x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Premier League: Fulham, Liverpool, Man City and Man Utd

Rio Ferdinand is ready to return to the United first team when the Red Devils resume their Premier League title quest next week, believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Mark Hughes, the Fulham manager, may have lost his left-back Paul Konchesky to Liverpool on transfer deadline day, but he will be pleased to have retained the services of Mark Schwarzer, who had been heavily linked with a move to Arsenal throughout the summer. It was rumoured that Schwarzer was set to leave and be replaced by Shay Given, the Manchester City goalkeeper, but when the Irishman decided to fight for his place at Eastlands, both transfers fell through. As part of the Konchesky deal, the Cottagers also obtained the registrations of Liverpool youngsters Lauri Dalla Valle and Alex Kacaniklic.

Paul Konchesky's transfer from Fulham was completed on deadline day, while Roy Hodgson, the manager, kept hold of Ryan Babel, the Dutchman who was the subject of a £10m bid by both Tottenham and West Ham United, but declared, via his Twitter account, that he was ready to fight for his place. Earlier, the Anfield side received £17m for Javier Mascherano from Barcelona and replaced him with Raul Meireles, the midfielder from Porto. Backroom unrest remains a testy subject and Mascherano's recent comments that the reason he left was "unfulfilled promises" will do little to quell the owners' problems.

Martin Petrov, the Bulgarian midfielder who left Eastlands to join Bolton Wanderers earlier this summer, is the latest disgruntled, former player to voice his doubts over the progress of the club, like Craig Bellamy and Stephen Ireland before him. Petrov said he is more than happy to no longer be associated with the big spending Manchester club, telling Bulgarian media: "100 per cent no, I don't miss City. If I accepted their one-year offer now I would be on loan somewhere else. At City nothing is clear. The team are looking for identity. At the moment at City people are becoming more bad than good."

Rio Ferdinand is ready to return to the Manchester United first team when the Red Devils resume their Premier League title quest next week, after just 45 minutes in the reserves. That is the view of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, United's reserve team manager, who believes the England captain will be ready for a recall after the international break, following his knee injury lay-off. "Rio is always the same player," Solskjaer said. "It is a while since he has played but he was still calm. He has got through an important 45 minutes, straight after two very hard training sessions yesterday and the day before so we are delighted with him.

* Compiled by Paul Radley and Gary Meenaghan