Everton have signed Lokomotiv Moscow forward Oumar Niasse for a fee of £13.5m. Manager Roberto Martinez wanted greater attacking options after selling Steven Naismith to Norwich and Aiden McGeady going out on loan. Everton’s top target was Dynamo Kiev forward Andriy Yarmolenko but they were frustrated in that pursuit. Senegal striker Niasse has 12 goals in 21 games for his club this season.
Watford have broken their transfer record to sign Rennes midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure and immediately sent him out on loan. The Frenchman has signed a four-and-a-half-year deal but will spend the rest of the season at Granada, the Spanish club also owned by the Pozzo family. It is understood the deal could be worth as much as £8m, which would eclipse Watford’s previous transfer record of £6.1m – the fee they paid to sign Nordin Amrabat from Malaga in January.
The Afghan Football Federation has said that Lionel Messi is interested in meeting the young Afghan boy who became a viral star as a result of a homemade jersey. Pictures of the five-year-old spread around the world on social media; showing him wearing a jersey fashioned from a plastic bag and written on in biro. There was a worldwide search for the boy, who was eventually identified as Murtaza Ahmadi. His older brother made the jersey for him because he was upset at not having a real one. “He kept crying for days asking for the shirt until his brother Homayoun helped him make one from the plastic bag to make him happy,” Murtaza’s father said. “He stopped crying after wearing that plastic bag shirt.” The pictures have reached the attention of Lionel Messi, whose name was on the jersey, and his club Barcelona. “The management of the Afghan Football Federation has received emails from Lionel Messi and FC Barcelona regarding the meeting,” Syed Ali Kazemi, a federation’s spokesman, said according to Bleacher Report. Sounds like the plastic jersey will result in Murtaza meeting his hero – let’s hope he gets to bring his big brother along too.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has welcomed the arrival of Pep Guardiola as Manchester City’s next manager and expects the Catalan to come to England “to win everything”. City confirmed the worst-kept secret in football by announcing Guardiola has signed a three-year contract to join them when he leaves Bayern Munich in the summer. Klopp, who has already made the move from Bundesliga to Premier League after leaving Borussia Dortmund last season, admits there are no words he can offer to help Guardiola but has no doubt over the Spaniard’s ambitions.
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher was at AC Milan’s derby win over Serie A rivals Inter Milan and managed to get a picture with one of Italy’s greatest defenders, Franco Baresi. Carragher wrote: “Just getting ready for #DerbiDelaMadonina with the best defender I’ve ever seen! #baresi” Baresi was Italy’s captain during the thrilling second round game against Nigeria at the USA 1994 world cup. Jay Jay Okocha dazzled but Roberto Baggio had better experience. Italy won 2-1.
Manchester City has released a statement regarding their coaching situation. Here is the club Statement: “Manchester City can confirm that in recent weeks it has commenced and finalised contractual negotiations with Pep Guardiola to become MCFC head coach for the 2016/17 EPL season onwards,” a club statement read. The contract is for three years. These negotiations were a re-commencement of discussions that were curtailed in 2012. Out of respect for Manuel Pellegrini and the players, the club wishes to make its decision public to remove the unnecessary burden of speculation. Manuel, who is fully supportive of the decision to make this communication, is entirely focused on achieving his targets for the season ahead and retains the respect and commitment of all involved with the leadership of the club.”
Cote d’Ivoire international Seydou Doumbia has signed for Newcastle United on loan from Roma, subject to a medical. Doumbia is a powerful striker and, although he only managed two goals for Roma, he has banged them in for fun in the past. He got 66 league goals in two spells at CSKA Moscow and 50 in an impressive 64 games for Swiss Super League side BSC Young Boys.
West Ham have signed Fenerbahce striker Emmanuel Emenike on loan, with an option to make the deal permanent at the end of the season. The former Nigeria international has been on loan at Abu Dhabi club Al Ain. “I’m very happy and very excited that I’m here,” 28-year-old Emenike told the club’s website. “I have always known West Ham as a great club. I have known [manager Slaven] Bilic for years and thank God we are here together.” Bilic previously managed Besiktas, based in Istanbul, Turkey – the city rivals of Fenerbahce. Emenike, who scored nine goals in 37 international appearances, becomes the club’s second signing of the January transfer window, after Leeds defender Sam Byram.