The north London derby cannot be the same game without fans, according to Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.

Arsenal travel to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday, aiming to extend a four-match unbeaten run in the Premier League.

Arteta is a veteran of nine north London derbies from his playing days at Emirates Stadium and remembers the encounters with a particular fondness.

"You could sense days before the game that the energy was rising, the expectations – how much it means for the people to defend the badge and the shirt that we are wearing and representing," he said.

"It's a rivalry but a very respectful rivalry and that created a very special atmosphere at the grounds. There wasn't big collisions and hate, but respect and will to win, which is a beautiful thing in sport.

"I was involved in some really good ones, there were a lot of goals and a lot of excitement. The players need to understand how much it means to people. If we win, we are going to make a lot of people happy."

As such, even though he has enjoyed the Premier League's emergence from lockdown, Arteta feels he and Jose Mourinho will tackle an altogether different encounter this weekend.

"It's going to be a completely different game," he said. "We are delighted we are back playing football but it's not the same experience, it's not the same memory and it cannot be the same game.

"The conditions, the context and the feeling that the players are going to have on that pitch is another story."

Arsenal are eighth in the Premier League table, a point and a place above Spurs, who have struggled for convincing form under Mourinho.

Arteta declared his opposite number to still be a "world class" coach and reflected fondly upon their time together at Barcelona in his youth, when Mourinho took charge of B team training sessions.

"He was great. He used to coach us with Barcelona B," he said.

"He had an incredible energy with young players. He was always very supportive and they all liked him."

Shkodran Mustafi appears to have responded with similar enthusiasm to Arteta's methods.

The Germany international was increasingly confined to the margins after a string of error-strewn displays under Unai Emery but he has featured in every Gunners match since the resumption – raising the prospect of a contract extension beyond the end of his current terms in June 2021.

"I'm really happy with him, as you clearly can see. The way he is playing, how committed he is with what we're trying to do, the level that he is showing in his performance every three or four days," Arteta added.

"That [a new contract] is something that the club has to address, but he knows my opinion on that."

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has confirmed it will announce a decision on Manchester City and their appeal against a Champions League ban on July 13.

The Switzerland-based body will confirm the verdict at 10:30 local time (08:30 GMT) on Monday, it said in a statement on Friday.

City's hearing at CAS began on June 8 and concluded two days later, with proceedings having been conducted by video call.

The Premier League club are seeking to overturn UEFA's decision to ban them from European competition for the next two seasons and fine them €30million (£27.2m) after finding them guilty of "serious breaches" of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.

City have persistently denied wrongdoing in relation to the matter, which stemmed from a series of articles published by Der Spiegel in November 2018, drawing on information purportedly obtained by the whistleblower Football Leaks.

"The club has always anticipated the ultimate need to seek out an independent body and process to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence in support of its position," read a statement at the time from City, who UEFA said had "failed to cooperate" with the investigation.

Speaking on Friday, City manager Pep Guardiola said he had faith in the club's chances of success in their appeal.

"I'm so confident because I saw the arguments of the club that next season we will be there [in Champions League]," he said.

In an interview with HLN, star midfielder Kevin De Bruyne suggested he might be happy to stay at City in the event of a reduction to a one-year ban, although a two-year Champions League absence would force him to consider his options.

"I'm just waiting," he said. "The club told us they are going to appeal, and they are almost 100 per cent sure they are right. That's why I'm waiting to see what will happen. I trust my team.

"Once the decision is made, I will review everything. Two years would be long, but in the case of one year I might see."

Frank Lampard is not prepared to look ahead to next season and the possible signing of Kai Havertz - or the departure of Jorginho - just yet.

Chelsea are reportedly the favourites to sign Bayer Leverkusen star Havertz, although a rumoured price tag of over €90million is unlikely to be met by any suitor.

However, speaking ahead of his side's Premier League clash with Sheffield United on Saturday, head coach Lampard made it clear he is not interested in anything beyond the final matches of 2019-20.

Asked about Havertz, he said: "Unfortunately, it's another answer from me that that is not something I want to broach at this moment in time. My focus is completely on the games that we've got. I don't want to give you ifs, buts or maybes on any potential [deal] for the summer. My focus has to be on the here and now."

