Chelsea and Liverpool in action TODAY, Aguero future LATEST, Mbappe to Madrid – Man Ciy, Spurs, Arsenal transfer news

THE Premier League returns today with a bumper schedule of matches with Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool in action.

On the transfer front we've the latest on Sergio Aguero's future with Tottenham and Leeds reportedly interested, while Kylian Mbappe could be set for Real Madrid.

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Stay up to date with all the latest football news in our rolling blog…

  • Joshua Jones

    GOOD MORNING FOOTY FANS

    There will be a two-minute silence before every EFL game this weekend after the death of Prince Philip.

    An EFL statement read: “Following the sad passing of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the EFL can confirm that there will be a two-minute silence ahead of all EFL fixtures taking place tonight and across the weekend (9-10 April).

    “Players, coaches, and match officials will also be wearing armbands as a mark of respect to the late Duke.”

    In the Premier League, Wolves broke Fulham hearts with a smash-and-grab win at Craven Cottage last night.

    Adama Traore smashed a 92nd-minute winner into the top corner to give Nuno Espirito Santo a 1-0 victory.

    The move leaves Fulham three points from safety with just six games left having played two fewer than Newcastle in 17th.

    Wolves moved up to 12th with the win.

    Elsewhere, Jose Mourinho told Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that Sir Alex Ferguson would never have stood for his claim that trophies are for egos.

    Tottenham boss Mourinho took a dig at his Manchester United successor ahead of their Prem clash this weekend.

    Solskjaer — potless since he took over from the Portuguese in December 2018 — said before United’s FA Cup quarter-final exit at Leicester that cups are an “ego thing”.

    He also argued how a league finish is the true barometer of progress. But Mourinho hit back: “It’s his opinion. But I’m pretty sure his big boss Sir Alex had a different opinion about it.

    “But I respect what Solskjaer thinks. I think different. It’s not a problem, he’s not being disrespectful.

    “But, I repeat, I believe that his big boss, and the biggest in Premier League history, has a different view in relation to that.”

    At Man City, Pep Guardiola will have no problem if Sergio Aguero decides to stay in the Premier League this summer.

    At Chelsea, Thomas Tuchel has told Tammy Abraham there is no easy way back into the team.

    And Frank Lampard revealed he has received some ‘flattering’ offers to return to management – but ‘they were not quite right’ for the Blues legend.

    At Arsenal Mikel Arteta has urged Thomas Partey to step up and show just why Arsenal put so much effort into signing him.

    And finally, Troy Deeney says footballers should continue taking the knee next season.

  • William Pugh

    'HAVE TO STAND FOR SOMETHING'

    Reading captain Liam Moore has vowed to quit Twitter after receiving disgusting racist abuse.

    The centre-back was the subject of a vile social media poll and declared his intention to deactivate his account as a result.

    The poll from a now deleted account called Veljko Paunovic talks Reading FC asked: "Should a n***** be captain of Reading FC?" And the available listed answers read: 'No', 'Not him' and 'N***** is a name'.

    Moore, 28, saw the horrendous post and hit out at Twitter for letting it happen. He wrote: "2021 and I'm not f****** surprised in the slightest. Twitter you're as much to blame for making it so easy to abuse people."

    And in a separate post, the Jamaican international wrote: "I have enjoyed engaging with many of you on here over the years but tonight was just another example of Twitter being toxic. You have to stand for something and for that reason I am deactivating my account. Thanks for your support."

    Moore has more than 87,000 followers and hundreds of them commented messages of support.

  • William Pugh

    IT'S THE KNEE FOR DEENEY – EXCLUSIVE

    Troy Deeney says footballers should continue taking the knee next season.

    Watford captain and SunSport columnist Deeney is part of a Premier League advisory group discussing the issue. Players have taken the knee to highlight the need for racial equality since football came out of lockdown last June.

    And, as black players continue to be targeted on social media, Deeney urged his fellow pros to continue the practice. He said: “It’s my personal belief that taking a knee has made a real difference — that it has highlighted the issue and provoked conversation.

    "I think taking the knee in front of full houses will have even more of an impact. There need to be further talks about what happens if some supporters boo or show dissent in other ways.

