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West Ham sign Arsenal's Lucas Perez and Fiorentina's Carlos Sanchez

West Ham sign Arsenal's Lucas Perez and Fiorentina's Carlos Sanchez


Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy has signalled his intention to see out his career with the club, as he signed a new contract until June 2022.

Vardy, 31, has scored 88 goals for Leicester since his arrival from Fleetwood Town in 2012 and netted 20 during the 2017-18 Premier League campaign before heading to the World Cup with England this summer.

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"Everybody knows how I feel about playing for this Football Club and it's a great feeling to know that I can look forward to another four years as a Leicester City player," he said.

"The journey that me, the team and the Club have been on in the past few years has been incredible. Going into the new season, it's an exciting time for Leicester City and I'm delighted to be part of it."

Vardy scored 24 times during Leicester's 2015-16 title-winning season, including in 11 consecutive Premier League games, breaking Ruud Van Nistelrooy's record of 10 vs. Manchester United and is now the club's 10th all-time leading scorer.

Even by Chelsea's standards, it has been a haphazard summer. On the managerial front, Antonio Conte started preseason training despite being on the brink of an exit, while the club struggled to secure Maurizio Sarri even though Napoli had already appointed his replacement.

As for transfers, there was not a sniff of a new signing until Jorginho arrived in mid-July. Factor in confusion over the future of three key players and the earlier-than-usual deadline and it has been a chaotic few weeks. Yet with the window now closed until January, Chelsea can look back at a job well done. While the decisions made might not have been swift, they have been clear and sharply executed.

Once it became apparent that Thibaut Courtois had his heart set on a return to Spain, energies were switched toward securing one of Europe's most highly-rated young goalkeepers. The fee of £71.6 million for Kepa Arrizabalaga is absurd for somebody with just one international cap and who has never played in European competition, but he fills an area of need and securing him to a seven-year deal means he will retain significant transfer value for a long time.

The canniest part of Chelsea's goalkeeper trading, however, came via the sweetener offered by Real Madrid in the deal that took Courtois to the Santiago Bernabeu. The loan deal for classy midfielder Mateo Kovacic looks like an astute piece of business. It will have implications for the future of Danny Drinkwater and Tiemoue Bakayoko, but 24-year-old Kovacic is a sizeable upgrade on both.

Jorginho, added for the princely sum of £50m, has already added a different slant to Chelsea and, while the midfield looked brittle in the Community Shield defeat to Manchester City, future prospects are brighter.

A trio of Jorginho, Kovacic and N'Golo Kante appears to have the right blend of craft, energy and steel while competition provided by Ross Barkley, Cesc Fabregas and the returning Ruben Loftus-Cheek should keep things fresh.

Beyond the new additions, Chelsea's best business has been done in keeping players at the club. Courtois might have gone but retaining his services was always going to be an uphill battle given his less-than-subtle overtures to Madrid and the fact that his two children live in the Spanish capital.

More important for the immediate future was ensuring that Eden Hazard remained at Stamford Bridge. That task looked set to be more difficult after he starred for Belgium at the World Cup but, not the type to court controversy, Hazard has not tried to force his club's hand despite making it clear he would welcome the chance to represent Real Madrid.

Perhaps suggestions that Chelsea would demand a world-record fee made the European champions think twice about bidding. Granted, the early deadline in England only applies to incoming transfers and there is still time for the situation to change before the end of August; for now, the most naturally-gifted footballer in the Premier League is still a Chelsea player.

If there is anyone else as integral as Hazard, it is Kante. The midfield dynamo was imperious as France won the World Cup, which meant subsequent reports of interest from Real Madrid and PSG seemed both natural and (extremely) worrying. Nothing has materialized, but Chelsea fans will hope the modest star signs a lucrative new contract soon.

Willian's fractured relationship with Conte suggested his days in west London were numbered, but the appointment of a new manager and some kindly words from others at the club have seen the Brazilian international change his mind, which will come as a great relief to the vast majority of supporters.

There are still question marks at both full-back positions, following the switch to a back four, and at centre-forward. In general, though, prospects for the new campaign are promising with regard to squad composition. After all, just a couple of weeks ago, the Blues faced the possibility of losing arguably their three best outfield players.

As it stands, all of them will be available when Chelsea visit Huddersfield on Saturday, if deemed fit enough to take part. Together with the intelligent additions to the squad, this has to go down as a positive transfer window and rare win for a much-maligned board of directors.

West Ham were busy on transfer deadline day, signing striker Lucas Perez from Arsenal and defensive midfielder Carlos Sanchez from Fiorentina on Thursday.

Perez, 29, signed a three-year contract at the London Stadium, where he reunited with former Arsenal teammate Jack Wilshere.

"I'm very happy to be here at such an historic club," he told the club's official website. "I'm very excited, as West Ham are giving me the chance to stay in the Premier League and I'm very happy to be part of this new project. West Ham have great fans and play in an amazing stadium, so to sign here brings me great joy. I'm very motivated."

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

Perez was signed from Deportivo La Coruna for £17m in the summer of 2016 but failed to establish himself as a regular in the team. He went back to Deportivo on loan last season and was surplus to requirements at the Emirates after the arrivals of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Perez scored seven goals in 21 appearances for the Gunners, with agent Rodrigo Fernandez Lovelle telling ESPN FC on Monday that he wanted to stay in London and prove himself in the Premier League.

Colombia international Sanchez, 32, signed a two-year contract just minutes before the deadline, marking a return to the Premier League after he spent two seasons with Aston Villa from 2014-16.

Sanchez initially joined Fiorentina on loan after Villa were relegated, then signed a permanent deal a year later. He spent the second half of last season on loan with Espanyol in La Liga.

Just in time...