Aston Villa FC

Aston Villa ‚Äď 26 May 12:00

Paper Talk: Mourinho wants quartet in £300m spending spree

Manchester United have “cleared a significant hurdle” in their pursuit of Antoine Griezmann, while Arsenal have made Alexis Sanchez a huge contract offer, all in today’s papers.¬†



The fact that Manchester United’s players are now commenting about Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann seems to be a far bigger indicator than the Daily Mirror’s latest “news”.

The tabloid have this morning claimed that United are ready to activate Griezmann‚Äôs ¬£86million release clause at Atletico, and ‘yes’ we have read this several times before.

In March the Manchester Evening News said a deal was done, while the player’s representative Eric Olhats said a concrete approach had been made by a United in April.

Today’s report claims United “have cleared a significant hurdle” by winning the Europa League and qualifying for the Champions League.

And that appears to be the crux of the article.

More significantly though some of United’s players have started to talk about Griezmann.

‚ÄúGriezmann is a brilliant player, a phenomenon,‚ÄĚ said Ander Herrera. ‚ÄúHe‚Äôs a star and all the teams in the world would want him. However, Griezmann is still an Atletico Madrid player and I respect Atletico and their fans.

‚ÄúI‚Äôve said it in the past, after Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi, he is in that group of those that can become their possible successors.‚ÄĚ

And Juan Mata was encouraged by¬†Griezmann suggesting moving to United was a “six out of 10” chance.

‚ÄúWhen I was at school, a six out of 10 was considered OK ‚ÄĒ I would take that,‚ÄĚ said Mata¬†‚ÄúGriezmann is a great player and I like great players. He has quality, he gets goals.

‚ÄúI don‚Äôt know him, but he seems like a good person. I don‚Äôt know what will happen, but of course I like him.‚ÄĚ

The article also named Romelu Lukaku, Eric Dier, Tiemoue Bakayoko, and Michael Keane as United;s summer targets.


PAPER TALK ITALIA: Kessie saga sorted; City, United battle for Monaco man


Arsenal have made another offer to Alexis Sanchez in a bid to keep him away from Bayern Munich, according to a report.

The Daily Mail believes the Gunners have offered Sanchez £270,000 a week, just £30,000 away from the £300,000 the Chile forward is believed to be wanting.

The deal which is loaded with incentives is aimed at keeping Bayern at arm’s length, but the Germans, along with
Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain are interested.

Sanchez is outo of contract next summer and has so far refused to sign an extension and more talks are planned after the FA Cup final on Saturday.

Speculation has already heightened this week after the Chile FA accidentally listed him as a Bayern player in their Confederations Cup squad list.



Jose Mourinho has handed Ed Woodward a list of four players РAntoine Griezmann, Romelu Lukaku, Andrea Belotti and Michael Keane Рto sign in a £300m spending spree. (Daily Mail)

Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata, a target for Manchester United and Chelsea, is close to agreeing a £52m move to AC Milan. (La Gazzetta dello Sport)

PSG midfielder Blaise Matuidi is on Jose Mourinho’s radar. (Le10sport)

Liverpool will have to pay up to ¬£60m if they are to sign RB Leipzig’s 22-year-old midfielder Naby Keita. (Times)

United are confident of signing Griezmann by the end of June and have already agreed a “hugely persuasive” financial package with the 26-year-old’s representatives. (Independent)

Stoke forward Marko Arnautovic is a £15m transfer target for AC Milan and Paris St-Germain. (Sun)

West Ham are hoping to sign Manchester City’s 20-year-old Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho. (Sun)

Former England boss Fabio Capello says Man United are “not an exciting team” and need more than just France international Griezmann. (Daily Star)

Marco Silva is expected to replace Sam Allardyce as Crystal Palace manager after leaving Hull City. (London Evening Standard)

Chris Coleman has dismissed rumours linking him with the vacant Palace job and says he wants to remain with Wales until the 2018 World Cup. (ITV)

Juventus are preparing an offer for 23-year-old Monaco and Brazil midfielder Fabinho, a target for Manchester United and Manchester City. (Calciomercato)

West Brom will have to pay £35m if they want to sign Watford striker Troy Deeney, 28, this summer. (Birmingham Mail)

Wayne Rooney has at least two £50m offers from China to consider as his Manchester United career draws to a close, but has his heart set on a return to former club Everton. (Daily Mail)

Diego Costa will cost Tianjin Quanjian a world-record £152m if his move to China goes ahead this summer. (Daily Mail)

