First Juventus, now Atletico Madrid.

For so long, Luis Suarez appeared set to leave Spain for Italy.

But a proposed move to Juve did not materialise as the Barcelona forward stands on the cusp of uniting with Diego Simeone in the Spanish capital.

 

TOP STORY – SUAREZ TO JOIN ATLETICO

Luis Suarez will swap Barcelona for LaLiga rivals Atletico Madrid, according to widespread reports in Spain.

Suarez had been tipped to join Serie A champions Juventus after being told he could leave Camp Nou.

But the 33-year-old Uruguay international forward will now sign a two-year deal with Atletico as he dominates the front pages of Wednesday's Marca, Diario AS and Mundo Deportivo.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United have progressed talks with Barca regarding forward Ousmane Dembele, Record Sport reports. Having so far failed to prise Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, United are eyeing an initial loan move for Dembele.

- Esport3 claims Barca are set to sign Ajax right-back Sergino Dest, who was also wanted by Bayern Munich.

Milan have offered €20million for Nikola Milenkovic but Fiorentina have said no, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. Celtic's Kristoffer Ajer and Schalke centre-back Matija Nastasic are also options for the Rossoneri.

- Tuttosport claims Wolves are circling Juventus winger Douglas Costa, who has also been linked to United.

Fulham and Newcastle United have entered the race to sign Napoli forward Arkadiusz Milik, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. Tottenham have also been linked to the Poland international, while Roma are believed to be in talks as Milik enters the final year of his Napoli contract.

- Sky Sport Italia says Tottenham have opened talks for Inter defender Milan Skriniar, while Benfica's Ruben Dias is another option for Spurs.

- Torino are battling Atletico for Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira, according to Sportitalia. The former Sampdoria star has also been linked to Milan.

- Telefoot says Paris Saint-Germain are in talks with Chelsea over the possible signing of midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko. Discussions with Milan over a return have become complicated and PSG are now eyeing an initial loan deal for the former Monaco star.

The Premier League is in full swing after its second weekend of the 2020-21 season. How did we do without it for… about a month?

While fans remain barred from joining the players in the stadiums – which could yet be the case for much of the season – supporters are at least being treated to plenty of entertainment on TV.

The action certainly picked up where it left off from the previous week, as Saturday provided us with 21 goals across four matches, and that was followed by another 18 in Sunday's four – that's an average of nearly five per game.

Among those goals we saw James 'not Premier League proven' Rodriguez continue to impress and open his account for Everton, Wilfried Zaha down Manchester United and Son Heung-min score four, with each one set up by Harry Kane, remarkably.

An enthralling weekend brought about plenty of talking points and stats – read on for some of the quirkiest facts we could find with the help of Opta.

JAMES FINDS HIS RANGE

From the moment James arrived on Merseyside, the Colombian looked destined to provide plenty of excitement for Carlo Ancelotti's men.

His lovely 20-yard strike into the bottom-right corner during the Toffees' 5-2 win over West Brom meant 18 of his 53 goals scored in Europe's top five leagues have been from outside the penalty area. That's 34 per cent.

A fine record, though it's some way off the Premier League's deadliest from distance. Tom Huddlestone (10 of 12) has scored the greatest proportion of his top-flight goals (83.3 per cent) from outside the area among players to have reached double digits, while Frank Lampard (41) has the largest total.

 

DE GEA'S PENALTY WOES

When Zaha stepped up to a 74th-minute penalty in the hope of making it 2-0 to Crystal Palace at Old Trafford, few will have been banking on David de Gea's chances of making a save – not because the Palace star is great from the spot, but because of the Spaniard's shocking record in such scenarios.

Stopping a penalty is obviously tough, that's literally the point, but, after conceding Zaha's, De Gea has saved just 7.1 per cent (two of 28), with Paul Robinson (three from 49 for 6.1 per cent) the only goalkeeper to have a worse record among those who've faced 25 or more in the Premier League.

By contrast, Simon Mignolet faced the same number as De Gea but produced six more saves, giving him a 28.6 per cent save rate.

 

AWAY DAYS IN 'GOD'S OWN COUNTRY'

Yorkshire, or 'God's own country' as it is playfully dubbed by locals, is usually renowned for being friendly and welcoming – but perhaps less so when football's involved.

