Manchester United have already conceded 14 goals in seven Premier League games this season.

United boss Erik ten Hag is weighing up his goalkeeping options, having stuck with long-term number one David de Gea since taking over.

Reports have emerged that United and De Gea are set for talks on his future, with the 31-year-old's deal to expire in 2023.

TOP STORY – MAN UTD EYE COSTA AS DE GEA REPLACEMENT

Manchester United's goalkeeper situation is in flux, with the club interested in Porto custodian Diogo Costa, according to Metro.

United have sent scouts to watch the 23-year-old goalkeeper, who has seven caps for Portugal.

The Red Devils are looking for De Gea's successor, with the Spaniard seemingly not suiting Ten Hag's possession-based style.

United also have 25-year-old England international Dean Henderson out on loan at Nottingham Forest.

ROUND-UP

– O Jogo claims former Olympiacos manager Pedro Martins could be the latest Portuguese coach to take over at Wolves, following Bruno Lage's dismissal on Sunday. The Telegraph reports that under-fire Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui may be considered and Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou has also been discussed.

Juventus and Real Madrid will rival Liverpool in the race to sign Belgian midfielder Youri Tielemans from Leicester City, claims Calciomercato.

– LaLiga pair Sevilla and Valencia are both interested in Manchester United forward Anthony Martial, reports Todofichajes.

Tottenham and Juventus target Nicolo Zaniolo is set to pen a new deal with Roma, re-committing on a €4million per-year deal until 2027, according to Calciomercato.

– Everton's Venezuela international striker Salomon Rondon has interest from UAE club Sharjah FC but is likely to stay with the Toffees, reports Liverpool Echo.

Chelsea have reportedly already conducted a medical for RB Leipzig forward Christopher Nkunku with the aim of signing him at the end of this season.

It has long been thought Nkunku's time at Leipzig was coming to an end, but the Bundesliga club retained his services in the most recent transfer window, potentially setting him up for a 2023 departure.

Nkunku is off to a terrific start to the Bundesliga season, netting four goals from seven games, and while the interest in him is expected to be wide-ranging, Chelsea have used their relationship with Leipzig in an effort to jump to the front of the queue.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA COMPLETE SECRET NKUNKU MEDICAL, PREPARE TO TRIGGER RELEASE CLAUSE

According to Bild, Nkunku has a release clause in his contract set at €60million, and Chelsea are prepared to trigger it at the conclusion of this campaign.

Chelsea and Leipzig have done plenty of business together previously, including sales of Timo Werner in either direction and advanced negotiations around young centre-back Josko Gvardiol. It appears Nkunku was also discussed at length, and the German club were willing to let Chelsea take a closer look at the in-demand attacker ahead of any official bids being made.

With Gvardiol also remaining a potential target for new Chelsea coach Graham Potter – with his price tag set at a huge €90m – this could turn into one of the most expensive package deals ever.

ROUND-UP

– According to the Daily Star, Erling Haaland weighed up a potential move to Liverpool before eventually choosing Manchester City, but he categorically ruled out Manchester United.

– Football Insider is reporting Aston Villa are considering Mauricio Pochettino and Unai Emery for their next manager if Steven Gerrard is fired.

– Football Insider also claims Leicester City's James Maddison is "very keen" on a move to Tottenham after reports they are keeping tabs on the 25-year-old midfielder.

Chelsea will give Christian Pulisic a chance to prove his value before making a decision on his future, per 90min.

– Sport is reporting Juventus are planning a January move for Barcelona left-back Jordi Alba.

Newcastle United are reportedly prepared to launch a third bid for Leicester City midfielder James Maddison in the January window.

Maddison, 24, has had a strong start to the season despite Leicester sitting bottom of the table through seven games, with the midfielder registering three goals and an assist.

Newcastle reportedly placed bids of £40million and £45m in the last window – which prompted manager Brendan Rodgers to say "that might just cover three-quarters of his left leg" – but January will mark 18 months remaining on his contract, with a voluntary extension looking extremely unlikely.

 

TOP STORY – MADDISON OPEN TO NEWCASTLE UNITED MOVE

Maddison is said to be more open to the idea of leaving Leicester after failing to break back into the England setup for the World Cup, with his only international cap coming as a substitute during a win against Montenegro in 2020.

