Man Utd’s Antony Swoop, Chelsea Move For Aubameyang Headline Deadline Deals

A photo combination of Antony and Aubameyang.


Manchester United were the biggest spenders on the Premier League’s transfer deadline day as they splashed out £82 million ($94 million) on Ajax forward Antony, while Chelsea’s frenzied spree culminated with a swoop for Barcelona forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Against the background of Britain’s cost of living crisis, Premier League clubs showed no caution, reportedly breaking the all-time record spending total for an entire season with an incredible £2 billion changing hands in just one transfer window.

The previous £1.86 billion record from 2017-18 was surpassed because United and their domestic rivals found no outlandish fee or wage demands beyond them.

As of last Thursday, gross spending by the 20 Premier League teams stood at £1.5 billion, surpassing the 2017 record of £1.43 billion spent by English clubs in one close-season window.

United manager Erik ten Hag has been responsible for a large chunk of the spending after returning to his former club Ajax to sign Antony.

The 22-year-old Brazilian is the fourth-most-expensive player in Premier League history.

“This is an incredible moment in my career to be joining one of the most iconic clubs in the world,” Antony said.

United had a busy window, signing Casemiro for £60 million from Real Madrid and Lisandro Martinez from Ajax for £56 million.

Ten Hag sealed another less expensive deal on Thursday as Newcastle keeper Martin Dubravka arrived on a season-long loan to serve as back-up to David de Gea.

Even United’s spending pales compared to Chelsea, who splashed out around £240 million as their new American owners made a significant statement in their first window.

Having finally landed Leicester defender Wesley Fofana for a reported £70 million on Wednesday, Blues boss Thomas Tuchel reunited with Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who thrived under the German during their time at Borussia Dortmund.

The 33-year-old cost £10.3 million as he returned to the Premier League nine months after leaving Arsenal following his rift with Gunners boss Mikel Arteta.

“I’m really happy. It’s an honour to be part of this team and I can’t wait to start. I have some unfinished business with the Premier League so it’s good to be back and really exciting,” Aubameyang said.

READ ALSOPremier League Clubs Shatter Spending Record In £1.9bn Spree

‘Best for the club’ 

Manchester City strengthened their injury-hit defence by signing Swiss international Manuel Akanji on a five-year deal from Dortmund.

Akanji will provide the Premier League champions with extra defensive depth after recent injuries to centre-backs Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake.

“City have been one of the best teams in Europe over the last few seasons. Coming here feels like the perfect next step in my career,” said Akanji, who cost City a reported £17 million.

Akanji is City’s second raid on Dortmund this summer after their £50 million deal for Norway striker Erling Haaland.

With the window closing at 2200 GMT, Liverpool made a late move by signing Arthur Melo on a season-long loan from Juventus in response to their midfield injury problems.

The 26-year-old Brazilian said: “I’m really happy to be here wearing this great shirt with this famous badge that represents so much in world football. It’s a dream.”

Leicester moved quickly to replace Fofana by signing Belgian Wout Faes from Ligue 1 side Reims, their first major acquisition of the summer.

Fulham signed Paris Saint-Germain left-back Layvin Kurzawa on a season-long loan and took Wales winger Daniel James on loan from Leeds.

The Cottagers also brought Willian back to the Premier League after the Brazilian winger left Corinthians in August.

Willian, formerly of Chelsea and Arsenal, agreed a one-year contract, saying: “I’m happy to be back in the Premier League. Fulham is a club that wants to improve, that wants to fight for something bigger.”

Senegal midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye returned to Everton from PSG for a nominal fee on a two-year contract.

The 32-year-old played for Everton from 2016 to 2019 before moving to PSG.

Brighton signed Scotland midfielder Billy Gilmour from Chelsea for £7.5 million.

Wolves let Leander Dendoncker leave, with the Belgian midfielder joining Aston Villa for £13 million.

