Arsenal have moved to bolster their defence with the signing of England international Ben White from Brighton and Hove Albion for a reported £50million fee.

White has signed a long-term deal at the Emirates Stadium in a move that was completed on Friday.

The 23-year-old had agreed a four-year deal with Brighton in 2020 after impressing on loan with Leeds United in the 2019-20 season.

White went on to establish himself as a key part of Graham Potter's side, making 36 Premier League appearances last term.

His form was rewarded with a call up to England's provisional squad for Euro 2020, with White then replacing the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold in Gareth Southgate's 26-man selection.

Though he did not make an appearance at the Euros, Arsenal have nevertheless committed to a huge outlay on the youngster. Mikel Arteta's side are short at the back having allowed David Luiz to leave upon the expiration of his contract.

Jack Grealish could soon be a Manchester City player.

The Premier League champions have long been linked with the Aston Villa captain who, along with Tottenham talisman Harry Kane, reportedly represents City's top target as Pep Guardiola looks to add further creativity to an attacking unit which is already the envy of European football.

On Friday, reports emerged that City had lodged a £100million bid for the 25-year-old, who helped England reach the final of Euro 2020 earlier this month.

City and Villa both refused to comment on the rumours. 

As speculation continues, Stats Perform has assessed what Grealish could bring to City, should the deal – which would be a Premier League record – go through.

 

THE NUMBERS

Grealish played 26 times in the league last season, missing 12 games towards the end of the campaign due to a shin injury.

He scored six times, adding 10 assists. His 70 chances created from open play was 26 more than any other Villa player, and only seven shy of Bruno Fernandes' league-leading 77.

When counting chances created in total, including from set plays, Grealish (81) ranked third in the league, behind Mason Mount (87) and Fernandes (95), though they played 10 and 11 games more than the Villa captain respectively.

Grealish outscored his expected goals tally of 4.65, while only Harry Kane (14), Kevin De Bruyne (12) and Fernandes (12) supplied more assists.

The playmaker, who often played on the left flank for Villa, attempted 110 dribbles, tallying up a success rate of 59.09 per cent, the seventh-best out of Premier League players to attempt 100 or more dribbles.

 

HOW HE COULD FIT IN

Capable of playing centrally or wide, Grealish will add another high-quality, versatile option to Guardiola's already packed squad. His 81 chances created leads the way out of City and Villa players from last term, with De Bruyne (80) a close second.

No Villa or City player attempted or completed more dribbles than Grealish, whose ability to carry the ball into dangerous positions and then release a timely pass will surely be a big draw for Guardiola, though he will want sharp, snappy passing to be brought into the midfielder's game.

Based on City's current options, Grealish would likely be competing with De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez – though several of those players have been linked with moves away – for a place in the team, either as a central midfielder or a wide attacker in the champions' preferred 4-3-3 system.

Of those players, only De Bruyne played more passes, including crosses, into the penalty area – the Belgium star doing so on 239 occasions – than Grealish. However, he was some 90 ahead, while playing one game less.

Grealish's shot count of 50 ranked him fifth out of those seven players, with his shot conversion rate of 12 per cent also the fifth-best.

De Bruyne (7.4 per cent from 80) and Silva (7.14 per cent from 28) had a lower conversion percentage, though logic would suggest Grealish will have more opportunities to shoot in a City team that managed 599 attempts last season, 79 more than Villa's total.

 

HOW WOULD VILLA MANAGE?

Should Villa collect £100m, they would be well placed to reinvest, but there is no doubt Grealish would be a huge miss for Dean Smith's team.

Villa have gone some way to mitigating the damage a potential transfer would cause, with Emiliano Buendia – a creative fulcrum for Norwich City last season – arriving earlier in the transfer window.

Ashley Young has made a return to Villa Park on a free transfer from Serie A champions Inter, while Villa also made several bids for Arsenal's Emile Smith Rowe before the 20-year-old signed a new deal with the Gunners.

