Aston Villa have completed the signing of goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez from Arsenal in a reported £20million deal.

Could Tottenham and Gareth Bale reunite?

Bale, who left Tottenham for Real Madrid in 2013, is not wanted in the Spanish capital.

While Manchester Untied are reportedly interested, former club Spurs are Bale's preference.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS LEAD BALE RACE

Tottenham are ahead of Premier League rivals Manchester United in the pursuit of Real Madrid outcast Gareth Bale, according to ESPN.

Bale has reportedly been told he can leave Madrid after falling out of favour with head coach Zinedine Zidane.

The Welshman wants to return to former club Tottenham after leaving Spurs for Madrid in 2013 and the Telegraph claims Dele Alli could be included in a deal to bring Bale back to London.

While United's interest is believed to be serious, it all depends on whether they are able to sign number one target and Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Transfer Podcast reports United believe that if they leave final negotiations for Sancho until the last week of the transfer window, Dortmund will eventually cave in and sell the England international. Dortmund have refused to budge on their €120million (£108m) valuation.

- The Mirror claims Arsenal are close to offloading unwanted trio Sead Kolasinac, Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira. Kolasinac has been linked to West Ham, Valencia are considering Guendouzi and Torreira has been tipped to join Torino. The Gunners want to keep full-back Hector Bellerin but he may be sold to Paris Saint-Germain.

Roma are poised to sign Juventus full-back Mattia De Sciglio, reports Fabrizio Romano. It comes as Juve close in on Roma striker Edin Dzeko, while Roma Press says the latter are set to complete the capture of Hellas Verona defender Marash Kumbulla. He had been linked to Inter, Lazio and Juve.

-  Luis Suarez's move to Juve has collapsed, says RAC1. The Barcelona veteran had been tipped to leave Camp Nou for Turin but a delay in an Italian citizenship test has reportedly scuppered the deal. Atletico Madrid are now an option for the Uruguayan.

- The Mail claims Bayern Munich are ready to renew their interest in Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi. The Englishman was linked to Bayern last year before opting to sign a new deal. Now, Hudson-Odoi could swap London for Munich before the October 5 deadline, with Juve also reportedly eyeing the Chelsea star.

- Diario AS reports Turkish giants Fenerbahce are eyeing Atletico's Diego Costa. Fenerbahce just sold striker Vedat Muriqi to Lazio and may use the transfer funds to bring Costa to Istanbul.

United had been favourites to land Sergio Reguilon from Madrid but the Telegraph and widespread reports say Tottenham are poised to sign the Spanish full-back. United have been reluctant to include a buy-back clause in any deal with Madrid.

- According to Sport Bild, Liverpool have contacted Bayern regarding Thiago Alcantara but the asking price is too high. United and Barca are also reportedly interested.

Lyon sporting director Juninho insisted there have been no offers for Houssem Aouar or Barcelona target Memphis Depay.

Aouar and Depay are in demand following their exploits for Ligue 1 club Lyon, who reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2019-20.

Aouar has been linked with the likes of Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal and Chelsea, while Depay is reportedly wanted by LaLiga giants Barca.

Juninho was asked about the star duo following Lyon's 2-1 loss at Montpellier on Tuesday.

"For now, there is nothing for these players, we have not received anything for Houssem [Aouar], we have not received anything for Memphis [Depay]," Juninho said.

Depay has been tipped to reunite with former Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman at Barca, however, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas claimed the Spanish powerhouse cannot afford to buy the former Manchester United forward due to their finances amid the coronavirus crisis.

Amid talk of a €25million transfer, Juninho told Telefoot: We have not received anything from Barcelona. Not even a call to ask for the price for Memphis.

"What I have understood, is that if he stays, he will be happy to help us to have a good season. The players who received offers have already left."

Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez farewelled the Gunners in an emotional video ahead of his reported transfer to fellow Premier League club Aston Villa.

Despite helping Arsenal to FA Cup and Community Shield glory in the absence of injured starter Bernd Leno, Martinez is expected to join Villa in a £20million deal.

Martinez joined Arsenal from Independiente in 2010, though the Argentine goalkeeper has often been second or third choice at Emirates Stadium.

