James Maddison not going to the World Cup with England would be "a shame for the country", said Brendan Rodgers after the Leicester City midfielder scored another two goals on Monday.

Maddison's continued absence from Gareth Southgate's Three Lions squad has been the source of some contention.

The 25-year-old has earned only a single England cap, in November 2019, and appears to face an uphill battle to gain favour with Southgate before Qatar 2022 kicks off next month.

Yet Maddison has started the Premier League season in outstanding form. After scoring two and assisting another in Leicester's 4-0 win over fellow strugglers Nottingham Forest, he has seven goal involvements in seven appearances.

Going back to the start of the previous campaign, Southgate's captain Harry Kane is the only English player with more Premier League goals (24) or goal involvements (34) than Maddison (17 goals, 10 assists).

"It's such a shame for the country and for James himself," manager Rodgers told Sky Sports. "You see his talent, and his performance level for the last 18 months I think everybody is clear on.

"I think it's only Harry Kane who has created and scored more goals than him, so to not even be in the squad...

"Even if he's not going to start, to have a player of that quality and not only in that, in international football, to have the personality to take the ball, be creative, take the ball and change the game, James is all of that. He's an absolutely brilliant player.

"I really hope over these next few months he can continue the form he's shown for 18 months and somehow get into the team, because if you're wanting creativity, you're wanting personality – he's improved his defensive side of his game, and he can play in a couple of positions.

"For me, he's an absolutely outstanding player, and he's up there.

"I love Phil Foden, Mason Mount, those boys who play there – Jack Grealish is different, Jack plays from the side – but Madders can play in a number of positions to a high level, and he showed that tonight."

Maddison, who said suggestions he would not be a good character within the group if not starting were "insulting", added: "It's been a weird position for me.

"We [Leicester] have been bottom of the league, and results have not been going our way, but I've almost been as confident as I've ever been in my career.

"I don't remember over the last 12 months playing better than I have and feeling as well as I have.

"It's obviously hard to answer this question [on his England hopes], because you want to say the right thing, you don't want to say the wrong thing, but that's an ambition of mine, a goal of mine.

"I'm a football man, I watch all the games, I watch international football, and an opportunity at that level would be something I desire. I almost know I'd have an impact.

"It's one I hope will come my way at some point."

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.

After last weekend's postponements, round seven of the Premier League is finally upon us, but continental fixtures midweek could throw a spanner into team selection.

Now over a month into the season, things are beginning to take shape as managers make it clear who is in and out of favour, while struggling teams may feel the need for drastic changes in an effort to get back on course.

Whether they start every game, or they have worked their way into consideration, this is the time of the year when players can stake their claim as key contributors for the long season ahead.

This week's Opta data points out a couple of playmakers who have shined coming off the bench, as well as some safe prospects in the back half who are at the centre of their teams' plans, and could make the difference in your Fantasy Football plans.

 

Nick Pope (Newcastle United v Bournemouth)

Newcastle United goalkeeper Nick Pope is in fine form, boasting the most saves in the league this season with 28, while also owning the best save percentage (82.35 per cent) and being tied for the lead in clean sheets (three).

It is not just a small sample size, either. Since the beginning of the 2019-20 season, only Ederson (58) and Allison (45), widely considered the league's best two shot-stoppers, have kept more clean sheets than Pope's 38.

Also working in Pope's favour is the fact Bournemouth are one of six teams this season to average less than one goal per game, and have been held scoreless by Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Wolves.

Neco Williams (Nottingham Forest v Fulham)

Full-backs have always been a bit of a cheat code in fantasy football due to their ability to bank both clean sheets and a healthy dose of assists compared to centre-backs, and Nottingham Forest's Neco Williams is emerging as a quality creator of chances.

No Forest player has created more chances than the 21-year-old's nine – among defenders, only Trent Alexander-Arnold (13), Kieran Trippier (11) and Diogo Dalot (10) have crafted more. 

Williams has also played every minute of his side's six games so far. 

