Next Barnsley Manager Betting Odds | Gerhard Struber

/r/Championship's Championship club by club season preview - part 1!

Part 2 here - Part 3 here - Part 4 here

On Friday at 8pm UK time, Reading and Derby County will kick off the 127th season of the English second division - also known as the Championship! 24 clubs will compete for 3 promotion spots to the Premier league (2 via automatic promotion and 1 via playoffs) and to avoid the 3 relegation spots to the third tier a.k.a League One.

Its looking like a really tight and competitive season. The league is absolutely full of ambitious player and managerial talent - the more time goes by the more it looks like a Premier League 2. If you want a competitive league with proper English football, that also has the spice of skilful players and forward thinking managers, it really is the place to go.

This is guide written by the fans who have come together on /Championship - an absolutely huge thanks to them. Do check out the sub, we try to keep it a good place to discuss the EFL, away from the rancid gloryhunting shithole that is /soccer (just kidding - I like this place). Lots going on, including a score predictor thread which is running all season.

This guide is in table order with the PL demoted sides first. Only 5 clubs today (because the Swansea one is a fucking novel and I can't fit any more in), the rest will be submitted tomorrow and Friday. Do bare in mind that not all the transfer news will be up to date as these guides were largely written a week ago. Point out to me if there are any clear errors with formatting or spelling.

Championship info, links and media

/Championship's 17/18 player of the season review

Season previews: The Guardian | Sky Sports | The Mirror
EFL focused podcasts: Not the Top 20 | The Totally Football League Show
The 17/18 table - Wolves, Cardiff and Fulham went up. Barnsley, Burton and Sunderland went down. This season West Brom, Swansea and Stoke join from the PL and Wigan, Blackburn and Rotherham join from League 1.
These are the bookies' favourites for promotion (via Oddschecker):
Club Odds
Stoke 2.75
Middlesbrough 4
West Brom 4
Nottingham Forest 4.5
Leeds 4.75
Swansea 5
And relegation:
Club Odds
Rotherham 2.2
Bolton 2.25
Ipswich 4.5
Reading 5
Hull 6
How to watch in the UK: Live rights are owned by Sky Sports. They are upping the number of televised matches this season. Reading v Derby on Friday is televised. The weekly highlights show previously on Channel 5 is moving to Quest TV, which apparently is on Freeview.
How to watch abroad: Depends, but in most territories, the iFollow Service is available, which is £110 to watch all a single club's matches. Bargain. I think the clubs that aren't on iFollow have their own similar streaming services.
Check out club Youtube channels - quite a few of them post extended highlights now with their own commentary, including Derby, Norwich, Sheffield Wednesday, Brentford and more. (You may need VPN to watch if you're abroad.)

Swansea City by RafiakaMacakaDirk and my_knob_is_gr8

Location: Swansea, Wales
Nickname: Swans, The Jacks
Major honours: Football League Cup (2013), Championship Play-off Winner (2011), League One Winners (1925, 1949, 2008)
17/18 finishing postion: 18th (Premier League)
Transfermarkt squad value: €115.5 mil NOTE: This number is as of July 22nd, when we still have Mawson (€15 mil), A. Ayew (€15 mil), Bony (€10 mil), Clucas (€8 mil) and Fernandez (€8 mil), who are all pretty much expected to be sold, or loaned out, before the season starts. Without all of these players except Bony (who's injured for a while so it makes it unlikely he'll be sold soon), the squad value would be around €70 mil.
Manager: Graham Potter joined the Swans on 11th June 2018. In 2010, he became head coach of Östersund, who were in the fourth tier of Swedish football. 5 years later, he got the club promoted into the Swedish top flight and in 2017, they won Svenska Cupen which qualified them for the Europa League where they managed to get through the group stage. He’s been applauded for what he did at Östersund and the way he managed to build the club up from nothing. The year after his success in the Europa league he signed a 3 year contract with Swansea.
Potter is well respected by The Swans and after a few years of poor managerial and financial decisions his appointment is seen as a step in the right direction to bringing us back to our old ways of being a well-run club. Potter has been recognised for his "progressive" and "unconventional" coaching methods. At Östersund, he encouraged his players and staff to engage in community activities, such as performing in theatre and music productions which was designed to take them out of their comfort zone. Potter describes his style of football on the pitch as "tactically flexible, attacking, and possession-based". At Östersund, he deployed a flexible 3–5–2 formation centred on ball possession.
Best player(s)/ talisman:With many of our best players being rumoured with a move away what good players that remain at the start of the season is yet to be seen.
Alfie Mawson is probably our standout player. He’s been amazing for us since we got him and was a bargain at about £3m. He’s great in the air and is just an all round tank. Keeping him will be a huge boost for us and should be solid in the championship.
Federico "El Pajaro" Fernandez has also been strong at the back with Alfie. The pair played with each other for the majority of last season and together became a solid unit. We will most likely sell him to reduce wages though.
Jordan Ayew put in a great shift last season and was our top goal scorer. His work rate was immense and was able to drop back and defend when needed. He’s fast, able to beat a man and a decent finisher. Sadly all these players are transfer targets for other clubs and might not even be here at the start of the season. If we can keep a lot of our players we should have a decent season but who knows who'll be left by the end of the window…
Rising star: Swansea’s U23 had a great season last year and with Potter wanting a young and fresh squad, a handful have moved up into the first team.
Our standout youngster, Oliver McBurnie, joined Barnsley on loan in January last season where he went on to win a Championship player of the month award after 6 goals in 8 games and went on to win Barnsley’s Player of the year award. While only 22, he’s struggled to break into our first team but will most likely be our main striker for the coming season. Be on the lookout for his long legs, miniature shinpads and ridiculous sock length! LEGS LEGS LEGS!!!
Connor Roberts performed well at RB last season and adapted quickly to the premier league where he battled Kyle Naughton to be in the starting line up and did great when given the chance. Decent at going forward and professional at the back. Hopefully potter puts him ahead of Naughton.
What happened last season?: What Happened last season?: After our great escape the season before and with Paul Clement at the helm there was optimism that the 17/18 season could be our turning point where we start rebuilding 'The Swansea Way". How wrong we were.
After a disastrous transfer window where we sold Sigurdsson and never replaced him and started panic buying the week before the transfer window closed we were left an obvious hole in our team. We had no creativity in midfield and no one could kick the ball into the box to save their life. And just to rub it in further Renato Sanches turned out to be more disappointing than Bob Bradley. With the team sitting bottom of the table Clement was sacked in late December.
Then along came the wise talking Carlos Carvalhal who managed to rebuild the confidence the team had lost. Our results took a turn for the good, beating Liverpool, Arsenal, Burnley and West Ham consecutively at home. He pulled us out of the relegation zone and things were looking good. However, the good times were quickly followed by the bad times. Our form turned and we didn’t win a single one of our last 9 matches. We were quickly relegated after pitifully losing to both Southampton and Stoke in our last 2 games of the season.
Highlights (Or lowlights):
The pass by Renato Sanches that summed up his and our season
Swansea City 3-1 Arsenal
Summer transfer business (so far): At the end of last season, it was clear we needed several transfers, both in and out. However, this would all depend on the manager we got.
Yan Dhanda (Free, Liverpool): A 19 year-old Midfielder, Yan Dhanda left Liverpool this summer and joined the Swans in a free, before we even hired Graham Potter. At one time one of the most promosing youngsters in Liverpool's Academy, injuries slowed down his progress, and ultimately made him fall behind other players. Citing lack of first-team playing time, Dhanda decided to join us this summer in hopes of getting regular playing time in the senior squad. Through 3 pre-season games, Dhanda has been one of the brighest and most impressive players in the squad, even scoring a game-winning goal and smashing a penalty in a shootout against Genoa. With our current injuries and shenanigans involved in our midfield, Dhanda has a good chance of becoming a starter and hopefully guide our midfield during the season.
Jordi Govea (Free, Real Madrid): Another 19 year-old from Ecuador, Jordi was the first signing under Potter. Not much can be said about the lad, but this is what Real Madrid had as his bio:
Jordi is an Ecuadorian defender who possess three key qualities for a player in his position: he's skilful, is able to go past a player and has a good shot on him. He's left footed and is able to send in good crosses on the run.
With Martin Olsson currently as our starting LB, and Kyle Naughton as the backup, the hope is that Jordi can develop on our U-23 squad and hopefully move up to the senior squad in coming years. Also the only man I've seen do a medical while wearing jeans (
Joel Asoro (€2 mil., Sunderland): Yet another 19 year-old, a Swedish winger who has represented his country in the younger levels, he was Potter's first senior signing. With world-class speed, and some impressive skills, Asoro was able to score 3 goals and get 2 assists last season in 26 apperances for Sunderland. While these numbers may seem a bit disappointing, many of these games were sub appearances on a very dysfunctional team. Along with Dhanda, Asoro has been one of the most impressive players during preseason, constantly beating his man with either speed or skills, and whipping in good balls to Legs. At the current rate, Asoro appears to have a good chance of starting on the right wing spot, with Nathan Dyer and Luciano Narsingh backing him up.
Predicted starting XI: NOTE: This is gonna be assuming Mawson, A. Ayew, Clucas, and Fernandez are all sold by the start of the season. If by some reason they end up staying, they are pretty much guaranteed to start. Based on the pre-season games so far, a lineup looking like this would be plausible, with Rodon most likely to be replaced by a CB (possibly Scott McKenna) when we buy one. Our second unit is looking something like this.
Best case scenario: Graham Potter is able to motivate and make sure our senior players (Fer, Carroll, etc.) stay fit, along with our youngsters being able to make an impact as expected, and also we retain Mawson, Fernandez, and Clucas, we can finish in the top 2 and get promoted automatically.
Worst case scenario: Our worst case scenario, and something many of us fear of happening, consists of primarily 3 things. 1. Graham Potter isn't given enough time to build an identity with our squad and is sacked by the midway point of the season by the greedy, dumb American owners. . 2. We end up not replacing the players we sold properly like last summer, therefore having a squad with holes everywhere and no chemistry. 3. Our youngsters such as Asoro, McBurnie, Dhanda and company don't pan out and progress at all, thefore becoming mediocre players. This would all culminate in us looking like Sunderland, and making relegation a probability.
Prediction: Realistically I see us selling Mawson and company in the last days before the season starts and not replacing them properly until later on. Because of this, as well as our current injuries with Fer and Clucas, I can see us initially struggling to build an identity but over time, we will start playing like Potter wants us and finishing the season strongly.
8th place, missing the play-offs by 4 points
What will happen to your closest rivals?: The scum that is known as Cardiff City will break the record for lowest points ever accumulated in a Premier League season, getting 5 points all from draws, and will therefore get relegated with 17 games to spare.

West Bromwich Albion by Joelwba

Location: The Hawthorns, West Bromwich, West Midlands
Nickname: The Baggies, The Throstles
Major honours: 1x League title, 1x League Cup, 5x FA Cup
17/18 finishing postion: 20th in Premier League (relegated)
Transfermarkt squad value: £101.16m
Manager: Darren Moore or Big Dave as he's known to Albion fans. A club icon as a player in the early 2000s, he returned to look after our U23 squad before being promoted to assistant manager by Alan Pardew in January. Following the end of Pardew's horrific reign, Moore took temporary charge with Albion facing inevitable relegation. He led us to wins over Newcastle, Spurs, Man Utd and a draw with Liverpool, somehow taking our futile battle for survival to the final week of the season. Following this he earned the head coach role permanently. Moore is loved among the Albion faithful, largely due to his reputation as a player here. He heavily favours a 4-4-2 formation and at the back end of last season, tended to soak up pressure and play on the counter attack. It will be interesting to see how his approach differs in a league where we are one of the favourites, not fighting to survive (hopefully)
Best player(s)/ talisman: It's an interesting situation for Albion currently. There are plenty of Premier League quality players still in the squad. A lot depends on if they are picked off before the deadline shuts. Chris Brunt is a club stalwart and likely to be reappointed as captain. He is adored by the fans and in my opinion will be an incredible asset in the championship. His set pieces alone will bring 10+ goals to the side. Kieran Gibbs is a high quality player who appears to be set to stay and should make a big difference. Jay Rodriguez, Craig Dawson, Salomon Rondon and Nacer Chadli should all make a big difference in this division IF they stay. In all honesty I expect to lose a few of the above. Sam Johnstone appears to be an astute signing to replace the outgoing Ben Foster.
Rising star: Sam Field he's one of our own! He looked completely at home against some of the top Premier League sides last campaign. A box-to-box midfielder, he's full of energy and looks so comfortable on the ball. I expect him to be a major part of our side this season, having just signed a new long-term deal.
Kyle Edwards is an exciting attacking midfielder who has been impressing in pre-season. He may have a part to play following a loan spell at Exeter last campaign.
Jonathon Leko looked like a potential world-beater when he first came through a couple of years back. A lightning quick winger full of tricks. A loan spell at Bristol City and limited appearances later he seems to be losing his way. Will be an interesting one to watch.
Finally, the enigma that is Olly Burke. After signing with us last summer for £15m, he failed to impress any of the four managers we had over the season. He looks exciting when he comes on, without any end product so far, and was unfairly blamed for a loss at West Ham by Alan 'Coward' Pardew. We all know the talent he's got. Hopefully we can see it this season.
What happened last season?: Let's not talk about it... We finally escaped the stranglehold of Tony Pulis, only to opt for the human joke that is Alan Pardew and duly hurtled towards relegation. Four of our players stole a taxi and then played (and lost) the following weekend.
Pardew was sacked about 3 months too late, and Moore took over, restoring pride with some notable wins over Man Utd and Spurs.
This season we also lost the great Cyrille Regis, and the outpouring of emotion and the coming together of the club during the weeks after his passing was something special.
Summer transfer business (so far): We started by releasing Claudio Yacob, Boaz Myhill and Gareth McAuley. Yacob and McAuley will be greatly missed but it is perhaps the right time for them to go.
Jonny Evans departed for Leicester for a cut-price £3m, Ben Foster left for Watford and James McClean has departed for Stoke City.
Sam Johnstone has been bought in to replace Foster, with Jonathon Bond arriving as backup. Kyle Bartley has joined from Swansea City and it appears that Harvey Barnes will soon be arriving on loan from Leicester.
Finally, James Morrison is currently out of contract but still with the club. His future is uncertain.
I am very happy with Johnstone and Bartley. It has been a quiet window for Albion so far but that is largely a good thing. The squad is packed with Premier League talent and the window is more about keeping hold of them.
There is major interest in Dawson and Rondon, along with interest in Rodriguez, Hegazi and Chadli. If any of the above go, then we would need to replace. Otherwise I would be happy with another striker and another CB.
It is also worth mentioning that every player in the Albion side suffered a 50% wage cut upon relegation which means that we are financially sound despite relegation, but may lead to more big names leaving.
Predicted starting XI: This is my best attempt. It will undoubtedly be 4-4-2. We may see Nyom in at right back and perhaps Barry in for Field.
Obviously about half of this side could leave, so we shall see.
Best case scenario: The bulk of the side remains and the quality in the side shines through as we breeze to automatic promotion.
Worst case scenario: The better players leave or do not put the effort in. Moore cannot transfer his great start into his first full season in management. We become embroiled in a relegation battle
Prediction: It will be somewhere in the middle. I'd like to think we'll go up automatically but I think play-offs are more likely. 6th
What will happen to your closest rivals?: Villa won't go down but will settle into mid-table, despite the recent takeover.
I think Wolves will do well in the PL, although I don't know how long Nuno will last before a big club comes in.

