Henrikh Mkhitaryan surprised Chelsea chose to sell Nemanja Matic to United – collectionfifatips.com

Paul Mariner believes the brilliant play provided by Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and company was partially spurred on by the woeful display of West Ham at Old Trafford.
Jose Mourinho praises his side’s willingness to keep the pressure on against West Ham, something they lacked last season.

MANCHESTER — Henrikh Mkhitaryan admits he was surprised when Chelsea agreed to sell Nemanja Matic to Manchester United this summer — but is glad they did.

Matic helped his new club to a 4-0 win over West Ham on the opening weekend of the Premier League season, 24 hours after champions Chelsea were beaten 3-2 by Burnley at Stamford Bridge.

Despite two goals from fellow new signing Romelu Lukaku, the Serbia international, who cost United £35 million, was named Man of the Match at Old Trafford.

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has described the 29-year-old’s departure as a “great loss,” and Mkhitaryan feels it is United’s gain.

“Actually I am [surprised],” Mkhitaryan said. “But at the same time I am very happy that we have got him.

“It was not only Matic. I want to mention as well the other two new signings, [Victor] Lindelof and Lukaku. They are very good players. They are, I think, Manchester United players.

“Matic does a big job on the pitch. He tries to recover all the balls. He defensively does a big job. Lukaku scored his goals and Lindelof is still going to have time to show himself. So I want to say all the players are good signings and they are going to help us a lot.”

Nemanja Matic
Nemanja Matic impressed for Manchester United on Sunday.

While Matic and Lukaku have made instant impacts at United, Mkhitaryan was forced to watch from the bench and the stands in the early stages of his Old Trafford career last season.

Mkhitaryan has since become central to Jose Mourinho’s plans and against West Ham he started as the No. 10 behind Lukaku, a position he says is his best.

“I prefer to play as a No. 10 but if the manager thinks I’m helpful for the team playing on the wings I am happy to play on the wings. It doesn’t matter,” he said.

“It was a great win. I think we did a good start to the season. Now we have to keep going the same way. It is very important to win today. Why? Because we were playing a very good opponent — West Ham. We know it is always hard to play against them. I think we did a great job.”

United’s victory over West Ham was their best start to a Premier League season since thrashing Fulham 5-1 in 2006.

It has created an optimism around Old Trafford that Mourinho can deliver a first title since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 after finishes of seventh, fourth, fifth and sixth in the last four seasons.

Mkhitaryan added: “As a player and for a club, you are always going to have ups and downs. I think the last few years was a little bit down for the club but since last year, and this year, I hope it is going be up for the club.

“We are going to try to do our best to bring the club on the level it was at before. It is always hard but we will try and do our best.”

Rob is ESPN FC’s Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.

Premier League set to move summer transfer deadline up – reports – collectionfifatips.com

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp explains why he believes the transfer window should close before the new season commences.
With spending spiraling out of control this transfer window, Stewart Robson applauds Tottenham and their more conservative business plan.
Steve Nicol says Philippe Coutinho might be upset about it, but Liverpool should not give in to his transfer request.
The guys answer your tweets on Matic’s transfer saga, Liverpool’s inactivity, Prem favourites, and Jon’s career.
The guys answer your tweets on a host of theoretical and potential transfers this summer in the Premier League.

The Premier League is expected to approve changes that will see the summer transfer window end before the start of the season, according to English newspapers.

The current window closes on Aug. 31, more than two weeks after the start of the domestic league season.

According to reports, representatives from the 20 Prem clubs will vote at next month’s shareholder’s meeting to move the deadline to the week before the 2018-19 season begins.

The Times report that the vast majority of Premier League clubs will vote for the change, while sources told the Telegraph that the actions are already at “approval level,” which would consist of 14 votes, with Watford being one of the few hold outs.

This summer’s window has seen a number of protracted transfer sagas which have disrupted some teams’ start to the season, including those involving Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk and Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson.

The Southampton defender did not feature in his side’s 0-0 draw against Swansea on Saturday amid links to Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City.

Virgil van Dijk
Virgil van Dijk’s transfer saga has impacted the start of Southampton’s season.

And despite Swansea boss Paul Clement’s July promise that Sigurdsson’s transfer saga would not “drag on,” the midfielder remains in limbo with the Wales club as a move to Everton is being negotiated.

The Iceland international, who scored nine league goals and provided 13 assists last season, has not played for Swansea since their first preseason friendly at Barnet on July 12.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp appeared to lend his support to the idea at a press conference ahead of his side’s UEFA Champions League match in Hoffenheim.

Klopp said: “It would have helped us this year [if the window had shut early]. It makes sense that when the season is starting, planning for the team is over.”

