Torreira’s arrival pleases Emery

Arsenal manager Unai Emery believes he has made a quality signing after a deal to snap up Uruguay international Lucas Torreira was agreed.

The 22-year-old midfielder, who represented his country at World Cup 2018, moves to the Gunners on a five-year deal from Sampdoria for £26million.

Emery said: "In Lucas Torreira we have signed a young player who is a very bright talent in the game. A midfielder with great quality.

"He is a young player already with good experience, but who wants to keep on growing."

Since replacing Arsene Wenger as Arsenal manager, Emery has also signed goalkeeper Bernd Leno from Bayer Leverkusen, defender Stephan Lichtsteiner from Juventus and Borussia Dortmund defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

Torreira made his Serie A debut for Sampdoria in August 2016 and made 71 appearances for the club.

Since the end of  last season, Per Mertesacker and Santi Cazorla have left the Gunners while Jack Wilshere completed his transfer to West Ham United on Monday.

Arsenal are 2/1 to clinch a top-four finish in the Premier League in the 2018/19 season while they are 5/2 to beat Manchester City in their first game of the campaign on 12th August.

Wilshere confirms Arsenal exit

Jack Wilshere has announced he will leave Arsenal when his contract expires in July after being informed he does not feature in Unai Emery's plans.

The 26-year-old has spent 17 years on the books of the north Londoners, making his debut aged 16 as he became the club's youngest-ever player.

Wilshere has since gone on to make 197 appearances for the Gunners, winning two FA Cups, but has had to constantly battle injuries since breaking into the first-team.

The England midfielder had been offered a new deal to remain at the Emirates Stadium but on reduced terms due to his injury history.

Having not signed the extension in the hope of Arsenal improving their offer, Wilshere met with Arsene Wenger's successor Emery last week to discuss his future.

The Spanish coach informed Wilshere he could offer him no guarantees over his playing time and, as a result, the central midfielder has taken the decision to leave when his deal runs out next month.

On Instagram, Wilshere said: "Following a number of extensive conversations with those at the club, and in particular a recent meeting with the new manager Unai Emery, I felt that I was ultimately left with little choice but to make the decision that I have due to purely footballing reasons.

"As has widely been reported I, along with my representative, have been in talks with the club for a number of months with the view to signing a new contract to extend my stay at the Emirates.

"My intention throughout these discussions has always been to remain an Arsenal player. I have been on the books at Arsenal for 17 years and have always felt part of the fabric of the club. Such was my desire to stay that I had in fact recently agreed to sign a financially reduced contract in order to commit my future to the club.

"However, following my meeting with the new manager, I was made aware that although the reduced contract offer remained, it was made clear to me that my playing time would be significantly reduced should I decide to stay.

"I am sure everyone can understand that, at this point in my life and career, I need to be playing regular first-team football and following my meeting with Mr Emery I came away with the feeling that it would be very difficult for me to do so at Arsenal."

Wilshere's departure is just one of a number of major changes the club has undergone this summer as they move on from the Wenger era.

Arsenal are 28/1 to win the Premier League title in Emery's first season in charge, while they are 2/1 to finish in the top four.

Xhaka inks new Gunners deal

Switzerland international Granit Xhaka has committed his future to Arsenal by signing a new long-term contract with the club.

The 25-year-old midfielder, who featured in all 38 Premier League matches for the Gunners last season, moved to north London from Borussia Monchengladbach just over two years ago.

He has represented his country on 61 occasions and has made 94 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal, 5/2 to beat Manchester City in their first game of the 2018/19 season on 11th August.

Head coach Unai Emery said: "I'm delighted that Granit has extended his contract with us.

"He’s an important member of the squad and is still young so will be able to develop even more. I hope he has a successful summer with Switzerland and comes back fit and ready for the new season."

Arsenal are 2/1 to finish in the top four of the Premier League in 2018/19 while Switzerland can be backed at 8/1 to win their first match at World Cup 2018 against Brazil.

Xhaka will be joined at Arsenal next season by his compatriot Stephan Lichtsteiner who has agreed a free transfer switch to Emirates Stadium.

The 34-year-old's contract at Juventus expired this summer and he is looking forward to playing in the same club side as Xhaka.

He said: "I have known Granit now for more than six or seven years – he's just an amazing player.

"He's very good and he's still young. It's not easy for him to be the direct leader at 23 or 24 years old, so I hope I can help him to become bigger and bigger.

"He had a very good season and I hope next year he will do even better. Off the pitch he is just a great person, a great character, very calm, he knows when he can joke and he knows when to concentrate. A top professional player on the pitch, great passing and just a great player."

