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» Saturday 22nd Jul 2017 - 11:07pm

» Shakespeare makes Mahrez claim
Craig Shakespeare has not ruled out the possibility of Riyad Mahrez staying with Leicester beyond this summer transfer window. The Foxes boss was speaking on the Algeria international winger's future following his side's 2-1 defeat against Liverpool in the final of the Asia Trophy in Hong Kong on Saturday. Shakespeare, who felt the trip to participate in the pre-season tournament was a "positive" exercise, issued an update on the future of Mahrez. Despite the 2015-16 Player of the Year being the subject of a failed £20million bid from Roma during the week, Mahrez got 55 minutes under his belt as Liverpool came back from falling behind to an Islam Slimani goal to claim the silverware. And Shakespeare told the Mercury: "I think ever since he has been here he has been involved in a lot. "What you read into it is that he is a good player. If we can find him and give him the time to express himself within the frame work, which is important, you will always see players of his ilk express themselves, as they had players who did that as well. "And unless we get a suitable bid then he stays. He has a contract, it is as simple as that."
» City set for double swoop
Manchester City are set to add the signing of Real Madrid right-back Danilo to the imminent arrival of Monaco's Benjamin Mendy. City are set to make Mendy the world's most expensive defender at around £52million while reports on Saturday evening have revealed a swoop for Brazilian full-back Danilo is also close. City are in the United States on their pre-season tour and will face Real Madrid in Los Angeles on Wednesday which is likely to be the ideal time for that deal to be wrapped up. The club appear ready to continue their lavish spending on a back line that already contains Kyle Walker, who came in for an initial £45million from Tottenham this summer, and last year's £47.5million arrival John Stones. Pep Guardiola has also drafted Portuguese goalkeeper Ederson (£35million), Douglas Luiz (£10million) and Mendy's former Monaco team-mate, Bernardo Silva, for £43million. Should Mendy and Danilo both check into the Etihad Stadium, City's spending since their third-placed Premier League finish last season would move beyond £200million. Since the end of the campaign, the club have allowed ageing full-backs Pablo Zabaleta, Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy to move on, with Aleksandar Kolarov set to head to Roma in the coming days.
» Hitman departs Potters
Stoke City have sold striker Marko Arnautovic to Premier League rivals West Ham for a club-record fee of up to £25million. The 28-year-old Austria international has agreed a five-year deal with the Hammers, who will pay a guaranteed £20million with a further £5million payable on a conditional basis. The forward, who joins Joe Hart and Pablo Zabaleta in signing for Slaven Bilic's side this summer, told www.whufc.com: "It feels special to me to be a West Ham player. Everyone knows that West Ham is a big club, with big history and I'm happy to be a part of it now. I can't wait to get started. "I can only say it is a massive club with a lot of fans. They are crazy for football and this is what I like. The club is still growing, getting better and better and that's why I'm here." On the departure of Arnautovic, who joined the Stoke from Werder Bremen in 2013, scoring 26 goals in 145 appearances for the club, the Potters said in a brief statement: "The club would like to take this opportunity to thank Marko for his efforts and wish him well for the future." Potters boss Mark Hughes has already let veterans Jon Walters and Glenn Whelan leave in pre-season, adding Darren Fletcher, Josh Tymon and Chelsea loanee Kurt Zouma.
» Arnautovic seals Hammers move
West Ham have signed Marko Arnautovic for a club-record fee from Premier League rivals Stoke. The 28-year-old Austria international has agreed a five-year deal with the Hammers for a fee thought to be slightly more than the £20.5million they paid Swansea for Andre Ayew last year. The forward, who joins Joe Hart and Pablo Zabaleta in signing for Slaven Bilic's side this summer, told www.whufc.com: "It feels special to me to be a West Ham player. Everyone knows that West Ham is a big club, with big history, and I'm happy to be a part of it now. I can't wait to get started." He added: "I played against West Ham at the old stadium - I didn't play last year at the new stadium because I was suspended - but I came to the game and I can only say it is a massive club with a lot of fans. "They are crazy for football and this is what I like. The club is still growing, getting better and better, and that's why I'm here." Joint-chairman David Sulllivan added: "We’re delighted to have completed Marko’s transfer from Stoke City. "Alongside Pablo Zabaleta and Joe Hart we have brought in three players with vast Premier League experience this summer, and that was one of our key targets as we look ahead to the new season. "Marko will bring plenty of quality to our front line and I’m excited to see him in a claret and blue shirt."
