First Juventus, now Atletico Madrid.

For so long, Luis Suarez appeared set to leave Spain for Italy.

But a proposed move to Juve did not materialise as the Barcelona forward stands on the cusp of uniting with Diego Simeone in the Spanish capital.

 

TOP STORY – SUAREZ TO JOIN ATLETICO

Luis Suarez will swap Barcelona for LaLiga rivals Atletico Madrid, according to widespread reports in Spain.

Suarez had been tipped to join Serie A champions Juventus after being told he could leave Camp Nou.

But the 33-year-old Uruguay international forward will now sign a two-year deal with Atletico as he dominates the front pages of Wednesday's Marca, Diario AS and Mundo Deportivo.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United have progressed talks with Barca regarding forward Ousmane Dembele, Record Sport reports. Having so far failed to prise Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, United are eyeing an initial loan move for Dembele.

- Esport3 claims Barca are set to sign Ajax right-back Sergino Dest, who was also wanted by Bayern Munich.

Milan have offered €20million for Nikola Milenkovic but Fiorentina have said no, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. Celtic's Kristoffer Ajer and Schalke centre-back Matija Nastasic are also options for the Rossoneri.

- Tuttosport claims Wolves are circling Juventus winger Douglas Costa, who has also been linked to United.

Fulham and Newcastle United have entered the race to sign Napoli forward Arkadiusz Milik, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. Tottenham have also been linked to the Poland international, while Roma are believed to be in talks as Milik enters the final year of his Napoli contract.

- Sky Sport Italia says Tottenham have opened talks for Inter defender Milan Skriniar, while Benfica's Ruben Dias is another option for Spurs.

- Torino are battling Atletico for Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira, according to Sportitalia. The former Sampdoria star has also been linked to Milan.

- Telefoot says Paris Saint-Germain are in talks with Chelsea over the possible signing of midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko. Discussions with Milan over a return have become complicated and PSG are now eyeing an initial loan deal for the former Monaco star.

The Premier League is in full swing after its second weekend of the 2020-21 season. How did we do without it for… about a month?

While fans remain barred from joining the players in the stadiums – which could yet be the case for much of the season – supporters are at least being treated to plenty of entertainment on TV.

The action certainly picked up where it left off from the previous week, as Saturday provided us with 21 goals across four matches, and that was followed by another 18 in Sunday's four – that's an average of nearly five per game.

Among those goals we saw James 'not Premier League proven' Rodriguez continue to impress and open his account for Everton, Wilfried Zaha down Manchester United and Son Heung-min score four, with each one set up by Harry Kane, remarkably.

An enthralling weekend brought about plenty of talking points and stats – read on for some of the quirkiest facts we could find with the help of Opta.

JAMES FINDS HIS RANGE

From the moment James arrived on Merseyside, the Colombian looked destined to provide plenty of excitement for Carlo Ancelotti's men.

His lovely 20-yard strike into the bottom-right corner during the Toffees' 5-2 win over West Brom meant 18 of his 53 goals scored in Europe's top five leagues have been from outside the penalty area. That's 34 per cent.

A fine record, though it's some way off the Premier League's deadliest from distance. Tom Huddlestone (10 of 12) has scored the greatest proportion of his top-flight goals (83.3 per cent) from outside the area among players to have reached double digits, while Frank Lampard (41) has the largest total.

 

DE GEA'S PENALTY WOES

When Zaha stepped up to a 74th-minute penalty in the hope of making it 2-0 to Crystal Palace at Old Trafford, few will have been banking on David de Gea's chances of making a save – not because the Palace star is great from the spot, but because of the Spaniard's shocking record in such scenarios.

Stopping a penalty is obviously tough, that's literally the point, but, after conceding Zaha's, De Gea has saved just 7.1 per cent (two of 28), with Paul Robinson (three from 49 for 6.1 per cent) the only goalkeeper to have a worse record among those who've faced 25 or more in the Premier League.

