When it came to Paul Pogba during the transfer window, Real Madrid and Juventus were the teams on everyone's lips.

Manchester United star Pogba was reportedly keen to leave Old Trafford in search of a new challenge.

However, another team were apparently poised to lure Pogba from the Theatre of Dreams…

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR STOPPED PSG FROM SIGNING POGBA

Neymar prevented Manchester United midfielder Pogba from moving to Paris Saint-Germain, according to Calciomercato.it.

PSG and United reportedly had an agreement in place for the transfer of Pogba, however, the Ligue 1 champions and their inability to offload Barcelona target Neymar stopped the deal.

The report says PSG were ready to pay €150million (£134m) for Pogba, who joined United from Juventus in 2016 for a then-record fee of €105m (£89m).

 

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Real Madrid have an agreement with Chelsea for midfielder N'Golo Kante. DefensaCentral claims Los Blancos have the first chance to buy the France star should he be made available at Stamford Bridge.

- In-demand Dinamo Zagreb star Dani Olmo wants to leave the Croatian club in January or at the end of the season, according to Fichajes.net. The 21-year-old was linked with Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Atletico Madrid and Valencia during the transfer window.

Juventus have not given up on signing Fiorentina and Italy forward Federico Chiesa, according to Calciomercato.it. The Serie A champions were keen to bring in Chiesa during the off-season but were unable to lure him from Florence.

- Sport says Paris Saint-Germain are beginning their remodelling job, with Thiago Silva and Edinson Cavani facing uncertain futures. Silva and Cavani – who has been linked to incoming MLS outfit Inter Miami – are out of contract at the end of the season and are no guarantees to renew their contracts. Eric Maxim Choupo-MotingThomas Meunier and Layvin Kurzawa are available at the right price in January.

- Juventus forward Mario Mandzukic has turned down a move to Qatari outfit Al-Gharafa, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. Mandzukic was linked to Manchester United prior to the transfer window closing.

Barcelona director Javier Bordas said the LaLiga champions will do what they can to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou.

Neymar wanted to leave Paris Saint-Germain prior to the transfer deadline and was reportedly desperate for a Barca return, though a move did not materialise.

It came just two years after Neymar left Barca for Ligue 1 giants PSG in a world-record €222million deal.

Neymar's father and agent has already claimed negotiations between Barca and PSG are not over amid ongoing speculation.

Bordas kept the door open, telling EFE: "While he wants to come, we will do what we can to bring him back.

"What happens will happen, everything is constantly changing in football, but Neymar is Neymar.

"The case of Neymar is a special one. He's an exceptional player and he wants to come to Barcelona; he hasn't adapted to Paris; he was wrong to go there, and even he has said that."

The future of Barcelona's superstar captain Lionel Messi has also dominated headlines.

Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu confirmed reports that Messi has the option to leave the club at the end of the season.

Messi signed his latest contract in 2017, with the deal running until the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner has been linked with a move to MLS via David Beckham's incoming franchise Inter Miami but Bordas said: "I don't see him at another club. There are few people more connected to Barcelona than Messi.

"Messi is from Barcelona [having moved as a child and spent most of his life there]. Messi is Barcelona.

"People are worried about his contract clause, but Messi will stay because he is at home here, he feels it; he comes from La Masia, you only have to look at him when a match has been lost."

Barca vice-president Jordi Cardoner, meanwhile, added: "We are calm and there is a lot of positivity, especially in the dressing room.

"Leo will do what he thinks is fit, but Leo's contract is very special because he is who he is. It's a concession made to him and other players who deserve it. He can enter and leave the club when he sees fit. I'd love for him to stay for as long as he wants to play for our team."

Paolo Di Canio said he is not surprised by Mauro Icardi's move to Paris Saint-Germain as the Ligue 1 champions are "the natural home of undisciplined players".

Former Inter captain Icardi joined PSG on an initial loan deal on transfer deadline day after being frozen out by Nerazzurri head coach Antonio Conte.

