Southampton complete Gaston Ramirez signing

Adkins hails one of the planet's most exciting prospects as Ramirez completes Saints move

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UPDATED:

18:05 GMT, 31 August 2012

Southampton have confirmed the signing of Uruguayan international Gaston Ramirez.

The attacker joins the Premier League new boys from Bologna in a deal that be worth up to 15million.

The 21 year-old attacker, who featured in the recent Olympic football tournament, has been chased by a host of top clubs across Europe, including Liverpool.

Heading for England: Gaston Ramirez has completed his move to Southampton

Heading for England: Gaston Ramirez has completed his move to Southampton

A statement on the Saints website said:
'The deal to bring Ramirez to St Mary's was quickly agreed and processed
over ten days ago with a work permit appeal being successfully granted
last Friday.

'Only the finer details of the
transfer prevented his signing from being completed and, with those
matters now taken care of, Ramirez has signed a four-year contract.'

Manager Nigel Adkins said: 'A lot of
hard work has gone in from the football club with a lot of negotiations
behind the scenes to get this deal done.

'Great credit to everyone because we have a young, exciting talent joining us who is one of the best around.

'The chairman has gone and backed
this deal big-time with the financial outlay, and what we have got is
one of the most exciting prospects in world football coming to St
Mary’s.

'There is a lot of ambition at the football club and we are all delighted that Gaston is going to come and join us.'

US Open 2012: Laura Robson beats Li Na

Stunning! Robson dumps world No 8 Li out to reach US Open fourth round

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UPDATED:

18:43 GMT, 31 August 2012

Laura Robson continued her giant-killing run at the US Open with a brilliant victory over ninth seed Li Na to reach the fourth round.

The 18-year-old had pulled off one of the results of the tournament in the second round by beating three-time champion Kim Clijsters, sending the Belgian into retirement, but this was even better.

In the final set in particular, Robson outplayed one of the form players of the tour and last year's French Open champion to clinch a 6-4 6-7 (5/7) 6-2 victory.

Giant killer: Laura Robson will face Sam Stosur in the fourth round at the US Open

Giant killer: Laura Robson will face Sam Stosur in the fourth round at the US Open

Impressive: Laura Robson took the game to Li Na

Impressive: Laura Robson took the game to Li Na

She becomes the first British woman
to make the fourth round at a grand slam since Sam Smith at Wimbledon in
1998 and the first in New York since Jo Durie 21 years ago.Afterwards,
Robson revealed her plan had just been to take on her shots.

'I knew if I kept sticking with her and playing my shots it might pay off and it did,' she told Sky Sports 3.

'I had a few break points early on and I gave them up with average returning, so when I got a chance I knew I had to go for it.

'She's a great hitter so knew I had to go for it, I`m going to go back to the gym and try to recover for the next match.'

Robson also put her stunning tournament so far down to her fitness levels.

'I've been injured loads in the past
and this is my first time injury free. That`s the biggest improvement
and difference,' she added.

Against Clijsters, Robson had taken
her time to settle but she was firing from the off on Friday, breaking her
opponent's serve with a crunching return to lead 2-0.

Li hit back immediately but the
Chinese player was making far more mistakes than usual and a forehand
long handed Robson another break to lead 4-2.

She missed her chance serving for the
set three games later but Li was helping her opponent out and another
error gave Robson the set on her second opportunity.

Outclassed: Li Na could not get going in the contest

Outclassed: Li Na could not get going in the contest

The quality was nothing like that of the Clijsters encounter, with both players making a lot more mistakes than they would have liked, but it was costing the ninth seed more.

Robson dropped serve for a third time at the start of the second set but again responded straight away, nailing a cross-court backhand that had too much power for her opponent.

Robson screamed when she conceded a break point in the seventh game only to save it with an ace. The 18-year-old was serving more double faults than she would have liked, seven in total, but, when she got her first serve in, it was causing big problems for Li.

Twice the British number three held to force Li to serve to stay in the match, but the 30-year-old was playing much better now and did not waver.

The tie-break was as tight as they come and, although Robson did little wrong, it was Li who took it on her first set point with a backhand that landed on the back of the baseline.

Coming-of-age: Robson has now beaten Kim Clijsters and Li on her way to the last 16

Coming-of-age: Robson has now beaten Kim Clijsters and Li on her way to the last 16

It was a blow for the British player but, far from letting it affect her, she redoubled her efforts, showing the improved movement that has been such a feature of her run here.

Li saved three break points in the third game but she could not hold off Robson two games later.

It looked like the ninth seed had been handed a reprieve when a poor line call denied Robson but that only spurred her on even more and the teenager's prodigious ball striking drew the error from Li.

It really was a remarkable performance from Robson, who was playing better and better, and she broke through again to lead 5-2 and leave herself serving for the match.

