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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football Briefs: Torres says joining Japan's Sagan Tosu

Football Briefs: Torres says joining Japan's Sagan Tosu

Last updated on: July 10, 2018 12:20 IST

Fernandpo Torres

IMAGE: Atletico Madrid's Fernando Torres. Photograph: Juan Medina/Reuters

Former Spain striker Fernando Torres has announced he is joining Japanese top flight side Sagan Tosu as a free agent after leaving Atletico Madrid last month.

"We have had offers from every continent. My new team will be Sagan Tosu of Japan," the 34-year-old Torres said at an event held at the gym he owns in Madrid on Tuesday.

 

"I have had offers from France, Germany and even one from Spain but at no point did I ever think about going to another European team. I wanted a new challenge in a completely different place."

Torres, who spent the bulk of his career with boyhood club Atletico across two spells, has also played for Liverpool, Chelsea and AC Milan and won the World Cup and two European Championship titles with Spain.

Sagan Tosu have been in Japan's top flight J.League since 2012. In 2017, they finished eighth in the division but are in a relegation battle halfway through the current campaign.

Torres becomes the second high-profile Spaniard to head to Japan in the last few weeks after former Barcelona great Andres Iniesta agreed to join Vissel Kobe in May.

Barcelona sign Brazilian midfielder Arthur

Arthur Melo

IMAGE: Arthur Melo, left, of Gremio in action. Photograph: Edison Vara/Reuters

Barcelona have confirmed the signing of Brazilian midfielder Arthur Melo from Gremio on a six-year deal after an agreement by the clubs in March, the Spanish champions said on Monday.

The La Liga club said in a statement on their website that the transfer fee for the 21-year-old, who joins immediately, was 31 million euros ($36.4 million) with 9 million in "variables".

"The player will sign a contract with the club for the following six seasons, until the end of the 2023/24 campaign," it said.

Barca also said Arthur's buyout clause was to be set at a staggering 400 million euros, a move to prevent a potential repeat of the circumstances in which Paris St Germain signed Neymar from the Catalans by paying his 222 million-euro release clause in July, 2017.

Arthur helped Gremio win the Copa Libertadores last year and has been signed to help fill the void in midfield vacated by Barca great Andres Iniesta and Brazil's Paulinho.

Iniesta ended a 16-year, trophy-filled period at the club in May to sign for Japanese side Vissel Kobe, while Paulinho is returning to Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande on loan.

Arthur's transfer is also thought to have been brought forward due to midfielder Carles Alena suffering a serious knee injury in the Barca reserve side's final game of the season.

Iceland skipper Gunnarsson signs one-year deal at Cardiff

Iceland captain Aron Gunnarsson has signed a new one-year contract with Cardiff City.

The 29-year old, who led Iceland in their debut World Cup campaign last month, was hindered by a long-term ankle injury last season as Cardiff finished second in the second-tier Championship to earn promotion to the Premier League.

"It was tough work to get back, ready to represent my country at the World Cup, and for Cardiff City," Gunnarsson told the club's website here.

“Now, signing this deal has been my number one priority and I can’t wait to meet back up with the boys.”

Villa ready to sell players to meet FFP rules, says Bruce

Aston Villa will probably have to sell several of their best players, including midfielder Jack Grealish, to meet Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations, manager Steve Bruce has said.

He told Sky Sports News on Monday that Villa, who missed out on a lucrative return to the Premier League when they lost in the playoff final, have no choice but to sell prized assets.

Sky reported that Villa must raise 40 million pounds ($53 million) to comply with FFP rules after last season's failure to secure promotion from the second tier.

The club faced a winding-up order via the High Court last month until they agreed a payment schedule regarding money owed to British tax authorities.

Villa owner Tony Xia said the club was not for sale but Bruce, who has agreed to stay to help the Midlands outfit through the difficulties, knows players will likely be sold.

"We know what to expect. We don't want to lose Grealish, (Ivory Coast forward Jonathan) Kodjia and (Wales central defender James) Chester but the inevitability is we might have to so let's get ready for it," Bruce said.

Villa owner and chairman Xia wrote an open letter to fans on Friday in which he said: "To be clear, to meet FFP we need to player trade. No shareholding sale of any size will contribute to meeting FFP. We must reduce costs and increase revenue."

Trophy challenges and lofty ambitions motivated Can move to Juventus

Emre Can has said he moved to Italian champions Juventus from Liverpool because he was attracted to the Turin side’s ability to consistently challenge for titles as well as being lured by their ambitious targets.

The German international joined Liverpool in 2014 and played his 167th and last match for the Premier League side in their Champions League final defeat by Real Madrid in May.

“The club (Juventus) had good contact with my agent for many years. I just know how huge the club is and the mentality of the club — they want to win titles. That’s my mentality too. I came here to win titles,” the 24-year-old told reporters.

“I think the first target has to be to win Serie A and then comes the Champions League. That has to be our aim. I am here to help the team.

“I decided to come to Juventus because I think the project here is very big. They have very big aims. I want to be part of the project here.”

Former Netherlands midfielder De Jong to join Qatar's Al Ahli

Former Netherlands midfielder Nigel de Jong will join Qatari top-flight club Al Ahli, the club has said.

De Jong, who has played for AC Milan, Ajax and Manchester City, most recently played for Bundesliga side Mainz where he made 11 league appearances after joining them in January.

Al Ahli said on Twitter the club would hold a press conference with the 33-year-old, who also won 81 caps for the Netherlands, later on Tuesday.

Terms were not disclosed.

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