New Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe insisted joining the club was "a football decision" as he faced questions over the human rights record of Saudi Arabia.

A consortium that included Saudi Arabia's public wealth fund took control of Newcastle in a reported £305million deal, which was approved by the Premier League last month.

The takeover has been met with criticism from some supporters due to Saudi Arabia's human rights record, but new Magpies manager Howe was reluctant to debate the topic.

Ex-Bournemouth boss Howe maintained that he was only focused on football and the stature of the Tyneside club when he decided to take the job.

"Naturally, this is a football decision," Howe said at his official unveiling. "I'm absolutely delighted to be the manager of Newcastle. 

"My focus is football. Running the team, managing the players. That's all I'm going to talk about and that's all I'm going to think about.

"Everything just felt right. The pull of the club is huge, the size of the club, the history of the club. Obviously the new, ambitious plans, the new owners, knowing some of the players, the squad.

"I just thought it was a perfect fit for me. Yes, I've had lots of other options, but I wanted to take my time and really be utilising my time away from the game. I feel refreshed, energised and ready to start work."

Newcastle are 19th in the Premier League after 11 games and are the only team in the division still yet to win a match, managing just five points so far.

The club are five points from safety and, despite the grand ambitions of long-term success, Howe insists that avoiding the drop this season is both his, and the owners', primary focus.

"[The owners and I have] had some really good conversations," Howe continued. 

"I've been very, very impressed by their vision of the club but, to be honest, I haven't delved into that too much because it's all about the short term.

"Obviously the position of the team, we need to try and address that very quickly, move up the league and the aim is to stay in the league, to avoid relegation.

"That's what I'll be working towards and that's really my main focus at the moment, everything else can wait for another day."

Despite the club's precarious position in the table, Howe remained positive about Newcastle's chances of survival under his guidance - but stopped short of making any guarantees.

"I'm absolutely confident that we can [avoid relegation], but I make no promises on that," Howe added. "All I can do is lead the club to the best of my abilities.

"I'll give everything to the job, I'll commit 100 per cent every single day to try and bring success to Newcastle for everybody connected with the club.

"I believe we have the ability within the squad, with the players, to achieve that aim, but it's going to take a lot of hard work.

"It's going to take a lot of sacrifice, suffering, in terms of the players giving everything that they have to try and commit to the objective that we need."

Liverpool have confirmed sporting director Michael Edwards will leave his role after the expiration of his contract.

A club statement said Edwards had given notice to Liverpool's ownership that he wished to take up a new challenge after his deal ends, which is at the end of the 2021-22 season.

Julian Ward, who is the assistant sporting director, will be promoted following Edwards' departure.

Edwards, 42, joined Liverpool in 2011 as head of analytics, and was then promoted to director of technical performance.

Another promotion, to technical director, followed, before he took up the role of sporting director in November 2016.

While in the role, Edwards has overseen a hugely successful spell for the Reds, with Jurgen Klopp's side winning the 2018-19 Champions League and 2019-20 Premier League, as well as the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup.

"To be part of this club during this period has been a privilege due to the people I have been fortunate enough to work with and the success we have enjoyed," Edwards said.

"I had always planned to cap my time at the club to a max of 10 years. I've loved working here, but I am a big believer in change. I think it's good for the individual and, in a work setting, good for the employer, too."

In his presentation as Newcastle United's head coach on Tuesday, Eddie Howe was asked if he knew anything of Edwards possibly joining the Magpies.

Newcastle are looking for a sporting or football director following their Saudi-backed takeover. Michael Emenalo, the former sporting director of Chelsea and Monaco, has also been linked.

"As far as I know, absolutely not, no. I know nothing about Michael Edwards' future," Howe said.

"He's someone that I hugely respect in the game and in what he does and what he's done for Liverpool. My main focus since coming to Newcastle has been on the players that are in the team, not focused on January, not focused on anything outside of what influences the team."

Aaron Ramsey has become an issue for Juventus, being on a bumper contract but having fallen out of favour.

