Dani Parejo has joined Villarreal on a four-year contract, leaving rivals Valencia where he was captain.

The transfer became the second between the two clubs to go through on Wednesday, with Parejo following Francis Coquelin to El Madrigal - reportedly for a cut-price combined fee of just €13million.

Valencia have already sold Ferran Torres to Manchester City in recent weeks and pressure appears to be building on owner Peter Lim.

Club great Santiago Canizares questioned "the sale of your two best midfielders", with new head coach Javi Gracia yet to take charge of a competitive fixture.

Parejo played 383 times for Valencia since signing from Getafe in 2011 and had spoken of wanting to retire at the club despite reports of his looming departure.

However, Torres, following his move to City, said Parejo "wasn't a good captain with me".

"He's a great player but I never had a relationship with him," winger Torres said of the 31-year-old.

Valencia released a short statement as Parejo's departure was confirmed, thanking the player for "all his effort and commitment", echoing the response to Coquelin's move.

Villarreal have completed the signing of Francis Coquelin from rivals Valencia, with Dani Parejo seemingly set to follow.

Former Arsenal midfielder Coquelin has signed a four-year deal with Villarreal, having spent two and a half seasons with Valencia, winning the 2018-19 Copa del Rey.

It is anticipated Parejo, the Valencia skipper, will join his team-mate in making the short trip to El Madrigal.

Parejo had previously spoken of retiring at Valencia but was subsequently criticised by new Manchester City signing Ferran Torres.

New Manchester City signing Ferran Torres was inspired by David Silva when he started out at Valencia.

Torres last week moved to City for an initial £21.1million, arriving as a replacement for Leroy Sane following his move to Bayern Munich.

The Spain Under-21 winger joined Los Che as a seven-year-old, when Silva was part of a strong Valencia side regularly featuring in European competition.

Silva left Mestalla for City in 2010 but had already made a mark on Torres.

"When I started at Valencia, he was enjoying his best time at the club," Torres told CityTV of Silva, City's outgoing captain.

"He was always an inspiration and then, when he moved to City, where he's been playing his best football, I've always admired him.

"Above all, [what I liked was] his ability to hold the ball, his capacity to make the final pass and his quality."

Asked what motivated him to join City, Torres highlighted the importance of manager Pep Guardiola in his decision.

He said: "Being part of the project the club set out to me. My aim is to grow as a player. I have a lot of room for improvement and the fact of having Pep Guardiola as a manager was a big factor too.

"It was crucial because he's one of the best, or I'd say the best manager in the world, and at the point I am at now in my career, he can get the best out of me.

"I'm always trying to improve. I always like to ask the reason why we do things and I think this is fundamental for improving and also because I think I'm young and I still have lots of things to improve."

Torres is confident he can quickly adapt to the Premier League after firmly establishing himself in the first team at Valencia in 2019-20.

"The truth is that English football is a bit more physical than it is in Spain, but I really feel I'm ready and I'm looking forward to getting going as soon as possible," he said.

"I'd say that I have more strength than speed. I also make good crosses, but above all I'd highlight my power and strength."

Valencia have unveiled a 'Memorial Wall' in the players' tunnel of their Mestalla home in tribute to victims of the coronavirus pandemic and those who have worked on the frontline of the health service.

The mural, which is said to be the first of its kind at a top-flight stadium, will be a permanent fixture at the Spanish club's famous ground, which is the oldest in LaLiga.

Around 35 per cent of Valencia's playing squad and backroom staff tested positive for COVID-19 in March, with Ezequiel Garay and Eliaquim Mangala among those to contract the respiratory disease.

Some sort of normality has returned to the region with the resumption of football in June but president Anil Murthy is keen to help those who have been affected by the pandemic, while also paying tribute to Cruz Roja, the Spanish branch of the Red Cross.

"The Mestalla is right in the centre of Valencia and is an emblematic location for all Valencianos," Murthy said. "When there was flooding, people came here to take refuge.

"During the coronavirus epidemic we are going through, a very tough period for everyone, we are opening up the Mestalla again to show how we can be part of the community.

