Nick Miller

Author's posts

Dec 11

Champions League: tie-by-tie analysis of the last-16 games | Nick Miller

Chelsea renew their rivalry with Barcelona, City get lucky, Liverpool and United should both progress, while Spurs aim to create more historyFirst leg 13 February Second leg 7 March Related: Champions League draw: Chelsea to face Barcelona in last 16 …

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Dec 07

Apollon Limassol 0-3 Everton: Europa League – as it happened

Ademola Lookman scored two and Nikola Vlasic the other as a shadow Everton side recorded a 3-0 win in their final Europa League game over Apollon Limassol 7.53pm GMT Well it’s been a flaming bin of a season for Everton so far, but this was an encouragi…

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Dec 05

Bayern Munich v PSG, Celtic v Anderlecht: Champions League – as it happened

Bayern beat PSG but couldn’t claim top spot in their group, while a limp Celtic were beaten by Anderlecht yet just hold onto their Europa League placeChelsea denied top spot by draw with Atlético MadridManchester United hit back to clinch top spotCelti…

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Nov 25

Football League: Sunderland win under Chris Coleman as Wolves pull clear

• Sunderland finally win, while Wolves pull clear at the top of the Championship• Wigan win again in League One | Notts County claim a late, late victory• Usually we would start at the top of the Championship with these round-ups, but it would be remis…

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Nov 25

Manchester United v Brighton, Tottenham v West Brom and more – as it happened

Tottenham were held by West Brom, Crystal Palace grabbed a late winner against Stoke and Manchester United eventually broke down Brighton 5.36pm GMT And with that, we’ll depart, leaving you only with Scott Murray’s minute-by-minute of Liverpool v Chels…

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Nov 03

Sheffield United’s Chris Wilder: ‘I want to drive this club to the highest level’

Managing the team he supported as a boy could have made Chris Wilder cautious but his team play on the front foot – a no-nonsense approach that has taken the Blades to two points off the top of the ChampionshipFor the past two years, Chris Wilder has b…

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Oct 22

Chelsea comeback calms Bridge over troubled waters – at least for now | Nick Miller

Exit rumours were still preying on Antonio Conte’s mind even though Chelsea ended a run of three games without a win by rallying to victory over WatfordWith 20 minutes remaining at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, thoughts ticked back to two years ago. Che…

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Sep 23

Sheffield United fan Chris Wilder keen to put boot into Wednesday as manager

Thirty-seven years after going to his first Sheffield derby, the lifelong Blade is relishing locking horns with the enemy for the first time from the dugout

Chris Wilder’s first Sheffield derby was in April 1980. He was at Bramall Lane as a 12-year-old to see his United draw 1-1 with Wednesday, Terry Curran curling a brilliant shot into the corner of the net after John MacPhail gave the Blades the lead. He didn’t go to the game earlier in the season at Hillsborough, which was probably just as well as Wednesday won that one 4-0.

On Sunday, 37 years on and the day after his 50th birthday, Wilder takes charge of his boyhood club in a derby for the first time. A United fan who succeeded where Danny Wilson, David Weir, Nigel Clough and Nigel Adkins failed in heaving them out of League One, it is tough to see how he could be more popular with his fellow Blades. A win against Wednesday might do it, of course.

Related: Sheffield United soar after Clayton Donaldson downs wretched Sunderland

There’s no doubt what these games represent. It gives you the extra yard, to jump a bit higher, to run a bit quicker

Related: How Wolves became early favourites to win the Championship

Continue reading…

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Aug 30

Transfer window liveblog: Sanches, Aurier, Oxlade-Chamberlain latest – as it happened

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain closes in on a move to Liverpool, Serge Aurier is Spurs-bound and could Swansea be about to pull off a coup in loaning Renato Sanches?

10.00pm BST

Ok, that will do for today – we need to save our energy for this time tomorrow! I certainly do, anyway, as I’ll be back then. Here’s a quick rundown of today’s top lines:

9.44pm BST

Colton Richards on The Ox: “Liverpool fan here. Delighted with Oxlade-Chamberlain’s decision to a) come to Liverpool b) say no to Chelsea and c) apparently turn down a new deal at Arsenal worth more than what he’ll be getting at Liverpool. If true, credit to him, in this maniacal world. He cares about his potential (which there’s tons of), about getting the best out of himself. That hasn’t been happening for him at Arsenal, for any number of reasons, and he wants to kick on his career. He’s the perfect player for Klopp to help do that and I’ve no doubt the lure of the Normal One has been crucial to the decision. Just behind the prospect of Champions League football, of course…”

9.39pm BST


Has one of these ever actually called a transfer correctly?

9.34pm BST

@NickAmes82 will we get a Harry Redknapp car interview tomorrow at Birmingham? If so, where can I watch in the USA?

It wouldn’t be deadline day without one.

9.25pm BST

@NickAmes82 any news on Seri? He is unsettled at Nice. Any club intrested?

Quite possibly Arsenal – this is one that could yet get interesting tomorrow …

9.22pm BST

And we will let Tom Levesley have his moment in a sign that tonight’s fun is petering out a bit: “I haven’t got anything funny or enlightening to say, but if after Alan Davis and Richard Hooker I can be the third Baggie to get a mention tonight that’s surely a transfer blog record.”

9.21pm BST

Adam Griffiths gives us his hopes for tomorrow: “What I mainly want from the Deadline Day gods is for Jim White to get locked in his dressing room so we can have a teensy bit less hype and SHOUTING. Oh, and definitely no Sky reporters getting thwacked with, um, bedroom toys. Definitely not that. Perish the thought. Ahem.”

9.07pm BST

Mark Sumner says: “As a Chelsea fan, I can’t help feeling we’ve dodged a bullet with Ox going to Liverpool. He is a decent wide player but I can’t see what he would’ve brought to Chelsea’s central midfield other than a marginally stronger bench and injury cover. Which is what we want Drinkwater to provide. Chelsea’s biggest need is for another striker as Morata’s back-up, which is what we want Llorente for since Batshuayi’s first touch and hold-up play is lamentable.”

Yes, Llorente is one that may finally get done tomorrow.

9.05pm BST

@NickAmes82 I would absolutely take Lemar as a replacement for Sanchez. What I wouldn’t accept is Nobo Dy, which is who we’ll actually sign

He’s a better prospect than some of Arsenal’s recent signings, to be fair.

8.56pm BST

“Do you think Coutinho will join Barca? Or will Barca sign any player in this transfer window?” enquires Dev Vora. It’s a strange one, isn’t it, as Coutinho hasn’t been playing but Liverpool seem set on keeping him. Could The Ox’s arrival move things along a bit, though? The answer is that I don’t know on either count – but I expect Barcelona to keep trying. They need reinforcements.

8.43pm BST

@NickAmes82 where’s all the chairboys gossip, surely we are due a few Chelsea loanees…

You and everyone else, mate.

8.42pm BST

A journalist whose tweets I can’t share here – so I should name him, it’s Alan Nixon – says a big step forward has been made in Man City’s pursuit of Jonny Evans. Suspect we’ll hear plenty more tomorrow …

8.38pm BST

And more on Sanchez here from Mr Hytner himself:

Related: Arsenal braced as Manchester City prepare final push for Alexis Sánchez

8.35pm BST

What excites you about tomorrow, then? Tell us what your gut says. Do you think Sanchez will go to City, for example? It always seemed like one that would run to the wire, this, whatever anyone protested. And if you support Arsenal, would you take Lemar – currently preparing to face Holland with France – as a sort-of replacement?

8.29pm BST

“As a Baggies fan, I’m delighted that we’ve completed the loan deal for Grzegorz Krychowiak. I now look forward to us re-signing Tomasz Kuszczak and Dick Kryziwicki,” laughs Alan Davis. I had to look Kryziwicki up, I must admit, but wow, what a triumvirate!

8.27pm BST

@NickAmes82 Any news on incoming players at Newcastle now that we seem to be shipping some bodies out? #notholdingmybreath

Think it might depend on who goes, Nick. The main interest seems to lie up top with Mitrovic and, most plausibly, Gayle mooted to depart … but presumably that relies on Rafa getting some of his targets in and, as you know, that doesn’t happen too easily.

8.25pm BST

More reading matter for you from Dave Hytner – it’s about Serge Aurier, who has been granted his work permit to play for Tottenham by the Home Office:

Related: Serge Aurier given Home Office clearance to sign for Tottenham

8.08pm BST

@NickAmes82 Any news of impending ins or outs at @ManUtd before the window shuts?

Nothing much, and it would have to a big one to change that. Unless Gareth Bale comes available suddenly, I think Mourinho will sit tight. He’d like a wide forward, though, and Mahrez was mentioned vaguely earlier today.

8.04pm BST

Another missive from Konstantin Sauer: “Do you have further information on the Sanches transfer to Swansea? German media suggest a loan deal + buy option of around €30m. However, at the same time the reports claim, Bayern ensured a first team-guarantee for the player.”

Nothing beyond what Stuart’s written below, Konstantin, although most of this sounds plausible. I don’t think this deal will have come cheap for Swansea and they may well have agreed to a condition or two that aren’t ideal – loaning clubs don’t like making agreements to give players a certain amount of action – in order to push a move this big through.

7.50pm BST

Hey, Arsenal fans! Richard Hooker says you are the “rich man’s WBA”!

“Pulis has been courting Krychowiak for years. Besides, you have to be kind of deluded to think that North London represents a meaningfully more interesting place for a footballer to be than Smethwick. Arsenal are the rich man’s WBA. Despite their fans believing in better days ahead, the best days of both clubs are behind them; their respective management/ownership are thoroughly committed to treading water – Arsenal tread water somewhere between 4th and 8th in the table and WBA between 10th and 15th. The psychosis at Arsenal is way worse though because they are the B student who thinks he’s an A student. We Baggies are D students delighted to be getting solid Cs.”

7.49pm BST

@NickAmes82 Musa to Hull makes a lot of sense – Slutsky worked wonders with him at CSKA

True. Can’t believe I didn’t make that link myself

7.44pm BST

@NickAmes82 Chelsea transfer latest?

Not a lot, I’m afraid. Drinkwater may well still go through, though I had the impression Leicester were fairly keen on Krychowiak to replace him. Conte won’t be happy at missing out on Oxlade-Chamberlain; what a frustrating window so him so far …

7.38pm BST

Another nice, and broadly transfer-related, piece for you by Ed Aarons on how Premier League youngsters are furthering their careers overseas:

Related: How Premier League starlets are cutting ties and going to Germany and Portugal

7.29pm BST

@NickAmes82 The last Arsenal loanee was Kim Källström, who had a broken back. He’d still probably have got into our current 1st XI

Yes, yes it was. My mistake. Who could forget that?

7.16pm BST

And more here on that Krychowiak deal – including actual quotes that don’t derive from Twitter “banter”:

Related: West Brom sign PSG’s Grzegorz Krychowiak on season-loan loan

7.12pm BST

“I see that Krychowiak is at (gasp!) West Brom. Y’all know more about these players than I do, but he looked very much like someone Arsenal could put to work on day one. Do you have any thoughts? Also, I can’t remember the last time Arsenal took a player on loan. Can you?”

That’s from Sam Hankins. Off the top of my head I *think* Arsenal’s last first-team loanee was Yossi Benayoun – from Chelsea. I also agree Krychowiak could have done well there, and it’s funny how one iffy season can make a very good player’s star fall so far. That said, Arsenal probably think Xhaka can do his job …

7.08pm BST

Here’s a longer take on Liverpool, The Ox and more from our own Andy Hunter:

Related: Liverpool agree £40m Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain deal and pursue Thomas Lemar

6.55pm BST

TIL: the name Foyth is a corruption of Fojt. He must descend from Czech immigrants. The name is only found in Argentina. @NickAmes82

I toured the Altiplano last year with a wonderful Czech-descended guide who I’d highly recommend. If Foyth is half as good as he was, Spurs have a fine addition.

