Brighton and Hove Albion have completed the signing of striker Neal Maupay from Brentford for a reported £20million.

The 22-year-old has agreed to a four-year contract with the Premier League side after impressing in the Championship.

Brighton boss Graham Potter said: "Neal is a talented striker, with good strength and pace, and he is a goalscorer. He will add an extra dimension to our existing forward options, and we are delighted to have completed the transfer. 

"The club has been monitoring Neal and has been aware of his ability for some time. Separately I was also aware of his obvious ability at Swansea and came up against him in the Championship last season. 

"His record in the Championship has been exceptional, with 41 goals across the last two seasons, and now his challenge is to transfer that to the Premier League."

Maupay is Brighton's fourth signing since last season, following Adam Webster, Leandro Trossard and Matt Clarke to the south coast.

Tottenham defender Juan Foyth will be sidelined until September due to an ankle ligament injury.

The centre-back was hurt during the Audi Cup pre-season match with Bayern Munich last month, with manager Mauricio Pochettino admitting the player was in a lot of pain.

Medical tests have revealed Foyth has damaged the lateral ligament in his left ankle and is not due to resume first-team duties until next month.

The 21-year-old is suspended for Spurs' first two Premier League games of the season against Aston Villa and Manchester City.

He is unlikely to be fit for the home game against Newcastle United on August 25 or the north London derby with Arsenal on September 1.

Earlier, Spurs also confirmed they have been granted planning permission to increase the capacity of their stadium.

Haringey Council has approved plans to add more seats to the north and south stands that will boost the overall number to 62,214.

Dario Benedetto has sealed his reported €14million move from Boca Juniors to Marseille, becoming Andre Villas-Boas' second signing in France.

Argentina international Benedetto joins centre-back Alvaro Gonzalez in moving to Marseille, where he will hope to go some way towards replacing Mario Balotelli.

Balotelli scored eight goals in 15 Ligue 1 matches in an entertaining stint with the club. He left when his contract expired at the end of last season.

Benedetto has taken the number nine shirt worn by the Italian, who has been linked with a switch to Flamengo.

Benedetto has taken the number nine shirt worn by the Italian, who has been linked with a switch to Flamengo.

Benedetto scored 30 goals in 34 appearances across his first two Superliga campaigns with Boca but was on target just twice in 15 outings in 2018-19 after returning from knee and Achilles injuries.

He played a starring role in Boca's run to the 2018 Copa Libertadores final, scoring in the second leg as arch-rivals River Plate won the trophy.

Marseille have endured a tough pre-season and coach Villas-Boas acknowledged star players could yet be sold to the Premier League following a friendly loss to Napoli.

Liverpool have confirmed the signing of former West Ham goalkeeper Adrian on a free transfer.

The 32-year-old has joined the European champions as a replacement for Simon Mignolet, who has left for Club Brugge in a reported £6.4million deal.

"I'm feeling really happy; really happy to be here and to work in this great club and start doing my stuff on the pitch as soon as possible," Adrian, who spent six seasons with West Ham before leaving at the end of last term, told Liverpool's website.

"I'm very ambitious, I come here to try to win everything, to try to push Ali [Alisson] from the first minute and to make us better.

"Obviously, I want to win titles. I come here to fight for all the competitions. We have many competitions ahead – we’re going to fight for it and try to get them.

"I'm looking forward to playing my first game at Anfield and to win as many games as we can."

Mignolet's departure was confirmed by the Reds on Monday after Club Brugge had announced his arrival following a medical on Sunday.

In a message on Twitter, the Belgium international said it had been "an incredible honour to represent one of the biggest clubs in the world, and to achieve things that few players ever manage to achieve".

He added: "I want to take this opportunity to thank all the fans for their support during the good times and the bad. I also want to thank all the coaches and managers I've worked with during my spell here; their knowledge and expertise has been invaluable.

"I've shared the pitch with some fantastic players over the years, but the current squad is the best I've ever been a part of. I'll never forget that night in Madrid [when Liverpool won the Champions League final in June], and I'm glad I got to share it with such a terrific group of lads.