West Ham are hoping Pablo Zabaleta can help lure Kelechi Iheanacho to the club for £25m. (The Sun)

Leicester City and Everton are also considering moves for Deeney. (Daily Mail)

Manchester United will not sell Spain midfielder Ander Herrera, 27, to Barcelona. (Independent)

Liverpool have no plans to sign Porto goalkeeper Iker Casillas, 36, on a free transfer this summer. (Liverpool Echo)

West Brom face competition from Newcastle United for the signing of Sporting Lisbon’s Portugal midfielder William Carvalho, 25. (Birmingham Mail)

Watford want to make 24-year-old Genk and Gambia defender Omar Colley their first summer signing. (Watford Observer)

Everton could sign defender Cuco Martina, 27, on a free transfer after he was released by Southampton. (Liverpool Echo)

Swansea City striker Fernando Llorente, 32, says he held talks with Chelsea manager Antonio Conte in January, but would now be open to a return to Spain. (Cadena Ser, via Metro)

Brighton hope to beat Newcastle to the loan signing of 19-year-old Tammy Abraham after both clubs were given permission to speak to the Chelsea striker.(Telegraph)

Timmy Abraham, the 15-year-old brother of Tammy, has joined Fulham from Charlton Athletic. (Bristol Post)

Former club captain Nigel Pearson is expected to get the Middlesbrough job, but Garry Monk is also a candidate after resigning from Leeds United. (Middlesbrough Gazette)

Former Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka is the favourite to replace Monk at Elland Road. (Telegraph)

Derby want to sign Burnley winger George Boyd on a free transfer, with the 31-year-old Scotland international yet to agree a new deal with the Clarets. (Daily Mirror)


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Aston Villa F.C. - Latest Team and Transfer News | Mail Online 26 May 11:49

QUIZ: Who is each Premier League club's record signing?

With spending expected to go through the roof among Premier League clubs this summer we should see some new club transfer records. But can you remember each club's record transfer fee?

Aston Villa F.C. - Latest Team and Transfer News | Mail Online 26 May 02:06

Man Utd fans still won't forgive me, says Peter McParland

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW - ADAM CRAFTON: Sixty years have passed but Peter McParland suspects he is still to be forgiven by followers of Manchester United.

Aston Villa ‚Äď 25 May 09:31

Paper Talk: Chelsea superstar may stay; Toon want Carvalho

Real Madrid have reportedly cooled their interest in signing a Chelsea attacker, while Newcastle have joined the race for a Sporting Lisbon midfielder, according to Thursday’s newspapers.


Real Madrid are ready to cool their interest in Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard, despite continued rumours that they will sign the Belgium star this summer.

The Spanish champions have reportedly turned their attentions to younger targets as they plan for the future, according to Spanish news outlet El Bernabeu.

While Hazard isn’t exactly a veteran, at just 26, Real’s top target is now believed to be Monaco’s star forward Kylian Mbappe, 18.

Real are also said to be concerned that Hazard’s arrival could hinder the development of one of their brightest young stars in 21-year-old Marco Asensio.


Newcastle have reportedly joined the hunt for Sporting Lisbon sensation William Carvalho.

Following their return to the Premier League, at the first time of asking, Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez is looking to add proven quality to his squad and a raid for Carvalho is said to be on the cards.

The 25-year-old has played more than 100 games for Sporting and has also been capped 31 times by Portugal.

The midfielder is said to have a £39m release clause in his contract but Sporting are unlikely to demand that much, according to O Jogo.

The Daily Star also reports that Man City and Arsenal are keen on the player, with City seeing him as an ideal long-term replacement for Yaya Toure.


Everton accept they have reached the end of the line in contract talks with Ross Barkley and will reluctantly consider offers for the midfielder (Daily Mirror)

Juventus have reportedly joined Manchester United in the race for midfielder Renato Sanches (The Sun)

Manchester United are willing to activate Antoine Griezmann’s 100m escape clause – around ¬£86m – to strengthen their attack (Daily Mirror)

Crystal Palace are plotting to hijack Porto’s move for ex-Hull boss Marco Silva (Daily Mail)

Burnley will risk losing Michael Keane on a free transfer after next season if they do not receive a big enough bid for his services this summer (Daily Mirror)

Crystal Palace will be entitled to ¬£2m compensation from Sam Allardyce’s next club if he takes another management job inside two years (The Times)

Chile accidentally listed Alexis Sanchez as a Bayern Munich player during their latest squad announcement as speculation continues to grow over Arsenal future (The Sun)

