Football news LIVE: Premier League season finale build-up, Ange Postecoglou responds to Tottenham links, banned Ivan Toney breaks silence
talkSPORT.com brings you all the latest news from the world of football.
- What can still be decided on final day of Premier League season? Relegation battle goes down to the wire
- Arne Slot puts final nail in Tottenham coffin to complete U-turn at Feyenoord
- Erik ten Hag issues blunt transfer plea amid Declan Rice and Mason Mount to Manchester United rumours
- Ivan Toney posts cryptic response after FA releases written reasons for betting ban
- Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson linked with Southend United as consortium looks to follow Wrexham blueprint in takeover
- Mohamed Salah rages at Liverpool missing out on Champions League
That’s it for today on talkSPORT.com’s football news blog.
We’ll be back in the morning with the latest on all the big football stories, including all of the build-up to the final round of fixtures in the Premier League.
We’ll also have exclusive coverage of the Championship play-off final between Coventry and Luton with commentary from Sam Matterface, former England striker Dean Ashton and former Crystal Palace and Blackpool manager Ian Holloway.
Marco Silva insists his focus is on the future with Fulham as the Cottagers seek to secure a record Premier League points return on the final day of the season.
Silva has previously said he will seek assurance that Fulham share his ambition before entering into talks over a new contract, with his current deal set to expire at the end of next season.
But the 45-year-old Portuguese – who has been linked to Saudi Arabian side Al Ahli – said he is in dialogue with the club’s hierarchy “every single day” to push Fulham forward.
“Normally I don’t talk too much about the situation,” Silva said ahead of the trip to Manchester United on Sunday.
“But we are here and I am talking every single day with people to keep planning and improving this football club as best as we can, as we did from the first day.
“This is the main focus for us. I’m under contract with this football club and this is the main thing.”
Reece James has told Chelsea fans he’ll be back ‘stronger than ever’ next term.
The defender picked up a fresh hamstring injury that saw any hope of a comeback this season put firmly on the backburner.
The focus for James now will be on returning fully fit for the new season, something that he is using to motivate him.
Writing on Instagram, he said: “I’m sure you’ve seen the news, I won’t be back for the last game.
“It’s been tough for me. I’m sorry this season hasn’t gone as we all wanted. Next season I’ll be back stronger than ever and we’ll be back fighting for trophies!
“Stay well and see you soon.”
Mikel Arteta has warned Arsenal the competition will be even tougher if they hope to mount another Premier League title challenge next season.
Wolves visit the Emirates Stadium on Sunday for a fixture that at one stage looked like it would mark Arsenal’s coronation as champions for the first time in 19 years, but instead they go into the final game eight points adrift of champions Man City.
Arteta’s side led by that same margin only as recently as April, and the boss called for his players to end the season on a high and give fans hope again for next year.
“The competition is going to be even harder next season,” said Arteta. “In my opinion it’s been the hardest this season in 22 years that I’ve been in this league.
“In order to (compete) we have a really promising plan, we have to reflect a little bit, take a step back, make sure this is the right one and go again with more determination and hunger in the tummies to do even better.
“Now is about finishing the season in style and providing a great performance and a victory in front of our people to show our gratitude.
“(We) received a lot of incredible energy they have given us throughout the season, and (we will) start to build for next season. We have to wrap it up in the best possible way. It’s been some journey, full of emotions.
“Looking with a bit of perspective, there’s a lot of things not only on the field that have happened at the club that deserve a lot of credit for a lot of people.
“We have to nail everything that we do, we have to seek excellence in everything that we touch and we participate in that’s going to have a big impact at the club.”
Thomas Frank admitted Ivan Toney made mistakes but questioned the decision to ban him from training for four months as part of his ban for betting breaches.
The striker has been banned for eight months and is not allowed to train with Brentford until half of the term has been served on September 17, before a full return to action in January 2024.
Frank jumped to Toney’s side as Brentford adjust to being without their 20-goal striker for the first half of the 2023/24 campaign.
The Brentford boss said: “Yes, Ivan did something wrong but what I don’t get at all is how can you not let him be involved in football at all for the first four months?
“What do you gain from that? If you want to rehabilitate people you give them education, you do something, and now he is left on his own.
“There’s no doubt for me that the first four months he could be involved in football, he should be forced to go into a hundred schools to tell them about his football and background, that’s how it should work, but I’m a football coach, what do I know?
