Kalidou Koulibaly's future remains a talking point and Liverpool are reportedly in "pole position" to sign the Napoli defender.

Koulibaly, 28, has been linked with a move amid reported interest from several of Europe's biggest clubs.

And it seems a Koulibaly-Virgil van Dijk central defensive pairing is getting closer at Anfield.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL IN 'POLE POSITION' TO SIGN KOULIBALY

Liverpool are in pole position to sign Koulibaly after Paris Saint-Germain withdrew their interest, according to Le 10 Sport.

With Manchester United having also reportedly withdrawn from the race, Jurgen Klopp's side and Newcastle United – pending takeover – could land the defender.

Koulibaly is contracted at Napoli until 2023 and it will reportedly take an offer of £88.4million (€100m) to land the defender.

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- PSG do seemingly want to hold onto Mauro Icardi beyond the end of his loan from Inter. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports PSG are willing to offer Julian Draxler as part of a deal for Icardi, who joined with a €70m purchase option.

- Staying at PSG and the Ligue 1 giants are looking to sign Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali, according to Le 10 Sport. Tonali has been linked heavily with a move to Juventus.

- t seemed Barcelona and Juventus were preparing for a swap deal. But Goal reports an exchange involving Barca midfielder Arthur and Juventus' Miralem Pjanic is off, with the LaLiga giants also wanting money for the 23-year-old Brazil international.

- Dries Mertens is drawing plenty of attention with his contract at Napoli expiring at the end of the season. Mundo Deportivo reports PSG have joined Atletico Madrid, Inter and Chelsea in a fight for the forward.

- Also with Inter, the Serie A club are still considering forward Jonathan David, according to CalcioMercato. David, 20, has scored 23 goals in 40 games for Gent this season.

- With his loan deal at Roma ending, Chris Smalling looks set to return to Manchester United. Corriere dello Sport reports Roma are considering Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren and Barcelona's Jean-Clair Todibo, who is on loan at Schalke, to replace Smalling.

Manchester United attacker Daniel James revealed his anger when a move from Swansea City to Leeds United fell through in "crazy" fashion last year.

James, 22, was on the verge of joining Leeds in January 2019, just months before his switch to Old Trafford.

The 10-time Wales international said he had agreed to head to Leeds before the move fell through as the window closed.

"I got to Elland Road about 6pm, did all the pictures with my shirt, all the interviews, because they wanted it to go out in the morning, and then it was strange," James told former Swansea team-mate Kenji Gorre on the Living The Dream podcast.

"It got to about 9pm and I'd signed all the papers and then it was from club-to-club. I had people texting me saying, 'What's happening?' and I literally didn't know. It wasn't until 15 minutes to go until I thought, 'This might not happen now.'

"I ended up ringing the chairman [of Swansea] to ask him what's happening. It was all a bit crazy and then it wasn't done. I threw my phone.

"I thought it's not real. The chief exec of Leeds wasn't happy at the time, but then it was just a case of driving home. It was a very weird situation and I think it helped me in some ways."

James ended up finishing the season with Swansea before joining Manchester United for a reported £15million in June 2019.

He had scored four goals in 37 games in all competitions for United before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Former Barcelona assistant Robert Moreno has no doubt the LaLiga giants want to sign Neymar again.

Neymar, 28, has been linked with a return to Camp Nou, having left for Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record €222million move in 2017.

Moreno, an assistant at Barca while the Brazil international was there, said he knew the LaLiga side wanted Neymar again.

"I would re-sign Neymar for Barcelona," the Monaco coach told El Transistor.

"In the end, Barcelona have to have the best players in the world and Neymar is one of them, a player who makes the difference.

"Furthermore, he makes his team-mates play. I know for sure that they want him."

Moreno took over as Monaco coach in December last year, and his side finished ninth as the Ligue 1 campaign was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Spaniard said he had mixed feelings over the decision to call off the rest of the season.

"On one hand, we didn't like it because we didn't agree on the standings and we've been left out of Europe," Moreno said.

"But it's given some certainty because [the government] has extended the measures until July.

"That allows us to start pre-season in July and start the league at the end of August."

Kylian Mbappe is capable of marking an era at Real Madrid and could be somewhat unfulfilled at Paris Saint-Germain, according to Unai Emery.

