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    Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta worried Prem stars leaving coronavirus bubble for international games could be ‘bad news’

    MIKEL ARTETA fears “bad news” when players leave the Premier League’s Covid-19 bubble to go on international duty next month.
    It was Arteta’s positive test back in March that led to English football shutting down completely, until strict protocols were put in place to allow some games to resume behind closed doors.


    Mikel Arteta fears next month’s international break could spell trouble for players leaving the Premier League’s coronavirus bubble

    But the Prem was dealt another major warning when West Ham boss David Moyes and his players Josh Cullen and Issa Diop discovered they were positive before the Hammers’ Carabao Cup win over Hull on Tuesday.
    The Gunners head coach Arteta said: “We have much more information right now than we had many months ago when that happened.
    “The bubbles that the Premier League, the clubs and the Government have been able to create to try to keep everybody as safe as possible are working really, really well.
    “But we all know that the issue is still there.

    “It is not going away and we have to keep the same approach and be always very careful, very conservative and try to maintain this business because it is really important in many, many aspects.
    “We are lucky in our profession that we have found a way. Not many professions can say that.
    “Let’s respect that and try to keep going in the best possible way.
    “Obviously when everyone has to fly away to very different countries, I think at the moment it’s a little bit of an experience.
    “We don’t know what the outcome is. We want to believe that they are going to follow a lot of things that are implemented and working well so fingers crossed we don’t get any bad news.”
    The good news for Arteta on the pitch is that he goes into tomorrow’s clash against Jurgen Klopp’s champions Liverpool with a 100 per cent record.
    Arsenal beat the Reds at the Emirates in July and in the Community Shield in the penalty shootout victory at Wembley last month.
    But Arteta knows his side face a huge challenge to close the 43-point gap between the two clubs at the end of last season.
    The Gunners boss said: “I don’t know if in football history someone has closed a gap of 43 points, if they maintain the same level, in just a few months.
    “What you are expecting to do is be much better and more consistent and then they can drop the level a little bit, and then the gap is not that big.

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    “But I don’t see any complacency [in Liverpool].
    “They go to any ground, even when they are 2-0 up, 3-0 up, 4-0 up, and they still go in the same way.
    “This is an incredible credit to the coaching team, the culture they have created and the spirit of that team.
    “There is not one player that plays half-half on the day, that is not very interested or just plays for moments in the game.
    “They just go for it, every single minute of every game.
    “Throughout the season to do that for ten months, that’s a massive compliment I think.”
    Former Manchester City No 2 Arteta has received plenty of praise for his work to date at Arsenal but there is much more to do to compete with Liverpool at the top of the table.

    He said: “That is a different level. They have done that in the Premier League and in the Champions League as well.
    “And that is why they raised the bar so high.
    “Not only them, Manchester City as well in recent years.
    “That is the level and you have to be able to compete at that level because this is our context and this is our reality.”
    ARSENAL (likely): Leno, Bellerin, Gabriel, Holding, Tierney, Xhaka, Ceballos,  Maitland-Niles, Willian, Lacazette, Aubameyang.

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    Liverpool starlet Rhian Brewster wants £20m Crystal Palace transfer but Reds insist on buy-back clause

    LIVERPOOL striker Rhian Brewster wants to speak to Crystal Palace about the chance to become a Premier League star.
    Brewster, 20, has been chased by the Eagles, Sheffield United and Aston Villa among others.


    Liverpool kid Rhian Brewster is keen on joining Crystal PalaceCredit: Reuters

    But he fancies a return to his home town of London and the chance of a regular start.
    The England Under-21 hopeful is stunned the Kop will sell him after his return from a loan at Swansea, but he has considered his options and Palace are his first choice.
    Now Palace will try to sort out a fee with Liverpool that could reach as high as £20million with extras.

    The south London club are unlikely to accept Liverpool’s demands for a buy-back clause, although they could offer them a slice of any profit if they sell Brewster.
    Palace signed Michy Batshuayi from Chelsea on loan for a season but Brewster would have a long-term chance of making the main striker slot his own. The deal would also push Christian Benteke further out of the Selhurst door.
    And if the price is agreed for Brewster it would still leave Palace with cash for Brentford’s Said Benrahma.
    The Eagles are the only current bidders for the wide man and will try to sort out a deal before the transfer deadline.

    Meanwhile, Watford will not drop the price for Ismaila Sarr by much — despite Liverpool cooling on the deal.