"It's been a great ride. There have been ups, downs and everything in between, but I'll always look back on my time at Anfield with fondness. I have no regrets - I've given my all, and I've always done my best to wear the shirt with pride, and to represent the club with dignity and professionalism.

"Once part of the family, always part of the family. Deep inside, I'll always be a Red."

Harry Maguire's long-anticipated move to Manchester United has finally gone through for a reported £80million.

The England man developed into a fully fledged top-flight star at Leicester City and their reward was a world-record fee for a defender.

But have United found someone capable of making the step up from a mid-table club and helping them return as a dominant force in English football?

With the help of Opta, we take a look at how his numbers stack up against his new United team-mates and the rest of the Premier League.

 

STRONGER THAN UNITED TEAM-MATES

United struggled to establish a regular partnership in defence last term, with Victor Lindelof clearly a favourite as the rest of the cast rotated alongside him.

Maguire will go straight into the side and it is easy to see why Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was so keen to sign him; the centre-back brings an impressive blend of attributes.

Last season, he won 78 per cent of his aerial battles, bettering physical defenders Chris Smalling (64 per cent), Phil Jones (72 per cent) and Eric Bailly (76 per cent). His front-foot defending was evident as he executed 37 interceptions, too.

Meanwhile, Maguire made 61 passes per 90 minutes, more than ball-playing centre-backs Lindelof (52) and Jones (54).

Importantly, Maguire played in 31 matches - more than Lindelof, Smalling, Jones and Bailly - managing to show consistency and avoid the injury issues that dogged many of his new colleagues.

TOPPING PREMIER LEAGUE CHARTS

It is not just set against United's rather uninspiring group of central defenders that Maguire stands out either.

His aerial success rate was the best in the Premier League last season, outperforming Professional Footballers' Association Players' Player of the Year Virgil van Dijk (75 per cent).

But Maguire really comes into his own when given the freedom to carry the ball forward, completing the most dribbles (16) of any centre-back in the top flight in 2018-19.

Within the same group he also ranked joint-sixth for goals (three), eighth for passes (1747), fourth for touches in the opposition box (63) and sixth for shots (30).

Whether from set-pieces or when starting attacks inside his own half, Maguire should add to United's goal threat.

STILL WORK TO DO DEFENSIVELY?

Maguire might represent an upgrade on United's other defensive options but there are still areas for concern in his game.

In fact, some of Maguire's numbers in 2018-19 were less impressive than they had been a year earlier as he burst onto the scene and established himself in the England side.

The former Sheffield United man made just 31 tackles in 31 games last season, down from 63 in 38. A change in Leicester's approach might explain that difference, but Maguire's success rate in such challenges also fell considerably, from 73 per cent to 54.8 per cent.

Maguire clearly enjoyed playing out from the back last term - making seven more passes in seven fewer matches than in 2017-18 - but he also made four errors leading to opposition shots.

Only three players in the league (Willy Boly, Lewis Dunk and Sean Morrison) made more and must now strike a balance between defence and attack at United.

Georginio Wijnaldum has heralded the strength of Liverpool's squad and does not believe their quiet transfer window should be assessed yet.

The Reds brought in key figures such as Alisson and Fabinho ahead of last season, with Virgil van Dijk joining in the previous window, but they have been quiet this time around.

Liverpool, who finished second in the Premier League but won the Champions League, have only brought in teenagers Sepp van den Berg and Harvey Elliott so far.

However, manager Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool have a squad capable of challenging again due to the returns of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlin and Rhian Brewster, who were both injured last term.

Wijnaldum agrees and says judgements on Liverpool's decision not to invest must be withheld until the end of the campaign.

"We have to see," the Netherlands international told Sky Sports. "We have a good group now who have played together for a few years, we're already strong.

"When you sign players, sometimes they need time to settle in. I had it, [Andy] Robertson had it, Fabinho had it, [Naby] Keita had it. There's no guarantee when you sign a player that he can play immediately the way we want him to play.

"But we have to see. People will say, 'You needed a signing' if the season does not go well, but if it goes well, they will say we did not need a signing.