PSG have the option to buy Icardi – who was linked to Napoli and Juventus prior to the deadline – for a reported €70million at the end of the season.

Former Lazio, Juve, Napoli and AC Milan forward Di Canio hit out at Icardi following his switch to the French capital.

Di Canio told Il Mattino: "Why did Carlo Ancelotti want someone like Icardi at Napoli? Someone unable to apologise to his team-mates for the words of his wife-agent?

"Besides which, Maurito only scores goals from crosses at the byline. For the rest, he is incapable of anything a modern striker should be able to do.

"I am not remotely surprised he went to Paris Saint-Germain, the natural home of undisciplined players."

Icardi, who arrived at Inter from Sampdoria in 2013, scored 111 Serie A goals and 124 goals in all competitions to be eighth on the club's all-time list.

Lionel Messi said he does not know if Barcelona did everything possible to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou as he appeared to take aim at the LaLiga giants.

Neymar wanted to leave Paris Saint-Germain prior to the transfer deadline and was reportedly desperate for a Barca return, though a move did not materialise.

It came just two years after Neymar left Barca for Ligue 1 giants PSG in a world-record €222million deal.

Barca captain Messi was asked about the transfer pursuit and he told SPORT: "I don't know if Barca did everything possible for his return.

"But it is true that negotiating with PSG is not easy."

"I would have loved for Neymar to return," Messi added. "He is one of the best players in the world and at the image level and sponsors we would have taken a leap that would have given us stability."

Amid reports Messi and his team-mates asked for Barca to re-sign Neymar, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner said: "In the locker room we never asked for Ney's signing.

"We gave our opinion, but it has become clear that despite what they say, I do not command."

Neymar – who has three years remaining on his PSG contract – is yet to feature for Thomas Tuchel's side this season.

The 27-year-old, however, made his first appearance of the campaign for Brazil during the international break.

Neymar made a goalscoring return in Brazil's 2-2 draw with Colombia last week, while he came off the bench in Tuesday's 1-0 defeat to Peru in Los Angeles.

PSG return to Ligue 1 action at home to Strasbourg on Saturday, while Messi's Barcelona host Valencia on the same day.

Mauro Icardi's decision to turn down Napoli and join Paris Saint-Germain was a move the Italian club's president Aurelio De Laurentiis found understandable.

Icardi joined PSG on an initial loan deal ahead of the closure of the transfer window, having become a fringe figure at Inter following the arrival of coach Antonio Conte, who signed Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez.

The Argentina striker had previously endured frosty relations with the Nerazzurri, too, and his departure always seemed likely.

De Laurentiis confirmed he made a move for Icardi, yet he had no issue with the player opting to join the likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani at PSG instead.

"To buy [Icardi], I came to Inter with an offer of €60million, plus bonuses for a total of €65million," he told Corriere dello Sport. "For Wanda Nara, for her husband's contract, I proposed a gross of about €12million.

"Icardi is not stupid and perhaps he understood that to re-launch himself at European level, it was the best choice to go to a team like PSG, where he can stand out more easily than at Napoli."

Napoli instead signed Fernando Llorente following his release from Tottenham.

And De Laurentiis revealed head coach Carlo Ancelotti had made Llorente his preferred option all along.

"Llorente wasn't my idea but rather Ancelotti's," he said. "No-one would have turned their back on a top player like Icardi but, from the first moment, Ancelotti wanted Llorente.

"He argued that, in attack, we were already heavily stocked and only needed a champion to play in the last 30 minutes of games that required unlocking."

Therefore, with Arkadiusz Milik another option, De Laurentiis has no regrets about the failed transfer.

"I never regret in life. The arrival of Icardi would have prevented the purchase of Llorente, of whom I am as convinced as Ancelotti," he said.

"Above all, he would have overshadowed Milik, who I continue to consider the true big star of the Napoli attack."

David Beckham and Inter Miami have set their sights on Lionel Messi.

Messi, 32, has regularly been linked with one day switching to MLS and it appears Inter are making their move.