Lampard also dismissed a question about whether Jorginho will still be at the club in 2020-21, insisting: "It's irrelevant to me what happens next season."

Jorginho has slipped down the midfield pecking order at Stamford Bridge but an injury to Billy Gilmour, which is set to keep the teenager out for up to four months, means the Italy international is likely to be involved in the final games of the season.

Lampard would not say whether Jorginho will be straight back in the team to face Chris Wilder's side, but he insists the player does not have to prove he is worthy of a place at Chelsea.

"We'll see in terms of selection. I don't want to start talking about the team yet, but I don't think there's a point to prove," Lampard said.

"I spoke about him before the last game: there is no point to prove for Jorginho. He proves it in training, when he plays for me, and simply these things are [about] selection. I just want to see the usual Jorginho.

"I'm very pleased [with his attitude] and it's what I expect from players and what I want at the club because there is no way you go through a season without moments possibly out of the team, without moments that are slightly difficult individually or whatever, and you have to have a toughness to you as a squad, individually and collectively, hence why I made him vice-captain when I came in, because I saw that in his personality.

"I thought he did well when he came on the other day – it was exactly what I wanted in the game at that moment, to take control, to drive it with his voice and his quality of pass, which he's done for a huge part of this season for us. I was very pleased with him."

Lampard also plans to speak with N'Golo Kante, who will miss Saturday's game, and the Chelsea medical staff about the player's injury problems this season.

The France star has struggled with a succession of fitness concerns this term, something his coach puts down to the fact his pre-season was curtailed by a knee issue.

"The big issue this year was he came to pre-season injured and missed a massive part of pre-season," he said. "We tried to get him quickly fit for the [UEFA] Super Cup, in which he was incredible with his performance, but he was still struggling, and it's been a real domino effect for him.

"It's time maybe to take stock. The injury he's got now isn't really related to the serious nature of the knee injury he had coming into the season, it's just a small injury, which I think is probably more down to the games played and the lack of pre-season now.

"I'm happy to manage a player like him with the levels he's reached over recent years in his career and where he's at. I'm very happy to manage him as we see fit, so that will be a very open conversation between myself, N'Golo, our strength and conditioning coach and the medical team."

Bruno Fernandes has become only the seventh player to win two successive Premier League Player of the Month awards.

Mohamed Salah, Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane, Cristiano Ronaldo, Dennis Bergkamp and Robbie Fowler are the only other players to have achieved the feat.

The Manchester United midfielder, who joined from Sporting CP in January, has made a remarkable start to life in the Premier League, winning both of the Player of the Month awards that he was eligible for.

Fernandes claimed the gong for February after an impressive first month at Old Trafford, before continuing that sparkling form into March.

He picked up where he left off when the Premier League resumed last month following the coronavirus-enforced suspension, with his performances across March and June taken into account for the latest award.

In United's five matches across those two months, Fernandes scored four goals and set up one more.

The Portugal international has helped transform United's fortunes since arriving from Sporting, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men unbeaten in 15 matches since his debut.

Fernandes beat Conor Coady, Danny Ings, Raul Jimenez, Allan Saint-Maximin and his United team-mate Anthony Martial to the June prize, while he also took home the Goal of the Month award.

The goal in question was his second in the 3-0 win at Brighton and Hove Albion on June 30, as he volleyed home from Mason Greenwood's pinpoint cross at the end of a rapid counter-attack.

While it was not a double success for United with the Manager of the Month award, it is the first time the two prizes have gone to Portuguese candidates in the same month.

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo won the manager's accolade for a second time, as he presided over a five-match unbeaten streak either side of the coronavirus hiatus.

He left Steve Bruce, Frank Lampard and Solskjaer in his wake, though Wolves have lost both of their matches in July, denting their hopes of a top-four finish as they trail fourth-placed Leicester City by seven points with four games to go.

Pep Guardiola still feels Bernardo Silva is one of the most special footballers he has ever coached despite the midfielder's dip in form this season – something for which the Manchester City boss takes his share of responsibility. 