Bernardo Silva (Manchester City v Wolves)

Manchester City's Bernardo Silva is enjoying a rich run of form, with four goal involvements (two goals and two assists) from his past four matches.

City are the highest-scoring team in the Premier League this season with 20 in six games, and after coming off the bench in the first two fixtures of the season, Silva has now made four consecutive starts.

Silva's goal contributions have come from 1.33 expected goal involvements, with only team-mate Erling Haaland, Brentford's Ivan Toney and Liverpool's Roberto Firmino have outperformed their expected figure by more.

Richarlison (Tottenham v Leicester City)

After spending £60million this past transfer window to secure the 25-year-old from Everton, Tottenham awarded Richarlison with his first start in their last top-flight game against Fulham, and he came through with an assist and a disallowed goal.

It was his second assist from his past three games, after coming off the bench against Forest and teeing up Harry Kane.

Leicester City have been a team the Brazil forward, who scored his first two Spurs goals in a Champions League win over Marseille earlier in September, has feasted against during his time in the Premier League, with his five goals against the Foxes matching his best total against any team (also five against Southampton and Wolves).

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.

Serge Aurier has agreed to join Nottingham Forest on a free transfer as Steve Cooper's side announced their 22nd signing since being promoted to the Premier League.

The former Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain defender became a free agent after leaving Villarreal at the end of last season.

Ivory Coast captain Aurier racked up 77 Premier League appearances for Spurs, also reaching the Champions League final in 2019.

Djibril Sidibe was reported to be a target of Cooper to provide competition for Neco Williams, who arrived from Liverpool in July, but Forest have instead signed Aurier, subject to international clearance.

Forest are yet to confirm the terms of Aurier's contract, with the full-back providing more cover on the right-hand side after Cooper's side failed to re-sign loanee Djed Spence, who joined Spurs.

Aurier joins the likes of Dean Henderson, Jesse Lingard, Moussa Niakhate, Morgan Gibbs-White and Emmanuel Dennis as Forest's squad reshaping continues past the end of the transfer window.

Forest sit 19th in the infant Premier League table and will look to recover from a 3-2 defeat to Bournemouth when they visit Leeds United on Monday.

There are several ways in which promoted teams can approach their first transfer window in the Premier League.

One method is the path well worn by Norwich City, a more conservative approach to recruitment aiming to consolidate the squad that gained promotion and add in one or two fresh faces on cheaper deals or loans. For the Canaries, it has resulted in them becoming the proverbial yo-yo club; too good for the Championship, but not quite good enough to stay up.

Bournemouth, much to the apparent chagrin of former head coach Scott Parker, seem to have taken that approach this season. It remains to be seen how that will play out. 

There is a middle ground, the route taken by Leeds United in 2020, where five to 10 additions of quality, from across the continent or from within the Premier League, are prioritised. Fulham – big spenders in past seasons, to little success – are testing that one out this time around. 

Then, there always seems to be one of the promoted sides that turn around their squad on a grand scale. However, the scale of change seen at Nottingham Forest this time around has been unprecedented.

A whopping 20 (yes, twenty) first-team players had arrived before the deadline passed on September 1, and it would have been 21 had Forest pushed through a move for Chelsea outcast Michy Batshuayi in time. Steve Cooper relied heavily on loan players last season, most of whom left the club, but even still, the quantity of incomings has been remarkable.

Forest have already handed out 18 Premier League debuts this season (seven more than any other team) and could still make a 21st signing – free agent Serge Aurier is reportedly a target. For now, here's the 20 new faces Cooper can call on.

Goalkeeper

We'll start at the back, in the form of goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who signed on loan from Manchester United to replace the departing Brice Samba. While the latter was crucial last season, England international Henderson is an upgrade and came in as the club's second senior signing on July 2. He has already proved his worth, saving two penalties (one in a win over West Ham, the other in last week's loss to Tottenham). Wayne Hennessey signed from Burnley 13 days later to provide experienced competition.