6.53pm BST

“Why didn’t Wenger sell him to them three weeks ago?” asks John Keselica of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Liverpool. “If he then started the match on Sunday, based on how he did play in that game, Arsenal might have gotten a result.”

He was terrible but I really, really wouldn’t go that far.

6.36pm BST

It’s happening…@GrzegKrychowiak joins us on loan from @PSG_inside!#WBA

On loan from PSG, as trailed a minute ago. Get your head round that, as I certainly can’t.

6.33pm BST

“In the 4-4 draw against Arsenal in the 2009 title run-in Benitez turned to the bench & brought on Nabil El Zhar,” shudders Niall Mullen. “A repeat this season might have a bench with some or all of Lallana, Ox, Sturridge, Coutinho, Solanke, Ings, Milner. We probably won’t win anything but hopefully not for the lack of depth.”

6.31pm BST

“I think the Ox deal opens the door for Coutinho to leave,” posits Anerudh Athrey. “Liverpool are just making sure their bases are covered. And as one of Arsenals few positives from last season, he would be a good addition to the squad. I think Ox will be used as a super sub of sorts, but that remains to be seen.”

6.28pm BST

Come on guys… you know who I am joining! ➡ #WBA

We live in the most confusing of times.

6.24pm BST

Alexis Sanchez latest. The more this goes on, the more confident Manchester City are looking. It is unclear, at present, whether they have submitted a second bid for the Arsenal striker, to follow yesterday’s £50m – which was rejected. But they certainly will make another offer. Pep Guardiola really wants Sanchez, who he managed, previously, at Barcelona and – as City showed with Kyle Walker, for example, earlier in the summer – they have the financial means to break through any impasse.

Arsenal’s stance has softened to the point where they would consider a bid for a player who is out of contract next summer and wants to leave now. But the sticking point will be whether they can bring in a new face to offset the potential loss of their best player. Arsene Wenger said last week that the move for Monaco’s Thomas Lemar was “dead.” He said that the French club had “closed the door.” If Arsenal could reopen it, they could allow Sanchez to leave. Do Arsenal have other options? Lemar is rated at £75m. Arsenal would want at least something similar for Sanchez.

6.22pm BST

Jordy Clasie will be a Club Brugge player on loan for the rest of the season, from Southampton. Thought things might go rather better for him a year or two back.

6.20pm BST

“Didn’t Klopp watch the game on Sunday? Why on earth would he buy such dross at any price?” asks Peter Skeggs.

6.11pm BST

Many sources saying it’s a six-year deal for The Ox – which would presumably take him up to the cusp of his 30th birthday.

6.10pm BST

“A lot of people struggling with the concept of a squad,” growls Rich Powell. “Liverpool limped over the line in 4th without European football. We need numbers.”

5.57pm BST

Liverpool have agreed a fee with Arsenal for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He is due to have a medical tonight at St George’s Park, where he is on England duty.

5.56pm BST

“Is there any inside info on the Mustafi transfer, i.e. whether it’s him wanting out or the other way around, or a bit of both?” asks Nick Archard. “Seems strange to me if it’s Wenger’s choice: before the weekend, Arsenal had been picking him ahead of what they have (and look how that turned out!). On the other hand, if it’s Mustafi’s choice that makes him, Sanchez, Özil and the Ox giving Wenger a fairly damning vote of no-confidence.”

I think it was Wenger wanting him out, Nick – but the last I heard, the move to Inter didn’t seem to be going through. It’s a strange one, I agree, although by the by I’ve never really had him as a top, top class player.

5.52pm BST

Good chance Arsenal may make a bid for Jean Seri now Oxlade-Chamberlain is on his way…

Would recommend keeping a close eye on this …

5.50pm BST

@NickAmes82 surely Maitland-Niles is going to be the replacement for the Ox. I assume that’s why he was promoted to the 1st team squad.

One of the many players who, to be blunt, I think need to get out of there and play some football.

5.48pm BST

Burnley are confident of wrapping up the signing of the Huddersfield striker Nakhi Wells on Thursday. The fee is likely to be in region of £5m for the former Bradford player – and City will get a cut. Wells has not played for Town this season and is probably going to be just back-up at Burnley.

5.47pm BST

Gokul Kannan muses: “Am I the only one baffled at Liverpool buying or trying to buy Ox? Where will he play in a Liverpool team which has Lallana, Milner and Coutinho yet to fit in. What will be his role? Why is Klopp ready to shell out 40 million to buy a squad player? Why not buy someone similar to Solanke if all you want is a squad player who can develop into a first team player in 2 years. Why Ox?”

And with Keita coming in next year, too. I agree, it’s a hard one to work out and you still suspect he’ll end up on the right.

5.45pm BST

“So it looks like The Ox was a backup plan when the Lemar deal fell through. I would dearly love to know if there is a backup with the VVD deal looking increasingly unlikely. Liverpool have quality cover in every position in midfield and attack, but really, really need a quality centre back who would put Lovren on the subs bench. Any word of a CB going to Anfield?” asks Patrick Crumlish.

Not at the moment – but Andy Hunter is in the building and as soon as he knows anything concrete, you will.

5.43pm BST

@nickames82 “Ox’s position” is the whole rub here no? RWB likely Reiss Nelson behind Bellerin. *Maybe* we’ll even play a left-footer at LWB.

But Nelson is just 17 and surely more of a forward – although natural positions appear to have gone out of the window at Arsenal.

5.39pm BST

Who could fill The Ox’s position at Arsenal? Maybe The Jeff?

5.35pm BST

Looks like “The Ox” is off then, Gooners. Absolutely baffling that he played against Liverpool on Sunday, no? What on earth was going on there?

5.30pm BST

These people manage Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain …


5.27pm BST

Konstantin Sauer gamely answers the call for Sanches chatter:

“I’m not sure if a loan move to Swansea is the right choice for Sanches, especially if he sees his future at Bayern Munich. In my opinion, part of his problems is that since his arrival he’s been struggling to adapt to playing in a foreign league and living in a foreign country. Moving to yet another league might get him some more playing time, as Swansea’s midfield isn’t as crowded as Bayern’s, but after one or two years he’ll still have to get used to Bundesliga football. And his German won’t have improved either during that time. I’d rather see him move to a mid-table team within Bundesliga, preferable with a coach who’s skilled at working with young players (Nagelsmann at Hoffenheim, Nouri at Bremen or Herrlich at Leverkusen).

5.24pm BST

Brighton are apparently pushing for Deportivo’s very good Romania international striker Florin Andone – but a €16m bid has been turned down.

5.14pm BST

Swansea City are on the verge of pulling off one of the signings of the summer by taking Renato Sanches, the prodigiously talented Portugal international, on a season-long loan from Bayern Munich. Talks between Swansea and Bayern Munich, who paid €35m for Sanches last summer, are at an advanced stage and the Welsh club are quietly confident that an agreement is imminent. It would be an incredible coup for Swansea to sign the 19-year-old and owes much to Paul Clement’s contacts at Bayern Munich, where he worked as Carlo Ancelotti’s No2 before taking over at the Liberty Stadium.

5.12pm BST

By all means pass on your Renato Sanches/Swansea thoughts. Will this be a developmental loan or do Bayern want rid? Is Sanches as good as the hype of a year ago? How might he fit into the Swans’ engine room?

5.05pm BST

According to Sky, Hull are in talks to sign Ahmed Musa – a flop at Leicester but still a very threatening forward – on loan. How would be fare in tier two?

5.02pm BST

Wolfsburg have emerged as favourites to sign Divock Origi from Liverpool as the Anfield club close in on a £40m-rated deal for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Origi was not included in the last two Liverpool matchday squads, for victories over Hoffenheim in the Champions League play-off second leg and Arsenal in the Premier League, and would have been allowed to join Monaco as a makeweight in a deal for Thomas Lemar.

4.58pm BST

Hold on to your hats, an update from Stuart James on that Renato Sanches situation is coming right up …

4.55pm BST

Burnley have agreed a €10.8m fee with Lorient for Majeed Waris, but West Ham United are trying to hijack – details

Another one to watch closely. Burnley have also been linked strongly with Nakhi Wells today, you’ll recall.

4.51pm BST

“Adam Griffiths is at least the Foyth person to make that joke,” quips Steve in Chicago. What a buzzkill.

4.45pm BST

What a move that would be! Presumably involving a whacking loan fee, but has the Clement factor (he’s worked with Sanches at Bayern) swung it? We’re on the case.

4.44pm BST

A long night? Not necessarily, if this one is true!

Renato Sanches is ready to join Swansea! (@DiMarzio) ✔️ #transfers #SwanseaFC #Bayern

4.38pm BST

“Has anyone done ‘may the Foyth be with you’ yet, vis a vis Spurs’ new signing?” asks Adam Griffiths, which tells me we’re in for a long, hard night. Hello everyone, though!

4.34pm BST

And with that, I’m done. Nick Ames is here to take you through to the last knockings tonight. Email him on or tweet @NickAmes82

4.31pm BST

An assessment of Spurs, from Spencer Hutchinson: “With all that was made of Tottenham getting a slow start to the window again, you have to think if they end up with Sanchez, Aurier, Foyth and the final two that Poch wants coming in a midfield/attacking role like Barkley and/or Demarai Gray, that has to be considered a great window for them, right?

“Sanchez, Aurier and Barkley are all top-flight talent with plenty of room to improve still, and Foyth is a great long-term option with even more room to grow. And all this while being fiscally responsible as Levy always does. Haven’t spent much more than what’s come in from the Kyle Walker and Wimmer deals with Janssen and other sales still possible. Am I crazy to like the way the window is shaping up for them?”

4.27pm BST

Small line from Stoke, specifically from the Stoke Sentinel, who report that Alaves are currently at the head of the queue to sign Bojan Krkic on loan. The fun-sized forward was on loan at Mainz last season, but since arriving back at Stoke he’s become something of a peripheral figure, the poor little blighter.

4.07pm BST

The Argentinean defender, described by some who have seen much more of him than I, as similar to John Stones, arrives at

White Hart Lane
Wembley and signs a five-year contract. So that’s one of the three/four new arrivals that Mauricio Pochettino wanted, with Serge Aurier being another when that goes through. Who might the other two be? If we’ve learned anything about Daniel Levy, we might be waiting until the very last minutes of the window.

4.01pm BST

Meanwhile, good to see the transfer window hasn’t driven some people insensible…

POLL – Do footballers have too many tattoos?

3.52pm BST

“Scraping the barrel of Malcom jokes- can he play as a number 10?” ponders Rich Harland. “If so, could they bring in roman numerals for the shirt numbers?”

3.35pm BST

And there is that other domino…

OFFICIAL: We’re delighted to announce the signing of Harlee Dean from Brentford for an undisclosed fee. #BCFC

3.26pm BST

This could set off a minor domino effect, as Birmingham will supposedly sign Harlee Dean from Brentford to replace him. Not sure who Brentford will get to replace Dean, or whoever they buy that replacement from will get to replace the replacement, or who they w…

3.19pm BST

We generally try to avoid stories like “Odds slashed for X to sign for Y” on this blog, but an interesting one has just arrived, suggesting that a lot of money has been wagered on RB Leipzig centre-forward Timo Werner to join Everton. Given Leipzig probably wouldn’t have time to sign a replacement and they’re gearing up for a season in the Champions League, combined with their stance on Naby Keita, it would take one hell of a wedge to make that happen.

3.16pm BST

Here’s an interesting wee line about Kylian Mbappe’s move to PSG, which sounds like it should go through in short order. As you probably know the deal is initially a loan, Monaco for some reason helping their primary domestic rivals to get around FFP problems, with an obligation to pay €180m in a year. And according to Le Parisien, the only way to get out of paying that would be for them to get relegated. Which, if they were to do that just to spite Monaco, would be pretty funny, if ultimately self-defeating.