The omens weren't great for Fulham ahead of Saturday's trip to Leeds United, and as it happened they lost 4-3 in a belting contest, meaning they have lost eight successive Premier League matches away to Yorkshire clubs since their first – a 1-0 win at Elland Road in 2002.

Of clubs from outside the region, only Oldham Athletic (0) have a worse points-per-game record than Fulham (0.33). Newcastle United boast the best record of teams to have played more than 10 matches in Yorkshire, winning 1.76 points on average across their 29 games.

In a blow to religion fans everywhere, the Red Devils also tend to do pretty well in 'God's own country' - United have averaged 1.68 points in their 34 Yorkshire away days, losing just nine.

 

KNOWING ME, KNOWING UNITED (ZAHA)

Zaha had the decisive impact against his former club United on Saturday, with his brace effectively the difference in the 3-1 win Palace deservedly clinched.

Not only were they his first goal involvements against United in the league, he became the first player to net a brace against the Red Devils having previously represented them in the competition.

Zaha is now the joint-most prolific former United player in games against them, having drawn level with Fraizer Campbell, Keith Gillespie, Mark Hughes, Paul Ince and Danny Welbeck on two goals.

JAMAL LEWSES

Although Jamal Lewis impressed for Norwich City as they were relegated last season, he became rather familiar with home Premier League defeats and that has continued since moving to Newcastle.

A 3-0 loss to visitors Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday means Lewis has lost 12 of his 16 home matches in the top-flight – that's 75 per cent, and a joint-record for players with at least 15 home games played in the Premier League.

Kevin Kyle (20 games, 15 defeats) is other player with a 75 per cent losing rate, while Tommy Miller (18 games, 13 defeats – 72.2 per cent), Bruce Dyer (21 games, 15 defeats – 71.4 per cent) and Terence Kongolo (23 games, 16 defeats – 69.6 per cent) round out the bottom five.

Liverpool ruthlessly capitalised on playing against 10 men in the second half as they eased to victory over Chelsea on Sunday.

The reigning champions have won two from two at the start of the new campaign, as is also the case for Leicester City after they saw off Burnley in the late kick-off.

Brighton and Hove Albion are up and running after a worthwhile journey north, while Tottenham leaned heavily on two of their superstars to put Southampton to the sword.

With help from Opta data, here is a recap of the four fixtures to take place on another busy day in the Premier League.

Chelsea 0-2 Liverpool: Thiago makes debut as champions triumph

A close contest at Stamford Bridge changed complexion when Andreas Christensen was sent off in first-half stoppage time.

Sadio Mane, the player fouled by the defender, went on to score twice after the break, making him just the third Liverpool player to get a brace of goals at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League era. The others? Steve McManaman, back in December 1995, and Philippe Coutinho, who did so in October 2015.

However, the scorer was overshadowed somewhat by new team-mate Thiago Alcantara, who replaced the injured Jordan Henderson at half-time having only completed his move on Friday.

Still, the Spaniard managed to complete more passes (75) than any Chelsea player in the entire match. Indeed, since full passing data became available for the Premier League in the 2003-04 season, his total number of successful passes is the most by a player who featured for a maximum of 45 minutes.

Jorginho missed a penalty for Chelsea too, his first failure in nine attempts for the Blues in all competitions. Alisson not only produced his first save from the spot for Liverpool since joining the club but also his first save of the season.

Southampton 2-5 Tottenham: Bale force! Son and Kane steal the show 

Saturday was all about a returning hero for Spurs fans, as the club confirmed Gareth Bale was coming back from Real Madrid on a season-long loan. Less than 24 hours later, Son Heung-min became the headline act for Tottenham, aided by Harry Kane playing a sublime supporting role in a comprehensive win.

Son scored four of his side's goals at St Mary's Stadium. All of them were set up by Kane, who became just the sixth player to assist four goals in a single Premier League game. No Englishman had previously achieved the feat.

To put that into context, Kane – who also scored Spurs' fifth in the rout – only provided two assists in the 2019-20 season, albeit he did miss a large chunk of that due to injury. 

All this came after Southampton had taken the lead, though their failure to hold onto the advantage given to them by Danny Ings should hardly be a surprise. Since Ralph Hasenhuttl took charge in December 2018, no side has squandered more points from winning positions in the Premier League. 

Still, this was a day to admire the victors, not the vanquished. Son and Kane were simply too much for Southampton; the dynamic duo have now combined for more league goals (24) than any other pairing in the competition since the South Korean joined in August 2015. 