Silva was voted City's player of the season as he and his team-mates swept to a domestic treble in 2018-19, but his performances this time around have been indicative of a general malaise, with Liverpool storming clear of their rivals to claim the Premier League title. 

The Portugal international has featured infrequently in the right-sided attacking midfield position he occupied for a chunk of last term, with Kevin De Bruyne back to full fitness and in prime form. 

Similarly adept on the right-hand side of attack, Silva has found his path blocked by Riyad Mahrez and, more recently, Phil Foden. 

The previous campaign concluded with the former Monaco man being named player of the tournament as Portugal claimed the inaugural Nations League title, and fatigue has not been difficult to spot in his work at times. 

A Football Association ban for tweeting a racially insensitive cartoon to team-mate Benjamin Mendy placed Silva in hot water off the field and, speaking ahead of Saturday's trip to Brighton and Hove Albion, Guardiola conceded a downturn from the playmaker has been obvious. 

"That's true maybe he didn't play as much as last season," he said. 

"This season, maybe it was my fault or maybe Phil was more involved and Riyad maintained his level and the other players played good too. 

"They know the competition they have with each other, but my admiration, respect, especially my opinion about him, nothing has changed. 

"He's a special player for me. One of the most special players I had in my career as a manager, the relationship I have with him." 

Guardiola is particularly impressed by Silva's acceptance of his situation – a stark contrast to when his manager said the City team last season was "Bernardo plus 10" – and is confident the 25-year-old knows what he must do to turn things around.

"He's a guy who doesn’t change his mood whether he plays or doesn't play," he said. "There are players that just are happy when they play and they smile at me and smile at the backroom staff when they play. 

"When they don't play, they make you feel they are not happy and they behave like a little, little child. 

"Bernardo is completely opposite. He's a mature man. He's a man who knows exactly what has happened, how this moment is and always he's the same person. 

"That's why he is an incredible person for me to work with and always I will be grateful. 

"In the time we spend together, the only thing I want is to help him to come back at his best level. If there is one player in this team who I would give help and support, it's Bernardo Silva. He's the first on the list." 

Mahrez scored his 10th Premier League goal of the season during Wednesday's 5-0 thrashing of Newcastle United and Friday marked the two-year anniversary of his £60million arrival from Leicester City. 

Guardiola is impressed by the Algeria international's performances but suggested he could sometimes use some of Silva's good grace. 

"He's an incredible player, fantastic self-confidence," he added. "He is a guy who always creates something special, in assists and goals. 

"We are delighted to have him and hopefully he can help us when he plays and when he doesn't play. Hopefully I can help him to improve this detail." 

Jordan Henderson will not let his injury setback spoil what he described as an "incredible campaign" for himself and Liverpool. 

Henderson suffered a knee injury in Wednesday's 3-1 Premier League win over Brighton and Hove Albion, with Jurgen Klopp confirming on Friday that it will force the midfielder to miss the remainder of the season. 

The Reds captain has featured 30 times for Liverpool in the competition, helping them to a maiden Premier League title and a first top-flight crown in 30 years. 

Klopp is optimistic the England international will be fit in time for the start of the 2020-21 season as he does not require surgery, and the player will now focus on his rehabilitation. 

Nevertheless, the injury will not prevent Henderson from lifting the Premier League trophy later this month.

"Unfortunately, following the knee injury I picked up against Brighton on Wednesday, I will now miss the last two weeks of the season," he wrote on his official social media accounts. 

"However, my rehabilitation will start immediately and I'll be working hard to be back to full fitness in just a matter of weeks in order to be fully ready for the start of the new season. 

"Of course, it's not the way I'd have preferred to finish the season on a personal level, but it's been an incredible campaign for us so far as a team and as a club, and I'll be doing everything I can to support the boys for the final games from the sidelines. I'm sure the lads will ensure we finish the season off on a high. 

"Thanks to everyone for the messages of support and I look forward to being back out there as soon as possible." 

Henderson will miss matches against Burnley, Arsenal, Chelsea and Newcastle United, bitter rivals of his boyhood club Sunderland, as Liverpool aim to reach a century of points. 

Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour will be out for up to four months after undergoing knee surgery, head coach Frank Lampard has confirmed.

