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Thibaut Courtois: Chelsea goalkeeper misses training amid Real Madrid speculation

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who has been linked with a move to Real Madrid, did not report for training with the Premier League club on Monday. And it is understood the Blues do not know when the 26-year-old Belgium international will return. Courtois has been a Blues player since 2011, when he signed from Belgian club Genk and was loaned to Atletico Madrid. Chelsea winger Eden Hazard has also been linked with Real, but did attend training on Monday. Courtois was named best goalkeeper at this summer's World Cup in Russia, where Belgium beat England in the third-place play-off. He has played 154 times for Chelsea, keeping 58 clean sheets and conceding 152 goals. Speaking on Friday, new Blues manager Maurizio Sarri said he was unsure whether Courtois would stay. He said: "At the moment Courtois is the goalkeeper of Chelsea. I don't know in the future. It depends on the club, it depends especially on him, but I hope Courtois will be our goalkeeper." Chelsea were then beaten 2-0 by Manchester City in Sunday's Community Shield with Argentine Willy Caballero in goal. Afterwards, Sarri said: "I want to hear from Courtois tomorrow (Monday). I want only players with a very high level of motivation." Chelsea finished fifth in the league last season as they failed to qualify for the Champions League but did beat Manchester United to win the FA Cup. Following the win over United, Courtois urged the Blues board to invest in the squad. "We'll see after the World Cup whether I am a Chelsea player for next year," he said at the time. "You see how Manchester City and Manchester United are spending and working. "If we want to aim for the top, we should do the same - obviously within the limits of what's possible." Analysis Belgian journalist Kristof Terreur on BBC Radio 5 live "Chelsea are searching for a solution for this situation because they have already known for a while, since January when Courtois rejected a new contract offer, that he wasn't going to sign a new deal. "They know his personal situation with his kids living with his former partner in Madrid, him wanting to be closer to them and pursuing a challenge in Madrid too. "His mind has never left Madrid after he spent three years on loan over there (at Atletico). Still he dreams of Madrid and that's what Chelsea know too. "Chelsea have told Real Madrid that until they have found a replacement they cannot give the move a green light. "It might end up on Thursday at four o'clock that they suddenly find a new goalkeeper. "I don't think the club can take a gamble on letting him go for free next summer. Now they will get

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2018-08-08 02:00:00

Celtic: Full-back Emilio Izaguirre to return after a year in Saudi Arabia

Emilio Izaguirre is set to return to Celtic a year after leaving the Scottish champions. The 32-year-old Honduras international will provide cover for left-back Kieran Tierney. Izaguirre spent seven seasons at Celtic Park, winning six titles, before moving to Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Fayha. He signed a two-year deal at Al-Fayha but agreed to terminate his contract and will arrive in Scotland as a free agent. The Scottish champions are expected to complete a loan deal for Australia winger Daniel Arzani once the teenager completes a move to Manchester City from Melbourne City. Celtic remain in pursuit of John McGinn, submitting a new bid on Monday, but face competition from Aston Villa for the Hibernian midfielder.

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2018-08-08 02:00:00

Adama Traore: Wolves sign Middlesbrough winger after meeting

Wolves have signed Spanish winger Adama Traore for a club-record fee after meeting the

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2018-08-08 02:00:00

Kepa Arrizabalaga: Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper pays

Chelsea target Kepa Arrizabalaga has paid his release clause of

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2018-08-08 02:00:00

Jefferson Lerma: Bournemouth sign Levante midfielder for record

Colombia midfielder Jefferson Lerma has joined Bournemouth for a club record

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2018-08-08 02:00:00

Phil Foden: Man City midfielder ready for Premier League, says Pep Guardiola

Manchester City's teenage midfielder Phil Foden has proved he is "mature" enough for the Premier League, according to manager Pep Guardiola. Foden, 18, impressed as champions City beat FA Cup holders Chelsea 2-0 in Sunday's Community Shield. The Stockport-born midfielder set up Sergio Aguero to score the first of his two goals at Wembley. "He was ready last season. Now he is one year on, he is more mature," Guardiola said. "He was training last season with us and he fought well with all of our players." With key players still absent from the squad, including midfielders Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva, Foden took his opportunity with a confident and composed display in warm conditions. After assisting Aguero for his 200th goal for the club, Foden played another sublime pass for the Argentine, who could only find the side-netting after rounding Chelsea goalkeeper Willy Caballero. "It is so good to have another player with his talent. He's a City fan and Mancunian and it is so good for us," Guardiola added. England youth international Foden, who turned 18 in May, joined the club at under-nine level and was brought on as a substitute on the final day of last season to make a fifth, medal-earning appearance. 'Sergio is a special guy' Sunday was also a landmark day for Aguero, who became the first player to score 200 goals for City. "Sergio is a special guy," said Guardiola. "Now, his knee is perfect, he arrived in a very good condition, a good mood and most important is he scores goals and creates chances." Guardiola was pleased to see his side cope so well with the hot weather. He added: "It was more than 30 degrees - it's so demanding, but we did it so well. I am so happy for the players and it's good to start with one title by our side. "We have to play with this attitude and what we have done. We'll see at the end of the season what our level was." City begin the defence of their Premier League title against with a trip to Arsenal next Sunday (16:00 BST). Inspired to try football? Football Find out how to get into football with our special guide. View Comments 32