» Conte hopeful over Pedro knock
Antonio Conte is confident Pedro will join Chelsea on the next leg of their pre-season tour after suffering suspected concussion. The 29-year-old Spain international left the pitch midway through the first half of the 3-0 friendly victory over Arsenal at Beijing's Bird's Nest Stadium after a heavy collision with goalkeeper David Ospina. But Conte is hopeful Pedro may travel with the club for Tuesday's clash with Bayern Munich at Singapore's National Stadium. He told chelseafc.com: "Pedro went to the hospital and for sure he should be okay but I think he had concussion. For this reason, our doctor preferred to take him to the hospital and check him in the right way. "It is a pity because in this period it is not good to have this type of injury, but he should be okay. I am very happy for this. "For sure he stays here (in Beijing) and then if the situation is okay he will come tomorrow to Singapore." Michy Batshuayi was on target in each half as Chelsea saw off their Premier League rivals after Willian opening the scoring in China. The Blues boss reserved praise for his two-goal striker, who moved to Stamford Bridge from Marseille last summer. Conte added: "Last season it was a difficult season for Michy but don't forget he scored a very important goal to give us the title. After one year he is working very well and he is improving. "For me the striker is very important, he is a point of reference. It is good to have this type of start but we have to continue to work a lot to improve on the physical and tactical aspect. "Pre-season is very important. We must be happy for the commitment of the players and with our football."
» Old boy eyes Barkley reunion
Gerard Deulofeu has reportedly urged his new club Barcelona to sign midfielder Ross Barkley from former club Everton. The 23-year-old Spanish winger rejoined the Catalan giants at the end of last month in a deal believed to be worth around £10.5million. And as the future of England international forward Barkley remains up in the air, reports in Spain are claiming that Deulofeu has asked the Barca's sporting director Robert Fernandez to consider taking him to the Camp Nou. Barkley is now in the final year of his current contract at Goodison Park and has been heavily linked with moves to the likes of Manchester United and Tottenham. Toffees boss Ronald Koeman has already added Davy Klaassen and Wayne Rooney to his midfield and attacking options while he remains interested in Swansea playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson. If the Dutchman manages to pull off that deal, Barkley will almost certainly depart and it remains to be seen if Barca will take heed of Deulofeu's advice and make a move.
» Zaha treatment irks De Boer
Frank de Boer has accused West Brom's players of trying to injure Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha in Saturday's 2-0 Asia Trophy win. The Eagles chief was happy with the side's performance as they bounced back from the midweek defeat against Liverpool to defeat the Baggies in the third-place play-off in Hong Kong, courtesy of a Luka Milivojevic free-kick and a deflected Bakary Sako shot. However, De Boer was concerned at the way the opposition players appeared to be going in with some unacceptable challenges in his opinion. The Dutchman said: "For me if you want to sell the Premier League here and the beauty of the game, I saw some signs of wanting to bring the beauty of the game here and the beauty of the game is not those kind of challenges. "Of course when it’s a fair challenge for me it’s not a problem, but for example for Zaha they were really looking for him, to injure him and we can’t accept that. "No manager can accept that. "He’s one if the exciting players of the Premier League. I don’t want to think that he’s out for a couple of weeks or months." De Boer added: "There were some where they really went for the ball. I had a feeling that they were going more for the legs than the ball at that moment. "You know it’s hard but still it’s pre-season and every manager wants his players fit to start the league. "Everybody has their own opinion and I think a lot of times it was fair, but there were some challenges that I think there was some doubt about."