"We have the foodbank here, which is still going on to help people in this time of need – people need jobs and people need food.

"Valencia is much more than just a football club. We are a social investor and are very happy to work with the Red Cross.

"This is a very important aspect of our club and we shall continue doing more."

Villarreal have completed the loan signing of Takefusa Kubo from Real Madrid.

The 19-year-old Japan international is yet to feature for Madrid's first team in a competitive fixture, having signed last year before sealing a temporary switch to Real Mallorca.

Kubo played 35 times in LaLiga this season, scoring four goals.

The former FC Tokyo prospect could soon be joined by further new arrivals, meanwhile, as Villarreal reportedly close on a deal for Dani Parejo and Francis Coquelin.

Valencia skipper Parejo last month said he wanted to retire with Los Che despite talk of a departure, although his captaincy was subsequently criticised by the outgoing Ferran Torres.

It is said Villarreal would pay rivals Valencia €13million for the midfield pair.

Could Paulo Dybala swap Italy for Spain?

The Juventus attacker was close to leaving Juventus for either Manchester United or Tottenham prior to the 2019-20 season, while Paris Saint-Germain were also linked.

Now, Real Madrid are reportedly targeting the 26-year-old.

 

TOP STORY – KROOS OUT, DYBALA IN?

Real Madrid are set to offer Toni Kroos or Isco as part of a deal to bring Juventus star Paulo Dybala to the Santiago Bernabeu, according to SportMediaset.

LaLiga champions Madrid are eyeing a move for Dybala, who has been in negotiations with Serie A titleholders Juve over a new contract amid reported interest from Paris Saint-Germain.

However, Juve are unwilling to part with the Argentina international – who enjoyed a fine Serie A campaign prior to Maurizio Sarri's sacking as he looks ahead to life under Andrea Pirlo.

ROUND-UP

- Kicker claims Jadon Sancho has told Borussia Dortmund he is happy to stay at the club if a blockbuster transfer to Manchester United fails to materialise. The England international has been heavily tipped to join United, with personal terms reportedly agreed.

Barcelona want to sign Manchester City star Bernardo Silva, reports The Telegraph. The LaLiga giants are eyeing a cash-plus-player deal to try to prise the Portugal international to Camp Nou.

- Premier League champions Liverpool are poised to sign Olympiacos left-back Kostas Tsimikas, according to widespread reports. Having failed to strike a deal with Norwich City for Jamal Lewis, Liverpool are close to prising Tsimikas from the Greek powerhouse. Meanwhile, The Sun says Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool are targeting a shock £35million swoop for Bournemouth midfielder David Brooks.

- The front page of Monday's edition of Marca says Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane must sell before he is able to sign players ahead of the 2020-21 season. Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez are two players unwanted in the Spanish capital as Madrid continue to be linked with the likes of PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe, Dortmund's Erling Haaland and Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga.

- AS Diario reports Villarreal are on the verge of signing Valencia pair Dani Parejo and Francis Coquelin. Valencia captain Parejo and team-mate Coquelin have been told they are free to leave Mestalla.

Napoli have joined the race to sign Madrid full-back Sergio Reguilon claims Sky Sport Italia. On loan at Sevilla, Reguilon has been linked to Chelsea and Everton.

- According to Calciomercato, Inter are interested in Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele. However, salary demands may prove problematic amid talk of a swap deal involving Inter defender Milan Skriniar.

Ferran Torres believes "crooked" Valencia employees are attempting to smear his image following his move to Manchester City.

Torres joined City for an initial £21.1million (€23m) on Tuesday, putting pen to paper on a five-year contract at the Etihad Stadium to replace the departed Leroy Sane.

The Spain Under-21 international acknowledged he was not leaving Valencia on the best of terms having failed to see eye to eye with certain members of the media and the club's hierarchy.

"On the one hand, [I am] excited and happy, but at the same time sad because I'm leaving my club. Valencia game me everything and trained me since I was seven," Torres told Marca.

"I've had hard times there and that's why I ended up leaving, but I want to emphasise that I'm very grateful to Valencia and will always support them.

"The problem is that there are people within the club and a few journalists who are determined to damage my image. I don't want to leave on bad terms because I'm a Valencia fan.