The 19-year-old was hurt after a collision with Luka Milivojevic during the Blues' 3-2 Premier League win over Crystal Palace on Tuesday.

"Billy Gilmour's had an operation on his knee this morning, unfortunately, so he'll be out, we estimate, for somewhere between three and four months," Lampard said on Friday.

Gilmour had been flourishing this season under Lampard, making 11 appearances in all competitions, and had recently moved above Italy international Jorginho in the pecking order at Stamford Bridge.

Lampard says there is a stroke of fortune about the timing of the injury, with much of Gilmour's recovery likely to be taking place during the off-season between this term and the start of 2020-21, but he accepts the news was a blow to the player.

"I'm obviously very disappointed, we all are and Billy is himself," Lampard said. "I spoke with him yesterday [Thursday] at length and just gave him support, really.

"He's a tough boy. It hit him hard – I get that as well, particularly as a younger player who's just made his breakthrough in recent times and was doing so well – but it's part of football and I tried to explain he can be very pleased with the impact he's had this season. Part of our job as players is to get on with these things and learn our lesson quickly and his attitude will get him back as quick as he possibly can.

"His character is fantastic. Particularly with his age, the personality he has shown in getting in and around the first-team squad, getting himself into the team, I'm very sure he'll show the same character and do everything right with the rehab and tackle it.

"He's got a close-knit family around him who'll be there for him and we're his family too, we'll be there for him and the small bonus is it will hopefully cover a period that's off-season and pre-season, so he's maybe not missing as many games as he might have done."

Chelsea, who sit third in the Premier League table with four matches remaining, face Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp is overjoyed with the consistency Mohamed Salah has shown since joining Liverpool, though he does not believe his team-mates are deliberately trying to set the Egyptian up to help his Golden Boot chances. 

Salah, 28, arrived at Anfield from Roma in 2017 for a reported initial fee of £37million, and he has since made that figure look like a real steal, such has been his impact. 

In 104 Premier League matches for Liverpool, Salah has scored 73 times, with 32 of those coming in 2017-18 as he set a new record for the most goals in a single 38-match campaign. 

While his haul of 19 this campaign may not be on the same level, he is the champions' top-scorer and remains in the hunt for the Premier League's Golden Boot, with only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (20) and Jamie Vardy (22) netting more frequently than him. 

But, given Salah often plays off the flank, his record is an impressive one and that is not lost on Klopp. 

"It's incredible," Klopp told reporters on Friday ahead of Saturday's visit of Burnley. "We wouldn't be where we are if these boys [Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino] didn't perform at such a consistently high level. 

"And Mo, of course, his numbers are crazy. I don't know his exact numbers since he's been here, but they're just outstanding numbers, world class numbers. 

"No one should be surprised anymore because, the boys show that week in, week out for a while already, we know it's special but there's a lot of work in it, and we can only score if you're invested in each game, if you're in the right positions, do the right things. 

"If the boys are ready to do what they have to do, it will continue, and long may it continue." 

Salah's most recent goals – two of them – came in Wednesday's 3-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion, but his record has not protected him from criticism. 

Graeme Souness, a former Red who is now a television pundit, called Salah "super selfish" after the Brighton game for attempting eight shots, while some suggested other Liverpool players are passing up scoring opportunities of their own in attempt to help the former Chelsea forward.

But Klopp doubts his players have that approach, convinced the front three want to score all the time. 

"I hope the boys were not in that mood," Klopp said when asked about whether he felt Firmino passed on a chance just so Salah could boost his Golden Boot bid. 

"When I saw the situation back it was just because of Bobby's [Firmino] football intelligence, he wasn't in the best position. 

"If he'd shot it would be a completely different finish, Mo came around was in a much better place - it's just Bobby. 

"I don't think he left the ball because he thinks Mo should win the Golden Boot or whatever. You cannot have this mindset, football is too quick for you to do that. 

"We all help each other. Mane is another contender [for the Golden Boot], with 16 it's not too close but it's not impossible, so they all want to score goals. Bobby wants to score goals, they all want that. 

"That's the mindset they need, that they want to be decisive, they want to decide football games and that's the mindset a striker needs." 