A double fault hinted at nerves but that was a minor blip and Robson took her first match point with another big serve that Li could only scramble back long.

It does not get any easier for the 18-year-old, though, with defending champion Sam Stosur up next.

Sheffield Wednesday sign Jay Bothroyd

Owls boost attacking options with loan signing of Bothroyd from QPR

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UPDATED:

18:23 GMT, 31 August 2012

Sheffield Wednesday have signed striker Jay Bothroyd from QPR on a loan deal until January.

Bothroyd will be reunited with manager Dave Jones, who signed the 30-year-old for Cardiff in August 2008.

Moving on: Jay Bothroyd has joined Sheffield Wednesday on loan

Moving on: Jay Bothroyd has joined Sheffield Wednesday on loan

He scored 45 goals in 128 appearances for the Bluebirds in the Championship, earning him a surprise inclusion in Fabio Capello's England squad for the 2-1 friendly defeat to France in 2010.

Bothroyd started his career with Arsenal before joining Coventry for 1million in 2000. He will wear the No 24 shirt for Wednesday.

F1 washout as heavy rain batters Belgian Grand Prix practice

Good to be back F1 washout as heavy rain batters Belgian Grand Prix practice

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UPDATED:

15:39 GMT, 31 August 2012

Unrelenting heavy rain virtually washed out the second practice session ahead of Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix.

It was hardly the ideal return for Formula One after a 33-day hiatus since the last race in Hungary at the end of July.

But the capricious nature of the Ardennes struck again, casting a gloomy picture over the Spa-Francorchamps circuit for the entire day.

Water return: Sebastian Vettel navigates around Spa Francorchamps track

Water return: Sebastian Vettel navigates around Spa Francorchamps track

The famous seven-kilometre track was already sodden when the rain set in 10 minutes prior to the start of the first session.

At least the conditions were not too bad as a number of laps were posted during the opening 90 minutes, with Kamui Kobayashi in his Sauber quickest with a time of two minutes 11.389secs, albeit 23 seconds adrift of last year's pole lap.

During the course of the lunch break, however, the rain continued to teem down, so when it came to the start of FP2, unsurprisingly not a single driver ventured out.

It took 48 minutes for a car to emerge from the garage, at least offering those die-hard fans huddled under umbrellas a glimpse of some action.

Making a splash: Fernando Alonso battles in the conditions in Belgium

Making a splash: Fernando Alonso battles in the conditions in Belgium

It was Mercedes' Nico Rosberg who initially opted to brave the elements, followed shortly after by team-mate Michael Schumacher who this weekend celebrates his 300th grands prix.

On his 21st outing at this track, where he has previously won six times, Schumacher will have encountered such conditions on many occasions, but even by Spa standards it was exceptional.

Just 10 drivers set irrelevant timed laps, and only because they were on track at the end of the session and approached the start-finish line for a practice start.

Six drivers overall did not even bother to venture out – Mark Webber in his Red Bull, Lotus duo Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean, Caterham's Vitaly Petrov and Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan for HRT.

Keeping dry: Lewis Hamilton shelters under an umbrella at practice

Keeping dry: Lewis Hamilton shelters under an umbrella at practice

To pass the time a number of drivers took to Twitter, with the likes of McLaren's Lewis Hamilton posting snaps of his car, helmet and racing boots at various stages.

It means the teams have precious little information to go on for qualifying tomorrow and the race on Sunday.

The hope, at least, is the final-hour long practice run on Saturday is dry, with the forecast looking promising.

Premier League consider fifth referee introduction

Oi, ref… no, not you the other one! Premier League ponder FIFTH official

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UPDATED:

16:48 GMT, 31 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

The Premier League will consider having five referees at matches if evidence from UEFA's tests proves the system raises the standard of officiating.

The league's referees chiefs are waiting for the detailed analysis from trials in around 1,000 matches in Europe, but UEFA president Michel Platini has warned that countries who introduce the system will be given priority when it came to choosing officials for their competitions.

The system of having an extra official next to each goal has already been introduced into Italy's Serie A and will continue in the Champions League and Europa League this season.

Plans: Premier League chiefs could introduce a fifth official

Plans: Premier League chiefs could introduce a fifth official

A Premier League spokesman said: 'We have not had the most recent set of analysis and clearly we would want to study that, but generally where developments are proven to improve the standard of officiating it's always something the English game would look at.'

UEFA say the extra officials made crucial decisions at Euro 2012, allowed assistants to concentrate on offside calls, and acted as a deterrent to foul play at set-pieces.

Platini is adamant UEFA will not implement goal-line technology in European competitions and that the five-referee system is a better alternative.

He said: 'We have decided that we should suggest that additional assistant referees is the system that we want and we are trying to show the national associations that it is a good idea.

Support: UEFA President Michel Platini

Support: UEFA President Michel Platini

'Serie A in Italy has started and they are rather happy with it. Some associations will take longer than others.

