Frank Lampard wants Chelsea forward Christian Pulisic to set his sights on matching the likes of Raheem Sterling, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

Pulisic opened the scoring in Chelsea's entertaining 2-1 win over Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on Thursday – a result that confirmed Salah, Mane and their team-mates as Premier League champions at the expense of Sterling his colleagues.

Chelsea continue the pursuit of a major honour of their own in the FA Cup on Sunday when they travel to Leicester City for a quarter-final tie.

Pulisic, a £56.7million signing from Borussia Dortmund, was also on target in last weekend's comeback victory at Aston Villa and now has eight across all competitions in his debut campaign for the Blues.

As his cool, crisp dribble and finish against City demonstrated, the 21-year-old United States star oozes class when on form and Lampard believes the sky is the limit.

"I think he can be a really big player," said the former England midfielder.

"He broke through at such a young age in Germany and he moves to us and it's a big move, expectations rise… we have to take his age into consideration.

"There's no doubt about the quality, we can see that, and he's very keen to improve and to work.

"If he looks at players around him who have made that sort of a jump, he has the ability to be like the Raheem Sterlings who are now producing numbers from wide areas. The Mo Salahs, the Manes.

"It's important he understands the work that needs to be done to do that because he definitely has the talent to do that. He needs to try and get to that level.

"I'm delighted to have him at the minute, he works hard every day and he has to set his sights as high as he possibly can."

Lampard was part of the Chelsea side that won the 2004 League Cup under Jose Mourinho – a triumph that proved a springboard for back-to-back Premier League title victories.

He is aware of the galvanising impact a trophy could have on the youthful members of the current Chelsea squad, not to mention their rookie coach.

"It was very important for us at the time because we were a team of not many winners, didn’t have too many titles between us, a relatively young team," he recalled.

"Jose brought that to us, that mentality, and winning the first one obviously helps you to push on.

"In our team we have a mixture of some players who've been here and won a lot, but some young players who haven't done that."

Lampard added: "Myself, in my managerial career, I haven't. I recognise the importance of that. That's what we're here for, to win things at a club like Chelsea.

"The FA Cup is something we're going to give everything to. It's a difficult game against Leicester, of course, because we know the quality they have.

"We have to focus on trying to go as far as we can. It would be a big boost if we could get further."

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed his team will give Liverpool a guard of honour when they face the newly crowned Premier League champions at the Etihad Stadium next week.

City's 2-1 defeat at Chelsea on Thursday ended their two-year reign as champions, with Liverpool holding a now unassailable 23-point lead with seven games remaining.

The developing rivalry between City and Liverpool has featured moments of simmering tension over the recent seasons.

The visiting team bus was attacked with missiles before Liverpool recorded a resounding Champions League quarter-final win at Anfield in 2018, while the sides took last year's title race to the wire – Guardiola's men prevailing by 98 points to 97.

Yet the Catalan insisted it is only right that he and his players applaud their rivals, to pay respect to what Jurgen Klopp and his all-conquering squad have achieved.

"We are going to do the guard of honour, of course," he said.

"Always we receive Liverpool, when they came to our house, in an incredible way. They cannot complain.

"Of course we are going to do it because they deserve it."

Guardiola noted Liverpool's hunger to end a 30-year wait for a top-flight crown, saying they played every match as if it was "their last".

The ex-Barcelona boss is confident he knows why City came up well short in their bid for three in a row but balked at questions over the hunger of a team that has won six of the past eight major honours on offer in English football.

"I did not say [City played] without passion. Don't put words I didn't say," he said, bristling at the suggestion.

"I don't know the passion from Liverpool. I guess, I imagine what happened, when you are three-zero years without winning the Premier League, after winning the Champions League you are focused on that.

"But I didn't say this. Because a team that wins eight titles (including the 2018 and 2019 Community Shields) has passion. In every single game, every single competition. No one in this country can say that [City don't have passion].

"It is so difficult what we have done in the most difficult league by far in the world.

"In sport you have to live for the future, the next, but you have to have a little bit, one eye, on what we have done.

"Don't forget we are an incredible club and an incredible organisation. What we have to do is learn. I think we know the reason why we suffered this season and we're going to try to solve it next season."

