Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp: I want to beat the best, not be the best
When Liverpool's much vaunted "Fab Four" were lighting it up in the opening months of last season, Sadio Mane was very much the George Harrison of the group. Philippe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah were John Lennon and Paul McCartney, the headliners, while Roberto Firmino was Ringo Starr -- not always fully appreciated by the mainstream audience but with his own cult of dedicated followers.
Like Harrison, Mane was an important part of a successful group and everybody knew who he was, but he was overshadowed by his colleagues and was often in the background. Not exactly a peripheral figure, just not as heralded as the rest.
Coutinho moved on midway through last season and the "Fab Four" became a trio, yet Mane still remains very much third man. At most other clubs he'd be the star, but in Liverpool's forward line he remains the least glorified. Justifiably so given the accomplishments of Firmino and Salah.
All that could change this year, though. Mane struck twice in Liverpool's 4-0 win over West Ham United on opening weekend, continuing an impressive run that has seen him find the net 13 times in his past 17 appearances for the Reds.
It's only natural that Salah and -- to a lesser extent -- Firmino will get most of the attention. They performed at a higher level and more consistently than Mane did last year and the numbers are there to prove it. There's no shame in riding the coattails of "the Egyptian King" though, and Mane more than played his part in the success Liverpool's forward line enjoyed last year. Between the three of them, they plundered 91 goals. More than any trio in club history.
As a result of that you'll struggle to find any Liverpool fan (the sane ones anyway) calling for Mane to be replaced. He's a popular and a valued member of the side, but he isn't generally looked upon in quite the same lofty esteem as Firmino and Salah.
Put it this way: What if next summer Fabinho were to make good on his tongue-in-cheek promise of persuading Kylian Mbappe to move to Anfield? Who would be most under threat if the French sensation were to join the Reds? Certainly not Salah or Firmino. Mane has an opportunity to change that this year. He can make himself virtually untouchable, just like his two pals.
How? By upping his goal tally and avoiding the inconsistency that dogged him through parts of last season. Last year was a successful one for the former Southampton man, but his 20-goal return almost went under the radar because of the astonishing numbers posted by his two fellow forwards. Twenty goals would make him the top scorer for many clubs, but he was seven behind Firmino and a whopping 24 short of Salah's tally.
Most sides would give anything to get 20 goals from their third top scorer, so nobody at Liverpool has any complaints about Mane. But the truth is that as well as he did last year, he could easily have done better. In Europe he was on fire, bagging half of his goals during Liverpool's swashbuckling run to the Champions League final.
Domestically though, there was room for improvement. Ten Premier League goals was not a great tally for a player of Mane's quality in a team that creates as many chances as Liverpool do. Significantly, he's already a fifth of the way to matching that number after just one game this season. Realistically he should have ten by Christmas.
He began last year in scintillating form too until an unfortunate red card at Manchester City resulted in a three-game suspension and interrupted his rhythm. He was also hampered by a minor injury and it took him a little while to get going again.
He then suffered a midseason dip in form and looked to be struggling for confidence. It took a hat trick away at Porto in mid-February to get him fully back on track, and since then he hasn't looked back.
The great thing about Mane is that even when he's not playing particularly well he still makes things happen. If he doesn't score then he'll probably have an assist, or win a penalty, or make some sort of telling contribution. It's very rare that he makes no impression on a game, regardless of form.
When Liverpool play, all eyes are usually on Salah now, and that can work to Mane's advantage. While no one should rule out the possibility of Salah repeating what he did last year, it certainly won't be easy for him given the extra attention opponents will afford him given his sudden elevation into the realms of superstardom.
Being able to do it year in, year out is what has separated Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo from everybody else. Salah is yet to prove he can do it over a longer period of time, but that doesn't mean he won't. Perhaps he can pick up right where he left off last year, but the more likely scenario is there might be a slight drop off in production from the Egyptian.
If that happens, Mane can be the main beneficiary. Liverpool's forward line should still be able to reach somewhere between 90-100 goals this season, but they will perhaps be shared around a little more equally than last year.
If Mane can avoid a repeat of last year's slump and produce his best form consistently, 30 goals is a more than realistic target for him this year. Should that happen, then perhaps he will no longer be the third name mentioned when people talk about Liverpool's brilliant front three.
Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri doesn't want to turn his new side into Napoli 2.0.
The appointment of a new manager always creates some winners and losers. Maurizio Sarri's arrival has spelt good news for David Luiz and Willian, both set for a promising future at Chelsea having both been bound for the exit after falling out with Antonio Conte. But while both Brazilians look suited to Sarri's football philosophy, Cesc Fabregas' future looks decidedly precarious.
