Neymar continues to dominate the headlines and Barcelona look set to finally get serious in a move for the Paris Saint-Germain star.

The Brazil international, 27, has been linked with a move from PSG, but progress has seemingly been slow amid links to Barca and Real Madrid.

It appears Juventus are now ready to join the race, too, as Barcelona prepare to submit an offer.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA TO SUBMIT NEYMAR BID

Barcelona have decided to submit a formal offer to PSG for Neymar, according to RAC1.

The cover of Sport reads 'Offer Offical' as Barcelona continue their pursuit of the star they sold to PSG for €222million two years ago.

They say Barca are hoping to get a deal done and have an option to buy Neymar next season.

 

ROUND-UP

- There may yet be a bit to play out in the Neymar saga. AS report Juventus have opened talks with PSG and are keen to sign the Brazil star, willing to offer Neymar the €37m per year net he currently makes at PSG.

- Paulo Dybala could be part of a Juventus move for Neymar. Dybala was reportedly close to a Premier League switch earlier this month and is valued at €80m and a target for PSG, according to Sport and the Daily Mail, giving the Ligue 1 champions an ideal replacement for Neymar.

- Christian Eriksen's Tottenham future remains unclear. However, ESPN FC report the Denmark international is only interested in moving to Barcelona, Real Madrid or Juventus if he leaves Tottenham.

- As Barcelona try to find a deal for Neymar, Nelson Semedo has been one of the players mentioned as part of a potential package. However, Marca report the defender does not want to go to PSG and Barca are aware.

- Roma are still trying to strengthen their defence and Arsenal's Shkodran Mustafi has emerged as a target, according to TuttoMercatoWeb. The Serie A giants would consider an initial loan move for the defender.

- Franck Ribery could be close to making a decision on his future. According to Fabrizio Romano, the former Bayern Munich star is in advanced talks with Fiorentina.

Former Arsenal and Juventus full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner has signed a one-year contract with Bundesliga side Augsburg.

Lichtsteiner, 35, joined the Gunners following his release by Juve in 2018, but he only spent a single campaign at Emirates Stadium.

He penned an emotional farewell letter to Arsenal fans in June, calling his time there a "great experience" that he "loved".

He joins an Augsburg side that narrowly avoided relegation from the Bundesliga last season and he could make his debut against Union Berlin at the weekend.

Ashley Cole has confirmed his retirement from professional football.

A decorated left-back for club and country, the England international was widely recognised as one of the finest players in the world in his position during his time with Arsenal and Chelsea.

Stints at Roma, LA Galaxy and Derby County followed for Cole, who will now focus on a move into coaching.

Here, we look at some of the numbers the 38-year-old returned over the course of a magnificent career at the top level.

385 ­– Across spells with Arsenal and Chelsea, Cole made 385 appearance in the Premier League. He won England's top flight on three occasions – with the Gunners in 2001-02 and 2003-04 before starring for Carlo Ancelotti's Blues in 2009-10.

7 – Triumphing with Arsenal in 2002, 2003 and 2005 and Chelsea in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2010, Cole has more FA Cup wins than any player in the competition's history.

38 – Cole was an ever-present for Chelsea in the Premier League during the 2011-12 campaign. It was also the season he supplied his highest number of assists (six).

15 – He chipped in with 15 goals over the course of his time in England's top flight, with four of those coming amid Chelsea's title-winning efforts of 2009-10.

107 – Cole comes in sixth in terms of all-time England caps with 107, one shy of 1966 World Cup-winning captain Bobby Robson. Former international team-mates Wayne Rooney (120), David Beckham (115) and Steven Gerrard (114) are also ahead of him, along with England's all-time most capped player Peter Shilton. Cole's Chelsea colleague Frank Lampard played for the Three Lions 106 times.

0 – No player has featured more often for England without scoring, with fellow full-back Gary Neville (85) the next most capped on that list.

22 – Cole has made more appearances at major tournament finals than any England player. Rooney and Gerrard managed 21, with Beckham and Shilton on 20.

David Luiz commended his new team-mates for being humble and hungry following a victorious Arsenal debut against Burnley at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored in a 2-1 win as Unai Emery's men moved to maximum points from two Premier League games for the first time in a decade.

Ashley Barnes equalised for Burnley between the goals but defender David Luiz otherwise impressed in his first appearance since a deadline-day move from Chelsea.

The 32-year-old thanked the Arsenal fans for accepting him and praised the squad head coach Emery has assembled.

