Philippe Coutinho's move to Arsenal is seemingly getting close.

The Brazil international has been on loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona in 2019-20, but is expected to leave Camp Nou permanently.

A return to the Premier League has been mooted.

 

TOP STORY – ARSENAL DEAL FOR COUTINHO IS 'ADVANCED'

A deal sending Coutinho to Arsenal from Barcelona is "more advanced", according to Sport.

The former Liverpool star would head back to England less than three years after leaving Anfield.

Coutinho has scored nine goals in 34 games for Bayern in 2019-20.

 

ROUND-UP

- There could be good news coming for Barcelona. Mundo Deportivo reports Marc-Andre ter Stegen has agreed to extend his deal at the club for five years, but there is still no financial agreement between the parties.

- Jerome Boateng's Bayern Munich future seems uncertain. Sport Bild reports the Bundesliga champions want to sell the defender, who would like to extend his contract beyond 2021.

- Takefusa Kubo looks set for another loan spell away from Real Madrid. AS reports Kubo will join Villarreal on loan for 2020-21, having spent this season at Mallorca.

- Are Liverpool looking for a back-up for Andy Robertson? The Athletic reports the Premier League champions value left-back Jamal Lewis at £10million, but Norwich City will not even enter talks for less than £20m.

- Contracted at Manchester United until 2022, Tahith Chong could be heading elsewhere to gain experience. Sport Bild says Werder Bremen are in talks with United over a loan deal for the attacker.

- After losing the Championship play-off final, Brentford may also see a star depart. The Guardian reports Crystal Palace are battling with Aston Villa to sign Ollie Watkins, who scored 26 goals in 49 Championship games in 2019-20.

Joe Bryan's unlikely extra-time double sent Fulham to the Premier League in a 2-1 extra-time win over west London rivals Brentford in Tuesday's Championship play-off final at Wembley.

The full-back caught goalkeeper David Raya off guard with a 35-yard effort towards the end of the first half of extra time, with the Brentford goalkeeper expecting his opponent to cross.

Incredibly Bryan scored a second after a wonderful move in the closing moments as the former Bristol City man proved the difference-maker in a game otherwise lacking in quality

Henrik Dalsgaard pulled one back in stoppage time of the second period of extra time but it was too little, too late as Fulham returned to the top flight at the first time of asking following relegation last season.

Brentford's defeat in a match dubbed the richest game in football meanwhile means their 73-year wait to play in English football's top tier continues.

Fulham were the main aggressors in a first half devoid of chances, Josh Onomah forcing Raya into a smart low stop down to his right after 17 minutes the closest Scott Parker's side went.

Harrison Reed was perhaps fortunate only to see yellow for a late slide on Christian Norgaard half an hour in, while Neeskens Kebano bent a free-kick in the side-netting shortly after the break.

Fulham again had a chance when Bobby Decordova-Reid shot wide on the half-volley from a promising position inside the area.

It took until the 71st minute for Brentford dangerman Ollie Watkins to test Marek Rodak with an edge-of-the-box drive and he also scuffed wide under pressure from Michael Hector early in extra time.

The game needed a spark and Bryan provided it to the dismay of Raya, the full-back shooting from an improbable free-kick out on the left after spotting Brentford's keeper well out of position. 

Fulham made sure when Bryan received Tom Cairney's pass, played a one-two with Aleksandar Mitrovic and slotted past Raya with his weaker right foot.

There was still time for Dalsgaard to nod in when Norgaard kept Said Benrahma's cross alive but the seconds soon ticked down on Brentford's promotion push as the final whistle brought delirious Fulham celebrations.,

Brentford survived a nervy finish and beat Swansea City 3-1 in the final match at Griffin Park to reach the Championship play-off final.

The Bees, who last played in the top flight in 1947, missed out on automatic promotion on the last day of the season and then lost the semi-final first leg 1-0 in Wales.

But a superb start on Wednesday set Brentford on their way to a 3-2 aggregate success.

Ollie Watkins raced onto Mathias Jensen's defence-splitting pass after 11 minutes and finished calmly as Swansea were punished on the counter-attack.

The hosts then led for the first time in the tie just four minutes later as Emiliano Marcondes headed in unmarked when found by Said Benrahma, who soon struck the post.