Newcastle United 0-3 Brighton and Hove Albion: Seagulls soar thanks to Maupay

What a difference a week makes. Newcastle United were so impressive in their opener at West Ham, while Brighton were well beaten at home by Chelsea. However, the Seagulls' long journey provided plenty of positives, Graham Potter's team running out comfortable winners against accommodating hosts who failed to muster a shot on target. 

Neal Maupay had Brighton two ahead inside seven minutes, the earliest brace for a player in the Premier League since Manchester City's Edin Dzeko scored twice in the opening four minutes against Norwich City back in December 2012. 

Maupay also set up Aaron Connolly for a third goal late on, with the only disappointment for the visitors the late red card shown to the impressive Yves Bissouma, who had more touches (65) than any other player while also recording a 92 per cent passing accuracy. 

Leicester City 4-2 Burnley: Flying Foxes make it two from two

Could history be repeated this term? Leicester have won their first two games of a Premier League season for the first time since their famous title-winning campaign in 2015-16.

For Brendan Rodgers, there was a personal milestone. The Foxes boss recorded his 100th victory in the Premier League, becoming the 23rd different manager to reach a century and needing 210 games. Alex Ferguson (162 games), Kenny Dalglish (197) and Kevin Keegan (209) are the only British managers that did it faster.

James Justin scored his first league goal for Leicester while Harvey Barnes was also on target, meaning he has now been directly involved in five goals in his past three Premier League games against Burnley.

The visitors did not help themselves with Erik Pieters' own goal, Burnley's sixth in the Premier League since the start of the 2018-19 season; the most of any current team in the competition.

Andrea Pirlo was untouchable at the height of his playing career, a footballer whose grace and prowling presence drew widespread admiration and struck fear into rival teams.

As a coach, we can surmise but really it is a guessing game as to what we will be getting from Pirlo as the dugout rookie leads Juventus into the 2020-21 season.

On Sunday evening in Italy, the man who was a World Cup winner in 2006 takes charge of his first Serie A game with Juve, who play Sampdoria in Turin.

Maurizio Sarri's Juve reign lasted just one season, albeit another Scudetto-yielding campaign for the most successful club in the league's history. Pirlo will be expected to deliver at least that level of success, and encourage a swagger too.

He joins a host of significant former players plucked for leadership roles at an elite level, typically on a hunch rooted in familiarity, the chosen ones often still fresh from their playing days and with scant experience to call on. Top marks in coaching exams provide no guarantee that success will follow.

Many times, the gamble on a colt coach has paid off, with presidents and owners rightly sensing the novice harbours the innate expertise to lead and to inspire, and crucially to bring results. On other occasions, it has ended in frustration and tears, and in some instances the jury remains out.

Here is a look at just some of those cases, illustrating how there are no guarantees attached to such appointments.

PEP GUARDIOLA

The go-to example for any club that wishes to justify appointing a club legend to sudden seniority on the coaching side, former midfield general Guardiola was just 37 when he took charge at Barcelona in 2008, after a year coaching the B team. He departed four years and 14 trophies later, including three LaLiga titles and two Champions League triumphs, and was vaunted as the world's best coach.

Further successes have come with Bayern Munich and Manchester City. Plainly, Pep was born to lead and Barcelona were wise to the fact.

ZINEDINE ZIDANE

How would Zidane, the mercurial playmaker – the only rival to Brazil striker Ronaldo when assessing the greatest player of their generation – take to coaching? Could the erstwhile Galactico tease out the best from those who can but dream of matching the twinkling feet and god-gifted balance with which he was blessed? Could the former Real Madrid maestro really be a suitable fit for the Bernabeu job that has swallowed up many an experienced coach?

Three Champions Leagues and two LaLiga titles later, we probably have a decent idea of the answer to those questions. There have still been ups and downs, and a brief split along the way, but 18 months in charge of Madrid's B team – Castilla – hardened Zidane for the obstacles he would face in the top job. His Madrid sides have at times lacked the verve that was his signature as a player, but they have delivered results and abundant trophies, and ultimately that is what counts.

MICHEL PLATINI

Before there was Zidane, France had Platini. A wonder of an attacking midfielder with Nancy, Saint-Etienne and Juventus, Platini was also a goalscoring titan of the France team that won Euro 84 and reached semi-finals at the 1982 and 1986 World Cups. It followed, to those that knew him, that Platini would go on to become a great national-team coach too, and at the age of 33 he was appointed to lead France, having retired as a player a year earlier. Platini took over with France already at a low ebb and defeats under his charge against Yugoslavia and Scotland meant they missed out on reaching the 1990 World Cup.

