Cristiano Ronaldo faces an uncertain Manchester United future, but he stands to pass a string of landmarks if he stays and plays for Erik ten Hag this season.

Tottenham's Harry Kane, set to captain England at the World Cup later in the year, is chasing a significant club landmark.

And guess who will join Mohamed Salah in bidding to set an opening-day career goals record.

Of course, it's......  Jamie Vardy.

As the new season gets under way on Friday, Stats Perform looks at the records and milestones coming into view.

KANE, RONALDO, HAALAND: TARGETS IN THE CROSSHAIRS OF THE BIG GUNS

What role Ronaldo has to play remains in the balance, given he appears keen to leave United for a second time.

But if the 37-year-old features for the Red Devils, he can begin to chase down landmarks. For starters, he is just four victories short of having had a hand in 150 United wins in the Premier League, having drawn 43 times and lost 37 while a member of the team across his two Old Trafford spells.

Ronaldo is a mere six goals away from becoming the first player to amass 500 goals in Europe's top five leagues. His record 494 goals to date have come from 616 league matches. On his heels, however, is perennial rival Lionel Messi, once of Barcelona and now at Paris Saint-Germain (480 goals in 546 league games).

Kane is 17 away from hitting the 200-goal mark in the Premier League, a total only ever achieved by Alan Shearer (260) and Wayne Rooney (208). Sergio Aguero (184) and Andy Cole (187), third and fourth on the Premier League era list, are poised to be knocked down a peg as Kane continues his assault on the league record.

Both Leicester City's Vardy and Liverpool's Salah will be looking to equal or break the Premier League matchday one goals record, which is currently held jointly by Shearer, Frank Lampard and Rooney (eight goals). Vardy and Salah have seven each, like the retired Teddy Sheringham and Aguero.

Manchester City new boy Erling Haaland has caused a sensation with his goalscoring wherever he has played, dazzling for Molde, Salzburg, Borussia Dortmund and Norway. He could become the seventh Norwegian to score on his Premier League debut, and the third to do so in the opening game of a season, after Tore Andre Flo for Chelsea in 1997-98 and Adama Diomande in 2016-17 with Hull City.

DESERVES A LONG SERVICE MEDAL

Liverpool's James Milner, fresh from signing a new one-year contract, is 12 short of reaching 600 Premier League games. Only three players have reached that mark to date: Gareth Barry (653), Ryan Giggs (632) and Lampard (609).

Milner made his Premier League debut for Leeds United as a 16-year-old in November 2002, so a 20-year anniversary is approaching for the former England midfielder.

David Moyes was already a Premier League manager by the time Milner made his first appearance. At Everton then, he has done the rounds since and is a mere two games away from completing 1,000 matches in all competitions as a manager in English football.

Now at West Ham, Moyes looks to be at the opposite end of his touchline career to Mikel Arteta, the Arsenal manager who is one away from bringing up his first 50 wins as a Premier League boss.

STICK AROUND LONG ENOUGH...

Only six teams have been constant members of the Premier League since its first year in 1992-93. Completing the first 30 seasons without suffering the indignity of relegation have been Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, Everton and Arsenal. Sooner or later, all sorts of landmarks arrive for these league lynchpins.

Arsenal have lost 249 Premier League games and headed into Friday night's season opener against Crystal Palace under threat of becoming the 13th side to lose 250. They would have had the longest wait to lose 250, however, having already played four games more than Chelsea, who took the longest (1,148 games) of those to have reached the not-so-desirable milestone.

Tottenham, another of those stalwart sides, are just five away from becoming the fifth team to score 1,000 goals at home in the competition (Manchester United 1,214, Liverpool 1,156, Arsenal 1,154, Chelsea 1,121).

Chelsea are 27 shy of 2,000 goals, home or away, having plundered 1,973 in their 1,152 games to date.

Aston Villa and Newcastle United are both 12 short of losing 400 Premier League games. Only West Ham (408) and Everton (414) have lost more games than those sides, who will hope to avoid spilling over that barrier this season.

West Ham are four away from reaching 1,000 Premier League games, while promoted Nottingham Forest are two away from 200.

MAKING UP THE NUMBERS

Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson needs one assist to become only the second defender to register 50 Premier League assists, after Leighton Baines (Wigan, Everton). Robertson has 49, with Baines managing 53 across his career.

