x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Premier League: Arsenal, Aston Villa, Birmingham City and Blackburn Rovers

Randy Lerner, the Villa owner, went some way in appeasing unhappy fans by retaining the services of the key winger Ashley Young.

Arsene Wenger named a 76-man squad, 56 of them under the age of 21, to prepare for the long season ahead. However, the Gunners were unable to improve their situation between the posts after a deal for Mark Schwarzer of Fulham failed to come to fruition and they were unable to add a goalkeeper before the transfer window closed. Manuel Almunia, Lukasz Fabianski and Vito Mannone remain the only keepers in the squad. One player who may join the ranks at the Emirates is Ryo Miyaichi, the 17-year-old Japanese forward, who impressed on a recent trial.

Randy Lerner, the club's owner, went some way in appeasing unhappy fans by retaining the services of the key winger Ashley Young. The Englishman, who had been linked with a move away, was named in the club's 22-man squad. Villa's failure to name the maximum 25 players over the age of 21 displays the club's lack of depth. Whoever is announced as the new manager, and it appears Alan Curbishley is first in line after Bob Bradley, the American, extended his contract with the US national team, will need to wait until January to strengthen the squad.

Alex McLeish, the manager, may have completed some of the best transfer business on the window's final day, bringing in Alexander Hleb, Martin Jiranek and Jean Beausejour, but it has done little to help him iron out the specifics of his long-awaited new contract. Peter Pannu, the wonderfully named Birmingham vice-chairman, said of McLeish and a possible deal: "To suggest that he is in the top class like [Jose] Mourinho ? well, he is no Mourinho. The ball is in his court." The Scotsman refuses to reveal details but rumours are growing that leave his future in doubt.

Ali Syed, the Bahraini businessman at the centre of a proposed takeover at Ewood Park, was forced to release a statement earlier this week denying his company has been forcibly closed. Syed said the confusion hinges on his company, Western Gulf Advisor, has two separate entities: one in Bahrain and one in Europe. The Manama-based business is being investigated by local government while the European entity is unaffected by the inquiry. Sam Allardyce, the manager, signed the free-agent Benjani Mwaruwari, the former Manchester City forward, on Tuesday, ending his summer-long search for a front man.

* Compiled by Paul Radley and Gary Meenaghan