Manchester United are scrambling for further reinforcements after their troubling loss to open the Premier League season, with Watford's Ismaila Sarr, Atletico Madrid's Alvaro Morata and PSV's Cody Gakpo all named as potential forward solutions.

Sarr, who scored a spectacular goal from the halfway line against West Brom on Monday, slowed after a strong start in the Premier League last season.

Meanwhile, Morata is back at Atletico after two years on loan at Juventus, and Gakpo, just 23, has hit the ground running for Champions League chasers PSV in the new season.

TOP STORY – UNITED WEIGH UP HOST OF FORWARD OPTIONS

The Sun reported interest in Sarr, ESPN detailed the Morata story, and The Telegraph had the scoop on Gakpo, indicating there are plenty of moving parts behind the scenes at United, and they are casting a wide net.

While no price has been named for either Sarr or Morata, Gakpo figures to demand a fee in the range of £35million, while The Telegraph is reporting the club are also assessing the availability of Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who Corriere dello Sport suggests would cost €50m.

Milinkovic-Savic, 27, would likely fill a similar role envisioned by Erik ten Hag for Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong – who has ruled out a move to Old Trafford – and could relegate one of Scott McTominay or Fred to the bench.

ROUND-UP

– Fabrizio Romano is reporting Manchester City are closing in on a transfer worth at least €10m to bring Anderlecht left-back Sergio Gomez to the Premier League. 

– According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal are in discussions with Milan about acquiring 22-year-old midfielder Sandro Tonali, who the Italian club value at £46m.

– Metro claims Arsenal are also leading the race for 19-year-old winger Yeremi Pino from Villarreal, with the club said to be willing to meet the £33m asking price, while Liverpool are also interested.

– Foot Mercato is reporting Nottingham Forest are pushing to sign Villarreal's €20m Ecuadorian full-back Pervis Estupinan

Chelsea are preparing a £12m move for 19-year-old Inter midfielder Cesare Casadei, per the Evening Standard.

Cristiano Ronaldo faces an uncertain Manchester United future, but he stands to pass a string of landmarks if he stays and plays for Erik ten Hag this season.

Tottenham's Harry Kane, set to captain England at the World Cup later in the year, is chasing a significant club landmark.

And guess who will join Mohamed Salah in bidding to set an opening-day career goals record.

Of course, it's......  Jamie Vardy.

As the new season gets under way on Friday, Stats Perform looks at the records and milestones coming into view.

KANE, RONALDO, HAALAND: TARGETS IN THE CROSSHAIRS OF THE BIG GUNS

What role Ronaldo has to play remains in the balance, given he appears keen to leave United for a second time.

But if the 37-year-old features for the Red Devils, he can begin to chase down landmarks. For starters, he is just four victories short of having had a hand in 150 United wins in the Premier League, having drawn 43 times and lost 37 while a member of the team across his two Old Trafford spells.

Ronaldo is a mere six goals away from becoming the first player to amass 500 goals in Europe's top five leagues. His record 494 goals to date have come from 616 league matches. On his heels, however, is perennial rival Lionel Messi, once of Barcelona and now at Paris Saint-Germain (480 goals in 546 league games).

Kane is 17 away from hitting the 200-goal mark in the Premier League, a total only ever achieved by Alan Shearer (260) and Wayne Rooney (208). Sergio Aguero (184) and Andy Cole (187), third and fourth on the Premier League era list, are poised to be knocked down a peg as Kane continues his assault on the league record.

Both Leicester City's Vardy and Liverpool's Salah will be looking to equal or break the Premier League matchday one goals record, which is currently held jointly by Shearer, Frank Lampard and Rooney (eight goals). Vardy and Salah have seven each, like the retired Teddy Sheringham and Aguero.