His Swansea counterpart has also indicated that Premier League bosses broadly back the change.

“At our managers’ meeting at the Premier League last week, we spoke about it,” Clement said over the weekend.

“The majority of clubs are in favour but maybe all have to be for it to go through. It could happen next year.”

Press Association contributed to this report.

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.

Cristiano Ronaldo hit with five-match ban for red card, pushing referee – collectionfifatips.com

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a wonder goal, was booked for diving, and sent off all in a short window. Relive it here.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been banned for five matches after pushing referee Ricardo de Burgos Bengoetxea during Real Madrid’s 3-1 Spanish Super Cup first-leg win at Barcelona on Sunday.

Ronaldo’s 24 minutes as a substitute at the Camp Nou saw him score a superb goal, pick up a booking for removing his shirt during the celebration, and then quickly receive a second yellow after De Burgos Bengoetxea ruled the Portugal captain had dived to try to win a penalty.

Ronaldo reacted to being sent off by pushing De Burgos Bengoetxea. The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) banned Ronaldo for one match for drawing the red card and the other four for pushing the official.

That was just one major talking point on a night that also saw Gerard Pique’s own goal put Madrid ahead, Lionel Messi equalise with a controversial penalty won by Luis Suarez and Marco Asensio score a screamer to put his side fully in control ahead of Wednesday’s second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Ronaldo has also been fined €3,805 for his actions, while Madrid were fined €1,750.

Ronaldo is set to miss the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup against Barcelona as well as Madrid’s four opening La Liga games against Deportivo La Coruna, Valencia, Levante and Real Sociedad.

His next domestic appearance will come at home to Real Betis in La Liga in the midweek round of fixtures of Sept. 20, although he will be eligible to play in Real Madrid’s Champions League group stage opener a week before and the Santiago Bernabeu Trophy friendly against Fiorentina on Aug. 23.

The RFEF says Madrid have 10 days to lodge an appeal with its appeals committee, while adding in its report that the club attempted to get the offence downgraded from a push to a minor “disregard” for the referee.

The official match report sent to the RFEF from the Camp Nou included Ronaldo’s push in the “other incidents” section.

“Cristiano Ronaldo Dos Santos Aveiro — having been shown the red card, the player pushed me slightly in a sign of his disagreement,” the Basque official wrote.

The RFEF’s disciplinary code appears clear that the punishment for such behaviour, even if only “slightly violent,” is an extra suspension of four to 12 games.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s five-match ban in a just one for Craig Burley, as he states players should never lay hands on a ref.

“Pulling, pushing or shaking, or a general attitude towards the match officials which, even if only slightly violent, without confirming an aggressive attitude on their part, will be punished with a suspension of four to 12 games,” says the code’s article 96.

At the postmatch news conference, Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said the second yellow was “a bit too much” and hoped Ronaldo could still be cleared to play in Wednesday’s second leg.

Madrid captain Sergio Ramos told Telecinco after the final whistle that he believed Ronaldo had not dived, and therefore the club would be able to appeal the decision.

“I was far away,” Ramos said. “But I believe Cristiano lost his balance and did not fake anything. We can appeal, as it leaves us without a very important player, with 10 minutes left. [The referee] should have thought about it a bit more.”

Ramos also said that De Burgos Bengoetxea had erred in earlier awarding a penalty when Suarez fell to the ground dramatically, having been challenged inside the box by Madrid keeper Keylor Navas.

“There is a lot of tension in these type of games,” he said. “For me it was not a penalty. I don’t believe the referee blew the whistle if he did not see anything; he must have seen it clearly. But for me there was nothing.”

Madrid left-back Marcelo told the club’s official website that the red card was “bizarre” while acknowledging that referees make mistakes.

“Cristiano being sent off was bizarre, but sometimes that can happen,” the Brazil international said. “Referees can make mistakes, along with the things they get right.”

Ex-Madrid full-back Alvaro Arbeloa, now popular among fans and pundits for his regular defence of his former club, tweeted after Ronaldo’s sending off: “They are laughing in our face. Lamentable.”

“Not even with 12!” Arbeloa added on the final whistle, in reference to Madrid still managing to come out on top.

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan

collectionfifatips | Okocha: My style was closest to that of Neymar

  • He says Neymar has what it takes to succeed Messi and Cristiano
  • “He plays with joy, but not just to entertain the fans,” he adds
  • At present, he sees no African players who could make the shortlist

The Nigerian Jay Jay Okocha is arguably one of the most talented African footballers of all time. Blessed with sublime footwork and a mesmerising dribble, he was one of the golden generation of Nigeria players and a pillar of the Súper Águilas side that won gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and graced three successive FIFA World Cups™ between 1994 and 2002.  