"When the club decided to put me in the first team I began to come under pressure and criticism. It wasn't just me, but they wanted to harm my representatives and my family.

"The same people who now campaign against me said then that I would fail, which hurt a lot at 17. But I have to say that there were other journalists who treated me with love and respect. There are, though, club employees working to smear my image.

"I'm sure I can [return in future]. I refuse to think otherwise. Even if there are crooked people. A lot of them won't be there in a few years and I'll have shown that I deserve to return."

Torres began to consider leaving Valencia last year after being told he was the "fifth winger" in the squad, but he still managed to establish himself as a first-team regular in 2019-20.

He had been open to staying at Mestalla until the club failed to agree to certain conditions around a potential renewal.

"One was for [owner] Peter Lim to be involved so that I knew I was important, another was to be captain as I had seen other clubs do, [Atletico Madrid] with Fernando Torres, for example, and the third was to be one of the highest paid players. I wanted two of the three, but none were fulfilled," said Torres.

The rapid winger made his senior debut for Valencia as a 17-year-old in 2017 but struggled to forge a bond with skipper Dani Parejo.

Asked if it was true his relationship with Parejo is frosty, Torres explained: "After three years I'm more mature and mentally stronger. But at 17, no.

"He's a great player but I never had a relationship with him. When I joined the first team at 17, a number of weeks passed before he said a simple 'good morning' to me. He wasn't a good captain with me.

"The worst of it came after Marcelino's departure when [Lee] Kang-in and I were seen as culprits in the dressing room and they stopped talking to us for weeks."

When Ferran Torres scored the fourth and final goal of Valencia's 4-1 Champions League win over Lille in November, he further enhanced his burgeoning reputation and announced himself to another mass of admirers.

While the goal mattered little in the grand scheme of the match, and it was hardly a contest likely to draw in all of the indecisive neutrals, it gave him his own slice of history, becoming the first player born in 2000 to net a Champions League goal for a Spanish club.

His cool, top-corner finish after an incisive run into the box will have been met with nods of approval from those being alerted to Torres' potential.

While the skilful and direct winger wasn't exactly an unknown quantity at that point, it was an early landmark in a career that looks set for many, and now he is headed for the glamour of the Premier League and Manchester City.

CITY'S DECISIVE SWOOP

Torres and his sister Arantxa have a tattoo in common. "An anchor. It was a reminder for us not to let ourselves be sunk by anything or anyone," she told OTRO last year.

Perhaps that should have served as a portentous warning to Valencia during their ultimately unsuccessful contract negotiations, with Torres' future long dominating headlines in the local media – he was due to become a free agent in 2021.

That, in a nutshell, is how City have managed to pull off such a coup with respect to paying a reported initial fee of £21.1million (€23m). Even with variables, the most they'll pay is thought to be in the region of £32.2m (€35m), a massive reduction on his €100m (£92m) release clause.

Local sports paper Super Deporte had remained optimistic for a while, some might say naively so, but with Champions League qualification proving well beyond Valencia, a departure long seemed unavoidable.

Even a club run as poorly as Valencia could not risk losing such an asset for nothing, yet City will certainly consider themselves to have struck a brilliant deal.

With Barcelona, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Juventus all noted as keen admirers of Torres, City officials will be patting themselves on the back – it did not take them long to fill the space left by Leroy Sane.

THE EXPLOSION

Despite only being 20, 2019-20 was Torres' third season in the Valencia first-team squad and he already has 71 LaLiga appearances to his name – 26 of which were as a starter in the campaign just finished.

He had only played 12 times for Valencia's B team in the third tier before Marcelino Garcia Toral promoted him permanently to the senior side in December 2017, his LaLiga debut as the fifth-youngest player in the club's history a rare ray of sunlight as he came off the bench in the rain during a 2-1 defeat at Eibar.

"All of us within the club were sure that we were looking at a very high-level footballer," Marcelino told Panenka magazine. "It was only a matter of time before he exploded, because it was clear this player had to play. He still has a significant margin for improvement, but along with [Martin] Odegaard, for me, he is one of the revelations of the season."