By contrast, Simon Mignolet faced the same number as De Gea but produced six more saves, giving him a 28.6 per cent save rate.

 

AWAY DAYS IN 'GOD'S OWN COUNTRY'

Yorkshire, or 'God's own country' as it is playfully dubbed by locals, is usually renowned for being friendly and welcoming – but perhaps less so when football's involved.

The omens weren't great for Fulham ahead of Saturday's trip to Leeds United, and as it happened they lost 4-3 in a belting contest, meaning they have lost eight successive Premier League matches away to Yorkshire clubs since their first – a 1-0 win at Elland Road in 2002.

Of clubs from outside the region, only Oldham Athletic (0) have a worse points-per-game record than Fulham (0.33). Newcastle United boast the best record of teams to have played more than 10 matches in Yorkshire, winning 1.76 points on average across their 29 games.

In a blow to religion fans everywhere, the Red Devils also tend to do pretty well in 'God's own country' - United have averaged 1.68 points in their 34 Yorkshire away days, losing just nine.

 

KNOWING ME, KNOWING UNITED (ZAHA)

Zaha had the decisive impact against his former club United on Saturday, with his brace effectively the difference in the 3-1 win Palace deservedly clinched.

Not only were they his first goal involvements against United in the league, he became the first player to net a brace against the Red Devils having previously represented them in the competition.

Zaha is now the joint-most prolific former United player in games against them, having drawn level with Fraizer Campbell, Keith Gillespie, Mark Hughes, Paul Ince and Danny Welbeck on two goals.

JAMAL LEWSES

Although Jamal Lewis impressed for Norwich City as they were relegated last season, he became rather familiar with home Premier League defeats and that has continued since moving to Newcastle.

A 3-0 loss to visitors Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday means Lewis has lost 12 of his 16 home matches in the top-flight – that's 75 per cent, and a joint-record for players with at least 15 home games played in the Premier League.

Kevin Kyle (20 games, 15 defeats) is other player with a 75 per cent losing rate, while Tommy Miller (18 games, 13 defeats – 72.2 per cent), Bruce Dyer (21 games, 15 defeats – 71.4 per cent) and Terence Kongolo (23 games, 16 defeats – 69.6 per cent) round out the bottom five.

The Premier League returned last weekend in enthralling fashion.

From a seven-goal spectacle at Anfield to another London derby win for Arsenal, there was excitement to behold almost everywhere you looked (unless you were looking for Harry Kane in the Everton penalty area, where he touched the ball twice).

We saw Mohamed Salah set a new Premier League record, a rotten moment for Virgil van Dijk and a lousy start to life back in the big time for the three promoted clubs - although they do have a reason not to be too worried.

By now, you're probably wondering why Steven Fletcher was in the headline. Fear not, dear reader: like a Premier League referee spotting that mysterious VAR screen on the touchline, you'll soon see there's a reason for everything.

Read on for some of the quirkiest facts from the first weekend of the 2020-21 season...

KEEP THE FAITH, NEW BOYS

Leeds United lost 4-3 to champions Liverpool in an absolute belter at Anfield, while Fulham and West Brom each suffered rather more one-sided 3-0 defeats to Arsenal and Leicester City.

Those results mean this is the first season since 2013-14 in which the three promoted sides all lost their opening Premier League matches.

There's no need to fret just yet, though. Of those teams seven years ago - Crystal Palace, Hull City and Cardiff City - only Cardiff were relegated at the end of the season. Palace finished as high as 11th.

In case you wondered, no season has ever seen all three promoted sides win on matchday one in the Premier League.

 

PEN-FEST

Salah and Jamie Vardy each scored two penalties over a weekend featuring just five games. There was only one instance of a player scoring twice from the spot in a single match in last season's 380 Premier League games (Troy Deeney against Newcastle United).

In total, 54 players have scored two penalties in a match in Premier League history; nobody has ever managed three.