Aston Villa veteran Ashley Young and Tottenham new arrival Richarlison are two shy of reaching 50 Premier League goals, while Newcastle's former Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope is four away from 50 clean sheets in the competition.

Brighton and Hove Albion are two away from 50 wins, with Aston Villa four short of 300 draws, a tally that only Everton (320) have reached.

Southampton need four victories to reach 100 away wins, and Aston Villa want four three-pointers on the road to reach their 150 wins. Leicester, on the other hand, are four away from 150 Premier League away defeats. Brendan Rodgers will hope to fend off that landmark until well into the new campaign.

Aston Villa veteran Ashley Young has agreed a new one-year contract with the club.

Young, who will turn 37 this week, made 24 Premier League appearances, 10 of which were starts, after returning to Villa for a second spell last season.

He represented Manchester United and Inter after his first four-and-a-half year spell at Villa Park ended in 2011.

Young will now spend the 2022-23 campaign with Villa under Steven Gerrard, as they look to kick on from a 14th-place finish.

Asked why he opted to stay, Young told Villa's website: "It was the ambition of the club, the manager, the staff and the players as well - I wasn't ready to go into retirement just yet.

"When I spoke to the manager towards the end of the season, he told me what he thought about me and that he wanted me to stay. He was a massive factor."

Paulo Dybala is out of contract at Juventus at the end of this season.

The two parties are expected to resume talks next month.

In the meantime, some top clubs are monitoring Dybala's availability.

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL IN FOR DYBALA MOVE

Liverpool have reached to Juventus with a move for Argentina international Dybala, claims Tuttomercatoweb.

The Reds are looking to capitalise on Dybala's contract situation although Manchester City and Inter are also interested in the 28-year-old.

Dybala has been with the Bianconeri since 2015 but is yet to agree terms on a new contract.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca reports that Barcelona have contacted Borussia Dortmund about signing Thomas Meunier on loan until the end of the season with BVB open to the idea.

- Wolves will not accept bids below £40 million for Ruben Neves amid interest from Manchester United and Arsenal, claims The Sun.

- Porto have turned down Tottenham's offer of £37m with add-ons for Colombian winger Luis Diaz reports the Evening Standard.

- Jose Mourinho's Roma remain hopeful of landing Arsenal's Granit Xhaka before the transfer window closes according to the Mail.

- Goal reports that Arsenal have agreed a deal to sign US international goalkeeper Matt Turner in the off-season from New England Revolution.

- Aston Villa's Ashley Young has declined an approach from Newcastle United claims The Mirror.

Though several matches have been postponed due to COVID-19, there is still plenty of Premier League action to look forward to this weekend.

Circumstances permitting, there will be lots of points for fantasy football managers to play for during the festive period.

The in-form Manchester City and Liverpool are well-represented among our picks for this weekend, along with a resurgent Aston Villa under Steven Gerrard.

Here, we take an in-depth look into why these players should be on your priority list for inclusion.

JOSE SA (Wolves v Chelsea)

Wolves may be underdogs when they welcome Chelsea to Molineux, but they have looked solid defensively in recent weeks; keeping four clean sheets in their last six matches.

It would have been five but for Liverpool's stoppage-time winner a fortnight ago, while they were only breached once by reigning champions Manchester City last weekend.

Much of the credit goes to Sa. The Portugal international has prevented more goals (4.2) than any other player in his position this season, while only four keepers have let in fewer goals so far (14).

TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD (Tottenham v Liverpool)

Liverpool head to north London full of momentum, having won each of their last eight matches in all competitions.

The Reds have also prevailed in the seven most recent encounters between the sides.

Alexander-Arnold grabbed a goal and assist in the 3-1 win at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in January and, averaging a higher expected goal involvement per 90 minutes played than any other Premier League defender this season, the England international will be confident of making another positive contribution here.

ASHLEY YOUNG (Aston Villa v Burnley)

Villa have enjoyed a resurgence under Gerrard; winning four of his six matches in charge, with the two defeats coming against Manchester City and Liverpool.

Indeed, the midweek win at Norwich City moved them into the top half of the Premier League table.

