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Napoli President Officially Confirms Elmas Deal; Calls for Werner to Remain at Leipzig

RB Leipzig are set to sign North Macedonia Eljif Elmas in January after Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis confirmed the midfielder was leaving.

“He’s already sold. He’s someone who always wants to play. He hasn’t realized that he belongs in our starting XI, even if he doesn’t play 90 minutes,” De Laurentiis told Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport.

RB Leipzig, third in the Bundesliga and in the Champions League last 16, have not yet confirmed the transfer but media reports say they will do so once a medical is completed at the end of the year.

Elmas will replace Emil Forsberg at the German Cup winners after the Swede celebrated his Bundesliga swansong on Tuesday in the 1-1 draw at Werder Bremen, his 325 competitive game for the club. The 32-year-old is moving to sister club New York Red Bulls.

Elmas, currently injured with a leg problem, played 36 of 38 Serie A games for the Italian champions last season. He moved to southern Italy from Fenerbahce in 2019.

The 24-year-old has played 52 international matches and scored 12 goals for North Macedonia.

Leipzig will travel to a training camp in La Manga, Spain, from January 2-7 before the Bundesliga resumes from its mid-season break on January 13 when they host Eintracht Frankfurt.

Striker Timo Werner meanwhile looks set to still be a Leipzig player by the restart.

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Sporting director Rouven Schröder said he would not stand in the way if Werner wanted to go on loan to boost his chances of returning to the Germany squad for the home Euros in June.

However, he does not think it is likely.

“I assume he will play the second half of the season with us. We know what he is capable of, he has to get back to it on the pitch. But we’ll see what happens next, football is a day-to-day business,” the 48-year-old told Bild on Friday.

Werner has lost his regular place in the Leipzig team this season.

By Tom Bachmann, dpa



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