Only four players have suffered the ignominy of missing two spot-kicks in a single game: Mark Draper against Newcastle in August 1994, Juan Pablo Angel against Fulham in February 2005, Darren Bent versus Tottenham in April 2010, and Saido Berahino against Watford in April 2016.

 

VAN DIJK CHASING STONES 'RECORD'

Van Dijk's generous but perplexing decision to cushion the ball down and set up Patrick Bamford to score means he has now made two errors leading directly to goals in his past four league games. He only committed one such mistake in his first 154 Premier League appearances.

Since his Southampton debut on September 12, 2015, 13 outfield players have made more errors leading to goals in the Premier League than Van Dijk. He is in esteemed company on three, alongside the likes of Sol Bamba, Erik Pieters and, yes, David Luiz (and two above Harry Maguire).

He has some way to go to reach the top of this particular chart, though. Since Van Dijk's debut in the competition, John Stones and Granit Xhaka lead the way on six errors leading to goals.

 

FULHAM'S CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

Fulham were soundly beaten 3-0 by Arsenal on Saturday, stretching their run in Premier League London derbies to 11 defeats in a row (they lost 10 in 2018-19). That's the worst record in history.

In the all-time top-flight London derbies table (yes, that one), Fulham sit on 126 defeats and 41 wins from 223 matches. That's as many victories as Crystal Palace, nine behind Wimbledon, and 19 fewer than Queens Park Rangers.

Top of that particular table is Arsenal, unsurprisingly, who have won 324 of their 691 capital clashes. Chelsea are next on 256 wins - just two above Tottenham.

Bottom of the pile are Leyton Orient, with two wins from eight games. So, Fulham fans - it could be worse.

 

STEVEN FLETCHER, LOSING IN STYLE

Salah's hat-trick inspired Liverpool's win over Leeds and saw him claim another slice of Premier League history.

The Egypt star has now been on the winning side in each of the past 35 league games in which he has scored, which is a record in the competition, one more than the previous best held by Wayne Rooney for Manchester United from September 2008 to February 2011.

As the old adage has it, goals win football games - unless your name is Steven Fletcher. The Scotland striker boasts the unenviable record of having scored in 10 consecutive matches for Wolves in 2011-12 without ever being on the winning side.

Mohamed Salah turned on the style as Liverpool fended off Leeds United in a seven-goal thriller on the first day of the Premier League season.

The Reds' 4-3 victory over their promoted visitors came on the back of two penalties and a sumptuous finish from Salah, whose hat-trick was an opening-day rarity.

As last season's top-flight champions launched their season in dramatic style, so others began to show what they might offer in the months ahead.

FA Cup holders Arsenal are targeting a much-improved league campaign in 2020-21, and their 3-0 win at Fulham was a promising start, with new signing Willian playing a key role.

Crystal Palace made an early breakthrough and made it count against Southampton, while Newcastle United's recent investments began to pay off as they earned a win at West Ham. We take a look at that and more thanks to Opta.

Liverpool 4-3 Leeds United: Super Salah

Egyptian striker Salah became the first Liverpool player to mark the beginning of a league season with a hat-trick since John Aldridge 32 years ago.

Aldridge's treble came at the start of a 1988-89 season that was overshadowed by the tragedy of the Hillsborough disaster. The then-Republic of Ireland star grabbed all three in a 3-0 away win over Charlton as the defending league champions made a flying start. They would go on to finish second in the First Division and win the FA Cup. It has taken Liverpool three decades to put together a team to match the peak Reds sides of that era, but there can be little doubting Jurgen Klopp's side would be a match for the best XI Kenny Dalglish could put together. Against Leeds, Salah was a titan of the Reds attack, attempting nine shots at goal, having more touches of the ball (88) than any other Liverpool player and playing more passes (44) in the Leeds half than anyone else on the home team.