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero will not recover from his knee injury in time to face Real Madrid in the Champions League, Pep Guardiola has confirmed.

Aguero sustained meniscus damage during last month's 5-0 Premier League win over Burnley and was operated on by Guardiola's preferred surgeon, Dr Ramon Cugat.

A four-to-six-week recovery period appeared to place Aguero in contention for the August 7 second leg with Madrid, which UEFA this week announced was clear to take place behind closed doors at the Etihad Stadium.

City hold a 2-1 advantage over the 13-time European champions but, after Friday's draw paired the winner of their last-16 tie against Lyon or Juventus, they will have to try and seal a place at the final stages in Lisbon without their all-time record goalscorer.

"I told you many times no. [Defintely] no," Guardiola told a news conference when asked about Aguero's prospects.

Friday's draw mapped out City's potential route to glory, with prospective semi-final opponents coming from a quarter-final between Napoli or Barcelona and Chelsea or Bayern Munich. 

Nevertheless, Guardiola insists City must not look past an in-form Madrid who appear set to wrest LaLiga from his beloved Barca's grasp. 

"We play against Real Madrid," he said. "If we think about the next step the kings of this competition, Real Madrid, will put us out.

"There is not one person who knows Real Madrid better than me, their potential and history, and we have to play this game.

"I saw the draw maybe two or three hours after it was made. I’ve got Brighton [in the Premier League on Saturday] and continue to prepare for Arsenal [in the semi-finals of the FA Cup].

"After that, we have two games and a potential [FA Cup] final to prepare for Real Madrid. That's all I have in my mind." 

City's bid for an elusive Champions League crown might be thrown into sharper focus on Monday if the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) uphold their two-season ban from UEFA competitions for violating Financial Fair Play regulations.

Guardiola reiterated his belief that City will be cleared by CAS and, irrespective of the verdict, he does not feel events in a Swiss court room will fuel his players.

"The intention is every season to play in the Champions League as best as possible, it's not about Monday," he said.

"On Monday, I'm so confident because I know and hear the arguments of the club. Next season we will be there and after I will give my opinion and the club will give a statement."

City head to Brighton and Hove Albion looking to snap a run of three successive away defeats in the Premier League.

Guardiola could once again call upon Benjamin Mendy after revealing the left-back sat out matches against Southampton and Newcastle United over the past week due to "muscular issues". 

Jurgen Klopp has confirmed Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is out for the rest of the season due to a knee injury.

The England midfielder limped out of a 3-1 victory at Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday after damaging his left knee in a challenge with Yves Bissouma.

At a Friday news conference, Klopp  revealed Henderson will play no further part in the champions' bid to break Manchester City's record Premier League points tally of 100.

The former Sunderland man will not require surgery, however and his manager is optimistic he will be fit for the start of the 2020-21 season.

Klopp said: "Best possible news. It's a knee injury, but no surgery is required.

"He will not play this season, but I'm positive he will start the new season. He's a quick healer."

Klopp also revealed Dejan Lovren is available for Saturday's clash with Burnley at Anfield, where Liverpool can move on to 95 points with a victory.

The Croatia centre-back has been sidelined with a knock but could feature against the mid-table Clarets.

Liverpool face Arsenal, Chelsea and Newcastle United in their final three games after coming up against Sean Dyche's in-form side, who have won three and drawn one of their previous four.

Jurgen Klopp has confirmed Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is out for the rest of the season due to a knee injury,

Mikel Arteta says there is no doubt Jose Mourinho remains a world-class head coach and expects him to bring success to Tottenham.

The Arsenal boss will face Mourinho for the first time on Sunday when the Gunners head to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the north London derby.

The reverse fixture, a 2-2 draw on September 1, saw Unai Emery's Arsenal fight back from 2-0 down to snatch a point against Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs.

Both clubs find themselves in a battle to secure European football for next season. Arsenal are eighth in the Premier League table, a point above Spurs and two adrift of the top six.

Spurs have only won two of their five matches since the league season resumed last month, but Arteta insists Mourinho is still "absolutely" a top coach and the right man to lead his side forward.

