Barcelona let three players leave on a busy final day of the transfer window, while Saul Niguez looks set to join Chelsea in a late deal.

Emerson Royal, Ilaix Moriba and Rey Manaj were allowed to leave Camp Nou on Tuesday.

Leicester City were also busy with one in and one out, while a young Frenchman (no, not that one) has joined Real Madrid.

Here is a round-up of some of the deadline-day deals, and what could be coming in the closing hours...
 

A new Royal rocks up in London

Talks had been ongoing over the past few days between Tottenham and Barca for full-back Emerson, who only arrived at Camp Nou earlier in the window after impressing at Real Betis.

The right-back has joined Spurs for a £21.5million (€25m) fee, with his arrival likely to push Serge Aurier closer to the exit door.

Could Aurier end up at a Premier League rival? Everton appear to be in need of a right-back with Ainsley Maitland-Niles set to stay at Arsenal.

Back at Barca, they have sold midfielder Ilaix Moriba to Bundesliga club RB Leipzig, who have paid €16m plus €6m in add-ons for the teenager. Manaj, meanwhile, has joined Italian side Spezia on loan.

Paris Saint-Germain have been at the centre of one of the biggest stories over recent days, but it looks like Kylian Mbappe will be staying put.

Indeed, the France star seems set to have a new team-mate in the capital, with Sporting CP full-back Nuno Mendes said to be nearing a €40m move. Pablo Sarabia may head the other way.

While they may have missed out on Mbappe, Madrid did complete a deal for another France international in Eduardo Camavinga, who has signed a six-year contract following a transfer from Rennes.

Better call Saul?

Chelsea have been chasing Sevilla defender Jules Kounde but the European champions have instead lined up another LaLiga player to boost their squad, with Atletico Madrid's Saul reportedly set to arrive on loan.

One outgoing at Chelsea was Ethan Ampadu, with the youngster signing a new contract before heading out on loan to newly promoted Serie A side Venezia.

Another Premier League club busy as the deadline approached were Leicester, drafting in Ademola Lookman on loan from Leipzig. The winger impressed with Fulham last term. Dennis Praet, meanwhile, has left to return to Serie A, joining Torino on loan for the season.

After the Cristiano Ronaldo deal was confirmed by Manchester United, the Red Devils decreased the logjam for starting spots in the forward line by allowing Dan James to depart for Leeds United - the club he so nearly joined previously, only for the deal to fall through.

Liverpool have been more focused on tying down current members of their squad than bringing in new faces; they have handed young defender Rhys Williams a new deal, with the centre-back then joining Swansea City on loan. Nathaniel Phillips has also extended his contract, though looks set to stay at Anfield for now.

Burnley have signed full-back Connor Roberts from the Swans, while Everton are expected to complete the signing of Salomon Rondon as a replacement for Moise Kean, whose move to Juventus was confirmed earlier in the day.

Arsenal have supposedly agreed a deal with Bologna for defender Takehiro Tomiyasu. The move would seemingly offset the loss of Hector Bellerin, who is said to be close to switching to Real Betis. Reiss Nelson has already left the Gunners, heading out to Feyenoord on loan. 

The transfer windows in Italy and Germany have already shut, meaning Juve, Inter, Milan, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have all concluded their business.

Emerson Royal has completed his move from Barcelona to Tottenham, joining the Premier League club on a deal that runs until 2026.

The full-back arrives to strengthen Spurs’ squad in a deal worth £21.5million (€25m), according to the selling club.

Emerson will provide competition for Japhet Tanganga and Matt Doherty on the right side of the Tottenham defence, with Serge Aurier seemingly falling out of favour under Nuno Espirito Santo.

The Brazil international departs Camp Nou having made just three appearances since Barca exercised the option to bring in the player from Real Betis, where he had spent the past two-and-a-half years.

Emerson moved to Spain in a three-way deal in January 2019, both Betis and Barca each paying half of the €12m fee owed to Atletico Mineiro.

The 22-year-old scored four goals during his LaLiga appearances, also assisting once as he played the most minutes of any Betis player across all competitions in the 2020-21 season (3,186).

He moves to England as a well-rounded defender, ranking second at Betis for recoveries (163), third for chances created from open play (30) and second for successful duels (246).