Fulham 0-3 Arsenal: Willian, that was really something

New boy Willian was on fire for Arsenal, becoming the first player to have two assists on debut in the Premier League for the north London giants since Ray Parlour in 1992.

Back in west London, former Chelsea midfielder Willian showed just why Mikel Arteta wanted to bring him to Arsenal. His experience could be key this season, and his creativity has always been a danger to opponents, with the Brazilian playing a key role in second-half goals from Gabriel and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Just like 'Romford Pele' Parlour all those years ago, Willian could soon establish himself as a favourite of Arsenal supporters. He hit the post too, with a 94.7 per cent passing accuracy in the Fulham half wreaking damage.

Crystal Palace 1-0 Southampton: Ahead at the break, Palace take some stopping

When Roy Hodgson's Eagles go to the dressing room ahead at half-time, invariably they will have a good day. In the past 15 Premier League games when they have led at the break, Palace have won 13 times and drawn twice.

Wilfried Zaha – and isn't it so often him – put Palace in front against Southampton after 13 minutes, and they held on to that lead to snatch a welcome opening three points on Saturday. The last time Palace led at half-time in the Premier League and lost was in January 2019, when at Anfield they got ahead thanks to Andros Townsend but lost a helter-skelter match 4-3 to Liverpool. At home, they have won six consecutive games when armed with a half-time lead, last losing from such a position at Selhurst Park against Watford – also in January 2019.

West Ham 0-2 Newcastle United: Signed, sealed, and already delivering

Callum Wilson loves playing against West Ham. At least that's what the numbers tell us. The former Bournemouth striker has now netted eight goals in nine league appearances against the Hammers.

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce might just be having an outstanding transfer window. Only time will prove that theory, but Newcastle could hardly have made a brighter start as they launched their campaign with a win courtesy of goals from new arrivals Wilson and Jeff Hendrick. Wilson has scored more goals against West Ham than he has managed against any other team in his league career, and his close-range effort on Saturday helped Newcastle end their run of slow starts. Arriving at the London Stadium, Newcastle had lost six out of their past seven league season openers, drawing the other, with their last win on the first day of a campaign having come against Tottenham in 2012. Yet of course they traditionally enjoy trips to West Ham, with their away record against the Hammers now showing 10 wins. Only against Tottenham – also 10 wins – have Newcastle won as many matches away from St James' Park in the Premier League era.

Jamaica international Michael Hector lost on English Premier League (EPL) debut for promoted Fulham United, but for the player, the fixture itself marked the end of a long journey to topflight football that took 11 seasons and 15 clubs.

The 28-year-old centre half, who has featured for Jamaica in recent Gold Cup campaigns, was first signed for Reading in 2009 but amazingly went out on loan every season for his six years at the club.  While at Reading, where he resigned in 2012, Hector was loaned to Bracknell Town, Didcot Town, Havant & Waterlooville, Oxford City, Horsham, Dundalk, Barnet, Shrewsbury Town, Aldershot Town, Cheltenham Town, and Aberdeen.

In 2015, things seemed to be looking up for the player when he was snapped up by then Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho on deadline day, after watching him on loan at Aberdeen.  It seemed the much-travelled defender was now destined to appear in the topflight.

 Hector was, however, immediately loaned back to Reading.  He returned to Chelsea and trained with the first team ahead of the new season but was loaned out to German club Eintracht Frankfurt.  Next up for Hector, was a loan spell at Hull City and he joined Sheffield Wednesday the following season.  He, however, impressed at Sheffield and was named the club's Player of the Year at end of that season.

In December of last year, he joined Fulham for an undisclosed fee.  He settled well into the new team and on August 5th, 2020, he started the 2020 EFL Championship play-off final, which promoted Fulham back to the Premier League.  The player started again for Fulham on the team’s debut, on Saturday, and despite a 3-0 loss to Arsenal must feel some amount of satisfaction to be playing his first match in the Premier League.

