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Premier League Preview: Southampton v. Tottenham

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Tottenham Hotspur, finally on the mend and nearing a full complement of first-team players, now find themselves without manager Mauricio Pochettino for Saturday’s clash with his former club, Southampton (Watch live, 10 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com), as well as the March 31 trip to Anfield, following his post-game vitriol aimed at referee Mike Dean.

Harry Kane recently returned from six weeks out; Eric Dier is back from both an appendectomy and tonsillitis in quick succession; Victor Wanyama came back from nearly six months out himself; and Dele Alli is set to return on Saturday. The return of first-team figures couldn’t come at a better time for Tottenham, who are winless in their last three Premier League games (two losses), have seen their 10-point lead on all three of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United cut to just three, and must remain fresh ahead of the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Southampton, on the other hand, are fighting for their PL lives. 17th in the table, just two points and one spot clear of the relegation zone, Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s side finds itself in the midst of a treacherous run of fixtures: Arsenal and Man United in the rearview mirror; Spurs and Liverpool still to come shortly.

Last weekend’s game at Old Trafford was particularly hard on Saints, as they were great value for a point — if not all three — until the Red Devils broke their hearts very late on.

“It’s really hard. The guys are very, very disappointed after the game and I that they put everything on the pitch that was possible today and showed a fantastic performance,” Hasenhuttl said this week. “Mainly the first half, but also in the second half we showed that we were very, very focused on our match plan and we wanted to get something here. We were not far away from it and also after the 2-1 we did not stop attacking them and creating for us.”

Injuries

Southampton OUT: Mario Lemina (abdomen), Danny Ings (hamstring), Michael Obafemi (hamstring) | Spurs — OUT: Kieran Trippier (leg); QUESTIONABLE: Harry Winks (hip); RETURNING: Dele Alli (hamstring)

What they’re saying

Hasenhuttl, on the defeat at United: “(James Ward-Prowse) scored a fantastic free-kick, it was a gorgeous goal and it’s a pity that Lukaku decided the game for them. “To be proud is one thing but when you wake up tomorrow and you feel that you lost, nobody asks how you lost. It’s like every manager doesn’t like to lose and we had a big chance but it was not enough.”

Pochettino, on leaving Southampton: “A lot of people were disappointed when I left the club and they are not going to forgive, but I still love them. In one year and a half I spent there, it was a great experience. For different circumstances that are difficult to understand, I left the club.”I cried a lot when I left, my family too. It was one of the most important periods in my life. I hope we beat them Saturday, but I wish all the best to them.”

Prediction

Spurs showed a ruthless, a different level of know-how, in surviving and winning in a completely different manner this week away to Borussia Dortmund. Confidence will be sky-high, and Harry Kane looks back to very nearly his best. The mountain will be tough — too tough — for Saints to climb.

Fans who want to try their hand at predicting PL games can down the NBC Sports Predictor app, with a chance to win up to $50,000 each week. Download it on iOS or Google Play.

Kane, Spurs advance past Dortmund (video)

AP Photo/Martin Meissner
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  • Spurs advance to first UCL quarterfinal since 2011
  • Kane scores 14th UCL goal
  • Lloris stars in first half

Harry Kane‘s early second half goal joined a strong defensive effort as Tottenham Hotspur withstood the challenge of the Westfalenstadion to beat Borussia Dortmund and advance to the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals.

Spurs were out-attempted 19-5, but scored the lone goal of a 1-0 win that sent them through 4-0 on aggregate.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

Spurs got the start they were expecting from the hosts, a desperate and energetic Dortmund attacking with vigor.

Hugo Lloris made a nice save to deny BVB an early salvo off the boot of Marco Reus and deflected toward goal.

Lloris was the man of the half for Spurs, and the visitors tight defense got the match to the break at nil-nil.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

And the Londoners regrouped, with Kane scoring a very Kane goal through the lines just after halftime.

Harry Winks was injured in the frame, making way for Eric Dier after an apparent groin injury.