Mbappe, 21, has been heavily linked with a move to Madrid with his contract at PSG expiring in 2022.

Emery coached the France international for a season at PSG in 2017-18, when they won Ligue 1, the Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue together.

The Spaniard believes Mbappe has the talent to create a spectacular period at Madrid, if he decided to make the move.

"Of course he has the ability to mark an era in Madrid," Emery told AS.

"Advise which league to play in? When I was in France, I love that he was there because I enjoyed it. When I went to England, I would have liked him to play in the Premier League.

"And if I return to Spain, I want him to be here."

Mbappe has already won three Ligue 1 titles with PSG – and another with Monaco – while he helped France to their World Cup success in 2018.

While Emery believes the attacker can be happy at PSG, he said there may be aspects that left Mbappe unfulfilled.

"Look, surely there will be things from PSG that fill you up and maybe some will not, and there may be Real Madrid," he said.

"We are lucky to have and export the two best teams in the world, which are Real Madrid and Barcelona, and I would like them to continue having the best players in the world."

Paul Pogba may have to wait another 12 to 18 months to leave Manchester United due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Gary Neville.

Speculation has regularly linked the World Cup winner, who has been restricted to five Premier League starts this season because of injuries, with a move away from Old Trafford.

Real Madrid and former team Juventus have been among those credited with an interest in signing Pogba, whose up-and-down form has been the subject of almost constant debate.

United have resisted selling the 27-year-old up to now and Neville thinks the COVID-19 crisis will make it even harder for a buyer to meet the demands of the player and club.

"The direction of Pogba's career all season was always facing away from Manchester - there was so much speculation and his agent was coming out all the time," former United captain Neville said to Sky Sports.

"Now with what's happened, coronavirus and the economic reset in football, what clubs are going to be able to buy Paul Pogba for the reputed £80million, £100million fees that were being thrown around?

"Which clubs are going to be paying the huge wages he's on at Manchester United?

"I'm not diminishing him as a player, I'm just talking about the economic situation the whole world finds itself in.

"Paul Pogba may have to, and may want to, sit at Manchester United for the next 12 to 18 months.

"And [he may] look at the fact he's at a club he can play with Bruno Fernandes, with Fred, with [Scott] McTominay, with [Nemanja] Matic, [Harry] Maguire, [Aaron] Wan-Bissaka, Brandon Williams, [David] de Gea in goal.

"And then you have got Mason Greenwood, [Anthony] Martial and [Marcus] Rashford up front."

Neville also thinks the coronavirus crisis hands United an advantage in the transfer market and boosts their hopes of competing for next season's Premier League.

"If we hadn't had this virus, I think Manchester United could've been two or three years away," he said, with Neville's old side sat fifth in the table when fixtures were halted. 

"If a top player in Europe had the choice of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City, all those clubs, United would likely lose out because of where they are in the cycle of the team.

"I think now, out of those eight clubs, six of them could be completely redundant in the transfer market in terms of spending £60million, £80million. Manchester United's ability will still be there.

"United still need to add a few players of really high quality, and they are in a position to be able to capitalise this summer in the transfer market.

"I feel a little more confident in Manchester United's ability to challenge next season just because of what's happened, and the fact they started to play a lot better before this lockdown."

Bojan Krkic believes Barcelona would be better off signing Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino than Argentinian target Lautaro Martinez.

Inter striker Martinez has been strongly linked with a switch to Camp Nou at the end of the season, where he would team up with international colleague Lionel Messi.

But former Barca star Bojan suspects Martinez does not have the qualities that Barca require, given their shape and playing style.

And he has warned signing another out-and-out striker could prove an error, after the difficulty Antoine Griezmann has encountered in settling following his move from Atletico Madrid.

With Luis Suarez established as Barcelona's main target man, when fit, Griezmann has been forced into a wide role.

Writing on Spanish website Sport, Bojan said Martinez was well suited to Inter's counter-attacking game, and stressed he was an "excellent" player.

But he also expressed doubt over the Barcelona link, saying: "Inter don't usually take the initiative and that makes me think that Lautaro could occupy an area at Barca that is naturally not his. [That is] something that would certainly be a shame.

"If you allow me a name, I would bet more on Firmino: a link player, with a lot of presence and great mobility. I do not intend that this reflection be interpreted as a refusal to sign the Argentine, but I understand that his profile must be analysed very well because it would be unforgivable that, as happened with Griezmann, we sign a striker to put him on the wing and then complain that it doesn't work.