"I'm so happy to be here, to try to do my job, and also to enjoy these quality players," David Luiz told BT Sport.

"This team has a lot to learn, it can improve a lot and we can fight for all the competitions, step by step and working hard.

"It's a pleasure to be here because everybody is humble, everybody wants to learn and everybody wants to improve and we want this club to shine again.

"I tried to do my best. Our style is to play football. We changed a bit because the game shows us to play a different way.

"But when you have confidence and when you are training with the team you have to try to do the plan.

"I think in the end I did very well."

Aubameyang scored the only goal in last weekend's 1-0 defeat of Newcastle United and grabbed a second winner in as many matches when he lashed in an unerring 64th-minute strike.

Dani Ceballos provided the assist, just as he did with the corner that led to Lacazette's early opener.

Arsenal fans gave the on-loan Real Madrid midfielder a warm round of applause when he left the pitch and also gained a first glimpse of club-record signing Nicolas Pepe, who was introduced at half-time.

"We feel stronger," striker Aubameyang said.

"Players like David, Dani Ceballos, Pepe, they came here and now we feel stronger. I feel sure we can fight for the top four."

Former Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry has targeted Champions League glory with Bayern Munich after coming through an "up-and-down" spell in English football.

The 24-year-old was named Bayern's Player of the Year last season after playing a part in 15 Bundesliga goals.

That is in stark contrast to the form he showed during his time at Arsenal when restricted to 18 appearances in five years at the Emirates Stadium.

Gnabry also struggled to make an impact on loan with West Brom in 2015-16, but he is grateful for the opportunities given to him.

"Joining Arsenal may have been an extraordinary step for some, but not for me," he told DAZN. 

"If a club like Arsenal makes you an offer and says it wants you in the club - with a coach like Arsene Wenger, who was known to give young players a chance - that's a great opportunity. 

"I really wanted to take this opportunity. My time in England has shaped me, with all its ups and downs. I would do the same again."

Gnabry kickstarted his career in 2016 with a move to Werder Bremen and joined Bayern a year later for a reported €8million.

"The move away from Arsenal was because I did not want to line up again and only play in the cup a few times. So I said, 'Okay, I have to take a step back'," he added.

"In Bremen I got a lot of playing time. That's why I enjoyed playing football again."

Having played a big part in Bayern's league and cup double in 2018-19, Gnabry is eyeing up European success this time around.

"Now that I have won the championship and the cup with Bayern, I also want to win the Champions League," he said. "This is a dream that I and everyone in the team has.

"I'm satisfied with my playing time, that's the most important thing. Over time, I want to slip into a role where, at 24, I can help the boys who come up - the way I was helped."

If Real Madrid want to sign Neymar, they may have to part with one of their young stars.

Neymar wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain and a return to Barcelona has been mooted for the world's most expensive footballer.

Madrid, however, are also eyeing Neymar but PSG have identified one Los Blancos Brazilian to replace their wantaway star.

 

TOP STORY – PSG ASK FOR VINICIUS AS PART OF NEYMAR DEAL

According to Spanish media, Paris Saint-Germain have asked for Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior to be included in any deal to send Neymar to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Neymar has been linked to former club Barcelona and fellow LaLiga giants Madrid as he looks to leave Paris.

PSG and Barca are yet to strike a deal, though talks are ongoing. In the meantime, sporting director Leonardo requested Brazilian youngster Vinicius in a potential deal with Madrid but it was swiftly rejected by Los Blancos, reports AS.

Marca, meanwhile, says PSG are keen for Vinicius and Luka Modric to be involved.

 

ROUND-UP 

- New signing Luka Jovic will not be leaving Real Madrid on loan, Bild says. Reports emerged on Wednesday that Jovic had failed to impress Zinedine Zidane following his €60million arrival from Eintracht Frankfurt. However, the Serbia forward is not set for a short-term move away.

- Inter want €80million for former captain and outcast Mauro Icardi, according to Tuttosport. Icardi has been deemed surplus to requirements at Inter following Romelu Lukaku's club-record arrival and the Argentina striker reportedly wants to join Juventus, while Roma and Napoli are believed to be interested.

- According to the Daily Mail, Alexis Sanchez is ready to quit Manchester United amid interest from Serie A. Having struggled to make an impact since his big-money arrival from Arsenal, Sanchez has been linked to AC Milan, Napoli, Juventus and Napoli.