Premier League Preview: Tottenham Hotspur v. Arsenal

Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images
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  • North London derby, for the 198th time
  • NLD wins: Arsenal – 82, Spurs – 64, Draws – 51 (all competitions)
  • Arsenal 4-2 Spurs, in December
  • Arsenal 0-2 Spurs, two weeks later (League Cup)

It feels like I write this sentence ahead of the season’s final north London derby every season, and it applies once again in March 2019: no matter the drastically different paths they take to arrive here, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal always seem to come together, both in the Premier League table and on the field, at a crucial crossroads this time of year.

Just a week ago, Tottenham led Arsenal by 10 points, and St. Totteringham’s Day could have just about been canceled for the third straight year. Then, Spurs lost back-to-back PL games for the first time since September, and the gap is now four points and successive places in the table. Up next? Yes, of course, the Gunners visit the new White Hart Lane Wembley Stadium on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com).

If one of these clubs ceased to exist, the other might as well fold and dissolve its assets as well, because what would be the point without its adversary? Good, never great. Top-four, never title winners. Kings of north London, or not.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Harry Kane recently returned from yet another ankle ligament injury, so Spurs should be operating at full-strength and humming right along, right? Try again. Sure, Kane leads his side with 15 goals this season (fourth-most in the PL) and he even bagged one on his return against Burnley last weekend, but Spurs managed to win six of eight games in his absence and scored 18 goals in the process (six from Son Heung-min). Since Kane returned? The aforementioned defeats in succession, and just the lone goal scored.

On the other side, Arsenal have waltzed to three straight PL victories in exceedingly comfortable fashion (a two-goal lead before halftime of each). That said, the difference in the Gunners’ home and away records this season is startling: 12 wins in 15 games at home (38 points), compared to just 5 wins in 13 games away from home (18 points). Their victory over last-place and almost-relegated Huddersfield Town two weeks ago was their first away win since November. It’s unclear if Mesut Ozil is back in the good graces of manager Unai Emery, but the club’s highest-paid player made just his fourth PL start in three months on Wednesday and tallied a goal and an assist.

Injuries

Spurs OUT: Eric Dier (tonsillitis), Dele Alli (hamstring); RETURNING: Jan Vertonghen (hip) | Arsenal — OUT: Hector Bellerin (knee), Danny Welbeck (ankle), Rob Holding (knee) | QUESTIONABLE: Laurent Koscielny (knock), Sead Kolasinac (knock)

What they’re saying

Mauricio Pochettino, on NLD lessons: “I’ve learned that every game is completely different and you cannot guess what is going to happen. You need to be ready for different circumstances. It’s always special, always different. I’ve learned that if you have a lot of experience playing this type of game, it shows you the more times you play, you understand that it’s not a plan, it’s to play with your heart, to play with focus and try to deliver your best. One game and another game is never similar. We saw that when we played in the Premier League and then the Carabao Cup, two different results, performances and two completely different games. We need to be ready for all circumstances that can happen in the game.”

Unai Emery, on catching Spurs: “We have been speaking about the opportunity [to finish above Tottenham]. Each match is giving us the opportunity to win three points. There was a 10-point difference between Tottenham and us two weeks ago and now it is four points. … The big opportunity for us is to play with confidence in our moment. They have lost two matches but are having a very big season.”

Prediction

It’s been nearly five years (10 games) since one of these sides last won a league meeting away from home. Thus, advantage Spurs, to get something out of this one. In nine NLD appearances (PL only), Kane has scored nine goals, so it’s pretty safe to assume he’ll bag at least one. Still, it’s hard to look at Spurs’ midfield of Harry Winks and Mousa Sissoko and believe they can keep a clean sheet against Arsenal’s firepower. This one has wholly-unsatisfying-to-both-sides draw written all over it.

Fans who want to try their hand at predicting PL games can down the NBC Sports Predictor app, with a chance to win up to $50,000 each week. Download it on iOS or Google Play.

Pedro leads Chelsea to win over Spurs (video)

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  • Pedro scores 8th of PL season
  • Trippier passes in own goal
  • Spurs drop nine back of PL lead

Pedro was a difference maker at both ends of the pitch as Chelsea beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 at Stamford Bridge to effectively end their London rivals’ title hopes.

