FRIDAY’S BIG STORIES

We dare you, Villa

Aston Villa were said to be tabling a third bid of the summer for Emile Smith Rowe, but would they dare make an offer after the midfielder signed a new long-term contract at Arsenal yesterday?
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It was widely reported that Arsenal rejected £25m and £30m offers for Smith Rowe from Villa, who had beaten the Gunners to the signature of Emi Buendia earlier this transfer window.
Unclear whether Villa were just trolling given Arsenal were never going to give up one of their Hale End jewels for cheap, they’ll no doubt be on the wind-up if they go back with a £35m bid in the coming days.
That would undoubtedly sour the relationship between the sides, a year after Arsenal gifted Villa goalkeeper Emi Martinez, and so it would be very surprising if the latter did anything but end their pursuit of Smith Rowe.
With a couple of pointed “where he belongs” and “nowhere he’d rather be” phrases in their tweets, it’s clear Arsenal (their Twitter admin at least) were perhaps a tad rattled, and while ESR’s agent deserves praise for playing a blinder and getting his client a bumper new contract, nevertheless for Arsenal it will be a delight to tie their new No 10 to a long-term deal.
“It’s great to see another young player develop through our academy system to become a key part of our first team,” said technical director Edu.
“Emile is a player who represents the future of the club and this is why we have given him the number 10 shirt. We have trust in Emile and we know he has the potential to be a beautiful player for many years to come.”

Richarlison wants that gold

Just a hat-trick after 30 minutes for Richarlison in Brazil’s opening match of Tokyo 2020 – and it could or rather should have been more.
Not quite revenge for that 7-1 defeat seven years ago, but still this was a resounding win for Brazil against Germany – despite a late fightback – with the boys in yellow outlining why they are among the favourites for gold yesterday when enjoying a 4-2 win.

Tokyo 2020 football: Richarlison opens the scoring for Brazil v Germany

Richarlison badly wanted to represent Brazil at the Olympics – despite the prospect of missing the start of the Premier League season – and it was new Everton boss Rafa Benitez who granted him that wish.
“He is happy because he can go there, and he knows he has to give us something back because we were supporting him,” Benitez said earlier this month after giving Richarlison the green light to head to Japan.
“That [not being involved at start of season] could be something we can consider not great in the beginning but will be a massive boost for us in the rest of the season because he will try to deliver.”
A massive boost indeed, and with the men’s final taking place on August 7 and the Premier League starting a week later, Richarlison could return all guns blazing if his opening game at Tokyo 2020 is anything to go by.

Neville clings on

Nepotism lingered over Phil Neville when old pal and co-owner of Inter Miami David Bechkham hired the former England Women’s boss as head coach.
Now comes the true test of what it’s like to have your friend as your boss, as after six straight defeats Miami are floundering in the MLS.

Phil Neville, Inter Miami head coach

Image credit: Getty Images

"I feel their [the owners] full support - I always have done. They don't need to tell me about their concerns because I have the same concerns,” Neville said,
I've been in football long enough and I know the consequences - that's no problem to me. We're doing everything in our power, we just need better performances on the field. I've got great responsibility and I'm accountable for everything that I do. We're on a run at the moment that puts me under pressure.
Well and truly clinging on, it will be intriguing to see how much more Beckham and co would tolerate.

IN OTHER NEWS

Kane chat

Expect plenty of Harry Kane to Manchester City talk throughout the day. What’s new is that a £160m move is on the cards… And we’ve covered all that RIGHT HERE in Paper Round.
That’s the Premier League over for three years, then.

Harry Kane of England looks dejected after the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Final between Italy and England at Wembley Stadium

Image credit: Getty Images

IN THE CHANNELS

This is very much an ICMYI as it was doing the rounds all Thursday and even late Wednesday, but we have so much time for Neil Warnock reaching into his bum bag to offer out a signed picture to a young Boro fan.

RETRO CORNER

A right old retro corner this, but it’s 55 years since North Korea threw away a THREE-GOAL lead and lost 5-3 to Portugal at Goodison Park.
Eusebio scored four to help Portugal reach the 1966 World Cup semis, but we’ve got a feeling we know how this one ends… Perhaps one day the Englishfolk among us will have something else to talk about.

COMING UP

*Checks Tokyo 2020 football fixtures* soooo you have, ah, nothing today! The next round of women’s fixtures is tomorrow, and the men’s again on Sunday. There’s the Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool face Mainz in a friendly – if you fancy it this evening.
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