Manchester United have already conceded 14 goals in seven Premier League games this season.

United boss Erik ten Hag is weighing up his goalkeeping options, having stuck with long-term number one David de Gea since taking over.

Reports have emerged that United and De Gea are set for talks on his future, with the 31-year-old's deal to expire in 2023.

TOP STORY – MAN UTD EYE COSTA AS DE GEA REPLACEMENT

Manchester United's goalkeeper situation is in flux, with the club interested in Porto custodian Diogo Costa, according to Metro.

United have sent scouts to watch the 23-year-old goalkeeper, who has seven caps for Portugal.

The Red Devils are looking for De Gea's successor, with the Spaniard seemingly not suiting Ten Hag's possession-based style.

United also have 25-year-old England international Dean Henderson out on loan at Nottingham Forest.

ROUND-UP

– O Jogo claims former Olympiacos manager Pedro Martins could be the latest Portuguese coach to take over at Wolves, following Bruno Lage's dismissal on Sunday. The Telegraph reports that under-fire Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui may be considered and Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has also been discussed.

Juventus and Real Madrid will rival Liverpool in the race to sign Belgian midfielder Youri Tielemans from Leicester City, claims Calciomercato.

– LaLiga pair Sevilla and Valencia are both interested in Manchester United forward Anthony Martial, reports Todofichajes.

Tottenham and Juventus target Nicolo Zaniolo is set to pen a new deal with Roma, re-committing on a €4million per-year deal until 2027, according to Calciomercato.

– Everton's Venezuela international striker Salomon Rondon has interest from UAE club Sharjah FC but is likely to stay with the Toffees, reports Liverpool Echo.

Erling Haaland has enjoyed a remarkably prolific start to life in England with Manchester City.

Ahead of Sunday's derby with Manchester United, Haaland has netted 14 goals in 10 appearances in all competitions for City since his off-season move.

The Norwegian joined City from Borussia Dortmund in June on a five-year contract, following interest from several top clubs.

TOP STORY – MAN CITY CONSIDERING IMPROVED HAALAND DEAL

It is only a few months into Erling Haaland's first Manchester City contract, but the English champions are ready to offer him a new and improved deal, reports the Daily Star.

City have gone early on revised contracts in the past to shore up key players before they become transfer targets for rivals and they will do the same with their star striker if he can keep up his goalscoring prowess.

Haaland is already one of City's top earners alongside Kevin De Bruyne, pocketing around £375,000 per week.

City may opt to bump that up with an improved extension in May, with reports that Real Madrid are planning to chase him in 2024, when they can trigger his termination clause.

ROUND-UP

– PSV's hot property winger Cody Gakpo is attracting interest from Milan, claims Calciomercato. The 23-year-old Dutchman was pursued by Manchester United and Leeds United during the last transfer window, and has also been linked with Southampton and Everton.

– The Sun reports that French Ligue 1 outfit Nice are in the lead in the race to sign Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk. The Ukrainian club are demanding £50million (€56.86m) for him.

Arsenal are in the race for Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves, claims the Express, and are hoping to win him over amid rival interest from Barcelona, Liverpool and Manchester United.

West Ham United are the latest club to be interested in Club Brugge winger Noa Lang, reports Calciomercato. Milan are also credited with an interest in the 23-year-old.

Arsenal are weighing up a move for Bayer Leverkusen's Ecuadorian defender Piero Hincapie, according to Teamtalk.

– Marca claims Sevilla could bring back former boss Jorge Sampaoli, who led the club from 2016 to 2017, if they dispense with current head coach Julen Lopetegui after their poor start to the campaign.

Real Madrid were among the contenders chasing Erling Haaland's signature over the off-season.

Los Blancos, along with Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, Manchester United, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, were keen on the former Borussia Dortmund forward.

Ultimately, the Norwegian decided to join Manchester City, starting on fire with 14 goals in 10 games in all competitions, but Madrid are keeping an eye on him.

