Arsenal are preparing for a busy January transfer window, with reports they are planning a £100million move for Juventus duo Dusan Vlahovic and Fabio Miretti.

Vlahovic, 22, arrived in Turin in January this year in a €70m transfer from Fiorentina, and after netting nine goals for his new club during the tail end of that campaign, he has hit the ground running with four goals from six starts this season.

Miretti, 19, is a product of Juventus' youth academy, and with three appearances for Italy's under-21 side under his belt, he has broken into Massimiliano Allegri's team, with four starts from their past five Serie A fixtures.

Both are likely seen as key pieces moving forward, regardless of Allegri's future with the club, so to pry them away Arsenal understand they will need to pay-up in a big way.


TOP STORY – ARSENAL TO LAUNCH £100M DOUBLE MOVE 

Arsenal have been linked with a number of significant January targets, with the Mail reporting they have made contact with Eintracht Frankfurt's Jesper Lindstrom, while Sport claim they are weighing up activating a €35m release clause for Villarreal's Alex Baena.

What separates the Calciomercato report about the Juventus duo is that they are the only team named in the story, while it also claims Mikel Arteta is pushing for a bid to be made.

Despite the pair's coveted status within the Juventus squad and the desperation for the team to turn their results around following five matches without a win, Calciomercato states that an offer of £100m would be "difficult to refuse".

ROUND-UP

– Corriere dello Sport is reporting Jose Mourinho's Roma will make a move for Chelsea defender Trevoh Chalobah in January.

– According to Birmingham Mail, Juventus are keeping an eye on Wolves striker Adama Traore for a potential January move, while Football Italia add that their wish-list includes Antoine Griezmann, Marco Asensio and Christian Pulisic

Newcastle United "retain an interest" in Leicester City midfielder James Maddison, and he could be a January target, according to the Leicester Mercury.

– Manchester Evening News is reporting Manchester City have joined Chelsea in their interest for potential £100m Milan forward Rafael Leao.

– According to 90min, scouts from Premier League teams including Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle, West Ham and Wolves made the trip to Scotland to get a closer look at 21-year-old Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk playing internationally for Ukraine.

Teenager Elliot Anderson has signed a new long-term contract at Newcastle United after breaking into the first team under Eddie Howe. 

The 19-year-old – who has represented both England and Scotland at youth level – made his Premier League debut in January 2021 as a substitute against Arsenal. 

The second half of last season then saw Anderson go on loan to Bristol Rovers, helping them secure promotion to League One as he contributed seven goals and six assists in 21 league appearances.

This term, Anderson has been used as an impact substitute by Howe, and his absence through injury was felt in Newcastle's 1-1 draw with Bournemouth on Saturday.

Speaking after committing his future to the Magpies, Anderson said: "I'm really happy. I love playing for Newcastle United, and committing my future to the club is something I've really wanted to do.

"It was my aim coming back into pre-season to work hard and earn the opportunity to stick around. I have really enjoyed being with the first-team group, so hopefully I can keep improving and contribute to the team."

Howe, who has given the versatile midfielder three league appearances from the bench this season, added: "We are all delighted with Elliot's development.

"He is a natural talent, but he also has an excellent work ethic and always wants to learn.

"He is just at the start of his journey at this level, but he has a very exciting future ahead, and we are delighted that his journey will continue here."

Harry Kane remains at the centre of significant transfer speculation after the Tottenham striker failed to secure a move to Manchester City last year.

The England star appears more settled under Antonio Conte but has been linked with Bayern Munich recently.

Kane has started this Premier League campaign strongly, netting six goals in seven appearances.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA PLOTTING KANE-LUKAKU SWAP

New Chelsea boss Graham Potter wants to bring Harry Kane across town from Tottenham, claims Calciomercato.

The Blues boss is ready to offer Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku, currently on loan at Inter, as part of an exchange for Kane. The England forward's contract at Tottenham expires in 2024.

