Tottenham & Inter ‘Far Apart’ Over Milan Škriniar Valuation

Milan Skriniar
Tottenham’s pursuit of Milan Skriniar is far from over | MB Media/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur will continue to push ahead with a bid to sign Inter centre-back Milan Škriniar. However, the two sides are nowhere near close when it comes to agreeing a fee for the Slovakia international.

Spurs boss José Mourinho has identified Škriniar as the ideal man to bolster his defence this summer and has been boosted by the revelation that Inter are prepared to part ways with the 25-year-old.

Jose MourinhoJose Mourinho
Spurs know a deal is possible | Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

However, Inter do not feel under pressure to sell and want to ensure they earn as much money as possible if they do have to offload Škriniar. According to The Guardian, they’re looking for close to €60m (£54.6m), but Spurs are sitting somewhere closer to the €30m mark (£27.3m).

There is believed to be an awareness from Spurs’ side that they will have to increase their offer, although whether they will double their latest proposal remains to be seen. A fresh formal bid is expected to arrive on Inter’s desk in the coming days.

Spurs will be even more determined to get a deal for Škriniar over the line after they missed out on the signing of Benfica’s Rúben Dias, who has agreed to join Manchester City in a deal worth in excess of £60m.

Milan SkriniarMilan Skriniar
Skriniar has struggled to settle under Antonio Conte | Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

However, whether they are financially able to do so is a different matter. Big money has already been spent on Sergio Reguilón, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Matt Doherty, while Gareth Bale has also returned on loan, so the transfer well isn’t as deep as it once was.

Mourinho may be forced to offload some players before being able to land Škriniar. One potential casualty could be right-back Serge Aurier, who has been pursued by the likes of AC Milan and Spartak Moscow this summer.

There are also question marks over the future of midfielder Dele Alli. Despite Mourinho’s public insistance that he’s going nowhere this summer, doubts remain over whether Alli will be able to play his way back into the boss’ plans.

He was again left out of Spurs’ matchday squad on Sunday, meaning he has featured in just two of Spurs first five games in all competitions.

For more from ​Tom Gott, follow him on ​Twitter!


Jürgen Klopp Thrilled to Work With ‘Exceptional’ Thiago Alcántara

Jurgen Klopp is excited about working with Thiago | MATT DUNHAM/Getty Images

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has described new signing Thiago Alcántara as the perfect addition to his squad for the new season.

After pursuing the Spaniard all summer, Liverpool finally managed to reach an agreement with Bayern Munich to sign Thiago for up to £25m, while the 29-year-old impressed on his debut as a half-time substitute against Chelsea.

He managed more passes than anyone in Chelsea blue, despite only playing half the match, and Klopp told Sky Sports that his vision and creativity could help Liverpool reach another level.

“Thiago is obviously a very good football player,” Klopp said. “You saw it [against Chelsea]. Some things are natural for him that are not natural for other players, but we won the league and we won the Champions League without Thiago. He won it with Bayern, so obviously it is a good fit I would say, but we now have to get used to each other.

“There are very special things [he has that separates him from others] in world football. His vision is exceptional, pair that with pretty good technical skills, and a nice passing ability and these kind of things, and you become a really interesting package. That’s what Thiago is.

“On top of that as a guy, he couldn’t be better. It’s incredible, when you give him a ball, he is still a kid. And when you take the ball away he is a really mature and experienced football person, who is interested in a lot of things, tactics and all these kind of things. He wants to learn which is very important.”

Despite not hiding his excitement, Klopp urged supporters to temper their expectations for Thiago and fellow new signings Diogo Jota and Kostas Tsimikas, insisting the trio are still getting to grips with life at Anfield.

“That is a challenge – but that is the situation,” he said (via The Mirror). “You cannot train a lot of intense stuff in between the games, but you can work on tactics. That is possible.

Diogo JotaDiogo Jota
Jota made his debut in the victory over Lincoln City | James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

“Work on positioning and things like this you do a lot in meetings and in talks and then on the pitch as well. I don’t know how often we can do it during a week, we will see. But it is a constant process.

“On the other side, our football because I am a pretty simple person our football is pretty simple. It is not rocket science and it is not that complicated what we do. It just needs a little time to get used to it in moments: counter press stuff like this. It will not take ages, it will take time. We will see how long.”

For more from ​Tom Gott, follow him on ​Twitter!


