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Best Premier League signings so far

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As we enter the fourth month of the 2018-19 Premier League season, plenty of new signings from the summer months have settled in well and are ripping it up with their new teams.

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Below is a look at the best signings of the season so far, as we assess which newcomers have made the best starts.


David Brooks (Sheffield United to Bournemouth, $14.8 million)
The Welsh youngster has been a revelation in the Premier League, scoring in three of his last four games and adding pace and a direct nature to Bournemouth’s front line. In his first-ever PL season, Brooks’ form is a big reason why Bournemouth sit in sixth place. Still just 21 years old, Brooks compliments Fraser, Wilson and King very well with his clever runs inside and beyond the last defender causing all kinds of problems for opponents.


Jorginho (Napoli to Chelsea, $73.6 million)
Turned down Manchester City to sign for Chelsea and it seems like an inspired decision. The Italian international has been handed the keys to the Blues’ midfield by new manager Maurizio Sarri, the man who joined him in switching Napoli for Chelsea, and he’s transformed the entire team. Leading the PL in passes attempted and completed most weeks, Jorginho’s ability to select the correct pass and get Chelsea going is a joy to watch.


Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City to Manchester City, $77.4 million)
Struggled initially after his huge summer move but the Algerian winger has found his feet in recent weeks with goals against Burnley and Tottenham. Yes, he skied a penalty kick in the big game at Liverpool, but that happens. Aside from that he’s keeping Leroy Sane out of the team right now. That in itself is a huge achievement and Mahrez is thriving under Pep Guardiola. He adds something a little different to City’s attack and as their only signing of the summer at a club-record fee, Mahrez is coping well with the pressure on his shoulders.


James Maddison (Norwich City to Leicester City, $25.8 million)
The 21-year-old arrived as Mahrez’s replacement and his form early in the season was superb, with goals, trickery and a real understanding with Leicester’s other attackers. That resulted in an England call-up and Maddison will be keen to continue to kick on under Claude Puel in a central or wide role.


Lucas Torreira (Sampdoria to Arsenal, $34 million)
The diminutive Uruguayan has flown under the radar a little with Matteo Geundouzi getting a lot of the plaudits in midfield, but his tidy passing and ability to snap away at tackles in front of the back four has helped Unai Emery turn things around for the Gunners. Arsenal’s defense looks more solid in having Torreira and Geundouzi rampaging around, shutting down attacks in front of them. While the 22-year-old is adept at starting attacks and getting the ball up to the likes of Lacazette and Aubameyang quickly.


Richarlison (Watford to Everton, $51.6 million)
The Brazilian got off to a rapid start to the campaign after Marco Silva returned to his former club Watford to sign the 21-year-old forward. Four goals in his first six Premier League games for the Toffees got everyone excited and he’s been playing up top on his own in recent weeks, stretching opposition defenses whenever he can. A call-up to the full Brazil squad has since arrived and he scored twice in September for the Selecao.


Aleksandar Mitrovic (Newcastle United to Fulham, $22.7 million)
Not a totally new signing for Fulham seeing as the bullish Serbian striker spent the second half of last season on loan with the Cottagers as they won promotion to the PL, but his impact this season has been obvious. Mitrovic, 24, scored five goals in his first six PL games of the season but has struggled in recent weeks as Fulham’s defensive frailties have been woefully exposed. Still, it makes you wonder why Newcastle let him go given their goalscoring woes, with Mitrovic a real handful for opposition defenders.


Joao Moutinho (AS Monaco to Wolverhampton Wanderers, $6.4 million)
A contender for bargain of the season, the Portuguese midfielder arrived at Wolves thanks to his agent Jorge Mendes and his close links to the club. Moutinho, 32, scored a stunner at Manchester United to grab Wolves a deserved point and has been superb alongside Ruben Neves in midfield. His veteran leadership, alongside many of his compatriots under Nuno Espirito Santo, has seen Wolves in the discussion as the best-ever newly-promoted team in the PL era. His class on the ball is unquestionable.


Matteo Geundouzi (Lorient to Arsenal, $9 million)
Still just 19 years old, nobody expected this from Guendouzi. Perhaps his manager Emery did, having seen him at PSG’s academy and at Lorient in the second-tier in France, but the teenager has been a revelation early in the campaign. Some would say he is the combative defensive midfielder Arsenal have been missing for decades, and it would be hard to argue with that. He is still very raw but he has all of the tools to succeed in the Premier League. A very promising start.