Stoke City by mrmariomaster

Location: Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
Nickname: The Potters
Stadium: bet365 Stadium, 30,089 seats
Major honours: 1972 League Cup
17/18 finishing position: 19th, Premier League
Squad value: £127.8 million
Manager: Gary Rowett signed from Derby in May. His honest attitude has brought lots of optimism to fans, who are looking forward to an overhaul of the Club. His style of play seems to change based on the squad he has available.
Best Player: Joe Allen was vital to the Club last season, giving us hope that we would avoid relegation. His massive new contract signed this summer shows how loyal and committed to the Club he is, and will be a vital player this season.
Rising star: Tom Edwards is a local lad who has won the Under 18 Player of the Year award twice in the Club. In the latter parts of last season he played some good first team football.
What happened last season: A pathetic attempt at a season that had been coming for a while under Mark Hughes. Paul Lambert was appointed in January, but a win rate of just 2 in 15 matches wasn’t enough for him to keep his job and miss out on the million pound bonus offered to him.
Transfer business so far: So far this has been a decent transfer window. Peter Etebo had an amazing World Cup for Nigeria and Benik Afobe looks really promising. Adam Federici has also been appointed to replace Lee Grant. Xherdan Shaqiri has left along with a few players like Stephen Ireland and Glen Johnson who will not be missed. Badou Ndiaye also looks to be on his way out, but it looks like Jack Butland will stay with us, which is massive. Perhaps most surprising are the new contracts signed by our 2 best players last season, Joe Allen and Moritz Bauer.
Predicted Line up: Here is our predicted squad. I’m not sure what formation we will have. EDIT: This is a new version, complete with our rumoured new signings and in the right formation.
Best case scenario: Stoke will finish top with an all-time Championship points record.
Worst case scenario: A mediocre start to the season will see Rowett sacked and Stoke with a disappointing mid-table finish.
Prediction: I think with our squad and our new manager, we will finish 1st.
What will happen to our closest rivals? Port Vale will be relegated to the Vanarama National League.

Aston Villa by trueschoolalumni

Location: Villa Park, Trinity Rd, Birmingham B6 6HE
Nickname: The Villans, The Villa, Prince William's Club, David "Twat" Cameron's Second Club.
Major honours: 7 First Division wins, 7 FA Cups, 5 League Cups, 1 European Cup, 1 European Super Cup, 1 Intertoto Cup
17/18 finishing postion: 4th
Transfermarkt squad value: £67.77m and dropping fast
Manager: Steve Bruce (for now). Former Man Utd playing legend who's been a fixture of English football for decades. He joined Villa in 2016 after successful runs at Hull, Sunderland (yes they were good once) and Birmingham City. A bit of a promotion specialist, he's taken Championship clubs up to the Premier League 4 times in the past and just missed out last season, losing 1-0 to Fulham in the Playoff Final. Tactically, he's fairly old school who prefers 4-4-2 or a 4-1-4-1, usually involving a big man up top. Fun fact: while managing Huddersfield in 1999 he wrote three novels, "Striker!", "Sweeper!" and "Defender!", which focus on main character Steve Barnes, a football manager. Barnes solves crime and takes on terrorists, and the books have become prized rarities. The Guardian's Football Weekly podcast managed to get a copy and read out some of the copy - suitably awful.
Best player(s)/ talisman: There's only one Jack Grealish. A Villa boy through and through, he's been with the club since 2001 (aged 6), and made his way into the first team in the 2013-14 season. He's been the centre of controversy a few times, most notably getting on the beers and passing out on a Tenerife street. Playing as a number 10, his quick feet and dribbling skills provide a number of goals and assists, as well as fouls. He probably went down a bit too easily when first in the Premier League, but time in the gym has noticeably toughened him up and he's a much more solid player as a result. One of the better players in the Championship, and due to Villa's abject finances, a transfer target for the likes of Leicester.
Rising star: Keinan Davis could possibly be it, potentially Andre Green and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy as well.
What happened last season?: Have you ever walked into a casino, spotted the roulette table and popped £10,000 on red? It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off. You've doubled your money if you win, but look like a right git if you lose. Villa figured this was a good way to approach 2017-18: spend millions on players, get in lots of loans, gamble everything on achieving promotion. After a so-so start, Bruce got the team playing well, stringing together a number of wins and moving through the playoff spots. Unfortunately they ran into a few teams playing out of their skin - champions Wolves ran away with the league and boasted a squad that included several Champions League players. Neil Warnock's Cardiff couldn't stop winning and grabbed the second automatic promotion. In the playoff final Villa came up against a Ryan Sessegnon-led Fulham and were just pipped at the post 1-0.
Summer transfer business (so far): It's one-way traffic, due to absolutely abysmal finances. Loan spells for Lewis Grabban, Robert Snodgrass, Josh Onomah and Sam Johnstone have all ended, which is almost the spine of the team (Johnstone in particular - he was arguably the best keeper in the Championship and personally bagged a number of wins). Plus clubs are circling to pick off whatever assets we have left (eg. Jack Grealish, James Chester). With no prospect of anyone new coming in, it looks like the youth academy will be getting a lot more game time.
Predicted starting XI: Possibly this, but half these players could be gone before the first match.
Best case scenario: Mid-table anonymity would have to be best case - Villa are a mess and could go down this time around.
Worst case scenario: Our finances are the real issue - they are dire. Villa need to find £9 million this month to avoid going into administration. Owner "Dr." Tony Xia is a billionaire, apparently, but tax bills went unpaid and the question remains if he's able to support the club as generously as he has in the past. Administration, points deductions and potentially relegation to League One are all real possibilities right now. It's not looking good.
Prediction: Due to financial irregularities in the 23 clubs above us, Villa will get into the Champions League and take out the likes of Atletico, Bayern and Real Madrid on the way to our second European Cup. "Taylor, Green, prepared to venture down the left. There's a good ball played in for Jack Grealish. Oh, it must be and it is! It's Keinan Davis!"
What will happen to your closest rivals?: Unfortunately the Scum managed to avoid League One in the final rounds of the season. Here's hoping they go one better. Agbonlahor to re-sign for one game: the Derby. And score the winner, again.

Middlesbrough by OneSmallHuman

Location: The Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough
Founded: 1876
Nickname: The Boro (Or just Boro)
Major honours: The League cup 2003-2004 season
17/18 finishing position: 5th
Transfermarkt squad value: 79.34m
Manager: Tony Pulis became manager of us in late December 2017, replacing the sacked Garry Monk after a pretty lacklustre few months of the campaign (despite where our league position was). Pulis is known in England for being the man that is never relegated when in charge of someone in the top flight. We are all aware of Tony Pulis' style of football. You start by having a strong and massive defence and maximise your use of set pieces to gain an advantage. Pulis is a lover of all set piece plays, whether that is crossing the ball in from a corner or free kick, or launching a ball into the box from a throw in, they're all in his arsenal of weapons. 'Pulisball' as it is pretty much known. Pulis has achieved promotion from the championship once before with Stoke, and I hope he achieves it again with us this season
Best player(s)/ rising star: I mean, where else do I begin. Adama Traore. Arguably the best player in the championship on his day and is one of the most frightening dribblers in English football, maybe even world football. The winger is known for his speed and dribbling ability although is usually criticised for his lack of end product. Before last season I would've agreed, however 5 goals and 10 assists, with all but 2 assists coming before Pulis' arrival show the progression of the Spanish winger.
As for other members of the squad, Ben Gibson, the prodigal son. Boro through and through he's progressed into a commanding centre half with the ability to play out from the back thanks to Karanka. He gained attention and emerged as one of the few given credit after our disappointing premier league campaign but was only the subject of one bid upon our relegation, from now manager Tony Pulis. It remains to be seen whether he'll be here come the first game of the season, but I hope he will be.
As for future stars, Dael Fry, already has played 2 championship campaigns for us and looks as assured as a veteran of the game. Another centre half produced by our academy and he is being played in cdm this pre-season by Pulis, to add to his versatility. Hopefully a standout season for him, especially if Gibson does end up leaving. Finally, yes, he does always look as confused as images of him show.
What happened last season?: Well, the first half of the season was tragic under Monk. We played really poor football at times and looked like we hadn't defended a day in our lives. There was also no consistency in the team, we'd win one game then lose the next. A key theme under both managers however, was our inability to beat those around us in the table. After Pulis' appointment the results picked up and it ended with us finishing 5th in the table. We ultimately lost in the playoff semi finals to Aston Villa but honestly, we didn't think we'd even be in the top half around Christmas.
Summer transfer business (so far): Just the three deals to talk about so far. We've acquired Paddy McNair from Sunderland who looks like a decent player. He's been utilised in right back and midfield during pre-season so it looks like they'll be his positions for the season. I imagine he'll play alongside Clayts and Howson in a midfield three.
Aden Flint was signed from Bristol City and I think I'm in the minority when I say I don't like how much we paid for him. Obviously the man is a Pulis player but I'm a bit unsure about his defensive ability. That being said he's looked strong during pre-season and I'm sure Pulis will get the best out of him. Fabio departed our club for Nantes so we'll need more full back cover.
As for the rest of the window, I expect Gibson to leave but will be delighted if he doesn't. One of our strikers will also leave and Braithwaite should follow after his decent World Cup performances. We'll probably bring in a striker and a winger and hopefully hold onto Adama. That'd be a successful window in my eyes.
Predicted starting XI: My best guess The only other guess I could make is that Gibson might leave and then Ayala would start, but he's injured at this point in time. Britt might play over Gestede too if Pulis is feeling fancy.
Best case scenario: It has to be top of the pile right? It's not out of the question to imagine us up there and if everything clicks then we've got a chance. A defence that scores more than some teams' strikers, Adama channelling his inner Messi and finding consistency, Rudy/Britt/Bamford scoring for fun. It could be carnage.
Worst case scenario: I can't see us finishing outside the playoffs, if we did then that would be gut-wrenching. But if we did then that would most certainly be the worst. Realistically, it'd be losing in the playoffs... again, and if it were in the final again then god help me. Although saying this, now losing Bamford and maybe Traore will be a worst case scenario in itself, definitely if they're not replaced.
Prediction: Have to be confident, although it always kills me. 1st or 2nd. Tony Pulis and his nice white trainers carry us to the promise land. That being said, we never do it the easy way.
Best Match of Last Season Sorry Leeds fans, but it had to be. "Hattrick Bamford" as our Twitter account tweeted, 3-0 against Leeds with Adama running the show. Leeds clearly found some positive from the game as they're set to sign him off us. This was the sign of what we should've done more last season. Showed what Paddy could've been too if given an even more extended period in Striker by himself. Oh well.
What will happen to your closest rivals?: Who even are our closest rivals in this league? We're in geographical purgatory. Can't say Sunderland anymore so what? Leeds? Bielsa either turns them into the well oiled machine they hope for or he succumbs to the old Leeds ways and is sacked by December. As for the Mackems, probably promoted from League 1.
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Daily Transfer News Thread - 07/26/2018

Auto-Refreshing Transfer News Thread from Sky Sports
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That's all we have time for today, many thanks for joining us. We'll be back here from 7am tomorrow with the latest done deals, news and rumours.
See you then!


Get the latest transfer updates from Sky Sports News.


Sky sources understand Jefferson Lerma has handed in a transfer request at Levante after a significant bid from Bournemouth was rejected.
Sources close to the deal tell us the player is disappointed he is being denied the opportunity to fulfil his ambition of playing in the Premier League


Ajax midfielder Frankie De Jong is getting tired of being linked to Barcelona, and says he does not find the rumours "nice" anymore.
“I’m an Ajax player so I can’t say too much about it at the moment,” De Jong told Voetbal International. “Of course there is interest, everyone knows that, but I am an Ajax player, as I say.
“In the beginning the transfer rumours are nice, but gradually I think I don’t need this anymore, they can write what they want. That’s not me and it’s not that I think ‘ah, that’s nice’.”


Arsenal transfer target Steven Nzonzi is reportedly attracting interest from Barcelona, according to Mundo Deportivo.
The Gunners have reportedly been put off his £35m valuation and Barca see Nzonzi as a more viable option than Paris Saint-Germain’s Adrien Rabiot.


Everton have lost 3-0 to Blackburn in their pre-season friendly, with new signing Richarlison getting minutes under his belt but no goals yet.


Real Madrid are planning to offer Keylor Navas a new contract, reports La Nacion.
Navas, who has been Madrid’s first-choice goalkeeper in each of the past three seasons, could drop down the goalkeeping pecking order at the Bernabeu this term if the European champions bring in Thibaut Courtois from Chelsea.
However, it appears as though Madrid are still keen for the Costa Rica international to continue at the club, with La Nacion reporting that they are set to present him with a two-year contract renewal offer which would tie him to the La Liga giants until 2022.


New Barcelona signing Malcom has been presented by the club, with the player saying: "I am really happy to be here, it's a dream, playing at Barça is a great challenge and I hope to make the fans happy."


Richarlison is on for his Everton debut in their pre-season friendly with Blackburn. They currently trail Rovers 2-0.


Sky Sports News understands former Manchester City midfielder Albert Rusnak will snub a number of offers to return to European football, and instead sign an improved contract to stay in the MLS with Real Salt Lake.
Rusnak hinted last month that he was expecting to leave America in this window, with Sparta Prague among the clubs interested in him, but it now looks like he will be staying put, with Salt Lake offering him a new deal until 2021.


Chelsea’s young midfielder Kasey Palmer is joining Blackburn Rovers on a short-term loan deal until Christmas, Sky Sports News has learned.
The deal won’t be completed until after the weekend. Palmer spent the second half of last season on loan at Derby County, and earlier this month it looked like he was bound for Pride Park again to join up with Chelsea legend Frank Lampard.
But the 21-year-old will instead head to the North West for four months, once the paperwork is completed on Monday.


