Daniel James has won Manchester United's Player of the Month award for August after a stunning start to his Premier League career.

The winger, who joined for a reported £15million from Swansea City in June, has scored three Premier League goals already and shone despite United's underwhelming start.

Wales international James, who has inevitably been compared to his national team manager and former United star Ryan Giggs, earned 61 per cent of the votes.

All three candidates for the award were new signings, with Aaron Wan-Bissaka taking 36 per cent of the poll and Harry Maguire three per cent.

James is on international duty, with Wales playing Azerbaijan in a Euro 2020 qualifier on Friday.

The 21-year-old made his senior debut for his country in November 2018.

Andreas Pereira is adamant Manchester United are headed in the right direction thanks to the confidence Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has instilled in a young squad.

United won one of their four Premier League matches before the international break but midfielder Pereira insists the manager's approach is perfect for the players at his disposal.

Lowering the squad's age has been a focus for Solskjaer, with Alexis Sanchez, Ander Herrera, Matteo Darmian and Chris Smalling - all 29 or over - cut loose since the end of last season.

Pereira, 23, has benefited by being handed rare league starts against Chelsea and Southampton.

The Brazil international now wants to repay the Norwegian for the praise, support and belief being given to the next generation.

"For me, it has been massive," Pereira said in the Independent.

"It's very important to me that he speaks highly about me and I just want to do my best on the pitch to show the faith back to him.

"It's very important for the young players to be given this confidence and then, if you have the chance, you have to take it with both hands."

Solskjaer's attempts to reconfigure United in the post-Jose Mourinho era have centred on injecting pace and a sense of freedom to attack the opposition.

Results to date have been mixed, although the three goals scored by new signing Daniel James provide encouragement.

"We have a very positive way of playing now. It's a style I like a lot," Pereira said.

"We're moving in the right direction and everyone has the same mindset, so I think we can achieve great goals this season."

Chris Smalling can foresee a long-term future for himself in Serie A if his loan at Roma from Manchester United goes to plan.

The 29-year-old defender swapped Old Trafford for Stadio Olimpico in search of playing time after falling out of the first-team picture at United.

Harry Maguire's arrival sent centre-back Smalling further down the pecking order and his hopes of returning to favour appear limited for as long as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains in charge.

Roma offered a way out and the 31-cap England international jumped to seize what could become more than a temporary lifeline.

"I think this is an opportunity that came to me that I was very interested in, and I was very eager to come," Smalling said.

"It happened very quickly. I am very focused on the next game, getting up to speed with training and learning the manager's methods. And then hopefully I want have a very good season. After that, we will see.

"To have a chance at a big club, if it goes well and the club is happy and I am happy, then I can definitely see a longer-term future in Italy."

Smalling is "looking forward" to testing his defensive qualities in Serie A and will have an important part to play in the Europa League, for which his parent club have also qualified.

The former Fulham man says winning the competition with Roma would be more special than it was with United in 2017.

"I think this club definitely has a chance," he said.

"We will be one of the favourites in the competition. Obviously, there are a few other clubs too, but Roma will be among the favourites.

"It has been great to have won it previously, but it would be even greater to win it here in Italy."

Gareth Bale has cleared the air with Thibaut Courtois after the goalkeeper let slip that Real Madrid team-mates nicknamed the Welsh star "the golfer".

That revelation emerged earlier this year when Courtois, in an interview with a Belgian newspaper, also hinted at bemusement over Bale and Toni Kroos skipping a team evening meal because they wanted to avoid a late night.

Bale, who says his critics are misinformed and their verdicts on his Santiago Bernabeu career "mean nothing", made sure he got to the bottom of Courtois' comments.

And he believes the Belgian goalkeeper meant no offence.

"I am a golfer!" Bale said in a Wales news conference on Thursday. "I spoke to him about it and he meant it as a joke.

"People took it out of context, but I'm very happy with the nickname to be honest. It's a great one.

"Obviously football is number one. Golf is a hobby like anyone else would have a hobby.