Beckham seems to be trying his best to land the Barcelona superstar.

 

TOP STORY – BECKHAM IN TALKS WITH MESSI OVER INTER MIAMI MOVE

Beckham has spoken to Messi about joining Inter Miami, according to Catalunya Radio.

It comes in the wake of reports the forward can leave Barcelona at the end of any season, regardless of when his contract runs until.

The economic bid for Messi would be "brutal", the report said, as Inter look to sign the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

 

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- Inter Miami may not stop there. The MLS club, due to begin playing in 2020, are also eyeing Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane, according to AS. Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti has previously said he is open to coaching Inter Miami.

- After the latest transfer saga ended with Neymar staying at Paris Saint-Germain, it is set to come back to life in January. PSG sporting director Leonardo wants the Brazil international to leave the Ligue 1 champions, according to Tuttosport, and a move could happen in January, with Barcelona and Real Madrid sure to again be linked.

- Barcelona are already looking ahead and are set to track Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz throughout this season, Mundo Deportivo reports. Fabian joined the Serie A side from Real Betis for a reported €30million in July last year.

- Expecting their transfer ban to be cut, Chelsea have identified Nice defender Youcef Atal as a target, according to The Sun. The Algeria international is also wanted by Valencia, Calciomercato.com reports.

- AC Milan have identified Stade Rennes teenager Eduardo Camavinga as a player to follow, according to Calciomercato.com. The 16-year-old made seven Ligue 1 appearances last season.

- Gonzalo Higuain is continuing to turn around his career at Juventus. Calciomercato.com says the forward – linked with a move away throughout the close season – will start alongside Cristiano Ronaldo when the Serie A champions face Fiorentina on Saturday.

Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona may yet seal a deal for Neymar as negotiations are not over, according to the forward's father and agent.

Neymar was strongly linked with a return to Camp Nou before the European transfer window closed this month.

The Brazil superstar was said to be keen to go back to Barca two years after controversially leaving for a world-record €222million.

PSG sporting director Leonardo confirmed Neymar wanted to leave the club and was available for transfer if the right offer was made.

But Barca and PSG were unable to come to an agreement, with LaLiga giants Real Madrid also reportedly seeing offers rejected.

Neymar, who has three years remaining on his PSG contract, has yet to play for the Ligue 1 champions this term.

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel said he would not select the 27-year-old until his future was resolved.

Neymar Sr, though, has cast fresh doubt on his son's long-term future in the French capital.

"The negotiations between clubs are not over," he said in an appearance at Edinburgh Sports Conference. 

"A Brazilian just wants to be where he is happy and he was very happy at Barcelona. When his friends asked him if he want to go back, it upset him."

Barca reportedly made cash-plus-players bids to PSG in a bid to force a move through, with Ousmane Dembele and Ivan Rakitic among those said to have been offered.

"As an agent, you feel weak when there is no structure that allows you to come and go," added Neymar's father.

"There was no release clause in his contract and this makes things very difficult.

"We fought to find an agreement. We gave the best of ourselves for him."

Andrea Ranocchia insists Inter's playing squad had nothing to do with Mauro Icardi's departure from the club.

Former captain Icardi left for Paris Saint-Germain last week, agreeing a season-long loan deal with an option to buy.

The striker inked a one-year contract extension at San Siro before moving on deadline day but appears unlikely to revive his Inter career after months of tension.

Luciano Spalletti stripped him of the armband last term and new boss Antonio Conte signed another striker in Romelu Lukaku during the close season.

Centre-back Ranocchia claims the issues, which are said to have stemmed from stalled contract talks, never affected Icardi's relationship with his team-mates, despite reports they grew unhappy with public criticism from his wife and agent Wanda Nara.

"As I've always said, it was a problem between the club and the player," Ranocchia told Sky Sport Italia.

"They found a suitable solution for both sides and now we must continue what we started.

"During pre-season and in these first weeks of the league, the Icardi issue did not take any energy away from us."

Conte guided Inter to two Serie A wins from two before the international break to stir hopes of an improvement on last season's fourth-placed finish.