Could Platini bounce back? It seemed he might when France reached Euro 92 in style, with eight wins from eight qualifiers, Platini nurturing the likes of Didier Deschamps and Laurent Blanc, but Les Bleus flopped at the tournament itself as they and England bowed out of a group from which Sweden and Denmark advanced. Platini resigned not long afterwards, began to forge a solid reputation in football administration, and by the late 1990s had built a strong, ultimately fateful, alliance with the then FIFA secretary general Sepp Blatter. He would never coach again.

DIEGO MARADONA

If there were ever a case of being blinded by celebrity, then some of the presidents who have given Diego Armando Maradona coaching work surely have fallen victim. The biggest star of his generation, Maradona retired from playing in 1997 and, with barely a sniff of coaching experience and just about as much baggage as an airport carousel, was named boss of his native Argentina in 2008, tasked with taking the Albicelestes to the World Cup two years later. Argentina scraped their way into the finals and were thumped 4-0 by Germany in the quarter-finals. Maradona's contract was not renewed.

He has continued to pick up coaching work, one curious-looking appointment after another, most recently with Gimnasia in the Argentinian top flight. Maradona the coach has been no match for Maradona the player, and it was naive surely for anyone to think that was ever remotely possible.

FRANK LAMPARD

Pirlo was an artist of the 21st century game, and he is considered a deep thinker, while the common theory is that English midfield counterpart Lampard achieved much of his success through hard graft and maximising his rather more rudimentary talent. Whether either categorisation fits the bill is a moot point, but Lampard has a wiser head on his shoulders than many footballers, was top of the class in his school days, and his IQ is reputed to be through the roof.

Derby County gave him a first break in coaching but it took Chelsea just a year to pounce and parachute Lampard into his first Premier League manager's job. A Stamford Bridge great as a player, Lampard had an acceptable first season as Blues boss but the acid test comes in this new term after a spree of big-money signings. A high-stakes London gamble will play out in the coming months.

ALAN SHEARER

As Pirlo takes charge of those in the Bianconeri stripes he once wore – Cristiano Ronaldo and all – it bears remembering that returning black and white messiahs can fail. Former Newcastle United striker Shearer returned to St James' Park in April 2009, the club's record goalscorer aiming to rescue the team from the threat of relegation, but a dismal return of five points from eight games saw them sink out of the Premier League.

Shearer left and has not coached since, happily staying in his niche as a television pundit. There are pressures but also a certain comfort to that studio role. Two months at Newcastle was the sum of Shearer's coaching career: as Pirlo may yet find out, that can be all it takes to destroy the notion of it being a natural next step.

Newcastle United forward Yoshinori Muto has joined LaLiga club Eibar on loan for the 2020-21 campaign.

The Japan international arrived at Newcastle from Mainz in a reported £9.5million deal two years ago and has made 28 appearances in all competitions.

However, following the signings of fellow attackers Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson this transfer window, Muto has been deemed surplus to requirements by boss Steve Bruce.

Eibar confirmed the 28-year-old's arrival on their official website on Wednesday and he will now link up with compatriot Takashi Inui, who rejoined the Basque side last year.

Former FC Tokyo and Mainz man Muto scored two goals during his time at St James' Park and will take on the number 12 shirt at new side Eibar.

Jose Luis Mendilibar's charges kicked off their LaLiga campaign with a goalless draw against Celta Vigo last weekend.

Mohamed Salah turned on the style as Liverpool fended off Leeds United in a seven-goal thriller on the first day of the Premier League season.

The Reds' 4-3 victory over their promoted visitors came on the back of two penalties and a sumptuous finish from Salah, whose hat-trick was an opening-day rarity.

As last season's top-flight champions launched their season in dramatic style, so others began to show what they might offer in the months ahead.

FA Cup holders Arsenal are targeting a much-improved league campaign in 2020-21, and their 3-0 win at Fulham was a promising start, with new signing Willian playing a key role.

Crystal Palace made an early breakthrough and made it count against Southampton, while Newcastle United's recent investments began to pay off as they earned a win at West Ham. We take a look at that and more thanks to Opta.