Gillingham are holding a Q&A; evening, and manager Steve Lovell has been chatting about transfer activity.


AC Milan defender Leonardo Bonucci wants to return to former club Juventus this summer, says Milan's new sporting director Leonardo.
He explained: "I've met with a range of clubs, including Juventus. The desire (to talk to Juve) came from him, so if the conditions are right, we'll try to make it happen."


Unai Emery believes Aaron Ramsey is going to stay at Arsenal despite speculation surrounding his future.
"Football changes every day. It's not easy. For that, I am thinking the match today first, then training tomorrow, then the match Saturday, with an important player here," the manager said.
"Aaron is an important player for us, and the contract is one thing for the club and the player. For me, I want him to stay with us, to work with us, to give the team the big performance.
"I think he is going to stay here with us."


Cristiano Ronaldo will start his Serie A career with Juventus at Chievo.
The Portugal forward became Juve's club record signing last month when he joined from Real Madrid for £99.2m.
And Thursday's announcement of the opening round of Italian top flight fixtures sees him head to the Stadio Bentegodi for the champions' first match of the 2018/19 campaign, on the weekend of August 18-19.


Cardiff City have received enquiries for Lee Tomlin, Anthony Pilkington and Omar Bogle, but Neil Warnock has revealed the players may not leave until the last day of the window.
"We've had one or two enquiries, that will all come up I would imagine and liven up in the next three weeks," he told Wales Online.
"Especially when I announce my squad on the 9th (of August), the Football League have got another two or three weeks so I think a lot of them will be waiting until deadline as always."


Everton are playing in a pre-season friendly at Blackburn tonight, and new signing Richarlison is among the substitutes.


PSG are unwilling to sell Adrien Rabiot this summer, reports L’Equipe.
Rabiot, who is attracting interest from Barcelona and Juventus, is out of contract next year and PSG want to hand him a new deal. Even though he is inside the final 12 months of his deal, PSG are not contemplating cashing in on him this year.


Ernesto Valverde has identified Dani Parejo as his next target, according to Sport.
The Valencia playmaker has been linked with a move to Barcelona before, but now the Catalans' interest in the 29-year-old is coming to a head.


New Manchester United signing Fred has joined up with his team-mates for their pre-season tour of the USA.


Jeff Reine-Adelaide has joined Ligue 1 side Angers from Arsenal in a permanent deal, following a loan spell with the club earlier this year. The 20-year-old signed for the Gunners in July 2015 from Ligue 2 side Racing Club Lens. He made eight first team appearances over three seasons.



Get the latest from the Sky Sports News Transfer Centre.


Goalkeeper Matz Sels has completed a permanent move to French side Strasbourg from Newcastle.
The 26-year-old joins the Ligue 1 outfit for an undisclosed fee after a two-year spell at St. James’ Park.


Kurtis Guthrie has signed for Stevenage, subject to EFL registration.
The striker was signed by Colchester from Forest Green Rovers in July 2016 and scored 13 goals across 49 appearances for the U’s.


Leeds are interested in Middlesbrough striker Patrick Bamford, according to the Yorkshire Evening Post.
New manager Marco Bielsa wants a striker for his squad, and Leeds have also been linked to Derby forward Matej Vydra.


Captain James Chester is ready to snub Stoke and hand Aston Villa a further boost by staying at the club.
The defender is keen to help Villa return to the Premier League, Press Association Sport understands.
Stoke have made an offer, reportedly worth up to £10m, for the Wales international but he would prefer to remain at Villa Park.


Everton have reportedly joined the race for Roma midfielder Maxime Gonalons, according to the Liverpool Echo.
Crystal Palace are also said to be tracking the Frenchman.


Mainz 05 Sporting Director Rouven Schroder has confirmed they’ve agreed a deal in principle to sell striker Yoshinori Muto to Newcastle.
The German club have said the transfer has been agreed subject to a few formalities and the player gaining a work permit. Muto is on his way to Tyneside from Tokyo.
It’s our understanding the fee is £9.5m.


Juventus will sell Man City transfer target Miralem Pjanic this summer, but only if they receive the same amount they paid to sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid, according to Calciomercato.
The Bianconeri view the Bosnian as good as Ronaldo and want at least £89m for him.



Barcelona are interested in out-of-favour Liverpool 'keeper Simon Mignolet, according to Marca.
The arrival of Alisson at Anfield has pushed Mignolet further down the pecking order, and Barca want a potential replacement for Jasper Cillessen.


Edinson Cavani is Real Madrid's new number one target after Chelsea demanded the Spanish giants pay £178m for Eden Hazard, according to AS.
Robert Lewandowski is also no longer a serious target for Real.


For those of you just joining us - firstly where have you been? - but here is a quick roundup of where we stand with some of the day's main transfer stories...


St Johnstone have announced the signing of 'keeper Conor Mitchell on a season-long loan from Burnley.
The Northern Ireland U21 international trained with the Saints squad towards the end of last week before boss Tommy Wright moved to capture the 22-year-old to add to his goalkeeping options which include Zander Clark and Mark Hurst.


Everton midfielder Davy Klaassen’s move to Bundesliga side Werder Bremen is close to completion, according to Sky sources.
The former Ajax captain failed to nail down a regular starting place at Goodison Park and is on the brink of making the move to Germany.
Klaassen won’t be involved at Blackburn Rovers tonight.


Sky Sports Fantasy Footballhas priced up potential Premier League transfer targets, rating Nabil Fekir and Gonzalo Higuain as the most valuable potential additions.
With just two weeks until the revised transfer deadline date of August 9, business looks set to crank up as Premier League sides prepare for the new campaign.
Arsenal, Liverpool and West Ham have made moves early but while Manchester United reportedly have domestic targets in Toby Alderweireld and Harry Maguire, plenty of further additions are expected from abroad.
Based on the most likely major deals according to Sky Bet's transfer odds, here are five big names expected to arrive and the Sky Sports Fantasy Football valuations you may just want to make a note of...


Oldham have announced the signing of Leicester 'keeper Daniel Iversen on a season-long loan deal.
The 21-year-old Dane, who will wear the number one shirt during the loan spell, has been on trial with the Latics and featured in pre-season friendlies against Nottingham Forest and Girona.
Iversen joined Leicester from Esbjerg in January 2016, going into the club’s development squad. He has not made a first-team appearance for the Foxes.


Man Utd have approached Leicester over the sale of their England centre-back Harry Maguire, SSN understands.
However, with a fortnight of the summer transfer window remaining, it looks like Jose Mourinho will have a battle on his hands, with Leicester adamant their star defender is staying at the King Power Stadium.
We understand United value the player, who starred in England's summer World Cup campaign, at around £65m.
Maguire is due to return from holiday in the next few days and is understood to be keen to make the move to Old Trafford.


Here are the latest transfer rumours from our friends at Football Whispers...





OK for those of you just joining us - firstly where have you been? - but here is a quick roundup of where we stand with some of the day's main transfer stories...


Sparta Rotterdam defender Kenneth Dougall will undergo a medical at Barnsley on Thursday ahead of proposed move to Oakwell, according to Sky sources.


Watford are standing by a complaint against Everton over an allegation of an illegal approach to former manager Marco Silva.
The clubs entered a mediation process at the request of the Premier League that involved club officials and their respective legal teams, but no conclusion was reached.
The sale of Richarlison to Everton had prompted reports a resolution had been found between the two clubs, but Watford say they have been "compelled" to reiterate the disciplinary process is still ongoing.


Chelsea have told Milan they will have to pay up to £62m for Alvaro Morata after initial negotiations got underway on Wednesday.
Sky Italy believe Milan’s new sporting director, Leonardo, had a series of phone conversations yesterday about a potential transfer, with the player reportedly keen on a return to Italy.
However, the two clubs remain poles apart on their valuations of the player, prompting Milan to retain their interest in bringing Gonzalo Higuain or Radamel Falcao to San Siro.
The 25-year old striker joined Chelsea last summer from Real Madrid for an initial £57m, with the job of replacing Diego Costa.


Newcastle have completed the signing of defender Fabian Schar from Deportivo La Coruna on a three-year deal.


Simon Moore has signed a new contract at Sheffield United, ending speculation of a move to West Brom.
The Baggies held discussions with the Blades over signing the 28-year old 'keeper as back-up to Sam Johnstone.
Moore has signed a new three year-deal, keeping him at Bramall Lane until the summer of 2021.
The player joined United from Cardiff for an undisclosed fee in August 2016 and has made a total of 64 appearances for United.


Chelsea are keeping tabs on Lazio midfielder Sergei Milinkovic-Savic, says the Independent.
However, the Blues face competition from Man Utd and Real Madrid, although the Serbian would prefer a move to Stamford Bridge.


Newcastle and Fulham remain apart over their valuation of Aleksandar Mitrovic.
The Serb striker is back training on Tyneside after returning from an expended holiday following the World Cup.


Jose Mourinho is urging Man Utd's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to tie up a deal for Harry Maguire, according to reports in the Sun.
However, Leicester may demand £60m for the England international defender.


Newcastle are closing in on Deportivo La Coruna defender Fabian Schar after activating a £3m release clause in his contract, according to Sky sources.
The Swiss international is due on Tyneside on Wednesday and will undergo a medical with the club.
Newcastle are looking to replace Chancel Mbemba, who they sold to Porto for £7m earlier this month.
The Magpies have been tracking Schar, who won three Swiss titles with Basel, for some time.
The 26-year-old left Basel to join Hoffenheim in 2015 where he made 30 appearances before joining Deportivo last year.


Newcastle have agreed a deal with Mainz to sign striker Yoshinori Muto for £9.5m, according to Sky sources.
The 25-year-old Japanese striker is currently on a flight from Tokyo to Newcastle after they agreed a fee with Mainz, with the move subject to the player gaining a work permit.
Muto played for Japan in the World Cup in Russia.


David Silva admits his latest contract at Man City will probably be his last at the club but says he wouldn't join a Premier League rival.
Silva signed a one-year contract extension at City last season to keep him at the club until 2020.
"When I finish my contract with Manchester City I will be 34 years old, at that time I will probably want to do something different," he said.
"I don't know yet but I won't play for another club in England.
"People always love me in England, it's been eight years - very successful years, and the football we've played has been very attractive. English people love that type of football - those type of games. And that's why I'm so happy here."


Derby have completed a deal to sign 23-year-old striker Jack Marriott from Peterborough.
Sky Sports News understands Derby will make an initial payment of £3m, with significant add-ons that could see the fee rise to £5m.


CSKA Moscow midfielder Aleksandr Golovin has agreed to join Monaco, despite being heavily linked with Chelsea this summer.
The 22-year-old, who starred for Russia at the World Cup, is expected to sign a five-year contract with the Ligue 1 club and Sky Sports Newsunderstands the move could be completed in the next few days.


Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has admitted there are currently "many rumours around the team" as the club continue to be linked with possible moves for Palace forward Wilfried Zaha and Villa midfielder Jack Grealish.
"There are many rumours around the team," Pochettino said after Spurs beat Roma 4-1 International Champions Cup in San Diego on Wednesday.
"I cannot talk and I don't want to talk because I think we need to be focused on trying to work hard and get in the best form for the first game of the season."


Sven Goran Eriksson has agreed a deal in principle to take over as head coach of Iraq, according to Sky sources.
The Swede held positive talks with Iraqi FA officials in Istanbul last week.
Eriksson’s representative Saif Rubie says he has a couple of other options and will make his final decision in the next week.


Jose Mourinho has confirmed Matteo Darmian can leave Man Utd if a suitable bid comes in for him this summer.
Full-back Darmian has been linked with a return to Italy with either Inter Milan, Juventus or Napoli.
"Matteo wants to leave and I think when a player wants to leave, if the right offer arrives you have to try to be human and let the player follow his instinct but not at any price," he said after watching his side beat Milan on penalties on Wednesday night.
"And, until now, the offers we got for Matteo are not even close to being accepted."


Crystal Palace have made an £8.9m offer for Roma midfielder Maxime Gonalons, according to Sky Italy.
The 29-year-old is a defensive midfielder who has eight caps for France.
Palace need midfield reinforcements following the departure of Yohan Cabaye.


Man Utd boss Jose Mourinho says Liverpool have to win something next season after their heavy summer of spending.
"Maybe this season finally you demand that they win," he said after watching his side beat Milan on penalties on Wednesday night.
"You, I think, you have to be fair and now you have to demand and say the team with investments, who are making investments that they started making last season, not just this season, last season.
"That you made in January, that you make now, that will probably be the record of the Premier League this season, I don't see another team getting close to that level of investment, a team that was a finalist in the Champions League, you have to say you are a big candidate.
"You have to win."


Watford are interested in Mexico international defender Diego Reyes, according to Sky sources.
However, no formal offer has been made for the player so far.
Reyes is a free agent after he ran down his contract at Porto.
Newcastle and West Ham are two of a number of Premier League clubs who have also made an offer for the centre back.


Mauricio Pochettino refused to discuss the future of Fernando Llorente after the Spanish striker scored twice in Spurs' 4-1 International Champions Cup win over Roma in San Diego.
Llorente is widely understood to be up for sale this summer after failing to make a big enough impression following his move from Swansea at the start of last season.
"I'm not going to talk about individual situations because if I'm going to talk now about someone I need to talk about everyone," he said.
"I am focusing on trying to work hard, trying to provide the team and every single player with the best tools to improve. Of course I'm happy when the striker scores and finds the net."


Man Utd boss Jose Mourinho says he has no problems with Anthony Martial leaving the club's pre-season tour to attend the birth of his first child.
Some reports in the press today had claimed Mourinho wanted the Frenchman out of the club due to his decision to leave the US.
"I found out that Martial was going to Paris when he told me," Mourinho said after watching his side beat Milan on penalties on Wednesday night. "Was two or three days ago.
"When it is personal reasons, everyone analyses that the way they think is the correct way and when a man is going to be a father in this case, it's the second time he is going to be a father, and he decides is very important for him to go, nobody has the right to stop him to go."


Manchester United have made contact with the representatives of Ante Rebic, reports the Mail.
The Eintracht Frankfurt winger starred for Croatia at the recent World Cup in Russia, where his country were runners-up to France.


Chelsea have completed the signing of 38-year old former England goalkeeper Rob Green on a one-year deal.
Green, who was released by Huddersfield at the end of last season, is likely to be third-choice keeper behind Thibaut Courtois and Willy Caballero at Stamford Bridge.


New Liverpool signing Xherdan Shaqiri believes his critics are "totally wrong" about him.