Saying goodbye to Arsenal in an Instagram video on Tuesday, the 28-year-old said: "Thank you Arsenal. For me, I could not be happier to leave through the front door with the Arsenal fanbase supporting me and the club supporting me.

"I had 11 years at the club, and even if it was a hard road for me, and I suffered through my time at Arsenal, today I am happy and I tried to show young goalies how work pays off. 

"When you work hard, you are not going to be happy the whole time, you are going to have frustration, bad times in life. 

"They all understood at Arsenal and they support me for my decision. The Arsenal fanbase were always there for me, I felt their love.

"Even when Bernd got injured this season, I received loads of messages like 'we trust in you', 'you are our goalie'. That made me confident, made me win games and made me the keeper I am today.

"They understood my story and they love the way I worked in the club. I am so glad to be part of the Arsenal family for 11 years."

Ronald Koeman said Barcelona must sell before they can think about signing Lyon captain Memphis Depay as the head coach expects to start the LaLiga season with no additions to the squad.

Depay has been tipped to reunite with former Netherlands coach Koeman at Barca following his exploits for Ligue 1 outfit and Champions League semi-finalists Lyon.

However, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas – prior to Tuesday's 2-1 loss against Montpellier – claimed Barca cannot afford to buy Depay due to their finances amid the coronavirus crisis.

Koeman, who has replaced Quique Setien at Camp Nou, was asked about former Manchester United forward Depay amid talk of a €25million transfer and he told Fox Sports Netherlands: "For Depay to arrive, you must first sell."

Barca have been linked with a number of players following a miserable 2019-20 campaign, which saw the Spanish powerhouse dethroned by bitter rivals Real Madrid in LaLiga and embarrassed 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

After receiving Miralem Pjanic in a swap deal that sent Arthur to Serie A champions Juventus, Barca continue to be linked with Inter star Lautaro Martinez.

Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has emerged as a possible target for Barca, while former star Thiago Alcantara has also been linked with a move from Bayern.

However, Koeman said: "We're working towards the new season and I think we will go into it with the same group of players that we have now for pre-season."

Barca will open their 2020-21 LaLiga campaign at home to Unai Emery's Villarreal on September 26.

Lionel Messi is set to take to the field for Barca following a turbulent off-season, which saw the superstar captain try to leave the club.

Linked to Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter and Juventus, six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi decided to stay after handing in a transfer request amid frustration with Barca's board.

Asked about the situation involving Messi, former Barca defender Koeman added: "That has passed me reasonably well. That was mainly a conflict between Messi and the club.

"I have spoken to Messi since then and we will continue as usual." 

Gareth Bale could make a sensational return to Tottenham after the Real Madrid star's agent talked up a reunion.

Wales star Bale has been frozen out of the first-team picture at Madrid by head coach Zinedine Zidane, despite a decorated stint in the Spanish capital which has included four Champions League triumphs.

The 31-year-old joined Madrid from Spurs in September 2013 for what was then a world-record €100million fee.

Tottenham are reported to be in talks over re-signing Bale, with a loan move thought to be most likely and wages understood to be in the region of £600,000 per week a significant hurdle to negotiate.

Nevertheless, the winger's agent Jonathan Barnett stated playing in north London once again would be his client's preferred option.

"Gareth still loves Spurs," he told BBC Sport Wales. "It's where he wants to be."

Manchester United have frequently been linked to Bale during his time in LaLiga.

He does not fit the age profile of players United tend to sign, although he might be viewed as an alternative option at a time when attempts to bring Borussia Dortmund and England youngster Jadon Sancho to Old Trafford appear to have stalled.

Bale's team-mate, left-back Sergio Reguilon, has been linked to both United and Spurs.

Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho spoke of his desire to sign another forward ahead of the season opener against Everton last weekend and Bale's arrival would certainly serve as a timely boost after that dispiriting 1-0 home loss.

Barcelona cannot afford to buy Memphis Depay because of the hit their finances have taken during the COVID-19 crisis, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has claimed.

The dramatic twist on Tuesday evening followed reports that Depay was set to leave Lyon and be reunited with Ronald Koeman, who until recently was his Netherlands coach, at Camp Nou.