His form for Spain Under-19s during last year's European Championship further highlighted his potential as he scored both goals in the 2-0 final win over Portugal to earn a spot in the Team of the Tournament.

He then established himself in Valencia's starting XI, taking full advantage of Goncalo Guedes' injury absence. While still somewhat raw, Torres has been a joy to behold with his fast dribbling and direct style.

NOT THE FINISHED ARTICLE

There's no doubting the ability Torres has to excite – after all, only five midfielders in LaLiga attempted more dribbles in 2019-20 than his 112, and when in full-flight, his combination of pace and upper-body strength make the leggy winger a formidable weapon.

Similarly, Torres is nimble and very agile, capable of jinking out of situations that appear one-sided in the defence's favour.

But he certainly hasn't hit his ceiling. Torres has many areas in which he can improve, particularly with respect to increasing his chance creation frequency.

His record of 25 opportunities crafted this term is not particularly great and is way behind Lionel Messi (89), Sergio Canales (80) and Jose Campana (73) out in front in LaLiga.

His dribble map suggests a potential reason for this, highlighting that many of his ball carry attempts are made outside of the pitch's final third.

The greater awareness he requires should come with experience. After all, it would be a bigger problem if he was struggling to ever find dangerous positions, and that simply is not the case.

He has touched the ball more times (64) in the opposing area than any of his midfield team-mates in 2019-20.

And while nine goal involvements (four goals, five assists) may not sound remarkable, that is only one fewer than Martin Odegaard – a standout performer until his injury – and no one with more than nine is younger than Torres.

He may need a little time to settle in the Premier League, but the potential is undoubtedly there and he shouldn't be plagued with suggestions of being too small, like David Silva was when he made the same move 10 years ago.

Whether Torres can have a similar impact to Silva is another matter, but the 34-year-old's success at least sets a strong precedent for talented Valencia-developed technicians leaving their mark at City.

Manchester City have signed highly rated 20-year-old winger Ferran Torres from Valencia.

Stats Perform News understands the Spain Under-21 international will cost City £21.1million (€23m), plus further add-ons.

City were linked to several young wingers after Leroy Sane's move to Bayern Munich was confirmed at the start of July, with Torres ultimately emerging from the pack to pen a five-year contract at the Etihad Stadium.

While perhaps not a like-for-like replacement, Pep Guardiola and City will believe they have got themselves a bargain and pulled off a significant coup in landing Torres, who had also attracted interest from Barcelona, Juventus and Liverpool.

"I am so happy to be joining City," Torres said. "Every player wants to be involved in attacking teams and Manchester City are one of the most attacking in world football.

"Pep encourages a really open, aggressive style, which I love, and he is a manager with a proven track record of improving players. To have him overseeing my development is a dream."

Torres is considered one of Spain's most promising young players, having come through Valencia's academy and made his debut as a 17-year-old in 2017.

A talented and direct winger capable of playing on either flank, though preferring to operate from the right, he enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2019-20.

Having made 24 LaLiga appearances in 2018-19, Torres had even greater exposure to first-team football this term due to injuries, taking full advantage of Goncalo Guedes' long-term absence as he featured 34 times domestically.

He scored four goals and set up another five in LaLiga, while his Champions League strike against Lille in November made him the first player born in 2000 to net in the competition for a Spanish club.

Torres' contract with Valencia was said to contain a €100m release clause, but he had stalled on signing fresh terms, meaning Los Che were never likely to hold out for such a fee given his deal was due to expire next year.

With Valencia failing to qualify for European football next season after a disappointing 2019-20, their final bargaining chip was essentially lost and City have moved swiftly to secure the youngster's future.

Manchester City have signed highly rated 20-year-old winger Ferran Torres from Valencia.

Stats Perform News understands the Spain Under-21 international will cost City £21.1million (€23m), plus further add-ons.

City were linked to several young wingers after Leroy Sane's move to Bayern Munich was confirmed at the start of July, with Torres ultimately emerging from the pack to pen a five-year contract at the Etihad Stadium.

