Jamaica international Michael Hector is likely to be without regular first-team football until the next transfer window after deadline day moves to Sheffield Wednesday and Fulham collapsed.

The 27-year-old defender signed with Premier League club Chelsea in 2015 but has spent all his time on various loan spells.  Since signing for the Blues, at Stamford Bridge, the Jamaican has been loaned back to Reading to Frankfurt, Hull City, and Sheffield Wednesday.

Having clearly found himself to not be a part of new manager Frank Lampard’s plans, Hector was in talks with Sheffield Wednesday over a permanent move a few days before the close of the summer window. 

Chelsea were, however, said to want £5 million for Hector, who recently entered the final year of his contract with the club for whom he has never played a competitive fixture. 

The player came close to joining Fulham on Thursday but that move fell through.  Fulham were hopeful of landing Hector before the window closed but couldn't as they were still waiting on the agreement for Ryan Sessegnon to be completed with Tottenham.

The Cottagers were then forced to go for other targets on loan in order to comply with FFP regulations.  Hector is, however, expected to join the club in the January window.

 

Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton Athletic were the only teams to maintain their 100 per cent records in the Championship, while Reading, Stoke City and Blackburn Rovers again slipped to defeats.

Last season's relegated Premier League sides Cardiff City and Fulham both bounced back from disappointing starts with home victories, the Bluebirds beating Luton Town 2-1 and Scott Parker's side claiming a 2-0 win against Blackburn.

Middlesbrough manager Jonathan Woodgate was furious after his side had two goals disallowed in a 1-0 home defeat to Brentford, Tommy Rowe's late equaliser earned Bristol City a 1-1 draw at Birmingham City and Preston North End beat Wigan Athletic 3-0.

Meanwhile, Leeds United, QPR, West Brom and Derby County, who all won their opening games, were held to draws by Nottingham Forest, Huddersfield Town, Millwall and Swansea City respectively.

GRABBAN DENIES LEEDS ANOTHER WIN

Forest boss Sabri Lamouchi was facing the prospect of starting the season with consecutive defeats until Lewis Grabban grabbed an equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Leeds, who dominated for long spells at Elland Road.

Marcelo Bielsa's men swept Bristol City aside in the first half an hour of their season opener but found themselves embroiled in a battle with an uncompromising Forest side determined to bounce back from their 2-1 defeat at home to West Brom.

After Patrick Bamford hit the crossbar, it was playmaker Pablo Hernandez who put Leeds in front, latching onto Mateusz Klich's chipped pass over the defence and burying a shot into the far corner of the net for his second goal in as many games.

But Forest equalised with their only shot on target of the game, Grabban capitalising on a penalty-box scramble and bundling the ball over the line from close range.

TWO WINS IN TWO FOR BOWYER'S MEN

Lyle Taylor, who scored Charlton Athletic's winner in their opening-day victory over Blackburn Rovers, picked up where he left off by firing Lee Bowyer's Addicks into the lead at home against Stoke.

The Potters responded through Tom Ince, but the tireless work ethic of Bowyer's newly promoted side wore the visitors down.

Close-season signing Chuks Aneke slammed the ball into the bottom corner from close range after Josh Cullen's cut-back to make it 2-1 to the hosts, and Conor Gallagher put the result beyond doubt seven minutes from time.

OWLS OFF TO A FLYER

Loanee winger Jacob Murphy wasted little time endearing himself to the Hillsborough faithful, pouncing on a loose ball and side-footing Sheffield Wednesday into the lead after two minutes of the South Yorkshire derby against Barnsley.

The Owls carried the momentum of their victory at Reading into the game and withstood waves of pressure from a well-organised Barnsley side before doubling their lead through Steven Fletcher.

After Murphy's mazy dribble, Kieran Lee fed Fletcher and the Scotland international showed great technique with a finish into the bottom-right corner from outside the box.

FULHAM OFF THE MARK AS ROVERS FALTER

Blackburn were widely tipped to push on after finishing 15th in the Championship last season, but two games in they are still without a point following their home defeat to Charlton and a 2-0 reverse at Fulham.

Parker's side drew a blank when starting the season with a defeat at Barnsley but they went ahead against Rovers when former Blackburn midfielder Tom Cairney let rip from 25 yards.

Blackburn matched Fulham for much of the contest and Sam Gallagher squandered the chance to pull them level when he headed wide 14 minutes from time, moments before Aleksandar Mitrovic scored a tap-in.

Tottenham have completed the signing of versatile left-back Ryan Sessegnon from Fulham in a player-plus-cash transfer that sees Josh Onomah move the opposite way.

Sessegnon has been repeatedly linked with Tottenham over the past 18 months and an agreement has now been reached between the London clubs.

