Romelu Lukaku is having a medical at Inter ahead of a deadline day move from Manchester United.

Omnisport understands Inter and United have agreed an €80million (£73m) move to Serie A, ending a protracted transfer saga.

Ahead of confirmation of the deal, Lukaku waved to fans and the media from a window of the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI) offices in Milan, where the Italian Sports Medicine Federation (FMSI) is based.

The Belgium international was going through the second stage of his medical at the facility.

Tottenham look set to have a slightly less busy day than supporters may have hoped for, as a move for Paulo Dybala is reportedly off, while their chase of Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon is also said to have hit an obstacle.

There do not seem to be any such issues with their pursuit of Real Betis' Giovani Lo Celso, however.

Daniel Drinkwater's dismal time at Chelsea could be coming to an end, with the England international midfielder potentially joining Burnley.

Sean Dyche confirmed Burnley's interest in the former Leicester City star on Thursday, and although he suggested it was by no means a done deal, he is hopeful of securing a loan.

Brighton and Hove Albion have concluded a move for 19-year-old Romaric Yapi, who joins on a one-year deal – with the option for a second – from Paris Saint-Germain.

Swiss striker Albian Ajeti has joined West Ham as back-up to Sebastien Haller, while in the Championship Sheffield Wednesday have pulled off something of a coup in landing Australia international Massimo Luongo from QPR.

Newcastle United signed Swedish right-back Emil Krafth for a reported £5m fee, while they are also rumoured to be closing in on their former striker Andy Carroll, who is available on a free transfer.

Romelu Lukaku and David Luiz are on the move with a busy deadline day seemingly in prospect for Premier League clubs.

Inter and Manchester United have agreed an €80million (£73m) fee for Belgium striker Lukaku, who is in Milan to undergo a medical before being confirmed as the Serie A giants' record signing.

While that deal has been long mooted, talk of David Luiz moving across London to Arsenal from Chelsea only began to emerge on Wednesday.

The 32-year-old will sign a two-year contract with the Gunners and cost £8m, with Unai Emery moving swiftly to secure a replacement for Laurent Koscielny – the club captain who joined Bordeaux this week.

Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney is expected to join David Luiz at the Emirates Stadium for a fee reported to be in the region of £25m, although the biggest spending on deadline day could yet come from their north London rivals.

Tottenham are rumoured to be closing in on Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon, while Argentina internationals Paulo Dybala and Giovani Lo Celso could see their outlay for the day surpass £100m.

Premier League champions Manchester City are seemingly bringing in Derby County goalkeeper Scott Carson on a season-long loan deal to provide cover for Ederson and Claudio Bravo.

West Ham and Crystal Palace completed some business early on deadline day.

Switzerland forward Albian Ajeti signed a four-year contract at London Stadium, with the option of a further two, after West Ham and Basel agreed an undisclosed fee reported to be in the region of £8m.

Crystal Palace's undisclosed outlay for Everton midfielder James McCarthy will be dwarfed if star winger Wilfried Zaha moves in the other direction.

Two players not looking to change their situation are Nathan Redmond and John McGinn, who have signed four and five-year contract extensions at Southampton and Aston Villa, respectively.

 

The Premier League transfer window closes at 17:00 BST on Thursday – and there could yet be some major deals involving England's elite.

Harry Maguire's £80m switch from Leicester City to Manchester United – making him the world's most expensive defender – is the biggest deal on English shores of this window so far.

However, there remains a chance even that figure could be surpassed on Thursday with some of the biggest names both in the Premier League and overseas still the subject of interest.

We look at five potential transfers on Premier League deadline day.

 

David Luiz (Chelsea)

Arsenal could yet make a surprise swoop for Chelsea's Brazil defender after selling Laurent Koscielny to Bordeaux.

David Luiz sat out training with Chelsea on Wednesday and is believed to be keen for a move to the Emirates Stadium.

The Blues are believed to be open to a deal with their London neighbours but will want in the region of £20m.

Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona) 

While the prospect of a return to Liverpool is off the cards for the Brazil international, a return to English shores is not completely out of the question.

Barcelona are understood to be ready to allow the midfielder, who joined them from Anfield 18 months ago, out on loan.

Tottenham halted their interest after reaching an agreement with Real Betis to sign Giovani Lo Celso, while Manchester United have also been linked.

Christian Eriksen (Tottenham)

The departure of Eriksen on deadline day would be a devastating blow for Tottenham, but the Denmark international is believed to be keen on a new challenge.