With Newcastle players Nick Pope and Kieran Trippier both being involved with the Three Lions, it is viewed as a more favourable situation to capture the attention of Gareth Southgate.

The report from The Times indicates Leicester do have the option to extend Maddison's contract by one extra season, which could give them the freedom to see out the remainder of the campaign.

However, if Newcastle are willing to move into the £60m range, that kind of spending power could fund some significant moves to address the Foxes' problems, and there is no guarantee his value will remain this high if they delay.

 

ROUND-UP

– According to Spanish publication Beteve, Lionel Messi will refuse any contract extension and will leave Paris Saint-Germain at the end of this season.

– Kicker is reporting Tottenham's Harry Kane remains Bayern Munich's top target, and with only one more season left on his deal after this campaign, Tottenham could be forced to cash-in if he indicates he is ready to leave.

– Juventus will not renew the contracts of Angel Di Maria, Juan Cuadrado and Adrien Rabiot in order to reduce their wage bill, per La Gazzetta dello Sport.

– Calciomercato is reporting Roma will join Bayern Munich and Manchester United with interest in €30m Ajax centre-back Jurrien Timber.

– According to Fabrizio Romano, Newcastle United are monitoring highly regarded Vasco da Gama 18-year-old Andrey Santos.

Arsenal are preparing for a busy January transfer window, with reports they are planning a £100million move for Juventus duo Dusan Vlahovic and Fabio Miretti.

Vlahovic, 22, arrived in Turin in January this year in a €70m transfer from Fiorentina, and after netting nine goals for his new club during the tail end of that campaign, he has hit the ground running with four goals from six starts this season.

Miretti, 19, is a product of Juventus' youth academy, and with three appearances for Italy's under-21 side under his belt, he has broken into Massimiliano Allegri's team, with four starts from their past five Serie A fixtures.

Both are likely seen as key pieces moving forward, regardless of Allegri's future with the club, so to pry them away Arsenal understand they will need to pay-up in a big way.


TOP STORY – ARSENAL TO LAUNCH £100M DOUBLE MOVE 

Arsenal have been linked with a number of significant January targets, with the Mail reporting they have made contact with Eintracht Frankfurt's Jesper Lindstrom, while Sport claim they are weighing up activating a €35m release clause for Villarreal's Alex Baena.

What separates the Calciomercato report about the Juventus duo is that they are the only team named in the story, while it also claims Mikel Arteta is pushing for a bid to be made.

Despite the pair's coveted status within the Juventus squad and the desperation for the team to turn their results around following five matches without a win, Calciomercato states that an offer of £100m would be "difficult to refuse".

ROUND-UP

– Corriere dello Sport is reporting Jose Mourinho's Roma will make a move for Chelsea defender Trevoh Chalobah in January.

– According to Birmingham Mail, Juventus are keeping an eye on Wolves striker Adama Traore for a potential January move, while Football Italia add that their wish-list includes Antoine Griezmann, Marco Asensio and Christian Pulisic

Newcastle United "retain an interest" in Leicester City midfielder James Maddison, and he could be a January target, according to the Leicester Mercury.

– Manchester Evening News is reporting Manchester City have joined Chelsea in their interest for potential £100m Milan forward Rafael Leao.

– According to 90min, scouts from Premier League teams including Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle, West Ham and Wolves made the trip to Scotland to get a closer look at 21-year-old Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk playing internationally for Ukraine.

Big-spending French club Nice have struggled to start the new Ligue 1 season, with only eight points from eight games.

Ambitious Nice are sitting 13th in the table, leading to pressure on head coach Lucien Favre.

The Ligue 1 outfit finished fifth last term and have recently signed Aaron Ramsey, Ross Barkley, Alexis Beka Beka and Kasper Schmeichel.

TOP STORY – NICE KEEN ON PARKER WITH POCHETTINO NOT INTERESTED

Nice are interested in a surprise move for ex-Fulham and Bournemouth boss Scott Parker, claims Foot Mercato.

Favre is under pressure, with ex-Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino reportedly their first choice to replace him.

The Evening Standard claims Pochettino is not interested in the Nice role and instead will wait for a head coaching position with a top club in England, Spain or Italy. 

ROUND-UP

– 90min reports Manchester United will offer fresh deals to Marcus Rashford and Diogo Dalot. The pair's contracts are both due to expire in mid-2023, albeit with the option of one-year extensions, but United want to lock them down beyond that.