It was confirmed by Spurs that the deal is subject to international clearance and a work permit being granted.

Transfer deadline day has already been a busy one, even if the biggest move of all was one that was expected.

Manchester United, Juventus and West Ham have all made moves, while changes are expected at Arsenal and Tottenham before the window closes.

There is also a good chance of a young France star joining Real Madrid – but it's not Kylian Mbappe.

Here is a round-up of some of the deadline-day deals, and what could be coming...

Ronaldo in, Cavani out?

The biggest deal of the day was concluded early, as Manchester United completed the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus for an initial £12.9million (€15m).

The Portugal star dedicated his return to Old Trafford to Alex Ferguson after his two-year contract was announced by the Red Devils.

Ronaldo's arrival has complicated things for Edinson Cavani, though. The striker was convinced to spend another year at the club by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after impressing last season, but his pre-season was disrupted due to personal reasons and he did not start any of United's first three league games of the season.

There are reports Barcelona are interested in signing Cavani as Ronald Koeman is desperate for another striker, but the Red Devils are expected to resist offers unless they are particularly lucrative. Of course, if Cavani does leave, it would free up the number seven shirt for Ronaldo.

United's business is mostly concluded but Dan James is expected to sign for Leeds United on deadline day for a reported £25m.

Real Madrid close to Camavinga

With Kylian Mbappe apparently not going to get his move in this window, Real Madrid have turned their attentions to Rennes midfielder Eduardo Camavinga, who is expected to sign for Carlo Ancelotti's side before the deadline.

With Mbappe staying put at Paris Saint-Germain for now, any dramatic late offer for Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland looks unlikely. BVB have in fact bolstered their squad, signing Marin Pongracic on loan from Wolfsburg.

Kean and Vlasic on the move

Juventus moved quickly to confirm Ronaldo's replacement, announcing a two-year loan with a potential obligation to buy for Everton striker Moise Kean. Kean returns to Turin for an initial €7m (£6m) after having left for the Toffees two years ago.

There was also video footage early on Tuesday of Junior Messias arriving for a medical at Milan, the 30-year-old apparently poised to sign on loan from Crotone.

Croatia international Nikola Vlasic has secured his move to West Ham from CSKA Moscow for a fee said to be worth £25m. His arrival would appear to cast doubt on any further bid from the Hammers for Jesse Lingard, who impressed on loan last season.

Brighton and Hove Albion have also been active, signing Getafe left-back Marc Cucurella – formerly of Barca – after the Seagulls matched his €18m (£15.5m) release clause.

Leicester City are said to be exploring the opportunity to bring in Ademola Lookman on loan from RB Leipzig, while Odsonne Eduoard is close to a move to Crystal Palace from Celtic.

Spurs and Arsenal still active – but will Chelsea spend again?

Tottenham are expected to complete a deal for Barca's Emerson Royal for around £25.8m (€30m). That sale could give Barca just a little leg room when it comes to pursuing the striker Koeman wants.

There are also likely to be changes at Arsenal. With Hector Bellerin tipped to sign for Real Betis on loan, the Gunners are said to be close to signing Takehiro Tomiyasu from Bologna.

Meanwhile, Reiss Nelson could be on the verge of a loan move to Feyenoord, who had agreed to sign Amad Diallo from Manchester United for the rest of the season until the winger suffered a thigh injury.

Chelsea have already spent huge money on Romelu Lukaku, but it remains to be seen whether a loan for Saul Niguez or a permanent deal for Jules Kounde could be concluded.

With Kylian Mbappe staying put, Real Madrid are looking elsewhere in France. 

Los Blancos have their sights set on an even younger talent. 

Teenage midfielder Eduardo Camavinga could be on the move from Rennes.

 

TOP STORY – CAVAMINGA TO REAL MADRID

In the final hours before the transfer window closes, Eduardo Camavinga appears poised for a long-rumoured departure from Rennes. 

The 18-year-old France international will join Real Madrid in a €31million deal, Fabrizio Romano reports, with Goal saying he will get a five-year deal.

Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United also were interested in the midfielder. 

 

ROUND-UP

- Tottenham have finalised a £26m (€30m) deal with Barcelona for Emerson Royal, who will sign a five-year deal according to Romano. 

- Emerson's departure will prompt Barca to bid for Arsenal's Hector Bellerin, Mundo Deportivo reports. 

