Eliaquim Mangala

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Klopp’s reliance on top CB pair nothing new, but a problem

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When Jurgen Klopp was hired at Borussia Dortmund in 2008, he did something right away that would set the stage for BVB’s run back into Bundesliga power.

Klopp brought defender Neven Subotic with him from Mainz, and took Mats Hummels on loan from Bayern Munich.

The 19-year-old Subotic played 38 times for BVB that season, and Hummels played well on way to a permanent transfer.

[ MORE: Klopp left fuming at defending ]

Largely, Klopp seemed to “set it and forget it” with his center backs from that point forward: No big summer buys, and neither Subotic nor Hummels was headed anywhere.

That didn’t change until 2013-14, when Klopp bought Sokratis Papastathopoulos from Werder Bremen, adding Matthias Ginter the next season.

Klopp left BVB after a disappointing 2014-15, taking the job at Liverpool in October 2015.

He didn’t do much in January, but agreed to terms with Schalke center back Joel Matip in February and landed Ragnar Klavan from Augsburg in the summer. The Reds already had bought Dejan Lovren from Southampton in the Summer of 2014, and Klopp seemed set.

[ MORE: League Cup Weds. wrap ]

Lovren improved a lot with Matip next to him, and Klavan made just 15 appearances for the Reds last season. The Reds went hard at Southampton’s Virgil Van Dijk, but failed to get him for any number of reasons. Still, Klopp figured his quartet, including young Joe Gomez in a pinch, would be just fine this season.

And maybe they will be, but there are daunting signs for the Reds in the first couple months of the season. Klopp has used Matip in eight matches, tied for the most on the team with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino. He’s used Lovren six times, and Klavan four.

Liverpool’s record by CB pair (admittedly a tiny sample size):

Matip-Lovren: 3W-2D
Matip-Klavan: 1W-1D-1L
Gomez-Klavan: 1L (today)

The center backs, sans Matip and Lovren, especially hurt the Reds in the 2-0 loss to Leicester on Tuesday. All three moments of Leicester threat in this highlight package find either Klavan or Gomez cooked or out-of-place.

Look, a lot of teams are going to be hurt when using their second-choice CB pair, and many won’t be bothered by Liverpool’s exit from the League Cup. Furthermore, it’s not like anyone has been mistaking Lovren and Matip for Puyol and Pique.

But look at every English team in Europe, including the ones with far fewer defensive frailties heading into this summer than Liverpool.

Chelsea bought Antonio Rudiger.

Everton added Michael Keane.

Manchester United bought Victor Lindelof.

Spurs bought Davinson Sánchez and Juan Foyth.

Arsenal didn’t buy anyone besides Alexandre Lacazette, while Man City bought full backs and has received plenty of criticism for failing to add to its center back corps of Vincent Kompany, John Stones, and Eliaquim Mangala.

Liverpool? They sold Mamadou Sakho.

It’s problematic, yes, and it can’t be fixed until January. The question is whether Klopp sees a need to spend in the winter window. As illustrated above, he loves to ride his horses, even if Lovren and Matip aren’t quite Hummels and Subotic.

Think of what’s ailed Liverpool in recent seasons: Are some of those flops against lesser Premier League teams changed with more rest for their top pair or a better option for the mix?

Kompany out injured for Man City; Hazard to return for Chelsea

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Manchester City have been dealt a major blow ahead of their clash against Liverpool on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

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Pep Guardiola has confirmed that captain Vincent Kompany will not play against Liverpool after the Belgian center back suffered a calf injury during international duty.

“I do not think  will be available tomorrow. I am sad for Kompany. The last seven, eight, nine games last season he played no problem, but we will get him fit as soon as possible,” Guardiola said.

Kompany, 31, had looked to have put his long line of injuries behind him but just three games into the new campaign a familiar problem has developed.

Guardiola confirmed Tosin Adarabioyo and Eliaquim Mangala will be available to slot into the team if needed when questioned about why City didn’t sign a new center back in the transfer window, while John Stones is likely to slot in alongside Nicolas Otamendi against Liverpool.