Chelsea are at the start of a new era after Potter replaced Thomas Tuchel, while they are set to appoint Salzburg's Christoph Freund as their new sporting director.

 

ROUND-UP

– Fichajes reports Atletico Madrid are desperate to add a versatile attacker to their squad next year, with Manchester United's Marcus Rashford, Brighton and Hove Albion's Leandro Trossard and Liverpool's Roberto Firmino on top of their wish list.

– Calciomercato claims Liverpool are considering a move for Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk. Newcastle United, Sevilla, Bayer Leverkusen and Ajax are also tracking the Ukrainian, according to CBS' Ben Jacobs. TalkSPORT reports that the Reds are also keeping an eye on Flamengo midfielder Joao Gomes .

– Manchester City are interested in a big-money move for Milan winger Rafael Leao next year, according to the Manchester Evening News.

– Football Insider reports West Ham have informed Manuel Lanzini he is free to leave the club in January.

– Former Italy international Fabio Cannavaro is close to a return to management with talks to take over at Serie B club Benevento progressing well, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe said the media should "never write off" Callum Wilson making a late run for England's World Cup squad.

Wilson scored twice in three Premier League appearances at the start of the season, only to suffer a thigh injury in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Manchester City on August 21.

The 30-year-old has been plagued by persistent injury issues since he joined Newcastle from Howe's former club Bournemouth in 2020, with the Magpies spending a club-record fee on Alexander Isak late in the transfer window to bolster their attacking options.

Wilson is nearing a return, but Newcastle's meeting with Bournemouth on Saturday is likely to come too soon, while the injury also dashed any chances of him making Gareth Southgate's final England squad before the World Cup.

The last of Wilson's three caps came in November 2019, but Howe believes the striker could still be an option for Southgate heading to Qatar.

"I feel for Callum because he's not in the England squad," Howe said in a press conference on Friday.

"But it will just fuel his motivation, it will fire him even more, so when Callum returns to our team he will show how good he is.

"I think there's time for Callum to make the World Cup squad, and I know Gareth feels the same.

"What does he have to do? He has to return and score and be consistent in his availability. Maybe he has to have a bit of luck somewhere else to make that plane."

One of Wilson's potential rivals for a spot is Brentford forward Ivan Toney, who received a maiden international call-up on Thursday.

Toney excelled in Brentford's first Premier League campaign last season, scoring 12 goals as the Bees comfortably stayed up.

Only Manchester City star Erling Haaland (11) has been directly involved in more Premier League goals than Toney this season (seven), with the Brentford striker averaging a goal or assist every 77 minutes, compared to one every 171 minutes last term.

Toney played for Newcastle between 2015 and 2018, but made only two league appearances for the club, having six loan spells at four separate clubs before leaving permanently for Peterborough United.

Howe thinks Newcastle, under sporting director Dan Ashworth, are now well set to avoid repeating such mistakes.

He said: "I'd love to think that wouldn't happen now. That's not a criticism of anyone here at that time; why Ivan left, I don't know.

"But when you watch him play now and see his attributes and what he can bring to his team, he's an outstanding player.

"His England call-up is a great thing for people that drop into the lower leagues. It gives them hope that it's not the end of their dreams."

Bournemouth caretaker boss Gary O'Neil is focusing on on-field matters amid reports Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley could complete a takeover of the Premier League club.

Foley has been credited with an interest in the Cherries as existing owner Maxim Demin attempts to sell the club, with a deal potentially set to be completed before the World Cup.

Bournemouth parted company with head coach Scott Parker just four games into the season last month, and takeover talks may mean O'Neil receives an extended audition for the top job.

However, speaking ahead of Saturday's trip to Newcastle United, O'Neil said: "Obviously, I'm not involved in any discussions like that. 

"I've been hard at work over on the other side, on the grass.

"Takeovers and discussions of that level are obviously a long way from my mind, and what I'm focused on at the moment, which is Newcastle. It's going to be a big test."

