Erling Haaland will move to England because "the economic power of the Premier League is too strong", Arsene Wenger has said.

There is no shortage of suitors for Borussia Dortmund's superstar striker with Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain having all been linked to his signature.

Haaland penned a four-and-a-half-year deal with Dortmund when he joined in January 2020, but he looks set to be on the move next year as a reported €75m (£66m) release clause comes into effect.

The lure of Haaland is simple to see. Since making his debut for Dortmund only Robert Lewandowski (61) and Cristiano Ronaldo (50) have registered more than his 43 goals across Europe's top five leagues.

In the Champions League only Lewandowski has matched his tally of 20 since the Leeds-born striker made his debut in Europe's premier club competition.

The race for his signature is sure to hot up over the coming months but former Arsenal boss Wenger is sure he will head to England.

"I think that will happen. The economic power of the Premier League is too strong," Wenger told Bild.

"English football is dominant because it is where the most money is. The best players always go the best way to make the most money."

Wenger expects Haaland and PSG striker Kylian Mbappe – reportedly the subject of a huge deadline-day bid from Real Madrid – to continue to be prolific for years to come.

"Haaland is likely to be the next high-profile goalscorer after Mbappe. He's a super talent," Wenger added.

"His ambition, his will to score goals and the ability to fight in a duel [set him apart]. He's there and wants to win, there is something in him that is great for a striker."

Arsenal remain in "good shape" and have "potential" despite a shoddy start to the season, insists club legend Arsene Wenger.

The Gunners started the campaign with a dismal 2-0 loss at newly promoted Brentford and followed that up by losing by the same scoreline at home to Chelsea.

A 6-0 win over West Brom in the EFL Cup brought brief respite but Arsenal were then steamrollered 5-0 by champions Manchester City on Saturday – a match that saw Granit Xhaka sent off.

Although still in the infancy of the Premier League campaign, only one other side (Wolves) has failed to score this term, while only Crystal Palace have registered fewer shots on target that Arsenal's seven and there are just five who have created fewer chances than their 26.

When placed in the context of Arsenal shelling out the most money during the transfer window (a reported £123.3million) to land the likes of Ben White, Aaron Ramsdale and Martin Odegaard, the situation looks bleaker still.

The pressure is building on boss Mikel Arteta as a result but Wenger, who won the Premier League three times and the FA Cup on seven occasions during a 22-year spell, called for calm in an interview with Bild.

"I'm 71. I've given this club the best years of my life. At the moment, I'm just a fan," he said.

"Today, the club is in good shape.

"They had two tough games [against Chelsea and Manchester City], the team has potential and I hope they can come back."

Arsenal are back in action at home to Norwich City on September 11.

Emerson Royal feels "hurt" by the way he was forced out of Barcelona after the defender completed a move to Tottenham.

The full-back joined Spurs in a deal worth £21.5million (€25m) on transfer deadline day, signing a five-year contract.

Emerson's move came just under three months after Barca exercised the option to sign him from Real Betis, where he had spent the past two and a half years.

The 22-year-old started in the 2-1 LaLiga win at Getafe last weekend and feels he has been poorly treated by the cash-strapped Catalan giants.

"It hurts me to go out like this because I knew that in my best form I could bring a lot of joy to the fans," he told Marca. "I leave with the feeling that one day I will return to give that joy to the fans."

Asked if he felt used by Barca, he replied: "Used is not the word, but it did hurt me. They could have done things differently. There were better ways to fix things."

Emerson revealed he was told on Monday the club were planning to sell him.

He said: "I thought the club wanted me to stay. I played on Sunday as a starter, the next day I woke up and went to train. 

"There I already began to see that a lot of things were coming out; that Tottenham were talking to Barcelona, ​​that they had almost done it... I didn't understand anything about what was happening because I didn't know anything. 

"In the afternoon the club called me to go to the Ciudad Deportiva because they wanted to talk to me and there, I found out that they wanted to sell me.

"I met the leaders of the club. They began to tell me that the club's situation was not good, that it was going through a difficult time and that it was better for them to sell. 