Southampton signed Manchester City’s teenagers Samuel Edozie and Juan Larios for a combined £16 million, landed Croatia centre-back Duje Caleta-Car from Marseille, and took Ainsley Maitland-Niles on loan from Arsenal.


Premier League Clubs Shatter Spending Record In £1.9bn Spree

In this file photo taken on August 12, 2017 The Premier league trophy sits beside the pitch ahead of the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester City at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton. CHRIS J RATCLIFFE / AFP
In this file photo taken on August 12, 2017, The Premier League trophy sits beside the pitch ahead of the English Premier League football match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester City at the American Express Community Stadium in Brighton. CHRIS J RATCLIFFE / AFP

Premier League clubs shattered their single-season spending record during an incredible £1.9 billion ($2.1 billion) spree during the summer window.

Deloitte’s Sports Business Group estimated the gross spending by the 20 English top-flight clubs during the transfer window that ended on Thursday was the highest in the history of the competition.

Despite the cost-of-living crisis gripping Britain, Premier League teams needed just one window to break the £1.86 billion mark set in the summer and winter transfer periods combined during the 2017-18 season.

According to Deloitte, the gross spend on a total of 169 players was also 34 percent higher than the previous record for a single window of £1.4 billion in the summer of 2017.

It was 67 percent higher than last year’s total Premier League summer window spend of £1.1 billion.

“Gross spend was so high among Premier League clubs this summer that, before this season’s January transfer window had taken place, the 2022/23 season already has the highest transfer spend since the two-window season began, exceeding the previous record by 3 percent (2017/18’s £1.86 billion),” Deloitte said.

Nine Premier League clubs spent over £100 million each as expenditure recovered dramatically after two seasons of decline caused by the financial fall-out from the coronavirus.

In total, the Premier League spent more than Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A and Germany’s Bundesliga combined.

Tim Bridge, lead partner in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, said: “The record level of spending during this transfer window is a clear indication of Premier League clubs’ confidence, as fans return to stadia and a new broadcast cycle begins.

“It’s now become part and parcel of the Premier League that clubs are willing to pay significant sums to maximise performance.

“This season, the desire to acquire playing talent has reached new levels as the pressure for clubs to stay in the competition is higher than ever.”

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Chelsea Splurge

New ownership at Chelsea, with Todd Boehly’s consortium taking over from Roman Abramovich, acted as a catalyst for the increased spending.

With a £255 million splurge, Chelsea spent more in one window than any team in Premier League history.

Their spending was £53 million more than Manchester United, who were the next biggest in this window at £202 million.

United’s £82 million signing of Ajax forward Antony on deadline day was the fourth biggest transfer in Premier League history.

Liverpool’s move for Benfica forward Darwin Nunez could eventually beat that fee, with the initial £67 million outlay potentially rising to £85 million depending on contract clauses and add-ons.

Chelsea’s biggest deal during the window was the £70 million purchase of French defender Wesley Fofana from Leicester.

Boehly also funded moves for Marc Cucurella (£60 million), Raheem Sterling (£50 million), Kalidou Koulibaly (£33 million) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£10.3 million)

At Old Trafford, Casemiro (£60 million) and Lisandro Martinez (£51 million) joined Antony in United’s top 10 most expensive signings of all time.

Champions Manchester City strengthened their squad with the £50 million move for Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, who has already started to repay that fee with nine goals in five games.

Newcastle striker Alexander Isak and West Ham midfielder Lucas Paqueta were among seven players to be signed for over £50 million this summer, while 19 players were signed for £30 million or more.

Even Nottingham Forest, back in the Premier League for the first time since 1999, recorded a gross spend of £126 million on an astonishing 21 players.

That was only the third time Deloitte has reported any club spending over £100 million immediately after promotion to the Premier League.


Manchester United Agree $99m Deal For Ajax Winger Antony – Reports

File photo of Ajax Brazilian winger, Antony Santos. Credit: @antony00


Manchester United have agreed a fee that could rise to £85 million ($99 million) to sign Ajax’s Brazilian winger Antony, reports said Monday.