Next up for City is a trip to Newcastle United in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup – one of two pieces of silverware they can add to this season's EFL Cup, with a long-awaited Champions League return against Real Madrid to come in August.

Goals from Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne established a 2-1 advantage over Zinedine Zidane's men at the Santiago Bernabeu back in February.

"Of course, we have a big challenge for these two titles," Guardiola added. 

"We fought for the Carabao Cup with the way we played and won the Community Shield against the champions of Europe.

"We are going to try at Newcastle to win and prepare for the last games of the Premier League, and arrive in the best conditions possible for Madrid."

Timo Werner scored twice against Augsburg on Saturday to become RB Leipzig's all-time leading scorer in his final match with the club.

The Germany international opened the scoring in the first half on Saturday, which put him on 94 goals for Leipzig – a new club record.

Werner later added a second to finish on 95 ahead of his move to Chelsea, an impending transfer that was confirmed this month.

Leipzig's 2-1 victory meant they secured third place in the Bundesliga, with the striker taking his top-flight tally to 28 in 34 matches this term.

It is the second time Werner, who joined from boyhood team Stuttgart in 2016, has gone beyond 20 league goals in a single campaign, his first coming in 2016-17 when he netted 21 times.

The 24-year-old has also added six goals across the DFB-Pokal and Champions League this term and, although Leipzig remain in the latter competition, Werner will not be able to add to his tally.

It was decided Werner will link up Chelsea next week, though he will not be eligible to represent the Blues until next season, with Leipzig reportedly set to receive €53million (£47.5m).

Achraf Hakimi appears to have found a new home.

The Morocco international has impressed during his loan spell at Borussia Dortmund, attracting plenty of interest.

But LaLiga giants Real Madrid are reportedly ready to cash in on Achraf.

 

TOP STORY – INTER AGREE ACHRAF DEAL

Inter have agreed a deal to sign Achraf Hakimi from Real Madrid, according to Sky Sport Italia.

Achraf has spent the past two seasons on loan at Borussia Dortmund, who have been interested in signing the Morocco international permanently.

Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain have been among the clubs interested in Achraf, but Madrid are set to sell the 21-year-old to Antonio Conte's Inter for a reported €40million fee.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport1 claims Leroy Sane's proposed move to Bayern Munich is on hold until 2021. The Manchester City star is tipped to leave the Etihad Stadium for Bundesliga champions Bayern, though the two clubs have been unable to strike a deal. Sane now looks likely to depart once his contract expires next year.

Arthur will travel to Turin in the coming days to undergo a medical ahead of his move to Juventus, according to RAC1. Barcelona midfielder Arthur is set to join Juve, with Miralem Pjanic moving in the opposite direction.

Roma are plotting a move for free agent Edinson Cavani, says Calciomercato. Cavani is available on a free transfer after leaving PSG, with Atletico Madrid, Inter and Napoli eyeing the Uruguayan forward.

- Sport reports the Champions League will determine Neymar's future at PSG. Neymar has long been linked with a return to Barca following his world-record departure in 2017.

- Calciomercato says Milan are focused on signing Salzburg sensation Dominik Szoboszlai. However, PSG and Arsenal are also among the teams eyeing the 19-year-old Hungarian.

Manchester United are among the possible destinations for Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi, who faces an uncertain future with the London club, according to L'Equipe.

Liverpool are the 2019/20 English Premier League champions and after their performance this season, even with eight games still to play, will likely go down as one of the greatest teams to have lifted the title.

That supposition made me think, well, which teams can boast of being the greatest team to have played in the Premier League era (1992-present)? And boom, there we have it, our next Best XI.

With the number of titles Manchester United have won during the Premier League era, it is no surprise that they have dominated a list of the best XI teams to have played in the competition, but there are 11 of them, so maybe a team you support has found its way in there.

The truth is the English Premier League has provided some wonderful entertainment over the last almost 30 years and there have been many wonderful players and teams that have brought joy to many all over the world.

Whether you agree with this list or not, and please share that opinion on Facebook or Twitter, you must agree that the world is a much more drab place without the Premier League in it. Welcome back sport.

