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The Guardian - page 65

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Everton ‘move ahead of Napoli’ in race to sign Belgium’s Axel Witsel

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• Intermediary for Napoli admits Everton are in pole position
• ‘He can either accept the English club or wait for an even bigger club’

An intermediary for Axel Witsel has confirmed Ronald Koeman’s side are in pole position to sign the Belgium midfielder after he reportedly rejected an offer from Napoli.

Related: Harry Kane set to sign new five-year contract with Tottenham

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Argentina’s Ramiro Funes Mori returns to his boyhood in Texas to play USA

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The Everton defender – known as ‘the yankee’ after spending his early career in America – will be on familiar ground facing the US in the Copa América semi-final

Most of the Argentina players who face USA in Tuesday’s Copa América semi-finals are part of the generation who were kids when the country suffered its economic collapse at the start of the century. But the game is particularly special for one of them: Ramiro Funes Mori lived in Texas for eight years and grew up as an American.

At the beginning of 2001, Argentina’s economic crisis left many families’ finances in ruins. Queues at foreign consulates were so long that people would wait in lines all night, hoping to get the magic number to apply for a European passport.

Related: Argentina's great tactical dilemma: where should Lionel Messi play?

Related: How exactly do USA beat Argentina in the Copa América semi-final?

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Everton have ambition and can do more, says new manager Ronald Koeman

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• Former Southampton manager’s priority is to meet his players
• Everton can improve and make advances, adds Koeman

Ronald Koeman claims Everton’s ambition was the factor that persuaded him to take what many see as a sideways managerial move, and says everyone at the club is ready to “take the next step”.

What that step might be is less clear. Bill Kenwright says no targets have yet been mentioned but would be surprised if Champions League football does not feature in his new manager’s plan for the next few years. Koeman himself admitted cracking the top four would not be easy.

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Leicester, Everton and West Ham chase Milan forward M’Baye Niang

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• Several clubs chasing Frenchman, whom Leicester targeted in January
• City also interested in loan move for Juventus midfielder Mario Lemina

Leicester City, Everton and West Ham United are among several Premier League clubs weighing up an official offer for the Milan forward M’Baye Niang.

The Frenchman, 21, was the subject of a €16m bid from Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester in January but that was rejected by Milan. However, with the president, Silvio Berlusconi, still in negotiations with a Chinese group of investors over the sale of the club, the forward who scored five goals in 15 Serie A starts is expected to be allowed to leave for slightly less than that figure after expressing a desire to move to England.

Related: Football transfer rumours: Robert Lewandowski to Liverpool?

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Koeman’s priority as Everton manager is simple – get the best out of Barkley | Paul Wilson

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Roberto Martínez’s successor must get the side moving forward and bring the best out of the England man if Everton are to stand a chance of progressing

The first and most obvious priority for the new Everton manager to sort out is to establish which players will still be around next season. John Stones and Romelu Lukaku, most prominently, have attracted attention and are understood to be impatient for Champions League football, but if the players are sufficiently impressed by Roberto Martínez’s successor they may be persuaded to stay at Goodison.

Related: Ronald Koeman should beware at Everton – Goodison grass is not always greener | Jacob Steinberg

Related: Euro 2016: the complete guide to every squad and every player in France

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Premier League 2016-17 fixtures: full week-by-week list for the season

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• Season begins on 13 August and ends on 21 May 2017
• Leicester start at home to Hull, Arsenal face Liverpool

Dates subject to change due to live broadcast selections and to accommodate European and domestic cup matches.

13 August 2016: Bournemouth v Manchester United, Arsenal v Liverpool, Burnley v Swansea City, Chelsea v West Ham United, Crystal Palace v West Bromwich Albion, Everton v Tottenham Hotspur, Hull City v Leicester City, Manchester City v Sunderland, Middlesbrough v Stoke City, Southampton v Watford

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Ronald Koeman could be joined at Everton by Axel Witsel and Tim Krul

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• Koeman lured by biggest transfer budget in Everton’s history
• Manager leaves Saints on three-year deal worth £6m per season

Everton could follow the appointment of Ronald Koeman as manager with the £30m signing of Axel Witsel after being alerted to the Belgium international’s availability.