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2018-08-06 02:00:00

Aberdeen 1-1 Rangers: Steven Gerrard says his side are 'a class above' rivals

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard described his side as "a class above Aberdeen" after the 1-1 draw with their Premiership rivals at Pittodrie. Gerrard also said it "seemed the world was against" the Ibrox side after Alfredo Morelos was sent off after 12 minutes, but that it has been "happening for seasons" to Rangers. James Tavernier's penalty looked like giving Gerrard's men the three points. But Bruce Anderson's stoppage-time equaliser rescued a point for Aberdeen. Morelos was sent off after kicking out at Aberdeen defender Scott McKenna in an off-the-ball incident. Gerrard acknowledged that the Colombian striker "left the referee with a decision", but said Rangers may appeal against the red card. The former Liverpool captain believes that "it looks like some more decisions will go against" his side as they season unfolds. "The disappointing thing from our point of view is he's been barged twice quite clearly," said Gerrard, who revealed that midfielder Ryan Jack was substituted because of a head injury. "There was major provocation, but we need to try and use it to our advantage. It's not just today, I believe it's been happening for seasons. That's just my opinion." Despite the one-man deficit, Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor had little to do, and Gerrard suggested that Aberdeen had to resort to route-one tactics. The former Liverpool captain, who remains unbeaten after five games in charge, described his team as "magnificent". "Anyone at this game or who watched on TV must know we were much better than Aberdeen," Gerrard said. "We were very good with 11 men, we were even better when we went to 10. Aberdeen didn't have any idea against us, and for 93 minutes it was perfect. "Every single player to a man was fantastic. I thought tactically when we went to 10 we were very good and very professional. Aberdeen only had one idea and it was to lump it into the box. "Obviously, I'm gutted for my players we've conceded late on. But we showed today that we're a class above Aberdeen. I thought we were tremendous."

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2018-08-06 02:00:00

Maurizio Sarri: Community Shield loss shows issues for new Chelsea boss

Chelsea's defeat by Manchester City in the Community Shield showed just how big a job Maurizio Sarri faces to turn his side into title contenders. Sarri already knew that he could be about to lose some of his best players - Eden Hazard, Willian and Thibaut Courtois - who have all been linked with moves away from Stamford Bridge this summer. That in itself is a lot to contend with, especially in your first few weeks as manager of a club such as Chelsea. But what Sarri saw at Wembley will also have told him a lot about what his other players are capable of, in terms of fitting into his system or reaching the required standards. He has issues to tackle right through his team and, with Thursday being the transfer deadline for incoming players, there is not much time to decide whether to address them in the transfer market. Can Chelsea keep Hazard and Willian - and keep them on board? Real Madrid have been linked with Hazard, who does not start pre-season training until Monday, while Barcelona are supposedly interested in Willian, a second-half substitute against City. If they are both going to stay then they are the ideal wide men to play in Sarri's 4-3-3 system. If not, Sarri has some huge holes to fill this week. Callum Hudson-Odoi showed he has great potential with his display on the left wing against City, and he should take a lot of positives out of the game. But he is only 17 and clearly is some way behind Hazard in terms of what he can offer the side and the influence he has on his team-mates. Like Willian, Hazard is world class now and, if Chelsea are to have a successful season, then Sarri cannot afford to lose either of them. What complicates matters is that clubs in Spain, Germany, Italy and France can sign players until 31 August, meaning Hazard and Willian could leave after Chelsea's chance to replace them has gone. So that situation is going to hang over Chelsea's head beyond the start of the season, and it will be draining for everyone. Giroud offers more than Morata, but does that include goals? Up front, Alvaro Morata struggled to make an impact at Wembley and he just does not look happy to me. The obvious alternative is Olivier Giroud, who had a very strong World Cup and played a big part in France's triumph. Giroud will be full of confidence so it would not surprise me to see him go straight into the team for the opening Premier League match at Huddersfield on Saturday, even though he is also returning late for pre-season. But, as we saw in Russia, where he failed to find the net in any of France's matches, Giroud is not exactly a prolific goalscorer. Yes, you can see what he brings to a team in terms of a giving them a presence up front and with his link-up play, but scoring is not going to be his main contribution. The goals have to come from somewhere, though.

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2018-08-06 02:00:00

Bayern Munich 1-0 Manchester United: Jose Mourinho warns of 'difficult season'

Manchester United face a "difficult season" unless they strengthen their squad before Thursday's transfer deadline, says manager Jose Mourinho. The Red Devils ended their pre-season campaign with a 1-0 defeat at German champions Bayern Munich on Sunday. Javi Martinez headed home a second-half winner to give Bayern victory in a match they dominated. "My CEO knows what I want and I still have a few days to wait and see what happens," Mourinho said on MUTV. "The other clubs who compete with us are really strong and already have fantastic teams. Or they are investing massively like Liverpool, who are buying everything and everybody. "If we don't make our team better it will be a difficult season for us." United have so far signed three players this summer - Brazil midfielder Fred for

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2018-08-06 02:00:00

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri confident Willian will stay but unsure of Thibaut Courtois' future

Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri says he is "confident" Willian will stay at the club - but admits he does not know where Thibaut Courtois' future lies. Brazil winger Willian, 29, has been linked with moves to Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona and arrived late for pre-season training. Sarri says he had a "positive conversation" with the player on Thursday. "There is not a Willian problem," said the former Napoli boss. Belgium goalkeeper Courtois, 26, has been linked with Real Madrid this summer. "At the moment Courtois is the goalkeeper of Chelsea," said Sarri. "I don't know in the future. It depends on the club, it depends especially on him, but I hope Courtois will be our goalkeeper." Discussing the futures of Brazil centre-back David Luiz and England forward Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Sarri added: "I am very happy with David for his attitude. I think he will be very important for the team. "Loftus-Cheek I have only seen three or four [times in training], so I will have to wait". Chelsea play Manchester City in the Community Shield on Sunday (15:00 BST).

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2018-08-04 02:00:00
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