"I repeated to them that my intention was to stay because I had the dream of playing here and contributing things to Barcelona. 

"I knew that if I was in my best shape I was going to succeed here. I am smart and there came a time when I realised that they were definitely telling me to go. They were kicking me out with very good words."

Emerson played the most minutes of any Betis player in all competitions last season (3,186).

He ranked second at Betis for recoveries (163), third for chances created from open play (30) and second for successful duels (246).

Real Madrid have not given up on their hopes of adding Kylian Mbappe. 

He will be a top priority for Carlo Ancelotti following the 2021-22 season.

But could Los Blancos add two stars for the price of one? 

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID EYE MBAPPE-HAALAND PAIRING

Real Madrid will be the favourites to land Kylian Mbappe following the season if he does not reach a new deal with Paris Saint-Germain, but they will not be content adding only him. 

According to Marca, Erling Haaland is also a prime target at the Santiago Bernabeu and Madrid could pursue both players. 

Mbappe would be available on a free and Haaland could be had from Borussia Dortmund via his €75million release clause. 

 

ROUND-UP

- Declan Rice expects to leave West Ham after the season, according to 90min, which reports he has asked the club to include a release clause in any new contract offer the Hammers might make. 

- Juventus declined the opportunity to sign Edinson Cavani from Manchester United after Cristiano Ronaldo's move in the other direction, the Mirror reports. 

- Former Tottenham right-back Serge Aurier prefers to remain in the Premier League and could end up at Arsenal, according to Sky Sports. The Ivory Coast international and Spurs terminated his contract by mutual consent this week. 

- Nicolas Nkoulou could be an option for Lazio if they cannot sign David Luiz, reports Calciomercato. 

Manchester United have confirmed Cristiano Ronaldo will wear the number seven shirt for the 2021-22 season.

Ronaldo, who broke Ali Daei's long-standing record of international goals with a double for Portugal against the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday, re-joined United in a sensational transfer from Juventus at the end of the transfer window.

The superstar forward, who on Thursday was released from international duty, wore United's iconic number seven during his first stint at Old Trafford, which ended in 2009.

He wore the number nine during his first season at Madrid, before taking the number seven shirt after club legend Raul left for Schalke in 2010.

Ronaldo has since worn the number seven in every season for both Madrid and Juventus, as well as for Portugal.

However, there was some doubt over whether he would be able to take the seven shirt upon his return to Manchester, with United having already confirmed their squad numbers for the upcoming campaign.

Edinson Cavani previously wore the number, and the Uruguay forward made his first appearance of the season against Wolves last time out.

Reports suggested United would seek special dispensation from the Premier League to alter their squad numbers, however, and Ronaldo has now been handed the famous number previously worn by greats such as George Best, Eric Cantona and David Beckham.

In turn, Cavani has taken the number 21 shirt, which was vacated by Daniel James when he completed a move to Leeds United on Tuesday.

He has worn the 21 shirt for Uruguay since 2010-11.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been granted an early release from the Portugal squad, meaning he has time to rest before a second Manchester United debut. 

Portugal captain Ronaldo made history on Wednesday when he became the all-time leading goalscorer in men's international football, with the first of his double in a World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland taking him clear of Iran great Ali Daei's haul of 109 goals. 

The 36-year-old's milestone effort was an 89th-minute header and he followed it up with a dramatic winner deep into stoppage time, removing his shirt as he celebrated completing a turnaround 2-1 success. 

Ronaldo was consequently shown a yellow card that ruled him out of Tuesday’s trip to Azerbaijan through suspension. 

With a friendly against Qatar on Saturday being Portugal's only other fixture during the international break, he was allowed to leave the camp early. 

"Cristiano Ronaldo was released from the national team camp this Thursday," read a statement from the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF). 

"The yellow card received against Ireland, being his second in this stage of qualification, made him suspended for one official game, which will come against Azerbaijan. 

"This morning, the Portugal captain was part of the group of players who carried out recovery work at the hotel. 

"Fernando Santos also directed a training session in the morning on a pitch next to the hotel used by the national team during their stay in the Algarve." 