Liverpool 4-3 Leeds United: Super Salah

Egyptian striker Salah became the first Liverpool player to mark the beginning of a league season with a hat-trick since John Aldridge 32 years ago.

Aldridge's treble came at the start of a 1988-89 season that was overshadowed by the tragedy of the Hillsborough disaster. The then-Republic of Ireland star grabbed all three in a 3-0 away win over Charlton as the defending league champions made a flying start. They would go on to finish second in the First Division and win the FA Cup. It has taken Liverpool three decades to put together a team to match the peak Reds sides of that era, but there can be little doubting Jurgen Klopp's side would be a match for the best XI Kenny Dalglish could put together. Against Leeds, Salah was a titan of the Reds attack, attempting nine shots at goal, having more touches of the ball (88) than any other Liverpool player and playing more passes (44) in the Leeds half than anyone else on the home team.

Fulham 0-3 Arsenal: Willian, that was really something

New boy Willian was on fire for Arsenal, becoming the first player to have two assists on debut in the Premier League for the north London giants since Ray Parlour in 1992.

Back in west London, former Chelsea midfielder Willian showed just why Mikel Arteta wanted to bring him to Arsenal. His experience could be key this season, and his creativity has always been a danger to opponents, with the Brazilian playing a key role in second-half goals from Gabriel and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Just like 'Romford Pele' Parlour all those years ago, Willian could soon establish himself as a favourite of Arsenal supporters. He hit the post too, with a 94.7 per cent passing accuracy in the Fulham half wreaking damage.

Crystal Palace 1-0 Southampton: Ahead at the break, Palace take some stopping

When Roy Hodgson's Eagles go to the dressing room ahead at half-time, invariably they will have a good day. In the past 15 Premier League games when they have led at the break, Palace have won 13 times and drawn twice.

Wilfried Zaha – and isn't it so often him – put Palace in front against Southampton after 13 minutes, and they held on to that lead to snatch a welcome opening three points on Saturday. The last time Palace led at half-time in the Premier League and lost was in January 2019, when at Anfield they got ahead thanks to Andros Townsend but lost a helter-skelter match 4-3 to Liverpool. At home, they have won six consecutive games when armed with a half-time lead, last losing from such a position at Selhurst Park against Watford – also in January 2019.

West Ham 0-2 Newcastle United: Signed, sealed, and already delivering

Callum Wilson loves playing against West Ham. At least that's what the numbers tell us. The former Bournemouth striker has now netted eight goals in nine league appearances against the Hammers.

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce might just be having an outstanding transfer window. Only time will prove that theory, but Newcastle could hardly have made a brighter start as they launched their campaign with a win courtesy of goals from new arrivals Wilson and Jeff Hendrick. Wilson has scored more goals against West Ham than he has managed against any other team in his league career, and his close-range effort on Saturday helped Newcastle end their run of slow starts. Arriving at the London Stadium, Newcastle had lost six out of their past seven league season openers, drawing the other, with their last win on the first day of a campaign having come against Tottenham in 2012. Yet of course they traditionally enjoy trips to West Ham, with their away record against the Hammers now showing 10 wins. Only against Tottenham – also 10 wins – have Newcastle won as many matches away from St James' Park in the Premier League era.

The Premier League has denied Newcastle United's claim it rejected a takeover bid the club received from a consortium backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Newcastle issued a statement on Wednesday in which it said the Premier League and its chief executive Richard Masters had not "acted appropriately in relation to this matter".

A group of investors made up of the PIF, Amanda Staveley's PCP Capital Partners and the Reuben Brothers pulled out of a reported £300million deal with club owner Mike Ashley in July.

Newcastle's statement alleged the takeover was rejected by the Premier League based on its owners and directors test.

However, the league insists that is not the case and the potential transaction could move forward "should the relevant entities provide all appropriate information".

Its statement read: "The Premier League was disappointed and surprised by the Newcastle United Football Club statement regarding its potential takeover by PCP Capital Partners, the Reuben Brothers and the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia (PIF).

"The club's assertion that the Premier League has rejected the takeover is incorrect.

"The Premier League Board has, on a number of occasions, given its opinion about which entities it believes would have control over the club should the consortium proceed with the acquisition. That opinion is based on legal advice.

"This means the potential takeover could proceed to the next stage should the relevant entities provide all appropriate information. They would then be subject to a suitability assessment by the Board. As an alternative, the Board has repeatedly offered independent arbitration as a way forward since June.

