Premier League chief Richard Scudamore says decision to close transfer window early up for review in September

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Scudamore has admitted that not all are happy with the decision.

Premier League executive chairman Richard Scudamore admits the new transfer deadline is still a bone of contention among clubs and will be reviewed in September.

The English summer transfer window closes on Thursday, over three weeks sooner than usual, leaving top flight clubs rushing to complete transfer deals before the Premier League season starts on Saturday.

Scudamore, speaking after the Premier League’s annual north-west managers’ meeting in Manchester, told Sky Sports he had received mixed feedback.

“We actually decided this last September,” Scudamore said. “As with all these things, it’s only when it comes upon people – but again it wasn’t a unanimous decision to do it, so there’s bound to be some dissent still around.

“But it was done for the reasons the clubs wanted to do it, for the purposes of not having a situation where clubs are threatened with players leaving to go to other Premier League clubs.

Scudamore is set to stand down from his position at the end of the year.

Scudamore is set to stand down from his position at the end of the year.

“That, they thought, transcended all the other challenges. It is going to be challenging, particularly for the promoted clubs, who effectively have two-and-a-half weeks less.

“But the decision has been made and we’ll analyse it in September when it’s all over.”

It depended on which clubs you asked whether the new deadline was working or not, said Scudamore, who agreed some were upset about it.

“Yes, but that’s the democracy we run,” he added. “It wasn’t a unanimous decision at the time. In some clubs the managers don’t like it and the executives do, it’s mixed.

“I speak to clubs who say: ‘This is fantastic, we knew what the deadline was and we’ve worked to that.’

“But there are other clubs who say they haven’t got time and wish we hadn’t decided to do it.

“Funnily enough, it falls down the line of those who voted for it and those who voted against it.”

Scudamore, who will stand down at the end of the year after nearly 20 years in the role, said he was confident the Premier League would be ready to adopt the video assistant referee system (VAR) in time for the 2019/2020 season.

“We will be doing far more testing this year and we will be ready to go,” he added. “Hopefully it will give the clubs, I think, a much easier decision to say ‘yes’ for next season.

“I’m as confident as I can be. Mike Riley (Premier League referees’ chief) and his team have worked extremely hard doing everything they need to and we will be ready to go next season.”

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Stan Kroenke nears full takeover of Arsenal after Alisher Usmanov agrees to sell his shares

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Kroenke is now on the verge of completing a full takeover of the club.

Stan Kroenke has moved a step closer to completing a full takeover of Arsenal after minority shareholder Alisher Usmanov accepted an offer worth in excess of £550 million for his stake.

American businessman Kroenke currently owns 67 per cent of the Gunners through his company Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, and has offered to purchase the 30.04 per cent held by Usmanov’s Red and White Securities firm, valuing the Premier League club at £1.8billion.

The move has been met with widespread derision from a large section of fans, with the Arsenal Supporters Trust (AST) labelling the news as a “dreadful day” for the club.

Usmanov confirmed in a statement released to Press Association Sport that he had accepted the offer for his shares but did not give a reason as to why he has now opted to cash in.

“I have decided to sell my shares in Arsenal Football Club which could be the best football club in the world,” he said.

“I wish all the best and great success to this wonderful football club and to all those whose lives and careers are entwined in it.”

Usmanov confirmed his intention to accept Kroenke's offer.

Usmanov confirmed his intention to accept Kroenke’s offer.

Meanwhile, the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust has voice several concerns over the potential takeover in a strongly-worded statement of their own.

“This news marks a dreadful day for Arsenal Football Club,” it read.

“Stan Kroenke taking the club private will see the end of supporters owning shares in Arsenal and their role upholding custodianship values.

“The most dreadful part of this announcement is the news that Kroenke plans to forcibly purchase the shares held by Arsenal fans.

“Many of these fans are AST members and hold their shares not for value but as custodians who care for the future of the club. Kroenke’s actions will neuter their voice and involvement.

“The AST is wholly against this takeover. Arsenal remains too important to be owned by any one person.”

Within two hours of the announcement the phrase ‘#KroenkeOut’ was trending on Twitter in the United Kingdom.

In a statement published on the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday morning, Kroenke said: “We at KSE are moving forward with this offer leading to 100-per-cent ownership of the club.

“We appreciate Mr Usmanov’s dedication to the Arsenal Football Club and the storied ethos and history the club represents.

Kroenke's offer has been met with widespread derision from the fans.

Kroenke’s offer has been met with widespread derision from the fans.

“The successful implementation of the offer will result in the opening of a new chapter in the history of the club in bringing 100- per-cent private ownership by KSE.

“KSE believes moving to private ownership will bring the benefits of a single owner better able to move quickly in furtherance of the club’s strategy and ambitions. KSE is a committed, long-term owner of the club.”