Ronaldo completed a return to United from Juventus this week and could be in line to make his first appearance for the Red Devils in 12 years at home against Newcastle United on September 11. 

Morocco head coach Vahid Halilhodzic says he dropped Hakim Ziyech due to the Chelsea winger's unacceptable behaviour when he was on international duty in June.

Ziyech was left out of Morocco's squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Sudan on Thursday and Guinea next Monday.

The 28-year-old came off the bench in a 1-0 friendly win over Ghana three months ago before starting in a victory by the same scoreline against Burkina Faso.

Halilhodzic has explained he dropped the former Ajax man due to his conduct the last time he was called up.

"His behaviour in the last two matches, especially the last one, was not that of a national team player who as a leader in the team has to be a positive role model," Halilhodzic said.

"He arrived late and after that, he even refused to work. There was no point in discussing it afterwards, as a coach the answer is right there to see. For me, the national team is above everything, nobody can hold it hostage."

Halilhodzic claimed Ziyech refused to play against Ghana, claiming he was not fully fit, and did not want to come off the bench.

He added: "For the first time in my coaching career, I have seen behaviour that disappoints me. A player who refuses to play a game, admittedly a friendly, on the pretext that he is injured.

"The medical staff made several examinations and said he could play. He then refused to warm up in the second half because he was disappointed to be a substitute. For me, that type of behaviour is unacceptable.

"You can't cheat with the national team. You are 100 per cent there or you are not."

Former Morocco boss Herve Renard left Ziyech out of his squad for the Africa Cup of Nations in 2017.

Ziyech stated that he would not play for his country while Renard was in charge, but returned in September 2017 to win a first cap for almost a year.

Manchester United had a busy window in the transfer market.

The Red Devils landed Cristiano Ronaldo as well as Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho.

But their plans will not stop there, as the Red Devils set their sights on re-claiming silverware.

 

TOP STORY - HAALAND TO BE UNITED'S TRANSFER PRIORITY

Manchester United's priority transfer target in mid-2021 will be Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland despite their recent spending spree, claims ESPN.

Haaland can trigger a release in his Dortmund contract at the end of the 2021-22 season that is reportedly set at €75 million.

ESPN's report cites sources who claim United's capture of Ronaldo came outside of their transfer budget, meaning it will not impact their 2022 recruitment plans.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato claims that Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne may be willing to leave the club next off-season on a free transfer to join Inter if they cannot agree to a new deal.

- Injured French forward Ousmane Dembele is set to be offered a new deal by Barcelona according to RAC. Barca have seen Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann leave over the past month.

- Barcelona will also look to sign Dani Olmo from RB Leipzig in January after missing out with their deadline day claims Mundo Deportivo.

- Ex-Arsenal and Chelsea defender David Luiz is weighing up options with Lazio , Benfica and Flamengo as a free agent reports Sportitalia.

Cristiano Ronaldo believes he is physically capable of playing at the highest level for another five years after making history with Portugal on Wednesday. 

The 36-year-old sent another record tumbling at the Estadio Algarve by becoming the all-time leading goalscorer in men’s international football, surpassing Ali Daei’s previous high of 109. 

Ronaldo scored a pair of late headers to bring Portugal from behind in a World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland and secure a 2-1 win, taking his tally for his country to 111 goals in the process. 

Despite turning 37 later this season, Ronaldo, who completed a return to Manchester United from Juventus this week, still believes he can continue to shine into his 40s. 

"I don't know what records are left. But what I want the most is to keep playing. I feel motivated and still have the strength to be able to put on a show for another three, four, five years," Ronaldo told Sport TV. 

He added to TNT Brasil: "It was a record I really wanted to break. After missing the penalty, I was a little sad for 10 minutes. But that's what football is about. We have to believe until the end. 

"The fans helped us a lot but the work of the team that believed prevails in the end."

Ronaldo was shown a yellow card for removing his shirt when celebrating his second goal, which came in the 96th minute, and will consequently miss Tuesday's meeting with Azerbaijan through suspension. 