Ramsey signed with Juve in 2019 on a four-year deal from Arsenal.

The 30-year-old has only made 70 appearances across almost two-and-a-half seasons, including only five this term.

 

TOP STORY – PREMIER LEAGUE PAIR KEEN ON RAMSEY

Juventus are shopping around Aaron Ramsey with Premier League pair Everton and Newcastle United in the mix, claims Goal.

The Bianconeri are keen to find a buyer for the Wales international midfielder in January although his salary may be a stumbling block.

No formal offers have been tabled yet for the ex-Arsenal star.

ROUND-UP  

- The transfer saga involving Paul Pogba continues to twist and turn with The Star claiming Manchester United are willing to sell him in January, with his contract expiring at the end of the season. Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Juventus have been linked with the French midfielder.

- AS claims Manchester United are hoping to win the race for Sevilla's Jules Kounde , with Chelsea 's admiration long known.

- West Ham will turn down any approaches for England international Declan Rice , reports The Sun. The midfielder has been linked with Manchester United and Chelsea .

- Newcastle are angling to land Ousmane Dembele as a free agent if he refuses to pen a new deal with Barcelona, reports Express.

- Internazionale could also seal a free transfer for Andre Onana from Ajax according to Fabrizio Romano, who claims a verbal agreement was reached months ago. Barcelona have also shown an interest in Onana.

- Arsenal forward Eddie Nketiah has interest from German club Monchengladbach for a January move according to The Sun.

- Goal claims that Liverpool legend and current Rangers manager Steven Gerrard is Aston Villa 's first choice to take their vacant managerial role following Dean Smith's dismissal.

Newcastle United have ended their search for a new head coach by appointing Eddie Howe on a two-and-a-half-year deal.

Graeme Jones had been in temporary charge of the Magpies since Steve Bruce departed by mutual consent following a takeover that saw Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund take an 80 per cent share in the club, becoming the richest owner in world football.

Brendan Rodgers, Paulo Fonseca, Lucien Favre and Roberto Martinez were linked with role before Villarreal coach Unai Emery snubbed the Premier League strugglers.

Instead, former Bournemouth manager Howe was on Monday confirmed as Bruce's successor after he watched on from the stands as Newcastle drew 1-1 at Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

Howe has been out of work since leaving Bournemouth in August 2020 following their relegation to the Championship.

The 43-year-old worked wonders during two spells in charge of the Cherries, masterminding an astonishing rise from League Two to the top flight, and reportedly turned Celtic down before Ange Postecoglou took the hotseat with the Glasgow giants.

Across his time with Bournemouth and a stint in between at Burnley, Howe has overseen 545 career games as a coach, winning 228 of them.

In the Premier League, he won 56 of 190 matches, with his best season seeing Bournemouth earn 46 points and finish ninth in 2016-17.

The excitement around Newcastle United's lucrative takeover has died down, with the world's richest football club now facing a relegation scrap.

Newcastle have endured the worst start to a league season in their history after Saturday's 1-1 draw at Brighton and Hove Albion extended their winless run to 11 matches.

Second from bottom and five points from safety, talk of January moves for Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele or Marc-Andre ter Stegen – Barcelona's expensively assembled squad, reports say, is ripe for picking – must wait.

Expectations have also been tempered in the coaching arena. Antonio Conte, Erik ten Hag and Unai Emery were all mooted targets; Emery even held talks with Newcastle's owners. Instead, Eddie Howe is the man in charge.

Howe, whose arrival at St James' Park on a contract until the end of 2023-24 was confirmed on Monday, is a highly respected coach but was last employed by Bournemouth in 2020, at the wheel as they were relegated from the Premier League.

Crucially, though, Howe also knows a thing or two about beating the drop. He kept Bournemouth in the top flight for four seasons before that fateful final campaign and had rescued the club from demotion out of the Football League more than 10 years earlier.

The 43-year-old will expect financial help in the transfer window, but Newcastle first have several areas of concern to address if they are to reach January still in touch.

