Jamaica international, Leon Bailey, insists he feels at home at new club Aston Villa after an impressive cameo against Everton on Saturday.

Since joining the Clarets from Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen at the end of the transfer window, Bailey has been used sparingly in the team’s line-up and is yet to start a match.  Against Everton, however, he gave fans a hint of what could be in store for this season with a match-changing introduction.

Bailey entered the pitch in the 61st minute and had almost an immediate impact on proceedings.  After Matty Cash’s thunderous shot put the hosts ahead in the 66th minute, Bailey’s viciously swung corner was headed into the back of his own net by Lucas Digne.

The Jamaican then got his first goal for Villa in fine style after sprinting on from the halfway line to a long ball provided by Danny Ings and crashing his shot into the net past a stranded Everton keeper Asmir Begović.  Things, however, ended on a worrying note for Bailey who had to be substituted in the 82nd minute after going down with an injury.  The change was later revealed to be more of a precaution.

“To have the fans chanting my name when I was going on, it was such an amazing feeling.  Words can’t even explain.  The fans were great tonight, it was perfect for me to get the goal for them tonight.  I feel welcome as a Villa player,” Bailey said following the match.

“I was just excited to get on the pitch, and I delivered, it was a perfect night,” he added.

As for the injury, the player did not think it was that serious.

“It might have been from hitting the ball, maybe I hit it too hard.  I just felt a little stiff in my quad, but I don’t think it’s anything serious.  So instead of risking it, I just decided to come out instead of risking it.  We have a lot of games coming up.”

The Premier League table already looks to be taking shape, with a thrilling title race potentially in store.

And fantasy leagues are no different, with the best players quickly racking up early-season points to pull clear.

Want to avoid being left behind? Why not take a look at our Opta-powered picks for matchday five...

 

ALISSON (Liverpool v Crystal Palace)

Liverpool have started the season in fine form and Alisson has been central to their defensive solidarity, which has seen them keep three clean sheets in four games.

Since the start of last season, only Hugo Lloris (7.7) has prevented more goals than the Brazil goalkeeper (6.2) according to expected goals on target data, while only two can boast a better save percentage than his 74.2.

Crystal Palace may have cruised past Tottenham last time out but beating Alisson will provide a different challenge and the Liverpool man could be a guarantee for much-needed clean sheet points.

JAMES TARKOWSKI (Burnley v Arsenal)

Burnley are winless this term, but James Tarkowski remains a wonderful bargain option for your shaky backline.

While the Clarets may concede against Arsenal, Tarkowski offers returns at the other end of the pitch and boasts the highest xG (4.3) among Premier League defenders since the start of last term.

Only the more expensive Andrew Robertson, Joao Cancelo and Trent-Alexander Arnold have had more touches in the opposition box in that time period, too, meaning the centre-back could prove an alternate option on matchday five.

VIRGIL VAN DIJK (Liverpool v Crystal Palace)

From one end of the budget to the other, Virgil van Dijk may set you back but he has been the Premier League's most dangerous defender so far.

The centre-back has produced nine shots, with only Cancelo (13) and Alexander-Arnold (11) managing more opposition-box touches among defenders than Van Dijk's 11.

Given Liverpool look likely a good bet for a clean sheet as well – conceding only five goals in eight straight wins against Palace – Van Dijk could provide a perfect double threat despite the off-putting outlay for the Netherlands captain.

ABDOULAYE DOUCOURE (Aston Villa v  Everton)

Abdoulaye Doucoure may not be your typical fantasy midfielder in the ilk of Mohamed Salah, Bruno Fernandes or Paul Pogba.

However, the Everton midfielder is in fine form and provides a wonderful budget option, having been involved in four goals in his past four games in the competition for the Toffees.

Aston Villa have managed just two shutouts in their past 16, too, so Doucoure's box-to-box prowess could cause carnage once more at Villa Park.

PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (Burnley v  Arsenal)

Some fantasy players may have given up hope with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but he repaid the faith of those loyal to him with a goal against Norwich City last Saturday.

The Gabon forward, who many discounted after a poor last campaign, will be central to Mikel Arteta's revival and he has netted eight times in seven top-flight matches against Burnley.