TOP STORY – MADRID PLANNING LONG-TERM MOVES FOR CITY DUO

Spanish giants Real Madrid are plotting moves to sign Manchester City pair Joao Cancelo and Erling Haaland, reports AS.

Madrid will attempt to sign the 28-year-old Portuguese full-back in mid-2023, with Cancelo contracted until 2027, although the report claims he will cost around €40-50million (£35-44m).

The Spanish champions are planning a swoop for Haaland but not until 2024, with Karim Benzema in the twilight of his career.

Haaland reportedly has a termination clause in his City contract worth €180m (£158m) up until 2024.

ROUND-UP

– The Daily Star reports that Manchester United and David De Gea are set for key talks on his future, with the goalkeeper's contract expiring in mid-2023. United hold an option to extend his stay.

Manchester United may struggle in their bid to sign Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, with the Villans to turn down any offer for him in January, claims Football Insider.

Barcelona are keen to sign Wolves 25-year-old midfielder Ruben Neves as a long-term replacement for 34-year-old Sergio Busquets, reports Sport. Neves will be the Blaugrana's top target at the end of this season.

Gerard Pique is not interested in joining Atletico Madrid in January, claims Sport. The defender has fallen out of favour at Barcelona, but he is determined to fight for his spot.

– Calciomercato claims that Chelsea are interested in Inter wing-back Denzel Dumfries. The Italian club may be willing to part with the Dutchman for approximately £44m.

– Colombian forward Luis Muriel is ready to leave Atalanta, with a move to Fiorentina on the cards, according to Calciomercato.

– PSV striker Cody Gakpo is likely to have more offers in January with Manchester United, Southampton and Everton all still interested, claims Football Transfers.

Thomas Tuchel is Real Madrid 's preferred replacement for Carlo Ancelotti, according to El Nacional. The Italian has told the club he does not intend to manage Madrid beyond this season.

Anthony Gordon insists he was never "desperate to leave Everton" after being linked with a move to Chelsea in the recent transfer window.

Reports claimed Chelsea were willing to pay up to £60million to prise the 21-year-old away from Goodison Park, while Tottenham and Newcastle United were also rumoured to be interested.

However, the move never materialised and Gordon has enjoyed a promising start to the season for the Toffees, scoring twice in their opening seven matches.

And while the forward expected speculation over a possible exit, he was never the one pushing for a move.

"That's [speculation] part and parcel of football," Gordon told reporters.

"When you're doing well there's always going to be speculation. But the place is so good that it's never been a case of being desperate to leave Everton.

"We're in a completely different place to last year. It's class, the morale is unbelievable and I couldn't speak highly enough of it. We've made really good signings, people and players. There's just a feel-good [feeling] around the place.

"I like playing with pressure. I feel I thrive on it. If I want to be a top player, I have to do that regardless. I feel I’ve handled it well, but I can still score more goals and stuff."

Gordon featured for England Under-21s against Germany on Tuesday, playing a part in two goals in a 3-1 victory.

And Gordon's sights are firmly set on making the squad for the senior side's upcoming World Cup campaign, even if he accepts he has plenty of work to do.

He added: "If I didn't have that ambition [to make the squad for Qatar], I'd be a bit stupid.

"They're always auditions, particularly in the Under-21s. But I understand the squad is so good it's going to be tough to get in.

"I'm 100 per cent focused on making the World Cup squad. If it doesn't happen, it's out of my control but I'll give it my best try. To get there, I'm going to need to score a lot of goals but I'm ready for the challenge and hopeful."

Former Manchester City and England midfielder Fabian Delph has announced his retirement from football at the age of 32.

The ex-Everton player, who began his career with Leeds United and also spent time with Aston Villa, had been without a club since his contract with the Toffees expired in June.

He has now revealed he will hang up his boots, penning a farewell statement on social media.