- Sampdoria's Denmark international Mikkel Damsgaard is drawing late interest from Spurs, Liverpool and Milan, according to the Daily Star. 

- Leeds United have discussed a loan deal and a permanent move for Dan James with Manchester United, ESPN says. The Guardian says he is set for a £24m switch.

- Odsonne Edouard will sign with Crystal Palace after Celtic agreed a deal for around £16m, reports Romano.

- Real Sociedad and Getafe are bidding for Milan's Samu Castillejo, Calciomercato reports. 

- Steven N'Zonzi could be leaving Roma for Marseille or Lille, says Foot Mercato. 

Patrick Bamford scored a late equaliser to salvage a point for Leeds United against his former club Burnley on Sunday, having gone through a proper tussle at Turf Moor.

Burnley – accused of "wrestling" last week by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp – were full-blooded once again as they fell just short of securing a first Premier League win of the season.

"It's always tough coming here because, you don’t want to be disrespectful, but you know what you're going to get when you play against Burnley and they do make it difficult," Bamford, who had an ongoing skirmish with centre-back James Tarkowski, told Sky Sports.

"I was a little bit annoyed at [James] Tarkowski because it was just that tussle on the floor when he tried to do some weird jiu-jitsu thing on me. I don't know what he's doing!"

A Premier League landmark was also reached at Turf Moor, while Arsenal might just have a different kind of fight on their hands after suffering a third successive defeat.

Here are some of the more curious Opta facts from the latest round of games.


Turf Moor tussle sees Premier League milestone

The new initiative for referees to be somewhat more lenient seems to be paying dividends, although Wolves fans will argue otherwise after their late defeat to Manchester United.

Before what unfolded at Molineux, however, Leeds were also on the receiving end of some rather tough treatment at Turf Moor, with the game seeing seven bookings.

There was a Premier League landmark set in the Lancashire sunshine too, as Chris Wood opened the scoring.

Eric Cantona (100), Alan Shearer (4,000), Dennis Bergkamp (7,000) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (25,000) are some of the names to have previously hit the milestone goals in the competition's history, and now New Zealand forward Wood has cemented his name into the record books.

It was not exactly one to remember, Wood just managing to get a toe onto Matthew Lowton's low shot, with the ball rolling off Illan Meslier's shins and trickling over the line for the competition's 30,000th goal. 

Strangely enough, it was just a third assist for Lowton in his last 84 Premier League matches, but all three have set up goals for Wood, who scored for the first time against former club Leeds for Burnley.

Yet Burnley could not hold on, with the Clarets now on a 12-game winless run at Turf Moor in the league, their longest such streak.

Mikel's misery compounded as Arsenal's lack of fight is shown up once more

It has been a humbling start to the season for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta, who is sure to be under plenty of pressure heading into a fixture with Norwich City – one of the other two teams without a point so far – after the international break.

Arsenal ended the weekend at the bottom of the top-flight table having played at least three league matches for the first time since October 25 in 1974, having suffered a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of the champions – Manchester City's third successive 5-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium.

The Gunners are only the second team in Premier League history to lose their first three matches in a season and have a goal difference of -9, after Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2003-04, who went on to finish bottom of the table, while Tottenham's win on Sunday means Spurs top the table and Arsenal sit bottom for the first time in top-flight history.

Arsenal's cause was hardly helped by Granit Xhaka's sending off in the first half on Saturday – the 10th time the Gunners have had a player dismissed in the league under Arteta. In fact, since the Spaniard took over in December 2019, that is four more than any other club.

Xhaka has picked up two of those dismissals, with David Luiz leading the way on three. In those fixtures where they have had a player sent off, Arsenal have failed to win a single one, collecting just five points in total and losing the last three league matches in which they were reduced to 10 men.

Meanwhile, Gabriel Jesus has not lost any of the 43 Premier League games he has scored in, a record bettered only by James Milner (54) and Darius Vassell (46).

A long shot for Son as Lage matches De Boer

Son Heung-min's free-kick handed Spurs a 1-0 win over Watford. It did not look intentional, but the South Korean forward's delivery nevertheless curled into the far corner.

Three of Son's last four goals for Tottenham in all competitions have come from outside the box, as many as his previous 43 for the club, while Sunday's effort was his first Spurs goal from a direct free-kick.