Defence

The first defender through the door was right-back Giulian Biancone, and the 22-year-old was followed by coveted Mainz centre-back Moussa Niakhate for a reported fee of £8.5million (€9.8m) plus £4.2m (€4.8m) in potential add-ons. Full-backs Omar RichardsNeco Williams and Harry Toffolo arrived from Bayern Munich and Liverpool, but after three games Cooper wanted more. Renan Lodi watched Forest lose to Spurs before signing on loan from Atletico Madrid, underlining the pull of the Premier League and regular minutes in a World Cup year, with Willy Boly (Wolves, reported £2.25m) and Loic Bade (Rennes, loan) rounding off their defensive business.

Midfield

It took until July 20 for Forest to bolster their midfield, with Lewis O'Brien signing from Huddersfield Town. A day later, Forest's first marquee signing of the window arrived in the form of Jesse Lingard, who had left Manchester United following the expiration of his contract. Orel Mangala is an energetic holding player who has slotted straight in after signing from Stuttgart, with the versatile Cheikhou Kouyate an experienced free acquisition from Crystal Palace. Remo Freuler has played in the Champions League with Atalanta, and Forest went all-out for Morgan Gibbs-White, paying Wolves a reported £25m for the England youth international, with add-ons potentially taking the deal to £42.5m.

Attack

Goals win games, and Forest – who were thrashed 6-0 by champions Manchester City in a huge reality check last time out – have managed only two in the league this season despite their incomings. In Gibbs-White and Lingard they have added creativity, though their attack is yet to click. Taiwo Awoniyi scored 15 Bundesliga goals last term for Union Berlin and got Forest's winner against West Ham, though that is his only strike in five appearances so. Emmanuel Dennis' 10 goals were not enough to keep Watford up, but Forest were still willing to pay £20m to bring in the Nigerian, while they will be hoping Hwang Ui-jo replicates the 11 league goals he managed for Bordeaux in 2021-22. Winger Josh Bowler signed in a reported £4m deal from Blackpool Town just before the deadline.

If there is one thing football fans will simply never be calm about, it is the amount of money their club spends on transfers.

No matter how many new, shiny players their team signs, that brief release of endorphins they get from watching YouTube compilations, checking Twitter for updates and finally seeing some over-produced nonsense of a reveal video soon dissipates and it's on to the next one.

Having said that, you wonder what it must have been like to be a Nottingham Forest fan during the transfer window, which finally closed on Thursday.

Back in the Premier League for the first time since 1999, Forest are determined to cement their place in the top tier.

Whatever anyone thinks about the quality of the arrivals, the club absolutely went for quantity as an incredible 21 players came through the door at the City Ground at a total cost – according to Transfermarkt – of £145.76m. Only Chelsea (£251.09m), Manchester United (£214.22m) and West Ham (£163.80m) spent more in the Premier League.

At the other end of the scale, the spending of the team that finished two places above Forest in the Championship last season, Bournemouth, has been comparatively meagre.

The Cherries committed just £24.21m to incomings, with three of their six new arrivals in the window coming in on free transfers, and one a loan.

Head coach Scott Parker was sacked on Tuesday after making his feelings known on the lack of investment from above after his team's 9-0 humbling at Liverpool.

But which approach is likelier to pay off in the long run? You would think Forest's launching of money at anything and everything will give them a better chance of staying up, and possibly even challenging higher up the table in future, but football is rarely that simple.

Using fees from Transfermarkt, Stats Perform has taken a look at the past 10 years of spending from the Premier League's promoted clubs to see how those who splashed the cash in their first season back in the big time fared.

Forest have, unsurprisingly, spent more than any promoted team in Premier League history.

The only club to have come close was Aston Villa in 2019-20, forking out £143.55m after they got themselves back into the top flight.

While it worked as they avoided relegation, they did so by the skin of their teeth, with the final-day draw at West Ham keeping them safe by a single point.

Their survival was largely down to the brilliance of Jack Grealish, who was already there, though some of their signings that season remain at the club - such as Tyrone Mings, Ezri Konsa, Douglas Luiz and Marvelous Nakamba.

There have only been two other clubs to spend more than £100m in their first season back in the English top flight and both came in the 2018-19 campaign, with very different results.