» No Gibbs swoop planned - Pulis
Tony Pulis has dismissed speculation linking West Brom with a swoop to sign Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs in this transfer window. The Baggies boss spoke out on the club's plans this summer following Saturday's 2-0 defeat to Crystal Palace in the Premier League Asia Trophy in Hong Kong. Recent reports claimed Arsenal rejected a £10million bid from Albion for Gibbs, who has not travelled with the rest of the Gunners squad for their pre-season tour to Australia and China. While Pulis revealed that work is going on to try and bring in a couple of new faces, Gibbs is not one of his targets. "We won't be signing Kieran Gibbs," the Welsh tactician told Sky Sports. "We have to look for players that fit what we want to do and the way we want to play. "We have three or four other targets we are desperate for. We are juggling with two at the moment and that's not Gibbs. "Hopefully by the time we get back home we will have done those two."
» Randolph departs Hammers
Middlesbrough have signed Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Darren Randolph from West Ham on a four-year deal. Boro have paid in the region of £5million to the Hammers for the 30-year-old, who lost his place to Adrian in Slaven Bilic's first-team plans towards the end of last season. England number one Joe Hart's subsequent arrival at the London Stadium this summer pushed Randolph further down the pecking order, so he is pleased to get an opportunity for regular action in the Championship next term. "I am delighted to get it all signed and completed," he told Boro's official website. "I want to come here and get the club back to where it belongs and I want to be part of something special." Randolph becomes Garry Monk's sixth signing as the new manager bids to take Boro back to the Premier League after relegation. Jonny Howson, Cyrus Christie, Martin Braithwaite, Britt Assombalonga and Connor Roberts have already made the move.
» Eriksen won't leave 'special' Spurs
Christian Eriksen has insisted "playing for Spurs is special" as he dismissed speculation linking him with a summer departure. The 25-year-old Denmark international midfielder, who moved to White Hart Lane from Ajax in summer 2013 for a fee in the region of £11million, enjoyed an impressive season last term, with 12 goals and 17 assists. Eriksen's form had seen him linked with a possible move to Barcelona but the player is adamant he has no desire to leave because he is confident Mauricio Pochettino's side are moving closer to winning honours. When asked about his time at Tottenham, he said: "I like living in London. I wouldn’t have extended my contract if I didn’t. Even now you always see something new when you go into London, little shops popping up. "Playing for Spurs is special. I was saying to my girlfriend on holiday that I’d just realised it is going to be my fifth season here and it’s gone so quick. "The first season with the new manager was different but the last three has been the same people, same staff. "We as a team are very young and everyone has a long contract, no-one has to go away, they are happy where they are. Of course it's something we can improve and help on because when you are young you learn and that's what we are doing now." On the club's chances of winning some silverware, Eriksen added: "I think everyone felt that last season that we were on the right road but Chelsea was just winning all those games 1-0. "Yes of course we have the feeling something special is on the way. "Hopefully we can turn it around from last season and keep that same feeling as well to get the season started and be in a good shape straight away."
» Foxes chief issues City raid update
Vice chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha has confirmed that Manchester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho is set to join Leicester "soon". The 20-year-old Nigeria international hitman has been left frustrated after a reported legal wrangle between his current and former agents has resulted in a £25million move to the King Power Stadium being in limbo this past week. Iheanacho has not travelled with the City squad on their pre-season tour to the United States, with boss Pep Guardiola claiming on Thursday that he is close to moving to the 2015-16 Premier League champions in a deal which also includes buy-back option. Srivaddhanaprabha has now broken the Foxes' silence on the deal by claiming they working on a swoop as they look to secure a top-half finish this coming season. "Yes, we have interest in him," he said. "But we have to wait for Manchester City's stance on this as they are still in their pre-season as well. If it happens, it will be soon. "Leicester City's transfer market is not over yet. We just signed three players and there will be at least one more. "We aim for a top-10 position this season. If we start well in the first half of the season then we will also expand our focus to cup competitions."
