Robert Lewandowski said Jurgen Klopp has "two faces" as a coach and father as the Bayern Munich star lauded the Premier League-winning Liverpool manager.

Klopp guided Liverpool to their first league title since 1990 this season, having overseen the club's Champions League triumph last term.

Lewandowski knows Klopp better than most after spending four seasons with the German at Borussia Dortmund, where the pair combined to win two Bundesliga titles, before the former joined Bayern in 2014.

Discussing his favourite manager, having also worked with Pep Guardiola, Poland striker Lewandowski singled out Klopp.

"I think ... Jurgen Klopp [is my favourite] and after that Pep Guardiola. 100 per cent," Lewandowski told ESPN in an Instagram Live interview.

"[Klopp] has two faces. You can see that he is kind of like a father, but the second part is like a coach, a manager. He can tell you everything – and I'm not speaking about the good things – about the bad things.

"Also for [players], he is a huge motivation. He makes this perfect, because he knows where there is this line where he can [push you] more or a little bit less.

"His performance as a coach is amazing, but not only as a coach but also as a man."

Lewandowski has scored 51 goals in all competitions in the best season of his career, helping Bayern to win the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal, while a treble bid remains very much alive in the Champions League.

Bayern will face Chelsea in the second leg of their Champions League last 16-tie, having won the opening leg 3-0.

Things seem to be moving quickly at Manchester United and Jadon Sancho could be on his way to Old Trafford.

Sancho, 20, has been heavily linked with a move to several Premier League giants this close season after starring for Borussia Dortmund.

And a switch to United appears to be close, latest reports indicate.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD TO PAY €120M FOR SANCHO

Borussia Dortmund expect Manchester United to pay £107.9million (€120m) for Sancho in instalments, according to Sport Bild.

Its report says the Bundesliga club are prepared to accept that as long as the offer is submitted by August 10.

Sancho scored 20 goals in 44 games in all competitions for Dortmund in 2019-20.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Manchester United and Alexis Sanchez is reportedly set for a permanent exit. Gianluca Di Marzio reports Inter and United have reached an agreement over Sanchez, saying he will make his move to the Serie A club permanent on a free, signing a three-year deal worth €7m per year.

- Barcelona are still looking to raise funds. Sport reports the LaLiga club's main transfer targets are Inter star Lautaro Martinez and Manchester City defender Eric Garcia. Meanwhile, Sport also says Barca rejected a £54m (€60m) bid from a Premier League club for 20-year-old forward Francisco Trincao.

- While Manchester City are reportedly set to sign Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake, the Premier League giants are apparently still looking to strengthen elsewhere at the back. ESPN reports City are still interested in Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, as well as Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres.

- There remains uncertainty over Antonio Conte's future at Inter, according to reports. Fabrizio Romano says the head coach held a call with president Steven Zhang with a decision to be made after the Europa League.

- With Willian coming out of contract at Chelsea at the end of the season, the attacker is apparently attracting plenty of interest. France Football reports Arsenal have offered Willian the best deal with their three-year offer.

- Idrissa Gueye could be on his way out of Paris Saint-Germain after just one season. Le 10 Sport reports the Ligue 1 champions want to sell the midfielder, who has been linked to Manchester United and Wolves.

Danny Rose would love the opportunity to play in front of Tottenham's fans one more time and would happily see out the remainder of his contract in north London.

England left-back Rose spent the second half of the 2019-20 Premier League season on loan at Newcastle United after falling out of favour when Jose Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino as head coach last November.

The 30-year-old told BBC Radio 5 Live he felt he "wasn't given as much of a chance as everybody else in the backline" by Mourinho.

Rose is contracted to Spurs until June 2021 and he told The Second Captains podcast he has not entirely given up hope of resurrecting his career at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

"I'm very happy to stay at Tottenham and see my last 10, 11 months out. I'd love to," he said.

"There's nothing more I want than to play one more time in front of the fans.

"My last game for Spurs was a 1-0 defeat to Liverpool and at the time I didn't know that could be my last game for Spurs.

"I want nothing more than to play in front of the Tottenham fans one more time and just to cherish all the moments I've had over the years with them."