Ranocchia started both games and believes the Nerazzurri can achieve great things under the former Juventus and Chelsea boss.

"It's a very long season, there are many things that can happen and now the games will start every three days," the 31-year-old said.

"But the work we are doing is aimed at creating something extraordinary.

"All the players who have arrived are very good, some young and some a little older. They all bring great experience and seriousness."

Christian Eriksen – the name that will not go away, even with the transfer window closed.

Eriksen wanted to leave Tottenham for a new challenge as Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Juventus and Inter reportedly circled.

A move did not materialise, much to his disappointment, but a transfer could be on the horizon.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID LOOK TO ERIKSEN AMID POGBA DOUBTS

Sky Sports News claims Real Madrid will make a move for Tottenham star Christian Eriksen at the end of the season if Paul Pogba extends his Manchester United deal.

Zinedine Zidane has made no secret of his desire to reinforce his midfield, with Tottenham's Eriksen, Pogba and Ajax sensation Donny van de Beek linked to the Santiago Bernabeu.

While Los Blancos remain keen on Pogba, they are eyeing a move for Eriksen – whose contract expires at the end of the campaign.

 

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- According to Tuttosport, Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham are set to go head-to-head for Juventus attacker Paulo Dybala in January. Both clubs were reportedly interested in signing Dybala prior to the transfer deadline, and with Dybala set to struggle for regular game time PSG and Spurs are poised to fight it out.

- Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea is close to finally signing a new £290,000-a-week contract at Old Trafford, claims The Guardian.

Inter are keeping tabs on Borussia Dortmund attacker Mario Gotze, says Welt. Gotze is out of contract at the end of the season and negotiations over a new deal are reportedly not progressing.

- The Serie A side, meanwhile, will not sell star defender Milan Skriniar in January. That is according to Tuttosport amid growing speculation Manchester City are targeting the Inter centre-back.

- According to Sky Sports News, Wolves are still interested in signing AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie. Wolves tried to prise Kessie from Milan before the transfer window shut, but the 22-year-old knocked back the move.

Arsenal could make another attempt to sign Belgium international Yannick Carrasco from Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang, reports The Sun. The Gunners have long been linked with Carrasco and Dalian's supposed interest in Napoli star Dries Mertens could make a deal possible.

Brazil head coach Tite refused to reveal whether or not he has given life advice to Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar following a turbulent off-season.

Neymar scored his first goal of the season for club or country as Brazil drew 2-2 with South American rivals Colombia in an international friendly on Friday.

His goalscoring display came after the 27-year-old forward – yet to play for PSG this season – was unable to secure a return to LaLiga champions Barcelona prior to the transfer deadline.

Neymar was the topic of conversation again as Brazil prepare to face Peru in a rematch of the Copa America final and Tite told reporters on Monday: "Whatever is good for Neymar, I will never say publicly.

"But we can do it here in the national team. In the areas that are competent to us, the 10 days we are here, we always try to create situations that are good for him and for selection.

"Not primarily for one or the other. Because I also understand that he is top three worldwide."

Brazil beat Peru 3-1 in the Copa America final in July and the two nations will meet again in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Previewing the clash, Tite said: "If I were on the side of the Peruvian national team, I would have a feeling of revenge but with loyalty.

"They don't have to beat us up but play to show that they are better. We have to play a great game, since we have been working under pressure

"The ideal would be to have friendly against European teams, but there is a calendar problem and sometimes it is incompatible."

Samuel Umtiti laughed off rumours raising him as a makeweight in a potential Barcelona deal for Neymar as he rejected reports linking him to Arsenal.

The France international's future at Camp Nou came into question following an injury hit 2018-19 season in which he managed 14 LaLiga appearances.

With Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet established at centre-back, Barca reportedly considered bundling 25-year-old Umtiti into negotiations for former player and Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar.

The purported offer would also have seen at least two of Philippe Coutinho, now at Bayern Munich on a season-long loan, Ousmane Dembele and Ivan Rakitic head to Parc des Princes.