And Swansea's hopes of a swift second-half recovery were dashed when Bryan Mbeumo added a superb third 54 seconds after the interval.

A dismal Pontus Jansson error teed up Rhian Brewster for a lob that brought the visitors back into the match with 12 minutes to go, but Brentford battled bravely to book a Wembley date.

Andre Ayew brilliantly atoned for an earlier penalty miss to give Swansea City the advantage in their Championship play-off semi-final with a 1-0 first-leg win against 10-man Brentford.

Swansea scraped into the top six on the final day of the season as Brentford narrowly missed out on automatic promotion thanks to a second straight defeat.

The Welsh side subsequently had all the momentum coming into this home leg but struggled to capitalise on their dominance until late in a contentious clash.

Ayew headed against the post in the first half, with Rhian Brewster miscuing a simple rebound, although the Liverpool loanee made amends after the break to win a spot-kick as he was tripped by Pontus Jansson in the box.

David Raya then saved from Ayew, but Brentford's task became tougher still just a minute later as Rico Henry was controversially sent off for a lunge on Connor Roberts.

While Swansea had to wait for their breakthrough, with Brewster booked for diving in the area, Ayew thrashed in from 15 yards following a fine team move with nine minutes remaining to seize control ahead of the return fixture in London.

West Brom clinched the second automatic promotion place in the Championship on a dramatic final day of the season as Wigan Athletic's spirited survival bid failed.

After both West Brom and Brentford were beaten at the weekend, the Baggies only needed to match the third-placed side's result to seal a return to the Premier League after two seasons away in England's second tier.

A seemingly straightforward home fixture against QPR did not go entirely to plan for West Brom, but a 2-2 draw took them up as Brentford went down 2-1 to Barnsley on Wednesday.

That result saw Barnsley stay up, but Wigan could not join them as they drew 1-1 with Fulham – who could have been promoted with a win – and went down due to a looming 12-point deduction.

Charlton Athletic and Hull City were also demoted, while there was a similarly chaotic finish in the play-off race.

BAGGIES BEST BRENTFORD

Both West Brom and Brentford lost their nerve with two matches of the campaign remaining, but a return of just a single point from a pair of games proved enough for Slaven Bilic's team.

Following Friday's defeat to Huddersfield Town, West Brom were boosted by Brentford's own reverse at Stoke City yet could not beat QPR.

West Brom trailed to Ryan Manning's strike before turning the match on its head with goals either side of half-time through Grady Diangana and Callum Robinson, only for Eberechi Eze to equalise just past the hour-mark.

It mattered not, though, as Brentford failed to capitalise, instead losing again.

Josh Dasilva cancelled out Callum Styles' Barnsley opener, but as Brentford pushed for a precious winner, Clarke Oduor tapped in at the other end in the 91st minute.

BRAVE BARNSLEY, WIGAN WOE

There were contrasting scenes at full-time in the final regular league match at Griffin Park after Barnsley celebrated as Brentford collapsed.

The visitors were heading down until Oduor struck but stayed up at Charlton's expense, the Addicks going down 4-0 at champions Leeds United.

Hull propped up the table after a 3-0 defeat at Cardiff City, while Luton Town stayed up thanks to a rallying 3-2 success at home to Blackburn Rovers, aided by two own goals.

Wigan needed to win due to their deduction following administration, but one of the form teams in the division let a lead slip against Fulham, their total of 59 points bumped down to 47 to fall a painful point short.

 

It isn't just a game of football, it's absolutely everything to our players, staff and supporters.

Hold your heads high!#wafc pic.twitter.com/5oTj7eV4jV

— Wigan Athletic (@LaticsOfficial) July 22, 2020
SWANS SAVOUR GOAL SWING

With rivals Cardiff comfortable in claiming their play-off place, Swansea City needed to beat 10-man Reading while Nottingham Forest lost to Stoke City, along with a five-goal swing.

Improbably, the Swans stole sixth place from Forest after a remarkable finale.

The Welsh side won 4-1, netting their fourth in the 91st minute as Wayne Routledge headed in his second.

That scoreline left Forest – 3-1 down at home to Stoke at the time – needing to score, but instead they conceded, their promotion bid derailing in spectacular fashion as Nuno da Costa stabbed into his own net in the sixth minute of stoppage time.