Benfica Confirm Agreement to Sell Rúben Dias to Manchester City

Ruben Dias
Ruben Dias is on his way to Manchester City | Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images

Benfica have confirmed they have reached an agreement to sell centre-back Rúben Dias to Manchester City, with Nicolás Otamendi moving in the opposite direction.

City boss Pep Guardiola has spent the summer looking to bolster his back line – something which will now be his top priority after Sunday’s 5-2 loss to Leicester City. Nathan Aké joined early in the transfer window and a whole host of other names have been suggested as possible options.

Nathan AkeNathan Ake
City have already signed Ake | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly was seen as Guardiola’s top target, but a failure to reach an agreement for the 29-year-old saw City turn to Sevilla’s Jules Koundé and then Dias. Benfica have now confirmed reports suggesting the Portuguese defender is on his way to Manchester.

“Benfica have reached an agreement with Manchester City for the sale of all the rights of central defender Rúben Dias for the amount of €68m (£63m), plus an additional amount of €3.6m (£3.3m), depending the achievement of goals related to the English club’s sports performance,” a statement on the club’s official website read.

“Said agreement is dependent on the signing of the player’s sporting employment contract with Manchester City.”

Nicolas Otamendi, JoelintonNicolas Otamendi, Joelinton
Otamendi will move in the opposite direction | Michael Regan/Getty Images

The Lisbon side also confirmed that they had reached an agreement to sign Otamendi, who is now discussing personal terms too.

“Benfica reached an agreement with Manchester City to acquire the full rights of central defender Nicolás Otamendi for the amount of €15m (£13.6m),” they added.

“This agreement is dependent on the signing of a sports employment contract with the player and medical examinations.”

Pep GuardiolaPep Guardiola
Guardiola is close to getting his new defender | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Obviously, neither of these deals are complete just yet. Contracts still have to be signed, but according to Fabrizio Romano, that might not take too long as Dias has already informally agreed to a five-year contract at the Etihad Stadium.

Medicals also have to be completed, but should everything go according to plan, expect City to confirm this deal in the near future.

For more from ​Tom Gott, follow him on ​Twitter!


Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang Backs Arsenal Pursuit of Lyon Midfielder Houssem Aouar

Houssem Aouar is Arsenal’s top transfer target | FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has spoken about speculation linking the Gunners with a move for Lyon star Houssem Aouar, saying he would be ‘in favour’ of the deal.

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has made no secret of his desire to recruit a new midfielder and Aouar is understood to be at the top of his wishlist. The dynamic 22-year-old has already made close to 150 appearances for Lyon and played a key role as Rudi Garcia’s side reached the Champions League semi-finals last season.

Houssem AouarHoussem Aouar
Aouar helped Lyon beat Manchester City in last season’s Champions League | Pool/Getty Images

If Aouar does end up joining the club, he will be welcomed with open arms by Aubameyang who lavished him with praise during a recent interview.

“Of course I am in favour [of signing him],” he told Foot+ (via the Metro). “He would add quality. Let’s see what happens. I cannot hide that, even if he is with Lyon.”

Aubameyang is formerly of Lyon’s arch-rivals St Etienne, hence the jibe about the seven-tIme Ligue 1 champions.

Arsenal have already submitted a £32m big for Aouar, which was quickly rebuffed by OL president Jean-Michel Aulas, who values the midfielder far higher. According to French journalist Olivier Tallaron, Lyon are set to demand between €40m and €50m.

If a deal for Aouar cannot be agreed, the Gunners could turn their attention to Atletico Madrid enforcer Thomas Partey. It is understood that Los Rojiblancos are unwilling to let the Ghanaian depart for anything less than his £46m release clause, which Arsenal are unlikely to pay in full.

Thomas ParteyThomas Partey
Thomas Partey is another long time Arsenal target | Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Another option is Chelsea playmaker Jorginho. However, Paris Saint-Germain are also interested in taking the Italian on loan.

A sticking point in all three of these potential deals is money. Arsenal have already spent over £30m on new arrivals during the current window and Arteta does not have much more room for manoeuvre without selling a few players first.

Emiliano Martinez has already been sold to Aston Villa for £15m and several more players may need to leave before the Gunners bring in a new midfielder.


West Ham 4-0 Wolves: Player Ratings as Hammers Stroll to Emphatic Win

Jarrod Bowen, Pablo Fornals, Ben Johnson
A Jarrod Bowen brace helped West Ham to a 3-0 win over Wolves | Pool/Getty Images

A Jarrod Bowen brace helped West Ham secure an impressive 4-0 win over a lacklustre Wolves at the London Stadium on Sunday evening.