Luke Shaw expects to learn if he has a future at Manchester United after their Europa League final win (Daily Mirror)

Wembley’s security has worryingly been described as a ‘shambles’ by a senior insider just two days before the stadium hosts the FA Cup final (Daily Mail)

Burnley boss Sean Dyche is on Crystal Palace’s managerial shortlist to replace Sam Allardyce after his dramatic resignation on Tuesday (Daily Mirror)

Steve Cotterill is in the running for the Sunderland job (Daily Mirror)

Everton manager Ronald Koeman will attempt to add some creativity to his squad this summer (Daily Mail)

Arsenal youngster Gedion Zelalem is facing up to nine months on the sidelines after rupturing his cruciate ligament in his knee while on international duty with USA at the U20 World Cup (The Sun)

Everton are preparing another bid for QPR’s Josh Bowler after their first offer of ¬£3m was rejected (Daily Star)

Felix Gotze, brother of Borussia Dortmund star Mario, has been handed his first professional contract by Bayern Munich (The Sun)

Goalkeeper Willy Caballero has been offered a new deal by Manchester City (The Sun)

Steve McClaren has snubbed a shock return to management with Wigan (The Sun)

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes is on the shortlist to replace David Moyes at Sunderland (Daily Mail)

Crystal Palace want to speak to Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic about becoming their new manager (The Sun)

Aston Villa owner Dr Tony Xia will be back to work next week despite having heart surgery on Monday (The Sun)

Inter Milan are resigned to defeat in their ambitious bid to prise Antonio Conte from Chelsea (Daily Mail)

Paris Saint-Germain have joined the queue of clubs targeting Gael Clichy, who will leave Manchester City when his contract expires next month (The Telegraph)

Barcelona are ready to appoint Atletico Bilbao boss Ernesto Valverde as their new manager following Luis Enrique’s exit (Daily Star)

Daniel Sturridge is out of England’s squad and faces a fight to be ready for pre-season as he prepares for treatment to cure a long-standing hip problem (Daily Mail)

Nuno Espirito Santo, the outgoing manager of Porto, has emerged as the latest candidate to replace Paul Lambert at Wolves (The Times)

Kelechi Iheanacho fully expects to stay at Manchester City this summer despite the mounting speculation over his future (Daily Star)

Jack Butland will be recalled by Gareth Southgate today when the England manager names his squad for games against Scotland and France (The Times)

Roy Hodgson would be interested in speaking to Crystal Palace if he is approached over the manager’s job following Sam Allardyce’s decision to quit and retire from football (The Telegraph)

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Aston Villa F.C. - Latest Team and Transfer News | Mail Online 25 May 02:39

Manchester United pip Liverpool FC as most decorated club

Manchester United's victory on Wednesday night means they have now won more major trophies than any other English club, overtaking rivals Liverpool in the process.

Aston Villa ‚Äď 23 May 15:26

Paper Talk: Man Utd to sell £25m defender; Batshuayi?s triple link

Manchester United are ready to cash in on a defensive stalwart, while Newcastle are plotting a bid on Chelsea for one of their recent headline-makers, according to Tuesday’s papers.



Jose Mourinho is set to axe England star Chris Smalling from Manchester United this summer, according to a report.

The centre-half is expected to be made available by Mourinho this summer with the club ready to do business with any side who offers £25million for the centre-half.

ESPN claims Smalling¬†will be the player to make way this summer after Mourinho decided Phil Jones was ahead of him in the pecking order. The duo are both battling to partner Eric Bailly in the heart of defence for the Europa League final and it’s claimed Jones is set to get the nod, both tomorrow night and in the long term.

It’s further suggested that¬†Mourinho now regards the 27-year-old as having fallen behind Jones, Bailly and the injured Marcos Rojo in the pecking order at centre-half.

The likes of Arsenal and Tottenham are both likely to be keen on signing the player, while he could yet become an ambitious target for Newcastle.

Smalling, who has made 35 appearances for the club this season, has twice been the subject of public criticism by Mourinho, though the player was keen to stress the strength of his relationship with the United boss when questioned about it earlier this month.


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Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez will make a bid to land Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi on loan, according to various reports.

The Daily Mirror claims the Toon boss wants to take the French striker on a season-long deal after a frustrating campaign for the player at Stamford Bridge.

Batshuayi was largely unused by Blues boss Antonio Conte during the campaign, though the striker made a name for himself with four goals in the club’s final three games – including the crucial winner at West Brom which confirmed Chelsea as champions.

However, it’s claimed Newcastle will face competition from Monaco and West Ham¬†for the striker.