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner failed to convert a first-half penalty and admitted the ban looming over him had slipped his mind as he wheeled away to celebrate at the end of an historic outing. 

"I forgot. It's the emotion of the game," said Ronaldo. "Maybe the coach will give me a hard time, but it doesn't matter. The important thing was to help the team. I’m sorry, but the emotions speak louder."

Portugal are scheduled to take on Qatar in a friendly on Saturday and Fernando Santos could decide to release Ronaldo from the team early due to his suspension. 

"We'll decide whether Ronaldo stays or leave. We have 24, 25 players. He won't go to Azerbaijan, it doesn't make sense," said Santos, who compared the United attacker to another Portugal great in an interview with RTP after the match. 

He said: "Ronaldo has always done this. Great players I like that when games sometimes don't seem to be going well. 

"Many years ago there was a coach called Jimmy Hagan [the Benfica boss when Santos was a youth player there]. I once asked him 'Why doesn't Eusebio go off when he isn't playing well?'

"And then when he's needed, where was Eusebio? This is what the great players do. They may not be doing well, but they show up with everything they have and solve games."

Cristiano Ronaldo declared that surpassing Ali Daei as the most prolific player in men's international football is "another record for the museum".

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner drew level with Iran great on 109 international goals during Euro 2020 but had to wait until Wednesday to make top spot his own. 

After seeing a first-half penalty saved in the World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland at the Estadio Algarve, Ronaldo restored parity with his landmark goal in the 89th minute. 

The Portugal captain then steered home a header deep in second-half stoppage time to complete a 2-1 turnaround win for the hosts. 

"It's another record for the museum," Ronaldo told RTP, as quoted by Diario Record. 

"I don't know if anyone has more records than me, but this is mine and it's unique. I'm extremely happy. 

"The secret is the motivation and the desire to continue playing football. It's getting up every day with a desire to do better, to make the fans, the family, my children happy. 

"I dedicate it to all Portuguese people, to the team, to my family."

John Egan put Ireland ahead on the stroke of half-time after 19-year-old goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu made Ronaldo wait for his crowning moment by keeping out his spot-kick. 

But the 36-year-old was not to be denied and guided in two headers in the space of seven minutes to make history.

"The team believed until the end. I believed until the end," said Ronaldo. 

"Ten minutes from the end, I asked for the support of the fans because when you're playing at home and the team are not combining on the pitch, the help of the fans is essential. They gave us strength. 

"I'm happy to score two goals, very happy to break the record, but the most important thing was the team."

Ronaldo was making his first appearance since his return to Manchester United from Juventus was confirmed, and he is looking forward to getting back to Old Trafford.

"I am very happy to be returning home, to a club I've always loved," he added. "I have a few more years left in my career and I still want to shine and get back to the best football, which is in the Premier League."

Another record went tumbling on Wednesday as Cristiano Ronaldo became the leading goalscorer in the history of international men's football.

Ronaldo, who completed a remarkable move to Manchester United this week, surpassed the tally of 109 set by Iran great Ali Daei.

The 36-year-old pulled level with Daei during the recent Euro 2020 tournament, but he reached 111 with a dramatic late double during the World Cup qualifier against the Republic of Ireland at Estadio Algarve.

To mark the Portuguese superstar’s latest record, Stats Perform looked back at some of the milestone goals of his incredible career...

 

GOAL 100 – MANCHESTER UNITED 3-1 Tottenham (FA Cup, January 2008)

The first century of goals was completed in somewhat fortuitous circumstances, with a 22-year-old Ronaldo doubling his tally for the match with a deflected effort that squirmed under the body of goalkeeper Radek Cerny.

GOAL 200 – REAL MADRID 2-0 Valencia (LaLiga, December 2010)

Again, Ronaldo was on target twice in this match but it was his first strike – a measured left-footed finish from Mesut Ozil's assist – that took him onto 200 career goals.  

GOAL 300 – Granada 1-2 REAL MADRID (LaLiga, May 2012)

Madrid were behind in this game with only five minutes gone but levelled late on when Ronaldo converted a penalty that he had won. There was still time for title-winning Madrid to seal all three points courtesy of an own goal.

