Aston Villa midfielder Yacouba Sylla has joined French side Rennes on a four-year contract. The 24-year-old’s move to the Ligue 1 club ends his two-and-a-half year stay at Villa Park. The Mali international joined Villa from Clermont Foot for £2m in January 2013 but made only 12 Premier League starts and spent last season on loan at Turkish club Kayseri Erciyesspor.
Arsenal are close to agreeing a deal to sign Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech. Talks between the clubs are progressing towards the 33-year-old becoming Arsenal’s first summer acquisition. The Czech Republic international played 16 times for the Blues last season and has been at Stamford Bridge 11 years. He has made more than 300 Chelsea appearances and won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, one Champions League and one Europa League title. Belgium international Thibaut Courtois, 23, became Chelsea’s first-choice stopper last season, leaving Cech – with one year left on his deal – to look elsewhere. He joined the Stamford Bridge club from Rennes in 2004. Cech’s agent said last month the player had been given permission to speak to other clubs, despite manager Jose Mourinho wanting him to stay at Stamford Bridge.
Norwich City have signed former West Bromwich Albion midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu on a two-year contract. The 28-year-old DR Congo international was released by the Baggies at the end of the season. Mulumbu made 211 appearances in six years with Albion, having joined them from Paris St-Germain in 2009, initially on loan. Fellow midfielder Graham Dorrans also made the move from The Hawthorns to the Premier League newcomers this summer. “The fact that we’ve been able to pick Youssouf up on a free transfer is a fantastic piece of business,” Canaries boss Alex Neil told the club website.“His arrival will add to the competition for places. We have a strong squad with a lot of players that have done well in the Premier League and Youssouf will bring that competition to the squad.” Mulumbu will officially link up with the Canaries on 1 July when his Baggies contract expires.