Swansea spend £11m on Las Palmas midfielder Mesa

Swansea spend £11m on Las Palmas midfielder Mesa
Roque Mesa

Swansea City have completed the signing of Spanish midfielder Roque Mesa for £11m on a four-year deal.

Mesa joins from Las Palmas, where he spent seven seasons and helped the club win promotion to La Liga in 2015.

The 28-year-old made 35 appearances last season – scoring once – as Las Palmas finished 14th in La Liga.

Mesa is manager Paul Clement’s third summer signing following Dutch goalkeeper Erwin Mulder and Tammy Abraham on loan from Chelsea.

Swansea are also interested in signing Welsh winger George Thomas from Coventry City.

Thomas, 20, impressed for Wales Under-20s at the Toulon Tournament in June.

The winger scored nine goals in all competitions for Coventry last season but could not prevent them being relegated from League One.

Thomas is out of contract with the Sky Blues, but Swansea would have to pay compensation because he is under 24.

Swansea face competition for Thomas’ signature from fellow Premier League clubs Leicester City and Newcastle United, while Scottish side Rangers have also been linked with Thomas.

Toni Duggan: Barcelona sign Manchester City and England Women striker

Toni Duggan: Barcelona sign Manchester City and England Women striker
Toni Duggan

England striker Toni Duggan has signed for Barcelona from Manchester City Women on a two-year contract.

The 25-year-old former Everton Ladies forward is the first English player to join the Catalan club since Gary Lineker’s move to the Nou Camp in 1986.

Duggan has scored 15 goals in 47 senior appearances for England and is part of their squad for Women’s Euro 2017.

She departs for an undisclosed fee, having been with City since arriving from Everton in November 2013.

Duggan helped City win the Women’s Super League One title for the first time in 2016 and was part of the squad that won this year’s Women’s FA Cup.

She was also part of the England side that finished third in the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada.

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“FC Barcelona are known all over the world for playing attractive football and I naturally wanted to be part of that,” Duggan said. “I think my style of play will suit the team and I’m honoured to be part of the club.

“My new coach Fran Sanchez has told me that their ambition is to win the Women’s Champions League and the club have made that very clear with their signings over the years.

“I’ve had a lot of success in England and I’ve really enjoyed my time with Manchester City but I wanted to challenge myself even further by playing abroad. I’m also looking forward to learning Spanish and living in the city.”

Barcelona Femeni on the rise?

Like City, Barcelona reached the Women’s Champions League semi-finals for the first time in their history in 2016-17, and finished second in the Spanish top flight last term.

They have increased their investment in women’s football markedly in recent years, re-signing Spain midfielder Vicky Losada from Arsenal in November.

Barcelona are in talks with the American National Women’s Soccer League about entering a team for 2018, having opened a permanent office in New York in September.

The NWSL has never previously included a European side but is fully professional, in contrast to the Spanish top tier, which includes some semi-professional sides.

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Duggan scored four goals in four league appearances in the 2017 Spring Series and a fine individual goal in the Women’s Champions League.

The Liverpool-born striker will become the only member of the current England Women squad to be based abroad.

Burnley sign Charlie Taylor and agree £3m fee for Jon Walters

Burnley sign Charlie Taylor and agree £3m fee for Jon Walters
Jon Walters

Burnley have signed Charlie Taylor from Leeds, after agreeing a deal with Stoke City for Jon Walters.

Taylor, 23, joins the Clarets on a four-year contract.

The full-back turned down an offer to stay at Leeds, where he was out of contract, but Burnley will still have to pay a fee as he is under 24.

Republic of Ireland forward Walters, 33, is also heading for Turf Moor after Burnley agreed a fee with Stoke that could reach £3m.

Taylor, who made 104 appearances for Leeds, said: “I’ve been there since I was nine and I knew it was the right time. There were so many things that attracted me to Burnley; it ticks every box and it was a no-brainer really.

“That’s the huge attraction of the Premier League, just everything about it. Week in, week out, you are playing teams like Chelsea and Manchester United, so I just can’t wait to get started.”

Walters has spent seven years at Stoke, scoring 43 goals in 226 Premier League appearances, and is thought to be keen to link up with Burnley manager Sean Dyche.

Clarets striker Andre Gray, who has reportedly rejected a new contract, has been linked with a £15m move to fellow Premier League side West Ham.

Mo Farah: Fancy Bears hack prompts response from Olympic champion

Mo Farah: Fancy Bears hack prompts response from Olympic champion
Mo Farah has always strenuously denied doping

Mo Farah stressed he has “never failed a blood test” following the release of hacked documents which appear to show his test results once caused suspicion.

Hackers Fancy Bears published documents on Wednesday which state Farah returned a sample which needed further testing.

The data goes on to show Farah was then cleared when his results were later viewed as “normal”.

“We have never been informed of any of Mo’s test results being outside of the legal parameters,” a spokesperson said.

“Nor has Mo ever been contacted by the IAAF about any individual result. It is totally incorrect and defamatory to suggest otherwise, and we will pursue any claims to the contrary through all necessary legal routes,” they added.

“It has been widely reported that previous leaks from this organisation have included false or altered documents, and we have asked the IAAF to urgently look into the validity.

“Regardless, any suggestion of misconduct is entirely false and seriously misleading. Mo Farah has been subject to many blood tests during his career and has never failed a single one.”

Farah, who won gold in the 5,000m and 10,000m at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, is preparing for the World Championships in London on 5 August.

Fancy Bears – thought to be a Russian hacking group – began releasing athlete data last year and focused largely on naming those who had sought Therapeutic Use Exemptions, which allow athletes to take banned substances for verified medical needs.

The IAAF – athletics’ world governing body – said in April it was hacked by the group in February. It said it believed Wednesday’s release of data is likely to be from the same hack but was “looking into” the matter.

Farah has always vociferously denied ever taking performance enhancing drugs.

His coach since 2011, Alberto Salazar, is currently under investigation by US Anti Doping but issued a 12,000- word open letter in 2015 denying accusations he violated anti-doping rules.

Romelu Lukaku: Man Utd target Everton striker

Romelu Lukaku: Man Utd target Everton striker
Romelu Lukaku

Everton’s Romelu Lukaku has emerged as a candidate for Manchester United as Jose Mourinho’s wait to sign a striker goes on.

The 24-year-old was on a list of forward options Mourinho gave to executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward before the end of last season.

It had been thought Lukaku, who scored 25 Premier League goals last season, would rejoin his former club Chelsea.

However, United now feel it is possible to get the Belgium international.

The club have been in negotiations to sign Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid, but have so far been unable to reach an agreement.

United are already in contact with Everton over a deal for former England captain Wayne Rooney, who is likely to leave Old Trafford and return to Goodison Park.

That could make negotiations relatively smooth, even if the fee being spoken of would challenge the world record £89m transfer that took Paul Pogba to Old Trafford from United last summer.

Lukaku is a client of agent Mino Raiola, who also looks after Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan – three players all signed by United last summer.

The Belgian, who moved to Merseyside from Chelsea for £28m in 2014 after a season’s loan, turned down the most lucrative contract offer in Everton’s history in March.

He later said: “I don’t want to stay at the same level. I want to improve and I know where I want to do that.”