Sanchez remains with Gunners

Alexis Sanchez remains an Arsenal player following the closure of the transfer window, his move to Manchester City failing to materialise.

A conditional agreement was said to have been reached between City and Arsenal for the Chilean, 28, to move to Etihad Stadium for a fee of £55m, plus £5m add-ons, but it was reliant on Arsenal replacing him.

Arsene Wenger's key target, on a day when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain left for Liverpool, was Monaco winger Thomas Lemar, who is thought to have decided against a move to north London.

Arsenal had offered the Ligue 1 club a fee in the region of £90m for Lemar.

That meant Sanchez was left in limbo, in spite of reports earlier in the day that the former Barcelona winger had told friends and family he was leaving for Manchester City.

Sanchez is now into the final year of his contract and is likely to leave on a free transfer next summer.

Lucas Perez meanwhile did leave Arsenal on Thursday, returning to former club Deportivo La Coruna on loan after scoring seven goals in 21 games for the Gunners having signed for in excess of £17m last summer.

Arsenal also turned down a £20m offer from Leicester City for central defender Calum Chambers on what was, eventually, a day of mixed emotions for the Gunners.

Arsenal are 25/1 to win the Premier League this season, while Manchester City are 7/5 and early season pace-setters Manchester United are 9/4.

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Spurs capture Llorente from Swans

Tottenham Hotspur have signed striker Fernando Llorente from Swansea City for a fee in the region of £12m on deadline day.

The 32-year-old Spanish forward comes in as support for club captain Harry Kane, yet to open his Premier League account in three games this term, on a two-year deal.

Llorente scored 15 times for Swansea last season as the Welsh side gamely battled to avoid relegation to the Championship.

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has been hunting for back-up to support last season's Premier League-leading marksman Kane after Vincent Janssen, signed last summer for £17m from AZ Alkmaar, failed to settle.

The 23-year-old Dutch international scored just two league goals in 24 appearances last season.

Earlier on Thursday, Versatile defender Serge Aurier signed a five-year contract with the Londoners.

The 24-year-old Ivory Coast international, who can play at right-back or central defence, left Paris Saint-Germain to try his luck in England and, alongside Llorente, they became the fourth and fifth major signing made by Spurs this summer.

The Llorente move was confirmed as Swansea were able to secure a replacement of their own, former frontman Wilfried Bony returning to the Liberty Stadium from Manchester City.

Tottenham are 11/10 to win their next Premier League game at Everton on 9th September, with the Toffees 5/2 and the draw 23/10 at Goodison Park.

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Foxes grab Dragovic on loan

Leicester City have bolstered their defensive options with the season-long loan signing of Austrian international Aleksandar Dragovic from Bayer Leverkusen.

The 26-year-old heads to King Power Stadium and will link up with his new teammates after concluding international duty with Austria next week.

Dragovic has been capped 52 times by his country and has won major honours in the Austrian, Swiss and Ukrainian leagues, totalling ten trophies in all.

After impressing in his homeland at Austria Vienna, he secured a move to Basel in 2011 and landed a hat-trick of Swiss league titles, while also enjoying a run to the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League semi-finals where they were knocked out by Chelsea.

His next stop was Dynamo Kiev, where Dragovic won two domestic titles in the Ukrainian league and progressed to the Champions League last-16, once again losing to English opposition in the shape of Manchester City.

Last summer, Dragovic moved to the Bundesliga, signing a five-year deal Leverkusen and he went on to make 19 appearances last term.

Meanwhile, Riyad Mahrez has remained at Leicester despite being touted for a deadline day move away from the Foxes.

Arsenal were amongst the clubs being mentioned for the Algerian, but no offer was received by the former Premier League champions.

Leicester are 18/5 to win their next game at home to Chelsea. The champions are 3/4 while the draw is 13/5.

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Holland are closer to the edge

France 4-0 Netherlands

Well, who saw that coming?

Certainly, not Holland.

For the betting odds will now tell you that the Netherlands, semi-finalists at the World Cup in 2014, are unlikely to be going to Russia next summer.

The country that gave us ‘total football’ will not be able to thrill sports betting fans on the biggest stage of all.

Football games between these two giants are supposed to be close!

Granted, this contest was still in the balance until Holland had been harshly reduced to 10 men, courtesy of a quick-fire double booking for midfielder Kevin Strootman.

But this match, which sends France clear at the top of Group A, was ultimately as one-sided as the scoreline suggests.

Antoine Griezmann set Les Bleus on their way before the in-demand Thomas Lemar added a few more noughts to his valuation with his first goals for the national team.

Hours after Arsenal reportedly failed in a £92 million pound bid, Lemar lit up the Stade de France on his sixth appearance for his country, his first being a superb volley from the edge of the area.

