Wolves continue Maitland-Niles pursuit

Wolves had an initial £15m bid for the player rejected by the Gunners earlier this week but are said to be in continual talks with those at the Emirates Stadium over a revised offer.

With current Wanderers wing-back Matt Doherty looking nailed on to join the Gunners’ North London rivals in Spurs, Wolves’ desire to complete the Maitland-Niles switch has increased.

Doherty’s imminent departure coupled with regular operator Jonny Otto’s absence with injury has left Wolves looking decidedly light in the wing-back role.

Add to this the deafening silence in terms of a new contract for boss Nuno Espirito Santo, some supporters are beginning to fret.

However, Wolves’ primary concern appears to be getting the deal for Maitland-Niles over the line, with the versatile 23-year-old capable of playing in midfield or out wide.

Despite Maitland-Niles’ impressive breakthrough as an Arsenal first-teamer, it is arguable that even if he does pitch up at Molineux, Wolves will massively miss the contributions of Doherty.

The Irishman has been directly involved in 30 goals from defence in all competitions over the past two seasons, with only Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold – one of the world’s best – contributing more.

Spurs nearing deal for Wolves’ Matt Doherty

Spurs are light in the full-back department at present, with Kyle Walker-Peters departing for Southampton earlier on in the transfer window and Serge Aurier in talks over a move to AC Milan.

Jose Mourinho has targeted the Molineux man as a solid addition to his Tottenham squad as he looks to strengthen ahead of the upcoming Premier League season.

Doherty is somewhat of an unsung hero in Wolves’ side, with the Irishman’s industry up and down the flank as effective now as it was since making his debut for the club 10 years ago.

Only Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold has more direct goal involvements in all competitions over the last two seasons than the Dubliner.

But that decade of service soon looks set to draw to an end, with the 28-year-old almost certain to join Tottenham Hotspur.

This is a boost for the London club, but may cause concern amongst Wolves fans, particularly with regular operator Jonny Otto out with injury.

To heighten the frustrations, highly-rated gaffer Nuno Espirito Santo is yet to sign a new deal at Wanderers.

Wolves have made a bid for Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the past few days, but that offer has been rejected by the Gunners.

Saints pair in line for Fulham switch

That’s the latest from the Evening Standard, who suggest Fulham are eyeing up a double swoop for the midfield pair.

Harrison Reed is no stranger to Craven Cottage, having spent last season on loan at the Championship club as they secured their return to the Premier League at the first time of asking via a Wembley playoff final.

It’s thought the London club did have an option to buy in Reed’s loan deal, but any permanent switch has taken longer than anticipated.

Cottagers boss Scott Parker is also eyeing a deal for Saints’ Mario Lemina.

The Gabon international has not lived up to expectations on the South Coast after a £16m move from Juventus in 2017.

He too spent last season away from St Mary’s, being loaned to Turkish Super Lig giants Galatasaray.

To further add fuel to the fire regarding Lemina’s departure, the 26-year-old hasn’t been handed a squad number at Southampton for the upcoming Premier League season.

The majority of reports on this transfer claim that whilst Reed is expected to move to Fulham on permanent terms, the deal for Lemina is likely to be another loan.

Crystal Palace set to unveil Eze transfer from QPR

Speculation regarding Eze’s future at Loftus Road had ramped up in recent weeks, with Crystal Palace and West Ham United known Premier League admirers.

And it looks like Roy Hodgson has won the race for the 22-year-old’s signature, with Eze set to be unveiled at Selhurst Park in the coming days in a £19.5m deal say the Evening Standard.

The impressive forward was a key component for QPR last campaign, starting all 46 of Rangers’ Championship fixtures, and scoring 14 times.

Eze becomes the second youngster to make the switch to Palace this season, with 19-year-old full back Nathan Ferguson arriving from West Bromwich Albion earlier on in the transfer window.

No Blades return for Dean Henderson as he pens new Manchester United deal

Henderson, 23, included in Gareth Southgate’s senior England squad for next month’s Nations League games against Iceland and Denmark, has spent the last two seasons on loan at Sheffield United.

The club said: “Manchester United is delighted to announce that Dean Henderson has signed a new contract, which will keep him at the club until June 2025, with the option to extend for a further year.”

Henderson made 86 appearances in total for the Blades after joining them in 2018, helping them to promotion to the Premier League and then a ninth-placed finish in the top flight last season.

