x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Transfer talk: Liverpool confirm Sakho and Ilori signings, Stoke secure Arnautovic

Premier League leaders sign sign Mamadou Sakho, the France international defender, and Tiago Ilori, the Portuguese centre-back. Stoke City bring in striker Marko Arnautovic from Werder Bremen.

Mamadou Sakho has arrived at Liverpool after having played over 200 games for Paris Saint-Germain. Nicolas Tucat / AFP
Mamadou Sakho has arrived at Liverpool after having played over 200 games for Paris Saint-Germain. Nicolas Tucat / AFP

LONDON // Liverpool, the Premier League leaders, have signed Mamadou Sakho, the France international defender, and Tiago Ilori, the Portuguese centre-back, as the pair became the first confirmed permanent arrivals at a top English club on Monday's transfer deadline day.

The duo, who watched Liverpool's 1-0 league win over champions and arch-rivals Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday, signed their contracts after completing medicals at the Reds' Melwood training ground complex.

Their arrival at northwest side Liverpool meant Brendan Rodgers, the Reds manager, had now signed seven players during the transfer window, the duo following Kolo Toure, Iago Aspas, Luis Alberto, Simon Mignolet and Aly Cissokho to Anfield.

Sakho played more than 200 games for Paris Saint-Germain, winning the French championship with the capital club having already helped PSG lift the 2010 Coupe de France and the 2008 Coupe de la Ligue.

However, the 23 year old, capped 14 times by his country, has become the latest French player to opt for life in the Premier League.

"I'm delighted to be here," Sakho, who can operate in central defence or at left-back, told Liverpool's official website. "I'd like to thank everyone for the welcome.

"I came here because the project that is in place at Liverpool interests me. I'm really looking forward to playing my first game."

He added: "I know the Liverpool fans are fantastic and while I was in France, it was clear for me to see they are amongst the best in England."

Ilori, a 20-year-old London-born centre-back who has joined Liverpool from Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon, was also delighted to be at Anfield.

"It feels great being a Liverpool player – coming to the Premier League has always been a dream for me," Ilori said.

"I'm going to try to achieve everything I can. I want to play as much as possible and we'll see what the future holds," the 6ft 3in defender added. "I will give my all and try my best to help the team."

Ilori has played for several Portugal age group teams – U18, U19 and U20 – and played at Anfield for Sporting in the 2011/12 NextGen Series.

"I know the history of the club and the Premier League is the best league in the world, in my opinion," he said.

"Liverpool have a great team and I think it's the place for me to be at the moment.

"I know there have been some great teams here in the past and the club has won a lot of trophies and I want to be a part of it."

Rodgers, speaking after the United match, said reinforcements were necessary if Liverpool were to continue their excellent start to the season.

"We need that depth and more numbers. If we can get them over the line, they are quality players.

"And having competition for places is a nice problem to have."

Liverpool's victory over United left them two points in front of Chelsea at the top of the Premier League and meant they were the only team in the division with a perfect played three, won three record so far this season.

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Stoke City have confirmed the signing of Austria forward Marko Arnautovic on a four-year contract from Werder Bremen.

The 24-year-old becomes the fourth new arrival under manager Mark Hughes following the signings of Erik Pieters, Marc Muniesa and Oussama Assaidi.

The club said on their official Facebook page: "Stoke City are delighted to sign Austria international winger Marko Arnautovic from German side Werder Bremen.

"He joins on a four-year deal for an undisclosed fee."

The move for Arnautovic, who had a brief and troubled spell playing under Jose Mourinho when he was manager of Inter Milan, was reported to be worth around £2 million.

Belgium Under 21 midfielder Florent Cuvelier later departed Stoke for League One Sheffield United for an undisclosed fee, signing a three-year contract.

Cuvelier, 21 next week, was with the Potters for three years after joining from Portsmouth but failed to make a single first-team appearance. He made a total of 44 appearances in two loan spells with Walsall, scoring seven goals, as well as a solitary appearance for Peterborough.

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