There was interest from Manchester United, however, they halted talks on Wednesday after being left under the impression the ex-Ajax midfielder fancies a move overseas.

Should he depart, a move to Madrid appears Eriksen's most likely destination, with Real Madrid and neighbours Atletico both believed to be keen – and those sides can still make moves after Thursday's deadline.

The same applies to United's transfer rebel Romelu Lukaku, who was fined on Tuesday after missing training but could now be on his way to Inter after they submitted an improved offer.

Paulo Dybala (Juventus)

This one is starting to look a long shot but far stranger things have happened on deadline day.

Juventus are ready to cash in on their Argentine forward, yet his wage demands proved too high for Manchester United, who pulled the plug on a move.

Dybala has, however, set social media alight by liking a post from ex-United player Patrice Evra, a former team-mate at Juve, stressing what it means to play for the Old Trafford club. Tottenham should not be entirely ruled out of the running yet either given Eriksen's situation.

Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)

Crystal Palace have played hardball over selling their star forward thus far yet his decision to hand in a transfer request amid interest from big-spending Everton could yet force the London club's hand.

The Toffees now appear very much in the driving seat for the Ivory Coast international following Arsenal's move for Nicolas Pepe and they are expected to launch one final push to get their man. 

Any deal would almost certainly be in excess of the biggest deal of the British window to date – Maguire's £80m switch to Old Trafford.

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.

Jurgen Klopp's complaint over the Premier League start date is sure to infiltrate the season opener when Liverpool entertain Norwich City on Friday.

A combination of Copa America and Africa Cup of Nations commitments robbed Klopp of several stars for much of pre-season, leading the Reds boss to call for the English football calendar to be pushed back.

As the minutes tick down to that first whistle at Anfield, managers will be monitoring the condition of their players and making calls on fitness.

Do those in charge of globe-trotting squads have reason to fear sluggish starts, or can players push past heavy legs to set the league alight in the early weeks?

To consider the question, we have mined the Opta data to assess how three high-profile stars fared at the outset of the two seasons either side of last year's World Cup.

 

No concern over Kane

Harry Kane recently told reporters he feels as sharp as he has "for a long while" after a rare, relaxing off-season, which some view as the gateway to a fast start for the Tottenham striker.

Yet even in the aftermath of last year's long and emotionally exhausting run to the semi-finals in Russia, the England captain seemed to have no trouble getting right back up to speed for Spurs.

Kane scored five times over the course of the opening seven games last season, second only to a player he faced in the third-place play-off at the World Cup: Eden Hazard.

The haul was one fewer than he managed in the same period in 2017-18, which followed a tournament-free off-season.

Fitness did become an issue for Kane as a long 2018-19 campaign wore on and his workload for club and country warrants close inspection, but a longer holiday did little to boost his numbers at the beginning of the season.

Of course, not every player returned from the World Cup in the same psychological state as the tournament's Golden Boot winner.

De Gea better for the break?

David de Gea was simply not himself last season.

Confidence sapped by a poor World Cup, the Spain star dipped well below his usually impeccable standards back at Old Trafford and might have lost the number one shirt had Sergio Romero not suffered ill-timed injuries.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ultimately kept faith with Manchester United's first-choice keeper and can reasonably expect a rejuvenated De Gea to make the kind of solid start to the season he enjoyed in 2017-18.

Then, the former Atletico Madrid man posted a league-high save percentage of 88.2 through to the end of September.

Fast forward 12 months and, with international matters perhaps still on his mind, De Gea did not rank in the top 10 for that statistic across the same period.

Poorer save percentages plagued other Premier League goalkeepers in the immediate aftermath of attending the World Cup.

Manchester City's Ederson, Mat Ryan of Brighton and Hove Albion and Leicester City mainstay Kasper Schmeichel all failed to meet their respective averages after travelling to Russia.

The latter, like De Gea, failed to claw his way into the Premier League's top 10 over the first seven games last term.

Silva sets elite standard

As other players endure peaks and troughs, David Silva simply gets on with sustaining a level of excellence even in his advancing years.

The experienced midfielder started in Manchester City's triumph over Liverpool in the Community Shield last weekend and deserves a good deal of attention when the champions travel to London Stadium on Saturday.

Silva started the 2017-18 season in sublime style, registering a league-high six assists in the space of seven games and creating 23 chances in total – only team-mate Kevin De Bruyne (24) managed more.

