x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Aquilani happy to return to Liverpool

After spending the previous season on loan at Juventus, the 26-year-old was a reported target of Napoli and AC Milan, but Italian midfielder has confirmed he will move back to Anfield this summer.

Alberto Aquilani, left, had been pursued by other Italian clubs.
Alberto Aquilani, left, had been pursued by other Italian clubs.

Alberto Aquilani, the Italy midfielder, insists he is looking forward to returning to Liverpool following his season-long loan at Juventus.

Aquilani was not offered a permanent deal by the Turin giants despite making 33 league appearances for the Bianconeri last term.

The 26 year old was a reported target of Napoli and AC Milan, but has confirmed he will move back to Anfield this summer.

"I return to Liverpool with great enthusiasm," Aquilani told Sky Italia. "This is not a problem. It's not true that I didn't want to return to England."

The English Premier League club signed Aquilani for a reported fee of £20 million (Dh117.75m) from Roma in 2009 and he is under contract with the Reds until June 2014.

Juve missed out on European football after a disappointing seventh-place finish in Serie A.

Assistant manager Lee exits Liverpool

Sammy Lee, the Liverpool assistant manager, has left the club by mutual consent.

Lee, who made nearly 300 appearances for Liverpool as a midfielder, returned to the north-west team in 2008 to become the No 2 to Rafael Benitez, the Spanish coach.

He retained his position in January, despite the arrival of Steve Clarke, the former Chelsea assistant coach, following the appointment of Kenny Dalglish as manager.

Lee says "I'm proud of the contribution I've been able to make since [2008]. I want to wish Kenny, the players and the supporters all the best going forward."

Lee, who also played for England, won three league titles and two European Cups in his time as a Liverpool player.

Juventus sign Swiss full-back

Juventus have completed the signing of Stephan Lichtsteiner from Lazio in a Dh53 million deal, the Turin club confirmed on Friday.

The Switzerland international has moved north on a four-year contract, the club said in a statement.

The 27-year-old full-back moved to Lazio from Lille in the summer of 2008 and was under contract with the Biancoceleste for a further year.

Lichtsteiner has been a target of Juventus in recent months, with the Bianconeri looking to strengthen their defensive line, which was one of their main weaknesses last term.

He becomes Juventus' fourth acquisition this summer after Michele Pazienza, Andrea Pirlo and Reto Ziegler joined the club from Napoli, AC Milan and Sampdoria respectively.

Johnson ready to prosper at Norwich

Bradley Johnson had no hesitation in signing on to Paul Lambert's Carrow Road revolution as the combative midfielder looks to help keep Norwich in the English Premier League.

The 24 year old is, subject to the relevant paperwork being completed, set to become Lambert's fifth new addition of the summer as the Canaries manager bolsters his squad which secured successive promotions back into England's top tier for the first time since 2005.

With strikers James Vaughan and Steve Morison, winger Elliott Bennett from Brighton and young Belgian defender Ritchie de Laet on loan from Manchester United already on board, Johnson, who was out of contract at Leeds, admits it was an easy decision to head to Norfolk.

"Paul Lambert has done a fantastic job since he arrived at Norwich and that was one of the main factors in me signing with the club," Johnson told the club's official website, www.canaries.co.uk.

"I am over the moon really to get the chance to play in the Premier League with a big club like Norwich City and under a great manager who I have a lot of respect for.

"Norwich have already got some good players there and I have had some great battles with some of them over the past couple of years in my time with Leeds."