Martinez hails Bill Kenwright over John Stones transfer saga

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Stay right where you are: John Stones tackles Barnsley’s Josh Scowen.

Everton chairman Bill Kenwright has been hailed by Roberto Martinez for maintaining a strong stance over Chelsea target John Stones.

On Thursday, Kenwright declared that Stones’ attempt to force through a move to Stamford Bridge via a transfer request would not be considered.

The Toffees have remained steadfast in their belief that Stones would not be sold and it is understood Jose Mourinho’s side may now be prepared to call time on their pursuit of the 21-year-old.

Martinez believes his club’s attitude to keeping Stones – who will remain at the heart of Everton’s defence against Tottenham today – on board epitomises the values those in the corridors of power at Goodison Park hold.

“The chairman was really strong yesterday; he’s put things very, very clear,” said the Spaniard, who  completed the signing of Uruguyan striker Leandro Rodriguez on a four-year deal from River Plate Montevideo. 

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“It’s vitally important to show that we have got our own ambitions and our own projects and we don’t rely on big offers coming in.

“It shows we’ve got an incredible chairman and all he wants is the best for the football club, he’s been doing that for many, many years and hasn’t been given the credit he deserves.

"Every single Evertonian can be extremely proud to keep one of our most treasured younger players and make sure we build a winning team.

“It seems like money can buy anything these days and clearly what we stand for at Everton is more important values – in football and in life – that they are more 
important than money.”

Meanwhile, new Tottenham signing Son Heung-min has vowed to light up White Hart Lane after agreeing a five-year deal.

Spurs announced the arrival of the South Korean forward from Bayer Leverkusen for £22m (Dh124m) yesterday.

His move is still subject to international clearnace but Son, 23, who will wear the No7 shirt, said: “Spurs for me is such a big club and a really good team.

"My goal has always been to play in the Premier League and Tottenham have given me a great opportunity to do that.

“I love the Premier League and I am very excited to play at White Hart Lane. I have not played there yet but I’d Iove to go out there, show my abilities and perform for the Spurs fans as soon as possible.”

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Pellegrini: No excuses if Man City fall short after De Bruyne

Andy Hampson 29/08/2015
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Confident: Pellegrini.

With Kevin De Bruyne’s club record £54 million (Dh305m) transfer all but sealed, Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini claims he will not look for excuses if his team fall short in their pursuit of silverware this season.

De Bruyne could be unveiled as a City player at Saturday’s home game against Watford after Wolfsburg sporting director Klaus Allofs admitted the Belgian’s move is close to completion.

De Bruyne, 24, was left out of the Wolfsburg squad last night as they beat Schalke 3-0 but was in the stands at the Volkswagen Arena signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans.

Allofs told Sky: “It’s all about a few small details. It could be that we reach an agreement today or tomorrow. De Bruyne is off to Manchester City. I explained at the press conference that we had begun talks, those talks have progressed. Now only minor issues remain.”

Attacking midfielder De Bruyne is set to sign a five-year contract and the fee will eclipse the previous club record of £49m (Dh277m) paid to Liverpool for Raheem Sterling earlier in the summer.

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City have made a blistering start in the Premier League, winning their first three games in impressive fashion to quickly establish themselves as title favourites. They have acted decisively after last season’s runners-up finish to Chelsea and expectations are rising.

Pellegrini said: “Last season we had some (Financial Fair Play) restrictions but I didn’t give any excuse for not winning the title.

“This team must try to win titles every year. It’s not so easy because you have strong teams here in the Premier League and you have strong teams in the Champions League, but we must try to do it. The best way to at least try is to have a good squad. That’s what we are trying to do now and we will finish on Tuesday when the transfer window is closed.

“After that you need to know how to play in the way we are doing. It’s very important to have a good performance as individual players and a good performance as a team. So, with more players or without more players, I never had excuses about not winning titles.” 

City can today increase their run of league wins, stretching back to last season, to a club record 10.

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Gray and Keys: De Bruyne adds quality to City

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New addition: De Bruyne.

Manchester City have made a dream start to the season and look to be about to add Kevin De Bruyne from Wolfsburg for what is already an impressive squad for an astronomical transfer fee thought to be £54 million (Dh305m).

Andy Gray and Richard Keys who front beIn Sports’ Premier League coverage discuss whether he is worth that sort of money and what he brings to the party.

Andy Gray: Is Kevin De Bruyne worth £54m? For any club other than Manchester City the answer would probably be no.

Manuel Pellegrini has obviously seen something in this boy but I have to say this kind of money, and if you believe the rumours he will be earning something in the region of £250,000-a-week (Dh1.4bn), represents a remarkable turnaround in fortune for a player Jose Mourinho thought wasn’t strong enough, or brave enough when he was at Chelsea.

But in the football world you are only worth as much as someone is willing to pay. I remain a little cautious as to whether he has improved to the extent that he attracts the second-highest transfer fee in Premier League history but he is a creator of chances and he provides the answer to the missing link on the right hand side for City.

Jesus Navas will be the one to make way. He might feel hard done by because he is very quick but the fact remains that his final ball and his ability to score goals is sadly lacking. So in that respect De Bruyne is exactly what City are looking for in that he creates a lot of chances and he can score goals, as he proved at Wolfsburg last season.