Spurs will reportedly pay Fulham £25million for the 19-year-old, with academy product Onomah - who has spent back-to-back campaigns on loan in the Championship with Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday - included as part of the deal.

England Under-21 international Sessegnon boasts one season of Premier League experience after appearing 35 times for relegated Fulham in 2018-19, scoring twice and laying on six assists for his team-mates.

He becomes Tottenham's fourth signing of the close season following the arrivals of Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso and Jack Clarke, who was loaned straight back to Leeds United.

The transfer window slams shut in England on Thursday and Romelu Lukaku is finally set to get his move.

Linked to Inter and Juventus throughout the off-season, Manchester United striker Lukaku is poised to swap Old Trafford for San Siro in Milan.

Lukaku's exit could trigger United to make a late dash for his replacement.

 

TOP STORY – LUKAKU TO SWAP UNITED FOR INTER

After months of speculation, Lukaku will swap Manchester United for Serie A side Inter according to widespread reports.

Lukaku landed in Milan in the early hours of Thursday morning ahead of his €75million (£70m) move to Inter.

Inter will reportedly pay a €65m fixed fee and €10m in add-ons, with the deal also including a five per cent cut of any future sale.

 

ROUND-UP

- With Lukaku leaving Old Trafford, United are willing to pay the £81m (€88m) release clause to lure Inaki Williams from Athletic Bilbao, reports El Chiringuito TV. The Red Devils are also continuing to be linked to Juventus' Mario Mandzukic and former Tottenham striker Fernando Llorente, who is a free agent.

Tottenham are set to complete deadline-day deals for Real Betis midfielder Giovani Lo Celso and Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon, reports the Telegraph. Spurs are hopeful of clinching a transfer for Lo Celso at £55m (€59.7m), while Sessegnon could cost £20m.

- According to Sport, Real Madrid have offered €120m plus Luka Modric for wantaway Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar. Barcelona have been linked with their former forward but the LaLiga champions must raise funds before trying to re-sign the Brazil international. Barca could free up space by selling Philippe Coutinho, who has reportedly attracted interest from Premier League trio United, Tottenham and Arsenal.

Arsenal are set for a busy deadline day. The Sun reports the Gunners could land Chelsea defender David Luiz in a £12m deal, while Unai Emery's side have agreed a Scottish transfer record fee of £25m for Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney, according to the BBC.

- Tottenham have agreed to sign Juventus star Paulo Dybala but the player's image rights are holding up the deal, says the Independent. Dybala has also been linked to Paris Saint-Germain after turning down a move to Manchester United.

- Sportitalia says Wolves have agreed a £23m (€25m) fee to sign AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, who reportedly wants a wage increase. Wolves have already signed Patrick Cutrone from Milan.

- According to Sky Sports, Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha has handed in a transfer request as Everton look to sign the former Manchester United forward.

Mario Balotelli is on the verge of joining Brazilian side Flamengo until December 2021. That is according to La Gazzetta dello Sport and Sky Sport Italia. Balotelli is a free agent following his Marseille exit.

Harry Arter is targeting promotion back to the Premier League with Fulham after joining the Cottagers on loan from Bournemouth.

The Republic of Ireland midfielder has stepped down from the top flight to spend the season with Fulham, who are managed by his brother-in-law Scott Parker.

It will become a permanent deal if "performance-related criteria" are met, Bournemouth announced.

Arter, 29, played over 250 games for Bournemouth across eight seasons before spending the 2018-19 campaign on loan at Premier League rivals Cardiff, who were relegated on the penultimate weekend.

He joins a Fulham team who suffered a dismal campaign in the top tier last term, never looking capable of surviving after coming up through the play-offs.

Arter told fulhamfc.com: "The club's ambition to get straight back into the Premier League was something that definitely attracted me. The manager, I knew he really wanted me at the club.

"From the owner down to all the staff it's clear that the target is to get promoted this year. It's a challenge I want to be part of and I'm really looking forward to it."

The former Charlton youth player, who grew up in south-east London, added: "It's a great move for me for family reasons. I've always had a desire to play for a club in London. Ever since Scott signed here five or six years ago I've always come and watched Fulham and it's great to be part of the club."

Fulham and Cardiff City suffered defeats on their Championship returns on Saturday, as Charlton Athletic and Barnsley were victorious following promotion from League One.

Sheffield Wednesday also made a commendable start to the season with a 3-1 win at Reading, despite being without a permanent manager in the wake of Steve Bruce's departure to Newcastle United.

QPR beat a much-changed Stoke City 2-1 on the road, while Birmingham City also succeeded away from home, beating Brentford 1-0.

Millwall claimed a 1-0 victory at home to Preston North End and Hull City went down 2-1 away to Swansea City.