Dani Ceballos insists there are "no problems" between him and Arsenal team-mate Eddie Nketiah after a pre-match altercation.

Ahead of the Gunners' first game of the Premier League season against Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday, Ceballos was filmed twice shoving Nketiah during a rondo and the pair had to be separated.

The duo were late substitutes as Arsenal triumphed 3-0 against the newly promoted side, with Alexandre Lacazette, Gabriel and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on target in a comfortable victory

Following the match, Ceballos shared a photo of himself and Nketiah on Instagram with the caption: "No problems here. My brother."

Arsenal tweeted out the picture from their official account and added: "It happens."

Asked about the incident in his post-game news conference, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta said: "I haven't seen anything. I was inside."

Mikel Arteta was thrilled with the performance of Gabriel as he marked his Arsenal debut with a goal in Saturday's 3-0 win at Fulham.

The centre-back scored the visitors' second, diverting Willian's corner in via his shoulder to make it 2-0 at Craven Cottage.

It was Gabriel's first competitive match since he played in a 1-0 Ligue 1 win for Lille over Lyon, with France's top-flight season having been declared finished and positions confirmed on a points-per-game basis due to the coronavirus pandemic.

There was a positive maiden Gunners outing for former Chelsea star Willian, who also forced the chance for Alexandre Lacazette to open the scoring and set up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for the third.

Manager Arteta was particularly pleased with Gabriel, who completed a game-high 107 passes, especially given he had been out of action for so long.

"They were both really good," he said. "Obviously for Willy it's a little bit easier because he knows the league, the country and he's very settled here so I knew his performance would happen straight away.

"With Gabriel, it was a big challenge for him to come in because he didn't play any football for six months.

"Ideally, I wanted to give him some time because he only trained for a few days with the team. Physically, he has not played a competitive match for six months, so there was a risk of injury as well. 

"But credit to him, he performed really well, physically he was very good."

Arteta hopes Willian's display provides encouragement for Arsenal's substitutes, including club-record signing Nicolas Pepe, to fight for their place in the team.

"It's not for Nico, it's for all the players on the bench and the ones we had to leave at home. They have to raise their level and then the performance of the club and the team is going to improve, and this is what I demand of them," he said.

"I'm really happy with all the boys, the way they've been training, but selection is getting more complicated, as well as this new rule with only 18 players in the squad, it makes it very difficult, but they were really good."

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta hopes for good news on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's contract "in the next few days".

The Gabon striker scored the Gunners' third as they eased to a 3-0 win at Fulham in their first match of the 2020-21 Premier League season on Saturday.

Aubameyang has hit 55 goals in the top flight since his debut on February 4, 2018, which is more than any other player in the competition in that time.

However, the 31-year-old's future has been the subject of intense speculation in recent months, with his contract expiring in 20201.

Arteta stated this week that Arsenal fans could feel "pretty relaxed" about the player's future and he suggested again on Saturday that a positive update is around the corner.

"I'm really positive we're going to get it done and in the next few days hopefully we have some news," he told BT Sport.

Arteta was thrilled with his side's performance against Fulham, who had no response to the goals from Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and debutant Gabriel.

Willian also enjoyed an impressive first outing for the Gunners, forcing the chance for Lacazette to open the scoring before assisting his side's further two goals.

"I wanted to see my team determined to come to this difficult ground against a really good team and do the things that we trained and show the spirit we showed again today," Arteta said.

"They've been training really well. For Gabriel, it was a big challenge to come to this small ground in the Premier League. I think he didn't play for six months with everything that happened in France.

"Mo Elneny again I thought did brilliant today. All the boys tried really hard; the ones that came on have to push these guys again."

He said of Lacazette, whose own future has been somewhat uncertain: "Yes, he is in my plans, he's a player I like a lot, but he knows he has Eddie [Nketiah] at his back, or next to him, I would say, and whoever is in better shape is going to play.

"It's the same for the rest of the team."