Given Burnley have not kept a clean sheet in their past seven and Arsenal attempted 30 shots last time out, Aubameyang could provide more returns at Turf Moor.

SADIO MANE (Liverpool  v Crystal Palace)

Salah appears the obvious option as always for the visit of Crystal Palace; however, Sadio Mane offers an alternate differential at Anfield.

Liverpool have fired in 100 shots already this term – just the second side to register a century in their opening four Premier League games since 2003-04 – and Mane has accounted for 22 of those.

The Senegal star has also scored in each of his past eight against Palace, making him one of the best picks for matchday five.

DANNY INGS (Aston Villa v Everton)

Danny Ings has been a fantasy favourite from the start of the season but has not delivered as of yet with Aston Villa.

That could change against Everton, however, as the Toffees are his favourite opponent having scored five top-flight goals against them.

The omens are in Ings' favour, too, given he has managed to score against Everton with all three of his previous Premier League clubs – could he make it a fourth with Villa?

Everton manager Rafael Benitez revealed Dominic Calvert-Lewin will be sidelined for more than two or three weeks after missing Monday's 3-1 win over Burnley with toe and quad injuries.

The 24-year-old England international had scored in Everton's opening three Premier League matches but was not part of the matchday squad against the Clarets.

Calvert-Lewin has been playing through injuries and Benitez revealed the full extent, stating he will be sidelined for several weeks to recover.

“It could be longer, he broke his toe, then was playing with an injection, with pain, it was not easy for him," Benitez said.

"He was not training with the rest of the team and that is the reason, I think, why he had the problem.

"For me, it will be longer than two or three weeks."

Everton's victory over Burnley lifted the Toffees up to fourth spot in the league, remaining one of only five unbeaten sides.

Benitez's side stormed back from 1-0 down in the second half with three goals in six minutes including a stunning long-distance strike from winger Andros Townsend who supplied the assist for Michael Keane's equalizer.

"The main thing in this team, everyone said we needed wingers," Benitez said.

“Today, Richarlison did a great job [up front] also and the two wingers helped the striker do better.

“When I decided Andros could be an important player for us, I was convinced. He is a professional and keen to learn and we have a group of players who want to improve."

Paul Pogba will be in demand when his contract expires after this season.

While several big clubs are in the mix, one has reportedly taken the lead.

The Santiago Bernabeu could be Pogba's next home.

 

TOP STORY - REAL MADRID WANT POGBA

Real Madrid are confident they can land Paul Pogba on a free transfer after this season, Mundo Deportivo reports. 

The interest apparently is mutual, as the report says Pogba would favour a move to Los Blancos over interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus

The deal might not be so easy to close if Manchester United decide to sell Pogba during the January window, but he remains a top target for Madrid either way.

 

ROUND-UP

- After failing to find a landing spot in Europe following his departure from Arsenal, veteran centre-back David Luiz will join Flamengo through the end of 2022, according to reports by Fabrizio Romano and Goal Brazil. 

- Alexandre Lacazette appears on the way out at Arsenal after the Gunners made a significant effort to sign Tammy Abraham during the transfer window, Romano reports. 

- Chelsea and Bayern Munich could pursue a swap deal that sends Timo Werner back to Germany and brings Leroy Sane back to the Premier League, according to Todo Fichajes.

- Everton will make another attempt to prise Ainsley Maitland-Niles from Arsenal during the January window, ESPN reports.

- Ajax defender Jurrien Timber is drawing interest from Chelsea and Tottenham, according to 90min. 

Rafael Benitez says James Rodriguez is working to adapt to Everton's new style of play despite a move away from Goodison Park failing to materialise.

James arrived as a marquee signing on a free transfer from Real Madrid in September 2020, with Carlo Ancelotti keen to reunite with the playmaker.

However, James was absent for much of Everton's run-in as the Toffees missed out on Europe, ultimately ending the season in 10th place.

With Ancelotti gone and Everton turning to Benitez – who did not seem to trust James during his short stint as Madrid boss – speculation mounted that he would leave Everton.