Rose was extensively linked to Manchester United, among other clubs, around the time he questioned Tottenham's ambition during a 2017 interview with The Sun.

He continued to play a key role under Pochettino and was part of the England squad that reached the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup, and is grateful to Spurs fans for standing by him.

"They've always been good to me," Rose said. "I've possibly given them reasons over the past not to be so good to me, but they know that when it was game time I gave everything for them.

"I'll continue to do that for as long as I'm contracted to Tottenham. I'll say it again - I would love nothing more than to play one last time for Tottenham and just be able to say goodbye to them and thank them for everything they've done for me, as a person and as a player.

"Ultimately, as good as I was, I was because of the love that they gave me. I'm very relaxed, I'll just have to wait and see."

Rose scored on his Premier League debut against Arsenal in 2010 – setting up a 2-1 derby victory – and has made 210 appearances for Tottenham in all competitions.

England defender Danny Rose has detailed his experiences of being racially profiled, stating: "I just laugh because I know what's coming".

Rose, who concluded the 2019-20 Premier League season on loan at Newcastle United from Tottenham, has previously spoken out over receiving racist abuse on the football field – most notably when representing England at both Under-21 and senior level during matches against Serbia and Montenegro respectively.

Speaking to The Second Captains' podcast, the 30-year-old said the football authorities' attempts to deal with such incidents have been "laughable".

However, he also pointed out his negative experiences as a black Englishman are often rooted much closer to home, citing frequently being stopped by police while driving and a recent exchange in the first-class carriage of a train.

"My attitude towards it is it's happening again, and I have to get on with it. Someone's going to get a laughable fine and it's business as usual next week," he said.

"But it's not just football. I got stopped by the police last week, which is a regular occurrence whenever I go back to Doncaster, where I'm from.

"Each time it's, 'Is this car stolen? Where did you get this car? What are you doing here? Can you prove that you bought this car?'.

"That's been happening since I was 18, since I was driving. And you know, each time it happens, I just laugh because I know what's coming and it's just how it is.

"One of the last times I got on the train, I got on there with my bags and straight away the attendant says, 'Do you know this is first class?'.

"I say, 'Yeah, so what?' and they say, 'Oh well, let me see your ticket then'.

"So, I showed the lady my ticket and, this is no word of a lie, two white people walked on the train right after me and she said nothing.

"And I said, 'Well, are you not going to ask for their tickets?' and she said, 'Oh, well, no, I don't need to'."

Rose continued: "People might think it happens, but to me that's racism. These are the sort of things I have to put up with. This is everyday life for me.

"I feel embarrassed to even complain in a way and bring this up when you see the incident in America where a black man lost his life at the hands of people who are supposed to protect and serve.

"Whenever I do complain about things, you hear people say, 'you're on this money, so get on with it'. I give up with hoping things will change because that's some people's mentality towards racism."

That incident in America, the death of George Floyd while in police custody, sparked protests across the world.

Rose explained how the decision for Premier League players to take a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement emerged from suggestions made in a WhatsApp group shared by the captains of each club.

"It was a beautiful thing that had been suggested. I just hope it is as powerful as it looks on TV [now] in years to come," he said.

"I have no idea [how much impact it can make]. You have to wait and see. There's never been such a devastating incident as what had happened in America with George Floyd passing away. That's one of the biggest things that I've seen in the world.

"But things have happened in the past and after a month or two it's just business as normal.

"I hope this is something now that will catch everyone's eyes, ears and minds. All we can do now is wait and see. Hopefully, nothing like that happens again and there is equality everywhere – in football and the world."

However, in further explaining his latest dealings with police in his hometown, a wearied Rose conceded a lifetime of similar experiences makes it hard for him to envisage genuine change.

"When this happened last week, I'd just left my mum's house. I was pulled up in a car park, the engine was off," he said.

"The police pulled in, they brought a riot van, three police cars and they questioned me saying we've had a report that we've had a car that was not driving correctly.

"I'm like, 'Okay, why does that make it my car?'. They got my DL [driving license], they breathalysed me.

"Honestly, it's just one of those things to me now. I don't understand what I can do or who I can complain to anymore.

