Premier League links up with English FA to help nurture young talent

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It seems as though the newly appointed Chairman of the English Football Association has already got a huge thumbs up from the Premier League.

The English national team and the Premier League’s elite will now be pulling in the same direction.

New FA Chairman Greg Dyke has struck a deal with the Premier League clubs to work together to develop the best young talent in England. The FA have set up a commission which will try to boost the number of England players playing regularly in the Premier League.

(MORE: England “should win World Cup 2022” as FA sets out targets)

Premier League Chairman Anthony Fry was adamant that more should be done to bring through young talent and is delighted to work alongside the FA to achieve this.

“It is evident from discussions with the clubs that there is a strong desire to see greater numbers of England-qualified players coming through their Academy systems that are capable of performing at both Premier League and international standard.”

Previously both parties had been heading in different directions but now they seem to be working together as last week Dyke revealed his masterplan to get the PL and FA working together to boast the Three Lions’ chances of success. And coincidentally Dyke was one of the leading figures who helped set up the Premier League in the early 1990s, with many believing that’s exactly why he was given the role of FA Chairman to help liaise between the Governing Body and the league.

And following a very positive meeting with the chairman of all 20 PL clubs on Thursday, Dyke revealed his delight that the FA commission he set up will now work in tandem with the Premier League to try and develop more English talent for Roy Hodgson and future England managers to choose from.

I am very keen that the commission work with everyone in football and particularly the Premier League, both as an organization and its individual member clubs. Clearly they have a lot to contribute to the process. I am pleased that the Premier League clubs, board and executive all want to contribute to the commission I am setting up. There is a great deal of knowledge there and I am sure we will be able to find some very concrete ways of improving the pool of talent available to England managers.

There is no quick-fix to this lack of English talent in the Premier League. But Dyke seems to be making this topic his number one priority as the FA seeks to increase the levels of English players competing regularly in England’s top division. However quite how he will solve this issue remains to be seen as many of his predecessors tried and failed miserably to get PL clubs to put their own agendas to one side, in a bid to produce more young players for the English national team.

This commission between the FA and Premier League is only the start, albeit a promising one, in the long process to helping more young players fulfill their dream of playing in England’s top-flight. Many compromises will have to be made by the FA, Dyke, the Premier League and the individual club chairman if this relationship will bear any fruit.

Regardless, it’s a good thing for the English national team that these discussions are finally happening. But as we all know only too well, actions speak louder than words.

Transfer Rumor Wrap: Tottenham set to make Ajax’s Sanchez its record signing

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Tottenham look set to break the bank on one of the world’s most exciting defensive prospects.

According to a report in the Guardian, Tottenham and Ajax have agreed on a $54.1 million transfer fee for centerback Davinson Sanchez. The Colombian international only joined Ajax a year ago but led the backline to the Europa League final, where Ajax fell to Manchester United.

Spurs officials reportedly traveled to Amsterdam earlier this week to sort out a deal to bring Sanchez back to London. It’s believed to be a $36 million transfer with add-on clauses worth around $18 million.

Sanchez will add more speed and strength to one of the Premier League’s best backlines, giving Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen a partner to play with in a back three.

Here’s some more news from around the Premier League:

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Costa: Chelsea “won’t decide my fate”

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As each day passes, the impasse between Chelsea manager Antonio Conte and Diego Costa grows.

Costa is continuing to holdout from Chelsea after being asked to train with the reserves and has made clear his preference to transfer back to his former club, Atletico Madrid. But in his latest comments to ESPN Brazil, Costa said that Chelsea are asking for a transfer fee that’s well above what Atletico can afford.

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“Chelsea offered me to several clubs,” Costa said. “But I was very clear with them. They said that since I’m not part of the coach’s plans, I want to choose my destiny. For them they have made more money, I will not let them decide my destiny. Even because when I came to Chelsea they paid well below the proposal that is coming now. I think they have to be aware and see everything I’ve done.”

It’s easy to feel sympathetic for Costa and his situation. He said in the interview that he’s struggled with English and as such, has had to rely on people at the club to take care of a lot of tasks. In Madrid, a country he’s received citizenship from and a city and language he’s comfortable with, he doesn’t have these worries.

But for all the good will he earned, Costa also painted himself in a bad light later in that response to a question about what the deadlock was about with Chelsea.

“It’s not my fault I’m not there,” Costa said. “If it was up to me, I’d be playing. There’s already (been) a month. Holiday is good, but it gets boring. I did not cause this situation. Since this is where the club has to think in two ways. Of course they have to have a payback, as I have given sportily and financially as well. After three years you will receive an amount above what you paid.”

Costa though did provide some insight. It had been believed over the past week or so that Costa would only move to Atletico Madrid, but the Brazilian-born Spanish international forward clarified that statement, saying he’d prefer to go to Atletico but if Atletico can’t afford him or can’t figure out a deal to sign him and get around the club’s transfer ban, he’d be open to going to another European club.

“I have already shown my affection and my interest in playing for Atletico,” Costa said. “But if they, Athletic and Chelsea did not reach an agreement and they [Athletic] do not force a move, I can not be wanting to play in a club that does not want to make a greater effort. I know that this will happen. If it is to pay as much as Chelsea want [the transfer], it is not possible. You must see this. What I know is that the proposal to come will exceed that Chelsea paid when he brought me. And I gave back in every way.”

West Bromwich rejects latest bid from Man City for Evans

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Manchester City’s latest transfer target is a Premier League veteran, but he’s not going without a fight.

West Bromwich Albion manager Tony Pulis confirmed that the club had rejected a transfer bid for former Manchester United centerback Jonny Evans from Manchester City. It’s reported that the transfer bid was worth $23.2 million and that Man City are willing to up it to around $28.3 million, though Pulis isn’t budging.

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“We have turned down an offer for Jonny,” Pulis said. “We do not want to sell Jonny and we do not need to sell him. It would have to be a very, very good offer.

“Jonny understands the situation and where everything is. Jonny is happy here and wants to get on with his football. He is one of our best players. We all understand where we are.”

Evans has made 61 starts over the past two seasons for West Bromwich but it’s a question as to whether he’d be first choice at Manchester City, with Vincent Kompany, John Stones and even Nicolas Otamendi ahead of Evans in the pecking order.

Meanwhile, it doesn’t make sense for West Bromwich to sign one of its top players at this point in the transfer window, with less than a month to find a replacement in both the dressing room and on the field.

For all the talk about needing to improve defensively over the offseason, Man City manager Pep Guardiola has so far only been able to bring in new fullbacks, but perhaps his 3-5-2 formation displayed in the opening match of the season can provide more defensive stability for the team, even if Kompany misses extensive time with injury like in the past.

Pique: For first time in career, Barca star feels “inferior to Madrid”

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Gerard Pique does not have the sort of personality that makes admitting defeat an easy proposition.

The longtime Barcelona center back is raging after his side was beaten 5-1 over two legs by rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup.

[ MORE: Barca releases statement on terror attacks ]

And for the first time in his life, he thinks Barca is a step behind its El Clasico enemies. From The Telegraph:

“This is a long process and there is room for improvement but in the nine years that I have been here, it is the first time that I feel inferior to Madrid,” Piqué said. “We are not in the best moment, either as a team or as a club. We must stay as close as possible and keep moving forwards.”

Barcelona looked very poor in the second leg of the Super Cup, though the club did hammer the woodwork on multiple occasions. Real is the best team in the world, which makes being its rival a real hassle.

In fact, both clubs have been 1-2 in the world for some time, which has to make it extra perplexing when you’re No. 2 to only the club you despise more than any other.