Chelsea confirm Romelu Lukaku signing for club-record fee
The first weekend of the Premier League is in the books and the champions Man City slipped up to lose to Tottenham, while Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea made title claims with impressive wins.
Newcomers Brentford shocked Arsenal, while Watford also won on their return to the top tier against Aston Villa, who were beginning life without Jack Grealish.
But despite football’s return, there is still focus on the transfer market, with many managers reiterating their desire to add to their squads before this window’s deadline.
Arsenal are the latest club to be linked to Lautaro Martinez of Inter Milan, with Tottenham also linked to the Argentine, though the Nerazzurri recently sold Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea for £97.5m and may be reluctant to sell another star forward amid fan unrest.
Paul Pogba’s future is silently becoming an issue at Old Trafford, despite four assists in the fine win over Leeds, with the Manchester United midfielder’s contract now just one year away from expiring and The Independent has learned that Paris Saint-Germain, after adding Lionel Messi on a free transfer, would be keen to strike another colossal free transfer next summer by doubling the Frenchman’s salary.
Follow all the latest news and rumours ahead of the opening weekend of the new Premier League season:
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Chelsea: What needs done with two weeks to go?
European champions Chelsea have enjoyed another successful window. The club record signing of Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan looks to be the final piece in Thomas Tuchel’s side and it has been effectively been paid for by the Blues’ business in selling fringe players.
The departures of Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Marc Guehi, plus several others, have seen the club recoup a lot of their investment, and there could be more to come. Emerson Palmieri and Davide Zappacosta could both leave the club before the end of the window, as well as Michy Batshuayi.
Rumours linking the club to Sevilla defender Jules Kounde have gone quiet in recent days, perhaps due to the impressive performances of academy graduate Trevoh Chalobah.
Jamie Braidwood17 August 2021 14:15
Arsenal: What needs done with two weeks to go?
Arsenal’s spending so far this summer may have matched that of some of their Premier League rivals, but their opening day performance in the 2-0 defeat at Brentford suggested further reinforcements are required for Mikel Arteta’s side.
Top of the list, it seems, is another creative midfielder with Martin Odegaard and James Maddison linked. Odegaard would be the most likely, given his loan spell last season, and the club has reportedly seen progress in their attempts to sign the Norwegian from Real Madrid in recent days. A back-up goalkeeper is also on Arteta’s list.
The future of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang seems uncertain, once again, however, with the forward missing from the Brentford defeat and now linked with a move to Barcelona. There could be developments there over the final couple of weeks of the window.
“My focus is with the players that we have to try to make them play as best as possible and to get the best out of the team and try to find a way to win football matches and it’s the same in the next one.”
Jamie Braidwood17 August 2021 14:00
Carlo Ancelotti addresses Cristiano Ronaldo rumours after Juventus forward linked with Real Madrid return
Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has denied wanting to bring Cristiano Ronaldo back to the club.
A report on Monday from Spanish TV show El Chiringuito suggested that the Italian coach had spoken to senior figures at the Bernabeu in an attempt to re-sign Ronaldo from Juventus.
Ronaldo left Madrid to move to Serie A in 2018 after nine seasons at the club but now has just one year remaining on his Juventus contract.
Ancelotti, who managed Ronaldo at Madrid between 2013 and 2015, is now back at the club for his second spell after leaving Everton at the end of last season.
“Cristiano is a Real Madrid legend and he has all my love and respect,” Ancelotti tweeted.
“I have never considered signing him. We look forward.”
Jamie Braidwood17 August 2021 13:35
Keep or sell? Our writers debate Harry Kane’s Tottenham future
From what we know, Harry Kane made his mind up over wanting to leave Spurs before the end of last season, as Tottenham began their extended search for a new manager following the sacking of Jose Mourinho. Kane had stated his desire to win trophies and said he was at a crossroads in his career, but it was not too late for Spurs to change his outlook.