 

BestXI Premier League teams of all time

 

 

1.      Manchester City (2017/18)

This team was the team that Pep Guardiola built. It was his second season in charge of Manchester City and by then he had them running like a well-oiled machine, changing the nature of what was required to be crowned champions of the Premiership. Pep’s galaxy of stars scored 106 goals, conceding just 27 for a goal difference of a remarkable +79 on their way to 100 points, 19 more than second-place Manchester United. They lost just two games all season and drew on four occasions, putting down a marker for teams to follow.

 

2.      Arsenal (2003/04)

This squad, having achieved an unbeaten season for the first time in 100 years of the Premier League, has been argued to be the greatest squad of all time and who could argue against that? While Chelsea’s 2004/05 team only conceded 15 goals in an entire season, the zero figure under the losses column makes this team the most revered defensively. Attackingwise, the combination of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Freddi Ljungberg, and Robert Pires can boast to be comparable to any ever assembled in the history of English football. The central midfield pairing of Patrick Viera and Gilberto Silva was also very formidable, with a great many big teams mimicking the formula to this day.

3.      Manchester United (1997/1998)

In the 1998/1999 season, Manchester United won the League and Fa Cup double as well as the Champions League. That feat meant Alex Ferguson’s Class of ’92 had come of age. Now without the talismanic Eric Cantona and going trophyless the season before, the combination of Gary Neville, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Ryan Giggs had turned the fortunes of the side around in the most incredible fashion. While they only won the title, pipping Arsenal by a single point, their resilience, their ability to snatch victory from the draws of defeat was one of the wonders of the decade. Nowhere was that more evident than in the Champions League final where they beat Bayern Munich in the final, scoring twice in the dying seconds of the game.

 

4.      Manchester City (2018/19)

An ageing team, it was difficult for Manchester City to repeat the title-winning performance of a year before, and the team had to do it without the services of Kevin De Bruyne and Vincent Company for much of the season. Showing off their depth and their mettle Manchester City had to win every game of their last 14 encounters to stay ahead of a marauding Liverpool, who finished just a point behind. The season also saw the growth of Raheem Sterling and the longevity of David Silva on display. Sergio Aguero, when fit, was also at his consistent best. Overcoming the trials of this season is what makes this Manchester City teams one of the all-time greats of Premier League history. The team finished with a +72 goal difference, 95 goals and 98 points. Their four losses and two draws represented a blip that was certainly overshadowed by their run in to the final game where they sealed the title.

 

5.      Chelsea (2004/05)

Jose Mourinho changed Chelsea from a team that played free-flowing beautiful football but often came up short when it counted most into a defensive beast in 2004. The team had 25 clean sheets in the 38 games they played from 2004 to 2005. Those stats are impressive and puts this team as the single most impressive defensive unit in the Premier League’s history. But it must be remembered that Chelsea were also a brilliant attacking force, with the combination Damien Duff and Arjen Robben counter-attacking teams into the dust. So good was the team that the 4-3-3 formation it used, was adopted by most of the league by the end of the season.

 

6.      Chelsea (2016/17)

Antonio Conte took over a Chelsea team in transition and struggled with getting them to look like a cohesive unit. That is until he switched to a 3-4-3 formation resulting in a remarkable turnaround that still brought all of 93 points to Stamford Bridge on the way to a title-winning debut for the coach.

The new formation revived the career of Cesc Fabregas, proved N’Gola Kante was no fluke and provided Eden Hazard with the kind of freedom he strived on, especially with the support of Marcos Alonso and Victor Moses’ marauding runs down either flank. Chelsea also had the robust work of Diego Costa up front. Two years before, Mourinho’s Chelsea had crawled over the line for a title-winning season, but this blues line-up seemed to get stronger as the season progressed.

 

7.      Manchester United (2008/09)

Manchester United’s 2008/09 winning season is precious not just because all Premier League titles come at a premium, but because it came at the expense of Rafael Benetiz’s Liverpool, a team of certain quality.

United, without the services of the injured Owen Hargreaves and Michael Owen, depended on the silky-smooth presence of Dimitar Berbatov, who while much maligned for his lack of work ethic, still managed to keep scoring. Defensively, this United team also had great moments, going without conceding a goal from November to late February, a string of 14 games.