Real Madrid have agreed terms with Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, but Spurs No 1 Hugo Lloris is also a target, says the Mail.
The European champions are believed to be after a new 'keeper for the upcoming season.


Here are the latest transfer rumours from our friends at Football Whispers...


Right, let's kick things off this morning with a quick roundup of some of the biggest stories making today's back pages...
  • Real have agreed terms with Chelsea keeper Thibaut Courtois, but Spurs stopper Hugo Lloris is also a target (Mail)
  • Jose Mourinho is urging Man Utd's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to tie up a deal for Harry Maguire - even though Leicester may demand £60m for the defender (Sun)
  • Liverpool and Everton have made offers for Croatia defender Domagoj Vida, according to the player's agent (Express)
  • Jack Wilshere turned down an £8m signing-on fee and Champions League football at Fenerbahce in order to join West Ham (Star)
  • Marcos Rojo is fearing for his United future after Jose Mourinho made signing a centre half a priority this summer (Telegraph)
  • West Brom are the latest club to register interest in the Liverpool winger Sheyi Ojo as they bid to make an immediate return to the Premier League next season (Guardian)


Hi everyone and welcome to today's Transfer Centre as we bring you all the news, updates and gossip from around the world, so strap in tight and make sure you do not go anywhere...!
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Daily Transfer News Thread - 08/21/2018

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Join us at 7am tomorrow for all of the latest news and rumours from the market. Until then...


Arsenal are keen to tie Aaron Ramseyto a new contract but will not give him the kind of wages that his teammate Mesut Ozil earns, report the Evening Standard.
Ramsey is seeking a significant increase on his current £110,000 weekly wage with Ozil earning £350,000 since signing his new contract last season.
The Welshman's contract expires at the end of the season and Chelsea, Manchester United and Lazio have all been linked with a move for him.


Real Madrid will make one last attempt to sign Eden Hazard before the Spanish window closes, according to the Daily Mirror.
Real have been linked with the Chelsea star all summer, and with their window closing on August 31, they feel there is still time to do a deal.
Julen Lopetegui's side have not made a major signing this summer.


Rangers have made Hong Kong-based shareholder Julian Wolhardt a new director of the club.
Wolhardt, a Danish national, bought a 4.5 per cent stake in the club from Mike Ashley in June 2017. His appointment comes 10 days before a general meeting is held at the club over a proposed share issue.


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Calvin Miller has today signed a new one-year contract with Celtic, keeping him at the club until 2020.
The 20-year-old left back made four starts for Celtic last season.


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Miralem Pjanic has signed a new five-year deal with Juventus.
Pjanic, 28, has helped Juve win the Serie A and Coppa Italia double in both of his seasons at the club, following five years at Roma.


Burnley centre-back Jimmy Dunne has joined Hearts on a six-month loan deal, the Scottish Premiership club have announced.
Hearts have been on the lookout for centre half cover following injury to club captain Christophe Berra.


Defender Cuco Martina could make his Stoke debut as Wigan visit in the Sky Bet Championship on Wednesday.
The Curacao international, signed on a season-long loan from Everton, has been building up his fitness in the U23s side and will be assessed ahead of the game.


Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui wants Valencia forward Rodrigo Moreno, reports AS.
Lopetegui, whose side sold Cristiano Ronaldo earlier this summer, wants to strengthen his attacking options and believes Rodrigo would be a perfect fit for his squad.
However, senior figures in Madrid are reluctant to bring a new forward to the Bernabeu.
Madrid believe Rodrigo’s €120m buyout clause is excessive and feel €60m would be a fair fee for the Spain international.


Leeds United full-back Laurens De Bock has joined Belgian side K. V. Oostende on season-long loan.
The 25 year-old joined Leeds from Club Brugge and went on to make seven appearances for the Whites.
De Bock will spend the rest of the 2018/19 campaign on loan at the Jupiler Pro League side.


Virgil van Dijk's price tag is not an issue anymore, says Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who salutes the attributes of his Dutch centre-back.


Real Madrid forward Martin Odegaard has joined Vitesse Arnhem on a season-long loan, the European champions have announced.


Manchester United are planning a January move for Aaron Ramsey, reports the Manchester Evening News.
The Wales international’s future is up in the air after entering the final year of his current contract at the Emirates.
Ramsey famously rejected a move to Old Trafford before joining Arsenal from Cardiff in 2008.


Eight-time Olympic gold medallist Usain Bolt has teamed up with Central Coast Mariners for pre-season training and admits he has a lot to learn if he is to earn a place in the team.


Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid could be in direct competition to sign Chelsea left-back Marcos Alonso, according to AS.
Alonso has started the season in fine form, scoring and assisting a goal in Chelsea's 3-2 win over Arsenal on Saturday.
Real are seeking reinforcements at left back after allowing Theo Hernandez to join Real Sociedad on loan while Atletico are wary of an approach from PSG for Filipe Luis.
Alonso started his career with Real Madrid before leaving for Bolton Wanderers in search of first-team football back in 2010.


Aston Villa are looking to snatch Yannick Bolasie from Middlesbrough's grasp according to Keith Downie.


Out-of-favour Tottenham striker Vincent Janssen has undergone minor foot surgery which could scupper the chances of him leaving the club this month.
Janssen spent last season on loan at Fenerbahce and has been linked with a return to Turkey particularly after being stripped of the No.9 shirt at Spurs.
The Dutchman does not feature in Mauricio Pochettino's plans for the coming season.


St Mirren have signed Rangers defender Lee Hodson on a season-long loan deal.
The full-back has found himself surplus to requirements under new Rangers boss Steven Gerrard following the signings of Jon Flanagan and Borna Barisic this summer.


Chris Brunt has announced his retirement from international duty in order to focus on helping West Brom earn promotion back to the Premier League.
"After a period of lengthy consideration I have taken the difficult decision to retire from international football," he said in a statement.
"I have spent a lot of time thinking it over but I feel, at this point in my career, I need my sole football focus to be on helping West Bromwich Albion return to the Premier League."
Brunt made 65 appearances for Northern Ireland after making his debut in 2004 but missed out on participating at Euro 2016 due to a knee injury.


Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster is running out of time to leave the club before the European transfer window closes, reports the Daily Echo.
Forster has fallen behind Alex McCarthy and Angus Gunn at the pecking order at St Mary's and has been linked with Turkish clubs Fenerbahce and Besiktas this summer.


Arsenal are keen to tie Aaron Ramsey to a new contract but will not give him the kind of wages that his teammate Mesut Ozil earns, report the Evening Standard.
Ramsey is seeking a significant increase on his current £110,000 weekly wage with Ozil earning £350,000 since signing his new contract last season.
The Welshman's contract expires at the end of the season and Chelsea, Manchester United and Lazio have all been linked with a move for him.


St Mirren boss Alan Stubbs has refused to rule out a move for Kenny Miller, a day after he left his role as player-manager of Livingston.
St Mirren were interested in signing Miller during the summer, before he joined Livingston. If he was to sign this week, he could make his debut this Saturday... against Livingston.
Stubbs says there have been no discussions thus far, as Miller has “a few things to tie up” at his former club. However he admits Miller could be a target if the circumstances change in the coming days


Middlesbrough remain in discussions over deals with Everton over midfield duo Yannick Bolasie and Mo Besic, according to the Northern Echo.
Tony Pulis is keen to get loan deals wrapped up for the pair before Friday's game against West Brom.


Barcelona have already signed Arthur and Arturo Vidal this summer, but they remain keen on a move for PSG's Adrien Rabiot, according to Mundo Deportivo.
Rabiot's contract with PSG expires next summer and Barcelona think they will be able to get him for a fee worth £45m.
If Rabiot were to join it would raise question marks over Ivan Rakitic's future at Barcelona with the Croatian having been linked to PSG.


Gary Neville has defended Arsenal's new head coach Unai Emery amid criticism over his tactics during his first two Premier League games in charge.
Arsenal have lost both of their games this season against Manchester City and Chelsea but Neville insists that he has seen improvement early on in Emery's reign.
"For me, the idea of what the coach has been trying to work on is there," he said on Monday Night Football. "He is trying to undo quite a lot of the bad habits, to be quite honest with you, that have been going on for the last five or six years, that those players have had in them.
"But the principle is there and that's a big change for me. It's a big step forward and if I were Unai Emery after these first two games against Manchester City and Chelsea I would be taking the positives."


Catch up with the latest in the transfer world with help from our friends at Football Whispers...


Real Betis are interested in signing Manchester City's versatile Ukrainian Oleksandr Zinchenko but are waiting for Pep Guardiola's side to allow him to leave, reports ABC de Sevilla.
The Premier League champions may still require his services this season, but Betis are ready to arrange a loan deal should he become available.
The player's agent was in Seville last week to agree personal terms. Zinchenko turned down a permanent move to Wolves earlier in the summer.


Barcelona are making another attempt to sign Ajax midfielder Frenkie De Jong, according to Sport.
The club have already had one bid rejected, but the 21-year-old could leave this season if Ajax fail to win their Champions League playoff tie against Dynamo Kyiv.


Everton are demanding £28m plus add-ons for Ademola Lookman to join RB Leipzig, according to Sky sources.
Sky Sports News reported on Monday that Leipzig had made a fresh £22m offer for the 20-year-old winger after he impressed during a loan spell with the club in the second half of last season.
The German side have remained keen to sign him before their August 31 transfer deadline, with manager Ralf Rangnick stating earlier this summer: "We want him back and he wants to come."
Everton boss Marco Silva has said this summer that he wants to keep the player, that Lookman is the club’s “present and future”, and he was doing everything “to make him happy again”.
RB Leipzig head of recruitment Paul Mitchell - a potential candidate for Manchester United's new technical director role - is thought to be a long-term admirer of Lookman, who joined Everton from Charlton Athletic.


Former Tottenham and Newcastle defender Sebastien Bassong is training with QPR.
The Cameroon international has not played since March 2017 and was released by his last club Norwich in the summer that followed.
The 32-year-old played an hour of QPR’s Under-23 fixture against Nottingham Forest yesterday and is understood to initially be looking to gain fitness.
Rangers are bottom of the Championship having lost their first three league games – the latest a 7-1 defeat at West Brom on Saturday.


Bordeaux have begun preliminary talks with Thierry Henry’s representatives about the possibility of becoming their next manager, Sky Sports News understands.
The Ligue 1 side suspended current manager Gus Poyet on Friday after he labelled the French club a "disgrace" and the Uruguayan has said he no longer wishes to continue.
Arsene Wenger confirmed that Henry was interested in the job yesterday and said that he has the 'qualities' to be a success.


Sky Sports News reported earlier that Celtic are preparing a bid for Aberdeen central defender Scott McKenna but another player on their radar is Dutch defender Jeffrey Bruma.
According to Bild, Wolfsburg are open to selling him this summer for £5m after he was left out of their matchday squad against SV Elversberg at the weekend.
Bruma has been capped 25 times by the Netherlands and lists PSV, Hamburg, Leicester and Chelsea as his former clubs.


Manager-less Livingston have signed Togo international Steve Tevi Lawson.
The 24-year old fullback agreed to join the club at the weekend, before the departure of Kenny Miller.
Lawson has played 6 times for Togo – his most recent club was Neuchatel Xamax in Switzerland.


Brentford have confirmed the signing of Josh Dasilva with the 19-year-old signing a four-year contract.
Dasilva opted to reject a contract offer from Arsenal at the end of his deal and as such Brentford will have to pay the Premier League club a compensation fee.
Phil Giles, Brentford's Co-Director of Football, said: "It is great that Brentford now has a reputation for being able to offer that to the best young players and that they are keen to join us."


Celtic are preparing to bid for Aberdeen’s £10m-rated defender Scott McKenna, Sky Sports News understands.
The Dons have turned down bids for the 21-year old Scottish international from Hull and Swansea in the last two transfer windows.
Aberdeen are understood to value their centre half at around £10m which is some way off Celtic’s valuation of the player.
Aberdeen maintain their player is not for sale. He is contracted until 2023 having signed two new long-term deals in the past 12 months.


Manchester City's Belgium international defender Jason Denayer has joined Ligue 1 club Lyon on a permanent deal.
Denayer joined City in 2013 and spent time on loan at Celtic, Galatasaray (twice) and Sunderland without making a competitive appearance for his parent club.
It is being reported that the fee for Denayer is €10m with a potential €3.5m in add-ons.


Jurgen Klopp has admitted that everyone at Liverpool loves summer signing Naby Keita and that he believes the Guinean midfielder will continue to improve following an impressive display against Crystal Palace.
"He's very shy and not very extroverted but on the pitch you don't see it. He needs to settle a little bit. He's next to Sadio all the time [in training]," Klopp told Monday Night Football.
"Everybody loves Naby but I don't know if he loves us because he doesn't speak a lot. But football-wise you can see the potential is outstanding but we have to give him time."


PSG have been linked with a move for Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic but the La Liga club will not sell the Croatian for anything less than his €125m buyout fee, report Marca.
That would likely rule the Ligue 1 champions out of a deal as their hands are tied due to Financial Fair Play regulations following the blockbuster signings of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.


Chelsea want to keep Ruben Loftus-Cheek amid interest from clubs in Germany, Spain and France.
Loftus-Cheek has slipped down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge following the summer arrivals of Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic while Ross Barkley has also been picked ahead of him.
After playing for England at the World Cup, Loftus-Cheek was not named in Chelsea's 18-man squad against Arsenal on Saturday and he is said to be considering his options.


Borussia Dortmund are keen on a deal to sign Paco Alcacer on loan from Barcelona, reports L'Equipe.
Alcacer is not part of Ernesto Valverde's plans for the coming season and has been linked with Valencia, Real Betis and Alaves.
Dortmund are seeking a replacement for Michy Batshuayi who has joined Valencia on loan.


Mike Phelan, who was Manchester United's assistant manager when Paul Pogba first left the club in 2012, has replied to Mino Raiola over the agent's comments this morning...


Brighton striker Glenn Murray has thanked Chris Hughton for giving him an opportunity in the Premier League and not replacing him with a big-name player as other promoted clubs have done.
"You see with some of the promoted teams this year that they have got rid of some players and have brought some big names in. Thankfully our manager did not do that," Murray said.
"He gave everyone that helped the club to the Premier League an opportunity in the Premier League and I think most of us have taken that opportunity."


Former goalkeeper Steve Harper has returned to Newcastle to join the club's backroom staff, five years after leaving the club in 2013.
Harper was Newcastle's longest-serving player, first breaking through as an 18-year-old in 1993, and will become their goalkeeping coach with the club's Under-23 and Under-18 sides.