Arteta added that Rob Holding, who was tipped to join Newcastle United on loan, is now set to stay at Arsenal.

"I said to him 'change your mind because you're not going anywhere'," he said.

"Rob is another who stands for every value we want at the football club. He had a really difficult time but he trained and why would I have to let him go? He's already playing, what more do you want?"

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Arsenal debutant Willian matched famous feats from the club's history in the Gunners' 3-0 win against sorry Fulham on Saturday.

Following up their FA Cup and Community Shield triumphs, Mikel Arteta's side started their Premier League season in style at Craven Cottage.

Alexandre Lacazette got an eighth-minute opener, before Willian teed up his Brazilian compatriot and fellow new arrival Gabriel to score from a corner.

Willian had a second assist on his debut soon after when he played in Aubameyang, with the former Chelsea midfielder becoming the first Arsenal player to provide two assists on his Premier League bow for the club since Ray Parlour against Liverpool in August 1992.

Aubameyang's strike was also notable, as Opta confirmed he became the first Gunner to score on matchday one in consecutive Premier League campaigns since Robert Pires in 2003-04 and 2004-05.

The Gabon forward finished as Arsenal's top scorer last season, netting 31 goals in all competitions.

Arsenal's victory means the Gunners have have won their first match in successive Premier League seasons for the first time since doing so in each campaign from 2007-08 to 2009-10.

Arsenal made a convincing start to the new Premier League season as debutants Willian and Gabriel impressed in a 3-0 win at Fulham.

Willian set up Gabriel and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score second-half goals after helping to force Alexandre Lacazette's unmissable opener.

Mikel Arteta's side lost their final two away league games of 2019-20 to Tottenham and Aston Villa, but victory at Craven Cottage was comfortably in their grasp as soon as Lacazette struck eight minutes in to become the first player to score the first goal of a Premier League season on two occasions.

Scott Parker's men enjoyed nearly half of the possession but offered scant threat to the Gunners' goal as the challenge facing last season's Championship play-off winners was laid bare.

Fulham started positively but fell behind in disappointing fashion, Lacazette tapping in after Marek Rodak had saved from Willian, all after Aubameyang had been allowed to chase and retrieve a loose ball in the hosts' box.

Willian almost scored his first Arsenal goal with his first shot, the Brazilian striking the base of the left-hand post from a free-kick on the edge of the box.

Gabriel, who been largely untroubled in defence in the first half, made a telling contribution at the other end four minutes into the second half, diverting Willian's corner past Rodak with his shoulder.

It was 3-0 before the hour mark, Willian switching play to Aubameyang after winning back the ball in the Fulham half and the Gunners striker curling a fine finish into the top-right corner.

Michael Hector cleared off the line to deny Aubameyang a second and prevent Fulham's first game back in the top flight from becoming worse.

What does it mean? Refreshed Gunners taking shape

Arteta will be delighted with the way Willian and Gabriel performed on debut, the former earning two assists - the first Arsenal player to do so on debut in the top flight since Ray Parlour in 1992 - and completing all but one of his 26 passes.

The game also means Arsenal have lost just once in seven competitive matches and ended a two-game losing run away from home in the top flight.

Fulham will need to improve sharply if their stay back in the Premier League is going to be a long one - they failed to muster a single shot on target until a tame effort from substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic 67 minutes in.

Gabriel keeps Gunners on solid ground

Although he was barely stretched by an insipid Fulham attack, this was an encouraging debut from new signing Gabriel.

He made two tackles, three clearances and a team-high 107 successful passes and deserved a bit of luck from Willian's corner as he became the 10th Arsenal player to score on his Premier League debut.

Hector helpless

Hector struggled all day to keep Aubameyang in check and he was a little fortunate not to receive a second booking for blocking the striker's promising run, although he did manage one key block.

What's next?

Arsenal host West Ham next Saturday, while Fulham are in EFL Cup action at Ipswich Town in four days' time.