A part-exchange deal with Porto for James' compatriot Luis Diaz was worked on but did not come to fruition, though as late as this week Everton were still seemingly willing to let the 30-year-old leave, with Istanbul Basaksehir reportedly agreeing a loan move.

James elected to stay put, but Benitez warned he must now work hard to regain his place.

"He's training with the team. Obviously we have been talking about his future, we had some clubs interested. He still is here, he is training with the rest of the team-mates," Benitez said when asked if James could feature for the first time in 2021-22 when Everton host Burnley on Monday.

"I was not in the conversations, I know there was some clubs interested. If the offer was good, you know the financial fair play rules that we have with salaries and to bring players in so it was important for us to create some space with other players but we couldn't manage that.

"The team is doing well, the players understand what we want to do and he has to understand that. Then we have to bring the best from each player, in this case he has to adapt to the team and then we will try to get the best from everyone."

Difference maker?

Though injuries restricted him to 26 games in all competitions last season, James scored six goals and provided eight assists, creating 54 chances, placing him second in Everton's squad behind Gylfi Sigurdsson (60), who made 18 appearances more.

James led the way for Everton with chances created from open play (38) and when it came to crafting big chances (defined by Opta as a situation where a player should reasonably be expected to score). 

Per 90 minutes played, James created 0.56 big chances in the Premier League, putting him just below Jack Grealish and Bruno Fernandes (0.58), ranking sixth in the competition in that metric from players to play 20 or more matches.

Benitez's tenure at Everton has started with two wins and a draw in the league, as well as progression in the EFL Cup. Only West Ham and Manchester City (both 10) have scored more goals, while the Toffees' xG (expected goals) value of 5.34 is the fifth-best in the division.

On the face of it, having a player of James' undoubted quality to drop into the side could only improve matters.

"It was not easy because he was available in the transfer window. Now he has realised he has to focus and show his commitment and it's what he is trying to do and that is good news for us," Benitez added.

"It is good news for us because he can give us something more, we don’t have any doubt about his quality but we have to be sure that we have players playing 90 minutes with intensity and the quality that they have."

Completing games may well be the biggest challenge for James. He was substituted in 16 matches last season, more than any other Everton player.

Jamaica international Khadijah Shaw scored on debut for new club Manchester City who engineered a rousing start to the English FA Women’s Super League (WSL) with a 4-0 win over Everton.

The 24-year-old, who secured a move to the English League earlier this summer, did not take long to get on the scoresheet, as she found the back of the net in the 38th minute.

The prolific Jamaican striker smartly stuck the ball into the net from 6 yards away after being set up at the end of a sweeping counter-attacking move.  The goal put the team 3-0 ahead.  Earlier Vicky Losada had opened the scoring in the 26th minute, with Canadian international Janine Beckie doubling the lead in the 36th.

Club captain Steph Houghton then rubbed salt into the wounds of the Toffees with a goal in the 67th minute.

Shaw signed for City in June on a three-year deal after a two-year stint with French club Bordeaux where last season she finished as the league’s leading goalscorer.

 

 

Dani Olmo departed Barcelona's youth setup in 2014, moving to Croatian giants in Dinamo Zagreb.

Now playing for RB Leipzig, the 23-year-old continues to catch the eye.

Olmo is reportedly eyeing another chance at Barca.

 

TOP STORY – OLMO WANTS BARCA COMEBACK

RB Leipzig star Dani Olmo is hoping to return to Barcelona, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Olmo came through Barca's famed La Masia before joining Dinamo Zagreb's youth team in 2014 and eventually Bundesliga outfit Leipzig in 2020.

The 23-year-old Spain international, however, wants a new chance at Barca and has reportedly set yes to a Camp Nou comeback without looking at contract terms.

 

ROUND-UP

- Everton are hopeful of launching a bid to sign Edinson Cavani from Manchester United following Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Old Trafford, per Todo Fichajes.

- Calciomercato says Inter are considering a move for Eintracht Frankfurt and Serbia winger Filip Kostic, who was poised to join Lazio on deadline day before a move fell through.

