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Everton are not to blame for Liverpool losing its UNESCO World Heritage status

3 hours 33 min ago
In 1907, Walter Richards painted Modern Liverpool and even by Edwardian standards, the scene — a narrow one — did not seem particularly modern.

Somewhere beneath a pervading sense of gloom explained by the desperation of its dockside slums (absent from the image) and a wealth gap comparable to Calcutta or Bombay, the most significant commercial property was owned by White Star, the shipping line that commissioned the Titanic.

Five years later, the names of the doomed vessel’s deceased were announced from the balcony of what is now called the Albion House, a Grade II*-listed building, as an anxious crowd waited below.

Not far away you can see St Nicholas’ church, where a fertile lawn conceals a pit where plague victims are still buried. The fringes of the Albert Dock are also there (then very much a workplace rather than a tourist destination), as well as Lime Street station and its railway lines running south east from the magnificent St George’s Hall.

Neither of the city’s two cathedrals is pictured, nor the Cunard Building, which became the mayor’s headquarters under Joe Anderson, who was removed from his position after his arrest in late 2020 on suspicion of conspiracy to commit bribery and witness intimidation — allegations he denies.

In 2017, Anderson had a copy of Modern Liverpool attached to the wall of his office. Looking at the drawing, he nodded at the Port of Liverpool and the Liver Buildings, which stood on either side of the structure he was operating from a century after its completion.

“See,” he said, stressing his point. “When they went up, people objected to them because they were too high. Now, the three buildings are called the Three Graces.”

The grandeur of the waterfront had since helped Liverpool become a Maritime Mercantile City.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Transfer tracker: West Ham winger Nathan Holland joins Oxford on loan

Thu, 07/29/2021 - 17:15
Between now and the transfer window closing on August 31, The Athletic team will keep you informed of all the significant developments we hear. Whether that’s the latest from the Premier League or the EFL, the biggest moves around Europe or any significant business around the world, we’ll have coverage of every interesting deal that takes place.

Not a subscriber to The Athletic? You can sign up for our award-winning journalism here: https://theathletic.com/subscribe

We won’t bring you gossip or rumours, just what is really happening and why.

July 29

5pm

West Ham United winger Nathan Holland has joined Oxford United on a season-long loan, reports Roshane Thomas.

The 23-year-old featured in West Ham’s pre-season games against Dundee and Northampton Town, but was not in the squad for the emphatic 6-2 win at Celtic or the under-23s’ 2-1 loss at Crawley Town.

Holland wants to play regular first team football and the deal includes an option for West Ham to recall the winger in January. Oxford United manager Karl Robinson is a huge admirer of Holland and he showed glimpses of his talent during his previous loan spell at the League One side during the second half of the 2019-20 season.

He registered two goals in 10 league appearances and impressed in their fourth round FA Cup defeat against Newcastle United. But less than a month later Holland sustained a hamstring injury against Shrewsbury Town which ruled him out for the remainder of the season.

Last season Robinson’s side finished sixth and reached the semi-finals of the play-offs where they lost to Blackpool.

1pm

Tottenham striker Troy Parrott will undergo a medical at MK Dons today ahead of a season-long loan, reports Charlie Eccleshare.

Parrott, still only 19, spent last season on loan at Championship side Millwall and then League One team Ipswich. Having struggled at Millwall but made a positive impression at Ipswich, it’s hoped that another year in League One will help prepare him for top-flight football.

Parrott was given a taste of life at his new club when he came on as a substitute for Tottenham in their 3-1 win at MK Dons on Wednesday night.

With six caps and two goals for the Republic of Ireland senior team to his name already, Parrott is contracted to Spurs until the summer of 2023.

8.30am

Meanwhile, Rangers are set to seal the signing of Manchester United midfielder Charlie McCann on a three-year deal, report Jordan Campbell and Laurie Whitwell

It is understood the 19-year-old is in Glasgow for his medical after agreeing terms to join Steven Gerrard’s side.

The Republic of Ireland youth international spent last season playing at the heart of midfield for United’s under-23s but was informed he would be allowed to move on this summer when his contract expired if an opportunity presented itself.

McCann was deemed unlikely to make the grade at first-team level, and his exit will make room for younger players to come into the group.

The two clubs are understood to have been discussing a compensation package for a number of weeks, but the announcement is expected imminently.

He has been at Old Trafford since 2018 when United signed him from Coventry City. It is expected be will join Rangers B before looking to impress the first-team.

July 28

2pm

Celtic are in talks with Tottenham over a potential move for Joe Hart, report Charlie Eccleshare and Kieran Devlin.

The expectation is that the two clubs will be able to reach an agreement and that Hart will leave Spurs after only a year at the club.

The former England No 1 moved to Tottenham last summer to provide cover for Hugo Lloris, and ended up making 10 appearances, though none in the Premier League.

But after Spurs completed the loan signing of Pierluigi Gollini from Atalanta on Saturday, Hart was informed that he could leave. He had no desire to be third-choice at Tottenham so a departure would suit all parties.

Hart was a popular member of the Spurs dressing room and provided experience and know-how for a young squad. But aged 34 he was never viewed as a long-term successor to Lloris and only joined on a two-year deal.

Celtic have been looking for competition for their No 1 spot this transfer window, with Vasilis Barkas underperforming since his arrival from AEK Athens last summer, and Scott Bain struggling to justify his own claim to the starting spot.

The club hope Hart can challenge for that starting spot and potentially return to the form of his early career, in order to address one of their problem positions.

Should Tottenham be able to find an agreement over Hart then he would follow Erik Lamela and Toby Alderweireld out of the club. The departure of both was confirmed this week as new managing director of football Fabio Paratici tries to thin out the Spurs squad.

July 27

1pm

The Athletic understands Easah Suliman has decided against a return to the UK and will spend next season on loan at CD Nacional in Portugal, reports Gregg Evans.

The 23-year-old centre-back left Aston Villa for Vitoria Guimaraes last January but has struggled to hold down a regular starting spot.

A number of clubs in both England and Scotland were interested in signing him this summer but Suliman has agreed to drop down a division and spent the season on the island of Madeira.

Villa are keeping a close eye on his career as they will receive 30 per cent of any future transfer fee if he leaves Vitoria.

The England Under-19 European Championship winner still has three years remaining on his contract.

8:30am

Newcastle United are hopeful of offloading Yoshinori Muto, with concrete interest in the striker from Greek club Aris Thessaloniki, reports Chris Waugh.

The 29-year-old forward spent last season on loan at Eibar in Spain and has no future at Newcastle, despite training with the first team on Monday following a non-COVID-related illness.

With Muto in the final year of his contract, Newcastle would ideally like to sell the Japan international, but Aris are understood to prefer a loan move and could cover around 40 per cent of his wages, which are in excess of £50,000 a week.

No agreement is yet in place but the Greek Super League outfit are optimistic a deal can be reached, with Newcastle potentially willing to accept a nominal fee in order to move on another high earner.

Florian Lejeune departed for Deportivo Alaves earlier this month, freeing up space in the squad for potential incomings, although Steve Bruce, the head coach, has yet to make a signing of his own.

July 26

11.30am

Xherdan Shaqiri is set to leave Liverpool this summer with Serie A duo Lazio and Napoli leading the chase for his signature, reports James Pearce.

The Switzerland international has informed the club he wants to pursue a new challenge and sporting director Michael Edwards will grant him his wish if a suitable offer is tabled. Shaqiri is valued at around £12 million.

The 29-year-old made just seven starts for Liverpool in all competitions last season but enhanced his reputation with his performances at the Euros.

Some suitors have been under the impression that he had entered the final year of his contract but The Athletic understands that Liverpool have the option of triggering an extra 12 months so his current deal effectively runs until the summer of 2023. The asking price reflects that.

Italy is Shaqiri’s destination of choice with the player telling Corriere dello Sport: “I told the Liverpool board I feel ready for a new challenge. They accepted my decision and will now consider bids to sell me.

“Who is not in love with the Italian lifestyle? What is really striking is the Italian love for football. It is life in Italy. The fans are incredible. I’ve been following Lazio for a long time. It’s a top club.”

Lazio and Napoli have both been in contact with the player’s representatives. Liverpool have previously fielded interest from Spanish duo Sevilla and Villarreal. They inquired about a potential loan but were informed that Liverpool will only sanction a permanent move.

Liverpool have so far raised more than £30 million in sales from the exits of fringe players Kamil Grabara, Liam Millar, Marko Grujic, Harry Wilson and Taiwo Awoniyi.

10.30am

Manchester United are increasingly optimistic that an agreement can be struck with Real Madrid to secure the signing of defender Raphael Varane, reports David Ornstein.

Negotiations between the Premier League club and 28-year-old France international over personal terms have reached an advanced stage and United are intensifying talks with their Spanish counterparts.

As conversations continue over a transfer fee, the Old Trafford side will be pushing for a lower figure than the €50 million reported in some quarters.

A deal for Varane would see United recruit one of the game’s leading centre-backs, who has decided against extending a contract that expires in 2022 and therefore Real need to sell now or face losing him for free next summer.

United have already strengthened their squad via the £73m acquisition of England winger Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, while manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has extended his contract until 2024 with an option for a further year.

July 25

12pm

Crystal Palace look set to continue their eye-catching recruitment drive since installing Patrick Vieira as their new manager, with a deal for Lyon defender Joachim Andersen close to being completed, reports Peter Rutzler.

Following the arrivals of midfielder Michael Olise, goalkeeper Remi Matthews and centre-back Marc Guehi, Palace are on track to secure another impressive acquisition this week in the form of Andersen.

The Denmark international has undergone a medical with the south London club and is expected to sign a five-year contract once the terms of a transfer believed to be worth around €22 million plus €5m in add-ons are finalised.

Andersen spent last season on loan at Fulham and made a strong impression despite their relegation from the Premier League, leading to the likes of Tottenham considering a move for him.

But Palace have acted quickest and capitalised on Lyon’s financial difficulties to agree a price with the French top division side that is below the fee it is believed they were hopeful of achieving.

Andersen started his professional career with FC Twente before joining Sampdoria and then Lyon. He played 31 games for Fulham in 2020-21 and helped his country to the Euro 2020 semi-finals.

July 24

6pm

Arsenal’s academy has been bolstered by the signing of highly-rated striker Mika Biereth, who had previously been at Fulham, report James McNicholas and Peter Rutzler.

While the 18-year-old had been offered a professional contract at Craven Cottage, he has turned it down, instead choosing to join Arsenal.

Last season, Biereth helped fire Fulham’s Under-18s to the Premier League National Final, where they ultimately came up short against Manchester City. He was top scorer in the Under-18s Premier League South — with a record of 21 goals in 21 games — and collected 13 assists along the way.

Arsenal are assembling a collection of young centre-forwards with varying styles. Folarin Balogun has been promoted to the first team, while the academy ranks include Nikolaj Moller, Khayon Edwards and new arrival from Chelsea Amani Richards.

Swedish forward Moller, 19, will spend next season on loan with Viktoria Koln in the third tier of German football, which could open up opportunities for Biereth with Arsenal’s Under-23 side.

12.30pm

Stefan Johansen has agreed a move to Queens Park Rangers for £450,000 with further add-ons, reports Peter Rutzler.

Johansen, who joined Fulham in 2016, made a positive impression while on loan at QPR last season and the Championship side have been pushing to retain the Norway international on a permanent basis.

Following the arrival of Marco Silva at Fulham, it seemed that Johansen could have been given another chance at the club as the new manager assessed his options within the squad.

But ultimately, QPR have acquired his services and will be hoping the 30-year-old can continue to perform brightly, having grabbed four goals and two assists in his 21 appearances since joining the club in January.

July 23

11am

Chelsea academy graduate Ian Maatsen will join Coventry City next week on a season-long loan, reports Liam Twomey.

Maatsen, 19, spent last season on loan in League One with Charlton Athletic, making 34 appearances and scoring his first senior professional goal in a 1-0 win over Doncaster Rovers in April.

Last month Charlton manager Nigel Adkins confirmed that he would be interested in bringing Maatsen back to The Valley, but both the player and Chelsea favoured a Championship loan to further his development.

Coventry intend to deploy Maatsen as a left wing-back in their system, and it is hoped that manager Mark Robins’ expansive passing style will give the Dutch youth international opportunities to take his game to the next level.

Maatsen was involved in the early days of Chelsea’s preseason training at Cobham, but was not part of the squad that travelled to Republic of Ireland on Tuesday. He will complete his move to Coventry next week.

Chelsea did not seek to extend the contract of Maatsen — who signed a new deal in March 2020 that commits him to the club until at least June 2024 — but he is regarded internally as one of the club’s more promising youngsters.

Maatsen does not turn 20 until March 2022, and will be hoping to return to Chelsea next summer with a second full season of regular football under his belt and his reputation further enhanced.

9am

Meanwhile, Leeds United have made an approach to sign Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher on loan.

The club are targeting the 21-year-old as a player for their senior squad just hours after adding another Chelsea player, Lewis Bate, to their Under-23 ranks.

A central midfielder is the club’s top priority after they secured the arrival of £13m left-back Junior Firpo from Barcelona this month.

Leeds have been monitoring Gallagher throughout the summer and are understood to have pitched the transfer to him already with the start of the new Premier League season on the horizon.

Crystal Palace are also seriously interested in him and are vying with Leeds for his signature.

Gallagher is currently training with Chelsea but the Stamford Bridge side are ready to sanction another temporary move in this window after sending him to West Bromwich Albion last season and Swansea City the year before.

His spell at The Hawthorns, where he made 28 league starts, gave him Premier League experience and Leeds consider him a good fit under Marcelo Bielsa.

Chelsea are unwilling to consider permanent bids for Gallagher and are likely to look for him to sign a new contract before he heads out but manager Thomas Tuchel does not see him as part of his plans for the 12 months ahead.

Yesterday, United wrapped up the £1.2m arrival of Bate from Stamford Bridge. While the 18-year-old will begin life at Elland Road in the development squad, Gallagher would link up immediately with Bielsa’s senior squad if Leeds can push a deal through.

July 21

9.15pm

Southampton are set to sign Chelsea defender Dynel Simeu on a three-year contract, reports Dan Sheldon.

The highly-regarded 19-year-old rejected the chance to remain at Stamford Bridge in a bid to boost his chances of playing first-team football.

Simeu will arrive at St Mary’s on a free transfer but Southampton will pay up to £1.5 million if certain clauses are met. A sell-on fee has also been inserted into the contract.

The Athletic is led to believe the south coast side will only start paying for Simeu once he starts playing for the first team.

10.30am

West Ham United’s Jarrod Bowen is on Liverpool’s radar as they consider adding more firepower to their squad, reports James Pearce.

The Athletic understands that the 24-year-old forward’s name features on a shortlist drawn up of potential attacking targets.

Whether Liverpool reinforce their squad in that area in the current window depends to a large extent on whether Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri leave Anfield. The club are open to offers for both players with Shaqiri attracting interest from Lazio.

Bowen fits the profile for Liverpool in terms of his age, playing style and versatility. He’s viewed as someone with massive potential who would initially provide high calibre back-up and increase competition for places.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp rates him highly and the club will continue to monitor his development even if they don’t ultimately pursue a deal this summer.

Bowen, who started his career at Hereford United, joined West Ham from Hull City for £18 million potentially rising to £25 million with add-ons in January 2020.

He scored eight goals and contributed five assists in 38 league appearances last season. His contract at the London Stadium runs until 2025.