Fix the defence

The biggest worry around both Newcastle and Howe relates to their defensive records.

Only Norwich City (26) have conceded more goals than Newcastle (24) this season, while the Magpies' opponents have had a league-high 21.6 expected goals. That back line clearly needs attention.

But Howe's Bournemouth conceded at least 61 goals in each of their five seasons in the top flight, making him far from an obvious candidate to address Newcastle's biggest need.

There is a lack of quality options within that defence, but Graeme Jones, the interim coach who has taken a role on Howe's staff, has attempted to stem the tide during his short reign as the main man.

At odds with the more aggressive pressing approach Howe is likely to adopt, Jones' side sat deep. Across games against Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Brighton, Newcastle had the highest PPDA (an incredibly passive 22.6 opposition passes per defensive action) and the second-deepest average starting position (just 37.5 metres from their own goal) in the league. The Magpies still conceded five times and earned only two points.

Regardless of what changes Howe makes at the back – and there have to be changes – those in front also require greater co-ordination.

In Sean Longstaff (52.9), Joe Willock (49.9) and Miguel Almiron (49.7), Newcastle have players who rank first, fifth and sixth among central midfielders for pressures per 90 minutes this season. Their haphazard pressing, lacking any clear cohesion, has succeeded only in leaving gaps behind them, however.

Neither Longstaff nor Willock featured at Brighton, while Almiron played on the right flank and was taken off after 74 minutes.

Keep the ball

The pressure on Newcastle's defence would be relieved by an ability to keep the ball for any extended period. Their average possession of 37.3 per cent is comfortably the lowest in the division this season.

But that is nothing new; Newcastle have ranked in the bottom three in this regard in each season since they were promoted in 2017.

"We hopefully have nudged it along a little bit this week," Jones said before the Brighton game, where Newcastle had just 34.1 per cent of the ball. "You can't go from how we played against Chelsea and Crystal Palace to being Barcelona overnight. It's impossible, so it needs to be small steps."

Howe, Newcastle will hope, should be able to help with those steps. Since Bournemouth were first promoted, only Leeds United last season (57.8 per cent) have averaged more possession in their first year in the Premier League than the Cherries in 2015-16 (51.1 per cent).

Concerningly, though, having held steady into a second season, Bournemouth's possession figures then dropped with each campaign until they were relegated with 43.4 per cent of the ball.

Howe will have to enact serious change and this time maintain those standards over a longer period.

Feed the forwards

Having more possession should fit hand in hand with getting Newcastle's dangerous attacking players on the ball more often. Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin have too often been isolated.

The certainty of a full-time appointment should at least allow Newcastle to settle on a system that suits both players after drastically shifting their approach following each miserable run of Steve Bruce's tenure. Tactical flexibility, as Howe should show, is one thing, having no proven plan to fall back on is another.

Even with Newcastle struggling, Wilson has managed to score 16 goals since the start of last season. Among the 14 players to net 15 or more in that time, only Mohamed Salah (127), Harry Kane (163) and Dominic Calvert-Lewin (164) have averaged fewer minutes per goal than the Magpies' number nine (167).

"A fit Callum Wilson is as good as anybody in the Premier League," Jones says.

Of course, Howe has experience with Wilson and with Ryan Fraser, both of whom he brought to Bournemouth.

Under Howe in 2018-19, Wilson and Fraser combined for 12 Premier League goals – at that time, the second-most of any duo in the competition's history in a single season, behind Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton (13 in 1995-96).

If Howe can help the pair reprise that form and build some sort of platform behind them, Newcastle should yet have enough to survive.

Newcastle United have ended their search for a new head coach by appointing Eddie Howe on a two-and-a-half-year deal.

Graeme Jones had been in temporary charge of the Magpies since Steve Bruce departed by mutual consent following a takeover that saw Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund take an 80 per cent share in the club, becoming the richest owner in world football.

Brendan Rodgers, Paulo Fonseca, Lucien Favre and Roberto Martinez were linked with role before Villarreal coach Unai Emery snubbed the Premier League strugglers.