'But if they want to have referees in big European competitions we will give priority to those coming from associations who are implementing the system so that there is understanding among the team of five referees.'

Platini insisted he was not threatening FAs and understood that some of the smaller associations could not afford to introduce the system.

He added: 'It is not a threat but we can give advice.'

Swansea sign Pablo Hernandez

Swansea seal 5.55m deal for Hernandez to smash club record fee… by 50,000!

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UPDATED:

16:31 GMT, 31 August 2012

Swansea have completed a club record deal for Pablo Hernandez.

Just a week after landing Celtic star Ki Sung-Yueng for 5.5million, they have paid Valencia 50,000 more for the Spanish winger.

The 27-year-old has four caps for his country and is a major coup for the Welsh side.

Delight: Pablo Hernandez was desperate to join up with manager Michael Laudrup

Delight: Pablo Hernandez was desperate to join up with manager Michael Laudrup

He said: 'I’m very happy to become a Swansea City player. It was my target as soon as I knew there was interest. There were offers from other clubs, but this was the only club I wanted to join.

'I want to thank the club and Michael Laudrup for making me feel like a very important player. Now I want to repay that faith on the football field.

'Swansea is a very important football club and will only keep getting better. They were a good side last year and look even better so far this season.

'I watched the game against West Ham on TV last week and they played some good football. I also liked the atmosphere; the fans are good and together with Michael Laudrup’s presence it’s an exciting package.’

Hernandez revealed that Laudrup was the key factor in his arrival at the Liberty Stadium.

He added: 'Michael was my idol when I was young. Then I was lucky enough to play under him at Getafe.

'I was a young player at Getafe and I learnt a lot from him. He gave me confidence and I have a lot to thank him for.

'Now I want to help him at Swansea in return, because he was very important for my career.’

Laudrup said: 'I managed Pablo in Getafe and he did fantastic for us. He did so well and went back to Valencia, who are the equivalent in Spain of Arsenal over here.

Big name: Hernandez is a major coup for Swansea - and a new club record signing

Big name: Hernandez is a major coup for Swansea – and a new club record signing

'He has played a lot of games in the Champions League games in the last three seasons and made his debut in the national team. I am looking forward to working with him again; he is a good player with the right mentality.

'He specifically wanted to come here. The other players who have come here have come from smaller clubs, and here is a player from the third biggest club in Spain and he wants to come here. It is great for us.'

Nicklas Bendtner joins Juventus from Arsenal on season-long loan

Bendtner completes move to Juventus on season-long loan from Arsenal

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UPDATED:

16:28 GMT, 31 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Nicklas Bendtner has completed his move to Italian champions Juventus from Arsenal on a season-long loan.

Bendtner, who spent last season on loan at Sunderland, has slipped further down the pecking order at the Emirates Stadium since the arrival of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud.

Italian job: Nicklas Bendtner is set to leave Arsenal for Juventus

Italian job: Nicklas Bendtner is set to leave Arsenal for Juventus

Juve turned their attention to Bendtner after missing out on Manchester United's Dimitar Berbatov.

Sporting director, Beppe Marotta told Sky Sport Italia: 'Bendtner is already in Italy and will undergo a medical.

'Until the final paperwork is concluded, I will not say that the player is ours.

'He has talent and ability. Potentially a great player, one that has almost never been able to prove it.'

The 24-year-old joined Arsenal in 2005 and will be offloaded for around 5million.

Paul Gascoigne invited to watch Lazio v Spurs

Gazza guest of honour! Lazio want England legend at Europa League match against Spurs

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UPDATED:

16:18 GMT, 31 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Lazio will invite Paul Gascoigne to their Europa League match against Tottenham in Rome to celebrate the link the former England star created between the two clubs.

Gascoigne joined Lazio from Spurs in 1992 and entered the club's folklore – his first goal for the club was a last-gasp equaliser in the Rome derby.

Memories: Lazio want their former star Paul Gascoigne as a guest against Spurs

Memories: Lazio want their former star Paul Gascoigne as a guest against Spurs

Lazio's general manager Maurizio Manzini, who had the same position at the club in Gascoigne's time, said they would like the 45-year-old to attend the game in Rome.

Lazio and Tottenham have never played a competitive game before, and have been drawn together in Group J along with Greek side Panathinaikos and Maribor from Slovenia.

Manzini said: 'Tottenham is a team Lazio knows very well, a great team with great traditions and we are very familiar with White Hart Lane starting from the time we had Paul Gascoigne.

'There is always a corner of Tottenham in our hearts. He is a mythical figure for Lazio fans and very popular in general in Italy.

'I remember the Atalanta ultras, who had a reputation for being really tough, opened an enormous banner with a picture of a huge bottle of beer saying “This is for you Gazza”.