Willy Caballero posted the clean sheet for Chelsea in place of embarrassed starter Kepa Arrizabalaga, and Kieran Trippier completed the score line with a Spurs own goal.

Trippier’s own goal was one more ball on frame than his entire attack managed at the other end.

Tottenham is now nine points back of Liverpool and eight back of Man City, sitting just four points clear of Arsenal ahead of the North London Derby.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The first quality chance belonged to Gonzalo Higuain, who hit a ball with the outside of his boost that plunked the inside of the post but bounded away from goal.

Eden Hazard laid off for Higuain after a terrible giveaway from Hugo Lloris, but the Argentine spun his shot wide of the far post.

For Spurs, Heung-Min Son was lively in producing a pair of moments in the first 25 minutes. The second was handled neatly by Marcos Alonso.

Spurs continued to grow into the game, and Harry Kane earned a corner when his left-footed shot was blocked by the Blues. And Harry Winks hit a ball over the hand of Willy Caballero but off the cross bar.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

[ MORE: Premier League box scores, schedule, stats ]

Pedro gave Chelsea its breakthrough, dribbling down the end line and hitting a shot between two defenders and past Hugo Lloris. It wasn’t a howler given the power, but the Spurs backstop will have expected to do better.

And the Spanish goal scorer turned tackling hero in the 64th when he slid to dispossess Christian Eriksen in the Chelsea box, then taking off on a 50-yard dribble.

Toby Alderweireld had the next chance, popping a header wide of the goal in the 67th minute.

Trippier’s own goal was a clinical finish, as Hugo Lloris charged forward to collect a big header from Olivier Giroud and Trippier never noticed the keeper’s unavailability to receive a pass.

Premier League January transfer window grades (video)

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The deals have now been done. Every Premier League club now knows the squad of players they have until the end of the 2018-19 campaign.

Like it or not, this is what they have to work with.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live

After a flurry of deals on Transfer Deadline Day, and some big movements in January, plenty of clubs have freshened things up ahead of the final push between now and May.

Below we give each team a grade based on how they fared, overall, in the January transfer window.


Arsenal: C

A pretty average window for Arsenal. Denis Suarez arrived on loan and will add some extra quality in midfield, but did they really need another silky midfielder? Probs not. A failure to strengthen in defense, especially after a spate of injuries, is a real concern. With no money to spend, we probably expected too much as late deals for Ivan Perisic and Christopher Nkunku didn’t materialize.

In: Denis Suarez (Barcelona) Loan
Out: Emiliano Martinez (Reading) Loan, Emile Smith Rowe (RB Leipzig) Loan


Bournemouth: B

The Cherries did their business early and their squad is looking stronger with Clyne and Mepham adding quality to their defensive unit. Solanke, when he returns to full fitness, will be a handful and keeping hold of Callum Wilson was perhaps the best piece of business Eddie Howe did this month.

In: Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) Loan, Chris Mepham (Brentford) $15 million, Keelan O'Connell (Morton) Loan, Dominic Solanke (Liverpool) $24.1 million
Out: Jermain Defoe (Rangers) Loan, Alex Dobre (Yeovil Town) Loan, Tyrell Hamilton (Salisbury) Loan, Jordan Holmes (St Mirren) Loan, Corey Jordan (Eastbourne Borough) Loan, Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa) Loan, Marc Pugh (Hull City) Loan, Aaron Ramsdale (AFC Wimbledon) Loan, Charlie Seaman (Dundee United) Loan, Matt Worthington (Yeovil Town) Free


Brighton & Hove Albion: D

Very quiet January for Brighton and you have to think they needed a bit of extra quality, especially in attack, to stop their recent slide down the table. Chris Hughton brought in plenty of players in the summer, so this stance is understandable.