"So today I announce my retirement with nothing but happiness and gratitude for what this beautiful game has given me," Delph wrote.

"[A] massive shout out to my family, friends, players and staff from the amazing clubs I have been fortunate enough to represent as well as the support I have had from the fans."

Across a 16-year career, Delph was a two-time Premier League winner with City, while he was a runner-up in the FA Cup and EFL Cup with Villa.

Capped 20 times for the Three Lions, he was a surprise recall for Gareth Southgate after three years away from the international game in 2018, before being part of the squad that came fourth at Russia 2018.

Brazil international Allan has left Everton for Abu Dhabi side Al Wahda on a two-year deal.

Allan spent two seasons with Everton after being brought to Goodison Park by Carlo Ancelotti and made 57 appearances for the club in all competitions.

But Allan had not played a single minute under Frank Lampard this term after falling down the pecking order following the arrivals of Idrissa Gana Gueye and Amadou Onana.

Al Wahda confirmed the signing of the 31-year-old, who earned the most recent of his 10 Brazil caps in November 2020, on their official social media accounts on Sunday.

The UAE Pro League side finished third last season and become the fifth club of Allan's senior career following spells with Vasco da Gama, Udinese, Napoli and Everton.

Rafael Leao has plenty of admirers, having scored three goals in six Serie A appearances for Milan this term.

The 23-year-old provided an assist for Portugal's first goal in Saturday's 4-0 win in the Czech Republic.

The forward was voted the Serie A Most Valuable Player last season as the Rossoneri won the Scudetto.


TOP STORY – MILAN EAGER TO EXTEND RAFAEL LEAO DEAL

Milan have put forward an offer to tie down Manchester City and Chelsea target Rafael Leao on a new contract, reports Calciomercato.

The report claims that the Rossoneri are willing to increase his salary beyond the €2million he currently receives, up to €6.5m, as they look to fend off rival interest.

Milan understand that it may be difficult to convince the Portuguese to stay at the San Siro, although he is contracted until 2024.


ROUND-UP 

Barcelona will cut their losses with Antoine Griezmann on a deal to sell him back to Atletico Madrid, according to Mundo Deportivo. The initial agreement included a purchase clause of €35-40m but Atletico have avoided triggering that, creating a stand-off. The Blaugrana are now prepared to lower their asking price with Atletico set to offer €25m in January.

– The Mirror claims Atletico are considering a move to sign Aston Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez as Jan Oblak's successor, with the Slovenian out of contract at the end of this season.

– The race for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham's signature continues, with The Sun claiming Manchester City are confident they will beat Liverpool and Manchester United to him. It is understood Dortmund are willing to sell the 19-year-old for £83m.

– Manchester United are weighing up whether to move to extend goalkeeper David de Gea's contract another year, reports the Sunday Telegraph. The Spaniard is out of contract at the end of this season.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been charged by The Football Association (FA) over an incident involving an Everton fan following Manchester United's loss at Goodison Park last season.

A video emerged on social media of United forward Ronaldo appearing to smash a supporter's phone as he left the field after Everton's 1-0 Premier League win in April.

The Portugal captain was questioned by Merseyside Police in relation to an alleged assault and criminal damage and received a caution last month.

The FA confirmed on Friday it has now charged the 37-year-old for breaching Rule E3, which relates to "improper and/or violent conduct".

Ronaldo issued an apology on Instagram at the time, stating: "It's never easy to deal with emotions in difficult moments such as the one we are facing.

"Nevertheless, we always have to be respectful, patient and set the example for all the youngsters who love the beautiful game.

"I would like to apologise for my outburst and, if possible, I would like to invite this supporter to watch a game at Old Trafford as a sign of fair-play and sportsmanship."

Ronaldo has endured a disappointing time of things on the field for United this season, having started just one of their opening six Premier League matches.

He is currently away on international duty with Portugal, who face the Czech Republic on Friday ahead of hosting Spain next week in their Nations League double-header.