9am

Birmingham City have agreed to take goalkeeper Matija Sarkic on loan for the 2021-22 season after a successful trial period, reports Gregg Evans.

The 23-year-old Wolverhampton Wanderers stopper has impressed since arriving last week and will now challenge for a starting place in the team.

Boss Lee Bowyer had made it clear that he needed a new goalkeeper before the start of the season following Neil Etheridge’s absence with COVID-19.

A return date has not been set for Etheridge, who is out of hospital and back with his family, but will not be rushed back.

Etheridge could be out for a matter of weeks, if not months, and that’s why Sarkic has made the switch from Wolves.

The Montenegro international spent his early years at Aston Villa but couldn’t find a way into the team as he was behind a number of senior goalkeepers.

He joined Wolves last summer and was sent out on loan to League One side Shrewsbury Town.

Although he has been on the bench a number of times for Villa in the Championship, this will be his first real chance of playing in the second-tier now an agreement is in place to join Birmingham.

The move is expected to be confirmed in the next 24 hours.

July 20

2pm

Liverpool have told Fulham they want £15 million for winger Harry Wilson, reports James Pearce.

The London club, who are looking to bounce back following relegation from the Premier League last season, are keen to sign the Wales international.

Discussions are ongoing with no official bid on the table but Liverpool insist £15 million is a fair price. They point to the fact that Fulham have previously paid that amount for fellow widemen Ivan Cavaleiro and Anthony Knockaert. They view Wilson as comparable in terms of his profile.

Liverpool turned down a bid of around £12 million for Wilson from Burnley last season and believe he’s progressed since then following a successful loan spell at Cardiff City where he scored seven goals and contributed 12 assists.

The 24-year-old accepts the time is right to secure a permanent move away from Anfield as he wants regular game time. As well as Cardiff, he has previously been loaned out to Crewe, Hull City, Derby County and Bournemouth.

Benfica, Brentford and West Bromwich Albion have also shown interest in Wilson this summer.

Wrexham-born Wilson has been on Liverpool’s books since under-nines level. His only senior appearances were against Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup during the 2016-17 campaign and against Arsenal in the League Cup last season.

For the latest Liverpool transfer news click here.

1pm

Leeds United hope to complete the signing of Chelsea midfielder Lewis Bate before the end of the week after agreeing a fee with the west London club, reports Simon Johnson.

The Athletic has been told that personal terms are being discussed in view of Bate conducting a medical at Leeds on Wednesday. Chelsea have negotiated a sell-on clause as part of the switch, but have not inserted a buy back clause.

There is still the danger of one of the other interested clubs trying to hijack the move at the 11th hour. The Athletic reported on Monday that Leeds were the favourites to secure the 18-year-old’s signature, but faced competition from West Ham, Liverpool, Leicester City and Brighton. 

Time is running out for the others to make a bid though and the player has already given a major indication his mind is made up by following a number of Leeds players on Instagram. 

Chelsea have been left with no choice to negotiate with clubs over selling the youngster after Bate made it clear he wasn’t going to sign a contract extension.

The west London club opened talks with Bate before the end of last season and made a good offer, but the England Under-19 international rejected it because he is worried about the lack of a pathway to appearances in the first team.

That meant Chelsea had to discuss a sale because he has only one year left on his current deal and they’d only be entitled to a nominal amount in compensation if he left in 2022.

Bate is a very highly rated teenager, who has been compared with another Chelsea prodigy Billy Gilmour. He came close to making a senior debut under former manager Frank Lampard last year when he was named on the bench against Sheffield United and Bayern Munich.

Meanwhile, another academy graduate Ike Ugbo is hoping to complete a permanent transfer to Belgian club Genk FC in the next few days. Ugbo, who scored an impressive 16 goals in 32 appearances while on loan at Cercle Bruges last season, has already agreed a wage package.

The hold-up is being caused by the size of the fee. Chelsea want £5 million for the 22-year-old, but Genk aren’t willing to pay such a high sum for the forward because he has just one year left on his contract at Stamford Bridge.

There is still optimism that a compromise will be reached so it can be finalised by the weekend.

July 15

2.20pm

Celtic have agreed to sell Kristoffer Ajer to Brentford for a fee believed to be around £12 million up-front with add-ons, reports Kieran Devlin.

Celtic rejected £10 million bids from Norwich City and Bayer Leverkusen in June for the Norwegian international’s services. Celtic informed interested parties that £15 million would be the fee required to separate them for their player. Last week Celtic rebuffed Brentford’s opening bid, which is believed to have been also £12 million up-front but totalling to £15 million with add-ons valued at roughly £3 million, a lower value than the finally agreed fee.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Explained: English football’s new heading guidelines – What are they? How will they work? Will there be punishments?

Thu, 07/29/2021 - 05:09
It is an old adage that laws made in haste seldom work out well but nobody could accuse football of getting in a flap and overreacting to a few banged heads.

On the contrary, it is nearly 20 years after a coroner decided Jeff Astle’s death at 59 was caused by an “industrial injury”. The England and West Bromwich Albion star was a fearsome and fearless header of the ball, but his final years were clouded by dementia.

Astle’s sad story is far from unique but football has been remarkably reluctant to follow other sports in changing its rules to mitigate the threat of head injury.

But, on Wednesday, the bosses of English football teamed up to announce a new set of guidelines for heading in the amateur and professional game.

“We already have the most comprehensive guidelines in the world for youth football and now we are introducing, in partnership with the other football bodies, the most comprehensive adult football guidelines anywhere,” says FA chief executive Mark Bullingham.

Meanwhile, his opposite number at the Premier League, Richard Masters, explains: “This is a long-term piece of work — we will now build on these studies and we remain committed to further research to ensure we have the right approach in place to protect the welfare of all players.”

So, what have they decided, how have they got there and will this make the game safer?

What are the new recommendations?

Professional players should be limited to a maximum of 10 “higher-force” headers in any training week. Higher-force headers are defined as any that follow a pass of more than 35 metres or corners, crosses, goal kicks and free kicks.

The guidance recommends that clubs develop safety profiles for each player that consider age, gender and position, as well as how many and what type of headers they make.

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Transfer tracker: Celtic in talks over deal for Tottenham’s Joe Hart

Wed, 07/28/2021 - 14:00
Between now and the transfer window closing on August 31, The Athletic team will keep you informed of all the significant developments we hear. Whether that’s the latest from the Premier League or the EFL, the biggest moves around Europe or any significant business around the world, we’ll have coverage of every interesting deal that takes place.

Not a subscriber to The Athletic? You can sign up for our award-winning journalism here: https://theathletic.com/subscribe

We won’t bring you gossip or rumours, just what is really happening and why.

July 28

2pm

Celtic are in talks with Tottenham over a potential move for Joe Hart, report Charlie Eccleshare and Kieran Devlin.

The expectation is that the two clubs will be able to reach an agreement and that Hart will leave Spurs after only a year at the club.

The former England No 1 moved to Tottenham last summer to provide cover for Hugo Lloris, and ended up making 10 appearances, though none in the Premier League.

But after Spurs completed the loan signing of Pierluigi Gollini from Atalanta on Saturday, Hart was informed that he could leave. He had no desire to be third-choice at Tottenham so a departure would suit all parties.

Hart was a popular member of the Spurs dressing room and provided experience and know-how for a young squad. But aged 34 he was never viewed as a long-term successor to Lloris and only joined on a two-year deal.

Celtic have been looking for competition for their No 1 spot this transfer window, with Vasilis Barkas underperforming since his arrival from AEK Athens last summer, and Scott Bain struggling to justify his own claim to the starting spot.

The club hope Hart can challenge for that starting spot and potentially return to the form of his early career, in order to address one of their problem positions.

Should Tottenham be able to find an agreement over Hart then he would follow Erik Lamela and Toby Alderweireld out of the club. The departure of both was confirmed this week as new managing director of football Fabio Paratici tries to thin out the Spurs squad.

July 27

1pm

The Athletic understands Easah Suliman has decided against a return to the UK and will spend next season on loan at CD Nacional in Portugal, reports Gregg Evans.

The 23-year-old centre-back left Aston Villa for Vitoria Guimaraes last January but has struggled to hold down a regular starting spot.

A number of clubs in both England and Scotland were interested in signing him this summer but Suliman has agreed to drop down a division and spent the season on the island of Madeira.

Villa are keeping a close eye on his career as they will receive 30 per cent of any future transfer fee if he leaves Vitoria.

The England Under-19 European Championship winner still has three years remaining on his contract.

8:30am

Newcastle United are hopeful of offloading Yoshinori Muto, with concrete interest in the striker from Greek club Aris Thessaloniki, reports Chris Waugh.

The 29-year-old forward spent last season on loan at Eibar in Spain and has no future at Newcastle, despite training with the first team on Monday following a non-COVID-related illness.

With Muto in the final year of his contract, Newcastle would ideally like to sell the Japan international, but Aris are understood to prefer a loan move and could cover around 40 per cent of his wages, which are in excess of £50,000 a week.

No agreement is yet in place but the Greek Super League outfit are optimistic a deal can be reached, with Newcastle potentially willing to accept a nominal fee in order to move on another high earner.

Florian Lejeune departed for Deportivo Alaves earlier this month, freeing up space in the squad for potential incomings, although Steve Bruce, the head coach, has yet to make a signing of his own.

July 26

11.30am

Xherdan Shaqiri is set to leave Liverpool this summer with Serie A duo Lazio and Napoli leading the chase for his signature, reports James Pearce.

The Switzerland international has informed the club he wants to pursue a new challenge and sporting director Michael Edwards will grant him his wish if a suitable offer is tabled. Shaqiri is valued at around £12 million.

The 29-year-old made just seven starts for Liverpool in all competitions last season but enhanced his reputation with his performances at the Euros.

Some suitors have been under the impression that he had entered the final year of his contract but The Athletic understands that Liverpool have the option of triggering an extra 12 months so his current deal effectively runs until the summer of 2023. The asking price reflects that.

Italy is Shaqiri’s destination of choice with the player telling Corriere dello Sport: “I told the Liverpool board I feel ready for a new challenge. They accepted my decision and will now consider bids to sell me.

“Who is not in love with the Italian lifestyle? What is really striking is the Italian love for football. It is life in Italy. The fans are incredible. I’ve been following Lazio for a long time. It’s a top club.”

Lazio and Napoli have both been in contact with the player’s representatives. Liverpool have previously fielded interest from Spanish duo Sevilla and Villarreal. They inquired about a potential loan but were informed that Liverpool will only sanction a permanent move.

Liverpool have so far raised more than £30 million in sales from the exits of fringe players Kamil Grabara, Liam Millar, Marko Grujic, Harry Wilson and Taiwo Awoniyi.

10.30am

Manchester United are increasingly optimistic that an agreement can be struck with Real Madrid to secure the signing of defender Raphael Varane, reports David Ornstein.

Negotiations between the Premier League club and 28-year-old France international over personal terms have reached an advanced stage and United are intensifying talks with their Spanish counterparts.

As conversations continue over a transfer fee, the Old Trafford side will be pushing for a lower figure than the €50 million reported in some quarters.

A deal for Varane would see United recruit one of the game’s leading centre-backs, who has decided against extending a contract that expires in 2022 and therefore Real need to sell now or face losing him for free next summer.

United have already strengthened their squad via the £73m acquisition of England winger Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, while manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has extended his contract until 2024 with an option for a further year.

July 25

12pm

Crystal Palace look set to continue their eye-catching recruitment drive since installing Patrick Vieira as their new manager, with a deal for Lyon defender Joachim Andersen close to being completed, reports Peter Rutzler.

Following the arrivals of midfielder Michael Olise, goalkeeper Remi Matthews and centre-back Marc Guehi, Palace are on track to secure another impressive acquisition this week in the form of Andersen.

The Denmark international has undergone a medical with the south London club and is expected to sign a five-year contract once the terms of a transfer believed to be worth around €22 million plus €5m in add-ons are finalised.

Andersen spent last season on loan at Fulham and made a strong impression despite their relegation from the Premier League, leading to the likes of Tottenham considering a move for him.

But Palace have acted quickest and capitalised on Lyon’s financial difficulties to agree a price with the French top division side that is below the fee it is believed they were hopeful of achieving.

Andersen started his professional career with FC Twente before joining Sampdoria and then Lyon. He played 31 games for Fulham in 2020-21 and helped his country to the Euro 2020 semi-finals.

July 24

6pm

Arsenal’s academy has been bolstered by the signing of highly-rated striker Mika Biereth, who had previously been at Fulham, report James McNicholas and Peter Rutzler.

While the 18-year-old had been offered a professional contract at Craven Cottage, he has turned it down, instead choosing to join Arsenal.

Last season, Biereth helped fire Fulham’s Under-18s to the Premier League National Final, where they ultimately came up short against Manchester City. He was top scorer in the Under-18s Premier League South — with a record of 21 goals in 21 games — and collected 13 assists along the way.

Arsenal are assembling a collection of young centre-forwards with varying styles. Folarin Balogun has been promoted to the first team, while the academy ranks include Nikolaj Moller, Khayon Edwards and new arrival from Chelsea Amani Richards.

Swedish forward Moller, 19, will spend next season on loan with Viktoria Koln in the third tier of German football, which could open up opportunities for Biereth with Arsenal’s Under-23 side.

12.30pm

Stefan Johansen has agreed a move to Queens Park Rangers for £450,000 with further add-ons, reports Peter Rutzler.

Johansen, who joined Fulham in 2016, made a positive impression while on loan at QPR last season and the Championship side have been pushing to retain the Norway international on a permanent basis.

Following the arrival of Marco Silva at Fulham, it seemed that Johansen could have been given another chance at the club as the new manager assessed his options within the squad.

But ultimately, QPR have acquired his services and will be hoping the 30-year-old can continue to perform brightly, having grabbed four goals and two assists in his 21 appearances since joining the club in January.

July 23

11am

Chelsea academy graduate Ian Maatsen will join Coventry City next week on a season-long loan, reports Liam Twomey.

Maatsen, 19, spent last season on loan in League One with Charlton Athletic, making 34 appearances and scoring his first senior professional goal in a 1-0 win over Doncaster Rovers in April.

Last month Charlton manager Nigel Adkins confirmed that he would be interested in bringing Maatsen back to The Valley, but both the player and Chelsea favoured a Championship loan to further his development.

Coventry intend to deploy Maatsen as a left wing-back in their system, and it is hoped that manager Mark Robins’ expansive passing style will give the Dutch youth international opportunities to take his game to the next level.

Maatsen was involved in the early days of Chelsea’s preseason training at Cobham, but was not part of the squad that travelled to Republic of Ireland on Tuesday. He will complete his move to Coventry next week.

Chelsea did not seek to extend the contract of Maatsen — who signed a new deal in March 2020 that commits him to the club until at least June 2024 — but he is regarded internally as one of the club’s more promising youngsters.

Maatsen does not turn 20 until March 2022, and will be hoping to return to Chelsea next summer with a second full season of regular football under his belt and his reputation further enhanced.

9am

Meanwhile, Leeds United have made an approach to sign Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher on loan.

The club are targeting the 21-year-old as a player for their senior squad just hours after adding another Chelsea player, Lewis Bate, to their Under-23 ranks.

A central midfielder is the club’s top priority after they secured the arrival of £13m left-back Junior Firpo from Barcelona this month.

Leeds have been monitoring Gallagher throughout the summer and are understood to have pitched the transfer to him already with the start of the new Premier League season on the horizon.

Crystal Palace are also seriously interested in him and are vying with Leeds for his signature.