Leon Bailey, Bayer Leverkusen's flying winger, has also been linked. The Jamaica international scored 15 goals and provided 10 assists in 40 appearances last season, and his arrival would certainly soften the blow somewhat, though there is a chance he may need time to adapt from the Bundesliga.

Bailey created 63 chances in total, with 11 of these classed as "big chances" – Grealish, by comparison, created 14 big opportunities in league football in 2020-21.

While Villa would certainly have to adapt, the options they could pursue with £100m to spend would present an opportunity for significant upgrades elsewhere in the squad as Smith looks to push for European qualification.

City, meanwhile, would be bringing in one of English football's best talents, with Grealish having the opportunity to head into his prime years at one of Europe's biggest clubs.

Raphael Varane has posted a heartfelt goodbye to Real Madrid ahead of his transfer to Manchester United.

It was announced on Tuesday that the Red Devils had agreed a deal in principle to sign the France centre-back, who had a year left on his contract with LaLiga giants Madrid.

United are reported to be paying a fee of £42.7million (€50m) to secure the transfer, with the player set to travel to England this week, where he will undergo a period of isolation before completing a medical.

Varane visited Madrid's Valdebebas training ground on Friday for the final time before departing the club where he won four Champions Leagues and three LaLiga titles among a host of trophies following his arrival from Lens in 2011.

"These past few days have been charged with many emotions, feelings that I now want to share with all of you," he wrote on Instagram.

"After 10 incredible and wonderful years at Real Madrid, a club I will always carry in my heart, the day has come to say goodbye.

"Since I arrived in 2011, together we exceeded all expectations and achieved things I could never have dreamed of.

"I would like to thank all the coaches and all the people who work or have worked for the club for everything they have done for me.

"Many thanks also to all the Madridistas who always gave me a lot of affection and with their great demands pushed me to give my best and to fight for every success.

"I have had the honour of sharing a dressing room with the best players in the world. Countless victories I will never forget, especially 'La Decima'. I realise it's been a great privilege to have been able to experience such special moments.

"Finally, I want to thank all Spaniards and especially the city of Madrid, where my two children were born. This country will always be special to me.

"It's been an incredible journey in every way. I leave with the feeling of having given everything and I will not change a single thing in this story of ours.

"A new chapter begins..."

 

Kieran Trippier has one year remaining on his Atletico Madrid contract.

The England international has been heavily linked with a move to Manchester United.

It has been reported that Trippier wants to return to England, having left Tottenham for LaLiga in 2019.

 

TOP STORY - TRIPPIER TO WAIT ON UNITED MOVE

Manchester United target Kieran Trippier is willing to wait until late in the transfer window to secure his move, reports the Telegraph.

Atletico Madrid full-back Trippier is said to have set his sights on a move to United, who have already been busy in the transfer market by launching moves for Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane.

The report claims Trippier is prepared to sit tight and wait for United to raise the funds required to put together a move for the 30-year-old former Manchester City junior.

 

ROUND-UP

- Aston Villa are ready to restart talks with Jack Grealish about a new deal next week as Manchester City begin to ramp up their interest, according to the Express and Star.

- Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma is being lined up by West Ham,  with a proposed £20m bid set to be tabled, according to the Daily Mail. It had been reported Zouma may be used in a deal for Sevilla's Jules Kounde.

- Barcelona are lining up a second bid to sign Juventus defender Cristian Romero after having had a player-plus-cash deal turned down, reports SportItalia. Tottenham are also keen on Romero.

- Celtic could make a move for ex-England goalkeeper Joe Hart, who is currently on Tottenham's books, says BBC Sport.

West Ham have completed the signing of goalkeeper Alphonse Areola on loan from Paris Saint-Germain.

Areola, who spent the 2019-20 campaign on loan at Real Madrid, was at Fulham last season but could not help prevent Scott Parker's team dropping down to the Championship.