Eminently qualified to assess the best players in the modern game, Okocha chatted to FIFA.com about this year’s The Best Awards, what it takes to reach that level and his favourites to win the men’s award on 23 October in London.

You were one of those players who managed to dazzle on the pitch while always seeming to enjoy yourself. Are those qualities sufficient to be crowned The Best?
Jay Jay Okocha: Anyone aspiring to be the best, or one of the best, needs more than that. You also need to be able to focus, work hard, and be consistent, as natural talent alone is not enough to elevate you to that level. If you understand that, and you have the raw talent, then you can compete at that level.

Is there anyone today who resembles you as a player?
I’d say the player whose style most resembles mine would be
Neymar. That’s because I played with a sense of joy and you can see that he feels the same and really enjoys his own play. He doesn’t play for himself or just to entertain the fans – he plays for his team. He uses his quality and skill for the good of the team.

Okocha at FIFA Tournaments
Games: 38
Goals: 6
World Cups: 3 (USA 1994, France 1998, Korea/Japan 2002)
FIFA Confederations Cup: 1 (Saudi Arabia 1995)
Olympic Football Tournament: 1 (Atlanta 1996, gold medal winner)

Do you see him as a future successor to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi?
Yes, I think he will be the one to do it. Messi and Ronaldo have dominated world football for a decade and, given the nature of football, at a certain point the baton will have to pass to someone else. I think Neymar has a great chance of filling that role.

Ronaldo and Messi have the shared the glory over the last decade, but do you favour one over the other?
I have to be diplomatic here, especially as I’ve a lot of Portuguese friends, but I tend to lean towards Messi. He’s a more natural talent. Ronaldo is a fantastic player, one of the best I’ve ever seen, but he’s been a bit unfortunate to be of the same generation as Messi. Consequently, they have to share the limelight.

Can you think of an African player with a chance of being among the final three for The Best FIFA Men’s Player Award?
It’s hard to name one at present. If you’re talking about the top tier of players internationally, we don’t consider ourselves good enough to compete at that level. We have to change that attitude, and then we’ll be able to produce a player of the stature of the other top guys.

collectionfifatips | Best fantasy football strikers in the Premier League 2017-18 season

Ahead of the big kick-off, Goal looks at the top striker options, as well as considering a number of potential bargain buys for virtual managers

The beginning of a new Premier League campaign is drawing close and that means a fresh slate for all the fantasy football managers out there.

Whether they are fighting to retain a crown, or desperately intent on salvaging some pride after losing to their friends last season, virtual coaches will be looking at every possible way to maximise their points return when the season kicks off in August.

Fantasy Football: The complete guide

You will be delighted to know that  Goal Fantasy Football is already up and running for the 2017-18 season — and it's free to play. The mobile app can be downloaded through this link  so that you can create and update your squad on the move.

The fantasy football game on the Premier League's official website is also a popular choice for fantasy managers, but whatever you use, we've taken a look at some of the best fantasy football forwards, including some bargains, to help get you started!


BEST FANTASY FOOTBALL STRIKERS


Romelu Lukaku Man Utd

The best fantasy football strikers are those who score and it is no surprise that the five most expensive frontmen in the 2017-18 game are those individuals who hit the back of the net over 20 times last season.

However, strikers who contribute assists as well as goals are also precious commodities in the world of fantasy football, with points awarded to the architects behind the goals.

Note: Some versions of the game define certain attacking players as midfielders instead of forwards. For example, on Goal Fantasy Football, Alexis Sanchez can only be selected as a forward, but on Fantasy Premier League, he can only be selected as a midfielder.

Harry Kane Tottenham Premier League

Harry Kane (Tottenham – £12.5m)

Tottenham's main man for the past three seasons, Harry Kane showed exactly why he is so highly valued last term with a haul of 29 league goals and seven assists, despite suffering an ankle injury mid-way through the campaign.

The stats clearly demonstrate that the 23-year-old England international has steadily improved since his breakthrough at White Hart Lane, as he bagged 21 goals in 2014-15 and 25 in 2015-16 before hitting a career high last year. Such consistency means that Kane is considered a must-buy by many Fantasy Football aficionados.

Sergio Aguero (Manchester City – £11.5m)

Manchester City's Sergio Aguero is the second-highest valued striker in the game, because he has been the most consistent sharpshooter in the Premier League for the past six seasons. The former Atletico Madrid star has 122 goals in 181 Premier League appearances and only twice failed to hit the 20-mark since joining City in 2011.

