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ANTONIO CONTE insists Alvaro Morata was his "first choice" transfer target this summer - even though Chelsea missed out on Romelu Lukaku.

Chelsea have agreed to sign Morata in a £78million deal from Real Madrid.

The Blues moved for the Spain international after Manchester United snapped up Lukaku in a £75m deal from Everton.

The Executive Committee of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has passed a proposal shifting the scheduling of the AFCON from January to June and July.

This follows the decision to expand the number of teams in the tournament from 16 to 24 teams.

The new format for the competition will now take effect with the 2019 edition in Cameroon.

The Africa Cup Cup of Nations will be hosted by countries outside the continent with rich nations like China, Qatar or USA targeted to host while three countries are invited to participate guests, says a proposal to boost income.

The proposal to stage the competition outside the continent and inviting non-African teams to participate has caused a major uproar among football fans in Africa.

The Marketing and TV working group made this proposal at a symposium in Morocco to examine ways to improve the finances for the Africa Cup of Nations and attractiveness of the competition.

In what looks like a proposal from South Africa FA chief Danny Jordaan, USA, China or Qatar could be asked to host the African Cup of Nations in radical changes proposed Wednesday to give the continent's biggest soccer tournament the global exposure it craves.

The CAF executive committee member Danny Jordaan of South Africa said: "If you want to think globally, act globally."

The proposals were set out in a presentation to the Confederation of African Football by Philippe Antoine, as the spokesman for the Marketing and TV working group.

Antoine told delegates that "the idea of inviting three or four teams from other continents, in addition to 20 or 21 African teams taking part, was also seen favorably ... as was the hypothesis of a final tournament being staged, exceptionally, in a country of another continent."

Some of the ideas floated, like taking the African Cup to another continent or inviting non-African teams to participate, might be a little too radical for CAF to implement, at least right away.

For one thing, what would happen if a non-African team won?

All the proposals for the future of the African Cup were made at CAF's two-day meeting in Rabat, Morocco, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The meeting, an African soccer "symposium," was an opportunity for national coaches, former players and CAF officials to share ideas. FIFA president Gianni Infantino also attended.

Any changes would need to be formally approved by CAF's executive committee, which is expected to meet before CAF's special general assembly, a decision-making meeting, is held in Rabat on Friday.

But an add-on to that increase in teams was the suggestion that the 24 could be made up of 20-21 African teams and 2-3 "invitees" from other continents, while the final tournament could head out of Africa.

The focus appeared to be on Qatar, with the committee noting that the 2022 World Cup host country would have all the required infrastructure to hold the Cup of Nations in 2023.

Non-African teams and a non-African host aren't ideas that are likely to be implemented soon, though, if at all. And CAF has already decided the hosts for the next three Cup of Nations, including awarding the 2023 tournament to Guinea.

Source: ghanasoccernet.com

Neymar will not be leaving Barcelona despite reports that Paris St-Germain have triggered his £195m release clause, club president Josep Maria Bartomeu has told BBC Sport.

The Brazil forward signed a new five-year contract until 2021 in October, with his release clause set to rise with each year of the deal.

Chelsea have agreed terms with Real Madrid for the signing of striker Alvaro Morata, the Premier League club have announced.

The deal is now subject to agreeing personal terms with the player and passing a medical, according to the club.

The Spain international played last season at the Bernabeu after spending two years with Juventus.

"I am very happy," Morata told Marca after the deal was announced.

"God willing, tomorrow I will be at Chelsea, a club that has always admired me."

Morata, who had been wanted by a number of Europe's top clubs including Manchester United and AC Milan, scored 15 goals in 26 La Liga games, mostly as a reserve last season.

United had originally been favourites to land Morata, but turned to Lukaku after failing to come close enough to Real's reported £75 million asking price.

That left the way clear for Chelsea to step up their bid for the Spanish star, who has called this offseason a "strange" one for him.

"Again, I do not think I'm going back to Madrid, I find it difficult and for now it's not something that I am considering," Morata said.

"It was clear that the goal was to leave, it's been a fairly strange summer and until I pass the medical examination, I'm not going to be calm."

Despite making no secret of his desire to leave Real, Morata jetted out for the club's preseason tour to the U.S., from which he is now expected to return.

Despite his 15 league goals last season, he grew increasingly frustrated at his limited opportunities behind Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.

The deal will also be a timely boost for Conte who had endured frustration after failing to land either Lukaku or another potential signing, Borussia Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Source: Espn

The Africa Cup of Nations could be moved to June or July as part of changes being discussed by the continent's ruling body.

The Nations Cup's timing in January and February has long angered clubs in Europe, where many Africans play.

The biennial finals could also be increased from 16 teams to 24.

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