Big-spending French club Nice have struggled to start the new Ligue 1 season, with only eight points from eight games.

Ambitious Nice are sitting 13th in the table, leading to pressure on head coach Lucien Favre.

The Ligue 1 outfit finished fifth last term and have recently signed Aaron Ramsey, Ross Barkley, Alexis Beka Beka and Kasper Schmeichel.

TOP STORY – NICE KEEN ON PARKER WITH POCHETTINO NOT INTERESTED

Nice are interested in a surprise move for ex-Fulham and Bournemouth boss Scott Parker, claims Foot Mercato.

Favre is under pressure, with ex-Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino reportedly their first choice to replace him.

The Evening Standard claims Pochettino is not interested in the Nice role and instead will wait for a head coaching position with a top club in England, Spain or Italy. 

ROUND-UP

– 90min reports Manchester United will offer fresh deals to Marcus Rashford and Diogo Dalot. The pair's contracts are both due to expire in mid-2023, albeit with the option of one-year extensions, but United want to lock them down beyond that.

– Erik ten Hag will decide on Donny van de Beek's future at United in October, according to the Manchester Evening News. The Dutchman has only managed three appearances this term.

– Fabrizio Romano reports Tottenham target Kim Min-Jae has a release clause in his Napoli contract after joining the Italian club from Fenerbahce in July, but it cannot be triggered in January. Napoli are happy with the centre-back's impact and are not interested in letting him go.

Chelsea target Anthony Gordon is in the midst of contract talks with Everton that are "progressing well", claims inews. Gordon is set for a substantial pay rise.

Leicester City are set to offer manager Brendan Rodgers more time to turn around the side's poor start to the new season, although the reception of fans towards him at their next home game will be a factor for key decision makers, reports The Athletic.

Marcus Rashford and Erik ten Hag have been nominated for the Premier League's Player and Manager of the Month awards respectively for September. 

Manchester United's upturn in form continued thanks to two wins from two this month ahead of the international break.

Rashford was directly involved in a league-high four goals in September, assisting Jadon Sancho in the 1-0 win over Leicester City before scoring twice and setting up another in the 3-1 win over Arsenal. 

The 24-year-old faces competition from Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, who assisted three goals and created 10 chances – both league-high tallies – in his side's two fixtures.

Belgium international De Bruyne has now been involved in 150 goals across 217 Premier League appearances, scoring 58 and assisting 92.

Phillip Billing, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Jacob Ramsey, of Bournemouth, Tottenham and Aston Villa respectively, are also in the running for the award, as is Alex Iwobi after impressing in a deeper central-midfield role for Everton.

In the Manager of the Month category, Ten Hag is up against Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte and Bournemouth interim manager Gary O'Neil.

O'Neill steadied the ship by helping Bournemouth go unbeaten in their three games this month, collecting five points in the process on the back of last month's 9-0 loss to Liverpool that led to the departure of Scott Parker.

Like Ten Hag's United, Tottenham took a maximum six points in September to match their best ever start to a Premier League season.

The winners of the awards will be announced next week. 

Real Madrid have joined the race to land Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar, with the 27-year-old's contract set to expire at the end of this season.

Skriniar has been one of the most in-demand defenders in the world this year, with numerous bids coming during the last transfer window from Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Tottenham.

While Inter are keen to fend off the outside interest and lock him into a new contract, the fact that he will be able to leave on a free transfer at the conclusion of the campaign could force their hand.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID HOPE TO SECURE SKRINIAR ON FREE TRANSFER

Madrid took advantage of the free agent market this past window, signing Antonio Rudiger when his Chelsea contract finished, and Football Insider claim they have similar plans for Skriniar.

Inter reportedly turned down bids worth in the €60million range from PSG with the hope an upgraded contract could keep Skriniar in Italy long-term, but with time running out, Tuttosport is reporting the French giants will return with a bid of €30m in January.