The only way PSG can avoid paying Monaco €180m for Kylian Mbappé is by being relegated

3.03pm BST

That’s central defender Grant Hanley, from Newcastle. It must be a fairly dispiriting experience to work for a season to get your team promoted, then as soon as you actually do that you’re shipped off. Not that Grant Hanley is necessarily a Premier League defender, of course.

2.56pm BST

Hello again, Nick Miller back for a bit. And I return with a blockbuster: according to the Yorkshire Post, Burnley have agreed a fee with Huddersfield for striker Nakhi Wells. He’s currently injured so passing a medical could be an adventure, but it sounds like that deal will go through.

2.46pm BST

Right, before I hand you back to Nick, some news from Juventus on Benedikt Höwedes’s move:


Le visite mediche di @BeneHoewedes al #JMedical ⚪️⚫️

2.18pm BST

An email or two, during the current lull. Here’s Dave Williams: “Hi Tom, I’m interested in any insight into how clubs assess the value of a given transfer. A full analysis would I expect require an estimation of the marginal improvement Player X would make to a team’s probability of success in the various competitions, how this translates to direct additional financial rewards and any other additional income from merchandise and PR value. A heck of a lot of assumptions in that. Do you know if they even try to do this or more finger in the air? Assuming they do, how confident are clubs that the increased TV money is really sufficient to cover the massive transfer price inflation seen this summer?” Interesting, I think you’re making the words “assuming they do” put in a serious shift of hard work there. Other factors worth including might be “extent to which it would wind up rivals”, “manager under pressure panicking factor” and “number of column inches sought by megalomaniac owner”.

Lee Taylor, meanwhile, snaps back at the Liverpool conspiracy theories: “I cannot believe some of the FSG conspiracies that abound at the mo’. The main targets were a left back (done), Salah (done), Keita (done, but delayed) and VVD (club will not sell). Oxlade was mentioned as a target well before Lemar. The fact that FSG were willing to pay out £150M for VVD and Lemar shows that they are willing to accept a loss this summer. Coutinho will not leave in this window. Clearly the Klopp factor is a pull factor for LFC to attract players at the top end, as is being in the CL. Get over yerselves.”

1.51pm BST

A couple of actual done deals, meanwhile, in the Championship. Sheffield Wednesday have confirmed the signing of the Dutch central defender Joost van Aken from Heerenveen, while Nottingham Forest defender Thomas Lam has joined FC Twente on loan for the rest of the season.

1.44pm BST

Some late-lunch reading from Paul Wilson, on Manchester City and Guardiola’s approach to transfers:

Related: Pep Guardiola should be nurturing Raheem Sterling not spending more cash | Paul Wilson

1.35pm BST

Some email activity: Liverpool fan Jake Lynch writes in with a theory, into which I’m not quite sure where the pursuit of Oxlade-Chamberlain fits: “How much money are FSG actually spending on the Liverpool squad? Didn’t they just-about break even last summer, and look set for a very modest net spend this? Certainly if they get 30m for Sakho, to add to the other few lesser lights who’ve moved on (such as Kevin Stewart to Hull City). Sure, they’ve just committed to a large fee for Keita next year, but by then they’ll have received 100m+ from Barca for Coutinho. There’s a well ventilated conspiracy theory that they’ve deliberately and very publicly pursued players who were not for sale (VvD, Lemar) to avoid having to shell out the cash. I don’t want to believe it, but still…”

While Luke Williams quips of the aforementioned Malcom: “If he’s wide on the right, coming from Bordeaux, he’d be Mal à droit, though …”

1.29pm BST

Burnley appear to be developing something of a penchant for nipping across the Pennines to West Yorkshire to plunder forwards who’ve excelled in the Championship. Huddersfield’s Nakhi Wells is close to securing a move to Turf Moor, according to the Huddersfield Examiner and the ubiquitous Sky Sources, among others.

1.20pm BST

Meanwhile, here’s the latest from the Press Association on the Oxlade-Chamberlain/Liverpool situation:

Liverpool have opened talks with Arsenal over a deal for midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Chelsea appeared to have moved ahead in the race to sign the England international after reportedly having a bid of £40m accepted.

1.11pm BST

Afternoon everyone. Tom Davies stepping in for Nick for a bit, with the huge breaking news that reports are circulating that José Mourinho has been spotted on the phone in London. Much, much more on this when we get it*. Anyway, referring back to Martin Laurence’s useful piece on under-the-radar players, it’s a bit disappointing that Bordeaux’s Malcom is a wide player, thus depriving us of ‘Malcom in the middle’ headline/caption opportunities. Ah well, it’s a slow(ish) news day…

* Or perhaps not.

1.03pm BST

Serge Aurier, who suggested as such with his super-cryptic Twitter post earlier, has indeed received clearance for his work permit, so his €25m move from PSG to Tottenham will be completed shortly. Interestingly, the French courts have downgraded his previous two-month suspended jail sentence to a fine. Previously he would’ve had to wait five years to work in the UK, but now he’s been able to successfully submit a normal application.

Let’s hope that, if he has to come off the bench, he doesn’t take as long to get himself ready as he did while playing for PSG last season. A full eight minutes, that time.

12.51pm BST

Want a few under the radar players who could/should be attracting more attention? Martin Laurence from WhoScored has a few suggestions, including a Brazilian winger called Malcom. Lovely. Enjoy.

Related: Transfer window: six underrated players who should be attracting more interest

12.39pm BST

It’s been mentioned before, but the international break coming just around deadline time is going to make all of this good fun. Alexis Sanchez is in Chile, Philippe Coutinho in Brazil, Thomas Lemar in France, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be in Burton. OK, so not all insurmountable logistical problems, but spicier than your average deadline day, for sure.

12.24pm BST

Quick line about a manager, rather than a player transfer, but it is relevant: Corriere dello Sport today reckons that Roberto Mancini is “in crisis” at Zenit St Petersburg because they failed to sign Aymen Abdennour from Valencia, who instead moved to Marseille. Seems…a bit of an overreaction, but of course we know not the ins and outs.

12.10pm BST

Social media secret message interpreters, get stuck in…

12.04pm BST

Adam Griffiths is stocking up on canned goods. “Biblical floods, total eclipses of the sun, Pulis signing a full-back? Clearly these are the End Times.”

11.53am BST

If Liverpool can agree a fee with Arsenal for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – and has already been mentioned in this blog relations between the two clubs remained strained after the Suarez fiasco all those years ago – then the England international will be on his way to Anfield and, in all likelihood, Thomas Lemar will not.

The Monaco player may be the preference for Jurgen Klopp but his employers have not budged in their insistence the 21-year-old is not for sale. As a result, efforts are continuing to negotiate a fee with Arsenal for Oxlade-Chamberlain, although Liverpool may have to match Chelsea’s £35m-plus offer to land the midfielder before the deadline.

11.50am BST

Something has happened! Lovely scenes. The fee is apparently around £7m, the contract is four years and here’s the obligatory screenshotted iPhone note message to the world. Particularly enjoyed the hashtag included on the picture, there.

Delighted to have signed for @WBA ⚽️ #WBA

11.34am BST

Had we forgotten about Diego Costa? A little bit. So here’s Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo, speaking to a Spanish radio station, about the big man:

He has a contract with another club so it’s naturally a complicated issue. We’re moving forward with confidence but until Chelsea agree to his transfer, then Costa will be a Chelsea player.

On holiday it is normal to get a little fat but we must understand that Costa is a professional and he knows what shape he should be in. Am I optimistic on his arrival? I’m always optimistic.”

11.29am BST

As we seem to be in something of a lull, here are some thoughts from Uli Hoeness about transfer fees and whatnot. He told SportBild magazine:

In my opinion there is no player in the world worth 100 million euros. I do not want to buy a player for 100 million euros even if I had the money. That would be too much of a waste of money.

We have reached a point where we have to be damned careful. Because there is a point where maybe the fan has had enough. In all honesty, it is time to go back to proportionality. For a long time there was fear of agents, of players etc. Now we have to say ‘enough is enough’.”

11.17am BST

With a day and a bit to go, who do the fans want their clubs to sign? We asked a few – 20, in fact – and they told us here. West Ham’s is particularly…bleak.

To be brutally honest, we need a new manager. In the entirety of Slaven Bilic’s reign I’ve not seen a single coherent plan of how he wants us to play. We sign players seemingly at random and then he just puts together a teamsheet of who he deems the best players and hopes they go out and do their thing on their own. It’s all a bit late 1990s Championship Manager. Our slapdash signing policy of past-it players and Ligue 2 hit and hopers has been found out. Chicharito has been our best summer signing so far. I would have said Marko Arnautovic for his pre-season displays but then he got all elbowy. Ash Howarth

Related: Who to sign on deadline day? Premier League fans share their transfer requests

11.00am BST

A bit more Arsenal stuff here (sorry – will make this the last for a while unless something happens) from Sam Crow: “I’m an Arsenal fan and a deep lover of Arsene Wenger. I think Sanchez, Ozil and Oxlade should be sold because and I don’t think anyone should be brought in to replace them (though if Sterling is on offer then we’ll have him). Wenger would work better with a smaller squad. At the moment it’s too big; Wenger doesn’t seem to know who to play and doesn’t seem to get it right (until April). There’s enough goals in Giroud, Lacazatte and Walcott to be challenging near the top. Let’s give Iwobi a run and see what he’s capable of. Same with Welbeck, maybe he’d learn how to score if he wasn’t always in and out of the team. I think trimming it down and getting rid of the ‘stars’ would get the best out of Wenger, who is still a good manager and not the useless, senile berk he’s portrayed to be.”

10.52am BST

Charles Antaki has some Oxlade-Chamberlain thoughts: “The more one thinks about it, the less a move by Oxlade-Chamberlain to either Chelsea or Liverpool looks purely a rational one; the midfields in both cases are well-equipped, and if, as rumoured, Conte only wants him to play where he does for Arsenal at the moment, Chelsea looks even less sensible. So the underlying motivation is even less appealing for Arsenal supporters: he’s run out of trust in Arsenal – or, more pointedly, with Wenger – and would rather ply his trade in a club that will be more likely to be in the Champions League next year. That is a depressing index of what is going on in at least some Arsenal players’ minds.”

10.51am BST

…an Australian midfielder from Burton Albion, who sounds like he should be an alt-country singer supporting the Fleet Foxes, and with his hair down, looks like that too.

| Welcome, @jirvine36!

We are delighted to confirm the signing of Jackson Irvine from @burtonalbionfc #WelcomeJackson

10.46am BST

Not related to a transfer that will happen today, but Robert Snodgrass has been talking about his brief time at West Ham, and it doesn’t exactly make great reading for Slaven Bilic. He’s quoted in the Scotsman as saying:

“There were a lot of broken promises, a lot of dishonesty and I thought this is not what I am about…I realised from the off that it wasn’t going to happen. I was coming on against Manchester City and he [Bilic] said, ‘Where do you want to play, on the left or right?’ I thought, ‘You’ve just signed me and I’ve played on the right or behind the striker at Hull City all season’. I found it very strange. That was my debut. And every time I played I was on the left. Alarm bells were ringing right away. I don’t know why he did it. I came in as [Dimitri] Payet left and maybe it was a case of ‘you can play there’ but I’d only filled in on the left a couple of times.

“I hate that position. When you’re Scottish, you’re brought up to play anywhere. It’s fine to play for one or two games, but you need to play in your right position, especially on the back of scoring nine goals for Hull City. At that stage nobody had scored more goals for Hull or West Ham. The manager was under a lot of pressure and I later said that, out of respect, I didn’t want to go in and see him during that period. But, when I did speak to him, I said I thought he’d have known I wasn’t a left midfielder and that he must have watched me after signing me for that type of money.