Danny Ings (Liverpool to Southampton, loan then $23.2 million buy)
Four goals in his first nine PL games for his hometown club represents a decent start for Ings after his move from Liverpool, but the Englishman will be thinking he should have scored more. That’s a good thing. Still a little rusty after several seasons of injury struggles, Ings is showing his best form in spurts and Southampton will hope he is back to his best very shortly. He has scored 50 percent of their goals so far this season which tells us just how important he is for Mark Hughes‘ team.


Honorable mentions: Rui Patricio (Wolves), Felipe Anderson (West Ham), Fred (Manchester United), Alisson (Liverpool), Jefferson Lerma (Bournemouth), Andre Schurrle (Fulham), Xherdan Shaqiri (Liverpool).

Mohamed Salah an injury doubt for Liverpool

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Mohamed Salah is an injury doubt for Liverpool’s trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET online via NBCSports.com).

Salah, 27, has been struggling with a right ankle injury over the last six weeks and he has been subbed off in his last three Premier League appearances for Liverpool as well as missing their draw at Man United last month.

“Yesterday he trained,” Klopp revealed. “He trained the whole time since he was here, but only the things we wanted him to do. Today is another important session to see how it looks and we can make the decision. It’s not that it got worse but it’s still kind of there, that’s the problem. We have to be sensible with things like this. But I didn’t make the decision. If I would have made a decision, I probably wouldn’t have told you now, but it’s true I have to see the session today.”

Andy Robertson and Joe Gomez are also injury doubts and late calls will be made on the duo, while Roberto Firmino, Fabinho, Alisson and Georginio Wijnaldum were all in international action and have only just returned to Liverpool’s Melwood training base.

“From the others, I cannot say 100 per cent, I don’t know 100 per cent,” Klopp said. “Today is a very important session to judge that, especially with the players who came back late.”

When it comes to Salah, he didn’t feature for Egypt during the international break and Liverpool have given him a special program to follow to build up the strength in his ankle.

The Egyptian winger has scored in recent home wins against Tottenham and Man City but his performance levels haven’t been as explosive as last season and that’s because he’s nursing this ankle injury. At some point Klopp needs to give him a rest, and with the busy festive season creeping ever closer, it seems like Liverpool’s boss is ready to rotate his squad a little more as they play in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday against Napoli.

Main takeaways from MLS contract deadline day

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Major League Soccer saw a lot of big names in the news as “Contract Deadline Day” played out across the U.S. and Canada.

— The New York Red Bulls watched two all-timers walk out the door, as Bradley Wright-Phillips did not get a new contract and the club declined its option on Luis Robles (STORY).

— Not a player move, but Austin FC announced the hiring of former NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna to the same position.

[ MORE: PST’s talk 1v1 with Reyna earlier this season ]

— Toronto FC is yet to reach a deal to keep Michael Bradley in town, but remains in contract talks with its captain. The same is true for Nicolas Benezet, while Drew Moor is out-of-contract.

— And that’s also what’s happening in Portland with Diego Valeri, the longtime star in talks with the team despite not having his option picked up.

Chicago Fire announced a new branding initiative, changing its logo from a classic crest to something else and dropping the SC for an FC. Like Columbus before them, everyone will still call them the fire and ignore the SC, FC, or whatever see. It’s what happens when you take a formal nickname.

The club also cut ties with playmakers Nico Gaitan and Aleksandar Katai.

— Minnesota United remains in talks to bring back Reading loanee and reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year winner Vito Mannone, and that means longtime backstop Bobby Shuttleworth will hit the open market.

— Orlando declined its option on Dillon Powers, and also let the clock run out on the contract of one-time megastar Sacha Kljestan.

— Real Salt Lake did not reach an agreement with Kyle Beckerman on a new deal, though MLSSoccer.com thinks he’s still in the mix.

— New England is letting Juan Agudelo walk into free agency.

— Atlanta United exercised the contract option for Julian Gressel, but he’s being badly underpaid and the club needs to find salary room for a proper new deal.

