Manchester City's incredible squad depth means some players may be tempted away despite their success.

Among those is centre-back Nathan Ake, who has only managed 30 Premier League appearances since his move to Etihad Stadium in 2020, although he has made five starts this term.

The 29-cap Netherlands international joined City for a reported £41million fee from Bournemouth.

TOP STORY – INTER PLOT MOVE FOR CITY'S AKE

Inter are trying to lure Manchester City defender Nathan Ake to Serie A, claims Ekrem Konur.

The 27-year-old Dutchman has been on City's books since 2020, joining on a five-year contract.

Inter may be looking for reinforcements for their defensive stocks, with uncertainty over Milan Skriniar's future.

ROUND-UP

– Paris Saint-Germain will move again for Inter defender Skriniar in January, reports ESPN. Skriniar is in the final year of his Inter contract and may be available for a cut-price fee.

– Liverpool have joined Juventus and Napoli in having an interest in 21-year-old Rennes winger Jeremy Doku, according to Calciomercato.

– Chelsea are monitoring teenage Villarreal midfielder Yeremy Pino, potentially in the event of Mason Mount leaving the club, claims The Telegraph.

– Football Insider reports Gabriel Martinelli and Arsenal are in talks over a new deal, with the Brazilian's existing contract set to expire in 2024.

– Arsenal are interested in 23-year-old Club Brugge forward Ferran Jutgla, claims Todofichajes.

Phil Foden has been a revelation since breaking into Manchester City's first team and the Premier League champions are eager to reward him with a new deal.

The England midfielder is under contract under 2024, but City are set to keep in at the club for the long term.


TOP STORY – CITY REACH FODEN AGREEMENT FOR BUMPER DEAL

Manchester City and Foden have reached an agreement in principle on a £78million deal according to Football Insider.

The mega-money deal is worth around £250,000 per week for the 22-year-old, pushing him close to the money Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland are earning.

The length of the contract is six years for the Stockport-born star, who came through the academy at City.

ROUND-UP 

Arsenal have moved on from Dusan Vlahovic , according to Fabrizio Romano, who claims the Gunners are not interested in re-visiting a potential move for the Serbian who joined Juventus in January.

Manchester United will dangle a five-year contract for striker Marcus Rashford as they look to tie him down long term, reports The Express. Rashford's current deal expires at the end of this season.

– Calciomercato claims Alex Sandro will depart Juventus when his contract expires at the conclusion of this season. The Brazilian has previously attracted interest from Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain .

Romelu Lukaku has no plans to return to Chelsea when his season-long loan with Inter expires at the end of this season, reports La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Chelsea are ready to pay £30million for Fulham's 17-year-old midfielder Luke Harris , claims The Mirror. Harris was called up to Wales' Nations League squad, but is yet to debut for the Cottagers.

Liverpool and Arsenal are both considering a move next year for Villarreal's 21-year-old winger Alex Baena , reports the Daily Mirror.

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.

For the past three seasons, the top four in LaLiga has been somewhat predictable.

Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have made up the top three, while Sevilla have claimed sole possession of fourth place and the final Champions League qualification spot.

While that could still ultimately be the case in 2022-23, a wobbly start for Julen Lopetegui's men has seen them claim just one point from their first four games as they sit in 17th place.

Predictably, the early running in Spain has seen Madrid and Barca set the pace, though two other teams who have made promising starts meet at Estadio Benito Villamarin on Sunday.

Ahead of Real Betis v Villarreal, Stats Perform has taken a look at whether Sevilla's city rivals and the Yellow Submarine can challenge for a place in this season's top four.

Betis have shown steady progress in recent seasons, having finished 15th in 2019-20. Then Manuel Pellegrini arrived, seeing them climb up to sixth the following year, and fifth last season, as well as winning the Copa del Rey.

Pellegrini's impact has been impressive at Los Verdiblancos, taking them from flirting with relegation to fighting for European spots and winning a trophy, and they have made a promising start to this campaign as well.

