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World Cup 2018

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Northern Ireland defender Jonny Evans completes £3.5m move to Leicester

By Graham Luney

Northern Ireland centre-back Jonny Evans has completed his move from West Brom to Premier League side Leicester City after they triggered his £3.5million release clause.

Evans (30) will now remain in the Premier League with the Foxes, who moved quickly to pay the bargain £3.5m release clause in his contract, triggered by West Brom's relegation.

Leicester boss Claude Puel is known to be a long-time admirer of the player but several bids, including one close to £23m, were knocked back during the January window.

But after West Brom dropped into the Sky Bet Championship, the team captain was made available, and the Frenchman wasted no time in making a new bid for the Northern Ireland star.

It is understood the fee is payable in two instalments of £1.75m, with Evans agreeing terms and completing a medical yesterday.

Arsenal also had an approach rejected in January as the Baggies kept Evans for their failed relegation fight, while Manchester City tried to sign him last summer but could not agree a fee with Albion.

He joined Albion for £6m rising to £8m from Manchester United in 2015 and was installed as captain by former manager Tony Pulis.

The move comes as Leicester begin to revamp their defence with Robert Huth having been released while captain Wes Morgan will be 35-years-old at the end of next season.

The Foxes are also leading the chase for Norwich midfielder James Maddison.

Meanwhile, Gareth McAuley is still being heavily linked with a move to Rangers as part of the Steven Gerrard revolution at Ibrox.

McAuley (38) is a free agent after his Hawthorns contract ran out and was not renewed. Rangers fans clamoured for his signature on social media as the link emerged yesterday.

McAuley, meanwhile, is available on a free transfer, and Ibrox director of football Mark Allen has made contact with the Larne man's representatives to discuss a potential one-year contract.

It is understood McAuley, who along with Evans has just returned from Northern Ireland's tour of Central America, is keen on a move to Scotland.

With new boss Gerrard looking to breathe fresh life into the Gers, McAuley can bring steel and experience to the team while also bolstering his hopes of prolonging his international career.

The former Crusaders and Coleraine ace has 79 caps following the friendlies against Panama and Costa Rica. Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill is sure to welcome both moves.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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