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Premier League friendlies: Saints undone by Lampard’s Rams

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Nine Premier League clubs were in action Saturday, none of them at home.

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An ex-PL star, however, thrilled his home fans in a Pride Park debut, facing top flight competition.


Derby County 3-0 Southampton

Frank Lampard is the new Rams’ boss, and his first home match was a win over Premier League competition.

“Lamps” got two goals from Tom Lawrence, and another from Mason Bennett as Saints fell by three. It was Southampton’s first match since returning from a China trip which saw a draw with Schalke and a defeat of Jiangu Suning.

Notts County 1-4 Leicester City

The visitors went down 1-0 before rebounding with vigor to hammer the Magpies behind four different scorers: Demarai Gray, Wes Morgan, Islam Slimani, and Hamza Choudhury.

AFC Wimbledon 2-1 Brighton and Hove Albion

The Gulls slipped to defeat, going down two before Ollie Norwood converted an Aaron Connelly-won penalty

Oxford United 1-3 Crystal Palace

Wilfried Zaha, Jeffrey Schlupp and Sullay Kaikai scored as Roy Hodgson‘s men collected an easy enough win away from home.

Real Betis 2-0 Huddersfield Town /  Roy-Weiss Essen 1-0 Huddersfield Town

The Terriers lost a pair of 45-minute friendlies in Belgium.

Elsewhere

Lille 0-0 (4-2, PKs) Everton
Lyon 4-0 Fulham
Fortuna Dusseldorf 1-3 Watford
Preston North End 2-2 West Ham United

Leicester sign Ward from Liverpool; Boufal out on loan

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LONDON (AP) — Leicester signed Wales goalkeeper Danny Ward from Liverpool on a four-year contract on Friday.

Ward dropped in the pecking order at Anfield following the arrival of Brazil goalie Alisson.

Leicester’s fourth signing of the offseason will offer competition to Kasper Schmeichel and Eldin Jakupovic.

Ward will join the team on Monday for a training camp in Austria.

“I’ve come here to develop my allround game and hopefully help deliver some more success,” he said.


Southampton winger Sofiane Boufal was sent to Spanish club Celta Vigo on a season-long loan.

Boufal came to Southampton in 2016 from Lille, and made 59 appearances, scoring four times.

The Moroccan fell out of favor with manager Mark Hughes at the end of last season.

Ajax excited to land $16m “first class winner” Tadic

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Dusan Tadic really has left Southampton.

The 29-year-old Serbian star is leaving St. Mary’s for the Amsterdam Arena, just as Southampton appears ready to replace him with Mohamed Elyounoussi.

Ajax could end up paying as much as $16 million for his services

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Tadic told his incredible life story to Joe Prince-Wright earlier this season, and is a big reason Saints remain the Premier League.

A star in Eredivisie stints with Groningen and Twente, Tadic leaves the Premier League with 24 goals and 35 assists in 162 league appearances.

Here’s Ajax director Marc Overmars, via english.ajax.nl:

“Dusan Tadic’s arrival gives our selection a big shot of quality.  He can play in several positions, at midfield and offense.  Moreover, his experience is important for many young talents from our selection. He’s a ‘first class winner’, and those are the players we like to have with us.”

Ajax sold star youngster Justin Kluivert to Roma, and lost Amin Younes to Napoli, but has brought in Tadic as well as Zakaria Labyad from Utrecht and Hassane Bande from Mechelen.

Tadic is clearly the cream of that crop, and the veteran will be tasked with leading the Amsterdam unit from three successive second place Eredivisie finishes back into first.

Southampton close in on Elyounoussi deal

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Mohamed Elyounoussi could be a Southampton player by the end of the week.

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Pro Soccer Talk understands the Premier League club are hopeful of wrapping up the deal for the FC Basel attacker in the next few days, with the Norwegian international thought to be in contract talks after a transfer fee was agreed.

Multiple outlets are reporting a fee of $21 million has been agreed between the two clubs, with Elyounoussi, 23, seen as a direct replacement for Dusan Tadic who completed his move to Dutch giants Ajax on Wednesday.

That fee would make Elyounoussi the second most expensive signing in Southampton’s history after the $25 million they paid for Guido Carrillo in January.

The attacking midfielder has been a star for Basel over the past two seasons, scoring 24 goals in 84 appearances in all competitions and he scored 14 times last season, which included a goal in a UEFA Champions League last 16 win at Manchester City.

Elyounoussi is able to play in a variety of roles across the front line and he is said to be keen on a move to the Premier League despite German side Wolfsburg also making a bid for him. The Moroccan born attacker can drift inside off the left flank and with central attacking midfielder Stuart Armstrong signing for Southampton from Celtic on Tuesday, Mark Hughes is getting the attacking help he wanted to add over the summer after taking the job on a permanent basis.

Saints have been shrewd in the transfer market in recent times after picking up the likes of Victor Wanyama, Sadio Mane, Tadic and Virgil Van Dijk for relatively small fees and then selling all of them on for a tidy profit.

In recent times that model of recruitment has taken a bit of a hit but Elyounoussi’s potential means he could well be their main attacking threat next season and beyond.

With starting goalkeeper Alex McCarthy also signing a new four-year contract on Wednesday following his fine displays at the end of last season, it appears Southampton aren’t messing around this summer as they aim to make sure they aren’t involved in another relegation battle like they one they narrowly escaped in 2017/18.

Southampton sign exciting midfielder Armstrong

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Southampton have made their first signing of the summer with Stuart Armstrong arriving from Scottish champions Celtic.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Armstrong, 26, joins Saints on a four-year deal for a fee reported to be worth $9.2 million with the Scottish international expected to slot into the No.10 role with Dusan Tadic on the verge of leaving for Ajax. 

Speaking about his arrival at St Mary’s, Armstrong can’t wait to get going as he’s a player the South Coast club have been tracking for quite some time.

“Southampton seems a really good fit for me. Watching from afar, I really enjoy the attractive football that they play and I’m very happy to be here,” Armstrong said. “Every season, I put demands on myself to create and score goals. I hope going forwards from here that it will be the same this term at St Mary’s. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone and I’m very excited to get started. It’s a four-year contract; there will be a lot to learn and I want to hit the ground running.”

Armstrong has experience in the UEFA Champions League and the Europa League, plus has won the domestic treble with Celtic and four league titles and two League Cups and Scottish Cups in total.

2016-17 was his best season to date as he scored 15 goals in 31 appearances in the Scottish Premiership, while last season he struggled with injuries and made just 27 appearances in the league.

Saints manager Mark Hughes had the following to say about Armstrong’s arrival.

“Our research tells us he is an excellent young man, intelligent, and a strong team player, and clearly having another really good character in our group is part of what we want here at Southampton,” Hughes said. “He has shown tremendous drive to improve and has also displayed a great desire to be a part of what we are trying to achieve here, and I believe he will be a real asset to the squad in the years ahead.”

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