It would be interesting to know Fabregas' inner thoughts at Sarri's appointment. The emphasis on technical, possession-based football will surely have excited him though the additional focus on energy and effort will have worried him. Technically excellent yet seemingly lacking the tenacity required by his new manager, the Spain international could find himself in limbo over the coming months.
Fabregas' mood is unlikely to have been improved by the club's transfer activity that was focussed on enhancing the midfield options at Sarri's disposal. The acquisition of Jorginho from Napoli for an initial £50 million meant Fabregas' hopes of assuming the central playmaking role in a midfield three had now evaporated. Mateo Kovacic's loan switch from Real Madrid has seen Fabregas' opportunities diminish further. The temporary deal with no option to buy suggests that Sarri sees the Croatian as an immediate fixture in the first team rather than one for the future and Kovacic's blend of creativity and defensive diligence means he should slot comfortably into the system.
As well as the two fresh arrivals, there are now two other potential obstacles to the first team for Fabregas. Ross Barkley barely featured after joining for £15m in January, partly due to his own recovery from injury and also due to never gaining Conte's trust. Now, with a full preseason under his belt, the former Everton man feels like a brand new signing and is another to possess the two essential traits required in a Sarri midfield, namely energy and technique.
In a similar vein, Ruben Loftus-Cheek is now starting afresh at Stamford Bridge following his successful loan spell at Crystal Palace. Having been on the club's books since he was eight and impressing throughout the age groups, he has long been on the radar of Chelsea fans desperate to see the club's youth policy bear fruit in the first team. Now 22 and returning to the club after a summer spent involved with England's World Cup squad, Loftus-Cheek feels primed to make an impact at his boyhood club, reportedly rejecting a loan move to Bundesliga club Schalke.
While having young and enthusiastic midfield prospects at his command will be delighting Sarri, it will only serve to make Fabregas' attempts to impress the Italian all the more difficult. His dwindling dynamism means that he is not ideally suited to the rotation in midfield where each of the three can fill in for another when required. But that doesn't mean his cause is definitively lost.
At 31, he is not suddenly going to develop searing pace -- especially judging by the way Manchester City's Benjamin Mendy strolled past him during the Community Shield -- nor is he going to become a midfield enforcer overnight. He can, however, lean on the talents that have defined his glittering career: his vision, composure and peerless passing range.
Those assets are always valued and Sarri would be unwise to disregard Fabregas' quality and vast experience simply because he doesn't run around as much as others. Sure, he stuck out like a sore thumb in the 2-0 defeat to Manchester City though nobody in a Chelsea shirt covered themselves in glory that afternoon.
But there are few players in Europe that can both see and execute the type of pass that Fabregas can deliver and he is excellent at establishing successful on-pitch relationships with centre-forwards as seen with his almost telepathic connection with Diego Costa. With Alvaro Morata searching for goals and confidence, it might just be that his compatriot is the key to him finding the back of the net regularly once again.
That said, it is hard to see him regularly being part of the first team picture as long as the squad is fully fit and suspension-free. One of the hallmarks of Sarri's tenure at Napoli was his tendency to settle on a preferred starting XI and stick with it continuously unless disrupted by injuries or disciplinary action. With Fabregas not quite fitting the profile of his typical midfielder, he will almost certainly be considered as a fall back option rather than as one of Sarri's key lieutenants.
The former Barcelona man faced a very similar problem when Conte arrived in 2016 with the incoming boss dismissing him almost instantly. To Fabregas' great credit he thrust himself back into his manager's thoughts and into the first team through desire, application and no shortage of ability. Now two years older, it remains to be seen whether he can make history repeat itself or be forced to accept that his days on the frontline at Chelsea might just be coming to an end.
Alisher Usmanov has told Bloomberg he would consider investing in Everton if there was the right "proposal or a possibility."
Usmanov, who has agreed to sell his 30 percent stake in Arsenal to Stan Kroenke, is a business partner of Everton majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri.
The Russian tycoon, whose USM Holdings company sponsors Everton's Finch Farm training ground, bought his Arsenal stake in 2007, with his shares reported to be valued around £550 million.
"Should there be a proposal or a possibility to invest in them with good potential returns, I would consider the deal," Usmanov said.
"We are friends with Farhad Moshiri. If he needs the support, I am happy to help.
"When I bought the stake in Arsenal I believed that football brands would be able to generate profit. This is happening now."