BLUEBIRDS DOWNED BY WIGAN

Cardiff's return to the Championship following Premier League relegation proved they are in for a testing campaign, as Wigan edged a five-goal thriller at the DW Stadium.

Joe Ralls volleyed the Bluebirds in front after 20 minutes and they remained ahead when Josh Windass hit the post with a penalty following a foul by Sean Morrison early in the second half.

Wigan levelled prior to the hour when a deflected free-kick fell to Michael Jacobs to turn home, before Windass made amends by rifling into the bottom-left corner.

Omar Bogle tapped in from close range against his former club in the 70th minute to equalise, but back came Wigan – Lee Evans finding the top-right corner with a screamer to seal the victory.

 

BARNSLEY MAKE IMPRESSIVE RETURN

Barnsley and Fulham were almost in two entirely different worlds last season, with one clawing their way up from League One and the other rubbing shoulders with the elite in the Premier League.

The only goal of their meeting at Oakwell came in the 13th minute, when debutant Luke Thomas beat his man and fired home from inside the box.

Barnsley had two lucky escapes past the hour mark, with Mads Andersen clearing efforts from Tom Cairney and then Floyd Ayite off the line, allowing the hosts to get off to a winning start.

 

LATE WIN DELIGHTS CHARLTON

Promoted via the play-offs, Charlton got off to a flying start in the Championship thanks to an applaudable 2-1 win at Blackburn Rovers.

Ben Purrington opened the scoring just before the break, converting at the back post from Jonny Williams' delivery.

Blackburn levelled early in the second half in fortuitous fashion – Naby Sarr cleared a goal-bound effort off the line, only for it to hit goalkeeper Dillon Phillips and ricochet into the net.

But Lyle Taylor had the last laugh, applying a deft flicked finish to Jason Pearce's header, meaning none of the three promoted teams suffered defeat upon their returns to the Championship, with Luton Town drawing at home to Middlesbrough on Friday.

 

BULLEN'S OWLS SOAR

It was a turbulent close season for Sheffield Wednesday due to the saga surrounding Bruce's exit to Newcastle, but they looked sharp as they claimed an impressive 3-1 win away to Reading in their opening match under caretaker manager Lee Bullen.

Kadeem Harris put them ahead on the half-hour mark, but Yakou Meite's looping header restored parity in the 54th minute.

Wednesday swiftly retook the lead, however – Sam Hutchinson nodding in Barry Bannan's corner on his birthday for his first league goal since December 2016.

Keiren Westwood was sent off for clattering Modou Barrow in the 80th minute, but Lucas Joao wrapped things up late on for the visitors with a neat finish from the edge of the box.

Neil Warnock insisted the 2019-20 season is "absolutely" his last as a football manager as he prepared for a return to the Championship, where his Cardiff City side will battle for promotion in a division of contrasting football philosophies.

Former Leeds United boss Warnock will relish the Bluebirds' games against his old club more than ever as he pits his wits against Marcelo Bielsa following a turbulent first season in England for the former Argentina coach.

Slaven Bilic will embark upon his first adventure as a Championship boss as he aims to steer West Brom back into the Premier League, while Fulham's Scott Parker, Derby County's Phillip Cocu and Charlton Athletic's Lee Bowyer all make their managerial debuts in the division.

West Brom, Derby and Leeds come into the new season still smarting from play-off disappointment in 2018-19, while Huddersfield Town, Fulham and Cardiff arrive having tumbled out of the top flight last term.

Luton Town, Barnsley and Charlton are the newcomers from League One and all three will fancy their chances of causing more than a few surprises as they take on a division that looks wide open.

BIELSA IS BACK FOR A SECOND CRACK

Leeds fans breathed a sigh of relief when Bielsa agreed a one-year extension to his Elland Road contract, having seen their side transformed under the 63-year-old's guidance in 2018-19. While 'Spygate' and Leeds' play-off defeat to Derby dominated the headlines last season, they played some of the most attractive football in the division with veteran playmaker Pablo Hernandez instrumental in attack.

They acquired Helder Costa from Wolves and Ben White from Brighton and Hove Albion, while losing centre-back Pontus Jansson to Brentford, but Leeds will rely on many of the same faces that helped them finish third last term. Bielsa's ability to get the best out of his resources - particularly influential midfielder Kalvin Phillips - should ensure they challenge for promotion once again.

WARNOCK TO HAVE ONE MORE GO

Last season was a difficult one for Cardiff, the disappointment of relegation put into context by the tragic death of Emiliano Sala before he even played for the club. The experience left Warnock shaken as he reflected on his bond with Bluebirds fans, and he has promised a title tilt to bring the curtain down on his long career.