10.37am BST

Danny Drinkwater’s determination to join Chelsea prompted him to submit a formal transfer request on Monday to try to force the move through. That is not to say that Drinkwater had not expressed a desire to leave Leicester, or even speak to Chelsea, before putting anything in writing. But a formal transfer request has ramifications, particularly financially, because it means a player forfeits loyalty bonuses and signing on fees that would otherwise be due to them even if they are sold.

In Drinkwater’s case that could be quite a significant sum of money given that he signed a five-year contract worth close to £100,000 a week only 12 months ago. Of course it would be naïve to think that any player ends up missing out in this scenario – in most cases the buying club would cover the shortfall. As for whether Drinkwater gets his wish, the bottom line is that Chelsea need to come up with an offer to match Leicester’s valuation – that means parting with around £35m.

10.28am BST

“Re Ox to Liverpool,” writes Tim Woods. “We need a bigger squad, as last winter proved. Especially to compete with City and United, who have quality that can’t even make their benches. I think he’ll be back-up to the current midfield, but with four competitions we need more strength in depth. Plus Henderson injury-prone, Can possibly off in Jan…or maybe Klopp also realises he needs to have a crack at one of the two cups as well? Long time since we had a trophy.”

10.27am BST

A few thoughts on Arsenal, in particular the Alexis Sanchez situation. The club were quick to dismiss Manchester City’s £50m bid for him yesterday – which did feel a little low, in the context of everything – and they reiterated their summer-long stance about him not being for sale. But when they entertained a discussion about taking Raheem Sterling from City, it clearly showed that the stance was no longer absolute. Sanchez does have a price and City would have taken encouragement from that.

I fully expect them to be back – possibly with Sterling included in the offer, however difficult player-plus-cash deals are to complete. If they were to offer about £70m, Arsenal would have a vexatious decision to make. The attraction of taking a player in part-exchange is obvious, given the difficulty of landing an A-list star from elsewhere at this late stage.

10.23am BST

As an addendum to the Dortmund news earlier – as Jeremy Toljan comes in, Felix Passlack goes out: he’s made like a Chelsea player and signed a new four-year contract, before joining Hoffenheim on a two-year loan.

10.18am BST

“Please please please tell me that West Ham aren’t about to sell Diafra Sakho to Rennes for €10m,” begs Hammer Oliver, “leaving us with only Chicharito and Andy ‘only one leg functional at a time’ Carroll as our striking options while we try and overcome the monstrosity that has been the start of the 17/18 season? West Ham have scored four goals this season and Sakho’s had a hand in three of them. The picture of him in a French airport is just him going on holiday, right? He’s just popped back to see his mum and dad and have some chicken soup or something. Surely…”

Perhaps he is just too injury-prone? He only played three times last season, and thus can’t really be relied upon. Of course that only properly makes sense if West Ham have an alternative lined up…

10.14am BST

FYI, I committed a frightful boob earlier by misidentifying Serge Aurier as French – he’s not, he’s from the Ivory Coast, although he’s lived in France for most of his life. Cheers to Ludo for putting me right. Now corrected.

10.11am BST

“Do you have your own personal countdown to when the transfer deadline is over because then you can have a nice, long nap? I know I would,” asks Drew Gough. Mercifully Drew, I’ll be finished on the blog at some point this afternoon, and that will be my last involvement. But onto other business…

“The real reason I write to you this morning is this: curious to know if anyone thinks Oxlade-Chamberlain would improve Liverpool’s midfield (I’m not sure he would get many games ahead of Henderson and Can on current form, of if he can play the same kind of roles, or that he’d play much once Lallana is healed up), or if this is just an opportunity for Liverpool to finally beat Chelsea to a player? It’s a huge morale boost for the club to be seen as a destination, surely, even if the player wouldn’t have a huge role.”

10.01am BST

And here’s this morning’s Rumour Mill, lovingly crafted by your pal and mine Paul Doyle. Are Manchester United and Chelsea going to duke it out for Riyad Mahrez?

Related: Football transfer rumours: Chelsea and Manchester United tussle over Mahrez?

10.00am BST

As ever with a Tony Pulis side, West Brom should be busy in the closing…what, 37 or so hours of the transfer window. Our boy Stuart James reckons they are confident of signing Grzegorz Krychowiak from PSG on a season-long loan. Plus there’s stuff about Kieran Gibbs, and the latest on who wants Jonny Evans.

Related: West Brom confident of signing PSG midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak on loan

9.56am BST

Tottenham have been quiet, haven’t they? They want to sign PSG defender Serge Aurier, but there are issues over a work permit, as the Ivory Coast right-back was given a two-month suspended prison sentence over the assault of a police officer in a nightclub. Thus, the high-ups are carefully mulling over whether they want to allow him to play in England. There’s also the question of his vile homophobia too, but that’s more of a moral issue. If you’d like the two cents of this correspondent, I wouldn’t touch him with the longest of poles. Anyway, here’s David Hytner with the info there, as well as the latest on Tottenham’s move for Juan Foyth.

Related: Tottenham move for PSG full-back Serge Aurier held up by work permit issue

9.50am BST

A few more bits from last night. Liverpool have rejected a £25m bid from Crystal Palace for Mamadou Sakho: they want closer to £30m. There’s some stuff in there about Virgil van Dijk, too.

Related: Liverpool reject £25m bid by Crystal Palace for Mamadou Sakho

9.45am BST

…right-back Jeremy Toljan from Hoffenheim. The reported fee is just €5million, apparently, and he’ll probably only be cover for Dortmund.

9.41am BST

A separate little nugget at the end of that update from Mr Hytner deserves a wider airing:

City have a potential problem over Sergio Agüero, with the feeling within the club being that the Argentina striker might pursue a move away in January. He was dropped by Guardiola for the Premier League win at Bournemouth on Saturday and there has been tension between the player and manager. Agüero is determined to play regularly in World Cup year.

9.39am BST

Here’s one you might have missed from last night: there was talk yesterday that Raheem Sterling could be included in any Manchester City bid for Alexis Sanchez, but it seems City’s initial offer was cash only – and Arsenal have rejected it. More from David Hytner here:

Related: Arsenal rebuff Manchester City’s £50m cash offer for Alexis Sánchez

9.32am BST

Not transfer talk, but take a look at this. Football really is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

“Are you actually @GarethBale11?”
That moment when you can’t believe your own eyes! #TogetherStronger #WALAUT

9.29am BST

Louise Taylor mentioned yesterday that Newcastle might be open to the prospect of selling Dwight Gayle, and it seems there is interest in the striker. The Press Association reports:

Fulham have tabled a £15million bid for Newcastle striker Dwight Gayle after it became clear the player could be available. The bid was received on Wednesday morning hours after reports of the London club’s interest in the 26-year-old emerged.

Press Association Sport understands that the Magpies value last season’s 23-goal leading scorer at closer to £20million, although may yet be prepared to settle for somewhere between the two figures. However, they will not consider doing business with Fulham or anyone else until they have a replacement lined up amid speculation that they have an interest in Liverpool’s Divock Origi.

9.21am BST

Chelsea’s frantic attempts to strengthen Antonio Conte’s squad this week are proving increasingly complicated with the Premier League champions fearful Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will not be convinced to move across the capital, and negotiations over Ross Barkley and Danny Drinkwater still some way from a positive conclusion.

A fee of around £35m was agreed with Arsenal for Oxlade-Chamberlain earlier this week and Chelsea had initially been confident they would deflect Liverpool’s interest to secure the England international. However, the 24-year-old is apparently uncertain he would be offered the opportunities he craves in central midfield and may, instead, find himself pinned on the flank in the wing-back role which has contributed to his sense of disillusion at Arsenal.

9.18am BST

Morning all. We’re not mucking around today with any whimsical preambles: it’s straight into the juicy, meaty, oozing transfer stuff, with an update on Chelsea from Dom Fifield shortly…

5.52pm BST

Nick will be here soon enough.

Continue reading…

Permanent link to this article:

Aug 29

Transfer window liveblog: Van Dijk and Lemar to Liverpool, Sanchez and Sterling swap – as it happened

Liverpool could spend £150m on Thomas Lemar and Virgil van Dijk, while a swap deal involving Manchester City and Arsenal is a possibility

5.41pm BST

And with that, we’re done for the day. We’ll be back tomorrow and in it for the long haul: from morn to night, because we love you. Have a pleasant evening, and farewell.

5.39pm BST

We’ll be wrapping up the blog shortly, so here’s a summary of what’s happened today:

5.17pm BST

Quick line from League One, where one of the great love stories of our time has continued: Gary Roberts has signed for Wigan on a deal til the end of the season, which makes it the third club he’s worked with manager Paul Cook. The previous two being Chesterfield and Portsmouth.

5.03pm BST

Well, well, well…

#lfc have rejected #cpfc bid for Mamadou Sakho. Their 3rd bid of summer was £22m plus £3m in add-ons. Add-ons need to reach £30m.

4.51pm BST

Newcastle United are willing to sell Dwight Gayle for around £18m and Leeds United are extremely interested but Rafa Benitez will not sell the striker – last season’s leading scorer at St James’ Park – until he has a guaranteed replacement.

4.49pm BST

He’d been rumoured to be off to Milan and even Huddersfield, but only one year after moving to Germany, Turkish attacking midfielder/winger Emre Mor is off to Celta Vigo. Dortmund have announced that Mor himself wanted out in order to play more football: even with Ousmane Dembele gone, they are pretty stacked in his position. Word is the fee will be a club record (for Celta) €13m.

4.36pm BST

Did you know Eden Hazard has a brother? No, not Thorgan: Kylian. And he’s just signed for Chelsea, but will probably only go into their development side, rather than the first-team.

4.26pm BST

Word from our man Dominic Fifield: Crystal Palace have agreed a deal for Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho – worth an initial £20m, with add-ons lifting it to £30m.

All pending a medical of course, which would presumably be very stringent.

4.17pm BST

Roma did indeed have something brewing. And it was this rather avant garde announcement of the arrival of Sampdoria’s Czech forward Patrik Schick, in a deal said to be worth around €38m.

#Schick #ASRoma

4.11pm BST

“Surely if we are talking about Arsenal and the Walkmen, the following is the most appropriate…” guffaws Padraig McAuliffe…

3.55pm BST

Who should move to improve their prospects ahead of the World Cup? WhoScored’s Martin Laurence has a few suggestions…

Related: Transfer window: players who should move to help their World Cup chances

3.46pm BST

Liverpool are prepared to spend in the region of £150m to land Thomas Lemar and Virgil van Dijk in the final days of the transfer window but, as they have often found this summer, the reluctance of rival clubs to sell remains a formidable obstacle. Several enquiries for France international Lemar have been dismissed by Monaco who, despite agreeing a deal for Lazio winger Keita Balde Diao, maintain the 21-year-old will not be leaving in this transfer window. That will not deter Liverpool’s attempts to strike a deal before Thursday’s deadline. Divock Origi would be allowed to move on loan in the opposite direction as a makeweight in a Lemar transfer, though Liverpool insist reports of an €80m-plus Origi bid are premature.

They are also adamant – for the nth time this summer – that Philippe Coutinho will not be sold to Barcelona despite their interest in Lemar. Likewise, and despite excitement over a silver van being spotted at John Lennon Airport on Tuesday, Southampton are standing firm in their refusal to sell van Dijk to the Anfield club. The Dutch defender prefers Liverpool to Chelsea or Arsenal, Jurgen Klopp is prepared to make van Dijk the most expensive defender of all time at around £70m, but Southampton have not yet bowed to the 26-year-old’s attempts to force an exit.