Wins against Elche, Mallorca and Osasuna gave them nine points from nine, before a narrow defeat away at domestic and European champions Real Madrid.

They also got off to a winning start in their Europa League campaign on Thursday, winning 2-0 at HJK.

Betis have not finished ahead of rivals Sevilla since 2017-18, but with the platform they have given themselves in the early weeks of this season, perhaps it is time for their fans to dream again.

As for Villarreal, they have made an even more impressive start, winning three and drawing one of their first four league games.

Unai Emery's men are also yet to concede a goal in LaLiga, with flawless victories against Real Valladolid, Atletico and Elche accompanied by a 0-0 draw at Getafe.

In fact, Villarreal are the fourth team to keep a clean sheet in each of their opening four games of a LaLiga season in the 21st century, after Celta Vigo in 2001-02, Barcelona in 2014-15 and Real Madrid in 2015-16.

Like Betis, Villarreal have also enjoyed a good start in Europe, though oddly they have been a little more gung-ho than in the league, beating Hajduk Split 6-2 on aggregate to qualify for the Europa Conference League, before edging a 4-3 thriller at home to Lech Poznan on Thursday in their first group stage game.

The club from Castellon has had a similar trajectory to Betis, finishing 14th in LaLiga in 2018-19, before advancing to fifth (2019-20), seventh (2020-21) and seventh (2021-22).

Villarreal actually had the third-best goal difference in the league last season behind Madrid and Barca (+26), though finished 12 points and four places behind Atletico in third despite having a better GD by four.

Under the guidance of Emery, they even added an impressive European campaign to their CV last season, beating Bayern Munich to reach the Champions League semi-finals, where they gave Liverpool a scare in the second leg before losing 5-2 on aggregate.

This suggests the components are all there for an effective and dangerous team, they just need to spread their goals out across games and avoid the sort of collapse at key moments that saw them submit control of the tie against Liverpool in the second half at El Madrigal in May.

Emery will have to break through a barrier to ensure success at home and abroad, though.

His record of four Europa League wins with Sevilla (three) and Villarreal is remarkable, but in each year he has lifted the trophy, his teams have never finished higher than fifth in the league, which is also where his Arsenal team finished in the Premier League when they were beaten by Chelsea in the 2018-19 Europa League final.

His opposite number on Sunday, Pellegrini, has had less success in European competition, but does have a Premier League title to his name from his time at Manchester City, as well as league titles from Ecuador and Argentina from much earlier in his career.

The goals of Borja Iglesias will be important, especially with Juanmi injured, with the former already hitting four in four games, while keeping Nabil Fekir in the transfer window will also feel like a new signing. There is also, of course, the experience of the evergreen, in more senses than one, Joaquin at 41 years young.

Villarreal can look to build their success on the solid defence of Raul Albiol and Pau Torres, while Dani Parejo continues to run things in midfield, and similarly to Fekir for Betis, keeping Samuel Chukwueze should be a big boost, especially after his delightful goal against Lech Poznan.

Of course, Sunday's clash is only the fifth game of the season, and there is plenty of time for either team to fall away, or to push on even further, while other sharks are likely to circle as the campaign progresses.

It will be an interesting marking-post though, and perhaps an early indicator of who could be the team for everyone outside the usual top three to chase.

Or who knows? Maybe the one Madrid, Barca and Atletico have to worry about.

Villarreal have confirmed Barcelona target Juan Foyth is facing a lay-off with a knee injury.

Barca had been trying to land Foyth before the transfer window closes on Thursday, but they were unable to agree a fee with their LaLiga rivals.

The Argentina defender will almost certainly not be on the move this week after he damaged his left knee during a goalless draw at Getafe on Sunday.

Villarreal said in a statement on Monday: "Medical tests have confirmed that Juan Foyth suffered a post-traumatic contusion in left knee in last Sunday's match against Getafe CF at the Coliseum Alfonso Pérez.