Wolves' outlay of £101.48m saw them challenging for the European spots, finishing seventh with 16 wins and 57 points, ahead of Everton, Leicester City and West Ham.

Fulham, on the other hand, spent slightly more (£104.85m), but it did them no good at all as they finished 19th and went straight back down to the Championship, leaving them lumbered with a lot of expensive players with big contracts.

They have managed to recover since, and invested £55.26m after promotion last season, but it was proof if it were needed that big spending is not even a guarantee of survival, let alone success.

There have been just five clubs that have spent less than Bournemouth in preparation to make the jump from the second tier to the Premier League since the start of the 2012-13 season.

Two of them came in that campaign, and as above, with mixed results. Reading spent just £9.74m and unsurprisingly went back down, while West Ham forked out £21.51m on new recruits and finished 10th, and have remained in the Premier League ever since.

The same thing happened in 2014-15 as Burnley's spend of £11.36m was not enough to keep them up, while Leicester's outlay of £20.57m is the least any promoted team has spent without going back down in the past decade. A year later, they won the league.

The least any promoted team has ever spent was fairly recently, with Norwich City deciding they would try and mix it among the best in the land in 2019-20 with an outlay of just £7.93m. It did not work.

Those stories do not really allow us to draw any conclusions though, given the vastly differing fortunes between clubs who appeared to follow similar volumes of spending.

That rings true throughout the past 10 years, with some interesting outcomes along the way.

In the 2013-14 season, Cardiff City (£41.23m) spent more money than both fellow promoted sides, Hull City (£27.99m) and Crystal Palace (£29.70m), but were the only one of the three to go back down.

The 2017-18 campaign is the only one in the past decade that has seen all three promoted sides stay up, with each of them spending between £40-60m (Newcastle United - £41.85m, Huddersfield Town - £51.08m, Brighton and Hove Albion - £59.85m).

In the 2020-21 campaign, only high-spending Leeds United (£96.12m) stayed up of the promoted teams, with West Brom (£37.93m) and Fulham (£33.53m) going back down.

However, last season, only low-spending Brentford (£33.03m) stayed up, with Watford (£39.15m) and Norwich (£57.20m) going back down.

Across the past 10 seasons, the team that spent the most out of the three newly promoted sides has ended up being relegated in five of them, while in seven of the past 10 seasons, the team that spent the least of them has been relegated.

So, what can we gleam from all this?

Essentially, spending money does appear to provide a slight upper hand. Those who have spent more have given themselves a better chance of staying up, but arguably not by the extent you would expect, or even to the extent that makes doing so worthwhile.

Those who choose to be more frugal seem to pay for it eventually, apart from those who already had a strong squad or structure anyway, such as West Ham in 2012-13.

As is the case throughout the game, spending money will only work if it is done with intelligence and the players purchased are utilised efficiently.

Forest will be hoping Steve Cooper can continue to control the wheel as ably as he did in the Championship, but for whoever takes over at Bournemouth, this season might be like getting ahead of Formula One cars in a Ford Focus.

The transfer window has been gently eased shut, and there were plenty of last-minute deals to keep fans across Europe captivated.

Southampton were busy, adding Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Duje Caleta-Car to their ranks, among others, while Barcelona allowed Martin Braithwaite to join Espanyol on a free transfer and sold Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Chelsea.

As the seconds ticked down, clubs dotted their i's, crossed their t's and blew the dust off their fax machines, and here is just some of what took place in the closing hours.

Busy Saints bring in four, lose one

As far as the Premier League goes, it was Southampton who got up to the most activity in the final moments, signing Maitland-Niles on loan from Arsenal and Caleta-Car permanently from Marseille on a four-year deal, as well as adding two Manchester City youngsters in Juan Larios and Sam Edozie. They let defender Yan Valery to Ligue 1 side Angers.

Brighton and Hove Albion completed the signing of Billy Gilmour from Chelsea and released Romanian striker Florin Andone, while Chelsea let Ethan Ampadu join Serie A side Spezia on loan and finally allowed Kenedy to depart Stamford Bridge after seven years to join Real Valladolid in LaLiga.