Saturday's game will be particularly notable for opposing coach Eddie Howe, who spent 11 years at Bournemouth across two spells, overseeing their initial rise from League Two to the Premier League, as well as representing the club as a player.

Howe used his own pre-match news conference to discuss the sense of occasion he feels ahead of the match at St James' Park.

"I personally feel a huge sense of gratitude to the club and everyone connected with it. I wouldn't be sat here now if it wasn't for AFC Bournemouth," the Newcastle coach said.

"We'll be competing to win the game and are desperate to do so, but it will be a special game for us."

Newcastle have suffered a number of injuries to key players in the season's early weeks, but Howe would not disclose information on the status of Bruno Guimaraes, Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson.

"Everyone has improved, but I'll leave my team news until the time we get it," he said. "It's been a slightly difficult period for us, but hopefully we're coming out of that. They are big players for us, and we need them back quickly."

After last weekend's postponements, round seven of the Premier League is finally upon us, but continental fixtures midweek could throw a spanner into team selection.

Now over a month into the season, things are beginning to take shape as managers make it clear who is in and out of favour, while struggling teams may feel the need for drastic changes in an effort to get back on course.

Whether they start every game, or they have worked their way into consideration, this is the time of the year when players can stake their claim as key contributors for the long season ahead.

This week's Opta data points out a couple of playmakers who have shined coming off the bench, as well as some safe prospects in the back half who are at the centre of their teams' plans, and could make the difference in your Fantasy Football plans.

 

Nick Pope (Newcastle United v Bournemouth)

Newcastle United goalkeeper Nick Pope is in fine form, boasting the most saves in the league this season with 28, while also owning the best save percentage (82.35 per cent) and being tied for the lead in clean sheets (three).

It is not just a small sample size, either. Since the beginning of the 2019-20 season, only Ederson (58) and Allison (45), widely considered the league's best two shot-stoppers, have kept more clean sheets than Pope's 38.

Also working in Pope's favour is the fact Bournemouth are one of six teams this season to average less than one goal per game, and have been held scoreless by Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Wolves.

Neco Williams (Nottingham Forest v Fulham)

Full-backs have always been a bit of a cheat code in fantasy football due to their ability to bank both clean sheets and a healthy dose of assists compared to centre-backs, and Nottingham Forest's Neco Williams is emerging as a quality creator of chances.

No Forest player has created more chances than the 21-year-old's nine – among defenders, only Trent Alexander-Arnold (13), Kieran Trippier (11) and Diogo Dalot (10) have crafted more. 

Williams has also played every minute of his side's six games so far. 

Bernardo Silva (Manchester City v Wolves)

Manchester City's Bernardo Silva is enjoying a rich run of form, with four goal involvements (two goals and two assists) from his past four matches.

City are the highest-scoring team in the Premier League this season with 20 in six games, and after coming off the bench in the first two fixtures of the season, Silva has now made four consecutive starts.

Silva's goal contributions have come from 1.33 expected goal involvements, with only team-mate Erling Haaland, Brentford's Ivan Toney and Liverpool's Roberto Firmino have outperformed their expected figure by more.

Richarlison (Tottenham v Leicester City)

After spending £60million this past transfer window to secure the 25-year-old from Everton, Tottenham awarded Richarlison with his first start in their last top-flight game against Fulham, and he came through with an assist and a disallowed goal.

It was his second assist from his past three games, after coming off the bench against Forest and teeing up Harry Kane.

Leicester City have been a team the Brazil forward, who scored his first two Spurs goals in a Champions League win over Marseille earlier in September, has feasted against during his time in the Premier League, with his five goals against the Foxes matching his best total against any team (also five against Southampton and Wolves).

Former England and Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Foster has announced his retirement from football despite an offer from Newcastle United.

The 39-year-old goalkeeper made the announcement via YouTube where he has become a sensation with The Cycling GK.

Foster's career, which dates back to 2000, ends after playing for clubs including Manchester United, West Brom, Birmingham City and, most recently, Watford. He managed eight caps for England, including being part of their 2014 World Cup squad.