"There's nothing wrong with having a round and people make a lot of it. It's just one thing I really enjoy. It keeps me calmer off the pitch."

Bale's scorn for the hot takes about his Madrid future was spelt out by the 30-year-old, after a transfer window full of speculation linking him with a move away from Spain.

He reportedly came close to joining Chinese club Jiangsu Suning, and was linked with various Premier League teams, but ended up staying in Madrid.

Asked about the rumours surrounding him, Bale said: "I just don't listen to any of it because they don't really know what they're on about. I don't read anything, I don't listen to anyone.

"Most people don't know the situation, don't understand things, so what they're writing means nothing."

After regaining the faith of Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane, who said during the summer it would be "best for everyone" if Bale moved on, the winger could yet have successful years ahead at the club.

Wales boss Ryan Giggs enjoyed seeing his star man net a double in Madrid's 2-2 draw at Villarreal on Sunday, although Bale's late red card was a blemish on that performance.

"It's good to see him scoring again because usually when he scores he gets on a roll, so hopefully that'll be the case," Giggs said.

Manchester United winger Daniel James could eventually supplant Bale as the Wales talisman, but Giggs is thrilled at the prospect of them playing in tandem for now.

"Dan's got off to a great start in his Manchester United career but also he's been brilliant for us in the last few games, especially in the summer [June] under difficult circumstances," said Giggs, referring to James' father dying in late May.

"It's not only about Gareth. The pressure is always on Gareth and the spotlight is always on Gareth, but I want to bring that pressure off Gareth where we can't rely on him in every game because we have other talented players in the squad."

Wales face Azerbaijan in Euro 2020 qualifying on Friday, having lost their past two Group E matches.

The transfer window may be closed but the rumours do not stop!

Christian Eriksen was unable to secure a move away from Tottenham prior to Monday's deadline.

Since then, the likes of Atletico Madrid, Manchester United and Inter have been linked to the Spurs star.

 

TOP STORY – ATLETICO PREPARING JANUARY MOVE FOR ERIKSEN

Atletico Madrid are set to return for Tottenham's Christian Eriksen in January, according to AS.

Eriksen was linked to the likes of Atletico, Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester United but a move did not materialise.

Now, Atletico, Inter and Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly monitoring the situation as Eriksen prepares to become a free agent at the end of the season.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to the Mirror, Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic is set to be offered a chance to move to the Premier League. The Croatian veteran was linked to Manchester United but a move failed to transpire prior to the transfer window closing.

- LaLiga pair Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao are keeping tabs on Chelsea and Spain full-back Cesar Azpilicueta, reports the Mirror. It comes amid concerns the Spaniard could lose his spot in the Chelsea XI to Reece James.

- Brazilian side Flamengo are interested in signing free agent Claudio Marchisio, says Gazzetta dello Sport. Former Juventus star Marchisio is without a club since leaving Zenit. Flamengo were also close to luring Mario Balotelli before he opted for Brescia.

- The Daily Mail claims Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola wants to sign a new defender in January. The report comes after Aymeric Laporte's knee injury left City with just two fit centre-backs – John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi.

- David Beckham's Inter Miami are set to sign River Plate midfielder Exequiel Palacios, according to TNT Sports. The expansion franchise – who are backed by the former Manchester United star and will enter MLS in 2020 – have also been linked to Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani and Barcelona forward Luis Suarez.

Roy Keane denied Alex Ferguson had Manchester United's best interests at heart as he reignited his feud with the former Red Devils manager.

Keane is one of United's most decorated former captains with seven Premier League titles and a Champions League crown among other honours, but a falling out with Ferguson saw him leave Manchester in 2005.

Ferguson was also critical of Keane in his autobiography released in 2013, and the latter has often been critical of the legendary manager.

Irishman Keane took aim at Ferguson again on Wednesday as he discussed his final days at United 14 years ago.

"I wouldn't forgive Ferguson. The media spin, how I apparently upset everybody, it was all nonsense," Keane told Off The Ball.

"I don't care if it's Alex Ferguson or the Pope, you're going to defend yourself.