Instead, former Bournemouth manager Howe was on Monday confirmed as Bruce's successor after he watched on from the stands as Newcastle drew 1-1 at Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

Howe has been out of work since leaving Bournemouth in August 2020 following their relegation to the Championship.

The 43-year-old worked wonders during two spells in charge of the Cherries, masterminding an astonishing rise from League Two to the top flight, and reportedly turned Celtic down before Ange Postecoglou took the hotseat with the Glasgow giants.

Across his time with Bournemouth and a stint in between at Burnley, Howe has overseen 545 career games as a coach, winning 228 of them.

In the Premier League, he won 56 of 190 matches, with his best season seeing Bournemouth earn 46 points and finish ninth in 2016-17.

The weekend's fixtures in the Premier League felt like they could be pivotal for so many teams, especially near the top of the table.

It proved to be a mixed weekend for the title chasers with Manchester City beating Manchester United with ease, Chelsea throwing away two points at home to Burnley, and Liverpool losing their unbeaten start to the season against an in-form West Ham.

Deeper impacts were felt at the other end of the table as both Aston Villa and Norwich City felt the need to sack their bosses, despite the latter actually winning their first game of the season.

Find all that and more as Stats Perform looks at the quirky Opta facts behind the weekend's action.

 

United soft and unstable

The Premier League's favourite Jekyll and Hyde team, Manchester United, were at it again on Saturday as they 'entertained' neighbours Manchester City.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men had dusted themselves down following their last home game against Liverpool where they were dispatched 5-0 to win well at Tottenham, and then rescue a vital late point at Atalanta in the Champions League. But the 2-0 defeat to City was another reminder of how far they are off the title contenders.

To emphasise the need for improvement at Old Trafford, Eric Bailly's own goal to open the scoring on Saturday meant that United are now without a clean sheet in their last 14 home games in all competitions. The only longer run in the club's history without a home clean sheet was a 21-game stretch between April 1958 and March 1959.

In the Premier League era, only under David Moyes (1.18) have United conceded more goals per game than under Solskjaer (1.13). 

Solskjaer may point to the fact that the away team has won nine of the last 12 meetings between United and City in all competitions (D1 L2), including each of the three games in 2021. Perhaps it would all have been fine for the Red Devils had Saturday's game taken place at the Etihad?

Villa hate Fridays

Aston Villa were a team on the rise and Dean Smith was doing a great job at his boyhood club, until they were not, and he was not.

The Villains began the season well enough, with notable victories at home to Everton and away at Manchester United. Then, before you knew it, they had lost five league games in a row, leading to Smith being relieved of his duties on Sunday.

Could it have been the day of the week's fault, though? Heading into the game, Aston Villa had won none of their previous 13 away top-flight matches played on a Friday (D3 L10), with their last win coming in April 1950, a 4-1 victory at Charlton Athletic.

Unlucky for some? It certainly was for Smith and Villa, with the record now at 14 games.

Newcastle cannot buy a win

Excitement continues at Newcastle United right now as the club eagerly anticipates the January transfer window, with an opportunity to finally flex their financial muscle.

However, that remains almost two months away and the Magpies could be in a bit of trouble by then as their 1-1 draw at Brighton on Saturday meant that they are now 11 games into the season and still waiting for their first league win, the only team yet to register a victory.

It is now their longest winless run from the beginning of a league campaign, and most concerning of all to the new owners at St James' Park will be that each of the last four Premier League sides to endure a similar start to a top-flight season have gone on to be relegated. Then again, none of those sides have the wealth Newcastle do now. Then again, is Eddie Howe the right manager to turn their form around? 

Only Norwich City (26) have conceded more goals than Newcastle (24) this season, while the Magpies' opponents have had a league-high 21.6 expected goals. Howe's Bournemouth side conceded at least 61 goals in each of their five seasons in the top flight. 

Norwich's unconventional response to first victory

Unlike Newcastle, the Canaries finally won their first league game of the season on Saturday, and then sacked head coach Daniel Farke immediately after.

