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No intra-PL sale for Alexis; Liverpool won’t move Coutinho

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If Alexis Sanchez sees his future away from Arsenal, then he’ll have to pack up and leave the country.

That’s according to a report from The Times of London, which states that upon Sanchez’s full return to training from overcoming the flu, he was told by manager Arsene Wenger that if he still desired to leave Arsenal this summer, he wouldn’t be sold to Chelsea or Manchester City. The two Premier League giants had been rumored as potential destinations for Sanchez this summer, should he have moved.

It appears that Wenger has learned his lesson from selling Robin Van Persie to Manchester United in 2012. Despite receiving more than $30 million for a player who had just turned 29 years old, the move angered Arsenal fans at the time and helped give Sir Alex Ferguson another Premier League title that season, with Van Persie scoring 26 league goals.

Sanchez however is approaching the final 12 months of his contract at the Emirates, and Arsenal will likely want assurances that he’ll sign a new contract in the next 30 days. Otherwise, they run the risk of losing the Chilean star for free.

Here’s a look at some more transfer rumors around the Premier League and Europe:

Liverpool not interested in Coutinho swap with Barcelona

With Neymar set to officially leave Barcelona in the next few days, the club is picking up its intensity in the transfer market to find a replacement.

One of the long-rumored targets is Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho, but the Merseyside club appear unwilling to sell Coutinho, even with the chance of a Barcelona player moving the other way in return, according to a report from the Liverpool Echo.

After simple transfer bids were rejected, the report states that Liverpool wouldn’t be interested in trading Coutinho for Rafinha or Andre Gomes, two players that have been linked with Jurgen Klopp.

Barcelona extending its net

Barcelona are looking to replace Neymar with a similar high-profile player.

According to multiple reports across Europe, Barcelona has identified Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele, Juventus’ Paulo Dybala and Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann as possible replacements.

With around $262 million in funds to use, transfer fees won’t be an issue for the club, though it could mean that some teams play hard ball in order to earn a few extra million from a sale.

At the same time, Barcelona would reportedly be interested in any of Paris Saint-Germain’s Angel Di Maria, Julian Draxler, Adrian Rabiot or Marco Verratti as part of a trade deal for Neymar.

Manchester City insert buy-back clause for Iheanacho

If Kelechi Iheanacho becomes as good as they presume he’ll be, then he’ll be available to them on a bargain, for modern transfer fee standards.

With Romelu Lukaku moving to Manchester United for around $100 million and Alexandre Lacazette joining Arsenal for around $70 million, Manchester City has reportedly inserted a $66 million buy-back clause in Iheanacho’s impending transfer move to Leicester City.

The 20-year-old Nigerian is making a full transfer for $33 million this summer, but should he become a Premier League star, Manchester City will be able to buy him back for likely less than he’d be worth on the open market, with teams from Spain, France and Germany also bidding for his services.

The 2 Robbies: Alexis/Mkhitaryan transfer saga and more

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Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle recap all the key stories from the latest Premier League Saturday fixtures including Manchester City’s 3-1 win over Newcastle (0:20), Chelsea’s 4-0 victory at Brighton (10:15) and the latest on the Alexis Sanchez/Henrikh Mkhitaryan saga after wins for Arsenal and Manchester United (19:00). Plus, a closer look at the bottom of the table and thoughts go out to James McCarthy after his serious injury against West Brom (29:00).

Join Earle & Mustoe on The 2 Robbies Football Show, Saturdays at 5pm ET. Listen on the NBCSports Radio App and call 855-323-4622 in the U.S. for lively passionate debate.

All of the The 2 Robbies content can be accessed by clicking on this link:

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Follow them on Twitter @The2Robbies

Video: Stoke’s Imbula scores stunner on loan at Toulouse

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Stoke City supporters know the name Giannelli Imbula, and perhaps they’ll be clamoring for the Frenchman to return to the bet365 Stadium if he can score more goals like this.

[ MORE: PL Roundup — Top three all victorious; Gunners thrash Palace ]

The holding midfielder is currently on loan with Ligue 1 outfit Toulouse, and for the first time this season, Imbula opened his goalscoring account in some fashion.

Right on half-hour mark, Imbula unleashed a left-footed strike from nearly 40 yards out to give Toulouse the lead over Montpellier (below).

