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Chelsea sign Thiago Silva

Brazil centre-back Thiago Silva has signed for Chelsea on a one-year deal, with the option of another.

The 35-year-old has joined the Blues on a free transfer having left Paris St-Germain after their Champions League final defeat on 23 August.

He will bolster the Blues’ defence, which conceded the most goals (54) in the Premier League top 10 in 2019-20.

“I am so happy to be joining Chelsea. I am delighted to be a part of Frank Lampard’s exciting squad,” Silva said.

“I’m here to challenge for honours and I look forward to playing at Stamford Bridge very soon.”

Silva, who has made 88 international appearances, played more than 200 games for PSG during his eight years in the French capital, winning seven consecutive Ligue 1 titles.

He is manager Frank Lampard’s fourth summer signing, following England left-back Ben Chilwell from Leicester and forwards Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner.

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Luis Suarez has hit back at comments made by his former lawyer Alejandro Balbi that suggested the Uruguayan’s future would be linked to that of Lionel Messi, with both players looking likely to leave Barcelona ahead of the 2020-21 season.

Messi recently rocked the football world with the revelation that he longer wishes to see out the remainder of his career at Camp Nou, expressing his desire to leave Barca amid one of the most tumultuous periods in the club’s history.

Indeed, there have been widespread calls for club president Josep Maria Bartomeu to step down, with his time in office seen as a disaster both on and off the pitch.

The appointment of Ronald Koeman, a club legend, was seen as a move to appease players and fans, but the Dutch head coach is reported to have told Suarez to find a new team as he is not part of his long-term plans in Catalunya.

With the striker being close friends with Messi, a destructive fall-out ensued, with Balbi among those to have weighed in on where both Messi and his former client may end up come next season.

“Messi’s future will have an influence on Suarez’s because they are best friends, they get along on and off the pitch,” the lawyer claimed in an interview on TV “There is a lot of brotherly love between Messi and Suarez, they are inseparable, always together.”

While there can be no doubting that Messi and Suarez, whose families have holidayed together several times, are indeed close friends, the latter took to social media on Thursday to distance himself from Balbi’s comments.

“There are people talking about me or on my behalf when I have not had a relationship with them for years,” Suarez said. “When I need to speak, I’ll speak for myself.”

Barcelona fans will want to hear from both Suarez and Messi sooner rather than later, with supporters having already been protesting outside of Camp Nou in the wake of recent developments.

While official news regarding Suarez’s future may take time to appear, Messi himself is expected to address the public in the coming days regarding his decision to leave the club at which he has spent his entire senior career.

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At least eight Chelsea players have been forced to quarantine in line with government guidelines, Goal has learned, with at least four of the individuals having tested positive for Covid-19.

According to reports, Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Christian Pulisic and Fikayo Tomori are four of the players that are isolating although it is unknown if they are the individuals that have tested positive for coronavirus.

Mount and Abraham are, however, still expected to join up with the England squad having been named as part of Gareth Southgate’s selection ahead of the upcoming Nations League fixtures.

The Blues first-team underwent coronavirus testing at the end of last week upon their return to training, in line with Premier League protocol ahead of the new season which begins on the weekend of September 12.

It could be that some of the players are merely following government guidelines following travel from abroad, with the UK currently enforcing 14-day self-isolation for people who have visited a country that is on Britain’s high-risk list in terms of coronavirus infection rates.

Regardless, with eight squad members now quarantining, Frank Lampard’s pre-season preparations have been thrown into disarray ahead of the Premier League’s return in mid-September.

The Stamford Bridge outfit are not the only side to have been hit with setbacks, however, as Sheffield United, West Ham and Brighton have all recorded positive Covid-19 cases in their squads.

A total of 14 positive cases have been confirmed across no less than 12 clubs in the English top flight.

Chelsea’s quarantine news comes on the same day that the UK government announced that the Blues were to form part of a pilot scheme designed to welcome football fans back into stadiums for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic first brought the sport to a halt in March.

Lampard’s charges travel to Brighton for a friendly on Saturday, with the Seagulls’ Amex Stadium set to hold 2,500 spectators respecting social distancing protocol.

“I know fans and their teams can’t wait to be reunited in stadia across the country, but it’s imperative we take a cautious and phased approach to get fans back in safely,” Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced on confirming the relaxation of restrictions on fans for the clash.