While there is bad news for one title hopeful in Man City, good news has arrived for Antonio Conte and Chelsea.

The Italian manager confirmed Eden Hazard will return against Leicester City on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold, online via NBCSports.com) after missing the opening month of the season with an ankle injury.

Hazard, 26, injured his ankle while on international duty with Belgium in June and required surgery but Conte confirmed Hazard is available this weekend.

“He is improving a lot and I think now I can count on him. I have to decide the right minutes but he is available,” Conte said.

Despite not playing for Chelsea this season Hazard did appear for Belgium against Gibraltar and Greece over the international break and he is now available for the reigning champs as they head to the King Power Stadium.

This is a huge bonus for Chelsea as their chief attacking talent returns.

Deadline Day As It Happened

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This is it.

August 31 has arrived and the summer transfer window closes at 6 p.m. ET today in the Premier League.

[ MORE: Latest transfer news ] 

Below you will see live updates throughout the day on all the latest news on deals which could happen and everything else going on in the final hours of the window.

And remember, there is a live Deadline Day show on NBCSN and online from 5 p.m. ET today which you can steam by clicking on the link below.

[ STREAM: Deadline Day show ] 

Let’s get stuck in…


9:04 p.m. ET – Liverpool has finally confirmed the sale of Mamadou Sakho to Crystal Palace. We’re going to call it a night.


8:52 p.m. ET – Drinkwater’s move to Chelsea is complete, and Leicester says it has received a record haul. Separate reports say the Foxes are comfortable that Adrien Silva’s $29 million arrival will go through.


8:00 p.m. ET – Vincent Janssen has reportedly turned down a move to Brighton and Hove Albion, depriving the club of their much-wanted striker.

Also, Sky Sports is reporting that Diego Costa may still make a move to Atletico Madrid with La Liga’s transfer window not closing until Friday. Atleti can buy Costa, but they cannot register him until January due to a transfer ban.


7:21 p.m. ET – Still waiting on several moves, including the assumed Mamadou Sakho to Palace reunion.


6:43 p.m. ET – Brighton and Hove Albion have reportedly requested an extension in order to land striker Vincent Janssen from Tottenham.


6:26 p.m. ET – Also announced by the buyers: Davide Zappacosta from Torino to Chelsea, Molla Wague and Orestis Karnezis on loan from Udinese to Watford, and Ezequiel Schelotto from Inter Milan to Brighton and Hove Albion.


6:13 p.m. ET – The BBC is reporting that Leicester has requested a two-hour extension to get its Adrien Silva deal over the line, while Swansea City’s cat is well and truly out of the bag.

UPDATE: Spurs have announced the purchase of Llorente, and Swans have revealed Bony’s return.


6 p.m. ET – Nothing major as the deadline hits, though we wait to hear whether moves for Danny Drinkwater and Riyad Mahrez make it across the line. If deal sheets have been submitted, teams have a couple hours to get the rest of the paperwork done.

Hopefully your team feels more positive than the back page of the Newcastle Chronicle:


5:56 p.m. ET – Loan-ly afternoon:

  • Achraf Lazaar (Benevento) and Tim Krul (Brighton and Hove Albion) are leaving Newcastle United on loan.
  • Leicester has added Aleksandar Dragovic on loan from Bayer Leverkusen.

5:51 p.m. ET – Nine minutes to go, and waiting on the final rush (if it comes). In the meantime, UEFA World Cup qualifying was downright bonkers today.


5:28 p.m. ET – Here’s a jaw-dropping story, one that actually lowered Robbie Mustoe’s mandible. Ross Barkley showed up at Chelsea for his medical, but left midway through the medical. He could still move in January, or sign a pre-contract then and ride out the final few months at Goodison Park, which will not make him friends amongst his boyhood club.