"The recovery time of the player will depend on how he reacts to treatment. Villarreal CF would like to send the Argentine defender best wishes and hopes to see him back on the pitch as soon as possible."

Foyth's injury blow comes after the Yellow Submarine increased his release clause from €42million to 54.6m.

It has been reported the full-back could be out for two months.

West Ham and Anderlecht will clash in a repeat of the 1976 European Cup Winners' Cup final after being drawn together in the same Europa Conference League group.

It was Anderlecht who won 4-2 at Heysel Stadium to land the silverware 46 years ago, but the task for each side this time around is to plot a route into the knockout rounds of UEFA's newest men's club competition.

West Ham can point to strong recent form against Belgian teams, having beaten Anderlecht's domestic rivals Genk 3-0 in London last season in the Europa League after drawing 2-2 away from home.

They later knocked out Sevilla and Lyon on a run to the semi-finals, where eventual champions Eintracht Frankfurt proved too strong.

FCSB and Silkeborg join West Ham and Anderlecht in Group B of the Conference League, while Villarreal also learned their early opponents.

After winning the 2021 Europa League and reaching the Champions League semi-finals last season, Villarreal will hope to avoid a bumpy landing in the tertiary competition, with Hapoel Be'er-Sheva, Austria Wien and Lech Poznan their Group C opponents.

Fiorentina, Nice and Koln are also aiming to make an impact in the competition, which is entering its second season.

The six rounds of group games take place from September 8 to November 3, with the Europa Conference League final to be played on June 7 at Slavia Prague's Eden Arena.

Slavia are among the teams competing, drawn to face Cluj, Sivasspor and Ballkani in Group G.

Draw in full:

Group A: Istanbul Basaksehir, Fiorentina, Hearts, RFS

Group B: West Ham, FCSB, Anderlecht, Silkeborg

Group C: Villarreal, Hapoel Be'er-Sheva, Austria Wien, Lech Poznan

Group D: Partizan, Koln, Nice, Slovacko

Group E: AZ, Apollon Limassol, Vaduz, Dnipro-1

Group F: Gent, Molde, Shamrock Rovers, Djurgarden

Group G: Slavia Prague, Cluj, Sivasspor, Ballkani

Group H: Basel, Slovan Bratislava, Zalgiris Vilnius, Pyunik

Unai Emery says Juan Foyth wants to stay at Villarreal but knows he could join Barcelona before the transfer window closes.

Barca have targeted defender Foyth after missing out on Cesar Azpilicueta, who decided to stay at Chelsea.

Villarreal vice-president Jose Manuel Llaneza warned the Catalan giants they would have to meet the €42million release clause in order to sign the Argentina right-back.

Emery reiterated that former Tottenham full-back Foyth is not looking to leave, but the Villarreal head coach accepts there are no guarantees he will stay.

"Barca's interest is real," Emery told Cadena SER's 'El Larguero'. "It's a position they need and it fits for them. The issue is whether the player wants it or not, he has always told me that he is very happy.

"He does not contemplate leaving and wants to stay. From here, I don't know to what extent circumstances will go one way or the other.

"He's an important player for us and he's grown a lot in recent years. I don't rule out that at any given moment the surprise will be against us, but the most normal thing is that he stays at Villarreal."

Emery is hoping to add to his squad by signing striker Edinson Cavani, who is also wanted by Valencia.

The former Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal boss said: "I spoke to Edinson Cavani – we have a good relationship, he wants to come to Spain. It's possible."

Chelsea lost 3-0 to Leeds United on Sunday and it would appear that defeat has sparked the Blues into action.

New owner Todd Boehly has been keen to make his mark since arriving at Stamford Bridge, bringing in Raheem Sterling, Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella among others.

