FRIDAY’S BIG STORIES

Barca spending – complete?

Jules Kounde follows Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie in joining Barcelona this summer, and that could be that in terms of incomings. Except, well, they’re only halfway there (and living on a prayer, it seems).
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Yes. In order to play your new players, you actually have to register them, but Barcelona are in no position to do so until they offload a few names. Hence why they Frenkie de Jong is being pushed out, a seemingly ill-fated scenario which Gary Neville has likened to “bullying”.
It does not seem to be a healthy approach to the transfer market, and certainly isn’t conventional, but we can now expect Barca’s focus to switch after landing several prime targets and leaving Chelsea scratching their heads – and considering every centre-back currently playing the game – in the process.
“We are very optimistic," Xavi said after Barca’s Clasico win over Real Madrid in Las Vegas. “We've got three weeks left.” And it’s fair to say at no other club have we witnessed this issue at such a magnitude. The actual head coach of Barcelona explaining that he is hopeful that the players brought in are actually able to play their Liga opener against Rayo Vallecano on August 13 – now just two weeks away.
It’s basically unprecedented, and appears to be on an even greater scale than when Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba took pay cuts to facilitate the registrations last year. A gamble is an understatement, but so long as Liga chief Javier Tebas doesn’t mind too much, then they’ll hardly be too concerned.
"They know what they have to do,” said Tebas. “I think that they still have a bit of work to do but they are on the right track. Ask FC Barcelona. I can say that they know the rules well and they are well aware of what they have to do. They still need to do it, but there is still some time.”

The season starts now

It's late July and the new season of the English Football League gets going today because of course it does. That's a valid enough reason, right? Well, the real reason is the winter World Cup, which is bringing a halt to the Championship as well as the Premier League, but let's just exclaim at the sight of league football in July and worry about the reasons later…
Anyway, kicking us off is a suitably intriguing encounter, albeit potentially not a thrilling one, between Huddersfield and Burnley.
Huddersfield were the nearly men of the Championship last season, suffering that agonising double of finishing third and then losing the play-off final to Nottingham Forest. That was under Carlos Corberan, but the Spaniard resigned from his role earlier this month after telling them he was no longer the man to "take this club forward". Instead, it's Danny Schofield who is tasked with going one better this season, although the pressure will be far greater on the man in the opposing dugout.
Vincent Kompany is back in the English football fold at Burnley, opting for the Championship first route that several Premier League legends have chosen in the past.
Naturally, that has led to mixed results, but you would imagine this is the start of Kompany's 10-year ladder-climbing play towards becoming the Manchester City boss.
The boss after the boss who replaces Pep Guardiola? Quite possibly, but he'll have to prove himself first, and that begins tonight.

Sligo humble Motherwell

A huge night for the third best team in the League of Ireland Premier Division last night, with Sligo Rovers beating Motherwell 2-0 to advance to the next stage of Europa Conference League qualifying. Who says this tournament doesn’t matter.
"It's a massive moment. I spoke about it to the players before the game - this was a chance to make history,” said Sligo manager John Russell.
Next up for Sligo – Norwegian outfit Viking!

IN OTHER NEWS

Euro 2022 final: Soon

Video dump! It’s almost time for the Euro 2022 final between England and Germany, so it’s time to appreciate the fine work our gallivanting reporter Yara El-Shaboury – who caught up with Beth Mead’s family ahead of Sunday’s final.

'You never dream of this, crazy!' - Mead's family speak of pride after England's semi-final win

'It was amazing' - England fans react to semi-final victory over Sweden at Euro 2022

‘England have shown they can be hurt, that’s our mission’ - Germany manager Voss-Tecklenburg

The Golden Boot for Mead? It’s a shootout with Alexandra Popp, and we simply cannot wait.

IN THE CHANNELS

The press release on Arsenal’s website features the actual words: Official Hydration Partner of Arsenal.
Am I too old to get all this?

RETRO CORNER

Tomorrow marks the 56th anniversary of the 1966 men's World Cup final, the last time an England senior side won a major trophy, but you don't need a reminder of how that played out, so instead join us in celebrating Wilson Palacios' birthday by watching one of the best goals you may have missed from the former Wigan, Spurs and Stoke midfielder.

COMING UP

So it's Huddersfield v Burney tonight and then a packed EFL and SPFL schedule on Saturday, as well as the Community Shield showdown between Manchester City and Liverpool, AND the DFL Super Cup which sees RB Leipzig take on minnows Bayern Munich.
Sunday - THE EURO 2022 FINAL. England versus Germany, in case you needed reminding.
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