Gallagher is currently training with Chelsea but the Stamford Bridge side are ready to sanction another temporary move in this window after sending him to West Bromwich Albion last season and Swansea City the year before.

His spell at The Hawthorns, where he made 28 league starts, gave him Premier League experience and Leeds consider him a good fit under Marcelo Bielsa.

Chelsea are unwilling to consider permanent bids for Gallagher and are likely to look for him to sign a new contract before he heads out but manager Thomas Tuchel does not see him as part of his plans for the 12 months ahead.

Yesterday, United wrapped up the £1.2m arrival of Bate from Stamford Bridge. While the 18-year-old will begin life at Elland Road in the development squad, Gallagher would link up immediately with Bielsa’s senior squad if Leeds can push a deal through.

July 21

9.15pm

Southampton are set to sign Chelsea defender Dynel Simeu on a three-year contract, reports Dan Sheldon.

The highly-regarded 19-year-old rejected the chance to remain at Stamford Bridge in a bid to boost his chances of playing first-team football.

Simeu will arrive at St Mary’s on a free transfer but Southampton will pay up to £1.5 million if certain clauses are met. A sell-on fee has also been inserted into the contract.

The Athletic is led to believe the south coast side will only start paying for Simeu once he starts playing for the first team.

10.30am

West Ham United’s Jarrod Bowen is on Liverpool’s radar as they consider adding more firepower to their squad, reports James Pearce.

The Athletic understands that the 24-year-old forward’s name features on a shortlist drawn up of potential attacking targets.

Whether Liverpool reinforce their squad in that area in the current window depends to a large extent on whether Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri leave Anfield. The club are open to offers for both players with Shaqiri attracting interest from Lazio.

Bowen fits the profile for Liverpool in terms of his age, playing style and versatility. He’s viewed as someone with massive potential who would initially provide high calibre back-up and increase competition for places.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp rates him highly and the club will continue to monitor his development even if they don’t ultimately pursue a deal this summer.

Bowen, who started his career at Hereford United, joined West Ham from Hull City for £18 million potentially rising to £25 million with add-ons in January 2020.

He scored eight goals and contributed five assists in 38 league appearances last season. His contract at the London Stadium runs until 2025.

9am

Birmingham City have agreed to take goalkeeper Matija Sarkic on loan for the 2021-22 season after a successful trial period, reports Gregg Evans.

The 23-year-old Wolverhampton Wanderers stopper has impressed since arriving last week and will now challenge for a starting place in the team.

Boss Lee Bowyer had made it clear that he needed a new goalkeeper before the start of the season following Neil Etheridge’s absence with COVID-19.

A return date has not been set for Etheridge, who is out of hospital and back with his family, but will not be rushed back.

Etheridge could be out for a matter of weeks, if not months, and that’s why Sarkic has made the switch from Wolves.

The Montenegro international spent his early years at Aston Villa but couldn’t find a way into the team as he was behind a number of senior goalkeepers.

He joined Wolves last summer and was sent out on loan to League One side Shrewsbury Town.

Although he has been on the bench a number of times for Villa in the Championship, this will be his first real chance of playing in the second-tier now an agreement is in place to join Birmingham.

The move is expected to be confirmed in the next 24 hours.

July 20

2pm

Liverpool have told Fulham they want £15 million for winger Harry Wilson, reports James Pearce.

The London club, who are looking to bounce back following relegation from the Premier League last season, are keen to sign the Wales international.

Discussions are ongoing with no official bid on the table but Liverpool insist £15 million is a fair price. They point to the fact that Fulham have previously paid that amount for fellow widemen Ivan Cavaleiro and Anthony Knockaert. They view Wilson as comparable in terms of his profile.

Liverpool turned down a bid of around £12 million for Wilson from Burnley last season and believe he’s progressed since then following a successful loan spell at Cardiff City where he scored seven goals and contributed 12 assists.

The 24-year-old accepts the time is right to secure a permanent move away from Anfield as he wants regular game time. As well as Cardiff, he has previously been loaned out to Crewe, Hull City, Derby County and Bournemouth.

Benfica, Brentford and West Bromwich Albion have also shown interest in Wilson this summer.

Wrexham-born Wilson has been on Liverpool’s books since under-nines level. His only senior appearances were against Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup during the 2016-17 campaign and against Arsenal in the League Cup last season.

For the latest Liverpool transfer news click here.

1pm

Leeds United hope to complete the signing of Chelsea midfielder Lewis Bate before the end of the week after agreeing a fee with the west London club, reports Simon Johnson.

The Athletic has been told that personal terms are being discussed in view of Bate conducting a medical at Leeds on Wednesday. Chelsea have negotiated a sell-on clause as part of the switch, but have not inserted a buy back clause.

There is still the danger of one of the other interested clubs trying to hijack the move at the 11th hour. The Athletic reported on Monday that Leeds were the favourites to secure the 18-year-old’s signature, but faced competition from West Ham, Liverpool, Leicester City and Brighton. 

Time is running out for the others to make a bid though and the player has already given a major indication his mind is made up by following a number of Leeds players on Instagram. 

Chelsea have been left with no choice to negotiate with clubs over selling the youngster after Bate made it clear he wasn’t going to sign a contract extension.

The west London club opened talks with Bate before the end of last season and made a good offer, but the England Under-19 international rejected it because he is worried about the lack of a pathway to appearances in the first team.

That meant Chelsea had to discuss a sale because he has only one year left on his current deal and they’d only be entitled to a nominal amount in compensation if he left in 2022.

Bate is a very highly rated teenager, who has been compared with another Chelsea prodigy Billy Gilmour. He came close to making a senior debut under former manager Frank Lampard last year when he was named on the bench against Sheffield United and Bayern Munich.

Meanwhile, another academy graduate Ike Ugbo is hoping to complete a permanent transfer to Belgian club Genk FC in the next few days. Ugbo, who scored an impressive 16 goals in 32 appearances while on loan at Cercle Bruges last season, has already agreed a wage package.

The hold-up is being caused by the size of the fee. Chelsea want £5 million for the 22-year-old, but Genk aren’t willing to pay such a high sum for the forward because he has just one year left on his contract at Stamford Bridge.

There is still optimism that a compromise will be reached so it can be finalised by the weekend.

July 15

2.20pm

Celtic have agreed to sell Kristoffer Ajer to Brentford for a fee believed to be around £12 million up-front with add-ons, reports Kieran Devlin.

Celtic rejected £10 million bids from Norwich City and Bayer Leverkusen in June for the Norwegian international’s services. Celtic informed interested parties that £15 million would be the fee required to separate them for their player. Last week Celtic rebuffed Brentford’s opening bid, which is believed to have been also £12 million up-front but totalling to £15 million with add-ons valued at roughly £3 million, a lower value than the finally agreed fee.

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Who are the players at each Premier League club with a second (or third or fourth) chance?

Wed, 07/28/2021 - 05:10
With the Premier League returning in just over a fortnight, there are plenty of players who will be particularly desperate to make their mark in the 2021-22 season.

Going from club to club, you can see players who even themselves might have expected to be playing for a new club this season, but for one reason or another — be it injuries to players in their position, a lack of interested buyers, or simply the deflated transfer market following the pandemic — they have remained.

Then there are those who are coming back from serious injury and want to make up for lost time.

We’ve run through each Premier League side to look at those who have been given another life as they look to make their mark…

Arsenal

Depending on what happens in the transfer market, Arsenal could have a few players given opportunities that rarely came last season. 

So far this pre-season, Ainsley Maitland-Niles — who spent the second half of last season on loan at West Bromwich Albion — has solely been used in midfield, his preferred position. Maitland-Niles has been restricted to full-back for most of his time under Mikel Arteta, but if he stays and the club fail to sign a new midfielder, he could benefit. 

Joe Willock will be in a similar position after a more successful spell at Newcastle United, where he scored in seven successive games in the final weeks of the season. Returning this summer will be about proving he can fit in Arsenal’s midfield. So far, he has not had that opportunity but could do once the season is underway.

Reiss Nelson played just 69 minutes of Premier League football last season but has featured regularly in pre-season.

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The best places to watch football: Merseyside, on the big occasions nowhere in England can match it

Wed, 07/28/2021 - 05:07
Fans are (hopefully) coming back this season, which means a chance to watch football in some of the most beautiful, weird and exhilarating grounds, to test the pints and pies and to visit some places you’ve never been before.

To help you decide where to go, we at The Athletic will be writing about some of the best places to watch football in the UK. We hope you enjoy the series. And if you really enjoy it, we’ll do it again for the rest of Europe in the future.

“It was created in Liverpool, where the city character, with its pervading harshness of waterfront life and bitterly combative Irish exile content, was given a sudden flowering of arrogant expression with the simultaneous rise of its pop musicians and both its leading football teams. More than any other English city, Liverpool experiences its hope and shame through football.”

Life has changed in so many ways in the 53 years since Arthur Hopcraft wrote The Football Man. Even using just music and football as terms of reference, The Beatles were working on The White Album and England were reigning World Cup holders. In those days the leading English footballers might earn up to £5,000 a year, topped up by bonuses pegged at £4 for a win and £2 for a draw. It was a different world.

Those who have grown up in the era of all-seater stadiums will not recognise the conditions that Hopcraft described as “hideously uncomfortable, the steps as greasy as a school playground lavatory in the rain, the air rancid with beer and onions and belching as worse”. But the squalor endured all the way through the 1970s and 1980s.

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Transfer tracker: Former Aston Villa defender Easah Suliman rejects UK return

Tue, 07/27/2021 - 13:15
Between now and the transfer window closing on August 31, The Athletic team will keep you informed of all the significant developments we hear. Whether that’s the latest from the Premier League or the EFL, the biggest moves around Europe or any significant business around the world, we’ll have coverage of every interesting deal that takes place.

Not a subscriber to The Athletic? You can sign up for our award-winning journalism here: https://theathletic.com/subscribe

We won’t bring you gossip or rumours, just what is really happening and why.

July 27

1pm

The Athletic understands Easah Suliman has decided against a return to the UK and will spend next season on loan at CD Nacional in Portugal, reports Gregg Evans.

The 23-year-old centre-back left Aston Villa for Vitoria Guimaraes last January but has struggled to hold down a regular starting spot.

A number of clubs in both England and Scotland were interested in signing him this summer but Suliman has agreed to drop down a division and spent the season on the island of Madeira.

Villa are keeping a close eye on his career as they will receive 30 per cent of any future transfer fee if he leaves Vitoria.

The England Under-19 European Championship winner still has three years remaining on his contract.

8:30am

Newcastle United are hopeful of offloading Yoshinori Muto, with concrete interest in the striker from Greek club Aris Thessaloniki, reports Chris Waugh.

The 29-year-old forward spent last season on loan at Eibar in Spain and has no future at Newcastle, despite training with the first team on Monday following a non-COVID-related illness.

With Muto in the final year of his contract, Newcastle would ideally like to sell the Japan international, but Aris are understood to prefer a loan move and could cover around 40 per cent of his wages, which are in excess of £50,000 a week.

No agreement is yet in place but the Greek Super League outfit are optimistic a deal can be reached, with Newcastle potentially willing to accept a nominal fee in order to move on another high earner.

Florian Lejeune departed for Deportivo Alaves earlier this month, freeing up space in the squad for potential incomings, although Steve Bruce, the head coach, has yet to make a signing of his own.

July 26

11.30am

Xherdan Shaqiri is set to leave Liverpool this summer with Serie A duo Lazio and Napoli leading the chase for his signature, reports James Pearce.

The Switzerland international has informed the club he wants to pursue a new challenge and sporting director Michael Edwards will grant him his wish if a suitable offer is tabled. Shaqiri is valued at around £12 million.

The 29-year-old made just seven starts for Liverpool in all competitions last season but enhanced his reputation with his performances at the Euros.

Some suitors have been under the impression that he had entered the final year of his contract but The Athletic understands that Liverpool have the option of triggering an extra 12 months so his current deal effectively runs until the summer of 2023. The asking price reflects that.

Italy is Shaqiri’s destination of choice with the player telling Corriere dello Sport: “I told the Liverpool board I feel ready for a new challenge. They accepted my decision and will now consider bids to sell me.

“Who is not in love with the Italian lifestyle? What is really striking is the Italian love for football. It is life in Italy. The fans are incredible. I’ve been following Lazio for a long time. It’s a top club.”

Lazio and Napoli have both been in contact with the player’s representatives. Liverpool have previously fielded interest from Spanish duo Sevilla and Villarreal. They inquired about a potential loan but were informed that Liverpool will only sanction a permanent move.

Liverpool have so far raised more than £30 million in sales from the exits of fringe players Kamil Grabara, Liam Millar, Marko Grujic, Harry Wilson and Taiwo Awoniyi.

10.30am

Manchester United are increasingly optimistic that an agreement can be struck with Real Madrid to secure the signing of defender Raphael Varane, reports David Ornstein.

Negotiations between the Premier League club and 28-year-old France international over personal terms have reached an advanced stage and United are intensifying talks with their Spanish counterparts.

As conversations continue over a transfer fee, the Old Trafford side will be pushing for a lower figure than the €50 million reported in some quarters.

A deal for Varane would see United recruit one of the game’s leading centre-backs, who has decided against extending a contract that expires in 2022 and therefore Real need to sell now or face losing him for free next summer.

United have already strengthened their squad via the £73m acquisition of England winger Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, while manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has extended his contract until 2024 with an option for a further year.

July 25

12pm

Crystal Palace look set to continue their eye-catching recruitment drive since installing Patrick Vieira as their new manager, with a deal for Lyon defender Joachim Andersen close to being completed, reports Peter Rutzler.

Following the arrivals of midfielder Michael Olise, goalkeeper Remi Matthews and centre-back Marc Guehi, Palace are on track to secure another impressive acquisition this week in the form of Andersen.

The Denmark international has undergone a medical with the south London club and is expected to sign a five-year contract once the terms of a transfer believed to be worth around €22 million plus €5m in add-ons are finalised.

Andersen spent last season on loan at Fulham and made a strong impression despite their relegation from the Premier League, leading to the likes of Tottenham considering a move for him.

But Palace have acted quickest and capitalised on Lyon’s financial difficulties to agree a price with the French top division side that is below the fee it is believed they were hopeful of achieving.

Andersen started his professional career with FC Twente before joining Sampdoria and then Lyon. He played 31 games for Fulham in 2020-21 and helped his country to the Euro 2020 semi-finals.

July 24

6pm

Arsenal’s academy has been bolstered by the signing of highly-rated striker Mika Biereth, who had previously been at Fulham, report James McNicholas and Peter Rutzler.

While the 18-year-old had been offered a professional contract at Craven Cottage, he has turned it down, instead choosing to join Arsenal.

Last season, Biereth helped fire Fulham’s Under-18s to the Premier League National Final, where they ultimately came up short against Manchester City. He was top scorer in the Under-18s Premier League South — with a record of 21 goals in 21 games — and collected 13 assists along the way.

Arsenal are assembling a collection of young centre-forwards with varying styles. Folarin Balogun has been promoted to the first team, while the academy ranks include Nikolaj Moller, Khayon Edwards and new arrival from Chelsea Amani Richards.

Swedish forward Moller, 19, will spend next season on loan with Viktoria Koln in the third tier of German football, which could open up opportunities for Biereth with Arsenal’s Under-23 side.

12.30pm

Stefan Johansen has agreed a move to Queens Park Rangers for £450,000 with further add-ons, reports Peter Rutzler.

Johansen, who joined Fulham in 2016, made a positive impression while on loan at QPR last season and the Championship side have been pushing to retain the Norway international on a permanent basis.

