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  1. Albion nearing deal for Inter Miami's Gomezpublished at 15:55 20 July

    Simon Stone
    Chief football news reporter

    Diego Gomez celebrates scoring for Inter MiamiImage source, Getty Images

    Brighton are edging closer to signing Paraguay midfielder Diego Gomez from Major League Soccer side Inter Miami.

    Gomez, 21, will be part of his country's Olympic squad later this month, so he would not be able to link up with Albion until after the tournament.

    However, sources say talks over a deal are close to completion, with the fee expected to be about $18m (£13.9m).

    Meanwhile, though Brighton have rejected Napoli's £8m bid for midfielder Billy Gilmour, sources say it was regarded as an initial approach.

    This suggests the Serie A side believe a transfer can be completed and will return with another offer.

  2. Do clubs actually play more games?published at 11:11 19 July

    Injured Premier League footballerImage source, Getty Images

    It seems inevitable a host of Premier League managers will point to fixture congestion in the months to come.

    When injuries mount, or when time on the training ground is squeezed, coaches often reference the intense nature of the calendar.

    But research conducted by the respected CIES Football Observatory has delivered data which shows clubs are - on average - not playing more competitive games than they have in the last couple of decades.

    The CIES looked at 677 clubs across 40 leagues. In looking at a period from 2012 to 2024, its findings show in 2023-24, the average club played 42.4 competitive matches. In 2014-15 that figure was 42.6 and in 2020-21 it hit 43.9.

    And if focus is placed on sides competing in the Champions League, data gathered between 2000 and 2024 also shows sides are not setting fixture records in the current game, as some managers may like to loosely imply.

    In looking at the five major European Leagues, the CIES claim Champions League competitors played an average of 50.8 matches last season.

    In 2020-21 they averaged 57.9 and in 2002-03 they contested 55.2.

    Manchester United played in 52 competitive games last season, down from highs of 71 in 2020-21 and 66 in 2008-09.

    Across all of the clubs analysed, only 4% played more than 60 games last season. In 2012-13, the figure stood at 5.1%.

    While clubs may play added friendlies and - it would be fair to say - individual matches tend to be longer given increased injury time in the current game, the data shows that competitive fixture numbers are flat or have in most cases fallen, even if disgruntled managers say otherwise.

    The full study is here, external