Koeman was confirmed as the Everton manager on Tuesday after signing a three-year contract worth £6m a year to succeed Roberto Martínez at Goodison Park. Farhad Moshiri, Everton’s major shareholder, last week agreed a £5m compensation package with Southampton to secure the 53-year-old’s exit from St Mary’s Stadium.

Related: Ronald Koeman should beware at Everton – Goodison grass is not always greener | Jacob Steinberg

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Ronald Koeman should beware at Everton – Goodison grass is not always greener | Jacob Steinberg

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The Dutchman is moving to a bigger club with a large fanbase and vast potential but he may soon realise a big budget brings added pressure as well as possibilities

The pessimistic view when Ronald Koeman moved to Southampton in 2014 was that he had accepted a hospital pass, bearing in mind they were struggling to absorb an intense and bruising talent drain on and off the pitch. In reality it was more like a ball from Xavi.

It is understandable that the mood at Everton is celebratory after days of protracted negotiations ended with them securing Koeman as Roberto Martínez’s replacement. After Martínez allowed his commitment to possession football to spill over into a dogmatism, a blind spot towards defending that eventually proved to be the Spaniard’s undoing, now they have a manager who has demonstrated an ability to strike the right balance between defence and attack during his impressive spell at Southampton.

Related: Ronald Koeman confirmed as Everton manager after leaving Southampton

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Ronald Koeman confirmed as Everton manager after leaving Southampton

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• Dutchman joins Goodison club on a £6m-a-year deal
• Koeman guided Saints to sixth in Premier League last season

Everton have confirmed the appointment of Ronald Koeman as their manager, with the Dutch coach signing a three-year deal to succeed Roberto Martínez at Goodison Park.

The former Southampton manager was identified as the prime candidate for the Everton vacancy by the club’s major shareholder, Farhad Moshiri, who took the decision to end Martínez’s three-year tenure before the end of last season.

OFFICIAL: More on the appointment of @RonaldKoemanhttps://t.co/3bG9Wh1BHw #WelcomeRonald pic.twitter.com/VaKG3ZHiPm

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Wayne Rooney: ‘I’ll never play for another Premier League club’

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• Manchester United forward announces details of testimonial match
• José Mourinho: ‘This game will be a fitting tribute to all he has achieved.’

Wayne Rooney says he will not play for any other English club bar Manchester United, discounting the possibility of a late-career move back to Everton, after being given a ringing endorsement from his new manager, José Mourinho, and the encouragement to continue chasing down Sir Bobby Charlton’s scoring record at Old Trafford.

Related: Eric Bailly is José Mourinho’s first signing as Manchester United manager

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Football transfer rumours: Manchester United to sign Roma’s Miralem Pjanic?

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Today’s rumours only have a week to get themselves into shape

Despite being Wiganised to within an inch of his professional life by Roberto Martínez, who seemed determined to turn him into the star of a bloopers show narrated by Chris Kamara, John Stones remains an object of attraction for Chelsea and bothManchester clubs. Not put off by the young defender’s erratic performances all season, the three of them all have their beady eyes on Stones, while Everton want him to stay put. Perhaps Everton can disguise Tony Hibbert as Stones and send him off to Stamford Bridge.

Related: Manchester City want Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but will have to pay £55m

Related: Everton land Ronald Koeman after £5m fee is agreed with Southampton

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Everton land Ronald Koeman after £5m fee is agreed with Southampton

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• Dutchman will be joined by two members of coaching staff
• Farhad Moshiri promises biggest transfer budget in club’s history

Ronald Koeman is expected to be appointed Everton’s new manager within 48 hours after Southampton accepted a compensation package worth around £5m for the Dutch coach and members of his backroom staff.

Farhad Moshiri, Everton’s major shareholder, identified Koeman as his leading candidate to succeed Roberto Martínez after deciding to end the Catalan’s three-year tenure before the end of last season. The determination to prise Koeman from St Mary’s has led to the British-Iranian billionaire meeting Southampton’s demands after several days of negotiations.

Related: José Mourinho set to make Eric Bailly his first Manchester United signing

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