- Staying at Old Trafford and the Mirror claims Victor Lindelof is set for a massive new Manchester United deal. Linked to Barcelona during the off-season, Lindelof is reportedly in line for a three-year extension. Meanwhile, the Daily Mail says United scouts passed on signing Sporting CP captain Bruno Fernandes.

- The Washington Post claims Mesut Ozil's agent was in Washington to meet with DC United on Wednesday. The MLS side have identified the Arsenal playmaker as a replacement for Wayne Rooney, who has agreed to join Derby County as a player-coach in January.

- AC Milan will resist offers for Suso and Franck Kessie as they want to keep the pair, reports Sky Sport Italia. Suso has been linked to Lyon, Sevilla and Roma, while Kessie rejected a move to Wolves.

Lyon have completed the signing of Jeff Reine-Adelaide from Angers for an initial fee of €25million.

The 21-year-old signed a five-year contract after passing a medical on Wednesday.

Angers could be due a further €2.5m in incentives and will receive 15 per cent of any capital gain from a future transfer.

"Olympique Lyonnais welcomes Jeff Reine-Adelaide, considered one of the big hopes of the future in his position," the Ligue 1 club said.

The France Under-21 international joined Angers on a permanent deal last year after impressing in a loan spell away from Arsenal.

The Gunners are said to have had the opportunity to hijack the transfer to Lyon by submitting an equivalent bid.

He made 35 Ligue 1 appearances last season and scored last Saturday in the 3-1 opening-day win over Bordeaux.

Lyon have agreed a deal in principle to sign attacking midfielder Jeff Reine-Adelaide from Ligue 1 rivals Angers.

The 21-year-old will undergo a medical before finalising a move reportedly worth around €30million.

Arsenal, Reine-Adelaide's former club, have the opportunity to hijack the deal by submitting an equivalent bid.

The Gunners inserted the clause as part of the France Under-21 international's departure in 2018 but are not expected to match Lyon's offer.

Reine-Adelaide made 35 top-flight appearances last season, scoring three times, and could make his Les Gones debut against Angers on Friday.

Elsewhere in France, Montpellier have acquired goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli on a season-long loan from Real Sociedad.

The deal includes an option for Montpellier to sign the Argentinian on a permanent basis.

Neymar may be close to securing his return to Barcelona after all.

After leaving Barca for a world-record fee in 2017, Neymar has made it clear he wants out of Paris Saint-Germain and re-joining the LaLiga champions has emerged as an option.

While Real Madrid have been linked, Neymar could be granted a Camp Nou comeback.

 

TOP STORY – PSG EYE COUTINHO IN NEYMAR TRANSFER

Paris Saint-Germain would accept Philippe Coutinho in a deal that would send Neymar back to Barcelona, reports RMC Sport.

Neymar sat out Sunday's 3-0 Ligue 1 victory over Nimes amid links to Barca and LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

Talks between PSG and Barca have hit an impasse as the French champions look to recoup most of the €222million they invested in Neymar two years ago.

Barca have already invested heavily in the transfer market, however, talks between the two clubs have accelerated thanks to the possible inclusion of Coutinho and cash. At the other end of the spectrum, Sport says talks have stalled as PSG demand three players in addition to a fee.

 

ROUND-UP 

- Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is top of Inter's wish list before the transfer window shuts in Europe. Tuttosport claims Mauro Icardi's possible exit to either Juventus or Napoli would finance a deal for the Serbia international, who was tipped to move to Manchester United if Paul Pogba left for Real Madrid. Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic is also a target for Inter, according to reports in Spain.

- The window may have closed in England, however, The Sun says Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard wants to sign Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell when the club's transfer ban ends.

- Inter winger Ivan Perisic is scheduled to undergo a medical at Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, according to Corriere dello Sport. Former Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg star Perisic is poised to return to Germany via Bayern on a season-long loan deal with the option to buy.

- Tuttosport says Juventus full-back Luca Pellegrini is set to re-join Cagliari on loan. Pellegrini – who spent the second half of last season on loan at Cagliari – only arrived in Turin from Roma in June.

Napoli are poised to sign PSV star Hirving Lozano, according to Calciomercato. The Mexico international's agent Mino Raiola has reportedly travelled to Naples to wrap up a deal.

Jose Mourinho believes even Manchester City's "B team" is strong enough to win the Premier League this season, but he does not expect Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal to contend for the title.

Reigning champions City cruised to a resounding 5-0 victory in their opening game against West Ham on Saturday, with Raheem Sterling plundering a hat-trick.