The revised measures will also be applied in a women’s friendly between West Ham and Arsenal at the weekend as well as fixtures in cricket, rugby and certain horse racing meets among other activities.

Chelsea will begin their 2020-21 campaign away against Brighton on September 14.

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Tottenham have completed the £15million signing of Wolves right-back Matt Doherty – but his big day took an unexpected twist when a slightly embarrassing old tweet of his was uncovered.

Reports on Wednesday shows the north London side had opened talks with the Midlands side over a move for the Republic of Ireland international.

With boss Jose Mourinho open to selling Serge Aurier this summer, Spurs have now brought in 28-year-old Doherty as a ready-made replacement.

Doherty becomes Spurs’ third signing of the summer after Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg joined from Southampton and Joe Hart arrived from Burnley.

Tottenham fans might well raise a few eyebrows at his tweet from September 2013, however, which read: ‘Yes I’m a HUGE Arsenal fan!’

Should Doherty prove himself on the pitch, however, Spurs supporters are likely to forgive any old allegiance towards their great rivals especially given talisman Harry Kane was famously pictured wearing the Gunners’ kit as a boy.

Doherty who still had three years left to run on his contract at Molineux made 50 appearances for Wolves last season.

He also scored on seven occasions during the previous campaign as Nuno Espirito Santo’s men finished seventh in the Premier League and reached the Europa League quarter-finals.

He was also part of the Wolves side that lifted the League One title in 2013-14, as well as the team that won the Championship crown in 2017-18.

The Republic of Ireland international has made 302 appearances for Wolves in total, registering 28 goals and 41 assists since joining from Bohemians in 2010.

Tottenham have already seen departures in the right-back area this summer, with Kyle Walker-Peters joining Southampton earlier in the window.

The club are now also prepared to sell Aurier, with the Ivorian attracting interest from Bayer Leverkusen and AC Milan.

The 27-year-old Ivory Coast international has two years left on his Spurs contract having joined from Paris Saint-Germain in August 2017 for £23m.

With Doherty now out of the exit door, Wolves are pursuing a deal for Arsenal utility player Ainsley Maitland-Niles as his replacement.

The 22-year-old Englishman made 32 appearances for the Gunners in 2019-20, providing one goal and two assists.

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Chelsea have announced the signing of Malang Sarr, who will spend the 2020/21 season out on loan.

Sarr, the highly-rated centre-back, has penned a five-year deal with the Blues and joins Frank Lampard’s side one day after Ben Chilwell’s move from Leicester was confirmed.

The 21-year-old was available as a free agent as he left Nice at the end of last season.

Marina Granovskaia, the Chelsea director, said: “The opportunity to sign Malang was one we could not miss. He is a tremendous prospect and we will be monitoring him closely during his loan period, hoping he will soon be back at Chelsea.

“We are very happy to welcome him to the club today.”

The French International joins a plethora of signings at the bridge including Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell and a potential Kai Havertz among others still to join.

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Gareth Barry has today announced his retirement, bringing to a close an extraordinary record-breaking career.

An England international and the holder of the most Premier League appearances with 653 top-flight games to his name, Barry spent three seasons at The Hawthorns after arriving in the summer of 2017.

Over the course of his 22-year career, Gareth played for four clubs; Aston Villa, Manchester City, Everton and Albion, and managed 53 England caps.

He played for Albion 25 times in the Premier League, and 27 times in the Sky Bet Championship, with his most recent three appearances coming in the FA Cup, as he helped the Baggies beat Charlton Athletic and West Ham United before they were thwarted by Newcastle United.

Everyone at the Club wishes Gareth all the best in retirement.

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Paul Pogba test positive for Corona Virus

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has tested positive for coronavirus, says France manager Didier Deschamps.

The 27-year-old will have to self-isolate for 14 days.

He will miss France’s Nations League game in Sweden on Saturday, 5 September and the home game against Croatia three days later.

However, Pogba could be eligible for selection for United’s Premier League opener against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on 19 September.

His club said: “Everybody at United wishes Paul a speedy recovery ahead of the new season.”

Pogba will be replaced in the France squad by 17-year-old Rennes midfielder Eduardo Camavinga.