'I hope we will have the chance to see him in London and for sure we will invite him to the match in Rome.'

Gascoigne has struggled to deal with alcohol problems since retirement but his agent said earlier this summer that he has embarked on a health drive.

Perfect 10: Gazza became a Lazio hero with this goal in the Rome derby

Perfect 10: Gazza became a Lazio hero with this goal in the Rome derby

Barnsley check players" cars in bid to solve injury crisis

Driven mad! Barnsley boss Hill probes players' cars in bid to solve injury riddle

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UPDATED:

15:44 GMT, 31 August 2012

Barsnley manager Keith Hill is being driven so mad by his team's injury crisis that he has checked the cars they are driving.

Hill will be without 11 players for the second weekend running at home to Bristol City and has had just 12 senior players in training this week.

Hill said: 'To legislate for the type of injuries we’ve got, you must have really seriously good finances, which unfortunately we haven’t got.

Injury crisis: Championship club Barnsley have been rocked by a host of sidelined stars

Injury crisis: Championship club Barnsley have been rocked by a host of sidelined stars

Football League blog

'We’ve looked at every possible reason for the injuries. We’ve even gone so far to look at the type of car the players are driving and the distance they are travelling each day.

'Especially for those with hamstring problems where we’ve sought advice from sports science departments at Premier League clubs and they are coming up with types of cars for hamstring injuries and seating positions for the duration of the journey.

'We’ve been assured everything we’ve been doing on the training pitch is correct and we just can’t find the reason why we are picking up so many injures other than the possibility of travelling and the type of car they are driving.'

Driven mad: Barnsley boss Keith Hill is desperate to find a solution to his club's injury problems

Driven mad: Barnsley boss Keith Hill is desperate to find a solution to his club's injury problems

Rafael van der Vaart signs for Hamburg from Tottenham

Another one bites the dust: Van der Vaart latest to leave Spurs in 10m return to Hamburg

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UPDATED:

14:16 GMT, 31 August 2012

Fantasy football 2012

Tottenham midfielder Rafael van der Vaart has returned to Hamburg in a 10.3million deal.

The Holland playmaker has signed a three-year contract with the Bundesliga club, after flying out for a medical, and will wear the No 23 shirt that has always been associated with him at the Imtech Arena, after it unexpectedly became available.

'I am delighted that Rafael van der Vaart will be playing for Hamburg again,' said the Bundesliga club's coach Thorsten Fink. 'He will be a strong addition to our team.'

The 29-year old was such a crowd favourite in his first spell at Hamburg, from 2005 to 2008, that the club refused to give it anyone else, in the hope he would return.

Welcome back: Hamburg tweeted this picture of Rafael van der Vaart with Frank Arnesen

Welcome back: Hamburg tweeted this picture of Rafael van der Vaart with Frank Arnesen

On his way: Rafael van der Vaart is undertaking his Hamburg medical

On his way: Rafael van der Vaart is undertaking his Hamburg medical

Despairing of luring him back, they
relented last year and handed it to Slobodan Rajkovic. But the defender
had a blazing row with head coach Thorsten Fink just two months ago and
was immediately made available.

Hamburg have been unable to offload
him, despite their best efforts to fix up a permanent transfer or loan,
but have removed him from their squad list, leaving van der Vaart free
to pull on, once more, number 23.

The deal had been in the balance for
nearly a week, amid uncertainty over whether billionaire benefactor
Klaus-Michael Kuehne would bankroll it. But the 75-year old finally
agreed to loan his local club the money, and the 10.3million offer was
rubberstamped at a board meeting that only ended at 2am Friday morning.

'I can confirm that Rafael is on his way to Hamburg now for a medical,' the forward's agent Robert Geerlings said.

Van der Vaart struck 15 times in 36 appearances in his first season and then bagged 13 more goals in his second year in England. He signed for Harry Redknapp on deadline day two years ago.

Previously he spoke about a potential return to the club he spent three years at before joining Real Madrid.

He said: 'I spent three years living in Hamburg and had a wonderful time at HSV. My wife Sylvie works there and we have many friends who live in your country [Germany].'

Grand plan: Andre Villas-Boas is overhauling the club

Grand plan: Andre Villas-Boas is overhauling the club

Gylfi Sigurdsson was signed in the
summer and is a natural replacement to play behind the striker in Van
der Vaart's favoured position.

Tottenham
have boosted their midfield with the 15m purchase of Moussa Dembele
from Fulham, but also lost Luka Modric to Real Madrid.

Van der Vaart's wife Sylvie tweeted: 'Thank you Spurs, and all the fans for an amazing time!You guys have the greatest team in England. Will ♥ you always#coys Time to go home now ♥'

Tottenham have agreed a 22m deal with Porto for Joao Moutinho who will replace the Dutchman in Villas-Boas' squad.