Manchester City new boy Erling Haaland has caused a sensation with his goalscoring wherever he has played, dazzling for Molde, Salzburg, Borussia Dortmund and Norway. He could become the seventh Norwegian to score on his Premier League debut, and the third to do so in the opening game of a season, after Tore Andre Flo for Chelsea in 1997-98 and Adama Diomande in 2016-17 with Hull City.

DESERVES A LONG SERVICE MEDAL

Liverpool's James Milner, fresh from signing a new one-year contract, is 12 short of reaching 600 Premier League games. Only three players have reached that mark to date: Gareth Barry (653), Ryan Giggs (632) and Lampard (609).

Milner made his Premier League debut for Leeds United as a 16-year-old in November 2002, so a 20-year anniversary is approaching for the former England midfielder.

David Moyes was already a Premier League manager by the time Milner made his first appearance. At Everton then, he has done the rounds since and is a mere two games away from completing 1,000 matches in all competitions as a manager in English football.

Now at West Ham, Moyes looks to be at the opposite end of his touchline career to Mikel Arteta, the Arsenal manager who is one away from bringing up his first 50 wins as a Premier League boss.

STICK AROUND LONG ENOUGH...

Only six teams have been constant members of the Premier League since its first year in 1992-93. Completing the first 30 seasons without suffering the indignity of relegation have been Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, Everton and Arsenal. Sooner or later, all sorts of landmarks arrive for these league lynchpins.

Arsenal have lost 249 Premier League games and headed into Friday night's season opener against Crystal Palace under threat of becoming the 13th side to lose 250. They would have had the longest wait to lose 250, however, having already played four games more than Chelsea, who took the longest (1,148 games) of those to have reached the not-so-desirable milestone.

Tottenham, another of those stalwart sides, are just five away from becoming the fifth team to score 1,000 goals at home in the competition (Manchester United 1,214, Liverpool 1,156, Arsenal 1,154, Chelsea 1,121).

Chelsea are 27 shy of 2,000 goals, home or away, having plundered 1,973 in their 1,152 games to date.

Aston Villa and Newcastle United are both 12 short of losing 400 Premier League games. Only West Ham (408) and Everton (414) have lost more games than those sides, who will hope to avoid spilling over that barrier this season.

West Ham are four away from reaching 1,000 Premier League games, while promoted Nottingham Forest are two away from 200.

MAKING UP THE NUMBERS

Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson needs one assist to become only the second defender to register 50 Premier League assists, after Leighton Baines (Wigan, Everton). Robertson has 49, with Baines managing 53 across his career.

Aston Villa veteran Ashley Young and Tottenham new arrival Richarlison are two shy of reaching 50 Premier League goals, while Newcastle's former Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope is four away from 50 clean sheets in the competition.

Brighton and Hove Albion are two away from 50 wins, with Aston Villa four short of 300 draws, a tally that only Everton (320) have reached.

Southampton need four victories to reach 100 away wins, and Aston Villa want four three-pointers on the road to reach their 150 wins. Leicester, on the other hand, are four away from 150 Premier League away defeats. Brendan Rodgers will hope to fend off that landmark until well into the new campaign.

Chelsea's ongoing negotiations with Barcelona could produce more than just midfielder Frenkie de Jong, with new reports that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is also on the table for a transfer.

The two powerhouse clubs have been in seemingly constant discussion over the past month, with Barcelona openly looking to add Marcos Alonso and Cesar Azpilicueta after swooping in to claim Blues target Jules Kounde.

Chelsea recently took Azpilicueta out of the equation by signing him to a two-year extension, but the two clubs re-opened their negotiations when the Stamford Bridge outfit decided to put in a bid for De Jong, and in the process they may have found the answer to their striker situation.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA WILLING TO INCLUDE AUBAMEYANG IN CHELSEA TRANSFER DISCUSSIONS

After expensive moves for Leeds United winger Raphinha, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and Sevilla centre-back Kounde, the Mirror is reporting Barcelona are "desperate to balance their books" and 33-year-old Aubameyang appears to be the most likely option to be moved on.

