Newcastle United: To nobody’s great surprise, Eddie Howe has dismissed the notion that midfielder Bruno Guimãraes might be off next summer. Reports from Spain in the past 24 hours suggested Guimãraes, who has been a huge success since signing for Newcastle in January has caught the eye of Real Madrid.
“No, absoluterly not,” said Howe, upon being asked if the Brazilian is for sale. “No, absolutely not. “We’re trying to build a squad here that we feel can take the club to be successful over the next few years, and we want to build that squad and enhance the group, not take away our best players.”
Done deal! Nottingham Forest have confirmed the signing of Morgan Gibbs-White from Wolves on a five-year deal. The newly-promoted club will pay an initial fee of £25m, plus up to £17m in potential add-ons.
Newcastle United: For all his excellent qualities as a manager, Eddie Howe has an absolutely dismal record against Manchester City. During his time at Bournemouth and Newcastle, Howe has sent teams out to face City on 12 occasions and all have returned to the dressing-room beaten … by an aggregate score of 39-5. On Sunday, his Newcastle team face the Premier League champions at St James’ Park and Howe has been speaking to the media ahead of the game.
“The results were hard on us but I thought they were tighter than they look on paper,” he said of Newcastle’s 4-0 and 5-0 reverses at the hands of City last season. “The home game, there were bits of our performance that were very good but you need a bit of luck and to be clinical and we probably weren’t that.
“We’d love a very good performance. This is the ultimate test. These games against City and Liverpool are the real barometer of our quality. We want to narrow that gap between us and the top teams in the division.”
In nine matches under Howe against the traditional Big Six in the second half of last season, Newcastle won one, drew one and lost seven. If they are to break into the cabal, as some suggest they might with their Saudi backing, they will have to do much better in this campaign.
Nottingham Forest: Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper insists an “exciting challenge” lies ahead after his newly promoted club’s well-documented summer trolley dash. Wolves midfielder Morgan Gibbs-White is on the verge of becoming their 16th summer signing after the clubs agreed a £25m fee, which could rise to over £40m.
“Well we’re enjoying it that’s for sure and we’re certainly facing up to it because it’s a reality,” said Cooper, speaking before his teamn’s trip to Everton tomorrow. “We’re not seeing it as a negative and not seeing it as a disadvantage because if you see it like that then you’re already on a downer with it. So we’re enjoying it.”
Gibbs-White, 22, will be reunited with Cooper after spending the first half of the 2020-21 season on loan at Swansea. Forest completed their 15th summer signing last weekend following the arrivals of Emmanuel Dennis, Cheikhou Kouyate and Remo Freuler, who could all be in contention for starting places tomorrow. Jesse Lingard, Dean Henderson and Taiwo Awoniyi had been among the club’s new arrivals earlier this summer.
“Quite rightly I get asked every week by people about the amount of players coming in and I completely understand that. It’s the right question to ask,” said Cooper. “But we had no alternative. It was inevitable. We were getting prepared for it for a long while and we’re still in that process. All we can do is keep trying to build layers day by day, in the way that we work and behave.”
The Liverpool manager had the press pack up bright and early for his weekend briefing ahead of his team’s Monday night match at Old Trafford. He confirmed that Roberto Firmino has returned to fitness and is available for selection. Klopp also addressed the sending-off of Darwin Nunez on his Anfield debut for an impetuous butt to the head of Crystal Palace defender Joachim Andersen on Monday night.
“Of course we spoke to Darwin and he was very disappointed with himself,” he said. “The things that the centre-half did, he’s not the only player in the world doing these kinds of things. We’ve never had a situation like this before while I’ve been here as far as I know, so I’m not an expert in these talks but it was obvious that he knew. He apologised. We all make mistakes.”
As you might expect, Klopp also dismissed the notion that his players might have it easy against a Manchester United side lining up on the back of a total humiliation at the hands of Brentford last weekend.
“United away will never be easy so we try to do our absolute best,” he said. “Of course. I would prefer to play them after they won 5-0, definitely, but that’s how it is. We drew two games, so is it better to play us in a situation like this? I don’t know. We have to deal with all the situations in the game and at this moment nobody knows what will happen. The whole world will watch it, it’s on Monday so let’s see how these heavyweights deal with the situation.”
Tottenham v Wolves (Saturday 12.30pm)
Everton v Nottingham Forest (3pm)
Leicester City v Southampton (3pm)
Fulham v Brentford (3pm)
Crystal Palace v Aston Villa (3pm)
Bournemouth v Arsenal (5.30pm)
West Ham v Brighton (Sunday 2pm)
Leeds United v Chelsea (2pm)
Newcastle United v Manchester City (4.30pm)
Manchester United v Liverpool (Monday 8pm)
And ends on, er … Monday night, what with the relegation six-pointer between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford being the pick of the Premier League fixtures. With nine top flight matches scheduled to take place before then, we’ll have no end of team news, managerial chat and transfer tittle-tattle to bring you between now and stumps this evening, so don’t touch that dial.