"I've got an announcement to make, it's a big one. The time has finally come for me to announce my retirement," Foster said.

"I know for a fact if I'd have gone there I'd have had an amazing time, the lads would have been absolutely brilliant and I'd have buzzed off the stadium, the fans, all that kind of stuff, but the overriding sinking feeling was 'I don't want to do this.'"

Foster revealed he had been offered a deal by Newcastle in light of Karl Darlow's injury as understudy to Nick Pope, but opted to hang up the gloves for family reasons.

"I was just eating my dinner and I thought 'no, I’m not doing it'," he said.

"I've got to be happy and comfortable and I wouldn’t be able to do that so far away from my family. It would kill me.

"If I'm in an apartment in Newcastle away from my family by myself, I don't think people can understand, that's really hard to do. Especially at the age I am and everything I've got going on."

Liverpool and Newcastle United have seen members of their backroom teams issued with touchline bans following an altercation at the end of last month's Premier League meeting at Anfield.

Newcastle came close to taking a point from their trip to Liverpool on August 31, only for Fabio Carvalho to score a 98th-minute winner, sparking a touchline fracas.

At the end of a highly charged affair, Newcastle sports scientist Daniel Hodges appeared to throw a bottle into the Liverpool technical area, prompting the Football Association (FA) to investigate.

The FA subsequently brought charges against both Hodges and Liverpool goalkeeping coach John Achterberg, and it has now been confirmed the men will serve one-match touchline bans.

A statement released on Thursday said: "Coaches from Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC have been banned, fined and warned for breaching FA Rule E3 during their Premier League game on Wednesday 31 August 2022.

"John Achterberg and Daniel Hodges both admitted that their behaviour during the 98th minute was improper, and the Liverpool FC coach also accepted that he used abusive and insulting gestures. 

"An independent Regulatory Commission has fined the Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC coaches £7,000 and £6,000 respectively, banned them from the touchline for one fixture, and warned them as to their future conduct."

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.

Newcastle United have signed Loris Karius to a short-term contract after back-up goalkeeper Karl Darlow sustained an injury in training.

Eddie Howe's side were in a strong position in their goalkeeping department in the final days of the transfer window.

Nick Pope, signed from Burnley, had an immediate impact in the Newcastle starting XI, displacing Martin Dubravka to leave Darlow as third-choice.

However, Dubravka headed to Manchester United on loan, and Darlow was then injured after the window closed.

Newcastle have instead been forced to turn to the free agent market, with Karius released by Liverpool at the end of last season.

The former Germany youth international had not appeared for Liverpool since the 2017-18 Champions League final, in which he suffered a concussion and committed two awful errors that allowed Real Madrid to win 3-1.

Karius was subsequently replaced by Alisson, spending the next two seasons on loan at Besiktas and the following campaign with Union Berlin.

He joins Newcastle after a year back at Liverpool, where he was no longer considered part of Jurgen Klopp's first-team plans.

"I'm excited," Karius said upon signing a deal until January, which could be extended to the end of the season.

"It's a good opportunity for me and a great project to be part of. It didn't take me long to make a decision.

"Newcastle have a great coach and play really attractive football. I felt it was the right project for me and I'm excited to work with the coaches and my new team-mates."

After making a terrific start to the season, Arsenal are reportedly looking to bolster their squad further in the January transfer window as they weigh up a move for Barcelona winger Ferran Torres.

Torres, 22, was acquired by the Spanish giants this January after emerging at Manchester City as one of Spain's top young talents, costing €55million.

With his playing time inconsistent, and the numerous questions about Barcelona's finances and their need to sell players, it appears Torres is someone the club feels comfortable parting ways with less than 12 months after his arrival.

 

TOP STORY – ARSENAL WANT TO BRING TORRES BACK TO THE PREMIER LEAGUE

Torres has failed to establish himself as a regular starter, and with plenty of forward depth after the expensive additions of Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha – along with Ousmane Dembele and Ansu Fati already being on the books – Barcelona are said to be looking to recoup their spending.