- The Sun says Wolves are set to make Adama Traore their highest earner amid interest from Tottenham and Liverpool.

Chelsea could target Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly in January, reports Football London. The Senegal star has previously been linked with Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Barca and others.

- Le10 Sport claims Paris Saint-Germain never made an offer for Ronaldo, who left Juventus for United.

Antoine Griezmann and Saul Niguez were the big names to move late on deadline day, with Atletico Madrid having a busy night.

Griezmann's move to his former club completed a day of outgoings for Barcelona, who sold Emerson Royal and Ilaix Moriba, as well as loaning out Ray Minaj.

Ronald Koeman's Barca did get one player in, however, who will seemingly replace Griezmann in attack.

Barca's LaLiga rivals Real Madrid did not manage to get a mega deal for Kylian Mbappe over the line, despite a reported bid of €200m having been lodged on Tuesday, though Los Blancos did sign Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga.

Cristiano Ronaldo's move back to Manchester United was confirmed early on, but there was plenty of late action in England, too.

 

Another returning king as Chelsea call on Saul

Romelu Lukaku back to Chelsea. Ronaldo back to United. Now, Griezmann has made a return to one of his former clubs, with the 30-year-old re-joining LaLiga champions Atleti on a season-long loan.

There is an option to make the deal permanent for €40million – just the €80million less than Barca paid for the France forward in 2019.

Replacing Griezmann at Barca is Luuk de Jong, with Koeman turning to his compatriot from Sevilla. Messi to De Jong... not quite the end to the window Barca fans would have had in mind.

Saul, meanwhile, is leaving LaLiga. He has joined Chelsea on a loan deal from Atleti, with an option to buy for a reported £30m.

 

No Madrid move for Mbappe... yet

A third Madrid bid for Mbappe was reportedly lodged, and ignored, on Tuesday, as Florentino Perez's obsessive hunt of the Paris Saint-Germain star proved fruitless.

However, Mbappe is out of contract next year, so he may well be a Galactico soon enough.

One player who will be playing in the famous all-white strip this season is teenage midfielder Camavinga, who has joined from Rennes.

As well as keeping Mbappe, PSG added to their squad, completing a stellar transfer window by signing Sporting CP left-back Nuno Mendes to fill what has proved a problem position. Pablo Sarabia went the other way.

In Italy, Milan marked a quiet end to the window overall by confirming the signings of Yacine Adli and Messias Junior.

Inter already had their business done, while Juventus confirmed Moise Kean's return on Tuesday morning. The Bianconeri also signed Mohamed Ihattaren, who was then loaned to Sampdoria.

Ronaldo headlines Premier League moves

The early confirmation of Ronaldo's move back to United being complete was the biggest story of the day in England's top flight. It also paved the way for the Red Devils to sell Daniel James, who moved to Leeds United.

Arsenal blocked Everton's attempts to sign Ainsley Maitland-Niles, though Hector Bellerin did leave the Gunners to head to Real Betis on loan. Mikel Arteta's Gunners completed their record-breaking transfer window (in terms of overall spend) with the acquisition of Japan defender Takehiro Tomiyasu from Bologna. Earlier in the day, Arsenal loaned out Reiss Nelson and Alex Runarsson.

Their north London rivals Tottenham completed the signing of Emerson from Barca, with Serge Aurier's time at Spurs subsequently being brought to an end by the mutual termination of his contract.

Everton's hunt for a right-back was to no avail. The Toffees did bring in Salomon Rondon on a free transfer, handing the forward a two-year deal with an option for a third. James Rodriguez was involved in a mooted part-exchange deal with Porto for Luis Diaz, but the Colombian star is staying put.

Manchester City rounded off their dealings by sending out seven players on loan. Among them was Patrick Roberts, who was one of three players to join Ligue 1 club Troyes.

Wolves were unable to complete deals for Kieffer Moore or Boubacar Kamara. A late offer from Spurs for Adama Traore was reportedly rejected.

Czech Republic midfielder Alex Kral joined West Ham on loan from Spartak Moscow. He was the Hammers' second signing of the day, with Croatia playmaker Nikola Vlasic having arrived early on.

