Deals: Jose exile’s escape, Arsenal snare key trio

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Payet refuses to play0:59

EPL: West Ham star Dimitri Payet says he will not play for the team until he is transferred despite manager Slaven Bilic saying he has no interest in selling the Frenchman.

Manchester United’s Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho

AFP

FRENCH holding midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin has joined Everton from Manchester United for an initial fee of £20 million, the Merseyside club said on Thursday.

The 27-year-old signed a four-and-a-half-year contract in a deal that could rise to £24 million (27.5 million euros, $29 million) with bonuses.

The move reunites Schneiderlin with Everton manager Ronald Koeman, beneath whom he worked for one season during his time at Southampton.

“Everton is a big club in the history of English football,” Schneiderlin said in comments published on the Everton website.

“I’ve always loved the atmosphere in the stadium. I’ve always liked playing here. I can’t wait to play and to represent this great club.

“There is a manager in place here that I know. I know he can get the best out of me, I know his style and how he likes to play football.” Schneiderlin made just eight appearances for United following Jose Mourinho’s appointment as manager last year.

He posted a picture of himself in a United shirt on Twitter, accompanied by the words: “Thank you Manchester United.”

He added: “Thanks to all the fans for your support. I wish you all the best for the future!” Schneiderlin’s arrival is a timely piece of business for Koeman, who has just lost Senegalese midfielder Idrissa Gueye to the Africa Cup of Nations.

“I’m very pleased because I know the player, I know the qualities of the player, I know him as a person and he’s really desperate to come to Everton — and that’s what we need,” Koeman said.

“We want good players, but we also want players who really want to show their qualities in front of the fans of Everton.”

Schneiderlin, capped 15 times by France, joined United from Southampton for a reported fee of £25 million in 2015.

But despite playing regularly under Louis van Gaal he disappeared from view under Mourinho.

In total he played 47 games for United, scoring one goal, ironically against Everton in October 2015.

Mourinho had revealed that Schneiderlin was close to completing a move to Goodison Park after United’s 2-0 League Cup semi-final first-leg win over Hull City on Tuesday.

“I’m sad and I’m happy,” Mourinho said. “I’m sad because I like him and he could be an option for us in a long season.

“I’m happy because this is what he wants. He wants to play every game and wants to be an important player in the team.”

ANOTHER FORMER UNITED MIDFIELDER …

Watford have signed Everton midfielder Tom Cleverley on loan until the end of the season.

The Hornets also have an option to buy the 27-year-old, who returns to Vicarage Road for a second spell having gone there in 2009/10 while he was still at Manchester United.

Cleverley joined Everton on a free transfer from United in July 2015 and, after making 30 appearances in his first season under then manager Roberto Martinez, he has not fared so well in the current campaign since Ronald Koeman took over. He made just four Premier League starts in his 12 appearances this season, and the arrival of Morgan Schneiderlin from United in a GBP20million ($A32 million) deal means his chances in midfield would be even more limited.

WENGER PINS DOWN KEY TRIO

Arsenal’s French trio Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny and Francis Coquelin have all agreed contract extensions, the Premier League club announced on Thursday.

The club said the three players had signed “long-term” contracts, but did not disclose the duration of their deals.

“We are very pleased that three important members of our team have committed to us for the long term,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said on the club website.

“Francis has made tremendous technical strides over the past few years because he’s so focused every day.

“Olivier has big experience in the game now and has become a more and more complete player since joining us.

“Laurent is of course a key part of our squad and I believe one of the best defenders in the world today. So overall, this is great news for us.” Striker Giroud, 30, has hit the headlines in recent weeks with four goals in as many games, including a celebrated scorpion kick volley against Crystal Palace.

Centre-back Koscielny, 31, has been a mainstay of the Arsenal defence since signing from Lorient in July 2010 and midfielder Coquelin, 25, has become an important figure since breaking into the first team in early 2015.

Giroud and Koscielny are key members of Didier Deschamps’s France squad, but Coquelin is uncapped.

Arsenal are still to negotiate new deals for star forwards Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.

Wenger’s future is also up in the air, with his contract due to expire at the end of the season.

Second behind champions Leicester City last season, Arsenal are currently fifth in the Premier League ahead of Saturday’s trip to second-bottom Swansea City.

SERIE A

Juventus has acquired Mattia Caldara’s rights from Atalanta in a 25 million euro ($26 million) deal that keeps the center back on loan with the Bergamo club for another season and a half.

Caldara signed a five-year deal with Juventus that expires in June 2021. Juventus announced it is paying a 15 million euro transfer fee with another 6 million euros in eventual bonuses plus 4 million euros in incentives during Caldara’s remaining time with Atalanta.

Juventus is hoping the 22-year-old Caldara becomes the next in a long line of standout Juventus defenders, and can replace the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci.

It’s the second major deal involving Atalanta in two days after Inter Milan signed midfielder Roberto Gagliardini on Wednesday in a deal that could end up costing as much as 28 million euros.

Featuring a large group of homegrown players, Atalanta has been the revelation of Serie A this season. The provincial club located near Milan is in sixth place.

(Why?)

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