Later on Tuesday, Red and White Holdings released their own short statement to confirm the deal.

It read: “Red and White Holdings Limited (“Red and White”) today confirms that Mr Alisher Usmanov has given an irrevocable undertaking to KSE, UK, Inc. to accept the offer in respect of Red and White Securities’ entire holding of 18,695 Arsenal shares (representing approximately 30.05 per cent) for an agreed price of £29,419.64 per share in cash valuing Red and White Securities’ stake at just over £550m.”

In October last year KSE offered around £525m to buy the 18,695 shares held by Usmanov, the Russian businessman who himself attempted to buy-out Kroenke in May 2017.

The Gunners last won the Premier League title in 2004 and last season finished sixth, 37 points behind champions Manchester City, who they face in their opening game of the season on Sunday.

Unai Emery was appointed manager in May after the club said farewell to Arsene Wenger after 22 years in charge.

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Five players who skipped training to force a transfer as Thibaut Courtois goes AWOL ahead of Real Madrid move

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Courtois has gone AWOL from Chelsea training.

With the transfer deadline looming, Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois – who has been heavily linked with a switch to Real Madrid – failed to report for training as doubts over his future at Stamford Bridge intensified.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at some players who have looked to force the club’s hand in a bid to move on.

Pierre van Hooijdonk

Striker Van Hooijdonk returned to Nottingham Forest after the 1998 World Cup and was left less than impressed by an apparent lack of investment in the squad, so asked for a transfer, having seen the club turn down an approach from PSV Eindhoven during the previous promotion campaign.

When his request was rejected, the Dutch forward did not take it well and headed back to Holland to train instead at his former club NAC Breda. After three months, he eventually returned to Forest, who refused to listen to offers. Manager Dave Bassett said at the time: “If he thinks we are going to offer him an olive branch, he knows where he can stick it.”

When he got back in the side, Van Hooijdonk scored against rivals Derby – but none of his team-mates celebrated with him. Forest were relegated at the end of the season, finishing bottom, and Van Hooijdonk eventually left for Vitesse Arnhem.

Pierre Van Hooijdonk soon had little to celebrate at Nottingham.

Pierre Van Hooijdonk soon had little to celebrate at Nottingham.

Riyad Mahrez

Algeria winger Mahrez was all smiles as he finally saw his protracted move to Manchester City come off in July 2018 in a reported £60million transfer.

However, Mahrez had been left less than impressed by previous deals to City having failed to materialise during earlier windows.

He spent time away from the East Midlands club, missing Premier League games in the process, reportedly claiming promises made allowing him to leave had been broken.

Mahrez ended up at City this summer, but was upset after a January move collapsed.

Mahrez ended up at City this summer, but was upset after a January move collapsed.

William Gallas

France defender Gallas endured an acrimonious departure from Chelsea on deadline day 2006 after rejecting a new contract. Eventually a deal was brokered which saw Gallas head to Arsenal – a team he would later captain – as part of the deal which took full-back Ashley Cole to Stamford Bridge in a last-ditch deal.

Following the conclusion of the saga, Chelsea issued a strongly-worded statement claiming Gallas showed a “lack of respect” by refusing to play in the 2006 FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool, then did not join up for pre-season in Los Angeles as agreed. He also threatened to score own goals, “get himself sent off, or make deliberate mistakes” if he remained there into the new campaign.

Gallas rejected the claims, saying Chelsea were “hiding behind false accusations.”

Gallas became persona non grata at Chelsea after an acrimonious transfer.

Gallas became persona non grata at Chelsea after an acrimonious transfer.

Dimitri Payet

In a more recent drawn-out saga, French playmaker Payet took drastic measures after West Ham refused to sanction a switch back to his former club Marseille.

Claiming a back problem in the wake of a 5-0 loss to Manchester City in the FA Cup on January 6 2017, Payet never featured for the Irons again as his dispute with the club rumbled on.

Eventually, West Ham agreed to the £25million transfer later in the January window, as the player left less than a year after signing a new long-term deal.

Payet went from hero to villain in an instant at West Ham.

Payet went from hero to villain in an instant at West Ham.

Dimitar Berbatov

At the start of the 2007/08 campaign, Tottenham frontman Berbatov was involved in a transfer row as Manchester United looked to take the Bulgarian to Old Trafford. Spurs claimed then United boss Sir Alex Ferguson had broken Premier League rules by reportedly talking up the move, which the Scot denied.

Berbatov, though, insisted he was not in the right frame of mind to focus on playing, so, after being on the bench at Middlesbrough, he sat out early-season matches against Sunderland and Chelsea.

With the forward appearing determined not to play for Spurs again, a deal of around £30million was completed just ahead of the transfer deadline.

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