Sunday's headline fixture saw Manchester United – buoyed by the impending return of Cristiano Ronaldo – defeat Wolves thanks to Mason Greenwood's late winner.

Referee Mike Dean chose not to award what looked to be a clear foul from Paul Pogba in the build-up, as Greenwood became only the second teenager in Premier League history to score in each of his side's first three games of a season, after Robbie Fowler for Liverpool in 1994-95.

It was a tight game, with Wolves creating plenty without converting the chances, and new boss Bruno Lage is the first manager to lose his first three Premier League games without his side scoring a goal since Crystal Palace's Frank de Boer in August 2017.

Known for his creativity and goalscoring, United playmaker Bruno Fernandes often cut a frustrated figure, and he was booked for dissent. He has now been cautioned for questioning the referee in each of his last two games – in fact, the Portugal midfielder is responsible for a third of the six yellow cards handed out for dissent so far this season.

Nuno Espirito Santo says being top of the Premier League "doesn't mean anything" after Tottenham maintained their perfect start with a 1-0 win over Watford.

Son Heung-min marked his 200th Premier League appearance by scoring with a free-kick that he surely intended as a cross in the first half at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.

The South Korea forward's goal move Spurs to the summit and made Nuno just the second boss to win each of his first three league games in charge in the London club's history – Arthur Rowe being the first way back in 1949.

Tottenham have won their opening three matches in a league campaign without conceding a goal for the first time in their history, but Nuno – whose team have scored only three goals – is not getting carried away early in his reign.

Asked about being top heading into the international break, Nuno said: "That doesn't mean anything at all, that doesn't mean anything.

"I invite everybody, not only the players, but our fans to don't pay attention to that. Don't pay attention to that. Let's keep on working, we still have a long way and a lot of aspects to improve on."

Nuno was impressed with the way his side kept the Hornets at bay, but wants to see more ruthlessness up top – Spurs managing eight attempts on target in total.

He said: "What pleased me is when we could not kill the game, we had chances to do so, we didn't lose our minds, we stick together, and we were compact, we did not allow too many chances to Watford.

"That was good. The balance between these two aspects was good, and in the end, the way we managed the game.

"Something I didn’t like: we should be more clinical, I think we had enough quality and talent players to kill the game."

Nuno also suggested Argentine duo Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero would be travelling to South America for international duty, despite it meaning the duo would have to quarantine for 10 days on their return to the United Kingdom.

"We are trying to anticipate the damage, we are working on that," said Nuno.

Tottenham are top of the Premier League while Arsenal sit bottom for the first time in top-flight history.

Son Heung-min's free-kick sunk Watford 1-0 on Sunday and maintained Spurs' perfect record after three matches – the first time they have opened a campaign with three consecutive wins without conceding.

Son's strike on his 200th top-flight appearance also meant Nuno Espirito Santo's men became the second team in Premier League history to open a season with a trio of 1-0 wins.

Contrastingly, Arsenal are winless and goalless after three games for the first time ever, Manchester City crushing Mikel Arteta's side 5-0 on Saturday.

That loss extended the Gunners' top-flight losing run to nine against City, their outright longest-ever run of consecutive defeats against an opponent in their league history.

Indeed, Arsenal are just the second team after Wolves in 2003-04 to lose their first three games and have a goal difference of -9 – a season in which Wolves finished bottom of the table.

Arteta remains in search of a much-needed first win after the international break against Norwich City, while Spurs travel to Crystal Palace as they look to maintain their perfect start.

Son Heung-min marked his 200th Premier League appearance with a goal as Tottenham beat Watford 1-0 to go top of the fledgling table.

South Korea forward Son was on target in the first half with a free-kick that he surely intended to be a cross at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.

Son's goal in his landmark top-flight game was enough for Spurs to go into the international break at the summit, with the only 100 per cent record after three matches.

Tottenham, who had Harry Kane in the starting line-up for the first time domestically this season after he opted to stay at the club, have not conceded a top-flight goal in 2021-22 amid a promising start to Nuno Espirito Santo's reign.

Watford fashioned a good chance to take an early lead in an entertaining start, but Eric Dier got his head in the way of a shot from Juraj Kucka after he was set up by former Spurs midfielder Moussa Sissoko, who was making his debut for the Hornets.