"It is also incorrect to suggest these decisions were taken by any individual; they were agreed unanimously by all Premier League Board members."

Newcastle reportedly spent a combined £35million to sign Callum Wilson and Jamal Lewis in the close season, while Ryan Fraser, Jeff Hendrick and Mark Gillespie have joined on free transfers.

The Magpies are scheduled to begin their 2020-21 Premier League campaign away at West Ham on Saturday.

Newcastle United have confirmed the Premier League rejected a takeover bid from a consortium backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF).

The club, owned by Mike Ashley, an unpopular figure with most Magpies supporters, suggested on Wednesday the league and its chief executive Richard Masters had not "acted appropriately in relation to this matter".

A group of investors made up of the PIF, Amanda Staveley's PCP Capital Partners and the Reuben Brothers had agreed a reported £300million deal with Ashley this year.

However, the consortium withdrew its bid in July complaining of "the prolonged process" following discussions with the Premier League.

Ashley and Newcastle said they were committed to the takeover, although a number of parties have subsequently been linked with alternative offers for the club.

But Ashley has now publicly addressed the issue through a club statement in which it was announced the Premier League and its Owners and Directors test rejected the deal, adding Newcastle would be "considering all relevant options available to them".

"Newcastle United can confirm that the Premier League has rejected a takeover bid made by PCP Capital Partners, the Reuben Brothers and PIF based on its Owners and Directors test," the statement read.

"This conclusion has been reached despite the club providing the Premier League with overwhelming evidence and legal opinions that PIF is independent and autonomous of the Saudi Arabian government.

"The club and its owners do not accept that Premier League chief executive Richard Masters and the Premier League have acted appropriately in relation to this matter and will be considering all relevant options available to them.

"Mike Ashley understands fans' frustrations and would like to reassure them that he has been fully committed to ensuring this takeover process reached completion as he felt it was in the best interests of the club.

"Mike continues to be fully supportive to Steve Bruce, the players and all the staff and wishes them well for the upcoming season."

Ashley was pictured arriving on Tyneside earlier on Wednesday after Newcastle head coach Steve Bruce completed a trio of signings this week, Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser joining from Bournemouth along with Norwich City's Jamal Lewis.

Newcastle United have completed the signing of left-back Jamal Lewis, who was said to be the subject of a rejected Liverpool bid last month.

Lewis, 22, was relegated with Norwich City last season, having impressed in the Championship during the previous campaign.

Liverpool reportedly moved to sign the Northern Ireland international for £10m but had their offer turned away by Norwich.

An asking price of £20m was mooted, yet it is said Newcastle have now signed Lewis for around £15m.

Liverpool subsequently instead brought in Kostas Tsimikas as back-up to Andy Robertson.

Lewis agreed a five-year contract with Newcastle on Tuesday, having missed Northern Ireland's 5-1 defeat to Norway a day earlier amid mounting speculation.

"It was a little bit unexpected but it was something that I was obviously looking forward to when I heard that there was serious interest, so I'm delighted to be here now," Lewis told his new club's official website.

He becomes Newcastle's third signing of the week, following Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser, who both joined from Bournemouth - for £20m and on a free transfer, respectively - on Monday.

Callum Wilson has completed his move to Newcastle United from Bournemouth in a reported £20million deal.

The 28-year-old striker, capped four times by England, has signed a four-year deal with the Magpies ahead of the new Premier League season.

Wilson spent six seasons with the Cherries and scored 67 goals in 187 appearances, but he was unable to prevent them from being relegated into the Championship at the end of the 2019-20 campaign.

Aston Villa were heavily linked with Wilson, who has previously been of interest to Chelsea too.

"From the minute I knew that Newcastle were interested, it was definitely something that appealed to me," he said in quotes published on Newcastle's website.

"It's a massive club with great history. Along the years, they've had great strikers so if I can emulate half of what they've done, I'd like to attempt that.

"I believe in my ability as a player. As a striker I think it's important to set yourself goals long term and short term, and I'm hoping to achieve them.

"With the players around me, I believe we can get the goals we need as team and I want to help contribute to that."

Newcastle broke their transfer record to bring Joelinton to the club in a £40m deal last year, though the Brazilian endured a disappointing debut campaign in the north east, scoring just twice in 38 Premier League games.