Carlos Vinicius returned to the Premier League after a loan spell with Tottenham in 2020-21, having joined Fulham from Benfica on a permanent deal. The Cottagers also completed a loan deal for Leeds United winger Daniel James.

The Whites were frustrated in their attempts to sign Bamba Dieng from Marseille, but instead clinched a deal for Italian youngster Wilfried Gnonto from FC Zurich for an undisclosed fee.

Nottingham Forest added signings number 20 and 21 of the window in Josh Bowler from Blackpool and Loic Bade from Rennes, with free agent Serge Aurier potentially making it 22, though a reported late move for Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi failed to materialise.

Jan Bednarek had been linked with a move to West Ham earlier in the day but ended up leaving Southampton on loan to another team in claret and blue as Aston Villa brought in the Polish defender.

Brooks was here, now he's in Lisbon

On the continent, Benfica completed the signing of American defender John Brooks from Wolfsburg, while Maxi Gomez left Valencia for Turkish side Trabzonspor.

Los Che brought in a replacement for Gomez in Justin Kluivert on loan from Roma after his move to Fulham fell through due to work permit issues.

In France, highly rated forward Amine Gouiri swapped Nice for Rennes in a reported club-record fee apparently worth €28million, while Lille secured a loan deal for Everton midfielder Andre Gomes.

As well as signing Aubameyang and Hector Bellerin and losing Braithwaite, Barcelona also said goodbye on a temporary basis to Ez Abde, who joined Osasuna on loan.

Deadline day has seen major transfers aplenty, with clubs across Europe pushing to complete final pieces of business before the window slams shut until 2023.

Barcelona have terminated Martin Braithwaite's contract, the forward widely expected to join Espanyol, while in France, Abdou Diallo completed a switch to RB Leipzig to begin an exodus from Paris Saint-Germain.

Further deals for both clubs are also on the cards, with a frantic end to the window expected in the final hours.

Premier League's power push

PSG's exodus was of benefit to English sides, Fulham signing Layvin Kurzawa on loan and Everton bringing Idrissa Gueye back to Merseyside three years after he left for the French capital. Gueye said: "There is no better feeling than coming back home. I've followed the team every week and watched how they play. For me, there is no better place than Everton so that's why I chose to come back here."

Fulham have also signed former Chelsea and Arsenal playmaker Willian on a free transfer.

Nottingham Forest hit number 19 for the window, drafting in Willy Boly from Wolves, while Southampton saw Jack Stephens move across the south coast to join Bournemouth on loan.

Arsenal's quest for a new midfielder has seen attention turn to Aston Villa's Douglas Luiz, though the Gunners face a stern test with bids reportedly rebuffed from the side they defeated 2-1 on Wednesday.

Chelsea look set to bring one of the long-running sagas of the window to a close, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang poised to join from Barcelona. Marcos Alonso is expected to move to Camp Nou as part of that deal and the Blues may sell Billy Gilmour to Brighton and Hove Albion.

One player not on the move, however, was Joao Pedro as he confirmed he would remain at Watford amid reported interest from Newcastle United and Everton.

Europe's eye for business

On the continent, Julian Weigl moved to Borussia Monchengladbach on loan from Benfica. 

Free agent Florian Grillitsch has joined Ajax, who are said to have turned down approaches from Chelsea and Everton for Edson Alvarez and Mohammed Kudus respectively.

Krzysztof Piatek also departed Germany, leaving Hertha Berlin for Serie A side Salertina, and was followed to Italy by Aster Vranckx, joining Milan on loan from Wolfsburg.

The Serie A champions are not yet finished, with an announcement confirming the capture of Sergino Dest from Barcelona expected imminently.

In Spain, Luca Zidane, son of Zinedine Zidane, joined second-tier outfit Eibar on a free transfer following his exit from Rayo Vallecano and Ilaix Moriba joined Valencia on loan from Leipzig, with Gennaro Gattuso's side also closing in on signing Justin Kluivert from Roma following the collapse of a proposed move to the Premier League.