There were two outgoings at Celtic. Scotland international Ryan Christie signed for Bournemouth, while Crystal Palace bought striker Odsonne Edouard for a reported £15m. The Hoops replaced him with Greece forward Giorgos Giakoumakis.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has allegedly blocked a potential loan move to Everton for midfielder Donny van de Beek, according to the player’s agent.

The Netherlands international is yet to kick a ball this season, appearing as an unused substitute in each of United’s opening three Premier League games.

Van de Beek played 19 times in the top flight last term, with his future reportedly uncertain after just a single year at Old Trafford.

The former Ajax man received assurances heading into this campaign from Solskjaer, who told the media: "Donny knows that when he keeps on performing and training how he does for us, he'll be fit and ready when he plays."

According to widespread reports, Van de Beek was nevertheless keen on departing the Red Devils in favour of a loan switch to Everton.

However, Solskjaer is alleged to have blocked the move, much to the dismay of the midfielder and his agent Guido Albers.

"Manchester United are holding everything back," Albers told Voetbal International. "It's disappointing that United are not cooperating."

Reports subsequently emerged from The Athletic claiming no such loan offer had been made for Van de Beek.

Transfer deadline day has already been a busy one, even if the biggest move of all was one that was expected.

Manchester United, Juventus and West Ham have all made moves, while changes are expected at Arsenal and Tottenham before the window closes.

There is also a good chance of a young France star joining Real Madrid – but it's not Kylian Mbappe.

Here is a round-up of some of the deadline-day deals, and what could be coming...

Ronaldo in, Cavani out?

The biggest deal of the day was concluded early, as Manchester United completed the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus for an initial £12.9million (€15m).

The Portugal star dedicated his return to Old Trafford to Alex Ferguson after his two-year contract was announced by the Red Devils.

Ronaldo's arrival has complicated things for Edinson Cavani, though. The striker was convinced to spend another year at the club by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after impressing last season, but his pre-season was disrupted due to personal reasons and he did not start any of United's first three league games of the season.

There are reports Barcelona are interested in signing Cavani as Ronald Koeman is desperate for another striker, but the Red Devils are expected to resist offers unless they are particularly lucrative. Of course, if Cavani does leave, it would free up the number seven shirt for Ronaldo.

United's business is mostly concluded but Dan James is expected to sign for Leeds United on deadline day for a reported £25m.

Real Madrid close to Camavinga

With Kylian Mbappe apparently not going to get his move in this window, Real Madrid have turned their attentions to Rennes midfielder Eduardo Camavinga, who is expected to sign for Carlo Ancelotti's side before the deadline.

With Mbappe staying put at Paris Saint-Germain for now, any dramatic late offer for Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland looks unlikely. BVB have in fact bolstered their squad, signing Marin Pongracic on loan from Wolfsburg.

Kean and Vlasic on the move

Juventus moved quickly to confirm Ronaldo's replacement, announcing a two-year loan with a potential obligation to buy for Everton striker Moise Kean. Kean returns to Turin for an initial €7m (£6m) after having left for the Toffees two years ago.

There was also video footage early on Tuesday of Junior Messias arriving for a medical at Milan, the 30-year-old apparently poised to sign on loan from Crotone.

Croatia international Nikola Vlasic has secured his move to West Ham from CSKA Moscow for a fee said to be worth £25m. His arrival would appear to cast doubt on any further bid from the Hammers for Jesse Lingard, who impressed on loan last season.

Brighton and Hove Albion have also been active, signing Getafe left-back Marc Cucurella – formerly of Barca – after the Seagulls matched his €18m (£15.5m) release clause.

Leicester City are said to be exploring the opportunity to bring in Ademola Lookman on loan from RB Leipzig, while Odsonne Eduoard is close to a move to Crystal Palace from Celtic.

Spurs and Arsenal still active – but will Chelsea spend again?

Tottenham are expected to complete a deal for Barca's Emerson Royal for around £25.8m (€30m). That sale could give Barca just a little leg room when it comes to pursuing the striker Koeman wants.