    “But in my view that would only add to the difficult and necessary conversations on racism continuing. A lot more discussions are needed between players, clubs and the leagues.

    “I would like unity on this and I’d like us to continue reinforcing the key message of civil rights and equality. People of colour simply want the same rights as everyone else. We’re not asking for reparation for what has happened in the past — just equality going forward.”

  • William Pugh

    TO BE FRANK

    Frank Lampard revealed he has received some 'flattering' offers to return to management – but 'they were not quite right' for the Blues legend.

    But 18 months later and he was forced to clear out his locker as Chelsea's form suffered, leading to his firing.

    Lampard, who was replaced by German Thomas Tuchel, has now spoken out for the first time since being sacked by Blues owner Roman Abramovich.

    Speaking at a Q&A hosted by the London Football Awards in aid of the Willow Foundation, he said: "Football has consumed my life firstly as a player and then as a manager.

    "Nobody wants to lose their job. But when you go into this career, it can happen, no matter how good you think you are.

    "It's given me a lot more time to be at home. It's been great to be around the family. I've had some opportunities that have come up in the last six weeks, two months, that have been flattering, but not the right thing. They were not quite right."

  • William Pugh

    PEP TALK

    Pep Guardiola will have no problem if Sergio Aguero decides to stay in the Premier League this summer.

    SunSport revealed last month that the legendary Manchester City forward, 32, is keen to remain in England when he leaves the Etihad in May.

    Chelsea are tipped to make a move while Tottenham, Manchester United and even today’s opponents Leeds have also been linked.

    And City boss Guardiola said he wants the Argentine to be happy and is not worried about him coming back to haunt his club.

    The Spaniard said: “I want the best for him, all of us do. Find the best for Sergio for the last years in his career, for sure.

    “We’ll be delighted with the decision he takes, the best for him and his family and career. My preference is his preference. His preference is my preference. The best for him is the best for all of us.”

  • William Pugh

    MOUR JIBE

    Jose Mourinho told Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that Sir Alex Ferguson would never have stood for his claim that trophies are for egos.

    Tottenham boss Mourinho took a dig at his Manchester United successor ahead of their Prem clash this weekend.

    Solskjaer — potless since he took over from the Portuguese in December 2018 — said before United’s FA Cup quarter-final exit at Leicester that cups are an “ego thing”.

    He also argued how a league finish is the true barometer of progress. But Mourinho hit back: “It’s his opinion. But I’m pretty sure his big boss Sir Alex had a different opinion about it.

    “But I respect what Solskjaer thinks. I think different. It’s not a problem, he’s not being disrespectful.

    “But, I repeat, I believe that his big boss, and the biggest in Premier League history, has a different view in relation to that.”

  • William Pugh

    LONG ROAD AB-HEAD

    Thomas Tuchel has told Tammy Abraham there is no easy way back into the Chelsea team.

    Tuchel, who replaced Frank Lampard on January 26, said: “I don’t think he’s the top scorer since I arrived. So I can only judge what I see and what we have together from the first minute when I arrived.

    “I have seen a bright young man in front of me. A guy who is self-confident, who has a lot of talent. But it cannot be that in a period of such good results that suddenly the guys who don’t play are the winners.

    “This cannot be. Because first of all, you need to be in the squad and if you are in a winning squad, you have your part in this winning squad.

    “And it cannot be that sometimes the people who don’t make it to the squad are in the end the winners, although the team is winning many games. This is not logical to me. We are aware that he scored, we are aware that he scored a lot in the cup.

    “We had some tactical changes he had to accept. We accept that he was injured. OK, so now it’s a difficult time to try things out because while he is injured the engine keeps on running.”

  • William Pugh

    PARTEY STARTER

    Mikel Arteta has urged Thomas Partey to step up and show just why Arsenal put so much effort into signing him.

    The Ghanaian midfielder was supposed to be a game changer when he was poached from Atletico Madrid for £45million last summer. But that is not quite how things have worked out so far for the 27-year-old.

    Arteta said: “Hopefully we will see the best version of Thomas at Sheffield United on Sunday and against Slavia Prague next week. Now that he has got a sequence of two or three games I think we’ll see him finishing the season in a really strong way.