"He has a very clear way of playing, of how he manages games," Arteta said on Friday. "Clean sheets are a big thing that he wants to do but his teams, don't forget, always score a lot of goals.

"His teams have been really successful and they have been able to win titles because of that as well. In a long period, they have a lot of injuries. He hasn't had the chance to be consistent with his team. That's a big disadvantage that they have.

"I know that he has done it. I know people who have worked with him - he always finds a way to be successful. I'm sure he will do it again.

"They've had some ups and downs but overall you can clearly see what he wants to bring to the club. He manages the energy, momentum and establishes a really strong culture at every football club.

"As well he makes sure that he wins. He has won at every single club he has been. The situation, the timing when he arrived is different than starting a new project right from the summer.

"I'm sure he'll be successful; he's always been. He always finds the right way to do it. It will take him time but I'm sure he will do it."

Arteta is relishing the prospect of a first derby in charge of Arsenal, having savoured being involved in the fixture as a player.

"It's such a special occasion," he said. "Rivalry in football when you take it in a positive way brings energy, passion and a city together. It's such a beautiful thing. We are privileged to have big teams in the city.

"It's a shame we don't have the fans with us to enjoy it."

Gary Neville believes VAR officials are "frightened to death" to overturn on-field decisions following further controversial incidents in the Premier League on Thursday. 

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith was left fuming after Manchester United were awarded a penalty when Ezri Konsa was adjudged to have fouled Bruno Fernandes, who scored the opening goal from the spot in a 3-0 win following a VAR check. 

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho was also stunned when Harry Kane appeared to be pushed over by Joshua King, but both referee Paul Tierney and VAR official Michael Oliver did not feel a foul should be awarded in a goalless draw. 

Former Manchester United and England defender Neville wants to see referees check pitch-side monitors rather than rely on verdicts from Stockley Park. 

"On VAR. Send the Ref to the screens for goodness sake! The "we know better" than Europe way is failing badly," Neville tweeted. 

"The officials off-site are frightened to death to overrule on-site colleagues." 

Villa boss Smith was left frustrated at the VAR call made in the defeat to United as they battle to avoid relegation from the top flight.

"It all changed round on the penalty. I can understand Jon [on-field referee Moss] getting it wrong on the pitch but VAR? I don't know what they're looking at. It's a disgraceful decision," he said.

"They've got a screen there they can go and look at, but they don't seem to be bothered now." 

Carl Robinson hopes Wolves keep star duo Adama Traore and Raul Jimenez, but the former midfielder knows the Premier League club may have to sell in order to improve their squad. 

Traore and Jimenez are reportedly attracting plenty of interest as Nuno Espirito Santo's Wolves continue to challenge the Premier League's elite since their return to the top flight in 2018-19. 

Wolves, who finished seventh last season, are sixth through 34 matches this term and flirting with another European berth thanks to Traore, Jimenez and a star-studded squad, including Portugal internationals Ruben Neves, Joao Moutinho and Rui Patricio. 

Jimenez – linked to Manchester United and Juventus – has scored 15 Premier League goals and tallied six assists in 2019-20, while reported Liverpool, Manchester City and Barcelona target Traore has set up nine goals and netted four of his own. 

While Traore and Jimenez could leave Molineux in big-money deals, Robinson insisted how Wolves reinvest transfer funds would be crucial in the club's bid to maintain their position and crack the Premier League's top five.

"The reality is, they've played fantastically well for Wolves this season, so there is going to be top clubs sniffing around them," Robinson, who made over 150 appearances for Wolves between 1995 and 2002, told Stats Perform News. 

"Wolves' decision will be: can they afford to keep them, can they afford to turn down these huge transfer fees and if they do and say we're going to turn down £70million for Traore, how can they invest and build the squad from where they are at the moment? 

"If they can't, they might have to look at the £70m and Nuno will ask the question, how much of that £70m can I have invested in the football squad because our starting point is lower than where we are today. That's why sometimes, unfortunately, managers lose jobs because their starting point is a lot lower, but expectations go higher based upon the club getting £70m and Nuno is spending £20m. 

"I hope they keep those players at Wolves because if they don't, there will be two major gaping holes. But I also understand football is a business and if they get £150m for two players, I'm not sure too many teams could turn that down. 

