Everton feels its found its replacement for Idrissa Gana Gueye, who left for Paris Saint-Germain.
The man’s name is Jean-Philippe Gbamin, a 23-year-old from Mainz who can also play center back and cost the Toffees about $7 million less than the $36.5 PSG paid for Gueye.
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“I’m excited because Everton is a great club here in England with a big history and ambition so I didn’t think for more than a moment – I wanted to come here,” Gbamin said.
“I like to go in the duels. I like to run a lot and tackle. I also pass good and have a good transition. All the rest, the fans will see. I will give everything on the pitch.”
He chipped in two goals and an assist in 31 matches last season, and is a steady passer who ranked near the top of Mainz’s leaders last season.
A French youth international, Gbamin has now been capped nine times by the Ivory Coast. He had an assist in three appearances during Les Elephants‘ quarterfinal run at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Two Premier League players are departing their clubs for loan stints elsewhere in Europe, and a third is a medical away from leaving London.
Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina is reportedly undergoing a medical ahead of a move to Serie A powers Napoli.
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The Colombian will have a chance to start after a long-term injury to Napoli’s No. 1, Alex Meret, who was bought from Udinese for nearly $40 million this summer. Pepe Reina left Napoli in the offseason.
The club’s goalkeeping corps also includes ex-Waftford player Orestis Karnezis and 22-year-old Nikita Contini.
Everton’s Nikola Vlasic is leaving Goodison Park for a season with CSKA Moscow. Vlasic, 20, played 19 times for the Toffees last season, scoring twice.
Also on the move is Tottenham’s Georges-Kevin N’Koudou. The 23-year-old Frenchman is headed to the Bundesliga with Mainz after going on loan to Burnley last season.
Of the three, only Ospina is probable to leave his parent club after the season, with Napoli holding an option to buy the player.
A slow summer for Newcastle United may be turning up the pace in double time.
The Magpies are said to be a medical away from landing Switzerland international Fabian Schar for $4 million, and in “advanced talks” for Japan’s Yoshinori Muto.
Newcastle has struggled to land players this summer, getting Kenedy on a second loan from Chelsea, goalkeeper Martin Dubravka, and free agent Ki Sung-yeung.
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Schar, 26, was relegated with Deportivo La Coruna last season and Newcastle is said to have activated a release clause in his contract.
Things aren’t quite as far along with Muto, but the Magpies may get the striker for $12 million. He’s scored 20 Bundesliga goals in 66 matches with Mainz.
The 26-year-old Muto has two goals in 25 caps for Japan, and made one start for Samurai Blue at the World Cup.
Schar played all three group stage matches at the World Cup, but missed Switzerland’s ouster at the hands of Sweden due to yellow card accumulation.
Both signings would help Newcastle a great deal, and would give Rafa Benitez the chance to go three at the back with Schar, Jamaal Lascelles, and Florian Lejeune.
That could move DeAndre Yedlin to a right wing back role, but now we’re way ahead of ourselves.
Percy Tau’s name isn’t yet widely known outside of South Africa, what with Bafana Bafana absent from the World Cup.
But the 24-year-old Mamelodi Sundowns winger may soon get to test his skills on a much bigger stage.
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Tau, who has five goals in 12 caps, will reportedly join Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League if a medical goes well, with Sky Sports saying it’ll will be the biggest transfer fee yet for a South African Premier League player.
Yoshinori Muto could be bringing his 25 caps to the Premier League.
The 26-year-old striker made just one appearance at the World Cup, but has had a nice run with Mainz since joining from FC Tokyo. He’s bagged 23 goals in 71 appearances.
A Bild report says there have been no formal offers for Muto, but that Newcastle United and West Ham are interested in the striker. Newcastle badly needs a striker, but West Ham has been spending money and Magpies owner Mike Ashley hasn’t green lit much in recent seasons.
With two matches to play, the Bundesliga’s relegation race is muddled and the European battle is set to go down to the wire.
There’s Bayern at the top, Koln at the bottom, and mostly chaos in between.
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Mainz 3-0 RB Leipzig
A seismic statement from Mainz, who greeted Hamburg’s hot streak with a convincing win that moved it five points clear of automatic relegation and three above the playoff spot.
Pablo De Blasis converted a 29th minute penalty kick to give Mainz an advantage that would later be buttressed by a pair of goals in the final five minutes from Alexandru Maxim and Bote Baku.
Now RB Leipzig, last year’s surprise runners-up, are on the precipice of missing out on European play altogether. Sixth-place Leipzig needs collapses from Hoffenheim and Bayer Leverkusen to finish Top Four, and could finish as low as bottom half with poor performances against Wolfsburg and Hertha Berlin.
Wolfsburg 1-3 Hamburg
The wobbly seasons continue for Wolfsburg, and this one features a massive six-point loss to Hamburg Sunday.
American striker Bobby Wood converted a 43rd minute penalty — U.S. teammate John Anthony Brooks was on the bench for Wolfsburg — and the hosts could never get level in allowing their visitors to get within two points of 16th place.
Hertha Berlin 2-2 Augsburg
Freiburg 3-2 Koln
Bayern Munich 4-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Schalke 1-1 Borussia Monchengladbach
Bayer Leverkusen 0-1 Stuttgart
Werder Bremen 1-1 Borussia Dortmund
Hoffenheim 3-1 Hannover 96