Maitland-Niles ready to work with Emery

Ainsley Maitland-Niles says he is raring to go under Unai Emery after signing a new Arsenal contract.

The 20-year-old enjoyed a breakthrough season, making 28 appearances as he demonstrated his versatility by featuring at wing-back or full-back and in midfield.

Having originally joined the Gunners as a nine-year-old, he has now signed a new long-term extension to his previous deal.

It is all change at the Emirates this summer, with Emery taking over from Arsene Wenger and the Spaniard has shown throughout his career that he is not afraid to put his faith in youth.

Despite plenty of new arrivals being on the agenda, Maitland-Niles says the boss has already discussed his role in the side for next term.

After two seasons out of the top four, Arsenal will be chasing a return to the Champions League and are 2/1 to achieve their goal, while they can be backed at 28/1 to win the Premier League.

The versatile younger admits he is excited about working with the new coach and is confident he can slip right into his system.

"You don't really hear a lot of young players being shouted out by their managers, especially a new manager who hasn't really seen them play too much," Maitland-Niles told Arsenal Player. "I think it's brilliant to hear from him and it gives me a load of confidence.
 
"It feels fantastic knowing that I'm going to be a part of the squad, and a big part of the squad. It means a lot with the new head coach coming in and Arsenal tying me down [with a new contract]. I'm very pleased.
 
"We had a little meeting. He said that he wants all of his players to work hard and I'm no stranger to doing that. It will be second nature to me."

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Uncertainty concerns Hazard

Eden Hazard has cast doubt on his Chelsea future by saying he wants to know whether Antonio Conte will still be manager next season.

The Italian was expected to leave Stamford Bridge this summer but, more than three weeks after he guided the Blues to an FA Cup final victory against Manchester United, he is still in charge.

Hazard is keen to know if Conte will still be at the club when the new Premier League season gets underway in two months' time and whether any new players will be bought.

When asked if his future at Chelsea depended on who was in charge next season, Belgium international Hazard said: "Yeah I want to know. I want to know, but like I say I am focused on the World Cup.

"If we have something new – manager or players – it is always good to know it because I want players that can [help bring success back to] Chelsea next season."

Meanwhile, the 27-year-old accepts that Belgium need to do well at this summer's tournament as the current crop of players, like himself, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku, are at the peak of their powers.

"I think that we are all in top shape," Hazard added. "Kevin at Manchester City, Romelu at Manchester United, me at Chelsea, Thibaut [Courtois] at Chelsea.

"We all play in great clubs, we all had good seasons. So if we want to do something great, it is now. The time isn't in one, two or four years. I think now is the moment to be together and do something great."

Chelsea can be backed at 4/6 to finish in the top four of the Premier League in 2018/19 while Belgium are available at 11/1 to win the World Cup and at 7/5 to beat England on 28th June.

Fekir to Reds move collapses

Lyon have issued a statement confirming that Nabil Fekir's proposed transfer to Liverpool has fallen through.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp had wanted the 24-year-old midfielder as a replacement for Philippe Coutinho, who joined Barcelona in January, but the France international now looks set to be staying at Lyon.

"Transfer negotiations with Liverpool and Nabil Fekir have not succeeded and Olympique Lyonnais have decided to put an end to this negotiation," said a statement on the French side's official website.

"Although Liverpool have been the priority of a possible transfer for Nabil…Olympique Lyonnais is delighted to be able to count on the presence of our captain, who is a leading player for the 2018/19 season when the club will play in the Champions League."

Fekir, who had been expected to move to Anfield for £52.75million this summer, is set to feature for France at the World Cup.

He came through Lyon's youth system and has made 153 appearances for the club, scoring 57 goals.

Liverpool have already signed Fabinho from Monaco for £39million since the end of last season, while the Reds have an agreement in place to capture Naby Keita from RB Leipzig in a deal worth £52.75million.

Liverpool can be backed at 5/1 to win the 2018/19 Premier League title and at 1/4 to finish in the top four.

Adams worried by Arsenal approach

Arsenal legend Tony Adams fears Unai Emery could have his hopes of rebuilding the team compromised by the club's recruitment strategy.

The Gunners are in the midst of beginning a new era as after 22 years under Arsene Wenger, Emery has been installed as their new head coach, in charge of restoring on-field glory after stagnating during the latter stages of the Frenchman's reign.

A top four finish at 2/1 is thought to be seen as a minimum requirement for the Basque, while he has made no secret of his desire to win the Premier League at 28/1.

However, much will depend on how recruitment guru Sven Mislintat fares, while head of football relations Raul Sanllehi is also expected to be involved in transfers.