Daniel Bachmann kept out a shot from Japhet Tanganga following a Spurs corner before a combination of Dier and Sergio Reguilon thwarted Joshua King at the other end.

Tottenham were not posing much of a threat until Son whipped in a free-kick from the left that evaded everybody and found the far corner of the net.

Watford lost captain Craig Cathcart to injury early in the second half, but they had opportunities to equalise when an unmarked Kucka fired off target before Ismaila Sarr's shot from close range was blocked by Davinson Sanchez.

Spurs came close to doubling their lead with a rapid counterattack, Son surging forward and laying the ball off to Kane, whose inviting pass was drilled wide by Dele Alli.

Sissoko was given a great ovation from the Tottenham fans when he was substituted just a couple of days after leaving the club, and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's deflected free-kick was palmed wide by Bachmann a few minutes later.

Brilliant defending from William Troost-Ekong denied Kane a tap-in and Bachmann kept the England captain at bay, but Son's goal was enough to put Nuno's side top.

Dusan Vlahovic confirmed he is staying at Serie A outfit Fiorentina, despite "top proposals" from clubs across Europe.

Vlahovic enjoyed a breakout season in 2020-21, scoring 21 Serie A goals, and his exploits have sparked reported interest from Premier League champions Manchester City and LaLiga holders Atletico Madrid as well as Arsenal, Tottenham and Inter.

Contracted to Fiorentina until 2023 with a value around €70-80million (£59-68m), Vlahovic opened his Serie A account for 2021-22 with a fine header in Saturday's 2-1 victory over Torino.

Afterwards, the 21-year-old Serbia international pledged his commitment to Fiorentina for at least one more campaign.

"I've received top proposals this summer, really big also for the club but I was never pushing to leave," Vlahovic told Sky Sport.

"I wanted to stay at Fiorentina… and I'm staying, yes."

"The whole stadium was signing my name, I’ve been dreaming something like this since I was a child, I am so thrilled," Vlahovic told DAZN.

"I think I am on the right path, but I need to work hard with humility and determination. I am focused and I can’' think to have already achieved something big, it would be a mistake. There will be highs and lows, but I will give my all for myself, the club, the city and the coach."

Vlahovic is one of only five players to score 18-plus goals in the top five European leagues in 2021, alongside Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (29), Paris Saint-Germain superstar Lionel Messi (23), RB Leipzig forward Andre Silva (20) and Borussia Dortmund superstar Erling Haaland (20).

"I don't like comparisons," Vlahovic said amid Haaland comparisons. "Haaland has been scoring 10 Champions League goals for three seasons.

"I hope I can meet him one day, but I must only work on my capabilities for now. Surely, I am watching the best strikers out there."

Tottenham have signed teenage Metz midfielder Pape Matar Sarr and allowed Moussa Sissoko to join Watford.

Senegal international Sarr will remain on loan with Ligue 1 side Metz for the rest of the season before linking up with Spurs.

The 18-year-old joined Metz from the Generation Foot Academy in Senegal last September and made 25 appearances for the club in the 2020-21 campaign.

Sissoko will remain in the Premier League with newly promoted Watford on a two-year deal.

The Hornets are reported to have paid around £3million for the 32-year-old midfielder.

Sissoko, capped 71 times by France, made 202 appearances for Tottenham following his £30m move from Newcastle United in 2016.

Tottenham will face Rennes, Vitesse and NS Mura in the group stage of the inaugural Europa Conference League.

Spurs, with the help of a double from Harry Kane, secured qualification for UEFA's new third-tier club competition with a 3-0 win over Pacos de Ferreira on Thursday.

The presence of Kane, who will be staying at Tottenham despite Manchester City's long-standing interest, is sure to make Spurs one of the favourites to win the tournament.

Nuno Espirito Santo's side were placed into Group G, and have avoided too many arduous journeys, with a trip to Slovenia to face Mura – a team only formed in 2012 – the longest trip in store.

Roma, coached by former Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho, are the tournament's other favourites. The Serie A club will face Zorya Luhansk, CSKA Sofia and Bodo/Glimt in Group C.

The Europa League group stage has been trimmed to 32 teams, with Napoli arguably the headline act.