The 2-1 success at Brentford was Farke's 49th and final Premier League game in charge at Carrow Road. His 12.2 win percentage is the second-worst of any coach to preside over 40 or more matches in the competition. Only John Gorman at Swindon Town in 1993-94 achieved a worse win percentage (11.9).

It seems the decision was taken before the game, with Norwich bottom of the Premier League table having lost eight of their first ten games since promotion back to the top flight.

One bright spot other than the three points though was the fact that it was the first time they have scored more than one goal in a game in 28 attempts in a Premier League match.

Hope for whoever comes in to replace Farke, at least.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's future is in doubt as Manchester United continue to struggle.

United were outclassed effortlessly by neighbours Manchester City in Saturday's Premier League derby.

Struggling for form, Solskjaer could pay the price at Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – SOLSKJAER SET FOR AXE?

Manchester United are considering the departure of under-fire manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, according to the Daily Mail.

Manchester City eased past United 2-0 in the Premier League derby showdown at Old Trafford, where Solskjaer's side were left sixth and nine points off the pace.

There are reports of a player revolt as Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo grow frustrated with life in Manchester.

Zinedine Zidane and Ajax boss Erik ten Hag have been linked as possible replacements.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato claims Real Madrid and Newcastle United are interested in Liverpool star Mohamed Salah. The Egypt international, who is contracted to Liverpool until 2023, is keen to sign a new deal at Anfield.

City are weighing up a move for Juventus and Netherlands centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, says El Nacional. De Ligt has also been linked with Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United.

Karim Benzema is open to joining Paris Saint-Germain should Madrid sign Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund, per El Nacional. Benzema has reportedly snubbed a move to Newcastle, while Haaland has been linked with City, United, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Liverpool, PSG, Chelsea and Juve.

Gerard PiqueSergio BusquetsSergi Roberto and Jordi Alba will be allowed to leave Barca under new head coach Xavi, according to El Nacional. Fabrizio Romano adds Xavi will look to re-sign Pablo Gavi and Ousmane Dembele.

- Calciomercato claims Atletico Madrid are interested in Udinese's Nahuel Molina, who is also wanted by Inter.

Vinicius Junior has been in dazzling form for Real Madrid.

Previously linked with Paris Saint-Germain as part of a possible deal to bring Kylian Mbappe to the Spanish capital, Vinicius has established himself under Carlo Ancelotti.

Now, a bumper contract is on the cards.

 

TOP STORY – VINICIUS SET FOR NEW DEAL

Real Madrid star Vinicius Junior is set to hold contract talks with the LaLiga giants, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Vinicius is contracted to Madrid until 2025 but Los Blancos are determined to offer the Brazil international fresh terms.

The 21-year-old has been in red-hot form at the Santiago Bernabeu this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- El Nacional reports Barcelona are targeting Beijing Guoan striker Cedric Bakambu as a short-term replacement for sidelined star Sergio Aguero, who is facing at least three months out due to a potential heart condition.

Luka Jovic is eager to leave Madrid in January, says Defensa Central. The Serbia international has been linked with former club Eintracht Frankfurt, Inter, Milan, Arsenal and Liverpool.

Manchester United have rejected the chance to sign struggling Madrid star Eden Hazard, claims the Daily Mail. Hazard has also been reportedly snubbed by Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Newcastle United.

Newcastle United manager-in-waiting Eddie Howe was in the stands to see the Magpies' winless start extended to 11 Premier League matches at Brighton and Hove Albion.

Isaac Hayden rescued a point for Newcastle in a 1-1 draw, enough to lift the visitors off the foot of the table. Norwich City's earlier win over Brentford had seen Newcastle briefly replace them at the bottom of the pile.

Newcastle trailed to a contentious first-half Leandro Trossard penalty but might have taken all three points, as Brighton finished the game with 10 men after goalkeeper Robert Sanchez took down Callum Wilson in front of an open goal.

The failure to make the most of playing against 10 men – with defender Lewis Dunk in goal – made this Newcastle's worst ever start to a league season.

