By TATE STEINLAGE
With Barcelona moving ever closer to officially announcing Luis Suarez as its newest member, Luis Enrique and company have made a big move to prepare for the star striker’s arrival.
Barcelona has officially transferred striker Alexis Sanchez to English Premier League side Arsenal. The 25-year-old Chilean signed a “long-term contract” worth a reported 35 million pounds ($60 million) on Thursday to join the Gunners, who finished fourth in the league last season.
“I’m so happy to be joining Arsenal, a club which has a great manager, a fantastic squad of players, huge support around the world and a great stadium in London,” Sanchez said in the team release. “I’m looking forward to meeting my new teammates and to be playing for Arsenal in the Premier League and Champions League. I will give my best to Arsenal and want to make all the supporters happy.”
Sanchez spent three seasons at Camp Nou, scoring 39 goals in 88 league appearances.
“Alexis will add power, creativity and much quality to our squad and we are all looking forward to him joining up with us in a few weeks,” Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger said in the same release. “He has consistently produced top-quality performances at the highest level for a number of seasons now and we are all excited to see him integrate into the Arsenal squad. I’m sure all Arsenal supporters will join me in welcoming Alexis to our club.”
Here’s more news from around the world of soccer:
BARCELONA SET TO OFFICIALLY ANNOUNCE SUAREZ
Luis Suarez received some good and bad news Thursday.
The bad news is that FIFA has rejected the Uruguayan’s four month competitive and nine international match suspension appeal. The good news, however, is that the star striker’s highly-anticipated move to Barcelona is a “done deal” according to sources.
Goal is reporting that Suarez is close to officially signing with the Spanish side after it and Liverpool agreed to terms of a deal worth upwards of $91 million Wednesday.
The 27-year-old is expected to undergo a medical examination by Barcelona team doctors in Uruguay before being officially announced as early as Friday.
Barcelona will use the reported $54 million Sanchez transfer to help fund the blockbuster deal.
NASRI SIGNS FIVE-YEAR EXTENSION
Samir Nasri finally has something to cheer about after being omitted from France’s World Cup squad.
The Manchester City man has signed a new five-year extension with the reigning English Premier League champions which will run through 2019.
“I’m really happy to have signed this contract and to have committed my future with City,” Nasri said in a team release.
“I’m 27 now and if you listen to some of the best managers in the game, they say that a midfield player’s best years are between 27 and 30 so I hope that I will give my best years to City.
“It took me time to adjust to living in Manchester because when you move here from London, it is a big change, but last year everything was perfect – I enjoyed my football and I love living in Manchester, feel very settled and I think that showed on the pitch.
“That’s why I’ve agreed this new contract – because I feel very much at home. Our supporters have been right behind me and it gives me the confidence to play my best game.
“Now I’m looking forward to the new season and to defending our title again.”
Nasri has appeared 129 times for Manchester City, scoring 22 goals including 11 last season. In three years with the club, Nasri has won two league titles.
ATLETICO MADRID INK DEAL WITH MANDZUKIC
Mario Mandzukic will don a new red kit in the coming season.
The 28-year-old striker has signed a four-year deal worth an undisclosed amount with last season’s La Liga champions, Atletico Madrid.
Mandzukic joins Atletico after a two-year stint with Bayern Munich, where he scored 33 goals in 54 Bundesliga matches.
“We thank Mario for two great years here in Munich,” Bayern deputy chief executive Jan-Christian Dreesen told BBC Sport.
Mandzukic is coming off a short World Cup campaign with Croatia where he scored twice in three games before being eliminated in the group stage.
What do you think of these developments? Impressed with the Sanchez signing? Think he’ll fit in well into the EPL style of play? Do you expect Suarez to be the next big transfer announced? Do you believe Nasri is worth a five-year extension?
Share your thoughts below.