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Djourou compares Xhaka to Pirlo

BRIEFS

New Arsenal signing Granit Xhaka has been compared to Italian maestro Andrea Pirlo by former club defender Johan Djourou. Arsenal completed the signing of Xhaka from Borussia Monchengladbach for an undisclosed fee, rumoured to be worth £30million, on Wednesday. The 23-year-old Switzerland international starred in Bundesliga, making 141 appearances for Gladbach after arriving from Basel in 2012. Ex-Arsenal defender Djourou – now playing for Hamburg in Germany – likened his countryman to two-time Champions League winner and 2006 World Cup victor Pirlo.

Lukaku offers Everton ultimatum
Romelu Lukaku has dropped a strong hint that his future lies away from Everton, after outlining his desire to begin collecting trophies. Lukaku has scored 61 goals across three seasons for the Toffees, but this term’s defeats in the semi-finals of the League Cup and FA Cup to Manchester’s City and United respectively are the closest the Belgium star has come to silverware. A return to Chelsea has been mooted for Lukaku, who says he has already made a decision on where he will play next season, while his father has been keen to talk up a move to United or Bayern Munich.

Ramirez set for Southampton exit
Gaston Ramirez will leave Southampton following the expiration of his contract, while goalkeeper Kelvin Davis is to be offered a “behind-the-scenes” role. Uruguay international Ramirez arrived at St Mary’s Stadium from Bologna for a club-record fee in 2012, but has failed to live up to his billing since making the switch.

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