But head coach Thomas Tuchel wants more. Leicester City defender Wesley Fofana is a priority target for the defence, while last week Chelsea had two bids rejected by Everton for Anthony Gordon.

Now it would appear the Blues are confident of completing the signing, while they are also reportedly in talks to land a second attacker.

TOP STORY - CHELSEA IN FOR GORDON AND LEAO

The Times reports that Chelsea will this week push ahead and match Everton's £50million asking price for winger Gordon, who scored four goals in a breakthrough Premier League season last term.

Everton boss Frank Lampard stressed the importance of Gordon to his plans, and played the 21-year-old against Nottingham Forest on Saturday, but also suggested that a decision might have to be made if a bid was too good to turn down.

Gordon might also be joined in moving to Stamford Bridge by Milan star Rafael Leao. The Portugal international scored 11 times for the Rossoneri as they won Serie A last season, and the same report claims that Chelsea are in talks with the Italian champions over a move for the 23-year-old.

ROUND-UP

- Several outlets are reporting that West Ham have struck a deal with Chelsea to sign left-back Emerson Palmieri for around £13million.

- Eric Bailly is close to joining Marseille on loan from Manchester United, according to Fabrizio Romano.

- The Telegraph claims Newcastle United have been told they must pay £30million to buy striker Joao Pedro from Watford.

- Villarreal coach Unai Emery told El Larguero that Edinson Cavani could join the club, while he also said that Juan Foyth is of interest to Barcelona.

- Everton were hoping to have Idrissa Gueye and Mohammed Kudus signed but have bumped into difficulties with Paris Saint-Germain and Ajax respectively, says The Times.

- Fabrizio Romano also reports that Fulham and Roma will hold further talks this week over Justin Kluivert.

- Barca defender Samuel Umtiti will join Lecce, says Gianluca Di Marzio.

Villarreal vice president Jose Manuel Llaneza has issued Barcelona with a hands-off regarding 24-year-old right-back Juan Foyth, saying they will not negotiate any figure below his €42million release clause.

Foyth, who has made 15 international appearances for Argentina since his first senior cap in 2018, previously spent three years with Tottenham before they loaned him to Villarreal for the 2020-21 season, before the Spanish side ultimately opted to make the deal permanent for €15m.

The 187cm defender, who can play both centre-back and right-back, has accumulated 70 appearances for Villarreal over the past two seasons, including 10 starts in last season's Champions League during his side's march to the semi-final against Liverpool.

Speaking to DAZN before Villarreal's 2-0 win against Atletico Madrid, where Foyth played all 90 minutes, Llaneza said if Barcelona have interest in the Argentine then they can meet his release clause.

"Villarreal aren't prepared for [Foyth to leave]," he said. "[Barcelona will have] to pay the clause with LaLiga, we're not open to negotiating for any player, especially not Juan."

He went on to say he does not believe Barcelona are willing to fork out the hefty figure.

"There has not been the need to do anything," he said. "It's similar to Lo Celso, he wants to play for Villarreal, he wants to be here.

"Naturally, if an offer comes from a big club, it has to be studied, but I have spoken with his agents and there's nothing that indicates that will happen."

Atletico Madrid defender Mario Hermoso had to be restrained after a confrontation with supporters of his team following Sunday's 2-0 home defeat to Villarreal.

After the final whistle, footage from inside the Civitas Metropolitano showed Hermoso exchanging angry words with fans while club coaching staff attempted to hold him back.

Hermoso was taunted from the stands in the wake of the 2-0 loss in LaLiga, and he frantically broke away from the clutches of the Atletico officials to climb over pitchside hoardings to attempt a confrontation with those targeting him.

He was pulled away by security as he and Atletico 'ultras' went face to face.

Spanish newspaper Marca reported bottles had been thrown towards Hermoso but missed the player, before the fracas ended.

Tensions had been high since the closing stages of the game, with Gerard Moreno rifling Villarreal's second goal before pulling at his ears and sticking out his tongue for the cameras in front of Atletico fans.

