Southampton given major boost as £11m-rated star pens four-year deal

Southampton have been given huge boost ahead of the summer transfer window as attacker Jay Rodriguez has signed a new four-year deal with the club, keeping him on the south coast until 2019.

Rodriguez, who is valued at £11 million by transfermarkt.co.uk, has missed the entire season through injury after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligaments last April but has still been linked with a move away from the Saints.

The injury ruled him out of the World Cup with England last summer and also prevented him from leaving as part of the Southampton exodus, but the likes of Spurs, Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal have all been linked with moves this summer.

They will all have to look elsewhere now though as the 25-year-old Englishman has committed his future to Southampton.

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“I’m delighted,” Rodriguez told Southampton’s official website. “It’s a great club and we’ve done amazingly this year.

“It’s been a tough year for myself being out, but I’m really delighted to sign the contract. It’s now about looking forward to the future.

“The medical staff have all worked tirelessly with me, so this is great news. I just want to carry on improving now and to try to get some gametime.”

Rodriguez netted 15 goals with three assists in 33 league appearances before picking up that injury last season and will hope to return to preseason training with the squad in July.

How important is Jay Rodriguez to Southampton?

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Manchester United looking to tie up three deals before end of season

Manchester United will look to give three stars new contracts following on from Chris Smalling‘s extension that will keep him at Old Trafford until 2019.

Smalling has become a first-team regular under Louis Van Gaal this season and has now made 147 appearances over the past five seasons with the Red Devils.

He follows Michael Carrick in signing a new deal with United and the club are now looking to sign David De Gea, Phil Jones and Ashley Young down to new contracts before the summer, according to the Telegraph.

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Spanish goalkeeper De Gea has been one of the Premier League‘s best players this season, but has been continually linked with a move to Real Madrid, and United will be desperate to get him to commit his future to the club in the coming months.

He has just over one year remaining on his current deal so if the Red Devils are unable to convince him to stay, they will likely cash in this summer to avoid him leaving on a free a year later.

Phil Jones and Ashley Young have both been key members of the team under Van Gaal and look set to be rewarded for their efforts with extensions on their contracts which are set to end next summer as well.

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As well as retaining current players, United are linked with several top talents across Europe, and they are believed to be leading the chase for Dutch winger Memphis Depay.

Van Gaal will look to bolster his defence this summer with Mats Hummels and Nathaniel Clyne both strongly linked with moves to Old Trafford in the next few months.

Should Manchester United offer new contracts to Ashley Young, Phil Jones and David De Gea? Where do they need to strengthen this summer?

Real Madrid CONFIRM interest in Liverpool star

Real Madrid legend and B-team coach Zinedine Zidane has confirmed that the Spanish giants are watching Raheem Sterling‘s contract situation at Liverpool with interest ahead of a possible move this summer.

The England international has turned down a £100,000-a-week deal with the Reds and talks will not resume until the summer – by which point Sterling will know if he can play Champions League football at Anfield next season.

If the Reds fail to finish in the top four, it is looking increasingly likely that Sterling will depart with Chelsea, Manchester United and Bayern Munich all linked.

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But it’s Madrid that could be the most attractive option for the 20-year-old attacker and Zidane has labelled Sterling as “one of the best young talents in the world”.

“We know who Raheem Sterling is, and of course we are monitoring him as a player,” Zidane is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.”

“There are very few players in the world who can improve the Real Madrid squad, so it is going to make sense we monitor the progress of the best young players in the world.”

Madrid usually get what they want when it comes to signing star names, and Zidane went on to mention that by comparing interest in Sterling to that which saw Gareth Bale, Isco and Raphael Varane all sign for Los Blancos.

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“We monitored Bale for over a year, the same with Isco and also Varane.

“We monitor many of the best young players in Europe, then if we feel they have something to offer Real Madrid we will contact their club and try and make the next step.”

Brendan Rodgers will be desperate to try and keep his squad together ahead of next season but has admitted that it will be difficult to attract big names to Anfield without Champions League qualification.

If you can’t get big names in, star players usually head out the exit door. Steven Gerrard has already got his move to LA Galaxy arranged, while Jordan Henderson is also being linked with a move away from the club amid interest from Chelsea.

Liverpool have slapped a £50 million price tag on Sterling’s head but will not want to see their young star leave as they look to renegotiate a new contract at the end of the season.

Is Raheem Sterling destined to leave Liverpool this summer? Would Real Madrid be the best move for him?

Arsenal, Man United & Chelsea face tough battle for Real Madrid star

Germany World Cup winner and Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira has finally confirmed he will leave Los Blancos at the end of the season after five years in the Spanish capital.

The defensive midfielder has been restricted to just 11 appearances this season due to injuries that have troubled him since November 2013. He returned towards the end of last season to play a part in Madrid’s tenth European title (La Decima) and his country’s World Cup triumph in Brazil.

It’s no secret Real have tried to tie him down to a new contract but Khedira has rejected the contract offers and in December he said, “if we can reach a solution, I’ll be very happy.” But now it seems Khedira is all but gone from Madrid.

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“I will give everything for this shirt until the last day of my contract, there should be no doubt about that. 

“It’s not a decision against Real Madrid. I want to find new challenges for my career and continue to grow as a player,” Khedira told Spanish newspaper Marca.

The German has lost his place in the Real Madrid starting lineup with Carlo Ancelotti preferring Luka Modric and Toni Kroos in the heart of the midfield.