He went on to win the title, attended the World Cup, and eased back into the Premier League by creating 20 chances before the end of September last season, more than any other player. All without real time to pause.

Could the 33-year-old help City set the pace yet again? West Ham would be safe to assume so: Silva has scored in four of his past five matches against them in all competitions.

Tottenham are ready to make a splash before the transfer window closes in England – by landing Paulo Dybala and Philippe Coutinho.

The Champions League runners-up could add the two playmakers to their squad before the window shuts on Thursday, with Christian Eriksen potentially leaving.

In what looks set to be another chaotic end to the window, Spurs could be central to plenty of movement.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS' DYBALA OFFER ACCEPTED, EYE COUTINHO LOAN

Juventus have accepted a £65million (€70.6m) offer from Tottenham for Dybala, according to Sky Sports.

Dybala has already reportedly rejected a move to Manchester United due to an unwillingness to take a pay cut, and a switch to Spurs is now in his hands.

Tottenham are also leading the race to sign Barcelona attacker Coutinho on loan, according to The Sun.

Arsenal and United are said to be interested in Coutinho as well, though a report from AS claims the Gunners are not considering a move.

 

ROUND-UP

- Spurs' moves for Dybala and Coutinho could send dominoes falling. United want to pay just £50m to take Eriksen – who is out of contract at the season's end – from Tottenham to Old Trafford, according to the Mirror.

- That would boost Real Madrid's hopes of signing Paul Pogba from United. Sport and Marca report the France international's chances of leaving the Red Devils rest on their ability to sign a replacement – like Eriksen – before the window closes in England.

- Barca are attempting to accelerate Neymar's return to Camp Nou. The cover of Sport says the Spanish champions are looking for Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic – who is potentially set for Paris Saint-Germain – to depart so they can land the Brazil star from the Ligue 1 giants.

- With Romelu Lukaku potentially set for Inter, Man United are looking for a replacement. Yahoo Sport France say the Premier League club have made an offer for Lyon forward Moussa Dembele.

- While Arsenal's possible chase of Coutinho is uncertain, they have been linked with defenders after Laurent Koscielny's departure to Bordeaux. Italian journalist Alfredo Pedulla reports Juve centre-back Daniele Rugani has agreed terms with the Gunners, who may initially take him on a two-year loan before paying £36.9m (€40m).

- Staying at the Emirates Stadium, Mesut Ozil could finally be set for the exit. The Mirror reports Ozil's representatives are set for talks with DC United over a move to MLS, where the German could replace Wayne Rooney after the forward's move to Derby County in January was confirmed.

 

After breaking the world-record fee for a defender, Manchester United do not appear to be done just yet.

With Harry Maguire joining Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James at Old Trafford, a London-based Dane could make the move to Manchester.

It could also lead to an in-demand Portuguese midfielder swapping Sporting CP for Tottenham.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED MAKE LAST-DITCH ERIKSEN MOVE

Manchester United are hoping to sign Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen before Thursday's deadline, according to the Daily Mail.

Eriksen is reluctant to renew his contract – which expires in 2020 – with Tottenham and United are looking to lure the Denmark international to Manchester prior to the transfer window closing.

If Eriksen, who has also been linked to Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Juventus, leaves Tottenham then he could be replaced with Sporting CP captain Bruno Fernandes.

Portugal international Fernandes has long been tipped to join United.

 

ROUND-UP

- InfoSport+ says Paris Saint-Germain have made a €60million offer for Juventus attacker Paulo Dybala. Dybala was linked to Manchester United as part of a swap deal involving Romelu Lukaku but that move has seemingly ended over reported wage demands.

- Staying with the same theme and Corriere dello Sport reports that D-Day is approaching. Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri is pushing Dybala to leave Turin, as the Argentina international weighs up offers from Manchester United and PSG. Lukaku, meanwhile, is said to have already reached an agreement with the Serie A champions.

Bayern Munich are set to sign Manchester City's Leroy Sane, claims France Football. The Germany international will reportedly return to his homeland in a club-record €113m (£104.4m) transfer on a five-year contract.

Inter are considering signing Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal on loan, according to FcInterNews. Vidal worked under Antonio Conte at Juventus and they could be reunited in Milan as Barca look to lighten their midfield following the arrival of Frenkie de Jong.

- Widespread reports in Italy claim a deal involving Joao Cancelo and Danilo is done. Manchester City will reportedly send Danilo and €28m to Juventus in exchange for Portugal full-back Cancelo.