The striker looked set to move to Spain in a deal costing Barcelona in the region of 25-30 million euros, various reports indicated.

Yet the deal now looks to be off, with Aulas declaring Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu personally told him the Catalan giants were in no position to make an offer.

In a Twitter message, Aulas pointed to a report from Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that suggested a 30 million euros move for the 26-year-old was in the offing.

Aulas wrote: "The president of Barca indicated to me on Sunday that Barca were suffering a lot from the COVID crisis and didn't have the possibility to make an offer. #memphis"

Bartomeu recently said Barcelona faced losing around 30 per cent of their budgeted income because of the coronavirus pandemic, with that figure likely to equate to somewhere close to 300 million euros.

Depay has scored 46 goals in 103 Ligue 1 games for Lyon, Opta statistics show, since joining from Manchester United in the January 2017 transfer window.

Former Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic has completed his move to West Brom on a one-year contract.

Ivanovic, 36, has been a free agent since leaving Zenit when his contract expired at the end of the Russian Premier League season in July.

Three Premier League titles and the Champions League were among 10 trophies he won during nine successful years with Chelsea between 2008 and 2017.

"The Premier League is the best league in the world," Ivanovic, who will wear the number 20 shirt with West Brom, said after finalising his move on Tuesday.

"I need to challenge myself and I am ready for the challenge. I am really happy to be back playing in the Premier League.

"I hope I am going to be successful here. I have a lot of ambition and I want to prove a lot of things. I will give everything for the team."

The Baggies were soundly beaten 3-0 at home to Leicester City in their first match since promotion to the Premier League on Sunday and manager Slaven Bilic was glad to bring in a proven performer.

Bilic said of Ivanovic: "He is a great addition for us, a team who are newly promoted in the Premier League. He ticks all the boxes for us.

"He's done everything in his career - it's been magnificent. We're delighted. He adds quality and experience on the pitch and off the pitch."

After facing Harrogate Town in the EFL Cup on Wednesday, West Brom are away to Everton in the top flight on Saturday.

Barcelona sporting director Ramon Planes confirmed they want to sign a new striker but would not confirm Luis Suarez is leaving the club.

Suarez has been heavily linked with Juventus after he was reportedly informed over the phone by new head coach Ronald Koeman that he will not be in his first-team plans this season.

No deal has yet been secured with the Serie A champions, though, and Planes was unwilling to give too much away on the Uruguay star's future at the presentation of Miralem Pjanic on Tuesday.

"He has been – and is – an important player for Barcelona in recent years and for that reason deserves maximum respect," Planes said.

"Following the end of the season, we're in a process of change, changing the coach, ideas... But we have to respect the players and their contracts. Until October 5, when the [transfer] window closes, anything can happen."

With Suarez expected to leave, Barca have been tipped to bring in Memphis Depay from Lyon, a player who thrived under Koeman for the Netherlands.

There were reports in Depay's homeland on Tuesday that a deal to bring him to Camp Nou for an initial €25million was in place, although counterclaims in Spain have denied such an agreement.

Planes made it clear the Catalans are looking for attacking reinforcements, saying: "It's been public for months that we're working on improving the team, looking for players of quality and experience, because not just any footballer can play for Barca.

"Among them, we're looking for a forward, but that's not dependent on the departures of players in the squad now. We always aspire to have the best possible squad."

Planes also admitted interest in Manchester City defender Eric Garcia, who is in the final year of his contract at the Etihad Stadium and will not be renewing.

"We are looking for players to help in defence and Eric's a good player, he developed here," Planes added.

"We want to build a team that mixes talent, quality and youth, and Eric fits the profile we want and we're looking into it, but there are also other names being followed that haven't come out in media."

Miralem Pjanic is fulfilling a dream by sharing a dressing room with Barcelona legend Lionel Messi and cannot believe his luck having also previously played with Francesco Totti and Cristiano Ronaldo.

New €60million signing Pjanic was belatedly presented as a Barca player on Tuesday, having tested positive for COVID-19 in August which meant the 30-year-old had to go into quarantine.

That delayed the midfielder's arrival in Barcelona until last week, with him working out at the club's training ground for the first time on Saturday prior to their friendly against Gimnastic.