Everton deputy chairman Keith Harris said Usmanov "understands his football very well and support can come in many ways, not just financial," adding that he could also offer "advice or moral support."
Earlier this month, Kroenke announced that Alisher Usmanov had agreed to sell his Arsenal stake to him.
The development has angered some Gunners fans because it would mean Kroenke could force the remaining smaller shareholders to sell their combined three percent stake, taking Arsenal into private ownership.
Manchester City winger Patrick Roberts is set to join Spanish club Girona on a season-long loan deal, sources have told ESPN FC.
Roberts, 21, has spent the last two seasons on loan at Scottish champions Celtic, who had been keen to sign him for a third year.
But he is now set to switch to City Football Group club Girona, who finished 10th in La Liga last season, with Celtic set to take Australia winger Daniel Arzani from City on a two-year loan deal instead.
Arzani, 19, completed a move to the Etihad Stadium from another CFG club, Melbourne City, on deadline day and a move to Scotland is seen as a good way to help with his development.
City could conclude a number of loan deals before European transfer windows shut.
Brazilian midfielder Douglas Luiz, 20, may follow Roberts to Girona, where he spent last season, after being denied a work permit, while Spanish midfielder Aleix Garcia joined Girona on loan for a second season earlier in the summer.
Belgium defender Jason Denayer is another expected to leave the club in August, with his former clubs Celtic and Galatasaray interested, according to reports.
ESPN's Stewart Robson shares his analysis on where Unai Emery's Arsenal side fell short in their 2-0 loss to Manchester City at the Emirates.
Arsenal's Unai Emery admits his side still have lots of work to do, as he aims to take the club back into Europe's elite.
Following Arsenal's Premier League opener, the FC crew assess Unai Emery's tactics, including the decision to include teenager Matteo Guendouzi.
Craig Burley and Paul Mariner believe Arsenal will have to be judged against the rest of the Prem because the gulf in quality against Man City was too great.
Arguably the most appealing thing for Arsenal fans this season is the sense of the unknown. Most supporters don't have any realistic aspirations to win the Premier League title -- and even the wildest dreamers at the Emirates would have had their ambition quelled by Manchester City's comprehensive 2-0 victory last Sunday.
Instead, Arsenal are engaged in a recognisable fight for the top four. Familiar though that particular fight is, there are many new elements this time round to stave off the ennui: a new head coach, a new style of play and a renewed enthusiasm in the stands. However, as of yet, Arsenal don't have a new first-choice goalkeeper. Despite the summer acquisition of Bernd Leno, Petr Cech is still in possession of the gloves and many Arsenal fans find themselves wondering why.
It was clear to most observers last season that Arsenal needed to make identifying a new keeper a priority in the transfer window. Cech made a number of individual errors which suggested that time was finally catching up with the former Chelsea man. Behind him, David Ospina had neither the height nor the temperament to offer a convincing alternative.
A number of names were linked with the position, but Arsenal plumped for Leno. Perhaps we should have seen that coming: after all, the club's new head of recruitmen, former Borussia Dortmund scout Sven Mislintat, has not been shy about returning to the Bundesliga on his shopping trips. It's safe to assume that Leno was his pick.
However, he does not yet appear to be Unai Emery's. The Spaniard alternated between his goalkeepers during preseason, but when it came to the opening Premier League match he stuck with Cech. Perhaps his experience played a part -- Cech has been named as one of Emery's five captains, and after a summer of upheaval perhaps he favoured steadying the ship with continuity in a goal. A new centre-half partnership in front of a new goalkeeper might simply have been too big a risk against a side as good as Manchester City.
Nevertheless, Arsenal fans will be a little concerned. After all, Leno was hardly a bargain purchase at £22.5 million. The subsequent fees Liverpool paid for Alisson and Chelsea for Kepa Arrizabalaga may have dramatically changed what goalkeepers cost moving forward, but it shouldn't be forgotten that when Arsenal signed Leno he instantly became the sixth most expensive keeper of all time. Given their comparably limited resources, a player with that kind of cost really ought to be good enough to be an automatic starter.
It's particularly concerning given the style of play Emery wants to adopt. It was clear from the City match that Arsenal will be attempting a short-passing approach, splitting the centre-backs and requiring the goalkeeper to be accurate and confident with his distribution. As Sunday proved, that is far from Cech's strong point.