4:57 p.m. ET – Danny Drinkwater is ready to go to Chelsea. In fact, he’s already at the club’s training facility. But according to Sky Sports sources, the midfielder is “awaiting permission from Leicester to undergo a last-minute medical.”


4:42 p.m. ET – Arsenal has Tweeted out the fate of a CONCACAF star, as Costa Rica’s Joel Campbell will spend another season on loan at Real Betis.


4:10 p.m. ET – If you’re looking for some live love before the 5 p.m. ET Deadline Day show on NBCSN, our editor Joe Prince-Wright is fielding your questions on Facebook Live right now.


3:57 p.m. ET – Fernando Llorente seems pretty confident he’s going to London with Spurs, or at least he really rates the club’s new home shirt.


3:45 p.m. ET – Sky Sports says Eliaquim Mangala‘s planned loan move to Crystal Palace will not be happening as Man City now knows it will not land Johnny Evans from West Brom.


3:33 p.m. ET – Nick Mendola here, taking the wheel so JPW can catch his breath.

Quick hits to get you caught up on the last hour’s buzz, with about 2.5 hours to go ’til the window slams shut.

  • Spurs look set to nip Chelsea to Fernando Llorente, providing Swans can get a forward over the line.
  • In what would be a fantastic move for Leicester City, the Foxes may be bringing Adrien Silva to the Premier League but are waiting to see if Chelsea gets the job done with taking Danny Drinkwater.
  • Ryan Kent impressed this preseason with Liverpool, and is heading to the Bundesliga on loan to get more playing time with Freiburg.
  • Everton has completed its rumored Nikola Vlasic move, landing the Hajduk Split player for around $12 million.

2:34 p.m. ET – The deals keep on coming with Leicester loaning out midfielder Nampalys Mendy to Nice for the season, Watford bringing in Molla Wague on a season-long loan from Udinese and Stoke loaning out Bojan to La Liga side Alaves for the 2017-18 season.


2:25 p.m. ET – What is the latest with Arsenal’s move for Thomas Lemar? Well, brace yourself Gunners fans. Drum rollllll please…. It’s off. Apparently Lemar has decided he doesn’t want to play for a team not in the UEFA Champions League, and therefore Liverpool’s move for Alexis Sanchez also appears to be in jeopardy. Monaco were said to have accepted the bid of $118 million, but Lemar wanted more time to think about the deal. And, oh yeah, Lemar is starting for France in their crucial World Cup qualifier against the Netherlands at the Stade de France which kicks off in about 20 minutes.


2:18 p.m. ET – Arsenal have loaned Lucas Perez back to Deportivo La Coruna, the club they bought him from for $21.9 million last summer. Perez, 28, scored seven goals in 21 appearances for the Gunners last season but made just seven appearances in the Premier League.


1:55 p.m. ET – BIG NEWS for Crystal Palace… Liverpool have accepted a bid of $33.5 million for center back Mamadou Sakho. Sky Sports claim that the Eagles have agreed the deal for Sakho who excelled on loan at Selhurst Park last season.


1:40 p.m. ET – Non-Premier League news here, but Kylian Mbappe has signed for Paris Saint-Germain from Monaco on a season-long loan deal which can become permanent next summer for $214 million. Mbappe, 18, joins Neymar at PSG but Les Parisiens may be in trouble with UEFA as the deal for Mbappe may breach Financial Fair Player rules. Let’s see what happens but Mbappe’s arrival is a massive moment for PSG.


1:20 p.m. ET – We have another DONE DEAL in the Premier League. Just the sixth signing by a PL club today. Dutch left back Marvin Zeegelaar, 27, has arrived at Watford from Sporting Lisbon on a four-year deal. The Ajax academy product played in the UEFA Champions League for Sporting last season and Marco Silva was searching far and wide for a new left back. Job done.


1:10 p.m. ETVirgil Van Dijk has left Southampton’s training ground but it doesn’t appear to be for the last time. Below is the latest on VVD as Pro Soccer Talk understands there has been “no change” in his situation as Southampton do not want to sell him this summer. Saints stay strong.


