Leicester City hope to make French title-winner Boubakary Soumare their first signing of the summer transfer window.
City are closing in on a move for the Lille midfielder and progress is expected to be made early next month, after his participation at the European Under-21 Championships.
Reports suggest a fee of around £18m has been agreed, with terms on a five-year contract also tied up, although it is understood the final details on a transfer will not be sorted until after Soumare’s international involvement has concluded.
A box-to-box midfielder, Soumare is highly regarded across the Channel, where he has helped Lille to a surprise title win, secured on the final day of the season on Sunday, the club finishing a point clear of PSG.
The 22-year-old played 43 games in all competitions, also helping Lille to the knockout stages of the Europa League, but is now getting set to leave with just one year remaining on his contract.
Get a full lowdown on Soumare here.
Rodgers’ message to Maddison
James Maddison has been told to focus on his fitness to earn back his England spot after the Leicester City midfielder missed out on the European Championships squad.
Maddison was left out on Tuesday as England boss Gareth Southgate named a 33-man provisional squad for the Euros. It means there will be no City players representing the Three Lions this summer.
Maddison’s exclusion is not a shock after he failed to re-find his excellent winter form. The number 10 scored or assisted 14 goals in 16 matches between December and February, but has been out of sorts since the recurrence of a hip problem.
His club manager Brendan Rodgers believes he has been unlucky with the timing of his injuries, and has told Maddison to concentrate on improving his fitness, something he “needs” to do to get back to his best form. Because while he can’t control a manager’s selection, he can control his own physical condition.
“How the season has panned out for him, he’s been unfortunate,” Rodgers said before the final game of the season.
“When you’re a really technically gifted player like James you have to be able to move to get on the ball, and then when you’re on the ball, you have to have the fitness in order to produce the technical side of the game. Unfortunately for him, he’s just not been quite there.”
Read more from Rodgers on Maddison here.
New plan for Sowah
Leicester City midfielder Kamal Sowah is ready for his “next challenge” after three-and-a-half years at sister club OH Leuven.
Signed by City from his native Ghana in January 2018, Sowah has spent the past few seasons on loan at King Power-owned Leuven as they have risen the ranks in Belgium.
Last week, Sowah trained with City’s first team at their base at Seagrave as Brendan Rodgers took a closer look at the 21-year-old as he prepares to build his squad for the new campaign.
While a decision is still to be made on Sowah, and whether he will stay at City or go out on loan, he will not be returning to Leuven, where he made great strides this season.
In the club’s first season back in the top flight, Sowah started all 34 of their league matches, scoring eight goals and providing six assists as he played in a range of positions, including central midfield, behind the striker, and out wide.
Read Sowah’s goodbye to Leuven here.
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Gray could link up with Mourinho
Former Leicester City winger Demarai Gray could apparently be on the move again – less than six months after leaving the King Power Stadium.
Gray – part of City’s 2016 Premier League title-winning squad – was sold to German side Bayer Leverkusen in January for a fee of around £2million after finding himself out of favour under Brendan Rodgers.
The 24-year-old has made 10 Bundesliga appearances for his new team, scoring once and providing two assists. He also had a couple of outings in the Europa League.
Gray signed a contract with Leverkusen until June 2022 but is already being linked with another switch during the upcoming summer transfer window.
Sky Sport Germany reporter Max Bielefeld claims Italian side Roma, to be managed by Jose Mourinho after the summer, are interested in signing the Englishman.
Click here for more.