    “It’s very difficult to make a proper assessment of Thomas’ performances so far because he has missed six months and that is a long time. He is still adapting to our way of playing, which is different to what he did at Atletico, but he we can all see what he brings to the team.

    “It’s about him finding the level of consistency that we need from him because he has the capacity that we can build a team that can play around him. The biggest difficulty he has had so far is that he has not been fit. Then every time he recovered, he missed the next game.

    “He has not had time to prepare himself physically to play at the highest level and that has obviously had an impact because the Premier League demands real fitness.”

  • William Pugh

    KARREN BRADY COLUMN

    The negotiations around Erling Braut Haaland resemble those before the marriage of a prince in years gone by.

    Monarchs depended on the knowledge of ambassadors and the bargaining power of favourite relations for securing a bride with a huge dowry, lands, a title of her own and, with luck, beauty. These negotiators travelled far and wide and were often well rewarded.

    Should this remind readers of agent Mino Raiola and Alf-Inge Haaland, it is no coincidence — the couple have been on a tour of Europe inspecting possible match-ups for young Erling.

    The fee for the 20-year-old blond giant and serial goalscorer is said to be £100-£150million — a sum only affordable to the wealthier aristocracy among clubs. The two envoys have so far talked to hard-up Barcelona and Real Madrid and include the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea among their targets.

    Erling may have liked to join Leeds, where he was born and where his father played for three years, but I don’t think they are in the running.
    And, make no mistake about it, money is the critical factor.

    Daddy Haaland and his Italian mate are looking for, it is reported, £25m each in agent fees. Should this or the transfer fee prove beyond the reach of clubs, then Erling will remain at Borussia Dortmund for a season more.

  • William Pugh

    LIONS NEED TRENT – TROY DEENEY COLUMN

    As debate rages over Trent Alexander-Arnold’s England axing, one thing is certain in my mind — Harry Kane will want the Liverpool man at the Euros.

    Any centre-forward in the world would relish the trademark delivery Alexander-Arnold produced in Liverpool’s 3-0 win at Arsenal last weekend.

    Southgate has a wealth of options at right-back but there is no other full-back in England — and few in the world ­— who could make that cross.

    Of course there are also doubts about Trent’s defensive abilities and he did make a poor error on Tuesday, leading to Real Madrid’s second goal in the Champions League quarter-final.

    There are pros and cons about all of England’s right-backs.

    Although Southgate has suggested he will name only two right-backs in his Euros squad, I’d take Walker, Alexander-Arnold and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, 23, which would be very harsh on both Kieran Trippier and Reece James.

    Credit: PA
  • William Pugh

    WHAT THE EL – EXCLUSIVE

    Barcelona can afford to LOSE El Clasico with Ronald Koeman busy rebuilding the club, says old pal Albert Ferrer.

    Ahead of his co-commentary for Saturday's game on LaLigaTV, former Barca and Chelsea defender Ferrer explained: “Nobody likes to lose El Clasico. But for the circumstances of this season at Barcelona, the project is working so well that despite not winning this game of this type or winning the trophies, it should be enough.

    “What Ronald Koeman has achieved, I don’t know if they will win any titles, but in this season I think it shouldn’t be the most important thing.

    “It is always important at Barca to win but the job Koeman has done, to give importance to the young players and create a project and thinking in the mid-term, it is very exciting.

    “You never know in football. If they don’t win the league and they lose the final of the Spanish Cup, you cannot call it a good season. Will that be enough for them? I don’t know.

    “But I see clearly this is the right project and it should have continuity. He is a very talented manager and a team like Barcelona cannot forget what a hero of the club he is.”

    Credit: Rex Features
  • William Pugh

    DANNY HIGGINBOTHAM – EXCLUSIVE COLUMN

    When I look at West Ham I see a team who collectively feel they have a point to prove.

    In previous seasons, it seemed some players felt the club should be privileged that they were there.

    But now they have a squad and a manager who feel proud to be at a club instead of using it as a stepping stone.

    You have got Jarrod Bowen and Said Benrahma trying to prove their worth in the Premier League, as well as Craig Dawson trying to show he can still cut it. Then Jesse Lingard who is showing his class after being given the opportunity after joining from Manchester United on loan.