"People talk about Ferguson's man-management. Nonsense. People said he always had the best interests of Manchester United at heart. Darren Ferguson [his son] won a medal. He was very lucky."

Keane joined United from Nottingham Forest in 1993, going on to win 17 trophies before moving to Scottish giants Celtic.

The 48-year-old has since managed Sunderland and Ipswich Town, while he also served as an assistant for Republic of Ireland, Aston Villa and Forest.

Ferguson, meanwhile, led United to their last Premier League in 2012-13 prior to his retirement at Old Trafford.

Paul Pogba and his fearlessness are crucial to Manchester United's success, insisted former defender Denis Irwin.

Pogba was heavily linked with a move away from Old Trafford, Real Madrid and Juventus reportedly circling the United star before Monday's transfer deadline.

United struggled last season as they finished sixth in the Premier League but Pogba led the way – the France World Cup winner scoring a team-high 13 goals and 16 across all competitions.

Pogba also supplied nine Premier League assists and Irwin emphasised the importance of the 26-year-old midfielder.

"There's not too many players of Paul's quality," Irwin said. "He's got plenty of players in front of him who have got great pace and I think he's got the understanding of being able to pick a great pass.

"We need consistency out of him sometimes but going forward now and particularly where we've started dominating games he's going to be a big, big player for us.

"I think every team needs a risk taker but I look at him and think he's the one that can unlock doors.

"We've created enough chances to win games so he's going to be vitally important for us."

Pogba and United made a flying start to the season, routing rivals Chelsea 4-0 in their Premier League opener thanks to a pair of assists from the Frenchman.

However, United have since drawn twice and suffered a shock loss at home to Crystal Palace to already be seven points off the pace.

Irwin added: "I understand that we've only picked two points up from three games but it feels like we should have a lot more.

"We might have to accept a little bit of patience and we might not challenge the top two this year but certainly we need to be up there and better than last year."

Twitter has vowed to protect players from "vile" racism on its platform after holding talks with Kick It Out, the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) and leading English clubs.

The social media giant has faced criticism in recent weeks for allowing players to come in for severe abuse online.

Those affected have included Manchester United's Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba and the Chelsea pair of Tammy Abraham and Kurt Zouma.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Chelsea boss Frank Lampard have been quick to call for firm action to prevent the targeting of players.

Twitter said on Wednesday it has "taken action on more than 700 examples of abuse and hateful conduct related to UK football" in the past fortnight.

Kick It Out, the London-based anti-discrimination group, has told Twitter it must deliver "concrete action for change".

Twitter said: "This vile content has no place on our service. We will continue to take swift action on the minority that try to undermine the conversation for the majority.

"We have met with the @PFA, @kickitout and directly affected football clubs, and agreed a number of proactive measures to tackle this issue collectively.

"Working with the @PFA, we will participate in their player training programme and will be joining a series of educational sessions with its membership to support the PFA's ambition to tackle the issue.

"Working with @kickitout, we will continue our working relationship with UK policing to further brief them and provide training on our policies, procedures and dedicated 24/7 reporting channels for law enforcement."

It added: "We want to play our part in curbing this unacceptable behaviour — both online and offline — and will continue engaging with partners and clubs, protecting the conversation from abuse, and taking rapid action on accounts that break our rules."

Kick It Out said the talks took place last week and detailed the steps that were agreed, which include a future meeting with the UK Football Policing Unit and the Crown Prosecution Service to "develop a collaborative, efficient approach to identifying and punishing anyone who posts discriminatory abuse on Twitter".

The Football Association, Premier League and English Football League have also been invited by Kick It Out to attend a further meeting with Twitter.

Kick It Out added: "[We] will continue to take a lead in bringing the football authorities and the legal system together to tackle online abuse.

"But what the public need most is Twitter to show decisive leadership and deliver concrete action for change. We expect to see that in the weeks and months ahead."

I wish I could decide my career like in Football Manager.

That was the thought of Christian Eriksen after he was unable to engineer a move away from Tottenham.

The transfer window slammed shut on Monday but Eriksen is still in the headlines.