Chelsea are to offer Eden Hazard a new £300k-per-week deal to ward off Barcelona and Real Madrid interest, according to the Daily Mail.
The newspaper reports the Belgian has held talks with the club over a new contract, but is yet to agree terms with the Blues.


ICYMI last night, Reading have completed the signing of winger Josh Sims from Southampton on a season-long loan deal.


A swift riposte from Gary Neville to Mino Raiola's comments, after Paul Pogba's agent took aim at fellow pundit - and former Manchster United player - Paul Scholes...


Paul Pogba's agent Mino Raiola is normally a quiet, reserved man when it comes to publicity - but the Italian isn't showing that this morning on Twitter.
He hasn't aimed his anger at Manchester United per se, but is there some undertone in there?


Jamie Carragher believes that Virgil Van Dijk's man of the match display against Crystal Palace shows why Liverpool spent £75m to sign him from Southampton in January.
"Tonight is the reason why you spend £75m on Virgil van Dijk," Jamie Carragher said on Monday Night Football following Liverpool's 2-0 win at Selhurst Park.
"There were two or three minutes to go and Liverpool give away a free-kick in a dangerous position. He wins the first header and it goes out for a corner. Then the next one comes in and that is where the breakaway comes, and that's the goal."


Manchester City were one of five clubs to vote against bringing the transfer deadline forward last summer and they might be lamenting their luck after seeing two players sidelined with injuries.
Following the news that Kevin De Bruyne will be out for up to three months with a knee injury, City have confirmed that No.2 goalkeeper Claudio Bravo has ruptured his Achilles tendon.
City will be unable to sign a replacement for the Chilean until January so young academy graduate Daniel Grimshaw is in line for a promotion to provide backup to Ederson.


There's more fall-out to Manchester United's defeat at Brighton - with Gary Neville issuing a plea to chief executive Ed Woodward to improve the club's transfer strategy.
"Ed Woodward's job is to deliver profits on and off the pitch," he told Monday Night Football. "Profit on the pitch is performance and trophies - league titles and Champions Leagues.
"The club are delivering off the field, Ed Woodward has done an incredible job in terms of the commercial operation and the way in which the club makes an operating profit, but there is no doubt he should put a footballing structure underneath him that his extremely serious and can go and deliver for him on the pitch."
Read more from him here.


Jamie Carragher does not think Jose Mourinho will be Manchester United manager next season and suggested he could even leave the club at some point in this campaign.
"I'm not jumping to a knee-jerk reaction because Manchester United lost a game away from home," he told Monday Night Football.
"But after what's happened in the summer, if performances like that continue, I don't think Jose Mourinho will be the manager of Manchester United next season - he may not be manager at some time this season.
"There will be coaches up and down the country looking at what Mourinho said in the summer about bringing players in, a centre-back. [Of the four they have] Jose has spent £30m on two of them and two are England internationals in Phil Jones and Chris Smalling."




There has been plenty of speculation over Jose Mourinho's future at Manchester United, particularly after their 3-2 defeat to Brighton with Zinedine Zidane rumoured to be a potential replacement.
However, a senior source at the club told The Guardian: "Why would we discuss Zidane when there is no job?"


  • Aaron Ramsey's Arsenal career is on the line after Unai Emery dropped the midfielder at Chelsea. (Mail)
  • Manchester United have given their backing to Jose Mourinho and insisted they have not sounded out Zinedine Zidane about taking over at Old Trafford. (Times)
  • Chelsea are to offer Eden Hazard a new £300k-per-week deal to ward off Barcelona and Real Madrid interest. (Mail)
  • Ruben Loftus-Cheek is eyeing a loan transfer to Spain after barely being used in Chelsea's first two games but Maurizio Sarri wants him to stay and fight for his place. (Mirror)
  • Jose Mourinho's plea to Ed Woodward that Manchester United should sell Anthony Martial before Europe's transfer window closes is set to be ignored. (Star)


In pretty much the dead of night last night it was confirmed Mario Balotelli would be staying at Nice, despite various links with other clubs.
Balotelli even failed to report back for pre-season training initially, but Nice's twitter account has now confirmed the Italian forward will remain with them this season.
"The Italian international expressed his wishes to the directors," they said. "There will be a third season for the forward. The agreement was signed by all parties on Monday evening.
"Suspended for the first 3 games of Ligue 1, the Gym's forward, who has scored 43 goals since arriving at the club, will be available for selection next week, ready for the trip to Lyon.


Welcome back to the Transfer Blog, early risers. Let's have a quick look at the big stories doing the rounds today...
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Leicester City pre-season guide