» Turan snub boosts Reds
Liverpool's hopes of keeping Philippe Coutinho have been boosted by Arda Turan snubbing the chance to be part of Barcelona's new bid. The Catalan giants have been heavily linked with a swoop for the 25-year-old Brazilian playmaker this summer but Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has so far managed to keep his star man at Anfield. Coutinho is currently with the squad in Hong Kong for the Asia Trophy and remains a big part of the club's plans looking ahead to the new Premier League campaign. However, Barca have been plotting a fresh bid, having already been rebuffed with an offer in the region of £70million. There have been reports of an improved bid which would include Turkey international Turan as part of the deal. However, the 30-year-old has insisted he does not want to move to England and will happily stay at the Camp Nou to fight for his place under new coach Ernesto Valverde. It means Barca officials will have to go back to the drawing board and boosts Liverpool's hopes of ensuring Coutinho is still one of their players after deadline day.
» Giroud vital to Arsenal - Pires
Arsenal legend Robert Pires claims the Gunners need to keep hold of Olivier Giroud if they want to win the Premier League title. The arrival of Alexandre Lacazette at the club throws further doubt on the Arsenal future of his France international team-mate Giroud. The striker has been linked with a move away from the Emirates Stadium, with both Everton and West Ham reportedly keen. Boss Arsene Wenger now has plenty of attacking options but Pires, talking at the Star Sixes competition at London's O2 Arena, reckons he should keep hold of Giroud. "I know Olivier Giroud is a big professional, he is competitive of course but the situation is not the same because Arsenal spent a lot of money on Lacazette," he said. "I believe in Giroud because he loves to fight, fight the good fight and not for himself, but for the team. If you want to win the title you need everybody and Arsenal need Olivier Giroud." The French connection running through the side at Arsenal could be further strengthened by the time the new season starts. Wenger is admittedly keen on adding Monaco winger Thomas Lemar to his ranks - a suggestion that excites Pires. "I love Lemar. I think he is one of the best French players," he added. "He played very well last season with Monaco in the Champions League. He is a young player with good technique, a good left foot, he can do a good cross and score good goals. For me, yes, he has a very good profile to play for Arsenal."
» Defender happy to stay at United
Matteo Darmian insists he is happy at Manchester United despite reports linking the full-back with a summer return to Italy. Two years ago he took the plunge by leaving his homeland for the first time in his career, swapping Torino for Old Trafford in a deal worth £12.7million. Darmian struggled to fulfil expectations in his first season and took his time to win over Jose Mourinho last term, eventually returning from the cold towards the end of the campaign. The 27-year-old clearly impressed the United boss - he started the Europa League final triumph against Ajax, a match that at times this summer perhaps looked like being his last for the club. Juventus have been strongly linked with a move for Darmian and barely a week goes by without talk of an Old Trafford exit, yet the full-back downplayed speculation as just part of the job. "Every time I read something about my future... but (there is) nothing news (wise)," he told Press Association Sport. "I am happy here. "I think also it is a part of our work, these kind of rumours. "Like I said before, I am happy here so nothing news (wise). I am a Manchester United player - that's it." Mourinho will have some decisions to make regarding his defence this summer but retaining Darmian looks logical given his impressive end to last season and versatility. "I always say the position doesn't matter to me," he said, having proven capable in both full-back slots. "If I have to play left or right, I work hard to be ready when the manager gives me an opportunity and that's it. "I try to do my best every time, every game. I try to work hard during the week and that's my philosophy." Pushed on whether he preferred one side to the other, Darmian said: "Not really. I prefer maybe to play on the right side but no problem at all." Darmian is an understated character but his desire to keep progressing is clear, especially with next year's World Cup looming large - assuming Italy make it. "I did good personally," Darmian said, referring to the 2014 edition when he shone against England. "Of course for me it is always good to play for Italy, for the national team. "I try to do my best to be there next season. When you wear the Italy shirt you have big responsibility because you represent all the nation. "I am very proud to be part of the group and I want to be part for a long time."
» Mata waits on United deal
Midfielder Juan Mata is now being kept waiting by Manchester United over talks about a new deal. The Old Trafford midfielder was sounded out earlier this year but his agent father, Juan Snr, told the club he wanted to wait until the summer and see how things develop. United officials, however, are now in no hurry and are fully focused on capturing the transfer targets identified by Jose Mourinho, with Mata's camp currently playing a nervous waiting game. The 29-year-old has one year remaining on his present £170,000 per week deal and wants to commit the rest of his peak playing years to the Red Devils, having won over the concerns of his former Chelsea manager, Mourinho. United, though, do have the option of activating a 12-month extension at their own behest, which offers the club a degree of protection that Mata can't walk away from the Theatre of Dreams next year on a free transfer. United insiders believe a deal will get done at some point but Mata would like his long-term future cleared up quickly so he can concentrate fully going into a World Cup year.
