x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Premier League notebook: Vermaelen commits to Arsenal

Thomas Vermaelen signs new deal at Arsenal, while David Moyes is confident Everton can hang on to Ros Barkley.

West Bromwich Albion

Peter Odemwingie, the West Brom striker, has been given a vote of confidence by Roy Hodgson and told he is "one of the players that counts", despite being dropped for the derby with Wolverhampton Wanderers. Hodgson, the head coach, left Odemwingie out of the starting line-up on Sunday after being unsure he would recover from an ankle problem and illness in time. But Odemwingie came off the bench to score the second goal in a 2-0 win. Odemwingie said: "I came back [from international duty with Nigeria] with a little bit of a cough and cold and didn't train for five days. I was disappointed because the derby is a game you want to play in. But I saw the reasons for what he [Hodgson] said and he encouraged me. He said I should remove all the doubts about myself."

Arsenal

Thomas Vermaelen, the Arsenal defender, has signed a new long-term contract with the club, the Gunners confirmed on their website. The Belgium international is understood to have agreed to stay at Emirates Stadium until 2015. "I always had the intention to stay here. I feel there is a big belief in me from the club, from the boss and from the fans and that is one of the reasons why I stayed," Vermaelen, 25, said.

Wigan Athletic

Dave Whelan, the Wigan chairman, would pull his team out of the Premier League if promotion and relegation were scrapped in the English top flight. Richard Bevan, the League Managers' Association chief executive, yesterday claimed the American and Asian owners of top-flight sides are keen on a franchising model. The idea would need to be approved by a two-thirds majority of Premier League clubs. Whelan told talkSPORT: "It's the most stupid suggestion I've ever heard in my life. It's a worrying thought that if we get 14 or 15 foreign owners, they come up with some mad idea and it gets voted through. It would ruin and kill English football."

Chelsea

Chelsea are hopeful Ramires will be fit for Sunday's Premier League match away to London rivals Queens Park Rangers after he missed training for tonight's Champions League clash with Genk. The Brazil midfielder looks certain to sit out the Group E encounter at Stamford Bridge with a knee injury suffered in Saturday's 3-1 Premier League victory against Everton.

QPR

Tony Fernandes, the QPR chairman, has pledged to improve facilities at the club and revealed he has found a potential site for a new training ground. The Malaysian business tycoon's takeover of the club in late August provided the financial clout for Neil Warnock, the manager, to sign six new players in the last week of trading. Fernandes has also been looking to improve off the field performance. "We have made some good decisions in terms of training facilities," he said. "We need better facilities and I think we have found somewhere."

Everton

David Moyes, the Everton manager, is confident he can keep Ross Barkley, the 17-year-old England Under 21 international, out of the clutches of bigger clubs in a way he could not with Wayne Rooney. "Every club will want Ross Barkley because Ross Barkley is going to be an outstanding player," said the Scot. "If someone comes for Ross I've always said it, it's expensive to buy off Everton in the main. I'm sure the bigger clubs will be looking at him, but we've no intention of selling him."