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Transfer rumor roundup: Matic to Manchester United; Barkley, Everton news

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Tottenham Hotspur’s depth means it can wait out Everton as the Toffees demand plenty of money for young star Ross Barkley.

The 23-year-old England international won’t sign a new deal with Everton, and Ronald Koeman has been clear that he’s ready to cash in on the wantaway midfielder.

[ MORE: Latest on Ronaldo ]

Spurs are interested according to Sky Sports, but rolling their eyes at a requested fee of close to $64 million. So the North Londoners will wait, a move that makes sense given Barkley’s up-and-down form.

The Liverpool Echo says that Koeman is close to making it official with Sandro Ramirez, as the ex-Barcelona prospect will join Jordan Pickford and Davy Klaassen as new Toffees in a $7 million deal.

The BBC says Koeman will quickly move onto two more transfers, aiming to woo Gylfi Sigurdsson from Swansea City and center back Michael Keane from Burnley.


The Manchester Evening News says Manchester United is close to reuniting Jose Mourinho with defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic.

The tough-minded Serbian turns 29 in August, and would give Mourinho flexibility with Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera. United also has Michael Carrick as a deep-lying option.

Matic has 121 Premier League appearances and two titles since returning to Chelsea in January 2014.


 

Premier League fixtures: Top 10 must-see games

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The start of a new Premier League season is less than two months away and with it brings some mouth-watering matchups.

As Chelsea look to defend the title, Tottenham, Manchester United, Manchester City Liverpool and Arsenal are all looking to unseat the Blues at the Premier League throne.

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A simple caveat; With so many transfers into and out of the Premier League still to take place, it’s tough to know exactly how strong certain teams will look come the end of the transfer window. But here’s our best shot at it.

Here’s a look at ten (or more) must-see matchups of the 2017-2018 Premier League season.

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Burnley, Watford unveil new home kits

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Never missing out on a chance to sell more jerseys, two Premier League clubs announced their latest home kits on the morning of the Premier League schedule release.

Burnley and Watford revealed their new kits for the 2017-2018 season along with marketing campaigns #StrengthInUnity for Burnley and #HereToCreate for Watford.

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[ MORE: 2017-2018 PL fixture list ]

The uniforms are also the first for Watford designed by Adidas since the club signed a deal with the sportswear manufacturer in December 2016.

Burnley and Watford both survived relegation by six points, finishing 16th and 17th respectively in the Premier League table.

Premier League releases 2017-2018 season fixture list

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Premier League fans will only have to wait two more months until their favorite teams are back in action.

The 2017-2018 season kicks off on August 12 with champions Chelsea hosting Burnley among a number of interesting opening day fixtures. Tottenham travel north to face newly-promoted Newcastle while fellow promoted side Brighton and Hove Albion gets one of its most difficult tests of the season, hosting Manchester City.

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Spurs open up its temporary home at Wembley Stadium two weeks into the season when they host the first London derby of the season against Antonio Conte and Chelsea.

Looking between the lines, expect to hear some complaints from managers over the opening course of the season as teams deal with travel ahead of UEFA Champions League matches.

The BBC noted that Chelsea and Tottenham have away games the weekend before five of its six group stage matches, while Manchester United has four, Liverpool three and Manchester City two. On the flip side, Spurs will play home games after five of its six group stages matches while Chelsea and Manchester United have four, Liverpool has three and Manchester City has two.

Arsenal, which is playing in the UEFA Europa League for the first time since it was called the UEFA Cup, is currently scheduled for a season full of Saturday matches, but some of those will likely be pushed back to Sunday after Europa League matches.

The Gunners currently have five home games prior to Europa League group stage dates including the season’s first North London derby with Tottenham on November 18, but Arsenal also has an early-season trip to Chelsea following its first Europa League match.

Here’s a look at the 2017-2018 Premier League schedule and below is a look at the first five league matches of the season. Let us know your thoughts on social media and in the comments section below.

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Deschamps warns France to up its game against English

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PARIS (AP) France coach Didier Deschamps warned his players they are fighting for their places in the friendly against England on Tuesday.

The match follows France’s 2-1 loss at Sweden on Friday in a World Cup qualifier. The loss, gifted to Sweden in the last seconds, dropped France to second place in Europe Group A and allowed the Netherlands – the next opponent in qualifying – to close within three points.

Deschamps guided France to the European Championship final last year with a settled side, but results since then have been inconsistent, and he thinks some players must raise their game.

[ MORE: Newcastle chased by Chinese investors ]

“No one has any guarantees,” Deschamps said at a news conference on Monday. “It can happen that you’re not in good form for one or two games. But there are quality alternatives available.”

Although Olivier Giroud maintained his fine form with another goal against Sweden, the rest of the forward line – Dimitri Payet, Antoine Griezmann and Moussa Sissoko – was poor.

Deschamps may be tempted to try something new against England, a game he says has more importance given the result in Sweden.

“I won’t say that I’m not taking that game into consideration. It was a cruel defeat and it’s important to finish the season on a high note,” he said. “Whoever starts needs to play as well as they can. Will it change things for August (against the Netherlands)? I’ll think about and analyze it afterward. A team can always be modified.”

Deschamps wants a marked improvement in defense against an England team led by striker Harry Kane, who is brimming with confidence after 29 Premier League goals. Kane grabbed a last-gasp equalizer in a 2-2 draw at Scotland in a qualifier on Saturday.

[ MORE: Fearless Arena, USMNT score big ]

“The highest level isn’t just about attacking well it’s about defending as well,” Deschamps said. “We will face an England team with a lot of attacking potential.”

Poor marking allowed Sweden to equalize, and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris – normally reliable – handed the Swedes victory by rushing out of his area and haphazardly passing to a Sweden player who then lobbed him.

Deschamps said the best thing for Lloris is to face England, to prevent him dwelling on his blunder.

“Hugo will be captain. Obviously I’ve discussed things with him,” Deschamps said. “If he’d seen things differently, I might have changed my decision. But we both thought it was the best thing for him to do, it was clear.”

Teammates have rallied around Lloris.

“When you’re playing in his position, you always pay dearly for a mistake,” center half Raphael Varane said. “The team has total confidence in him. We know that he will save us again in the future.”

England manager Gareth Southgate will rest his No. 1 Joe Hart, giving backups Tom Heaton and Jack Butland a chance to impress.

Heaton will start and Butland will play the second half, Southgate said on Monday.

Heaton helped Burnley to stay in the Premier League.

Butland recently returned from injury to play in Stoke’s last five Premier League games, keeping three clean sheets.

“We’ve got to maintain the squad environment (where) people feel involved,” Southgate said. “In the past, one or two goalkeepers have sort of given up international football because they’ve not had that chance.”