The report mentions both De Jong and Aubameyang are seen as surplus to requirements, and with Chelsea yet to bring in a replacement for Romelu Lukaku after he was loaned out to Inter, it could be a perfect match.

No potential asking price is mentioned for the striker who collected 20 goals in 38 club appearances this past season, including 11 goals in 17 LaLiga fixtures.

Meanwhile, ESPN adds that Chelsea were monitoring the Gabon frontman back in 2020 before he signed a contract extension with Arsenal, and that they are still interested.

 

ROUND-UP

– The Times is reporting Chelsea are expected to make a £70million bid for 21-year-old Leicester City centre-back Wesley Fofana after having a £60m offer turned down.

– According to Foot Mercato, Nottingham Forest and Leicester are competing for the signing of 24-year-old Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar, who is valued at €15m.

– The Guardian is reporting 25-year-old Ivory Coast winger Maxwel Cornet only needs to pass a physical to confirm a move from Burnley to West Ham after the Hammers met his £17.5m release clause.

– Radioestadio Noche claims Real Madrid have identified 19-year-old RB Salzburg striker Benjamin Sesko or 22-year-old Nice forward Amine Gouiri as potential long-term successors to Karim Benzema.

Crystal Palace are exploring a move for 19-year-old RB Leipzig midfielder Ilaix Moriba – who is a product of Barcelona's youth academy – according to Foot Mercato.

The Premier League is back, with another fascinating season in store.

The 2021-22 title race went right to the wire, with Manchester City pipping Liverpool at the last, while the picture at the bottom was similarly dramatic as Leeds United survived.

The dominant top two have strengthened – including City pinching Leeds talisman Kalvin Phillips – and the league again looks so tough to call at both ends of the table.

Thankfully, Stats Perform AI is able to do that. It has predicted the outcome of the coming campaign, estimating the likelihood of teams finishing in each position informed by their expected results in each match.

These are calculated using betting odds and Stats Perform's team rankings – based on historical and recent team performances – and it has thrown up some interesting results, with some surprises at the summit.

LIVERPOOL SET TO LEAPFROG CITY

There was only a point between champions City and runners-up Liverpool last season, and Stats Perform AI expects the coming campaign to be similarly close.

But the Reds are the favourites for the title, with a 49.72 per cent chance of being crowned champions to City's 47.03 per cent.

Such is the gulf between the top two and the rest that Tottenham, backed as their nearest challengers, have only a 1.81 per shot at ending their 62-year wait under former Premier League winner Antonio Conte.

Chelsea, the club with whom Conte claimed the title, are given a 1.1 per cent hope.

Only seven teams are given any chance at all of celebrating come May – the fewest across all of Europe's top five leagues – with Manchester United (0.18 per cent) and Arsenal (0.13 per cent) joined by a resurgent Newcastle United (0.03 per cent).

Last champions in 1927, Newcastle are closing on a century-long drought, so even with their big spending, a one in 3,000 shot sounds about right.

UNITED AND ARSENAL FALL SHORT

Stats Perform AI does not only fancy Spurs and Chelsea as the top two's nearest contenders but also as their fellow Champions League qualifiers.

City (99.33 per cent) and Liverpool (99.28 per cent) are shoo-ins for top-four finishes, and Tottenham (70.07 per cent) and Chelsea (62.46 per cent) are also in strong positions to repeat last season's leading quartet.

That would mean Manchester United (25.56 per cent) and Arsenal (22.0 per cent) missing out once more, with Newcastle (5.03 per cent) again next.

However, despite West Ham being given no hope of a title tilt and longer odds of Champions League qualification, they are ranked to repeat their seventh-placed finish ahead of Newcastle.

Every team in the division at least has the opportunity to dream of a top-four finish, even if Bournemouth (0.07 per cent) might instead be better off preparing for the reality of a relegation scrap.