Fichajes is reporting Barcelona will be setting their asking price at the full amount they paid City, but for a young player who already has 13 international goals in 28 caps for Spain, it is not an unreasonable figure.

Meanwhile, 90min claims Barcelona are still looking to cash in on Frenkie de Jong after a lengthy transfer saga with Manchester United ended with no deal, indicating they may need to sell at least one player to keep balancing their books.

 

ROUND-UP

– Calciomercato are reporting Chelsea remain interested in United's Marcus Rashford, along with Atletico Madrid, if he does not receive a contract extension.

– According to The Sun, Wolves and Liverpool will both attempt to sign Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez, just months after he arrived from River Plate on a bargain €8million deal.

Bayern Munich 's sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has denied enquiring with Tottenham about the availability of Harry Kane, per Sport1.

– Corriere dello Sport is reporting Rafael Leao's contract demands with Milan have boosted his chances of leaving the club, with Chelsea named as the primary interested party. 

Newcastle United's hunt for a goalkeeper did not end with their signing of free agent Loris Karius, with Portuguese publication JN reporting they are considering activating the £51m release clause for 22-year-old Porto goalie Diogo Costa.

Chelsea's first big transfer splash under new boss Graham Potter could reportedly be RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol, after the club had a £77million bid rejected before the deadline.

Gvardiol is young at 20, but he does not lack experience, having already been awarded 10 senior international caps for Croatia, as well as racking up 47 club appearances in all competitions last season for Leipzig.

He was one of many high-profile defenders to be enquired about during Chelsea's search that ended up landing Leicester City's Wesley Fofana and Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly.

But with Koulibaly already 31 and Thiago Silva now 37, the club may feel it is best to figure out the succession plan sooner rather than later.


TOP STORY – CHELSEA PLAN BIG MOVE FOR GVARDIOL IN JANUARY

With over £150m spent between Fofana, Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella, while being tied with Manchester United for the fewest goals scored in the Premier League by a team in the top-half (eight from six games), it is curious to see the Stamford Bridge side still so desperate for defensive help.

It remains to be seen what kind of budget Potter will be allowed to use in the January window, given all the recent signings had been under Thomas Tuchel's guidance, and it is also fair to assume a potential Gvardiol deal would not have this season's results in mind, given their previous offer included loaning him back to Leipzig.

Ownership's willingness to open up the cheque book in January would have likely been discussed during their recruitment of Potter, and Bild remain convinced Chelsea's interest with the young Croatian is far from over.


ROUND-UP

– According to The Mirror, Arsenal and Newcastle United will compete for the signature of 26-year-old Benfica left-back Alex Grimaldo, who is said to be available for £8.6m due to being in the last year of his contract.

– The Metro is reporting United full-back Diogo Dalot turned down a move to Milan, instead wishing to fight for his spot at Old Trafford.

– According to inews, Newcastle are joining the race for Vasco da Gama teenager Andrey Santos, who reportedly has a £30m price tag and is a target of Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona.

Jordi Alba is unsettled at Barcelona amid interest from Inter, but remains committed to the club where he now has to contend with Alejandro Balde and Marcos Alonso for the starting role, according to Marca.

Former Inter and Italy defender Davide Santon has announced his retirement from playing at the age of 31 due to persistent injury issues.

The full-back had spent the past four seasons with Roma but failed to make a single appearance under Jose Mourinho in the 2021-22 campaign.

Santon was capped eight times by Italy between 2009 and 2013 and was a two-time Scudetto winner with Inter during the first of two spells with the club, either side of a three-season stint with Newcastle United.

Injuries ultimately took their toll on the defender, who announced his playing days are over in an interview with Tuttomercato published on Friday.

"I'm forced to stop playing," he said. "Not for not having had offers, not for anything else, but because my body, with so many injuries in the past, can't take it anymore.

"I didn't want to do this, but I have to. I had endless tests and consultations, but there was nothing to be done. I can still walk, but that's not enough to be a professional athlete. 