"Me? Currency in an exchange? It's crazy," Umtiti told Canal+.

"That made me laugh. I do not even have an answer to that."

The transfer window ended on September 2 with Neymar and Umtiti still at their respective clubs following months of speculation.

Arsenal and Manchester United, along with PSG, were mentioned as alternative destinations for the defender had he been eager to explore his options after three seasons at Barca.

Umtiti denied ever being interested in a move elsewhere, claiming the Arsenal link came as a surprise.

"I do not know where this rumour came from," the World Cup winner said.

"Overnight I started receiving messages from my friends... but sorry, for me Barcelona is Barcelona.

"I had discussions with my agent to tell him that whatever was happening he did not even need to talk to me about it.

"My goal since I was a kid was to play for Barcelona. I came here to last and to win titles."

Umtiti left France's camp over the weekend after suffering a foot injury prior to the Euro 2020 qualifying victory over Albania.

It is the latest in a series of setbacks which led him to Qatar in November in search of a solution to ongoing knee discomfort.

"I really forced my knee during the World Cup," he admitted. "But I'm world champion. In life you have to make choices and I do not regret that choice."

Virgil van Dijk is set to remain with Liverpool until the end of 2025.

Netherlands international Van Dijk, 28, headed to Anfield from Southampton for a reported £75million in January 2018, signing a deal until 2023.

But the superstar centre-back is rumoured to be ready to recommit to the reigning European champions.

 

TOP STORY – VAN DIJK AGREES SIX-YEAR LIVERPOOL DEAL

Van Dijk has agreed a new contract with Liverpool, according to the Mirror.

The defender will earn close to £200,000 per week with his new deal, up from his current £125,000 per week wages, the report says.

It comes just a month after Van Dijk lost his title as the world's most expensive defender when Manchester United signed Harry Maguire from Leicester City for a reported £80m.

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- David de Gea could be set to leave Manchester United. Coming out of contract at the end of the season, the goalkeeper has told friends he is willing to turn down a deal from the Premier League club, according to The Sun. The Express reports Serie A giants Juventus want to sign De Gea on a free transfer at the end of the season.

- Paulo Dybala almost left Juventus in the close season and the playmaker is set to be at the centre of talk again in January. Paris Saint-Germain want to beat Tottenham to the signing of Dybala when the transfer window reopens, according to the Express.

- Edwin van der Sar could be set for a return to Old Trafford. The Mirror reports the former Netherlands goalkeeper and Ajax chief executive is on Manchester United's list as they search for a director of football.

- Staying at Old Trafford, Manchester United's stars are happy Alexis Sanchez has left on loan to Inter, according to The Sun.

- After the emergence of 16-year-old forward Ansu Fati, Barcelona have set up a plan to look after the teenager. Sport reports the LaLiga champions consider Fati a first-team player and want to protect him as he gains plenty of attention.

Brazil coach Tite rued not giving Vinicius Junior his international debut in Friday's friendly against Colombia, owing the decision to Neymar displaying "perfect" body language upon his return.

Real Madrid talent Vinicius has long been tipped to make the breakthrough at senior level for Brazil, having sparkled in his fledgling career with Flamengo and then last season in Spain.

Injury denied him a first cap in March after he was called up for matches against Panama and Czech Republic, while he failed to make the cut for Tite's Copa America squad.

Tite planned to let the 19-year-old feature as Brazil drew 2-2 with Carlos Queiroz's Colombia, but instead opted to keep Neymar – playing his first match for club or country in three months – on the pitch in an attempt to maximise the Paris Saint-Germain star's fitness.

"Vinicius was ready to enter," Tite told reporters. "The idea was to for him to come on, but circumstances change.

"He will have his chance. Of course, he will be used as a left winger. Playing in the national team is already complicated, the yellow shirt weighs on anyone.

"So, in the case of Vinicius, I will put him in his natural position, where he is accustomed and feels comfortable.