Adams remains an icon at the Gunners, captaining the club for much of his 19-year playing career with the club and has since had experience around Europe in both the dugout and in the boardroom.

The 51-year-old says the new set-up means it could be tough to judge Emery's success, especially if Mislintat and Sanllehi fail to acquire their prefered targets on what is seen as a relativly limited budget.

He told the Daily Star: "Your head coach is irrelevant.  You are only as good as your recruitment. It's all about getting the right players in this game.

"We're going to have to see if the guys Ivan Gazidis has brought in are good in that market.

"It's a market that's very overcrowded and we're probably down the pecking order in terms of finances.

"It'll be difficult if they're looking for European players – it'll be quite tricky."

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Kane inks long-term Spurs deal

England international Harry Kane has penned a new six-year contract with Tottenham less than a week before the start of the World Cup.

The 24-year-old striker is now contracted to the club until the end of the 2023/24 campaign.

Kane came through Spurs' academy system and was loaned out to Leyton Orient, Millwall, Norwich City and Leicester City before establishing himself in the first team in the 2013/14 season.

He has scored 108 goals in 150 Premier League appearances for the club and found the net 56 times for Spurs and England in the 2017 calendar year.

Kane has scored more than 20 Premier League goals in each of the last four seasons, with his most prolific campaign being the one just finished when he found the net 30 times as Mauricio Pochettino's team finished third.

He has been voted into the PFA Premier League Team of the Year for the last four seasons and scored 41 goals in all competitions last term.

Kane is 1/1 to be England's top scorer at the World Cup, while Spurs can be backed at 16/1 to win the 2018/19 Premier League title and at 4/5 to finish in the top four once again.

Meanwhile, Michel Vorm has had his Spurs contract extended until the end of next season.

The Netherlands international, who was signed from Swansea City in 2014, made 11 appearances for Spurs in all competitions last season and has now featured in 43 matches for the club during his time in north London.

Fabinho agrees Anfield switch

Fabinho has set himself the target of winning some silverware with Liverpool after agreeing to move to Anfield from Monaco at the beginning of July.

The 24-year-old Brazilian scored 29 goals in 225 appearances over five seasons with the Ligue 1 side.

He is joining a team that finished in the top four of the Premier League in the season just ended, while on Saturday they were beaten 3-1 by Real Madrid in the Champions League final.

However, the last of their 18 top-flight titles came in 1990 and Jurgen Klopp's team are 5/1 to win the 2018/19 Premier League, while Manchester City are available at 4/7 and Manchester United at 7/1.

Fabinho said: "I am really excited about this move. This is something that I always wanted – this is a giant of a team. The infrastructures of the club look exceptional.

"I will try to create my own history at this football club. Hopefully, on a personal level, I'm able to win titles with this club. I will try to grow and learn and improve myself and to be part of the club's history."

Fabinho has represented Brazil, 4/1 to win the 2018 World Cup outright, four times, and is looking forward to linking up with his compatriot Roberto Firmino at Anfield.

He added: "I have been with him with the Brazilian national team on a few occasions. I know he's a fantastic person, his background is from nice people.

"He is also very good for someone who comes to a new country, a new city – someone who speaks the same language. This will of course make the adaptation much easier."

Mitrovic open to Fulham move

Newcastle United striker Aleksandar Mitrovic is uncertain where he will be playing his football next season after helping Fulham win promotion.

The 23-year-old joined the Championship side on loan in January and played a key role in helping them win promotion to the Premier League after they beat Aston Villa in the play-off final at Wembley.

He scored 12 goals in 20 games for the club and said his spell at the club saw him playing the best football of his career so far.

That has prompted speculation as to his long-term future at St James' Park. He has two years left on his contract with Newcastle but appeared open to rejoining Fulham on a permanent basis.

He told Sky Sports after the Wembley final: "I don't know (about my future). Of course I am really happy here. I had the best three-and-a-half, four months of my career. We will see what happens. I am still a Newcastle United player, I have two years left on my contract, so we will see.

"I want to enjoy now. I have one day to rest and then I have to work hard, and I will focus on that. I have people – my agent and people who speak with the clubs – and we will see what happens. I just want to enjoy the moment. I am really happy now."

Fulham returned to the top flight after a four-year absence, beating Villa 1-0, Tom Cairney scoring in the first half.

Villa improved in the second half and Fulham had to withstand the loss of Dennis Odoi who was sent off for two yellow cards, but the London side prevailed and they will take their place along Cardiff and Wolves in the Premier League next season.

Fulham are 6/4 to have just a single season stay in the Premier League while Cardiff are 8/11 to be relegated.

Arsenal are 2/1 to finish in the top four with Spurs priced at 4/5.

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