The 28-year-old was nevertheless impressive during the campaign and West Ham have moved to keep him in the Premier League for at least another season.

Areola, who was part of France's 2018 World Cup squad but did not make an appearance in Russia for Les Bleus, has signed a one-year loan deal, which also sees the Hammers have the option to make the transfer permanent in 2022.

Lukasz Fabianski made 35 appearances as David Moyes' team went on to secure European football with a sixth-place finish, though Areola will now provide stern competition to the Poland international.

"Alphonse is an experienced and talented goalkeeper who has played at the highest level and performed very well in the Premier League last season," Moyes told West Ham's official website.

"As we prepare for a very busy schedule, he will provide fantastic competition for the goalkeepers already at the football club and we are going to need to use our squad to ensure compete to the best of our abilities across all competitions."

In 36 Premier League appearances last season, Areola conceded 48 goals, outperforming an expected goals against tally of 50.2, suggesting he pulled off saves which he would not have been expected to make.

Only Sam Johnstone, Aaron Ramsdale, Emiliano Martinez and Illan Meslier were forced into action more times than Areola, who made 116 saves in total and also tallied up 39 clearances (including punches), the fifth-most of any goalkeeper in the top flight.

His save percentage of 70.37 ranks him sixth out of goalkeepers to played at least 30 games, while he kept nine clean sheets – as many as Manchester United's David de Gea, though one fewer than Fabianski and 10 less than league-leader Ederson, who was of course helped by a stingy Manchester City defence.

One area where Areola presents an improvement is with his passing, his accuracy of 68.74 per cent some way better than Fabianski (54.91).

"For me it was the best opportunity to sign for this club, to sign for West Ham and to try my best to help the team," Areola said.

"We have really good squad. I watched games last season so I know the potential and the talent in this squad, so I can't wait to start."

Dani Carvajal has signed a new four-year contract at Real Madrid which will keep him at the Santiago Bernabeu until 2025.

Right-back Carvajal joins midfielder Luka Modric and versatile defender Nacho in agreeing fresh terms with the club ahead of the 2021-22 season.

Carvajal came through the youth ranks but was sold to Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen in July 2012 having not managed to make a single first-team appearance.

However, Madrid exercised a buy-back option on Carvajal the following year and he has since gone on to become a regular, helping the club secure plenty of silverware. He has won LaLiga twice with Madrid, as well as the Champions League on four occasions.

However, Carvajal struggled with injury problems last season, making just 13 appearances in LaLiga as Zinedine Zidane's squad were unable to defend their league crown.

A hamstring injury ruled him out of contention for Spain's squad for Euro 2020 but he has begun training with his Madrid team-mates under the watch of new head coach Carlo Ancelotti ahead of the upcoming campaign.

 

It seems clear that Paul Pogba will not remain at Old Trafford for the long haul.

Also clear: Paris Saint-Germain's interest in the France midfielder.

The big question that remains to be answered is the timing of a potential move for the Manchester United man.

 

TOP STORY – PSG WEIGH UP POGBA OPTIONS

Paris Saint-Germain are interested in a move for Paul Pogba but are still debating when to make their bid.

According to The Athletic, PSG have begun discussions to determine Pogba's interest in a move but have not made a formal approach to United.

While the report says a bid is expected within the next few weeks, it remains a possibility that PSG could wait until Pogba is out of contract in 2022 and deal with the player directly.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised Manchester United's transfer business as he declared the Red Devils were in a "good position" ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.

Jadon Sancho joined on Friday from Borussia Dortmund and with a deal agreed in principle for Raphael Varane from Real Madrid, Solskjaer hailed the work done to strengthen his squad this month.

United's manager, who signed a new contract until 2024 on Saturday, spoke after his side's 2-2 draw with Brentford in a pre-season friendly at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

"First of all the club shows ambition with one of the most exciting young players in world football, then one of the most respected centre-backs," Solskjaer said post-match.