- According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Premier League side Wolves are ready to offer €30m for Juventus defender Daniele Rugani. The 25-year-old has also been linked to Arsenal following the arrivals of Matthijs de Ligt and Merih Demiral.

Everton have put together a £100m transfer package to sign Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha. According to The Sun, Everton will offer £65m plus striker Cenk Tosun and midfielder James McCarthy.

- Widespread reports in the United Kingdom claim Wayne Rooney is close to joining Championship outfit Derby County as a player-coach. Former Manchester United and England captain Rooney has two seasons remaining on his contract with MLS team DC United.

Tottenham defender Juan Foyth will be sidelined until September due to an ankle ligament injury.

The centre-back was hurt during the Audi Cup pre-season match with Bayern Munich last month, with manager Mauricio Pochettino admitting the player was in a lot of pain.

Medical tests have revealed Foyth has damaged the lateral ligament in his left ankle and is not due to resume first-team duties until next month.

The 21-year-old is suspended for Spurs' first two Premier League games of the season against Aston Villa and Manchester City.

He is unlikely to be fit for the home game against Newcastle United on August 25 or the north London derby with Arsenal on September 1.

Earlier, Spurs also confirmed they have been granted planning permission to increase the capacity of their stadium.

Haringey Council has approved plans to add more seats to the north and south stands that will boost the overall number to 62,214.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes there are "many contenders" for the Premier League title, including rivals Manchester United.

City will go into the 2019-20 season as favourites to win the league for the third straight year and they edged Liverpool on penalties in the Community Shield on Sunday.

While Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp led their teams clear of the pack last season, Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal in particular have strengthened heading into the new campaign.

Guardiola talked up European champions Liverpool, but said the usual 'Big Six' were in contention – highlighting United's expected signing of England centre-back Harry Maguire from Leicester City.

"I think United with Maguire and the other players they bought, Arsenal as well, Chelsea and Tottenham, they won all of their pre-season so I think there will be many, many contenders this time," he told a news conference on Sunday.

"But I think Liverpool... we were so happy when we realised which team we were going to face for the rest of the season, they are the champions of Europe, that's why I gave a lot of credit to our victory today.

"The way we played, particularly in the first half, and the way we defended, but they are a top-class team. The difference can be one point ahead, one penalty ahead, that is the difference, it's minor.

"Sometimes a call will come on your side, sometimes not, that's why it's good to face them, this is the team we are going to face this season.

"This is how well prepared we have to be until the end to try to win the titles."

Manchester City begin their league campaign at West Ham on Saturday.

Mauricio Pochettino admitted he is "worried" about Dele Alli after revealing the Tottenham midfielder is set to miss the start of the new season with a fresh hamstring injury.

Alli was ruled out of Tottenham's final pre-season friendly against Inter on Sunday and is now in a race against time to be fit for next Saturday's Premier League opener against Aston Villa.

The 23-year-old missed a number of matches with a similar injury problem last season and Pochettino is concerned about the amount of time one of his star men has spent on the sidelines in his four years with Spurs.

"I don’t know if the club will communicate the time [he will be out] but I don’t believe he's going to be ready for the start of the season," Pochettino said at his post-match news conference.

"It's the same type of injury [as before]. Of course we are worried. He's still so young - just 23 years old and he has had many, many hamstring problems in the last few years. 

"We are here to try to help him. I think it's a minor injury - probably a few weeks before he can be available again and be with the group."

Tottenham were also without Serge Aurier, Juan Foyth, Victor Wanyama and Eric Dier for their friendly with Inter on home soil, which they lost 4-3 on penalties following a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes - Lucas Moura's early strike being cancelled out by Stefano Sensi.

Pochettino conceded after the match a number of his players will be short of fitness come the start of the new campaign.

"With Juan I think the medical staff are going to provide an update in the next few days," he said. "I cannot say more because I don't know exactly how much time he will be out for. 

"For sure it's a tough injury and for sure it is many weeks he is going to be out. We hope he can recover as soon as possible.

"Serge, Victor and Dier were at the training ground. For different reasons they are short in their preparation. Rather than play today it was important to train and to try to be fit as soon as possible.

"We are going to arrive in a very good condition [for the first game], but maybe not in an ideal condition. 

"Some players are a little bit shorter in their preparation. It’s not ideal, but it’s after going to be such a tough season and we are happy. 

"We need to improve. We have one week to prepare for the game but we're going to arrive in a good condition to try to beat Aston Villa."