Only twice previously in their history had Newcastle gone 10 without a win at the start of a campaign, winning their 11th matches in both 1898-99 (3-0 versus Liverpool) and 2018-19 (1-0 versus Watford). They avoided relegation on both occasions.

But this club-record sequence of 11 without a win does not bode well for Newcastle, given each of the most recent four Premier League sides to reach that unwanted mark – Norwich (13 games without a win, 2004-05), QPR (16, 2012-13), Watford (11, 2019-20) and Sheffield United (17, 2020-21) – went down.

This is now Newcastle's longest stretch without a league win at any stage in a season since a run of 13 between December 2007 and March 2008. After Norwich's victory, they are the last winless team in this season's top flight.

Former Bournemouth boss Howe, who watched the Brighton game alongside Newcastle director Amanda Staveley, is set to be confirmed as the club's new manager imminently.

His first game, after the international break, will see Newcastle host Brentford at St James' Park on November 20.

This weekend sees Manchester United host Manchester City in a derby that feels like it may play a pivotal part in where each teams' season heads, and there is an outside chance that the match-winner might not even be Cristiano Ronaldo.

Elsewhere, there is a certain Egyptian King who will be worth consideration for the handful of people who for some reason do not already own him in their fantasy team, along with a Newcastle player who could prove a useful differential.

There is also a former fantasy football favourite at Wolves who could be due a run of form.

Below are Stats Perform's weekly suggestions for fantasy football players, powered by Opta data...

 

JOAO CANCELO (Manchester United v Manchester City)

Try to predict the potential difference-maker ahead of the Manchester derby and you will likely say Kevin De Bruyne or Phil Foden, unless you expect United to win in which case you will probably say Cristiano Ronaldo or… Cristiano Ronaldo.

How about another Portugal international, though?

Manchester City's Joao Cancelo has been involved in more shot-ending sequences of play (66) than any other full-back in the Premier League this season, while he also leads all players in his position for the total xG of the sequences that he has been involved in (6.96).

With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer running out of fit defenders, there may be plenty of space for Cancelo to maraud into at Old Trafford on Saturday.

 

AARON RAMSDALE (Arsenal v Watford)

This feels slightly unimaginative as we also tipped Ramsdale last week, but in fairness the former Bournemouth and Sheffield United stopper was sensational in Arsenal's 2-0 win at Leicester City.

Ramsdale made eight saves against the Foxes and deservedly took home the man of the match award, and may well be called upon to shine again this weekend.

Watford showed in their recent 5-2 thrashing of Everton that they can attack well on the road, having 20 shots at Goodison Park and hitting the target eight times.

Only Edouard Mendy (90 per cent) has a better shot save percentage than Ramsdale's 85.7, and given the Gunners continue to allow several shots against, he could put plenty of points on your board as well as his own team's.

 

MATT RITCHIE (Brighton and Hove Albion v Newcastle United)

It will be a tough game for moneybags Newcastle down at Brighton, with Graham Potter's men starting the season superbly, culminating in a well-earned draw against Liverpool at Anfield last time out.

You are never entirely sure what to expect with the Seagulls, though, especially defensively, and the Magpies may fancy troubling their opponents in the battle of the bird nicknames on the south coast.

Only Trent Alexander-Arnold (26) has created more chances among defenders than Newcastle's Matt Ritchie (24) in the Premier League this season. Ritchie, however, does jointly lead all players in the competition this term for chances created from set-plays (13), along with Alexander-Arnold.

With Callum Wilson back and scoring goals, you could look to Ritchie as a potential differential before he is inevitably replaced by a £60million player in January.

 

JAMES WARD-PROWSE (Southampton v Aston Villa)

The Friday night football from St Mary's promises to be an enticing clash between two teams that cannot decide if they are good or not.

Aston Villa have lost four in a row in the league, and the very last thing they will want to see is James Ward-Prowse lining up against them.