FA Cup winners Leicester City have been drawn in Group E alongside the Italian giants, as well as Spartak Moscow and Legia Warsaw.

The Premier League's other representatives – West Ham – were drawn in Group H, in which they will face Dinamo Zagreb, Genk and Rapid Vienna.

Steven Gerrard's Rangers were placed into Group A with Lyon, Sparta Prague and Brondby, while Scottish rivals Celtic are in a difficult-looking Group G which includes Bayer Leverkusen, Real Betis and Ferencvaros.

Group E pits Lazio, Marseille, Galatasary and Lokomotiv Moscow up against each other in what promises to be a thriller, while Monaco, PSV, Real Sociedad and Sturm Graz will battle it out for progression from Group B.

The first matches will take place on September 16, with the group stage of both competitions concluding on December 9.

Europa League group stage draw in full:

Group A: Lyon, Rangers, Sparta Prague, Brondby
Group B: Monaco, PSV Eindhoven, Real Sociedad, Sturm Graz
Group C: Napoli, Leicester City, Spartak Moscow, Legia Warsaw
Group D: Olympiacos, Eintracht Frankfurt, Fenerbahce, Royal Antwerp
Group E: Lazio, Lokomotiv Moscow, Marseille, Galatasaray
Group F: Braga, Red Star Belgrade, Ludogorets, Midtjylland
Group G: Bayer Leverkusen, Celtic, Real Betis, Ferencvaros
Group H: Dinamo Zagreb, Genk, West Ham, Rapid Vienna

Europa Conference League group stage draw in full: 

Group A: LASK, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Alashkert, HJK Helsinki
Group B: Gent, FK Partizan, Flora, Anorthosis
Group C: Roma, Zorya Luhansk, CSKA Sofia, Bodo/Glimt
Group D: AZ Alkmaar, CFR Cluj, Jablonec, Randers
Group E: Slavia Prague, Feyenoord, Union Berlin,
Group F: Copenhagen, PAOK, Slovan Bratislava, Lincoln Red Imps
Group G: Tottenham, Rennes, Vitesse, Mura
Group H: Basel, Qarabag, Kairat, Omonoia

This weekend is the final round of Premier League action before the international break – who wouldn't want to go into the pause top of their fantasy football league?

Well, hopefully that's where Stats Perform's Opta-powered Fantasy Picks can come in handy and give you the edge over your mates.

You've all presumably already got Bruno Fernandes and Mohamed Salah, so don't expect any more oh-so-obvious tips.

Without any further ado, here are the picks that could hand you the advantage ahead of matchday three of the 2021-22 season…

 

EMILIANO MARTINEZ (Aston Villa v Brentford)

Argentina goalkeeper Martinez was one of the buys of the season in 2020-21 and has established himself as one of the Premier League's best in that time.

Since the start of last term, his tally of 16 clean sheets has been bettered by only Ederson and Edouard Mendy. Those equate to 40 per cent of his Premier League appearances for Villa, a club record among goalkeepers to make at least 10 starts for them.

While Saturday's opponents Brentford enjoyed a strong start against Arsenal, it is fair to say Villa will be more confident of keeping promoted opposition at bay than certain other opponents.

MATT RITCHIE (Newcastle United v Southampton)

Admittedly, picking a Newcastle defender any weekend could be something of a risk given only Leeds United (seven) and Norwich City (eight) have conceded more goals than the Magpies (six)

But Ritchie has enjoyed a bright start to the season as a creative source for Steve Bruce's men, creating nine goalscoring opportunities – only Trent Alexander-Arnold can better that.

While Ritchie may have been a midfielder in past years, he's classed as a defender this time around, and his early-season craftiness could lead to some assist points, which are always something of a bonus among backline options.

JAMES TARKOWSKI (Burnley v Leeds United)

Maximising points from your defenders can be key in fantasy football, particularly considering they're among the least likely to score, but one way to potentially give yourself the edge in that respect is, of course, by picking centre-backs who carry a threat at the other end.

Tarkowski has had more touches in the opposition's box (73) than any other centre-back since the start of last season, while his 4.2 expected goals is the highest xG over the same period among all defenders.

Granted, the fact he's only scored twice from those chances suggests a degree of wastefulness, but who's to say he won't improve in that regard this season? He got one against Brighton and Hove Albion, after all.