"We have different ways of playing with Raphael. I can't wait to get him in, hopefully we can get that sorted as soon as.

"Of course, [we are] very happy that we've managed to get a deal with Real Madrid. [The] medical should hopefully be OK. He's a proven winner, a player we've followed for many years."

Varane has collected three LaLiga titles and four Champions League triumphs in a 10-year spell in Madrid, though with a year left on his contract he felt it was time to move on.

The France international also won the World Cup in 2018 before playing in all four games at Euro 2020, where he was the only France defender to not be dribbled past.

The signing of Varane is, as Solskjaer says, likely to go through soon and the former United forward is delighted to have done business early this transfer window.

"We've scrambled before towards the end of the window and now I have to say we're in a good position," he added before providing an update on Marcus Rashford's potential surgery and the return of his international stars.

"With Marcus, we'll probably make a decision in the next few days when we check him up again. What's best for him and best for the club has to be considered.

"I haven't got a Scooby Doo how they [the returning internationals] are fitness-wise. Everyone's due in Monday for training, that means three weeks since the last game. We'll see how they are, what fitness levels they are at."

The Red Devils have friendlies left against Preston North End and Everton before kicking off their Premier League campaign against Leeds United on August 14.

Kylian Mbappe dealt a blow to major clubs across Europe by revealing his greatest ambition is to win the Champions League with Paris-Saint Germain.

Mbappe's contract with PSG expires in 2022 and there has been no shortage of speculation over his future.

Mauricio Pochettino's side finished as Ligue 1 runners-up to Lille and departed at the Champions League semi-final stage in a disappointing 2020-21 season.

Mbappe scored 42 goals in 47 appearances in all competitions for the Paris giants last season  – only Robert Lewandowski (48) scored more across Europe's top-five leagues.

Despite PSG's underwhelming season, the former Monaco star expressed his desire to stay in the French capital in a joint-interview with Neymar for PSG Magazine.

Marca published the interview on Wednesday, with Neymar initially stating: "My biggest dream with PSG is to win the Champions League and with Brazil to win the World Cup".

When the Brazi forward flipped the question on his team-mate, Mbappe answered that his "biggest dream is to win the Champions League with PSG, that would be fantastic."

 

The interview took place in May, but is only being released on Friday as a commemorative 10-year edition of PSG Magazine, so Mbappe's preferences may well have changed.

Since then, Mbappe has endured a lean spell at Euro 2020 in which he failed to score in France's four matches and decisively missed from the penalty spot in their last-16 shoot-out exit to Switzerland.

While he converted just over one of every four shots in Ligue 1, Mbappe failed to find the net at the European Championship as he spurned 14 attempts.

France's exit represented the first time since 2010 that Les Bleus had not made it past the quarter-final stages of a major tournament but Mbappe is hopeful for more success in Qatar in 2022.

"Winning another World Cup would be very good too," he added, jokingly responding to Neymar's assertion that "the next World Cup is for me".

Mbappe is back in training for PSG as Pochettino's men prepare for the French Super Cup final against Lille on Sunday.

Chelsea have signed Marcus Bettinelli on a two-year deal after his contract with neighbours Fulham expired.

The goalkeeper made 120 appearances over a decade at Craven Cottage but will now provide back-up to Edouard Mendy and Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Bettinelli, 29, will replace Willy Caballero, who left Chelsea as a free agent after just two appearances in all competitions last season.

The new man has limited top-flight experience, having made his Premier League debut for Fulham against Burnley in August 2018. That game started a run of seven league starts under Slavisa Jokanovic.

Bettinelli's form over that stretch earned a call-up to Gareth Southgate's England squad, though he did not make an appearance for the Three Lions.

On moving to Stamford Bridge, Bettinelli said: "It's always been a special club. I know the area very well so it's been a dream of mine to come over to this side and it's finally happened.

"There were some talks a few years ago when I was a bit younger and for whatever reason that didn't come about but I'm here now.