TALL ORDER FOR PROMOTED TRIO

Bournemouth are not the only promoted team set to find life tough. In fact, Stats Perform AI predicts all three will go straight back down.

This has only happened once previously in Premier League history – in 1997-98 – but the prediction model considers the trio clear favourites to be relegated.

Bournemouth (45.03 per cent) have scarcely improved their squad, while Nottingham Forest have done the opposite and invested heavily (44.47 per cent); neither approach is expected to succeed, nor are Fulham (43.83 per cent), promoted as champions.

It may not be as clear-cut as this suggests, however, with Southampton (34.23 per cent), Brentford (31.85) and Leeds (31.24) also forecast to endure testing seasons.

Everton (15.06 per cent), like Brentford and Leeds, have lost key players, but the data is backing the Toffees to improve on last year's dismal campaign.

Jesse Lingard has said the "love" he felt from Nottingham Forest is what persuaded him to join the newly-promoted side.

Forest are back in the Premier League for the first time since the 1998-99 season, and have signed a number of new players ahead of the upcoming campaign.

The capture of Lingard on a free transfer from Manchester United raised some eyebrows, with the England international reportedly turning down interest from abroad as well as from Everton and former loan club West Ham.

However, Lingard has explained that the efforts made by Forest's owners and manager Steve Cooper to sign him is what led to him making the decision to move to the City Ground.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Lingard said: "I could have gone abroad for a lot of money but I wanted to stay in the Premier League.

"[The club's owners] wanted to come to my house and bring me to London in quick succession to try to get the deal done.

"The manager and owners have been great with me – they've shown the love and intent to get me to the club.

"When I see that sort of love, of course I am going to say 'yes', but it had to be the right deal for me and my family.

"I can see the project they're building and it's going to look good this season. I feel a positive vibe around the camp."

United academy product Lingard struggled to make his mark at Old Trafford last season, starting just twice in the Premier League across the 2021-22 campaign.

The 29-year-old made 22 appearances in all competitions, scoring twice, and was repeatedly linked with a move back to West Ham, where he enjoyed a productive loan spell in the second half of the 2020-21 season, finding the net nine times in 16 top-flight appearances.

Lingard will be hoping to force his way back into Gareth Southgate's England squad ahead of the World Cup in Qatar later this year, and said his main aim now is to have regular football, adding: "Personal goals – it's regular football, as that's how you get the best out of me.

"I've always wanted to be a leader. Over the years, I have become more vocal in the changing room. I am looking to continue that this season.

"I can speak to the younger lads who have never played in the Premier League. It's such a special club and for me to be a part of it. I'm raring to go and am so excited now."

England goalkeeper Dean Henderson has taken an astonishing swipe at parent club Manchester United, admitting he did not want new manager Erik ten Hag to see him train as he feared the Dutch coach would want to keep him.

Henderson recently signed a deal with newly promoted Nottingham Forest for a season-long loan, having made only five appearances in all competitions for United in 2021-22.

Speaking to talkSPORT, the 25-year-old said he was "so happy" to leave Old Trafford, and claimed he had been promised a role as number one at the club prior to getting COVID-19 last season.

"To be honest with you, it's probably been the toughest 12 months of my career," he said. "I'm so happy I've got out the other end of it now, and I'm excited to be here and ready to go.

"The conversation I had [with United following Euro 2020] was 'you're coming here to be the number one goalkeeper'. I got COVID, come back, so I should have still been the number one, but then unfortunately no one followed through with anything.

"It was so frustrating as well because I turned so many good loans down last summer for that reason, and they wouldn't let me go, so it was frustrating. To sit there and waste 12 months is criminal really at my age, I was fuming.

"But I worked hard off the pitch and on the training pitch to keep improving day in, day out, so I'm really excited to be back here and looking forward to the season with Forest."

Henderson has been with the Red Devils since the age of 14 and has 49 top-flight appearances to his name, but found himself largely acting as understudy to David de Gea at United.

