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Thursday, 13 December 2018

Mourinho frustrated as Premier League clubs race to beat new deadline

Reuters , Thursday 9 Aug 2018
Jose Mourinho
Manager Jose Mourinho of Manchester United looks on during the International Champions Cup 2018 (Photo: AFP)
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Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho does not expect to add to his squad as the Premier League transfer window closes on Thursday, despite warning a difficult season lies ahead for the English giants without further recruits.

For the first time the Premier League deadline has been moved forward to the day before the season kicks off when United host Leicester City on Friday.

Unlike in England, the window for the rest of Europe's leading leagues doesn't close until later in August, meaning Premier League clubs have faced even more inflated prices when buying from the continent.

Chelsea shattered the world record fee for a goalkeeper with an 80-million euro (£71.6 million, $92 million) swoop for Athletic Bilbao's Kepa Arrizabalaga on Wednesday to replace Belgian international Thibaut Courtois, who has joined European champions Real Madrid.

As part of that deal, Croatia midfielder Mateo Kovacic has also joined Chelsea on a season-long loan deal.

However, there has been little other late movement from the top six clubs with Mourinho in particular frustrated at missing out on a host of targets to bolster his options in central defence.

Harry Maguire, who could face United for Leicester on Friday, Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng and Toby Alderweireld of Tottenham were all linked with United, while Atletico Madrid's Diego Godin emerged as a late target on Thursday. But Mourinho now says he is focusing on the players already at his disposal.

"The information I have is no," said Mourinho when asked if he would be adding to his squad.

"I’m not confident, I'm not confident and the market closes today so it is time at least for me to stop thinking about the market because the market will be closed."

- Liverpool steal a march -

Mourinho has been further irked by seeing rivals Liverpool steal a march on United to emerge as the second favourites for the title behind Manchester City thanks to a more than £170 million splurge on new signings.

However, Liverpool did their business early and are not expected to be busy on deadline day after recruiting Brazilian international Alisson Becker for a short-lived world record 72.5 million euro fee for a goalkeeper and midfielders Fabinho, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri.

Despite slashing a club record £60 million on signing Riyad Mahrez, City have enjoyed a uieter window after spending over £200 million last summer on assembling a squad that smashed a host of Premier League records in romping towards the title.

Australian teenager Daniel Arzani joined the English champions from sister club Melbourne City on Thursday but is expected to be sent on loan to Celtic.

Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino has been one of the more outspoken critics of the shortened window with time running out for Spurs to make a single signing this summer.

The move was designed to ease disruption in the first few weeks of the campaign after a number of high-profile players including Alexis Sanchez, Philippe Coutinho and Virgil van Dijk missed matches at the start of last season due to transfer speculation.

“If you compare with Europe, you are at a complete disadvantage and it does not help the clubs in the Premier League,” Pochettino said on Spurs' tour of the United States.

"It’s not going to help the Premier League clubs because we’re going to compete in Europe and in the Champions League but have 20 days less."

So far Tottenham's interest in Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish has been rebuffed with the Championship club holding out for a reported fee in excess of £30 million.

Elsewhere, Everton are hopeful of tying up a deal for Barcelona centre-back Yerry Mina, who scored three times for Colombia at the World Cup.

Wolves could also build on an impressive summer of dealing on their return to the top flight with a deal for Belgian international Leander Dendoncker from Anderlecht.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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