Don’t be surprised if he does end up at a new club by the time you read this!

It was left to PSG bound Kylian Mbappe – how sad for AS Monaco they have lost so many of their top players this summer – to deliver the coup de grace and inflict Holland’s heaviest defeat in a competitive game.

Dick Advocaat may have settled things slightly since his return to the helm but it won’t be enough for a nation in serious danger of missing out on a major finals for the second time in a row.

‘Oranje’ seem in transition and anything other than victory at home to Bulgaria this weekend will spell their end of their qualifying hopes.

France have one foot at Russia 2018, Holland are a footstep away from elimination.


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Vlasic delight at Toffees switch

Everton have completed a £10m deadline day deal to sign Hajduk Split's teenage forward Nikola Vlasic on a five-year contract.

Vlasic says he was 'smiling all day' after completing his dream move to Merseyside and cannot wait to get started with Ronald Koeman and his new Toffees teammates.

The forward became the ninth signing of a busy summer at Goodison Park, with Koeman known to have been in the hunt for a forward after losing Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United.

Vlasic won his first senior international cap in May when he completed 90 minutes of Croatia's 2-1 friendly win over Mexico in Los Angeles.

He impressed in Everton's recent Europa League qualifiers against Hajduk Split, having scored 11 goals in 87 appearances for his former club.

"I cannot describe how excited I am," Vlasic told Everton's website.

"I have been smiling all day. I just cannot wait to meet all my new teammates and everyone at the Club. I am so excited.

"The Premier League is the best league in the world and this is a top-five club in England.

"It is such a big honour for me to be here. When I heard that Everton were interested in me, I just knew. I wanted to come here straight away."

Everton are 5/2 to win their next Premier League game at home to Tottenham on 9th September.

Spurs are 11/10 and the draw is 23/10.

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Mbappe completes PSG move

Paris St-Germain have signed 18-year-old forward Kylian Mbappe on a season-long loan from Monaco.

The Ligue 1 giants, who have already signed Neymar from Barcelona for a world-record transfer fee this summer, have the option to sign the teenager on a permanent four-year deal next summer.

Paris St-Germain have confirmed the deal to bring Mbappe to the French capital, with the club having been unable to sign him permanently in this window as the transfer fee involved, expected to be in the region of €180, would see them in breach of the Financial Fair Play rules after Neymar's move.

Mbappe has already been capped four times for France at senior international level, and is part of Didier Deschamps' squad for the 2018 World Cup qualifier against the Netherlands this evening.

The forward appeared 29 times for Monaco in the French top flight last season, scoring 15 goals.

He also scored home and away as Monaco dumped Pep Guardiola's Manchester City out of the Champions League last-16 back in March, helping his side to an away goals win after the tie ended 6-6.

Mbappe scored three goals as Monaco ousted Borussia Dortmund in the last-eight while he also netted in the semi-final defeat to Juventus.

"I really wanted to be a part of the club's project, which is one of the most ambitious in Europe," said Mbappe.

Paris St-Germain are 13/2 to win the Champions League this season, while Real Madrid are 15/4 to triumph for the third successive season and Bayern Munich are 7/1.

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Dyche pleased with Wells deal

Burnley boss Sean Dyche is confident that he has made a valuable addition to his squad in bringing in striker Nahki Wells from Huddersfield Town.

The 27-year-old Bermuda international has signed a three-year contract at Turf Moor, having dropped down the pecking order with the newly-promoted Terriers, who have signed the likes of Steve Mounie, Laurent Depoitre and Tom Ince this summer.

However, Dyche believes that Wells has plenty to offer in the top-flight, although the forward is currently out of action due to an ankle injury.

He told the club's official website: "We welcome Nahki as another striking option and a player who is different to those we have.

"He holds a different-skill set and, therefore, we feel he can only enhance our attacking options in due course."

Wells had been with Huddersfield since January 2014, scoring 48 goals in 152 appearances in all competitions, helping the club gain promotion to the Premier League last season.

He had previously made his name with Bradford City, netting 53 times in 112 appearances for the Bantams.

And Wells is desperate to try and show what he can do in the top-flight, adding: "I'm here to grow. It's a step up for me and it's one that I’m relishing.

"I don't see why I can't learn of the strikers here and hopefully find a combination with the attacking options and play my part in helping move this club forward."

The arrival of Wells at the Clarets comes a matter of days since Chris Wood joined from Leeds United, with the latter marking his league debut for the club with a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Tottenham.

Burnley are currently 6/4 to be relegated this season, with Newcastle United priced at 7/2 and Huddersfield available at 7/4.

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Swans complete Sanches coup

Swansea City have clinched a major coup by completing the signing of Portugal midfielder Renato Sanches on a season-long loan from Bayern Munich.