GOAL 400 – REAL MADRID 3-0 Celta Vigo (LaLiga, January 2014)

At the double once more, it was his second goal in injury time that brought up a quadruple century for the irrepressible Ronaldo, who turned home a fine cross from Gareth Bale. 

GOAL 500 – Malmo 0-2 REAL MADRID (Champions League, September 2015)

The first of two goals on an otherwise uneventful night in Sweden was the one that took Ronaldo to a tally of 500. Through one-on-one, the outcome was never in doubt as he confidently chipped the ball over Johan Wiland.

GOAL 600 – REAL MADRID 4-1 Juventus (Champions League, June 2017)

What a stage on which to make history, the Champions League final. Having already opened the scoring, Ronaldo struck again when he turned in Luka Modric's near-post delivery on a glorious night in Wales for Madrid. 

GOAL 700 – Ukraine 2-1 PORTUGAL (Euro 2020 Qualifying, October 2019)

The first of his landmark goals that has failed to help his side to victory, but an astonishing personal achievement nonetheless, Ronaldo slotted home his penalty and probably started thinking about reaching 800 soon after.

Of all the individual achievements in Cristiano Ronaldo's career, this one may well rank the highest. 

The Portugal star is now the leading goalscorer in the history of international men's football, having reached 110 against the Republic of Ireland in World Cup qualifying on Wednesday despite seeing a first-half penalty saved.

Ronaldo surpassed the tally of 109 set by Iran great Ali Daei, a figure once thought unlikely ever to be beaten, in the 89th minute and moved onto 111 with a stoppage-time header in the Algarve to complete his double.

To honour the new Manchester United forward's latest record, Stats Perform picked out perhaps the 10 greatest goals he has scored in his remarkable career... 

 

Manchester United v Portsmouth: January 30, 2008

Perhaps the finest free-kick Ronaldo has struck in his career.

The Portuguese developed his reputation as a set-piece master at United and he lashed a phenomenal 25-yard effort past David James as part of a double to send Alex Ferguson's side to the top of the Premier League.

His knuckleball technique sent the ball swirling into the top-right corner for one of his defining Old Trafford moments.

Porto v Manchester United: April 15, 2009

He had absolutely no right to score this one.

Back in his homeland for a Champions League quarter-final against Porto, Ronaldo picked up the ball in the middle of the opposition half, got it out of his feet and sent a searing strike flying past Helton to seal a 1-0 win at the Estadio do Dragao and a 3-2 aggregate triumph.

 

Almeria v Real Madrid: April 15, 2010

Ronaldo has developed into more of a penalty-box poacher in recent seasons, but this effort against Almeria was a reminder of how devastating he could be when starting with the ball outside the area. 

Rafael van der Vaart won back possession in the Almeria half and the ball was worked to Ronaldo, who accelerated past two challenges, left a third defender for dead with a stepover and then drilled home with his left foot. The visitors would go on to win 2-1.

 

Sevilla v Real Madrid: December 17, 2011

Sevilla grew sick of the sight of Ronaldo during his time in Spain – he did score 27 times against them, after all – but this strike in a 6-2 thrashing is perhaps the best of them.

Collecting Karim Benzema's pass 30 yards out, Ronaldo took advantage of the time and space given to him by the defence to blast a shot into the top-right corner, the swerve on the ball making it totally unstoppable. It was one of three he scored that day at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

 

Real Madrid v Valencia: May 4, 2014

It was not enough to keep Madrid's title chase alive, but this was another goal that showcased Ronaldo's killer instinct and dexterity. 

In second-half injury time, with Valencia 2-1 ahead, Angel Di Maria volleyed over a cross from the left and Ronaldo swivelled to score a backheel volley and snatch a point.

 

Real Madrid v Espanyol: January 31, 2016

Although his game had become more refined from those buccaneering early days, Ronaldo showed here he was not quite done when it came to solo runs and spectacular finishes.

