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Liverpool Signs Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig

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Ibrahima Konate will become Liverpool’s first signing of the summer as a transfer from RB Leipzig has been agreed

Liverpool to sign Ibrahima Konate for £36m

Liverpool have agreed a deal to sign defender Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig.

The 22-year-old will become Jurgen Klopp’s first summer signing after the Reds triggered his release clause to spark a £36million move.

Konate told Liverpoolfc.com: “I’m really happy to be joining such a massive club like Liverpool.

“It’s a really exciting moment for me and my family and I am really looking forward to meeting my new teammates, the staff and getting started on this new chapter.

“Right now, my focus is on the U21 European Championships with France, but after this competition I know I will be joining one of the best teams in the world and that gives me a great feeling.

“I have worked very hard for many years to get to this point, but I would like to say a big thank you to everyone at RB Leipzig and all the people I worked with there – the coaches, my teammates, the staff and especially the fans.”

His squad number is yet to be confirmed.

Konate is currently on duty with France’s U21 squad for the UEFA European Championships, but is set to become a Red on July 1.

The club indicated he has signed a “long-term contract” after finalising terms and passing a medical.

Liverpool’s move for Konate confirms they will not be taking up the £18m option to make permanent the signing of Ozan Kabak, who spent the second half of the season on loan from Schalke.

The serious injuries suffered this season by Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip have encouraged Klopp to make signing another centre-back a priority this summer.

And while Konate has started only 14 Bundesliga games in the last two seasons due to injury, the Reds have no concerns over his fitness with the player having been available since February.

Stay up to date with the latest Ibrahima Konate news

Ibrahima Konate in action for RB Leipzig

Liverpool have made their first signing of the summer, bringing in centre-back Ibrahima Konate from RB Leipzig.

The highly-rated 22-year-old will no doubt have a big part to play next season, with the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez still returning from injury.

You can sign up to the Echo’s email newsletters to get the latest news on Konate and the rest of Liverpool’s transfers this summer, in what could well be a big window for the Reds.

Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams ended the campaign as Liverpool’s centre-back pairing, with Klopp having already indicated he plans to have the duo in the squad for the start of pre-season on July 12.

Liverpool also have no immediate intention of moving on Ben Davies, who has yet to feature for the first team since arriving from Championship side Preston North End in February.

Any decision over the long-term futures of the trio will be made at a later date, with there being no guarantee Van Dijk, Gomez and Matip will be fully fit for the start of the next Premier League campaign on August 14.

(With stories by Liverpool Echo)

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Golden Sunday for Team Nigeria as Brume, Relay Teams Win on Final Day

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Tobi Amusan and Ese Brume celebrating their wins

 

By Samuel Ifetoye (The Guardian), Birmingham

. Nigeria Wins 12 Gold medals

• Amusan sets new games record, inspires 4x100m women to gold, new African mark

Nigeria rounded off its participation at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, yesterday, with a big splash on the medals pool, with the ladies, once again, leading the country’s march for glory.

The victory dance started in the morning at the Alexander Stadium, where the quartet of Tobi Amusan, Favour Ofili, Rose Chukwuma and Grace Nwokocha won the 4x100m women’s relay race.

The quartet also set a new African record of 42.10s to win the country’s 11th gold medal in what has turned out to become Nigeria’s best outing at the Commonwealth Games.

The 4x100m women team included Tobi Amusan, Favour Ofili, Rose Chukwuma and anchor, Grace Nwokocha.

Earlier, the quartet of Udodi Onwuzurike, Favour Ashe, Alaba Akintola and Raymond Ekevwo won the bronze medal in the men’s 4x100m event won by the English team. The Nigerian men finished in a time of 38.81s to make it to the podium.

Meanwhile, Ofili, on Saturday, became the third Nigerian woman after Mary Onyali (1994) and Blessing Okagbare (2014) to win a medal in the 200m at the Commonwealth Games.

The 19-year-old ran 22.51 seconds to place second behind Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah (22.02s Games record), the Tokyo Olympics double sprint champion.

Namibia’s Tokyo Olympics 200m silver medalist, Christine Mboma, finished third in 22.80 seconds.

Ofili’s silver medal win is the second such medal Nigeria has won in the event after Mary Onyali, who ran 22.35 seconds to place second behind Australia’s Cathy Freeman in 1994.

Nigeria’s record in the event now reads one gold after Blessing Okagbare’s 22.25 seconds blistering run eight years ago in Glasgow, Scotland and two silver medals.

Interestingly, the three Nigerians that have qualified to run in the final of the half-lap event have ended on the podium.

However, Nigeria’s 28-year wait for a men’s 200m medal has been extended to 32 after former World U-20 champion, Udodi Onwuzurike, could only finish in sixth place (20.76s) in the final of the event Saturday evening.

Onwuzurike had made history as the first Nigerian since 2006 (16 years) to run in the final of the event.