“I’ve completed, at the very last minute, a change in the list,” Deschamps said on Thursday.

“Paul Pogba, who was previously on the list, unfortunately for him he carried out a test yesterday which was returned as positive this morning.”

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Barcelona’s new technical director Ramon Planes insists the club want to keep Lionel Messi after the Argentine handed in a transfer request.

Messi informed Barcelona’s hierarchy of his decision via burofax on Tuesday evening and is now pushing to leave Camp Nou on a free transfer due to a clause in his contract.

However, Barcelona are aware that the clause which allows Messi to leave for free expired on June 10 and the club believe they are now able to hold out until their captain’s €700 million (£629m) buyout fee is met.

Messi is arguing that the clause remains active as the coronavirus pandemic halted Barcelona’s season and the club’s campaign did not end until their 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League on August 14.

Manchester City are believed to be leading the race to sign Messi, with reports claiming that the 33-year-old has already held talks with Pep Guardiola and is keen on the prospect of being reunited with his former manager.

On Wednesday, Barcelona unveiled their new signing Francisco Trincao and at the presentation for the 20-year-old Portuguese forward, Planes responded to Messi’s push to leave Camp Nou and denied reports which claim that the forward will refuse to report for pre-season training.

‘It was very important news, we have always said that we want to build the new Barcelona around Messi, the best player in history,’ said Planes, who replaced Eric Abidal as technical director last week.

‘We can’t have a public dispute between Barcelona and Messi because neither side deserves that. ‘Messi has not told us that he’s not going to show up for training.

We do not contemplate any contractual exit, because we want Messi to stay.

‘Internally we have been working for long hours to find the best solution for the club and for Leo. ‘Anyone that understands a little bit about football wants to have Leo in their team. It is an immense pleasure to see a player like him. He is a winner, Barcelona are winners and we want to get back to winning.’ he concluded.

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Dean Henderson has ended speculation over his Manchester United future by signing a new five-year contract at Old Trafford, with the option of a further 12 months to be triggered before June 2025.

The 23-year-old, who has been named in the England squad for next month’s Nations League games against Iceland and Denmark, has spent the last two seasons on loan at Sheffield United. His performances for Chris Wilder’s team last season led to Henderson being linked with a summer move to Chelsea.

But Henderson has now committed his future to United, sparking the prospect of a battle for the No. 1 spot this season with David de Gea.

“The pathway that I have been on for the past five years has been fantastic for my development and the invaluable loan period at Sheffield United has been part of that,” Henderson said. “The goalkeeping department at United is excellent; there are three top-level goalkeepers who have achieved so much in the game and I look forward to working with the group.

“The faith that the manager and the club have shown in me with this contract means a lot to me and will continue my progression as a goalkeeper.

“I’ll be giving everything to improve every day so that I can play as many games as possible for this great club.

“Now I am looking forward to joining up with the England squad and then preparing for the season ahead.”

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is now expected to keep Henderson in his squad for the coming season rather than loan him out again.

“We are delighted that Dean has signed his new contract,” Solskjaer said. “He had another great season at Sheffield United, where he gained a lot of experience and grew both as a player and a person.

“Dean is a fantastic young keeper with the attitude and work-rate to keep improving every day.

“We are in a strong position within the goalkeeping department and that gives us the competition for places that we are looking for in the squad.”

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Tottenham are closing in on a deal for Wolverhampton Wanderers right-back Matt Doherty, reports say.

Wolves are seeking in the region of £20 million in exchange for the player’s services, but Spurs are considering putting in a lower bid while making the difference with add-ons.

The north London club would certainly benefit from adding a player at right-back, with Serge Aurier having failed to convince since joining the side in August 2017.

Head coach Jose Mourinho is also lacking replacements in that position, and Doherty’s ability to play at left-back could serve Tottenham well, too.

Doherty, 28, has made 260 appearances for Wolves since joining in 2010, establishing himself as a regular under coach Nuno Espirito Santo.

The defender’s performances have also seen him called up by the Republic of Ireland.

Tottenham have already signed former Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart in this window, with the 33-year-old joining on a free transfer after his contract expired at Burnley.

The former England shotstopper’s deal with Spurs is set to keep him at the club until 2022.