Imbula joined Stoke during the 2015/16 PL season, and has made 26 appearances for the Potters in his time with the club, prior to his loan to France.

Willian proves he’s Chelsea’s x-factor against Brighton

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There’s a considerable difference when watching a Chelsea team that plays with and without one of its Brazilian influences in the attacking part of the field.

Willian — who first debuted for the Blues back in 2013 — hasn’t always managed to be a regular starter for Chelsea, whether it was Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink or current manager Antonio Conte at the helm, though.

[ SOURCES: Jack Harrison expected to join Stoke City this winter ]

The 29-year-old plays with considerable flair, something that certainly isn’t uncommon amongst many players that have grown up in Brazil.

At times Willian’s overconfidence is a significant blessing, and at others it can be considered a curse, however, the former Corinthians player’s presence is something that Chelsea needs now more than ever.

That was on display on Saturday during the side’s 4-0 win at Brighton, a match in which Chelsea dominated from start to finish with Willian on the pitch. While the performance cannot solely be attributed to the attacking midfielder’s showing, it’s easy to argue that the Blues midfielder is becoming the club’s biggest x factor — one that can determine the outcome of a match.

Just look six minutes into the match, when the Blues put together one of the best team goals you’ll see in a match this year (or any year for that matter), which of course, was started and finished by none other than Willian.

What stands out about the play isn’t the brilliant slicing shot into the near post corner by the veteran playmaker, but instead the confidence that Willian exudes and brings to a Chelsea lineup that has plenty of talent to be considered one of the best teams in England and all of Europe.

After all, Conte’s group is just a season removed from winning the Premier League and still sits inside the top three in the world’s top league.

Then, there’s the Blues’ third goal against Brighton, which was set up by a smart, and instinctive, through ball played into the path of Eden Hazard by Willian (below).

Even though Hazard ends up with a ton of time on the ball to make his next decision, which was ultimately to cut inside on his preferred right foot, the run by Willian towards the end line dragged a defender away from the Belgian international — allowing the sequence to progress.

Arguing Willian’s importance isn’t a knock on Hazard — a world-class player in his own right — or Alvaro Morata, who has had the intolerable task of replacing a key player like Diego Costa.

Instead, it simply shows that Chelsea has a plethora of talent, and that some of the club’s attacking struggles throughout the 2017/18 season can be chalked up to Willian being left out of the starting XI on a regular basis.

[ MORE: Sergio Aguero continues to display brilliance for Man City ]

The Brazilian international has scored eight goals and added seven assists this season in all competitions for the Blues, despite only starting 19 matches.

The mind of manager Conte is an ever-changing one, so maybe Willian still doesn’t get the starting nod on an every week basis, but just by watching the team’s performance at the Amex Stadium it’s quite hard to argue against the player being on the field as much as possible.

Premier League Preview: Southampton vs. Tottenham

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Southampton will host Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday (Watch live, 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via with both sides hoping to pick up three points for very different reasons.

The Saints are currently in the midst of a fierce relegation battle through 23 matches, and sit in 18th place in the Premier League, while Spurs are hoping challenge for a top-four position.


Mauricio Pellegrino‘s Southampton could get defender Maya Yoshida back in time for Sunday’s match, however, the side will be without Charlie Austin once more, who is currently nursing a hamstring injury.

Meanwhile, a number of key figures will miss the match for Tottenham, including goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and Harry Winks. Also, Danny Rose and Toby Alderweireld remain sidelined with injuries, although the latter is expected to be back soon.

What they’re saying

Mauricio Pellegrino on state of the Saints: “We are not happy with our position but in three or four weeks’ time everything can change. It’s part of our competition. I feel in our team the spirit is really good and everybody is conscious about what we need. I receive these messages from players every day, and we have to convert these feelings into stats.”

Mauricio Pochettino on potential January moves: “To be honest it will be difficult. At some point you always dream but not too much exciting [is happening]. If it happens, it happens. If not, then it doesn’t happen. We are happy with the squad.”


Harry Kane is firing at an absurd rate recently, and Southampton’s current form is worrisome to say the least. With just four wins all season, it’s hard to imagine the Saints coming out in front in their clash. Southampton 0-3 Tottenham