While perhaps not a like-for-like replacement, Pep Guardiola and City will believe they have got themselves a bargain and pulled off a significant coup in landing Torres, who had also attracted interest from Barcelona, Juventus and Liverpool.

"I am so happy to be joining City," Torres said. "Every player wants to be involved in attacking teams and Manchester City are one of the most attacking in world football.

"Pep encourages a really open, aggressive style, which I love, and he is a manager with a proven track record of improving players. To have him overseeing my development is a dream."

Torres is considered one of Spain's most promising young players, having come through Valencia's academy and made his debut as a 17-year-old in 2017.

A talented and direct winger capable of playing on either flank, though preferring to operate from the right, he enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2019-20.

Having made 24 LaLiga appearances in 2018-19, Torres had even greater exposure to first-team football this term due to injuries, taking full advantage of Goncalo Guedes' long-term absence as he featured 34 times domestically.

He scored four goals and set up another five in LaLiga, while his Champions League strike against Lille in November made him the first player born in 2000 to net in the competition for a Spanish club.

Torres' contract with Valencia was said to contain a €100m release clause, but he had stalled on signing fresh terms, meaning Los Che were never likely to hold out for such a fee given his deal was due to expire next year.

With Valencia failing to qualify for European football next season after a disappointing 2019-20, their final bargaining chip was essentially lost and City have moved swiftly to secure the youngster's future.

Ferran Torres believes he is ready for a new challenge, with Manchester City and Valencia this week agreeing a fee for the winger.

Stats Perform News understands City will pay an initial £21.3million (€23m), plus further add-ons, for the Spain Under-21 international.

Talks between the clubs are on-going, but an agreement on the wider terms of the deal is thought to be close as City look to bolster their wing options following the departure of Leroy Sane to Bayern Munich.

Right-winger Ferran, 20, has shown significant promise ever since his senior debut as a 17-year-old and enjoyed a breakthrough campaign in 2019-20, making the most of Goncalo Guedes' long-term injury absence to become a regular starter.

But with his contract set to expire next year and Valencia effectively losing their final bargaining chip in negotiations when Los Che failed to qualify for European football next term, Ferran has long looked destined for the exit door.

While Ferran remains a work in progress, there is little doubting his ability and potential, and he already feels prepared for the next step.


"As a player, I consider myself to be ambitious, someone that wants to win, win, win," he told BBC Sport.

"As time passes and you feel you are better prepared, then you want to take on greater challenges, experience a change of environment. Yes, I think I am ready to do so.

"Inside I always think that I am the best, and that I want to be the best and I work to try to be the best.

"If you don't believe yourself that you are the best, then no-one is ever going to believe that you are."

Should Ferran – who has also been linked with Liverpool, Barcelona and Juventus – eventually join City, the change of language will not be the hurdle it might be to others.

"You have always got to be learning languages because you never know where football will take you tomorrow," he said.

"But above all I am learning English, because English is essential whatever part of the world you are in."

Ferran played 34 LaLiga games for Valencia in 2019-20, scoring four goals and setting up another five.

He will be following in the footsteps of City icon David Silva – who swapped Mestalla for Etihad Stadium 10 years ago – if the deal goes through.

But Ferran will not get to play alongside the 34-year-old playmaker competitively, as he is set to depart when City's season finishes.

Manchester City have agreed an initial fee with Valencia for highly rated 20-year-old winger Ferran Torres.

Stats Perform News understands the Spain Under-21 international will cost City £21.2million (€23m), plus further add-ons.

Talks between the clubs are on-going, with an agreement on the wider terms of the deal thought to be close.

Ferran is considered one of Spain's most promising young players, having come through Valencia's academy and making his debut as a 17-year-old in 2017.

A talented and direct winger capable of playing on either flank, though preferring to operate from the right, Ferran enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2019-20.

Having made 24 LaLiga appearances in 2018-19, Ferran had even greater exposure to first-team football this term due to injuries, taking full advantage of Goncalo Guedes' long-term absence as he featured 34 times domestically.

He scored four goals and set up another five in LaLiga, while his Champions League strike against Lille in November made him the first player born in 2000 to net in the competition for a Spanish club.