    The Hornets wanted £40m when the Kop was interested, before Jurgen Klopp’s decided to go for Diogo Jota.
    The Senegalese winger, 22, wanted the Anfield move.
    A couple of Premier League clubs are watching developments, but the word from Vicarage Road is the fee is down but still around £35million.
    Crystal Palace centre-half Ryan Inniss is also wanted on loan by Keith Curle’s Northampton.
    Inniss, 25, has been out  on loan before and Curle hopes to beat rivals to his signature.
    Boss Roy Hodgson has blocked any chance of a loan exit for midfielder Scott Banks, 19, too after he dazzled for the club’s under-23s.

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    David Moyes admits he will ‘hate’ bossing West Ham from his sofa after positive coronavirus test

    DAVID MOYES says he will hate having to boss West Ham from his sofa tonight.
    The Scot cannot attend the home clash with Wolves because he tested positive for coronavirus, along with stars Issa Diop and Josh Cullen.


    David Moyes will return to duty for West Ham on ThursdayCredit: AFP or licensors

    Instead, he will be racking up a phone bill by keeping in constant contact with No 2 Alan Irvine.
    Manager Moyes, 57, said: “I hate to miss games and I am really disappointed I can’t be there but I have to abide by the rules.
    “It is hard but it is the correct thing to do in order to keep other people safe. I am disappointed to have contracted Covid-19 but, as we all know, it can affect anybody.
    “I haven’t felt ill at all and I hope that continues and I’m able to return as soon as the isolation period is over.”

    Moyes and the two players will be back on duty on Thursday, so will also miss Wednesday’s Carabao Cup clash at Everton.
    The Hammers trio only found out they had tested positive 70 minutes before Tuesday’s third-round tie with Hull, which West Ham won 5-1.
    Moyes added: “We knew there was always the possibility it could happen.
    The three of us left the stadium quickly and Alan took over, which, again, was pre-planned.

    “There was no big drama and that was important because we had to make sure the players were totally focused on the game. It was great the players responded so well.”
    West Ham go into the Wolves game pointless in the Premier League.
    They were poor in the opening day loss at home to Newcastle but were much better last week in the 2-1 defeat at Arsenal.


    Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves side will face West Ham on SundayCredit: PA:Press Association
    Midfielder Declan Rice, 21, said: “We know it’s time to get points on the table. The result was tough to take at Arsenal, we should probably have nicked it.
    “They had two shots on target and scored two goals, which was hard to take, given the chances we created.”
    West Ham face Leicester, Spurs, Manchester City and Liverpool in their next four Prem matches.
    Rice added: “Last season, these are the games we performed in. We only lost narrowly in the matches at Liverpool and City.
    “On paper it’s really tough, but we know we can get a result if we play to our own game.”

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    Chelsea set to launch £40m-plus Declan Rice transfer raid as they think West Ham are desperate for the cash

    CHELSEA believe they will sign Declan Rice — because West Ham are desperate for the cash.
    Blues boss Frank Lampard sees the England midfielder as the final piece in his jigsaw puzzle.


    Chelsea are still confident they can bring Declan Rice to Stamford BridgeCredit: Rex Features


    Chelsea boss Frank Lampard is desperate to get the star in his squad Credit: EPA

    And while the Hammers insist Rice is not for sale, the Blues will make a formal bid in excess of £40million before the October 5 deadline.
    West Ham co-owner David Sullivan admitted this week he is “getting more depressed” over a lack of signings.
    And he conceded that was due to “limited funds”.
    Hammers boss David Moyes has already been forced to sell winger Grady Diangana to West Brom in a £18m deal that sparked a fans’ backlash and a public social media blast from skipper Mark Noble.

    But despite spending more than £200m already this summer, Chelsea are confident West Ham can be enticed into opening discussions over Rice, 21.
    He remains a close pal of England team-mate Mason Mount after they grew up together at the Blues academy before Rice was released at the age of 14.
    Lampard believes Rice’s best position is in front of the back four, a role often occupied by Jorginho.

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    David Sullivan told talkSPORT he had made the decision to sell Diangana “because we have eight wingers”.

    He added: “I cannot say for sure we are going to sign anybody.
    “We haven’t got the money.” 

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    West Ham eye shock Antonio Rudiger loan transfer with Chelsea defender left out in cold by Frank Lampard

    WEST HAM hope to get Antonio Rudiger from Chelsea in a loan deal.
    The Germany centre-half is worried about his role in Frank Lampard’s plans at Chelsea.


