Wolves depleted for pre-season preparations

As is a customary during the regular season, international breaks coincide with a break in the domestic calendar, allowing for sides not to be disadvantaged by the absence of a large chunk of their squad.

However, due to the complications of the football calendar in recent times due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the latest batch of international call-ups means that Nuno Espirito Santo will be particularly light when it comes to pre-season preparations for the upcoming Premier League campaign.

At least eight Wolves players have been selected for duty by their countries for the September internationals, with more expected to follow.

Wanderers are due to return to full training ahead of the new season next week, and several first-team stars will be away.

Rui Patricio, Joao Moutinho, Ruben Neves and Diogo Jota – have all been called up for Portugal, with Ruben Vinagre and Pedro Neto named in the under-21 squad.

Matt Doherty is away with Ireland and Adama Traore with Spain to complete the eight.

With Wolves having a particularly long campaign last time around due to Europa League qualification, Nuno Espirito Santo will have been hoping for some more concrete time on the training ground ahead of this season – but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Wanderers start their Premier League campaign at Sheffield United on September 14.

Villa look to Portugal for talented winger

Reports coming out of Portugal are linking the Villa to Benfica Left Winger Franco Cervi, who could be a potential replacement for Jack Grealish.

The 26 year old has been a regular name on the team sheet and in his four years at Benfica, he has clocked up 151 appearances.

Having recently announced several signings including Jan Vertongen, they are looking to generate some funds and also lower their wage bill.

There’s also interest from several Turkish clubs but the main stumbling block could be his exit cause which is in the region of £54 million.

Elsewhere, the Express and Star report that the club have had discussions which make them confident of keeping midfielder Douglas Luiz at Villa Park after the Brazilian was linked with a return to Manchester City.

Manchester City’s Champions League clash with Real Madrid in doubt after Covid-19 scare

City, who hold a 2-1 advantage from the first leg which was played before lockdown, are due to play the second leg of the last 16 encounter with Madrid in Portugal on August 7.

However, there are now serious concerns as to whether the game can go ahead following Real Madrid’s confirmation that their Dominican striker Mariano Diaz has contracted coronavirus.

The original date for the second leg tie was scheduled for March, but that was postponed following news that a player from Real Madrid’s Basketball team – who share the same facilities as the footballers – returned a positive test.

Spanish radio reporter Fernando Burgos, who initially broke the news, tweeted that ‘the game against Manchester City is lost [translated]’.

The news comes just a matter of days after the UK added Spain to it’s quarantine list of destinations due to a rise in coronavirus cases, with anyone landing in the UK from Spain having to self-isolate for 14 days upon their arrival.

Real Madrid insist that Mariano Diaz is in good health and displaying no physical symptoms of the virus – however, regardless of these claims UEFA have a decision to make as to whether the game with Manchester City will go ahead as planned.