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Manchester United's Ander Herrera targets extended stay at Old Trafford

Manchester United's Ander Herrera targets extended stay at Old Trafford

ESPN

Last September, we looked at the most important players at Tottenham Hotspur. With the new season underway, who are the risers and fallers?

This list is not extensive and has been ranked according to varying factors. Some players still with a part to play have been omitted. Performance, potential, the ability to make an impact and influence over the course of a game, other options in that area of the field, the ability or inability to replace them and market value have all played a part in revising the 15.

1. Harry Kane (no change)

The striker was Europe's top goal scorer in 2017, with 56 goals in 52 games for club and country, and he has just won the World Cup Golden Boot. Spurs could simply not afford to replace him with someone of similar quality. And as a homegrown academy product who has become England's captain, Kane is a powerful icon for the club.

2. Christian Eriksen (no change)

The Dane continues to be a vital creative force. Like Kane, he is priceless.

3. Jan Vertonghen (+1)

The Belgian has only grown in importance, and he was named Spurs' player of the season for 2017-18. Solid defensively, his incisive forward passes also are crucial to Tottenham's buildup play.

4. Dele Alli (-1)

The 22-year-old had a mixed season last time out but was still a man for big occasions, scoring twice in notable victories against Real Madrid and Chelsea. Mauricio Pochettino believes Alli is the best player in the world at his age, and his winner at Newcastle on Saturday bodes well for the season ahead.

5. Hugo Lloris (+2)

Goalkeepers have become expensive, and Spurs are fortunate to have one who just won the World Cup. As a sweeper-keeper, Lloris is tactically important. So are his leadership qualities, as the captain of both Spurs and France.

6. Mousa Dembele (-1)

With less than a year left on his contract, his Spurs career could be ending. The 31-year-old might be past his imperious best now, and his game time might need to be managed due to long-term physical issues. But given his rare balance of strength and skill, he would still be hugely difficult to replace.

7. Son Heung-Min (+5)

There were times last term when the South Korea international was probably Spurs' most dangerous player. He offers the pace that some of his attacking teammates lack and can play anywhere across the front four -- including up front in Kane's absence. His profile in Asia is commercially valuable too. He just needs to avoid military service.

8. Harry Winks (new entry)

The 22-year-old has the potential to be a worthy successor to Dembele. Ankle problems have undermined his progress, but if he can stay fit, he can be a central figure for club and country.

9. Davinson Sanchez (+6)

While Spurs' record signing has some way to go to reach Toby Alderweireld's level, he was preferred to the Belgian toward the end of last season, and he already has built a stable partnership with Vertonghen. Like Winks, he is set to be an important figure for many years.

10. Eric Dier (-1)

The 24-year-old had an inconsistent season last term, but he remains a key figure. His versatility and tactical intelligence help Spurs to change shape seamlessly during matches, and his fitness levels and injury record also are important. He is almost always available, which has been valuable given the issues Winks, Dembele and Victor Wanyama have had.

11. Kieran Trippier (new entry)

The right-back seized his chance after Kyle Walker's departure, and his stock has risen rapidly in the past year, culminating in an impressive World Cup. His crossing is a weapon, and with his defending constantly improving, he is only increasing in value.

12. Danny Rose (-1)

The England international is a fine left-back but has struggled to stay fit and consistently produce his best since his knee injury in January 2017, while his future is in real doubt. Spurs have largely coped without Rose for the past 18 months, but it would still be a risk to let him leave now, with no chance to sign a replacement.

13. Toby Alderweireld (-7)

Like Rose, the Belgian is one of the best players in his position, but due to a contract standoff, his days at Spurs look numbered. It would undoubtedly be a blow to lose him, but at least in this instance the north Londoners already have Sanchez.

14. Ben Davies (-1)

Like Trippier, the Welshman has gone from being a deputy full-back to the first-choice player and has improved greatly. But if Rose departs, there will still be a concern that Tottenham are lacking dynamism at left-back. Davies is unlikely to get any quicker.

15. Erik Lamela (new entry)

The Argentinian has been dogged by injury problems, but at his best, he is another clever player who offers creativity between the lines and a goal threat. He also is a fierce competitor. With Lucas Moura yet to find his feet in the Premier League, Lamela offers strength in depth.

The agent of Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet has told La Derniere Heure that he is holding talks with Napoli over a transfer to Italy.

The arrival of Alisson from Roma means Mignolet's game time at Liverpool will be severely limited, having been demoted as No. 1 for Loris Karius partway through last season.

Mignolet, 30, is seeking regular action this term, with his representatives holding discussions with Napoli, who are on the hunt for a goalkeeper after summer signing Alex Meret suffered an injury.

"We're talking, but there's no agreement," Mignolet's agent, Nico Vaessen said. "It's in the interest of the club to find a solution.

"Liverpool want to keep him, but he wants to and must play. He deserves to play in a great team.

"For them [Napoli], Simon represents the best option in terms of quality, but there's also the financial aspect."

Any move to Italy -- whether permanent or on loan -- would need to be completed prior to the close of the Serie A transfer window 8 p.m. CET on Friday.

Mignolet is now back training at Liverpool after receiving an extended break for being part of the Belgium squad that reached the semifinals of the World Cup.

He was not part of the matchday squad for Liverpool's Premier League opener with West Ham United on Sunday, although Vaessen said "it's because he started training later."

Meanwhile, Fabinho said he is adjusting well to the new demands of playing for Liverpool.

The Brazilian defensive midfielder joined from Monaco in May in a deal worth €50 million and was present for Liverpool's preseason right from the start.

He is awaiting his competitive Liverpool debut after being an unused substitute for Sunday's 4-0 win over West Ham, having battled a minor injury and illness in the buildup.

"I think my performances have been good," he told Premier League Productions. "It's a different playing style than at Monaco -- there were two of us in midfield there and here at Liverpool there's three.

"My midfield partners have given me guidance and assistance, as have the defence. I knew [my role] would change and I feel I've adapted well.

"You seek guidance and help from the players around you and that has worked really well up until now."

Ander Herrera has said that he is ready to sign a new contract at Manchester United.

Herrera, 29, has a deal until the end of the 2018-19 campaign after United triggered a one-year extension last season.

The midfielder has played 161 times for the club since arriving from Athletic Bilbao in 2014 and has hinted he would like to extend his stay at Old Trafford.

"I have been able to play more than 160 games right now, so what I have in my mind is to go for the 200 games and keep adding games for the club and for myself," he told Inside United.

"The way the club treats me is perfect. The love the fans show for me couldn't be better or bigger, my family is happy in Manchester, so I will just try to give everything and use all my strength and effort to keep deserving to play for this club."

Herrera missed the 2-1 win over Leicester through injury after picking up a knock in the final preseason friendly against Bayern Munich.

When he returns he will find competition for places with Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Andreas Pereira, Scott McTominay, Marouane Fellaini, Jesse Lingard and £47 million summer signing Fred all battling for places in midfield, but he is up for the fight.

"First of all, I am very proud because when you play for Manchester United you have to deserve every season to keep playing for the club," he said.

"I think the manager is very happy with me and the fans are very happy with me. That makes me really proud."

ESPN