Manager Steve Bruce is delighted that Wilson has been added to his attacking options as his team look to improve on their 13th-placed finish last season.

"Callum is somebody I've admired for a long time and I'm delighted to get him," Bruce added.

"He has done fantastically well at Bournemouth and was deservedly playing centre forward for England less than two years ago.

"The club has worked ever so hard to get Callum here and we have beaten off competition from a number of clubs."

Former Burnley midfielder Jeff Hendrick has signed a four-year deal with Newcastle United.

The Magpies confirmed the arrival of the 28-year-old on Monday following his departure from Burnley at the end of his contract.

The Republic of Ireland international told NUFCTV: "I've had over 100 games in the Premier League but I want to keep going and keep improving with a different team.

"It's going to be different for me, the demands with the bigger stadium, the crowd, how big the club is, so I've got to take that on and keep pushing myself and striving to get better.

"I'm looking forward to it - I can't wait."

Head coach Steve Bruce said: "Jeff is someone I've admired for a long time. I watched him when he was at Derby [County], then he went to Burnley for a lot of money and couldn't afford him, so I missed out then!

"He's an experienced international footballer who can play all across the midfield so we welcome him aboard. He'll be a big asset to us, on and off the pitch.

"He's a great pro, down to earth, and at the age of 28 it's a wonderful time to get somebody. It is the peak of his career - he's a really fit boy who has played 122 times in the Premier League for Burnley over the last four years, and I'm sure he'll be a great addition to the squad."

Matty Longstaff revealed it was a "no-brainer" to sign a new contract with Newcastle United following a conversation with Steve Bruce.

Midfielder Longstaff is to remain at his boyhood club for a further two years, ending speculation over his future having signed a short-term extension to see out the closing months of the 2019-20 season.

The 20-year-old - younger brother of fellow Newcastle player Sean - made 15 appearances in all competitions during the campaign, scoring three goals.

He marked his Premier League debut in October 2019 with the winner against Manchester United, while he also scored in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford just over two months later.

"I'm delighted to have signed. It took a bit longer than I'd hoped but I'm really happy it's done now, and I can't wait to get back to playing at a full St James' Park hopefully soon," Longstaff said.

"I spoke to Steve Bruce and we talked through it and it was a no-brainer after I spoke to him.

"He gave me my chance and I'm really looking forward to working with him and his coaching staff, who were all great with me."

Newcastle boss Bruce is delighted to keep hold of a player whose club form led to a call-up to the England Under-19 squad.

"It's taken a while, but patience is a virtue and I've always said that I was quietly confident," Bruce said. "We never want to lose our good young players and it's an important time for Matty now.

"I do believe the speculation affected him, so let's hope we get to see the real Matty, the one who burst onto the scene before last Christmas, and let's see him come and perform to the level which we hope he can maintain."

Jeff Hendrick could add further competition for places in midfield - the Republic of Ireland international is reportedly close to signing for Newcastle on a free transfer after leaving Burnley.

Newcastle United have begun talks with a Singapore-backed company over a potential takeover.

The Bellagraph Nova Group (BNG), co-founded by Singapore-based investors Evangeline Shen, Nelson Loh and Terence Loh, said a letter of intent and proof of funds has already been provided.

BNG added it has reached out to club legend Alan Shearer and former player Michael Chopra to help with the bid.

The company's website says it made $12billion in revenues in 2019 and has 31 entities.

"Bellagraph Nova Group's founders (have) already provided a LOI (Letter of Intent) as well as a proof of funds on Aug. 10," a widely reported BNG statement read.

"In addition to the engagement to the Newcastle Football Club and community, Bellagraph Nova Group enlisted help of England captain Alan Shearer and former player Michael Chopra."

It is another development in an ongoing takeover saga at St James' Park, with a consortium led by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) pulling out of a bid to buy the club at the end of July.

A proposed £300million purchase, backed by the PIF, whose chairman is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, failed to go through, with Premier League chief executive Richard Masters explaining the potential buyers declined an offer of arbitration over the ownership issue, which became a key obstacle.

Many Newcastle supporters had welcomed the attempted takeover, given the unpopularity of current owner Mike Ashley and the possibility of major new investment in the club potentially leading to a transfer spree.

Saudi Arabia's human rights record was cited by some opponents to the deal as a factor that should have precluded a takeover from happening, while representatives of the country were found by the World Trade Organization to have enabled the piracy of Premier League matches that were being broadcasted legally by beIN SPORTS.