– Erik ten Hag will decide on Donny van de Beek's future at United in October, according to the Manchester Evening News. The Dutchman has only managed three appearances this term.

– Fabrizio Romano reports Tottenham target Kim Min-Jae has a release clause in his Napoli contract after joining the Italian club from Fenerbahce in July, but it cannot be triggered in January. Napoli are happy with the centre-back's impact and are not interested in letting him go.

Chelsea target Anthony Gordon is in the midst of contract talks with Everton that are "progressing well", claims inews. Gordon is set for a substantial pay rise.

Leicester City are set to offer manager Brendan Rodgers more time to turn around the side's poor start to the new season, although the reception of fans towards him at their next home game will be a factor for key decision makers, reports The Athletic.

Youri Tielemans is grateful for the respite the international break has provided from a "tough" start to the season at Leicester City, though he does not regret staying at the club.

Leicester have managed to take just one point from seven matches in the Premier League, losing each of their past six.

Among those defeats have been respective 5-2 and 6-2 losses to Brighton and Hove Albion and Tottenham, with the latter result on Saturday significantly increasing the heat on under-pressure manager Brendan Rodgers.

Tielemans was strongly linked with a move away from Leicester during the most recent transfer window, with the Foxes facing the prospect of losing a valuable asset for nothing when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Although no move materialised, Tielemans does not regret staying at the King Power Stadium – but the midfielder, the scorer of Leicester's winning goal against Chelsea in the 2020-21 FA Cup final, is relieved to get away from the negativity after joining up with Belgium.

"I'm happy to get a bit of fresh air here [on international duty] because it's tough at Leicester right now," he said at a press conference ahead of Belgium's Nations League games against Wales and the Netherlands.

"It's clear that things are not going well at the club. We are doing everything we can as a team.

"At Leicester, the consecutive defeats have affected us as a group. We need to benefit from this break to recharge our batteries.

"It's hard to get it off my mind as it keeps running through my head. Only my kids sometimes prevent me from thinking about it."

Arsenal were among the clubs heavily linked with Tielemans during the transfer window, and he promises to attract plenty of interest again in January if he does not sign a new contract beforehand.

Nevertheless, Tielemans feels Leicester's form and his contractual situation are completely separate subjects.

"I'm not going to speak too much about my contract at the moment," he continued. "I didn't leave Leicester in the summer as I always said the project had to be the right one.

"Just because things are getting worse now at Leicester doesn't mean I should regret [staying at the club]."

Arsenal were heavily linked with Manuel Locatelli more than 12 months ago and look set to revive their interest.

Locatelli won plenty of admirers with his performances for Italy at Euro 2020.

Among them was Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, but at the time Locatelli preferred to join Juventus.

TOP STORY – GUNNERS TO REVIVE LOCATELLI INTEREST

Premier League leaders Arsenal will renew their pursuit of Italy international Manuel Locatelli in the near future, claims Calciomercato.

The Gunners have previously been linked with the 24-year-old Juventus midfielder, who is on loan from Sassuolo.

Locatelli was signed by the Bianconeri in August 2021 on a two-year loan, with Juventus holding the obligation to purchase him for €25 million payable over three years plus €12.5m in potential add-ons.

 

ROUND-UP

Real Madrid will not stand in the way of Mariano Diaz should he decide to exit the club across town to join Atletico Madrid, according to El Nacional. It has previously been reported Atletico are targeting the 29-year-old striker.

Madrid will not pursue a deal for Paris Saint-Germain attacker Kylian Mbappe if he has no interest in signing, according to Marca. Mbappe was close to joining the Spanish giants in the off-season as a free agent after a long chase, before signing a lucrative extension with PSG.

– The Sun claims that Leicester City may be forced to stick with manager Brendan Rodgers as it will be too expensive for the club to sack him amid their awful start to the new Premier League season. According to the report, the Foxes would need to pay Rodgers more than £10 million to sack him, with three years left on his deal.

Chelsea's overhaul continues with the club on the cusp of appointing Christoph Freund as their new sporting director, claims The Guardian. Freund is with Austrian champions Salzburg. The Blues recently replaced Thomas Tuchel with Graham Potter as head coach.

Manchester United have identified Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans as a key target in January, filling one of the three gaps the club reportedly believe they need to address at the next opportunity.