The 4-1 defeat meant Forest – without a win since July 1 – finished seventh.

Elsewhere, there were wins for Derby County, Millwall and Middlesbrough, bringing the curtain down on another season in gripping fashion.

Fulham remain in the hunt for second place in the Championship after downing Sheffield Wednesday 5-3 on Saturday.

With Brentford having lost 1-0 at Stoke City earlier, thereby crowning Leeds United champions, Fulham responded to move within a point of the top two thanks to two goals from Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Cardiff City swept aside Middlesbrough to keep their play-off ambitions in their own hands, with Preston and Millwall now unable to finish in the top six.

At the other end of the table, Stoke's victory sealed their survival, while Kazenga LuaLua struck a huge late blow for Luton Town at Hull City and Charlton Athletic snatched an important point.

FULHAM POUNCE AS BRENTFORD FALTER

Lee Gregory's first-half finish from close range gave Stoke a 1-0 win over Brentford at the bet365 Stadium that ensured their Championship survival and denied the visitors the chance to go second.

Fulham are now just a point behind Brentford in the table after beating Wednesday 5-3 and, with West Brom only two above them, the Cottagers will be ready to capitalise on any slip-ups on the final day.

Mitrovic and Neeskens Kebano scored twice at Craven Cottage before Bobby Reid's late fifth, with Jacob Murphy and Atdhe Nuhiu (2) on target for Wednesday, who cannot yet consider themselves safe given the risk of a possible EFL points deduction.

 

BONNE CHANCE FOR LUTON AND CHARLTON

In Saturday's relegation showdown between Hull and Luton, it was the visitors who left the KCOM Stadium feeling hopeful of survival after LuaLua fired home the winner in the 85th minute.

Luton are now on 48 points, level with Charlton, who were trailing 2-1 to Wigan Athletic until Macauley Bonne equalised on exactly 92 minutes.

Hull are three points behind and, given they are 16 goals worse off than Charlton, they look destined for League One barring possible points penalties for either Wednesday or Wigan. Bottom-club Barnsley, with two games left, can still stay up.

CARDIFF WIN ENDS PRESTON, MILLWALL HOPES

Two goals from Josh Murphy helped Cardiff to a 3-1 win at Middlesbrough, whose survival could now depend on getting a result on Wednesday, at Wednesday.

Cardiff stay sixth, three points ahead of Swansea City, whose 1-0 win over Bristol City keeps their play-off hopes alive ahead of the final day.

Preston cannot now make the top six, despite beating Birmingham City 2-0 - another side who are not yet guaranteed to avoid the drop - while Millwall are also out of play-off contention following Cardiff's win and their own thrilling 4-3 defeat at QPR.

That was not the day's only seven-goal game: at Ewood Park, Sam Gallagher's 87th-minute header gave Blackburn Rovers a 4-3 win over Reading that lifted them into the top 10.

Leeds United have won the Championship title as a result of Brentford's 1-0 loss to Stoke City on Saturday.

Marcelo Bielsa's side saw promotion to the Premier League confirmed on Friday after West Brom were beaten 2-1 by Huddersfield Town.

Victory for Brentford would have lifted them above the Baggies into second place and closed the gap to Leeds to three points.

However, a first-half goal from Lee Gregory secured a win for Stoke at the bet365 Stadium, guaranteeing the Potters' survival and crowning Leeds as champions a day before they face Derby County in their penultimate game of the season.

The result also means Brentford stay third, a point behind West Brom, with just one game to go.

Leeds United's 16-year exile from the Premier League is over after West Brom's 2-1 loss to Huddersfield Town saw Marcelo Bielsa's side promoted from the Championship.

Anything but a West Brom win would have seen leaders Leeds promoted and they fell behind inside four minutes, Chris Willock volleying home after goalkeeper Sam Johnstone failed to deal with a free-kick.

The Baggies levelled in controversial fashion before the break, Jonas Lossl claiming an offside Grady Diangana was in his line of sight when he palmed the ball up for Dara O'Shea to head in.

But substitute Emile Smith Rowe scored an 86th-minute winner for the Terriers, who are now virtually safe as they look to avoid the ignominy of back-to-back relegations.

