Demarai Gray has completed his move from Everton to Saudi Arabian side Al-Ettifaq.
The 27-year-old Reggae Boy becomes the latest Premier League player to head to the Saudi Pro League, joining Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum at the side managed by Steven Gerrard.
Gray’s departure from Goodison Park for an undisclosed fee believed to be £8million comes after his relationship with manager Sean Dyche broke down.
The winger aired his grievances on Instagram, saying it was “difficult to play for someone who doesn’t show you respect as a person”.
Dyche responded by claiming Gray had effectively gone on strike, making clear he did not want to train as he believed he had secured a move away.
Gray made 75 appearances for Everton, scoring 12 goals, after returning to England from Bayer Leverkusen in 2021.
He said in a statement: “After two years with Everton, it’s time to say goodbye. I wish everyone at the club the very best and will be forever proud to have played for this great team.
“To the fans, you were always incredible – thank you for your support. You made it a privilege to wear the shirt.
“There has been a lot of speculation about my situation all summer. The truth is, I gave my all to this club on and off the pitch through good and bad.
“I was ready to play as much football as possible this season but it felt like this was not going to happen. It’s time for my next chapter. I am match fit and excited to get playing.”
Gray will join his new team-mates following international duty with Jamaica.
Reigning champions Clarendon College threw down the gauntlet for others to follow, as they opened their ISSA/WATA daCosta Cup title defence with a 5-0 beating of Clarendon neighbours Lennon High at the National Stadium on Saturday.
The 10-time champions who are heavily favoured to secure their 11th lien, had the perfect start to that pursuit thanks to a brace from captain Malachi Douglas (6th, 42nd), Christopher Hull (17th), Kahiem Dixon (34th) and Jahmelle Ashley (39th).
Lenny Hyde’s Chapelton-based Clarendon College, which won its titles in 1977, 1978, 1991, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2014, 2018, 2019 and 2022, could have won by a wider margin, but for a lack of composure in the final third, particularly in the second half, coupled with some good glovework by Clayton Lawrence in goal for Lennon.
Clarendon College signalled intentions immediately from the kick off, as Christopher Hull sidewinded his way into space for a left-footed effort from a distance that sailed over the crossbar.
At that point it became clear that it wouldn’t be long before something happened and so it didn’t in the sixth minute.
An attack started by Ateibo Green with a decent run down the right channel ended with a pass inside the 18-yard box which found Dixon, whose shot on goal was handled by defender Richardo Ramsay. Referee Alexi Perry, immediately pointed to the spot and the 12-yard kick was left for Douglas to calmly convert beyond Lawrence.
They should have doubled the lead a minute later when Douglas orchestrated a tidy build up and played a pass across the face of goal for Dixon but the striker sporting the number 13 jersey, overran the ball and muffed the effort.
Still, such was their dominance that Clarendon College was always expected to make up for it and that they did when Hull picked up the ball inside the arc and drove a left-footer past the hapless Lawrence.
It took them a while to add another, as Lennon tried to play their possession game which delayed Clarendon’s pursuit to add to their tally.
But, it was only a matter of time before the shackles would be broken and a setplay straight from the training ground again got the goalscoring going.
After Deandre Gallimore was felled almost 25-yards out, Hull played the free kick off to Douglas, who sprayed a pass inside for Green and the latter picked out Dixon for an easy tap in at goalmouth.
Dixon came close to adding another a minute later, but his stinging right-footed shot from a distance was parried by Lawrence diving to his weaker left side.
Clarendon continued to apply consistent pressure and went 4-0 up when Dixon played provider for Ashley, who easily converted from close range.
And before Lennon could catch their breaths to regroup, they took another hit three minutes later, as Dixon through excellent hold up play, again played provider, this time for Douglas, who fired past Lawrence to complete his brace.
Lennon almost pulled one back on the stroke of half-time, but Lydel Rodney, in goal for Clarendon College, did well to keep out Ramsay’s long range shot to ensure it remained 5-0 at the break.
Clarendon College picked up where they left off on the resumption and almost extended the lead four minutes in, but Devonti Hodges’s well-struck right-footer, was equally well saved by Lawrence.
In the 53rd minute, Lawrence spilled Gallimore’s shot from a distance and, as such, was forced to pull off a second save and thwart Dixon, who charged in on the rebound.
From there, Lennon became more organised defensively thereby defying everything Clarendon College threw at them, and that, coupled with the effects of the hot and dry conditions was the highlight of the remainder of the contest.
In other results on Saturday, Frome Technical defeated Merlene Ottey 3-1 while Rusea’s beat Cambridge 6-1 in Zone B action.
Arsenal have confirmed the departure of former club record signing Nicolas Pepe.
The Gunners paid £72million to sign the forward from Lille in 2019 but he made only 43 Premier League starts and Arsenal have now agreed to terminate Pepe’s contract with a year remaining.
The Ivory Coast international, who spent last season on loan at Nice, has already secured a move to Turkey, signing for Trabzonspor.
Arsenal said in a statement on arsenal.com: “We can confirm that Nicolas Pepe is leaving the club. We have agreed with Nicolas to terminate his contract with immediate effect.
“Everyone at Arsenal thanks Nicolas for his contribution during his time with us and wish him well for the future.”
Pepe never found his feet at the Emirates Stadium and became an increasingly peripheral presence, starting his last Premier League game for the Gunners back in October 2021.
Sep 07, 2023 Jamaica Football
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