The Hammers took the lead in the first half through Bowen, who curled a fine shot past Rui Patricio in the 17th minute.

West Ham continued to dominate after the break and Bowen added a second goal early in the second half. A Tomas Soucek header then made it 3-0 just after the hour mark. With seconds left to play, substitute Sebastian Haller then nodded home to add some gloss to the scoreline.

Here’s 90min‘s player ratings on a great night for David Moyes’ side…

Raul Jimenez, Aaron CresswellRaul Jimenez, Aaron Cresswell
Cresswell and Ogbonna formed two thirds of West Ham’s impressive backline | Sam Bagnall – AMA/Getty Images

Lukasz Fabianski (GK) – 7/10 – Was barely called into action but did okay whenever he was.

Fabian Balbuena (CB) – 8/10 – The least eye catching of West Ham’s back three – but still did not put a foot wrong.

Angelo Ogbonna (CB) – 8/10 – Never looked in trouble and was always a threat from set pieces.

Aaron Cresswell (CB) – 9/10 – A couple of exciting runs forward complemented an assured defensive display. Great ball for Soucek’s goal.

Tomas SoucekTomas Soucek
Soucek looked like he enjoyed his first goal of the season | Pool/Getty Images

Ryan Fredericks (RWB) – 7/10 – Showed great pace and overlapped well before pulling a muscle just after the break. Really suits a wing-back berth.

Tomas Soucek (CM) – 9/10 – Drove forward with intensity. A trademark near-post header capped off a fine performance. Hopefully the Dubious Goal Panel rules in his favour.

Declan Rice (CM) – 7/10 – Kept things ticking over at the base of midfield.

Arthur Masuaku (LWB) – 8/10 – Got up and down nicely, keeping Adama Traoré very quiet indeed.

Jarrod BowenJarrod Bowen
Jarrod Bowen scored a great goal for the Hammers | Pool/Getty Images

Jarrod Bowen (RW) – 9/10 – Sensational finish for the game’s opening goal. A deserved brace for the exciting wide man.

Michail Antonio (ST) – 8/10 – Led the line very competently, showing excellent strength and link up play.

Pablo Fornals (LW) – 8/10 – His quick thinking led to the game’s opening goal, while his fierce shot led to the second.

Jarrod Bowen, Pablo Fornals, Ben JohnsonJarrod Bowen, Pablo Fornals, Ben Johnson
Johnson slotted in well at right-wing back after Fredericks’ injury | Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

Ben Johnson – 7/10

Sebastien Haller – N/A

Mark Noble – N/A

Rui PatricioRui Patricio
Patricio was in fine form for Wolves | Stu Forster/Getty Images

Rui Patricio (GK) – 6/10 – Made several good stops to keep Wolves in it during the first half. Very little he could do about the goals.

Wily Boly (CB) – 5/10 – The least troubled of Wolves back three, which is not saying very much at all.

Conor Coady (CB) – 4/10 – Caused a lot of problems by the impressive Antonio, some of which were self-made.

Romain Saiss (CB) – 4/10 – Bowen had the beating of him all game. Not a good night.

Nelson SemedoNelson Semedo
Semedo made his first start as a Wolves player | Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

Nelson Semedo (RWB) – 6/10 – An okay debut for the former Barcelona man. He showed glimpses of his attacking talent but you expect there’s more to come.

Ruben Neves (CM) – 5/10 – A couple of sloppy moments in possession. Looked leggy at times as well.

Joao Moutinho (CM) – 5/10 – Let West Ham dominate the midfield. Needed to do a bit more of the dirty work.

Ruben Vinagre (LWB) – 5/10 – Largely ineffectual going forward and given a torrid time defensively.

Adama TraoreAdama Traore
It was a frustrating day for Traore | Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

Adam Traore (RW) – 5/10 – Not one of his best games. No lack of effort but couldn’t penetrate the stubborn West Ham backline.

Raul Jimenez (ST) – 5/10 – Starved of service in the first half and things did not improve much after that…

Pedro Neto (LW) – 3/10 – Not a great deal to report. Nothing in fact. It was a nothing performance.

Fabio SilvaFabio Silva
Fabio Silva also made his Wolves debut | Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images

Fabio Silva – 5/10

Ki-Jana Hoever – 5/10

Vitinha – 5/10