Outcast midfielder Matteo Guendouzi is back in Mikel Arteta's plans after holding "really positive conversations" with the Arsenal first-team manager ahead of the new campaign.

Guendouzi fell out of favour after Arteta's arrival in December and has not featured in the squad at all since an altercation with Neal Maupay in June's 2-1 loss to Brighton and Hove Albion.

However, he returned to first-team training this week and Arteta has opened the door for the France Under-21 international to play more of a part this coming season.

"Matteo has been training like any other player in the squad," he said at a pre-match news conference ahead of Saturday's Premier League opener against Fulham.

"Obviously it's a new season - time is over. We had some really positive conversations with both parties, and now he's back with the group and training really well. 

"He went to France to play with Under-21s last week, played well again, and now he's here."

Arsenal are in the market for a new central midfielder, with Atletico Madrid's Thomas Partey and Houssem Aouar of Lyon rumoured to be high on their wish list.

Lyon director Juninho suggested this week they rejected the chance to discuss a deal for Guendouzi, who may have been used in a player-plus-cash move for Aouar.

But Arteta, who has already added Gabriel Magalhaes and Willian to his squad during the close season, was unwilling to discuss his transfer business further.

"I don't know about this. I'm not going to discuss here things that happen internally," he said. "But a lot of things they have been writing I can say they are not true."

Probed on whether Aouar remains a target ahead of the October 5 deadline, Arteta added: "I don't want to talk about players at other football clubs."

Alexandre Lacazette is another player who has been touted as a possible makeweight in a deal for Thomas, but Arteta insisted the forward is not seeking a move away.

"He is really happy here and wants to keep contributing to the team," the Spaniard said. "He knows about the competition he has with the front players. 

"The way he has been training and conducting himself has been excellent. Yes, he is very happy here."

Fulham have signed goalkeeper Alphonse Areola from Paris Saint-Germain on a season-long loan deal.

The Premier League club have the option to make the move permanent should the France international impress at Craven Cottage.

Areola, who was back-up to Thibaut Courtois at Real Madrid while on loan in the Spanish capital last season, says speaking to Fulham boss Scott Parker helped to convince him to move to England.

"I am very happy everything is done," he told FFCtv. "Scott Parker called me and I had a good feeling. He said he really wanted me.

"Fulham is a historic club in London and I have heard a lot about the stadium.

"I hope this season will be a good one for us. I want to bring my energy and do everything for this team to keep us where we belong to be."

Areola, who won LaLiga and the Supercopa de Espana with Madrid last term, is a three-time Ligue 1 champion with PSG.

He was also part of the France squad that won the World Cup in Russia two years ago.

Fulham won promotion back to the Premier League last season, beating Brentford 2-1 in the Championship play-off final.

Scott Parker has signed a new three-year deal with Fulham after guiding the club back to the Premier League.

The 39-year-old, initially appointed on a caretaker basis in February 2019 before being handed the job permanently three months later, was due to be out of contract at the end of this coming season.

Parker earned promotion in his first full campaign in charge thanks to a 2-1 win over local rivals Brentford in last month's Championship play-off final and has now penned fresh terms.

Fulham confirmed the news on their website on Wednesday, and Parker said: "I'm delighted to have signed a new deal which shows mutual faith and commitment, on both my side and the club's.

"I'm pleased with the hard work we have all carried out behind the scenes which resulted in achieving our objective of promotion to the Premier League last month. 

"This has been a huge effort involving many people, and has continued in our preparations for the new season.

"Signing a new deal provides stability and an opportunity to keep on developing the team. There is still a lot of hard work ahead of us, and we'll always be striving to improve and progress every day."

Parker made 128 appearances for Fulham during his playing days and returned to Craven Cottage as a coach in 2018 following a spell with Tottenham.

The west London side begin their Premier League campaign with a home match against Arsenal on September 12, before travelling to Leeds United the following weekend. 