The Premier League giants have agreed to pay £80.75 million, with a further £4.25 million in add-ons, the BBC, Sky Sports and other British media said ahead of the transfer window closing on Thursday.

The 22-year-old Antony could be the second player to follow United manager Erik ten Hag from the Dutch champions to Old Trafford following the arrival of defender Lisandro Martinez.

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Tyrell Malacia, Martinez, Christian Eriksen and Casemiro have arrived so far this summer and Ten Hag is hoping to keep Cristiano Ronaldo, despite the Portuguese wanting to leave to play Champions League football.

The 37-year-old was on the bench for United’s 1-0 win at Southampton on Saturday before making a largely anonymous substitute appearance in the second half.

United remain adamant that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner is not for sale in the second season of his second spell with the club.

“We played with him, so we want him to stay. That is what we want. I hope so,” Ten Hag said.

United will attempt to win a third successive Premier League match at Leicester City on Thursday, hours before the transfer window closes at 2200 GMT.


Lewandowski And Mane Headline Transfer Window Movers To Watch

A photo combination of Lewandowski and Mane


Kylian Mbappe is staying at Paris Saint-Germain and Erling Haaland is on his way to Manchester City, but plenty more big-name stars are on the market as the summer transfer window opens in Europe.

AFP Sport highlights five names to follow in the coming weeks:

Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

After eight prolific seasons at Bayern, the Polish striker has decided it is time to move. Lewandowski, who will turn 34 in August, has a year still to run on his contract at the Allianz Arena but said last month that his time in Bavaria “has come to an end”.

Bayern insist Lewandowski –- who scored 50 goals for his club in the season just finished and has been the Bundesliga’s top scorer in each of the last five campaigns -– is going nowhere, with president Herbert Hainer saying “a contract is a contract”.

Yet if they don’t want to lose him for nothing they will have to sell now. Barcelona are reportedly prepared to offer him a three-year deal and it is understood the former Borussia Dortmund striker wants to go to Spain.

Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

The Senegal star’s highly successful six-season spell at Liverpool looks to be coming to an end and Bayern are keen to sign the forward, who has a year left on his contract at Anfield.

“Is it not between 60 and 70 percent of Senegalese people want me to leave Liverpool? I will do what they say,” Mane, 30, said this week while back in his home country on international duty.

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Yet, according to reports in England, Liverpool have rejected a bid from Bayern of £30 million ($37.6m) for Mane, who has scored 120 goals since moving to Merseyside from Southampton in 2016.

Darwin Nunez (Benfica)

In the game of transfer musical chairs, moves for Lewandowski and Mane could lead to this rising Uruguayan star heading to Liverpool. Nunez, who turns 23 this month, was this season’s top scorer in the Portuguese top flight with 26 goals for Benfica. He also netted six times in the Champions League, including in both legs of the quarter-final defeat to Liverpool.

Uruguayan international Nunez, who joined Benfica from Spanish side Almeria in 2020, has a contract in Lisbon until 2025 and will not come cheap, although England’s biggest clubs will not be put off by the asking price. Benfica want 100 million euros ($107m) according to Portuguese media reports. Manchester United are also being linked with an approach.

Paul Pogba (Manchester United)

Pogba is leaving United as his contract expires, bringing to an end an underwhelming second spell at Old Trafford to where he returned in 2016 from Juventus for a then world record fee of £89 million ($116m at the time).

The 29-year-old French World Cup winner, who has had a particularly disappointing final season in the Premier League, has been linked in the past with Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain -– he was born and raised in the Paris suburbs.

However, the most likely outcome seems to be a return to Juventus, where he played from 2012 to 2016. Pogba, who was a client of Mino Raiola before the super-agent died in April, is expected to sign a three-year deal in Turin worth eight million euros ($8.6m) per season.

“I just want the best for me. I am thinking, putting everything together, taking my time, and waiting for the best. I just want to play football, be myself and enjoy what I do,” Pogba said in an interview with the American site this week. “We can be losing games or losing trophies, but you have to be happy where you are.”

Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona)

The 25-year-old France winger is out of contract at Barcelona, where his five-year spell has been blighted by injuries. The Catalans had been keen to keep a player who seemed revitalised following the appointment of Xavi Hernandez as coach at the Camp Nou this season, but talks appear to have broken down.

Sports daily Marca this week described the negotiations as a “dialogue between the deaf”. PSG have been strongly linked with a move to bring the former Rennes winger back to France, but a move to the Premier League could also be in the offing.


Rudiger Will Leave Chelsea At End Of Season – Tuchel 

Chelsea's German head coach Thomas Tuchel (L) applauds the fans following during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Leicester City at Stamford Bridge in London on May 18, 2021. Chelsea won the match 2-1. PETER CZIBORRA / POOL / AFP
File photo: Chelsea’s German head coach Thomas Tuchel (L) applauds the fans following during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Leicester City at Stamford Bridge in London on May 18, 2021. Chelsea won the match 2-1. PETER CZIBORRA / POOL / AFP


Thomas Tuchel has revealed Germany defender Antonio Rudiger will leave Chelsea when his contract expires at the end of this season.

Tuchel had hoped to persuade Rudiger to stay at Stamford Bridge, but the centre-back has opted to end his five-year spell with the Premier League club.

Chelsea’s attempts to keep Rudiger were hampered by the British government’s sanctions on Russian owner Roman Abramovich, which included a rule that existing players could not sign new contracts.

The Blues are believed to have made a contract offer to Rudiger prior to the sanctions, but the deal was never finalised after a request was reportedly made for large signing-on and agent fees.

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The 29-year-old, who arrived in west London from Roma in 2017, is reported to be keen on a move to Real Madrid, with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain also interested in offering him a lucrative free agent deal.

“Toni, the media is on it. The situation is that he wants to leave the club. He informed me of this is in a private talk,” Tuchel said after Sunday’s 1-0 win against West Ham.

“We gave everything, me and the club, but we could not fight anymore because of the actions. Without the sanctions we would at least be able to carry on fighting, but our hands are tied. We don’t take it personally. It is his decision.”

Rudiger had established himself as a vital presence in Tuchel’s defence, with his leadership and whole-hearted displays making him a fan favourite.

He missed the victory over West Ham due to a groin injury but was watching the match from the stands.

Tuchel admitted Rudiger’s departure will be a big blow to a team that won the Champions League and Club World Cup thanks in part to his rock-solid displays.

“He is a key figure and will stay that way until the end of the season. But it is disappointing. We will miss him a lot,” Tuchel said.

“He gives courage in the dressing room. The kind everyone is afraid of, but the kind to play 50-55 games at an outstanding level.

“He is a top defender in the last one and a half years for me. We then need to find another solution.”


Liverpool Sign Diaz From Porto

In this file photo taken on December 19, 2021, FC Porto’s Colombian midfielder Luis Diaz celebrates after scoring a goal during the Portuguese league football match between FC Vizela and FC Porto at the Futebol Clube de Vizela stadium in Vizela. MIGUEL RIOPA / AFP


Colombian international winger Luis Diaz signed for Premier League side Liverpool on Sunday from Portuguese side FC Porto, which will place further doubt on the future of their Egyptian star Mohamed Salah.

The 25-year-old Diaz signed a contract till 2027 for a reported fee of £37.5 million ($50 million), with a further £12.5 million in potential bonuses.

“I’m very happy to sign for Liverpool,” he said on Sunday via the club’s official Twitter account.

There is no resolution in sight to protracted talks over a contract extension for Salah, who is presently away at the Africa Cup of Nations.

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“Liverpool Football Club have completed the signing of Luis Diaz from FC Porto, subject to the successful granting of a work permit and international clearance,” Liverpool said in a statement on their website.

“He joins Liverpool after two-and-a-half seasons with FC Porto, where he made 125 appearances and scored 41 goals.”