The one concern I would have about this boy is whether he can handle the pressure that will come with this high profile, massive money, deal. People won’t forget that Mourinho felt he couldn’t entirely trust him in the Premier League not so long ago.

With De Bruyne on board, if you look at the team the one advantage they have over their main rivals is that they have two quality footballers for every position which means if they pick up injuries they have options, perhaps with the exception of Yaya Toure and David Silva.

So when De Bruyne joins, Pellegrini will be a very happy man. The signings he has made are quality and allows him to play Silva in the area he much prefers which is the central area of the pitch.

They are also moving the ball around the pitch a lot quicker than last season when they gave teams the chance to get back into the game. This year they are moving the ball with pace and real belief. They can notch up a club record of wins against Watford and I can’t see anything but a victory for Pellegrini’s side. 3-0.

Richard Keys: What would concern me slightly if I was a Manchester City fan would be what Mourinho said about him being a destablising influence around the club if he is not being picked week in, week out.

Having said that, Andy is right in that he would appear to be the answer to City’s problems on the right where Navas just isn’t cutting the mustard, but I can’t say I am entirely convinced De Bruyne is as good as this transfer fee would suggest.

The one thing you can be certain of is that he will make this side even better which means they will be a formidable force. I have always doubted the hunger that City’s big name players have but I have to admit that they all look like they are at it so far and De Bruyne will only add to their strength in depth.

Right now you would say that City could sweep the board but you just know that something will happen. But, for now, they look as good as any team and I think Watford could be in for a torrid afternoon. I am with Andy on this, 3-0.

Newcastle v Arsenal

Difficult week: Wenger.

AG: Arsenal’s start to the season has been a little disjointed but they will be too good for Newcastle. So far in the Premier League there has, amazingly, been only been six home wins and I can’t see Newcastle changing that. 1-2.

RK: Newcastle did a job against Man United last week but Arsenal are a better side than United. Home advantage is always a plus for Newcastle but the Gunners will have too much for them. 1-2.

Liverpool v West Ham

Star man: Coutinho.

AG: Home banker for me. West Ham started with a surprise win against Arsenal but it’s been downhill since then. 2-0 home win.

RK: There are still lots of unanswered questions at Liverpool where Philippe Coutinho looks a million miles better than the rest of them. If Liverpool want to hang on to him they need to start winning games and they will edge this. 2-1.

Aston Villa v Sunderland

Defensive concerns: Advocaat.

AG: I thought Villa were a bit unlucky against Crystal Palace last week. They are playing okay and the new players that have been brought into the club are starting to gel which always takes a bit of time. Sunderland were a bit more spirited against Swansea last week but they will just lose out at Villa Park. 1-0.

RK: Something stirred at Sunderland last week and there is no doubt Dick Advocaat can organise a solid defensive unit. If they fancy it Sunderland can get something out of this against a Villa side I really can’t work out. 1-1.

Bournemouth v Leicester City

Confidence flowing: Bournemouth.

AG: Bournemouth have done well so far and after beating West Ham last week they will feel confident about getting a win at home and I think they might nick an entertaining game 3-2.

RK: Leicester continue to impress and Bournemouth had a terrific result against West Ham so I can’t really separate these two. 1-1.

Chelsea v Crystal Palace

Expected to win: Mourinho.

AG: Chelsea were good against West Brom and when they went down to 10 men they showed what they are good at –defending a lead. Palace always make life difficult for Chelsea but I think Mourinho’s side will win this 2-1.

RK: I like Palace but Chelsea will be too good for them. An ordinary day at the office for Mourinho. 2-0.

Tottenham v Everton

Short of goals: Kane.

AG: This is always a close game and Tottenham have a habit of just shading it by the odd goal but I think Everton might get something. I remain unconvinced by Spurs which is why I am going for a 1-1 draw.

RK: I am still waiting for Spurs to show me what they are about this year because so far I have seen absolutely nothing. If Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen aren’t scoring I don’t see where they are going to get their goals. 1-2.

Stoke v West Brom

Danger man: Shaqiri.

AG: The Baggies are incredibly well organised and difficult to play against and always have a chance of nicking a decisive goal. I think they will score but because it is at home I think Stoke will just edge this 2-1.

RK: A fascinating game because West Brom remind me of Stoke last season – difficult to beat. They looked decent against Chelsea last week but Stoke is a difficult place to go so I’ll go 0-0.

Southampton v Norwich

Struggling: Southampton.

AG: A month before the season started I would be backing Southampton all day long but they have not started well and have just gone out of the Europa League. Norwich have responded to their opening game defeat and did well to draw with Stoke last week. They’ll fancy this but I can see it ending 2-2.

RK: I thought Southampton would find it difficult to replicate last year but I never imagined they would struggle as much as they have. Norwich seem to be more together as a unit and I can see them getting a result here. 1-2

Swansea v Man United

Scoring again: Rooney.

AG: I like Swansea and they way they go about their game and this will be a huge test for United but I think with Wayne Rooney back on the goal trail – I know Club Brugge weren’t the biggest test but it doesn’t matter who you score against – I can see them winning this. 1-2.

RK: This will show us exactly how good United are. Rooney got goals against the Dog and Duck…sorry Club Brugge last week but Swansea will be a much tougher proposition. 2-2.

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