Kylian Mbappe in line for Monaco return against Marseille

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Kylian Mbappe.

In-demand Monaco striker Kylian Mbappe is poised to return to Ligue 1 action against Marseille.

The 18-year-old striker, who scored 26 goals in all competitions for Monaco last season, missed out when the principality club beat Dijon last weekend, amid speculation linking him to Paris St Germain.

Injury was cited as the reason Mbappe – also a rumoured target for Real Madrid and Arsenal this summer – was benched, but on Friday Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim said the player was fit again.

Quoted in L’Equipe, he said: “If the match took place today, he would be in it. Everyone has trained well, everyone is in good condition. We’ll decide tomorrow, but, if everything goes well, he’ll be there.

“He’s a Monaco player and we need everybody with us. There’s the chance that he’ll play or that he might stay on the bench – sitting games out sometimes is just part of football.

“The match is on Sunday so we’ll wait until tomorrow.”

On the reports of a potential big-money move away from the Stade Louis II for his highly-rated France international, Jardim added: “You know my opinion on the transfer window: it’s used to buy players but also to destabilise clubs. Not just for us.

“Sometimes there are discussions that last three or four weeks without an agreement being reached.

“It doesn’t really bother me, but I think FIFA or UEFA should limit the window to July. When it’s four months of the year, that’s too much. It’s not good for football.”

Monaco, who were crowned Ligue 1 champions in May, have already sold star men Bernardo Silva, Benjamin Mendy and Tiemoue Bakayoko this summer.

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Arsenal and Everton handed tough Europa League draw

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Arsene Wenger.

Arsenal and Everton face challenging tests on their return to the Europa League following Friday’s group stage draw in Monaco.

Arsenal were drawn to play Belarus’ BATE Borisov, Cologne of Germany and Serbia’s Red Star Belgrade in Group H.

Everton will play France’s Lyon – hosts of this season’s final – Italy’s Atalanta and Apollon Limassol of Cyprus in Group E.

Both English sides face difficult tasks to advance to the knockout stages when the group phase begins on September 14.

It is the first time in 20 years that Arsenal have started a European campaign in the Europa League.

The Gunners had advanced to the knockout stages of the Champions League but lost in the first knock-out round in the last seven seasons and failed to qualify for the tournament through the Premier League in 2016-17.

Everton, who completed their play-off victory over Hajduk Split of Croatia on Thursday, are in Europe for the first time since 2009-10.

Manchester United won the trophy in May to qualify for the Champions League.

United and France midfielder Paul Pogba was named Europa League Player of the Season for 2016-17, ahead of team-mates Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

The 48-team draw for this season’s competition included Sweden’s Ostersund, managed by Englishman Graham Potter.

Ostersund will play Spain’s Athletic Bilbao, Germany’s Hertha Berlin and Zorya Luhansk of Ukraine in Group J.

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Everton club-record signing Gylfi Sigurdsson scores 50-yard wonder goal on debut

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Gylfi Sigurdsson

Everton manager Ronald Koeman hailed Gylfi Sigurdsson’s “incredible” goal after the Icelander helped send his side into the group stages of the Europa League after a 1-1 away draw with Hajduk Split.

The Premier League side were defending a 2-0 lead from the play-off first leg at Goodison Park.

Wayne Rooney was back in action a day after announcing his retirement from international football with England, but it was the home side who threatened early on.

Split, though, were left in stunned silence less than a minute after the restart when Iceland midfielder Sigurdsson – who completed his £45million move from Swansea last week and came on as a substitute against Manchester City – looped the ball in with an angled drive from just inside the Hajduk half.

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