A tumultuous transfer window for Barca saw Messi ask to leave the club before ultimately staying, a decision Pjanic both expected and relished.

"I have met with him two or three days ago," Pjanic told reporters about Messi.

"I have played with Totti, Cristiano and now Messi. That is fortunate, to have players like this as team-mates. They are athletes who have given a lot to football. 

"Today I have the opportunity to share the dressing room with an alien and it will be beautiful. 

"Sharing a dressing room with Messi and not only with Messi, with others too, is a dream for me. 

"But we will be a squad of 25 and all 25 will be important.

"I have played in great teams and I have respected my teams, but today a dream comes true. It is the ultimate dream. I will give everything I can to leave a good memory of me."

Of the transfer saga, which saw Barca refuse to allow the Argentina international leave for free, Pjanic added: "I followed everything that happened about Messi. 

"But I don't see Messi outside of this club. He has made an incredible story for the team and I think this story will end well. Leo is a winner, an achiever. 

"I only imagined Messi at Barca because this is his home. He is perhaps the best player of all time and for us having him is a great asset.

"Messi has grown up here and I've seen him happy. Everyone is going to have a good time here.

"He has made an incredible history with this club and all will be well.

"My will was to play with this player and I had no doubt that it would happen. I did not imagine him being in other colours or a different shirt."

Jack Grealish has signed a new five-year contract with Aston Villa, in a move that appears to put to bed rumours the club captain could leave for Manchester United.

Villa announced the deal on their official website, with Grealish now committed to his boyhood club until 2025.

The 25-year-old midfielder, who made his England debut against Denmark this month, first caught the eye in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 Premier League seasons, when still a youngster.

He stayed with the team after their relegation to the Championship, despite interest from top-flight teams, and finally helped Villa out of the second tier after three years of trying.

Last season he scored eight goals and had six assists in the Premier League, playing a crucial role as Villa avoided relegation in a dramatic finale to the campaign.

Grealish said of his new deal: "I am delighted to make this commitment to Villa. It is my club, my home and I am very happy here.

"The owners have made it very clear to me how ambitious they are and how they want to build Aston Villa.  There are exciting times ahead and I am very glad to be part of it."

Villa have strengthened ahead of the new campaign by bringing in forward Ollie Watkins from Brentford and right-back Matty Cash from Nottingham Forest.

Grealish has been linked with a host of teams since emerging as a gifted playmaker and talk of a move to Old Trafford had persisted.

However, United have strengthened in midfield already in the transfer window with the signing of Donny van de Beek from Ajax, which appeared to diminish the prospect of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer coming in for Grealish in the short term.

Retaining Grealish provides Villa head coach Dean Smith with reassurance, being safe in the knowledge his star man has no intention of moving on.

Villa chief executive Christian Purslow welcomed Grealish's decision, saying: "We are determined to build a top team around him and are delighted that he is extending his contract and committing himself to the club he loves."

Jack Grealish has signed a new five-year contract with Aston Villa, in a move that appears to put to bed rumours the club captain could leave for Manchester United.

Giorgio Chiellini hopes his injury woes are behind him ahead of the new Serie A season but will not add to speculation linking Luis Suarez with a move to Juventus.

Juve have reportedly been involved in protracted negotiations to sign Suarez, who was involved in an infamous biting incident with Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup, from Barcelona.

Suarez, Edin Dzeko and Moise Kean have all been linked with the Italian champions and new head coach Andrea Pirlo has acknowledged he wants another centre-forward as soon as possible.

Club captain Chiellini insisted those words represent enough discussion over the topic, with Juve looking to add a focal point to a star-studded attack that includes Cristiano Ronaldo, Dejan Kulusevski and Paulo Dybala.

"Pirlo spoke on the subject and it was clear," Chiellini said to Sky Sport Italia when asked about Suarez.

"I won't add anything else, I have no comment."

The defender played the first half of Sunday's 5-0 friendly win over Novara as he looks to move on from a 2019-20 season that saw him play in just four league games because of an ACL injury and other fitness issues.