Sergio Aguero surprisingly started on the substitutes' bench, where he was joined by Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden, Nicolas Otamendi, Claudio Bravo and Joao Cancelo, City's new signing from Juventus.

Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of Manchester United's clash against Chelsea on Sunday, Mourinho highlighted the pool of talent available to Pep Guardiola.

Asked how many teams can win the title this term, Mourinho replied: "Four. Manchester City, Tottenham, Liverpool and City's B team.

"When I looked at the bench yesterday [Saturday] and the players that were not even involved, I believe even their B team could fight for the title."

Mourinho was dismissed by Manchester United in December after a torrid run of form and the Portuguese does not expect his former side to challenge City, Liverpool or Tottenham.

"I want to say the obvious thing: we would love United, Arsenal and Chelsea to be at that level," he added.

"Sometimes in football unbelievable things can happen, but we are speaking about a team that last season won everything, we are speaking about the European champions, we are speaking about the European runners-up.

"We are speaking about United that finished sixth and Arsenal that finished fifth."

Unai Emery has admitted to discussing an Arsenal exit with much-maligned defender Shkodran Mustafi.

The Gunners have developed new depth at centre-back following the deadline day signing of David Luiz from Chelsea and Calum Chambers' return from a loan spell at Fulham.

Mustafi, 27, ranks behind that pair and Sokratis Papastathopoulos in the pecking order and could still be allowed to find a new club before the transfer window closes across Europe on September 2.

Signed in 2016, the Germany international has failed to impress in the Premier League and was booed by his own fans during a friendly loss to Lyon at Emirates Stadium.

"I spoke with him when we finished last season, I spoke with him when we started pre-season and I spoke with him also two weeks ago saying maybe there was the possibility he can leave," Emery said of the former Sampdoria and Valencia player.

"But I don't have doubts if he needs to play because he is a good player.

"We decided to be more competitive in each position, at centre-back with David Luiz, with another player in the middle with [Dani] Ceballos, with Kieran Tierney, with [Nicolas] Pepe.

"I think being more competitive [means] we can respond better in the season.

"Some players, maybe they can play less with that situation and can leave.

"But it's one decision taken with the player, with the club, with the team. At the moment [Mustafi] is here and really, if we need, he plays with us. I have confidence he will do well."

Mustafi's likely replacement, David Luiz, has not been without his own detractors.

The 32-year-old courted criticism for erratic performances throughout two stints at Stamford Bridge, but Emery is backing the Brazilian to be a success in north London.

"Last year he won the Europa League and he played every match in the Premier League," the Arsenal boss said

"It's very difficult to find something negative from him. There are a lot more positive things to help us."

Unai Emery expects more players to follow Laurent Koscielny and Alex Iwobi out of the Arsenal exit before the European transfer windows close.

Arsenal had a busy close season before the English transfer window finished on Thursday, strengthening with the arrivals of Nicolas Pepe, Dani Ceballos, Gabriel Martinelli, Kieran Tierney and David Luiz, the latter two signing on deadline day.

Many more players left the club, however, with Petr Cech retiring, Danny Welbeck, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Aaron Ramsey departing on free transfers, and Carl Jenkinson, Koscielny and Iwobi sealing moves.

Former captain Koscielny left on sour terms after refusing to go on their pre-season tour, while Iwobi went to Everton in a deal reportedly worth up to £40million.

Mohamed Elneny and the much-maligned Shkodran Mustafi have reportedly been made available for transfers, and while Emery did not mention any names, he does expect more players to leave for overseas clubs.

"We were changing players at the last moment," he said of Arsenal's deadline day deals.

"We had with Laurent Koscielny the first captain, but just five days ago he left. Other players came in, we finished our market, but it is at the moment open in other countries.

"In the next 20-25 days some players will leave. It's the reason, I want to close [complete] our squad, clearly."

The signing of David Luiz from Premier League rivals Chelsea came as a surprise to many, but after the experienced Koscielny departed, Emery is adamant the Brazilian is an important addition.

"We worked together for two months at PSG," Emery said of David Luiz. "After three matches [at PSG], the club and he decided to sign for Chelsea.

"He's a big opportunity for us, he decided to join Arsenal. He wants to do something important with us.

"He has experience, quality in build-up, he is a good defender and he is coming here to help us with his capacity and quality."

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard has denied David Luiz went on strike to force through a move to Premier League rivals Arsenal.

The Brazilian centre-back made the switch across London on Thursday in a shock deadline-day transfer, with Arsenal paying in the region of £8million.