 

TOP STORY – INTER EYE ERIKSEN BID

Inter are interested in making a January move for Tottenham star Eriksen, claims The Express.

Eriksen wanted to leave Spurs prior to the transfer window closing but a departure did not materialise amid reported interest from the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United and Juventus.

Now, Antonio Conte's Inter could be willing to offer Eriksen a way out of London.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to The Sun, Inter may have a battle to secure Eriksen's signature. Having been linked during the transfer window, Manchester United are reportedly preparing a shock move for the Spurs star in January.

- Marca says Neymar's father "harassed" Real Madrid with phone calls as a return to Barcelona from Paris Saint-Germain became more unlikely.

- AS reports that Mariano Diaz rejected a move to Schalke prior to Monday's transfer deadline day. The Bundesliga side wanted Diaz, however, the Real Madrid forward opted to remain at the Santiago Bernabeu.

- Yannick Bolasie turned down the chance to join Russian giants CSKA Moscow over racism fears, according to the Daily Mail. He decided to swap Everton for Sporting CP on loan instead.

- What is better than one Sessegnon? Two. After signing Ryan from Fulham, Tottenham are targeting his twin brother Steven Sessegnon, says The Sun.

Nemanja Matic said he has no problem with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the Manchester United midfielder struggles for game time at Old Trafford.

Matic has found himself out of United's starting XI this season, with the 31-year-old making his first appearance off the bench last week.

An unused substitute in the opening three Premier League matches, Serbia international Matic played the final 22 minutes in United's 1-1 draw at Southampton.

With Solskjaer preferring a central midfield duo of Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay, Matic's future has been thrown into doubt.

Speaking ahead of Serbia's Euro 2020 qualifier against Portugal on Saturday, Matic – who arrived from Chelsea in 2017 – told reporters: "In the first two or three games he determined the team without me.

"I work as hard as I can, we respect the decision, it is mine to show him that he was wrong and to bring me back to where I belong.

"There is no problem. I told him I disagreed with him, but that he had to decide the team."

Matic added: "I have been in football for a long time, I have played almost all the games for all the clubs in the last 10 years.

"In order for me to play, one had to sit on the bench and accept that fact, and so do I now. The coach must opt for the team that will fight for the title, and if he does not win, he bears the responsibility."

Matic is preparing to make his first Serbia appearance since the country's 2-1 win over Montenegro in the UEFA Nationals League in November 2018.

Serbia welcome Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal to Belgrade with the Balkan nation third in Group B, six points behind leaders Ukraine and two clear of Saturday's visitors.

There will also be a new head coach on the sidelines after Ljubisa Tumbakovic replaced Mladen Krstajic, who was sacked after June's 4-1 rout of Lithuania following their 5-0 humiliation against Ukraine.

"We see every success as euphoric, and every failure as a tragedy," Matic said. "We have such a mentality, temperament, it's hard to change that.

"But now let's go to the European Championships. It would be very important for our football, we haven't been there for a long time. Finally, we connect two major competitions."

Aaron Wan-Bissaka has left the England squad for the forthcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo due to a back injury.

The 21-year-old, who was called up by Gareth Southgate for the first time following a strong start to his Manchester United career, has returned to his club for treatment.

No replacements will be added to the Three Lions' squad as they already have Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kieran Trippier available for the right-back spot.

England face Bulgaria at Wembley on September 10 and Kosovo at Southampton's St Mary's home three days later.

News of Wan-Bissaka's injury will concern Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ahead of United's Premier League clash with Leicester City at Old Trafford on September 14.

Luke Shaw and Diogo Dalot are injured and Matteo Darmian left for Parma before the transfer deadline, while Timothy Fosu-Mensah has not recovered fully from knee surgery carried out in April.

It could mean Ashley Young and Marcos Rojo are Solskjaer's only obvious options at full-back.

Wan-Bissaka has impressed for United since joining from Crystal Palace in a reported £50million deal, despite results having been mixed for the Red Devils during the opening weeks of the campaign

A 4-0 defeat of Chelsea on the first weekend was followed by a 1-1 draw at Wolves, a 2-1 home loss to Palace and a second 1-1 draw at 10-man Southampton.