3.43pm BST

“Absolutely scandalous that you’ve overlooked The Walkmen’s ode to Alexis Sanchez leaving Arsenal’s sinking ship,” Jonathan Grieve points out, quite rightly.

3.39pm BST

Roma have got something brewing, then….

Hitting ‘Send / Receive’ as you wait for the OK to go with the #ASRoma announcement video

3.36pm BST

A lament, from Matt Loten: “It’s a real shame that Birmingham couldn’t get a deal done for Ravel Morrison – if anybody is going to be able to put an arm round the lad, make him understand his talent, and wring the best out of him, it’s Harry Redknapp. He managed to turn a washed-up, boozy and unfit Paul Merson into the heartbeat of one of the most swashbuckling Portsmouth teams I’ve had the pleasure of watching; Morrison could have torn up the Championship if ‘Arry had been given the chance to work his magic.”

You do wonder whether a nondescript/struggling Championship team is the best place to bring someone’s talent out, mind. Although nothing else seems to have worked.

3.34pm BST

Given there’s a bit of a lull at the moment, allow me to recommend a book. I’m currently reading ‘Meet Me In The Bathroom’ by Lizzy Goodman, an oral history of New York music from about 2001-2011. It’s really very good, and as much as anything it reminds you that many of the songs/artists mentioned still really do hold up. A personal selection from me here, but feel free to send in your own nominations…

3.21pm BST

Here’s Ravel Morrison leaving a clinic in Guadalajara, after taking his medical ahead of a move to Club Atlas. Assuming he coughed when he should have coughed, his move from Lazio will be done and dusted shortly.

#VIDEO El inglés Ravel Morrison a su salida de las pruebas físicas en Guadalajara para reforzar al #Atlas ⚫️@ESPNmx

3.01pm BST

There has been a flurry of activity at the Hawthorns, where West Brom are close to completing the signings of Kieran Gibbs fromArsenal for about £7m and Josef de Souza from Fenerbahce for £10.6m. As for Jonny Evans, Albion are digging in their heels over their valuation of the player and, as has been noted on here by Mr Miller, the prospect of Arsenal and Manchester City going head to head over the Northern Ireland international will do them no harm in that respect. For Albion, however, it is also about having the time and opportunity to sign a replacement – and that’s where City’s Eliaquim Mangala could come into the equation. How Mangala feels about that is not so clear.

2.55pm BST

The internet and excitable Liverpool fans was always going to be an odd combination: that combo has hit gold at the moment, with some having discovered a private plane heading to Merseyside, and deciding that Virgil van Dijk is on board. It’s possible that this is not true.

2.44pm BST


@NickMiller79 Should Liverpool not offer West Brom an Evans-Sahko swap deal? Keeps a decent player goin to a rival and gets rid of Sakho.

2.42pm BST

Rafa Benitez has been frustrated about the lack of incomings at Newcastle, but here’s some news about a potential outgoing: the Press Association reports that they’ve accepted a bid from Norwich for central defender Grant Hanley. Norwich need the help too: they’ve shipped four goals in both of their last two games, so a solid Championship citizen like Hanley should help them out.

2.37pm BST

The BBC’s David Ornstein, whose transfer updates are generally more like a papal bull rather than mere window tittle-tattle, reports that Arsenal have ‘joined the race’ for Jonny Evans. And with that, West Brom have themselves a nice little bidding war – Manchester City and Leicester City are still keen, too.

2.29pm BST

Bit of a lull in actual news/rumours at the moment, so here’s Roy Keane shouting at a cloud (not that he’s necessarily wrong):

It’s mind-boggling, the figures that are out there – especially for the average players. If ever there was a time to be a professional player it’s now. Average players are going for £35million. My goodness.

“I don’t really analyse it too much, but that’s the market place at the moment. There aren’t many top players out there. The really big players are going for big money and it’s filtering down now.

2.09pm BST

One for pedantry’s corner, from Simon Garner: “One flaw in Harvey Kelly’s theory is that Stoke is not in the North West, it is in the West Midlands… as a West Midlander I am sickened to see my homeland being erased from maps once again.”

2.07pm BST

It’s perhaps not the most stunning deal of the window, but Monaco have confirmed they have signed Stevan Jovetic on a four-year deal from Inter. Such is the way of things that most will be interested in this not as a transfer for a man who used to be one of the most promising young things as European football, but a mere domino to fall with another promising young thing seemingly on his way out of Monaco.

1.55pm BST

Harvey Kelly has a pretty ‘out there’ theory about Imbula: “Regarding Imbula, he was pretty immense for Marseille before moving to Porto for €20 million, and then he went to Stoke for a similar amount. Who knows, maybe he weirdly prefers living in the south of France to the north-west of England?”

1.54pm BST

You’ll have noted that Crystal Palace are already wondering about Frank de Boer’s position after only three games, and that a return for Sam Allardyce has been mooted should they decide to bin the Dutchman. Well, it sounds like Sam is…not massively keen. He told Talksport this morning:

Being associated with any club at this early stage of the season would not be of any interest to me at the moment. I have just had a trip to Hawaii watching from afar and I went to watch Manchester United on Saturday and I wouldn’t associate myself with any job at this moment in time.

Three games into the Premier League season, it is a little hasty when people talk about you coming back into football. At this moment in time, I am very comfortable in my life. My time in the Premier League for many, many years has been tremendously exciting and I have enjoyed every minute, but having a break from football is the right thing for me to do.

1.48pm BST

A reminder: for updates about the actual facts, remember to check out our transfer window interactive. All the confirmed deals lie within…

Related: Transfer window 2017 – every deal in Europe’s top five leagues

1.44pm BST

“I don’t care if he took you all to Alton Towers, he’s not your real Dad. Make sure you tell your mother that as well…”

1.35pm BST

“A little amazing to see that Norwich City, Middlesbrough and Birmingham City have all supposedly tabled £3.5 million bids for Bristol City’s Aden Flint,” writes Steven Hughes. “Flint scored an astonishing 15 goals in the 2014 – 2015 season, as a non-penalty-taking centre-back, when we went up into the Championship but, since then, his form’s been more in-out than the Hokey cokey. Getting three and a half million for Flint would be like finding money in the street.”

1.34pm BST

Dipping into the cesspit that is the Championship now, and Preston have confirmed that forward Jordan Hugill has handed in a transfer request, but they have scrunched up that request and thrown it back in his face. Or just ‘rejected’ it. Wolves and Reading are supposed to be keen on the young man.

1.28pm BST

Incidentally, for all of us who enjoy a bit of 2+2=5 transfer detective work, plenty of word flying around that Monaco have agreed a deal for Lazio winger Keita Balde Diao. Whether that’s to replace Lemar or sign him…who can say.

1.24pm BST

Stoke, who completed the £18m signing of Kevin Wimmer from Tottenham Hotspur earlier today, haven’t entirely given up hope of trying to convince Fabian Delph to join them from Manchester City, although they are increasingly pessimistic about their chances (put at about 10%, according to one source at the club today). Manchester City are willing to loan or sell Delph and at one point this summer Stoke thought they were close to agreeing a deal for the former England midfielder, who is valued at £12m, but mixed messages have come back ever since as to what the player wants to do, leaving the Potters rather frustrated with it all and almost resigned to defeat. As for Imbula, it would be fair to say that Stoke are desperate to find a new home for their club-record signing and would welcome interest from Monaco or anywhere else. The feeling at Stoke is that the best they can hope for with Imbula is a season-long loan. Not really what they had in mind when they paid Porto £18.3m for him 18 months ago.

1.19pm BST

According to L’Equipe, Liverpool have chucked in a revised bid for Thomas Lemar. The new offer is €80m – €50m down, €30m next summer – plus a borrow of Divock Origi for a season. No word on whether it will prove acceptable to the Monaco brass yet, though. Now, we wait.

1.13pm BST

Cheers to Paul for covering. Shortly, a report from France that might interest Liverpool fans…

1.09pm BST

Nick Miller has had enough. Lunch, that is, so now he’s back to keep you abreast of all the latest developments, and any further kangaroo-themed badinage.

1.05pm BST

Last night Lyon’s chairman Jean-Michel Aulas retweeted a video with the caption “Nasser and financial fair play”. Aulas’s counterpart at PSG is one Nasser Al-Khelaifi. The video depicted a kangaroo pleasuring himself. Aulas quickly undid his retweet but has explained today that he believes it was righteous production. “I fell over laughing,” said Aulas. “Then I realised I had retweeted it instead of simply ‘liking’ it. For those who don’t understand the humour in the tweet, which is brilliant, because that’s what’s happening in real life … well, OK, if people are shocked … I’m sorry to the souls who aren’t shocked by the insults I get all day long. I find it funny. I don’t regret it.”

12.53pm BST

Thank you all for your correspondence regarding the news that Brazil sources say Coutinho has overcome his back agony and is fit enough to play for them against Ecuador this week, in a qualifier for a tournament for which they have already qualified. Unfortunately I can’t print any of your mails for reasons of legality and taste. But the sentiments are understood. And presumably they will be reversed if Coutinho doesn’t move to Barcelona and resumes duty for Liverpool?

12.41pm BST

Libor Kozak, released by Aston Villa in the summer after enduring a particularly unhappy four years even by recent Villa standards, has joined Bari.

12.34pm BST

In a less challenging move than the mooted Imbula one, Monaco are also keen on the Lazio winger Keita Baldé, whom they could nab for around £25m.

12.32pm BST

“It’s been a terrible week to be an Arsenal fan but yeah I trust the Professor to bring in two or so signings and the season is still at its’s infancy,” writes Ola Toba, who, with trust like that, is presumably also still in his infancy.

12.29pm BST

Hello, Doyle here so Miller can

eat his lunch. Now then, what a pitiful failure Stoke’s record signing has been. Giannelli Imbula arrived 18 months ago from Porto, canny recruiters who had also made him their record signing a short while previously. But the only impact Imbula can be credited with at the Bet365 stadium is the imprint on a wall caused by people banging their heads against it as they try to figure out how to get the midfielder to fulfil his potential. Now, would you believe, Monaco are said to be keen on giving it a go. They have proven to be deft rehabilitators in the past, in fairness, and have certainly helped Falcao recover from his injury woes. If they can help Imbula overcome whatever it is that’s holding him back, that’ll be some feat. Sorry, what do you mean the headline on this entry was a trifle misleading? That is only appropriate when pondering the Imbula enigma.

12.17pm BST

I’m going to nip off for a spot of lunch: Paul Doyle will be your guide for a little while. Email him on if you have anything to say.

12.04pm BST

It keeps getting better and better for Arsenal: according to our pals at Sky Sports News, Watford have pulled out of a deal for Kieran Gibbs because they can’t agree personal terms. Hoo boy.

12.00pm BST

A bit of reading? It’s vaguely transfer related, in that the player involved has recently been involved in a transfer. Have a look at Suzy Wrack’s interview with Lucy Bronze, who followed Toni Duggan out of Manchester City, but to sign for Lyon rather than Barcelona.

I just want to challenge myself all the time,” Bronze said. “I stay somewhere for a couple of years and then think: ‘What next?’ I find it easier to challenge myself by going to different clubs, environments and playing with different players. Going to a new country and league is what I think I need right now.

Related: Lucy Bronze’s thirst for a challenge takes England defender to Europe’s peak | Suzanne Wrack

11.57am BST

Over the weekend Pepe Reina departed Napoli’s match against Atalanta with tears in his eyes, which some took as proof that he was on his bike, in the direction of PSG or even a reunion with old pal Rafa Benitez at Newcastle. But, as it turns out, he’s staying. His old man, Miguel, told Radio Crc in Italy:

I can confirm that Pepe will stay at Napoli. Pepe is well-liked by everyone, and it’s further confirmation of his wonderful relationship with [Coach Maurizio] Sarri. I’m happy, this is very good. Pepe is happy in Naples, he has a wonderful relationship with the fans and he wants to respond to the affection the city has always shown him.