"If I kept pushing, I'd risk needing a prosthesis. The left knee is just gone. It stops me doing lots of things. 

"The right knee, that had surgery three times, removing cartilage, the entire external meniscus, so as soon as I strain it even a little bit, it swells up and can't bend.

"All my injuries really came from there, because if the right knee can't bend, you put more strain on the left and the flexor. If you play one match, you risk being out of action for the next five."

Santon made just 42 Serie A appearances across four seasons with Roma and was accused by some of turning down moves elsewhere in order to continue picking up an easy wage at Stadio Olimpico.

Responding to those claims, Santon said: "I didn't turn anyone down. I was never going to pass a medical."

Chelsea have reportedly held an emergency call with new signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to reassure him of his future with the club after Thomas Tuchel's surprise sacking.

Tuchel was removed from his position after Chelsea's 1-0 loss to Dinamo Zagreb in their Champions League opener, in a move that will carry a heavy financial cost, according to reports from the Daily Mail and The Mirror.

Tuchel and his backroom staff are said to be receiving £15million in pay-outs, and Brighton are set to claim £20m in compensation after Graham Potter took over.

One of the main selling points for Aubameyang to come to Stamford Bridge was his relationship with Tuchel, who had coached him at Borussia Dortmund, and the Telegraph claims Chelsea's ownership group went out of their way to reassure the 33-year-old striker about his decision after cutting ties with Tuchel.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA OWNERS REASSURE AUBAMEYANG OF HIS ROLE AFTER TUCHEL FIRING

According to the Telegraph's report, controlling owners Todd Boehly and Behdad Egbali addressed the Chelsea squad on Wednesday after Tuchel's sacking took place that morning, but there was also a separate individual chat with Aubameyang.

They reportedly told the signing from Barcelona that they "believe he can flourish under new head coach Graham Potter", and the Gabon international is said to have no second thoughts about his decision.

While he was clearly a player Tuchel pushed for, Aubameyang was assured he was "a club signing", and the report claims he "is thought to have been appreciative of the explanation".

In his one game for Chelsea under Tuchel, Aubameyang was substituted in the 59th minute.

 

ROUND-UP

– BILD has confirmed once again that Liverpool have their sights set on a massive move for Borussia Dortmund's 19-year-old English midfielder Jude Bellingham in 2023. 

– A report from Sport claims the rise of 18-year-old Barcelona left-back Alejandro Balde has complicated the arrival of Marcos Alonso, who was brought in to be the main competition to Jordi Alba, but he is now behind Balde as well.

– Fabrizio Romano is reporting 21-year-old Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk wants a move to Arsenal alongside his Ukrainian compatriot Oleksandr Zinchenko, and that it could be possible in January.

– JuveLive claim Juventus are prepared to offer 22-year-old striker Moise Kean to Aston Villa in a straight swap for 24-year-old midfielder Douglas Luiz.

West Ham forward Michail Antonio has declared VAR should be "binned" following a weekend of controversy in the Premier League.

The Hammers saw an equaliser against Chelsea ruled out after Jarrod Bowen was perceived to have fouled goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, which stood among several contentious VAR decisions in England's top-flight.

Newcastle also saw a Tyrick Mitchell own goal against Crystal Palace chalked off for a foul on Vicente Guaita, with the PGMOL admitting on Sunday that both decisions were incorrect.

Those incidents have sparked a debate around the application of VAR in England and Antonio has made his feelings clear by suggesting the technology should no longer be used.

 "It was a madness, that's what I am going to call it. An actual madness. I have said this many times. It needs to be binned," he told the BBC's Footballer's Football Podcast.

"As a player we all knew it [the incident] was nothing. It is all about opinions - about the referee's opinion, about the fourth official's opinion and about the opinion of whoever is watching.

"If the referee makes a decision, then there is another person who goes 'that might not be the right decision'. He goes to the referee 'you might have to have another look at that'.

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