— Thierry Henry is keeping his two brightest attacker, with Ignacio Piatti getting another year at the club and Saphir Taider seeing his loan from Bologna made permanent.

— The Philadelphia Union did not exercise their option on Marco Fabian, and are letting Haris Medunjanin leave without a new deal.

— Roman Torres did not see his option exercised by the Sounders, and Kim Kee-hee is also leaving the club.

— Sporting KC waves goodbye to Seth Sinovic, Krisztian Nemeth, Benny Feilhaber, and Gedion Zelalem.

Brazilian player Taison banned in Ukraine for response to racism

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KYIV, Ukraine (AP) Brazilian player Taison has been banned for one game for his reaction to racist abuse in a Ukrainian league game.

The Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder showed his middle finger to Dynamo Kyiv fans who had abused him with monkey chants and kicked the ball into the stands during a game Nov. 10. Taison was shown a red card.

[ MORE: Mou says Spurs can win the PL next season ]

The Ukrainian Football Association ordered Taison to serve a one-game ban plus a suspended two-game ban.

Dynamo has been fined 500,000 hryvnyas ($20,000) and ordered to play one game behind closed doors. Another one-game sanction is suspended.

World players’ union FIFPro says “sanctioning a victim of racial abuse is beyond comprehension and it plays into the hands of those who promote this kind of disgraceful behavior.”

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Top Premier League storylines: Week 13

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Yes, Jose Mourinho is back in the Premier League and, sure, both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manuel Pellegrini are in managerial hot seats, but is there any match more intriguing than Man City and Chelsea squaring off with the knowledge that a bad outcome could see them double digits out of first?

[ STREAM: Every PL match live ] 

Below we take a look at the key storylines to keep an eye on across the PL this weekend.


The Jose Mourinho Era begins against a familiar foe

  • West Ham v. Tottenham Hotspur — Saturday, 7:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN

Manuel Pellegrini and Jose Mourinho have matched wits many times, which could help the former in his bid to get ready for a rankled Spurs side to kickstart the Premier League weekend.

Mourinho has only matched up with six managers more than Pellegrini in his career, and boasts a 7W-3D-4L record. Can he quickly get Spurs put together for a visit to a desperate Irons side.


Chelsea, Man City put slim title hopes on the line

  • Manchester City v. Chelsea — Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, on NBC

Both Pep Guardiola‘s City and Frank Lampard‘s Chelsea have lost to Liverpool, meaning their chances to directly affect the Reds’ title hopes are limited. Matches like this one are the ones that get the Reds salivating, in fact, knowing that only one team can snare three points.

City enters the day nine points back of first and a point behind Chelsea and Leicester City. The Top Four race sure looks clear cut right now — the chasing pack is eight points behind fourth — but failure to win on Saturday will likely leave either side double-digit points back of first.


Knock off the Red Devils? Wilder things have happened

  • Sheffield United v. Manchester United — Sunday, 11:30 p.m. ET, on NBCSN

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder has the newly-promoted side in fifth place on the table, one point better than his celebrated visitors. The Blades will sit no worse than five points back of the Top Four if they can beat Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s Red Devils, adding another big name to a season of results which already includes a defeat of Arsenal and draws against Chelsea and Spurs. United is still without Paul Pogba and now will also miss Scott McTominay. Another upset brewing?


Reds hope to get back to business as usual in title fight

  • Crystal Palace v. Liverpool — Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, on NBC Sports Gold

A week removed from a glitzy show against Man City, Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds now visit a Palace side who is probably getting sick of facing the Premier League’s best. Roy Hodgson‘s table rise has been stunted by a four-match winless run that includes 2-0 losses to Man City, Leicester City, and Chelsea to go with a 2-2 draw against Arsenal.

A Liverpool win will boost it clearer of Man City and/or Chelsea, as the Reds seek a double-digit lead on the field (Second-place Leicester City is away to Brighton and Hove Albion).


Arsenal looks to right wobbly league ship versus slumping Saints

  • Arsenal v. Southampton — Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, on NBCSN

Unai Emery‘s Gunners may be doing fine in the Europa League, but they’ve taken just two points from 12 since an Oct. 6 defeat of Bourrnemouth at the Emirates Stadium. Saints only win since mid-September in any competition is a 4-0 demolition of rivals Portsmouth. If Arsenal cannot get right here, well…