 

8.      Chelsea (2005/06)

Michael Essien is perhaps the name somebody could most easily point to as the reason for Chelsea’s dominance in the 2005-06 season. With an ageing Damien Duff and a less-than-his-best Arjen Robben, Chelsea were not the same attacking force they had been a season before. But that did not matter as their midfield, driven by the indefatigable Essien, gave oppositions no opportunities to take over games. There workmanlike performances over the course of the season made them an unliked team, for the most part, because there wasn’t the flair of previous seasons. However, that made them an underrated team rather than not a good one. Still, they ended eight points clear of nearest rivals Manchester United and boasted the best goal difference in the league by a long way, ending with a +50 figure as opposed to United’s +38.

 

9.      Manchester United (1993/94)

Consistency was the key to Manchester United’s 1993-94 triumph. While the Red Devils were the most dominant of all Premier League teams during the 1990s, this unit was even more so than all their different iterations over the decade. The unit saw the inclusion of newcomer Roy Keene, who along with Paul Ince, produced a formidable duo of box-to-box players rather than holding midfielders.

That dynamic meant that while Manchester United were listed as playing 4-4-2, they were perhaps the first team to really employ a 4-2-3-1 formation. Andrei Kanchelskis and Ryan Giggs provided lightning pace down the flanks while Eric Cantona played behind targetman, Mark Hughes. The line-up was irresistible when you factor in a solid backline with the ever-present Denis Irwin, Steve Bruce, Gary Pallister, and Paul Parker. The four were backed up by the best goalkeeper in the league, Peter Schmeichel. Together they would rack up 92 points to finish eight clear of Blackburn Rovers.

 

10. Leicester (2015/2016)

It is easy, especially since they haven’t challenged since and never posed a significant threat before to call the Leicester City team that won the 2015-16 an aberration in a season where the other ‘big’ teams underperformed. But in doing so, you would have ignored the fact that N’Golo Kante announced himself as one of the best defensive midfielders in the world. That Riyad Mahrez’s exploits made him one of Europe’s best performing attacking midfielders/wingers, whatever you want to call him and that Wes Morgan led a defensive unit that was almost impenetrable, even for the most creative of teams in the English Premier League. That Jamie Vardy broke the EPL record for scoring in the most consecutive games. And if you want to ignore all of that, you still have to factor in that over the course of 38 games, Leicester lost just thrice. For an entire season, Leicester threw the rulebook out the window, depending on counter-attacking football throughout, never failing to hurt teams with blinding speed even after the hard yards of defending for long periods of time.

  

11. Manchester United (1999/2000)

A year on from winning a most unlikely treble, it was hard to imagine a Manchester United repeating a league win given the last-ditch effort it took to get the better of perennial rivals, Arsenal. However, it was to be an almost unprecedented romp, as newcomers Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole tore into the league’s defenders, quickly becoming the most dangerous attacking pairing in the league.

Of course, the presence of Giggs, Scholes, Keane and Beckham behind them didn’t make things any easier for the opposition, while Mikael Silvestre added pace to a backline that had lost some.

Manchester United scored 97 goals that season and only lost three of their 38 games, leaving Arsenal hobbled in their wake.

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich appear to be keen on adding more local talent to their squad.

Spaniard Thiago Alcantara is reportedly unwilling to extend his Bayern contract beyond 2020-21.

So, Bayern could use the star midfielder in their efforts to prise Germany international Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen.

 

TOP STORY – BAYERN WANT THIAGO OUT AND HAVERTZ IN

Bayern Munich want to sell Thiago Alcantara to fund their move for Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz, according to Kicker.

Thiago reportedly wants to leave Bayern amid links to Liverpool after opting against a new deal in Bavaria.

Now, Bayern are looking to offload Thiago for €60million (£53m) in order to sign Havertz for €80m.

Havertz has also been linked to Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying in Munich and Kicker also claims Bayern have joined Borussia Dortmund and United in the race for Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham.

- TF1 says Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi has been in contact with Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Atletico Madrid and Inter over an exit from London.

Liverpool have made a big offer to sign Wolves speedster Adama Traore, according to Mundo Deportivo. Traore has also been linked to the likes of Barca and Madrid.