Fulham have confirmed the signing of Antonee Robinson, the left-back who appeared set to join Milan in January before a move fell through. 

Robinson has moved to Craven Cottage from beleaguered League One club Wigan Athletic for an undisclosed fee, reportedly in the region of £2million. 

The United States international – who was born in Milton Keynes and came through Everton's academy system - has signed a four-year contract with the Premier League newcomers. 

Milan had seemingly been set to sign the 23-year-old in the previous transfer window, only for the deal to collapse at the last minute after he had already travelled to Italy. 

However, Robinson will now get the chance to play in the English top flight instead, revealing it was an "easy decision" to commit to Fulham following a conversation with manager Scott Parker.

"I am made up to be a Fulham player. I was really excited to get down here and get everything signed," he told his new club's website.

"I heard a few days ago that Scott Parker was interested in me and wanted to speak to me personally. We had a zoom call and he was really keen to get the deal done and for me to be a Fulham player.

"Fulham play a really nice style of football and I can see myself fitting in perfectly. As soon as I heard of the ambitions of the club it was an easy decision for me."

Fulham were promoted from the Championship via the play-offs, beating Brentford in the final, while Wigan suffered relegation after being hit with a 12-point penalty for going into administration.

The transfer saga that is Jadon Sancho-Manchester United continues to roll on.

Sancho has long been tipped to join United, though Borussia Dortmund are adamant the England star will not return to his homeland this off-season.

United, however, are reportedly not giving up.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED HELD UP BY PERSONAL TERMS

Manchester United remain keen on signing Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho but personal terms and an agent fee are holding up their pursuit, according to ESPN.

Dortmund have insisted Sancho will not be sold, though United continue to target the former Manchester City youngster in a blockbuster transfer.

United have reportedly been given the green light to speak to Sancho and his representative but there has been an impasse with the player's camp over salary demands.

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- Journalist Fabrizio Romano says Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen are still negotiating a deal for star Kai Havertz. While Chelsea are confident, there remains a difference between the two clubs as Leverkusen hope to conclude a deal by the end of the month.

Jack Grealish to United? The Aston Villa captain continues to be linked with a move to Old Trafford and ESPN reports United goalkeeper Sergio Romero could be included in a deal to sign Grealish. Romero is United's number two behind David de Gea and the Argentina international's future is unclear, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reportedly keen for Dean Henderson to challenge for the number one spot.

- According to Cadena Ser's El Larguero, Luis Suarez is aiming to stay at Barcelona. Linked with a return to former club Ajax, Suarez is reportedly one of a number of players who could be forced out following Ronald Koeman's arrival. However, Suarez, Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto all want to speak to Quique Setien's replacement.

- Amid doubts over Pique's long-term future with Barca, Libero claims newly promoted Premier League side Fulham have made an offer for the Spain international star.

United remain interested in signing Barca teenager Ansu Fati, reports Marca. The 17-year-old reportedly switched agents to Jorge Mendes, having previously been represented by Messi's brother.

- The Telegraph says Chelsea are considering a move for Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva. The 35-year-old will become a free agent following the Champions League final and he has already been linked with former club Milan and fellow Serie A side Fiorentina.

Juventus are negotiating with United for Federico Bernardeschi and Douglas Costa, claims La Gazzetta dello Sport. The report also says the Serie A champions are speaking to City regarding Alex Sandro, while new boss Andrea Pirlo is eyeing Roma striker Edin Dzeko and Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli.

- Tuttosport's frontpage on Thursday suggests a merry-go-round of strikers. Inter have reportedly told Real Madrid that Romelu Lukaku is not for sale, Juve are in talks with Wolves to sign Raul Jimenez and Inter are challenging the Bianconeri for Dzeko. Meanwhile, Napoli's Arkadiusz Milik is heading towards Roma.

- The countdown is on for Madrid to sell outcasts Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez, according to Marca.

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