Following the arrival of Marco Silva at Fulham, it seemed that Johansen could have been given another chance at the club as the new manager assessed his options within the squad.

But ultimately, QPR have acquired his services and will be hoping the 30-year-old can continue to perform brightly, having grabbed four goals and two assists in his 21 appearances since joining the club in January.

July 23

11am

Chelsea academy graduate Ian Maatsen will join Coventry City next week on a season-long loan, reports Liam Twomey.

Maatsen, 19, spent last season on loan in League One with Charlton Athletic, making 34 appearances and scoring his first senior professional goal in a 1-0 win over Doncaster Rovers in April.

Last month Charlton manager Nigel Adkins confirmed that he would be interested in bringing Maatsen back to The Valley, but both the player and Chelsea favoured a Championship loan to further his development.

Coventry intend to deploy Maatsen as a left wing-back in their system, and it is hoped that manager Mark Robins’ expansive passing style will give the Dutch youth international opportunities to take his game to the next level.

Maatsen was involved in the early days of Chelsea’s preseason training at Cobham, but was not part of the squad that travelled to Republic of Ireland on Tuesday. He will complete his move to Coventry next week.

Chelsea did not seek to extend the contract of Maatsen — who signed a new deal in March 2020 that commits him to the club until at least June 2024 — but he is regarded internally as one of the club’s more promising youngsters.

Maatsen does not turn 20 until March 2022, and will be hoping to return to Chelsea next summer with a second full season of regular football under his belt and his reputation further enhanced.

9am

Meanwhile, Leeds United have made an approach to sign Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher on loan.

The club are targeting the 21-year-old as a player for their senior squad just hours after adding another Chelsea player, Lewis Bate, to their Under-23 ranks.

A central midfielder is the club’s top priority after they secured the arrival of £13m left-back Junior Firpo from Barcelona this month.

Leeds have been monitoring Gallagher throughout the summer and are understood to have pitched the transfer to him already with the start of the new Premier League season on the horizon.

Crystal Palace are also seriously interested in him and are vying with Leeds for his signature.

Gallagher is currently training with Chelsea but the Stamford Bridge side are ready to sanction another temporary move in this window after sending him to West Bromwich Albion last season and Swansea City the year before.

His spell at The Hawthorns, where he made 28 league starts, gave him Premier League experience and Leeds consider him a good fit under Marcelo Bielsa.

Chelsea are unwilling to consider permanent bids for Gallagher and are likely to look for him to sign a new contract before he heads out but manager Thomas Tuchel does not see him as part of his plans for the 12 months ahead.

Yesterday, United wrapped up the £1.2m arrival of Bate from Stamford Bridge. While the 18-year-old will begin life at Elland Road in the development squad, Gallagher would link up immediately with Bielsa’s senior squad if Leeds can push a deal through.

July 21

9.15pm

Southampton are set to sign Chelsea defender Dynel Simeu on a three-year contract, reports Dan Sheldon.

The highly-regarded 19-year-old rejected the chance to remain at Stamford Bridge in a bid to boost his chances of playing first-team football.

Simeu will arrive at St Mary’s on a free transfer but Southampton will pay up to £1.5 million if certain clauses are met. A sell-on fee has also been inserted into the contract.

The Athletic is led to believe the south coast side will only start paying for Simeu once he starts playing for the first team.

10.30am

West Ham United’s Jarrod Bowen is on Liverpool’s radar as they consider adding more firepower to their squad, reports James Pearce.

The Athletic understands that the 24-year-old forward’s name features on a shortlist drawn up of potential attacking targets.

Whether Liverpool reinforce their squad in that area in the current window depends to a large extent on whether Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri leave Anfield. The club are open to offers for both players with Shaqiri attracting interest from Lazio.

Bowen fits the profile for Liverpool in terms of his age, playing style and versatility. He’s viewed as someone with massive potential who would initially provide high calibre back-up and increase competition for places.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp rates him highly and the club will continue to monitor his development even if they don’t ultimately pursue a deal this summer.

Bowen, who started his career at Hereford United, joined West Ham from Hull City for £18 million potentially rising to £25 million with add-ons in January 2020.

He scored eight goals and contributed five assists in 38 league appearances last season. His contract at the London Stadium runs until 2025.

9am

Birmingham City have agreed to take goalkeeper Matija Sarkic on loan for the 2021-22 season after a successful trial period, reports Gregg Evans.

The 23-year-old Wolverhampton Wanderers stopper has impressed since arriving last week and will now challenge for a starting place in the team.

Boss Lee Bowyer had made it clear that he needed a new goalkeeper before the start of the season following Neil Etheridge’s absence with COVID-19.

A return date has not been set for Etheridge, who is out of hospital and back with his family, but will not be rushed back.

Etheridge could be out for a matter of weeks, if not months, and that’s why Sarkic has made the switch from Wolves.

The Montenegro international spent his early years at Aston Villa but couldn’t find a way into the team as he was behind a number of senior goalkeepers.

He joined Wolves last summer and was sent out on loan to League One side Shrewsbury Town.

Although he has been on the bench a number of times for Villa in the Championship, this will be his first real chance of playing in the second-tier now an agreement is in place to join Birmingham.

The move is expected to be confirmed in the next 24 hours.

July 20

2pm

Liverpool have told Fulham they want £15 million for winger Harry Wilson, reports James Pearce.

The London club, who are looking to bounce back following relegation from the Premier League last season, are keen to sign the Wales international.

Discussions are ongoing with no official bid on the table but Liverpool insist £15 million is a fair price. They point to the fact that Fulham have previously paid that amount for fellow widemen Ivan Cavaleiro and Anthony Knockaert. They view Wilson as comparable in terms of his profile.

Liverpool turned down a bid of around £12 million for Wilson from Burnley last season and believe he’s progressed since then following a successful loan spell at Cardiff City where he scored seven goals and contributed 12 assists.

The 24-year-old accepts the time is right to secure a permanent move away from Anfield as he wants regular game time. As well as Cardiff, he has previously been loaned out to Crewe, Hull City, Derby County and Bournemouth.

Benfica, Brentford and West Bromwich Albion have also shown interest in Wilson this summer.

Wrexham-born Wilson has been on Liverpool’s books since under-nines level. His only senior appearances were against Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup during the 2016-17 campaign and against Arsenal in the League Cup last season.

For the latest Liverpool transfer news click here.

1pm

Leeds United hope to complete the signing of Chelsea midfielder Lewis Bate before the end of the week after agreeing a fee with the west London club, reports Simon Johnson.

The Athletic has been told that personal terms are being discussed in view of Bate conducting a medical at Leeds on Wednesday. Chelsea have negotiated a sell-on clause as part of the switch, but have not inserted a buy back clause.

There is still the danger of one of the other interested clubs trying to hijack the move at the 11th hour. The Athletic reported on Monday that Leeds were the favourites to secure the 18-year-old’s signature, but faced competition from West Ham, Liverpool, Leicester City and Brighton. 

Time is running out for the others to make a bid though and the player has already given a major indication his mind is made up by following a number of Leeds players on Instagram. 

Chelsea have been left with no choice to negotiate with clubs over selling the youngster after Bate made it clear he wasn’t going to sign a contract extension.

The west London club opened talks with Bate before the end of last season and made a good offer, but the England Under-19 international rejected it because he is worried about the lack of a pathway to appearances in the first team.

That meant Chelsea had to discuss a sale because he has only one year left on his current deal and they’d only be entitled to a nominal amount in compensation if he left in 2022.

Bate is a very highly rated teenager, who has been compared with another Chelsea prodigy Billy Gilmour. He came close to making a senior debut under former manager Frank Lampard last year when he was named on the bench against Sheffield United and Bayern Munich.

Meanwhile, another academy graduate Ike Ugbo is hoping to complete a permanent transfer to Belgian club Genk FC in the next few days. Ugbo, who scored an impressive 16 goals in 32 appearances while on loan at Cercle Bruges last season, has already agreed a wage package.

The hold-up is being caused by the size of the fee. Chelsea want £5 million for the 22-year-old, but Genk aren’t willing to pay such a high sum for the forward because he has just one year left on his contract at Stamford Bridge.

There is still optimism that a compromise will be reached so it can be finalised by the weekend.

July 15

2.20pm

Celtic have agreed to sell Kristoffer Ajer to Brentford for a fee believed to be around £12 million up-front with add-ons, reports Kieran Devlin.

Celtic rejected £10 million bids from Norwich City and Bayer Leverkusen in June for the Norwegian international’s services. Celtic informed interested parties that £15 million would be the fee required to separate them for their player. Last week Celtic rebuffed Brentford’s opening bid, which is believed to have been also £12 million up-front but totalling to £15 million with add-ons valued at roughly £3 million, a lower value than the finally agreed fee.

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Liverpool’s academy is proving lucrative

Tue, 07/27/2021 - 05:21
Harry Wilson’s senior career at Liverpool ultimately amounted to just 115 minutes across two domestic cup ties.

The Wales winger didn’t quite make the grade at Anfield but there’s no disgrace in that. The bar is set incredibly high, especially when you have Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane standing in your path.

Wilson’s £12 million move to Fulham made sense for all parties. The 24-year-old will be a major asset in the Londoners’ push for promotion back to the top flight and he’s guaranteed the regular game time he craves. For Liverpool, the deal represents another success story for the club’s blossoming academy.

Including the £5 million they have already banked in loan fees for Wilson, they stand to collect a total of £17 million for a player they had nurtured from the age of eight. To help Fulham comply with the Football League’s financial fair play rules, Liverpool have agreed that the payments for the permanent transfer won’t kick in until 2022.

Yes, the ultimate aim of academy director Alex Inglethorpe and his staff is to get youngsters into Jurgen Klopp’s squad who are capable of staying there. Curtis Jones, Neco Williams, Rhys Williams and

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Transfer tracker: Xherdan Shaqiri set to leave Liverpool, Man Utd latest

Mon, 07/26/2021 - 11:31
Between now and the transfer window closing on August 31, The Athletic team will keep you informed of all the significant developments we hear. Whether that’s the latest from the Premier League or the EFL, the biggest moves around Europe or any significant business around the world, we’ll have coverage of every interesting deal that takes place.

Not a subscriber to The Athletic? You can sign up for our award-winning journalism here: https://theathletic.com/subscribe

We won’t bring you gossip or rumours, just what is really happening and why.

July 26

11.30am

Xherdan Shaqiri is set to leave Liverpool this summer with Serie A duo Lazio and Napoli leading the chase for his signature, reports James Pearce.

The Switzerland international has informed the club he wants to pursue a new challenge and sporting director Michael Edwards will grant him his wish if a suitable offer is tabled. Shaqiri is valued at around £12 million.

The 29-year-old made just seven starts for Liverpool in all competitions last season but enhanced his reputation with his performances at the Euros.

Some suitors have been under the impression that he had entered the final year of his contract but The Athletic understands that Liverpool have the option of triggering an extra 12 months so his current deal effectively runs until the summer of 2023. The asking price reflects that.

Italy is Shaqiri’s destination of choice with the player telling Corriere dello Sport: “I told the Liverpool board I feel ready for a new challenge. They accepted my decision and will now consider bids to sell me.

“Who is not in love with the Italian lifestyle? What is really striking is the Italian love for football. It is life in Italy. The fans are incredible. I’ve been following Lazio for a long time. It’s a top club.”

Lazio and Napoli have both been in contact with the player’s representatives. Liverpool have previously fielded interest from Spanish duo Sevilla and Villarreal. They inquired about a potential loan but were informed that Liverpool will only sanction a permanent move.

Liverpool have so far raised more than £30 million in sales from the exits of fringe players Kamil Grabara, Liam Millar, Marko Grujic, Harry Wilson and Taiwo Awoniyi.

10.30am

Manchester United are increasingly optimistic that an agreement can be struck with Real Madrid to secure the signing of defender Raphael Varane, reports David Ornstein.

Negotiations between the Premier League club and 28-year-old France international over personal terms have reached an advanced stage and United are intensifying talks with their Spanish counterparts.

As conversations continue over a transfer fee, the Old Trafford side will be pushing for a lower figure than the €50 million reported in some quarters.

A deal for Varane would see United recruit one of the game’s leading centre-backs, who has decided against extending a contract that expires in 2022 and therefore Real need to sell now or face losing him for free next summer.

United have already strengthened their squad via the £73m acquisition of England winger Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, while manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has extended his contract until 2024 with an option for a further year.

July 25

12pm

Crystal Palace look set to continue their eye-catching recruitment drive since installing Patrick Vieira as their new manager, with a deal for Lyon defender Joachim Andersen close to being completed, reports Peter Rutzler.

Following the arrivals of midfielder Michael Olise, goalkeeper Remi Matthews and centre-back Marc Guehi, Palace are on track to secure another impressive acquisition this week in the form of Andersen.

The Denmark international has undergone a medical with the south London club and is expected to sign a five-year contract once the terms of a transfer believed to be worth around €22 million plus €5m in add-ons are finalised.

Andersen spent last season on loan at Fulham and made a strong impression despite their relegation from the Premier League, leading to the likes of Tottenham considering a move for him.

But Palace have acted quickest and capitalised on Lyon’s financial difficulties to agree a price with the French top division side that is below the fee it is believed they were hopeful of achieving.

Andersen started his professional career with FC Twente before joining Sampdoria and then Lyon. He played 31 games for Fulham in 2020-21 and helped his country to the Euro 2020 semi-finals.

July 24

6pm

Arsenal’s academy has been bolstered by the signing of highly-rated striker Mika Biereth, who had previously been at Fulham, report James McNicholas and Peter Rutzler.

While the 18-year-old had been offered a professional contract at Craven Cottage, he has turned it down, instead choosing to join Arsenal.

Last season, Biereth helped fire Fulham’s Under-18s to the Premier League National Final, where they ultimately came up short against Manchester City. He was top scorer in the Under-18s Premier League South — with a record of 21 goals in 21 games — and collected 13 assists along the way.

Arsenal are assembling a collection of young centre-forwards with varying styles. Folarin Balogun has been promoted to the first team, while the academy ranks include Nikolaj Moller, Khayon Edwards and new arrival from Chelsea Amani Richards.

Swedish forward Moller, 19, will spend next season on loan with Viktoria Koln in the third tier of German football, which could open up opportunities for Biereth with Arsenal’s Under-23 side.

12.30pm

Stefan Johansen has agreed a move to Queens Park Rangers for £450,000 with further add-ons, reports Peter Rutzler.

Johansen, who joined Fulham in 2016, made a positive impression while on loan at QPR last season and the Championship side have been pushing to retain the Norway international on a permanent basis.

Following the arrival of Marco Silva at Fulham, it seemed that Johansen could have been given another chance at the club as the new manager assessed his options within the squad.

But ultimately, QPR have acquired his services and will be hoping the 30-year-old can continue to perform brightly, having grabbed four goals and two assists in his 21 appearances since joining the club in January.

July 23

11am

Chelsea academy graduate Ian Maatsen will join Coventry City next week on a season-long loan, reports Liam Twomey.

Maatsen, 19, spent last season on loan in League One with Charlton Athletic, making 34 appearances and scoring his first senior professional goal in a 1-0 win over Doncaster Rovers in April.

Last month Charlton manager Nigel Adkins confirmed that he would be interested in bringing Maatsen back to The Valley, but both the player and Chelsea favoured a Championship loan to further his development.

Coventry intend to deploy Maatsen as a left wing-back in their system, and it is hoped that manager Mark Robins’ expansive passing style will give the Dutch youth international opportunities to take his game to the next level.