Europe's transfer window closed on Monday evening and the continent's top clubs avoided the temptation of breaking the bank for last-minute deals.

Most had their business all wrapped up comfortably before the deadline, while the widely floated return of Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain to Barcelona sank in the Seine.

But it was a transfer window in which there was plenty of lavish spending, and it was a familiar crop of clubs doing the biggest deals.

Here is a look at the most expensive signings made by European clubs during the window - including two of the world's most talented youngsters.

Matthijs de Ligt - Ajax to Juventus

This Dutch prodigy was a huge hit in the Champions League and Eredivisie for Ajax last season, and the powerful centre-back captained the Amsterdam giants before he was inevitably courted by Europe's leading clubs. Juventus won the battle for his signature, with De Ligt, who was 19 at the time of the move, making a €75million leap to Serie A, signing a contract until 2024. He turned 20 in August.

Nicolas Pepe - Lille to Arsenal

Arsenal were often accused of over-cautious frugality during Arsene Wenger's reign as manager, but the club backed Unai Emery with a big-money move for Lille's exciting forward Nicolas Pepe, who arrived at Emirates Stadium in a £72m deal. He was brought in to give Arsenal a fearsome forward line, teaming up with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.

Romelu Lukaku - Manchester United to Inter

Red Rom reached the end of the line at Manchester United, where it was becoming increasingly obvious he would not be a preferred pick of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. But United got back almost all their money for the former Everton frontman when they sold him on to Inter for a fee understood to be €80m.

Lucas Hernandez - Atletico Madrid to Bayern Munich

Bayern had this deal in the bag before last season ended, announcing the €80m signing way back in March. Hernandez arrived at the Allianz Arena from Atletico at the campaign's end, and after recovering from knee surgery the 23-year-old made his debut on the second weekend of the new Bundesliga season. Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic described Hernandez as "one of the best defenders in the world".

Harry Maguire - Leicester City to Manchester United

Jose Mourinho wanted him 12 months earlier, but Manchester United finally landed Maguire from Leicester City in an £80m deal, making him the world's most expensive defender. Maguire was a standout performer for England at the 2018 World Cup and has come a long way since his days at Sheffield United and Hull City, with a six-year contract at United showing the club see him as a cornerstone figure for the new Solskjaer era.

Eden Hazard - Chelsea to Real Madrid

Hazard had made no secret of his wish to join Real Madrid, and the Belgian's ambition was realised when Zinedine Zidane came calling during the close season. After seven years at Chelsea, Hazard moved to the Santiago Bernabeu for an initial fee of around €100m - with the possibility of more cash to follow in add-ons. Injury has prevented Hazard making an early impact in LaLiga.

Antoine Griezmann - Atletico Madrid to Barcelona

A year on from winning the World Cup with France, Griezmann swapped Atletico Madrid for Barcelona in one of the most contentious moves of the European summer. Barcelona coughed up €120m  to release Griezmann from his contract, infuriating Atletico who claimed talks had been taking place behind their back, at a time when the player had a higher buy-out clause, and demanded a higher fee be paid. Once he - and the dust - settles at Camp Nou, Griezmann has what it takes to be a big hit.

Joao Felix - Benfica to Atletico Madrid

With Griezmann on his way, Atletico made sure they would have a top-class replacement by reinvesting in Benfica's star teenage forward Joao Felix. The 19-year-old cost the Rojiblancos €126m, immediately inherited Griezmann's number seven shirt, and his prodigious talent is already winning plenty of admirers in Spain.

Alexis Sanchez believes he could have lived up to expectations at Manchester United if he had been afforded a long run in the team.

The Chilean has decamped to Inter for the rest of the season after finding himself an odd man out at Old Trafford.

Despite his track record as a consistent goalscorer for Barcelona and Arsenal, Sanchez failed to impress with United following a high-profile arrival 19 months ago.