1:05 p.m. ET – As we enter the final stretch, speculation regarding two Leicester players heading to Chelsea seem to be the biggest talking point. According to beIN Sport Chelsea have had a $58 million bid for Mahrez accepted by Leicester, while Conte’s men have also put in yet another bid for Danny Drinkwater. Let’s see how this one plays out, but one thing we do know is that N'Golo Kante is clearly now in charge of sorting out transfers at Chelsea.


12:50 p.m. ET – For those of you out there desperate to see your club make a big signing in the final hours of the window, there is just over FIVE HOURS to go. With that in mind, here’s a little musical inspiration from Journey…


12:25 p.m. ET – DRAMA! Thomas Lemar is apparently not too keen on joining Arsenal despite the Gunners putting in a $118 million bid to Monaco for the French international winger. Sky Sports claim that Lemar, 21, wants to join Liverpool because he wants to play in the UEFA Champions League. It doesn’t appear likely that Liverpool will come back in for Lemar though…


12 p.m. ET – Manchester City’s talented teenage star Jadon Sancho has joined Borussia Dortmund for a fee believed to be $13 million. Sancho was chased by Chelsea and Arsenal but the England youth team star has decided to head to the Bundesliga. Dortmund have given him Ousmane Dembele’s old No. 7 shirt too.


11:49 a.m. ET – Spurs have been linked with moves for two midfielders in Andre Gomes and Ross Barkley, but the clock is ticking for Mauricio Pochettino‘s men. It is believed Barcelona and Portugal midfielder Gomes is also wanted by West Ham, while Everton are keen to offload Barkley but the want over $45 million for the attacking midfielder. Spurs are said to be in talks with Barcelona about a loan deal for Gomes. 


11:30 a.m. ET – As we approach midday on the east coast of the USA, let’s focus in on what each Premier League team needs in the final SIX HOURS of the window. Think of it as a checklist to see which clubs are doing the best business in the final hours of the window. Tick-tock…


11:18 a.m. ET – Okay, THIS WOULD BE HUGE. Reports state that Arsenal have bid $118 million (!!!) for Thomas Lemar. That easily beats the club record fee of $68.2 million they paid Lyon for Alexandre Lacazette earlier this summer and suggests that Manchester City could be making some headway with their move for Alexis Sanchez.


10:30 a.m. ET – Reports state that Crystal Palace have bid $23.1 million for Man City center back Eliaquim Mangala. The French international joined Man City from FC Porto in the summer of 2014 for $54 million but was loaned out to Valencia last season and is not in Pep Guardiola‘s plans. Palace have had bids turned down for Liverpool’s Mamadou Sakho, so Frank De Boer is obviously in the market for a center back.


10:15 a.m. ET – Okay, is everyone alright out there? It is time to catch our breath and round up the DONE DEALS so far on Deadline Day in the Premier League…


10:07 a.m. ET – Divock Origi has left Liverpool to join Bundesliga side Wolfsburg on a season-long loan. It is believed Wolfsburg will pay $8.5 million for the loan deal. The Belgian forward has moved down the pecking order at Anfield and in a World Cup year he knows he will have plenty of competition to make Belgium’s World Cup squad.


9:55 a.m. ET – DONE DEAL! Burnley have signed Nahki Wells from Huddersfield Town on a three-year deal. The Bermudian international striker has arrived at Turf Moor for a fee believed to be in the region of $6.4 million. He helped the Terriers gain promotion to the Premier League last season but after suffering an ankle injury in preseason he has also moved down the pecking order at the John Smith’s Stadium with Steve Mounie and others ahead of him. Wells will add something different to Burnley’s attack alongside powerful forwards Ashley Barnes and Sam Vokes.