Maatsen was involved in the early days of Chelsea’s preseason training at Cobham, but was not part of the squad that travelled to Republic of Ireland on Tuesday. He will complete his move to Coventry next week.

Chelsea did not seek to extend the contract of Maatsen — who signed a new deal in March 2020 that commits him to the club until at least June 2024 — but he is regarded internally as one of the club’s more promising youngsters.

Maatsen does not turn 20 until March 2022, and will be hoping to return to Chelsea next summer with a second full season of regular football under his belt and his reputation further enhanced.

9am

Meanwhile, Leeds United have made an approach to sign Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher on loan.

The club are targeting the 21-year-old as a player for their senior squad just hours after adding another Chelsea player, Lewis Bate, to their Under-23 ranks.

A central midfielder is the club’s top priority after they secured the arrival of £13m left-back Junior Firpo from Barcelona this month.

Leeds have been monitoring Gallagher throughout the summer and are understood to have pitched the transfer to him already with the start of the new Premier League season on the horizon.

Crystal Palace are also seriously interested in him and are vying with Leeds for his signature.

Gallagher is currently training with Chelsea but the Stamford Bridge side are ready to sanction another temporary move in this window after sending him to West Bromwich Albion last season and Swansea City the year before.

His spell at The Hawthorns, where he made 28 league starts, gave him Premier League experience and Leeds consider him a good fit under Marcelo Bielsa.

Chelsea are unwilling to consider permanent bids for Gallagher and are likely to look for him to sign a new contract before he heads out but manager Thomas Tuchel does not see him as part of his plans for the 12 months ahead.

Yesterday, United wrapped up the £1.2m arrival of Bate from Stamford Bridge. While the 18-year-old will begin life at Elland Road in the development squad, Gallagher would link up immediately with Bielsa’s senior squad if Leeds can push a deal through.

July 21

9.15pm

Southampton are set to sign Chelsea defender Dynel Simeu on a three-year contract, reports Dan Sheldon.

The highly-regarded 19-year-old rejected the chance to remain at Stamford Bridge in a bid to boost his chances of playing first-team football.

Simeu will arrive at St Mary’s on a free transfer but Southampton will pay up to £1.5 million if certain clauses are met. A sell-on fee has also been inserted into the contract.

The Athletic is led to believe the south coast side will only start paying for Simeu once he starts playing for the first team.

10.30am

West Ham United’s Jarrod Bowen is on Liverpool’s radar as they consider adding more firepower to their squad, reports James Pearce.

The Athletic understands that the 24-year-old forward’s name features on a shortlist drawn up of potential attacking targets.

Whether Liverpool reinforce their squad in that area in the current window depends to a large extent on whether Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri leave Anfield. The club are open to offers for both players with Shaqiri attracting interest from Lazio.

Bowen fits the profile for Liverpool in terms of his age, playing style and versatility. He’s viewed as someone with massive potential who would initially provide high calibre back-up and increase competition for places.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp rates him highly and the club will continue to monitor his development even if they don’t ultimately pursue a deal this summer.

Bowen, who started his career at Hereford United, joined West Ham from Hull City for £18 million potentially rising to £25 million with add-ons in January 2020.

He scored eight goals and contributed five assists in 38 league appearances last season. His contract at the London Stadium runs until 2025.

9am

Birmingham City have agreed to take goalkeeper Matija Sarkic on loan for the 2021-22 season after a successful trial period, reports Gregg Evans.

The 23-year-old Wolverhampton Wanderers stopper has impressed since arriving last week and will now challenge for a starting place in the team.

Boss Lee Bowyer had made it clear that he needed a new goalkeeper before the start of the season following Neil Etheridge’s absence with COVID-19.

A return date has not been set for Etheridge, who is out of hospital and back with his family, but will not be rushed back.

Etheridge could be out for a matter of weeks, if not months, and that’s why Sarkic has made the switch from Wolves.

The Montenegro international spent his early years at Aston Villa but couldn’t find a way into the team as he was behind a number of senior goalkeepers.

He joined Wolves last summer and was sent out on loan to League One side Shrewsbury Town.

Although he has been on the bench a number of times for Villa in the Championship, this will be his first real chance of playing in the second-tier now an agreement is in place to join Birmingham.

The move is expected to be confirmed in the next 24 hours.

July 20

2pm

Liverpool have told Fulham they want £15 million for winger Harry Wilson, reports James Pearce.

The London club, who are looking to bounce back following relegation from the Premier League last season, are keen to sign the Wales international.

Discussions are ongoing with no official bid on the table but Liverpool insist £15 million is a fair price. They point to the fact that Fulham have previously paid that amount for fellow widemen Ivan Cavaleiro and Anthony Knockaert. They view Wilson as comparable in terms of his profile.

Liverpool turned down a bid of around £12 million for Wilson from Burnley last season and believe he’s progressed since then following a successful loan spell at Cardiff City where he scored seven goals and contributed 12 assists.

The 24-year-old accepts the time is right to secure a permanent move away from Anfield as he wants regular game time. As well as Cardiff, he has previously been loaned out to Crewe, Hull City, Derby County and Bournemouth.

Benfica, Brentford and West Bromwich Albion have also shown interest in Wilson this summer.

Wrexham-born Wilson has been on Liverpool’s books since under-nines level. His only senior appearances were against Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup during the 2016-17 campaign and against Arsenal in the League Cup last season.

For the latest Liverpool transfer news click here.

1pm

Leeds United hope to complete the signing of Chelsea midfielder Lewis Bate before the end of the week after agreeing a fee with the west London club, reports Simon Johnson.

The Athletic has been told that personal terms are being discussed in view of Bate conducting a medical at Leeds on Wednesday. Chelsea have negotiated a sell-on clause as part of the switch, but have not inserted a buy back clause.

There is still the danger of one of the other interested clubs trying to hijack the move at the 11th hour. The Athletic reported on Monday that Leeds were the favourites to secure the 18-year-old’s signature, but faced competition from West Ham, Liverpool, Leicester City and Brighton. 

Time is running out for the others to make a bid though and the player has already given a major indication his mind is made up by following a number of Leeds players on Instagram. 

Chelsea have been left with no choice to negotiate with clubs over selling the youngster after Bate made it clear he wasn’t going to sign a contract extension.

The west London club opened talks with Bate before the end of last season and made a good offer, but the England Under-19 international rejected it because he is worried about the lack of a pathway to appearances in the first team.

That meant Chelsea had to discuss a sale because he has only one year left on his current deal and they’d only be entitled to a nominal amount in compensation if he left in 2022.

Bate is a very highly rated teenager, who has been compared with another Chelsea prodigy Billy Gilmour. He came close to making a senior debut under former manager Frank Lampard last year when he was named on the bench against Sheffield United and Bayern Munich.

Meanwhile, another academy graduate Ike Ugbo is hoping to complete a permanent transfer to Belgian club Genk FC in the next few days. Ugbo, who scored an impressive 16 goals in 32 appearances while on loan at Cercle Bruges last season, has already agreed a wage package.

The hold-up is being caused by the size of the fee. Chelsea want £5 million for the 22-year-old, but Genk aren’t willing to pay such a high sum for the forward because he has just one year left on his contract at Stamford Bridge.

There is still optimism that a compromise will be reached so it can be finalised by the weekend.

July 15

2.20pm

Celtic have agreed to sell Kristoffer Ajer to Brentford for a fee believed to be around £12 million up-front with add-ons, reports Kieran Devlin.

Celtic rejected £10 million bids from Norwich City and Bayer Leverkusen in June for the Norwegian international’s services. Celtic informed interested parties that £15 million would be the fee required to separate them for their player. Last week Celtic rebuffed Brentford’s opening bid, which is believed to have been also £12 million up-front but totalling to £15 million with add-ons valued at roughly £3 million, a lower value than the finally agreed fee.

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Trolls who abused Wijnaldum should be ashamed but it was FSG’s contract stance that led to his exit

Mon, 07/26/2021 - 04:52
Georginio Wijnaldum had promised to explain his reasons for leaving Liverpool. After all, when he said a tearful goodbye at Anfield in May, he admitted he had wanted to stay put.

“There were some moments when I didn’t feel loved and appreciated there,” he told reporters via Zoom at his Paris Saint-Germain unveiling. “Not by my team-mates, not the people at Melwood. I know they all loved me and I loved them. It was not from that side. More from the other side.”

By the “other side”, the Dutch midfielder was referring to the owners from Fenway Sports Group (FSG), who didn’t fight particularly hard to stop him from leaving as a free agent this summer. They were reluctant to hand out a lucrative long extension to a player who will turn 31 in November.

Having been integral to Champions League and Premier League glory in recent years, Wijnaldum felt he never got the contract offer his ongoing importance to Jurgen Klopp’s side merited. That clearly still stings — despite his excitement at embarking on a new challenge under Mauricio Pochettino in the French capital.

His comments about the two “different kinds” of fans have also generated headlines. On the whole, Wijnaldum retained the support of fans in the stands but his contract stand-off meant that he was a lightning rod for criticism and abuse on social media from a noisy minority as Liverpool’s season looked close to imploding after the turn of the year.

“When it went bad, I was the player who they blamed — (saying) that I wanted to leave,” he said. “Every day in training and in the game, I gave everything I had.

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Transfer tracker: Crystal Palace close to Joachim Andersen deal

Sun, 07/25/2021 - 12:00
Between now and the transfer window closing on August 31, The Athletic team will keep you informed of all the significant developments we hear. Whether that’s the latest from the Premier League or the EFL, the biggest moves around Europe or any significant business around the world, we’ll have coverage of every interesting deal that takes place.

Not a subscriber to The Athletic? You can sign up for our award-winning journalism here: https://theathletic.com/subscribe

We won’t bring you gossip or rumours, just what is really happening and why.

July 25

12pm

Crystal Palace look set to continue their eye-catching recruitment drive since installing Patrick Vieira as their new manager, with a deal for Lyon defender Joachim Andersen close to being completed, reports Peter Rutzler.

Following the arrivals of midfielder Michael Olise, goalkeeper Remi Matthews and centre-back Marc Guehi, Palace are on track to secure another impressive acquisition this week in the form of Andersen.

The Denmark international has undergone a medical with the south London club and is expected to sign a five-year contract once the terms of a transfer believed to be worth around €22 million plus €5m in add-ons are finalised.

Andersen spent last season on loan at Fulham and made a strong impression despite their relegation from the Premier League, leading to the likes of Tottenham considering a move for him.

But Palace have acted quickest and capitalised on Lyon’s financial difficulties to agree a price with the French top division side that is below the fee it is believed they were hopeful of achieving.

Andersen started his professional career with FC Twente before joining Sampdoria and then Lyon. He played 31 games for Fulham in 2020-21 and helped his country to the Euro 2020 semi-finals.

July 24

6pm

Arsenal’s academy has been bolstered by the signing of highly-rated striker Mika Biereth, who had previously been at Fulham, report James McNicholas and Peter Rutzler.

While the 18-year-old had been offered a professional contract at Craven Cottage, he has turned it down, instead choosing to join Arsenal.

Last season, Biereth helped fire Fulham’s Under-18s to the Premier League National Final, where they ultimately came up short against Manchester City. He was top scorer in the Under-18s Premier League South — with a record of 21 goals in 21 games — and collected 13 assists along the way.

Arsenal are assembling a collection of young centre-forwards with varying styles. Folarin Balogun has been promoted to the first team, while the academy ranks include Nikolaj Moller, Khayon Edwards and new arrival from Chelsea Amani Richards.

Swedish forward Moller, 19, will spend next season on loan with Viktoria Koln in the third tier of German football, which could open up opportunities for Biereth with Arsenal’s Under-23 side.

12.30pm

Stefan Johansen has agreed a move to Queens Park Rangers for £450,000 with further add-ons, reports Peter Rutzler.

Johansen, who joined Fulham in 2016, made a positive impression while on loan at QPR last season and the Championship side have been pushing to retain the Norway international on a permanent basis.

Following the arrival of Marco Silva at Fulham, it seemed that Johansen could have been given another chance at the club as the new manager assessed his options within the squad.

But ultimately, QPR have acquired his services and will be hoping the 30-year-old can continue to perform brightly, having grabbed four goals and two assists in his 21 appearances since joining the club in January.

July 23

11am

Chelsea academy graduate Ian Maatsen will join Coventry City next week on a season-long loan, reports Liam Twomey.

Maatsen, 19, spent last season on loan in League One with Charlton Athletic, making 34 appearances and scoring his first senior professional goal in a 1-0 win over Doncaster Rovers in April.

Last month Charlton manager Nigel Adkins confirmed that he would be interested in bringing Maatsen back to The Valley, but both the player and Chelsea favoured a Championship loan to further his development.

Coventry intend to deploy Maatsen as a left wing-back in their system, and it is hoped that manager Mark Robins’ expansive passing style will give the Dutch youth international opportunities to take his game to the next level.

Maatsen was involved in the early days of Chelsea’s preseason training at Cobham, but was not part of the squad that travelled to Republic of Ireland on Tuesday. He will complete his move to Coventry next week.

Chelsea did not seek to extend the contract of Maatsen — who signed a new deal in March 2020 that commits him to the club until at least June 2024 — but he is regarded internally as one of the club’s more promising youngsters.

Maatsen does not turn 20 until March 2022, and will be hoping to return to Chelsea next summer with a second full season of regular football under his belt and his reputation further enhanced.

9am

Meanwhile, Leeds United have made an approach to sign Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher on loan.

The club are targeting the 21-year-old as a player for their senior squad just hours after adding another Chelsea player, Lewis Bate, to their Under-23 ranks.

A central midfielder is the club’s top priority after they secured the arrival of £13m left-back Junior Firpo from Barcelona this month.

Leeds have been monitoring Gallagher throughout the summer and are understood to have pitched the transfer to him already with the start of the new Premier League season on the horizon.

Crystal Palace are also seriously interested in him and are vying with Leeds for his signature.

Gallagher is currently training with Chelsea but the Stamford Bridge side are ready to sanction another temporary move in this window after sending him to West Bromwich Albion last season and Swansea City the year before.

His spell at The Hawthorns, where he made 28 league starts, gave him Premier League experience and Leeds consider him a good fit under Marcelo Bielsa.

Chelsea are unwilling to consider permanent bids for Gallagher and are likely to look for him to sign a new contract before he heads out but manager Thomas Tuchel does not see him as part of his plans for the 12 months ahead.

Yesterday, United wrapped up the £1.2m arrival of Bate from Stamford Bridge. While the 18-year-old will begin life at Elland Road in the development squad, Gallagher would link up immediately with Bielsa’s senior squad if Leeds can push a deal through.

July 21

9.15pm

Southampton are set to sign Chelsea defender Dynel Simeu on a three-year contract, reports Dan Sheldon.

The highly-regarded 19-year-old rejected the chance to remain at Stamford Bridge in a bid to boost his chances of playing first-team football.

Simeu will arrive at St Mary’s on a free transfer but Southampton will pay up to £1.5 million if certain clauses are met. A sell-on fee has also been inserted into the contract.

The Athletic is led to believe the south coast side will only start paying for Simeu once he starts playing for the first team.

10.30am

West Ham United’s Jarrod Bowen is on Liverpool’s radar as they consider adding more firepower to their squad, reports James Pearce.

The Athletic understands that the 24-year-old forward’s name features on a shortlist drawn up of potential attacking targets.