There are also likely to be changes at Arsenal. With Hector Bellerin tipped to sign for Real Betis on loan, the Gunners are said to be close to signing Takehiro Tomiyasu from Bologna.

Meanwhile, Reiss Nelson could be on the verge of a loan move to Feyenoord, who had agreed to sign Amad Diallo from Manchester United for the rest of the season until the winger suffered a thigh injury.

Chelsea have already spent huge money on Romelu Lukaku, but it remains to be seen whether a loan for Saul Niguez or a permanent deal for Jules Kounde could be concluded.

Cristiano Ronaldo will be playing back at Old Trafford in 2021-22 after Manchester United confirmed his signing from Juventus.

The Portugal great has returned in a deal worth up to €23million (£19.7m), which was sensationally agreed with Juve on Friday.

For a short while, it looked as though Ronaldo – who had asked to leave the Bianconeri – was heading to Manchester City after they missed out on the signing of Harry Kane.

Instead, he is heading back to the red side of Manchester.

With the deal now finalised, Stats Perform takes a look at other greats who went back to their former homes, starting with the Portugal captain...

Cristiano Ronaldo – Manchester United

Ronaldo spent six years at Old Trafford during his previous spell, arriving as a lanky teenager who loved a stepover and leaving as a Ballon d'Or winner and ice-cold finisher. His then-world-record move to Real Madrid had been a long time coming and he spent nine years at the Santiago Bernabeu, becoming the club's all-time top scorer as he continued his transition from winger to out-and-out 'number nine'. There he won four Champions League titles before moving on to Juve, for whom he plundered 81 goals in 98 Serie A matches and picked up two Scudetti. But now he is returning to England. Whether he can match the standards he set last time remains to be seen, with his 31-goal haul of 2007-08 only bettered once in a 38-match season, but United fans will be convinced he can fire them to a first league title since Ferguson left.

Juan Roman Riquelme – Boca Juniors

Synonymous with Boca Juniors, Riquelme made his professional debut for the Buenos Aires giants and returned to the club for the majority of his final years as a player, following spells with Barcelona and Villarreal. After a breakdown in his relationship with Manuel Pellegrini, Riquelme – the classic number 10 – returned to Boca initially on loan in 2007, going on to stay until 2014. He helped Boca win the Copa Libertadores in 2007, the Recopa Sudamericana a year later, Apertura titles in 2008 and 2011 and the Copa Argentina in 2011-12. He is currently Boca's vice-president.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Milan

After a difficult spell under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona, Ibrahimovic – who had excelled at both Juventus and Inter – moved back to Italy, joining the Nerrazurri's city rivals Milan on loan for 2010-11. He became an instant star for the Rossoneri, picking up where he left off in Italy with 21 goals, a tally he bettered in 2011-12, scoring 35 times in all competitions. Paris Saint-Germain came calling and he went on to become the Ligue 1 giants' record goalscorer (a title now held by Edinson Cavani), before joining Manchester United and LA Galaxy. Despite being in his late 30s, Ibrahimovic still had more to offer and rejoined Milan for the back half of the 2019-20 campaign, netting 11 goals. He carried on his form into an injury hit 2020-21, scoring a further 16 times, and he is set to be a pivotal figure at San Siro once again this season.

Romelu Lukaku – Chelsea

Part of United's reasoning behind signing Ronaldo was to perhaps ensure they kept pace with their title rivals. For the past two seasons, Ronaldo has gone head-to-head with Lukaku in Serie A. Though Ronaldo won the battle last season, scoring 29 league goals, compared to Lukaku's 24, it was the Belgian who won the war by leading Inter to the title, and now the duo will face off again in the Premier League after Chelsea smashed their transfer record to re-sign the 28-year-old 10 years on from his initial arrival from Anderlecht. Lukaku did not manage to push himself into the starting XI back then and was loaned out to West Brom and Everton, before moving to Goodison Park on a permanent deal in 2014. He returns to Stamford Bridge as the complete package, however, and bullied Arsenal's defence on his second debut, scoring the opener in a 2-0 win for the European champions.