"You could bring in four or five £30m players. If you look at your squad, sometimes you have to go sideways, or backwards, to go forwards. But do it for the right reasons, do it because you're selling one of your key players knowing you have a youngster coming through in maybe 12 months.  

"That's an understandable plan you have as a club. That's why the executives and big boys are paid the big money, because they have to make major decisions. The buck stops with them. If they get it wrong, they lose their jobs." 

Wolves have come a long way since Chinese conglomerate group Fosun International purchased the club in 2016 – progressing from a mid-table side in the Championship to FA Cup semi-finalists last season and Europa League participants in 2019-20. 

Santo's side are six points adrift of fifth-placed Manchester United with four Premier League matches remaining, while Wolves – back in Europe for the first time since 1980 – are preparing to resume their Europa League last 16-tie against Olympiacos next month after the competition was suspended in March due to coronavirus following the 1-1 draw in Greece. 

"When you have Mexico's number nine, when you have three Portuguese international players, the Portugal international goalkeeper in your team, when you have four or five other players who cost you £10-15m each, when you have Adama Traore, who you've managed to buy and develop and now maybe possibly on the verge of a move to Liverpool for £70-80m, you have a standard of players that are of high quality," Robinson, now head coach of Australian team Newcastle Jets, said.  

"When you have better players, they are able to win you games in moments where games are tight. Games are tight in the Premier League especially. The investment has been fantastic, not only on the field but off it.

"They've tried to regain some of what Wolverhampton is about – it's a good old honest, working men's town. It's not the city, the bright lights of London, it's Wolverhampton. When you go there, you see it and you're proud to play for Wolves. But you're only proud to play for them if you understand what they're about. 

"They've managed to be successful and compete at the top half of the Premier League. That's very important and it's great, it's got the interest back in Wolves. It's good when they see their rivals – Aston Villa, Birmingham and West Brom especially – languishing.

"Their issue now, and it's a good issue to have, is to maintain where they are and keep up with the big boys, they need to invest at the minimum level to what they've already invested. We see football clubs sometimes going out of business and drop. Hopefully Wolves will never be at the stage because of the continued investment. 

"Most clubs in football are feeder clubs and I'll say this with the greatest respect to other than four or five teams, and even Premier League champions Liverpool had to sell Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho. They might have to sell either Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah because there are clubs bigger that can pay the money.

"As a club, you know if you're successful you will lose your key players. How you replace them is key. 

"Wolves are in a great place. Hopefully they can stabilise where they are for the next three, four or five years and then continually try to crack the top five or six, which won't be easy." 

Manchester City are reportedly eager to sign Valencia star Ferran Torres, while there is set to be further movement at Chelsea.

Torres, 20, has been linked to numerous European giants after impressing at Valencia, where he came through the youth system.

City are seeking to replace Leroy Sane, who has joined Bayern Munich, and may have found their man.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY EAGER TO SIGN TORRES

Manchester City have made signing Valencia star Torres a priority, according to Cadena SER.

Contracted at Valencia until 2021, Torres has been linked with the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund.

Torres has scored six goals and provided seven assists in 41 games in all competitions this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- With Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner set to arrive, Chelsea could be set for further moves. Sport Bild reports defender Antonio Rudiger is in contact with Germany team-mate Kai Havertz as he tries to convince the Bayer Leverkusen star to head to Stamford Bridge.

- Staying at Chelsea and the Daily Express says Frank Lampard is looking to sell numerous players. It claims midfielder N'Golo Kante is among them and Real Madrid are eyeing the Frenchman.

- Emerson Palmieri and Olivier Giroud could also be set for Chelsea exits. Goal reports Inter are ready to offer €22million (£19m) plus add-ons for Emerson, while they are also interested in Giroud.

- With Luka Jovic seemingly set for a Real Madrid exit, the interest is apparently growing in the forward. The Daily Star claims Leicester City have joined the race for the forward, who is said to be a target for Chelsea.

- Back at San Siro and Inter have decided to put Matias Vecino on the transfer list, according to CalcioMercato. Vecino, 28, arrived at Inter from Fiorentina in 2017.

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