“If I can’t speak to him, then they will have to ban me. If I am not allowed to speak to him on a support level there must be something wrong. I think you’re allowed to contact people even when they’re in prison aren’t you? So I think I’m allowed.”
Ange Postecoglou has insisted he is not getting ‘distracted’ by the links with the Tottenham job.
Celtic will lift the Scottish Premiership trophy before tomorrow’s season finale against Aberdeen at Parkhead.
And the Australian boss insists he is fully focused on ensuring the Bhoys end the season on a high, with a Scottish Cup final against Inverness also to come where victory would seal the treble.
“I’m aware of it because everyone keeps asking me about it,” Postecoglou said about the Spurs links.
“It’s happened in the past, I have been pretty clear it’s just not the way I think and work.
“My priority right now is just making sure we have a special day on Saturday and we have a cup final coming up in a week’s time.
“I’m not going to sit there and get distracted by things that are kind of fascinating for other people rather than myself.
“That’s where my focus is and where it will continue to be. We have had a fantastic season and we have an opportunity to make it a really special one.”
Frank Lampard has told Chelsea fans he doesn’t want a farewell as he prepares for what could be his final game in charge of the club.
Why? Because the boss said he will return to Stamford Bridge in the future.
Well, with Mauricio Pochettino’s move still yet to be confirmed, it seems plausible Frank might be back in the hotseat again next season…
“I don’t want this to sound corny, but I don’t feel like it is goodbye,” he said.
“Normally when you leave a club you don’t have a hurrah as a manager.
“You are in one day, out the next, and that’s fine.”
Alexis Mac Allister is set to wave farewell to Brighton supporters this weekend, with claims a transfer to Liverpool is ‘close’.
That’s according to Fabizio Romano, who claims the World Cup winner is on his way to Anfield.
“Alexis Mac Allister, expected to bid his farewell to Brighton fans after final game after his fantastic experience at the club since 2020,” Romano posted on Twitter.
“He’s prepared to leave the club in June with Liverpool frontrunners — close to complete the deal, waiting on final details.”
Chelsea star Reece James is set for a scan after suffering yet another injury setback.
The defender re-injured his hamstring during his attempted comeback to training, with Frank Lampard confirming he will miss the Blues’ final game of the season against Newcastle on Sunday.
Chelsea had hopes James would be fit to return before the end of the term, but he is now on the sidelines again after his latest injury issue.
Guy can’t catch a break.
West Ham striker Gianluca Scamacca will miss the Europa Conference League final next month, David Moyes has confirmed.
The Italian striker, a £30.5million summer signing from Sassuolo, underwent knee surgery in April but there were hopes he could return before the end of the season.
However, Moyes has ruled the 24-year-old out of the final against Fiorentina in Prague on June 7.
“I see him being nowhere near it. He’s not back training and not back,” said Moyes.
“He’s still doing his rehab in Italy just now, so I don’t expect to see him back before then, no.
“He had his operation about four weeks ago, so he has still a few weeks of rehab to do but hopefully, he will be back ready at the start of pre-season.”
Roy Hodgson expects to be taking charge of Crystal Palace for the last time in their final game of the season against Nottingham Forest on Sunday.
But, the 75-year-old did not rule out staying on, either.
Hodgson only signed a deal until the end of the campaign when he replaced the sacked Patrick Vieira.
But he has been such a success in his second stint in charge of his boyhood club, taking 17 points from nine games to steer Palace clear of relegation, that he has been linked with taking the role on a longer-term basis.
But Hodgson has said that was not on his mind.
“As far as I’m concerned, this is my last game,” Hodgson said. “I signed a contract here until the end of the season and I was grateful to do so. All along, I have seen this as my last game on my contract and as far as I’m concerned that’s what it is.”
When asked if he would be open to staying on if asked by chairman Steve Parish, Hodgson added: “I don’t know, I’ll wait until that day arrives if it ever arrives. At the moment I don’t have to concern myself with that.
“What’s on my table is to see my contract out, thank everyone for the last two and a half months and hopefully help the team get a result… I hope to leave all my options open.”
Pep Guardiola says LaLiga and Spanish football should learn a lesson from the Premier League about how to fight racism on the pitch.
The Man City manager responded to the Vinicius Jr racism storm in Spain in his press conference this afternoon.
The former Barcelona player and boss admitted, though, that he is ‘not optimistic’ about things getting better in his home country anytime soon.