Furthermore, it’s claimed that while Conte doesn’t want to sell Batshuayi, he will consider a loan deal to allow the striker to further develop his game in the Premier League.



Tottenham right-back Kyle Walker, 26, is wanted by Chelsea and Bayern Munich, who have joined Manchester City in the race to sign the England defender (The Sun)

Everton have agreed a £25m deal with Swansea for midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, 27, but the Iceland player wants more than £120,000 a week to sign (Daily Mirror)

West Ham’s Manuel Lanzini is a shock target for champions Chelsea (The Sun)

Manchester United have made an offer that “cannot be refused” for Monaco’s 22-year-old midfielder Bernardo Silva (Daily Express)

Gael Clichy has said he will leave Manchester City next month. The former Arsenal and France left-back, 31, has been with the club for six years

Chelsea will begin negotiations this week with Monaco over France midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, 22 (Daily Mail)

Atletico Madrid are monitoring Chelsea striker Diego Costa, despite the 28-year-old being heavily linked with a move to Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjian (Daily Telegraph)

Diego Maradona claims Roma legend Francesco Totti is the best player he has ever seen (The Sun)

Manchester United have been given hope of signing Renato Sanches and Douglas Costa after both players endured a tough season at Bayern Munich

Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson could preserve his Premier League status with a move to either Leicester City or West Brom (The Sun)

Bournemouth expect to complete the free transfer signing of Jermain Defoe this week

Philippe Coutinho has told worried Liverpool fans he sees his long-term future at the club, amid persistent reports of Barcelona interest

Ross Barkley is ready to leave Everton after failing to meet the club’s deadline for clarifying his future (Daily Mirror)

Everton, meanwhile, are set to lose out to Atletico Madrid in their bid to sign Malaga forward Sandro Ramirez, 21 (The Independent)

Leicester are preparing to battle it out with Crystal Palace for Belgian side Anderlecht’s Senegal international defender Kara Mbodji (Daily Mirror)

The Foxes are also trying to snap up centre-back Harry Maguire on the cheap from relegated Hull, as he only has 12 months left on his contract (Daily Mirror)

Manchester United are interested in signing central defenders Marquinhos and Raphael Varane this summer.

Manchester United have made a bid to sign Monaco star Bernardo Silva (Daily Express)

Chelsea will prioritise trying to sign Romelu Lukaku from Everton in the summer (Daily Express)

Southampton do not expect a final decision on Claude Puel’s future until later this week but Marco Silva does not feature on their current list of possible successors (Daily Telegraph)

Liverpool will embark on a record-breaking £100m transfer spree to build on their top-four finish (Daily Telegraph)

Sam Allardyce will hold crunch talks with Crystal Palace this week seeking certain assurances before he commits his future to the club (Daily Mail)

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has flown to Abu Dhabi for end-of-season talks with Khaldoon Al Mubarak.
David Moyes will have a say on Sunderland’s next manager following his resignation from the club (Daily Mail)

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Aston Villa ‚Äď 22 May 14:00

Monday Verdict: Our review of the 2016/17 Prem season

Our review of the 2016/17 season picks out the key stats, 10 best goals and the impact of Antonio Conte, while we ‘mourn’ the Championship play-off final between Reading and Huddersfield.



The excitement a new season brings is often heightened by the arrival of new players – but never have the managers stolen the headlines as much as they did last summer.

The Premier League has always had its share of big-name bosses, of course, but the 2016-17 campaign saw it reach a whole new level.

Suddenly there was a great concentration of them as some of the men regarded as the greatest thinkers and tacticians in the game settled in England.

Manchester seemed the epicentre with the revered Pep Guardiola landing at Manchester City, just a few miles away from where serial winner Jose Mourinho was pitching up at Manchester United.

With Jurgen Klopp already settled in at Liverpool and the highly-rated Ronald Koeman heading to Everton, talk was as much about the people behind the teams as it was about the teams themselves.

In comparison to the Manchester clubs, the appointment of Antonio Conte at Chelsea slipped under the radar.

While City laid on a party for fans as they unveiled Guardiola, and Mourinho walked into Old Trafford with his usual cocksure swagger, Conte made an understated entrance at Stamford Bridge.

On the face of it the Italian had the biggest job, needing to haul a side up from a disappointing 10th-placed finish the previous season. Yet it is he who adapted to his new surroundings the quicker and made the biggest impression, restoring Chelsea to the dominant position they held in 2015.