The last time Nigeria mounted the podium for a 200m medal at the Games was in 1994 in Victoria, Canada, where Daniel Effiong has presented a bronze medal for finishing third (20.40s) behind Namibia’s Frankie Fredericks Frankie Fredericks, who ran a new 19.97 seconds Games record to win the gold and England’s John Regis, who won the silver medal.

David Ejoke won Nigeria’s first medal in the event in 1966 albeit he ran over 220 yards at the time.

In the last field event of the day, Ese Brume 7.00 metres to break her Commonwealth Games record and add another gold medal to Nigeria’s kitty.

Earlier, Elizabeth Oshoba failed in her attempt to win a gold medal in the women’s featherweight boxing final, losing 5-0 to Northern Ireland’s Michaela Walsh. She got a silver medal for her efforts.

The women’s 4×400 metres relay team were not luckier as they could only finish seventh in the race won by England. Canada took the silver, while the bronze medal went to Jamaica.

With 12 gold medals in the kitty, Nigeria made it her best-ever show at the Commonwealth Games.

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Israel Adesanya Retains UFC Middleweight Title

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Nigeria’s UFC superstar Adesanya was making the fifth defence of his middleweight title as he welcomed the challenge of the hard-hitting Cannonier

Israel Adesanya defended his title against Jared Cannonier
Israel Adesanya defended his title against Jared Cannonier
Israel Adesanya retained his middleweight title with an effortless victory over Jared Cannonier at UFC 276.

The champion was barely out of second gear over the five-round main event as he cruised to a fourth title defence. But the Las Vegas crowd were left less than impressed as they booed the fight throughout before all three judges handed the Nigerian victory by margins of four and five rounds.

“He had an excellent gameplan; it was really hard to get my follow-ups going, my second phases going,” reflected the champion before calling out bitter rival Alex Pereira who holds two wins over the champion, albeit in the kickboxing ranks. “You know who’s next,” continued Adesanya. “The first time, I told you, was an error on my part. Next time I put you on skates, you’re going to be frozen.”

Adesanya unified the middleweight title with his first win over Robert Whittaker in 2019 with the only blotch on his record since his defeat by then light-heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz two years later. Cannonier, meanwhile, had won five of his previous six fights with victories over Kelvin Gastelum and Derek Brunson securing his shot at the title.

Adesanya carried an urn to the cage as he paid homage to WWE legend The Undertaker in the most theatrical of his flamboyant entrances. And the champion adopted a kick-heavy approach in the opening stages as Cannonier swung and missed with an overhand right.

The champion increased the pace at the start of the second round as he effortlessly switched stances to land his ram-rod jab. And just as the Sin City crowd began to grow restless, Adesanya began to put his punches together before the fight was paused when Cannonier was poked in the eye.

Cannonier’s right eye had started to swell up by the third round but the challenger adopted a more aggressive approach as the title fight hit the halfway mark. He managed to pin Adesanya to the cage but the champion slithered out of danger.

Adesanya snapped back Cannonier’s head with another unerring jab at the start of the fourth session as he continued to dominate. The challenger was able to land a lone right hand midway through the round but his successes were few and far between as the crowd grew restless again.

Cannonier’s corner told him he was down three rounds to one going into the final stoppage, meaning the American needed a stoppage to win the title. Adesanya was content to coast through the last five minutes, much to the chagrin of the 19,000 fans in the T-Mobile Arena. And Cannonier offered little thread as his title challenge fizzled out.

In the co-main event, Alexander Volkanowski dominated Max Holloway to win every round of their trilogy fight and settle their long-running rivalry. There were also main-card triumphs for Bryan Barberena over Robbie Lawlor and for Pereira, who knocked out Sean Strickland in the first round.

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Arsenal Agree £45M Transfer of Gabriel Jesus from ManCity

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Arsenal have agreed a £45 million ($55m) deal with Manchester City for Gabriel Jesus as well as personal terms with the attacker, GOAL can confirm.

The Gunners have been locked in talks with City for weeks over the Brazil international, who Mikel Arteta has identified as his priority target to bolster his striking options this summer.

An agreement was reached between the clubs on Friday before Arsenal reached terms with the player himself on Sunday.

What happens now?
The two clubs have now agreed on a fee and Arsenal moved quickly to finalise personal terms with the 25-year-old.

It is now a matter of days before the transfer will be announced officially to take the Brazilian to the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal will look to wrap up the formalities of the deal quickly to ensure Jesus will be able to travel with Arteta’s squad for an upcoming tour of the United States.

The north London club have already signed Porto midfielder Fabio Vieria this summer and are also trying to bring in Leeds United winger Raphinha.

How has Jesus fared in the Premier League?
The striker has scored 58 goals and delivered 29 assists in the league since joining Manchester City in 2016-17.

He arrived as a teenager and went on to win four Premier League titles at the Etihad Stadium, as well as three League Cups and one FA Cup

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