SON HEUNG-MIN (Tottenham v Watford)

Spurs have enjoyed an encouraging start to the season under Nuno Espirito Santo in spite of Harry Kane's situation. Now he is seemingly staying put, a return to the starting XI may be on the cards, and that could play into Son's hands.

The two are known for their strong relationship on the pitch, and Son boasts a fine record against Sunday's visitors Watford, having scored five times against them – that makes the Hornets his second favourite Premier League opposition after Southampton (nine goals).

Son has looked sharp without being spectacular so far this term. Perhaps this weekend is when he really finds his groove...

RAPHINHA (Burnley v Leeds United )

Raphinha has been a revelation at Leeds since joining from Rennes last year, with his form over the past 12 months recently seeing him called up to the Brazil squad for the first time.

He poses something of a double threat in terms of goals and assists, though it is the latter where his strengths lie. Only Bruno Fernandes (7.7) and Alexander-Arnold (7.6) have a better expected assists record than Raphinha (6.9) since he made his first start in November 2020.

However, no one can better his nine assists, which is level with Fernandes and Kevin De Bruyne, and he'll fancy his chances of doing some damage at Burnley this weekend.

MICHAIL ANTONIO (West Ham v Crystal Palace)

After being used as something of a utility man for years, Antonio has seemingly nailed down a spot in West Ham's attack and it's paying dividends.

In his past nine Premier League outings, he's been involved in 10 goals (six scored, four assisted) and the forward has started 2021-22 in irresistible form.

He has already got three goals and two assists this term, with his brace against Leicester City last time out seeing him surpass Paolo Di Canio (47) as West Ham's record goalscorer in the Premier League and leaving him one away from 50.

Given his form, Antonio could be a good bet for the captain selection this weekend.

RICHARLISON (Brighton and Hove Albion v Everton )

He may frustrate on occasion, but few would try to downplay the impact Richarlison has had on Everton since joining from Watford in 2018 and he looks set for a big 2021-22.

No one has as many goal involvements as him (42 – 34 goals, eight assists) during his time at the club and he was a real livewire last time out against Leeds, with his five shots and three key passes the most among Everton players.

Brighton have impressed early on this season, but Richarlison has the ability and confidence to be a real problem.

Tottenham head coach Nuno Espirito Santo insisted Harry Kane is committed to Spurs and has nothing to prove after failing to secure a move away from the Premier League club.

After confirming he will not be leaving Tottenham this month, Kane marked his first start of the season with a brace as Spurs overturned a 1-0 first-leg deficit by topping Pacos de Ferreira 3-0 en route to the inaugural Europa Conference League group stage.

Kane – under contract until June 2024 – had been tipped to join Premier League champions Manchester City, however, a transfer did not materialise.

Following his two-goal haul in London on Thursday, Nuno praised the star England international forward.

"He played good, he scored, he had good movements, he helped the team in possession, out of possession kept his shape, helped recover the ball," Nuno told reporters.

"He is still improving. But playing is the best way for all players to improve, to compete and the edge of the game is what takes players beyond their limits and that is what we expect from all of them."

Asked if Kane is motivated to show his commitment to Tottenham, Nuno replied: "My answer to that is that I see Harry every day since he joined us, every day. He doesn't have to prove to anyone. He's committed. You can see.

"All the situations that happen is part of the past, let's look and move forward, but I see him every day. I see him today in the training sessions.

"I saw him today at the end of the game, now it is time to recover. He is one more that will help us.

"I think we can expect much more from everybody, from all of us. We are starting the competition really early. I think we're doing ok. We realise there's a long way to go and a lot of room to improve, all of us, all of us."

Harry Kane marked his first start of the season with a decisive brace as Tottenham overturned a 1-0 first-leg defeat with a 3-0 win over Pacos de Ferreira to secure a place in the inaugural Europa Conference League.

Kane has played only 18 minutes domestically in 2021-22 following a heavily interrupted pre-season that was dominated by uncertainty surrounding his future, but after seemingly accepting Spurs' refusal to sell him, he was back in the starting XI and off the mark for the campaign.

The visitors' aggregate lead stood for just nine minutes as the lively Bryan Gil capped his home debut with a fine assist to tee up Kane and the England striker doubled his tally just after the half-hour mark.