He said: “They should [La Liga learn from the Premier League]. Here they are so strict [on fighting racism]. They know what they have to do. This is a problem eveywhere.
“For all generations everywhere. Our ancestors come from migrants, wars and have to move on from countries. Build families there and come back to where you’re born.
“The problem is that there is racism everywhere. We all need to treat people as human beings but we are far away from that.
“Hopefully we can get better in Spain, but I’m not optimistic.”
Arteta has also teased more stars will sign new contracts with the club after Buyako Saka penned a new deal to commit his long-term future to Arsenal.
“It’s great news for the club,” the manager said about Saka’s new contract.
“The club has done a great job.
“He’s a crucial player for us who represents our club in the best possible way. Hopefully there are a few more to come.”
Mikel Arteta has refused to discuss the future of Arsenal star Granit Xhaka.
The Swiss midfielder has been strongly linked with a move back to the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen but the Gunners boss has so far kept tight-lipped over his future at the Emirates Stadium.
And he maintained that stance in his press conference this afternoon, saying: “No. I cannot talk and I won’t talk about any future of any players or members of staff.
“We have to wrap up the season.”
Tottenham’s embarrassment has been complete as Feyenoord have announced a new contract for manager Arne Slot.
Earlier this week it had looked almost certain the Eredivisie title-winning coach would be heading to north London, with talkSPORT told he wanted to make the move and had told his agent to begin talks with Spurs.
But Feyenoord refused to let him go on the cheap, making it clear Slot was going nowhere.
And so now the popular and successful coach has agreed to sign a new three-year deal with the Dutch champions.
“I’m not done here yet,” said the 44-year-old.
“We have had a wonderful season with Feyenoord, with the championship as a wonderful reward for all the hard work that has been put in, but I really want to continue building.
“After the summer, an adventure awaits in the Champions League and there is a national title to defend. Enough to look forward to, so I am proud to be and remain Feyenoord’s trainer in Rotterdam.”
Ivan Toney has posted cryptic response after FA released their written reasons for his betting ban.
The Brentford and England striker will not play in the Premier League until January 2024 after pleading guilty to 232 charges.
Brentford responded to the statement by saying that the player and the club ‘accept that offences were committed and sanctions were inevitable’.
But it appears Toney has more to say…
Marco Silva is the latest coach to be linked with the Tottenham job, with his future at Fulham uncertain.
According to the Evening Standard, the Portuguese coach is set to reject a job offer from Saudi Arabia side Al Ahli, but it is not yet clear whether he will stay in charge at Craven Cottage.
Silva has one year left on his contract at Fulham and the club is said to be confident of reaching a ‘positive conclusion’ to talks over a new deal.
But it’s claimed Silva wants assurances over signings and the futures of his top players, while West Ham have been linked with an interest should they decide to axe David Moyes.
And the Standard claim Spurs are also interested in the 45-year-old coach after failing to land Arne Slot from Feyenoord.
West Ham legend Stuart Pearce has hailed ‘Knollsy’ as a ‘true fan’ after helped protect his fellow Hammers at their Europa Conference League clash against AZ Alkmaar.
We all know the story by now – if not, where have you been? – with Mark Knolls now written in English football folklore as ‘The Angel of Alkmaar’ as he stopped a hoard of AZ ultras from attacking one of the away stands almost singlehandedly.
Videos and photos of him shoving back Dutch fans went viral and he has since been rewarded for his heroics with a ticket for the final in Prague as West Ham take on Fiorentina for the trophy.
Knollsy joined Jim White for a chat earlier this morning, where he insisted he ‘doesn’t want the limelight’ and just did what any other decent fan would have done.
Stuart Pearce was in the studio to react to the interview and revealed his admiration for the devoted Hammer.
“He is a true supporter of the football club in every sense of the word,” said the ex-West Ham defender and coach.
“I’d like to thank him for his support of West Ham.
“If it wasn’t for him and a few others at that game, it could have been a lot worse.”
Eddie Howe admits Newcastle have ‘massively over-achieved’ this season and will have to spend big in the summer if they are to match it.
The Magpies have secured a top-four finish and a return to the Champions League after a 20-year absence – a major upgrade on Howe’s targets from the start of the campaign.
Newcastle have already spent in excess of £250million on players in the three transfer windows since the club’s Saudi-backed takeover, but it will take more to sustain their challenge at the top of the table.