Diaz was rumoured to be Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp’s primary target for the summer transfer window, but growing interest in the player, most notably from Tottenham Hotspur, forced the Reds to move early.

He is presently on international duty with Colombia for 2022 World Cup qualifying matches.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp expressed his delight at the signing of Diaz.

“I could not be happier that we’ve been able to get this deal done and bring Luis to Liverpool”, said Klopp.

“I have always been a believer in only signing players in January if you would want to sign them in the summer, and that’s very much the case with Luis.

“He is an outstanding player and someone we’ve been tracking for a very long time.

“This team deserved to add quality and when we played against Luis earlier this season (they were in the same Champions League group), we saw what a danger he is, how fast he is, and how his mentality was to help his team.”

Liverpool sent a delegation to Argentina — where Colombia play on Tuesday — to conduct a medical so the move could be completed before the January transfer window closed.

Salah and Liverpool team-mates Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino will all be out of contract in the summer of 2023, by which point they would all be aged 31.

Diaz would add fresh blood to the Liverpool forward line and comes with a burgeoning reputation after scoring 16 goals in 28 games for Porto this season.

He was also top scorer alongside Lionel Messi at last year’s Copa America with four goals.


End Of An Era: Barcelona Announce Lionel Messi’s Departure

File photo: Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi reacts during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and FC Barcelona at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, on March 10, 2021. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)


Argentine superstar Lionel Messi will not sign a new deal with Barcelona, ending his two-decade stay at the Nou Camp, the Spanish giants have said.

“Despite FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi having reached an agreement and the clear intention of both parties to sign a new contract today, this cannot happen because of financial and structural obstacles (Spanish Liga regulations),” Barcelona said on Thursday about the player who became a free agent after his deal expired on June 30.

“As a result of this situation, Messi shall not be staying on at FC Barcelona. Both parties deeply regret that the wishes of the player and the club will ultimately not be fulfilled.”

The announcement brings to an end a 20-year trophy-laden career that saw the 34-year-old winning six Ballon d’Ors.

Messi played 778 games for Barcelona and scored 672 goals.

“FC Barcelona wholeheartedly expresses its gratitude to the player for his contribution to the aggrandisement of the club and wishes him all the very best for the future in his personal and professional life,” the club added.

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Debt-Burdened Barca

File photo: Barcelona’s Argentine forward Lionel Messi looks downwards during the Spanish League football match between FC Barcelona and CA Osasuna at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on July 16, 2020. LLUIS GENE / AFP


Before the recent announcement, multiple reports had suggested that the superstar had inked a five-year contract with the Nou Camp team.

But earlier in the day, reports emerged of a breakdown in talks between the club and the player’s representatives.

The 2008 Olympic gold medalist was expected to take a huge pay cut to stay at Barcelona under the new salary cap imposed by La Liga.

Messi had kept mum over his plans, granting only a couple of interviews about the contract saga where he only admitted that “nothing has been decided.”

Reports in Spain suggested that Barcelona – struggling to pay off their huge debts  –  paid Messi 555 million euros paid over four seasons from November 2017 to the end of last month.

While the recent announcement will help cash-strapped Barca free up much-needed funds, many fans won’t be happy with the move which they believe would strengthen their European rivals.

A host of top sides including English giants, Manchester City and Manchester United; and Paris Saint-Germain have been linked with a move for the Argentine skipper.

Kane Skips Spurs Return Amid City Transfer Talk

Fil photo of Harry Kane during a training session at St George’s Park in Burton-on-Trent. Paul ELLIS / AFP


Harry Kane reportedly failed to turn up for his scheduled pre-season tests with Tottenham on Monday amid mounting speculation the striker wants to force a move to Manchester City.

England captain Kane was due back at Tottenham’s training headquarters for a coronavirus test and a fitness assessment following his three-week holiday after Euro 2020.

However, it was widely reported Kane did not make an appearance at Tottenham’s Enfield base, sparking fresh talk that he is determined to engineer a transfer to Premier League champions Manchester City.