- According to Fichajes, Tottenham have made an offer for in-demand Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes. The likes of Napoli, Everton and Madrid are also looking to sign the Brazilian.

- Is Hellas Verona's Marash Kumbulla set for Lazio? Gianluca Di Marzio reports Lazio have tabled an offer for the defender, who is also wanted by Juventus and Inter.

- Could Tanguy Ndombele and Philippe Coutinho swap clubs? The Independent says Barca have reached out to Tottenham over an exchange deal involving either Coutinho or Nelson Semedo for wantaway Spurs midfielder Ndombele.

Arsenal could make moves for Chelsea's Willian or Coutinho, according to the Daily Mail.

Milan are in talks over the return of Chelsea midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, says Gazzetta journalist Nicolo Schira. Bakayoko spent the 2018-19 season on loan at San Siro.

Kalidou Koulibaly has been a man in demand for quite some time.

Clubs in Europe have reportedly queued up to sign the Napoli centre-back.

Koulibaly could finally get his move, with a Premier League giant reportedly working on a deal.

 

TOP STORY – CITY FRONTRUNNERS FOR KOULIBALY

Manchester City are favourites to prise Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli, according to Duncan Castles of the Sunday Times.

Koulibaly has long been linked with a Napoli exit – City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham, Real Madrid and Barcelona all reported admirers.

But it seems the star defender is more likely to join Pep Guardiola's City than Premier League leaders Liverpool.

 

ROUND-UP

Edinson Cavani is among the alternatives to Inter's Lautaro Martinez for Barcelona, says Sky Sport Italia. Barca want to sign Martinez but the LaLiga champions are struggling to meet Inter's demands. Now Cavani, who will not sign a new contract with Paris Saint-Germain and is a free agent, could end up at Camp Nou. The Uruguayan forward has also been linked to Inter and Atletico Madrid. Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is also on the list, though Juventus are reportedly eyeing the disgruntled Gabon international.

Juve and Barca have reached an agreement over a swap deal involving Arthur and Miralem Pjanic, reports Goal. Arthur had been reluctant to leave Barca for Juve but the Spanish giants could receive a fee of €70million.

Liverpool are frontrunners to sign Bayern Munich star Thiago Alcantara, says Bild. The Spanish midfielder had been set to extend his contract but he has apparently backed out of a new deal.

Borussia Dortmund may keep Jadon Sancho after all. The England international has been tipped to join United at the end of the season. Unless Dortmund receive £117m (€130m), they will continue with Sancho, reports Sport Bild, which also claims the Bundesliga club could offer a bumper new deal.

- Gianluca Di Marzio says Lazio and Inter are battling over the signing of Hellas Verona defender Marash Kumbulla. Inter have reportedly made a €25milion offer for Kumbulla, who has also been linked to Juve.

Chelsea and Real Madrid are going head-to-head for Bayer Leverkusen's Kai Havertz, claims WinSports. Chelsea are believed to have submitted an offer worth £8m (€8.8m) more than Madrid's bid.

Fred is ready to discuss a new long-term contract with United, the Sun reports. After a difficult start to life at Old Trafford, the Brazilian has established himself as a key member of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.

- According to Le10 Sport, Madrid and Barca are interested in Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi.

Arthur is reportedly nearing a move from Barcelona to Juventus.

The LaLiga and Serie A giants have been linked with numerous deals heading into the close season, including Arthur making the switch to Turin.

And it seems that is getting closer to reality.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA, JUVENTUS AGREE ARTHUR FEE

Juventus have agreed an €80million fee with Barcelona to sign Arthur, according to Sky Sports.

However, the Italian champions must still convince the Brazil international midfielder.

The clubs reportedly want to complete a deal for the 23-year-old before the end of the month.

ROUND-UP

- David Luiz is set to stay at Arsenal. The Mirror reports the defender has agreed to a one-year extension with the Premier League club.

- He may be staying at Chelsea until the end of the season, but Pedro reportedly knows his future. Mundo Deportivo reports the Spanish attacker will join Roma after ending his stay at Stamford Bridge.