The Football Insider report also stresses how important Tottenham's Antonio Conte views the big Slovakian, having started 31 out of 38 league games for Conte when he was with Inter for their Serie A title in 2020-21.

 

ROUND-UP

– 90min is reporting Arsenal are considering a move for 27-year-old free agent midfielder Xeka after his contract with Lille recently expired.

– According to The Mirror, Liverpool are leaning towards terminating the loan of Juventus' Arthur Melo just weeks after the 26-year-old midfielder arrived at Anfield.

– After an impressive loan stint at Fiorentina last season, Real Madrid right-back Alvaro Odriozola has caught the eye of another Italian club, with Juventus said to be interested in a January move in the range of €15m.

– Leicester City centre-back Caglar Soyuncu has decided to sign with Atletico Madrid when his contract finishes at the end of the season, per Mundo Deportivo.

– The Independent is reporting Everton are preparing a new contract offer for Anthony Gordon that will pay him six times his current salary.

Tottenham forward Richarlison has suggested his former club Everton have a "lack of ambition" as he explained his reasoning behind leaving Frank Lampard's team.

Everton finished 16th last season – their lowest Premier League placing since the 2003-04 season – only ensuring their status as an ever-present in the competition thanks to a 3-2 comeback win over Crystal Palace in their penultimate game.

Richarlison scored in that win and played a pivotal role in Everton's survival, netting six goals from the start of April. Having finished as the Toffee's top scorer, with 10 league goals, he was sold to Tottenham in June for an initial £50million, with potential add-ons taking the deal to £60m.

Everton's finances have been under scrutiny after their lavish spending under Farhad Moshiri, whose investment has not yielded desired results since he purchased a majority stake in the club in 2016, and a big sale was needed to help balance the books.

Though leaving Goodison Park after four years was still a difficult decision, Richarlison feels Everton lacked the ambition to challenge for honours.

"It's always a tough call when you have such strong connections with your club, and that was definitely the case for me," Richarlison told FourFourTwo.

"I was happy at Everton and I’m grateful for everything I learned there. It’s a big club with a lot of history. 

"However, perhaps they're suffering with a lack of ambition nowadays. You know, that eagerness to win matches and trophies.

"I spent four years there and I could see there was still a very long way to go to achieve big things.

"I felt it was the right time to move on, and the club also had to make some money. It was a good deal for everyone involved. I'm delighted with this new challenge at Spurs."

After a bright start to last season under Rafael Benitez, the former Liverpool manager who replaced Carlo Ancelotti following the latter's surprise return to Real Madrid, Everton tailed off badly as injuries and a loss of form combined.

Lampard took over from the unpopular Benitez in January, though struggled to get immediate results before finally finding a way over the line in May. Everton are yet to win in the league this season, though have shown promising signs in a run of four successive draws.

"It was a very stressful season, to be honest," said Richarlison, who is set to play a key role for Brazil at the upcoming World Cup.

"We had a lot of injuries and the squad wasn’t big enough to cope. I personally had some issues, too. 

"As soon as the previous Premier League campaign had finished, I played in the Copa America, then the Olympic Games, and then the Premier League started again. I had no break and sustained a few injuries during the season."

Richarlison has swiftly endeared himself to Spurs supporters and head coach Antonio Conte, who hailed the 25-year-old's versatility and application after a two-goal showing on his Champions League debut against Marseille.

Those goals are Richarlison's only ones in a Tottenham shirt, though he has provided two Premier League assists in his last two appearances in the top flight.

Todd Boehly's suggestion for the creation of a Premier League 'All-Star' game attracted plenty of ridicule, but he certainly can't be accused of a lack of vision or creativity.

The new Chelsea co-owner – and chairman and interim sporting director – was speaking at a conference on Tuesday when he proposed the Premier League 'Americanised' (or should that be 'Americanized'?) itself a bit.