With Madrid already 3-0 up in what would prove to be a 6-0 thrashing, James Rodriguez's pass was deflected into Ronaldo's path and he did the rest, showing brilliant footwork to skip beyond three challenges before rifling home from the edge of the area with his left foot.

 

Hungary v Portugal: June 22, 2016

Portugal thrice fell behind to Hungary in Lyon during Euro 2016, and Ronaldo brought them level on the second occasion with a display of fine skill.

The captain added a deft flick with his trailing leg to Joao Mario's right-wing cross to make it 2-2, and he cancelled out Balazs Dzsudzsak's second with a double of his own. It was enough to send Portugal into the knockout stages and from there they claimed a maiden international title.

 

Juventus v Real Madrid: April 3, 2018

Arguably the finest goal Ronaldo has produced.

Moving away from goal as Dani Carvajal dug a cross towards the penalty spot from the right, the Portuguese rose into the air and connected with a stunning overhead kick. His leg was at a right angle to his body as he struck with the sweetest of volleys that flew past an idle Gianluigi Buffon.

Portugal v Spain: June 15, 2018

Having twice given his side the lead, Ronaldo found Portugal 3-2 down to their Iberian neighbours in their thrilling opener at the 2018 World Cup. 

While there was a sense of inevitability when he stood over an 88th-minute free-kick, the execution was sheer perfection – power and dip combined to leave David de Gea with no chance.

 

Juventus v Manchester United: November 8, 2018

Another decorated Portuguese was celebrating at full-time when Jose Mourinho watched his United team complete a 2-1 comeback win.

But Ronaldo struck first with a sumptuous and technically brilliant strike, watching Leonardo Bonucci's raking ball over his shoulder to volley home.  

Arsenal's Granit Xhaka has tested positive for coronavirus while on international duty with Switzerland.

The Swiss team confirmed on Wednesday that the midfielder – who was sent off in Arsenal's 5-0 hammering at the hands of Manchester City last weekend – was in isolation after returning a positive PCR test result.

Xhaka, who is Switzerland's captain, showed symptoms early on Wednesday, ahead of his country's friendly against Greece,

An initial test came back negative, but a subsequent PCR test confirmed a positive result. Xhaka will have another test on Thursday.

It was confirmed he had no contact with his team-mates throughout Wednesday and the team doctor deemed no further measures had to be taken as all the other players were either all vaccinated or had previously had COVID-19 and recovered, though a member of staff had to go into quarantine.

Xhaka impressed for Switzerland at Euro 2020 but has failed to bring that form into the Premier League season, with Arsenal losing all three of their games so far.

Mikel Arteta's side sit bottom of the table heading into the clash with Norwich City following the international break, though regardless of Xhaka's mandatory quarantine period, the midfielder is facing a three-match suspension so will not be involved.

The transfer window does not close. It slams shut, and on Tuesday, it slammed shut with a flurry of late activity.

LaLiga champions Atletico Madrid were heavily involved, with Antoine Griezmann re-joining the club on loan from Barcelona while Saul Niguez left for Chelsea.

It marked the end of a difficult window for Barca, who of course lost Lionel Messi to Paris Saint-Germain, who rounded off a stellar three months by not only keeping Kylian Mbappe, but also adding promising left-back Nuno Mendes.

Earlier in the day, Cristiano Ronaldo's sensational return to Manchester United had been confirmed, perhaps putting the Red Devils right in the mix for the Premier League title, while Chelsea - buoyed by Romelu Lukaku's comeback - cannot be ignored.

Here, Stats Perform looks at the winners, and losers, of what has been a chaotic transfer window.

 

THE WINNERS

Paris Saint-Germain

Let's start with the obvious. Achraf Hakimi, Mendes, Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Georgino Wijnaldum and, of course Messi. Oh, and PSG kept hold of Mbappe, too, rebuffing three bids - the final one reportedly worth €200m - from Real Madrid for the 22-year-old superstar who is out of contract next year. Speaking of out of contract players, Ramos, Donnarumma, Wijnaldum and Messi were all brought in for combined fees of €0, although their wages are sure to be astronomical even by PSG's standards. In Mbappe, Neymar and Messi, PSG have, on paper, what could be the most feared attacking trident of the modern era, not to mention Angel Di Maria in reserve. Mauricio Pochettino's side look suspect defensively but have Ramos to come in, while Donnarumma will compete with Keylor Navas. If they do not win the Champions League this season, will they ever manage it?