Tielemans, 25, has already earned 52 international caps for Belgium and fits the bill as a creative technician in the middle of the park, with Fichajes claiming United feel Christian Eriksen is their only current option for that role.

Leicester have been unwilling to part ways with one of their best players, but with his contract set to expire at the end of this season, January will be their last chance to cash-in before he can leave on a free transfer.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED EYE TIELEMANS AS THEIR NEXT MIDFIELD MAESTRO

Due to Tielemans' contract situation, United may be able to scoop him up for well under his market value, although the player himself will ultimately have all the leverage if he chooses to wait things out and become a free agent.

As well as a central midfielder, the report also includes United are aggressively hunting another right-back – particularly in the Dutch market – and a forward.

Their January budget is said to be at £70million, but if they can find a team to take Cristiano Ronaldo off their books then that number will rise to £100m.

 

ROUND-UP

– The Liverpool Echo is reporting a bidding war is set to break out between United and Liverpool over 21-year-old Flamengo midfielder Joao Gomes, who is believed to be valued at over £30m.

– According to Ole, Moises Caicedo is keen to follow former Brighton manager Graham Potter over to Chelsea

Chelsea are locking up 18-year-old midfielder Lewis Hall on a contract that will keep him tied to the club through 2025, per Football London.

Arsenal are joining Manchester City, Juventus, Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the hunt for Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Jesper Lindstrom, who Calciomercato are reporting is worth £17m.

– Transfer Tavern is reporting West Ham will make another run at Torino full-back Ola Aina in January after having their interest rebuffed the last time around.

Brendan Rodgers accepts his position as Leicester City manager is under threat after a resounding 6-2 Premier League defeat at Tottenham on Saturday.

The heavy loss leaves Leicester winless in their first seven league games of a season for the first time since 1983-84.

Their 22 goals conceded is the most any side has shipped after seven games of a Premier League season, and the most in the English top flight since 1965-66 (West Ham, also 22).

Rodgers is well aware his position is under threat and said he would have no issues with the club's owners should they decide to take action.

"I come in every day and do my work. I totally understand the frustration of supporters. I can't hide from that. It's my responsibility," he told Sky Sports.

"Whatever happens I'll have a huge amount of respect for [the owners] because they've given me great support. I understand the game.

"The scoreline didn't reflect the game but the bottom line is it's a heavy defeat.

"They've given me brilliant support. Whatever happens to me at Leicester, whether I stay and fight on, I'll always respect them."

Midfielder James Maddison, who had earlier drew Leicester level at 2-2, refused to let Rodgers take all of the blame, stating the players deserved their fair share of criticism.

"It is tough to debrief it in my head so quickly after," he said. "People will check the scoreline and see 6-2 and think 'wow, Leicester got battered again' but I don't think that was the case.

"We've worked so hard on the training ground this week because we know we need to produce better results and in the first-half it felt like the Leicester we know and the Brendan Rodgers side we've produced in the last few years, with the high press and creating chances. It is tough to take.

"We conceded from a couple of a set-pieces which is always disappointing, especially if I told you how many hours we've spent on that because it was a weakness last year.

"We've brought in a set-piece coach and everyone has really bought into that.

"The players should definitely be taking some of the brunt. It is a collective, it's not the manager, we are an XI out there.

"It hurts when you really respect the manager, and ultimately we are the players out there and we haven't been delivering recently."

Son Heung-min ended his Premier League goal drought with a sensational second-half hat-trick as Tottenham routed Leicester City in a 6-2 rampage.

The South Korea forward paid the price pre-match for his underwhelming form this season as he was benched by Antonio Conte for his side's final game before the international break.

But last term's Golden Boot winner came off the bench after the break to steal the show in a remarkable performance that saw him net three goals inside a quarter-hour of play.

All three goals came with a degree of class, to ensure Spurs head into the international window on a winning note and leave Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers under increasing pressure.

 

Son Heung-min was dropped to the bench for Tottenham's Premier League game against Leicester City on Saturday.

The South Korea forward was the joint-top scorer in the English top flight last season with 23 goals – level with Mohamed Salah – but has failed to build on that momentum this term.

Son has not scored in his six league appearances, registering just one assist, while no player has registered more shots without finding the net (17).

Head coach Antonio Conte, who said no player was "undroppable" following Spurs' Champions League defeat by Sporting CP in midweek, opted to name the forward on the bench for the visit of Leicester.