11.52am BST

Speaking of Barcelona, there’s been some talk that a handy replacement for Neymar would be Angel di Maria, but Jorge Mendes has put the kibosh on that one, it seems. “It’s not true what you are publishing,” he told reporters in Barcelona, according to Marca.

11.46am BST

Most of the talk about transfers at Barcelona has surrounded arrivals, but some players might still leave: Andre Gomes is one, Rafinha another and Arda Turan could be invited to do one too.

11.35am BST

A slightly different tweak on the Sanchez-Sterling thing…

Arsenal proposed including Raheem Sterling in a swap deal for Alexis Sanchez. Man City want cash-only deal for Sanchez.

11.23am BST

Can’t help but wonder exactly how the conversation goes when a club has to break the news to their player that he’s a makeweight in a deal

It’s weird how the mentality differs from sport to sport. This is a relevant point in football, but in baseball/American sports players will get told where they’re going, and unless they’ve got a specific clause in their contract allowing them to veto certain destinations, they have to go…

11.19am BST

Bit of Liverpool news from the Echo: they’re looking to get rid of Mamadou Sakho, which isn’t perhaps the biggest revelation, but word is they want £30m for the defender, and will play three clubs off against each other to get it. Those are Crystal Palace, West Brom and Leicester.

11.03am BST

Spot of reading for you, on why Kylian Mbappe might want to sign for PSG, by Igor Mladenovic. If that isn’t a question with a blisteringly obvious answer.

Related: Kylian Mbappé going home to Paris with sights on Neymar partnership | Igor Mladenovic

10.56am BST

Oumar Niasse is a target for Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace – both of whom are desperate to increase their options up front – but a deal has so far proved problematic because Everton are demanding a £10m fee for him and that he leave on a permanent basis. Brighton have made two offers for the Senegal striker, both loans with an option to buy at the end of the season, with the latest involving a loan fee of £750,000. Palace have not made an official offer. Niasse, who is under contract at Everton to 2020, spent the second-half of last season on loan at Hull City, where he scored five goals. He continues to be given the deep-freeze treatment by Ronald Koeman, the Everton manager, who does not rate him; Niasse has been barred from first-team training and is working with the club’s Under-23s.

Here’s Mr Hytner’s interview with Niasse from last season. Hard not to feel quite sorry for him after reading this.

Related: Everton’s Oumar Niasse: ‘It’s really sad. I don’t think I deserve this’

10.51am BST

“Kind of curious with players like Vlasic, now prices have snowballed so spectacularly, is he kind of rubbish?” muses Michael Hunt. “If a club can’t extract something in the region of 20m for a player who’s a first team regular with bags of potential, what’s going on? Or is it really only if you have a couple of years of middling Prem experience or happen to be a quick and unproven Frenchman that the costs spiral?”

I think the one thing that the transfer window has taught us is that cost is not necessarily related to quality. You could argue that, just as a large pricetag doesn’t definitely mean a good player, a small one doesn’t definitely mean a good one.

10.38am BST

Have some further details on the potential Sterling-Sanchez swap. You know, this might just been one of those incredibly rare occasions where a swap deal might actually work for everyone…

Related: Manchester City offer Raheem Sterling in bid to sign Arsenal’s Alexis Sánchez

10.36am BST

Lyon have signed Celta Vigo midfielder Pape Cheikh Diop. Brief appraisal here…

Pape’s on the verge of something I feel, so OL get a very promising talent. Has all the tools to become a complete midfielder.

10.27am BST

Now this is the sort of email we like to see. Here’s Özgür Çeltíkçí with a scouting report on a new arrival:

“Just a short brief on Everton new boy Vlasic. He is the younger brother of Croatian high jump legend Blanka Vlasic. In other words, he has an athletic DNA and a solid physique. As for the type of player Everton fans should expect to see, I can say that Nikola is a winger who likes to cut inside and bring others in to the game. He doesn’t score too often, which is always a negative for wing-forwards but he has more of an ‘Özil game’ rather than a ‘Robben’ one. He has a tendency to drift off every now and then, and you can’t really see him help his full-back defensively. However, with a bit of tactical work on the training ground, he should end up being an ideal squad player for that price. Everton is definitely going to be an intriguing prospect with Moshiri and Koeman in charge.”

10.25am BST

Brief bit on Barcelona, whose president Josep Maria Bartomeu was politely invited to do one by fans at Ousmane Dembele’s unveiling on Monday, but who are still in the market for new players, naming no names etc. Their technical director Robert Fernandez said:

We hope to present another player before the end of the month. My intention is for one player to come or maybe two, if possible. I won’t go into names but I admit that the club is working on the possibility of signing new players.”

10.17am BST

Despite Johnny Rotten’s old remark about the man on the street, we go to the public now for some thoughts on the Arsenal/Sanchez/Sterling situation. Well, sort of the public: the first one isn’t even outside the building. But Toby is a splendid Gooner so let’s listen to what he has to say…

With regards your live blog questions. It’s a hard no to sterling – if they gave us aguero for Sanchez then that’s another matter…

@NickMiller79 Re Sterling for Sanchez – considering the alternatives and facts as they are, yes I would take that swap in a heartbeat! #COYG

10.12am BST

It’s barely 10am and already the burning flames of the transfer stove are blazing hot: Stoke City have completed the signing of Kevin Wimmer from Tottenham. £18m is your price there, apparently.

10.09am BST

And here’s this morning’s Rumour Mill. Emre Can, Mustafi, Van Dijk and Renato Sanches all right in there.

Related: Football transfer rumours: Juventus to sign Emre Can from Liverpool?

10.06am BST

Across the park, Everton have sorted a slightly more low-key deal, for Hadjuk Split winger Nikola Vlasic. £9m, which in today’s berserk world of transfers basically qualifies as change from the glove box as your car.

Related: Everton set to agree £9m deal for Hajduk Split winger Nikola Vlasic

10.03am BST

Liverpool have done some smart dealings here, not least that they’ve saved us from another continuing saga by wrapping up the signing of Naby Keïta for next summer. Details…

Related: Liverpool agree record deal to sign Naby Keïta from RB Leipzig next summer

10.01am BST

Let’s have a brief catch-up for some stuff you might have missed from yesterday, starting with the news of another departure from Arsenal. Getting £35m for a fringe player with one year of his contract left might look on the surface like excellent business, but this is Arsenal so it’ll probably turn out to be bad in some way.

Related: Chelsea agree fee with Arsenal to sign Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

9.52am BST

Well, sort of. They have paid €3.4million for Real Valladolid Jose Arnaiz, who’ll go straight into their B team. Hopefully he’ll thus escape having do to that stupid seal performing act and risk having internet dunces immediately write him off as a waste of money.

9.43am BST

“You want to make sure you are playing at the highest level”, Raheem Sterling on why he left Liverpool

9.38am BST

Get a load of THIS:

Man City make player-plus-cash offer for Alexis Sanchez involving Raheem Sterling

9.34am BST

Morning all. What will today have in store for us? Anything exciting? Anything concrete? Maybe! We’ll bring you a red-hot rumour shortly…

Meanwhile: email any thoughts you have to, or tweet @NickMiller79

11.42pm BST

Hello. Nick will be here shortly. Here’s Andy Hunter on Everton, who simply refuse to stop spending:

Everton are close to completing a €10m (£9.26m) deal for the Hajduk Split winger Nikola Vlasic as they look to improve Ronald Koeman’s attacking options before the transfer deadline.

The 19-year-old, who played against Everton in the recent Europa League play-off, is set to sign for the Goodison Park club after a fee including add-ons was agreed between the two clubs. Vlasic has scored 10 goals in 85 appearances for Split since breaking into the first team three seasons ago and is a Croatia under-21 international.

Continue reading…

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Aug 20

Manchester United’s Anthony Martial back in José Mourinho’s good books | Nick Miller

Old Trafford club’s forward Anthony Martial has overcome his troubles of last season to score in the first two Premier League matches

In some ways it is a surprise that Anthony Martial is still at Manchester United. Whenever José Mourinho mentioned the French forward last season, it seemed like it was to offer criticism, either explicitly or in that passive-aggressive manner of his, where you are not sure if he genuinely does not rate a player or is just trying to motivate him with tough love.

In November, Mourinho claimed Martial was struggling to adapt to his style of play. In January, he said the striker had not taken a rare chance given in the first-team and drew comparisons to Memphis Depay, who by that point had been ushered out the door at Old Trafford. By April, we had reached full ‘boot up the behind territory’.

Related: José Mourinho wary of roadworks despite Manchester United’s fast start

Related: Nemanja Matic’s Manchester United move may leave Chelsea feeling blue | Daniel Taylor

Continue reading…

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Aug 20

Huddersfield Town 1-0 Newcastle United: Premier League – as it happened

Huddersfield got their second win in two games after Aaron Mooy’s beautiful curled finish was enough to secure a a 1-0 win over Newcastle

3.29pm BST

And with that, I’m out. Direct your attention instead to Wembley, where Chelsea are playing Tottenham and Jacob Steinberg will take you through it.

3.27pm BST

Worrying times for Newcastle, though. They look woefully underprepared for the season ahead, and they need some new arrivals pretty badly if they’re to do anything at all this season.

3.24pm BST

What a wonderful start to the season for Huddersfield. Two wins in a row, this one gained against a Newcastle side who should be very worried. David Wagner’s side have already got about 15% of the points they’ll need to stay up.

3.21pm BST


3.20pm BST

90 mins + 3: Manquillo jabs in a cross from the right, Joselu tries a spinning, half-overhead kick thing, but it loops up in the air and harmlessly through to Lossl.

3.18pm BST

90 mins + 2: A change for Huddersfield: Ince is off, and Michael Hefele is on.

3.18pm BST

90 mins: Four minutes added time. Another odd booking, as Lascelles goes into the book. One of those where he went up for a header, an arm was vaguely near his opponent and is thus deemed against the rules.

3.16pm BST

89 mins: A shot! Seems like it’s the first in ages, as a knock-down falls to Joselu, but his first-time volley bobbles and skips towards the goalkeeper with little real danger.

3.15pm BST

87 mins: Another rather harsh booking: Mounie goes up for a header with Clark, neither win it and after a collision, the Huddersfield man gets a yellow card.

3.12pm BST

85 mins: Dreadful stuff from Diame, who stupidly, carelessly gives the ball away in midfield for Mooy, who sets Quaner down the right. His cross is blocked and goes out, but at this stage Huddersfield will take the corner.

3.09pm BST

81 mins: A classic piece of Good Defending/Bad Defending from Lowe. He gets too close to Murphy, who thus spins him and has a run on goal, but Lowe’s recovering challenge is superb, blocking the goalbound effort.

3.06pm BST

79 mins: Nice visuals…

14 – Aaron Mooy’s opener featured the most passes in the build-up of any goal scored in the @premierleague so far this season. Style.

3.04pm BST

77 mins: Booking for Palmer: a bit high, on Lascelles, but it was one of those challenges where he went to block a clearance, and the opposition player caught his leg on the follow-through.

3.02pm BST

75 mins: Ince pulls Manquillo’s pants down again, but his cross is cleared by Clark. Meanwhile, a change for Newcastle as Mo Diame comes on for Hayden.

3.01pm BST

74 mins: Huddersfield corner from the right. The cross is into a thicket of bodies, but it strikes Palmer, who didn’t know much about it, and it dribbles through to the keeper.

3.00pm BST

73 mins: Smart work from Billings and Ince down the left, some nice passes setting the former away, but his ambitious cross behind the Newcastle defence and aimed at the back post doesn’t reach its target.

2.57pm BST

71 mins: And another: Kachunga goes off, and Kasey Palmer comes on.