He was recruited by Jose Mourinho to bring some much-needed pep to the Red Devils forward line, in a deal that saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan go to Arsenal, but struggled to nail down a regular place.

It was a similar story when Mourinho lost his job and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stepped in, with Sanchez unable to force himself ahead of the likes of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial in the manager's plans.

More recently, even teenager Mason Greenwood appeared to have edged ahead of Sanchez, leaving the 30-year-old with little option but to look elsewhere for first-team opportunities.

Sanchez says he remains "very happy" about his decision to join United and he feels he deserved more opportunities to make an impact.

"I think that I'm happy when I play for my national team," he told BBC Sport.

"I was happy at Manchester United too, but I've always said to my friends: I want to play.

"If they would let me play I'll do my best. Sometimes I'd play 60 minutes then I wouldn't play the next game - and I didn't know why."

Sanchez was earning wages that were said to outstrip those of all his United's club-mates, making his decision to join the 20-time English league champions one that was bound to attract scrutiny.

He now joins another former United star at San Siro in Romelu Lukaku, who made a permanent switch in early August.

"I'm very happy I went to Manchester United," Sanchez said. "When I went to Arsenal it was fantastic - I was happy there - but United were growing at the time, they were buying players to win something.

"I wanted to join them and win everything. I don't regret going there."

No close season seems complete without a transfer saga.

This window has seen Neymar take centre stage - and not for the first time in his career either - as we waited to find out his location by the end of September 2. 

Now we know. Despite all the speculation, and even with the media suggesting half of the Barcelona squad could be moving in the opposite direction, the Brazilian forward will not be back at Camp Nou but instead remain at Paris Saint-Germain - at least for the next few months.

The story had more twists than the career of a rollercoaster designer. It was on, then off. Then back on again. Meanwhile, almost as a sideshow while the window remained open, the two clubs happened to start playing competitive games again in their domestic leagues.

Here, we look back at some other superstars who were previously involved in headline-grabbing transfer tales.

 

Steven Gerrard

It is mind-boggling to think how the footballing landscape may have looked had Steven Gerrard ended up joining Jose Mourinho at Chelsea.

The local boy who had come through the club’s ranks told Liverpool in July 2005 that he wanted to leave. Fans did not take the request well, burning Gerrard's number 17 shirt just over a month after he had captained the Reds to a famous Champions League triumph in Istanbul.

Having turned down a new deal, the midfielder revealed it had been "the hardest decision" for him to tell the Reds he needed to move on. The lure of working with Mourinho at the Blues appeared too great to ignore, or so it seemed.

Instead, Gerrard changed his mind. "He wants to stay. I couldn't be more delighted," chief executive Rick Parry said in a news conference, echoing the feelings of Liverpool fans around the world.

'Stevie G' ended up sticking around at Anfield for another decade, eventually departing for MLS in 2015.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo has made a habit of suggesting he is ready to move on after winning the Champions League.

The Portuguese superstar got his wish after lifting the trophy for a third straight year with Real Madrid in 2018. He teased his departure in a post-match interview not long after the final whistle against Liverpool, before the confetti was even cleaned up, paving the way for a sensational switch to Juventus.

However, Manchester United were not so forthcoming to Ronaldo's wishes in 2008.

So strong was the Red Devils' stance in the face of interest from Madrid, Alex Ferguson claimed United’s owners, the Glazers, would rather sit a player in the stand "just to prove a point", rather than be forced to make a sale.

The English club made a complaint to FIFA concerning Madrid's public pursuit (no action was taken, by the way) as they stood their ground. Having little option but to stay put, Ronaldo said in October he could see himself staying at United beyond the 2008-09 season.

Yet when Madrid came calling again the following year, the forward finally got his move. United cashed in on their prized asset for a then world-record fee of £80m.

 

Wayne Rooney

Rooney sensationally declared his intention to leave Manchester United (for the first time) in October 2010, citing a concern over the club's unwillingness to spend big in the transfer market.

Following a meeting with the then-chief executive David Gill, the England international released a strongly worded statement that said: "He [Gill] did not give me any of the assurances I was seeking about the future squad".

