking full backs for the Canaries.

Robertson has no cover at left back and when he has been out injured, Jurgen Klopp has used James Milner as an emergency left back and in a pinch Trent Alexander-Arnold can switch over to the left.

Transfer news: Chelsea linked with two, USMNT man to Leicester

Ikone to Chelsea
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Players from France, Turkey, and England’s second tier could be headed to the Premier League if Sunday’s rumors are to be believed.

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Chelsea’s the location for two of the moves, while Leicester City has its eye on an American player who nearly moved to AC Milan in January.

Ikone to Chelsea

Chelsea is being linked with a play-driving midfielder in the form of Jonathan Ikone.

The 22-year-old French national teamer scored four times with seven assists for Lille this season, one of those goals coming against Valencia in the Champions League.

He started both matches against the Blues in their UCL group.

Ikone can play anywhere in the midfield or forward three. He was developed by PSG before moving to Montpellier.

Tottenham, Inter Milan, and Newcastle have also been linked with Ikone, but Metro says Chelsea and Lille have had some discussions about the player.

Robinson to Leicester City

Sky Sports’ Transfer Centre has a report of a USMNT left back making a move to the Premier League.

Antonee Robinson has been a mainstay for Wigan Athletic and nearly made a move to AC Milan in January before a heart issue put out of action for a few months.

Whether the Rossoneri are still pursuing him is unknown, but Sky says Leicester City definitely has interest in the former Everton and Bolton man.

Robinson, 22, has started all of Wigan’s six matches since the Championship restarted play, going at least 86 minutes in each.

He has seven USMNT caps. Could he be a replacement for Ben Chilwell if the Leicester man leaves for Chelsea or somewhere else?

Cakir to Chelsea

Could Ugurcan Cakir be the man to replace Kepa Arrizabalaga at Stamford Bridge?

The Turkish goalkeeper was linked with Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in recent weeks but a report claims Chelsea has moved close to completing a $35 million deal for his services.

Cakir, 24, has two Turkey caps and is the starting backstop for Trabzonspor, whose contract runs through 2024 with an option for another year.

Any Turkish football experts out there who can detail his exploits to us?

Report: Canada’s David agrees terms with Lille

Jonathan David to Lille
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Linked with some of the Premier League’s biggest clubs, Canadian starlet Jonathan David is opting to stay closer to his current club.

Gent playmaker David, 20, had been linked with Manchester United, Bayern Munich, and Arsenal with reports saying his agent was targeting a club somewhere between the quality of the Belgian top-flight and the UEFA superpowers, with Lazio, Porto, Ajax, Lyon, Everton, and Leicester City in that group.

If the reports are true, his agent is getting his way with David agreeing to terms with Ligue 1’s Lille, who are in the Europa League next year following a fourth place finish in France.

RMC reporter Mohamed Bouhafsi reports that Lille has offered $28 million to Gent, who would like to get $34 million. Seems like a bridge that can be crossed.

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It takes little more than an hour to drive from Gent to Lille.

The move could signal changes for Lille, who has a bevy of young attackers including American forward Timothy Weah, ex-Chelsea man Loic Remy, transfer rumor mill mainstay Victor Osimhen, and French youth international Jonathan Bamba amongst others.

David’s 18 goals tied for the Belgian league high with ex-Hull and Norwich man Dieumerci Mbokani, and scored five more goals in the Europa League including markers versus Saint-Etienne and Roma.

He has 37 goals and 15 assists in three seasons with the Belgian powers.

The Brooklyn-born David also has 11 goals in 12 caps for Canada, though those admittedly came against some of the minnows of CONCACAF.