Real Sociedad were also in on the late action, landing forward Umar Sadiq from Tenerife, the Nigerian likely to be a replacement for Alexander Isak.

Erling Haaland continued his incredible start to life in the Premier League with a record-setting treble in Manchester City's 6-0 thrashing of Nottingham Forest.

The Norway international made it two hat-tricks in the space of five days – and a perfect one at that, with his right foot, left foot and head – in City's latest statement victory.

Meanwhile, Liverpool left it late to see off Newcastle United 2-1 at Anfield.

There were goals and drama elsewhere on Wednesday, too, and Stats Perform unpacks the pick of the data.

Manchester City 6-0 Nottingham Forest: Haaland makes history

Haaland now has nine goals in five Premier League games since joining City from Borussia Dortmund – the best start of any player in the competition's history at this stage.

He surpassed the record of eight goals previously held by Micky Quinn and City great Sergio Aguero, the man he is effectively replacing at the Etihad Stadium.

The prolific striker is just the seventh player to score a hat-trick in back-to-back games in the competition and the first since Harry Kane did so for Tottenham in December 2017.

Fellow newbie Julian Alvarez also scored twice, while Joao Cancelo netted the other as City bagged five or more goals in a league game for the 32nd time under Pep Guardiola.

That accounts for 14 per cent of City's games under the Catalan coach in the competition, with that tally more than twice as many as any other side over that period (Liverpool, 15).

The only side to have exceeded the 18 goals City have scored after five games of a Premier League season were Manchester United, who had 21 to their name at this stage 11 years ago.

Liverpool 2-1 Newcastle United: Carvalho the late hero

Newcastle led with an hour played at Anfield, only for Roberto Firmino to level and Fabio Carvalho to fire home in the 98th minute to snatch all three points for Liverpool.

That was the 40th winning Premier League goal scored by Liverpool in the 90th minute or later – the most of any side – with three of those coming in this fixture.

Timed at 97 minutes and nine seconds, it was Liverpool's latest goal in the top flight since Dirk Kuyt's penalty against Arsenal in April 2011 (101:48).

Alexander Isak had earlier given Newcastle the lead with a debut goal, making him the sixth Swedish player to net on his Premier League bow.

Arsenal 2-1 Aston Villa: Martinelli keeps Gunners perfect

Arsenal dug deep to overcome Villa and make it five wins in a row to begin a league campaign for the first time since the 2004-05 season, when they went on to finish second.

Gabriel Jesus steered Arsenal ahead for his sixth goal involvement in his first five Premier League outings for the club, breaking Mesut Ozil's previous record of five.

Douglas Luiz equalised directly from a corner, but Arsenal hit back just 151 seconds later through Gabriel Martinelli, who converted Bukayo Saka's cross.

That was Saka's 17th Premier League assist – only Cesc Fabregas (38), Wayne Rooney (22) and Michael Owen (18) had more before turning 21.

West Ham 1-1 Tottenham: Soucek denies Spurs

Tottenham could not see out a lead at London Stadium as they were denied the chance to make their best start to a Premier League season after five games.

Thilo Kehrer turned a Harry Kane delivery into his own net, with that a league-high seventh own goal scored by West Ham since the start of the 2020-21 season.

Tomas Soucek levelled for West Ham with his 19th Premier League goal, each of those coming from inside the 18-yard box.

That strike was assisted by Michail Antonio on his 200th league appearance for West Ham, whose tally of two goals after five games is their fewest since 1994-95 (one).

While Spurs could not hold on for the win, they are unbeaten after five games in the competition for only the third time, having previously done so in 2004-05 and 2016-17.

Pep Guardiola labelled Erling Haaland a "special talent" after the striker scored a perfect first-half hat-trick in Manchester City's 6-0 thrashing of Nottingham Forest on Wednesday.

Haaland, who is averaging a goal every 43 minutes since arriving in the Premier League, has now made the most prolific start to a career in the competition on record.