Henderson said: “The faith that the manager (Ole Gunnar Solskjaer) and the club have shown in me with this contract means a lot to me and will continue my progression as a goalkeeper.

“I’ll be giving everything to improve every day so that I can play as many games as possible for this great club. Now I am looking forward to joining up with the England squad and then preparing for the season ahead.”

Henderson, who joined United aged 14, confirmed earlier this month that he would not be staying for a further season with the Blades, who have signed goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale from Bournemouth.

Leeds United secure Rodrigo signing from Valencia

Spanish forward Rodrigo Moreno, who had a spell in England with Bolton Wanderers as a 19-year-old ten years ago, is set to join Marcelo Bielsa’s side for a fee believed to be in the region €30m.

The fee eclipses the one that the Whites paid West Ham United for Rio Ferdinand way back in 2000, breaking a 20-year transfer record.

Rodrigo has blossomed into one of Spain’s top strikers in recent years and is a regular Spanish international, but finds himself surplus to requirements at Valencia, who are having a large-scale clearout of some of their established stars.

This is good news for Leeds, who have moved quickly to get the forward, who has scored 35 goals in 141 league games for the Spanish side.

Valencia CF confirmed the news on their Twitter page: https://twitter.com/valenciacf/status/1298375058746990592?s=20

Marley Anderson

Everton target James Rodriguez transfer, reports claim

Newspaper the Daily Star suggest the Colombian is close to a £27m switch to Goodison Park.

The report claims Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti has been key in convincing the 2014 World Cup star to swap Madrid for Merseyside, having managed James before during his time in charge at the Bernabeu.

James has found game time difficult to come by in recent seasons at Real Madrid, with current gaffer Zinedine Zidane not thought to be a huge fan of the midfielder.

Zidane, now in his second stint as Los Blancos boss, sanctioned James’ two-season loan spell at Bayern Munich back in 2017.

Now it’s understood Zizou is willing to sell the 29-year-old midfielder this summer, with the Daily Star saying Everton is believed to be the top destination.

It would be a marquee signing for the Toffees as Ancelotti looks to strengthen his side ahead of the new Premier League season.

What Would A ‘Premier League Manager XI’ Look Like?

Seeing as the Premier League is in it’s shortest ever pre-season and all you can find on the internet is transfer rumours linking Chelsea with just about everyone, how about we answer a question you never knew needed answering?

Here’s one: If you had to pick a starting XI made up of the 20 current Premier League managers, who would make it into the side, and how would they line up?

We decided to find out, and after learning that no fewer than ELEVEN of the current bosses used to be defenders in their playing days, we weren’t sure it was even possible.

But we battled through, and thanks to perseverance, we’ve came up with the side that no one knew they ever needed in their lives.

Here we go!

Goalkeeper – Nuno Espirito Santo

Before he was a talented manager in the Midlands, Nuno was a goalkeeper in Portugal, which is great for us because no other Premier League manager was ever a keeper. That means he gets the nod in goal, slightly ahead of Jose Mourinho, whose cameo in a charity game a couple of years ago just wasn’t enough to nudge his countryman out of the side. Jose was actually Nuno’s manager as Porto won the Champions League back in 2004, with Nuno on the bench for most of the campaign as Vitor Baia was Mourinho’s first choice. Funny how things work out isn’t it?

Right Centre-Back – Steve Bruce

Now to the defenders, and because there’s loads of them, we’re going with a back five. The first of the central three is Newcastle manager Steve Bruce. A commanding presence in his day, and still one in kebab shops around the North East to this day, Bruce is considered one of the best English players to never receive an England cap. He once scored 19 goals in a single season for Manchester United, and was still overlooked!

He’ll bring some ruthless aggression to our side (a theme you’ll see in the coming picks) and considering we don’t think he’s ever lost a 50/50, will bring some steel to our defence. Wait until you see who’s alongside him…

Centre Back – Sean Dyche

In the middle of the three at the back is the commanding presence that is the Burnley manager.

Much like Bruce, his game is built around aggression and shouting at people with that gravelly voice. Heaven forbid you try a fancy piece of skill against him, you’ll end up in A&E.

Where the other defender will be waiting for you…

Left Centre-Back – Slaven Bilic

Look at that face. Absolutely no funny business tolerated at the back. The West Brom boss is one of six former internationals in our team, having represented Croatia 44 times in the 1990’s.

