THE ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE SPOTLIGHT

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  • THE ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE IS IN LEAGUE ONE
  • PSG LOOKING TO GAZUMP CHELSEA OVER FOFANA AS ARSENAL LOOK TO ADD AS WELL
  • LIVERPOOL INJURY LIST MAJOR WORRY FOR KLOPP
  • MAN UNITED LOOKING AT FOUR POSSIBLE TARGETS TO BUY

One game into the new season and Liverpool are already playing catch-up in the English premier league. Liverpool launched their 2022-23 season by dropping two points and suffered another worrying injury problem, with boss Jurgen Klopp demanding better. The sight of Thiago Alcantara limping off early in the second half added to Klopp’s worries.

Already without Curtis Jones, Diogo Jota, Konstantinos Tsimikas, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ibrahima Konate to either illness or injury, the Liverpool boss cannot afford to lose many more players. As it stands, club sources say Liverpool’s business is done in terms of incomings, though injuries to Thiago and Konate, in particular, have been poorly timed. After the draw at Fulham, Jurgen Klopp insisted that any transfer “would have to make sense, both now and in the long term.”

Klopp has previously dismissed suggestions that Liverpool are short of a midfielder, reiterating his faith in the likes of Jones, Keita, Harvey Elliott and Fabio Carvalho. Jurgen Klopp put forward a number of mitigating factors after Liverpool’s dissapointing draw at newly promoted Fulham on Saturday suggesting that  “the pitch was dry”. Liverpool are expected to challenge City again for the title but the champions, who launch the defence of their title at West Ham on Sunday , could be five points ahead of the Reds by the time Klopp’s team play again.

While Man City follow up facing West Ham by hosting Bournemouth next Saturday , Liverpool have more than a week to analyse what went wrong at Fulham before they play Crystal Palace at Anfield on 15 August . Liverpool used 18-year-old Luke Chambers and 17-year-old Stefan Bajcetic to help fill the bench at Craven Cottage, although it was another substitute – £64m Uruguay forward Darwin Nunez , who helped rescue a point after another injury worry and prove his worth in the English premier league.

Granit Xhaka - premier league
Granit Xhaka celebrating a save by Aaron Ramsdale in a file picture.

MAGNIFICENT ARSENAL AND XHAKA

Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka has said that Arteta is the reason why he is  still at the club.  added the 29-year-old.  In October 2019, Granit  Xhaka was substituted by then-Gunners boss Unai Emery during a match against Crystal Palace to boos from his own fans.

He was Arsenal captain then and reacted angrily to noise from the crowd by waving and cupping his ear sarcastically, exchanging words before taking off his shirt and going straight down the tunnel. Xhaka said he had made up his mind to leave. “My suitcases were packed and finished, but I had a meeting with Mikel when he came. He wanted to hear my opinion about what had happened and I explained to him.

“I remember it exactly. I told him, ‘It has nothing to do with you’, because I didn’t know him and I never played with him. Obviously I knew his name, but not the person, and I said, ‘I’m gone, I can’t wear the shirt any more’. Xhaka reiterates that Arteta asked him to stay another six months and see how their chemistry would work out, to which he obliged.

Xhaka is now a part of an exciting group of players at Arsenal and started their first game of the season in the 2-0 win over, coincidentally, Crystal Palace. The Switzerland international is now one of the senior players in the squad and also one of the longest serving, having joined from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016.

 Arsenal could yet be set to land another summer signing after the club reportedly met with AC Milan officials to discuss a possible transfer for Sandro Tonali. Milan manager Stefano Pioli is keen to keep the 22-year-old after leading the club to their first Serie A title in over a decade, with the Italian viewed as one of the group’s core players. AC Milan would consider sanctioning a sale should Arsenal meet their £46million asking price though.

The London club have been big spenders in the transfer window, and now Mikel Arteta wants to make more summer additions, with Tonali a top target. Tonali would cost Arsenal in the region of £46million from Milan . Tonali is currently only one year into a five-year contract, meaning it would require a hefty transfer fee from Arsenal to acquire his signature.

However, Arteta’s determination to bring a new central midfielder to London before the transfer market closes means a deal could be on the horizon, with the Premier League side’s boss keen to press on and land a player he has reportedly set his sights on personally.

