England Under 21 international Josh McEachran, 18, is hoping for an opportunity to impress the new Chelsea manager, Andre Villas-Boas, after agreeing a five-year deal with the club. The Ghana international, Michael Essien, is facing a spell on the sidelines with a knee injury, so McEachran, part of Chelsea's FA Youth Cup-winning side in 2010, could stake his claim for a regular first-team spot. "I feel really sorry for Michael because he has had a lot of injuries before, but hopefully it will give me a chance to prove myself to Andre," McEachran said on Chelsea TV. The England Under 21 defender Ryan Bertrand has also signed a four-year deal.
Rio Ferdinand is fuming that Manchester United are not the automatic choice in footballing circles to retain their Premier League title. Talk during the summer has been of United's Champions League final failure against Barcelona and the departure of Paul Scholes rather than their title win. "It is ridiculous. It makes me laugh," the England defender said. "We have won the league four times out of five. Half of it is that people want someone else to win it."
The Argentine striker Mariano Pavone has agreed terms with Rovers and will sign a three-year deal at the weekend, according to his agent. Pavone, 29, who has played once for Argentina, will join Rovers on a free transfer after buying out the last year of his contract with the Spanish side, Real Betis. He spent last season on loan at River Plate, scoring eight goals in 18 appearances.
Stoke's first Europa League match will see them face the Croatian side Hajduk Split in the third qualifying round. The teams were paired in yesterday's draw in Nyon, Switzerland with the first leg taking place at the Britannia Stadium on July 28. Fulham, who are 3-1 up on Crusaders after Thursday's first leg, will face the Croatian side RNK Split or Domzale of Slovenia if they progress.
Queens Park Rangers
Neil Warnock, the QPR manager, concedes that Adel Taarabt could be tempted to leave the Premier League new boys if Paris Saint-Germain continue to chase the Morocco international. Warnock's club have received a £13.5 million (Dh79m) bid for Taarabt, 22, from PSG, and QPR's co-owner Flavio Briatore is currently negotiating with the French club. "With his family all in France, and his girlfriend there as well, there's so many things to tempt you," Warnock told Sky Sports News. "He's going to be at a top club, on massive money. It's very difficult to keep players once their heads have been turned."
Liverpool have signed Roma goalkeeper Alexander Doni for an undisclosed fee as manager Kenny Dalglish continued his close-season rebuilding. Doni, who has 10 caps for Brazil, has been brought in as back-up to Liverpool's No 1 Pepe Reina. Liverpool's director of football, Damien Comolli, said: "It's a position we felt we had to strengthen because it will allow our young goalkeepers to go on loan."
Aston Villa have submitted a £10m bid for Charles N'Zogbia, the Wigan Athletic winger. Alex McLeish, the Villa manager, considers N'Zogbia his No 1 target to replace the Liverpool-bound Stewart Downing. The Midlands club have ample funds available, having raised £36m this summer on the sale of Ashley Young to Manchester United and Downing, if his move to Anfield goes through.