Probably the most comfortable on the ball of our central defenders, but don’t confuse that for weakness – he’ll smash you into next week if you go past him.

Right Wing-Back – Chris Wilder

Now then, here’s another issue we ran into coming up with this XI – there was absolutely no wingers to choose from, so we had to get creative.

Wilder was a right-back during his playing days, albeit in the lower leagues. He counts Sheffield United, Bradford City and Rotherham United among his former employers in a career that stretched 15 years.

We’re not using right-backs in our team, so a more adventurous wing-back role is Wilder’s. Continuing the aggressive streak that runs through our defence, we can only wish any left wingers luck if they try anything against the Blades boss.

Left Wing-Back – Graham Potter

On the opposite flank to Wilder is Brighton manager Potter, who made a handful of Premier League appearances for Southampton during his playing days. He actually played in the Saints’ 6-3 win over Manchester United in 1996.

A left-back by trade, he’s another we’re nudging forward into a more adventurous role. He’s also one of the younger managers in this selection, so we need his boundless energy.

Defensive Midfield – Scott Parker

Speaking of energy, not many had more than Parker during his playing years. One of the first modern day defensive midfielders, Parker had a fine career which DEFINITELY peaked when he won the Intertoto Cup with Newcastle United in 2006.

The Fulham manager walks into our team in midfield, which is where our selection genuinely starts to look quite impressive.

Defensive Midfield – Pep Guardiola

In the argument of who’s better between Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp, one area the Spaniard is untouched is playing career. Reaching the height of the game, Guardiola played in four countries during his playing days, winning six league titles and the Champions League with Barcelona, before finishing his career at Mexican side Dorados. We almost got to see him in the Premier League too, as he contacted former manager Bobby Robson while he was at Newcastle to ask about a move. Unfortunately for Pep, Bobby had just signed Jermaine Jenas and a mid-30’s Guardiola wasn’t deemed good enough by that stage.

Guardiola occupies a deep-lying playmaker role in our team, spraying passes around the pitch like an old school Xabi Alonso, and his midfield partners aren’t bad either…

Right Attacking Midfield – Mikel Arteta

Never far from Guardiola’s side (until recently anyway), Arteta plays just ahead of his former boss in our side.

More of a defensive/central midfielder during his playing days for Everton, Arsenal and others, it’s testament to how good Spain were at the time that he never received a senior call-up to his national side. Many England managers even looked at him for an England call-up once he’d been at Everton for a few years, but the rules found that he was always ineligible for his adopted homeland. Shame.

Left Attacking Midfield – Frank Lampard

Arguably the best player in our team, Lampard has a resume that would envy most strikers. Chelsea‘s all-time leading goalscorer is one of the main sources for goals in our team, and judging by the passing ability of team mates Guardiola and Arteta in particular, he should get plenty in our side.

Another of the younger lads in our team, we reckon Frank is still in pretty good shape for 42, and could probably still do a job in a few leagues around the world even now, so dragging our sorry lot through a game should be a walk in the park for the Chelsea boss.

Striker – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

This one wasn’t the hardest of choices either. Ralph Hassenhuttl earned eight caps for Austria in a career that journeyed around Germany and his homeland, but Solskjaer’s 100+ goals for Manchester United edged the giant Southampton manager.

Probably the most feared substitute in Premier League history, Solskjaer’s predatory instincts would bag him plenty of goals in our side, and his youthfulness (even if that’s still just in his face) would help the aging legs of others considerably.

SUBS:

JOSE MOURINHO – The Spurs boss combines his role as backup goalkeeper with that of team translator as he watches from the bench. Everyone speaks English, so it’s not the hardest gig Jose’s ever had.

JURGEN KLOPP – The Liverpool manager and former Mainz defender is better at raising team morale as he combines his role with that of first-team coach too.

ROY HODGSON – In a fantasy team made up of players that are too old to conceivably play, Roy is still far too old. The Crystal Palace boss’s playing days ended in the same year the first Concorde flight took off. Seriously.

CARLO ANCELOTTI – The Italian had a trophy-laden career, but he’s the victim of age in this selection, as his aging legs are only enough for a place on the bench. He’s also the team tailor because he’s suave as hell. Didn’t go down with Wilder well, as he loves a tracksuit.

DEAN SMITH – Missed out on a starting position after being eliminated by Slaven Bilic in a battle royal for the three centre-back positions. Bad luck for the Aston Villa boss.