Ward-Prowse has been directly involved in more Premier League goals against Villa than he has versus any other side in the competition (5 – 2 goals, 3 assists). These five goal involvements have come in his last five games against them, with three coming in Southampton's 4-3 win at Villa Park last season.

 

RAPHINHA (Leeds United v Leicester City)

Having the fans back at Elland Road this season was supposed to be the not-so-secret weapon for Leeds to push on after an impressive first year back in the Premier League.

That has not quite been the case so far as the Yorkshire side have only won two of their six home games, but with the impressive Raphinha at his disposal, boss Marcelo Bielsa will be hoping to make it three against Leicester.

As well as scoring 40 per cent of Leeds' Premier League goals so far this season (4/10), the Brazilian has created the most chances (18), had the most shots (32) and completed the most dribbles (26) of any player for the Whites so far this term.

 

MOHAMED SALAH (West Ham United v Liverpool)

It may not be the most ambitious shout in the world, but you would need to have a very good excuse to not have Mohamed Salah in your fantasy team right now.

The Egyptian is averaging a goal or assist every 56 minutes in the Premier League this season; the best ratio of any Liverpool player in a campaign in the competition with at least 10 appearances.

He has also scored nine goals in eight games against the Hammers since joining Liverpool, the joint-most he has scored against any Premier League team apart from Watford (also 9).

RAUL JIMENEZ (Crystal Palace v Wolves)

It was a delight to see Jimenez return at the start of this season after nine months out with a fractured skull. Prior to the injury, the Mexican striker was a talisman at Molineux, and he is starting to look like he might be ready to return to form.

Although his strike in the 2-1 win against Everton last week was only his second of the campaign, he is still making a big difference for his team.

His two goals and two assists have been worth seven points to Wolves in the Premier League this season – only Michail Antonio (9) and Son Heung-min (8) have been more valuable to their sides through goals and assists.

Is a move to London on the cards for Kingsley Coman?

Coman and Bayern Munich have so far been unable to reach an agreement over a new deal.

Chelsea are reportedly ready to pounce.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA TARGETING COMAN

Chelsea are monitoring Bayern Munich forward Kingsley Coman, according to Bild.

Coman has been in negotiations with Bundesliga champions Bayern regarding a new contract, but up until now, the Frenchman has been unwilling to re-sign.

Champions League holders Chelsea are keeping tabs on Coman, who has also been linked with Barcelona, Liverpool and Manchester United.

 

ROUND-UP

- It is set to be a busy time at St James' Park. Sky Sports reports Eddie Howe has agreed to become Newcastle United's manager, while El Nacional claims the Magpies have made Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen a transfer priority.

Barcelona are prioritising a January move for RB Leipzig star Dani Olmo, per Diario AS. Should they fail in their pursuit, out-of-favour Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling is the alternative.

- Sport1 claims the agent of Salzburg sensation Karim Adeyemi has met with LaLiga champions Atletico Madrid. The 19-year-old has also been linked with Bayern, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain.

PSG and Bayern are eyeing Inter midfielder Marcelo Brozovic on a free transfer, says Calciomercato. United and Barca are also reportedly interested.

After their lucrative takeover, Newcastle United are set to make a transfer splash in January.

The Magpies are winless and second last in the Premier League table this season.

Newcastle remain without a manager, following Steve Bruce's dismissal a fortnight ago.

 

TOP STORY – MAGPIES IN FOR COUTINHO LOAN DEAL

Newcastle United look set to make a move for Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho in January, according to Spanish newspaper Sport.

Financially embattled LaLiga giants Barca are said to be keen to offload the former Liverpool forward, who arrived at Camp Nou from the Reds in 2018.

Barcelona are reportedly ready to accept a loan deal that includes a mandatory option to buy with Newcastle.

ROUND-UP

Barcelona are bullish about signing up Ousmane Dembele to a fresh three-year deal with the option for a further season, claims Mundo Deportivo. Dembele has been linked with LiverpoolManchester United and Juventus.

- Barca are also considering a move to sign Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele on loan, reports Sport. Ndombele has made nine appearances this season.