Whether Liverpool reinforce their squad in that area in the current window depends to a large extent on whether Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri leave Anfield. The club are open to offers for both players with Shaqiri attracting interest from Lazio.

Bowen fits the profile for Liverpool in terms of his age, playing style and versatility. He’s viewed as someone with massive potential who would initially provide high calibre back-up and increase competition for places.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp rates him highly and the club will continue to monitor his development even if they don’t ultimately pursue a deal this summer.

Bowen, who started his career at Hereford United, joined West Ham from Hull City for £18 million potentially rising to £25 million with add-ons in January 2020.

He scored eight goals and contributed five assists in 38 league appearances last season. His contract at the London Stadium runs until 2025.

9am

Birmingham City have agreed to take goalkeeper Matija Sarkic on loan for the 2021-22 season after a successful trial period, reports Gregg Evans.

The 23-year-old Wolverhampton Wanderers stopper has impressed since arriving last week and will now challenge for a starting place in the team.

Boss Lee Bowyer had made it clear that he needed a new goalkeeper before the start of the season following Neil Etheridge’s absence with COVID-19.

A return date has not been set for Etheridge, who is out of hospital and back with his family, but will not be rushed back.

Etheridge could be out for a matter of weeks, if not months, and that’s why Sarkic has made the switch from Wolves.

The Montenegro international spent his early years at Aston Villa but couldn’t find a way into the team as he was behind a number of senior goalkeepers.

He joined Wolves last summer and was sent out on loan to League One side Shrewsbury Town.

Although he has been on the bench a number of times for Villa in the Championship, this will be his first real chance of playing in the second-tier now an agreement is in place to join Birmingham.

The move is expected to be confirmed in the next 24 hours.

July 20

2pm

Liverpool have told Fulham they want £15 million for winger Harry Wilson, reports James Pearce.

The London club, who are looking to bounce back following relegation from the Premier League last season, are keen to sign the Wales international.

Discussions are ongoing with no official bid on the table but Liverpool insist £15 million is a fair price. They point to the fact that Fulham have previously paid that amount for fellow widemen Ivan Cavaleiro and Anthony Knockaert. They view Wilson as comparable in terms of his profile.

Liverpool turned down a bid of around £12 million for Wilson from Burnley last season and believe he’s progressed since then following a successful loan spell at Cardiff City where he scored seven goals and contributed 12 assists.

The 24-year-old accepts the time is right to secure a permanent move away from Anfield as he wants regular game time. As well as Cardiff, he has previously been loaned out to Crewe, Hull City, Derby County and Bournemouth.

Benfica, Brentford and West Bromwich Albion have also shown interest in Wilson this summer.

Wrexham-born Wilson has been on Liverpool’s books since under-nines level. His only senior appearances were against Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup during the 2016-17 campaign and against Arsenal in the League Cup last season.

For the latest Liverpool transfer news click here.

1pm

Leeds United hope to complete the signing of Chelsea midfielder Lewis Bate before the end of the week after agreeing a fee with the west London club, reports Simon Johnson.

The Athletic has been told that personal terms are being discussed in view of Bate conducting a medical at Leeds on Wednesday. Chelsea have negotiated a sell-on clause as part of the switch, but have not inserted a buy back clause.

There is still the danger of one of the other interested clubs trying to hijack the move at the 11th hour. The Athletic reported on Monday that Leeds were the favourites to secure the 18-year-old’s signature, but faced competition from West Ham, Liverpool, Leicester City and Brighton. 

Time is running out for the others to make a bid though and the player has already given a major indication his mind is made up by following a number of Leeds players on Instagram. 

Chelsea have been left with no choice to negotiate with clubs over selling the youngster after Bate made it clear he wasn’t going to sign a contract extension.

The west London club opened talks with Bate before the end of last season and made a good offer, but the England Under-19 international rejected it because he is worried about the lack of a pathway to appearances in the first team.

That meant Chelsea had to discuss a sale because he has only one year left on his current deal and they’d only be entitled to a nominal amount in compensation if he left in 2022.

Bate is a very highly rated teenager, who has been compared with another Chelsea prodigy Billy Gilmour. He came close to making a senior debut under former manager Frank Lampard last year when he was named on the bench against Sheffield United and Bayern Munich.

Meanwhile, another academy graduate Ike Ugbo is hoping to complete a permanent transfer to Belgian club Genk FC in the next few days. Ugbo, who scored an impressive 16 goals in 32 appearances while on loan at Cercle Bruges last season, has already agreed a wage package.

The hold-up is being caused by the size of the fee. Chelsea want £5 million for the 22-year-old, but Genk aren’t willing to pay such a high sum for the forward because he has just one year left on his contract at Stamford Bridge.

There is still optimism that a compromise will be reached so it can be finalised by the weekend.

July 15

2.20pm

Celtic have agreed to sell Kristoffer Ajer to Brentford for a fee believed to be around £12 million up-front with add-ons, reports Kieran Devlin.

Celtic rejected £10 million bids from Norwich City and Bayer Leverkusen in June for the Norwegian international’s services. Celtic informed interested parties that £15 million would be the fee required to separate them for their player. Last week Celtic rebuffed Brentford’s opening bid, which is believed to have been also £12 million up-front but totalling to £15 million with add-ons valued at roughly £3 million, a lower value than the finally agreed fee.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Transfer tracker: Arsenal reach agreement to sign Fulham youngster Mika Biereth

Sat, 07/24/2021 - 17:58
Between now and the transfer window closing on August 31, The Athletic team will keep you informed of all the significant developments we hear. Whether that’s the latest from the Premier League or the EFL, the biggest moves around Europe or any significant business around the world, we’ll have coverage of every interesting deal that takes place.

Not a subscriber to The Athletic? You can sign up for our award-winning journalism here: https://theathletic.com/subscribe

We won’t bring you gossip or rumours, just what is really happening and why.

July 24

6pm

Arsenal’s academy has been bolstered by the signing of highly-rated striker Mika Biereth, who had previously been at Fulham, report James McNicholas and Peter Rutzler.

While the 18-year-old had been offered a professional contract at Craven Cottage, he has turned it down, instead choosing to join Arsenal.

Last season, Biereth helped fire Fulham’s Under-18s to the Premier League National Final, where they ultimately came up short against Manchester City. He was top scorer in the Under-18s Premier League South — with a record of 21 goals in 21 games — and collected 13 assists along the way.

Arsenal are assembling a collection of young centre-forwards with varying styles. Folarin Balogun has been promoted to the first team, while the academy ranks include Nikolaj Moller, Khayon Edwards and new arrival from Chelsea Amani Richards.

Swedish forward Moller, 19, will spend next season on loan with Viktoria Koln in the third tier of German football, which could open up opportunities for Biereth with Arsenal’s Under-23 side.

12.30pm

Stefan Johansen has agreed a move to Queens Park Rangers for £450,000 with further add-ons, reports Peter Rutzler.

Johansen, who joined Fulham in 2016, made a positive impression while on loan at QPR last season and the Championship side have been pushing to retain the Norway international on a permanent basis.

Following the arrival of Marco Silva at Fulham, it seemed that Johansen could have been given another chance at the club as the new manager assessed his options within the squad.

But ultimately, QPR have acquired his services and will be hoping the 30-year-old can continue to perform brightly, having grabbed four goals and two assists in his 21 appearances since joining the club in January.

July 23

11am

Chelsea academy graduate Ian Maatsen will join Coventry City next week on a season-long loan, reports Liam Twomey.

Maatsen, 19, spent last season on loan in League One with Charlton Athletic, making 34 appearances and scoring his first senior professional goal in a 1-0 win over Doncaster Rovers in April.

Last month Charlton manager Nigel Adkins confirmed that he would be interested in bringing Maatsen back to The Valley, but both the player and Chelsea favoured a Championship loan to further his development.

Coventry intend to deploy Maatsen as a left wing-back in their system, and it is hoped that manager Mark Robins’ expansive passing style will give the Dutch youth international opportunities to take his game to the next level.

Maatsen was involved in the early days of Chelsea’s preseason training at Cobham, but was not part of the squad that travelled to Republic of Ireland on Tuesday. He will complete his move to Coventry next week.

Chelsea did not seek to extend the contract of Maatsen — who signed a new deal in March 2020 that commits him to the club until at least June 2024 — but he is regarded internally as one of the club’s more promising youngsters.

Maatsen does not turn 20 until March 2022, and will be hoping to return to Chelsea next summer with a second full season of regular football under his belt and his reputation further enhanced.

9am

Meanwhile, Leeds United have made an approach to sign Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher on loan.

The club are targeting the 21-year-old as a player for their senior squad just hours after adding another Chelsea player, Lewis Bate, to their Under-23 ranks.

A central midfielder is the club’s top priority after they secured the arrival of £13m left-back Junior Firpo from Barcelona this month.

Leeds have been monitoring Gallagher throughout the summer and are understood to have pitched the transfer to him already with the start of the new Premier League season on the horizon.

Crystal Palace are also seriously interested in him and are vying with Leeds for his signature.

Gallagher is currently training with Chelsea but the Stamford Bridge side are ready to sanction another temporary move in this window after sending him to West Bromwich Albion last season and Swansea City the year before.

His spell at The Hawthorns, where he made 28 league starts, gave him Premier League experience and Leeds consider him a good fit under Marcelo Bielsa.

Chelsea are unwilling to consider permanent bids for Gallagher and are likely to look for him to sign a new contract before he heads out but manager Thomas Tuchel does not see him as part of his plans for the 12 months ahead.

Yesterday, United wrapped up the £1.2m arrival of Bate from Stamford Bridge. While the 18-year-old will begin life at Elland Road in the development squad, Gallagher would link up immediately with Bielsa’s senior squad if Leeds can push a deal through.

July 21

9.15pm

Southampton are set to sign Chelsea defender Dynel Simeu on a three-year contract, reports Dan Sheldon.

The highly-regarded 19-year-old rejected the chance to remain at Stamford Bridge in a bid to boost his chances of playing first-team football.

Simeu will arrive at St Mary’s on a free transfer but Southampton will pay up to £1.5 million if certain clauses are met. A sell-on fee has also been inserted into the contract.

The Athletic is led to believe the south coast side will only start paying for Simeu once he starts playing for the first team.

10.30am

West Ham United’s Jarrod Bowen is on Liverpool’s radar as they consider adding more firepower to their squad, reports James Pearce.

The Athletic understands that the 24-year-old forward’s name features on a shortlist drawn up of potential attacking targets.

Whether Liverpool reinforce their squad in that area in the current window depends to a large extent on whether Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri leave Anfield. The club are open to offers for both players with Shaqiri attracting interest from Lazio.

Bowen fits the profile for Liverpool in terms of his age, playing style and versatility. He’s viewed as someone with massive potential who would initially provide high calibre back-up and increase competition for places.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp rates him highly and the club will continue to monitor his development even if they don’t ultimately pursue a deal this summer.

Bowen, who started his career at Hereford United, joined West Ham from Hull City for £18 million potentially rising to £25 million with add-ons in January 2020.

He scored eight goals and contributed five assists in 38 league appearances last season. His contract at the London Stadium runs until 2025.

9am

Birmingham City have agreed to take goalkeeper Matija Sarkic on loan for the 2021-22 season after a successful trial period, reports Gregg Evans.

The 23-year-old Wolverhampton Wanderers stopper has impressed since arriving last week and will now challenge for a starting place in the team.

Boss Lee Bowyer had made it clear that he needed a new goalkeeper before the start of the season following Neil Etheridge’s absence with COVID-19.

A return date has not been set for Etheridge, who is out of hospital and back with his family, but will not be rushed back.

Etheridge could be out for a matter of weeks, if not months, and that’s why Sarkic has made the switch from Wolves.

The Montenegro international spent his early years at Aston Villa but couldn’t find a way into the team as he was behind a number of senior goalkeepers.

He joined Wolves last summer and was sent out on loan to League One side Shrewsbury Town.

Although he has been on the bench a number of times for Villa in the Championship, this will be his first real chance of playing in the second-tier now an agreement is in place to join Birmingham.

The move is expected to be confirmed in the next 24 hours.

July 20

2pm

Liverpool have told Fulham they want £15 million for winger Harry Wilson, reports James Pearce.

The London club, who are looking to bounce back following relegation from the Premier League last season, are keen to sign the Wales international.

Discussions are ongoing with no official bid on the table but Liverpool insist £15 million is a fair price. They point to the fact that Fulham have previously paid that amount for fellow widemen Ivan Cavaleiro and Anthony Knockaert. They view Wilson as comparable in terms of his profile.

Liverpool turned down a bid of around £12 million for Wilson from Burnley last season and believe he’s progressed since then following a successful loan spell at Cardiff City where he scored seven goals and contributed 12 assists.

The 24-year-old accepts the time is right to secure a permanent move away from Anfield as he wants regular game time. As well as Cardiff, he has previously been loaned out to Crewe, Hull City, Derby County and Bournemouth.

Benfica, Brentford and West Bromwich Albion have also shown interest in Wilson this summer.

Wrexham-born Wilson has been on Liverpool’s books since under-nines level. His only senior appearances were against Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup during the 2016-17 campaign and against Arsenal in the League Cup last season.

For the latest Liverpool transfer news click here.

1pm

Leeds United hope to complete the signing of Chelsea midfielder Lewis Bate before the end of the week after agreeing a fee with the west London club, reports Simon Johnson.

The Athletic has been told that personal terms are being discussed in view of Bate conducting a medical at Leeds on Wednesday. Chelsea have negotiated a sell-on clause as part of the switch, but have not inserted a buy back clause.

There is still the danger of one of the other interested clubs trying to hijack the move at the 11th hour. The Athletic reported on Monday that Leeds were the favourites to secure the 18-year-old’s signature, but faced competition from West Ham, Liverpool, Leicester City and Brighton. 

Time is running out for the others to make a bid though and the player has already given a major indication his mind is made up by following a number of Leeds players on Instagram. 

Chelsea have been left with no choice to negotiate with clubs over selling the youngster after Bate made it clear he wasn’t going to sign a contract extension.

The west London club opened talks with Bate before the end of last season and made a good offer, but the England Under-19 international rejected it because he is worried about the lack of a pathway to appearances in the first team.

That meant Chelsea had to discuss a sale because he has only one year left on his current deal and they’d only be entitled to a nominal amount in compensation if he left in 2022.

Bate is a very highly rated teenager, who has been compared with another Chelsea prodigy Billy Gilmour. He came close to making a senior debut under former manager Frank Lampard last year when he was named on the bench against Sheffield United and Bayern Munich.

Meanwhile, another academy graduate Ike Ugbo is hoping to complete a permanent transfer to Belgian club Genk FC in the next few days. Ugbo, who scored an impressive 16 goals in 32 appearances while on loan at Cercle Bruges last season, has already agreed a wage package.

The hold-up is being caused by the size of the fee. Chelsea want £5 million for the 22-year-old, but Genk aren’t willing to pay such a high sum for the forward because he has just one year left on his contract at Stamford Bridge.

There is still optimism that a compromise will be reached so it can be finalised by the weekend.

July 15

2.20pm

Celtic have agreed to sell Kristoffer Ajer to Brentford for a fee believed to be around £12 million up-front with add-ons, reports Kieran Devlin.

Celtic rejected £10 million bids from Norwich City and Bayer Leverkusen in June for the Norwegian international’s services. Celtic informed interested parties that £15 million would be the fee required to separate them for their player. Last week Celtic rebuffed Brentford’s opening bid, which is believed to have been also £12 million up-front but totalling to £15 million with add-ons valued at roughly £3 million, a lower value than the finally agreed fee.