Leno's preseason performances demonstrated that he is comfortable with the ball at his feet -- certainly more so than Cech. However, he did look positionally questionable and unable to dominate his penalty box. Ultimately, Emery had had a good look at both his goalkeepers and decided that he's going to stick with Cech, despite him being fundamentally ill-suited to the way he wants to play. To put it bluntly: Cech is so bad with his feet that it makes you wonder how bad Leno must be with his hands.
Perhaps an alternative logic behind Emery's decision. Leno, 26, is a decade younger than Cech, and it's possible that Emery simply wants to give him time to acclimatise to English football rather than throw him straight in at the deep end. However, his decision to start a midfielder in Matteo Guendouzi who is more accustomed to playing in Ligue 2 against City does seem to suggest that Emery is not inclined to that manner of conservative thinking.
Whatever happens, Leno will eventually get his chance to impress. Arsenal's participation in the Europa League means he's likely to pick up plenty of game time even as second choice. When he does eventually take the field in a competitive game, the scrutiny will be considerable. Emery's selection of Cech is the first indicator of a bit of dissonance between the head coach and the recruitment team. If Arsenal have really spent more than £20m on a goalkeeper Emery does not consider good enough to start, it does not reflect well on Mislintat.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek wants to stay at Chelsea and fight for a first-team place this season despite reported interest from Schalke, sources have told ESPN FC.
Reports in England said Schalke are prepared to offer Loftus-Cheek regular football, after Thursday's closure of the Premier League transfer window eliminated the possibility of a loan to another club in England.
Chelsea have been adamant all summer that Loftus-Cheek is not for sale at any price, though there is an acceptance that he may have to leave the club on loan again in order to get the first-team opportunities he needs to develop.
Loftus-Cheek is desperate to maintain momentum after featuring in four of England's seven matches at the World Cup this summer, and returned to Cobham early from his post-tournament break in a bid to impress new head coach Maurizio Sarri.
He also chose to remain at Stamford Bridge beyond the Premier League deadline because he believes he force his way into the third midfield starting spot in Sarri's 4-3-3 system alongside summer signing Jorginho and N'Golo Kante.
That position was occupied by Ross Barkley as Chelsea began the new Premier League season with a 3-0 win over Huddersfield Town on Saturday, while Loftus-Cheek came off the bench to replace him on 68 minutes.
Mateo Kovacic, the Croatia international midfielder Chelsea signed on a season-long loan deal from Real Madrid last week, did not feature but Sarri is understood to consider the 24-year-old a key part of his plans for the campaign.
Loftus-Cheek is likely to have to compete with both Barkley and Kovacic for a starting spot. Tiemoue Bakayoko is no longer a rival, though, having completed a season-long loan move to AC Milan on Tuesday with an option to make the move permanent next summer.
Chelsea face Arsenal and Newcastle before the end of August and Loftus-Cheek's attitude towards a European loan could change if his opportunities remain limited, but sources have told ESPN FC that he is fully focused on earning Sarri's trust and a place in his starting XI this season.
Loftus-Cheek made his first appearance under Sarri in Chelsea's preseason friendly against Lyon earlier this month.
"He's potentially a great player. He has to improve from the tactical point of view," Sarri said after the match. "But I think that's not a problem. He's very young. I think he can be a very useful player for us."
Chelsea and Schalke declined to comment when contacted by ESPN FC.
With the transfer window open across Europe, clubs are now able to finalise the signings of players they have monitored and negotiated with for months.
The transfer window is shorter this summer but that does not mean it will be any less busy. Check out when all the major windows will close here and view all completed transfers.