After successful loan spells with Sheffield United and earning international recognition with England in an impressive 2019-20 campaign, Henderson hoped to establish himself, but at the end of last season he was determined to get his move, revealing he deliberately avoided letting Ten Hag observe him in training.

"I didn't really want the manager to be able to come in and see me in training because I knew that he'd probably want to keep me, so I tried to do it before I left for the season. I told all the hierarchy 'I need to go and play football, I don't want to be here playing second fiddle'," Henderson said.

"I was almost gone before the manager came in the door and I haven't spoken to him since."

Henderson is set to make his Forest debut when they start their Premier League campaign at Newcastle United on Saturday.

Aaron Ramsey will become a free agent after Juventus announced his contract with the Italian club had been mutually terminated.

The Wales international joined the Bianconeri in 2019 after his Arsenal contract expired, but he fell out of favour last season and made just three Serie A appearances before joining Scottish side Rangers on loan.

He featured seven times for the Gers in the Scottish Premiership, but his time in Glasgow will be remembered for his crucial penalty shoot-out miss in the Europa League final against Eintracht Frankfurt in Seville, which Rangers ultimately went on to lose.

The 31-year-old returned to Turin after the loan spell with one year left on his contract, but it has been agreed between the two parties that they will part ways.

The midfielder has been strongly linked with a move to a couple of former clubs, with boyhood club Cardiff City reportedly interested as well as Premier League new boys Nottingham Forest, where he spent a short spell on loan in the 2010-11 season.

Ramsey will be keen to get some minutes under his belt to prepare for the World Cup with Wales in Qatar in November. 

Juventus meanwhile are reportedly interested in Paris Saint-Germain's Leandro Paredes, who spent last season on loan with Sporting Lisbon and could be a player that PSG would be happy to sell.

Jesse Lingard has joined Nottingham Forest on a free transfer after his Manchester United contract expired.

United academy product Lingard struggled to make his mark at Old Trafford last season, starting just twice in the Premier League across the 2021-22 campaign.

The England international was offered chances in cup outings, making 22 appearances across all competitions and scoring twice, but the decision was taken not to renew his contract.

Lingard was repeatedly linked with a move back to West Ham, where he enjoyed a fruitful loan spell in the second half of the 2020-21 season, finding the net nine times in 16 top-flight appearances.

Newcastle United were also said to be interested in the midfielder, alongside a host of clubs in Europe.

But the 29-year-old opted to join newly promoted Forest on Thursday, signing what has been widely reported as a one-year deal.

Lingard will join Forest on their pre-season tour in Germany, where they next face Union Berlin, after becoming the 11th signing of the transfer window for Steve Cooper's side.

Forest added Huddersfield duo Lewis O'Brien and Harry Toffolo to their ranks the day prior to Lingard's arrival, with United loanee Dean Henderson, Neco Williams and Taiwo Awoniyi among the other additions.

Frenkie de Jong reportedly has no interest in signing with Manchester United, instead preferring either Chelsea or Bayern Munich if he is to leave Barcelona.

De Jong has been at the centre of Barcelona's transfer period, with widespread belief that the club must sell the 25-year-old to balance their books.

The Netherlands international has racked up 140 club appearances for Barcelona in his three seasons since arriving from Ajax, and he is determined to have a say in where he spends the next few years of his prime.

 

TOP STORY – DE JONG PREFERS CHELSEA, BAYERN OVER OLD TRAFFORD MOVE

In an explosive report from Spanish publication Sport, it says De Jong "does not like the city of Manchester or the functioning of United", with claims he feels the club has displayed "erratic behaviour" in recent years.

It also makes clear that he values Champions League football greatly at this point in his career, and any move away from the Spanish giants would need to land him at a club on equal footing.

According to the report, Chelsea are waiting for De Jong to officially decline United's approach before presenting a formal offer, but there is interest. 