"This first happened to me when I was 15 and now, I'm 30. It's 15 years of this on and off the field happening and there's no change whatsoever.

"I don't want to be repeating the same words that I say, and people end up saying, 'Oh, be quiet – he's always moaning' but those are my experiences. I'll be honest: that will not be the last of my experiences."

Stats Perform News approached South Yorkshire Police for their comments on Rose's observations.

Virgil van Dijk has proven himself to be "unbelievable" in almost every aspect since joining Liverpool, but former Reds defender Kolo Toure thinks forwards can cause him more problems by running at him in one-on-one situations.

Netherlands international Van Dijk joined Liverpool from Southampton in January 2018 for a reported £75million, at the time a world-record fee for a defender.

His signing helped transform Liverpool from top-four contenders into a team that challenges for titles, as the Reds were only narrowly beaten to the 2018-19 Premier League title while also winning the Champions League.

Van Dijk's influence showed no sign of abating this term as Liverpool won a first league title in 30 years, while his performances continue to impress.

Toure, a former Liverpool and Celtic defender like Van Dijk, is an admirer of the centre-back but feels forwards might have a little more fortune against him if they are braver.

"He's an unbelievable player," Toure told Stats Perform News. "He's a top player. He's got speed, height - he can jump. He's got technique. He can switch the game with his long passes. He has got everything.

"I haven't seen many players challenge him one on one. In my opinion, that's his weakness! He's really tall and if you really attack him with the ball, he can struggle, but he's so clever.

"He's so clever because he drops well. But if you are really aggressive in attack in a one-on-one, I think you can get something from him.

"He's a really clever player. He's got [Joe] Gomez on his side, good players on his side to help him as well. There are good players around him and I think that makes his game easy. But I think he's got so many qualities."

Toure was part of the Liverpool team that were pipped to the title by Manchester City in 2013-14, losing out by two points after Steven Gerrard's infamous slip in a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea helped hand the initiative back to Manuel Pellegrini's men.

That gutting moment had hung over Liverpool and Gerrard in the intervening years, but their 2019-20 success erases that memory, according to Toure.

"Absolutely [it heals the pain of 2014]," he said. "When you play for a team like Liverpool… the fans, the atmosphere is unbelievable. An unbelievable club.

"I had a great time there. I saw players win the Premier League who I'd been playing with. I was happy to see them win.

"They are the best team in the world right now. Jurgen Klopp is doing an amazing job right now. [Former manager] Brendan Rodgers' signings have been really good as well for him. You can see that he's taken those players and really pushed them.

"Of course, he's added top players on top of all of that. This club is one of the best clubs in the world. They really deserve everything, they're really good guys, honest people working hard, loving the club and that's great. It's a great, great club."

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson paid tribute to manager Jurgen Klopp for his impact on the Premier League champions and is convinced the German is just getting started.

After 30 years without a league title, Liverpool finally ended their drought this season, blowing away the competition as they finished 2019-20 18 points clear of second-placed Manchester City.

Their haul of 99 points is the second-highest in the competition's history, while they wrapped it up with seven games to go – a feat no side has ever accomplished before.

Liverpool also won the UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup this term, but their Champions League defence ended at the hands of Atletico Madrid in March, Chelsea knocked them out of the FA Cup and Aston Villa beat a second-string side in the EFL Cup while the first-team competed for the global crown last December.

Nevertheless, Alisson felt it had been a draining season and he put that down to the drive of Klopp and his plans to keep improving the club's fortunes.

"This was one of the most exhausting seasons I've ever had," Alisson told ESPN Brasil. "I don't know if it was due to the pandemic, the longer season... It was also one of the seasons I played less games because of injuries.

"We got out of the Champions League early, but I think this exhaustion comes from just giving everything we have every time. Klopp has a great portion of that, just telling us what the main objective is.

"We also care about how we are going to get to that objective – training, just how he manages our training sessions.

"He trusts us to do what he wants us to do, on not only training sessions, but also a day-to-day basis.

"He is a passionate guy and he shows that. He wants to win and make Liverpool an even greater club."

Alisson believes it will be important to maintain the values that have got Liverpool to where they are, with unity – rather than relying on individual prowess – behind much of their success.