See who has left which club, where they are headed and the terms of the moves with our transfer tracker below:
In: Bernd Leno (from Bayer Leverkusen), Stephan Lichtsteiner (from Juventus), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (from Borussia Dortmund), Lucas Torreira (from Sampdoria), Matteo Guendouzi (from Lorient)
Out: Jack Wilshere (to West Ham), Lucas Perez (to West Ham), Santi Cazorla (to Villarreal), Per Mertesacker (retired), Takuma Asano (loan to Hannover), Kelechi Nwakali (loan to Porto), Matt Macey (loan to Plymouth), Chuba Akpom (to PAOK), Calum Chambers (loan to Fulham), Jeff Reine-Adelaide (to Angers)
In: Kepa Arrizabalaga (from Athletic Bilbao), Mateo Kovavic (loan from Real Madrid), Jorginho (from Napoli), Rob Green (free agent)
Out: Thibaut Courtois (to Real Madrid), Jeremie Boga (to Sassuolo), Kenedy (loan to Newcastle), Matt Miazga (loan to Nantes), Trevoh Chalobah (loan to Ipswich Town), Jake Clark-Salter (loan to Vitesse), Dujon Sterling (loan to Coventry), Lewis Baker (loan to Leeds), Nathan Baxter (loan to Yeovil), Jordan Houghton (to Milton Keynes Dons), Reece James (loan to Wigan), Mason Mount (loan to Derby), Todd Kane (loan to Hull), Jamal Blackman (loan to Leeds), Charlie Colkett (loan to Shrewsbury), Mario Pasalic (loan to Atalanta), Jacob Maddox (loan to Cheltenham), Victorien Angban (loan to Metz), Kasey Palmer (loan to Blackburn Rovers), Jonathan Panzo (to Monaco), Nathan (loan to Atletico Mineiro), Jay Dasilva (loan to Bristol City), Michy Batshuayi (loan to Valencia), Tiemoue Bakayoko (loan to AC Milan)
In: Alisson (from Roma), Naby Keita (from RB Leipzig), Xherdan Shaqiri (from Stoke), Fabinho (from Monaco)
Out: Emre Can (to Juventus), Danny Ings (loan to Southampton), Danny Ward (to Huddersfield), Ben Woodburn (loan to Sheffield United), Jon Flanagan (to Rangers), Jordan Williams (to Rochdale), Yan Dhanda (to Swansea), Ovie Ejaria (loan to Rangers), Harry Wilson (loan to Derby), Ryan Kent (loan to Rangers), Shamal George (loan to Tranmere), Allan (loan to Eintracht Frankfurt), Adam Bogdan (loan to Hibernian), Kurt Zouma (loan to Everton)
In: Riyad Mahrez (from Leicester), Daniel Arzani (from Melbourne City), Claudio Gomes (from Paris Saint-Germain), Philippe Sandler (PEC Zwolle)
Out: Joe Hart (to Burnley), Angus Gunn (to Southampton), Yaya Toure (out of contract), Angelino (to PSV Eindhoven), Isaac Buckley-Ricketts (to Peterborough), Javairo Dilrosun (to Hertha Berlin), Olarenwaju Kayode (to Shakhtar), Pablo Maffeo (to Stuttgart), Jacob Davenport (to Blackburn), Ashley Smith-Brown (to Plymouth), Erik Palmer-Brown (loan to NAC Breda), Jack Harrison (loan to Leeds United), Thomas Agyepong (loan to Hibernian), Brandon Barker (loan to Preston North End), Lukas Nmecha (loan to Preston North End), Bersant Celina (tp Swansea)
In: Fred (from Shakhtar Donetsk), Diogo Dalot (from Porto), Lee Grant (from Stoke)
Out: Daley Blind (to Ajax), Michael Carrick (retired), Axel Tuanzebe (loan to Aston Villa), Joel Pereira (loan to Vitora Setubal), Joe Riley (to Bradford City), Sam Johnstone (to West Brom), Joe Riley (to Bradford), Dean Henderson (loan to Sheffield United), Cameron Borthwick-Jackson (loan to Scunthorpe United), Timothy Fosu-Mensah (loan to Fulham), James Wilson (loan to Aberdeen)
Out: Keanan Bennetts (to Borussia Monchengladbach), Anton Walkes (to Portsmouth)
In: Gelson Martins (from Sporting CP), Rodri (from Villarreal), Nikola Kalinic (from AC Milan), Nehuen Perez (from Argentinos Juniors), Antonio Adan (from Real Betis), Jonny Castro (from Celta Vigo), Santiago Arias (from PSV Eindhoven).
