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China name Brazilian in squad for 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier

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China have named Brazilian striker Elkeson in their squad for their opening World Cup qualifier with the player poised to be the first without Chinese ancestry to play for the country.

Coach Marcello Lippi has long complained about a dearth of attacking options and has moved to plug the gap with the 30-year-old, who will use the Chinese name Aikesen.

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The move to naturalise a Brazilian is controversial and comes after China similarly gave a passport to London-born midfielder Nico Yennaris.

The former Arsenal man, however, is half-Chinese, whereas Guangzhou Evergrande striker Elkeson qualifies for China having played in the country since 2013.

Along with Espanyol forward Wu Lei and Yennaris, Elkeson is part of a 35-man squad named by Italian World Cup winner Lippi for China’s game at the Maldives on September 10.

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Elkeson appears likely to be the start of a growing trend for perennial under-achievers China.

Fellow Brazilians Ricardo Goulart and Fernando are both reportedly set to be naturalised, along with English defender Tyias Browning, also of Evergrande.

Although many other nations, notably 2022 World Cup hosts Qatar, call up players born in other countries, China had resisted doing so until now.

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But respected football commentator Zhan Jun recently hinted at public discord, writing to his 16 million followers on the Twitter-like Weibo:

“Sigh, don’t know how the fans who care about Chinese football are feeling?

“I can’t get over it,” said Zhan, in a post which drew thousands of comments.

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Valencia winger Torres signs in £21m deal by Man City

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The Spain Under-21 international becomes Pep Guardiola’s first major signing of the summer and will fill the gap in the squad left by Leroy Sane

Manchester City has completed the signing of Valencia winger Ferran Torres in a deal worth an initial £21 million ($27m).

The 20-year-old has signed a five-year contract at the Etihad Stadium and will join up with Pep Guardiola’s squad for the 2020-21 season.

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Valencia could receive a further £11m ($14m) in add-ons for the Spain Under-21 international, who was in the final 12 months of his contract.

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Tottenham set to sign £15m Hojbjerg

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Tottenham look set to make their first big signing of the summer transfer window.

The Telegraph reports that Southampton midfielder – and former captain – Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is on the verge of joining Spurs in a deal worth £15m.

Apparently Tottenham full-back Kyle Walker-Peters – who joined the Saints on loan in January – will head in the opposite direction on a permanent basis.

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That separate arrangement is reported to be worth £12m.

Meanwhile, three European clubs have all reportedly had sizeable bids accepted for Southampton midfielder and Spurs transfer target Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

According to a report from the Daily Echo, the trio have all made offers in the region of the £25m price that Saints have put on the Denmark international’s head.

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Hojbjerg has made it clear that he prefers a move to Spurs and Saints are still locked in talks with them over a potential deal that could involve Kyle Walker-Peters going the other way.

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Pedro undergoes surgery for shoulder injury

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Chelsea’s Spanish winger Pedro has had surgery, following a shoulder injury he sustained during Saturday’s FA Cup final defeat by Arsenal.

Pedro had replaced forward Christian Pulisic in the game which Chelsea lost 2-1, after the American, who scored in the first half, pulled up with a hamstring problem.

“The surgery went well, I will be back soon. It was a pity not to win the FA Cup. Thank you all for your support,” the 33-year-old Pedro said on Instagram on Tuesday.

MORE READING!  Pedro undergoes surgery for shoulder injury

Pedro, whose Chelsea deal expires at the end of the month, has reportedly agreed a move to Italian Serie A side AS Roma on a free transfer.

Reuters

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