The 20-year-old Euro 2016 winner found first-team opportunities limited in his first season at the Allianz Arena and has opted for a change of scenery in heading to the Liberty Stadium.

A major factor in the completion of the deal was the fact that Swans head coach Paul Clement had worked with Sanches when both men were at Bayern, with Clement having been assistant manager to Carlo Ancelotti before taking charge at City at the start of the year.

Before joining the Bundesliga giants, Sanches had risen to prominence with Benfica, breaking into the Portugal set-up in time to play a part in their finest moment on the international stage.

He made his senior debut at Euro 2016 and featured in all six games as Portugal were crowned champions for the first time in their history, starting in the 1-0 final victory over hosts France.

And Bayern remain confident that Sanches will be an important player for them in the future, while being pleased to give him an opportunity to gain some much-needed experience.

Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge told the club's official website: "We're delighted we've been able to conclude the load deal with Swansea City. Our goal was for Renato to gain regular match practice at club level in a strong league such as the Premier League.

"We remain convinced he has the potential to become an important player for Bayern in the future. For this reason the agreement states that the player will return to Bayern on 1st July 2018 with no option to make the transfer permanent."

Sanches could make his Swans bow on Sunday September 10th, when the Welshmen play host to Newcastle United.

City are 13/10 to win the game at the Liberty Stadium and are 7/4 to keep a clean sheet, with Swansea 11/1 to claim a 2-0 victory over the Magpies.

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It’s a Huge Relief for the Happy Samurai

Japan 2-0 Australia

I think nobody, not even the shrewdest football betting vet out there, expected this Japan-Australia match to be so lopsided.

The Samurai Blue were slightly favoured by betting websites due to their impressive form in front of their home crowd. Australia were also vulnerable due to their worrying trend of drawing away games. A loss seemed inevitable for the Socceroos if they kept it up.

However, Asian Handicap betting odds saw this match as a close affair and kept Japan’s handicap to a minimum. Ange Postecoglou’s XI was also fielded in a 3-4-3 formation, with Bradley Smith and Matthew Leckie occasionally dropping down to help on the defence.

Both sides also had a crack at their opponents’ defence. Tom Rogic had several attempts on goal but didn’t really bother Eiji Kawashima. Takashi Inui and Takuma Asano were pesky for the Australian defence with their speedy attacks.

It looked destined to be a goalless draw until late in the first half. Asano caught Brad Smith relaxing on defence and got free to receive a Yuto Nagatomo cross for an easy first goal. The Arsenal man made his trademark jaguar celebration for the Saitama crowd.

The second half was more of the same: a painful struggle for the Australians only to see the Japanese score the winner late in the game. This time around, it was Genki Haraguchi who crossed it in for Yuto Ideguchi to score.

Tim Cahill was injected on the 70th minute, marking his 101st appearance for the Socceroos. However, his 20 minutes in the pitch did little to change the flow of the game. What’s more worrying for the Australians was that players such as Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa were left out of the match. Leicester’s Shinji Okazaki was only brought in during the game’s dying minutes.

This game is an outstanding victory for Vahid Halilhodzic and the Japanese FA, as this win secures their ticket to Russia. Meanwhile, Australia need to beat Thailand and chase Saudi Arabia for the last automatic qualification slot.

Today’s a good day to be a Samurai Blue fan.


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Aurier excited by Spurs move

Versatile defender Serge Aurier is determined to make a success of his time with Tottenham, having signed a five-year contract with the Londoners.

The 24-year-old Ivory Coast international, who can play at right-back or central defence, has left Paris Saint-Germain to try his luck in England, becoming the fourth major signing made by Spurs so far this summer.

Head coach Mauricio Pochettino has already added defenders Davinson Sanchez and Juan Foyth and goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga to his squad.

And Aurier is looking forward to the fresh challenge of adapting to life in the Premier League, having won 11 trophies during his time with PSG, as well as helping his country to Africa Cup of Nations glory in 2015.

He told his new club's official website: "This is a huge and exciting opportunity at a massive football club and I am determined to prove myself as a professional both on and off the pitch.

"This is a fresh start for me and I will do everything to make the Spurs fanbase proud of me.

"The fans are the most important people at any club and I am looking forward to showing them and everyone at Spurs the real me."

Prior to joining PSG in the summer of 2014, Aurier had previously also played in France for both Lens and Toulouse.

Having finished in second place in the Premier League last season, Spurs have started the new campaign with a win, a draw and a loss.

They are back in action on Saturday 9th September when they head to Goodison Park to take on Everton.

Spurs are available at 11/10 to win that game and are 17/2 to claim a 2-1 victory, with the visitors 11/4 to win the game by a one-goal margin.

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