BRENDAN RODGERS – The knee condition that forced his retirement age 20 keeps him out. The Leicester City boss is team secretary.

DAVID MOYES – The West Ham manager misses out after scything down Pep Guardiola in a training session in a bid to win a starting XI place, despite being another centre back. Sorry Dave.

RALPH HASSENHUTTL – The Southampton boss was once team mates with Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger at Bayern Munich. You can tell everyone stories about those two from our bench though, Ralph. Sorry.

MARCELO BIELSA – TEAM MANAGER. The Leeds United boss retired aged 25 after a short career as a defender, but probably knows more about management than the rest of the team combined (shut up Roy). He’s our gaffer.

Here’s how we’d line them up:

No Liverpool title talk says Jordan Henderson

The Reds scooped their first top flight title since 1990 last season, deservedly lifting their maiden Premier League trophy after a remarkable campaign.

Jurgen Klopp’s players have been enjoying their time away from the game, but this week have returned to pre-season training at a camp in Austria.

However, despite last season’s achievements, Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has admitted there has been no talk of a second consecutive Premier League title just yet.

Speaking to the club’s official website, the midfielder said:

“To be honest, we haven’t spoken about it.

“It’s more about, ‘Have you enjoyed your holiday?’ We’ve been cracking on, really working hard. New season, new start and a lot more things we want to go on and achieve.

“[I’m] really excited to see what we can do this season, another big season for us. Hopefully we can take confidence from the last year or two but we need to stay hungry and need to keep the desire to go and want more.”

Liverpool have been engaging in double sessions most days in Austria ahead of the return of the domestic season on September 12.

West Ham fans delighted as Roberto nears London Stadium exit

The Spanish stopper is said to be close to completing a switch to the La Liga side according to newspaper the Guardian.

Roberto spent the second half of the 2019/20 campaign on loan at Alaves in Spain’s top flight, after a disastrous start to the season between the sticks for West Ham.

After Lukasz Fabianski’s injury, then-Hammers manager Manuel Pellegrini turned to the 34-year-old to deputise – and it backfired horrifically, with Roberto shipping 21 goals in just 10 games for the club, mustering a single clean sheet.

Things weren’t much better post January, either, with new boss David Moyes immediately loaning Roberto, where he shelled 19 times in just 9 appearances as Alaves narrowly avoided relegation from La Liga.

Now Roberto’s time at West Ham appears to be coming to an end, much to the delight of many a Hammers fan on social media, who appear to be glad to see the back of arguably their worst goalkeeper in recent memory.

If things weren’t bad enough for poor old Roberto, some Irons supporters are revelling in the fact that West Ham somehow look set to make a profit on his departure.

After arriving at the London Stadium for free, Real Vallodolid are close to parting with actual cash to complete the deal.

Incredible.

Burnley eyeing Marseille midfielder

That’s according to the Daily Mail, who claim the Clarets are keen on the 26-year-old.

However, Sean Dyche will face stiff competition for the Frenchman’s signature, with a host of other Premier League clubs after his services.

West Ham are said to be long-time admirers of Sanson, with the newspaper claiming Fulham and Arsenal have their eye on a move along with the Clarets.

The report claims Burnley would have to splash close to £25m to bring Sanson to Turf Moor – something which seems unlikely in the current climate despite the fact Burnley are one of the more financially sound sides in the Premier League.

It’s no secret that Burnley boss Sean Dyche has aired his frustrations with Chairman Mike Garlick over investment in the playing squad, particularly after the loss of Jeff Hendrick on a free transfer – the Ireland international has since joined Newcastle United.

However, even with Dyche’s intentions to strengthen, Marseille’s demands for a key asset may be slightly out of Burnley’s price range.

Conor Hourihane set for shock Aston Villa exit claim reports

Turkish media claim that the Republic of Ireland international’s agent has been in talks with Super Lig sides Besiktas and Trabzonspor over a potential switch.

Hourihane is set to begin his fifth season at Villa Park, having featured 34 times under Dean Smith last season as the club scrambled to Premier League safety.

Former Chelsea player Eddie Newton is the new Trabzonspor head coach and will no doubt have been aware of the 29-year-old’s influence – perhaps even more so considering Hourihane is out of contract next summer.

Reports claim the player is open to the move, but Turkish media have been known to be unreliable in the past.