As you will all be aware of by now, LCFC are a team not to be underestimated or written off, and are a team that can play with an attacking vigour that is complemented by their defensive perseverance and determination. The focus and confidence that was displayed so admirably throughout the course of last season tie together these qualities and as such, The Foxes are poised to establish themselves as a solid Premier League team this season.
LCFC could provide a number of quality options at cheap price points, many having the bonus of a small selection percentage, so put the kettle on, get your reading glasses out, and enjoy a brief summary of the selection choices ahead.
After the devastation of the 12/13 playoffs Damn you, Troy Deeney!, a sensational 13/14 season in the Championship saw Leicester truly shine, netting a mighty 83 goals and achieving a phenomenal 102 points, with a mere 6 losses along the way. Promotion was assured and the 14/15 return to the PL was to be an exciting prospect, but for the longest time, a frustrating and bleak reality. After some smashing performances against a run of tough opposition, namely Everton, Chelsea, Arsenal, Stoke and Manchester United in the first 5 GWs, the team displayed dynamism and fight, direction and commitment, and the results (DLDWW) were excitingly promising. This spirit never wavered, however, after the monumental high of a 5-3 home win against Manchester United, providence turned. 2 draws and 11 losses later, LCFC sat seemingly hopeless at the bottom of the table. A brief glimmer of hope over Christmas saw 2 wins and a draw, but back again came the poor results. 6 losses and 2 draw later, a lesser side would have capitulated, and like origami, folded under the pressure. However, other than two less than average performances against Villa and West Ham, the side came out every week and played with consistent teamwork, ambition and direction that was painfully unrewarded, but will hopefully prove to be their greatest asset going forward.
Gloriously wrapping up the end of the 14/15 campaign with 7 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss (to a Chelsea side looking to bury any competition for the title by that point) Leicester City topped the end of season form tables in Europe. Over the last 9 games, scoring 17 and conceding just 9, the fight finally came to fruition and survival was at long last assured!
With a number of solid, smart signings over the summer, and potentially more to come, optimism is justifiably high going into the new campaign.
In contrast to last season, these are fairly good opening fixtures; I would say six out of eight here are feasibly winnable.
It is worth noting, before you read any of the following, that the exciting appointment of Claudio Ranieri will have a significant impact in the team selection and squad rotation, which is going to be very hard to predict until the season is underway. Ranieri has encouragingly stated, in his first interview as LCFC Manager, that he is looking to play to the current strengths of the squad rather than overhauling entirely and attempting to fit a square peg into a round hole. He explicitly mentioned admiration of the style that Pearson had successfully worked into the team, of three and the back, and two on the flanks, which ended up being the decisive strategic move to ensure survival in the Premier League. It is also noteworthy that, over the course of his long career, Ranieri has earned the nickname ‘The Tinkerman’, for his liberal approach to squad rotation. It remains to be seen how ‘nailed on’ anyone will be in the new LCFC, but I think we will line up much like during the last couple of months of last season; pacey and attacking, utilising the wings and the speed of the frontmen, whilst relying on a tough back three and a deep centre midfield, who enable the rest of the side in from of them through initially, titanium resistance and then smart, creative forward play.
SCHMEICHEL - 4.5m: Leicester City’s and the Danish National Team’s #1 keeper; The Main Dane, Son of the legendary Peter Schmeichel, Kasper is the same age now as when his father signed for Manchester United. A spell of injury put him out for a few months last season, which coincided with our poor run of results. An incredible stopper from close range, he has saved us on many crucial occasions when the defence was caught short. Cheap, nailed on, and will be great for bonus points from saved shots, seeing as LCFC are not quite the public transport valets as some other noteworthy teams in the Premier League are!
Verdict: A solid choice for #1 goalkeeper this season. The only thing that puts me off sticking him between the sticks is that there are some strong options in the Leicester defence, and I would not advise gambling two clean sheets on one team until the season is underway and we can see who is performing well enough for that risky strategy.
HAMER – 4m: Signing from Charlton Athletic last season as a backup for Kasper, and was soon called upon to be just that. In spite of only one seasons Championship experience, he found himself facing the best in the world in the Premier League, and performed admirably. He lost his place almost as quickly as it came though, with the return of Schmeichel and the signing of Schwarzer, and he now finds himself third on the bench.
Verdict: Avoid, unless you are playing the no rotation strategy of doubling up with both keepers from one team, to keep things cheap and ensure a starting keeper each week. LCFC are as good a shout as any for this; the back line has been significantly strengthened with the signing of Huth, the current formation of three at the back working as well as it does (conceding only 5 in 9 games while deploying this at the end of the season under Pearson), and the fact that there will still be more chance for bonus points for saves made than in a more established Premier League side.
SCHWARZER – 4m: After signing from Chelsea midway through last season, the 42 year old immediately replaced Hamer in goal whilst Kasper was still recovering from an injured foot, despite Hamer’s solid performances. Schwarzer’s decades of top flight experience will have bought valuable contributions to the training ground and the dressing room; however this double edge sword means that he is unlikely to keep that second spot on the bench for long, with a young, athletic, and proven backup behind him.
Verdict: Avoid. Schwarzer played with Pearson at Middleborough, their previous relationship being a contributing factor to his signing, and it is unclear if Ranieri will trust the old Aussie over Hamer. I would wager he will not (he was not on the Barclays Fantasy Football website team sheet list as a selection option until a couple of days ago, so I’m sure there are others far more informed that I who were expecting the same!), but I suppose we will have to wait and see.
MORGAN – 4.5m: Captain to LCFC and ‘The Reggae Boyz’ Jamaican National Team, Wes is as solid as they come in a back line. Last season the CB stopped more shots than a police bust at a college party, and led by example in a defence whose strategy (at least until the 343 formation had been successfully applied) largely revolved around acrobatic bravery in front of goal bound balls. If Kasper was Whitney Houston, Wes would be Kevin Costner. This could prove very lucrative with the new bonus points system in place this season (a bonus point for every 2 blocked shots, tackles in the box, or interceptions for a defender, rather than for every 3). I’m putting the extraordinarily high ownership (18.7%) down to the fact that he is the highest scoring 4.5m defender from last season. This is a team selection strategy for the uninitiated, and I would in fact use it as justification to avoid him, as the high ownership will inevitably see his value drop quickly if results are not instant or consistent. He will be missing the start of the season due to Jamaica's fantastic run in the Gold Cup, so expect that value to drop immediately as uninformed fantasy managers notice his absence.
Verdict: I suspect that while the improvements in the new bonus points system for shots, blocks and clearances will benefit a CB with the ability of Wes, the potential for reward for a couple of our other defenders, from their attacking qualities, will probably outweigh this. However, a nailed on 4.5m defender in a team that got as many clean sheets as De Gea managed last season could prove a viable bench or rotation option. That high ownership means that he will drop in price quite quickly, especially considering he will miss the first few games of the season, as opposed to Huth, who is just as nailed on and will play in the same position, alongside Wasilewski and Morgan at CB. Certainly consider picking him up later when his price has settled at it's lowest value
SCHLUPP – 5m: Schlupp is listed as a defender despite the fact that he played LM or LW 25 times last season, and only in LB 5 times. He is frighteningly fast, strong, attacking and direct, and will launch explosive runs down the flanks, slicing defenders to bits, cutting in to shoot, or hitting it from 20 yards out. Pearson would play him as a LW with three CB, and as Ranieri claimed in his first interview as manager, he will be looking to stick to this formation that worked so well last season. Schlupp is young, came through our youth academy system and is improving in great bounds, having recently established himself as a first team player in the Ghanaian National Team and one of our most reliable attacking and creative outlets. It is entirely likely that he will utterly explode this season, and I would wager that the 3 goals and 4 assists which he tallied last season will look paltry come GW38.
Verdict: Buy him. First name on my team sheet; an attacking midfielder listed as a defender is enough to justify the 5m price tag alone, but not only is Schlupp shaping up to be one of the most exciting young talents in the Premier League, he is a playmaker and goal scorer in a team that will also grind out their fair share of clean sheets. There are rotation risks with the new man Christian Fuchs, who has played very similar roles in his time at Schalke 04, at LB, LM and LWB. However, Fuchs is far more imposing in defence, and Schlupp far more direct in attack. Fuchs could play alongside Wes and Huth with three at the back, or at LB, with Schlupp in front. I see them forming a formidable partnership together on the left. Hold fire on both if you are feeling cautious and want to wait for the team selection and formation to settle down, but expect to see big things from the glorious Ghanian this season.
WASILEWSKI – 4.5m: The monstrous Polish International will likely line up alongside Huth and Morgan to complete the back three that worked so well towards the end of last season. He is, much like his two partners in the same position, a big, mean, persistent ‘no nonsense’ defender. He is prone to the odd overly aggressive challenge, and as such, is a yellow card waiting to happen every time the opposition have the ball anywhere near him. He does the job, if not occasionally with a little too much vigour, and has won the hearts of many fans with his fierce contribution to defence last season.
Verdict: Formidable defender for the team, but choose Morgan or Huth (choose Huth) if you want a 4.5m Leicester CB, as Wasilewski is a little less reliable and experienced that his counterparts in the same position, and as such, may see himself rotated out of the squad by ‘The Tinkerman’.
HUTH – 4.5m: Since signing on loan from Stoke in the January transfer window last season, the gigantic German Mauer proved to be the fulcrum in a strong, aggressive back three, alongside Morgan and Wasilewski. Signing for three years this summer off the back of his terrific influence in Leicester’s Premier League survival campaign, he has clearly established himself as a defensive staple in the line-up. He will get up into the oppositions box for corners and has a powerful head on his shoulders too, making him somewhat of a goal threat from set pieces, scoring one in the 13 or so appearances he made for us last season.
Verdict: Similarly to Morgan and Wasilewski, I think that our fullbacks/wingbacks will provide more lucrative returns by way of the potential for goals and assists over the centerbacks on whom they rely. A strong 4.5m choice if what you need is a cheap nailed on starter for a team that will likely be rewarded with a medium amount of clean sheets over the course of the season. The towering head of his could net a couple over the course of the season; an area in which the set piece proficiency of new signing Fuchs will surely aid.
SIMPSON – 4m: After a successful promotion campaign with QPR, Simpson signed for LCFC last year, and eventually earnt himself an occasional spot at LB when playing the now out of favour flat back four. Only 7 appearances, stiff competition and a formation that puts others in the squad ahead of him; not a promising fantasy pick at all.
Verdict: Avoid. I thought he had been sacked earlier this year for throttling his girlfriend, but apparently not. He displayed hard work, if nothing else spectacular, in his appearances last season. He is versatile in defence, and will be looking to start fresh, with a clean slate, in front of a new manager who has not settled on a formation or a team sheet yet, which should be taken into account for his potential in the upcoming season, but I would not expect to see him play much at all, other than for some squad rotation at some point mid-season.
DE LAET – 4.5m: Once a staple name on the team sheet in the Championship, De Laet inspires more in terms of a good fantasy team name (‘Ctrl+Alt+De Laet’) than a good fantasy squad selection. Starting in 20 games last season, it became clear that he was prone to making abominable errors in between his regular unassuming defensive role at RB/RWB, for which he competes with Simpson. His mistakes cost us goals last season, and once again, the current favoured formation will see him find it even harder to secure a spot in the starting line-up. The imminent and likely signing of young French RB Marcel Tisserand is an axe hovering over De Laet’s head.
Verdict: Avoid. Not nailed on, nowhere near as competent or attacking as our other fullbacks, and better picks in Morgan and Huth at the 4.5m price point.
KONCHESKY – 4.5m: If you had asked a LCFC fan halfway through the 14/15 season where we need to strengthen the squad, 9 times out of 10 you would have heard lamentation for a LB. Despite the fact that, over the years, he has been a generally reliable defender who works hard and likes to get forward and take the odd shot on, I can’t help but fret and watch, for the entire 90 minutes he is on the pitch, as you would watch a film like Halloween; holding your breath and waiting for the inevitable gruesome mess. It has generally been considered that LB was our weakest position on the field, because Konchesky was our only LB. The signing of Christian Fuchs this summer has relieved that concern.
Verdict: Avoid. He is past his best, and finds himself lacking the pace and vigour needed in the Premier League in that position, and despite striking the odd decent shot last season, even scoring a screamer against Villa, I don’t see much game time or potential in him this season at all.
MOORE – 4m: The young England under 21 International is our reserve CB, sitting on the bench behind Wasilewski, Huth and Morgan. A player with ample potential, I am certain he will become a solid defender in time. However, only 11 Premier League appearances last season and the current solid accord between the three CBs ahead of him mean that it is almost certain he will play off the bench, if at all, for the most part of the season. As Wes is out for the Gold Cup early on, he could see some initial starts, but expect to see them wane with Morgans return.
Verdict: Avoid. Reserve CB, will need an injury or a poor run of form from Huth, Morgan or Wasilewski to get game time. That being said, Moore is a young player who is developing fast. This, coupled with Ranieri’s apparent favour of rotation, could see more time on the pitch that I am assuming he will get.
FUCHS – 5m: Captain of the Austrian National Team, the aptly named Fuchs is an extremely exciting improvement to the squad. With his wealth of Bundesliga, Champions League and International experience it is entirely possible that he will hit the ground running in the Premier League. A set piece specialist, he succeeded in 2 goals and 4 assists for Schalke 04 last season, and in a team set up as LCFC are it is likely that he will be utilised for his attacking prowess as much as his defensive contribution. He will more than likely take direct and indirect free kicks, and even corners. Albrighton, Mahrez (and Cambiasso… please, please, please stay with us!) will provide competition for set pieces, so again, we will have to wait and see who wins Ranieri’s confidence.
Verdict: Fuchs could be an incredibly lucrative pick for 5m. Virtually nailed on in a fairly strong defensive side, with a mind for attacking play; top class crossing and delivery and a wicked long shot, he presents all the qualities needed for a top fantasy defender. The quick flank breaks that LCFC affirm great proficiency in will play to his strengths, and I am hopeful that he will prove to be one of the Premier League signings of the season. Watch for the potential of rotation with Schlupp, as discussed above; the returns from his set piece duties could offset the more direct attacking disposition of Schlupp.
MAHREZ – 5.5m: The Desert Fox and now established Algerian National team staple, Mahrez is a player who is developing some incredible creative attacking skill. A little unpolished, his relatively young age and the clear improvements he has made during his time in CAM, RW and RM at Leicester City so far suggest the potential for him to become a phenomenal attacking midfielder in time. 4 goals and 5 assists in his debut Premier League season, he is poised for an exciting campaign to come. He is a wildly skilful and direct player, carving runs from midfield straight through opposition, goal-ward bound, or darting past a backline into the corner where he will swing crosses into the box. His chance creation and through ball ability is strong, and he can aptly put himself in great positions for reciprocation, making him dangerous on the break and in fluid, fast attacks. On his day, Mahrez will be the most dangerous man on the pitch, as he joyfully displayed last season, for instance, with two goals and ‘Man of the Match’ against Southampton. His shooting can be fairly wayward and is an area that needs work, but when he has his eye in, he is dangerous from 20 yards out. He takes the odd corner and free kick too, but those honours are currently under contention with the new signing of Fuchs. I see him getting a lot more assists this year, and a brilliant goal from distance during pre-season training suggessts he has been working on that tempramental shooting ability.
Verdict: When he turns it on, he will be everywhere at once; shooting from distance, taking players on, charging forward towards goal, making quick and clever passes, or making distance down the wing to fire crosses into the box. He is, however, slightly unreliable as he continues to develop his game, but at 5.5m, presents great potential in a cheap attacking midfielder. Consider Mahrez one to watch.
ALBRIGHTON – 5m: Albrighton’s first season with The Foxes, after signing from Aston Villa, saw the RM succeed with 2 goals and 4 assists in 18 appearances. His strengths lie in his solid crossing ability and eye for quick, key passes. If he is not looking to find possession on the wing, ready to put a ball into the box, he will plant the ball into the path of the front runners as soon as he finds himself in space. This plays well to the strengths of the squads attacking options, and could see him utilised frequently for such contributions. He often takes corners and free kicks, but as previously mentioned, this duty could be bestowed upon Fuchs.
Verdict: The only other current option alongside Mahrez for LCFC midfield coverage. His attacking and set piece potential could see good returns from the not-quite-budget midfielder, but with the addition of Fuchs in the squad and the clear ability in Mahrez, I would hesitate before lining him up in my starting 11; certainly one for the watchlist, but better options are presented elsewhere in the Leicester side.
KING – 4.5m: A first name in the starting line up in CM since 2008, the Welsh International has been a reliable player for LCFC in the middle of the pitch for years now. Whilst you would not necessarily label him an attacking midfielder, he certainly has an eye for goal, and will take a shot on from distance if given the space. In fact, as Leicester’s all time highest goal-scoring midfielder, bagging only 2 during last season’s Premier League campaign was disappointingly lower than his normal season average. He did not play consistently, however, and the team in its entirety found it difficult to score in front of Premier League opposition. As LCFC have strengthened the defence and forwards over the last year, it has left the midfield in noticeable need of similar talent acquisition. King is by no means head and shoulders above the likes of James and Drinkwater, and does not supply the same kind of creative forward play that Albrighton and Mahrez offer. Read this either way. The lack of options in CM could necessitate game time for King, but formation, squad rotation and potential new signings could push him even further away from the team sheet than he was last season.
Verdict: Avoid. At 4.5m, with his forward minded disposition, he is certainly one of the best midfield options out there at that price point if he plays. However, far from nailed on, and proving last season that he found it far easier to score in the Championship, I would wager that his time as a LCFC midfield pillar is being weathered away.
JAMES – 4.5m: Currently suffering from a knee injury, it could be a number of months before he returns to the squad. An aggressive and hard-working midfielder, he will be fighting to create attacks for those in forward positions, or taking the initiative himself and hitting (usually unsuccessful) efforts in from distance, if he is not risking a sending off by throwing himself into heady tackles from deep.
Verdict: Avoid. Injured, and not expected to be back by even Christmas. I couldn’t tell you where he would line up in the midfield roster anyway, as for the CM positions, Cambiasso has really set the bar so high it’s seeing pink elephants in the wallpaper.
DRINKWATER - 4.5m: Another solid mainstay on the team sheet during the Championship promotion campaign of 13/14 season, Drinkwater scored 7 and made hard work look easy in the midfield. He has seen strong competition for the CM spot in the Premier League; as with King and James, none of whom shined, they all suffered from rotation whilst Pearson was figuring out the formation and best squad for each game. Drinkwater has a very good eye in picking out forward through balls, and takes tackling seriously. However, a Premier League first team position is far from guaranteed.
Verdict: Avoid. He was brilliant in the Championship promotion campaign, but this from did not really translate to a difficult first season in the Premier League. I would certainly expect a lot of rotation, and if we do not sign a new midfielder to dominate in the role that King, James and Drinkwater have struggled somewhat with in the 14/15 campaign, we will certainly suffer. Here’s to hoping that a stronger team with a year’s experience behind them will see our CMs look as good as they did a couple of years ago, but I would not hold my breath.
HAMMOND – 4.5m: Older and far more defensive in midfield than the aforementioned CMs, Hammond saw only a handful of games last season, but still displays good control and a great talent for reading play. He may get more game time if Cambiasso does not stay, but I would expect to see him used as an occasional substitute, especially if we sign another much needed CM. Again, this is our weakest area on the field, in anxious need of a new signing to relieve the mighty defensive back line and to enable our rapid forwards. Dean Hammond can do neither.
Verdict: Avoid. Will not be used much this season I would reckon, and generally used to playing more defensive roles, he is not a good fantasy pick. The CM spot will get strengthened eventually with a new signing, and I would then call time on the first team LCFC career of Hammond.
KNOCKAERT – 4.5m: I don’t know why he is still listed on the website, as he was sold to Standard Liege this summer.
Verdict: Does not play in the Premier League anymore. Buy only if you want to prove a point to your mates that you can beat them with a squad of just 14.
ULLOA – 6m: Signing from Brighton & Hove at the start of last season, the powerful Argentine centre forward was then our record signing. He justified the ~£8m we paid in the first month of his Leicester career, scoring 5 in 5 games, displaying a fantastic work ethic, great positional aptitude and a strong defensive contribution. He quickly became my favourite player in the side for this quality effort and attitude. Unusually nimble with the ball at his feet, Ulloa can hold the ball and play others in as successfully as he can make the six yard box his own. He excels with his head, and is our only real target man; the pace in our wingers and the set-up of the squad as it was when we shined during the last couple of months of last season will play very well indeed to the strong centre forwards strengths. The swift price rise he saw last season attest to the fantastic contribution he can make to the team, but his value subsequently plummeted when the entire side suffered a mirage inducing goal drought that began immediately after the riotous performance against Manchester United, in which Ulloa netted a brace. During the terrible, sustained run of losses, the side played good attacking football consistently, and were never short on creating chances. Had Ulloa had a more clinical finish, this run could quite possibly have ended sooner.
*Verdict: A quality centre forward, I trust that Ulloa will enjoy even more success this season than he achieved in the last, with 11 goals and 4 assists. His size and strength and dexterity with the ball at his feet give him opportunity for hold up play, quick lay-offs and passes in to enable assists. The whole team is shaping up strongly for this season, which should help Ulloa’s goal tally increase. Kramaric, Vardy and Okazaki all play similar styles of forward play, and as a straight up centre forward, Ulloa has a role of his own to fill in a team that is prone to pounce on the Premier League and score far more successfully this season than in the last.
VARDY – 6m: Delightfully deft with the ball at his feet and frighteningly aggressive at pace, Vardy earned his debut England call up off the back of some terrific displays in the Premier League last season. Not necessarily gifted with the most skilful ability or poise, what he lacks in finesse, he more than makes up for in aggression and tenacity. Vardy will ungracefully run hard at a defence, often from deep, and will tear them to pieces for it. Formations fail, players are pulled out of position, fouls are drawn, and nerves are wrecked when he takes it upon himself to blaze forward. His style of play works well to enable the centre forwards and attacking players by way of the space he can create, as defenders fight to keep up with his ferocious runs down the flanks. Here, he will tally assists by flinging crosses in towards his team mates. When he is hot, Vardy is microwaved jam. 4 assists, a wonderful solo goal, drawing two penalties and baiting a red card in a 5-3 victory, he terrorised the Manchester United back line into such dissolution I almost started to feel bad for them. Almost…
Verdict: 12 assists and 5 goals scored last season, he is more than capable of repeating this in the forthcoming campaign. More competition for his position with the signing of Okazaki and the improvement in Kramaric mean that rotation is almost assured at some point during the season, but Vardy is a player who, even off the bench, has ability in his wild and antagonistic approach that can change games. A bonus point and yellow card magnet in equal measure, but a threat from anywhere on the pitch, consider Vardy one to snap up if he nails a starting spot.
NUGENT – 5.5m: Basically the poor man’s Austin. He was invaluable in previous seasons, and his partnership with Vardy in the promotion campaign of 13/14 was devastating; he scored 20 of their combined 36 league total; his cool and happy disposition once belied a vicious goal scoring capacity, however, in the PL, he has failed to repeat the success he saw in the Championship, and I imagine he will sit last in line on the bench.
Verdict: Avoid. He will not likely get game time, and will hit the post or scuff it wide if he does.
KRAMARIC – 6m: The super sharp Croatian International, tipped by many in his home nation to be the next Davor Suker, was an astonishing, and club record breaking ~9.5m acquisition to the side in January. Kramaric was to shun persistent interest from Chelsea in favour of The Foxes and the promise of game time and development, signing during our time floundering at the foot of the table. This attests to his desire to accept a challenge, and shines light on a very humble and hardworking attitude. 35 goals in 27 games for Rijeka in the 13/14 season, he excels in poaching at close range, chip shots and flair. A skilful and creative striker, one who can move and run with swift intelligence, his potential is monumental. Wisely eased into the side by Pearson, extravagant efforts that may have worked well for Rijeka in the Croatian league have been easily countered by Premier League defences, and he has been caught in possession and muscled off the ball far too easily. This is clearly improving, and he scored his first home goal on the last day of the season. A summer of training with the squad will have hopefully stoked the fires further, under a firework whose fuse is ready to ignite.
Verdict: He still has some work to do to translate his game to the necessary quality to contend in the Premier League, but it is surely only a matter of time before the Croatian starts to turn heads all over Europe. Until then, Ulloa and Vardy present safer bets, but as soon as he starts scoring, he may not stop, so keep your eyes on his progress.
OKAZAKI – 6m: As exciting a prospect as Kramaric, Okazaki could adapt to the demands of the Premier League fairly quickly due to his ample Bundesliga experience with Stuttgart and Mainz 05, with whom he has scored an impressive 15 goals last season, becoming the most prolific Japanese player in German League history. Good with both feet and a genius first touch, he will appear in the middle of the area like a flash, and with a keen eye, will fire goal-wards. He can control a wayward cross with the most nimble of touches, and has a potency for on-target shots from tight angles or difficult positions while under pressure. A forward who knows how to be in the right place at the right time, any loose ball in the penalty area is one touch away from goal with Okazaki in the box, if he can stand up strong to pressure.
*Verdict: If Leicester’s problems last season stemmed from a lack of clinical finishing in front of goal (they did), then Okazaki looks set to remedy that. Once again, I would hold fire on selection as of yet, we do not know how well he will perform in new colours in a new league, or where he will line up on the team sheet. If he settles in fast, the potential for points in this 6m forward is huge, and if he nails a starting spot in front of goal, the likes of Kramaric, Vardy, Mahrez and Albrighton could very well feed the Japanese forwards appetite for goals.
TISSERAND (DEF): A young RB who has worked with Ranieri in the past and looks set to be on his way to The King Power soon.
Verdict: Could replace De Laet, and will probably be used in squad rotation until he establishes himself.
CAMBIASSO (MID): Our talisman last season, his experience and influence, on and off the field, provided strength and concord throughout the squad. He was our platform in CDM, creating play from deep and dictating the pace of the game and the direction of play with acute positional and tactical awareness. Arguably the signing of the season, Cambiasso was utterly indispensable, and it is more than likely that we would be playing Championship football this year had it not been for his magnificent contribution.
Verdict: Can take free kicks and corners, will poach goals from out of nowhere with his thunderous striking ability, and makes more forward passes than a drunk single Aunt at a wedding. ‘He’s maaagic, you knooow; Esteban Cambiassooooo!’
A CENTRAL MIDFIELDER: Watch this space… We narrowly missed signing N’Zonzi, and if we can re-sign Cambiasso and supplement him with another secure signing in this position, then watch out Europa League! We are coming for you!
Thanks for reading! This was a lot of fun to write, and I am so ready for the start of the season by now, I may go mad before kick off on the 8th August! Comments and edits welcome, any feedback and input will be much appreciated.
EDIT Cambiasso has sadly decided not to re-sign for the Foxes. He will, without a doubt, go down as a squad Legend for his immense contributions and influence last season. Thank you, Esteban, it's been glorious :') This only intensifies the need to sign another CM/CDM soon, and will present a good opportunity for Hammond, King and Drinkwater to get on the team sheet.
Hamer has been loaned full season to Nottingham Forest, with a recall clause. Good luck to him, he is a fine keeper and will benefit and improve further from game time, waiting to return and reclaim his second spot as the clock ticks on Schwarzer's ageing career. (As Hamer has been loaned out, Schwarzer has the second spot under Kasper now. With the dismissal of Adam Smith for the incident in Thailand and the expiry of Conrad Logan's contract a short while ago, we have no third keeper. Perhaps Ranieri has a keeper in his crosshairs?)
Pre-Season stand out players so far, after two games, multiple formation changes and 22 substitutions... Mahrez has impressed greatly, with flair and creativity in attacking midfield roles; Schlupp has displayed characteristic pace and power down the wing, stoking the fires of my high expectations for him this season; Albrighton has supplied a brilliant array of accurate, smart crosses into the box; Schmeichel has been on point, in solid form, and has made a couple of wonder-saves; Kramaric looks to be linking up well with his attacking partners, looked sharp, keen and scored a phenomenal goal from the edge of the penalty area.
Fuchs and Okazaki will need more time to settle, but both displayed glimmers of their potential amidst a somewhat temperamental and confusing baptism into the squad.
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Daily Transfer News Thread - 08/08/2018

