Hello there and welcome to Friday. The international break is well and truly gone now. There are absolutely no complaints from anybody! It was torturous at times. But now the Premier League is back, and it’s back for months! The next international break isn’t until March, so we have plenty of football between now and then. Anyway, let’s have a look at some of the news doing the rounds.
Mane agrees new contract
Liverpool announced last night that Sadio Mane has agreed a new long-term contract with the club. It’s a five-year deal, that will run to 2023. This is very positive news for Liverpool, of course. Mane is undoubtedly one of their best players, and tying him down is great business by the club. There were stories linking him with a move to Barcelona recently, but that doesn’t seem likely now.
It didn’t seem likely when news came out of Barcelona having to pay a premium of €100m on any Liverpool players they sign before 2020 either. That was inserted into the deal that saw Philippe Coutinho switch Anfield for the Nou Camp last January. It was clearly a good move by the club.
Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino have all now signed new deals this year. Firmino signed one in April and Salah signed one in July. All three of Liverpool’s star players now have contracts that run until 2023.
Smalling in talks over new deal
It was reported yesterday that Manchester United have opened talks with Chris Smalling over a new contract. The defender’s current deal expires at the end of the season. Some people don’t really agree that he should be given a new contract, and you can see where they’re coming from. But it really depends on what his role in the squad will be.
He hasn’t shown that he is good enough to be a regular centre-back for Man United. But if he’s getting the contract and told he will be a squad player, it’s understandable. He wouldn’t be the worst option to have for back-up, but he’s really no more than that.
Javi Gracia will sign a new contract at Watford next week. The Spaniard has done a great job at Watford since coming in last season. The Hornets are currently seventh in the Premier League table. Gracia confirmed that he is set to sign a new deal. “We reached an agreement for the next few years, I have not yet signed but I will do in the next week,” he said. “And I am happy because I think it’s good for me, good for the club as well and we will see.” His new deal is set to run until the end of the 2020/21 season.
It sounds likely that Samir Nasri will sign for West Ham, with the Frenchman training with the club. But Manuel Pellegrini says that he will have to prove himself before he earns a contract. Nasri is currently banned from football, but will be free to return from January 1. Reports said that he hasn’t kept himself in the best of shape throughout his ban, though, and that may harm his chances of getting a contract. But Pellegrini clearly likes the midfielder, who he knows from Manchester City, where the pair won the league together.
When asked if Nasri will sign for the club, Pellegrini said: “We will see. Samir Nasri is working with us after a long ban. We are giving him a hand to return to football. I hope that from now until the end of the year he will be fit and if that is the case we will try to keep him here at West Ham.”
According to reports, Nasri will be given a six-month contract, worth £80,000 per week. West Ham may then extend that for a year if they feel he has done well. West Ham may be looking for another option as Andriy Yarmolenko is set to miss a significant portion of the season, while Manuel Lanzini is still out. Whether turning to Nasri is the right option is another question, though. But he’s just 31, which isn’t as old as I thought. Maybe he can still do it.
Kante new contract
Chelsea announced this morning that N’Golo Kante has signed a new five-year deal with the club. That’s good business by them, too.
I must say, I don’t like the new attacking role he has at the moment, and I hope Maurizio Sarri sorts something for him. It just doesn’t suit him. But he’s still playing well, of course. He’s also one of the most likable people in football. Everybody loves the little destroyer.
We got some injury updates yesterday from managers that held their pre-match press conferences ahead of the weekend, and we’ll surely get some more today.
Jordan Henderson is expected to be fit to play for Liverpool against Watford on Saturday.
There was some news from Tottenham. Mousa Dembele remains in Qatar. He’s getting treatment on an ankle injury. Danny Rose isn’t far from a return to full training. Davinson Sanchez is out with a hamstring strain, and could be ruled out for a few weeks, but Spurs are hopeful that he’ll be back before January. They hope Kieran Trippier will be available before the end of the month. And finally, Jan Vertonghen has returned to full training and may be available for tomorrow’s game against Chelsea.
At Burnley, James Tarkowski is a doubt for Monday’s game against Newcastle. He was sent for a second hernia operation during the international break. He is recovering well, though, so hasn’t been ruled out completely.
And that’s that for this morning.
This morning saw the launch of our new weekly in-depth articles. This week focuses on the history of the Chelsea/Tottenham rivalry, which you can check out here. There will be a new article posted every Friday.
Any news doing the rounds throughout the day will be on Twitter, and I’ll be back tomorrow with more. Have a good Friday!