- Leicester City may be close to strengthening their midfield. Sport says the Premier League side are in advanced negotiations with Real Betis to sign Portugal international William Carvalho.

- With Bernd Leno injured, Arsenal may be looking for a goalkeeper. The Mirror reports they have made an enquiry about Barcelona goalkeeper Neto, who joined the LaLiga side from Valencia last year.

- Staying at the Emirates Stadium and ESPN says Arsenal are set to agree an extension to Cedric Soares' loan from Southampton and want to sign the defender permanently in the close season.

The queue to sign Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho is long.

Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid are all reportedly eyeing the England international.

United, though, are prepared to wait.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED TO BIDE TIME OVER SANCHO

Manchester United are waiting for Jadon Sancho's price to drop before making a move for the Borussia Dortmund star, according to the Daily Mail.

Sancho has been tipped to join Premier League giants United at the end of the season, though Liverpool, Chelsea, former club Manchester City and Real Madrid are also believed to be interested.

However, United are hoping to drive down the £100million (€110m) price tag.

 

ROUND-UP

Dortmund, meanwhile, have beaten United to the signing of Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham. That is according to ESPN, with the Bundesliga side set to announce the 16-year-old's arrival in the coming days.

- Could Arsenal and Roma be involved in a swap deal? The Daily Star says Arsenal are hoping for Henrikh Mkhitaryan to join Roma on a permanent basis, in exchange for Justin Kluivert.

Barcelona are desperate to sell before the end of the month to balance their accounts, claims Sport. The LaLiga giants are working hard on moving Jean-Clair Todibo and Philippe Coutinho out the door. Barca are willing to accept €70m (£63m) for Coutinho, who has been linked to Chelsea, Tottenham and Newcastle United.

- Il Mattino and Calciomercato.com report Arkadiusz Milik is discussing a new contract with Napoli. The Poland international has been linked to Serie A champions Juventus, Inter, Milan, Tottenham and Arsenal.

- Italian journalist Nicolo Schira says Inter are looking to sign Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang if Lautaro Martinez joins BarcaParis Saint-Germain have also emerged as a possible destination for Aubameyang.

For so long, Real Madrid have been tipped to sign Kylian Mbappe.

Zinedine Zidane has made no secret of his admiration for the Paris Saint-Germain sensation.

But, Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool could throw a spanner in the works, especially if Sadio Mane departs Merseyside.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL EYEING MBAPPE AMID MANE FEARS

Liverpool are plotting a move for Real Madrid target Kylian Mbappe amid fears over Sadio Mane's future at Anfield, according to The Sun.

Mane is contracted until 2023 but Liverpool are reportedly growing anxious as Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain monitor the situation.

As a result, Liverpool are eyeing PSG star Mbappe and Mane could figure in a swap deal plus £200million (€221m), which could disrupt Madrid's grand plans for the French forward.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport Bild claims Bayern Munich have offered €40m (£36m) for Manchester City star Leroy Sane, who is set to leave the Premier League giants at the end of the season. Meanwhile, the Bundesliga champions are targeting Ajax sensation Sergino Dest. Sport Bild reports the United States international will arrive if they satisfy Ajax's demands, though Bayern are only thinking of a loan deal at the moment.

- It is a race against time for Miralem Pjanic to move to Barcelona. Sport says Barca and Juventus want to reach a deal by the end of June so it can be counted as part of the current season. The proposed deal would likely see Pjanic and Mattia De Sciglio join Barca, with Arthur moving in the opposite direction. However, Arthur is reluctant to swap Barcelona for Turin.

- Sport Bild reports Borussia Dortmund see no reason to sell Manchester United target Jadon Sancho in the off-season unless a club offers over €100m.

Mario Gotze remains in the sights of Milan, reports Calciomercato. Gotze will not renew his expiring contract at Dortmund and is set to leave Signal Iduna Park. Lazio have been linked but Milan are eyeing the German, with Ralf Rangnick reportedly in line to take over in the dugout.

- Napoli have turned down Liverpool's bid for star centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, according to Corriere dello Sport.

- Tuttosport says Juve want Napoli's Arkadiusz Milik to partner superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. Juve are willing to offer Federico Bernardeschi as a makeweight in the deal.

