Belfast Telegraph

Chance to join Leicester was just too good to turn down, says Evans

By Graham Luney

Jonny Evans hailed Leicester City's ambition after agreeing a three-year contract with the Foxes.

The Northern Ireland defender is relishing a new chapter in his career following a £3.5million switch from West Brom.

City activated a relegation release clause in the 30-year-old's contract and as a result have netted one of the bargain buys of the summer.

Several clubs including his old team Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal considered making a move but former Premier League champions Leicester won the race for his signature.

Evans said: "It's great to join and I'm happy it's all gone through. When this opportunity came up, it's one that I couldn't turn down. It's an ambitious club, the owners are ambitious and everyone wants to push the club forward.

"I hope that I can give lots to the team and the club. It's a great place to play football, the fans really get behind the team and the players are fantastic - these are all factors that made me want to sign for this football club."

Leicester tried repeatedly to sign Evans last summer but their final bid of £23million was rejected by West Brom, who have also resisted overtures from Manchester City and Arsenal.

Evans made 96 appearances for the Baggies, who he joined in a deal which eventually amounted to £8million from Manchester United in August 2015, but did not figure in the final six games of last season under then caretaker boss Darren Moore as the club's eight-year stay in the Premier League ended.

Evans was one of four players who issued an apology after an incident in which a taxi was allegedly driven off during a club trip to Spain in February, although Leicester manager Claude Puel is convinced he has got his hands on a leader.

He said: "Jonny is a player of great experience in the Premier League and to have him as part of our squad is fantastic news for the football club.

"He knows exactly what it takes, he is a winner and a leader. He will bring a great deal to our squad and I'm delighted to welcome him to Leicester City."

The Foxes have turned to Evans as Puel looks to revamp his defensive resources this summer, with title-winning skipper Wes Morgan now 34 and Robert Huth due to leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the month.

He is their second signing of the summer transfer window, following Portuguese defender Ricardo Pereira.

Evans emerged from Manchester United's academy and cut his teeth in the professional game in loan spells at Royal Antwerp in Belgium and Sunderland, where he helped the club win the 2006-07 Championship title under Roy Keane.

He made his United debut against Chelsea in September 2008 and went on to play 196 times for the Red Devils in a spell which brought three league titles, two League Cups and one FIFA Club World Cup.

Evans' Northern Ireland team-mate Oliver Norwood is on loan at Fulham from Brighton but could now make that switch permanent.

Fulham want to keep their promotion-winning core together next season and will try to sign the loan players that helped them back into the Premier League this summer.

Belfast Telegraph

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