Young has certainly been one of the players rejuvenated under his former England team-mate. The ex-Manchester United skipper has registered two assists since, with only four players managing more during that period.

RIYAD MAHREZ (Newcastle United v Manchester City)

Leaders Manchester City will hope to remain at the summit when they travel to 19th-placed Newcastle United.

Pep Guardiola's City have won their last seven Premier League matches – as well as each of their four most recent meetings with the Magpies.

Riyad Mahrez was on target in the 7-0 rout of helpless Leeds United in midweek. That was the Algerian's 49th Premier League goal for City, with only Raheem Sterling (76), Gabriel Jesus (63) and Sergio Aguero (61) netting more since August 2018.

BERNARDO SILVA (Newcastle United v Manchester City)

Indeed, City's envious list of attacking options have all been firing on all cylinders in recent weeks.

Kevin De Bruyne scored twice in midweek and Sterling is back among the goals, but Bernardo Silva has been their star performer on the road.

Indeed, the Portugal international has been on target in each of his side's last three away games, including a brace in the 3-1 win at Watford.

MOHAMED SALAH (Tottenham v Liverpool)

Along with Alexander-Arnold, Liverpool's impressive recent form and record against Tottenham also bodes well for Salah.

The Premier League's top scorer, Egypt international Salah has netted 15 times already this season; six more than his nearest challenger Jamie Vardy.

He has scored four goals in as many English top-flight matches, and six in Liverpool's nine meetings with Tottenham since he arrived from Roma in 2017.

OLLIE WATKINS (Aston Villa v Burnley)

The departure of talisman Jack Grealish undoubtedly proved a major factor behind Villa's tricky start to the season.

Nevertheless, Ollie Watkins is one of their more influential performers who can potentially fill the void.

After a goal and assist during the 2-0 win at Norwich, the England international has been directly involved in 25 goals (16 goals, nine assists) since arriving from Brentford – almost twice as many as any other player currently at the club.

He will be confident of adding to that tally against a Burnley side without a win in five.

Aston Villa have signed Ashley Young on a free transfer following the winger's exit from Inter.

Young has agreed a one-year contract at Villa Park, a decade after departing the club for Manchester United.

The former England international spent four and a half years with Villa during his previous spell and made 190 appearances in all competitions.

Villa confirmed Young's arrival on their official website on Thursday and the versatile wide player added: "It feels amazing to be back, it feels like I've not left.

"I'm just delighted to be back, seeing some old faces, being back at the training ground, seeing the facilities and how well they've grown.

"You can see how much the club has evolved since my time and I'm just ready to get down to work now."

Young featured 34 times for Scudetto winners Inter in the 2020-21 campaign, including 26 outings in their successful Serie A campaign.

He scored one goal – coming in last month's 5-1 win against Udinese – and set up four more in the Italian top flight last season.

Prior to joining Inter, Young won the Premier League, FA Cup, EFL Cup and Europa League with United.

The 35-year-old is Villa's second signing of the close season following the club-record capture of Emiliano Buendia last week, while it has been reported they had a bid in the region of £25million for Emile Smith Rowe rejected by Arsenal.

Inter capped their Scudetto-winning season with a resounding 5-1 victory over Udinese at San Siro on Sunday. 

Ashley Young, making what is expected to be his final appearance for Inter, got Antonio Conte's side up and running early on and Christian Eriksen's deflected free-kick doubled their advantage at the end of a tepid first half. 

Lautaro Martinez converted a penalty 10 minutes after the restart and Ivan Perisic added a majestic finish in front of the 1,000 spectators invited by the club to witness their crowning moment. 

Substitute Romelu Lukaku scored a fortuitous 30th goal of the season in all competitions before Roberto Pereyra converted a consolation penalty, but that did little to stop Inter celebrating as they finally got their hands on the trophy in front of a gathering of fans outside the stadium. 

Inter's coronation got off to a great start with Young latching onto Martinez's deflected shot and dinking a fine finish over Juan Musso after eight minutes. 

Eriksen replaced Stefano Sensi, who went off with an injury that could impact his hopes of representing Italy at Euro 2020, and found the back of the net with a powerful free-kick that took a touch off Stefano Okaka. 

