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Manchester City's Joe Hart returns for preseason, seeking transfer - sources

Manchester City's Joe Hart returns for preseason, seeking transfer - sources

ESPN

For those of you still in World Cup mode, the Premier League actually starts again in a month. England's top clubs are back in training -- here's some of the best pictures.

Things got off to a nice, informal start at Liverpool, with Georginio Wijnaldum and Virgil van Dijk enjoying a chat with Jurgen Klopp

Elsewhere, new signings Naby Keita and Fabinho were put through their paces.

Another week of hard work awaits. ????Two #LFCPreSeason games to tackle. ???? pic.twitter.com/BhRyK7bz9N

Despite lingering uncertainty over his immediate future, Antonio Conte took charge of Chelsea training on Monday, treating the players to a double session of fitness work in the sweltering heat.

Back to work at Cobham / De vuelta al trabajo en Cobham ???????????? #ComeOnBlues @ChelseaFC pic.twitter.com/Ard4G9MFl6

Things looked similarly strenuous at Manchester City, who appear to be taking their title defence incredibly seriously from the off.

Getting it done on day one... ????⚽️????️‍♂️ pic.twitter.com/VOuP8F72jm

Arsenal welcomed their new goalkeeper, Bernd Leno, who signed from Bayer Leverkusen over the off season.

Straight to work! ???????? Arsenal Training Centre pic.twitter.com/O3GcVENMVf

Over at Newcastle, manager Rafa Benitez was on hand to welcome Jonjo Shelvey back unto the fold.

While Eddie Howe mucked in with his Bournemouth squad as the players kicked things off with a bit of gym work

Erik Lamela, Serge Aurier and Victor Wanyama were among the big names to come through the reception at Tottenham's training complex.

Checking back in at Hotspur Way. #COYS pic.twitter.com/LK249Cez0C

You can just tell from the look on their faces, it's good to be back.

Domestic football is crowning on the horizon once again -- not that we're wishing the World Cup away before the semifinals have even been played, of course!

Antonio Conte took charge of Chelsea's preseason preparations with a double session at Cobham on Monday, sources have told ESPN FC.

The Blues players not involved in the World Cup reported to the club's training base on Saturday and Sunday for fitness tests overseen by one of the club's sports scientists, but sources told ESPN FC that Conte intended to begin working with those present on Monday unless he was sacked before then. 

Chelsea's coaching situation remains uncertain. They have been attempting to extricate Maurizio Sarri from his contractual obligation to Napoli for more than a month without success, while Conte is refusing to walk away from his job as he holds out to receive full payment for the final year of his contract -- reported to be worth in the region of £9 million.

Conte is renowned for his highly vigorous approach to approach to preseason and several Chelsea players have publicly admitted to struggling with his gruelling summer programmes, though weeks of double sessions at Cobham provided the foundation for the club's surprise run to the Premier League title in the 2016-17 campaign.

The prolonged uncertainty surrounding Conte and Sarri has had a paralysing effect on Chelsea's transfer plans in a window already complicated by the World Cup and compressed by the Premier League's earlier deadline, set for Aug. 9.

Chelsea embarked upon this summer in the knowledge that big decisions would have to be made in order to return to contention at the top of the Premier League next season, while key players Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois both publicly challenged the club to show more ambition in the transfer market.

So far no signings have been made, and allowing the uncertainty surrounding their coaching situation to drag on any longer could seriously jeopardise Chelsea's preseason preparations regardless of who is in charge.

Chelsea travel to Western Australia to take on Perth Glory in a friendly on July 23, before participating in the International Champions Cup with fixtures against Inter, Arsenal and Lyon either side of facing Premier League champions Manchester City in the Community Shield on Aug. 5.

Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.

Joe Hart was among a handful of big names back at Manchester City for their first day of preseason training on Monday.

City boss Pep Guardiola returned to the Etihad Campus without the vast majority of his senior players due to their World Cup commitments.

Hart, who has spent the last two seasons on loan, firstly at Italian side Torino and last year with West Ham, was back at City after being left out of Gareth Southgate's England squad.

The 31-year-old has 12 months remaining on his contract and sources have told ESPN FC that he is seeking a permanent move away before the start of the season.

Several other loan players, including Brazilian midfielder Douglas Luiz and former New York City winger Jack Harrison, are also at the Etihad Campus.

Some young and fringe players will have the chance to stake their claim for first-team opportunities as part of the preseason International Champions Cup in the United States this month.

However, defender Eliaquim Mangala, who spent the first half of last season with the first team before going out on loan to Everton, is in Spain for rehabilitation on a knee injury.

City still have seven players competing at the World Cup this week, and a further nine players will return later after being given extra time off because of their involvement in Russia. 

PFA Young Player of the Year Leroy Sane will join up with the first team on their preseason tour to the United Sates after being a part of Germany's pre-tournament training squad.

Young midfielder Phil Foden was at the Etihad Campus although a decision has not yet been named on whether he will be part of the England squad for the under-19 European Championships, which starts on July 16.

Clubs are not obliged to allow players to join up with England for the tournament in Finland and with Foden seen as a first team, Guardiola could decide to take him to the U.S.

City are still to make any new signings in the transfer window with Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez and Napoli's Jorginho remaining the club's top two targets.

Young midfielder Manu Garcia, who impressed on loan at Dutch side NAC Breda last season, has joined Ligue 1 club Toulouse on loan while fellow midfielder Aleix Garcia is set to return to Spanish side Girona on loan.

Jonathan is ESPN FC's Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.

ESPN