This was taken as an insult by some Atletico supporters, but Moreno explained after the game it was a gesture intended for his children.

Moreno told DAZN: "They've taken it badly. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not disrespectful. I always do the celebration looking at the camera for my daughters."

Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone was left to rue defensive mistakes after his team fell to a 2-0 home defeat to Villarreal.

A sloppy error in the second half from wing-back Nahuel Molina gave the visitors the ball in a dangerous area, before Yeremi Pino ruthlessly fired into the bottom corner to make it 1-0.

Molina was then sent off in injury time, and a smart finish from Gerard Moreno moments later condemned Atletico to their first defeat of the season.

Simeone was left frustrated by his side's defensive blunders after the game, telling reporters: "The characteristics of the game were clearly seen, very tactical and strategic.

"They were trying to dislodge us from our position and try our mistakes, looking for our anxiety.

"We knew that in these very tight matches whoever makes a mistake can lose."

The Argentinian coach also suggested that there will not be any new arrivals to strengthen his squad before the transfer window shuts, unless a player departs.

"I am one to work and not to ask, we have a very complete squad," Simeone said.

"Hopefully those of us who are here will stay, and if one leaves another one will arrive and that neither club nor team will be harmed. It is a team that will compete in LaLiga much better."

Smart finishes from Yeremi Pino and Gerard Moreno gave Villarreal a 2-0 victory over Atletico Madrid at the Civitas Metropolitano.

The hosts sloppily gave the ball away at the back and Pino made them pay with his sublime 73rd-minute finish into the far bottom-left corner.

Diego Simeone's side desperately tried to find an equaliser but could not do so and Moreno added a second deep into stoppage time, after Nahuel Molina was sent off.

Atletico were left disappointed not to follow up their opening victory at Getafe, while Villarreal's 100 per cent start in LaLiga continues.

Alvaro Morata should have given Atletico the lead within the opening minute, but his volley was palmed away by Geronimo Rulli.

The visitors grew into the game and went close after 10 minutes, with Pino firing just over after good work by Etienne Capoue and Giovani Lo Celso.

Villarreal found the net 10 minutes before the break, but the ball was adjudged to have hit Moreno's arm as he finished, after his initial effort came back off the crossbar.

Matheus Cunha had a great chance with 20 minutes left but could not convert when a teasing Angel Correa cross found him in the area.

Cunha was made to rue that miss moments later when a mix-up at the back let in Pino, who lashed in from a tricky angle to put the visitors ahead.

Rulli somehow kept the ball out of the Villarreal net when a Cunha header came off the crossbar and Carrasco nodded the rebound back at goal.

Atletico defender Molina received a straight red card for a petulant push on Alex Baene in added time, before Moreno added a second goal in the dying moments with a clever finish to secure all three points.

What does it mean? Atletico off the pace

The visitors keep up their 100 per cent start to the season as they move up to third in the LaLiga table after two games. Home defeat for Simeone's men means they drop down to seventh, and this was a jolt of a performance and result for Simeone.

Ruthless Pino

Pino was alert to win his side the game when he latched onto a poor pass in the Atletico defence, before giving Jan Oblak no chance with his finish. He completed 19 of his 23 passes while he also won two fouls.

Wasteful Morata

Morata bagged a double in his team's 3-0 win over Getafe on the opening day but could not follow that up with another goal here. He came off after 70 minutes, after failing to score with his four goal attempts. He only completed 42.9 per cent of his passes while winning 57.1 per cent of his duels.

What's next?

Atletico are back in action when they travel to face Valencia on Monday, August 29. Villarreal will turn their attentions to the second leg of their Europa Conference League play-off, as they take a 4-2 aggregate lead out to Croatia to play Hadjuk Split on Thursday.

Diego Simeone hopes Antoine Griezmann will stay with Atletico Madrid on a long-term basis after the France international helped Los Colchoneros make a positive start in LaLiga.

