Rumour Has It: Sancho 'really close' to Man Utd switch, Madrid scouting Leipzig's Olmo

By Sports Desk June 26, 2021

Is one of football's biggest transfer sagas coming to an end?

Manchester United wanted Jadon Sancho at the start of 2020-21 but a deal with Borussia Dortmund did not materialise.

However, Premier League giants United appear to be closing in on the England international ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.

 

TOP STORY – SANCHO SET FOR OLD TRAFFORD

Jadon Sancho will join Manchester United from Borussia Dortmund, according to Fabrizio Romano.

United have long been interested in Sancho, who had previously attracted attention from Liverpool and Chelsea.

But Romano says an agreement is "really close", with "final details expected to be completed in the next few days".

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport Bild reports Real Madrid are scouting RB Leipzig and Spain star Dani Olmo during Euro 2020. Madrid continue to be linked with Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe, however, Cadena Ser claims Los Blancos have ruled out an off-season move due to their financial situation.

United are confident of signing Raphael Varane from Madrid but the France defender's salary expectations are a stumbling block, says The Independent. It comes as ESPN reports Anthony Martial and Donny van de Beek could be sold as part of a revamp of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's squad.

- According to Foot Mercato, former Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has made PSG his priority. The veteran has also been linked with United, Manchester City and Chelsea.

Tottenham are interested in Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde as they edge closer to appointing former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo, says Romano and Gianluca Di Marzio. Kounde is one of the most sought-after defenders in Europe, linked with Chelsea, United and Madrid.

- Mundo Deportivo reports Barca are eyeing Valencia captain Jose Gaya and Chelsea's Marcos Alonso if Inter target Jordi Alba leaves and Junior Firpo joins Milan.

Lazio head coach Maurizio Sarri wants to reunite with Arthur in Rome and could send Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to Juventus, per Il Bianconero.

- Alfredo Pedulla claims PSG are leading the race to sign Lazio star Joaquin Correa. Arsenal and Tottenham are also eyeing the forward.

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    Paris Saint-Germain remain in contract talks with Lionel Messi, with the club's football advisor Luis Campos hopeful of reaching an agreement.

    Messi's two-year deal with PSG is due to expire at the end of the season, and the 35-year-old has been linked with a move to Major League Soccer side Inter Miami.

    A return to Barcelona has also been mooted for Messi, who led Argentina to World Cup glory last year, winning the Golden Ball award following a series of talismanic displays in Qatar.

    While reports in December suggested he had reached an agreement in principle to stay with PSG, no announcement has been made on his future beyond this campaign.

    Campos has confirmed discussions are ongoing with Messi, who he hopes will renew after recording 29 goal involvements (15 goals, 14 assists) in 24 PSG appearances this season. 

    "I would like to have him in this project, I cannot hide it, I would be delighted if he continues with us," Campos told Telefoot.

    "But we are still discussing at the moment to achieve this goal, to continue to have Lionel Messi with us."

    PSG came close to recruiting another left-footed attacker as the January transfer window drew to a close, only for a proposed loan move for Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech to fall through.

    The Parisians were reportedly foiled by Chelsea's failure to submit the correct paperwork before the transfer deadline, leaving Campos in no doubt as to the Blues' responsibility for the failed move.

    "We had the player with us, we had done everything," he said. "But like in all transfers, we need the three parts, player and both clubs, to work well. 

    "In this case, it worked very well for PSG, it worked well with Ziyech and unfortunately it didn't work out for the last part."

  • 'Leao has a home at Milan' – Pato urges star forward to remain at San Siro 'Leao has a home at Milan' – Pato urges star forward to remain at San Siro

    Alexandre Pato has urged Milan forward Rafael Leao to stay put, claiming the Portugal international "has a home and everything he needs".

    Leao played a key role as Milan ended their 11-year wait for the Scudetto last season, scoring 11 goals for Stefano Pioli's side in Serie A.

    He has netted nine times this term for his club, while he also scored twice at the World Cup in Qatar.

    The 23-year-old, whose existing contract expires in 2024, has been linked with a move away from San Siro, with the Real Madrid, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool rumoured to be potential destinations.

    Reports in Italy have claimed discussions between Leao and Milan over a new deal had broken down, though these were dismissed by the club and the player's agent Ted Dimvula, who described it as "false and misleading information".

    Pato, who spent six years at Milan between 2007 and 2013, has encouraged Leao not to be swayed by outside influences.

    "He has to do what he feels with his heart, because sometimes you have too many people around you telling you what to do," the former Brazil striker told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

    "He must decide for what he thinks will make him happy. Leao, however, has a home at Milan, he has everything he needs."

    Pato feels Leao "can make the difference" in Sunday's Derby della Madonnina against rivals Inter, where Milan will be aiming to end a six-match winless streak.

    Part of the Scudetto-winning side of 2011, Pato believes this season's squad must improve their attitude, though he remains confident Pioli can inspire an upturn in fortunes.

    "The premise is that in my dressing room, there were quite a few legends," he observed. "Between training sessions and matches, there was no difference; the attitude was the same.

    "I was lucky enough to see [Paolo] Maldini train 110 per cent every day. He arrived earlier, did extra work. [Zlatan Ibrahimovic] the same, Cafu the same. Champions who didn't think about the clock, but only about working as hard as possible.

    "So more than talking, all you had to do to understand the right path was to observe. As for the current situation, I can only say that if they're using the same attitude as last year, it's not good.

    "Sometimes, the management that follows wins is more complicated than when you don't win. However, I'm sure that Pioli will turn the light back on."

  • Neuer prioritised himself over Bayern with goalkeeping coach comments, says Salihamidzic Neuer prioritised himself over Bayern with goalkeeping coach comments, says Salihamidzic

    Hasan Salihamidzic has accused Manuel Neuer of putting his own interests above those of Bayern Munich amid a row over the sacking of goalkeeping coach Toni Tapalovic.

    Neuer, who is sidelined for the rest of the season after breaking his leg during a skiing trip in December, criticised the club's decision to part ways with Tapalovic in an interview with The Athletic.

    The Germany international said his long-term mentor's exit came as a "blow", adding: "It really knocked me down". 

    Neuer's comments have attracted criticism from Bayern's hierarchy, with chief executive Oliver Kahn saying they "do not do justice to him as captain or to the values of FC Bayern".

    Sporting director Salihamidzic echoed those thoughts in an interview with BILD, saying he expected more from the Bayern skipper and declaring Tapalovic's exit was not the goalkeeper's concern. 

    "I understand that Manuel is personally affected. But I would have expected a different behaviour from him, especially as a captain," Salihamidzic said.

    "The Tapalovic decision, which was also difficult for us personally, had nothing to do with Manuel in this matter, and we explained that to him."

    Asked if any punishment would be handed out to Neuer, Salihamidzic said: "If there are any consequences, we will first talk to Manuel about it himself. 

    "The disappointment that he describes about Tapa's release also prevails with us because Manuel has put his personal interests above the interests of the club here.

    "We will do it internally, and discuss it reasonably with him. Oliver classified the parts of the interview that are relevant for Bayern correctly. We have to clarify a very important topic with Manuel."

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