"We will see how it goes. We have players who were injured coming back from injury so the squad is already bigger and better than last season."

Liverpool's season began with a penalty shoot-out defeat to Premier League champions Manchester City in the Community Shield, but Wijnaldum insists he is enjoying a growing rivalry.

"I like it. They push us to be even better, we push them to be even better," he said. "I think that's why last season we both had a lot of points.

"When you look at each other, you know that you have to perform because otherwise the other team will walk away [with the title]."

Harry Maguire says Manchester United have always been a club he has looked up to and has vowed to "give everything" for his new side.

The centre-back finally completed his move from Leicester City on Monday, signing a six-year deal with the option of a seventh after a reported fee of £80million was agreed between the clubs.

The England international is now the world's most expensive defender, having eclipsed the £75m Liverpool paid Southampton for Virgil van Dijk in January 2018.

Despite the expectations on his shoulders due to the exorbitant price tag, Maguire is desperate to get to work under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and realise a dream of stepping out at Old Trafford in a red shirt.

"It's a really proud moment to join such a big club," he told MUTV.

"You always dream of walking out at Wembley and Old Trafford - they're the two big stadiums when you're a young kid.

"It's an amazing club, a club I've always watched and looked up to when I was younger and now I'm part of it. The atmosphere and the stadium itself is just so unique and so special.

"Experience is a big thing - you play a lot of games as a young boy and you learn a lot of things, like I did in League One and moved up to the Championship. I felt like that really helped me.

"First and foremost, I see myself as a good defender, I'm in the team to stop goals and keep clean sheets.

"I'm a team player. I'll give everything I can for the team and everything I've got for this club."

Manager Solskjaer believes he has acquired one of the best players in his position in the world and sees him as a crucial new component of his side.

"Harry is one of the best centre-backs in the game today and I am delighted we have secured his signature," Solskjaer said. 

"He is a great reader of the game and has a strong presence on the pitch, with the ability to remain calm under pressure - coupled with his composure on the ball and a huge presence in both boxes - I can see he will fit well into this group both on and off the pitch.

"He has a great personality and is a fantastic addition to the club. I would like to welcome Harry to Manchester United and we are looking forward to working with him as we prepare for the new season."

Harry Maguire has capped his stunning rise by joining Manchester United in a deal reportedly worth £80million on Monday.

The fee makes Maguire the most expensive defender in football history, eclipsing the reported £75m Virgil van Dijk cost Liverpool from Southampton.

Considering Maguire was playing League One football with Sheffield United in 2014, it has been a remarkable few years for the Yorkshireman.

Maguire is also now established in the England team as the first-choice partner at the back for Manchester City defender John Stones.

Here, we chart his progress from third-tier centre-back to the world's priciest defender.

 

Hometown hero with the Blades

Maguire broke into the Sheffield United team at the end of the 2010-2011 season, making five appearances as the Blades were relegated from the Championship.

A year later Maguire was included in the Professional Footballers' Association's League One Team of the Year and clubs began to sniff around the teenager.

Wolves were linked with a move for Maguire but he instead switched to Hull City for £2.5m, joining the club at the same time as Andrew Robertson arrived from Dundee United for a similar fee. Maguire has continued to show support for his hometown club on social media.


Relegation and promotion at Hull

The Tigers had been promoted to the Premier League when Maguire joined, but he struggled to break into the backline and was sent on loan to Championship side Wigan Athletic, where he made 16 appearances - the team conceding only 22 goals when he played.

Hull bounced back with an immediate promotion. Maguire featured 24 times but was named on the bench for their play-off final defeat of Sheffield Wednesday at Wembley, before continuing to nail down his place in the following top-flight campaign.

Although Hull were relegated again, the Tigers keeping just four clean sheets in Maguire's 29 appearances, he impressed enough - being named the club's Player of the Year - to earn the second transfer of his career.


Leicester grab a £17m bargain

It was Leicester up next for Maguire after they reportedly paid £12m up front for the defender in a deal that included a further £5m in add-ons. He was ever-present in his first Foxes campaign, helping Leicester to keep nine clean sheets.