In yet another move, Arsenal’s €40m (£33m) offer for Villarreal winger Yeremy Pino is set to be accepted, according to reports.  Arsenal have launched an ambitious bid for the 19-year-old Spain international, who has an €80m (£67.5m) release clause in his contract. Pino is one of La Liga’s most promising young players – and has also attracted interest from Liverpool – but Arsenal have been the first to react and Villarreal may be forced to accept their low offer given the club’s own financial situation.

Villarreal would be likely to accept any bid in the region of €40m to €50m to solve ‘economic problems’ at the club and the key factor behind a move to the Emirates will now be if Pino is happy to leave lest Arsenal encounter an embarassing situation like the one that Chelsea endured over Raphinha and the current situation between Man United and Frenkie de Jong.

 

MAN UNITED SERIOUSLY SHOPPING

 

Manchester United’s Erik ten Hag is ready to raid the Eredivise for a third time this summer in a bid to bolster his  squad before the transfer window closes next motnth. The Dutchman has endured a frustrating summer with United failing to deliver their new manager a number of his top targets. Ten Hag has, thus far, has been armed with just three new signings following the arrivals of Lisandro Martinez, Christian Eriksen and Tryell Malacia.

 

 

Cody Gakpo- premier league is calling
Cody Gakpo of PSV Eindhoven keen on a move to Man United. (Getty Images)

 

 

United failed, however, to secure the signings of Ten Hag’s former Ajax  charges Antony and Jurrien Timber, while hopes of signing Frenkie de Jong, following a chaotic summer long pursuit, appear to be fading fast.While the need for midfield reinforcements is obvious, Ten Hag is also keen to strengthen his attack with both Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho beginning the new season in underwhelming fashion.

In a response to Sunday’s setback, against Brighton, Ten Hag has sanctioned a move for PSV Eindhoven forward Cody Gakpo who is valued at £35milion by his current club. The 23-year-old scored 21 goals in 47 appearances last season and has been capped seven times by Netherlands at senior international level. Arsenal had been monitoring Gakpo’s situation and remain interested in signing a wide forward this summer after missing out on Raphinha who joined Barcelona from Leeds United.

Gakpo, now coached by former United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, had appeared set to remain at PSV for another season but could have his head turned by genuine interest from the English premier league, although his club will not contemplate any offer below their asking price.

Chelsea  have taken a major step forward in their bid to sign Frenkie de Jong as they near a £67.6million deal to sign the Barca midfielder. The Netherlands international has been at the centre of the summer’s  transfer saga, which could still have a distance to run, despite Chelsea having made a significant breakthrough.

De Jong has been coveted by Man United  and his former manager at Ajax, Erik ten Hag, throughout the close season but has resolutely refused to facilitate a move to Old Trafford. United’s ongoing struggles and absence from the Champions League were major factors in De Jong’s decision to reject a move to Old Trafford and a reunion with Ten Hag, while he has resolutely maintained his desire to shun the English premier league and  remain at Camp Nou.

Barcelona’s perilous financial situation, however, means they  desperately need to offload some of their highest earners, especially in light of their ambitious, risk-ridden summer recruitment drive which has seen them bring in the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha. Despite their public insistence that they wish to keep De Jong, behind the scenes Barcelona have been making increasingly chaotic attempts to effectively force the Netherlands international out of the club.

 

 

Wesley Fofana- premier league
PSG are looking to overtake Chelsea in a bid for Leicester City’s Fofana. Image courtesy of Sports Illustrated.

 

PARIS ST GERMAIN POACHING

 

Paris Saint-Germain are considering a move to rival Chelsea for Leicester City  defender Wesley Fofana, according to reports in France. The 21-year-old is a priority target for the Blues but Leicester have rejected two bids from Chelsea for the centre-back.

The Foxes are reluctant to let Fofana leave and they’re demanding in excess of £85m for the defender. Fofana, though, has made it clear that he would like to join Chelsea if a fee can be agreed. Chelsea are expected to test Leicester’s resolve with a third bid for Fofana, that should get fairly closer to the Foxes’ valuation of the defender.

Chelsea will also decide this week whether to pursue a deal for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or focus on other transfer targets, according to reports. The Blues have been linked with theBarcelona forward in recent weeks, as Thomas Tuchel seeks to bolster his attacking options before the transfer window closes on September 1.

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