Didier Drogba – Chelsea

Part of the allure for Lukaku returning to Chelsea was to emulate his icon Drogba, who left Stamford Bridge after helping the Blues clinch a Champions League crown in 2012. The Ivorian went back to west London in the 2014-15 season, with Drogba explaining he could not turn down the chance to work with Jose Mourinho once again. He scored four league goals in 28 appearances to help Chelsea win the title, before heading off for a swansong in MLS with the Montreal Impact.

Thierry Henry – Arsenal

Another Premier League great, Henry rejoined Arsenal on a short-term loan deal at the start of 2012. He scored on his second debut against Leeds United in the FA Cup, converting his only attempt of the game in a 22-minute cameo from the bench. He went on to play a further six times, scoring in the Premier League against Sunderland, before he returned to the New York Red Bulls to round off a wonderful career.

Carlos Tevez – Boca Juniors

The Tevez-Boca love affair has dominated most of the striker's complex career. After coming through their youth ranks, the feisty forward was seen as the heir to Maradona. A brief stint in Brazil with Corinthians followed, but Europe had long since beckoned, even if West Ham were by no means the expected destination. He went on to play for Man United and City, increasing tension between the clubs, before then going to Juventus, but throughout this time Tevez seemed to long for a return to Boca. He went back to La Bombonera in 2015, his homecoming interrupted by a brief spell with Shanghai Shenhua in 2017 in the Chinese Super League, though even Tevez acknowledged he saw his time in China as a "holiday". "He filled Santa's sack with dollars and now he has returned to Boca," was Maradona's assessment upon the forward's return from the CSL. His third spell with Boca ended in June 2021 and it remains to be seen if he ever plays for another club.

Wayne Rooney – Everton

With Lukaku joining Man United in 2017, it opened the door for Everton to bring back Rooney, who had left his boyhood club in 2004 on the back of a stellar performance at Euro 2004. Then just 18, Rooney went on to become United's record goalscorer – and England's, too – and he returned to Goodison Park for the 2017-18 season. He scored on his league debut, heading in the winner against Stoke City, and though he netted 11 times in total for the Toffees, a difficult season saw Ronald Koeman sacked and replaced with Sam Allardyce, who was subsequently shuffled out of the door for Marco Silva. With Everton looking to go in a new direction, Rooney left to join MLS side DC United in 2018.

Gianluigi Buffon – Parma

Buffon likes a comeback. Having returned for a second spell at Juventus in 2019, the goalkeeping great departed the club for a second time at the end of 2020-21. The Italy legend had not finished playing yet, though, and Parma quickly emerged as a potential destination despite their relegation to Serie B. After a few weeks of contemplation, it was confirmed that Buffon was heading back to the club where he made his name. Now 43, the iconic stopper is wearing Gialloblu for the first time in 20 years, and he is set to remain with them until he turns 45, given he signed a two-year contract. What happens after that is anyone's guess, but calling it a day with his first club could be a satisfyingly romantic conclusion to a remarkable career – that or he ends up at Juve again!

He is back where he belongs.
He is back home. #SupermanReturns @gianluigibuffon @Kyle_J_Krause @ParmaCalcio_en pic.twitter.com/bh2FO6P8YX

— Parma Calcio 1913 (@1913parmacalcio) June 17, 2021

Juventus have brought Moise Kean back to the club from Everton on a two-year loan with an obligation to buy following the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Kean returns to Turin two years after the forward left for the Premier League in a £27million (€31.5m) move, having signed a five-year deal with the Toffees.

Juve will pay €7m (£6m) for the striker's loan spell, payable over two years. They will be obliged to re-sign him on a permanent basis for a fee that could reach €31m (£26.6m) if certain objectives are met.

The Italy international's arrival follows Ronaldo's switch back to Manchester United, with Massimiliano Allegri eager to bolster his attacking options.

Kean impressed on loan at Paris Saint-Germain last season, scoring 13 times in 26 Ligue 1 outings.

But he failed to make an impact at Goodison Park, with his 32 top-flight outings yielding only two goals.

The appointment of Rafael Benitez at Everton might have ushered in a fresh start for Kean, but that will not now materialise.