    On top of all that you have David Moyes managing them. Who after a great career at Everton, was suffering from his experience of trying to succeed Alex Ferguson at United.

    There is a mentality at the club which is shining through every game.
    And Moyes has got them playing to their strengths.

  • William Pugh

    ROUGH RIDE FOR REDS

    Manchester United's Under-23s threw away a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 at home to West Ham tonight.

    Former Red Devils Ademipo Odubeko scored a hat-trick for the Hammers as the Londoners took a win back down south.

  • William Pugh

    SMASH AND GRAB!

    Fulham 0 – 1 Wolves

    Adama Traore broke Fulham's hearts with a 92nd minute winner at Craven Cottage.

    The Cottagers looked set to hold on for a vital point in their relegation battle.

    But the winger hit them on the break in the dying stages and smashed one beyond Areola at the near post to move Nuno Espirito Santo's side into 12th in the table.

    Scott Parker looked distraught and Mario Lemina was in tears walking off the pitch as the West Londoners have just six games left to save themselves from the drop.

    Fulham are 18th having played 32 games and are still three points behind Newcastle who have played just 30.

  • William Pugh

    Playing Spanish giants in the semi-final

    Few will forget Fernando Torres' stunning breakaway goal against Barcelona in the Nou Camp that secured Chelsea's final berth and got Gary Neville very excited.

    The Blues had won the first leg 1-0 at home thanks to Didier Drogba's strike before the stunning 2-2 draw against their El Clasico opponents.

    John Terry's sending off couldn't stop Di Matteo's men with Ramires' wonderful dink and Torres' late strike cancelling out Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta's first-half goals that had given the Catalan giants a 2-0 lead on the night.

    History could repeat itself with Tuchel's side in line to play another Spanish giant in Real Madrid in the last four this year.

    Los Blancos have a 3-1 first-leg lead over reigning Prem champs Liverpool and if both Zinedine Zidane's men and Chelsea capitalise on their early advantage they will meet in the semi, mirroring the events of 2012.

  • William Pugh

    Beating a Portuguese team in the quarter-finals

    Under Di Matteo, Chelsea cruised past Benfica in the quarters in 2012.

    Salamon Kalou scored the crucial away goal at the Estadio Da Luz to take a 1-0 lead back to the Bridge.

    And a Lampard penalty and stoppage-time Raul Meireles goal ensured Chelsea went through 3-1 on aggregate despite Javi Garcia's 85th minute goal in West London.

    This year, of course, the job is only half done but Tuchel and Co will surely be expecting to get through in the second game against Porto with two away goals in the bag.

  • William Pugh

    Losing to West Brom

    Thomas Tuchel's side were smashed 5-2 at Stamford Bridge by West Brom last week.

    The Baggies demolished the German's team to unceremoniously end his 12-game unbeaten run.

    The result caused quite a stir but Tuchel's men bounced back in style against Porto in midweek.

    Similarly, a 1-0 defeat to West Brom proved to be the final straw for Villas-Boas back in 2012 as he was sacked with the defeat leaving the side three points off fourth spot.

  • William Pugh

    Sacking a young manager

    Former Chelsea star Roberto Di Matteo was the caretaker manager who finally landed the one trophy that had eluded Roman Abramovich's grasp.

    But the 1997 FA Cup final goalscorer was only in place because the Blues sacked Portuguese boss Andre Villas-Boas on March 4, 2012.

    The then 34-year-old was axed after a poor run of results, including the 3-1 defeat away to Napoli in the last 16 first leg.

    This season, club icon and another young manager Frank Lampard, 42, was dismissed with Chelsea languishing down in ninth in the Premier League.

  • William Pugh

    MEANT TO BE

    Four omens suggest Chelsea could repeat their miraculous Champions League win from 2012 and lift the coveted trophy this year.

    An injury and suspension-hit Blues somehow went all the way to be crowned European champions nine years ago, beating Bayern Munich on penalties in the final in their own Allianz Arena.

    Chelsea made the quarter-finals for the first time since that historic year with victory over LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid in this season's Last 16.

    And the Blues now have one foot in the last four of the competition after an inspired 2-0 win over Porto in the 'away' first leg of their quarter-final tie on Wednesday night.