There was a sluggish start but the tactical nous that previously served Juventus well and earned Conte a shot at the Italy national job soon came to the fore. He realised as early as September that his plan A did not suit the squad he inherited and switched formation to their now familiar 3-4-3.

The Blues stormed to the top of the Premier League with a run of 13 successive wins through the autumn and did not look back. Tottenham did briefly flicker in response but Chelsea never lost control of their destiny and eased to the title.

Their march was one many expected City to be making after Guardiola arrived in Manchester with such a bang. City won their first 10 games in all competitions and played some spellbinding and innovative football along the way – but it was not to last.

While Guardiola, not surprisingly emboldened by the winning of 21 trophies with Barcelona and Bayern Munich, wanted to stick to his philosophies of quick, flowing attacking football and playing out from the back, opponents learnt how to expose their vulnerabilities.

Mistakes were readily pounced on and points were dropped too frequently for a serious title challenge to be mounted. Bold decisions, notably the one to replace the reliable Joe Hart with a specialist ball-playing goalkeeper in Claudio Bravo, backfired.

For the first time in his managerial career, Guardiola ended a season without a trophy and he is now left to contemplate something that certainly was not in the script at the Etihad Campus – a major squad rebuilding job.

Mourinho’s impact at United also did not match the waves he twice created when setting out at Chelsea and the excellence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, for most of the season, masked some weaknesses. Yet after three years of stagnation at Old Trafford, Mourinho won the EFL Cup, has reached the Europa League final and restored some belief. The Portuguese looks to have a better base to build on than a year ago as he bids to take United back to the top.

Elsewhere, Koeman’s arrival at Everton was positive with the Toffees hitting form in the second half of the season and challenging for Champions League places before finishing seventh.

Claude Puel took Southampton to the EFL Cup final and Marco Silva impressed hugely after arriving at Hull mid-season, although he was ultimately unable to prevent relegation. Paul Clement made a positive impact at Swansea and did beat the drop.

The manager to lose the most was perhaps David Moyes. After failed moves to United and Real Sociedad, Sunderland offered a chance to relaunch his career. With the Black Cats relegated after a dismal season, the Scot’s reputation suffered considerably.



Longest winning streak: 13 – Chelsea, October 1 to December 31

Longest losing streak: 6 – Hull, September 17 to October 29; Crystal Palace, October 15 to November 26

Best home record: Tottenham – Won 17, drew 2, lost 0, scored 47, conceded 9

Best away record: Chelsea – Won 13, drew 3, lost 3, scored 30, conceded 16

Worst home record: Sunderland – Won 3, drew 5, lost 11, scored 16, conceded 34

Worst away record: Hull – Won 1, drew 3, lost 15, scored 9, conceded 45

Most points won from a losing position: 18 – Liverpool

Most points lost from a winning position: 22 – West Ham

Fastest goal: 30 seconds – Pedro (Chelsea) v Manchester United, Romelu Lukaku (Everton) v Bournemouth, Tom Davies (Everton) v Leicester

Latest goal: 97 minutes, 14 seconds – Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) v Burnley

Most goals in single match: 4 – Romelu Lukaku (Everton) v Bournemouth, Harry Kane (Tottenham) v Leicester

Most successful managerial change: Paul Clement, Swansea – 1.44 points per game, compared to 0.63 per game before he took over

Most goals from a Premier League new boy: 17, Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United)

Most red cards: Team: 5 – Hull, Watford and West Ham. Player: 2 – Miguel Britos (Watford), Granit Xhaka (Arsenal), Fernandinho (Manchester City)

Most yellow cards: Team: 83 – Watford. Player: 14 – Jose Holebas (Watford)

Most penalty awards: 10 – Bournemouth

Fewest penalty awards: 1 – West Brom

Best penalty conversion rate: 100 per cent – Burnley (6 of 6)*

Worst penalty conversion rate: 50 per cent – Southampton (3 of 6)*

Most drawn matches: 15, Manchester United

Longest unbeaten start to the season: 12 – Tottenham (Won 6, drew 6)

Most improved Premier League side: Chelsea – 2015-16, 10th, 50 points; 2016-17, champions, 90 points from 37 games

* – where teams are tied on penalty conversion rate, the team named is the one awarded most penalties



Once the four play-off spots for the 2016/17 Sky Bet Championship season were confirmed, you could be forgiven for leaning towards two clubs as a preference for a final.

Reading occupied third spot after a solid and consistent season under Jaap Stam, while a late run from Sheffield Wednesday saw them snatch fourth.

The ‘Wagner Revolution’ at Huddersfield Town saw them clinch fifth spot and Fulham usurped Leeds United with three games left to claim the final place.