West Brom will drop out of the automatic promotions places if Brentford avoid defeat in their penultimate match at Stoke City on Saturday.

Leeds United have been promoted to the Premier League after a 16-year absence.

Second-placed West Brom's 2-1 loss at Championship strugglers Huddersfield Town on Friday ensured Marcelo Bielsa's men will be in the top flight next season for the first time since 2004.

The Baggies cannot catch Leeds, who need only a point from their two remaining Championship games against Derby County and Charlton Athletic to win the title.

Leeds suffered the heartbreak of a play-off semi-final defeat to Derby last season, but they can head to Pride Park on Sunday knowing their promotion has already been assured.

West Brom's setback against the Terriers has given in-form Brentford the chance to move into second place if they pick up at least a point at Stoke City on Saturday.

If the Bees drop points, Leeds are guaranteed to return to the top flight as champions.

Brentford moved to within a point of the Championship's top two and delayed any promotion party Leeds United may have had planned by beating Preston North End.

After high-flying rivals West Brom and Fulham drew on Tuesday, Brentford capitalised with a 1-0 win at Griffin Park a day later.

An eighth successive victory – of which seven have come since the season's restart – piled the pressure on second-placed West Brom and ensured Leeds cannot seal a Premier League return when they play on Thursday.

Elsewhere there were a trio of draws, most notably at Nottingham Forest and Birmingham City, where the respective hosts each picked up precious points, holding Swansea City and Charlton Athletic.


AUTOMATIC RACE GOING TO THE WIRE

Leeds host rock-bottom Barnsley but now need four points to guarantee promotion, meaning they will be made to wait a little longer regardless of the outcome at Elland Road.

Although West Brom have been in the top two for much of the season, Brentford's outstanding run of form means it is still all to play for in the final two matches of the campaign.

The Bees' latest win came by just a single early goal as Ollie Watkins lashed in after four minutes following good work from Emiliano Marcondes in the build-up.

They held on and will now be keen spectators when the Baggies visit Huddersfield Town on Friday, with the Thomas Frank side next in action against Stoke City the following day.
 

SAMMY STUNNERS STUNT SWANS

The battle to make the play-offs is almost as tense as the tussle at the top, but fifth-placed Forest – five points clear of seventh – should be involved.

They were grateful to Sammy Ameobi for a pair of wonderful goals as they twice came from behind to draw at home to Swansea.

Rhian Brewster's fine first-time finish gave Swansea the lead, before Ameobi picked out the top-right corner with a gorgeous curling effort from outside the area.

The Swans were back in front heading into half-time after Andre Ayew's penalty, yet Ameobi was not done and cut in from the right to arrow a low shot into the bottom-right corner.

The travelling side could not regain the lead for a third time and now face a tough ask to overhaul rivals Cardiff City, who are sixth and three points better off.
 

LATE LEVELLER LEAVES CHARLTON IN TROUBLE

Charlton appeared set to move four points clear of the relegation zone when they led Birmingham deep into stoppage time.

Macauley Bonne's second-half strike followed a missed penalty for Scott Hogan, meaning Charlton would leapfrog their opponents in the table.

But Birmingham's own survival bid was all but completed in the 93rd minute as Lukas Jutkiewicz equalised.

The Blues are joined on 50 points by Stoke, who should also be safe after similarly recovering from a goal down to draw 1-1 at Bristol City.

Danny Batth stooped to head in after Filip Benkovic's deflected opener.

West Brom missed the chance to jump above Leeds United at the top of the Championship as they drew 1-1 at Blackburn, while surging Brentford kept up pressure on the top two.

The race for automatic promotion could go down to the wire, with Brentford's 3-1 win at Derby County the latest statement of intent from the Bees.

Nottingham Forest's play-off slot looks increasingly secure after holding Preston North End 1-1 at Deepdale.

But at the foot of the table it remains anyone's guess as to who will slide into League One, with Hull City and Middlesbrough both beaten at home on Saturday.

BAGGIES FOILED

West Brom looked like jumping ahead of Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds when they went 1-0 up at Ewood Park in the 41st minute, Charlie Austin finding Filip Krovinovic and the Croatian midfielder firing in.

Krovinovic struck the post too; however, Joe Rothwell dragged Rovers level just after the hour and that was how it remained.