Dejan Kulusevski started, with Ryan Sessegnon, Davinson Sanchez and Clement Lenglet also included. Cristian Romero and Emerson Royal dropped to the bench, with Ben Davies not included in the squad.

Real Madrid have joined the race to land Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar, with the 27-year-old's contract set to expire at the end of this season.

Skriniar has been one of the most in-demand defenders in the world this year, with numerous bids coming during the last transfer window from Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Tottenham.

While Inter are keen to fend off the outside interest and lock him into a new contract, the fact that he will be able to leave on a free transfer at the conclusion of the campaign could force their hand.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID HOPE TO SECURE SKRINIAR ON FREE TRANSFER

Madrid took advantage of the free agent market this past window, signing Antonio Rudiger when his Chelsea contract finished, and Football Insider claim they have similar plans for Skriniar.

Inter reportedly turned down bids worth in the €60million range from PSG with the hope an upgraded contract could keep Skriniar in Italy long-term, but with time running out, Tuttosport is reporting the French giants will return with a bid of €30m in January.

The Football Insider report also stresses how important Tottenham's Antonio Conte views the big Slovakian, having started 31 out of 38 league games for Conte when he was with Inter for their Serie A title in 2020-21.

 

ROUND-UP

– 90min is reporting Arsenal are considering a move for 27-year-old free agent midfielder Xeka after his contract with Lille recently expired.

– According to The Mirror, Liverpool are leaning towards terminating the loan of Juventus' Arthur Melo just weeks after the 26-year-old midfielder arrived at Anfield.

– After an impressive loan stint at Fiorentina last season, Real Madrid right-back Alvaro Odriozola has caught the eye of another Italian club, with Juventus said to be interested in a January move in the range of €15m.

– Leicester City centre-back Caglar Soyuncu has decided to sign with Atletico Madrid when his contract finishes at the end of the season, per Mundo Deportivo.

– The Independent is reporting Everton are preparing a new contract offer for Anthony Gordon that will pay him six times his current salary.

Son Heung-min is not "undroppable", admits Tottenham boss Antonio Conte, following a tough start to the season for the forward.

Son was arguably the standout performer under Conte last season, helping to fire Spurs to a top-four finish and Champions League football.

His tally of 23 league goals saw him share the competition's top-scorer award with Liverpool star Mohamed Salah. No player has had more shots without scoring in the Premier League this season than Son (17).

But Son has struggled to maintain those standards this season, failing to score in his six league appearances and providing just one top-flight assist.

With Richarlison and Dejan Kulusevski pressing to start ahead of this weekend's clash with lowly Leicester City, Son's place is under question, and Conte hinted the 30-year-old could be taken out.

"There are no players that are undroppable," he stated. "This has to be very clear. There are no players that are undroppable. If I tell this, it's only to try to help my players

"[It's] to try to avoid injuries, to try to have players at the top of their form and to have a good performance. If I am telling this it is only to protect my players and to give them the possibility to be, in every moment, at the top."

One player who has flourished this term is defender Eric Dier, a former England mainstay whose form has seen him end a two-year exodus from the national setup with a recall from Gareth Southgate for the Three Lions' Nations League games against Italy and Germany.

Conte professed his pride in Dier's return to the England fold, adding that it validates the defender's impressive club performances, particularly with the 2022 World Cup looming.

"I'm really pleased because when my players are called up to the national teams, we are really proud," he added. "It means we are working very well, and we are trying to help the players to go with the national teams.

"In this case for Eric it was a really good achievement for him. For the rest I think my staff and I and team-mates are very happy for this call up to the national team."

Todd Boehly's suggestion for the creation of a Premier League 'All-Star' game attracted plenty of ridicule, but he certainly can't be accused of a lack of vision or creativity.

The new Chelsea co-owner – and chairman and interim sporting director – was speaking at a conference on Tuesday when he proposed the Premier League 'Americanised' (or should that be 'Americanized'?) itself a bit.

A relegation play-off tournament between the bottom four teams was one idea; but the other, which attracted most of the headlines, was for a North v South 'All-Star' game, pointing out Major League Baseball (MLB) in his native United States made $200million from such an event this year.

A potential Premier League 'All-Stars' game was the talk of football media on Tuesday, so at Stats Perform we decided to have a look at who might line up for the North and South.