9:51 a.m. ET – Chelsea making moves! Reports out of Italy state that Davide Zappacosta (how cool is that name!?) will arrve frm Torino in a $30 million deal. The right back will provide competition for Victor Moses. The last full back Antonio Conte signed from an Italian side on Deadline Day (Marcos Alonso from Fiorentina last summer) worked out pretty well for the Blues… More details on Zappa (his new nickname, obviously) below.


9:32 a.m. ET – Stoke City have confirmed that midfielder Giannelli Imbula, who arrived from Porto in February 2016 for $23.5 million, has joined Ligue 1 side Toulouse on a season-long loan deal. Safe to say is move to Stoke has never really worked out.


9:12 a.m. ET – Another DONE DEAL on Deadline Day and it is one of the biggest in Swansea’s history. Paul Clement has pulled off a real coup by getting Renato Sanches in on loan from Bayern Munich. Sanches, 20, signed for Bayern from Benfica last summer for over $36 million but barely featured for Carlo Ancelotti and now Clement, the former Bayern assistant coach, has beat the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Juventus to sign Sanches. What a deal and a great replacement for Gylfi Sigurdsson. It is believed Swansea will pay a loan fee of less than $6 million for Sanches for the season.


9:08 a.m. ET – Watford have signed goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis on a season-long loan from sister club Udinese. The Greece goalkeeper will provide cover for Heurelho Gomes.


9 a.m. ETWilfried Bony‘s nightmare at Man City could soon be over. A fee of $18 million has reportedly been agreed for the Ivory Coast forward to return to the club he left in January 2015. Bony, 28, scored 26 goals in 54 Premier League goals in an 18-month spell at Swansea in the past and it looks like he will return to South Wales to replace the outgoing Fernando Llorente. That seems like a decent deal if Bony can regain his confidence and form.


8:50 a.m. ET – Some BIG NEWS coming through as multiple reports claim that Manchester City have offered over $77 million for Alexis Sanchez. The Arsenal star, who of course has less than 12 months to run on his contract, is currently on international duty with Chile in South America. The reports also claim that Thomas Lemar will be heading to Arsenal to replace Sanchez and that the Gunners have asked City for extra time to get that deal in place. Wow.


8:20 a.m. ET – The Telegraph is reporting that Arsenal have renewed their interest in Paris Saint-Germain winger Julian Draxler. Does that mean Manchester City have made a break through for Alexis Sanchez?


8:15 a.m. ET – Fernando Llorente is said to be close to joining Tottenham Hotspur over Chelsea in a $18 million. It looks likely the Spaniard will leave Swansea City today with the veteran forward still recovering from a broken arm he suffered on a family vacation in the summer. Spurs beating Chelsea to a transfer target will not make Antonio Conte a happy man…


8:10 a.m. ET – Now, to the latest on Riyad Mahrez’s future at Leicester City seems in jeopardy. The Algerian winger was released from the national team ahead of their World Cup qualifier in Zambia. Social media is awash with rumors about where Mahrez has flown to with Paris, Barcelona and Chelsea all mentioned to be the destination for the 26-year-old. Leicester reportedly say that no fresh bids for Mahrez have arrived. Intriguing…


8:05 a.m. ET – Andddd let’s continue with the DONE DEALS, shall we? Serge Aurier has signed for Tottenham Hotspur from Paris Saint-Germain for $30 million. The 24-year-old right back has signed a five-year deal at Spurs after being granted a work permit in the UK. Aurier, who comes with plenty of baggage, is currently away on national team duty with the Ivory Coast but this is what he had to say about the move.

“This is a huge and exciting opportunity at a massive football club and I am determined to prove myself as a professional both on and off the pitch,” Aurier said. “This is a fresh start for me and I will do everything to make the Spurs fanbase, which is huge and diverse, proud of me. The fans are the most important people at any club and I am looking forward to showing them and everyone at Spurs the real Serge Aurier.”


8:01 a.m. ET – Let’s kick things off with a DONE DEAL as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has completed his move to Liverpool from Arsenal for a transfer fee in the region of $45 million. Oxlade-Chamberlain, 24, has signed a five-year deal at Anfield and the England international was delighted to sign for Jurgen Klopp‘s side.