A relegation play-off tournament between the bottom four teams was one idea; but the other, which attracted most of the headlines, was for a North v South 'All-Star' game, pointing out Major League Baseball (MLB) in his native United States made $200million from such an event this year.

A potential Premier League 'All-Stars' game was the talk of football media on Tuesday, so at Stats Perform we decided to have a look at who might line up for the North and South.

It was decided the north-south cut-off point would see Nottingham Forest qualify for the North, ensuring each All-Stars team had 10 clubs to select from.

First up, we have unrestricted squads, so essentially the very best teams possible; then, we have squads that are limited to three players from each club and every single Premier League must have at least a single player selected. So, without any further ado, let's see who made the cut…

NORTH ALL-STARS (unrestricted)

4-3-3: Ederson (Manchester City); Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Ruben Dias (Manchester City), Andrew Robertson (Liverpool); Rodri (Manchester City), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Phil Foden (Manchester City); Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Erling Haaland (Manchester City), Luis Diaz (Liverpool).

SUBS: Alisson (Liverpool), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Joao Cancelo (Manchester City), Raphael Varane (Manchester United), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Fabinho (Liverpool), Casemiro (Manchester United), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United).

You knew the starting XI was going to look like that even before reading, didn't you? Manchester City and Liverpool obviously dominated the first team here, but it feels difficult to argue with almost any selection here.

The goalkeeper choice was probably the toughest, but only because Ederson and Alisson are both so strong and simultaneously significantly better than any other eligible shot stoppers in terms of their all-round game – Ederson ultimately got the nod owing to 13 more clean sheets over the past three-and-a-bit years, but either could've got the gig.

Similarly in defence, many of the North's options pick themselves. The centre-backs, Van Dijk and Dias, have each won the Premier League Player of the Season award in the past four years, while Alexander-Arnold and Robertson have at least 12 most assists than any other defender since the start of the 2019-20 season.

While the defence had a distinctively Liverpool look to it, City dominate the midfield because… well, they tend to dominate the midfield. Rodri provides the control and defensive protection, while Foden and De Bruyne can wreak havoc going forward and towards the flanks.

Salah and Haaland were obvious picks in attack. The Egyptian has been involved in 96 goals (66 scored, 30 assisted) since the start of the 2019-20 season, more than anyone else, while Haaland is arguably the most in-form striker in world football, having already netted 12 times in seven games for City.

Luis Diaz was perhaps the most uncertain one, but he's quickly become a key figure at Liverpool. His ability to cut inside or head for the byline makes him an unpredictable asset, and he's something of a double threat in terms of goals and creativity.

Cristiano Ronaldo's appearance on the bench owes much to his solid goal-scoring form last season.

SOUTHERN ALL-STARS (unrestricted)

4-2-3-1: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham); Reece James (Chelsea), Cristian Romero (Tottenham), Kalidou Koulibaly (Chelsea), Oleksandr Zinchenko (Arsenal); Declan Rice (West Ham), N'Golo Kante (Chelsea); Raheem Sterling (Chelsea), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Son Heung-min (Tottenham); Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal).

SUBS: Edouard Mendy (Chelsea), Thiago Silva (Chelsea), Marc Cucurella (Chelsea), Jorginho (Chelsea), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Martin Odegaard (Arsenal), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace), Ivan Toney (Brentford).

This team has it all. A World Cup-winning goalkeeper, a defence with an ideal blend of youth and experience, a combative midfield and four world-class attackers.

Lloris gets the nod in net. He's been one of the most consistent goalkeepers in the league since his arrival from Lyon 10 years ago, and based on Opta's expected goals on target (xGOT) conceded metric, Lloris has prevented 3.8 goals since the start of the 2020-21 season, significantly better than his South All-Stars back-up, Chelsea's Edouard Mendy (-3.8).

Chelsea star James is the right-back, with his 16 goal contributions (six goals, 10 assists) since the start of last season topping the charts for a defender. Koulibaly and Romero are a formidable centre-back pairing, while Zinchenko has four Premier League titles to his name from his time at Manchester City.