He has been a favourite of fantasy football players for a long time, but, while there can be no doubting the Argentina international's ability to find the net, virtual coaches should probably pay close attention to Pep Guardiola's pre-season preparations to see how heavily the injury-prone Aguero will be relied upon.

Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United – £11.5m)

Manchester United forked out a titanic £75 million to Everton for Romelu Lukaku as they look to find a solution to their long-term striker problem. The powerful Belgium international scored 25 goals for an inconsistent Everton side last year, setting up his team-mates on six further occasions.

Lukaku is a proven goalscorer, having guaranteed strikes for Anderlecht and West Brom as well as the Toffees, and a lot will be expected of him at Old Trafford this season as Jose Mourinho prepares for life without Zlatan Ibrahimovic. However, it may take some time for him to settle in to his new environment.

Alexandre Lacazette Arsenal

Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal – £10.5m)

Arsenal's record signing Alexandre Lacazette arrives to the Premier League with a fearsome reputation for finding the back of the net. The 26-year-old was Lyon's go-to man for goals in the last four seasons and he struck a personal best of 28 goals in 30 Ligue 1 appearances last term.

Lacazette's consistency for his former club sees him priced among the elite strikers in the Premier League, more expensive than the fearsome Diego Costa.

Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City £10.5m)

Twenty-year-old Brazilian Gabriel Jesus is still somewhat of an unknown quantity in the Premier League, but the former Palmieras striker hit the ground running at the Etihad before having his season curtailed by injury. Jesus scored seven goals in just 10 league appearances for Pep Guardiola's side last year and it looks like he will seriously rival Sergio Aguero as the team's main goal-threat.

Alvaro Morata (Chelsea – £10m)

Brought to Stamford Bridge from Real Madrid for a hefty sum of £65m, Alvaro Morata is set to play a key role for Chelsea in the 2017-18 season. The 24-year-old has taken the number 9 jersey and, with uncertainty hanging over Diego Costa's future, it looks like Antonio Conte has found his replacement.

Morata scored 20 goals for Madrid last season in all competitions, with 15 of those coming in La Liga. As well as playing up front, the former Juventus forward is also capable of carrying out a supporting role and supplied five assists last term.


BEST BARGAIN STRIKERS


Chicharito Mexico Portugal

Each season, one or two strikers shock the league by climbing their way up the scoring charts, leaving more established performers trailing in their wake. Leicester City's Jamie Vardy during the club's remarkable Premier League-winning eason is a classic example, while Jermain Defoe defied expectations last year by scoring 15 times for a Sunderland team that was ultimately relegated.

We've taken a look at some of the players in the Premier League fantasy football who could be considered bargain buys, if you fancy saving money on strikers so that you can divert funds elsewhere.

Join the Goal Fantasy Football league

Tammy Abraham (Swansea – £5.5m)

One of the leading scorers in last season's Championship with a relatively weak Bristol City team, Tammy Abraham signed for Swansea City on loan from Chelsea for the upcoming season.

The 19-year-old scored 23 times in 41 league appearances during his time at Ashton Gate and could well be in line for a leading role with the Swans, who were too heavily reliant on Fernando Llorente for goals. 

Dwight Gayle (Newcastle United – £6.5m)

Rafa Benitez's Newcastle United secured promotion back to the Premier League by winning the Championship last season and they had the goals of Dwight Gayle to thank as they pipped Brighton to the title.

Though he showed glimpses of his ability, Gayle previously struggled to hit double figures in England's top division when he was at Crystal Palace. However, now 26, he has matured under the tutelage of Benitez and finished the 2016-17 season with 23 goals in 32 league appearances – an admirable tally as he prepares a renewed assault on Premier League defences.

Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez (West Ham – £7m)

West Ham landed a surprise signing ahead of the 2017-18 season with the addition of Javier Hernandez from Bayer Leverkusen. The former Manchester United and Real Madrid striker is a proven goalscorer and scored 39 goals in all competitions during two terms with the Bundesliga side. Still just 29, 'Chicharito' has plenty to offer for the Hammers and will be determined to show the kind of form that saw him hit double figures in each of his first three years at Man United. At £7 million, he represents good business for fantasy football managers.

Sandro Ramirez (Everton – £7.5m)

The signing of Wayne Rooney may have captured the imagination, but Everton's chief attacking threat next season in the absence of Romelu Lukaku will be Sandro Ramirez, an import from La Liga outfit Malaga.

A former Barcelona starlet, 22-year-old Sandro scored 15 goals in all competitions for Malaga last season and, having claimed the No. 9 jersey, has issued a statement of intent ahead of his maiden campaign in England.