8 a.m. ET – Right, who’s ready for the final day of the summer transfer window? For some musical inspiration, here’s Europe…

Who needs what in the final days of the window?

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What does each club need to do in the final days of the transfer window?

[ MORE: All the latest transfer news ]

We take a look below with plenty of business to be done with just three days to go.

Remember, there is a live transfer window show on NBCSN from 5 p.m. ET on Thursday as the window slams shut at 6 p.m. ET.

Let’s dig in.


Arsenal
Needs: Center back, winger – The same as each window, they need a commanding defender and/or defensive midfielder. They will likely get another winger and a striker.
Key targets: Jonny Evans (West Brom), Raheem Sterling (Man City), Virgil Van Dijk (Southampton), Jean Seri (Nice)
Likely departures: Alexis Sanchez (Man City), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Chelsea, Liverpool), Theo Walcott (Southampton), Kieran Gibbs (West Brom)

Bournemouth
Needs: Winger – Eddie Howe‘s side have been lackluster in attack and that’s concerning. Adding an exciting winger could freshen things up.
Key targets: Demarai Gray (Leicester City)
Likely departures: None

Brighton & Hove Albion
Needs: Striker, defender – Chris Hughton‘s side will be tough to break down but Hemed and Murray need help up top.
Key targets: Oumar Niasse (Everton) Mathieu Debuchy (Arsenal)
Likely departures: None

Burnley
Needs: Center back, striker – James Tarkowski has slotted in well for Michael Keane but more cover at center back is necessary. A new striker would be handy too.
Key targets: Abdul Majid Waris (Lorient)
Likely departures: None

Chelsea
Needs: Central midfield, striker, winger – More depth is needed if Chelsea will challenge to win the PL and Champions League.
Key targets: Danny Drinkwater (Leicester City), Cedric (Southampton), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City), Fernando Llorente (Swansea), Virgil van Dijk (Southampton), Ross Barkley (Everton)
Likely departures: Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid)

Crystal Palace
Needs: Center back, striker – Frank De Boer needs new additions all over the pitch but defense is his most pressing concern.
Key targets: Mamadou Sakho (Liverpool), Jose Fonte (West Ham), Oumar Niasse (Everton)
Likely departures: Andros Townsend (Leicester City)

Everton
Needs: Striker, center back – Koeman has made it clear he wants a new striker but an audacious move for Diego Costa seems unlikely.
Key targets: Diego Costa (Chelsea), Nikola Vlasic (Hadjuk Split), Stefano Okaka (Watford)
Likely departures: Kevin Mirallas (Olympiakos), Ross Barkley (Chelsea)

Huddersfield Town
Needs: None – A rare case of the Terriers doing all of their business early in the window.
Likely arrivals: N/A
Likely departures: N/A

Leicester City
Needs: Winger, center back – The Foxes have leaked goals early in the season, albeit against top teams, but they continue to chase Jonny Evans.
Key targets: Jonny Evans (West Brom), Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace)
Likely departures: Riyad Mahrez (Chelsea, Roma), Demarai Gray (Bournemouth), Islam Slimani (Watford)

Liverpool
Needs: Center back, winger – The Reds need to strengthen their defense but a deal for van Dijk still seems unlikely.
Key targets: Virgil van Dijk (Southampton), Thomas Lemar (Monaco)
Likely departures: Divock Origi (Monaco), Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona)

Manchester City
Needs: Striker, center back – Having another forward player seems excessive but who would put it past them to land Sanchez?
Key targets: Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal), Jonny Evans (West Brom)
Likely departures: Raheem Sterling (Arsenal), Eliaquim Mangala (West Brom)

Manchester United
Needs: Winger – All summer long Mourinho has been trying to sign one more wide player. Deals for Perisic and Bale seem a little too ambitious though, especially the way United’s wide players have started the season.
Key targets: Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan), Gareth Bale (Real Madrid), Serge Aurier (PSG)
Likely departures: None