Citing a desire to win trophies, Rooney suddenly appeared to be heading for the Old Trafford exit. Manchester City seemed his most likely destination, too.

However, it turned out he just needed to sleep on it. Well, for two nights anyway. Having initially baulked at signing a new deal at United, the striker made a stunning U-turn and penned a five-year contract.

"I've spoken to the manager [Alex Ferguson] and the owners and they've convinced me this is where I belong," he said, while adding his intention to win back the trust of the fans. It may also have helped make up his mind that the Red Devils reportedly doubled his wages.

 

Luis Suarez

In the 2013-14 season, Suarez was sensational for Liverpool, a one-man wrecking ball who so nearly fired them to the title. The Uruguayan scored 31 Premier League goals to win the competition’s Golden Boot, while he was also named the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year.

Yet it is easy to forget that the same player had wanted to leave the Reds prior to the campaign.

Suarez believed the club had failed to deliver on a promise to let him leave after they failed to qualify for the Champions League, with Arsenal appearing his next destination. The player felt, in such circumstance, his contract included a release clause set at £40m – and the Gunners duly put in an offer £1 above that amount.

"They gave me their word a year ago and now I want them to honour that. And it is not just something verbal with the coach but something that is written in the contract. I'm not going to another club to hurt Liverpool," Suarez said at one stage.

In the end, he had to wait 12 months to eventually get his move elsewhere – and Liverpool pocketed considerably more than £40m when the striker, serving a four-month ban at the time from all football-related activity after biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup - headed to Barcelona.

 

Philippe Coutinho

Liverpool had barely finished typing out a statement to confirm he was not for sale when Philippe Coutinho e-mailed a transfer request to the club in August 2017.

Barcelona – with money to burn after Neymar had moved to PSG – had seen two bids rejected for the Brazilian playmaker, who had signed a new long-term deal in January but made clear his desire to move on just six months later.

The Reds, however, refused to budge – "maybe we are not a selling club," said Jurgen Klopp, who integrated the player back into the squad when the window closed. However, when it ticked into 2018, the rumours started again.

Having stood their ground previously, Liverpool changed their minds and negotiated a reported £142m price for Coutinho – a huge profit on the £8.5m they spent to bring him in from Inter.

"It is his dream and I am now convinced there is nothing left at our disposal to change his mind," Klopp admitted. In an added twist, Coutinho found himself suggested as a makeweight in a deal to bring Neymar back to Barca before joining Bayern Munich on loan.

The Neymar transfer saga is over for at least another window, but it remains to be seen how the star responds at Paris Saint-Germain.

Neymar, 27, was largely expected to return to Barcelona, only for no agreement to be reached between the clubs before the window closed on Monday.

Unsurprisingly, the superstar forward is far from happy.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR ANGRY WITH PSG AFTER NOT GETTING BARCELONA RETURN

Neymar is very sad and deeply angry with PSG over his failed Barcelona move, according to Sport.

However, they also report Barcelona are convinced Neymar will return to Camp Nou in 2020.

Sport say Barca offered €150million – with €20m coming from Neymar – plus Ivan Rakitic and Jean-Clair Todibo on permanent deals and Ousmane Dembele on loan, only for the deal to be rejected.

ROUND-UP

- After plenty of debate, the Premier League will extend its close-season transfer window until September 1 next year, according to The Sun. Several clubs have been frustrated after they only had until August 8 to complete their business as the rest of Europe remained active.

- With Jill Ellis set to leave her post as United States head coach, the Women's World Cup winners have lined up England boss Phil Neville as their number one target to replace her, according to the Daily Mail.

- Manchester United are looking to the future. Sport Witness reports the Premier League giants sent scouts to watch Benfica duo Ruben Dias, 22, and Florentino Luis, 20, against Sporting Braga on Sunday, lining the pair up as two potential transfer targets.

- After collecting just five points from four Premier League games, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is getting frustrated. Solskjaer is frustrated by the failures of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial to score "scruffy" goals, according to The Athletic.

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