"Our group is certainly very strong," he continued. "Each player has so much quality individually, and we have at least four players always at the top, the best in the world in their positions, and that makes it a special team. But what really makes a difference is the way we play together.

"We think as one, we all have the same objective, and that is doing everything we can to get those goals, laying it all out mentally and physically."

Memphis Depay has links to Manchester United and he might be able to help out his former club.

Depay spent two years at United but struggled before leaving for Ligue 1 outfit Lyon in 2017.

The Netherlands international has since flourished in France, and he could now play a role in United bringing Jadon Sancho to Manchester.

 

TOP STORY – DORTMUND WANT DEPAY AS SANCHO REPLACEMENT

Manchester United's bid to sign Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho could hinge on Lyon captain Memphis Depay, according to The Sun.

Sancho has been tipped to leave Bundesliga side Dortmund for Premier League giants United in a blockbuster transfer this off-season.

Former United forward Depay has emerged as a possible replacement for Sancho at Dortmund and is reportedly the key to the Red Devils prising the England international to Old Trafford.

 

ROUND-UP

- Could Antonio Conte leave Inter after just one season? The Inter head coach took aim at the club after their final game of the Serie A season – a 2-0 win over Atalanta on Saturday to secure second spot behind Juventus. Conte claimed neither he nor his players were protected by the club amid criticism. Now, Sky Sport Italia, SportMediaset, La Gazzetta dello Sport, Tuttosport and Corriere dello Sport claim the damage is irreparable. With Conte facing an uncertain future, former Juve head coach Massimiliano Allegri and ex-Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino have emerged as possible replacements.

- Le10Sport reports Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang wants Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele to join the Gunners. Dembele has been linked with a move away from the LaLiga giants, who are reportedly trying to raise transfer funds through sales. Aubameyang himself has been linked to Barca, as well as Paris Saint-Germain and United previously.

Milan are ready to sell Lucas Paqueta, claims Calciomercato. Linked to PSG previously, Serie A rivals Fiorentina are interested in the Brazilian attacker and an exchange involving Viola star defender Nikola Milenkovic could take place.

- According to the Telegraph, Sevilla defender Diego Carlos is at the top of Arsenal's transfer wish list. Premier League rivals Manchester City and Liverpool have also been credited with interest.

- AS Diario says Real Madrid have a clear plan of when they want to pursue their transfer targets amid the coronavirus pandemic. Reluctant to spend after winning LaLiga and in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, Madrid are focusing on 2021 – PSG's Kylian Mbappe at the top of the list. Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga is also wanted next year, while Dortmund forward Erling Haaland is a 2022 target.

Mikel Arteta has challenged Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to stay at Arsenal and become a club great.

Aubameyang scored both goals – as he did in the semi-final win over Manchester City – as Arsenal completed a stirring 2-1 FA Cup final triumph over Chelsea on Saturday.

The former Borussia Dortmund forward has 70 goals in all competitions since joining the Gunners in January 2018, but his future is the subject of mounting speculation.

Aubameyang is out of contract next year, although Arteta has repeatedly expressed confidence the Gabon international is ready to remain at Emirates Stadium.

After his superb winning goal downed London rivals Chelsea, he was challenged by his head coach to place himself alongside the likes of Ian Wright and Thierry Henry in Arsenal history.

"It's the most difficult thing in football, that's for sure, and he makes it simple – look at the second goal he scored," Arteta said.

"We always had incredible strikers at this football club and Auba deserves to be named and compared with the big names.

"By winning trophies he will be closer to that and the longer he stays there as well.

"Hopefully we can have him for more time."

Arteta also made a point of praising Aubameyang's work ethic – the captain leading by example in a squad where the likes of Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi have fallen shy of their boss' exacting standards.

"The biggest problem as well was probably to convince [Aubameyang] to work the way he is working," Arteta added.

"He was going to get more rewarded, more respected and then that respect goes from respect to admiration – admiration from his team-mates, the people who work with him and the fans.

"I think now, the way he is conducting himself on and off the field, he has got that."

Frank Lampard has implored the Premier League to push back the start of the 2020-21 season for clubs still competing in Europe.

