Belfast Telegraph

World Cup 2018

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New chapter for NI's Evans and Donnelly

By Graham Luney

A busy transfer window for Northern Ireland internationals has continued with Jonny Evans joining Leicester City and Liam Donnelly sealing a move to Motherwell.

With Paddy McNair edging closer to joining Brighton and Rangers eyeing Gareth McAuley, it's definitely moving time for Michael O'Neill's men.

Evans has joined the Foxes in a three-year deal from West Brom for £3.5m after passing his medical yesterday.

It is understood the fee, contained in a relegation clause in former Manchester United defender Evans' contract, is payable in two instalments of £1.75m.

Hartlepool United defender Donnelly has signed a two-year contract with the Fir Park club for an undisclosed fee.

The chance to play under Stephen Robinson and link up once more with Trevor Carson, who he played alongside at Hartlepool, was a big pull for Donnelly, who is hoping to push his case for further international recognition.

"Trev has done unbelievably while he has been here and taken massive strides and is doing really well to be involved with the senior Northern Ireland team," said the 22-year-old.

"I definitely have the same aspirations and hopefully I can do well enough here to get back into that squad."

Sunderland are very reluctant to lose midfielder McNair but Brighton are confident they can net the 23-year-old in a deal worth up to £7million.

Black Cats owner Stewart Donald has warned that a transfer request from the player would be needed for the move to go ahead, however Seagulls chief Chris Hughton is determined to open talks with one of his key targets.

Hughton will pay around £5million up front for McNair, with the rest in extras based on appearances and achievements.

The Ballyclare man fought back from cruciate knee ligament damage to finish the season strongly, scoring four goals in his last five outings and sparking a scramble for his signature.

Brighton have had two bids turned down while Reading, Derby County, Norwich City and Stoke City have also been linked with the former Manchester United man.

Sunderland dropped into League One and new boss Jack Ross will be able to use the additional funds to rebuild his squad.

But Stewart Donald was in defiant mood when he stated: “He’s got two years on his contract and he hasn’t expressed a desire to leave as far as I’m aware at this stage.

“If he doesn’t want to leave and Jack (Ross) wants him in his team, he’s going nowhere.”

Donnelly’s switch to Motherwell is a huge boost for the man who started his career with Dungannon Swifts.

’Well boss Robinson said: “I’ve worked before with Liam at youth international level with Northern Ireland, so I’ve first-hand experience of what we’re getting. He will further strengthen our central defensive options.”

• Liverpool are hoping to finalise a deal for Lyon midfielder Nabil Fekir, with talks ongoing regarding a fee of around £50m.

Belfast Telegraph

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