2.56pm BST

69 mins: Sub for Huddersfield: Colin Quaner replaces Van La Parra.

2.56pm BST

68 mins: A bit more from Newcastle now: Atsu and Joselu exchange passes very nicely, and the latter jabs a shot towards goal that Lossl paws around the post. And from that corner, the ball falls to Perez on the edge of the six-yard box, he hits a shot on the spin but blazes it over. A big chance missed.

2.53pm BST

66 mins: Another booking: Billings gets a yellow for a relatively innocuous pull back and challenge on Atsu. Soft.

2.51pm BST

64 mins: Booking for Joselu: he goes to close down Lossl, but leaves a foot in and thus gets a yellow. The Huddersfield keeper requires some treatment, but looks like he’ll be OK.

2.50pm BST

63 mins: And another. Merino pings a great long pass to Manquillo dashing behind the Huddersfield defence, he tries a volleyed cross but it’s easily cut out.

2.48pm BST

61 mins: A Newcastle attack! Well, after a fashion. Manquillo gets down the right, his cross is deflected and loops up, but Ritchie can’t direct a half-volley on target.

2.45pm BST

59 mins: It was on the cards…

2 – Two of Aaron Mooy’s five league goals for Huddersfield have come against Newcastle (both at the John Smith’s Stadium). Rasper.

2.44pm BST

56 mins: Elliot punches a corner clear and Newcastle try to mount a counter, which they do through Perez and Atsu. A crossfield pass is aimed towards Joselu, but the man who took the original corner dashes back to make the tackle. Great stuff from Mooy.

2.40pm BST

53 mins: Another booking: Hayden wraps two of his legs around one of Billings’s, and of course receives a yellow for his crimes.

2.38pm BST

52 mins: Change for Newcastle: the broadly anonymous Gayle is off, and Joselu is on for his debut.

2.37pm BST

50 mins: Mooy drives towards the box from the left, plays a one-two with Kachunga on the edge then curls a beautiful shot into the far corner. Elliot had no chance, and he might politely enquire as to why his defenders weren’t more enthusiastic about their closing down duties.

2.36pm BST

Lovely, lovely strike.

2.34pm BST

47 mins: Smith overruns the ball, Mbemba collects but the Huddersfield man goes in for a challenge that, if he’d connected, might have taken Mbemba’s shins off.

2.33pm BST

46 mins: We’re away.

2.31pm BST

The players are back, they are prepared. No changes at half-time.

2.17pm BST

The half started pretty well, but petered out a bit. Huddersfield have been the better team, but Newcastle have had the best chance, when Lossl produced that brilliant diving save to keep out Ritchie’s effort.

2.17pm BST


2.16pm BST

45 mins: Huddersfield almost strike right at the end of the half. Kachunga dispossesses a dithering Merino, slips a pass through to Mounie but Mbemba does well to snake out a leg and stick it behind for a corner.

2.15pm BST

43 mins: Gone a bit quiet, oddly. The sounds of two demanding managers, admittedly with the help of a sound-effects mic, is the loudest thing audible.

2.12pm BST

41 mins: Super japes as Lossl goes walkabout, finding himself way outside his box, and gets away with a scuffed clearance. Then Ritchie goes in with studs raised on Mooy, and for some reason looks surprised when he’s given a yellow card.

2.10pm BST

38 mins: Hayden finds himself on the right and crosses into Billings’s shins, and it goes out for a corn…no, wait, hang on, a goal-kick is given. Maverick stuff from the lino who was five yards away.

2.06pm BST

35 mins: Penalty shout for Newcastle: Atsu gets down the right, crosses low to Gayle at the near-post but Schindler gets there first. Gayle goes down with no little flamboyance, claiming the foul, but nothing given, and probably rightly.

2.05pm BST

34 mins: Van La Parra fouls Manquillo from behind then kicks the ball away when the free-kick is given. Feels like ref Pawson is making a deliberate effort not to book players, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

2.03pm BST

32 mins: Huddersfield are peppering the Newcastle box with crosses, looking for Mounie in the middle. They’ve been mostly dealt with so far, but sooner or later one will get through.

2.02pm BST

31 mins: Hayden gets a talking to and almost a booking for a lateish, sliding foul on Mooy. Meaty, but apparently not worthy of punishment.

2.00pm BST

30 mins: Free-kick for Newcastle on the left. As everyone gathers in the middle/towards the back stick, Ritchie smartly puts it low to the near, but Perez takes a swing at it and misses.

1.58pm BST

27 mins: Big shout for a handball from the Newcastle fans, but it was enormously optimistic: a cross to the back post dropped over Lowe to Atsu, who headed it into Lowe’s back. It might have gone close to hitting the upper part of his arm, but even if he did he was facing the other way.

1.57pm BST

25 mins: Rafa is looking more and more agitated on the touchline. Given the revelation this week that he corrects the grammar on birthday cards, you can understand why.

1.53pm BST

22 mins: Brilliant closing down by Mounie, blocking a lax cross by Manquillo and collecting the ball at the byline. He cuts it back to Ince but the first touch was iffy, and a poor touch sends it back to Mounie, who is offside.

1.51pm BST

20 mins: Mooy in-swings the corner from the left, Elliot comes out but flaps at the ball and Mounie is inches from getting his head on the ball. Would’ve been the opener had he managed a touch, there.

1.50pm BST

19 mins: Van La Parra lollipops his way towards Manquillo, who smuggles the ball out for a corner. Good game so far, this.

1.47pm BST

16 mins: What a save! Ritchie cuts in from the left, shoots with his right and it’s heading for the bottom corner before Lossl’s fingertips intervene to tip it just round the post.

1.46pm BST

15 mins: Not a brilliant minute or so for Atsu, who makes a mess of a pass near his own box, it falls to Ince who shoots with a decent amount of power, but straight at the keeper.

1.45pm BST

14 mins: Not much doing for Newcastle as yet: Manquillo takes a throw to Atsu, who just puts it straight out of play. Rafa’s not happy, and rightly so.

1.42pm BST

11 mins: Free-kick for Huddersfield out on the right. Mooy steps up, it’s half-cleared a couple of times then the Australian feeds Kachunga on the right. He clips it into the box, looking for Mounie, but Mbemba makes a vital headed intervention.

1.38pm BST

8 mins: A swift counter-attack is lead by Ince, which results in a corner. That finds its way out to Smith, who tries a shot from downtown but it goes way astray.

1.37pm BST

6 mins: Painful one for Hayden: Mounie goes in for a challenge with the Newcastle midfielder, who wins it on the ground, but the Huddersfield striker comes down on his thigh and belly with his studs. It looked accidental – Mounie was looking the other way, didn’t seem to realise how close his opponent was, but painful all the same.

1.35pm BST

4 mins: First effort by Huddersfield. Lowe gets down the left, skims a low cross into the middle, it makes its way out to Mooy about 25 yards out and he shoots, but it’s low and without much power, and Elliot makes a relatively straightforward save. Mbemba is fine, by the way: only a smidge of blood.

1.34pm BST

3 mins: Blood has been spilled: Mbemba, who is surprisingly at left-back with Clark in the middle, goes for a header with Kachunga. Or rather, Mbemba went for the header, Kachunga went for a chest-high flick with his right size ten, and caught the Newcastle defender in the temple.

1.32pm BST

2 mins: Early chance for Newcastle as Schindler can’t quite cut out a Gayle through pass, it deflects into the path of Perez but his shot is blocked by Zanka.

1.31pm BST

1 min: Premier League football in Huddersfield is underway.

1.29pm BST

The teams are out, we’ve got some teams, we’re about to get some football.

1.29pm BST

Plug plug plug…

@NickMiller79 Speaking of the old First Division your colleague Scott Murray’s new book about it is quite brilliant:

1.16pm BST

Without wishing to get Newcastle’s excuses in early, it should be noted they are without quite a few players: Yedlin (hamstring), Dummett (hamstring), Lejeune (ankle), Shelvey (being a dope), new signings (Ashley). Joselu is there on the bench though, as is human battering ram Alexander Mitrovic.

12.48pm BST

Having a bad day? Not compared to this guy…

Epic moment last night in Romania. 96th minute. Newly promoted Juventus have a chance to get a point vs Steaua. Then this happens.via: Dolce

12.37pm BST

Lossl; Smith, Schindler, Zanka, Lowe; Mooy, Billing; Kachunga, Ince, Van La Parra; Mounie. Subs: Coleman, Malone, Lolley, Williams, Quaner, Hefele, Palmer.

11.09am BST

April 22, 1972 was the last time Huddersfield Town played a home game in the top flight. That day, at Leeds Road, they lost 1-0 to Wolves, a defeat that all-but sealed their relegation from the First Division, a single goal scored by Steve Daley for a side who were half-distracted by the upcoming UEFA Cup final against Tottenham, enough to send Huddersfield to the Second Division. In truth it was a small miracle they lasted that long: Town won six league games that season, the last of which came on November 27. They scored only six goals in 1972 and only really survived until the last weeks because of eight post-Christmas draws, which in the days of two points for a win was just enough to keep them in touch.

In the Guardian, Alan Dunn wrote:

Remembering the fresh, green day two years ago when Huddersfield Town entered the First Division the contrast last Saturday, when they effectively bade farewell and prepared to start all over again, was bleak and chill indeed. The weather added its own cold touch, a harsh wind and occasional sharp rain helping to keep the crowd at Leeds Road down to 11,677, in itself an indication of the problems that pursue a struggling club: falling gates chasing falling performances in the familiar, maddening spiral.

9.41pm BST

Nick will be here shortly. Newcastle travel to West Yorkshire on the back of an opening defeat to Spurs, and with Rafa Benítez unhappy with the club’s transfer business:

Rafael Benítez has indicated that Mike Ashley’s summer transfer market blueprint is now significantly less ambitious than it appeared when the two men last met in May.

“He knows what he told me and what I was thinking,” said Newcastle United’s manager, who has not spoken to the club’s owner since that rare get-together and finds himself forced to embrace a new-found minimalism when it comes to refurnishing his squad.

Continue reading…

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Aug 15

Transfer system isn’t perfect but Premier League plans don’t make sense | Nick Miller

Premier League clubs are considering closing the transfer window before the season starts but the idea feels like a halfway house that could create more problems

The news that Premier League clubs are considering closing the transfer window before the season starts is not a particular surprise. Complaints from virtually everyone in the game have been long-standing, that transfer business dragging on alongside actual football provides too much of a distraction as rumours fly, agents scheme and players sulk.

Philippe Coutinho’s current situation is the most prominent recent example: a back injury is the official reason for his current unavailability, but due to Barcelona looming with an enormous pile of cash, one imagines he won’t play for Liverpool until September, assuming he isn’t sold before. That’s five matches, including two legs of a Champions League play-off and a game against Arsenal. Not ideal.

Related: Premier League clubs to discuss shorter transfer window for the summer

Continue reading…

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Aug 02

Gary Rowett: ‘We’re trying to take away feeling we’ve a right to be up there because we’re Derby’

Manager intends to change the club’s mind-set, reduce the squad and follow the model that worked for Huddersfield in gaining promotion to the Premier League

As Gary Rowett wanders across a pitch at Derby County’s training ground attention briefly turns to the grass. The perfect turf barely has a wrinkle, a completely flat field made from a mixture of synthetic and real grass. Another pitch on the other side of the car park is set out to mimic the dimensions of the one at Pride Park. Back inside, down the corridor from Rowett’s office, he sticks his head into a room housing a phalanx of medical staff – physios, masseurs, a chiropodist – helping any player hanging around after training to deal with whatever ailment troubles them.

All of this is not unusual at a Premier League club but in the Championship, the division Derby have been in since 2008, the training complex stands out as exceptional. It emphasises the point that Derby are essentially a Premier League club in theory but not practice.

