MADRID - The first two World Cup quarter-finals may be taking place on Friday, but transfer busniess has continued in the top leagues around Europe.
Real Madrid have signed Spain rightback, Alvaro Odriozola, from Real Sociedad on a contract until 2024. "Real Madrid C. F. and Real Sociedad have agreed the transfer of Alvaro Odriozola, subject to a medical," the club said in a statement on its official website. "The player has signed a contract with the club for the next six seasons."
The signing of the 22-year-old follows Madrid's recent trend in hoovering up young Spanish talent, having signed Isco and Asier Illarramendi in 2013, Marco Asensio in 2014, Jesus Vallejo in 2015 and Dani Ceballos last year.
Odriozola was called up to the Spanish national team by Julen Lopetegui, his new coach at Real who was sacked by Spain on the eve of the World Cup for the manner in which he had negotiated his move to Real. Odriozola has been capped four times for Spain, scoring once. He was part of the Spain squad for the 2018 World Cup but did not make an appearance.
Brighton & Hove Albion have brought in Brazilian defender Bernardo from Bundesliga side RB Leipzig on a four-year deal. The transfer fee for the 23-year-old full back, the club’s fourth signing of the close season, was undisclosed but local media said Brighton had paid 9 million pounds ($12 million).
"I chose the club because they showed a big interest in me and my goal has always been to play in the Premier League because it’s the biggest league in the world," Bernardo was quoted as saying on the south-coast club's official website. Manager Chris Hughton added: "He is a strong, committed defender who can play on the left or right, and so his versatility gives us good options at the back."
Brighton finished 15th last term in their first season back in the top flight since 1983, when they were FA Cup runners-up. Bernardo joined Red Bull Salzburg at the start of 2016, playing 13 games as the Austrians retained their league title. He moved to Leipzig at the end of that campaign and has played 49 times in the last two seasons, including three games in the Champions League and five in the Europa League.
Bernardo's father, also called Bernardo, played over 300 league games for Sao Paulo, Santos and Corinthians, and featured four times for Bayern Munich. He played 19 games for Brazil. Brighton had already signed Romania striker Florin Andone (Deportivo La Coruna) and Nigeria international Leon Balogun, who joined on a free transfer after leaving Mainz, plus goalkeeper Jason Steele (Sunderland).
Meanwhile, Watford signed midfielder Ken Sema from Swedish side Ostersunds and Ben Foster from Championship side West Bromwich Albion on Thursday. Sema joins the club on a five year-deal, while Fosters has signed a two-year contract with an option over an additional 12 months.
The 24-year-old winger made 84 appearances during two-and-a-half years with the Swedish top-flight club, including 13 in the Europa League. Sema's most notable moment last season was when he scored in Ostersunds' 2-1 victory over Arsenal in the second leg of their Europa League tie last season. He has been capped five times by Sweden but was not included in the World Cup squad for Russia.
Not many clubs I’d have looked forward to signing for,but @WatfordFC have always had a special place in my life,, can’t wait to get going again😘
Former England 'keeper Foster is no stranger to Vicarage Road, having made 81 appearances in two seasons while on loan from Manchester United, and was instrumental in the Watford's promotion to the Premier League in 2006. The 35-year-old spent seven years at the Hawthorns, making 223 appearances in all competitions, and was one of West Brom's better players in a dismal 2017/18 campaign which saw them finish bottom of the league table on 31 points.
Sema and Watson become Watford's respective fifth and sixth signings of the close-season after Gerard Deulofeu's move from Barcelona and the arrivals of Ben Wilmot, Marc Navarro and Adam Masina.
Napoli have signed Spanish midfielder Fabian Ruiz from Real Betis on a five-year deal as the Serie A club's new coach Carlo Ancelotti tries to end the dominance of champions Juventus. Napoli, who finished runners-up last season, did not disclose the transfer fee on their website, but local media said they had met a reported 30 million euros ($35.14 million) buyout clause to bring Fabian to the Stadio San Paolo.
Ruiz is Napoli's second signing of the close season after striker Simone Verdi joined from Bologna for a reported fee of 25 million euros also on a five-year contract. The 22-year-old made 34 Liga appearances and scored three goals last season for the Spaniards, who qualified for the Europa League for the first time in six years.
The Real Betis youth product made his debut in Spain's top flight in the 2015/2016 season. Napoli, who finished four points behind Juve last season and qualified for the Champions League group stage, appointed the much-travelled Ancelotti, 59, in May to replace Maurizio Sarri.