Tottenham, who ironically face Pep Guardiola’s team on the opening weekend of the new Premier League season, have declined to comment about Kane’s absence.

The 28-year-old went public with his desire to leave Tottenham at the end of last season.

Kane has grown frustrated at Tottenham’s failure to win a major trophy since 2008, with their latest letdown coming in last season’s League Cup final defeat against Manchester City.

He believes he has a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ with Tottenham which allows him to move this year.

But with three years left on his contract, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has no intention of selling his club’s prized asset, who is valued at around £150 million ($208 million).

Kane has been in the Bahamas following England’s Euro 2020 final loss to Italy.

With the top-flight season due to start on August 13, Kane appears to intend to push for a move.

It could be a rocky road for Kane if he steps up his demand to leave, with some Tottenham fans expressing their anger at his training ground snub on social media.

New Tottenham boss Nuno Espirito Santo was reportedly assured Kane would not be sold during discussions before he took charge.

Nuno said last month that Kane could be “counted on” next season.


Ex-PSG Defender Thiago Silva Joins Chelsea

Brazilian defender, Thiago is on an initial one-year deal with Chelsea. Photo: [email protected] FC



Chelsea signed former Paris Saint Germain defender Thiago Silva on a free transfer on Friday.

Silva, 35, has agreed to an initial one-year contract with the Premier League club, who have the option of extending the deal by a further season.


“I am so happy to be joining Chelsea. I am delighted to be a part of Frank Lampard’s exciting squad for next season and I’m here to challenge for honours,” Silva told Chelsea’s website.

“See you soon Chelsea fans, I look forward to playing at Stamford Bridge very soon.”

Silva’s eight years in Paris ended with the 1-0 Champions League final defeat against Bayern Munich in Lisbon last weekend.

The former AC Milan centre-back represents a departure from Chelsea’s usual protocol of focusing major signings yet to reach their peak.

But Lampard moved quickly to bolster a defence that conceded more Premier League goals than any other team in the top 10.

Silva won seven Ligue 1 titles with PSG and will be expected to provide experience and leadership at the heart of Lampard’s defence.

“We are delighted to be able to add a player of Thiago Silva’s proven world-class credentials to our squad,” Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia said.

“Having performed at the highest level for many years, we have no doubt his experience and quality will complement the many exciting talents we already have here.

“Thiago will be an excellent fit and we hope he can add some new trophies to his impressive list of honours.”

Silva is the latest new arrival at Stamford Bridge as Lampard rebuilds a side that finished fourth in the top-flight last season, 33 points behind champions Liverpool, and lost the FA Cup final against Arsenal.

Lampard has already signed Leicester left-back Ben Chilwell, Leipzig striker Timo Werner, Ajax playmaker Hakim Ziyech and former Nice defender Malang Sarr.

Chelsea are also expected to sign Bayer Leverkusen forward Kai Havertz shortly in a £90 million ($119 million) deal that would take their total spend in the summer window to a Premier League record £230 million.

Lampard’s new recruits could make their debuts in Chelsea’s Premier League opener at Brighton on September 14.


Liverpool Rake In $54m Profit Despite Transfer Spending

Liverpool flag


Premier League leaders Liverpool made a pre-tax profit of £42 million ($54 million) last year despite a record £223 million investment on players, figures showed on Thursday.

While that top line is well below the record £125 million profit for the year ending May 2018, the rewards are being felt on the pitch, with the club just four victories away from winning their first league title in 30 years.

Figures released for the financial year to May 31, 2019 incorporate the big-ticket purchases of Alisson Becker, Naby Keita, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri.

They also include the increased costs of new contracts for 11 players, including those for captain Jordan Henderson, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, who have all played a key role in helping Jurgen Klopp’s champions-elect establish a 22-point lead at the top of the table.

Some of that cost was offset by sales including Danny Ings, Dominic Solanke and Danny Ward.