Ultimately, he would prefer to stay at Barcelona, and if the club cannot clear up the issue of his significant unpaid wages, he may get his way.

 

ROUND-UP

Chelsea have set their sights on 20-year-old RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol, with The Sun declaring him the Blues' top target to replace Cesar Azpilicueta.

– Sky Sports Germany is reporting Borussia Dortmund are weighing up the potential signing of 35-year-old Luis Suarez in the wake of news that Sebastien Haller will be out indefinitely after the discovery of a testicular tumour.

West Ham remain engaged with Chelsea as they try to pry away 20-year-old Albanian striker Armando Broja, who Thomas Tuchel is said to be a fan of.

– With fullback Marc Cucurella likely heading to Manchester City, Brighton are considering a loan move for Arsenal's Nuno Tavares to plug the hole, according to O Jogo.

– The Guardian claims Jesse Lingard is in advanced talks to join Nottingham Forest, with the Daily Mail adding they have offered £200,000 to try and fend off interest from West Ham.

Amid growing speculation in recent months, Christophe Galtier and Luis Campos' arrivals at Paris Saint-Germain this off-season could mean Neymar's departure.

The Brazilian joined PSG in 2017 for what remains a world-record €222 million fee from Barcelona, but there has been no European silverware to complement nine Ligue 1 titles over the past decade.

Lionel Messi linked up alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe last term but the team's compatibility came under examination in their dramatic Champions League exit, despite winning Ligue 1 comfortably.

TOP STORY – PSG PROPOSED NEYMAR SWAP WITH MAN CITY

PSG proposed an exchange with Manchester City which would have seen Neymar and Bernardo Silva swap clubs earlier this off-season, Le Parisien claims.

The report alleges that the English champions declined the deal, as they are unwilling to let the Portuguese midfielder go.

Relations between Neymar, who is contracted until 2017, and PSG have been slightly testy recently.

Bernardo was linked with a switch to Barcelona earlier in the off-season, having reportedly been eager to leave the club last year.

 

ROUND-UP

– Chelsea are concerned that target Presnel Kimpembe will decline their approach, the Standard claims. The Blues are in talks with PSG over a £50m deal for Kimpembe.

– The Sun reports that Chelsea have also entered the race to sign Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona, amid the latter's talks with Manchester United.

– Calciomercato claims that Tottenham have shown an interest in Roma's Nicolo Zaniolo although they will need to offload players to afford him.

– Spurs are not interested in signing Jesse Lingard according to Fabrizio Romano, meanwhile. Lingard, who left Manchester United recently at the conclusion of his contract, is hoping to decide on his future this week, with West Ham United believed to be his likely destination, while Nottingham Forest are also interested.

– Fabrizio Romano also claims that there is still no agreement between PSG and Inter on a deal for Martin Skriniar. Inter are not willing to sell the Slovakia international for PSG's last bid of €50m.

– Arsenal and Manchester City have agreed to a £32m deal for Ukraine international Oleksandr Zinchenko, reports Sky Sports.

– Football Insider reports that Liverpool have contacted Ajax about signing their Brazil international winger Antony.

Djed Spence says joining Tottenham fulfils his dream of becoming a Premier League player and now he cannot wait to learn from some of his star Spurs team-mates.

The wing-back joined Tottenham from Middlesbrough for a fee in the region of £20million including add-ons on Tuesday, signing a five-year contract.

Spence, 21, became the sixth arrival of the transfer window for Spurs, joining Ivan Perisic, Fraser Forster, Yves Bissouma, Richarlison and Barcelona loanee Clement Lenglet.

"It's a dream come true to play in the Premier League at a big club like Tottenham Hotspur," Spence said to the Spurs website after his move was completed.

"It's amazing, I'm thankful that I'm here and that I'm going to get the opportunity to play for this club.

"Of course, everyone wants to play in the Premier League. As a kid, you watch it from when you're young, so it was a target of mine and I've finally reached it, so I'm happy.