Lampard's Chelsea travel to face Bayern Munich in the last 16 of the Champions League on Saturday, albeit with limited hopes of reaching the quarter-finals as they face up to a 3-0 deficit from February's first leg.

Manchester City face Real Madrid 24 hours earlier at the Etihad Stadium, 2-1 to the good and with a more realistic tilt at playing in the final in Lisbon on August 23.

Manchester United and Wolves remain in the Europa League, which concludes on August 21 in Cologne.

Lampard, who will be without captain Cesar Azpilicueta and winger Christian Pulisic at Bayern after both sustained hamstring injuries during Saturday's 2-1 FA Cup final loss to Arsenal, believes the Premier League's stipulated start date of September 12 for next season is much too soon in that context.

"The players need to be given a break to play at the level of the quality product that the Premier League is," he said.

"Even in the worst-case scenario that we don’t go through against Bayern, the 12th feels too early for us to start playing again.

"The players need a break. That's why we're pulling two hamstrings and having players pulling out of the game before this.

"I would like to think the Premier League will look seriously at that and hopefully give us a fair start for next season.

"I think it's something we deserve for being a Premier League club competing in the Champions League."

Despite ending his first domestic campaign in charge of Chelsea on a dispiriting note, Lampard was keen to hail the season as a success on the whole, with the Blues securing Champions League qualification for next season despite being placed under a transfer embargo before the start of 2019-20.

"I'm delighted with the season and I've wanted to keep that within for the last week as I don't like to get too excited when there's a big game coming up," he said, despite accusing his team of "complacency" after failing to capitalise upon Pulisic's early opener at Wembley.

"But we have to reflect on a season going into it where people didn’t expect us to be in the top four. There were unknowns, the transfer ban, other clubs around us moving forward with recruitment when we couldn't.

"You can lose a final, we've lost a final and that's frustrating for us. But there's a bigger picture that we're working to and we've seen lots of good things.

"The players should be proud of how they've competed. The league position is a huge plus because, let's get it right, not many people gave us that chance at the start.

"Now we have to look to get better. [The FA Cup final] showed us there definitely is room to get better."

Any progress next term looks increasingly likely to take place without long-serving winger Willian.

The Brazil international is out of contract and has been linked with Arsenal, although Lampard is in the dark over his former team-mate's next move.

"I know the situation from the club's end, I've got a great relationship with Willian but I do not know what that decision is," he added.

"He's been brilliant for me this season but it is his choice and I respect his choice. He's been a great servant for Chelsea if he decides to move on."

Neil Lennon expects Odsonne Edouard to be in demand after he started the new season with a hat-trick in a 5-1 thrashing of Hamilton, though Celtic intend to do all they can to keep the forward. 

Arsenal, Everton and Leicester City are among the Premier League clubs to be linked with Edouard, who joined Celtic for a reported club-record fee of around £9million in 2018 after a successful season-long loan. 

The 22-year-old hit the ground running with a treble as Celtic began their quest to win a record 10th consecutive Scottish Premier League title with a commanding win on Sunday. 

Lennon is braced for interest in the former Paris Saint-Germain player during the transfer window, but he hopes to keep hold of his prized asset.

Asked about rumoured interest in Edouard, the Celtic boss said: "We can't help that, it's inevitable. But we'll try to stave off any admirers. I'm sure there are plenty out there, but we love having him here and I'm sure he’s enjoying it. 

"He'll be well on the radar of clubs before the start of this season. He had 28 goals up until March last season and I was delighted with that goal return. 

“I was delighted with the goals he got too, he was on the end of things and that pleased me. 

“I was really pleased, he scored great goals. His volume of goals is really pleasing me. 

“They were striker's goals. Normally you associate Odsonne with brilliant individual goals, but there were a few tap-ins and a near-post run. 

"I'm absolutely thrilled and I'm sure he's happy, but we are as a team looking to build on what we've started with."

Could Kasper Schmeichel follow in his father's footsteps?

Peter Schmeichel earned legendary status at Manchester United after winning five Premier League titles and the Champions League during his time at the club.