Manchester United

It remains to be seen whether United really needed to go out and buy Ronaldo, but the temptation – and reportedly, the requirement to get one over on noisy neighbours Manchester City – was just too much. However, there is no doubting Ronaldo brings a focal point you could argue was still missing from the Red Devils' attack, though with so much quality at his disposal the pressure will be on Ole Gunnar Solskjer to deliver a trophy. United spent big on Jadon Sancho and also brought in a world class defender in Raphael Varane. A title tilt might not be expected just yet, but silverware in some form must be the goal now. After fan protests during the botched Super League proposals earlier this year, the Glazer family seem to have gone all out to prove they want success.

Chelsea

When it comes to Premier League title contenders, Chelsea have surely put themselves well in the running. The European Champions have brought in two major additions in the form of Lukaku and Saul, both players with a wealth of experience at the highest level, and both on the back of title-winning campaigns last season. The Blues did sell Tammy Abraham, Olivier Giroud and Kurt Zouma, among others, but the strength in depth Thomas Tuchel has to play with is remarkable. A deadline day move for Sevilla's Jules Kounde did not materialise, but Saul adds another fantastic option in midfield to go alongside N'Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic and the in-form Jorginho.

Tottenham

For a long while, it looked as though Tottenham would be one of the big losers from this window. A prolonged managerial search eventually resulted in Nuno Espirito Santo's appointment, but the main saga was over Harry Kane's future. City reportedly made one bid, during Euro 2020, which was dismissed out of hand. The champions never did return with an improved offer, despite huge speculation, and Kane ultimately stayed put. Older players such as Joe Hart, Toby Alderweireld, Erik Lamela and Moussa Sissoko were moved out, while Bryan Gil, Pierluigi Gollini, Cristian Romero and Emerson Royal – a deadline day arrival from Barca – arrived to fill the gaps. Serge Aurier's contract was terminated, while three wins from three means Spurs sat top of the league heading into the international break.

Atletico Madrid

While Saul was a deadline day exit, Atleti have given themselves a great chance of retaining their LaLiga title. With rivals Madrid failing to land Mbappe, as well as losing two of their stalwarts, and Barca seemingly in disarray, there has never been a better opportunity for Diego Simeone's team to really assert themselves as top dogs in Spain. Griezmann's arrival, on a season-long loan with the option for either club to extend the switch, has bolstered a fearsome attack that already included Luis Suarez, Angel Correa, new signing Matheus Cunha and Joao Felix - though the latter may now find chances to play in his preferred position, nominally off the front man, even harder to come by. Saul was struggling to nail down a regular spot in the first team, but Atleti showed greater desire to keep Kieran Trippier, who stayed despite interest from the Premier League. Rodrigo de Paul also arrived from Udinese.

 

THE LOSERS

Barcelona

The chickens have finally come home to roost at Camp Nou. Years of mismanagement, and the impact of COVID-19, has left the club's finances in a shambolic state. Barca had agreed to a new deal with Messi only to then announce the deal could not be completed due to "financial and structural obstacles". Barca ended the window by selling promising youngster Ilaix Moriba to RB Leipzig and shipping off Emerson to Spurs. Then, late on Tuesday, Griezmann, who cost Barca €120m in 2019, was sent back to Atleti. Luuk de Jong, a target man Ronald Koeman worked with during his stint as the Netherlands' coach, was drafted in from Sevilla as a replacement. Memphis Depay seems ready to step up after his arrival from Lyon, while Eric Garcia and Sergio Aguero also came in on free transfers, though Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets were among the players who took pay cuts in order for Barca to register their latest acquisitions.