With all eyes on Barcelona, Lionel Messi's future is again a talking point.

The Catalans capitulated in the Champions League on Friday, thrashed 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals in an embarrassing defeat.

Quique Setien appears set to be sacked as coach, while Messi's future has become unclear.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY TARGET MESSI AMID BARCELONA CHAOS

Manchester City think they are in pole position to sign Messi if he leaves Barcelona, according to the Mirror.

Messi, 33, is contracted to Barca until next year and is reportedly prepared to walk away from the club amid the chaos.

City have been linked with the record six-time Ballon d'Or winner previously, while Inter are another reportedly interested.

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- Changes are expected at Barcelona. AS reports Messi will be free to decide his future in January, while it says Setien and technical secretary Eric Abidal are on their way out.

- The focus otherwise in Spain is on Setien's replacement at Barcelona. Mundo Deportivo reports Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman is a candidate to take over at Camp Nou with Mauricio Pochettino and Al Sadd boss Xavi losing steam. Marca says Pochettino and Koeman are favourites, while Sport reports the former Tottenham manager is the frontrunner. It says Koeman, Massimiliano Allegri, Thierry Henry and Garcia Pimienta are also candidates.

- Elsewhere, Chelsea's apparent search for a defender continues. The Sun reports they are closing in on a £40million move for Brighton and Hove Albion centre-back Lewis Dunk, who is also reportedly a target for Tottenham.

- Staying at Stamford Bridge and Chelsea are also linked with goalkeepers to replace Kepa Arrizabalaga. The Sun says Chelsea and Everton are targeting Watford's 37-year-old shot-stopper Ben Foster.

- After an impressive loan spell at Roma, Chris Smalling is attracting plenty of interest. Sky Sports reports Newcastle United are keen on the Manchester United defender.

The Premier League saw an offer of arbitration declined over the ownership issue that became a key obstacle before a takeover of Newcastle United collapsed.

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters has addressed the takeover bid for the first time in public, responding to a series of questions pitched to him by Chi Onwurah, the Labour MP for Newcastle Central.

A consortium led by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF) pulled out of a bid to buy the club at the end of July. It was a proposed £300million purchase, backed by the PIF, whose chairman is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Many Newcastle supporters had welcomed the attempted takeover, given the unpopularity of current owner Mike Ashley and the possibility of major new investment in the club potentially leading to a transfer spree.

Saudi Arabia's human rights record was cited by some opponents to the deal as a factor that should have precluded a takeover from happening, while representatives of the country were found by the World Trade Organization to have enabled the piracy of Premier League matches that were being broadcasted legally by beIN SPORTS.

Amanda Staveley, the businesswoman at the centre of the bid negotiations, claimed the Premier League attempted to make the Saudi state a "director".

Masters, in his letter on Friday, did not explicitly say the Premier League felt the Saudi state would effectively become Newcastle's owners, but he explained "one entity" caused a disagreement, and said the consortium "chose not to take up" the arbitration offer.

He said "intellectual property infringements" featured among disqualifying factors in the Premier League's owners' and directors' test but stressed the Newcastle takeover had not reached the stage of such factors being put to the test.

Masters wrote: "In June, the Premier League board made a clear determination as to which entities it believed would have control over the club following the proposed acquisition, in accordance with the Premier League rules.

"Subsequently, the Premier League then asked each such person or entity to provide the Premier League with additional information, which would then have been used to consider the assessment of any possible disqualifying events.

"In this matter, the consortium disagreed with the Premier League's determination that one entity would fall within the criteria requiring the provision of this information.

"The Premier League recognised this dispute and offered the consortium the ability to have the matter determined by an independent arbitral tribunal if it wished to challenge the conclusion of the board.

"The consortium chose not to take up that offer, but nor did it procure the provision of the additional information. Later, it [or PIF specifically] voluntarily withdrew from the process.

"This meant there was never any point where the Premier League board was asked to make an assessment on the suitability of all members of the consortium."

Masters added: "The Premier League is reviewing its owners' and directors' test in the coming months to ensure it remains robust and fair to all interested stakeholders."

Amnesty International had claimed the takeover bid was an attempt by Saudi Arabia to "sportswash" its international reputation.

Reacting to Friday's letter from Masters, Onwurah said the Premier League response "provides some new info but not the reassurance or transparency I know fans want".

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