David Luiz was a regular under Maurizio Sarri last season and was used by Lampard in five of Chelsea's seven friendlies ahead of the new campaign, but reports emerged on Wednesday alleging that he refused to take part in training as he wanted to leave.

But Lampard has clarified the situation by suggesting it was a mutual decision to bring an end to the 32-year-old's second spell at Chelsea.

"We had some conversations over the last week, honest ones and the conclusion was that he should move on," he said at Friday's pre-match news conference. 

"It's a position that I have a lot of competition in. Everyone has to understand that. He has moved on and we wish him the absolute best, because he has been a big part of our history.

"There wasn't any strikes. No fall-outs, just honest conversations. As a player I want that as a manager and I think I got that from David. Him not training was a decision I made."

David Luiz only signed a two-year contract extension at Stamford Bridge in May, but he will now spend the next couple of seasons with rivals Arsenal.

Asked if Chelsea have directly helped to strengthen the Gunners, Lampard said: "You can't dictate too much what happens at times. 

"The decision was that he moves on to Arsenal and I focus on here. Yes, he is a good player."

Chelsea also said goodbye to skipper Gary Cahill and star attacker Eden Hazard during the close season, while Christian Pulisic - signed in January - was the only player to arrive due to their two-window ban on registering new players.

"It is what it is," Lampard said of the transfer restrictions. "We have to remain competitive while we are in this position. 

"With the ban it has been easy to write off this squad, and I don’t write off this squad at all. I think that what is important is that you have a target within the group. What matters is how we approach things. We will see how we go."

The transfer window is now closed for Premier League clubs.

It was a contrasting deadline day for the 'big six', with some teams completing multiple deals and others being completely inactive.

We look back at the close season as a whole and assess who had the best window.


6. Liverpool

An uneventful deadline day rounded off a quiet window for the Champions League winners. Goalkeeper Adrian came in to replace Simon Mignolet and teenagers Sepp van den Berg and Harvey Elliott were Liverpool's only other additions. Crucially, though, they retained all their major assets. Still, will they come to regret passing up on the chance to strengthen as they bid to keep pace with champions Manchester City?

5. Manchester United 

While offloading the unsettled Romelu Lukaku to Inter for £73million was probably the right call given his recent travails, the lack of a replacement does leave United shorter in the striker department. Harry Maguire was made the world's most-expensive defender in an £80m move from Leicester City, Aaron Wan-Bissaka was brought in to be the first-choice right-back and Daniel James is a promising talent, yet failing to reinforce the midfield could prove costly - even if Paul Pogba stays put.

4. Chelsea 

A transfer ban hindered the Blues' ability to register new players for 2019-20, but they were able to secure a permanent deal for Mateo Kovacic and can count on Christian Pulisic – who will have big boots to fill after Eden Hazard's exit to Real Madrid – following the end of his loan spell at Borussia Dortmund. Chelsea sent Danny Drinkwater to Burnley on loan until January 6 and allowed David Luiz to depart for Arsenal for £8m on deadline day, with the latter perhaps leaving them overly reliant on Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori for back-up.

3. Manchester City 

Pep Guardiola finally found a successor to Fernandinho in Rodri, who arrived from Atletico Madrid. Part-exchanging Danilo to Juventus reduced the fee they had to shell out for the impressive Joao Cancelo, meaning they have undoubtedly improved. Scott Carson and Pedro Porro arrived on deadline day but are unlikely to figure frequently, and they have managed to hold on to Leroy Sane - who will have to undergo surgery on his right knee after sustaining ACL damage in the Community Shield on Sunday - though Bayern Munich have until September 2 to complete a move..

2.  Tottenham

Two of the most exciting additions to the Premier League have come at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with Tanguy Ndombele arriving for a club-record fee and Giovani Lo Celso coming in on a season-long loan with an option to buy. The deadline-day capture of Ryan Sessegnon for a reported £25m offers options down the left, and it is unlikely Vincent Janssen will be missed after departing for Monterrey. Spurs may have missed out on Philippe Coutinho and Paulo Dybala, but the window has been a success for Mauricio Pochettino's team.

1. Arsenal

The Gunners got their headline signing wrapped up long before deadline day with Nicolas Pepe joining from Lille for a club-record £72m fee, while the loan of Dani Ceballos from Madrid is extremely exciting. Gabriel Martinelli will provide back-up in attack, while the defence was strengthened with long-term target Kieran Tierney joining from Celtic for a reported £25m and David Luiz from Chelsea. Arsenal balanced the books by selling Alex Iwobi to Everton in a deal worth up to £34m and managed to get £4.6m for wantaway captain Laurent Koscielny.