The point put West Brom level on 81 points with leaders Leeds, who face Swansea City on Sunday.

Leeds and West Brom have looked like promotion certainties for months, but both may be quietly worrying about the presence of Brentford, now just three points back.

BRENTFORD LOOK THE BEES-NESS

Wayne Rooney's hopes of promotion with Derby County took a severe blow when the Rams lost 3-1 at home to Brentford, who won a seventh straight game and climbed back above Fulham to reach third place.

In a battle of two in-form teams, the Bees came out on top thanks to two goals from Said Benrahma after Ollie Watkins' early opener. Former Manchester United striker Rooney set up Jason Knight to put Derby level midway through the first half, but they were over-run after half-time.

The result left Derby sitting 10th and likely to finish in mid-table, needing a remarkable set of results over the final three rounds of games to reach the top six. Brentford, given their form, will believe they can crash the top two, even with just three games remaining.

Forest, however, will be happy to sit tight in their current fifth-place spot. Lewis Grabban gave them a fifth-minute lead from the penalty spot at Preston, but Jayden Stockley hauled the hosts level on the quarter-hour mark.

CAN TIGERS CLAW THEIR WAY CLEAR?

Hull are in grave danger of relegation after losing 1-0 at home to Millwall, Ryan Leonard with the only goal of the game in just the second minute.

They sit 22nd, two points worse off than Neil Warnock's Middlesbrough, who fell to a 3-1 home loss against Bristol City. Nahki Wells got a double and Jamie Paterson was also on the scoresheet for the visitors, while Britt Assombalonga netted a hollow consolation goal.

Bottom side Barnsley drew 0-0 at Oakwell with a Wigan Athletic side who could yet be dragged into the relegation picture due to off-field problems, while Charlton Athletic's survival hopes took a knock with a 1-0 home loss to Reading – George Puscas converting an early penalty.

Mid-table Sheffield Wednesday, another side at risk of a points deduction because of matters beyond the control of the coaching staff and players, earned a valuable 3-0 win at QPR thanks to goals from Dominic Iorfa, Josh Windass and Jacob Murphy.

Brentford and Fulham claimed crucial wins in the race for automatic promotion from the Championship, but a point apiece does little for Barnsley and Luton Town at the foot of the table.

With top two Leeds United and West Brom not in action, Brentford closed the gap after a late turnaround saw them record a sixth successive league win at the expense of Charlton Athletic.

Fulham boosted their own hopes of finishing in the top two with an away victory at Nottingham Forest, while seventh-placed Cardiff City slipped up at home as they lost 3-2 to Blackburn Rovers.

 

BEES KEEP ON BUZZING

Brentford's impressive streak appeared in serious danger when they trailed with 15 minutes to play at home to Charlton, Macauley Bonne giving the visitors an early lead.

However, after being fouled by Josh Cullen, Said Benrahma converted from the penalty spot before Ethan Pinnock's 85th-minute header secured all three points. The result leaves the in-form Bees on 73 points, just two behind second-placed West Brom.

Fulham are up to 71 points themselves after Harry Arter's superb long-range strike was enough for a 1-0 triumph at fifth-placed Forest.

Cardiff were beaten by a stunning goal from Adam Armstrong, who seized on a loose pass to lob Alex Smithies from long range. Rovers had previously fought back twice to draw level before their outrageous winner.

 

HALME HARMS LUTON'S HOPES

Luton remain stuck at the foot of the table after conceding a late equaliser against fellow strugglers Barnsley.

Luke Berry put the hosts ahead in the 13th minute at Kenilworth Road, following up after Elliott Lee had hit the post. Yet Luton's hopes of moving above their opponents were dashed six minutes from time, Aapo Halme prodding in an equaliser.

Meanwhile, Huddersfield Town kept a third successive clean sheet in a stalemate with Reading. The result leaves the Terriers three points clear of Middlesbrough, who occupy the final relegation spot.

Leeds United moved another step closer to automatic promotion from the Championship with a 3-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park. 

Marcelo Bielsa's side have been inconsistent since last month's restart but saw off Blackburn to remain six points clear of third-placed Brentford. 