During November of the 2016-17 season, he won his first England caps, starting for Gareth Southgate's side in goalless draws against Brazil and Germany to stake his claim for World Cup selection at Russia 2018.

Fine displays from Maguire earned him Leicester's 2017-18 Player of the Season and Players' Player of the Season awards and United were then linked with a big-money move.


World Cup heroics and meme star

Southgate took Maguire to Russia and made him a starter for the Three Lions, with the defender appearing in all seven of England's matches at the World Cup.

Maguire went viral on social media when a photograph of him with girlfriend Fern Hawkins was turned into a meme, while he scored in England's defeat of Sweden in the quarter-finals.

But there was disappointment for Maguire and his international team-mates as Croatia proved too strong after extra time in the last four.


Most expensive defender in the world

Leicester were able to rebuff strong interest in Maguire from United and he continued to improve in the 2018-19 campaign, winning 78.1 per cent of his aerial battles - the most in the Premier League - to further establish a reputation as a dominant defender in the air.

Despite his massive size, Maguire is also strong on the floor. His 16 dribbles completed was the most in the Premier League among centre-backs, although making four errors that led to shots indicated he is not yet the finished package.

Regardless, with Van Dijk's record fee pushing the asking price for high-class defenders up, United elected to make Maguire the most expensive English player after rivals Manchester City pulled out of the race.

Now it is up to the 26-year-old to prove he deserves that massive £80m price tag.

Manchester United's bid to improve their backline has seen them make Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka two of the world's most-expensive defenders.

England defender Maguire has joined from Leicester City for a reported £80million, surpassing the record set by Liverpool's capture of Virgil van Dijk.

Earlier in this transfer window United spent £50m to acquire right-back Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace as they commenced a substantial rebuild of their squad.

Maguire has not cost United as much as their biggest signing Paul Pogba, who joined from Juventus in 2016 in a then-world record £89.3m deal, but he is the most expensive defender of all time.

Here, we profile the men at the back who have cost a fair whack.


HARRY MAGUIRE – Leicester City to Manchester United, £80m

The reported £80m fee is a serious outlay for a player who was playing for Hull City in the Championship three years ago.

It has been a rapid rise for Maguire, who is now first choice at the back for England alongside Manchester City defender John Stones. United will hope there is even more to come from the 26-year-old.

VIRGIL VAN DIJK – Southampton to Liverpool, £75m

Liverpool tried unsuccessfully to buy Van Dijk in June 2017 and were accused of tapping him up by Southampton, but the defender's absence from several matchday squads thereafter meant a departure was never far away.

The Reds gave their fans a late Christmas gift in December of the same year, confirming the Netherlands international's arrival and he has looked worth every penny since making the switch to Anfield, winning the Professional Footballers' Association Players' Player of the Year last term and helping the club clinch their sixth Champions League title.

LUCAS HERNANDEZ – Atletico Madrid to Bayern Munich, £68m

Having featured as France's first-choice left-back in their triumphant 2018 World Cup campaign, it did not take long for other clubs to begin being linked with Hernandez. Bayern were reported to have things tied up with the defender by the end of the year, though it was said they were trying to avoid paying his full release clause.

As it happened, Atletico received the €80m required to trigger Lucas' exit at the end of the 2018-19 season, meaning Bayern secured themselves a player who can cover two positions for the next decade. 

MATTHIJS DE LIGT – Ajax to Juventus, £67.5m

United had been strongly linked with De Ligt earlier in the window but it was Juventus who won the race for his much-coveted signature for a fee that, with add-ons, could eventually rise to a sum similar to Van Dijk's price.

Despite still being a teenager, De Ligt's leadership qualities shone through when he was captain of the Ajax team that won a domestic double and reached the Champions League semi-finals last season.

AYMERIC LAPORTE – Athletic Bilbao to Manchester City, £57m

City had been put off by the fee Southampton wanted for Van Dijk but were more willing to part with what was - in January 2018 - a club-record £57m to sign left-sided French centre-back Laporte.