    SunSport looks at the four spooky similarities between this campaign and 2012 that could indicate Chelsea fans will soon be celebrating again…

  • William Pugh

    HALF-TIME!

    Fulham 0 – 0 Wolves

    It is all square at the break at Craven Cottage.

    A point is no good for either team – particularly Fulham – but with no shots on target in the first half, that could be all that's on offer.

    The second-half kicks off imminently.

  • William Pugh

    KANE YOU BELIEVE IT

    It would cost between £120million and £150m to prise Harry Kane away from Tottenham, according to ESPN.

    The England striker has three years left on his contract and has been heavily linked with a move away from Tottenham as their season threatens to collapse into mediocrity once again.

    And ESPN report: "Tottenham are adamant Kane is going nowhere and although they occupy a strong negotiating position, the situation is more complicated.

    "Kane has a genuine affection for Tottenham and ideally wants to win silverware with them. But if they end up trophy-less again, how much longer can he wait?

    "The forward cannot instigate a move – he also isn't the type of character to rock the boat – but he is also fiercely ambitious and has previously hinted at his frustration that there hasn't been more of a tangible return for the progress Spurs have made.

    "A concrete, competitive bid of between £120m-£150m would have to be taken seriously by a team that invested £1bn in a stadium to maximise income from live events just before crowds were banned for a year."

  • William Pugh

    EFL ON PRINCE PHILIP'S DEATH

    There will be a two-minute silence before every EFL game this weekend after the death of Prince Philip.

    An EFL statement read: "Following the sad passing of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the EFL can confirm that there will be a two-minute silence ahead of all EFL fixtures taking place tonight and across the weekend (9-10 April).

    "Players, coaches, and match officials will also be wearing armbands as a mark of respect to the late Duke."

    Rick Parry, EFL Chair said: “The EFL is truly saddened to learn of the passing of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at the age of 99.

    “As a patron of over 800 organisations, his high regard for the encouragement of sport and welfare of young people was unequivocal, and his loss will undoubtedly be felt not only here in the UK but across the world.

    “Our collective thoughts are with Her Majesty the Queen and the Royal Family at this difficult time.”

  • William Pugh

    SAN STORM

    Barcelona could be interested in signing Tottenham Hotspur defender Davinson Sanchez, according to reports.

    New club president Joan Laporta is hoping to remould Ronald Koeman's squad this summer. Top of the agenda is keeping Lionel Messi, while strikers Erling Haaland and Sergio Aguero have been heavily linked.

    But Laporta, 58, is also chasing a new defender. Eric Garcia is believed to have signed a pre-contract agreement from Manchester City, although there has been no official announcement.

    While fellow upcoming free agent David Alaba has also been heavily linked.

    According to El Desmarque, however, Barca should be keeping an eye on alternatives. Sanchez arrived at Spurs in 2017 as the club's record signing for around £42million.

    But following a disappointing season, the Lilywhites could offload the Colombian – especially if Jose Mourinho manages to cling on to his job. Sanchez, 24, may be on Barca's radar, and could revitalise his career alongside Messi and Co.

  • William Pugh

    TOP MARCS

    Marcus Rashford will 'dominate the future' alongside Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe.

    That is the view from former Manchester United star Dimitar Berbatov, who hailed the England international as the main man at Old Trafford.

    He told Betfair: "I hope he can continue improving because his pace, his agility and technique is all there, when he is on form United are dangerous.

    "Rashford is still a very young player and he is a superstar in world football, he been leading United's attack for a while now too, I think he is getting the credit he deserves and hopefully he is only just getting started.

    "Mbappe, Haaland and Rashford are the players I am looking at to dominate the future.

    "Although he's only 23, he's already got lots of experience, he's going into his fifth year of being a senior player and a big part of the team."

  • William Pugh

    RON THE WAY OUT

    Juventus will 'almost certainly' have to sell Cristiano Ronaldo if they fail to qualify for the Champions League, according to reports.

    The Old Lady are third – just three points ahead of fifth placed Napoli having beaten their rivals 2-1 on Wednesday.

    And ESPN claim the Italian giants will be forced to offload the Portuguese superstar in order to balance the books if they don't make it into next season's Champions League.

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