It was decided the north-south cut-off point would see Nottingham Forest qualify for the North, ensuring each All-Stars team had 10 clubs to select from.

First up, we have unrestricted squads, so essentially the very best teams possible; then, we have squads that are limited to three players from each club and every single Premier League must have at least a single player selected. So, without any further ado, let's see who made the cut…

NORTH ALL-STARS (unrestricted)

4-3-3: Ederson (Manchester City); Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Ruben Dias (Manchester City), Andrew Robertson (Liverpool); Rodri (Manchester City), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Phil Foden (Manchester City); Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Erling Haaland (Manchester City), Luis Diaz (Liverpool).

SUBS: Alisson (Liverpool), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Joao Cancelo (Manchester City), Raphael Varane (Manchester United), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Fabinho (Liverpool), Casemiro (Manchester United), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United).

You knew the starting XI was going to look like that even before reading, didn't you? Manchester City and Liverpool obviously dominated the first team here, but it feels difficult to argue with almost any selection here.

The goalkeeper choice was probably the toughest, but only because Ederson and Alisson are both so strong and simultaneously significantly better than any other eligible shot stoppers in terms of their all-round game – Ederson ultimately got the nod owing to 13 more clean sheets over the past three-and-a-bit years, but either could've got the gig.

Similarly in defence, many of the North's options pick themselves. The centre-backs, Van Dijk and Dias, have each won the Premier League Player of the Season award in the past four years, while Alexander-Arnold and Robertson have at least 12 most assists than any other defender since the start of the 2019-20 season.

While the defence had a distinctively Liverpool look to it, City dominate the midfield because… well, they tend to dominate the midfield. Rodri provides the control and defensive protection, while Foden and De Bruyne can wreak havoc going forward and towards the flanks.

Salah and Haaland were obvious picks in attack. The Egyptian has been involved in 96 goals (66 scored, 30 assisted) since the start of the 2019-20 season, more than anyone else, while Haaland is arguably the most in-form striker in world football, having already netted 12 times in seven games for City.

Luis Diaz was perhaps the most uncertain one, but he's quickly become a key figure at Liverpool. His ability to cut inside or head for the byline makes him an unpredictable asset, and he's something of a double threat in terms of goals and creativity.

Cristiano Ronaldo's appearance on the bench owes much to his solid goal-scoring form last season.

SOUTHERN ALL-STARS (unrestricted)

4-2-3-1: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham); Reece James (Chelsea), Cristian Romero (Tottenham), Kalidou Koulibaly (Chelsea), Oleksandr Zinchenko (Arsenal); Declan Rice (West Ham), N'Golo Kante (Chelsea); Raheem Sterling (Chelsea), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Son Heung-min (Tottenham); Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal).

SUBS: Edouard Mendy (Chelsea), Thiago Silva (Chelsea), Marc Cucurella (Chelsea), Jorginho (Chelsea), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Martin Odegaard (Arsenal), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace), Ivan Toney (Brentford).

This team has it all. A World Cup-winning goalkeeper, a defence with an ideal blend of youth and experience, a combative midfield and four world-class attackers.

Lloris gets the nod in net. He's been one of the most consistent goalkeepers in the league since his arrival from Lyon 10 years ago, and based on Opta's expected goals on target (xGOT) conceded metric, Lloris has prevented 3.8 goals since the start of the 2020-21 season, significantly better than his South All-Stars back-up, Chelsea's Edouard Mendy (-3.8).

Chelsea star James is the right-back, with his 16 goal contributions (six goals, 10 assists) since the start of last season topping the charts for a defender. Koulibaly and Romero are a formidable centre-back pairing, while Zinchenko has four Premier League titles to his name from his time at Manchester City.

James and Zinchenko are brilliant attacking full-backs, but the defence will need screening, and that is where Kante and Rice come into their own. Both super ball-winners, Kante's relentless energy will be complemented by Rice's ability on the ball, as he has demonstrated at West Ham.

That midfield protection will be needed, with a four-pronged attack ready to lay waste to the North's defence.

Sterling might not have made a flying start at Chelsea but is the best pick on the right wing, with Son – who shared the league's golden boot award last season – on the opposite wing. Kane will play a slightly deeper role, behind Jesus, who has had more touches in the opposition box (66), attempted more dribbles (34), more dribbles in the box (8) and won more fouls (21) than any other player in the Premier League this season.