    West Ham are eyeing a shock loan move for Chelsea defender Antonio RudigerCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    And he may need a move ahead of the Euro 2020 finals next year.
    Hammers are keen to take Rudiger for the season and will pay good money to take him.
    They have already failed in similar enquiries for Rob Holding at Arsenal and Manchester United’s Chris Smalling.
    Blues may prefer to sell Rudiger, 27, but if that plan fails then David Moyes’ Irons have a serious chance of success. 

    The Hammers are also making checks on French centre-half Mohamed Simakan, 20.
    Simakan is in the middle of a long contract at Strasbourg and they value him in the £20million class already.
    West Ham would not pay Burnley’s £40m valuation for James Tarkowski.
    And they were also quoted a huge fee for 19-year-old Wesley Fofana at Saint-Etienne.

    Moyes has also been checking out  Hans Vanaken, who has 50 goals in 142 starts for Club Bruges in Belgium.
    Vanaken, 28, has won five caps for Belgium.
    The midfielder has missed a move to the Premier League in the past but would jump at the chance now. 

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    Pep Guardiola blasts ‘nobody cares about the players’ as he slams Prem chiefs over rushed return after Jesus injury

    PEP GUARDIOLA always feared it could come down to a survival of  the fittest.
    Yet the Manchester City boss surely believed it would take a little longer than two weeks to be proved correct.


    Pep Guardiola’s worst fears regarding a player burn out are started to come to fruitionCredit: PA:Press Association

    Guardiola was not the only one to warn the players faced burn-out, given the added demands on an already tight-as-cramp schedule.
    Now, without Gabriel Jesus for up to six weeks, Bernardo Silva on the list of walking wounded, and Sergio Aguero still far from a return, he has come out fighting.
    Guardiola was speaking for every club when he said: “No one cares about the players.”

     City and neighbours United were given a week’s grace before their campaign began, as their European exploits meant they only finished the previous one in mid-August.
    Yet international calls meant a pre-season of less than three weeks for many — and the fall-out has already started.
    Guardiola added: “It is not just Manchester City it is all the clubs, all the countries. Nobody cares for the players.
    “This is a business and we are part of the business, but we want to do it as best as possible for ourselves and for the fans unfortunately watching at home.

    “But for a long time now we have had this. So for the players, the pre-season was one or two weeks and then you have to play every three days for 11 months.
    “I understand this is an exceptional situation. For the restaurants, cinemas, the  theatres, museums, shopping, for everything.


    Gabriel Jesus has been ruled out for six weeks through injuryCredit: Getty
    “Everyone is struggling, so we are not exceptional in this.  But we had three players come back from the international duty and they were injured and we cannot control this. They let them play  without preparation, two games in three or four days.
    “In the end they are not machines but we demand a lot of them, and sometimes the muscles break down.”
    Guardiola goes into today’s clash with Leicester missing both his spearhead strikers in Jesus and Aguero.
    Even though his squad is packed with stars, it means 17-year-old Liam Delap could feature again, just three days after making his debut.
    There is no immediate let-up to the schedule either, no chance for weary limbs to get some much-needed rest.
    City have Wednesday’s Carabao Cup fourth-round trip to Burnley, most will be involved in the next set of international fixtures in a fortnight, and the next European campaign is just around the corner.

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    There is no doubt if he still had the chance, Guardiola would be tearing his hair out.
    He said: “Every association  — the Premier League, Uefa, Fifa, the Carabao Cup — they defend their own business and their position, so you have to play every competition.
    “With the international teams, the federations need to play games for qualification for the Euros, the World Cup because it’s Uefa and Fifa’s responsibility to organise their own tournaments.
    “They need the players and the situation is exceptional — everyone understands that.
    “But we had 11 months playing incredible games, then the players had two or three weeks and had to come back and play another season.”

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    Jose Mourinho growing frustrated with Tottenham’s transfer business after failing to land Harry Kane back-up

    JOSE MOURINHO is becoming increasingly frustrated with Tottenham for failing to land him a back-up striker for Harry Kane.
    The Spurs boss has had to embark on a new season with his club gambling again on just having England star Kane as a solitary hitman.


    Jose Mourinho will have to rely on Harry Kane for the 2020-21 campaignCredit: Rex Features

    SunSport revealed Mourinho wanted Ollie Watkins — who grabbed 28 goals last season for Brentford — to be understudy to Kane.
    But he had to watch Aston Villa land the 24-year-old, for a fee of £28million, which could rise to £33m with add-ons.
    Watkins has already scored twice in two EFL Cup appearances for Villa this season and made a full debut in the Premier League in the 1-0 defeat of Sheffield United six days ago.