In: Tudor-Cristian Baluta (Viitorul Constanta) Undisclosed, Alexis Mac Allister (Argentinos Juniors) Undisclosed, Jan Mlakar (NK Maribor) Undisclosed

Out: Billy Arce (CS Emelec) Loan, Ben Barclay (Notts County) Loan, George Cox (Northampton Town) Loan, Anders Dreyer (St Mirren) Loan, Josh Kerr (Derry City) Loan, Jordan Maguire-Drew (Leyton Orient) Undisclosed, Mathias Normann (FC Rostov) Undisclosed, Oliver Norwood (Sheff Utd) Undisclosed, Ezequiel Schelotto (Chievo) Loan, Markus Suttner (Fortuna Dusseldorf) Loan, Ben White (Peterborough) Loan, Alexis Mac Allister (Argentinos Juniors) Loan, Stefan Ljubicic (Eastbourne Borough) Loan


Burnley: C

A bizarre deal on Deadline Day highlighted January for Sean Dyche‘s improving side. Sam Vokes left for Stoke and Peter Crouch arrived as the veteran will fit their system well off the bench. You can already picture Crouch getting on the end of those crosses from Burnley’s wingers and full backs…

In: Peter Crouch (Stoke City) Undisclosed

Out: Jimmy Dunne (Sunderland) Loan, Ali Koiki (Swindon Town) Loan, Ntumba Massanka (RWD Molenbeek) Loan,, George McMahon (Ashton United) Loan, Conor Mitchell (Linfield) Loan, Sam Vokes (Stoke City) Undisclosed


Cardiff City: C+

Neil Warnock focused all of his attention on Emiliano Sala, who became their club-record signing, and his tragic disappearance has hit Cardiff City hard on and off the pitch. Niasse and Bacuna will play right away and are shrewd additions, but Cardiff would have wanted to do a bit more business.

In: Leandro Bacuna (Reading) Undisclosed, Oumar Niasse (Everton) Loan, Emiliano Sala (Nantes) Undisclosed

Out: Omar Bogle (Portsmouth) Loan, Ciaron Brown (Livingston) Loan, Mark Harris (Port Vale) Loan, Gary Madine (Sheffield United) Loan, Paul McKay (Morecambe) Loan, Anthony Pilkington Released, Lee Tomlin (Peterborough)


Chelsea: B

Christian Pulisic’s arrival for $73 million happened right at the start of the window and long-term he will prove to be a good buy. Gonzalo Higuain arriving on loan was necessary, as Cesc Fabregas, Alvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi all departed. Maurizio Sarri needs to make Higuain’s move work, but he will be a little miffed he didn’t sign a new central midfielder.

In: Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund) Undisclosed, Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus) Loan

Out: Lewis Baker (Reading) Loan, Cesc Fabregas (Monaco) Undisclosed, Josh Grant (Yeovil Town) Loan, Matt Miazga (Reading) Loan, Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid) Loan, Victor Moses (Fenerbahce) Loan, Lucas Piazon (Chievo) Loan, Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund) Loan, Kasey Palmer (Bristol City) Loan, Karlo Ziger (Sutton United) Loan, Michy Batshuayi (Crystal Palace) Loan


Crystal Palace: B+

The addition of Michy Batshuayi on Deadline Day changed Palace’s fortunes, as he will provide a real focal point to their attack. Bakary Sako‘s return was unexpected but makes sense, and Palace really needed extra options in attack as they’re sorted in mdifield and defense. A very good window for Roy Hogdson, overall.

In: Lucas Perri (Sao Paulo) Loan, Bakary Sako (West Brom) Undisclosed, Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea) Loan
Out: Joseph Hungbo (Margate) Loan, Sullay Kaikai (Breda) Undisclosed, Nya Kirby (Blackpool) Loan,  Jordon Mutch (released), Jason Puncheon (Huddersfield Town) Loan, Alexander Sorloth (KAA Gent) Loan, Oliver Webber (Greenwich Borough) Loan, Jonny Williams (Charlton) Undisclosed


Everton: D

Marco Silva will have wanted to sign a new striker in the window, but he did spent plenty of cash in the summer. Everton have loaned out a few fringe players, but if they had signed someone like Batshuayi then they would have improved their chances of finishing seventh drastically. Keeping hold of midfield destoryer Idrissa Gueye, who was chased by PSG up until the window closed, was their best piece of business this window.