- Brazilian club Palmeiras have entered the race to sign Manchester United's Edinson Cavani, claims the Daily Express. The Uruguayan signed a one-year contract extension in May.

- Former Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho wants to bring Spurs midfielder Harry Winks and Chelsea's Ruben Loftus-Cheek to Roma, reports Corriere dello Sport.

- Sky Sports reports ex-Roma head coach Paulo Fonseca is still interested in the vacant Newcastle managerial role. Fonseca nearly took over at Tottenham in the off-season. Magpies candidate Unai Emery announced he was staying with Villarreal on Wednesday.

- La Nazione says Tottenham are firmly in the race to sign Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic, who has also been linked with Manchester City, Inter, Arsenal, Atletico Madrid and Juve.

Unai Emery has confirmed he will remain at Villarreal despite significant interest from Newcastle United.

Emery was said to have been made the number one target of Newcastle's new owners following last month's takeover, which saw Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) take an 80 per cent share in the club, as they look to replace former head coach Steve Bruce.

Following Villarreal's Champions League win over Young Boys on Tuesday, Emery said he was aware of interest from Newcastle but had received no offer from the struggling Premier League club.

In a subsequent statement released on Wednesday, Emery praised the "transparency and loyalty" from Villarreal's ownership and the players amid the speculation as he revealed his decision to stay put.

Emery said: "Villarreal is my home and I'm 100 per cent committed. Honestly, I'm grateful for the interest of a great club, but still more grateful to be here.

"That's why I communicated to [owner] Fernando Roig my decision that I wanted to continue being a part of this project for the commitment and respect that I perceive from the club and my players, which is mutual and reciprocal.

"I want to thank the fans for the support they have always shown me.

"On Sunday, we have a really important game [against Getafe] and I hope that together we can achieve victory. We'll see you at the Estadio de la Ceramica."

With Emery having rebuffed their advances, former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe is the favourite for the Newcastle job.

Still waiting for their first win of the season, the Magpies are six points adrift of safety in the Premier League and visit Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlahovic is winning plenty of admirers.

The 21-year-old Serbian has netted 10 times in 12 appearances at club level this season.

Vlahovic is currently under contract until June 23, although La Viola want him to sign an extension.

TOP STORY – PSG TO ENTER VLAHOVIC RACE

Paris Saint-Germain will enter the race to sign Fiorentina's Dusan Vlahovic, claims Le10Sports.

The Parisians are lining up the Serbian striker as a potential successor to Kylian Mbappe should he exit the club when his contract expires at the end of this season, with Real Madrid circling.

Hot property Vlahovic is being pursued by JuventusLiverpool and Tottenham.

ROUND-UP

- Unai Emery will not be the first permanent manager in Newcastle United's new era, BBC Sport journalist and Spanish football expert Guillem Balague understands. The Basque coach is set to stay at Villarreal for now, though his job there is under threat amid a poor start to 2021-22.

- The Sun reports Antonio Conte's arrival at Tottenham has seen Harry Kane abandon any plans he had to quit the club. Kane apparently wished to join Manchester City during the most recent transfer window.

- New Spurs boss Conte wants to sign Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, according to Metro. Conte also has Inter defender Stefan de Vrij in his sights, claims Football Insider.

Milan are in the race to sign talented River Plate star Julian Alvarez in the off-season, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. Fiorentina have also shown interest in 21-year-old Alvarez, who has four caps for Argentina.

Norwich City are considering a move to replace embattled manager Daniel Farke with former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe, claims the Daily Mail. The Canaries have only two points from 10 games following their return to the Premier League. Howe has also been linked with the vacant Newcastle job.

Newcastle want to make Inter's Croatian midfielder Marcelo Brozovic their first major signing in January, says The Sun. Brozovic is out of contract at the end of the season.

Lazio are looking to convince Luiz Felipe to ink a new deal with the club amid interest from BarcelonaSevilla and Real Betis, reports CalcioMercato. The Brazilian centre-back's contract expires at the end of this season.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.