"On a personal level, the last year was hard," said Chiellini. "The wish for the new season is to feel good, be healthy and help my team-mates out on the pitch because being out is difficult.

"Playing with the national team has helped me - there is still a bit of rust to remove but that is OK."

Chiellini and Juve begin their Scudetto defence at home to Sampdoria on Sunday.

The 36-year-old added: "We have just started with Pirlo and know the new season will be strange and difficult because we have lived a crazy summer and the lockdown.

"But we are in good shape and cannot wait to get started. It is a long time until we can reach the final result, but we will try to get there."

Gremio president Romildo Bolzan Junior hopes to hold talks with Edinson Cavani over a move to the Brazilian club.

Cavani is a free agent, having left Paris Saint-Germain at the end of his contract in June after seven successful seasons in Paris.

The club's all-time record goal-scorer with 200 in all competitions, Cavani has been linked with a host of European clubs including Inter, Bayern Munich and, more recently, Barcelona.

It has also been suggested the 33-year-old could choose to return to South America, with Gremio among the clubs said to be interested.

Vice-president Paulo Luz denied holding talks with Cavani's representative, but Romildo does not appear ready to abandon the dream of signing the Uruguay star.

"He [Cavani's agent] didn't make a proposal. But in life, if you don't talk, you don't know anything," he told Hora do Consular.

"Suddenly, there is chemistry, something different, empathy, a desire, and then suddenly it happens.

"Rationally, if things were under normal conditions, we wouldn't have the slightest expectation of bringing in this player because he wants to play in Europe, he will have offers a thousand times greater than those that a South American and Brazilian team can offer.

"Now, if he has it in his head, his idea, his desire, to do a project that is close to his home, close to his businesses and close to Uruguay, I believe he could sit down with us.

"I have this expectation that he has this feeling, and that he can talk to us a little more."

Cavani won 19 trophies, including six Ligue 1 titles, after joining PSG from Napoli in 2013 for a reported fee of €64million.

Memphis Depay will reportedly join Barcelona, who are having problems in their pursuit of Lautaro Martinez.

After a trophy-less 2019-20 season, LaLiga giants Barca are rebuilding under Ronald Koeman.

They have been linked with numerous forwards, and one looks set to join as early as this week.

 

TOP STORY – DEPAY TO JOIN BARCELONA

Lyon star Depay will join Barcelona and his €30million move could be announced this week, according to De Telegraaf.

The move would see the forward reunite with his former Netherlands coach Koeman.

Depay scored 15 goals in 22 games for Lyon last season, during which he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona's move for Martinez is more complicated. Sport reports they are waiting for exits before making a move, while Real Madrid and Manchester City are keeping an eye on the forward. Meanwhile, Fabrizio Romano claims Inter will have another meeting with Martinez's agents after the transfer window to extend his contract beyond 2023. It comes as Sport also believes former Paris Saint-Germain star Edinson Cavani has offered his services to Barca.

- Staying at Barcelona, Mundo Deportivo reports they will make a second offer for Eric Garcia. It says they are prepared to pay €15m (£13.9m) for the Manchester City defender, but the Premier League club want €18m (£16.7m). Meanwhile, Marca says Atletico Madrid have rejected a £92.5m (€100m) bid from City for defender Jose Gimenez.

- At Madrid, the attention is on a possible move for Kylian Mbappe next year. AS reports Los Blancos have an advantage over other clubs in their pursuit of the France international due to the forward's admiration for French coach Zinedine Zidane.

- Gareth Bale continues to be linked with Manchester United. The Sun reports United are preparing to make a loan move for the Real Madrid forward, whose high wages have seemingly made an exit from the Santiago Bernabeu difficult.

- United are also poised to make other moves. The Premier League giants are considering a move for Valencia midfielder Uros Racic, according to The Sun, which says the Serbian midfielder could be available for £28million (€30.3m). Meanwhile, Fabrizio Romano claims United are in talks with Sergio Reguilon's agents, but club officials are unwilling to accept Real Madrid retaining a buy-back clause for the left-back.

- Lucas Torreira could be set for the Arsenal exit. CalcioMercato reports Torino have agreed to pay €24m (£22.2m) for the 24-year-old midfielder.

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