"I'm really excited to be involved and looking forward to trying to impress and help the team as much as I can."

Robert Lewandowski will definitely not leave Bayern Munich in the next two years, according to the German champions' president Herbert Hainer.

The prolific striker was crowned Germany’s Footballer of the Year for 2021 last week after scoring 41 Bundesliga goals to break Gerd Muller's long-standing single-season record.

His 48 goals in all competitions were the most scored by any player in Europe's top five league in 2020-21, followed by Kylian Mbappe (42) and Erling Haaland (41).

Lewandowski has netted 294 goals in 329 appearances overall for Bayern since joining from domestic rivals Borussia Dortmund in 2014, including 203 in 219 league games.

But the 32-year-old has been linked with a move away from the Allianz Arena this transfer window, with Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City all reportedly interested in striking a deal.

However, new boss Julian Nagelsmann recently said he is not bothered by the speculation and president Hainer has reiterated Lewandowski is going nowhere while under contract until 2023.

"Firstly, in my opinion, Lewandowski is the best striker in the world. We are so happy that we have him in our team," he told Goal.

"He still has two more years on his contract. He will definitely play those with Bayern Munch. I said it already a few weeks ago – I could imagine him staying with us for even longer. 

"He will honour his contract. He will definitely play the next two seasons here at Bayern Munich."

 

Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland has previously been touted as a possible replacement for Lewandowski, but Bayern are not currently in the market for a new striker.

"As I said, Robert will definitely be here for the next two seasons with Bayern. Then we will look for a successor," Hainer said.

Joshua Kimmich is another valuable Bayern player who has two years to run on his existing deal, while Manchester United-linked Leon Goretzka is set to become a free agent at the end of 2021-22.

Both players returned to training this week after being given an extended break following their Euro 2020 exertions and talks over fresh terms will soon commence.

"As you know, they went on holiday after the European Championship," Hainer said. "They were back yesterday in the training sessions.

"Now we have time to talk to them. And hopefully, within the next week, we will find agreements with them."

Bayern play their third friendly of pre-season on Wednesday with a home match against fellow Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach.

Nagelsmann's men then face Napoli before beginning their 2021-22 campaign with a DFB-Pokal tie against lower-league opposition Bremer SV on August 6.

Jack Grealish has been linked with a move away from Aston Villa in the past, and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is a known long-term admirer.

Grealish is currently on holidays after Euro 2020, but talks of a huge transfer to City have not gone away.

Could the Premier League champions be about to make their move?

 

MAN CITY SET TO TABLE GREALISH BID

Manchester City are set to officially commence their move for Aston Villa's Jack Grealish with a £75m bid, claims the Daily Mail.

According to the report, Villa will hold out for £100m for their star England international.

Villa have no desire to sell Grealish for anything less and will know Guardiola is keen to secure his services.

 

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea have opened talks with Sevilla about potentially signing French centre-back Jules Kounde, according to The Guardian. The 22-year-old has a release clause worth €80m (£68.4m).

- Arsenal have enquired with Inter about star forward Lautaro Martinez, reports the Telegraph. It is believed Inter may be willing to sell the Argentina striker for €90m (£77m).

- Eurosport reports that West Ham are interested in a move for Manchester United defender Phil Jones who has struggled with injury in recent times.

- Newcastle are closing in on a deal for Arsenal's Joe Willock, and it could be finalised  within the next 48 hours after his loan stint last season, claims Mail Online.

- Liverpool may sign Wolves' Spanish winger Adama Traore in a cut-price £30m deal, according to the Star.

Manchester United have confirmed they have reached an agreement in principle with Real Madrid for defender Raphael Varane.

With only 12 months remaining on his Madrid contract, Varane has been allowed to join the Red Devils.

United are reported to be paying a fee of £42.7million (€50m) to secure the transfer, which is subject to a medical and terms being finalised with the player.

Having recently brought in Jadon Sancho, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is poised to add one of the world's best defenders as United outspend their major European rivals ahead of the new season.