"Obviously this is a big club with Champions League football as well, and you've got some of the best players who play here, so it's a privilege to be here and I can't wait to get going.

"[This environment] seems very good and it will help me develop as a player a lot. I can obviously learn from other people and the experience that they have.

"From a young age, to go from watching some of the players on TV to now playing with them – it's going to be great, and I'm excited to learn from them and take in anything they can offer me.

"In the Premier League you have high-intensity, good technical players – it will be hard, but I'm ready for the challenge. I'm excited to hit the ground running, hopefully play and try to impress.

"We have a great manager too – from what I've seen of him, he's a top manager and I can't wait to work under him."

Spence fell out of favour at Middlesbrough and was subsequently sent on loan to Nottingham Forest, where he made 42 Championship appearances in the 2021-22 season.

The England Under-21 international impressed as Forest earned Premier League promotion to return to the highest level for the first time in 23 years, and also shone in the FA Cup against top-flight opposition.

Spence was a threat at both ends of the pitch, scoring two goals and assisting four, and will likely suit Antonio Conte's 3-5-2 system as a right wing-back, competing with the likes of Matt Doherty and Emerson Royal for a place in the side.

"It's been a long journey in my career so far; it's been hard at times, but it’s been good as well, and I've been working hard to get to where I am now," added Spence.

"I try to bring excitement, skill and speed when I play – I just want to excite the fans and to play well. That’s the most important thing – when you excite your team and your fans and play well, it breeds confidence, and confidence is one of the biggest things in football."

Forest were reportedly interested in signing Spence on a permanent deal, but the lure of Champions League football helped secure the defender for Conte's side.

Spence will hope to play with freedom down the right side for Conte, having attempted (187) and completed (76) the most dribbles among Championship defenders last season.

Asked what he thought when he hears the words Tottenham Hotspur, Spence replied: "Attacking football, exciting football and obviously with the new manager coming in, a winning mentality."

Tottenham have completed the signing of Djed Spence from Middlesbrough for a fee in the region of £20million, with add-ons included.

Spence fell out of favour at Middlesbrough under Neil Warnock, and was subsequently sent on loan to Nottingham Forest, where he made 42 Championship appearances in the 2021-22 season.

​The England Under-21 international impressed as Forest earned Premier League promotion to return to the highest level for the first time in 23 years, and also shone in the FA Cup against top-flight opposition.

Spence was a threat at both ends of the pitch, scoring two goals and assisting four, while competing for the most duels (508) among defenders in the Championship.

The 21-year-old will likely suit Antonio Conte's 3-5-2 system as a right wing-back after joining the Premier League side on a five-year deal on Tuesday.

Tottenham said: "We are delighted to announce the signing of Djed Spence from Middlesbrough. The right-back has signed a contract that will run until 2027."

Forest were reportedly interested in signing Spence on a permanent deal, but the lure of Champions League football helped secure the defender for Conte's side.

Spence became the sixth arrival of the transfer window for Spurs, joining Ivan Perisic, Fraser Forster, Yves Bissouma, Richarlison and Barcelona loanee Clement Lenglet.

The former Middlesbrough wing-back will hope to play with freedom down the right side for Conte, having attempted (187) and completed (76) the most dribbles among Championship defenders last season.

Spence will aim to get his first taste of Premier League action when Tottenham host Southampton on August 6.

Matt Doherty plans to stay and fight for his place at Tottenham despite Antonio Conte being poised to bring in right wing-back Djed Spence.

Spence appears set to become Conte's sixth signing of the transfer window, joining Yves Bissouma, Ivan Perisic, Fraser Forster, Richarlison and loanee Clement Lenglet.

Reports suggest the England Under-21 international will move in a transfer worth in the region of £20million, including add-ons, from Middlesbrough after impressing for Nottingham Forest in a loan spell.

Spence competed for the most duels (508) in the 2021-22 Championship season among defenders, while also attempting (187) and completing (76) the most dribbles in the same group.