Josh King (Bournemouth – £7.5m)

Bournemouth secured their highest ever finish last season and they had the likes of Josh King to thank as the striker scored 16 goals in 36 appearances for the Cherries. The former Borussia Monchengladbach and Blackburn Rovers man was never so prolific in his career, so his valuation in last season's game reflected that.

While it is sure to increase this year, he will still be cheaper than the likes of Olivier Giroud and Jamie Vardy, despite scoring more than them last term.

Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace – £8m)

Belgium international Christian Benteke hit 15 goals for Crystal Palace last season and, after enduring a difficult time at Liverpool, will be aiming to continue rebuilding his reputation under new boss Frank de Boer.

Still only 26, Benteke is a proven goalscorer, having reached double figures in each of his three seasons with Aston Villa before his ill-fated move to Anfield, and he is still somewhat undervalued in fantasy football.

Real Madrid v Barcelona Betting: Expect another classic finale in gripping El Clasico on collectionfifatips

Goals are expected when these two arch-rivals meet in Miami and we take a look at some of the best options for backing a high scoring game

The first ever Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona to take place outside of Spain is in theory merely a preparatory game for the forthcoming season.

In practice, however, there is plenty riding on this weekend's match in the International Champions Cup, not least because defeat will leave either manager at the mercy of the Spanish press.

Real Madrid have lost to both Manchester clubs in the USA so far, with their 4-1 defeat to City being received with frustrated incredulity back home. Barca, for their part, have recorded two wins in North America, although their summer has so far been dominated by the transfer saga involing Neymar's potential exit from the club.

Lionel Messi Neymar Barcelona Manchester United ICC

However, the Brazilian is likely to feature in Miami against Madrid and bet365 make the Catalans marginal favourites at 11/8 (2.37). Los Blancos, meanwhile, can be backed at 7/4 (2.75) while the draw is offered at 13/5 (3.60).

The last meeting between these two sides came at the end of April when Barca recorded a dramatic last-gasp 3-2 win at the Bernabeu, after Madrid had scored late on to equalise. Despite this being a friendly, we expect both sides to treat the game with a great deal of respect, and both teams to score looks nailed on at 4/11 (1.36).

GFX Real Madrid Barcelona betting

Combining that selection with over 2.5 goals, meanwhile, is offered at just 4/7 (1.57) and the bookmakers are clearly expecting goals in the game even though there is just pride at stake. Perhaps more attractive is backing both teams to score in the second half at 5/4 (2.20) while over 3.5 goals in the game is offered at 10/11 (1.91).

Real Madrid have not managed to score more than one goal in the two matches they have contested so far in the ICC, yet they can be backed at 5/6 (1.83) to net over 1.5 goals against their fiercest rivals – something they have managed in five of their last eight Clasicos.

For their part, Barcelona are offered at 4/6 (1.66) to score two or more goals, with Ernesto Valverde's men also offered at 10/3 (4.33) to win a game which sees at least four goals scored. 

Real Madrid v Barcelona Betting: Expect another classic finale in gripping El Clasico on collectionfifatips

Both teams to score in the second half at 5/4 (2.20) for a 2pt stake with bet365

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Dani Alves offers angry response to claims he is trying to talk Neymar into PSG move – collectionfifatips.com

It has been suggested that the Brazilian is looking to get a former Barcelona team-mate to join him in France, but he insists that is not the case

Dani Alves has hit back at the “lies” claiming that he is trying to talk former Barcelona team-mate Neymar into joining him at Paris Saint-Germain.

The Brazilian defender has linked up with the French giants this summer following a future saga of his own.

Who will prevail in ICC Clasico? Latest odds

Having negotiated his release from Italian champions Juventus, Alves was expected to take in a reunion with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, only to then head for France.

Neymar is now being heavily linked with a record-breaking move to Parc des Princes, with PSG reportedly willing to trigger his €222 million release clause, but Alves insists he has not discussed the issue with a fellow countryman.

Responding to a report on Twitter suggesting that he is attempting to persuade the Barca forward to make a move to Ligue 1, Alves said: “Lies. I don’t have to convince him about anything. When I talk to Ney, the last thing we talk about is football. I am happy if he is.”


Neymar is yet to address the issue of his future in public, with the debate being left for others to engage in.

He has figured prominently in Barca’s International Champions Cup campaign, with the winning goal netted in his most recent outing against Manchester United.

It is, however, being reported that an agreement with PSG is close and that the 25-year-old will not return to Spain alongside the rest of his team-mates following a Clasico clash with Real Madrid in Miami.