Varane is expected to sign a four-year deal and Solskjaer, who has cited defensive frailties as a problem throughout his tenure, fills yet another key position.

Having moved to Madrid in 2011 from Lens, Varane has a wealth of experience, winning three LaLiga titles and four Champions League crowns as he has racked up over 350 appearances in the Spanish capital.

In the absence of Sergio Ramos for much of last season, Varane impressed again.

The centre-back ranked second among Madrid defenders in terms of both duels won (110) and interceptions (36) in LaLiga.

It was Varane's aerial presence that really shone through at the back and his 73 successful aerial duels were more than double the tallies of his defensive colleagues.

Indeed, out of all defenders in LaLiga to contest 20 or more aerial duels, Varane's success rate of 76 per cent was the best during the 2020-21 campaign.

That ability in the air will boost a United side lacking in that sense last term, despite Harry Maguire's expertise. Excluding penalties, only Leeds United (15) conceded more Premier League goals from set-pieces than United's 14.

 

Varane's vast experience even beyond his Madrid exploits should aid Solskjaer's side, too.

The defender has played 79 times for France, winning the World Cup in 2018 before playing in all four games at Euro 2020 on the way to Les Bleus' shock last-16 exit.

Varane was the only France defender who saw action and was not dribbled past by an opponent at the Euros, showing his talent on the ground as well as in the air.

With pace to get out of trouble, Varane appears an excellent foil for Maguire as United look to improve on last campaign's second-placed Premier League finish.

United finished 12 points behind rivals and champions Manchester City and will hope to have both Sancho and Varane available when they start their quest to bridge that gap against Leeds at Old Trafford on August 14.

Manchester United have confirmed they have reached an agreement in principle with Real Madrid for defender Raphael Varane.

With only 12 months remaining on his Madrid contract, Varane has been allowed to join the Red Devils.

United are reported to be paying a fee of £42.7million (€50m) to secure the transfer, which is subject to a medical and to player terms being finalised.

 

 

 

Borussia Dortmund have confirmed the signing of Dutch forward Donyell Malen from PSV on a five-year contract.

The 22-year-old, who featured in all four of the Netherlands' Euro 2020 matches, is reported to have cost Dortmund up to €40million.

Malen previously spent time in the academies of Ajax and Arsenal, but it is with PSV that he made his senior breakthrough in February 2018.

He went on to make 116 appearances for the Eredivisie side in all competitions and played a direct part in 79 goals, finding the net 55 times himself and setting up a further 24.

Last season was Malen's best to date in terms of his attacking output as he scored 19 times in 32 Eredivisie games to help PSV finish second to Ajax. 

Those 19 goals were scored from 113 shots, 87 of which were not blocked.

Sixty of those efforts found the target, giving him a shooting accuracy of 68.97 per cent – the best return of any player in the Dutch top flight to have had at least 50 attempts.

In February, he became the second youngest player to score 10 or more goals for PSV in three successive league campaigns after Willy van der Kuijlen between 1964 and 1967.

Malen carried that form into Euro 2020, with his four big chances created bettered by only Gareth Bale (five) at the tournament.

 

After being granted permission to train with his new Dortmund team-mates for the first time on Tuesday, BVB confirmed the signing on their official website later in the day.

The forward's arrival will soften the blow of losing Jadon Sancho to Manchester United, at a time when questions persist over Erling Haaland's future at the Westfalenstadion.

However, speaking earlier on Tuesday, Dortmund's head of first team football Sebastian Kehl dismissed suggestions Malen has been brought in to replace Sancho.

"To compare anyone with Jadon is really unfair," he told Sky Sport Germany. "Jadon needed a certain amount of time to develop to that point himself.

"Donyell is a different player. He likes to cut inside from the wing, whereas Jadon liked to stay out wide. 

"We have tried bringing in a player with a different profile, and we are very happy with that."

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