James and Zinchenko are brilliant attacking full-backs, but the defence will need screening, and that is where Kante and Rice come into their own. Both super ball-winners, Kante's relentless energy will be complemented by Rice's ability on the ball, as he has demonstrated at West Ham.

That midfield protection will be needed, with a four-pronged attack ready to lay waste to the North's defence.

Sterling might not have made a flying start at Chelsea but is the best pick on the right wing, with Son – who shared the league's golden boot award last season – on the opposite wing. Kane will play a slightly deeper role, behind Jesus, who has had more touches in the opposition box (66), attempted more dribbles (34), more dribbles in the box (8) and won more fouls (21) than any other player in the Premier League this season.

NORTHERN ALL-STARS (restricted)

4-2-3-1: Jordan Pickford (Jordan Pickford); Kieran Trippier (Newcastle United), Vigil van Dijk (Liverpool), Ruben Dias (Manchester City), Andrew Robertson (Liverpool); Bruno Guimaraes (Newcastle United), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City); Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Pedro Neto (Wolves); Erling Haaland (Manchester City).

SUBS: Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa), Diego Carlos (Aston Villa), Lisandro Martinez (Manchester United), Renan Lodi (Nottingham Forest), James Maddison (Leicester City), Youri Tielemans (Leicester City), Jack Harrison (Leeds United), Antony Gordon (Everton), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United).

Our self-imposed restrictions of no more than three players from a given team gives the North All-Stars a distinctly different feel – nevertheless, Van Dijk, Dias, Robertson, De Bruyne, Salah and Haaland retain their places, for obvious reasons.

Probably the biggest casualty is Alexander-Arnold, but the North benefits from having another excellent forward-thinking option at right-back in Trippier, while Jordan Pickford starts between the posts – David de Gea was another option here, but the England international is better with his feet.

Bruno Guimaraes comes into the midfield, offering a valuable combination of bite and craft, while Fernandes will take up the number 10 position with De Bruyne dropping a little deeper – this shouldn't stifle the team's creativity too much given the Belgian is the only player with more chances created (239) than Fernandes (224) since the latter's Premier League debut.

The other new face in attack is Pedro Neto. Perhaps a wildcard choice, but the Portugal international is an exciting winger with lots of pace and trickery. While Salah will cut in off the opposite flank, Neto looks to get crosses into the box, and that could be an effective route to goal knowing the predatory instincts Haaland has.

Again, Ronaldo is held back in reserve.

SOUTHERN ALL-STARS (restricted)

4-3-3: Robert Sanchez (Brighton and Hove Albion); Reece James (Chelsea), Cristian Romero (Tottenham), Joachim Andersen (Crystal Palace), Oleksandr Zinchenko (Arsenal); James Ward-Prowse (Southampton), Declan Rice (West Ham), Mason Mount (Chelsea); Raheem Sterling (Chelsea), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Son Heung-min (Tottenham).

SUBS: Neto (Bournemouth), Ben Mee (Brentford), Tariq Lamptey (Brighton and Hove Albion), Joao Palhinha (Fulham), Lucas Paqueta (West Ham), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace), Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal), Ivan Toney (Brentford).

Robert Sanchez has been a standout performer for Brighton under the now Chelsea boss Graham Potter, and he replaces Lloris now the restrictions have come into play. He has kept 24 league clean sheets since making his debut in November 2020, which trails only four other goalkeepers.

James, Romero and Zinchenko all keep their places in defence, though Koulibaly does not. He makes way for Joachim Andersen, who has been excellent since signing for Crystal Palace in 2021.

We have switched to a midfield three for this side, with Rice staying in the team but playing a deeper, anchoring role. Alongside him are two new faces in the form of England team-mates Ward-Prowse and Mount. Both provide energy and creativity in abundance.