Now, Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper is being linked with a sensational move to the Theatre of Dreams.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED CONSIDER SCHMEICHEL MOVE

Manchester United are lining up a transfer swoop for Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel to replace David de Gea, according to The Sun.

De Gea's position at United has come under threat following a slump in form for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, despite being contracted until 2023.

There have been calls for Dean Henderson, who has spent time on loan at Sheffield United, to return Old Trafford, however, Kasper – the son of Red Devils legend Peter – is reportedly seen as the perfect ready-made option.

 

ROUND-UP

Paris Saint-Germain are preparing a bid for Bayern Munich star Thiago Alcantara, says Le10Sport. Thiago has been tipped to join Premier League champions Liverpool, however, Ligue 1 holders PSG are believed to be in the mix for his signature.

- TF1 reports United have made contact with Monaco about a potential move for 19-year-old centre-back Benoit Badiashile, who has also been linked to Real Madrid and Bayer Leverkusen.

- According to Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona have ruled out a swap deal that would see Ivan Rakitic move to Juventus in exchange for Rodrigo Bentancur.

Milan have opened talks with Tottenham over the signing of right-back Serge Aurier, reports Sky Sport journalist Fabrizio Romano.

Juve are willing to offer Federico Bernardeschi and Cristian Romero to Serie A rivals Roma as part of a deal to sign Italian star Nicolo Zaniolo, claims SportMediaset. Zaniolo has also been linked to Madrid, Tottenham and former club Inter.

- Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga is willing to wait for a Madrid move until 2021-22, Marca claims. The 17-year-old has been heavily linked to the LaLiga champions as well as PSG.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looks like he has already decided to pursue an Arsenal exit, according to Manchester United great Rio Ferdinand.

Having already inspired Arsenal's FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester City, the Gabon international scored both goals as the Gunners came from behind to defeat rivals Chelsea 2-1 in Saturday's final at Wembley.

It capped a superb season for the club captain, who has scored 29 goals across all competitions and been prolific ever since signing from Borussia Dortmund in January 2018.

The future of Aubameyang has been intensely debated as he is out of contract in 12 months, with the Gunners not in next season's Champions League, though this win ensured they do at least reach the Europa League.

In an on-pitch interview prior to lifting the trophy, Aubameyang, 31, insisted he had nothing to say when asked to clarify his future.

Ferdinand felt the implication was clear.

"That says he is gone," the former Manchester United and England defender told BT Sport after Arsenal's record 14th FA Cup triumph. 

"[He said], 'I'm going to enjoy this moment with my team-mates and I don't want to talk about my future'.

"That says to me I just feel like either there have been no negotiations up to now, which I don't believe, or he has already decided he is going to go.

"I'm just talking about my perspective. If I am committed to the club and staying, this is a moment for me to get it sorted out [and say], 'It is not done yet but I am going to get it sorted out here guys'.

"He won't thank me for saying it, but he sounded like someone who is already looking to go elsewhere.

"Arsenal need to do all they can to get this guy to stay - 70 goals in 109 appearances says it all. And the way he finished [the second goal against Chelsea], Jesus, it was unbelievable."

Mikel Arteta thanked Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola after Arsenal beat Chelsea 2-1 in the FA Cup final to give the head coach what he described as the best moment of his career.

Arteta left his position as City assistant in December after three years alongside Guardiola to take over from Unai Emery at Emirates Stadium.

The 38-year-old has enjoyed a successful first campaign at Arsenal, culminating in Saturday's win at Wembley to take their record tally of triumphs in the famous competition to 14.

And Arteta, who becomes the first Arsenal boss to win a major trophy in his first season in charge since George Graham in 1986-87, was quick to laud Guardiola.

"He has been a key figure in my development as a coach," he said at his post-match news conference. 

"He has my gratitude. I wouldn't be sitting here today without him. I have to thank him big time."

Arteta also had Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to thank after his double turned the all-London final around following Christian Pulisic's early opener for Chelsea.

The Spaniard, who said after the match he is optimistic Aubameyang will sign a contract extension, praised the club captain for another match-winning display.

"Big games require big moments for big players - he did that in the semi-final and now today," he said. 

"People questioning whether he can do it in big games and he's done it today."