    Mourinho has told friends he cannot believe a big club like Spurs have just ONE recognised central striker compared to the likes of Manchester City — Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus.
    While Chelsea have Timo Werner, Tammy Abraham, Olivier Giroud and rivals Arsenal can call on Eddie Nketiah, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
    Manchester United boast Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Odion Ighalo and even Leicester have two in Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho.
    A pal said: “Tottenham is the only club in the world with one striker.

    “It is the same as last season. Do fans really think Jose wants four left-backs, six wingers and one striker? It is incredible.”


    Spurs missed out on the signing of Ollie Watkins Credit: Rex Features

    Levy has sanctioned around £60m worth of spending this summer.
    But the cash has been splashed on defenders Sergio Reguilon and Matt Doherty and midfielderand Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
    Kane continues to bang in the goals for Spurs — who face Newcastle at home today — but he has had injuries and missed 67 days and 14 games last season from January 2 with a thigh problem.

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    Lewis Hamilton insists he WON’T cry if he equals Michael Schumacher’s record 91 F1 wins at the Russian GP

    LEWIS HAMILTON will not break down in tears when he equals legend Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 F1 wins — because he is only interested in titles.
    The Brit can match the tally at this weekend’s Russian GP in Sochi — a race he has won four times out of six.


    Lewis Hamilton needs one win to equal Michael Schumacher’s all-time recordCredit: Reuters

    It would mark an incredible achievement, as most thought the German’s record was untouchable.
    SunSport reminded the six-time world champ how Schumacher sobbed when he equalled Ayrton Senna’s then-record of 41 wins at the 2000 Italian GP.
    But Hamilton said: “I saw that video of Schumacher’s reaction recently.
    “I don’t remember seeing what happened afterwards.

    “I’m sure he did talk about why he did that or what he was feeling.
    “For all of us drivers, there’s a lot of emotion involved in what we do. I don’t know why I am the way I am and why numbers are not necessarily something I focus on.
    “I come into this weekend as it being no different to any other weekend. I’ve got to work my backside off to beat my team-mate Valtteri Bottas and everyone else out there.
    “I know how hard that is, as do the other drivers. I just don’t think of anything else really.


    Michael Schumacher cried when he equalled Ayrton Senna’s then-record of 41 winsCredit: Getty – Contributor


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    “If it happens, it’s going to happen at some stage, as I’m not quitting any time soon. I can’t tell you how I am going to feel, or what it’s going to mean.”
    Hamilton has a whopping 55-point lead in the championship over Bottas and looks set for a seventh world title.
    That would equal another Schumacher record, and while the number of wins he has does not seem to bother him, Hamilton certainly IS interested in collecting championships.
    He added: “Championship numbers are different. When you win a championship, it’s something that is so far in the distance, it’s almost impossible or seems out of reach.”
    Hamilton, 35, raced Schumacher for only three seasons between 2010 and 2012 after he came out of retirement for Mercedes.
    Ironically, Schumacher was replaced at Merc by Hamilton but the two never really had much of a friendship.
    Hamilton said: “I met him once at the track he has at Kerpen — and that was amazing as a kid.
    “Probably my fondest memory was in Abu Dhabi when we exchanged helmets and that was really big for me. That’s the most valuable helmet I have.

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    Lewis Hamilton can match the tally at this weekend’s Russian GP in SochiCredit: Reuters
    “Otherwise, we never really had any deep conversations or anything like that. It was just pure admiration.”
    While Hamilton never had much of a connection to Schumacher, one driver who did is Sebastian Vettel.
    The Ferrari man idolised Schumacher when he was growing up and says he will be ‘sad’ to see Hamilton equal his hero’s record.
    He said: “91 wins has always been a number that appeared to be impossible to reach. But Lewis’ track record over the years has allowed him to get closer. It is only a matter of time before he reaches it.
    “On one hand I will be sad because Michael is still my hero, but on the other hand, I will always be happy for Lewis.
    “He deserves all the success he has had in the last years, this year — and the next years, too. It is half and half, I have mixed emotions.”
    Bottas set the early pace in Russia after topping both practice sessions in Sochi.
    The Finn is trying to stop Hamilton from adding to his six wins this season.

    Hamilton, second quickest in the afternoon session, was comfortably ahead of Daniel Ricciardo, who was best of the rest in his Renault.
    McLaren duo Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris were also impressive in P4 and P5.
    Meanwhile, F1 have confirmed that Stefano Domenicali will replace Chase Carey as F1’s new CEO from January.

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