"That cannot happen again because, although it seems obvious, a nine is a nine. That is his natural habitat and to move him from there is to waste his talent. If Barca need a nine, sign him, but do it to really use him."

Brazil international Firmino joined Liverpool from Hoffenheim in 2015 and signed a long-term contract extension in April 2018, going on to help Jurgen Klopp's team win the Champions League last season and top the Premier League this term.

Kylian Mbappe could emulate Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid, while Erling Haaland would be a great replacement for Karim Benzema, according to the club's former assistant coach Jose Morais.

Morais spent three years at the Santiago Bernabeu working under Jose Mourinho, during which time Ronaldo helped Madrid overthrow Pep Guardiola's Barcelona and claim the 2011-12 LaLiga title.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner left for Juventus in a €112million deal in 2018 and his absence continues to be felt by Madrid.

Benzema has been more prolific since Ronaldo's exit – he has 49 goals since the start of last season – but Morais believes Paris Saint-Germain star Mbappe and Borussia Dortmund striker Haaland have the quality to make the grade in Madrid.

Morais, now the head coach of Jeonbuk Motors, told Stats Perform: "I think Mbappe is definitely one of the players that can be a target for Real Madrid because he is still young and his quality, talent and strength is capable to project him into one of the best players in the world.

"This is the perspective Madrid wants and this is what you need as a player in order to attract the interest of Madrid. I definitely agree that Mbappe is a player that in the future could play for Real Madrid.

"I'm not there now and I have no idea if it will be a reality, but Madrid is definitely a club that every good player in the world would like to play for. I believe Mbappe would be pleased to go to Madrid."

He continued: "I think [Haaland] is a great player. He's also one of the young players with very great quality. His finishing qualities are unbelievable.

"Doing what he did in this short period for Dortmund and creating the impact that he created. I think that it is never too soon for a quality player to go to a club like Real Madrid.

"The higher the quality of player, the more the possibilities to succeed exist in a club like Real Madrid. You have a lot of competition in the club because you only have good players there, high-level players.

"Benzema is a fantastic player, a goalscorer, he has the quality that he has playing for Madrid all these years. I think Haaland is definitely a good option to replace a striker like him.

"Probably in the style of Cristiano, Mbappe would also be a player that could have some similarities in the strength and speed, and capacity of playing."

World Cup winner Mbappe has scored 90 goals in 120 games for PSG, winning the Ligue 1 title in each of his three campaigns in Paris.

Haaland only joined Dortmund from Salzburg in January but scored 12 goals in his 11 appearances in all competitions for the club before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Eduardo Camavinga welcomed links with a move to Real Madrid and denied he has an agreement in place to remain at Rennes next season.

France Under-21 international Camavinga enjoyed a breakout campaign with Rennes in 2019-20 and the 17-year-old is already believed to be a target for Madrid.

The midfielder made 25 Ligue 1 appearances before the season was ended prematurely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Rennes remained third in the standings and will consequently participate in the Champions League in 2020-21, but Camavinga would not guarantee he will be part of their campaign.

Asked if an agreement to stay at Rennes for next season had been reached, Camavinga told Ouest-France: "If an important agreement like that were found in mid-season, frankly, I would necessarily know.

"With my future, we will see at the end of the season."

On links to Madrid and other elite clubs, he added: "It's nice that big clubs like the one mentioned are interested in me, but I'm well in Rennes.

"We'll see what happens... My parents and my agents manage this."

Sevilla sporting director Monchi dismissed speculation linking the club with a move for Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic, saying there was "absolutely nothing" to the transfer talk.

Rakitic, 32, has been linked with a move away from Barca, where he arrived from Sevilla in 2014.

The Croatia international is contracted at Camp Nou until 2021, but Sevilla are reported to be interested in the midfielder.

However, Monchi rubbished the suggestions and said there was nothing to the speculation.

"I'm not going to discover who Ivan Rakitic is - we're friends," he told Muchodeporte on Thursday.

"Rakitic and Sevilla have absolutely nothing, to be honest. I've spoken to Ivan once or twice about his family and he's asked about mine.

"Now is not the time. Honestly, there's absolutely nothing at the moment.

"Everything that is going on at Barcelona has nothing to do with Sevilla."