Newcastle United
Needs: Striker, winger – Rafael Benitez has tried multiple times to get deals over the line during the summer but failed. Will he have late success?
Key targets: Divock Origi (Liverpool), Danny Ings (Liverpool), Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace) Vidar Orn Kjartansson (Maccabi Tel Aviv)
Likely departures: Dwight Gayle (Crystal Palace), Jack Colback (Hull City)

Southampton
Needs: Striker, attacking midfielder – The Saints need a bit of pace in attack. Could former forward Walcott return to St Mary’s? It is all about keeping hold of Virgil van Dijk, even though the Dutchman has handed in a transfer request
Key targets: Theo Walcott (Arsenal)
Likely departures: Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal)

Stoke City
Needs: Striker, midfield – Still short on options up top, Mark Hughes may look to add a loan signing on deadline day.
Key targets: Vincent Janseen (Tottenham), Fabian Delph (Man City)
Likely departures: Giannelli Imbula (Torino)

Swansea City
Needs: Striker, midfielder – Seems like there is plenty of work left to do at Swansea as they aim to splash the Gylfi Sigurdsson cash.
Key targets: Wilfried Bony (Manchester City), Nacer Chadli (West Brom), Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven)
Likely departures: Fernando Llorente (Chelsea)

Tottenham Hotspur
Needs: Right back – More competition at right back seems to be the only area where Pochettino wants to strengthen.
Key targets: Serge Aurier (Paris Saint-Germain), Juan Foyth (Estudiantes)
Likely departures: Moussa Sissoko (Inter Milan)

Watford
Needs: Left back, striker – Marco Silva wants more firepower and a new left back in the final days of the window
Key targets: Alberto Moreno (Liverpool), Islam Slimani (Leicester City)
Likely departures: Stefano Okaka (Everton, West Brom), Jerome Sinclair

West Bromwich Albion
Needs: Left back, central midfield, striker – After a strong start Tony Pulis is trying to do some wheeling and dealing in the final days with three positions the focus.
Key targets: Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal), Stefano Okaka (Watford) Josef de Souza (Fenerbache)
Likely departures: Nacer Chadli (Swansea City)

West Ham United
Needs: Central midfield – Hammers will try to finish off their summer of spending with a new holding midfielder
Key targets: William Carvalho (Sporting Lisbon)
Likely departures: None

Arsenal sends Gabriel Paulista to Valencia

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Arsenal has a thin defense, but that hasn’t stopped Arsene Wenger from thinning the squad even further.

Gabriel Paulista is headed back to the Spanish top flight after the completion of his transfer to Valencia. The Brazilian was sold for a reported $12.8 million, just below the $14 million price tag Arsenal coughed up to Villareal back in January, 2015. He will partner with Manchester City loanee Eliaquim Mangala at Valencia.

The 26-year-old made 64 appearances for the Gunners across all competitions, including 46 in the Premier League. His only goal for the club was Arsenal’s first of a 2-0 win over Bournemouth in December, 2015. His high-water mark with the club was a 120-minute performance against Manchester City in the FA Cup semifinals where Arsenal came back to win 2-1 on an Alexis Sanchez goal in extra time.

“We would like to thank Gabriel for his contribution to the club and to wish him well for his return to La Liga with Valencia,” Arsenal said in its confirmation of the deal.

Paulista was utilized more than expected last season thanks to an injury crisis at the back, and still the Arsenal squad doesn’t seem fat enough to offload defenders, but Gabriel’s over-aggressive nature and tackling inaccuracy led him to an early exit.

With Arsene Wenger now deploying a back-three, the only natural central defenders currently on the roster are Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker, Shkodran Mustafi, and Rob Holding. Koscielny is suspended from a red card at the end of last season, and Mertesacker is battling a head injury. Sead Kolasinac, Nacho Monreal, and Calum Chambers have played CB for the Gunners in the recent past, but it is not their natural position.