In: None
Out: Kieran Dowell (Sheffield Utd) Loan, Mason Holgate (West Brom) Loan, Shayne Lavery (Falkirk) Loan, Cuco Martina (Feyenoord) Loan, Oumar Niasse (Cardiff City) Loan, Yannick Bolasie (Anderlecht) Loan


Fulham: D

Claudio Ranieri‘s side needed to sign plenty of new defenders this month. They signed one in Norwegian utility man Havard Nordtveit on Deadline Day, but Gary Cahill turned them down. Lazar Markovic also arrived right at the end of the window, but he’s yet another attacking player. Ryan Babel adds an extra dimension to their attack, but you have to feel that this Fulham squad is still unbalanced.

In: Ryan Babel (Besiktas) Undisclosed, Havard Nordtveit (Hoffenheim) Loan, Lazar Markovic (Liverpool) Undisclosed
Out: Stephen Humphrys (Southend) Undisclosed, Aboubakar Kamara (Pictured, Yeni Malatyaspor) Loan


Huddersfield Town: D

The Terriers look resigned to relegation and their business in January proved it. David Wagner‘s departure meant big deals were unlikely for new manager Jan Siewert, but Jason Puncheon is a solid addition. That said, Huddersfield needed to spend big in the window if they were going to give themselves any chance of staying up. They didn’t.

In: Jaden Brown (Spurs) Undisclosed,  Jason Puncheon (Crystal Palace) Loan, Karlan Grant (Charlton Athletic) Undisclosed
Out: Jaden Brown (Exeter City) Loan, Rarmani Edmonds-Green (Brighouse Town) Loan, Rekeil Pyke (Rochdale) Loan,  Collin Quaner (Ipswich Town) Loan, Ryan Schofield (Notts County) Loan, Ramadan Sobhi (Al Ahly) Loan, Rajiv Van la Parra (Middlesbrough)


Leicester City: C

One addition in January came on Deadline Day, and Leicester added promising Belgian midfielder Youri Tielemans from Monaco. Adrien Silva went in the opposite direction, and Tielemans is a quality pick up. The 21-year-old shone at Anderlecht in the past and played for Belgium at the World Cup in the summer.

In: Youri Tielemans (AS Monaco) Loan
Out: Yohan Benalouane (Nottingham Forest) Undisclosed, Fousseni Diabate (Sivasspor) Loan, Callum Elder (Ipswich) Loan, Vicente Iborra (Villarreal) Undisclosed, Adrien Silva (Monaco) Loan


Liverpool: C

No additions for Liverpool, and their squad is so strong that is not surprising. Solanke and Clyne moved to Bournemouth and Jurgen Klopp may have been tempted to bring in a new defender to help with some injuries. In the end, Liverpool did what they needed to: nothing.

In: None
Out: Nathaniel Clyne (AFC Bournemouth) Loan, Ovie Ejaria (Reading) Loan, Liam Miller (Kilmarnock) Loan, Dominic Solanke (AFC Bournemouth) Undisclosed


Manchester City: C-

Pep Guardiola‘s men were linked with adding cover in central midfield to help Fernandinho, and they did sign promising Croatian midfielder Ante Palaversa from Hajduk Split. He was loaned back to the Croatian side right away and the 18-year-old is highly rated in his homeland.

In: Ante Palaversa (Hajduk Split) Undisclosed
Out: Brahim Diaz (Real Madrid) Undisclosed,  Ed Francis (Wolves) Undisclosed Luke Bolton (Wycombe Wanderers) Loan, Rabbi Matondo (Schalke) Undisclosed, Ante Palaversa (Hajduk Split) Loan


Manchester United: C

A quiet window, as expected, at United as caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has improved their star players straight away. Easy window.

In: None
Out: Ethan Hamilton (Rochdale) Loan, Joel Pereira (KV Kortrijk) Loan, Regan Poole (Newport) Loan, Ro-Shaun Williams (Shrewsbury Town) Undisclosed


Newcastle United: B+

One of the winners of the window, as Rafael Benitez was given money to spend as they broke their club-record transfer fee and paid $27.5 million for Miguel Almiron. The Paraguayan attacker has been a revelation in MLS and although this is a huge step up, his arrival is something we didn’t think we would see under Mike Ashley.