Inter

Serie A champions Inter were dealt a blow when, just after ending their 11-year trophy drought, coach Antonio Conte left the club. Financial difficulties meant the Nerrazurri had to cash in on prized assets, and Hakimi and subsequently Lukaku followed Conte out of the door. Lautaro Martinez did stay, however, with Inter reinvesting some of the funds to sign Netherlands right-back Denzel Dumfries, Roma striker Edin Dzeko and Lazio forward Juan Correa. Hakan Calhanoglu, meanwhile, joined from rivals Milan on loan, though it is difficult to see that being enough for Inter to challenge on all fronts this season.

 

Juventus

While Inter were weakened, it has to be said that Juventus – surely their closest rivals in the Scudetto hunt – also had a disappointing window. Like many European clubs, they have been hit hard by COVID-19, though appeared well set to challenge again after reappointing Massimiliano Allegri. However, Ronaldo decided he wanted out late in the window, and Juve did not stand in his way. An initial fee of £12.86m (€15m), payable over five years, was agreed with United, and Ronaldo left just like that. Moise Kean returned from Everton on a two-year loan with an obligation to buy as a replacement, while Manuel Locatelli was their other major acquisition and Weston McKennie's move from Schalke was made permanent. Based on the performance in Sunday's defeat to Empoli, however, Juve are far from the force they were during Allegri's last spell in charge.

Real Madrid

For a time last week, it really did look as though Madrid were going to end the window in sensational fashion. Three bids were lodged for Mbappe, but PSG did not buckle. Madrid did move for another French youngster – Edouardo Camavinga, who joined from Rennes on Tuesday – but overall it must be considered a poor window. Los Blancos allowed Ramos to leave on a free and sold long-time defensive partner Varane - just the eight Champions League winners' medals between them. Martin Odegaard was deemed surplus to requirements by Carlo Ancelotti and sold to Arsenal, though no buyers were found for fringe players Luka Jovic or Dani Ceballos. David Alaba's arrival on a free transfer from Bayern Munich at least softened the blow of Ramos' departure, and Mbappe may well be on board in 2022.

Manchester City

City broke the British transfer record to sign Jack Grealish from Aston Villa, who in turn have made smart acquisitions such as Danny Ings, Leon Bailey and Emiliano Buendia. While another attacking midfielder was more of a luxury than a necessity, City did miss out on Kane and then seemingly saw Ronaldo snatched from under their noses by United, though the club have claimed it is they who pulled out of the deal. Pep Guardiola went into the window wanting an out-and-out number nine following Aguero's departure, but for now the Premier League champions will have to carry on with makeshift forwards, it seems. Not that it did them much harm in 5-0 routs of Norwich City and Arsenal last month. Meanwhile, wantaway playmaker Bernardo Silva is still at the club, though he will remain a first-team regular.

Liverpool 

Unlike their league rivals, Liverpool never seemed focused on spending big. The Reds instead turned their attention to tying down the futures of key players, with Jordan Henderson, Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alisson, Fabinho and Andrew Robertson signing new deals. Ibrahima Konate came in from RB Leipzig to boost the defence – a clear area of weakness last season during an injury crisis – though Jurgen Klopp's squad does seem weaker. They have started the season well, but it remains to be seen how they cope without Wijnaldum and even Xherdan Shaqiri should injuries trouble them again.

Chelsea have been charged by the Football Association (FA) with failing to control their players during Saturday's Premier League meeting with Liverpool.

The charge relates to two incidents following referee Anthony Taylor's decision to send off Reece James and award Liverpool a penalty in first-half stoppage time after the defender was adjudged to have purposefully used his hand to block a shot on the line.

Chelsea's players reacted angrily, with defender Antonio Rudiger and goalkeeper Edouard Mendy booked for their protests, and the fallout continued after Taylor blew for half-time.

The Blues have been charged with two breaches of FA Rule E20.1 and have been given until Friday to respond.

Chelsea led at Anfield through a Kai Havertz header when Taylor awarded the penalty following a check of the pitchside monitor, with Mohamed Salah successfully converting to earn Liverpool a 1-1 draw.

Thomas Tuchel and Jurgen Klopp agreed after the game that the decision to both award a penalty and send off James was harsh.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.