His third goal against Forest, scored with a close-range header after 38 minutes, was his ninth in five Premier League outings, bettering the eight-goal hauls managed by Sergio Aguero and Micky Quinn through their first five appearances in the competition.

Haaland needed just 16 touches to score his treble, and Guardiola is delighted to see the striker sending records tumbling so early in his Premier League career.

"I know he is happy and scoring goals, but I think what he wants is to win," Guardiola told BT Sport.

"The records are okay, if you withdraw the records and he cannot score goals, we cannot win some games. I'm pretty sure he would not like it. 

"He's a special talent, he has an incredible sense of goals. He didn't touch one ball and his first touch is a goal, so... he is Erling.

"He's strong in all departments but especially in that sense, he smells in the box unlike anyone else and his finishing is so good.

"His work ethic as well is great. We are delighted about the way he has done it."

Haaland was not the only recent City arrival to make headlines on Wednesday, as Julian Alvarez marked his first Premier League start with a second-half brace.

And Guardiola says everyone at City will be proud of his contribution, adding: "He is new, he came from another continent. We see him every day, all of us. The work ethic and being a nice guy always pays off.

"There's not one person in the locker room, there's not one person in the backroom staff that is not happy for his two goals, for the incredible effort he has done."

Meanwhile, City's dominant display saw them maintain their unbeaten start to the Premier League season, and they have now scored 14 goals through their first three home games of the campaign.

While a 3-3 draw at Newcastle United means the champions have not opened the season in perfect fashion, Guardiola is satisfied by the levels shown by City thus far. 

"I think we've played really well all season so far. We conceded transitions against Newcastle and could not control [Allan] Saint-Maximin but apart from that, our level in all the games was high."

Erling Haaland described his start to life in the Premier League as "amazing" after hitting his second consecutive hat-trick to make history in Manchester City's 6-0 demolition of Nottingham Forest.

Haaland – who scored a match-winning treble against Crystal Palace on Saturday – needed just 38 minutes to clinch a perfect hat-trick as Forest wilted on Wednesday, taking him to nine goals in his first five Premier League outings.

That tally represents a new competition record, bettering the eight-goal hauls managed by Sergio Aguero and Micky Quinn at the start of their Premier League careers.

City, meanwhile, have scored 18 goals across their opening five matches, the highest tally in their league history. The last side to exceed 18 goals after five matches at the start of a Premier League season was Manchester United in 2011-12 (21 goals).

Haaland has scored at the remarkable rate of a goal every 43 minutes since arriving at the Etihad Stadium, and is the first player to score hat-tricks in back-to-back Premier League games since Harry Kane in December 2017.

Speaking to BT Sport after the dominant win, Haaland said: "It's amazing. Nothing more to say. It's been good so far, I'm not complaining!

"It was about making sure we kept doing what we did in the second half against Palace, and just to play, play, play, play and play. We knew there was going to be chances, and it was nice.

"I try to listen as much as I can to Pep and to play with the boys because they're amazing footballers and without them, I would not be able to score goals.

"So it's about finding chemistry, playing together, and listening to Pep [Guardiola].

"It's fantastic, that's why I came here. You can see we play so good, we find each other and we will become even better, so it's going to be nice.

"It's important to keep going, it's going to be a lot of games so it's important to keep going and to enjoy as much as we can."

While Haaland stole the show with his remarkable display of finishing, fellow City striker Julian Alvarez also enjoyed a landmark outing, scoring two goals on his first Premier League start.

Alvarez is the seventh Argentinian to score on his first Premier League start, and the first to do so more than once, and is targeting more than a bit-part role in Guardiola's side.

Speaking to the BBC, Alvarez stated his belief he could form an effective partnership with Haaland, saying: "Obviously I'm very happy for the team performance, and for my two goals, and getting that reception from all the fans.

"I think it's not me or Erling, we can play together in the starting eleven. We fit together, which is good for the team.

"Some things are similar from Argentina, like the ball pressing, but the Premier League is faster, I have to adapt to that. My team-mates help me and I am super grateful for that."