Barca, though, have offered no indication that a sale is about to be sanctioned, with club president Josep Maria Bartomeu telling the New York Times: "Well, you know Neymar is one of our best players, and so we don't want to lose that player.

Does this prove Neymar to PSG is on?

"We want him to continue, continue with us. He still has four years of his contract, so nothing else to say.

"You know that players decide if they want to leave, they can decide.

"But as far as Barcelona, we want him, and we need him. Because if we want to win, we need the best players possible."

Neymar has netted 105 times in 186 appearances for Barcelona since completing a move to Camp Nou in 2013.

Never miss a game with live sport on the widest screens in the sky. Fly Emirates to over 150 destinations from Dubai. Book now.

Arsenal transfer news: The latest & LIVE player rumours from the Emirates Stadium on collectionfifatips

Goal summarises the biggest transfer talk involving Arsenal as doubt continues to cloud the futures of the likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez


ARSENAL FAIL IN €50M LEMAR BID


Thomas Lemar Monaco

Monaco have rejected Arsenal’s third offer of €50 million for Thomas Lemar, but the winger’s sale hasn’t been completely excluded, reports L'Equipe.

Arsenal had previously seen bids of €40m and €45m turned down, while Monaco vice-president Vadim Vasilyev insisted earlier this week that Lemar is not for sale.


MONACO NAME MBAPPE PRICE


Kylian Mbappe France England

Monaco would be willing to sell Kylian Mbappe if they were to receive a bid of €180 million, according to L'Equipe.

The Ligue 1 champions are continuing talks over a contract extension with the teenage forward amid interest from Manchester City and Real Madrid.

And they are now set to consider selling, but only if their demands are met financially. 


CHELSEA TO MOVE FOR BARKLEY & OX


Ross Barkley Everton

Chelsea are preparing to spend £50 million to sign Ross Barkley and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, The Sun reports.

The England internationals have been linked with moves during the current window and the Blues are looking to add more home grown players to their squad. Antonio Conte's side are also hoping to land Alex Sandro from Juventus.


ARSENAL CLOSE TO £45M LEMAR DEAL


Thomas Lemar Monaco

Arsenal are finally close to agreeing a £45 million deal with Monaco to sign winger Thomas Lemar, claims The Sun.

Monaco have already rejected two bids for Lemar and had been determined to prevent the France international from joining the club exodus, but Arsenal have reportedly persuaded the Ligue 1 champions to sell.


ARSENAL TO MISS OUT ON MIDFIELD TARGET


Arda Turan Barcelona

Arsenal are to miss out on the signing of Barcelona midfielder Arda Turan, with Galatasaray set to complete a deal, according to the Mirror

The Turkish side have offered Turan around £70,000 a week to return to the club following a frustrating stint at Camp Nou. 


STOKE IN OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN TALKS


HD Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Stoke City are holding talks with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s agent regarding a potential £25 million deal for the Arsenal midfielder, reports The Sun .

Oxlade-Chamberlain has just a year left on his contract and has been linked with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool, but Stoke are also showing a surprise interest in the England international.


PEREZ TO BE OFFERED ARSENAL ESCAPE ROUTE


Lucas Perez, Arsenal, Premier League, 20160910

Bayer Leverkusen and Marseille are interested in signing Arsenal striker Lucas Perez, reports The Sun.

Perez is keen to leave Arsenal after struggling for regular first-team football and is also wanted back by his former club Deportivo La Coruna.


ARSENAL & LIVERPOOL CONSIDERING BENZEMA


HD Karim Benzema Real Madrid

Arsenal and Liverpool could make a move for Karim Benzema should Real Madrid decide to sell the French striker, Don Balon reports.

Madrid reportedly have set their sights on Monaco star Kylian Mbappe, with the club planning to use Benzema to help finance the move. While the Gunners and Reds are in contention for Benzema, the 29-year-old also could end up at Monaco to help lower the price for Mbappe.


FUMING PEREZ WANTS OUT OF ARSENAL


Lucas Perez Arsenal

Losing his shirt number to Alexandre Lacazette was the last straw for Lucas Perez as the incensed forward looks for the exit at the Emirates, La Voz de Galicia reports.

According to the Spanish newspaper, Perez was left fuming by the decision to hand his No.9 jersey to the ex-Lyon man. 

That slight led to an apparent conversation with Arsenal director Dick Law, who was told in no uncertain terms that the Spaniard wants a transfer to Deportivo as soon as possible.


MADRID WANT TO SELL BENZEMA


Karim Benzema Juventus Real Madrid UCL 03062017

Real Madrid supremo Florentino Perez has decided that it is time to sell Karim Benzema, Spanish outlet Diario Gol reports.