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Hibernian have announced the signing of midfielder Emerson Hyndman on loan from Bournemouth until January.


Sky sources understand Rangers have rejected West Brom's £3m bid for James Tavernier and will not consider selling until their valuation of the full-back has been met.



Morecambe survived relegation to the National League by the skin of their teeth last season and have beefed up their forward line in a bid to avoid a repeat performance this season.


Manchester United legend Paul Scholes does not believe his former club have the quality to challenge Manchester City or Liverpool in the Premier League this season.
"When you look at Manchester City, possibly Liverpool, I don't think they [United] have the quality of those two teams at the minute. Liverpool have made some really good signings. United finished above them last season," said Scholes, speaking in Hong Kong.
"I just don't see United getting closer to City. City are a really good side, great manager, some great players, a way of playing that they all know about and Manchester United seem to be not too sure what's going on.
"You don't really know the team, you don't really know the players, you don't know how they're going to perform from one week to the next. So I hope I'm wrong, but I don't see them challenging for the league this year."


The Transfer Centre rounds up of all the latest summer transfer stories from Sky Sports News.


Hartlepool goalkeeper Ryan Catterick has joined Guisborough Town on a short-term loan deal.



New Southampton goalkeeper Angus Gunn says working with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City played a big part in his development.


Here’s the latest from Sky Sports News’ Richard Graves…
“It’s certainly never dull is it around Newcastle United, especially in the transfer window. You feel they are probably still in the market for another striker, despite bringing in Salomon Rondon on a season-long loan. They also need to strengthen in defence. Federico Fernandez, the Swansea City defender is certainly one name that has been linked with Newcastle. In terms of attacking options Liverpool striker Danny Ings is another name.”


Rangers boss Steven Gerrard entertained journalists in his news conference by acting as translator for new signing Nikola Katic.


SSN reporter Roger Clarke gives us an update from Tottenham's training ground in Enfield:
"It will be interesting to see what Spurs do next, with Villa seemingly digging their heels in. They are saying Jack Grealish is not for sale.
"So do Spurs go back in with an improved offer and hope they can force Villa's hand going into TDD? Or do they look elsewhere?
"But Grealish seems to be the one they really seem focussed on and have been all summer..."


Alexis Sanchez says he has put last season behind him and it is all about winning things with Manchester United this term.


Efe Ambrose is confident Hibernian can brush off the loss of Scotland midfielder John McGinn and produce another memorable European performance against Molde.
McGinn was absent from training on Tuesday and Wednesday after going down to Birmingham for talks as Aston Villa battle Celtic for his signature.
"I don't think it's going to affect us," the former Celtic defender said. "We are a team, not an individual. We know it's been coming so we will just focus on the game, that's the most important thing for Hibs.
"We know if John is here he is a plus for the team, he is a good player. So we are without John but we are still here and we still have the quality of player to do well.
"So we focus on the game and leave John to deal with everything that is going on around him.
"We wish him well but in football players come and go so we are not going to be distracted by his transfer."


Hibernian are in talks with Bournemouth over the loan move for Emerson Hyndman, according to Sky sources.
The American has previously played in Scotland while on loan at Rangers in 2017.
Hibs want to get the deal done before the UEFA Deadline tonight so he can play in the Europa League qualifier against Molde at Easter Road tomorrow.


Here’s an update from Sky Sports News reporter Vinny O’Connor at Everton's Finch Farm training ground:
“It’s good news for Evertonians at the moment. This deal is close, very close. Bernard flew into Manchester airport earlier this afternoon.
"Not only was he met there by our camera, but he was also met by Everton’s player liaison officer as well. He made the short trip to Everton’s Finch Farm training ground. He arrived at around 4.15pm and he’s been in there ever since.
"He’s going through the formalities of a medical and they also have to go through the process of sorting out a work permit as well. No real problems are anticipated, certainly from the information we are getting at least. The way this is going to pan out it seems is that once this deal is signed and sealed the likelihood is that Everton will announce Bernard tomorrow, well into time of the 5pm deadline."


The latest from our friends at Football Whispers as we approach tea time...


West Brom have made a £3m bid for Rangers captain James Tavernier, according to Sky sources.
The 26-year-old full-back has made more than 140 appearances for the Ibrox club since joining from Wigan Athletic in 2015 and scored a penalty for Rangers in their opening day draw against Aberdeen on Sunday.


Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol gives us an update on Manchester United's pursuit of Jerome Boateng and Harry Maguire, among others...


Alexis Sanchez says Man Utd must sign players of Arturo Vidal's calibre if the club are to compete for trophies this season.
"At United we have to sign big players, with experience," Sanchez told Sky Sports. "Barcelona just signed Arturo Vidal, who is a great player and my team-mate from Chile.
"He is an example of the type of players we need to sign in order to win trophies and compete at the highest level.
"From what I've seen in training, Fred is a player who always wants to get forward, he is always trying to get forward and from a personal point of view I think we'll be able to combine well and it will be good for my game."


Joe Bryan has undergone a medical and looks set to join Aston Villa in the next few hours, SSN understands.
Villa manager Steve Bruce has reportedly fought off interest from a number of Championship clubs for the Bristol City defender.
The fee for the 24-year-old is thought to be in the region of £5m.
Bryan made 48 appearances in all competitions last season and was involved in Bristol City's season-opening 1-1 draw at home to Nottingham Forest on Saturday.


Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui says he wants Croatia midfielder Mateo Kovacic to stay at the Bernabeu.


Birmingham have completed the signing of goalkeeper Lee Camp on a free transfer from Cardiff.
The 33-year-old, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Sunderland, has penned a two-year contract with the Sky Bet Championship club.
Camp is set to become Birmingham's first-choice goalkeeper, casting doubts on the future of both David Stockdale and Tomasz Kuszczak.


Bournemouth defender Brad Smith has joined MLS club Seattle Sounders on a season-long loan.
The Australia international made 11 first-team appearances for Bournemouth after moving from Liverpool in 2016, and missed the majority of last season with a hip injury.
Bournemouth retain the option in January to recall Smith from Seattle, who are currently eighth in the Western Conference.


Man Utd are keen to bring Jerome Boateng to Old Trafford – but only on loan, rather than on a permanent basis, SSN understands.
Jose Mourinho still has the German international as his No 1 choice recruit – but privately behind the scenes at United there are fears over a permanent contract for a player with a chequered history of injuries.
Boateng, 29, suffered muscle and tendon injuries over the past three Bundesliga campaigns, missing 27 games in total since December 2016.
With one day left of the summer window, Mourinho is running out of time to find a new central defender. Privately, United believe Harry Maguire is not for sale at Leicester and as things stand, Yerry Mina’s chances coming to Old Trafford looks increasingly slim.
Executive Vice-Chairman Ed Woodward has made funds available to Jose, but is determined not to pay over the odds in the current market.


Wolves are closing in on a deal to sign Belgium international Leander Dendoncker, according to Sky sources.
SSN understands the Anderlecht midfielder travelled to England on Wednesday to discuss personal terms and undergo a medical with the Premier League club.
Dendoncker has made more than 170 appearances for Anderlecht since his debut for the club in 2013.
The 23-year-old has represented Belgium on six occasions and was included in Roberto Martinez's final 23-man squad for the World Cup in Russia, in which the Red Devils finished third.


Brazil midfielder Bernard has arrived at Finch Farm to undergo his medical at Everton.


Middlesbrough have completed the signing of West Ham striker Jordan Hugill on a season-long loan.


Hibernian will be without John McGinn for the Europa League encounter with Molde after Neil Lennon resigned himself to losing the midfielder following bids from Celtic and Aston Villa.


Watford are interested in a loan deal for Southampton’s James Ward-Prowse, according to Sky sources.
However, SSN understands the young English midfielder is not available on loan and the Saints will rebuff any such advances for the player.


Sporting Lisbon, Fenerbahce and Besiktas are all in talks to sign Leicester striker Islam Slimani, according to Sky sources.
Slimani was Leicester’s record signing when they paid Sporting £28m for him two years ago.
The Algerian spent the second half of last season on loan at Newcastle.


Axel Witsel rejected a move to Man Utd this summer, the player's agent has claimed.
Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund completed a deal to sign Witsel from Chinese side Tianjin Quanjianearlier this week.
"There were other candidates. Manchester United wanted him, Napoli too," Paul Stefani told Belgian outlet HLN.
"But I told Axel: 'At Dortmund you are the number one, at Manchester you are one of the many... and at Napoli too'."


Jack Grealish is very disappointed and disillusioned that Aston Villa are refusing to sell him to Spurs, according to Sky sources.
We understand the midfield player was promised he could leave before Villa’s new owners arrived at the club last month.
Grealish has not given up on moving to Spurs and he is still hoping that Villa will let him move.


As we wait for new signings at Huddersfield, the locals enjoy a game of crown green bowls...


Olivier Giroud says he is set to hold talks with Chelsea over a new contract.
The France World Cup winner joined the Blues from Arsenal in January, but his current deal expires at the end of this season.
Giroud attracted interest from Atletico Madrid earlier this summer.
"No, I am happy here at Chelsea. I just arrived a few months ago and am just starting to settle well,” Giroud told the Standard.
"I still have one year (of my contract) to go with Chelsea, plus maybe another one. I'm going to discuss that with the club at the right time. There is no rush."


Good news for Everton fans as Brazil international Bernard has arrived at Manchester airport ahead of his expected medical at Finch Farm, which the midfielder is expected to have in the next 48 hours.


Watford goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann has moved to Kilmarnock on a season-long loan.
The 24-year-old former Austria U21 international, who joined the Hornets in July 2017, will spend the entire 2018/19 campaign with the Scottish Premiership side who are managed by Steve Clarke.


Lyon manager Bruno Genesio admits Nabil Fekir could still leave the club as the summer transfer window comes to a close.


Why is Tottenham transfer target Jack Grealish worth £25m? We have compared his stats against the average Premier League midfielder to find out..
Read the feature HERE


Rangers confirm midfielder Greg Docherty has joined Shrewsbury Town on a season-long loan deal.
Docherty, who joined the Light Blues from Hamilton Accies in January, has made 14 appearances so far in his time at Ibrox.


Jordi Cruyff has been named manager of Chinese Super League side Chongqing Lifan.
The former Manchester United player ended a successful six-year spell at Maccabi Tel-Aviv earlier this year, which included stints as sporting director and head coach.
The 44-year-old succeeds Paulo Bento, who lost his job with Chongqing Lifan last month.


Sky in Germany are reporting that defender Jerome Boateng turned down a move to Manchester United for football reasons but, we are told he wants to move to United and Jose Mourinho wants to sign him.


One source has told us United have already had two bids turned down by Leicester for Harry Maguire. The second bid was worth about £60m.
Leicester are in advanced talks to sign two centre backs – Filip Benkovic from Dinamo Zagreb and Caglar Soyuncu from Freiburg – at a combined cost of about £35m.
As far as Leicester are concerned, Maguire is not for sale; they signed him for £17m from Hull City last summer and he has four years left on his contract.
Leicester are expected to offer him a new deal after his impressive performances for England in the World Cup this summer.