Rakitic has won four LaLiga titles and a Champions League among numerous other trophies at Barcelona.

Barcelona's pursuit of Lautaro Martinez continues – and they are reportedly offering up six players as part of the deal.

The LaLiga giants continue to be linked with a move for the Inter star, although reports suggest they are likely to struggle to get a deal done.

The latest report shows just how much difficulty they are facing.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA OFFER INTER CHOICE OF SIX PLAYERS FOR LAUTARO

Barcelona are offering Inter a list of six players for Martinez, according to Sport.

It says Barca would hope to offload two of the six players plus €60million to get a deal done.

Arturo Vidal, Samuel Umtiti, Nelson Semedo, Junior Firpo, Rafinha and Jean-Clair Todibo are the players they are reportedly prepared to offer.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United continue to be linked with a move for Jack Grealish. The Sun reports the Premier League giants are stepping up their pursuit of the Aston Villa star in a £50m move.

- Staying at Old Trafford and Sport reports Marc Jurado has rejected a contract renewal from Barcelona and will instead join Manchester United.

- Talk around Philippe Coutinho continues. With Newcastle United potentially being taken over, Mauricio Pochettino has been linked with the top job and Mundo Deportivo reports one of the Argentine coach's first wishes would be signing Coutinho from Barcelona.

- Manchester City are reportedly looking to strengthen their defence during the upcoming close season. Sport reports the Premier League side are willing to pay £30.6m (€35m) for Marseille defender Boubacar Kamara.

- Javi Martinez and Jerome Boateng could be set for Bayern Munich exits. Kicker reports Bayern are preparing to sell the duo this close season, with both coming out of contract in 2021.

- Are Newcastle United looking for a new goalkeeper? Sport 24 reports they are looking at Benfica and Greece goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos, with the Primeira Liga club wanting £17.5m (€20m) for the shot-stopper.

Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma should seriously consider any offers from Premier League clubs, Italy great Gianluca Pagliuca says.

Donnarumma has made 166 Serie A appearances for the Rossoneri since first breaking into the side in 2015-16 at the age of just 16.

Now 21, the Italy keeper has won only one trophy - the 2016 Supercoppa Italiana - and Milan appear far from challenging for major honours, having been seventh in the table when the league season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

His contract expires next year and there has been speculation Milan could attempt to sell him in 2020 to avoid losing him for nothing, with Chelsea among those rumoured to be interested.

Pagliuca thinks his compatriot should jump at the chance to further his career with a club who are in a stronger position to challenge for the biggest trophies.

"He's very close to Milan, he would like to stay, but he needs to be careful," Pagliuca told TMW Radio.

"It will be years before they win something important. There are other teams who are clearly ahead. You have to think about that.

"If a great offer came in, I would think about it, especially if it came from the Premier League. If I were him, I'd aim to go to the Premier League."

Serie A is yet to outline clear plans to resume the 2019-20 season, which has been on hold since March, with Italy having recorded more than 215,000 COVID-19 cases and close to 30,000 deaths.

Pagliuca believes the season should be ended, much like it has in France and the Netherlands, and a new campaign started in September.

"If I were still a player, I'd be afraid, but not for me – for my loved ones. I'd suspend everything," he said.

"Now, there are fewer infections and more possibilities of resuming. But I would shelve this season, without assigning titles, and start again in September."

Ivan Rakitic insists he is "very happy" at Barcelona and is paying little attention to transfer speculation as he prepares to see out his contract at Camp Nou.

Midfielder Rakitic has a deal running to June 2021, but he has been persistently linked with moves away from the Blaugrana.

The Croatia star was said to be a potential makeweight in offers for Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar, while former club Sevilla are reported to be interested in a reunion.

But Rakitic says he has grown accustomed to the constant scrutiny at Barca and remains focused on life with the LaLiga leaders.

"I've got used to it a bit," he told Sky Sport in Germany. "I've been here six years now, so I've had six years of this sort of thing.

"I have to try to understand it, to remember that football is not just a sport. There is a bit more to it. We know that, we have to try to understand it, you have a laugh about it sometimes.

"The main thing is that I feel good and I am getting good feedback from the head coach and the club.

"I've still got a contract. When I sign a contract, I always intend to fulfil it, and if that cannot happen for any reason, then we'll sit down together and talk about it.

