Europe’s transfer window set for frantic finale

Updated 31 August 2017
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Europe’s transfer window set for frantic finale

LONDON: Will Barcelona buy another forward to replace Neymar? Can Arsenal keep hold of Alexis Sanchez? Is Monaco about to lose three more of its star players?
Europe’s transfer window closes in most countries on Thursday and there are a slew of high-profile and long-running sagas that are still to be finalized.
Here’s a country-by-country look at the major talking points heading into the final hours of the window:
ENGLAND
It has been a record-breaking transfer window in the Premier League, with clubs using money received from bumper broadcast deals to spend £1.2 billion ($1.55 billion) on players so far. Many teams are still in the market, though.
The future of Alexis Sanchez has been a slow-burner but is likely to be the biggest story on Thursday. Manchester City has been linked heavily with the Chile forward and reportedly made a bid of £50 million ($65 million), even though he has only one year left on his Arsenal contract. City could also sign a center back, potentially Jonny Evans from West Bromwich Albion despite having two bids rejected already.
Liverpool has refused to enter negotiations with Barcelona for playmaker Philippe Coutinho, but will the Reds maintain their “not for sale” stance? Monaco winger Thomas Lemar, Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk and versatile Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have also been targets for Liverpool.
Premier League champion Chelsea wants to offload Diego Costa after the striker was told by manager Antonio Conte that he does feature in the club’s plans. Midfielders Riyad Mahrez and Danny Drinkwater could leave Leicester after handing in transfer requests.
Of the top teams, only Manchester United is likely to be quiet on Thursday.
SPAIN
The transfer window in Spain will close a day later than in most leagues, giving clubs extra time to try to make deals.
Barcelona is still trying to sign Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool, despite three rejected offers, in what would be another blockbuster addition after the arrival of Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund to replace Neymar.
Aside from interest in Coutinho, Barcelona Sporting Director Robert Fernandez said the club may still sign yet another player before the window closes.
Real Madrid is not apparently looking to sign anyone and Atletico Madrid is still banned by FIFA from registering any new players.
FRANCE
Defending champion Monaco should be careful what it wishes for. Although the club is piling up profits, it is dismantling a side that thrilled Europe by reaching the Champions League semifinals and scoring more than 150 goals.
Kylian Mbappe is set to join Paris Saint-Germain on loan with a view to a permanent signing that would make the 18-year-old forward the second most expensive player in history at €180 million ($216 million).
It would also make him the latest from last season’s title-winning side to leave, after attacking midfielder Bernardo Silva, left back Benjamin Mendy (both Manchester City), forward Valere Germain (Marseille), and defensive midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko (Chelsea).
It may not end there as skillful left-sided midfielder Thomas Lemar is courting wide interest, with Liverpool reportedly bidding about €80 million ($95 million) for the France international, and PSG is eager to sign defensive midfielder Fabinho as a long-term replacement for the aging Thiago Motta.
If Lemar and Fabinho are sold, it would push the figure of Monaco’s export sales to nearly half a billion euros ($600 million).
ITALY
It looks like being a quiet final day of the transfer window in Italy once again, with most of the business already done by the major clubs.
AC Milan has been the biggest mover, with its new owners spending more than €200 million ($234 million) on players such as Leonardo Bonucci, Nikola Kalinic, Andre Silva, Ricardo Rodriguez, Franck Kessie, Andrea Conti, Hakan Calhanoglu, Lucas Biglia and Mateo Musacchio.
Defending champion Juventus has brought in Douglas Costa, Mattia De Sciglio, Wojciech Szczesny, Federico Bernardeschi and Blaise Matuidi and could complete a deal for Schalke defender Benedikt Hoewedes.
Inter is also hoping to sign another defender, reportedly Shkodran Mustafi from Arsenal, especially after full back Joao Cancelo injured his knee in training with Portugal on Tuesday.
Roma is unlikely to make any more significant changes after signing Patrik Schick from Sampdoria on Tuesday, and neither is Napoli.
GERMANY
Borussia Dortmund began spending the windfall earned from Ousmane Dembele’s move to Barcelona for potentially €147 million ($173 million) by signing Ukraine forward Andrey Yarmolenko and right back Jeremy Toljan this week. The club still has plenty more money to spend, however.


Finch's century helps fire Australia to eight-wicket win over Pakistan

Updated 23 March 2019
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Finch's century helps fire Australia to eight-wicket win over Pakistan

SHARJAH: Aaron Finch's fine century drove Australia to a convincing eight-wicket win over a new-look Pakistan in the first one-day international on Friday.
The Austraian skipper scored 116 off 135 balls for his 12th one-day international century that helped his team overhaul the 281-run target in 49 overs on a flat Sharjah stadium pitch.
The win gives Australia the lead in the five-match series and has come on the back of their 3-2 series win in India earlier this month.
Finch's match-winning knock overshadowed Haris Sohail's maiden one-day hundred (101 not out) which helped Pakistan to 280-5 in their 50 overs.
The 32-year-old smashed Shoaib Malik for a huge six towards deep mid-wicket to complete his century -- his first since June last year against England at Chester-Le-Street -- off 120 balls.
Finch, who knocked four sixes and eight boundaries, added an innings-building 172 runs for the second wicket with Shaun Marsh who scored an unbeaten 91 off 102 balls with four boundaries and two sixes.
With 46 needed Finch became Mohammad Abbas's maiden wicket but Peter Handscomb hit 30 not out to help Marsh cross the line.
Finch and Marsh came together after opener Usman Khawaja fell for 24 to medium pacer Faheem Ashraf, the only other success Pakistan's new-look bowling attack could achieve.
Pakistan rested six of their key players including regular skipper Sarfraz Ahmed in order to keep them fresh for the World Cup starting in UK from May 30.
But the young and inexperienced Pakistan led by Malik proved no match for Australia, who are on a roll after their win in India earlier this month.
Left-hander Sohail, who reached 1,000 runs in his 27th one-day international when on 40, anchored Pakistan's innings, adding 98 for the third wicket with Umar Akmal who made a 50-ball 48 in his first international match for two years.
Sohail took a single to complete his hundred in the last over, finishing with six boundaries and a six.
Pakistan had handed one-day debuts to opener Shan Masood and Abbas -- who have played 15 and 14 Tests respectively.
Masood put on 35 in an opening stand with Imam-ul-Haq (17) before off-spinner Nathan Lyon dismissed Imam in the seventh over, caught and bowled.
Masood, who hit five boundaries in his 62-ball 40, was then bowled by paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile who finished with 1-38 in his 10 overs.
Umar smashed three sixes in one Jhye Richardson over but fell one short of his half century.
Malik fell for 11 and Ashraf and Imad Wasim scored 28 each.
Wasim hit four boundaries and a six during his 13-ball unbeaten knock, helping Pakistan to 55 runs in the last five overs.
Sunday's second ODI is also being played in Sharjah, with the third in Abu Dhabi (March 27) and the last two in Dubai (March 29 and 31).