Though he curiously remains without a senior cap for Les Bleus, Laporte has become a key figure under Pep Guardiola and was City's best defender in 2018-19 as they won an unprecedented domestic treble.

BENJAMIN MENDY – Monaco to Manchester City, £51.75m

City broke the record for a defender when they signed Mendy from Monaco in July 2017, the left-back having quickly established himself as one of Europe's most exciting attacking full-backs as his side won the 2016-17 Ligue 1 title and reached that season's Champions League semi-finals.

His arrival was part of a spectacular overhaul of the City backline, which saw them spend close to £165m on three defenders and goalkeeper Ederson, but two serious knee injuries have badly hindered his time in Manchester so far. 

DAVID LUIZ – Chelsea to Paris Saint-Germain, £50m

Paris Saint-Germain paid a whopping fee to sign Brazil international David Luiz from Chelsea in 2014.

He won Ligue 1 in both of his seasons at the Parc des Princes and made it three top-flight titles in a row after he surprisingly returned to Chelsea for £34m in August 2016, claiming his first Premier League winners' medal.

KYLE WALKER – Tottenham to Manchester City, £50m

When Walker joined Spurs from hometown club Sheffield United for £5m in 2009, few would have guessed he would one day become the most expensive English player in history.

Walker, who in June signed a new long-term deal at the Etihad Stadium, quickly established himself as a key component at the back following his July 2017 arrival and he has won two Premier League titles, two EFL Cups and an FA Cup.

AARON WAN-BISSAKA – Crystal Palace to Manchester United, £50m

Walker now has company as his country's most costly player following fellow right-back Wan-Bissaka's arrival on the other side of Manchester.

Wan-Bissaka fits the mould for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who wants young players to spearhead a revival at Old Trafford, and he made 129 tackles last term, more than any other defender across the top five European leagues.

JOHN STONES – Everton to Manchester City, £47.5m

City have certainly shown a willingness to pay large amounts for English talent, with Stones joining the club from Everton in 2016.

The 25-year-old had a difficult first campaign as Guardiola's side under-performed. His displays have since improved considerably, although he largely spent the final weeks of last season among the substitutes. 

(*Prices are as reported at the time of transfers being completed.)

Harry Maguire has become the most expensive defender of all time following the completion of a reported £80million move to Manchester United from Leicester City.

The England international underwent a medical on Sunday and signed a six-year contract with the option of a further season at Old Trafford after United and Leicester reached an agreement to end a long-running transfer saga.

While the fee has not been confirmed, media reports indicate it surpasses the £75m Liverpool paid Southampton to secure Virgil van Dijk's January 2018 arrival.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer moved to make Maguire his third signing of the close season following the additions of winger Daniel James and right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Swansea City and Crystal Palace respectively.

"I am delighted to have signed for this great club," Maguire said in a statement published by United.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Leicester and would like to thank everyone at the club, and the fans, for their fantastic support over the past two seasons. However, when Manchester United come knocking on your door, it is an incredible opportunity.

"From my conversations with the manager, I am excited about the vision and plans he has for the team. It's clear to see that Ole is building a team to win trophies.

"I am now looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and getting the season started."

Maguire rose to prominence at Hull City in the 2016-17 campaign, impressing despite the Tigers suffering relegation from the Premier League.

His form that season earned him a move to Leicester, who were said to have agreed a deal worth up to £17m for his services, and the defender played every minute as the club finished ninth in the Premier League in 2017-18.

The 26-year-old has since become a mainstay at international level for England, with his ease in possession seeing him fit in well with Gareth Southgate's style of play.

Those attributes seemed a good fit for Pep Guardiola's Manchester City and the champions were said to have shown interest before baulking at Leicester's asking price.

United will hope Maguire can solve a problem position at centre-back.

Jose Mourinho routinely hinted at his frustration with the options available to him before being sacked in December.

Victor Lindelof has developed into a dependable performer after a shaky start, but Eric Bailly is set to miss at least four months of 2019-20 due to a knee injury sustained in a pre-season friendly against Tottenham.

Marcos Rojo has rarely looked up to the required standard since a serious knee injury in 2017, while Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have failed to live up to their early promise.