An effective presence at both ends of the pitch, Spence helped Forest return to the highest level of English football for the first time in 23 years, and will likely face Steve Cooper's side with Spurs next term.

The 21-year-old will aim to displace Conte's other options at the position, Doherty and Emerson Royal, but the Republic of Ireland international will not give up his first-team spot without a fight.

"There's a lot of competition and that's never a bad thing, it brings everybody's standards up, makes everybody train properly, train hard and that's what you want," Doherty told reporters.

"You want to earn your position on merit. You don't want it handed to you. We're all competitors and that's what we want. We want to fight against each other and get a place."

Asked specifically about his future at the Premier League club, Doherty responded: "Of course. I haven't been told otherwise. My plan is to stay and fight for my place.

"We've got an exciting season ahead. Why would I want to go anywhere else?"

Conte will require a larger squad to rotate across the English top flight and Champions League in the 2022-23 season, with Doherty, Emerson and Spence likely to be utilised in different competitions.

Doherty insists his focus for now, though, revolves around building up his fitness after impressing in the second half of the season following Conte's arrival at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

"I was in for a lot of the summer because I had to rehab my knee," he added. "For the first two weeks when everybody left I was in doing rehab with weekends off, out on the pitch doing ball work and fitness work.

"I didn't have a choice. I had to be in. I wanted to be back for pre-season ready to go. I had a week away and then came in for a day.

"I had three weeks off in a row but I came in during the second week for a couple of days and in again during the third week for a couple of days. I made sure I was ready to go.

"You can only feel in so much good shape once you start all that running but I feel OK. I might need to give my knee a little bit of time, that’s normal.

"The more you train and the more reps you get it will go away. I can see that. Sometimes it will bother me and the longer the week goes it will ease off."

Nottingham Forest have completed the signing of Neco Williams from Liverpool.

Williams spent last season on loan at Fulham, helping Marco Silva's side win the Championship and gain promotion back to the Premier League.

But the Wales full-back has now joined another of the newly promoted teams, with Forest making Williams their sixth signing of the off-season.

The 21-year-old has signed a four-year deal with Forest in a deal that was officially confirmed on Monday.

Prior to the club's announcement, Williams confirmed the news on Twitter in a post thanking Liverpool.

"[Fifteen] years at this special club, thank you for everything @LFC it's been an honour to play for this club and to play under Jurgen Klopp," his tweet read.

"But I've now decided to take up a new challenge. I wish all the team and the staff the best of luck for the future and will always continue to support the club. Thank you and never forget YNWA !!!"

Forest coach Steve Cooper said: "Despite being only 21, Neco has established himself in the Wales starting XI. He's played in the Premier League, the Champions League and in World Cup qualifiers in the last 12 months and he is a very talented right-back. We're delighted to have him on board."

Nottingham Forest's preparations for a first season back in Premier League have continued with the signing of full-back Omar Richards from Bayern Munich.

The upcoming campaign will see Forest competing in the top flight for the first time since getting relegated in 1999 – since then, they have also spent three years in the third tier.

It seems they are leaving no stone unturned in their bid to avoid dropping straight back down to the Championship next year, with Richards' reported £10million (€11.8m) signing taking them up to £46m spent already – only eight Premier League clubs have paid more in this window.

Richards becomes their fifth signing ahead of the new with, with Forest having already brought in Taiwo Awoniyi, Moussa Niakhate, Giulian Biancone and Dean Henderson, who joined on loan.

Former England Under-21 international Richards only joined Bayern last year, signing on a free transfer after his Reading contract expired.

The London-born left-back made 17 appearances in all competitions as Die Roten won the Bundesliga, but he is back in England and set for a first opportunity in the Premier League, signing a four-year contract.

He is the third new Forest signing to have come from the Bundesliga after Awoniyi and Niakhate, who joined from Union Berlin and Mainz respectively.

 

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