With €35 million having been spent on the striker back in 2009, Perez feels he has made plenty of money back on his investment and that now is the time to cash in on the 29-year-old in order to finance a move for Monaco sensation Kylian Mbappe


PEREZ OFFERED 10-YEAR CONTRACT


Lucas Perez Arsenal

Deportivo La Coruna have offered Lucas Perez a 10-year contract in an attempt to persuade the Arsenal striker to return to the club, reports DXT Campeon.

Perez is reportedly available for around €10 million and has been offered the chance to eventually become Depor’s technical secretary, if he agrees to rejoin his old side.


ASENSIO WANTS MADRID REWARD


Marco Asensio Real Madrid Bayern Munich UCL 18042017

Marco Asensio wants to be rewarded by Real Madrid for his progress last season following interest from Arsenal, Manchester United and Juventus, according to Don Balon.

Madrid president Florentino Perez is determined not to sell Asensio, but the forward is looking for an important role in Zinedine Zidane’s team and a contract matching the terms which the likes of Arsenal and United can offer.


ALEXIS' PSG MOVE SET TO COLLAPSE


Alexis Sanchez Arsenal

The transfer of Alexis Sanchez to Paris Saint-Germain is hanging by a thread after financial wrangling interrupted talks, according to Le Parisien.

The Chilean had been widely tipped to complete a move from Arsenal after travelling to Paris to meet PSG sporting director Antero Henrique.

But despite early progress in contract talks, the deal is now unlikely to prosper due to both elevated demands from Alexis' agents and the reluctance of Arsenal to sell their star.


ARSENAL TO MAKE CARVALHO BID


William Carvalho | Sporting

Arsenal are preparing a bid to sign Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho for around €30 million, according to Record.

Carvalho is keen to finally move to the Premier League following several years of speculation and Arsenal are aiming to beat Newcastle to his signing.


ALEXIS WANTS £500K PER WEEK


Alexis Sanchez Arsenal

Alexis Sanchez is demanding a wage of £500,000 per week from Paris Saint-Germain as he looks to complete a move to the French club,  The Mirror  reports.

The Chile international met with PSG director Antero Henrique in the French capital to discuss a transfer, but is holding out for a huge salary before agreeing to leave Arsenal.


CHELSEA PLAN OX TALKS


Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Arsenal

Chelsea are planning to hold talks over a move for Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, according to Sky Sports.

The England international has rejected a new deal at the Emirates Stadium, and the Blues will swoop in after the two clubs face one another on Saturday.


PL GIANTS EYE VAZQUEZ


Lucas Vazquez Sevilla Real Madrid Copa del Rey

Liverpool and Arsenal have shown an interest in signing Real Madrid forward Lucas Vazquez, according to Diario Madridista.

The Spain international is looking to leave Santiago Bernabeu, and Roma have also been linked with his signature.


RAFINHA OFFERED TO ARSENAL


Rafinha Barcelona 2016-17

Arsenal have been offered the chance to sign Barcelona midfielder Rafinha, according to Sky Sports.

The 24-year-old is currently recovering from a knee injury, but the Camp Nou outfit would still demand in the region of €30 million. 


SWANSEA CONSIDER WILSHERE


Jack Wilshere Bournemouth Premier League

Swansea City are the latest club to show an interest in Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, according to  Bleacher Report .

West Ham and Sampdoria have both been linked with the England international, though the Gunners value him at £20 million.


ARSENAL WANT £20M FOR CHAMBERS


Calum Chambers Arsenal

Arsenal have turned down a £16m bid for Calum Chambers as they hold out for £20m, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Crystal Palace are interested in signing the versatile defender, but have seen their second offer turned down by the Gunners, who are refusing to sell for anything less than £20m.

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collectionfifatips | Jonathan Dos Santos in talks to join his brother Giovani with LA Galaxy – source

New England outlasted the Galaxy in a 7-goal thriller to earn three points at home.

The LA Galaxy are negotiating a contract with Villarreal midfielder Jonathan Dos Santos to become the club’s third designated player, a source has told ESPN’s Taylor Twellman.

If a deal is completed, Dos Santos would join his brother, fellow Mexico international Giovani Dos Santos, at the StubHub Center.

Signing Jonathan Dos Santos would also likely rule out any potential move for the Galaxy to add free agent Zlatan Ibrahimovic after he recovers from a knee injury. A source told ESPN FC in March that LA had offered the striker a deal.

Dos Santos sat out training on Monday, according to El Mediterraneo, which reported Villarreal had an agreement in principle for the player to pay a transfer fee around €5-6 million ($5.8-7m).