Ferran's contract with Valencia was said to contain a €100m release clause, but he had stalled on signing fresh terms, meaning Los Che were never likely to hold out for such a fee given his deal was due to expire next year.

With Valencia failing to qualify for European football next season after a disappointing 2019-20, their final bargaining chip was essentially lost and City have moved swiftly to secure the youngster's future.

City were linked to several young wingers after Leroy Sane's move to Bayern Munich was confirmed at the start of July, with Ferran ultimately emerging from the pack.

While perhaps not a like-for-like replacement, Pep Guardiola's club will believe they have got themselves a bargain and pulled off a significant coup in landing Ferran, who had also attracted interest from Barcelona, Juventus and Liverpool.

Juventus could be getting closer to landing Arkadiusz Milik, while Arthur may have played his last game for Barcelona.

After winning a ninth straight Serie A title, Juve are linked with several forwards.

They may have taken a step closer to bringing one in.

 

TOP STORY – JUVENTUS AGREE TERMS WITH MILIK

Juventus have agreed preliminary terms with Napoli forward Milik, according to Gianluca Di Marzio.

However, the report says Juve are yet to reach an agreement with Napoli, who are said to have expressed an interest in Federico Bernardeschi.

Milik, 26, has scored 14 goals in 33 games in all competitions for Napoli this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- One player heading to Juventus is Arthur. The midfielder was expected to finish the season with Barcelona, but Sport reports the Brazil international does not want to play for the LaLiga giants – who are still in the Champions League – again and wants to join Juve at the end of August.

- Manchester City are seemingly getting closer to signing Valencia attacker Ferran Torres. Goal and SPOX report Torres has agreed to a five-year deal with City, but the clubs are yet to agree to a fee.

- Coming out of contract at season's end, Willian was expected to leave Chelsea. However, Sky Sports reports the winger could agree to a new deal with Chelsea before the end of the week after a breakthrough was found.

- Chris Smalling's future remains uncertain. CalcioMercato reports Manchester United want €20million (£18.3m) from Roma for the defender, who has been on loan at the Serie A club. Tottenham are also reportedly interested in Smalling.

- Arsenal are seemingly still trying to sign Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey. Get French Football News reports Arsenal attempted to include Matteo Guendouzi in a part-exchange deal for Partey, but the offer was rejected.

- Bayern Munich could be set to make a surprise signing. Sky Sport Austria reports the Bundesliga champions are interested in Norwich City right-back Max Aarons.

- Wilfried Zaha looks likely to be at the centre of transfer speculation once again. The Mirror reports Crystal Palace are set to listen to offers for the attacker, with Everton said to be interested.

Valencia have appointed Javi Gracia as their new head coach on a two-year contract.

Gracia replaces Voro, who served as interim coach in the closing weeks of the LaLiga season after Albert Celades was sacked last month.

A run of one win in five matches following the campaign's June restart saw Celades dismissed, with sporting director Cesar Sanchez then also resigning.

Results only marginally improved under Voro - formerly Celades' assistant - as Valencia took seven points from their remaining six matches.

The club have therefore moved to instead appoint Gracia, who was last in work at Watford.

The 50-year-old, who also coached Osasuna and Rubin Kazan, led Watford to the 2018-19 FA Cup final but was sacked last September early in a campaign that concluded with the Hornets' relegation from the Premier League.

Dani Parejo says he would like to retire at Valencia amid speculation he has been put up for sale by the LaLiga club.

It has been rumoured that Valencia owner Peter Lim will conduct a dramatic overhaul of the squad during the close-season, with 31-year-old Parejo one of the players to be offloaded.

Captain Parejo joined the club in 2011 and, while conceding that anything can happen in football, says he is not looking for a way out of the club.

"I am happy in Valencia," he told Radio Marca. "It is a great city and my family are perfectly happy here.

"I've been at this club for nine years and it is my home, I really feel that. I have two years left on my contract and I'd like to retire at Valencia.

"But football is football and you never know what might happen. But, for me, Valencia is the most important to me right now."

Valencia ended the 2019-20 season in ninth, three points away from a Europa League qualification spot. 

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