Club-record signing Tanguy Ndombele made his home debut in Sunday's International Champions Cup match and Pochettino is not ruling out more new signings before Thursday's deadline, despite a lack of recent dialogue with chairman Daniel Levy.

"I am happy with my squad," he said. "You can see today a lot of younger players. 

"Every season we are always open to improve the squad and to try to find the right players to be stronger and better and there are still four days. We'll see what happens in the next few days.

"But Daniel is in Miami and I haven't had the opportunity to talk to him."

Christian Eriksen and Oliver Skipp missed from the spot as Tottenham suffered a 4-3 penalty shoot-out defeat to Inter after a 1-1 draw on home soil in their final pre-season friendly.

Spurs got the better of Bayern Munich on penalties on Wednesday to win the Audi Cup, but they were second best in Sunday's International Champions Cup clash against Antonio Conte's side.

Inter pegged the hosts back before half-time through new signing Stefano Sensi after Lucas Moura had maintained his impressive form by putting Spurs in front inside the first three minutes.

Neither team could find a winner in a match lacking clear-cut chances and it was Inter – still three weeks away from their first competitive match of 2019-20 – who prevailed 4-3 on penalties in London, Joao Mario converting the winning kick.

Manchester United and Juventus have been discussing a swap deal involving Paulo Dybala.

However, Tottenham are also interested in the Argentina international.

With the Premier League transfer window to shut on August 8, there is still plenty of twists and turns to come.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS EYE DYBALA AMID UNITED TALKS

Tottenham have made an approach for Juventus star Paulo Dybala, according to SoccerLink.

Dybala is in talks with Manchester United, who have reportedly agreed a deal to send striker Romelu Lukaku to Juventus for the former Palermo forward.

The 25-year-old is reportedly not convinced about joining United and Champions League finalists Tottenham are ready to pounce after manager and fellow Argentinian Mauricio Pochettino tried to convince the player to move to London.

 

ROUND-UP

- The front page of SPORT is dominated by Neymar. The newspaper says Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain are working on a loan deal with a non-mandatory purchase option to unlock negotiations. The new formula could accelerate a transfer.

- Manchester United star Paul Pogba fears being priced out of a move to Real Madrid, according to The Mirror. Madrid are in negotiations to sign Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek as they struggle to prise Pogba away from Old Trafford.

- The Express says Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is eyeing Real Madrid midfielder Isco and Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake. The Premier League champions are reportedly targeting Ake – who is believed to be wanted by Leicester City – as Manchester United close in on Harry Maguire.

- Napoli have entered the race to sign Romelu Lukaku from Manchester United, reports Alfredo Pedulla. However, Lukaku has apparently rejected the offer as he eyes a move to Juventus.

- According to O Jogo, Benfica are plotting a €6million transfer for Partizan Belgrade teenager Strahinja Pavlovic. The 18-year-old defender has been linked with Serie A champions Juventus.

- La Gazzetta dello Sport claims Ligue 1 duo Lyon and Monaco are keen on signing AC Milan attacker Suso.

- Barcelona are close to signing Real Betis full-back Junior Firpo, according to Marca. Mundo Deportivo says the two Spanish clubs have agreed a €25m fee for the 22-year-old.

Manchester City and Liverpool will lead a two-horse race in the Premier League once again in the 2019-20 campaign, Reds icon Graeme Souness believes.

Pep Guardiola's City edged the Premier League title last term, finishing on 98 points – just one more than Liverpool – to defend their crown.

It was a remarkable campaign, with Liverpool setting a new record points total for a side that finished second, their swashbuckling attacking style aided by a new-found defensive shrewdness inspired by Alisson and Virgil van Dijk.

Although the Reds won the Champions League, there was still an air of what might have been domestically, as they lost only once in the top flight.

Liverpool also finished a whopping 27 points ahead of third-placed Chelsea and Souness does not see anyone bridging the gap in this season.

Speaking to Omnisport at Brighton and Hove Pride on behalf of PaddyPower, Souness said: "I think they [Man City and Liverpool] showed last season they're a good bit ahead of anyone else, both of them.

"Man United have obviously strengthened where they needed to, at the back. I suppose United will be hoping Harry Maguire 'does a Virgil van Dijk' and brings them all along, makes everyone feel better about themselves and play better.

"I think Tottenham, they've spent a bit of money, they've been a team threatening for a few years now, they need to make that leap.

"Arsenal I don't see challenging and Chelsea could have a difficult year. They've lost the best player [Eden Hazard] in the Premier League of the last six or seven years.