Sky sources: Leicester defender Harry Maguire is still hoping Manchester United will sign him with just one day to go before the window closes


Football agent Jon Smith says FIFA's deregulation of agents has created a 'watery' situation when it comes to player representation.


Sky sources: Defender Callum Connolly will join Wigan Athletic on a season-long loan from Everton


Aston Villa are in pole position to sign John McGinn despite renewed interest from Celtic, according to Hibernian head coach Neil Lennon.
Hibs midfielder McGinn spent Tuesday in talks with Aston Villa but Celtic are believed to have matched the Sky Bet Championship club's offer after having several previous bids rejected.
Lennon said: "He went down to Birmingham, I think he is having a medical there. A fee has been agreed. I don't know if personal terms have been agreed yet.
"I think Celtic have matched the offer but I think Villa are in the driving position at the minute."


West Brom have rejected an offer from Watford for Craig Dawson, according to Sky sources.
It is understood the offer was an initial loan year-long loan for a fee of £750,000.
The offer also included an option to buy Dawson for £2.5m instalments over four years adding up to a potential total of £10m.


Here's your latest Transfer Centre bulletin from Sky Sports News at lunchtime


Chelsea are in advanced talks to sign Athletic Bilbao's Kepa Arrizabalaga and Maurizio Sarri has been impressed by what he's seen of the goalkeeper.


Paul Pogba has not made any wage demands to keep him at Manchester United, according to Sky sources.
On Tuesday, a newspaper report claimed he had demanded a £200k-a-week wage rise to stay at Old Trafford following interest from Barcelona.
However, we have been told that Pogba has made no wage demands.


Sky sources: Jordan Hugill has arrived on Teesside to undergo a medical with Middlesbrough.
This will be a season-long loan deal for the striker, who signed for West Ham for £9.5m in January.


This one is slaloming a tad, isn't it?
SSN understands that Grealish is disillusioned that his dream move to north London now looks doomed and remains desperate to play for Mauricio Pochettino and to test himself at the highest level for a top four Premier League club.


Sky sources: Jack Grealish remains keen to move to Spurs and is desperate to test his skills in the Champions League.
Grealish, who trained with the Villa squad this morning, was due to complete a £25m move to Spurs until Villa's new owner, Nassef Sawiris intervened.


Leicester City are closing in on the signings of Caglar Soyuncu and Filip Benkovic, SSN understands.
Soyuncu, 22, could cost up to £20m. The Freiburg defender has won 15 international caps for Turkey and Leicester are confident a work permit won’t be a problem.
His agent, Mustafa Dogru, has confirmed on Twitter that they are in negotiations with Leicester over a deal, but he’s stressed there is no agreement yet.
Croatia U21 international defender Benkovic is in Leicester today discussing personal terms. He is expected to undergo a medical later today.


Sky sources: Real Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic to have medical at Chelsea today ahead of a loan move.


Olivier Giroud says he and Eden Hazard have spoken to Nabil Fekir about the possibility of joining Chelsea and would “welcome him” at the club.
The 25-year-old Lyon man looked set to join Liverpool from Lyon earlier this summer before negotiations between the clubs ended.
"I spoke to him when we were together in the French national team, when his move to Liverpool fell through," Giroud told Foot Mercato. "Then we discussed Chelsea, and I even think that Eden said a couple of words to him.
"We would obviously welcome him, he is a super player, but I don't know if this is something that could happen as the window closes on Thursday."


We profile Kepa Arrizabalaga as the Spanish goalkeeper edges closer to a big-money transfer to Chelsea...
Read the feature HERE


Big news coming out of Villa Park.
Sky sources: Jack Grealish will not be sold to anyone in this transfer window, despite interest from Tottenham and 'other clubs' this window.
Sources are telling us Aston Villa's new executive chairman Nassef Sawiris has told Tottenham and any other potential suitors he is not interested in their money.


Aston Villa's new owners says Tottenham's £25m bid for Jack Grealish has been rejected outright.


Sky sources: Middlesbrough remain in discussions with Yannick Bolasie as they attempt to persuade him to move to The Championship.
Everton winger Bolasie has been told he’s surplus to requirements at Goodison Park; Crystal Palace are interested but Boro is a more likely destination.
Middlesbrough are discussing both a permanent transfer and/or a loan with a view to a permanent deal. Bolasie is valued around £15m.


The latest from our friends at Football Whispers as we approach midday.


Sky sources: Huddersfield Town defender Jordan Williams undergoing a medical at Barnsley ahead of a permanent move


Sky sources: Middlesbrough are in talks with West Ham over a loan move for Jordan Hugill. The Middlesbrough-born striker only signed for the Hammers for £9.5m in January.


Quite a complicated one, this, but let me explain...
Athletic Bilbao have announced that Kepa Arrizabalaga has bought himself out of his contract.
This is the done thing at Athletic Bilbao; the same happened with Ander Herrera, Javi Martinez and Aymeric Laporte.
It essentially means Kepa is now a free agent and will join Chelsea. The Blues will have paid the money to Kepa, his agent or the company who owns him in order to buy himself out of the contract.
Make sense? Good.


Athletic Bilbao have confirmed goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga's release clause has been activated.
Sky Sports News reported yesterday Chelsea were advanced talks to sign Kepa.


Real Madrid head coach Julen Lopetegui refused to comment on the strong rumours linking Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois with a move to the Bernabeu.
"I always say that I'm not talking about players who are not at Real Madrid. Keylor (Navas) is our goalkeeper and there are no other goalkeepers I can talk about except Keylor, Kiko (Casilla), (Andriy) Lunin and Luca (Zidane).
"Keylor is phenomenal, he has our full confidence and is an extraordinary goalkeeper. He's delighted to belong to Real Madrid and we're delighted with him."


Ipswich have signed centre-back Toto Nsiala and midflieder Jon Nolan from Shrewsbury Town for a combined fee of £1.75m.
Both players have signed three-year deals with the club having the option of a further 12 months.


Celtic look set to complete a long-term loan deal for Australia World Cup youngster Daniel Arzani later today.
The 19-year-old midfielder, who made three sub appearances in Russia, has passed a medical and joins Celtic on a two-year loan, having completed his transfer from Melbourne City to Manchester City, SSN understands.


Bayer Leverkusen striker Joel Pohjanpalo has signed a contract extension until 2022, the Bundesliga club have announced.
The 23-year-old Finland international, who is currently recovering from an ankle injury, has made 18 Bungesliga appearances for the side and scored seven goals.


Huddersfield are now in talks with Montpellier winger Isaac Mbenza, according to Sky sources.
Sky Sports News understands Terriers boss David Wagner is keen to add another wide player to his squad after selling Tom Ince to Stoke.
Mbenza scored 10 goals in 43 appearances last season as Montpellier finished comfortably mid-table in Ligue 1.


Derby have completed the signing of Martyn Waghorn from Ipswich.
The 28-year-old striker signs for £5m on a three-year contract.


It now looks likely Jerome Boateng will stay at Bayern Munich or move to PSG.
If PSG are able to present an interesting total package for him, he is likely join them. A decision is expected within the next two weeks.
Boateng has a great relationship with Bayern’s new coach Niko Kovac; they are both from the same district in Berlin and Boateng feels Kovac appreciates him as a player.


And here's why...
Jerome Boateng’s decision not to join Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford was because he doesn’t believe Manchester United can win the Champions League this season.
Sky in Germany understand that Boateng spoke to Jose Mourinho earlier this week to explain that he was honoured by United’s interest in him.
However his aim remains to win one more Champions League title – and he feels United are not strong enough to do so in the forthcoming campaign.


Defender Ben Mee has signed a new three-year contract at Burnley.
The 28-year-old is now committed to at least 2021, with the option of a further 12 months.


Winger Adama Traore has completed his move from Middlesbrough to Wolves on a five-year deal.


Brighton and Hove Albion have completed the signing of midfielder Emily Simpkins.
The 28-year-old joins the club on a free transfer after leaving Doncaster Rovers Belles this summer, and has signed a one-year contract.


Sky sources: Bernard is currently travelling from Brazil and is expected to arrive on Merseyside this afternoon ahead of a medical at Everton.
Sky Sports News understands that Everton manager Marco Silva has played a key role in the last 24 hours, in persuading Bernard to join the club


Midfielder Clucas saw his move to Burnley collapse over the weekend, and Wolves have moved quickly to try to bring him to Molineux.
A formal approach is expected later today.


Wolves are keen to sign midfielder Sam Clucas from Swansea before tomorrow’s deadline, SSN has been told.


It is understood Thibaut Courtois is currently in Belgium awaiting permission from Chelsea to fly to Madrid to undergo a medical.
Real have offered to loan midfielder Mateo Kovacic and pay £35m for the Belgium goalkeeper, but Chelsea are yet to accept the deal.
Courtois is keen to move back to Madrid, where he spent three years with Atletico, due to family reasons.
The 26-year-old, who has less than year remaining on his current contract at Stamford Bridge, did not report back for training on Monday after being given extra time off following the World Cup.


Real Madrid are expecting Thibaut Courtois to arrive in Madrid on Thursday ahead of completing a move to the Bernabeu, according to Sky sources in Belgium.


Thomas Agyepong has joined Hibernian on a loan move from Manchester City.
The 21-year-old is now awaiting the completion of the necessary visa process before joining up with Neil Lennon’s squad.
The winger signed for Manchester City in 2015 from the Right to Dream Academy, spending his time since then on loan at Twente and then two seasons at NAC Breda.


  • Watford have made a £10m offer for Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse (Daily Mail)
  • Everton are confident they can sign Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma on loan if they are unable to complete a move for Yerry Mina (Daily Mirror)
  • Burnley have offered £10m for Abdoulaye Touré, the Nantes midfielder (The Times)
  • Fulham have offered £8m for Hugo Mallo, the Celta Vigo right-back (The Times)


Spurs fans: here's what you'd be getting. The best of Jack Grealish from the Championship in the 2017/18 season.


Atletico Madrid have completed the signing of former Blackburn striker Nikola Kalinic from AC Milan.
The 30-year-old, who made 42 appearances for AC Milan last season - scoring six goals - completed his medical in Italy on Tuesday.
Sky Italy report the deal is in the region of €15m (£13.5m) including bonuses.


Moving to Tottenham is perfect for Jack Grealish, says the panel on The Debate show.


Nabil Fekir was left out of the Lyon's squad to face Chelsea last night admid reports of a move to Stamford Bridge.
He did come close to signing for Liverpool this window and Lyon Manager Bruno Genesio can't rule out a late move.
"It's too early to say. He wanted to leave at the end of last season, but came back to training yesterday and was happy.
"Who knows? There may be opportunities that come up before the end of the window. For now, he is a Lyon player."


The latest from our friends at Football Whispers this Wednesday morning...


Maurizio Sarri has hinted Eden Hazard will stay at Chelsea after he held positive talks with the Belgian.
Hazard had been the subject of interest from Real Madrid this summer but Sarri confirmed he has had talks with Belgium star the attacker more than once, suggesting the 'problem' surrounding his future has been resolved.
Sarri said: "I don't see a problem in this moment. I have spoken with Eden two or three times in the last two days.
"He has spoken of everything. I think this problem - the Hazard problem - is not present now."


There are plenty of newspaper reports surrounding Manchester United the day before the window shuts, and the majority of them concern Paul Pogba.
It would be the biggest shock of the window if he was to leave... but the clock is ticking.
  • Pogba wants a £200,000-a-week pay rise to stay at the club, according to The Sun.
  • Meanwhile, the Daily Mail report that Pogba has told United team-mates he wants to leave and has already agreed a £350,000-a-week contract with Barcelona.
  • The Daily Star say United are furious with Pogba's agent Mino Raiola for trying to engineer a move to Barcelona for the France star.
  • Sky in Italy say United have rejected an offer for Pogba from Barcelona of £45m plus Yerry Mina and Andre Gomes.
  • But United apparently have no desire to part with Pogba, who has just returned to training after winning the World Cup with France.


Wayne Rooney hopes Manchester United can mount a Premier League challenge against Manchester City but admitted they need two more signings to do so.
"I hope someone can catch them - it would be nice, so hopefully Manchester United can. I think maybe another signing or two.
"I am sure Jose [Mourinho] has been getting the team right. I know there has been a lot of talk about pre-season in the press but I am sure behind the scenes, Jose has been giving them the right amount of work."


Central Coast Mariners coach Mick Mulvey says Usain Bolt will be treated as any other player when he joins the Australian A-League club this month on an "indefinite" trial.
Mulvey will make the final decision over whether Bolt is offered a contract as the Jamaican sprinting great pursues his long-held dream of playing professional football.
"If it was up to him he'd be coming in without any hoopla but that's impossible for a person of his stature. I'm really happy and really looking forward to having him train with the club.
"I'm sure when he arrives he'll give a good account for himself and we'll see what happens from there. If it works, he will be offered a contract."


The latest transfer bulletin from Sky Sports News this Wednesday morning...



Jurgen Klopp says he's excited about the transfer window but has 'no idea' if there will be any further signings at Liverpool.




And welcome to Sky Sports live Transfer Centre, bringing you all of the latest news and rumours from the window.
It's Wednesday, August 8, and we're in the bizarre position of having just a day-and-a-half of the window left. It's sure to be a frantic day, and we'll bring you absolutely everything until close of play this evening.
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In the latest Nottingham Forest news, Kenny Jackett's odds have significantly dropped for the vacant managerial role at the club. Bet £10 Get £40 in Free Bets T&Cs apply. New customers only – £10 deposit using promo code "RACING" - First bet must be placed on any market - Minimum stake £10 at odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days - Free bet stakes not included in returns - Deposit balance is available for withdrawal at any time. Forest, meanwhile, have been in good form under new manager Sabri Lamouchi, unbeaten in all competitions since the opening weekend. This should be an entertaining encounter in South Wales. Swansea City v Nottingham Forest Betting Odds* Swansea City 10/11 Draw 13/5 Nottingham Forest 3/1 Gary Rowett and Gus Poyet are the betting market favourites to be in charge of Derby and Nottingham Forest in 2016/17 Barnsley have reaped 6 wins in the last 10 games, beating Brentford, Nottingham Forest, Queens Park Rangers, Hull City, Middlesbrough & Fulham. 2 draws against Wigan Athletic & Millwall and defeats to Cardiff City & Birmingham City has seen them score 9 at an average of 0.9 goals per game while shipping 4.

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