The news is sure to alert a whole host of Premier League clubs, including Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United. The Gunners have been known to be huge admirers of the in-demand midfielder and his best friend Mesut Ozil plays at the Emirates.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho brought Khedira to Real Madrid in 2010 and would love to be reunited with him.

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The former Stuttgart man has also been linked with a move back to his homeland with interest from Bundesliga clubs Bayern Munich, Schalke and Wolfsburg. But Khedira says he is yet to reach a deal with anyone over his future.

“I don’t have an agreement with any club nor any preferences as to who I would like to join,” Khedira told Kicker.

If Khedira is to leave this summer, it would surely be one of the biggest bosman transfers in recent years.

Fabian Delph commits future to Aston Villa, ends speculation of move away

Aston Villa have received a huge boost as midfielder Fabian Delph has signed a new long-term contract with the club, putting an end to speculation linking him with a move away from the club this month.

Delph has been at Villa Park since August 2009, when he joined the club from Leeds United, and he has become a star man in the middle of the park for Paul Lambert’s side.

The 25-year-old has made 114 appearances for Villa, scoring six goals and picking up three assists, and he made his international debut with England in September.

He only had six months remaining on his deal prior to penning a new contract and so he had been strongly linked with a move away from the club, either this month or in the summer, when he would have been able to leave for free.

Liverpool had been heavily linked with a move for Delph and the Metro reported just yesterday that the Reds were ready to make a move in the next week with the Villa man reportedly identified as the ideal Steven Gerrard replacement.

If that was the case, then Brendan Rodgers will have to look elsewhere as Delph is set to remain with Aston Villa until 2019 now, and he is thrilled to have committed his future to the Premier League club.

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“The fans have been great with me, the chairman has been absolutely fantastic with me and I have a great relationship with the manager and I see the boys here as my brothers, my family and I am delighted to stay here,” he told the club’s website.

“I am a loyal person and committing my future will hopefully show everybody what type of guy I am.

“I feel like this is me – I love the club, I love being here and I want to put 100% into everything I do here. This is my club and I want to be here. That’s why I am committing my future.

“Hopefully it will give everyone a bit of a lift and show the fans that we are looking to do big things here and bring excitement back to the club.

“There was no way I was going to bail out. I am here for the long run.

How important is Fabian Delph to Aston Villa?

New England Revolution re-sign Teal Bunbury after impressive 2014 season

Teal Bunbury will be staying with the New England Revolution for the foreseeable future after agreeing to a new contract with the 2014 MLS Cup runners-up as his contract had ended at the turn of 2015.

Bunbury made more appearances with the Revs in 2014 (31) than in any of his previous four campaigns in Kansas City and recorded more assists (6) than in any of his previous seasons too and thrived as a winger.

He was a real factor in New England’s impressive playoff run to the MLS Cup Final as he played in all five games, scoring two and picking up two assists and he is hoping to build on a solid campaign with Jay Heaps and the Revs this year.

Teal Bunbury

Teal Bunbury was a star for the Revs in 2014

 

“As a player you always want to play somewhere where the organization wants you to be there,” he told mlssoccer.com. “I felt that [from New England] throughout this whole process.

“I want to be somewhere where I know what I’m going to get from the guys. I know that they’re going to be able to push me to be the best that I can be and vice versa. Knowing that we have unfinished business was definitely a factor for me.”

The unfinished business he is referring to was that MLS Cup Final loss to the LA Galaxy in extra-time and the Revs will hope to go one better come December this year.

Bunbury was an integral part of an exciting attacking Revolution side last year and expect them to be just as dangerous come the start of play this year.

How important is Teal Bunbury to the New England Revolution?

Columbus Crew receive huge boost as Federico Higuain pens new deal

The Columbus Crew have received a huge boost ahead of the new MLS season by confirming that star man Federico Higuain has signed a new designated player contract with the club, in what is the biggest deal in the club’s history.

The Argentine playmaker has been with the Crew for two-and-a-half years and has been one of Major League Soccer’s brightest talents during that time, scoring 27 goals and picking up 23 assists in 71 appearances.

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Columbus enjoyed a great season in 2014 but were knocked out of the playoffs by a rampant New England Revolution side, and Higuain’s absence in the second-leg showed the team misses him when he’s not there.

Good news is that he will be there for the foreseeable future now, and the 30-year-old is seemingly very happy to have penned a new contract with the Eastern Conference side.

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Columbus Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter was also thrilled to have Higuain at his disposal for the upcoming season and beyond, and thinks he is the key to what is already a solid squad.

“Federico has proven to be one of the top talents in Major League Soccer and a key contributor to the attacking, possession-based brand of soccer that we are trying to play at the club,” Berhalter said.

“This new contract demonstrates both Mr. Precourt’s vision to create an attractive, winning team and Federico’s commitment to play in Columbus for the foreseeable future.”

Higuain’s 11 goals and seven assists last season tied for the lead on his team, and he was the most dangerous player in terms of shooting, registering more shots and shots on target than any other Crew player.

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He is undoubtedly the key man in the Crew side. He makes everything tick and his vision means that he is always one step ahead of the opposition.

Having Higuain back for 2015 is probably the best move Columbus will make this offseason and with Kei Kamara set to star for the team this year too, supporters have lots to look forward to in what should be another exciting campaign.

How important is Federico Higuain to the Columbus Crew?