West Brom, who sit in second, are not in action until Sunday and in-form Brentford took full advantage by closing the gap to two points with a convincing 3-0 win against Wigan Athletic. 

Stoke City were also big winners in Saturday's second-tier fixtures, thrashing fellow strugglers Barnsley 4-0 to climb out of the relegation zone and into 18th place. 

Cardiff City, Reading and Fulham picked up valuable victories of their own, while two other matches - including the east Midlands derby - finished level. 


TOP-FLIGHT RETURN IN SIGHT FOR LEEDS

Leeds had collected four points from nine since resuming their campaign, but there is surely no stopping them from ending their 16-year wait for top-flight promotion. 

Patrick Bamford and Kalvin Phillips put Leeds two goals ahead and while Adam Armstrong scored a free-kick early in the second period, Mateusz Klich made sure of the points. 

West Brom play their game in hand against Hull City on Sunday and now have a four-point gap to make up on Leeds, though holding down second place could become their main priority. 

Brentford have now won five in a row after Said Benrahma helped himself to a hat-trick against Wigan, who had Joe Garner sent off late on. 

PROMOTION BATTLE HEATING UP

Derby County and Nottingham Forest played out a 1-1 draw in the early kick-off - Chris Martin scoring in the 97th minute to cancel out Joe Lolley's goal. 

Cardiff saw a number of promising chances go begging against Bristol City before Lee Tomlin played in fellow substitute Danny Ward to snatch a 1-0 win. 

As well as earning bragging rights for Cardiff, Ward's clinical strike five minutes from the end also opens up a three-point buffer on seventh-in-the-table Derby. 

Fulham also needed a late goal to overcome Birmingham City at Craven Cottage, Josh Onomah popping up deep into added time to prolong the visitors' bad run of form. 

STOKE STEER CLEAR OF DANGER

Stoke entered their match with Barnsley sitting just above their opponents in the relegation zone. By the final whistle, they had risen clear of the drop zone. 

Tyrese Campbell struck twice while a goal apiece for Sam Vokes and Tom Ince resulted in a crushing win at the bet365 Stadium. 

Luton Town were unable to give their own survival hopes a much-needed boost as they went down 5-0 at home to Reading, a result that leaves them five points from safety. 

Yakou Meite was the hero for Reading, netting four of their goals - including an 18-minute hat-trick before half-time - while George Puscas was also on target for the visitors. 

Meanwhile, Huddersfield Town played out a goalless stalemate with a Preston North End side now winless in six matches.

Leeds United missed the chance to go six points clear at the top of the Championship while Brentford boosted their promotion hopes further.

Marcelo Bielsa's men could have strengthened their grip on top spot with a home win over the league's bottom club Luton Town but were held to a 1-1 draw.

Substitute Harry Cornick gave Luton a surprise 50th-minute lead, only for Stuart Dallas to respond 13 minutes later.

West Brom can cut Leeds' advantage to one point with victory in their midweek trip to Sheffield Wednesday but will be looking over their shoulder at surging Brentford.

The Bees made it three wins from three since the resumption of the season - and four in four - goals from Bryan Mbeumo, Josh Dasilva and Joel Valencia securing a 3-0 defeat of Reading that moves them within two points of the Baggies in the second automatic promotion spot.

Fulham are two points further back after Cyrus Christie's 75th-minute effort earned a 2-1 triumph over west London rivals QPR.

Kai Naismith scored twice as Wigan Athletic moved eight points clear of the relegation zone following a 3-0 win over struggling Stoke City.

Barnsley are only a point adrift of safety after beating Blackburn Rovers 2-0 while elsewhere Cardiff City drew 0-0 with Charlton Athletic and Millwall's clash with Swansea City ended 1-1.

Ollie Watkins' first-half winner secured Brentford a 1-0 victory at home to Championship leaders West Brom to close on the top two and hand Leeds United the chance to take charge of the title race.

Brentford went ahead with 16 minutes played when Watkins turned in Jay DaSilva's shot and, despite the Baggies' desperate late attempts, the hosts held on.

Victory moves Brentford up to third and within five points of West Brom and Leeds, who themselves will return to the summit – and go three points clear – with a win at home to fourth-placed Fulham on Saturday.

Brentford have another seven matches to chip away at the gap to the automatic promotion spots.

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