Leicester City’s Ulloa issues strike threat as Southampton sign keeper


London (AFP) – Traditionally renowned for frantic activity among Premier League clubs, the most notable incident for much of Tuesday’s transfer deadline day was Leicester City forward Leonardo Ulloa’s strike threat.

The Argentina front man issued the dramatic warning in a bid to force a move from the defending champions.

Bottom-of-the-table Sunderland are reported to have made a £7 million ($8.7 million, 8.1 million euros) bid for the 30-year-old player.

But with Leicester themselves just five points above the relegation zone, the Foxes appear reluctant to sell to one of their rivals in the struggle to remain among English football’s elite.

Ulloa, also the target of reported interest from Spanish side Alaves, said he was threatening strike action because Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri had reneged on a promise he could leave if the Midlands club received an offer of £4-5 million for him.

“With all respect for LCFC FANS. I feel betrayed by Ranieri and let down by the club. I will not play again for them,” Ulloa tweeted.

Ulloa is unhappy after starting just once in the Premier League this season and he has not been offered a new deal after helping the Foxes win the title last season.

– ‘Can’t understand’ –

He later told Sky Sports News: “I can’t understand the situation or why they don’t let me continue playing my football somewhere else. If I stay at the club it’s going to affect seriously my career and my future. The best thing for both parties is that they sell me to another club.”

Southampton confirmed they had signed goalkeeper Mouez Hassen from Nice on loan until the end of the season.

The 21-year-old will be reunited with Claude Puel, his former manager, and he’ll provide cover for first-choice Fraser Forter, with deputy Alex McCarthy out injured.

Meanwhile there were suggestions Premier League champions Chelsea would try to sign the Celtic duo of forward Moussa Dembele and goalkeeper Craig Gordon before Tuesday’s 2300 GMT deadline.

But the Scottish champions are said to want at least £40 million for Dembele, who was reported to be having a knee scan in London on Tuesday, with Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers making it clear he wants Gordon to stay at Parkhead.

Elsewhere, second-bottom Hull said they had signed defender Andrea Ranocchia on loan from Inter Milan until the end of the season.

The 28-year-old could make his Hull debut against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Wednesday. 

He is Hull’s sixth recruit of the transfer window, joining fellow loan signings Oumar Niasse, Evandro, Omar Elabdellaoui and Lazar Markovic. 

Markus Henriksen has also arrived for an undisclosed fee from Dutch side AZ Alkmaar, while Jake Livermore and Robert Snodgrass have left to join Hull’s fellow Premier League sides West Brom and West Ham respectively.

– Rooney going nowhere –

This month has seen the increasingly wealthy Chinese Super League flex its muscles, with Brazil international Oscar leaving Chelsea for Shanghai SIPG in a move worth £51 million ($63 million, 60 million euros) move. 

But amid speculation linking Manchester United great Wayne Rooney to the Far East, Jose Mourinho insisted Tuesday that the England forward was staying put. 

Yes,” said Mourinho when asked if Rooney, who recently became United’s all-time leading goal-scorer, will see out the season at Old Trafford. 

“We don’t have players in, we don’t have players out, we lost two players from the squad,” the United manager added in a reference to Morgan Schneiderlin’s £20 million, rising to £24 million transfer to Everton and Memphis Depay’s move to Lyon for an initial fee of some £13 million.

This month also saw teenage Brazil forward Gabriel Jesus complete his move to Manchester City, the 19-year-old arriving for a reported £27 million.

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