"He's now gone and he was a scorer and provider of goals for Chelsea, they'll miss him enormously and, given they've this transfer embargo, I think it'll be a difficult year.

"I still see the big two, then the nearest challengers as Spurs. But United, if they get some momentum, they'll take some stopping, because you have to accept they're a very special football club and the support get behind them there."

Liverpool's pre-season has had its problems, as manager Jurgen Klopp has been without numerous key players due to international competitions and they won only once from matches against Lyon, Sevilla, Napoli, Borussia Dortmund and Sporting CP.

Up next before they get the new Premier League season started is the Community Shield against City, though Souness insists – win or lose – it will not be an indicator of how the season will unfold.

"The game [on Sunday] is not about who wins, it's about players getting through the game, getting up to speed for, in Liverpool's case, their game at home to Norwich, Souness added.

"It's about getting them through the pre-season and to the first day [of the campaign] – the first day is everything.

"You think of Liverpool losing it by one point last year, I think it'll be those two [teams at the top] again, it'll be nip and tuck all the way.

"Every single game, every single point is important, but Sunday is not – in terms of a result – important.

"I'm talking from a manager's perspective, saying that, as a player you don't rock up at Wembley and not want to win, you're bang at it. But the priority is getting them that bit fitter."

 

Graeme Souness was talking to Omnisport on behalf of PaddyPower's Come Out and Play campaign and Proud United, a team of LGBTQ footballers from across the United Kingdom working to tackle homophobia in football.

Real Madrid want to add a midfielder or two and they have made progress with Donny van de Beek and entered the race for another star.

The LaLiga giants have consistently been linked with Manchester United's Paul Pogba this close season, but it seems their chase of the France international is making very slow progress.

Now, they have reportedly agreed to terms with Ajax star Van de Beek and stunningly entered the race for Bruno Fernandes.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID AGREE TERMS WITH VAN DE BEEK, ENTER FERNANDES RACE

Real Madrid have reached an agreement with Van de Beek over a move to the Santiago Bernabeu, according to Marca.

The 22-year-old Ajax and Netherlands midfielder will make the move if Madrid can agree a fee with the Eredivisie champions.

However, Marca also say Madrid's move for Van de Beek would not close the door to Pogba.

Having already strengthened in the close season, Madrid are also in the race for Sporting CP star Fernandes – linked with Manchester United and Tottenham – according to Record.

 

ROUND-UP

- 'It's war!' reads the cover of Sport, who say Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar has insisted his desire is to return to Barcelona. They report the Ligue 1 champions are losing patience with the Brazil forward and will make a decision on the forward's future next week.

- With or without Neymar, Barcelona are making moves. Sport report the LaLiga champions have agreed to a five-year deal with Junior Firpo but are still working to reach a deal with Real Betis for the left-back. Barca will offer around €20million, but Betis are looking for €25m, with variables in the discussion.

- There is also set to be an exit from Camp Nou. Juventus will offer Barcelona €10m plus bonuses for left-back Juan Miranda, but the Spanish side will only accept a deal if a buy-back clause is included.

- Amid continued talks between Manchester United and Juventus regarding a Romelu Lukaku-Paulo Dybala swap deal, it seems Mario Mandzukic is ready for a switch to Old Trafford. Il BiancoNero reports Juve's Croatian striker is positive about the chance to join the Premier League giants.

- Mauro Icardi's Inter career is over. La Gazzetta dello Sport report Nerazzurri chiefs have told the forward he is no longer wanted at San Siro and should consider offers from Roma and Napoli.

- Nicolo Zaniolo has been linked with a move away from Roma, but the Serie A side are set to begin talks with the midfielder over a new contract, according to Calciomercato. Juventus and Tottenham are reportedly interested in the 20-year-old.

Kingsley Coman has sustained only bruising to his knee and could be available for Bayern Munich's DFL-Supercup clash with Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.

The France winger had to go off after managing just five minutes as a substitute in the Audi Cup match against Tottenham on Wednesday.

Head coach Niko Kovac said after the match: "We hope that it's not too bad and that he'll be back in the next few days."

Bayern confirmed on Thursday that Coman "only suffered a badly bruised knee" and is expected to return to training on Friday.

Bayern were beaten on penalties after a 2-2 draw with Spurs in their final pre-season fixture.

They face Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park in the traditional season curtain-raiser before a DFB-Pokal trip to Energie Cottbus on August 12.

Their Bundesliga title defence begins on August 16 at home to Hertha Berlin.

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