Related: Spotter’s guide: 20 things to look out for in the new Football League season

I got the feeling with Will Hughes that he felt he needed a new challenge

Related: Transfer window 2017 – every deal in Europe’s top five leagues

Continue reading…

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Apr 23

Aston Villa 1-0 Birmingham City: Championship – as it happened

Substitute Gabby Agbonlahor scored the only goal as Aston Villa beat Birmingham City 1-0 in Harry Redknapp’s first game as Blues manager

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And with that, we bid you farewell. Pete Lansley will have a match report for you in short order. Cheers!

Related: Harry Redknapp’s Birmingham undone by Aston Villa’s Gabriel Agbonlahor

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Lovely work by Agbonlahor to come on, start a fight, get booked and then score his first goal in 14 months to win the game. He’s earned his money and no mistake.

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Oh Harry. Birmingham remain in serious trouble, two points above the relegation zone with two games to go. Redknapp reckoned Birmingham would need four points to survive, so now he’s only got two games to get them.

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90 mins: A free-kick is half-cleared to Stewart, who shoots but it goes well wide. Keita is on for Kieftenbeld.

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87 mins: Stewart whips a cross over, Davis tries to get a flicked header but doesn’t get enough on it, and Hutton clears.

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Terrific challenge by the steward here.

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85 mins: Now Birmingham make a change, as Greg Stewart is on for Maghoma.

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84 mins: “Bruce sends on yet another midfielder,” reports Pete Lansley from Villa Park. “Hourihane replacing Hogan who looks about as happy as most Blues fans right now. At least that’s relieved Gabby of his self-imposed need to fill in at left-wing-back.”

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80 mins: Villa fans sing “You’re getting sacked in the morning,” to Redknapp. Banter is alive and well in the second city.

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79 mins: Adams is fouled just outside the area, to the right. Free-kick in a spicy place for Blues. Maghoma crosses, but it’s headed away by Jedinak.

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75 mins: Meanwhile, Gary Gardner is on, replacing Adomah. His brother Craig is of course in the Birmingham team, and I think this is the first time the two will ever have faced each other in professional football.

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74 mins: Birmingham trying to get back into the game, and Maghoma shoots from just inside the box but it’s blocked. Jutkiewicz tries to collect the loose ball, but he’s crowded out by some defenders.

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72 mins: Adam Griffiths, Despondent of the Holte End just after half-time, has perked up a bit: “This might have been worth leaving the house for after all. Yay!”

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70 mins: That’s Agbonlahor’s first goal since February last year.

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69 mins: Well, he’s made an impact. He’s already been involved in a scrap, and now he’s broken the deadlock. Agbonlahor was in the midst of a goalmouth scramble, all the while seemingly wrestling with a defender, and after a few headers bounce around he manages to stab the ball home from just inside the six-yard box. A chap gets so excited that he removes his shirt and dashes onto the pitch, wrestled away by a steward.

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What a few minutes for the sub!

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65 mins: Hey, we’re cooking now. Davis shoots low from inside the area but Johnstone gets fingertips to it and keeps the effort out.

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63 mins: Lansbury puts a free-kick into the box, but Chester heads it over. Villa’s first proper chance of the game?

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62 mins: Agbonlahor makes an immediate impact: after a bit of a scuffle in the corner with Ryan Shotton, he’s booked, along with his combatant. “Gabby is so pumped up,” says Pete Lansley. “Already shown fists in fun to the Blues fans, now exchanging fisticuffs with Shotton, who pulled him over.”

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61 mins: Just before that substitution there was a brief flare-up, as Davis and Hutton got themselves involved in a minor square-go. Anything to get a little bit of excitement into this game, I guess.

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59 mins: And here is Agbonlahor, who replaces Grealish.

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56 mins: Guardian man Pete Lansley brings news of an impending change: “Looks like it’s time for Gabby Agbonlahor. Long-time scourge of the Blues, and Villa need some inspiration up top. No11, out for three months with a hamstring, is getting his final instructions and the home crowd are chanting his name.”

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53 mins: Lansbury hoys a pass out of play. Sounds like most of the Villa fans would rather have been doing something else this afternoon, not just our friend Adam.

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51 mins: Gardner attempts a shot from a free-kick, but that goes straight into the wall.

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50 mins: Adam Griffiths sounds like he would rather have been doing something else this afternoon. “Greetings from the Holte End,” he writes. “This isn’t very good at all; no shots on target, no bookings, one up front against a defence containing 97 year old Paul Robinson. No flair, no pace. It’s so bad that a) I’m emailing you for want of entertainment on the pitch and b) I’d bring on Gabby just for the hell of it. I’m not at all sure this was worth leaving the house for this morning.”

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49 mins: Should have mentioned earlier, but Jutkiewicz is out there, having seemingly shaken off whatever problem that caused him to have treatment on the pitch at half-time.

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48 mins: Look who’s in the crowd, disguised as a skateboarder.

#AVFC 0-0 #BCFC – MATCH PIC: Great to see you here, Marc, supporting the lads! #AVLBIR

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46 mins: And, much like the meat tray in the reduced aisle of Lidl, we are off. “No subs; good sarnies,” says our man at the ground, Pete Lansley.

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Well, it’s not been a classic encounter. Birmingham have, by common consensus, been slightly the better team, but that’s not saying a great deal. A possible concern for them was Jutkiewicz sitting down in the centre circle at the break, and he received some treatment before limping off down the tunnel.

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43 mins: Hutton gets a telling off from the referee for a heavy ol’ challenge on Maghoma, but that’s all. No bookings so far for either side.

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42 mins: Villa on the attack – Grealish crosses for Hogan, his header is blocked and the ball breaks to Bacuna, and he skims a low shot towards goal but it flashes across and wide.

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38 mins: Big chance missed for Birmingham – Jutkiewicz crosses for Adams, who has a clear shot at goal from about 12 yards out, but he sidefoots the ball over. Clearest chance of the game so far.

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36 mins: Well exactly, Harry.

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33 mins: More poor delivery, as Maghoma attempts a cross that is cut out before it can even get close to any danger.

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31 mins: Jutkiewicz has a chance to shoot but Taylor gets there to nip that one in the bud.

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28 mins: Still nothing much of note in either penalty area. Fair bit of bluster, Bruce was briefly unhappy with a couple of robust challenges on his players from Nsue and Adams, but not much else to report.

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24 mins: Grealish, spritely again, looks for Lansbury in the area, but it’s headed clear by Robinson. That, incidentally, is defender Paul Robinson, who is only 38.

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22 mins: Here he is. Back, back, back.

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20 mins: Grealish is back up. Apologies for alarming you, Villa fans.

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19 mins: Problems for Villa – the ball is kicked out so Jack Grealish can receive treatment for what could be a hamstring twang.

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Always enjoyable when this happens…

17 – Adams grabs the ball as he thinks he’s fouled but the referee gives Villa the free-kick. Good start. 0-0 #bluesLIVE

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18 mins: Bacuna is fed by Taylor down the left, he clips it into the box towards Hogan and Adomah, to which the former gets a head on the ball but it goes well wide.

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16 mins: Jedinak has ripped his shirt. Saucy. He now has a fresh, in-one-piece effort on his back.

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14 mins: Not many opportunities at either end. That Jutkiewicz chance, that he couldn’t quite reach, is probably the best either side has managed.

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11 mins: Gardner curls over a cross, but it’s just too far in front of Jutkiewicz, and Birmingham’s chance is gone.

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9 mins: More predictability, as Mile Jedinak goes in strongly on Kieftenbeld. No booking, but that may well have just been the ref trying to keep a lid on things early doors.

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6 mins: Rapid start, which was predictable. Villa have been on top so far but there’s been little pattern to the game.

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3 mins: Gardner takes a corner for Blues, and as you might imagine gets a rather spicy reception from the home crowd.

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1 min: And we’re away.

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“They don’t need knocking at this stage,” says Redknapp about his Birmingham players, saying he’s been broadly trying the positive reinforcement route in his brief time in charge thus far. Which is probably pretty much all he can do.

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This taxi picking up villa and blues fans outside grand central this morning

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“He’s a really good football man,” continues Brucey.

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“He’ll try to breathe a bit of confidence in them,” says Steve Bruce of HJ Redknapp. He’ll bloody have to.

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Aston Villa: Johnstone, Hutton, Chester, Baker, Taylor, Jedinak, Lansbury, Bacuna, Adomah, Hogan, Grealish. Subs: Bunn, Elphick, Agbonlahor, Hourihane, Bree, Gardner, Amavi.

Birmingham: Kuszczak, Nsue, Shotton, Robinson, Grounds, Maghoma, Kieftenbeld, Gardner, Davis, Adams, Jutkiewicz. Subs: Legadins, Tesche, Gleeson, Stewart, Dacres-Cogley, Bielik, Keita.

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Proper football men. Two of them. Proper, proper, proper football men. Is this the most proper football man game of all time? Steve Bruce has already been in the Midlands for a little while, propering up the football in Birmingham, and now he’s joined in his proper crusade by Harry Redknapp. Proper.

Today though, the two men have rather different goals. One is merely keeping his team on the straight and narrow, at least trying to make sure that nothing silly happens in the remainder of the season and basically keeping his players awake until summer comes, while the other is down in the muck and nettles, given one month and three games to save his new team from the merciless hell of relegation from the Championship. It’s tricky to tell if Redknapp’s job is made easier or worse by the short time period available: will he have insufficient chance to get his ideas across on the training ground, or will Birmingham be able to ride the usually short-lived ‘new manager bounce’ all the way to safety, relegation avoided by Redknapp simply not being Gianfranco Zola?

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Apr 21

Manchester United draw Celta Vigo in the Europa League semi-final

  • Manchester United have been drawn to face Celta Vigo in the semi-final of the Europa League, with Ajax facing Lyon in the other tie

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Manchester United have been drawn to face Celta Vigo in the semi-final of the Europa League, with Ajax facing Lyon in the other tie.

United reached the semi-finals by beating Anderlecht 3-2 on aggregate, with Marcus Rashford hitting an extra-time winner on Thursday night. Celta beat RC Genk after securing a 1-1 draw in Belgium, which meant they went through 3-2 on aggregate.

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So there you go. Following in the footsteps of fellow Manc Steve Coogan, United will be taking a trip to Spain. The first leg will be on May 4, with the second on May 11.

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Step forward Iago!

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But who will United play!????!!!!!??

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The first team out is…Ajax.

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Here we go…

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The man doing the draw for this one is…Patrick Andersson, ex of Bayern Munich and of course a Swedish man. The final will be in Stockholm this year, in case you hadn’t joined the dots.

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Quick reminder that if United draw Celta, we could be in for the prospect of Iago Aspas taking a corner in England once again.

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The mayor of Stockholm is on stage. She might be a robot. Reports unconfirmed so far.

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Here we go again. Pedro Pinto sashays his way onto the stage in the UEFA lecture theatre. Hopefully the representatives from the clubs aren’t flicking ink at each other.

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Quick reminder that this tournament does appear to now be Jose Mourinho’s priority. From a couple of weeks ago:

I just want to think that against Everton we are going to do what we tried to do [against West Brom], to try to play with our best team and try to win the match,” Mourinho said. “And after Everton we go to Sunderland with the same perspective, and then after Sunderland the Europa League comes and I don’t know. Then, it’s possible that you see me play in the Premier League with a team where I’m going to protect the players that I consider fundamental for the Europa League. But only, only if the results in the next matches put us in a situation where mathematically, it becomes almost impossible to do it.”

Related: José Mourinho may sideline league if Manchester United fail to improve

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Here’s how United have reached this stage of the competition, by beating Anderlecht last night, although not without some cost…

Related: Marcus Rashford’s extra-time winner takes Manchester United through

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Hello there. Look at you, back here for more. A quick reminder of the teams left in this Europa League draw.

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