Arsenal finished eighth in the Premier League - their lowest position since 1994-95 - but have earned a place in next season's Europa League thanks to their win over Chelsea.

Arteta is pleased with the steps his players have taken in his first eight months at the helm and is hopeful that his side can build on their latest domestic cup success.

"I think this is the best moment of my career because I know the difficulties we've been through," he said.

"I had one mission - make the players and staff believe that we could do it. Seeing the change in the dressing room is what makes me more proud.

"I completely understood the needs of this football club. I knew the challenges I was facing when I made a decision to come here and the expectations we will always have. 

"This is the first one. Let's enjoy it today. My players have been fantastic and the staff and everyone upstairs."

Arteta, who only ended his playing career with Arsenal in 2016, added: "I could write a book on my time here. Everyday has presented something different. 

"I'm very lucky the people I have around me for every decision I had to make. Until you are sitting in this seat, you don't know the responsibility you have to make. 

"I'm proud of what we've done."

Eddie Howe has stepped down as Bournemouth manager by mutual consent.

A 3-1 win over Everton in Howe's final game in charge on July 26 was not enough to save the club from relegation, ending a five-season stay in the Premier League.

Howe, 42, has led Bournemouth in more than 450 games across two spells in charge that span all four of England's professional divisions.

"Having spent a total of 25 years with the club as both a player and a manager, this decision – made together with the club – is one of the hardest I've ever had to make," Howe, who made in excess of 300 appearances for the Cherries as a player, told fans in an open letter.

"However, although the affection and love I have for this football club will always remain, we collectively feel that now is the right time for the club to go in a new direction.

"Bournemouth will always be in my heart but I firmly believe that now is the right time foe the club to have a change.

"I have always ensured that every decision I have ever made as manager has been in the best interests of the club and its supporters, and this is no different."

Howe initially took charge of Bournemouth on a caretaker basis in December 2008, with the club bottom of the Football League having started the season on -17 points.

He masterminded an unlikely survival bid and earned promotion the following season – an achievement that sparked widespread interest in his services.

In January 2011, he made the move to Burnley but left Turf Moor to return to the south coast 21 months later.

An incredible run of two promotions in three seasons followed, with Howe's commitment to expansive, attacking football remaining largely unchecked throughout their impressive Premier League stay.

 

Ferran Torres believes he is ready for a new challenge, with Manchester City and Valencia this week agreeing a fee for the winger.

Stats Perform News understands City will pay an initial £21.3million (€23m), plus further add-ons, for the Spain Under-21 international.

Talks between the clubs are on-going, but an agreement on the wider terms of the deal is thought to be close as City look to bolster their wing options following the departure of Leroy Sane to Bayern Munich.

Right-winger Ferran, 20, has shown significant promise ever since his senior debut as a 17-year-old and enjoyed a breakthrough campaign in 2019-20, making the most of Goncalo Guedes' long-term injury absence to become a regular starter.

But with his contract set to expire next year and Valencia effectively losing their final bargaining chip in negotiations when Los Che failed to qualify for European football next term, Ferran has long looked destined for the exit door.

While Ferran remains a work in progress, there is little doubting his ability and potential, and he already feels prepared for the next step.


"As a player, I consider myself to be ambitious, someone that wants to win, win, win," he told BBC Sport.

"As time passes and you feel you are better prepared, then you want to take on greater challenges, experience a change of environment. Yes, I think I am ready to do so.

"Inside I always think that I am the best, and that I want to be the best and I work to try to be the best.

"If you don't believe yourself that you are the best, then no-one is ever going to believe that you are."

Should Ferran – who has also been linked with Liverpool, Barcelona and Juventus – eventually join City, the change of language will not be the hurdle it might be to others.

"You have always got to be learning languages because you never know where football will take you tomorrow," he said.

"But above all I am learning English, because English is essential whatever part of the world you are in."

Ferran played 34 LaLiga games for Valencia in 2019-20, scoring four goals and setting up another five.

He will be following in the footsteps of City icon David Silva – who swapped Mestalla for Etihad Stadium 10 years ago – if the deal goes through.

But Ferran will not get to play alongside the 34-year-old playmaker competitively, as he is set to depart when City's season finishes.

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