Out: Fernando Torres (to Sagan Tosu), Emiliano Velazquez (to Rayo Vallecano), Kevin Gameiro (to Valencia), Bernard Mensah (to Kayserispor), Gabi (to Al Sadd), Diogo Jota (to Wolves), Jonny Castro (to Wolves), Sime Vrsaljko (to Inter Milan), Andre Moreira (loan to Aston Villa), Luciano Vietto (loan to Fulham)
In: Arturo Vidal (from Bayern Munich), Arthur (from Gremio), Clement Lenglet (from Sevilla), Malcom (from Bordeaux), Moussa Wague (from KAS Eupen)
Out: Yerry Mina (to Everton), Andre Gomes (loan to Everton), Andres Iniesta (to Vissel Kobe), Paulinho (to Guangzhou Evergrande), Gerard Deulofeu (to Watford), Lucas Digne (to Everton), Aleix Vidal (to Sevilla), Rodrigo Tarin (to Leganes), Douglas (loan to Sivasspor)
In: Thibaut Courtois (from Chelsea), Vinicius Jr. (from Flamengo), Andriy Lunin (from Zorya Luhansk), Alvaro Odriozola (from Real Sociedad)
Out: Theo Hernandez (loan to Real Sociedad), Mateo Kovacic (loan to Chelsea), Cristiano Ronaldo (to Juventus), Omar Mascarell (to Schalke), Philipp Lienhart (to Freiburg), Achraf Hakimi (loan to Borussia Dortmund)
In: Leon Goretzka (from Schalke), Alex Timossi Andersson (from Helsingborg), Marius Wolf (from Eintracht Frankfurt), Abdou Diallo (from Mainz)
Out: Arturo Vidal (to Barcelona), Douglas Costa (loan to Juventus made permanent), Tom Starke (retired), Niklas Dorsch (to Heidenheim), Timothy Tillman (loan to Nurnberg), Fabian Benko (to LASK), Leo Weinkauf (to Hannover), Manuel Wintzheimer (to Hamburg)
In: Thomas Delaney (from Werder Bremen), Axel Witsel (from Tianjin Quanjian), Marius Wolf (from Eintracht Frankfurt), Marwin Hitz (from Augsburg), Abdou Diallo (from Mainz), Eric Oelschlagel (from Werder Bremen), Achraf Hakimi (loan from Real Madrid)
Out: Roman Weidenfeller (retired), Andriy Yarmolenko (to West Ham), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (to Arsenal), Andre Schurrle (to Fulham), Erik Durm (to Huddersfield Town), Dominik Reimann (to Holstein Kiel), Felix Passlack (loan to Norwich), David Kopacz (to Stuttgart), Gonzalo Castro (to Stuttgart)
In: Gonzalo Higuain (loan from Juventus), Mattia Caldara (from Juventus), Pepe Reina (from Napoli), Ivan Strinic (from Sampdoria), Alen Halilovic (from Hamburg), Fabio Borini (from Sunderland), Tiemoue Bakayoko (loan from Chelsea)
Out: Nikola Kalinic (to Atletico Madrid), M'Baye Niang (to Torino), Gianluca Lapadula (to Genoa), Gustavo Gomez (loan to Palmeiras), Andre Silva (loan to Sevilla), Manuel Locatelli (loan to Sassuolo)
In: Radja Nainggolan (from Roma), Stefan de Vrij (from Lazio), Kwadwo Asamoah (from Juventus), Lautaro Martinez (from Racing Avellaneda), Matteo Politano (loan from Sassuolo), Federico Dimarco (from Sion), Keita Balde (loan from Monaco)
Out: Alessandro Bastoni (loan to Parma), Jonathan Biabiany (to Parma), Davide Santon (to Roma), Eder (to Jiangsu Suning), Nicolo Zaniolo (to Roma), Geoffrey Kondogbia (to Sevilla), Gabriel Barbosa (loan to Santos), Jens Odgaard (to Sassuolo), Davide Bettella (to Sassuolo), Federico Valietti (to Genoa), Marco Carraro (to Atalanta), Yuto Nagatomo (to Galatasaray), Samuele Longo (loan to Huesca), Rey Manaj (loan to Albacete)
In: Cristiano Ronaldo (from Real Madrid), Emre Can (from Liverpool), Douglas Costa (loan from Bayern Munich made permanent), Leonardo Bonucci (from AC Milan), Mattia Perin (from Genoa), Andrea Favilli (from Ascoli), Joao Cancelo (from Valencia)
Out: Marko Pjaca (loan to Fiorentina), Gianluigi Buffon (to PSG), Stephan Lichtsteiner (to Arsenal), Gonzalo Higuain (loan to AC Milan), Mattia Caldara (to AC Milan), Kwadwo Asamoah (to Inter Milan), Alberto Cerri (loan to Cagliari), Rolando Mandragora (to Udinese), Tomas Rincon (to Torino), Andres Tello (to Benevento), Nicola Leali (to Perugia), Emil Audero (loan to Sampdoria), Joel Untersee (to Empoli), Luca Marrone (loan to Hellas Verona), Stefano Sturaro (loan to Sporting CP)
In: Javier Pastore (from PSG), Justin Kluivert (from Ajax), Ivan Marcano (from Porto), Gregoire Defrel (loan from Sassuolo made permanent), Patrik Schick (loan from Sampdoria made permanent), Robin Olsen (from FC Copenhagen), Ante Coric (from Dinamo Zagreb), Bryan Cristante (from Atalanta), Antonio Mirante (from Bologna), Davide Santon (from Inter Milan), Nicolo Zaniolo (from Inter Milan)
Out: Alisson (to Liverpool), Radja Nainggolan (to Inter Milan), Gregoire Defrel (loan to Sampdoria), Umar Sadiq (loan to Rangers), Leandro Castan (to Vasco da Gama)
In: Gianluigi Buffon (from Juventus), Kylian Mbappe (loan from Monaco made permanent)
Out: Javier Pastore (to Roma), Thiago Motta (retired), Odsonne Edouard (to Celtic), Jonathan Ikone (to Lille), Yuri Berchiche (to Athletic Bilbao), Grzegorz Krychowiak (loan to Lokomotiv Moscow), Hatem Ben Arfa (out of contract), Claudio Gomes (to Paris Saint-Germain)
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Tottenham Hotspur have apologised to supporters and offered credits to season ticket-holders following the postponement of the opening of their new stadium amid safety system concerns.
