Silva declares intention to join Leicester City

LONDON • Portugal midfielder Adrien Silva has indicated that he is close to joining Leicester City from Sporting Lisbon, although his club have insisted he is not for sale.

With Claudio Ranieri pushing to sign another Sporting player, the striker Islam Slimani, the English Premier League champions could end up paying around £50 million (S$89.32 million) for the pair.

Silva, who started every match for Portugal in their triumphant Euro 2016 campaign from the round of 16 onwards, is valued at around £21 million. He discussed Leicester's interest in an interview with the Portuguese newspaper O Jogo.

"Yes, I confirm this proposal," said Silva, who has 13 caps. "Leicester is very interesting and corresponds to my career goals.

"After the past 15 years at Sporting, this opportunity is something exceptional for me and can allow me to express and impose myself in another championship, and also to evolve in the Premier League, which is a stunning league.

"With Sporting I lived many moments of happiness. I can say that I grew up with the club. At 27 years old, and after so many years of loyalty, I think that no one will criticise me for wanting to embrace this challenge."

However, Sporting have responded with a statement on their official website, saying they expect Silva to honour the new contract he signed in February and finish his career at the club.

Slimani would cost around £30 million.

The Algerian was the subject of a failed £25 million offer from Leicester, who are hopeful of finalising a deal for the 28-year-old. Sporting have also turned down a bid from West Bromwich Albion.

Slimani scored 27 league goals last season and would become Leicester's record signing if he links up with his international colleague Riyad Mahrez.

Ranieri wants to add Slimani to forward options including Ahmed Musa, a £16 million close-season signing from CSKA Moscow, Jamie Vardy and Shinji Okazaki. Leonardo Ulloa appears to be the striker most likely to leave if he joins.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2016, with the headline 'Silva declares intention to join Leicester City'. Print Edition | Subscribe