"The plan was not that Neymar played 90 minutes, he came from more than three months without playing, and I was about to take him off three times during the second half, but he was improving technically and physically as the minutes passed.

"I was talking with Dr. Rodrigo Lasmar and our physio during the match and we decided to leave him on the pitch.

"I don't think he expected me to play him for 90 minutes, I saw him look at the bench a couple of times, but his body language was perfect, he was not tired and there was no point in taking him out.

"The level of the game was so high and I saw the team at such a good pace that I didn't want to make any more changes."

Neymar scored Brazil's second goal, after a Luis Muriel brace had cancelled out Casemiro's headed opener.

Brazil are next in action against Peru on Wednesday.

Brazil coach Tite admitted Neymar's performance in the 2-2 draw with Colombia surprised him as he revealed he has a "relationship of truth and loyalty" with the unsettled forward.

After a move from Paris Saint-Germain to Barcelona failed to materialise in the transfer window, fit-again Neymar played for the first time in three months in Brazil's friendly at Hard Rock Stadium, Miami.

He made an impact 19 minutes into the game when his corner teed up Casemiro to give Brazil the lead and, though Colombia turned the game on its head with two goals in nine first-half minutes, Neymar side-footed an equaliser into the net after the break.

Tite said he considered substituting the 27-year-old but instead allowed him to play the full 90 minutes, having been impressed with Neymar's display.

"I said, 'I'll take him off' for the sake of physical preservation," Tite told reporters after the game.

"But I saw that his physical responses were strong, intense, and coordinated. I could see him growing.

"As the end of the game approached he produced more and more. He keeps his technique light and creates space. He was above my expectation."

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel has yet to include Neymar in any of his four matchday squads in Ligue 1 this season, but Tite gave a glowing assessment of the forward's condition.

"We talked yesterday about monitoring the performance of Neymar from 45 minutes," he said. "A player starts thinking and cannot perform [when fatigued]. But he was thinking and performing. It surprised me."

After scoring Brazil's second goal, Neymar wrapped his arms around the Brazil coach, who said the pair enjoy a strong working relationship at a time when the forward's career is in a tumultuous phase.

"It is a reaction of true loyalty," said Tite. "We have a relationship of truth and loyalty. We say what we think is right, what is wrong.

"It is a transparent relationship. I don't analyse other facts, other situations. But I can say that we have a real relationship."

With Aymeric Laporte on the sidelines, Manchester City are looking for reinforcements.

Laporte's knee injury has left City with John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi as their only recognised centre-backs.

Could a star defender from Serie A be the answer in January?

 

TOP STORY – CITY LOOK TO SKRINIAR

Pep Guardiola wants defensive reinforcements in January and Manchester City are set to target Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar, according to CalcioMercato.

Aymeric Laporte is set for a spell on the sidelines with a knee injury, depleting City's options as they eye a third consecutive Premier League title.

Inter star Skriniar has emerged as an option for City, though the Italian side are not keen on losing the 24-year-old – who was linked to Manchester United in the off-season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport reports Real Madrid will try to sign Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe at the end of the season. Madrid were linked with Neymar prior to the transfer deadline but now appear set to target his PSG team-mate.

- According to Aksam, Liverpool will monitor the form of Trabzonspor goalkeeper Ugurcan Cakir throughout the season.

- Tuttomercatoweb says Napoli are ready to re-sign Arkadiusz Milik, Piotr Zielinski and Nikola Maksimovic, while a contract extension for Gianluigi Donnarumma is AC Milan's priority.

- Former AC Milan forward Jeremy Menez wants to return to Serie A via Sampdoria, according to CalcioMercato. The 32-year-old former France international is a free agent after leaving Mexican side Club America.

- Serie A champions Juventus are eyeing a double swoop for Tottenham stars Christian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld, says the Daily Mail. Eriksen and Alderweireld are set to become free agents at the end of the season and Inter are also reportedly monitoring the situation.

- Valencia are determined to tie down Carlos Soler and Ferran Torres to new deals, reports SuperDeportes.

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