Griezmann came off the bench to score Atletico's third goal in a dominant opening-day win at Getafe on Monday, with Joao Felix recording three assists and Alvaro Morata scoring twice in a 3-0 triumph.

The 2018 World Cup winner is 12 months into a two-year loan spell in the Spanish capital, having endured a largely unhappy period with Barcelona between 2019 and 2021.

Reports suggest Atletico have an obligation to buy Griezmann should he hit a minimum number of appearances in LaLiga this season, and Simeone is keen to keep the 31-year-old.

"We talked about it in the Getafe post-game. I have spoken a lot about him, he is very complete, he knows what we want," Simeone said.

"Last year he already played some games in that role. We see him as adaptable because he has vision of the game, technique, he allows us to play with a more offensive player elsewhere. 

"I hope he continues with us, I appreciate him and I love him. 

"Hopefully he can continue in the line that he had in pre-season and in this Getafe game."

Only Joao Felix (13), Angel Correa (13) and the since-departed Luis Suarez (10) bettered Griezmann's tally of eight goals in all competitions for Atletico last season, despite the France forward making just 27 starts.

Meanwhile, Griezmann will be looking to build on his opening-day goal against a favoured opponent when Atletico host Villarreal on Sunday, having scored four goals in his last four outings against the Yellow Submarine in LaLiga.

It was Griezmann's fellow attacker Joao Felix who stole the headlines last time out, however, becoming the first player to provide three assists on LaLiga's first matchday since Jordi Cruyff did so against Las Palmas in 2000.

But Simeone was unwilling to get carried away with his praise for either him or in-form strike partner Morata, adding: "We are starting LaLiga. It is early to make such a deep reflection. 

"They are in a good moment, they had a great pre-season, they are both excited. They have maturity. Let's hope they continue like this."

Paco Alcacer has signed a permanent deal with Sharjah FC after agreeing to terminate his Villarreal contract. 

Alcacer's future appeared in some doubt earlier on Friday when Villarreal announced Sharjah had decided to "unilaterally annul" the agreement between the two sides for the forward's loan.

The Spain international, who scored 21 goals in 76 games for the Yellow Submarine following a January 2020 move from Borussia Dortmund, had been confirmed as a loan signing by the UAE Pro League club earlier this week.

Villarreal revealed the collapse of that transfer but soon detailed "an agreement for the termination of the contract" with Alcacer.

This allowed Alcacer to instead put pen to paper on a three-year contract with Sharjah, which he announced on Twitter.

"Thanks @VillarrealCF! I've lived unforgettable moments with great team-mates," Alcacer wrote. 

"Now is time to focus on @SharjahFC to do my best during the next 3 years that I will defend this shirt! I'm convinced that I will enjoy this magnificent experience with my family here in UAE."

Villarreal have claimed that Paco Alcacer's loan move to Sharjah FC has been annulled "unilaterally" by the United Arab Emirates club.

Alcacer's temporary transfer was confirmed by the LaLiga side on Wednesday, only for an update to follow on Friday saying the deal was off.

The Spain international joined Villarreal in January 2020 from Borussia Dortmund on a five-and-a-half-year contract, but has scored just 21 goals in 76 games in all competitions for the Yellow Submarine.

Alcacer has suffered several muscle injuries for last season's Champions League semi-finalists and struggled to establish himself in Unai Emery's team.

It appeared to be a new beginning for 28-year-old when the move to Sharjah was announced, but it seems that move has stalled, with no reason yet given for the UAE Pro League club terminating the agreement.

A statement from Villarreal on their Twitter page on Friday read: "Al Sharjah have decided to unilaterally annul the loan agreement they had reached with Villarreal CF for the loan of Paco Alcacer."

Villarreal beat Hajduk Split 4-2 on Thursday in the first leg of their Europa Conference League play-off.

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