NORTHERN ALL-STARS (restricted)

4-2-3-1: Jordan Pickford (Jordan Pickford); Kieran Trippier (Newcastle United), Vigil van Dijk (Liverpool), Ruben Dias (Manchester City), Andrew Robertson (Liverpool); Bruno Guimaraes (Newcastle United), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City); Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Pedro Neto (Wolves); Erling Haaland (Manchester City).

SUBS: Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa), Diego Carlos (Aston Villa), Lisandro Martinez (Manchester United), Renan Lodi (Nottingham Forest), James Maddison (Leicester City), Youri Tielemans (Leicester City), Jack Harrison (Leeds United), Antony Gordon (Everton), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United).

Our self-imposed restrictions of no more than three players from a given team gives the North All-Stars a distinctly different feel – nevertheless, Van Dijk, Dias, Robertson, De Bruyne, Salah and Haaland retain their places, for obvious reasons.

Probably the biggest casualty is Alexander-Arnold, but the North benefits from having another excellent forward-thinking option at right-back in Trippier, while Jordan Pickford starts between the posts – David de Gea was another option here, but the England international is better with his feet.

Bruno Guimaraes comes into the midfield, offering a valuable combination of bite and craft, while Fernandes will take up the number 10 position with De Bruyne dropping a little deeper – this shouldn't stifle the team's creativity too much given the Belgian is the only player with more chances created (239) than Fernandes (224) since the latter's Premier League debut.

The other new face in attack is Pedro Neto. Perhaps a wildcard choice, but the Portugal international is an exciting winger with lots of pace and trickery. While Salah will cut in off the opposite flank, Neto looks to get crosses into the box, and that could be an effective route to goal knowing the predatory instincts Haaland has.

Again, Ronaldo is held back in reserve.

SOUTHERN ALL-STARS (restricted)

4-3-3: Robert Sanchez (Brighton and Hove Albion); Reece James (Chelsea), Cristian Romero (Tottenham), Joachim Andersen (Crystal Palace), Oleksandr Zinchenko (Arsenal); James Ward-Prowse (Southampton), Declan Rice (West Ham), Mason Mount (Chelsea); Raheem Sterling (Chelsea), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Son Heung-min (Tottenham).

SUBS: Neto (Bournemouth), Ben Mee (Brentford), Tariq Lamptey (Brighton and Hove Albion), Joao Palhinha (Fulham), Lucas Paqueta (West Ham), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace), Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal), Ivan Toney (Brentford).

Robert Sanchez has been a standout performer for Brighton under the now Chelsea boss Graham Potter, and he replaces Lloris now the restrictions have come into play. He has kept 24 league clean sheets since making his debut in November 2020, which trails only four other goalkeepers.

James, Romero and Zinchenko all keep their places in defence, though Koulibaly does not. He makes way for Joachim Andersen, who has been excellent since signing for Crystal Palace in 2021.

We have switched to a midfield three for this side, with Rice staying in the team but playing a deeper, anchoring role. Alongside him are two new faces in the form of England team-mates Ward-Prowse and Mount. Both provide energy and creativity in abundance.

Ward-Prowse's set-piece quality – no midfielder has scored more goals or created more chances from set plays since the start of last season as the Southampton captain – is a huge threat, while Mount has contributed to 21 league goals since the beginning of 2021-22.

Jesus is the unlucky striker to drop out of the starting XI, though he is on the bench, with Sterling, Kane and Son leading the line.

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers has warned Graham Potter he can expect a "different pressure" at Chelsea but believes it is a "fantastic move".

Potter has been named as Thomas Tuchel's successor at Stamford Bridge, following the axing of the Champions League-winning boss on Wednesday.

New Blues owner Todd Boehly has been extremely active since taking over from Roman Abramovich, splashing vast amounts of money in the transfer market, and has now made his first managerial appointment.

Chelsea received permission from Brighton and Hove Albion to speak to Potter on Wednesday and confirmation of his appointment followed on Thursday.

Rodgers, who has experience in high-pressure clubs following his time with Liverpool, has told Potter he will encounter different challenges than his time at Brighton but feels it is the right move.

"It's a different pressure," Rodgers said in the press conference ahead of Saturday's clash with Aston Villa.

"He's done fantastic at Brighton, they've really developed. They're strategically well run behind the scenes. 

"It's that next step and it will be a fantastic move for him."

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