- FC Inter News says Inter have rejected an offer from Marseille for midfielder Joao Mario. The Portuguese has spent the season on loan in Russia via Lokomotiv Moscow.

Christian Pulisic is looking forward to linking up with Timo Werner next season, describing Chelsea's latest acquisition as an "incredible" bit of business. 

It was confirmed this week that the Blues will sign Germany international Werner, who is thought to be leaving Bundesliga side RB Leipzig in a £47.5million (€53m) deal. 

Werner has scored 26 goals as well as providing eight assists in 32 Bundesliga games this season and the 24-year-old striker had been linked with Liverpool. 

However, he will move to Chelsea next season, along with Ajax's Hakim Ziyech, providing Frank Lampard's side with an abundance of attacking talent that Pulisic is excited to be a part of. 

"We already have a very strong team and obviously very good players," the former Borussia Dortmund forward told Sky Sports after the Blues' 2-1 win over Aston Villa on Sunday. 

"To add guys like [Werner] is incredible. We're obviously focused on this season for now but we're also very excited for what's to come." 

Pulisic made the move from the Bundesliga to Stamford Bridge ahead of this season in a £58m deal, and his sixth goal of the season helped Chelsea come from behind to beat Villa. 

The American had only been on the pitch for five minutes when he steered in Cesar Azpilicueta's cross to cancel out Kortney Hause's opener, with Olivier Giroud netting the winner two minutes later.  

A groin injury and the coronavirus-enforced break meant Pulisic had not played since January 1, and the 21-year-old was delighted to be back. 

"I've definitely been out for a while, felt really nice to be back out here, especially for me after the injury," he added. 

"Obviously all the guys have been off, but we've been trying to stay fit as best we can and now we've got to get back into the rhythm of things." 

Chelsea had seen top-four rivals Manchester United, Sheffield United, Tottenham and Arsenal all drop points before they returned to action. 

And the victory, their first away from home in the Premier League in 2020, moved them five points clear in fourth with eight games to play. 

"We felt like it was a slight opportunity for us to capitalise on a couple of results," Lampard told BBC Radio 5 live. 

"We've missed those opportunities this season too many times and today we did it." 

Timo Werner's agent has hit back at those criticising the Germany international for his imminent move from RB Leipzig to Chelsea.

It was confirmed on Thursday that, subject to a medical, Werner will join Frank Lampard's Chelsea at the end of the season in a deal reportedly worth £48million (€53m).

The idea of Werner leaving will not have surprised many given links with Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Chelsea had long been prominent.

However, Chelsea's statement confirmed Werner will join up with the Blues once the Bundesliga season is over at the end of June, meaning he cannot play for Leipzig when the Champions League resumes in August.

Although Leipzig managing director Oliver Mintzlaff showed support for Werner, he has not been spared criticism and his agent is angry with anyone calling his sportsmanship into question.

"What annoys me is that Timo is now being put in a corner and portrayed as a bad sportsman who lets his team-mates down," Karlheinz Forster said to Sport1.

"I have to contradict that very clearly and I can only agree with what Oliver Mintzlaff said yesterday [Saturday] before the [Borussia Dortmund] game.

"It would have been anything but a good start for Timo at his new club if he had to return to Leipzig for the preparation and the Champions League after the break.

"It was the joint vote of all parties involved - and not just Timo's decision - that he should move to Chelsea on July 1, rather than mid or late August."

Ruben Loftus-Cheek was named in Chelsea's starting line-up for the first time in 13 months when the Blues visited Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday.

The England international ruptured his Achilles in May 2019 and had not featured across the 2019-20 campaign.

In the Blues' first game back following the coronavirus-enforced break, Frank Lampard chose Olivier Giroud in attack ahead of ex-Villa loanee Tammy Abraham.

Midfielder N'Golo Kante was also in the starting line-up, having been out since February because of a groin injury.

Villa were unchanged from the side that drew 0-0 with Sheffield United on Thursday.

The trip to Villa Park was the 100th game of Lampard's managerial career, with the former Blues midfielder having won 45 of his first 99 in charge of Derby County and Chelsea.

Dean Henderson has a decision to make as he continues to impress on loan at Sheffield United.