The 27-year-old was due back in Villarreal training after a two-week break following the Confederations Cup, but the club gave him an extra few days off to negotiate his deal with the Galaxy, the Spanish newspaper reported.

Jonathan dos Santos
Jonathan Dos Santos is in talks to move to the LA Galaxy this summer, a source said.

The Galaxy already have two other designated players in Romain Alessandrini and Jelle Van Damme, who both signed DP deals before the season.

But Van Damme’s contract, which pays him a base salary of just $600,000, was always likely to be bought down with targeted allocation money if LA could find another big signing in the summer transfer window to fill the team’s third allocated DP slot.

Villarreal already have a replacement for Dos Santos lined up as Malaga midfielder Pablo Fornals paid his own €12m release clause earlier on Monday, ahead of signing a reported five-year deal.

Dos Santos, who scored two goals with three assists in La Liga last season, previously played with his brother at the Barcelona academy before Giovani signed for Tottenham in 2008.

The two were then reunited at Villarreal when Jonathan left Barcelona to join Villarreal in 2014, where his brother had moved a year earlier. Giovani, who is a year older, then left for the Galaxy in 2015.

The Galaxy have struggled in their first season under coach Curt Onalfo, after Bruce Arena left to lead the U.S. national team in November. They are just three points above the bottom in the Western Conference with six wins from 20 games and have lost five straight in MLS.

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.

MLS rejected $4 billion media rights deal requiring promotion/relegation on collectionfifatips

From Hector Villalba’s game winner to Kyle Beckerman’s long-distance strike, relive the goal fest that was Week 20.

Major League Soccer rejected a $4 billion global media rights deal from international media company MP & Silva, as reported by the Sports Business Journal.

The offer, which would have quadrupled the annual rate of MLS’ current deal, came with the significant contingency that MLS would have to institute a system of promotion and relegation.

The proposed deal would have run for 10 years starting in 2023, after the current deal with ESPN, Fox and Univision expires.

Those broadcasters have “exclusive negotiating windows and renewal rights,” MLS said in a statement Monday, and thus the league would be unable to consider Silva’s offer, no matter the terms.

“As was stated to [MP & Silva Group’s founding partner Riccardo] Silva both in person and in a subsequent letter, Major League Soccer is prohibited contractually from engaging in discussions about our media rights with other distributors,” said Dan Courtemanche, MLS executive vice president of communications.

“We are not in a position, nor are we interested, in engaging with Mr. Silva on his proposal.” 

Silva, as the co-owner of Miami FC of the second-tier NASL, has a vested interest in seeing promotion and relegation added to the United States, given that MLS is taking steps toward officially awarding a new team in Miami to a group led by David Beckham.

Without promotion and relegation, Silva’s Miami FC has no route to join MLS in the top flight. An attempt to reach Silva through Miami FC was unsuccessful.

According to the SBJ, Silva made a presentation to MLS executives and owners on June 26. At that meeting, Silva offered to pay $4 billion for MLS’ worldwide media rights, including the U.S. and Canada, at which point MP & Silva would sell on those rights around the world.

Courtemanche also rejected the concept of a third-party intermediary in media deals.

“It is also important to note that since its inception, MLS, like the other North American leagues, has dealt directly with its domestic broadcast partners, rather than through agents and brokers,” the statement continued. “This ensures that the league and its partners can structure an agreement that addresses all elements, such as scheduling, marketing and digital distribution, that are required for a successful partnership.”

Given that the U.S. Soccer Federation has sanctioned two leagues — the NASL and the USL — with Division II status, it’s unclear exactly how a system of promotion and relegation would work, but generally speaking, if the proposal were accepted, after every season, the worst teams in MLS would be relegated to either the NASL or the USL, while the best teams from those leagues would move up to MLS.

The insistence on instituting a system of promotion and relegation is also a nonstarter with MLS. Commissioner Don Garber has long stated that such a system would not be considered.

MLS is currently engaged in its latest round of expansion and is asking for expansion fees of $150 million. It’s almost certain that either demand would dry up or the fee would be significantly reduced if an expansion candidate were told that it could be relegated to a lower league, be it the NASL or the USL.

Beyond Beckham’s Miami team, MLS’ current expansion plans call for two expansion teams to be awarded this year, with two more to follow, bringing the league to an eventual 28 teams, which would be the largest top division in the world.

Beckham exercised his MLS option for an expansion team in 2014, more than a year before Silva founded Miami FC, and the former star player is finally making progress on building a stadium after years of delays. Miami FC plays at Florida International’s football stadium, which in April was renamed after Silva.

Jeff Carlisle covers MLS and the U.S. national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreyCarlisle.

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