Inter moved further ahead in the 55th minute when Marvin Zeegelaar tripped Achraf Hakimi inside the box and Martinez drilled the resulting penalty into the bottom-left corner. 

A swift break ended with Perisic curling Matias Vecino's pass across goal and into the top-right corner, before a cross from Alexis Sanchez hit the post and rebounded in off the chest of an unaware Lukaku. 

Inter were unable to keep a clean sheet as Nahuel Molina's cross was headed onto Eriksen's hand by Alessandro Bastoni and Pereyra beat Daniele Padelli, who replaced Samir Handanovic at half-time for what is set to be his final appearance for the club, from the spot in the 79th minute. 

Erling Haaland and Romelu Lukaku appear to be the top forwards on English clubs' shopping lists this off-season.

But Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski may enter the frame amid rumours about his future.

Manchester City and Chelsea are known to be eager to bolster their attacking options and have the funds to finance a major move.

 

TOP STORY – ENGLAND ON LEWANDOWSKI'S RADAR

SportBild reports that Robert Lewandowski's likely next destination will be the English Premier League, if Bayern Munich opt to sell their Polish forward.

The report claims that Lewandowski's agent Pini Zahavi is trying to put pressure on Bayern for a lucrative contract extension or to sell him to one of England's financially powerful clubs.

Lewandowski still has two years to run on his Bayern contract and the Bavarians are believed to not be ready to negotiate.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fabrizio Romano claims that Romelu Lukaku is not planning to leave Inter amid interest from Manchester City, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barcelona, pointing to comments he made following the club's Serie A title triumph on Sunday.

- Romano also claims that Watford, who have won promotion to the Premier League, have begun talks with Inter's Ashley Young who may be available as a free agent.

- Marca reports that PSG are increasingly concerned that Neymar will not sign a contract extension with the club amid talk of a Barcelona move.

- Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer is being tracked by Premier League club Newcastle United, claims the Daily Record.

- Tottenham are interested in Brazilian teenager Rodrigo Varanda who is currently with Corinthians, says The Sun.

Erling Haaland might be too expensive a purchase for some of football's richest clubs. 

The Borussia Dortmund sensation is on everyone's wish list.

The question is who will be willing to meet his reported demands?

 

TOP STORY - LALIGA GIANTS PRICED OUT OF HAALAND MOVE?

Haaland's apparent desire for a €35million annual salary has the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid thinking twice about a potential move, Goal reported. 

The prolific 20-year-old's agent, Mino Raiola, has held informal discussions with both LaLiga stalwarts but the sides did not get into specifics about finances. 

For now it appears Barca and Madrid are content to wait it out and see how Haaland's market unfolds. 

That is not the case for another potential suitor. According to Goal, an unnamed English club that made inquiries about the Leeds-born striker earlier this year has backed away from talks due to that salary figure. 

The mystery team is not Chelsea, who consider Haaland their top target according to an Evening Standard report. 

 

ROUND-UP

- While the Blues can hope to land the high-flying Norwegian, Timo Werner may be on the way out. Though the Evening Standard reports Chelsea have not yet seriously discussed selling him, it is not clear how he fits into the Blues' strike force at the moment.

Gianluigi Donnarumma is out of contract with AC Milan this summer and has had talks with Juventus, per La Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Manchester United have coveted Nikola Milenkovic and may be ready to make a move for the Fiorentina defender, though The Sun says United would not be interested at the rumoured £38m fee. 

- United also want Edinson Cavani to have another season at Old Trafford, but at age 34 he might want to move closer to home. Boca Juniors would offer him a two-year deal, says Fabrizio Romano. 

- Watford are prepared to bring Ashley Young back to the club should they return to the Premier League next season, the Daily Mail says. Young's contract with Inter is expiring.

- After a loan spell with Paris Saint-GermainAlessandro Florenzi could be in line to play in Italy with Inter next season rather than returning to Roma, La Gazzetta dello Sport reported. 

- Luis Suarez appears likely to remain with Atletico Madrid, but there is a possibility he could rekindle last year's reported talks with David Beckham's Inter Miami. The American side's interest in the Uruguayan "has not stopped," according to Mundo Deportivo. 

- One player not headed anywhere is Karim Benzema, who Marca reports will sign to remain with Real Madrid through 2023.

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