Aron Gunnarsson and Victor Camarasa have departed, but Warnock has brought in Will Vaulks from Rotherham to reinforce his midfield, while £5.5million forward Robert Glatzel will be expected to deliver goals.

BEES AND ROVERS HARBOUR TOP-HALF HOPES

Brentford finished 11th last season after manager Dean Smith joined Aston Villa in October, but Thomas Frank got them playing attractive football again as they won four of their final six games. Said Benrahma and Neal Maupay will be out to fire the Bees up the table and turn Griffin Park - where they have lost just one league game in 2019 - into a fortress.

There is similar optimism around Ewood Park, where Blackburn Rovers lost just one of their final five Championship games last term, and where former Southampton striker Sam Gallagher will hope to rediscover the goalscoring touch he showed in a loan spell in Lancashire in 2016-17.

FULHAM AIM TO BOUNCE BACK, BAGGIES REINFORCED

Anthony Knockaert knows all about Championship promotion pushes, having starred in Brighton's ascent in 2016-17, and his creativity and goals could be vital to Fulham's hopes of bouncing straight back after he signed on a season-long loan.

The Championship's bargain hunters are West Brom, who have signed Romaine Sawyers, Darnell Furlong and Semi Ayaji for less than £6m combined, but the £8m capture of forward Kenneth Zohore from Cardiff is a real statement of intent.

Liverpool have signed record-breaking teenager Harvey Elliott from Fulham. 

The England Under-17 international became the youngest player in Premier League history when he appeared against Wolves in May aged 16 years and 30 days.

Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid reportedly expressed interest in the midfielder following Fulham’s relegation to the Championship.

But the Reds have won the race to make Elliott their second signing of the close season, following the arrival of Sepp van der Berg from PEC Zwolle.

Elliott made three competitive appearances in total for the Cottagers.

He could debut for the European champions against Napoli in Edinburgh on Sunday and will be involved in the club's subsequent training camp in Evian.

Liverpool have not confirmed the length of Elliott's contract.

Anthony Knockaert has completed a loan move to Fulham from Brighton and Hove Albion.

The 27-year-old has agreed a 12-month deal, with the move expected to be made permanent for an agreed undisclosed fee at the end of 2019-20.

Brighton boss Graham Potter suggested the winger would not have been part of his plans had he stayed at the Amex.

"The move is a good one for the club and Anthony. The wide positions are areas in which we have a lot of competition within the squad," he said via Brighton's website.

"I've only worked with Anthony for a short period of time, but that's been a pleasure and he's been very professional and hardworking throughout pre-season. On behalf of the club, I would like to wish him well with Fulham."

Knockaert joined from Standard Liege in January 2016 and was named the Championship Player of the Year as Brighton won promotion the following year.

He scored two goals in 30 Premier League appearances last term as Brighton narrowly avoided relegation.

"It feels amazing to be here. I feel really welcome already. It just feels great to get this done and for me to be a Fulham player," he said.

"The goal is to get back to the Premier League where Fulham belongs. I have come here with the clear intention to get promoted and I want to help in any way that I can."

Galatasaray are in talks to sign Fulham flop Jean Michael Seri on loan.

The Super Lig champions confirmed via a brief Twitter statement on Wednesday that negotiations are underway.

Seri signed for Fulham from Nice last year for a reported fee of £25million - a club record at the time - after having previously been linked with Barcelona.

He made 32 appearances in the Premier League last term but was unable to impress consistently as the Cottagers suffered relegation to the Championship.

AC Milan have also been credited with an interest in the midfielder, who turns 28 on Friday.

His former Fulham team-mate, Ryan Babel, signed for Gala on a free transfer last month after leaving the London club.

Aleksandar Mitrovic has signed a new five-year contract at Fulham to put an end to rumours he was on his way out of Craven Cottage.

The 24-year-old striker was linked with a move to the Chinese Super League, with offers in the region of £30million expected for a player who scored 11 goals in 37 Premier League appearances in 2018-19.

The Serbia international, who has netted 25 times in 48 outings for his country, joined Fulham from Newcastle United in July 2018 and has committed himself to the Championship club until 2024 despite last term's top-flight relegation. 

Mitrovic told the club's official website: "I'm really happy and I'm looking forward to playing here next season.

"There were a lot of clubs interested but in the end I decided to stay here because I'm really happy and settled at Fulham.

"My kids, wife, all my family are happy here. This is my home and I am really happy to sign a new deal.

"Since the first day I came here I have received a great reception from everyone in the club and the fans. I feel motivated and every morning when I come here to work I am happy.

"I have found my happiness and passion here."

United States great Clint Dempsey has retired from football at the age of 35.

The Seattle Sounders striker announced he is hanging up his boots in a statement on Wednesday, ending a distinguished playing career. 

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