"But for the moment, I am very happy here and I am thinking about other stuff."

Rakitic, who has also previously turned out for Basel and Schalke, joined Barca from Sevilla ahead of the 2014-15 season.

He ended that campaign with a goal in their Champions League final success against Juventus and has helped Barca to four LaLiga titles.

Quique Setien's side are on course for another triumph this term, leading rivals Real Madrid by two points at the summit.

Neymar will still be at Paris Saint-Germain next season, according to team-mate Leandro Paredes.

The Brazilian superstar is reportedly a target for Barcelona, who he left for PSG in a world-record €222million transfer in August 2017, and is said to be willing to take a wage cut to make it happen.

Neymar has scored 69 goals in 80 appearances in all competitions for PSG, including one effort in each of the two legs of a Champions League tie with Borussia Dortmund from which they progressed to the quarter-finals of the competition for the first time since 2016.

The Ligue 1 season has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, with Thomas Tuchel's team crowned champions for the fourth year in a row, and Paredes expects Neymar to still be at the club when the 2020-21 campaign begins.

"Neymar will stay with us," Paredes told FOX Sports Argentina.

"I do not talk about it with him, so he can make his decisions calmly."

Paredes used the Spanish phrase "se queda", which was infamously tweeted by Barcelona captain Gerard Pique shortly before Neymar left for PSG.

Argentina international Paredes struggled to establish himself as a key part of a midfield that is often centred on Marco Verratti.

"At PSG I play with the very best. Verratti is the best midfielder. It's impossible to take the ball from him, he's always going to get away," he said.

"The squad is incredible. I take advantage of it every day in training. The level is very high."

Henrikh Mkhitaryan did not send a message to Arsenal informing them of a desire to join Roma permanently, his agent Mino Raiola says.

Armenia international Mkhitaryan joined Roma on a season-long loan for a fixed fee of €3million in September and has contributed six goals and four assists in 17 appearances

According to a report from the Corriere dello Sport on Wednesday, the 31-year-old told Arsenal he wants to remain in Italy and hoped they could reach an agreement with the Giallorossi.

However, Raiola categorically denied that was the case.

"Mkhitaryan did not send any message to Arsenal," Raiola wrote on Twitter.

"Specially [sic] in times like these, fake news are completely unacceptable."

Roma coach Paulo Fonseca and captain Edin Dzeko have previously stated they would like Mkhitaryan to join permanently.

Mkhitaryan joined Arsenal from Manchester United in a swap deal that saw Alexis Sanchez go in the opposite direction in January 2018.

According to reports, the Gunners may only demand €10m for the playmaker's signature.

Lautaro Martinez has been tipped to swap Inter for Barcelona.

Martinez, though, has emerged as a target for Paris Saint-Germain.

But, LaLiga champions Barca reportedly remain calm about the situation.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA DON'T FEAR PSG AMID LAUTARO PURSUIT

Barcelona remain confident in their bid to sign Inter star Lautaro Martinez, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Martinez has been heavily linked with a move to the LaLiga champions, who view the Argentina international as a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez.

Recent reports have claimed Ligue 1 holders Paris Saint-Germain have emerged as suitors but Barca believe Martinez is committed to moving to Camp Nou.

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- Calciomercato says Milan have contacted Real Madrid about signing Luka Jovic. The Serbia forward has struggled since arriving from Eintracht Frankfurt at the start of 2019-20. The report claims Milan are ready to spend €40million, while a two-year loan deal with a redemption obligation could happen. Meanwhile, Tuttomercato says Milan are eyeing a €20m move for Lyon star Memphis Depay, who is out of contract in June 2021.

Mauricio Pochettino is poised to become Newcastle United's next manager, according to Le10Sport. The former Tottenham boss has been linked amid Newcastle's prospective takeover.

- The Telegraph reports Manchester City and Bayern Munich are set to clash over Leroy Sane. The Germany international has reportedly agreed to join the Bundesliga champions, however, City are insulted by the £35m (€39.9m) valuation.

Juventus have opened talks with Jorginho as Maurizio Sarri looks to reunite with the Chelsea midfielder in Turin, says ESPN.

Manchester United are considering the prospect of delaying their move for Borussia Dortmund sensation Jadon Sancho due to the coronavirus pandemic, reports The Mirror.

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