It was widely documented by fans of opposition clubs that Fulham played some of the most attractive football in the league, showing the progress Slavisa Jokanovic has made with such a young squad.

However, they never really got out of the blocks against Reading in the first leg of their semi-final at Craven Cottage and were lucky to take a draw to the Madejski as Tom Cairney’s header cancelled out Jordan Obita’s opener.

Free-scoring Fulham scored a joint league high 85 goals in the regular season led by the likes of Cairney, Malone, Martin, Aluko, Kebano and Piazon. That included hitting Huddersfield for nine with a 5-0 win at home and a 4-1 win late in the season at the John Smith’s Stadium, and beating Reading 5-0 at Craven Cottage.

Somehow, when the spotlight was on, they drew a blank. The youth and inexperience showed as Jokanovic’s side failed to take their chances and Yann Kermorgant’s penalty proved to be enough for the Royals to book a place at Wembley.

In the other semi-final, Sheffield Wednesday were firm favourites to progress and book a bank holiday date in the £180million game. Rhodes, Fletcher, Forestieri, Winnall, Bannan and Hunt were meant to be too much for Huddersfield, not to mention the Owls being the biggest club in the play-offs.

sheffield wednesday celebrate

However, much like Fulham, they froze on the big stage. A 0-0 first-leg in Huddersfield set them up for a comfortable progression at home and Steven Fletcher’s second-half opener at Hillsborough seemed to put them on their way, but the Terriers roared back.

What David Wagner has done at Huddersfield Town this season is nothing short of a miracle. Their starting XI cost around £5million, roughly half of what Wednesday paid for Jordan Rhodes. More than half of that £5m was spent on defender Chris Schindler (£1.9m) and striker Nahki Wells (£1.3m).

Many fans would have predicted Sheffield Wednesday to face Fulham in the Wembley final, a contrast in styles; solid but effective vs. open and pleasing on the eye. That’s the final we now have, but the Owls are now the Royals, and the Whites are now the Terriers.

Huddersfield dropped out of the top six for one game all season, and a spell of 11 wins in 13 league games between 10 December and February 21 had them firmly in the top two hunt, where they remained until the final few games of the season.

Meanwhile, Reading climbed into the top five on 29 October and stayed there for the remainder of the campaign, eventually claiming third.

The consistency is evident; while Jokanovic and Carvajal can be proud that their respective clubs took it all the way, but will be left rueing missed opportunities while Stam and Wagner stroll out at Wembley.

It might not have been the final everyone expected or wanted, but it’s the final that is deserved.

Oliver Fisher


Olivier Giroud: Claims bragging rights

10. JESSE LINGARD – Middlesbrough v MANCHESTER UNITED, 19/03/17

Lingard was handed his first start in seven matches by Jose Mourinho and took full advantage of his chance to stand out. The 24-year-old picked the ball up just past the halfway line and as the Boro defence backed off, he fired off a shot from 30 yards into the top right-hand corner.

9. EDEN HAZARD – CHELSEA v Arsenal, 04/02/17

Hazard was in his own half when he latched on to a loose header in midfield but a combination of strength, twinkling feet and searing pace left Arsenal’s defence for dead. He jinked away from Laurent Koscielny and shook off Francis Coquelin before finishing off a brilliant run with a close-range shot past Petr Cech.

8. ANDY CARROLL – WEST HAM v Crystal Palace , 14/01/17

Carroll has endured another season blighted by injury but he can be dynamite when he plays, as proven by his superb bicycle kick against Palace. Michail Antonio’s cross was slightly behind the striker but he quickly adjusted, flinging himself into the air and slamming an acrobatic volley into the net.

7. SADIO MANE – Arsenal v LIVERPOOL, 14/08/16

Arsenal did not look in any danger when Mane collected possession on the right flank but in a blink of an eye Cech was picking the ball out of his goal. Mane tore past Calum Chambers, cut inside and unleashed an unstoppable left-foot finish into the far top corner.

Jordan Henderson: A divisive yet under-appreciated figure

6. JORDAN HENDERSON – Chelsea v LIVERPOOL, 16/09/16

For a straight-forward piledriver, few come better than Henderson’s at Stamford Bridge. Gary Cahill’s clearance landed right at the feet of the midfielder, who took one touch to control and then with his second sent a dipping drive flying past Thibaut Courtois.