On Monday, Spurs announced that their first two games at the new venue, against Liverpool on Sept. 15 and Cardiff on Oct. 6, had been switched to Wembley, where they played home games last season.
Spurs have yet to confirm where they will play the home match against Manchester City on Oct. 28, and will speak to UEFA before disclosing plans for Champions League group matches.
"Yesterday the club received a report from Mace which highlighted the extent of the issues with critical safety systems. As a result, a decision was taken at a board meeting to defer the opening of the stadium and to move two further games to Wembley," a Spurs statement said.
"Delays are common, certainly for builds of this size and complexity. However, we are hugely frustrated that this has occurred with these systems at such a late stage.
"Whilst we would have been able to mitigate other areas, we simply cannot compromise safety. This decision was unavoidable.
"We should like to apologise to supporters for this delay. We are acutely aware of the disappointment this may cause supporters and shall now look to ensure that we minimise any inconvenience.
"As two further matches of the new season will be played at Wembley, all those who have purchased season tickets at the new stadium will be credited 1/19th of the price you have paid for your 2018-19 season ticket for each fixture concerned."
Barcelona director Ariedo Braida has said the club are unlikely to try and sign Manchester United's Paul Pogba this month with Rafinha set to stay at the Camp Nou for now.
On Sunday, Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu left the door open to a move for Pogba, while vice president Jordi Mestre told ESPN FC that the club would be open to any "big opportunities" between now and the end of August.
Mundo Deportivo has claimed that Barca will attempt to buy the France international before the transfer window closes in Spain, but Braida suggested those reports are untrue.
"I don't think we're going to move for Pogba, but he's a great player," he told Radio Sportiva.
Rafinha's future could be linked to whether or not Barca make any more summer signings.
If he stays, they are unlikely to move for another midfielder despite also having been linked with Paris Saint-Germain's Adrien Rabiot and Ajax's Frenkie de Jong.
"Rafinha, quite probably, will stay at Barcelona," Braida said. "He's someone with a lot of quality, a player that can decide games with the way he handles the ball -- he can go far.
"Last year, he came back from a bad injury, but when he recovered he did great things [on loan] at Inter. He's a player who has impressive technical skills and he suits Barca very well."
Rafinha, 25, had looked certain to leave earlier this summer but impressed coach Ernesto Valverde during the tour of the United States and was rewarded with a start in Sunday's Super Cup win over Sevilla.
However, he may yet push for a move if he feels the competition for places at Camp Nou will reduce his playing time.
Speaking during the U.S. tour, he said the only thing that mattered to him was playing regular football, "be that [at Barca] or somewhere else."
If Rafinha stays, Barca would have nine players able to play in central midfield although some, such as Sergi Roberto, also play in other positions.
That would make a move for a 10th midfielder less likely, although sources have told ESPN FC that Pogba is not for sale at any price during this window.
Rabiot's future remains in the air after PSG coach Thomas Tuchel said he could yet leave, while Diario Sport reported that Barca could still strike a deal for De Jong if Ajax fail to qualify for the Champions League group stages.
It was one of football's worst kept secrets. For months now there have been rumours circulating that Tottenham's new stadium at White Hart Lane was running well behind schedule -- aerial photographs had suggested a ground that looked far from ready -- and that the chances of completing all the necessary safety checks (including several trial games at less than full capacity) before the home game against Liverpool on Sept. 15 was always going to be a long shot.
Now we have had official confirmation of the delays and both the Liverpool and Cardiff Premier league ties -- along with a lucrative NFL fixture between Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks scheduled for Oct. 14 -- are to be played at Wembley instead.
