In Brief

Premier League news and gossip: Pep Guardiola, Riyad Mahrez, Naby Keita, Fabinho

Five things worth knowing today about English football’s top-flight

Pep is up for City’s title defence

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has set his side the challenge of retaining the Premier League title.

The last champions to successfully defend the Premier League title were Manchester United in the 2008-2009 season and Guardiola is excited at the prospect of his City side achieving that feat.

Guardiola’s champions stormed to last season’s title with a record 100-point tally. He told premierleague.com: “There are a lot of strong teams in the Premier League. Even when you play the, with all respect, ‘lower teams’ they are so strong defensively. It’s completely different to the leagues I lived before. 

“I’m looking forward [to it]. In the last ten years no team was able to make back-to-back... that is the challenge.”

Mahrez is set for a return to training

ESPN reports that Manchester City summer signing Riyad Mahrez has been “given the all-clear to return to training”. Mahrez, who joined City from Leicester for £60m, injured his ankle in a pre-season friendly against Bayern Munich but is expected to be fit for Sunday’s Community Shield clash against Chelsea.

Summer spending to hit £1bn – again

The Daily Mail reports that this summer’s transfer window is expected to see Premier League clubs spend £1bn for the third successive year. Last summer’s transfer total was £1.4bn, but with £935m already spent that figure could be broken when the window closes at 5pm on 9 August. Liverpool have spent the most so far with £167.9m followed by West Ham, Arsenal and Manchester United.

Liverpool midfield is key

The summer signings of midfielders Naby Keita and Fabinho could take Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool “to the next level”. Writing on Sky Sports, journalist Adam Bate says: “Klopp has upgraded his midfield. The arrival of Naby Keita from RB Leipzig had long been anticipated but that does not make it any less exciting. The signing of Fabinho from Monaco underlines the commitment to quality in the centre of the pitch. These are two players, 23 and 24 respectively, who will be able to bring something more to Liverpool’s midfield play.”

Pope due to see specialist

Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope is seeing a specialist today after he dislocated his shoulder against Aberdeen in the Europa League qualifier last week. The 26-year-old was in England’s World Cup squad and Burnley boss Sean Dyche says it’s not known how long he will be out for. Dyche told the BBC: “It’s a definite dislocation, we know that, but it’s the grading of it and how the specialist views it. We will wait and see on that and we have no timescales at the moment.” 

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