5. GASTON RAMIREZ – MIDDLESBROUGH v Bournemouth, 29/10/16

Boro have not scored many goals this season and certainly none better this one by Gaston Ramirez. The ball spilled out from a Bournemouth corner and Ramirez, starting midway in his own half, sprinted the best part of 60 yards before cutting inside Andrew Surman and slotting into the net.

4. ALEXIS SANCHEZ – West Ham v ARSENAL, 03/12/16

This was a potentially simple finish made delightful by Sanchez, who was sent one-on-one with West Ham goalkeeper Darren Randolph but instead of shooting, sold his opponent with an elaborate dummy-shot and then tapped home all in one fabulous movement.


Emre Can: Scores with a stunning overhead kick

3. EMRE CAN – Watford v LIVERPOOL, 01/05/2017

Can’s overhead kick was technically superb but also instinctive as the German darted in behind, sized up the chipped through ball and threw himself into the air. Watford’s defence could only watch as Can caught it perfectly with his back to goal, leaving Heurelho Gomes stranded.

2. OLIVIER GIROUD – ARSENAL v Crystal Palace, 02/01/2017

Arsenal’s speedy six-pass counter-attack was impressive enough but the Frenchman’s ‘scorpion kick’ – an improvised flick with the back of his foot – added a stunning final flourish. Giroud would still be celebrating the goal a week later by imitating his own piece of genius.


Giroud’s inventive effort was good but it was Mkhitaryan who did it first, the Manchester United midfielder flicking in Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s cross with the back of his foot. It was a fantastic piece of skill and even Ibrahimovic looked shocked at what he had just witnessed as the Armenian was mauled by his team-mates.

New TV customers can continue to enjoy great entertainment with award-winning dramas, must-see series and comedies when they Join Sky TV and get 33% off selected Sky TV Bundles for 18 months. This offer is live until midnight 5th June.Click here.

The post Monday Verdict: Our review of the 2016/17 Prem season appeared first on

Aston Villa ‚Äď 19 May 13:17

Paper Talk: Costa replacement targeted; Gunners track Juve man

Arsene Wenger wants to sign Juventus midfielder Mario Lemina, while Chelsea are plotting a £200m spending spree with a Monaco man their top target, all in the papers.



Arsenal are ready to bid for Juventus midfielder Mario Lemina, according to reports.

The London Evening Standard suggest¬†23-year-old central midfielder Lemina is Arsene Wenger’s “preferred target”.

Lemina, who has been likened to Manchester United’s world-recortd signing¬†Paul Pogba, is also believed to be open to a move to England.

Mario Lemina: Wanted by Prem duo

Lemina has only made eight Serie A starts this season and Juve will allow the fringe man to move on for a fee of around £20million.

It is also understood agreeing personal terms with the Gabon international should not pose a problem.

Roma and Schalke are also believed to be keen on Lemina, whose arrival¬†“would raise further question marks over Jack Wilshere‚Äôs future at Emirates Stadium”.



Kylian Mbappe & Tiemoue Bakayoko: Linked with Man United

Chelsea will “open negotiations” with Monaco next week over the¬†‚ā¨50million signing of ¬†Tiemoue Bakayoko.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Antonio Conte will have in excess of £200million to spend this summer and midfielder enforcer Bakayoko is at the top of his wanted list.

Chelsea are also keen on¬†Bakayoko‚Äôs team-mate and fellow France¬†international midfielder, Thomas Lemar, but they are convinced Monaco will not sell both players to them. So they will pursue the 22-year-old Bakayoko, who has been a key part of Monaco’s Ligue 1 winning side.


PAPER TALK ITALIA: Juve to move in on Man Utd target


Eden Hazard: Turned the FA Cup semi against Tottenham

Chelsea have told attacking midfielder Eden Hazard, 26, they will make him the focal point of the team for years to come if he signs a new contract at Stamford Bridge. (Evening Standard)

Real Madrid plan to sign Belgium international Hazard in order to convince Paris St-Germain’s 24-year-old Italy midfielder Marco Verratti to join Chelsea instead of rivals Barcelona. (Don Balon)

Monaco have rejected Liverpool’s 75m euros (¬£64.4m) bid for 18-year-old forward Kylian Mbappe, with the French champions holding out for 100m euros (¬£85.8m). (Marca)

Monaco will resist all offers for France international Mbappe this summer, says the club’s chief executive. (CNN)

Liverpool are confident of completing a deal for Fulham’s 17-year-old left-back Ryan Sessegnon. The England Under-19 international is one of five summer targets. (Independent)

Newcastle plan a £6m move for Burnley striker Ashley Barnes ahead of their Premier League return. (Mirror)

