August 17, 2018 / 6:19 PM / a month ago

Soccer-Gervinho back in Italy as Serie A window closes

MILAN, Aug 17 (Reuters) - Ivory Coast forward Gervinho joined promoted Parma, while AC Milan added Uruguay’s Diego Laxalt and Spanish winger Samu Castillejo to their squad as the Serie A transfer window closed on Friday, one day before the start of the new season.

Local media reported that last season’s runners-up Napoli were on the point of signing goalkeeper David Ospina from Arsenal, although the move was not confirmed by either side.

Other deadline day deals saw Costa Rica forward Joel Campbell join promoted Frosinone from Arsenal and midfielder Claudio Marchisio end his contract with champions Juventus, 25 years after first joining the Turin side as a seven-year-old.

The Serie A transfer window has traditionally closed at the start of the September but was moved forward after complaints last season that speculation was overshadowing the start of the season on the pitch.

Parma, who won three successive promotions as they bounced back from a bankruptcy in 2015 which left them in the fourth tier, confirmed in a statement that Gervinho had signed a three-year contract.

The 31-year-old former Lille and Arsenal player spent three seasons with AS Roma between 2013-16 before joining Hebei China Fortune where he spent two seasons.

Milan wound up a busy close season with their signings of Laxalt from Genoa and Castillejo from Villarreal, for 14 million euros ($16 million) and 25 million euros respectively, according to the specialist website Transfermarkt.

At the same time, Milan made permanent the moves of forwards Carlos Bacca to Villarreal and Gianluca Lapadula to Genoa respectively, bringing in a reported 18 million euros.

Milan had previously signed midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko from Chelsea on loan.

Two weeks ago, they loaned Argentina forward Gonzalo Higuain and bought from defender Mattia Caldara from Juventus and sold Leonardo Bonucci to the Turin side.

The moves came amid uncertainty over Milan’s finances.

Last month, Milan won an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against a one-year ban from next season’s Europa League, imposed by European soccer body UEFA.

UEFA argued that AC Milan had fallen foul of its break-even requirements, adding the club had not provided sufficient evidence of its financial stability.

But CAS said the situation had improved since U.S. hedge fund Elliott Management took control of the indebted club from Chinese businessman Li Yonghong and promised to inject 50 million euros (44.6 million pounds) to help stabilise its finances.

Campbell, 26, was signed by Frosinone for an undisclosed sum after seven years at Arsenal during which loaned out six times — to Lorient, Betis twice, Sporting, Olympiakos and Villareal.

Juventus said they had ended their contract with Marchisio by mutual consent. The 32-year-old, raised at the club, spent only one season away from the club, on loan to Empoli in 2007-08.

He won seven Serie A titles with Juve but struggled to recover from a cruciate knee injury in 2016.

Other late deals saw Nigeria defender William Troost-Ekong join Udinese from Turkey’s Bursaspor while Torino signed forward Simone Zaza on loan from Valencia. ($1 = 0.8765 euros) (Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond)

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