Nuno Espirito Santo's side subsequently produced a controlled and professional display after the interval, with a Vitorino Antunes own goal ultimately ending Pacos de Ferreira's chances of a late turnaround.

It always looked destined to be a long evening for the away side and Spurs' intensity inspired the opener, as Harry Winks won back possession and fed Bryan in behind the defence, his inch-perfect cut-back allowing Kane to level the aggregate score.

Bryan found Kane again in the 34th minute, the England captain seeing his initial shot charged down, but Giovani Lo Celso kept the threat alive and the rebound from his follow-up effort was tucked in by the alert Kane.

Spurs' dominance continued into the second half, with Lo Celso seeing a curling free-kick go just wide, before Bryan blasted over from the middle of the area.

Andre Ferreira made a necessary save to thwart Lo Celso just past the hour, and then Bryan opted against teeing up Kane for his hat-trick when shooting agonisingly wide.

Spurs wrapped the win up 20 minutes from the end as Antunes deflected a Lo Celso free-kick into his own goal, and Kane was swiftly withdrawn to a rapturous ovation with qualification secured.

 

What does it mean? A soothing evening for Nuno as competent start continues

It is fair to say Nuno's appointment at Spurs was not exactly greeted with great fanfare. After all, a whole host of coaches are said to have been considered or rejected the club before they turned to the Portuguese tactician, and then a defeat to Pacos in Portugal hardly helped matters.

Add to that the constant distraction of the Kane saga and it was the perfect recipe for chaos in the early weeks of the season, but having claimed six points from their first two league games and confidently overturned the first-leg deficit on Thursday, it is all looking rather rosy.

There was no hint of Kane sulking here either. Wearing the captain's armband, he looked as focused and composed as ever, cracking a few smiles as he opened his account for the season.

He's not the messiah – but Bryan looks the real deal

Spurs fans are yet to see the young Spain international in Premier League action, his only previous outing being the first leg of this tie very soon after he returned from the Olympic Games. Occupying a roaming role, Bryan looked bright and inventive between the lines, his positivity a real asset in getting Tottenham on the front foot. His assist was the least he deserved in what was an encouraging display.

Kane keeps his cool to calm the boo-boys

He got a mixed reception at the start when his name was read out, but two goals and a solid performance later, he was given a good ovation as he left the pitch. Fans will hope his flirting with City will not have any real impact on Kane's form, and this was a nice way to ease himself back into the swing of things.

What's next?

It is back to Premier League action on Sunday for Spurs as they host promoted Watford at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in their final game before the international break.

Will Kylian Mbappe join Real Madrid before the transfer window shuts?

It has been confirmed that Mbappe wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain, despite Lionel Messi's arrival.

Madrid must now strike an agreement with PSG or wait to sign the France international on a free transfer.

 

TOP STORY – PSG NAME MBAPPE PRICE

Paris Saint-Germain want €220million for wantaway Real Madrid target Kylian Mbappe, according to the front page of Thursday's Diario AS.

Madrid reportedly offered €160m for Mbappe, who is out of contract at the end of 2021-22, as PSG sporting director Leonardo confirmed the Frenchman's desire to leave Paris on Wednesday.

PSG are said to named their price, with RMC claiming Madrid will make an improved offer for Mbappe.

Premier League giants Liverpool and Manchester United have also been linked.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sky Italia's Gianluca Di Marzio says Manchester City are offering Cristiano Ronaldo a two-year deal, though the Premier League holders are unwilling to pay Juventus a transfer fee. There has been talk of Gabriel Jesus or Bernardo Silva being included in a possible deal to sign Ronaldo. It comes after City failed to prise Harry Kane from Tottenham, while Ronaldo has been linked with former club United as well as PSG and Madrid.

Chelsea have readied their final bid for Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, per Fabrizio Romano. The Champions League holders are also trying to sign Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez – a target for rivals United.

Antonio Conte is one of the top choices to replace Mikel Arteta if Arsenal sack their manager, according to the Independent. Conte is without a club after guiding Inter to the Scudetto in 2020-21.

- Di Marzio claims Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich are interested in Brest midfielder Romain Faivre, who is in talks with Milan.

Lazio are pushing to sign Eintracht Frankfurt star Filip Kostic as Joaquin Correa nears a switch to Inter, reports Calciomercato.

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