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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 21 August 2018

Transfer window: How the Premier League top six are shaping up 

Richard Jolly on the ins and outs and potential transfer targets of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur

ARSENAL

The busiest of the big clubs over the summer, with Unai Emery’s appointment and the end of Arsene Wenger’s reign heralding change. Laurent Koscielny has been named captain, although a deputy will be needed as he is injured. Of four major signings, Stephan Lichtsteiner may seem a back-up but Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Lucas Torreira and Bernd Leno will surely start, with the £22 million (Dh105m) German bearing the look of the first-choice goalkeeper, even though Petr Cech has been given the No 1 shirt. Implementing different tactics, with the Uruguayan Torreira feeling the defensive midfielder Arsenal have long lacked, will be a priority for Emery. So will be persuading Aaron Ramsey to sign a new deal.

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CHELSEA

After months in limbo, Chelsea belatedly sacked Antonio Conte and appointed Maurizio Sarri. The former Napoli manager now has to make up for lost time; replacing one Italian’s 3-4-3 formation with another’s 4-3-3 seems a priority. One of Sarri’s former Napoli charges, midfielder Jorginho, has arrived and another, striker Gonzalo Higuain could be targeted. Chelsea have to determine the futures of Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois and Willian, who could all end up in Spain, with Aleksandr Golovin a possible replacement for the No 10 role, as well as players who were out of favour under Conte, such as David Luiz and Ross Barkley, and the returning loanees, such as Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

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Maurizio Sarri 'wants to keep strongest players' at Chelsea amid Hazard and Courtois exit talk

Steve Luckings: Hazard to replace Ronaldo at Real Madrid? What a welcome for Chelsea's Sarri

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LIVERPOOL

The midfield makeover began soon, with Naby Keita’s arrival already agreed and Fabinho soon tied up. Yet the breakdown of the move for Nabil Fekir prompts questions if it can be resurrected and, if not, Liverpool will look for another replacement for Philippe Coutinho. The most pressing concern is whether Loris Karius can recover from his traumatic Uefa Champions League final, and pre-season errors, to remain the first-choice goalkeeper. A deal for Brazil’s Alisson looks imminent. With Xherdan Shaqiri joining, Jurgen Klopp has got a back-up winger. He now has to dispose of some of the surplus strikers, such as Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge, while Danny Ings also wants to go.

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Liverpool close to world record deal for Brazil goalkeeper Alisson

Daniel Sturridge aims to be part of Liverpool team 'week in, week out'

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MANCHESTER CITY

Pep Guardiola’s biggest issue may be that, with 16 players going to the World Cup and many of them involved in the latter stages, City could be struggling to find a side to put out at the start of the season. Riyad Mahrez’s club-record move from Leicester City has brought another option in the forward line and the extra winger Guardiola wanted. Yet with Jorginho opting to go to Chelsea, Fred going to Manchester United and Jean-Michel Seri joining Fulham, Guardiola may struggle to find the holding midfielder he had wanted, unless Real Madrid will accept an offer for Mateo Kovacic.

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Richard Jolly: Signing of Riyad Mahrez fits the Manchester City blueprint

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MANCHESTER UNITED

Jose Mourinho made a swift start to the summer with the recruitment of Fred, as Michael Carrick’s successor in the midfield, and Diogo Dalot, earmarked as Antonio Valencia’s long-term replacement at right-back. Yet, besides the arrival of third-choice goalkeeper Lee Grant, things have gone quiet since then. United’s normal policy has been to look for a flagship signing. Ivan Perisic, wanted by Mourinho last year and so impressive in the World Cup, may tick some boxes. The impasse, meanwhile, also means a seemingly disenchanted Anthony Martial remains on the books. His sale could free up funds.

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TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

It is not the first time Spurs have entered the final weeks of the window without making a signing. At least there is some optimism this time after Mauricio Pochettino and Harry Kane signed new contracts. Yet other things remain uncertain: Toby Alderweireld and Danny Rose had seemed likely to leave, not least because this could be the last summer to bring in a huge fee for the Belgian, and so far both remain. The World Cup may have put their plans on hold, but also Spurs’.

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John McAuley: Hugo Lloris predicts 'special season' for Tottenham after successful World Cup

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