Income was also boosted by the club’s success in winning a sixth Champions League title, although as victory in the final in Madrid came in June the prize money will be counted in the current financial year.

“This continued strengthening of the underlying financial sustainability of the club is enabling us to make significant investments both in player recruitment and infrastructure,” said chief operating officer Andy Hughes.

“Being able to reinvest over £220 million on players during this financial period is a result of a successful business strategy, particularly the significant uplift in commercial revenues.”

Turnover increased during the period by £78 million to £533 million. Media revenues and commercial revenues were significantly higher and match revenue was also up.

The rise is a result of a new Champions League broadcasting deal, finishing a close second to Manchester City in the Premier League and higher partnership and merchandising value, with Liverpool signing their first training kit sponsorship deal with AXA.

“What we’re seeing is sustained growth across all areas of the club which is aligned to the recent performance on the pitch,” said Hughes.

“Since this reporting period we have continued to reinvest in the club’s infrastructure, and we look forward to the opening of our new (£50 million) training base at Kirkby ahead of the new season, which will provide first-class facilities for our players and staff.

“We have also just completed a second-phase consultation on a proposed expansion of the Anfield Road stand, which could see an increase in the stadium’s capacity.”


Court To Determine Chelsea Transfer Ban Fate Soon, Says Lampard


Frank Lampard expects to find out “very soon” whether Chelsea will be free to make any January signings, with the club waiting to learn the outcome of their FIFA transfer ban appeal.

Chelsea’s appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) was heard last month, with the Blues contesting FIFA’s two-window ban relating to the recruitment of minors.

When asked when he expects to discover the result of that appeal, Lampard replied: “Very soon I believe. Days, I think.

“I haven’t heard any more, so I would wait and reserve judgement (on Chelsea’s plans for January) until we get the judgement and see where we want to go from there.”

Fourth-placed Chelsea will give Tammy Abraham “every possible chance” to face Aston Villa on Wednesday as the England striker recovers from a hip injury.

Lampard admitted the 22-year-old, who has scored 10 Premier League goals this season, is still battling pain from the problem he picked up in the 2-2 Champions League draw at Valencia.

“We’re giving him every possible chance to be fit,” said the Chelsea boss, whose side have lost their past two league matches after a fine run.

“He’s still got some pain in the area of the injury. (We will) make a judgement tomorrow. It’s painful for him, so it’s a pain threshold and whether it affects his movements. So I wouldn’t want to commit today.”

Olivier Giroud, who led the line in last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at West Ham, and Belgium’s Michy Batshuayi are continuing to press their claims up front, while US forward Christian Pulisic could operate as a false nine in Abraham’s absence.

Admitting the challenge of keeping his other strikers focused and happy given Abraham’s form, Lampard said: “Yes, in the modern day every manager wants to have that situation.”

“They are training well, supporting the group with a smile on their face and they are happy when we win,” he added. “They are determined to help if we don’t, whether they are starting or not.

“Those are the rules of modern football. Of course, it is a challenge and everyone is a human and they want to play every week. So I have to be aware of that at the same time.”


Cardiff To Appeal FIFA Ruling Over Sala’s Transfer Payment

Nantes’ Argentinian Italian forward Emiliano Sala during the French L1 football match between Stade Rennais (Stade Resnais FC) and Nantes (FC Nantes) at The Roazhon Park in Rennes.


Cardiff said on Wednesday they would appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against FIFA’s decision to make them pay Nantes the first instalment of the transfer fee for Emiliano Sala.

The world governing body this week ordered Cardiff to pay French club Nantes an initial six million euros ($6.5 million) in their dispute over the payment of the transfer fee for Sala, who died in a plane crash.

“There remains clear evidence that the transfer agreement was never completed in accordance with multiple contractual requirements which were requested by Nantes, thereby rendering it null and void,” Cardiff said in a statement.

“We shall be appealing to CAS in order to seek a decision which considers all of the relevant contractual information and provides clarity on the full legal situation between our two clubs.”