Asked if he was looking forward to that challenge, Howe said in his press conference this morning: “Ask me in a few months. I don’t know if it’s something you look forward to, but the dynamic will have changed for us.
“I think we have massively over-achieved this year for where we were at the start of the season and to keep over-achieving – and that’s what we’re going to have to do to match the expectation – is going to be our biggest challenge.”
Asked if his wish-list would include “marquee” signings, Howe said: “Yes, there would be players we’d love to bring in that would be classified in that bracket, I’m sure.
“For me, it’s more about the role they can fulfil in the team – whether that’s viewed positively or as a marquee signing, then great.
“I’m not in my mind thinking, ‘We have to have one of those players that ticks that box for the supporters’. As much as I’d love to do that, it’s about finding the right player in the right position who I think makes us better.”
Manchester City have announced Scott Carson has signed a one-year contract extension.
It keeps the 37-year-old at the Etihad Stadium until 2024, with the veteran goalkeeper happy to stay on as the Premier League champions’ No.3 glovesman.
Former Liverpool, West Brom and England goalkeeper Carson initially joined City on loan in 2019 until the end of the 2020/21 season, before signing a free transfer in 2021 after his contract with Derby County expired.
He has made just two appearances for the club, in a 4-3 Premier League victory over Newcastle in 2021, and a 0-0 draw with Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League in 2022.
“I’m excited to be staying at City for the 2023/24 season,” Carson said.
“I love working with Pep, Xabi Mancisidor and our incredible players every day. “Hopefully I can help all of our goalkeepers be at their best.”
And it appears a popular decision with his teammates, too.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has admitted his side failed to live up to expectations this season.
And he has no issue with Mohamed Salah saying the team let down fans, after the Reds star admitted on Twitter that he was ‘devastated’ to miss out on Champions League football, which he deemed a ‘failure’.
“It was a just a normal description of his situation, of his feeling, and in that moment directly after the game he’s right, it’s not the moment to immediately send optimistic messages,” said Klopp on his press conference this morning ahead of their Premier League finale against relegated Southampton.
“But I saw him now in the canteen and he was smiling. I don’t know for which reason as I didn’t ask him, but he is not in a bad mood. That’s it.
“We didn’t deliver what everybody wanted or expected but we are still really united, that’s the good thing about it.
“The dressing room is not in a bad mood. We have learned to deal with the situation. We didn’t get divided in one moment between manager and team, which is super helpful.
“We didn’t point fingers at each other. That’s all good. If you don’t qualify for the Champions League, the best place you can possibly end up is fifth, so that’s what we did.”
The report also reveals Ivan Toney bet on Newcastle to lose 11 TIMES when he was still a Magpies player, but on loan at another club.
In total, Toney bet on his own team to lose 13 times, with 11 of those being the Toon.
“There were 13 bets on Mr Toney’s own team to lose in 7 different matches between 22 August 2017 and 3 March 2018,” read the document.
For more on the story, read in full below…
Brentford have released a statement in response to the Toney document.
In it, they reference part of the ruling which points out a doctor has been working with the England striker, who has been diagnosed with gambling addiction.
The FA wanted a 12 month ban for Toney, but it was agreed to reduce it to eight months due to his addiction.
The Premier League club end their statement by saying they ‘consider the matter closed and look forward to welcoming Ivan back to training in September’.
However, he cannot return to competitive action until January.
The full reasons for Ivan Toney’s eight-month ban from football have been released by the Football Association.
The 25-page document details his 262 breaches of the FA’s betting rules.
They include 13 bets on own team to lose in seven different matches between August 2017 – March 2018, but an independent commision found ‘no evidence’ that he was ‘in a position to influence his own team to lose when he placed bets against them’ as he was not in the squad or eligible to play.
A further 15 bets were placed by Toney for him to score in nine different games, all of which he played in, and they were placed at a time ‘when it would not have
been public knowledge that he was starting or playing in the fixture’.
It is also revealed that the FA pushed for Toney’s eight-month ban to begin at the start of the 2023/24 season, effectively ruling him out of the entire campaign.
But the commission found that to be inappropriate, with the ban instead effective immediately.
Arsenal have launched their new home kit for the 2023/24 season this morning.
It’s a tribute to the Gunners’ famous Invincibles team, 20 years on from their historic unbeaten season.
Still, the gold trim might seem a little ironic given the way their title bid turned out this term…