Kean was sent off in Tuesday's EFL Cup win at Huddersfield Town, while he featured only very briefly in the 2-2 draw at Leeds United in the Premier League.

Kean made his Juve debut aged just 16 years, eight months and 21 days in November 2016, becoming the club's youngest ever player. 

He made 16 Serie A appearances in in his first spell at Juve, scoring seven goals, while he won the Scudetto twice and the Coppa Italia once. 

 

Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been ruled out of the England squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers due to a thigh strain.

Calvert-Lewin did the damage in a 2-0 Premier League win at Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

The 24-year-old, who scored his third goal in as many top-fight games this season against the Seagulls, underwent a scan and has been forced to pull out of the squad.

Gareth Southgate has not called up a replacement, so the Euro 2020 runners-up will have a 24-man squad for the three qualifiers.

The Three Lions face Hungary at the Puskas Arena on Thursday before taking on Andorra at Wembley three days later and travel to face Poland at the Stadion Narodowy a week on Wednesday.

England are top of Group I with three wins out of three, leading Hungary by two points.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles has made clear his desire to leave Arsenal to get regular first-team action elsewhere amid rumours of interest from Everton.

Maitland-Niles has made two substitute appearances so far this season, coming on during the 6-0 EFL Cup win over West Brom before a late cameo in the 5-0 defeat at Manchester City on Saturday.

The 24-year-old spent the second half of the previous campaign on loan at West Brom, starting in 14 games as the Baggies were relegated to the Championship.

Another move away from Emirates Stadium may offer him a chance to play more regularly, though time is running out with the transfer window closing at the end of August.

Everton have reportedly made an offer to take the England international on loan with an option to buy, though it remains to be seen if Arsenal are interested in doing such a deal.

However, Maitland-Niles left no doubt over his position on a potential transfer away from the club in an Instagram post on Monday.

"All I wanna do is go where I'm wanted and where I'm gonna play," he wrote on a story post, along with three crying emojis. Arsenal's official account was also tagged.

Rafael Benitez is seemingly keen to strengthen his defensive options at Everton, with captain Seamus Coleman having started at right-back in the opening three games of the new Premier League season.

Maitland-Niles may not be the only departure from Arsenal before Tuesday's deadline either.

Forward Eddie Nketiah has been linked with Crystal Palace, while Hector Bellerin, another of Mikel Arteta's options to play at right-back, is reportedly a target for Barcelona, should they sell Emerson Royal to Tottenham.

Willian, meanwhile, appears to be heading back home to Brazil to join Corinthians, just over a year after signing for Arsenal on a lucrative deal as a free agent.

Chelsea have been linked with Sevilla's French defender Jules Kounde throughout the off-season.

The 22-year-old centre-back did not play for Sevilla at the weekend and reportedly wants to exit the club.

Kounde would be Chelsea's second major signing behind Romelu Lukaku, as the transfer window closure approaches.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA FACING MONDAY ULTIMATUM ON KOUNDE

Chelsea's drawn-out pursuit of Sevilla's Jules Kounde has hit another speed bump with the Spanish club issuing the Blues an ultimatum, according to AS.

Sevilla have told Chelsea if they do not submit a suitable offer on Monday, then they have to meet Kounde's €80 million (£68m) release clause.

Chelsea have not tabled a firm bid for Kounde beyond €50m, while the LaLiga outfit had reportedly previously wanted €60-70m.

ROUND-UP

- The Star reports that Cristiano Ronaldo's arrival at Manchester United will force Dan James out, with Everton, Brighton and Hove Albion, Leeds United and Crystal Palace all in the running for the Welsh winger.

- Manchester United are unlikely to move for Atletico Madrid full-back and long-term target Kieran Trippier reports the Manchester Evening News. United's capture of Ronaldo means their transfer business is over.

- Sport reports that Juventus are ready to make one final effort to sign Miralem Pjanic back from Barcelona. Juve are willing to take Pjanic on loan, with the midfielder out of favour at Barca.

- Aston Villa are set to table a £15m bid for Liverpool midfielder Curtis Jones according to the Express. The Villans are eager to strengthen having missed out on Arsenal's Emile Smith Rowe.

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