1) Alexandre Lacazette admits that summer has been tough
Newcastle United strike target Alexandre Lacazette has admitted that this summer has been tough for him as he has been the subject of so much interest.
The Lyon striker was thought to be near the top of Alan Pardew’s wishlist as he looked to add another forward to his squad, but he now says that he is fully focused on the task ahead of him in France.
"Last winter there were rumours, rumours of a possible departure and you can hear anything and everything, it has not been easy," the 23-year-old said.
"Now I am used to it, and I am now in Lyon and concentrating on the new season."
"It is true that with myself, Max [Gonalons] and Clement [Grenier], we have people looking at us – but it's a good pressure."
2) Facundo Ferreyra tested early on in Newcastle career
Alan Pardew has admitted that he has thrown new signing, Facundo Ferreyra, in at the deep-end after he move to Newcastle United.
Ferreyra completed a loan move from Shakhtar Donetsk last week, but he has already played in the club’s two friendlies – a 3-1 win over Schalke and a 2-2 draw with Huddersfield Town – since.
It has meant that the Argentine has had a busy schedule since his move to England, but Pardew says that he will benefit from it in the long run.
“We’ve been a bit hard on him as he’s only just arrived,” Pardew said.
“He looks tired, but he’ll get used to it. He’s got a great mentor in Fabricio Coloccini to look after him. He’ll be OK.”
3) Alfred N’Diaye’s future to be decided today.
Alfred N’Diaye’s Sunderland future will be decided today, as he contemplates making a move to Real Betis.
The midfielder spent part of last season with the La Liga side and they have tried to make his move a permanent one, bidding £1.5 million for N’Diaye.
Gus Poyet is known to be keen to offload the Senegalese international, but N’Diaye himself has taken his time over making a decision on his future.
However, it seems that it is d-day today and both Betis and Sunderland will be hoping that he says ‘yes’ to completing the proposed transfer.
4) Charis Mavrias to be offered chance in his preferred position
Charis Mavrias has forced his way into Sunderland manager Gus Poyet’s thinking after his excellent displays over pre-season.
The 20-year-old had been considered someone who would offer cover for the Black Cat’s first team prior to pre-season, but he has been one of Poyet’s men stars in their friendlies so far despite playing out of position.
The Greek youngster he has been utilised as a right-back, despite playing as a winger for much of his career so far and Poyet says that his impressive performances have meant that he now deserves a chance in his natural position.
“I want to say a big, massive, thanks to Harry so far because it is not easy for a young player, a winger, who wants to impress the manager to be asked to play full-back,” Poyet said.
“So, if everything goes all right and we have two full-backs tonight, I would like to see him in his proper position for at least part of the next two games, because he deserves that.”
5) Right back to join Middlesbrough before Saturday
Aitor Karanka is hoping to have a deal for a right-back secured before Middlesbrough’s season starts on Saturday.
‘Boro are expected to have largely completed their summer deals once Adam Clayton’s move goes through today, but Karanka still considers the right-back position a weakness and is hoping to bring one in before the weekend.
He is thought to be interested in Osasuna’s Damia Abella and Hajduk Split’s Avdija Vrsajevic, but a deal for the former looks more likely to happen, due to fewer complications being involved in the process of bringing him to the Riverside.
Do Newcastle need another striker? Can Mavrias force his way into Sunderland's first team this season?