In: Miguel Almiron (Atlanta United) $27.5 million, Antonio Barreca (Monaco) Loan
Out: Liam Gibson (Accrington) Loan, Elias Sorensen (Blackpool) Loan, Jamie Sterry (Crewe) Loan,  Josef Yarney (Chesterfield)


Southampton: C-

No arrivals at Saints in January as Ralph Hasenhuttl focused on trimming his squad and promoting youth players. Out went Davis, Gabbiadini, Hoedt and Cedric, with Charlie Austin nearly leaving too. Could the failure to add a striker this month cost Southampton their place in the Premier League? We will wait and see, but this was a window which sees them have a leaner and better-balanced squad. From the outside looking in it seems like Saints got rid of plenty of talented players for no reason. A risky tactic from Hasenhuttl, but he is all about the team-first approach.

In: None
Out: Steven Davis (Rangers) Loan, Manolo Gabbiadini (Sampdoria) Undisclosed, Wesley Hoedt (Celta Vigo) Loan, Ryan Seager Released, Cedric Soares (Inter Milan) Loan


Tottenham Hotspur: C

Tottenham have now gone a full 12 months without signing a single player. Wow. Losing Mousa Dembele was a blow, but expected, as Harry Winks and Oliver Skipp will be expected to pick up the slack. Tottenham have suffered with injuries, but can they afford players who will make their squad better? Not right now given the move to their new stadium. Sensible business for Mauricio Pochettino even if they tried to chase an extra striker late in the window.

In: None
Out: Jaden Brown (Huddersfield Town) Undisclosed, Mousa Dembele (Guangzhou R&F) Undisclosed, Georges-Kevin Nkoudou (Monaco) Loan, Kazaiah Sterling (Sunderland) Loan


Watford: C

The biggest win in January for Watford was keeping hold of Abdoulaye Doucoure as PSG were linked with a move for him. Quiet window for Javi Gracia, as he continues to get this Watford squad performing above their potential.

In: Adam Parkes (Southampton) Undisclosed
Out: Stefano Okaka (Udinese) Loan, Jerome Sinclair (Oxford United) Loan, Ben Wilmot (Udinese) Loan, Randell Williams (Exeter City) Undisclosed, Marvin Zeegelaar (Udinese) Loan


West Ham United: C+

A strange window for the Hammers as Marko Arnautovic was linked with a move to the Chinese Super League but ended up signing a new contract with the club. They were linked with a big money move for Uruguayan striker Maxi Lopez and that may now happen in the summer, while Samir Nasri‘s arrival on a free transfer was a smart pick up.

In: Samir Nasri (Unattached) Free, Mesaque Dju (Benfica) Undisclosed
Out: Sead Haksabanovic (Norrkoping) Loan, Moses Makasi (Stevenage) Loan, Toni Martinez (Lugo) Loan, Vashon Neufville (Newport) Loan, Reece Oxford (FC Augsburg) Loan,
Joe Powell (Northampton) Loan


Wolverhampton Wanderers: C

Wolves were looking at adding some extra cover in attack, with Tammy Abraham close to joining on loan right at the start of the window. In the end, Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men didn’t really need extra help going forward and signing right back Jonny from Atletico Madrid on a permanent basis on Deadline Day was superb business.

In: David Wang (Jumilla B) Undisclosed, Ed Francis (Manchester City) Undisclosed, Jonny (Atletico Madrid) Undisclosed
Out: Benik Afobe (Stoke) Undisclosed, Danny Batth (Stoke) Undisclosed, Harry Burgoyne (Falkirk) Loan, Ethan Ebanks-Landell (Rochdale) Loan, Bright Enobakhare (Coventry) Loan, Kortney Hause (Aston Villa) Loan, Ben Stevenson (Colchester United) Undisclosed,  David Wang (Sporting Lisbon) Loan