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Transfer tracker: Fulham’s Stefan Johansen agrees £450k move to QPR

Sat, 07/24/2021 - 12:30
Between now and the transfer window closing on August 31, The Athletic team will keep you informed of all the significant developments we hear. Whether that’s the latest from the Premier League or the EFL, the biggest moves around Europe or any significant business around the world, we’ll have coverage of every interesting deal that takes place.

Not a subscriber to The Athletic? You can sign up for our award-winning journalism here: https://theathletic.com/subscribe

We won’t bring you gossip or rumours, just what is really happening and why.

July 24

12.30pm

Stefan Johansen has agreed a move to Queens Park Rangers for £450,000 with further add-ons, reports Peter Rutzler.

Johansen, who joined Fulham in 2016, made a positive impression while on loan at QPR last season and the Championship side have been pushing to retain the Norway international on a permanent basis.

Following the arrival of Marco Silva at Fulham, it seemed that Johansen could have been given another chance at the club as the new manager assessed his options within the squad.

But ultimately, QPR have acquired his services and will be hoping the 30-year-old can continue to perform brightly, having grabbed four goals and two assists in his 21 appearances since joining the club in January.

July 23

11am

Chelsea academy graduate Ian Maatsen will join Coventry City next week on a season-long loan, reports Liam Twomey.

Maatsen, 19, spent last season on loan in League One with Charlton Athletic, making 34 appearances and scoring his first senior professional goal in a 1-0 win over Doncaster Rovers in April.

Last month Charlton manager Nigel Adkins confirmed that he would be interested in bringing Maatsen back to The Valley, but both the player and Chelsea favoured a Championship loan to further his development.

Coventry intend to deploy Maatsen as a left wing-back in their system, and it is hoped that manager Mark Robins’ expansive passing style will give the Dutch youth international opportunities to take his game to the next level.

Maatsen was involved in the early days of Chelsea’s preseason training at Cobham, but was not part of the squad that travelled to Republic of Ireland on Tuesday. He will complete his move to Coventry next week.

Chelsea did not seek to extend the contract of Maatsen — who signed a new deal in March 2020 that commits him to the club until at least June 2024 — but he is regarded internally as one of the club’s more promising youngsters.

Maatsen does not turn 20 until March 2022, and will be hoping to return to Chelsea next summer with a second full season of regular football under his belt and his reputation further enhanced.

9am

Meanwhile, Leeds United have made an approach to sign Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher on loan.

The club are targeting the 21-year-old as a player for their senior squad just hours after adding another Chelsea player, Lewis Bate, to their Under-23 ranks.

A central midfielder is the club’s top priority after they secured the arrival of £13m left-back Junior Firpo from Barcelona this month.

Leeds have been monitoring Gallagher throughout the summer and are understood to have pitched the transfer to him already with the start of the new Premier League season on the horizon.

Crystal Palace are also seriously interested in him and are vying with Leeds for his signature.

Gallagher is currently training with Chelsea but the Stamford Bridge side are ready to sanction another temporary move in this window after sending him to West Bromwich Albion last season and Swansea City the year before.

His spell at The Hawthorns, where he made 28 league starts, gave him Premier League experience and Leeds consider him a good fit under Marcelo Bielsa.

Chelsea are unwilling to consider permanent bids for Gallagher and are likely to look for him to sign a new contract before he heads out but manager Thomas Tuchel does not see him as part of his plans for the 12 months ahead.

Yesterday, United wrapped up the £1.2m arrival of Bate from Stamford Bridge. While the 18-year-old will begin life at Elland Road in the development squad, Gallagher would link up immediately with Bielsa’s senior squad if Leeds can push a deal through.

July 21

9.15pm

Southampton are set to sign Chelsea defender Dynel Simeu on a three-year contract, reports Dan Sheldon.

The highly-regarded 19-year-old rejected the chance to remain at Stamford Bridge in a bid to boost his chances of playing first-team football.

Simeu will arrive at St Mary’s on a free transfer but Southampton will pay up to £1.5 million if certain clauses are met. A sell-on fee has also been inserted into the contract.

The Athletic is led to believe the south coast side will only start paying for Simeu once he starts playing for the first team.

10.30am

West Ham United’s Jarrod Bowen is on Liverpool’s radar as they consider adding more firepower to their squad, reports James Pearce.

The Athletic understands that the 24-year-old forward’s name features on a shortlist drawn up of potential attacking targets.

Whether Liverpool reinforce their squad in that area in the current window depends to a large extent on whether Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri leave Anfield. The club are open to offers for both players with Shaqiri attracting interest from Lazio.

Bowen fits the profile for Liverpool in terms of his age, playing style and versatility. He’s viewed as someone with massive potential who would initially provide high calibre back-up and increase competition for places.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp rates him highly and the club will continue to monitor his development even if they don’t ultimately pursue a deal this summer.

Bowen, who started his career at Hereford United, joined West Ham from Hull City for £18 million potentially rising to £25 million with add-ons in January 2020.

He scored eight goals and contributed five assists in 38 league appearances last season. His contract at the London Stadium runs until 2025.

9am

Birmingham City have agreed to take goalkeeper Matija Sarkic on loan for the 2021-22 season after a successful trial period, reports Gregg Evans.

The 23-year-old Wolverhampton Wanderers stopper has impressed since arriving last week and will now challenge for a starting place in the team.

Boss Lee Bowyer had made it clear that he needed a new goalkeeper before the start of the season following Neil Etheridge’s absence with COVID-19.

A return date has not been set for Etheridge, who is out of hospital and back with his family, but will not be rushed back.

Etheridge could be out for a matter of weeks, if not months, and that’s why Sarkic has made the switch from Wolves.

The Montenegro international spent his early years at Aston Villa but couldn’t find a way into the team as he was behind a number of senior goalkeepers.

He joined Wolves last summer and was sent out on loan to League One side Shrewsbury Town.

Although he has been on the bench a number of times for Villa in the Championship, this will be his first real chance of playing in the second-tier now an agreement is in place to join Birmingham.

The move is expected to be confirmed in the next 24 hours.

July 20

2pm

Liverpool have told Fulham they want £15 million for winger Harry Wilson, reports James Pearce.

The London club, who are looking to bounce back following relegation from the Premier League last season, are keen to sign the Wales international.

Discussions are ongoing with no official bid on the table but Liverpool insist £15 million is a fair price. They point to the fact that Fulham have previously paid that amount for fellow widemen Ivan Cavaleiro and Anthony Knockaert. They view Wilson as comparable in terms of his profile.

Liverpool turned down a bid of around £12 million for Wilson from Burnley last season and believe he’s progressed since then following a successful loan spell at Cardiff City where he scored seven goals and contributed 12 assists.

The 24-year-old accepts the time is right to secure a permanent move away from Anfield as he wants regular game time. As well as Cardiff, he has previously been loaned out to Crewe, Hull City, Derby County and Bournemouth.

Benfica, Brentford and West Bromwich Albion have also shown interest in Wilson this summer.

Wrexham-born Wilson has been on Liverpool’s books since under-nines level. His only senior appearances were against Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup during the 2016-17 campaign and against Arsenal in the League Cup last season.

For the latest Liverpool transfer news click here.

1pm

Leeds United hope to complete the signing of Chelsea midfielder Lewis Bate before the end of the week after agreeing a fee with the west London club, reports Simon Johnson.

The Athletic has been told that personal terms are being discussed in view of Bate conducting a medical at Leeds on Wednesday. Chelsea have negotiated a sell-on clause as part of the switch, but have not inserted a buy back clause.

There is still the danger of one of the other interested clubs trying to hijack the move at the 11th hour. The Athletic reported on Monday that Leeds were the favourites to secure the 18-year-old’s signature, but faced competition from West Ham, Liverpool, Leicester City and Brighton. 

Time is running out for the others to make a bid though and the player has already given a major indication his mind is made up by following a number of Leeds players on Instagram. 

Chelsea have been left with no choice to negotiate with clubs over selling the youngster after Bate made it clear he wasn’t going to sign a contract extension.

The west London club opened talks with Bate before the end of last season and made a good offer, but the England Under-19 international rejected it because he is worried about the lack of a pathway to appearances in the first team.

That meant Chelsea had to discuss a sale because he has only one year left on his current deal and they’d only be entitled to a nominal amount in compensation if he left in 2022.

Bate is a very highly rated teenager, who has been compared with another Chelsea prodigy Billy Gilmour. He came close to making a senior debut under former manager Frank Lampard last year when he was named on the bench against Sheffield United and Bayern Munich.

Meanwhile, another academy graduate Ike Ugbo is hoping to complete a permanent transfer to Belgian club Genk FC in the next few days. Ugbo, who scored an impressive 16 goals in 32 appearances while on loan at Cercle Bruges last season, has already agreed a wage package.

The hold-up is being caused by the size of the fee. Chelsea want £5 million for the 22-year-old, but Genk aren’t willing to pay such a high sum for the forward because he has just one year left on his contract at Stamford Bridge.

There is still optimism that a compromise will be reached so it can be finalised by the weekend.

July 15

2.20pm

Celtic have agreed to sell Kristoffer Ajer to Brentford for a fee believed to be around £12 million up-front with add-ons, reports Kieran Devlin.

Celtic rejected £10 million bids from Norwich City and Bayer Leverkusen in June for the Norwegian international’s services. Celtic informed interested parties that £15 million would be the fee required to separate them for their player. Last week Celtic rebuffed Brentford’s opening bid, which is believed to have been also £12 million up-front but totalling to £15 million with add-ons valued at roughly £3 million, a lower value than the finally agreed fee.

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Suddenly, Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool are facing a very different kind of defensive dilemma

Sat, 07/24/2021 - 04:48
Jurgen Klopp has seen famine turn to feast when it comes to centre-backs.

Last season’s unprecedented defensive injury crisis derailed Liverpool’s title defence and left them in a desperate late fight to secure Champions League qualification. Klopp was forced to field no fewer than 20 different partnerships at the heart of his back line as the absence of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip cut deep. The entire balance of the team was affected as midfielders Fabinho and Jordan Henderson were pressed into duty as makeshift centre-backs.

There was little continuity. Only three of those combinations played more than 400 minutes of football together in all competitions over the course of 2020-21. Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak (644 minutes) led the way, followed by Matip and Fabinho (555 minutes), and Phillips and Rhys Williams (540 minutes).

Given the array of problems Liverpool faced it’s little wonder that Klopp regards their third-placed finish — after taking 26 points of the last 30 on offer — as among his greatest achievements. They were heavily indebted to rookies Phillips and Williams for delivering when the stakes were high during the run-in.

However, the landscape has been transformed since May. Liverpool’s big hitters are on the comeback trail and Klopp has a different kind of headache as he plots a return to challenging for the biggest prizes in 2021-21.

He’s had eight centre-backs to work with during the club’s training camp in Austria. That number was reduced to seven prior to Friday’s 1-0 friendly win over Mainz when Ben Davies was given permission to fly home to the UK. Liverpool insist it’s a personal matter and not linked to talk of a possible transfer. They expect him to rejoin the squad later in the trip.

Some big decisions lie on the horizon for Klopp.

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Transfer tracker: Leeds interested in Chelsea’s Gallagher, Maatsen to join Coventry

Fri, 07/23/2021 - 11:47
Between now and the transfer window closing on August 31, The Athletic team will keep you informed of all the significant developments we hear. Whether that’s the latest from the Premier League or the EFL, the biggest moves around Europe or any significant business around the world, we’ll have coverage of every interesting deal that takes place.

Not a subscriber to The Athletic? You can sign up for our award-winning journalism here: https://theathletic.com/subscribe

We won’t bring you gossip or rumours, just what is really happening and why.

July 23

Chelsea academy graduate Ian Maatsen will join Coventry City next week on a season-long loan, reports Liam Twomey.

Maatsen, 19, spent last season on loan in League One with Charlton Athletic, making 34 appearances and scoring his first senior professional goal in a 1-0 win over Doncaster Rovers in April.

Last month Charlton manager Nigel Adkins confirmed that he would be interested in bringing Maatsen back to The Valley, but both the player and Chelsea favoured a Championship loan to further his development.

Coventry intend to deploy Maatsen as a left wing-back in their system, and it is hoped that manager Mark Robins’ expansive passing style will give the Dutch youth international opportunities to take his game to the next level.

Maatsen was involved in the early days of Chelsea’s preseason training at Cobham, but was not part of the squad that travelled to Republic of Ireland on Tuesday. He will complete his move to Coventry next week.

Chelsea did not seek to extend the contract of Maatsen — who signed a new deal in March 2020 that commits him to the club until at least June 2024 — but he is regarded internally as one of the club’s more promising youngsters.

Maatsen does not turn 20 until March 2022, and will be hoping to return to Chelsea next summer with a second full season of regular football under his belt and his reputation further enhanced.

Meanwhile, Leeds United have made an approach to sign Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher on loan.

The club are targeting the 21-year-old as a player for their senior squad just hours after adding another Chelsea player, Lewis Bate, to their Under-23 ranks.

A central midfielder is the club’s top priority after they secured the arrival of £13m left-back Junior Firpo from Barcelona this month.

Leeds have been monitoring Gallagher throughout the summer and are understood to have pitched the transfer to him already with the start of the new Premier League season on the horizon.

Crystal Palace are also seriously interested in him and are vying with Leeds for his signature.

Gallagher is currently training with Chelsea but the Stamford Bridge side are ready to sanction another temporary move in this window after sending him to West Bromwich Albion last season and Swansea City the year before.

His spell at The Hawthorns, where he made 28 league starts, gave him Premier League experience and Leeds consider him a good fit under Marcelo Bielsa.

Chelsea are unwilling to consider permanent bids for Gallagher and are likely to look for him to sign a new contract before he heads out but manager Thomas Tuchel does not see him as part of his plans for the 12 months ahead.

Yesterday, United wrapped up the £1.2m arrival of Bate from Stamford Bridge. While the 18-year-old will begin life at Elland Road in the development squad, Gallagher would link up immediately with Bielsa’s senior squad if Leeds can push a deal through.

July 21

9.15pm

Southampton are set to sign Chelsea defender Dynel Simeu on a three-year contract, reports Dan Sheldon.

The highly-regarded 19-year-old rejected the chance to remain at Stamford Bridge in a bid to boost his chances of playing first-team football.

Simeu will arrive at St Mary’s on a free transfer but Southampton will pay up to £1.5 million if certain clauses are met. A sell-on fee has also been inserted into the contract.

The Athletic is led to believe the south coast side will only start paying for Simeu once he starts playing for the first team.

10.30am

West Ham United’s Jarrod Bowen is on Liverpool’s radar as they consider adding more firepower to their squad, reports James Pearce.

The Athletic understands that the 24-year-old forward’s name features on a shortlist drawn up of potential attacking targets.

Whether Liverpool reinforce their squad in that area in the current window depends to a large extent on whether Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri leave Anfield. The club are open to offers for both players with Shaqiri attracting interest from Lazio.

Bowen fits the profile for Liverpool in terms of his age, playing style and versatility. He’s viewed as someone with massive potential who would initially provide high calibre back-up and increase competition for places.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp rates him highly and the club will continue to monitor his development even if they don’t ultimately pursue a deal this summer.

Bowen, who started his career at Hereford United, joined West Ham from Hull City for £18 million potentially rising to £25 million with add-ons in January 2020.

He scored eight goals and contributed five assists in 38 league appearances last season. His contract at the London Stadium runs until 2025.