He is Manchester United's future number one, but Premier League rivals Chelsea are reportedly interested.

Could the 23-year-old goalkeeper swap Old Trafford for Stamford Bridge?

 

TOP STORY – UNITED AND CHELSEA IN TUG-OF-WAR OVER HENDERSON

Chelsea are trying to lure Dean Henderson away from Manchester United, according to The Sun.

Henderson has flourished at Sheffield United during his loan spell away from United.

Manchester United are offering Henderson a new contract amid doubts over David De Gea but Chelsea are reportedly plotting a big-money move for the Englishman.

 

ROUND-UP

- It appears as though Juventus will miss out on Barcelona midfielder Arthur. Marca says Arthur has rejected an annual salary of €5million to move to Turin.

- Liverpool are eyeing Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele after missing out on Timo Werner, claims Bleacher Report. Werner swapped RB Leipzig for Chelsea.

Inter are interested in Hertha Berlin's Matheus Cunha, reports Calciomercato. The 21-year-old Brazilian only arrived from Leipzig in January.

Jadon Sancho's head is already at Manchester United, according to German journalist Heiko Wasser. Borussia Dortmund star Sancho has been heavily tipped to join United, while the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Real Madrid are also eyeing the England international.

- Staying at San Siro and The Suns claims Inter want to sign Manchester City full-back Kyle Walker.

Dortmund have reached an agreement with Thomas Meunier to bring the Paris Saint-Germain full-back to the Bundesliga on a free transfer. It is also reported that Edinson Cavani will not sign a new deal and will sit out PSG's Champions League fixtures. He has been linked to Atletico Madrid and Inter.

- The Daily Mail says Juve are interested in bringing Wolves striker Raul Jimenez to Serie A amid interest from United and Madrid.

- Ansu Fati to United? Mundo Deportivo reports the Barca sensation wants to stay at Camp Nou and fight for his place.

Frank Lampard hopes N'Golo Kante stays at Chelsea for years to come and admits he "would have loved" to play with the French midfield dynamo.

Blues manager Lampard moved to assure Kante he sees him as an integral part of Chelsea's future after reports the club could sell him to raise transfer funds.

A Premier League winner with Leicester City in 2016 and Chelsea a year later, Kante turned 29 in March and will be determined to re-establish himself in Lampard's team in the coming weeks.

He has made just five appearances for Chelsea in 2020 after suffering hamstring and groin injuries, and it appeared at one stage his season might be over.

That was not down to injury, but because Kante was reportedly so concerned by the coronavirus pandemic he was said to be happy to train at home and sit out the rest of the campaign.

Kante has been back within the Chelsea camp in the last fortnight, however, and could face Aston Villa on Sunday, with Lampard saying he is "as fit as anyone in the squad".

Discussing Kante's wariness about coming back, Lampard said: "It was very genuine, he wanted to be clear about how it would work around the training ground. It's been sorted out in the short term and he's training and he's happy.

"Also in terms of N'Golo, I've seen some talk and reports about him and his future at the club.

"I've said before about N'Golo, [he is] one of the best midfield players in the world. I actually would have loved to play with him, the type of player he is. He has everything, and coming back to Chelsea and managing this club, having N'Golo Kante, is something I really wanted to appreciate and work with.

"This season unfortunately it's been tough due to injuries to N'Golo, but it's nice to see him a little bit fresh.

"One of the silver linings I suppose to this has been we've managed to get a few players fit and fresher, for whatever reason. N'Golo is so important to us as a team going forward, we need him regularly and hopefully we'll have that now."

While Kante has three years remaining on his Chelsea contract, both Willian and Pedro are set to leave Stamford Bridge within weeks.

The attacking pair could sign short-term extensions to see them through to the end of the extended Premier League season, given the COVID-19 break has pushed back the end of the campaign to late July.

Alternatively, they could walk away at the end of June when their present terms expire.

Former Chelsea and England star Lampard would trust either player, if he needs them over the remaining weeks of the season, and they could have a part to play at Villa Park.

"I have no worries about motivation. They are both top-class professionals, have been great servants to the club," Lampard said. "Every time they pull on a Chelsea shirt they'll give everything as they have done for years."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.