Erling Haaland scored a perfect hat-trick inside 38 minutes to make history as Manchester City crushed Nottingham Forest 6-0 at the Etihad Stadium.

Having put City 2-0 up with two early close-range finishes, Haaland converted from John Stones' header to make it nine goals in his first five Premier League matches – a new competition record. 

Joao Cancelo then extended City's lead further with a fine long-range effort, before Julian Alvarez opened his Premier League account with two more goals on his first start.

The dominant win ensured Pep Guardiola's side maintained their unbeaten start to the new season and laid down an ominous marker to any would-be challengers, with the champions now fully up to speed.

Dean Henderson made a reflex save to deny Alvarez six minutes in, but he was rooted to the spot when Haaland poked Phil Foden's deflected cross inside the near post to hand City a 12th-minute lead.

Renan Lodi headed into the side netting when left unmarked five minutes later, and the visitors were made to pay for that miss when Haaland played a fine give-and-go with Foden before rolling into an empty net.

The Norwegian then made it nine goals for the campaign to kill the contest as the break approached, taking advantage of some dire Forest defending to head home on the goal-line following a deep free-kick.

City picked up where they left off after half-time as Cancelo rifled into the top-left corner from the edge of the area, before Alvarez marked his first Premier League start with a goal by finishing low across Henderson when one-on-one.

Haaland was substituted to a standing ovation before Alvarez added his second late on, bringing down a loose ball before volleying into the top-left corner to add further gloss to the scoreline.

Erling Haaland has made the most prolific start ever to a Premier League career after the Manchester City striker helped himself to a perfect hat-trick against Nottingham Forest.

Haaland put City 2-0 up within 23 minutes with two close-range finishes at the Etihad Stadium, before making history with a header seven minutes before the break.

His treble – his second in as many games after he fired City to a 4-2 comeback win over Crystal Palace last time out – took him to nine goals in his first five Premier League outings.

City legend Sergio Aguero and former Newcastle United and Coventry City forward Micky Quinn had previously set the benchmark, with eight goals in their first five appearances in the competition.

Indeed, Haaland, with nine, has already scored more goals in five appearances in August than Harry Kane has in 26 (eight).

Manchester City and Pep Guardiola are working on the margins to make Erling Haaland even better after his blistering start to life in the Premier League.

Haaland joined City on a five-year deal formalised in June after the club activated a €60 million (£51.2m) release clause in his deal with Borussia Dortmund.

The Norway striker has quickly illustrated why he has developed a reputation as one of the most fearsome strikers in world football.

Haaland has found the net six times in his first four Premier League games, scoring a hat-trick to help City come back from two goals down to beat Crystal Palace 4-2 on Saturday.

Yet ahead of Wednesday's meeting with Nottingham Forest, Guardiola indicated he believes Haaland can reach an even higher level.

He told a press conference: "We're delighted. Hopefully he feels good being here.

"We only had one month of competition. We still have margins to improve [for him] to be a better player and we're working on that."

With City facing a packed fixture list as the Champions League, which they begin with a trip to Sevilla, starting next week, talk has already turned as to when Guardiola may rest Haaland.

When he does so, Guardiola is confident Julian Alvarez, whom City signed in January from River Plate, will be ready to fill the void.

"When Erling doesn't play, we play Julian," Guardiola added. "Almost sure. We are all really impressed for his pace, sense of goal, his work ethic, for many things.

"Every session [he] leaves everything. Impact in pre-season, now plays minutes. Involved in two goals the last game, always the sense to be involved in the right areas.

"When he drops he has the quality to play. Everyone is talking about Erling, but he is exceptional."

While Haaland completed City's comeback against Palace, Bernardo Silva was the one to start it.

Silva has been the subject of interest from Barcelona, while Paris Saint-Germain are also said to be keen on the Portgual international.

Reports have suggested Barcelona have given up on signing Silva in this transfer window, and Guardiola reiterated how highly he thinks of the former Monaco star.

"With Bernardo I said many times how important he is for us," said Guardiola. "Just one, two days finally the window will be over and everyone will be focused on what we have to do."

Page 1 of 5
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.