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Mourinho hints Chelsea’s summer spending is done

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Famous last words, right? Particularly from a club with Chelsea’s resources, any declaration the spending’s done seems presumptive, particularly with six weeks to go in the transfer window. As they showed while swiping Willian from Tottenham last summer, Chelsea’s always ready to jump back into the market.

According to manager José Mourinho, however, that’s unlikely happen, and while this may be our reminder not to trust “The Special One,” Mourinho’s view of Chelsea’s summer dealings may provide some insight into to how the Blues’ impending plans.

From reporting by The Guardian:

“I have to say my club did a fantastic job and not just because of what we bought but a fantastic job because we did it almost in record time,” Mourinho said. “The market closes at 31 August and we close our market on 19 July. We finished our market today … We knew the targets, we knew the players. The club attacked them and their clubs at a very early stage …”

Those targets: midfielder Cesc Fábregas (formerly of Barcelona); striker Diego Costa (Atlético Madrid); and fullback Felipe Luis (Atlético). Thibaut Courtois, Marko Marin, Oriol Romeu, and Ryan Bertrand are returning from loan, while the club could get full seasons from Mohamed Salah and Marco van Ginkel. Even beyond the club’s new signings, Chelsea should get a significant boost from the team that finished last year’s season.

That team finished last season with the league’s third-best goal difference, though thanks to their league-leading defense, their pythagorean ranking painted a slightly more favorable picture. Considering the team’s lack of production from the striker position, Costa’s acquisition alone could be enough to close the gap between themselves and Manchester City.

More from Mourinho:

 “We feel our squad is what we want. We don’t want a squad of only finished products. We want to bring to the first team three or four under-21 players. We are going to develop players and are happy with this balance we have.”

Balance may be the key word. Between a great defense and an attacking midfield built around Eden Hazard and Óscar, Chelsea had enough to compete for a title. But the team also had some obvious flaws, limiting the flexibility Mourinho had with his squad.

How far Fábregas and Costa go toward correcting those flaws will determine whether the Blues should have spent more this summer. Right now, they look like a team capable of reclaiming the title, something that’s of limited value before the season actually starts.

Ronaldo shows no sign of injury while hanging with Conor McGregor

instagram.com/cristiano/
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Cristiano Ronaldo may not be ready for the UEFA Super Cup, but he’s no longer limping around.

To explore the Real Madrid superstar’s Instagram is to see Ronaldo, sometimes clothed, hanging out with celebrities.

In the last couple weeks we’ve seen him with Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez, and now his “bro” Conor McGregor.

[ MORE: Who wins the League of Hate? ]

Wait, what?

Yeah, Ronaldo is friends with the MMA star, and showed no ill form (and no brace of any kind) in several posed photos with McGregor.

Although admittedly, McGregor’s IG game is a bit better: The Irish fighter posted a photo of himself sunning in his briefs with the caption, “I’m gonna get him on the Forbes list by next year. But I’m gonna get him on the tan by next week.”

Good luck with both, bro.

Great to see you bro!!💪🏽🔝

A photo posted by Cristiano Ronaldo (@cristiano) on Jul 24, 2016 at 3:48pm PD

Bruce pens letter to Hull fans: “Desperately wanted to make it work”

YORK, ENGLAND - JULY 23: Steve Bruce manager of  Hull City ahead of the pre-season friendly match between York City and Hull City at Bootham Cresent on July 23, 2014  in York, England. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)
Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images
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Many Hull City fans didn’t want Steve Bruce to leave the club, and this open letter shows why.

After leaving the club by “mutual consent” on Friday — it was first widely reported that he quit — fans protested at Hull’s game on Monday.

[ MORE: Who wins the League of Hate? ]

Bruce may’ve had his problems with Hull’s ownership, but he certainly got his supporters’ feelings right down to the core.

From the Hull Daily Mail:

My biggest regret is having to walk away but it was a decision I had to make for the sake of the club. The last 12 months have been very tough and it felt like the right step for the club to move forward in a different direction and with someone else in charge.

I desperately wanted to make it work this summer and be a Premier League manager again but, sadly, it wasn’t to be. Nevertheless, I’ve left Hull City with some fantastic memories that I’ll always cherish, including just eight weeks ago in the Championship play-off final at Wembley.

Class from the longtime boss, and we imagine he’ll have a job very soon if he wants it.

Report: Everton to activate release clause of Stoke’s Arnautovic

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 28: Marko Arnautovic (1st L) of Stoke City competes for the ball against Seamus Coleman (2nd L) and Gareth Barry (1st Rof Everton during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Stoke City at Goodison Park on December 28, 2015 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)
Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images
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Everton is going to activate Marko Arnautovic‘s $16 million release clause to bring the Stoke City striker to Goodison Park, according to a report out of Austria.

Stoke had been trying to sign Arnautovic to a contract extension, but the player was reportedly prepared to play out the final year of his deal.

[ MORE: Who wins the League of Hate? ]

The huge 27-year-old Austrian has been with Stoke since 2013, and broke through with 11 Premier League goals last season.

Arnautovic would give Everton support behind Romelu Lukaku, and insurance in case the Toffees do wind up selling their Belgian striker. Everton also has Arouna Kone as a potential target forward, but Oumar Niasse is expecting to leave after less than a year at Goodison Park.

Chelsea wins the League… of Hate; Bournemouth, Leicester not hated

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27:  Diego Costa of Chelsea celebrates his team's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Chelsea at St Mary's Stadium on February 27, 2016 in Southampton, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images
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A family of English newspapers conducted its annual survey of which teams are the most hated in the Premier League, and there’s a new champion.

Manchester United has dropped to second in the table to Chelsea in what the Manchester Evening News called the “League of Hate”.

[ MORE: Rooney’s England position not set ]

According to the MEN, 10,000 fans were quizzed on their love and hate:

A national survey asked fans of each top flight club which sides they hate, and which they love, and the west London club came out as the most disliked club overall.

United, who won the dubious accolade last year, have been revealed to be the next most reviled side.

It’s no surprise that the league’s more successful sides sit atop the table while newer PL clubs like Bournemouth and Burnley are not reviled. That said, Leicester’s dream story has them 19th. How much more success do they need to have before shooting up the hate table?

Here’s the Top Five, and all results:

1) Chelsea
2) Manchester United
3) Liverpool
4) Manchester City
5) Arsenal