Ward-Prowse's set-piece quality – no midfielder has scored more goals or created more chances from set plays since the start of last season as the Southampton captain – is a huge threat, while Mount has contributed to 21 league goals since the beginning of 2021-22.

Jesus is the unlucky striker to drop out of the starting XI, though he is on the bench, with Sterling, Kane and Son leading the line.

Chelsea dismissed Thomas Tuchel on Wednesday following their 1-0 Champions League loss to Dinamo Zagreb.

New Blues owner Todd Boehly wielded the axe after a slow start to the 2022-23 season for the London club.

Several names have been linked with the vacant post already, including Mauricio Pochettino and Graham Potter.

TOP STORY – VERBAL AGREEMENT IN PLACE FOR CHELSEA AND POTTER

Chelsea will formally offer their vacant manager role to Brighton and Hove Albion's Graham Potter, according to several UK reports.

Brighton had granted Chelsea permission to speak to Potter, with the two parties locked in talks on Wednesday evening following Thomas Tuchel's dismissal.

Ben Jacobs from CBS Sports claims that a verbal agreement is agreed between Chelsea and Potter, with Sky Sports' Rob Dorsett stating he could be unveiled as their new boss on Thursday.

ROUND-UP

– The Sun claims that Manchester United are ready to open discussions with Marcus Rashford on a new deal. Rashford, who has three goals this season, is contracted until mid-2023.

– The Sun also reports Wilfried Zaha is set to be offered a new deal by Crystal Palace. Zaha, who has been linked with Arsenal and Chelsea, is into the final year of his contract at Selhurst Park.

Juventus are preparing for a straight swap deal in January with Aston Villa, which would see Moise Kean and Douglas Luiz trade places, according to JuveLive. Douglas Luiz's contract at Villa Park expires at the end of this season.

–  Everton and Arsenal both remain interested in Mykhaylo Mudryk but Shakhtar Donetsk want more than £30m (€34.5m) for the 21-year-old Ukrainian winger, claims Gianluca di Marzio.

Gareth Southgate is set to be without Jordan Pickford for England's final fixtures before the World Cup.

Stats Perform understands that Everton are optimistic the goalkeeper, who has been struggling with a thigh injury, will miss no longer than four weeks.

A club statement published on Wednesday, following reports of Pickford's injury, confirmed he would not return until after the international break, which starts on September 19.

It is a blow for Frank Lampard's team, who are winless in the Premier League this season, despite having shown promise in recent outings, including the 0-0 derby draw with Merseyside rivals Liverpool on Saturday.

Pickford was outstanding in that match, making eight saves, including an excellent fingertip stop to deny Mohamed Salah a stoppage-time winner at Goodison Park.

It is also bad news for Southgate, whose side face Italy on September 23 and Germany three days later in the Nations League.

England are without a win in the Nations League this year and lost 4-0 to Hungary in their last outing back in June. They do not have another match before kicking off their World Cup campaign against Iran on November 21.

Pickford's injury will, however, present a chance for Nick Pope, Aaron Ramsdale and Dean Henderson to prove their worth to Southgate ahead of the tournament in Qatar.

Everton, meanwhile, will be without their goalkeeper for Sunday's trip to Arsenal and a home match against West Ham on September 18. Pickford might recover to face Southampton on October 1, though a meeting with Manchester United a week later is perhaps more likely to mark a return to action.

After his efforts against Liverpool, Pickford – who was crucial to Everton staying up last season – is the best-performing goalkeeper in the Premier League this term for goals prevented, which uses Opta's expected goals on target conceded (xGOT) model to calculate how well a shot-stopper has performed.

Pickford's 2.6 goals prevented tops the league, though before the Merseyside derby that figure stood at 1.11 (the fifth-best in the competition), showing just how well the 28-year-old performed against Liverpool.

Asmir Begovic, who was reportedly of interest to Manchester United late in the transfer window, will likely fill in for Everton in Pickford's absence.

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