In order to do that, the club had to demonstrate that they were committed to “win now” and while Nuno Espirito Santo got his Spurs tenure off to an impressive start by beating Manchester City 1-0, without Kane, the Portuguese coach will be looking for his project to peak in two or maybe three seasons.
Kane, simply, does not have that much time, and after committing to a new cycle under Nuno, selling their top striker and best asset can only aid that rebuild. Kane and Spurs are both heading in different directions and now is the right time for both to part ways.
With that in mind, Spurs and Daniel Levy must take the opportunity now to recoup a British record fee for the 28-year-old, should Manchester City come back with an improved offer.
Jamie Braidwood17 August 2021 13:30
Liverpool: What needs done with two weeks to go?
Liverpool’s £36 million signing of Ibrahima Konate has been the club’s only major piece of transfer business this summer – at least in terms of signings.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have concentrated on extending the contracts of their biggest stars this window, with the Reds securing the services of Virgil van Dijk, Alisson, Fabinho and Trent Alexander-Arnold so far.
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Jordan Henderson and Andy Robertson will be next up as the club look to tie them down to longer deals – although those don’t have to be completed over the next couple of weeks.
Instead, Liverpool are likely to listen to offers for players such as Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi. The market has so far proved to be a tough one for squad players, however, which means Liverpool are unlikely to have the funds to bring in any more players.
“For us it is our way. We keep the team together, that is an important part of business as well.
“I know it is not as exciting for the outside world as with signing players and it looks the summer is always the same in that if you don’t sign you don’t work but that’s not the case.”
Jamie Braidwood17 August 2021 13:10
Manchester United: What needs done with two weeks to go?
With Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane on board, it has already been a successful transfer window for Manchester United.
With two weeks to go until the window shuts, the focus is now on trimming the squad and providing young players with loan opportunities. Brandon Williams, Amad Diallo and Andreas Pereira have all been linked with loan moves today.
If United are able to move those players on, or if they receive any significant bids for fringe players, it may open up the possibility of another major signing. Further cover in central midfield would be the next priority.
“I think anything from now is a bonus. I can’t say we’re going to do more.
“You never know in football, but that would be a bonus.”
Jamie Braidwood17 August 2021 12:51
Everton’s Hayley Raso announces departure
Australia international Hayley Raso has announced that she has left Everton after one season in the Women’s Super League.
The forward made 22 appearances for Everton last season, scoring five goals.
Jamie Braidwood17 August 2021 12:45
Keep or sell? Our writers debate Harry Kane’s Tottenham future
It’s not quite the same, given the profile of the player and what’s at stake, but Tottenham are in a similar position to some clubs relegated from the Premier League and trying to hold onto their top players: a big bid might come in, sure, but is that going to cover the cost of both the replacement and the lost opportunity of that star name getting the club back up into the top flight?
For promotion from the Championship, of course, read Spurs getting back into the Champions League and competing for major honours. It suggests that Kane is worth well beyond “market value” to them, because their best chance of achieving both is with him in the team.
In truth, they’re miles off challenging Man City and the gang at the top of the table, regardless of that opening weekend of the season. It isn’t a one-window fix, either, and while selling Kane to a divisional rival is a bit of an act of submission, it’s going to provide funds to build much stronger in more areas of the pitch – assuming a more successful reinvestment than when Gareth Bale was sold.
If there’s a new British record fee-and-a-bit on the table, Tottenham should be looking to sell. But they shouldn’t do so in the final days of the window; it’s not a now-or-never scenario, but it should be a ‘very quickly or next summer’ one.
Karl Matchett 17 August 2021 12:30
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Jack Rathborn17 August 2021 12:23
Manchester United’s Amad Diallo wanted by Sheffield United
Sheffield United are interested in signing Amad Diallo after the winger was told he could leave Manchester United on loan, TalkSport have reported.
Diallo, 21, made eight appearances after arriving from Atalanta last January but has seen his first-team opportunities take a hit following the signing of Jadon Sancho.
Jamie Braidwood17 August 2021 12:15