Andre Villas-Boas is anxiously awaiting the closure of the transfer window in the Premier League on Thursday as he fears late moves for his Marseille stars.

Former Chelsea and Tottenham boss Villas-Boas joined Marseille this close season, but some of his top players have been linked with moves away from the Ligue 1 giants.

Florian Thauvin, once of Newcastle United, is a reported target for a host of clubs while Morgan Sanson has been linked to Newcastle, Wolves and West Ham.

Villas-Boas is still hopeful Marseille will be at full strength come Friday, as the window remains open in Europe, but he acknowledges movement late in the day is yet possible.

"We will see. In August, everything can change," Villas-Boas told reporters. "I hope no one will leave our squad, but it can happen.

"We must wait for the end of the English transfer window because, at the end of the day, it is the only country that can change everything."

Villas-Boas has endured a tough first pre-season at Marseille, with notable defeats to Accrington Stanley and Rangers - the latter running out 4-0 winners.

Jordan Henderson is happy to trust manager Jurgen Klopp if he feels Liverpool do not need to dip into the transfer market before the new season.

With the window set to close on Thursday, European champions Liverpool's only additions have been teenagers Sepp van den Berg and Harvey Elliott.

Klopp has insisted the Reds must understand they cannot always spend big, while he has also pointed to the strength of a squad boosted by fit-again duo Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rhian Brewster.

Captain Henderson has no issue with the approach, believing his manager knows best.

"I think we've got a fantastic squad of players, we've showed that," he said. "We can use everybody, we've got big players coming back from long-term injuries, which is like new signings as the manager says.

"If the manager hasn't signed anyone then he knows better than everyone else, for me.

"We believe we've got a strong group in the changing room, a strong team, and we've just got to keep learning, keep improving on the training pitch, keep doing what we've been doing for a long time now, and keep staying hungry for more success."

Despite finishing second in the Premier League last season, Liverpool put together an outstanding campaign.

But Henderson is not interested in reflecting on past achievements as the Anfield giants approach a new season, starting against Norwich City on Friday.

"We can't always think back to what we did last season," he said after a penalty shoot-out defeat to Manchester City in the Community Shield on Sunday. "We're looking forward, we want to improve as a team.

"There were a lot of games last year where we didn't play particularly well and play as well as we like and we did grind results out at times.

"Performance-wise, we can be much better and that's what we've got to focus on. We've got to focus on each game as it comes.

"The performance has got to be improving all the time, and in the second half [against City] it did improve. We'll be disappointed with the first half but the second half was more like us."

Rafael Benitez's departure contributed to Ayoze Perez following the manager out of Newcastle United, but he also saw greater ambition at new club Leicester City.

Perez left Newcastle in July after five years on Tyneside, joining Leicester in a reported £30million move.

The Spaniard's exit was sealed just days after popular coach Benitez ended his reign at St James' Park, having failed to agree a new deal with controversial owner Mike Ashley.

While Leicester, rebuilding under Brendan Rodgers, represented an enticing prospect for Perez, he acknowledged the timing of the move was no coincidence, with Newcastle's failure to keep Benitez evidence of a differing approach.

"[Benitez leaving] was a big factor, but also I felt it was time for a change and a new challenge," Perez told The Athletic. "In this case, Leicester gave me such a great opportunity to come here.

"The ambition of the club and the way they are doing the right things was very important in my decision. Also, as soon as Rafa left, the decision was easier.

"Rafa and Brendan Rodgers, they are two great managers. They are different but they both see football the way I like it. I had a conversation with [Rodgers] before I signed, what I heard and the way he wants to play football is very important.

"We all know how good a manager he is but after that meeting it was easier to make the decision and I am very happy to be playing under him. I can't wait to get started.

"Things could be done better over there at Newcastle, but Leicester have given me the opportunity to do great things hopefully. There is big ambition.

"I think how football works, the way you have to look at football, that is the difference between Leicester and Newcastle. There is big motivation here to keep growing and to get better here at Leicester. I didn't feel they had it at Newcastle."