David Luiz emerged as a surprise signing for Arsenal as the Gunners completed a busy transfer window by adding a centre-back.

Not many Premier League teams were as active as Unai Emery's men, with Dani Ceballos, Nicolas Pepe and Kieran Tierney also arriving.

Chelsea's transfer ban hampered new boss Frank Lampard, who will need to lean on the younger players in his squad during the coming season.

Losing a trusty lieutenant like David Luiz to a rival in the battle for a top-four finish is hardly ideal and means there will be some last-minute tinkering needed from Chelsea legend Lampard.

Below we analyse how both teams may line up in 2019-20.

ARSENAL

4-3-3: Bernd Leno; Hector Bellerin, David Luiz, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Kieran Tierney; Lucas Torreira, Dani Ceballos, Mesut Ozil; Nicolas Pepe, Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

One of the big issues facing Emery this season is just how can you fit Pepe, Lacazette and Aubameyang all in one side?

Potentially, the Gunners could go with a front three, with Aubameyang starting out on the left but – as in the case with most modern sides – the trio would be expected to interchange.

With Torreira providing a defensive pivot, Emery may feel bold enough to play Ozil and Ceballos – although Xhaka and Guendouzi provide more cautious alternatives.

In defence, Bellerin is soon expected back after sustaining a serious knee injury, while at left-back Tierney looks a shrewd piece of business.

Central defence was looking a problem area for Arsenal. David Luiz adds experience, but doubts remain as to whether his introduction into the XI solves a long-term problem.


5-3-2: Bernd Leno; David Luiz, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Rob Holding, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Kieran Tierney; Lucas Torreira, Dani Ceballos, Granit Xhaka; Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

The beauty for Arsenal from their window is that they now have several options, despite having lost the versatile Aaron Ramsey to Juventus.

Emery may opt for a three-at-the-back system he employed during his debut campaign at Emirates Stadium, which could see more game-time for Maitland-Niles and the returning Holding.

Such a system would likely see Xhaka utilised to offer more protection to the back three.

David Luiz often operates better with a three-man defence and you would expect the Brazilian to be a mainstay regardless of what formation Emery uses.

Ozil may fancy a spot in this team if Arsenal play with a more attack-minded midfield triumvirate, but it would be tougher to see where Pepe fits in in to such a line-up.


CHELSEA

4-2-3-1: Kepa Arrizabalaga; Cesar Azpilicueta, Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen, Emerson Palmieri; Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic; Christian Pulisic, Ross Barkley, Willian; Tammy Abraham

Lampard faces a tall order in a post-Eden Hazard era at Stamford Bridge, but Chelsea's knack of stockpiling players and loaning them out should mean he at least has plenty of options.

If pre-season is anything to go by, Lampard is likely to use this formation. N'Golo Kante could come in for Jorginho when fit, while Mason Mount – who played for the Blues boss at Derby County last term – is another option.

Rudiger is an expected shoo-in when he returns to fitness but to start the season Zouma is likely to slot in at the back.

Up front, Abraham has been afforded plenty of minutes in Chelsea's warm-up games. Olivier Giroud provides a solid alternative, while Michy Batshuayi will still hope to do enough to prove he can play a role this term.

Pulisic, signed in January before staying at Borussia Dortmund on loan, has the unenviable task of filling Hazard's boots, but experienced campaigners Pedro and Willian will have to take their share of the burden as well.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi will also be welcome additions to Lampard later in the season when they overcome injuries.


4-3-3: Kepa Arrizabalaga; Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Emerson Palmieri; N'Golo Kante, Ross Barkley, Mason Mount; Christian Pulisic, Pedro, Tammy Abraham

If Lampard does decide to mix things up, then Mount could expect more game time playing alongside Barkley in midfield with Kante providing the defensive pivot.

At full-back, Reece James may provide a younger, fresher alternative to Azpilicueta having impressed at Wigan Athletic on loan last term.

A fit Loftus-Cheek provides an option in central midfield, while Hudson-Odoi will want to show why Chelsea were so desperate to reject Bayern Munich's overtures this season.

Rudiger should start when fit, meaning Christensen, Zouma and Fikayo Tomori - another to have starred under Lampard at Derby - will battle it out for the other spot.

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