Jul 042016

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Incredible Robson-Kanu goal puts Wales ahead

Wales’ unattached striker Hal Robson-Kanu says he has received several offers following his goal in the Euro 2016 quarter-final win over Belgium.

The 27-year-old was released by Reading at the end of the 2015-16 season.

He has shot to prominence after scoring two goals at Euro 2016, including an inspired turn and finish against Belgium which helped Wales reach their first-ever semi-final.

“There’s offers from around the world,” Robson-Kanu told BBC Sport.

Robson-Kanu scored five goals in 35 appearances for Championship side Reading last season and has not ruled out a move to the top flight when he returns from international duty.

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Euro 2016: Fear ‘overrated’, says Wales boss Coleman

“I’ve made no secret of my desire to play in the Premier League and if that’s the best place for me then I’ll be there,” he continued.

“I made a decision to run my contract at Reading down. I’ve been there 12 years, given a lot of service and felt it was the best decision for myself and my career to decide where I go next.

“I’ve been aware of clubs coming in for me in the past, bigger clubs and for whatever reason it didn’t happen so it’s probably one of the best decisions of my life.

“It’s funny, a lot of people are making a big deal of it. I had offers before the tournament started. Good offers from good, progressive clubs, but I made a decision to wait until after the tournament.”

Robson-Kanu’s goal against Belgium was only his fourth in 34 appearances for Wales, but his industrious displays have made him an important figure in attack.

He was an injury doubt for the European Championship – Wales’ first major tournament since the 1958 World Cup – which meant he started the campaign on the bench.

Hal Robson-Kanu made more than 200 appearances for Reading in nine years with the club

But the former England youth international came on as a substitute to score the winning goal in Wales’ opening game against Slovakia.

Robson-Kanu then started in the defeat by England, lost his place to Sam Vokes for the wins over Russia and Northern Ireland and returned to the starting line-up in spectacular fashion against Belgium.

“That’s the crazy nature of football – it shows how quickly things can turn,” said Wales manager Chris Coleman.

“It could have been very different for Hal, he could have missed the tournament, without a contract for next season, and that’s not a good position for a player to be in.

“But he made the tournament and worked extremely hard on his fitness. He has come in and played in huge games before, and showed he can play at this level and has a lot to offer.

“I’d imagine there’s a lot of interest and he deserves it. But he knows there’s work to be done here.”

Hal Robson-Kanu has scored four goals in 34 appearances for Wales

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Michy Batshuayi scored with his first touch after coming on against Hungary

Chelsea have signed Belgium striker Michy Batshuayi from Marseille on a five-year contract.

The 22-year-old is new manager Antonio Conte’s first signing at Stamford Bridge.

The fee was not disclosed by Chelsea but is believed to be £33m (40m euros).

The Brussels-born forward, who scored 23 goals for Marseille last season, scored in Belgium’s last-16 win over Hungary at Euro 2016 and also came on in their quarter-final exit to Wales.

“I am delighted to sign for one of the biggest clubs in Europe,” said Batshuayi.

“[My Belgium team-mates] Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois have told me many good things about the club, and with Antonio Conte coming in, it’s an exciting time to become a Chelsea player.”

Batshuayi signed for Marseille from Standard Liege in 2014 and made his international debut in March 2015 in a 5-0 Euro 2016 qualifying win against Cyprus.

Against Hungary, he scored with his first touch after coming on as a substitute, converting a cross from his new club team-mate Eden Hazard.

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Former Monaco midfielder Nampalys Mendy spent three seasons at Nice

Leicester City have signed French midfielder Nampalys Mendy from Nice on a four-year contract.

The 24-year-old, who won promotion to Ligue 1 under Foxes manager Claudio Ranieri when he was at Monaco, joins the Premier League champions for an undisclosed fee.

He joined Nice in 2013 and made 110 league appearances for the club.

Mendy is Leicester’s third summer signing after goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler and defender Luis Hernandez.

“I know the coach, I know his mentality and I know his philosophy,” said Mendy. “When he speaks it’s direct and clear and for me I like this.”

Mendy played in all of Nice’s games last season fourth in France’s top flight.

He played five times for France Under-21s but is yet to make an appearance for his country’s senior side.

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