» Costa told in January his Chelsea days were numbered
Diego Costa was told back in January that he has no future at Chelsea by manager Antonio Conte. There had been much speculation about the striker's future with talk of a mega-money move to the Chinese Super League back at the turn of the year and it was thought Chelsea were fighting to keep hold of him. Not so, according to Conte, who revealed on Friday that the 28-year-old striker, who has not travelled to Asia, was told in January he was not part of the club's plans. "I don't like to talk about players that don't stay here, but the only thing I can tell you (is) in January, the Costa situation was very clear, for the club, for him and his agent," said the Italian. "For me the situation is closed." Costa is reported to be keen on a return to Atletico Madrid, although the Spanish club are currently banned from completing the signing of players until January 2018.
» City 'agree massive defender fee'
Benjamin Mendy is to become the most-expensive defender ever after Manchester City agreed to pay Monaco £51.6m, reports claim. The France international left-back was expected to receive clearance today to have a medical before joining up with Pep Guardiola's squad in the United States on their current pre-season tour. It's understood the Citizens finally caved in to the Ligue 1 side's demands to pay a similar fee to City's £50million acquisition of Kyle Walker from Tottenham Hotspur. Monaco had previously agreed a fee of £39.1million for 23-year-old Mendy but then moved the goalposts, with City making a further three bids before finally arriving at a number which the Principality club has found acceptable. City are also set to announce the £26.5million capture of Real Madrid's Danilo, meaning Guardiola will have spent an incredible £127.6million this summer just on securing three new full-backs, and through the £200m barrier so far on his squad rebuild.
» Reds target wants move
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp could be back in for his number one summer target Virgil van Dijk of Southampton. Saints reported Liverpool to the Premier League earlier in the close season because they believed the Reds were unsettling the defender, who they claimed was not for sale at any price. This may yet change though after their new manager, Mauricio Pellegrino, revealed the Netherlands defender has said he wants to leave the club, and, as a result, has been ordered to train separately from the rest of the squad. "He is not involved with the team because psychologically he is not 100 per cent," the manager told BBC Radio Solent. "When I was talking with him, the boy said that he is not available to play because he wants to leave. "I need to work with a player that works at 100 per cent to defend Southampton. "This is the decision. I had to say, 'Okay, if you don't want to be involved because you don't feel okay, you have to train alone until this period of time'."
» Spurs midfielder set for exit
Tottenham midfielder Moussa Sissoko could be on his way with Everton said to be keen to sign him. The France international has failed to impress at Spurs following his move from Newcastle at the end of last year's summer transfer window and it's thought he will be allowed to move on by boss Mauricio Pochettino. The Blues were after the 27-year-old 12 months ago but he eventually opted for the north Londoners in a £30milion deal and it would be a surprise if Sissoko now ended up at Goodison Park this summer following a disappointing 2016-17 campaign for the former Toulouse man. Sissoko made just 10 starts in all competitions for Spurs and has also been heavily linked with a switch back to France recently, with Marseille said to be keen. L'Equipe claims Sissoko is a target for boss Ronald Koeman as he continues to reshape his Everton squad but the Dutch coach has other transfer priorities at the moment, with Swansea star Gylfi Sigurdsson still high on his wishlist.
» Newcastle sell striker
Nottingham Forest have announced the signing of striker Daryl Murphy from Newcastle for an undisclosed fee. The Republic of Ireland international, who joined Newcastle from Ipswich last August, has signed a three-year deal at the City Ground. Murphy scored six goals in 18 appearances as the Magpies secured promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt last season. But the 34-year-old was deemed surplus to requirements by Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez and he has opted to join Forest, with the Championship club in need of a striker following the departure of Britt Assombalonga to Middlesbrough. A statement on Newcastle's official website read: "Everyone at Newcastle United would like to wish Daryl well for the future."