Barnes is being eyed by Newcastle and Crystal Palace as the Premier League duo prepare to battle over rival’s striker.¬† (The Sun)

Harry Redknapp is trying to tempt Robbie Keane to join his Birmingham City revolution. Striker Keane, 36, is clubless since leaving LA Galaxy in December. (Mirror)

Swansea boss Paul Clement has told Icelandic star Gylfi Sigurdsson to stay and be their leading man rather than join the chorus line at a bigger club. (Mirror)

Chelsea want Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as Diego Costa’s replacement as Antonio Conte plans Borussia Dortmund negotiations. (Sun)

Norwich midfielder Jonny Howson is the No 1 target for Leeds co-owner Andrea Radrizzani this summer. (Sun)

Derby County are ready to sell Tom Ince for £10m to fund a squad shake-up. (The Sun)

Newcastle are set to bid £12m for Fulham midfielder Tom Cairney, according to reports.  (The Sun)

West Ham are to allow teenage stars Reece Oxford and Domingos Quina to leave on loan this summer. (Daily Mail

Willy Caballero could be on the verge of quitting Manchester City to return to Malaga. (Daily Star)

Norwich City are considering Carlos Carvalhal as their next manager after his Sheffield Wednesday team were defeated in the Championship play-offs for the second successive season. (Times)

Manchester United are considering Benfica’s Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson, 23, as a possible replacement for David de Gea if the Spain international leaves in the summer.(Manchester Evening News)

Ederson: Man to solve Man City's keeper woes?

Man United could move for Atletico Madrid and Slovenia keeper Jan Oblak and are willing to pay up to £40m for the 24-year-old. (Daily Star)

Real Madrid are ready to launch a shock move to take Jan Oblak from their city rivals. (Goal)

Manchester City are ready to offload 20-year-old Nigeria forward Kelechi Iheanacho and Spain striker Nolito, 30, in order to sign Arsenal’s Chile international Alexis Sanchez this summer. (Daily Express)

West Ham are considering making a £20m bid for Iheanacho. (Daily Mail)

Kelechi Iheanacho: On scoresheet yet again

Sunderland and England striker Jermain Defoe, 34, will demand £100,000-a-week wages and a signing-on fee of around £6m from his next club, with West Ham and Bournemouth his most likely destinations. (Evening Standard)

Crystal Palace are also interested in the former Tottenham striker and hope to capitalise on his connection with boss Sam Allardyce, who managed Defoe at Sunderland. (Daily Mirror)

Allardyce wants to sign Manchester City and France full-backs Gael Clichy, 31, and Bacary Sagna, 34, who are both out of contract at Etihad Stadium this summer. (Sun)

Everton will use Chelsea’s 19-year-old forward Tammy Abraham – who spent the season on loan at Championship side Bristol City – as leverage in any deal to take Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku back to Stamford Bridge. (Daily Mail)

tammy abraham bristol city 3

The Toffees will offer £15m for Sunderland keeper Jordan Pickford, 23, but the Black Cats will demand double that fee for the England Under-21 international. (Newcastle Chronicle)

Relegated Middlesbrough will not sell captain Ben Gibson, 24, this summer despite interest from Chelsea and Liverpool in the former England Under-21 international. (Daily Mail)

Boro captain Grant Leadbitter, 31, suggested a language barrier between staff and players contributed to the club’s relegation this season. (Independent)

Sergio Aguero will seek assurances about his role at Manchester City in talks with manager Pep Guardiola. The 28-year-old Argentina striker is concerned that reduced playing time next season could jeopardise his World Cup place. (Telegraph)

Arsenal and France striker Olivier Giroud, 30, is prepared to leave the Gunners this summer to ensure first-team football before the 2018 World Cup. (Daily Mirror)

Liverpool fear they could be beaten to the signings of Southampton and Netherlands centre-back Virgil van Dijk, 25, and Fulham left-back Ryan Sessegnon, 17, by Chelsea and Tottenham respectively. (Daily Express)

West Ham, Southampton, Swansea and Stoke are all keen on £20m-rated Leeds striker Chris Wood after the 25-year-old New Zealand international finished top scorer in the Championship, with 27 goals. (Sun)

chris wood 3

Claude Puel is facing the prospect of losing his job as Southampton manager, with several first-team players complaining about his training methods. (Mirror, Mail)

Burnley will demand more than £25m from Manchester United for defender Michael Keane, 24, because the Clarets will have to pay 25% of any transfer fee to the Old Trafford club as part of the deal that took the England centre-back to Turf Moor. (Telegraph)


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