Meanwhile, Tottenham appear to have had a slight case of amnesia over the Champions League. The first group-stage matchday takes place on Sept. 18-19, while matchdays two and three are in October and the fourth game is in early November. So Spurs are bound to play at least one, if not two, of their games at Wembley too. And if the club get a home draw, then their first Carabao Cup game will not be played at the new stadium either.
In the grander scheme of things, none of this matters too much. Large construction projects often over-run and the new £850 million stadium always appeared to be on a ludicrously tight schedule. A couple of months delay will long be forgotten in a few years' time.
And yet the whole saga leaves an unpleasant feeling in the mouths of most fans. Not least the season ticket holders, who feel they have been taken for a ride yet again by a club that puts profit before customer relations. Not for the first time the supporters feel like they have been treated as cash cows.
Think about it logically. Spurs must have known that the chances of the ground being ready in time for the opening of the current Premier League campaign were slim to none by the time they put on sale their season tickets at vastly inflated prices -- my own underwent a 50 percent increase from £1,000 to £1,500 to sit in exactly the same area of the ground -- and yet they pressed ahead regardless.
The supporters signed up and handed over their money in good faith. We took the club at its word and assumed it had pulled out all the stops to achieve the apparently impossible to deliver the project on time.
Then came the news in June that the first home game against Fulham this Saturday was to be switched to Wembley. Again, seemingly no big deal. Except the club acted like cheapskates. The honourable thing for Spurs to have done would have been to immediately offer a refund on the price of the Fulham game due to its failure to meet its promise to play the game at the new ground. Instead, it merely offered a credit note to those season ticket holders who purchased a second ticket to attend the rescheduled game at Wembley.
Belatedly Spurs appear to be trying to salvage a little good PR. After a deluge of complaints the club announced on Tuesday that full refunds will be on offer for the Liverpool and Cardiff games. But that still might not be enough to reclaim the goodwill of many supporters.
Only last week -- at a time when the club must have known how seriously late the stadium project was going to be -- it invited season ticket holders to sign up to the autopay cup ticket scheme at the new ground. For matches which it knew were going to be played at Wembley. This feels dangerously close to sharp practice.
And this could still only be the thin end of the wedge. The Liverpool, Cardiff and NFL fixtures are only the latest ones to be confirmed as rescheduled at Wembley. There's always the distinct possibility that more could soon follow.
Newspaper reports alleged that Spurs have signed an agreement with the owners of Wembley allowing them to play all their home fixtures at the national stadium up until the New Year. If that happens, it's a half-season of broken promises to supporters who had been sold the expensive promise of watching football in the new state-of-the-art stadium.
And what if it doesn't end there? What if there's extreme bad weather in November and December that further delays the completion? Might we then be looking at February or March before the first competitive game at the new White Hart Lane?
As so often with Spurs, it's the lack of transparency along with the financial disingenuity towards supporters that is so damaging. And it could have serious knock-on consequences. When a club is perceived to be acting in less than good faith, then everything is viewed through a prism of mistrust. Can anyone now truly take Spurs at its word that the problems with the stadium had nothing to do with its failure to make any signings to strengthen the squad during the domestic transfer window? I don't think so.
Everything the club does or says will understandably be now met with scepticism -- if not outright suspicion -- in the coming months. Already there are rumours that both Danny Rose and Christian Eriksen might be sold abroad before the end of the European transfer window at the end of August.
If they go, many supporters will find it hard to forgive the Spurs board. It's one thing not to strengthen the squad. It's quite another to severely weaken it.
Tottenham should understand they are skating on thin ice with the supporters. Patience is running out. If Spurs want to be considered a big club, then it's time they behaved like one.
Chelsea midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko has joined AC Milan on a season-long deal, with the option to make it permanent next summer.
Chelsea will reportedly earn €5 million for the loan with a further €35m due should the Rossoneri exercise their right to complete a permanent transfer in 2019.
Bakayoko joined Chelsea from Monaco for £40m last summer but was deemed surplus to first-team requirements at Stamford Bridge under new head coach Maurizio Sarri, following the arrival of Mateo Kovacic on loan from Real Madrid last week.
Given Milan's reported option to buy Bakayoko for €35m next summer, if he impresses this season at the San Siro, Chelsea will not ultimately make a substantial loss on a player who was their most expensive ever midfield signing before Jorginho's arrival from Napoli in July.
Good luck at AC Milan, @TimoeB08!