Alexis Sanchez back in London after delayed Arsenal return

Alexis Sanchez returned to Arsenal training on Tuesday after arriving back in London following an extended leave of absence.

Sanchez, who is attracting interest from Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, according to Sky sources, flew from Chile via Paris with his lawyer and headed to the club’s London Colney training ground in the afternoon.

Look who’s back in training 👀#ElNinoMaravilla 🇨🇱
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) August 1, 2017
Sky Sports News understands the route was purely coincidental and it is normal for South American players to stop off in places such as Paris and Madrid for refuelling.

The 28-year-old forward was intended to report back at the club’s base on Sunday but was granted an extended leave while he recovered from sickness following his participation in the Confederations Cup.

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Martial, Mendy & Mbappe: How Monaco became Europe’s talent factory Monaco celebrated their first Ligue 1 title in 17 years in 2017, finishing eight points ahead of title rivals Paris St-Germain

They have small crowds and their stadium is built on a car park. Yet Monaco continually produce some of the most coveted footballers in the world.

The French champions have banked 173.5m euros (£155m) so far this summer by selling their top talents and might yet add to that tally.

Prodigious 18-year-old striker Kylian Mbappe has been linked with a world record £160m move to Real Madrid and 21-year-old winger Thomas Lemar continues to be talked about as a £45m target for Arsenal.

But what are the secrets of Monaco’s success in rearing, selling and – most importantly – replacing players?

Buying their way to success

Monaco did not always adhere to this simple business plan.

When Russian billionaire and Monaco resident Dmitry Rybolovlev bought the club for one euro in December 2012, he had other things in mind. At the time, they were second from bottom of France’s second tier and the oligarch was ready to spend heavily – first, to win promotion back to Ligue 1 and then to try to compete with Paris St-Germain.

For that, he had to spend a lot. In the summer of 2013, Colombia striker Radamel Falcao, was bought for around 60m euros (then the equivalent of £50m) from Atletico Madrid and a fee of 70m euros (£60m) secured Porto’s James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho.

It worked, at least at the beginning, as the ‘rouges et blancs’ kept pace with a star-studded PSG team led by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

However, it quickly appeared that such huge spending was not viable for a club with an average home attendance of around 9,000, low television broadcast revenues and small sponsorship deals.

Monaco were spending far more than they were earning. It was impossible for them to comply with Uefa’s Financial Fair Play regulations.

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Nemanja Matic: Manchester United complete signing of Chelsea midfielder

Manchester United have completed the signing of Nemanja Matic from Chelsea for £40m on a three-year deal.

The midfielder, 28, becomes United’s third summer buy after £31m defender Victor Lindelof from Benfica and £75m striker Romelu Lukaku from Everton.

United manager Jose Mourinho described Matic as a “team player” who has “everything we want in a footballer; loyalty, consistency, ambition”.

Matic said he was “delighted” to be joining at “an exciting time”.

The Serbia midfielder added: “To work with Jose Mourinho once again was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.

“I have enjoyed my time at Chelsea and would like to thank the club and the fans for their support. I cannot wait to meet my new team-mates and to start training with them.”

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England 1-0 France: Jodie Taylor’s goal enough to send Lionesses into Euro 2017 semi-finals

Jodie Taylor struck again as England defied decades of history to reach the Women’s Euro 2017 semi-finals with a 1-0 victory over France in Deventer.

The result ended a winless run over France which stretched back to 1974, when England defeated Les Bleues 2-0 in a friendly in Wimbledon, and they will face tournament hosts the Netherlands on Thursday for a place in Sunday’s final in Enschede.

Taylor slid the ball past Sarah Bouhaddi for her fifth goal of the tournament in the 60th minute to put England through, with the suspension of Jill Scott for the next round and an injury to goalkeeper Karen Bardsley being the only disappointments for manager Mark Sampson.

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Women’s Euro 2017: Jodie Taylor goes from England outcast to Golden Boot contender

While Taylor has looked a natural so far in the Netherlands – scoring four goals in two starts – it is only four years since she was in the international wilderness.

Consistently overlooked by then England manager Hope Powell, an uncapped Taylor watched Euro 2013 from the stands.

The tournament was a low point for the Lionesses – they finished bottom of their group and had the worst record of any side in the competition – but it proved a defining moment for Taylor.

“I was playing in Sweden at the time for Goteborg FC and a lot of my team-mates were representing Sweden. I remember sitting and watching in one of the stadiums and thinking, ‘I know I should be at the Euros’,” Taylor said.

“In the past I maybe didn’t feel quite so valued by certain people but it was probably the first time where I thought, regardless of what anyone else says, I know I deserve to be here.”

Fast forward four years and that judgement has proved right.

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Everton 1-0 Ruzomberok: Leighton Baines hands Toffees slender Europa League qualifier win

Wayne Rooney’s Goodison Park homecoming ended in a win as Everton beat MFK Ruzomberok 1-0 in their Europa League third qualifying round first-leg tie on Thursday night.

Ronald Koeman’s side edged past their Slovakian opponents thanks to captain Leighton Baines’ deflected drive 25 minutes from time.

However, while Rooney enjoyed a largely uneventful first competitive start since rejoining the Toffees from Manchester United earlier this summer, Koeman will have been pleased with how his other new recruits fared.

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Barcelona 1-0 Man Utd: Neymar’s first-half goal hands Barca victory

Man Utd ended their US tour in defeat as Neymar’s first-half goal gave Barcelona a 1-0 win in the International Champions Cup in Maryland.

In a first half full of chances, Neymar gave Barcelona the lead on 31 minutes, capitalising on Antonio Valencia’s mistake to fire home from close range.

Neymar put in a fine performance, seemingly unaffected by speculation linking him with a move to PSG, and it stayed 1-0 despite both Jasper Cillessen and David de Gea making several fine stops.

Antonio Valencia turned into trouble as Neymar snuck in to score
Antonio Valencia turned into trouble as Neymar snuck in to score
The defeat at FedExField was United’s first in pre-season, having beaten LA Galaxy, Real Salt Lake, Man City and Real Madrid.

Jose Mourinho made eight changes from the starting XI following the penalty shoot-out win over Real Madrid last week, bringing back Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba.

Both goals were peppered in the first half, as Barcelona came close on several occasions only to be denied by De Gea.

The Spaniard got down well to tip wide Luis Suarez’s effort from the left of the box, and again denied Suarez by superbly tipping wide his overhead kick after the opening goal.

But United had chances of their own. Lukaku poked over on the stretch in the opening minutes, Marcus Rashford saw a shot from an acute angle beaten away by Cillessen, and Paul Pogba’s ambitious 30-yard half-volley was tipped wide.

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