Ashley suggested in an interview with the Daily Mail that Benitez took the "soft option" by leaving Newcastle for a lucrative contract at Dalian Yifang.

Benitez had not offered a response to the owner's claims, but his latest blog post again clarified his decision to move on.

"[The fans] appreciated the commitment we had when choosing to stay at Newcastle, and the efforts we made to continue being there," he wrote.

"But unfortunately, as they say in England, 'a leopard can't change its spots'.

"A lot of things kept us attached to the club, to the city, and to its fans, but a lack of project, as well as unfulfilled promises, meant we had to look forwards and follow a different path, as others such as Alan Shearer and Kevin Keegan have done while continuing to be supported and to support the team.

"There's nothing wrong with thinking about the past, but it's also important to look to the future.

"For this reason, all I have left to say is that I truly wish the team and [new Newcastle head coach] Steve Bruce the best for the following season."

Philippe Coutinho has been linked with a Barcelona exit throughout the close season, but Unai Emery insists Arsenal never discussed his potential arrival.

Brazil international Coutinho has seen Antoine Griezmann arrive at Camp Nou, while former Blaugrana favourite Neymar continues to be discussed as a possible target.

Coutinho's relatively unsuccessful 18-month stint at Barca could therefore be heading towards its conclusion, with Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and Liverpool mooted as potential destinations.

There were also claims Arsenal were looking at a temporary deal for the 27-year-old.

It was reported in Spain that Coutinho had turned the approach down, but Emery, while a fan of the player, says no such move was made.

"I like Coutinho as a footballer, but it is another thing that we are interested in him," the Arsenal boss told El Larguero. "We have never talked about Coutinho."

Arsenal were beaten 2-1 by Barcelona in the Joan Gamper Trophy on Sunday, but Coutinho, who recently returned from the Copa America, was an unused substitute for LaLiga's champions.

The Gunners are well stocked in attacking areas, with Nicolas Pepe arriving from Lille in a club-record move to support Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil.

Jurgen Klopp has also dismissed the possibility of Liverpool signing Coutinho.

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner has defended the club's lack of action in the transfer market, insisting they remain ambitious.

While Manchester City have invested in Rodri, Tottenham and Arsenal have broken their transfer records on Tanguy Ndombele and Nicolas Pepe respectively, and Manchester United are set to splash out on Harry Maguire, European champions Liverpool have cut a low profile in this window.

The Reds have only brought in teenagers Sepp van den Berg and Harvey Elliott.

Manager Jurgen Klopp insisted in July Liverpool "cannot do it [spend] constantly" and that his "team is really good and we have invested a lot in it".

Werner agrees, highlighting the depth of the squad and asserting there is no shortage of ambition from last season's Premier League runners-up.

"I don't think it makes strategic sense for an owner to comment on transfer policy while a transfer window remains open," Werner told The Athletic.

"What I would say is that, as always, Jurgen has articulated the situation really well by pointing not only to the strength we already have but the strength we have to come back.

"Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is back, Rhian Brewster is available properly for the first time, I'd say, Naby Keita [is] a year on, I could go on.

"It's also a very high-quality team and squad, which makes signing players who are better than we currently have more challenging.

"What I would say is that we always remain ambitious and we remain committed to keeping this amazing squad together and at a level where it can be competitive for all the big trophies."

Werner also is not concerned Klopp has not yet agreed to an extension to his Liverpool contract, which expires in 2022.

He says the former Borussia Dortmund coach is a "really perfect" match for Liverpool and is confident the club's appreciation for their manager is clear.

"What comes through from Jurgen is what a kind, humble, intelligent, confident and good-humoured leader he is," Werner said.

"He's obviously the right person for Liverpool. We were convinced of that the first time John [W Henry], Mike [Gordon] and I met him in New York.

"The match between the aspirations of our fanbase, the history of the club and Jurgen, they match up in a way that is really perfect. I'm sure he could have taken a job at any other top club but I think this has been a great match."

The chairman added: "I'd rather not talk too much about private conversations that we've had but suffice to say that we all think he's just exceptional. Jurgen knows what we think of him."

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