9am

Birmingham City have agreed to take goalkeeper Matija Sarkic on loan for the 2021-22 season after a successful trial period, reports Gregg Evans.

The 23-year-old Wolverhampton Wanderers stopper has impressed since arriving last week and will now challenge for a starting place in the team.

Boss Lee Bowyer had made it clear that he needed a new goalkeeper before the start of the season following Neil Etheridge’s absence with COVID-19.

A return date has not been set for Etheridge, who is out of hospital and back with his family, but will not be rushed back.

Etheridge could be out for a matter of weeks, if not months, and that’s why Sarkic has made the switch from Wolves.

The Montenegro international spent his early years at Aston Villa but couldn’t find a way into the team as he was behind a number of senior goalkeepers.

He joined Wolves last summer and was sent out on loan to League One side Shrewsbury Town.

Although he has been on the bench a number of times for Villa in the Championship, this will be his first real chance of playing in the second-tier now an agreement is in place to join Birmingham.

The move is expected to be confirmed in the next 24 hours.

July 20

2pm

Liverpool have told Fulham they want £15 million for winger Harry Wilson, reports James Pearce.

The London club, who are looking to bounce back following relegation from the Premier League last season, are keen to sign the Wales international.

Discussions are ongoing with no official bid on the table but Liverpool insist £15 million is a fair price. They point to the fact that Fulham have previously paid that amount for fellow widemen Ivan Cavaleiro and Anthony Knockaert. They view Wilson as comparable in terms of his profile.

Liverpool turned down a bid of around £12 million for Wilson from Burnley last season and believe he’s progressed since then following a successful loan spell at Cardiff City where he scored seven goals and contributed 12 assists.

The 24-year-old accepts the time is right to secure a permanent move away from Anfield as he wants regular game time. As well as Cardiff, he has previously been loaned out to Crewe, Hull City, Derby County and Bournemouth.

Benfica, Brentford and West Bromwich Albion have also shown interest in Wilson this summer.

Wrexham-born Wilson has been on Liverpool’s books since under-nines level. His only senior appearances were against Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup during the 2016-17 campaign and against Arsenal in the League Cup last season.

For the latest Liverpool transfer news click here.

1pm

Leeds United hope to complete the signing of Chelsea midfielder Lewis Bate before the end of the week after agreeing a fee with the west London club, reports Simon Johnson.

The Athletic has been told that personal terms are being discussed in view of Bate conducting a medical at Leeds on Wednesday. Chelsea have negotiated a sell-on clause as part of the switch, but have not inserted a buy back clause.

There is still the danger of one of the other interested clubs trying to hijack the move at the 11th hour. The Athletic reported on Monday that Leeds were the favourites to secure the 18-year-old’s signature, but faced competition from West Ham, Liverpool, Leicester City and Brighton. 

Time is running out for the others to make a bid though and the player has already given a major indication his mind is made up by following a number of Leeds players on Instagram. 

Chelsea have been left with no choice to negotiate with clubs over selling the youngster after Bate made it clear he wasn’t going to sign a contract extension.

The west London club opened talks with Bate before the end of last season and made a good offer, but the England Under-19 international rejected it because he is worried about the lack of a pathway to appearances in the first team.

That meant Chelsea had to discuss a sale because he has only one year left on his current deal and they’d only be entitled to a nominal amount in compensation if he left in 2022.

Bate is a very highly rated teenager, who has been compared with another Chelsea prodigy Billy Gilmour. He came close to making a senior debut under former manager Frank Lampard last year when he was named on the bench against Sheffield United and Bayern Munich.

Meanwhile, another academy graduate Ike Ugbo is hoping to complete a permanent transfer to Belgian club Genk FC in the next few days. Ugbo, who scored an impressive 16 goals in 32 appearances while on loan at Cercle Bruges last season, has already agreed a wage package.

The hold-up is being caused by the size of the fee. Chelsea want £5 million for the 22-year-old, but Genk aren’t willing to pay such a high sum for the forward because he has just one year left on his contract at Stamford Bridge.

There is still optimism that a compromise will be reached so it can be finalised by the weekend.

July 15

2.20pm

Celtic have agreed to sell Kristoffer Ajer to Brentford for a fee believed to be around £12 million up-front with add-ons, reports Kieran Devlin.

Celtic rejected £10 million bids from Norwich City and Bayer Leverkusen in June for the Norwegian international’s services. Celtic informed interested parties that £15 million would be the fee required to separate them for their player. Last week Celtic rebuffed Brentford’s opening bid, which is believed to have been also £12 million up-front but totalling to £15 million with add-ons valued at roughly £3 million, a lower value than the finally agreed fee.

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Size matters in football, but it’s time for us to stop bigging up the Premier League’s Big Six

Fri, 07/23/2021 - 05:15
Rafa Benitez presumably doesn’t wish to be reminded about the time, as manager of Liverpool, he delivered his rather pithy verdict of the club he now manages.

Liverpool had just been held to a goalless draw by Everton at Anfield and Benitez was frustrated by the opposition’s stifling tactics. This is what can happen, he explained, when a small club visits a big one. The small clubs put everyone in defence, make the game narrow.

Note the key word: “small”. In football parlance, this can be a lacerating putdown when your club was once an established part of the elite.

“Benitez is in a minority of one in believing Everton are a small club,” Keith Wyness, then-Everton’s chief executive, shot back. “Somehow we expect more of a Liverpool manager.”

Maybe, on reflection, Wyness shouldn’t have been too surprised when it is all part of the wider story about the “us” and “them” of the Premier League, and the haughty disregard that exists between the biggest clubs and everybody else. Mind the gap? Mind the gulf, more like.

We saw it again earlier this year when the group of clubs known as the Big Six — Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur — were colluding about breaking away to form the failed Super League.

These are the clubs that like to dine at the top table and prefer to keep everybody else a long arm’s length away. They are traditionally the more successful clubs.

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Size matters in football, but it’s time for us to stop bigging up the Premier League’s Big Six

Fri, 07/23/2021 - 05:15
Rafa Benitez presumably doesn’t wish to be reminded about the time, as manager of Liverpool, he delivered his rather pithy verdict of the club he now manages.

Liverpool had just been held to a goalless draw by Everton at Anfield and Benitez was frustrated by the opposition’s stifling tactics. This is what can happen, he explained, when a small club visits a big one. The small clubs put everyone in defence, make the game narrow.

Note the key word: “small”. In football parlance, this can be a lacerating putdown when your club was once an established part of the elite.

“Benitez is in a minority of one in believing Everton are a small club,” Keith Wyness, then-Everton’s chief executive, shot back. “Somehow we expect more of a Liverpool manager.

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Tifo Video: Sensible Transfers – Should Liverpool find a replacement for Roberto Firmino at False 9?

Fri, 07/23/2021 - 05:00
Roberto Firmino has been essential to Liverpool’s style of play in recent years.

He has thrived in the False 9 position in recent years thanks to his creativity and commitment to leading the press from the front.

But when he is out of form, like he was last season, Liverpool don’t have the options to rotate. So who could they bring in?

Tifo has three suggestions for a Sensible Transfer.

Written by Alex Stewart. Illustrated by Craig Silcock. 

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Transfer tracker: Newcastle and Watford interested in Southampton’s Mario Lemina

Thu, 07/22/2021 - 10:27
Between now and the transfer window closing on August 31, The Athletic team will keep you informed of all the significant developments we hear. Whether that’s the latest from the Premier League or the EFL, the biggest moves around Europe or any significant business around the world, we’ll have coverage of every interesting deal that takes place.

Not a subscriber to The Athletic? You can sign up for our award-winning journalism here: https://theathletic.com/subscribe

We won’t bring you gossip or rumours, just what is really happening and why.

July 22

Southampton are holding out for a fee in the region of £8 million to sanction Mario Lemina’s move away from the club, report Dan Sheldon and Chris Waugh.

The St Mary’s side are ready to strike a deal with potential buyers if the overall figure, inclusive of add-ons, hits around the £8 million mark.

Lemina has less than a year remaining on his contract and spent last season on loan at Fulham.

And the 27-year-old isn’t short of suitors, with both Newcastle and Watford showing an interest in the central midfielder.

Newcastle’s head of recruitment, Steve Nickson, watched Lemina last season as the club regularly scouted the Gabon international. It is understood that Steve Bruce is keen to sign a defensive midfielder this summer and Lemina features high on his list of targets.

Lemina also has suitors in France’s Ligue 1, where it’s understood Nice are viewed as a potential destination.

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has been impressed by the midfielder’s work ethic since reporting for pre-season at the start of July.

But he wasn’t handed a squad number and the plan has always been for him to depart the club.

Had Fulham avoided relegation, they would have been obliged to buy the former Juventus midfielder as part of initial loan deal.

Lemina joined Southampton in 2017 for just over £15 million and has gone on to play 52 times for the Premier League side.

Since Hasenhuttl took charge in December 2018, the midfielder has struggled to force his way into the Austrian’s plans.

He spent the 2019-20 season on loan at Galatasaray before departing Southampton for the capital last summer.

July 21

9.15pm

Southampton are set to sign Chelsea defender Dynel Simeu on a three-year contract, reports Dan Sheldon.

The highly-regarded 19-year-old rejected the chance to remain at Stamford Bridge in a bid to boost his chances of playing first-team football.

Simeu will arrive at St Mary’s on a free transfer but Southampton will pay up to £1.5 million if certain clauses are met. A sell-on fee has also been inserted into the contract.

The Athletic is led to believe the south coast side will only start paying for Simeu once he starts playing for the first team.

10.30am

West Ham United’s Jarrod Bowen is on Liverpool’s radar as they consider adding more firepower to their squad, reports James Pearce.

The Athletic understands that the 24-year-old forward’s name features on a shortlist drawn up of potential attacking targets.

Whether Liverpool reinforce their squad in that area in the current window depends to a large extent on whether Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri leave Anfield. The club are open to offers for both players with Shaqiri attracting interest from Lazio.

Bowen fits the profile for Liverpool in terms of his age, playing style and versatility. He’s viewed as someone with massive potential who would initially provide high calibre back-up and increase competition for places.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp rates him highly and the club will continue to monitor his development even if they don’t ultimately pursue a deal this summer.

Bowen, who started his career at Hereford United, joined West Ham from Hull City for £18 million potentially rising to £25 million with add-ons in January 2020.

He scored eight goals and contributed five assists in 38 league appearances last season. His contract at the London Stadium runs until 2025.

9am

Birmingham City have agreed to take goalkeeper Matija Sarkic on loan for the 2021-22 season after a successful trial period, reports Gregg Evans.

The 23-year-old Wolverhampton Wanderers stopper has impressed since arriving last week and will now challenge for a starting place in the team.

Boss Lee Bowyer had made it clear that he needed a new goalkeeper before the start of the season following Neil Etheridge’s absence with COVID-19.

A return date has not been set for Etheridge, who is out of hospital and back with his family, but will not be rushed back.

Etheridge could be out for a matter of weeks, if not months, and that’s why Sarkic has made the switch from Wolves.

The Montenegro international spent his early years at Aston Villa but couldn’t find a way into the team as he was behind a number of senior goalkeepers.

He joined Wolves last summer and was sent out on loan to League One side Shrewsbury Town.

Although he has been on the bench a number of times for Villa in the Championship, this will be his first real chance of playing in the second-tier now an agreement is in place to join Birmingham.

The move is expected to be confirmed in the next 24 hours.

July 20

2pm

Liverpool have told Fulham they want £15 million for winger Harry Wilson, reports James Pearce.

The London club, who are looking to bounce back following relegation from the Premier League last season, are keen to sign the Wales international.

Discussions are ongoing with no official bid on the table but Liverpool insist £15 million is a fair price. They point to the fact that Fulham have previously paid that amount for fellow widemen Ivan Cavaleiro and Anthony Knockaert. They view Wilson as comparable in terms of his profile.

Liverpool turned down a bid of around £12 million for Wilson from Burnley last season and believe he’s progressed since then following a successful loan spell at Cardiff City where he scored seven goals and contributed 12 assists.

The 24-year-old accepts the time is right to secure a permanent move away from Anfield as he wants regular game time. As well as Cardiff, he has previously been loaned out to Crewe, Hull City, Derby County and Bournemouth.

Benfica, Brentford and West Bromwich Albion have also shown interest in Wilson this summer.

Wrexham-born Wilson has been on Liverpool’s books since under-nines level. His only senior appearances were against Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup during the 2016-17 campaign and against Arsenal in the League Cup last season.

For the latest Liverpool transfer news click here.

1pm

Leeds United hope to complete the signing of Chelsea midfielder Lewis Bate before the end of the week after agreeing a fee with the west London club, reports Simon Johnson.

The Athletic has been told that personal terms are being discussed in view of Bate conducting a medical at Leeds on Wednesday. Chelsea have negotiated a sell-on clause as part of the switch, but have not inserted a buy back clause.

There is still the danger of one of the other interested clubs trying to hijack the move at the 11th hour. The Athletic reported on Monday that Leeds were the favourites to secure the 18-year-old’s signature, but faced competition from West Ham, Liverpool, Leicester City and Brighton. 

Time is running out for the others to make a bid though and the player has already given a major indication his mind is made up by following a number of Leeds players on Instagram. 

Chelsea have been left with no choice to negotiate with clubs over selling the youngster after Bate made it clear he wasn’t going to sign a contract extension.

The west London club opened talks with Bate before the end of last season and made a good offer, but the England Under-19 international rejected it because he is worried about the lack of a pathway to appearances in the first team.

That meant Chelsea had to discuss a sale because he has only one year left on his current deal and they’d only be entitled to a nominal amount in compensation if he left in 2022.

Bate is a very highly rated teenager, who has been compared with another Chelsea prodigy Billy Gilmour. He came close to making a senior debut under former manager Frank Lampard last year when he was named on the bench against Sheffield United and Bayern Munich.

Meanwhile, another academy graduate Ike Ugbo is hoping to complete a permanent transfer to Belgian club Genk FC in the next few days. Ugbo, who scored an impressive 16 goals in 32 appearances while on loan at Cercle Bruges last season, has already agreed a wage package.

The hold-up is being caused by the size of the fee. Chelsea want £5 million for the 22-year-old, but Genk aren’t willing to pay such a high sum for the forward because he has just one year left on his contract at Stamford Bridge.

There is still optimism that a compromise will be reached so it can be finalised by the weekend.

July 15

2.20pm

Celtic have agreed to sell Kristoffer Ajer to Brentford for a fee believed to be around £12 million up-front with add-ons, reports Kieran Devlin.

Celtic rejected £10 million bids from Norwich City and Bayer Leverkusen in June for the Norwegian international’s services. Celtic informed interested parties that £15 million would be the fee required to separate them for their player. Last week Celtic rebuffed Brentford’s opening bid, which is believed to have been also £12 million up-front but totalling to £15 million with add-ons valued at roughly £3 million, a lower value than the finally agreed fee.

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Video: Liverpool’s contract dilemmas – how can Klopp evolve an ageing side?

Thu, 07/22/2021 - 09:26
Liverpool’s success in recent years has hinged on a select group of players all hitting their peak at the same time.

Now, a sizeable chunk of those players are approaching or reaching their 30s and, with many of them out of contract in 2023, the club have some big decisions to make.

Owners Fenway Sports Group are reportedly “desperate” to tie down Mohamed Salah and Virgil Van Dijk, but captain Jordan Henderson’s future is not so certain.

On the latest episode of David Ornstein’s YouTube show, David is joined by James Pearce and Raphael Honigstein to discuss how Jurgen Klopp and his side plan to evolve…

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