Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira struggling to adapt to life in England

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Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira has admitted to struggling with life in England following his big-money move from Italy last summer.

The Uruguay international joined the Gunners in a £26.4million deal from Sampdoria where he had spent the previous two seasons.

Despite making 50 appearances under manager Unai Emery last season, Torreira claims he has so far found it difficult to adapt.

Speaking to Uruguayan outlet Ovacion ahead of his country’s opening Copa America clash against Ecuador on Sunday, Torreira said: “I don’t know if there are many things that I enjoy. I think I had a better time in Italy.

“England is a totally different world. The language (barrier) has stopped me being able to relate with my team-mates and the people. It is very difficult when you can’t have dialogue.

“And then there is the weather. You go out in the morning and it is cloudy, you arrive at your house in the afternoon and it is cloudy.

“We are from here (Uruguay) and we are used to always – or almost always – having the sun. But as the years go by, I’m going to adapt.”

Torreira, who signed a five-year deal with Arsenal, helped the club to a fifth-place finish in the Premier League and the final of the Europa League last season.

The 23-year-old has at least enjoyed his time on the pitch, although losing to Chelsea in the Europa League final was tough.

“I went from the Italian championship to a totally different style of football and life,” added Torreira.

“We all know what England is about and what the Premier League is about. I made a very important jump at a football level.

“At Arsenal we played four competitions, while in Sampdoria I was used to playing in only two – the Serie A and Coppa Italia.

“There were many more matches. I had to get used to playing every three days, which is very hard.

“Unfortunately, we were not able to qualify directly to the Champions League, and we played in the final of the Europa League. Losing that final was very hard, not only for us but for the club.

“But for me the balance was positive and I am satisfied and happy with what I did during the year. I played 50 games, practically twice as much as I played the season before.

“As you gain experience and have different partners by your side, you will learn a lot. I have learned a lot, especially how to handle the matches and their different situations.”

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Man City and Liverpool set for flyers and other key stats after Premier League fixture reveal

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Manchester City

The new season’s Premier League fixtures point to last season’s title rivals Manchester City and Liverpool continuing their strong opening-day records.

City have started their season with a win for the last eight years in succession while the Reds have won five of their last six.

And with West Ham and Norwich respectively awaiting them, there appears little resistance this time around.

The Hammers have lost on day one for the last three seasons, including back-to-back 4-0 defeats at Manchester United and Liverpool, while City have won 4-0, 4-1 and 4-0 away to the Hammers in the last three seasons.

Sergio Aguero has the most opening-day goals in the Premier League among the competition’s active players, with six. He has not netted in any of those three wins at the London Stadium but did score there in January 2017’s 5-0 FA Cup win.

West Ham’s run of poor starts is mitigated by their opponents – after Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea, United and Liverpool, the visit of City sees them complete the full set of “big six” opponents in successive seasons.

The only blemish on Liverpool’s recent record is the stoppage-time equaliser they conceded to Watford in their 2017 opener, and they face a Canaries side with only two wins on opening day in the last 20 years.

The opening weekend’s marquee fixture sees Manchester United host Chelsea on Sunday, August 11, with both teams enjoying strong records.

United have won their last four opening-day fixtures and eight out of 10, while Chelsea have only lost once on opening day in the last 20 years – although that came the season before last against Burnley.

Watford have the longest unbeaten run among current top-flight clubs at 12 games, though eight of those came as a Championship club and the run is evenly split between draws and wins.

Last season’s 2-0 win over Brighton was their first on opening day since returning to the top flight and the Hornets have the same fixture this time around.

Arsenal have lost three of their last four opening fixtures but face a Newcastle side who are winless in six, with the Magpies’ only point coming courtesy of 2015’s 2-2 draw with Southampton.

Tottenham will look to build on back-to-back opening wins when they face promoted Aston Villa, who have only one defeat in their last six curtain-raisers. Harry Kane broke his August duck last season but has still never scored in the first game.

Southampton have started with a draw four years in a row, against Newcastle, Watford, Swansea and Burnley, and the Clarets have another chance to end that run this year.

Everton are unbeaten in seven, though with only two wins, and face a Crystal Palace side who have begun with a defeat in six of their last eight campaigns.

Wolves, unbeaten in six opening games, face a Leicester side who have lost three in a row while Bournemouth, with two wins in their last five openers, host Sheffield United who have won only one out of five.

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Real Madrid willing to pay £135 million for Man United star Paul Pogba

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Real Madrid is understood to be willing to pay £135 million for Paul Pogba as part of Zinedine Zidane’s rebuild, the Mirror reports.

But United want at least £150m to let the World Cup-winning midfielder unite with Eden Hazard at the Spanish club.

Maurizio Sarri will not be allowed to depart Chelsea two years early for Juventus until the Italian giants compensate the Blues for the manager, according to the Daily Mail.

Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale is reportedly no longer being sought by Manchester United.

The Red Devils’ executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has long targeted the Welsh winger but the Evening Standard says that goal has been surrendered in the face of Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s vision to recruit the strongest domestic prospects to Old Trafford this summer.

The Telegraph reports Aston Villa are willing to pay £14m to secure Leeds’ Kalvin Phillips, but his club are seeking up to £20m for the hometown midfielder.

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Players to watch

William Saliba: The 18-year-old St Etienne defender is the subject of advanced talks with Arsenal, Le10Sport reports.

Dejan Lovren: Liverpool’s Croatia centre-back is being courted by AC Milan, according to Sky Sports.

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