Jadon Sancho made Bundesliga history as he inspired Borussia Dortmund with a goal and an assist in a 3-1 victory away to Cologne on Friday.

Dominick Drexler's header gave Cologne a first-half lead in their first home game since returning to the Bundesliga following last season's promotion.

But Sancho, who also scored in last weekend's 5-1 rout of Augsburg, hauled Lucien Favre's side level in the 70th minute.

The England winger collected a short corner from Thorgan Hazard then advanced towards the box and whipped a wonderful low finish across goalkeeper Timo Horn.

Substitute Achraf Hakimi put Dortmund ahead with four minutes to go, meeting Lukasz Piszczek's right-wing centre with a towering back-post header, then Sancho led a break to set up Paco Alcacer in added time.

Sancho's 15th Bundesliga goal means the former Manchester City talent has become the youngest player to reach that figure in the league's history.

He takes the record from Horst Koppel, who broke through at Stuttgart in the 1960s and went on to enjoy two spells with Borussia Monchengladbach as well as featuring for West Germany.

Sancho is reportedly set to sign a new contract with Dortmund paying €210,000 per week, though the 19-year-old has also been linked with Manchester United.

Dortmund's victory means they move top of the Bundesliga table having earned a pair of wins from their two games.

Defending champions Bayern Munich are five points back ahead of Saturday's trip to Schalke.

Raphael Guerreiro remains in talks with Borussia Dortmund, the Bundesliga club having reportedly offered the defender another contract extension.

The Portugal full-back is said to have been the subject of interest from Paris Saint-Germain and is out of contract at the end of the season.

Dortmund run the risk of losing Guerreiro on a free transfer if they cannot sign him to fresh terms and allegedly offered him a three-year deal worth €5million a year.

But Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc gave little away on the progress of their discussions in a media conference ahead of Friday's Bundesliga clash with Cologne.

"We are still in talks," Zorc said. "I cannot tell you a tendency yet.

"We have to wait, we're not the only ones who decide."

On possible changes to the squad during what is left of the transfer window, he added: "It's just over a week's time. There may be something else happening, but I cannot promise that."

Mario Gotze had to come off the bench in Dortmund's 5-1 demolition of Augsburg to start the league campaign.

Asked about the World Cup winner, coach Lucien Favre said: "One year ago he was in a similar situation. 

"He has already played 20 minutes against Augsburg. We have some competition, and Thorgan Hazard and Jacob Bruun Larsen can play in the attack. Mario can also play behind the striker.

"It will be a difficult game. We have seen Cologne several times. They have found a good base and quality in the team.

"They press very hard and with intensity. We have to be prepared for everything."

Axel Witsel could have joined Real Madrid, Juventus, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain at various points in his career but feels vindicated in his decision to sign for Borussia Dortmund last year.

Witsel is in his second season at Dortmund, having joined the Bundesliga club from Chinese side Tianjin Quanjin on a four-year contract.

He narrowly missed out on the Bundesliga title in his debut campaign. However, Witsel believes he is at the right club after possible moves to other European heavyweights did not come to pass.

Speaking to Goal and DAZN, the former Zenit midfielder detailed how he missed out on joining Madrid from Benfica before electing to return to Zenit ahead of moving to Juve.

"I could have joined Real Madrid when Jose Mourinho was there," Witsel said. "But then Real signed Luka Modric, so a transfer to Madrid made no sense to me.

"Shortly before the end of the transfer period Zenit called. I had good discussions with the people responsible and finally agreed. I am an open person and was not afraid of Russia.

"My contract with Zenit expired and I wanted to move to Turin to Juventus. I had already passed the medical check and actually only had to sign the contract.

"I waited all day in the office and Zenit told me to come back. In retrospect, that was perhaps a twist of fate. Maybe it was just not the right time."

United and PSG were said to be in the running for his signature in 2018, but the prospect of regular first-team football convinced Witsel to choose Dortmund instead.

"First [Dortmund sporting director] Michael Zorc approached me, then [coach] Lucien Favre called me," Witsel added.

"I also had other offers, maybe I could have gone to Paris or Manchester, but I did not want to wait. And I had the feeling that I was the first choice for Dortmund. It is important to feel good when you go to a new club.

"So after the talks with Zorc, Favre and [CEO] Hans-Joachim Watzke, I decided to join BVB. Dortmund is a top club - and I really wanted to join a top European club.

"Maybe it was my last chance at 29 years old. It was the right decision."

Barcelona are officially making a move for Neymar and Paris Saint-Germain are set to reject their offer.

The Neymar saga is seemingly no closer to ending as the Brazil star looks to leave the Ligue 1 champions before the transfer window closes on September 2.

Barca are set to at least make a bid as they aim to get a deal done for their former star, but it will be rejected.

 

TOP STORY – PSG TO REJECT BARCELONA'S LOAN BID FOR NEYMAR

PSG have no interest in initially loaning Neymar to Barcelona, according to Le Parisien.

It was reported the bid from LaLiga's champions would be for a temporary move, but PSG want an outright transfer so they can find a replacement for the forward, amid reported interest in Juventus playmaker Paulo Dybala.

Barcelona are willing to accept a purchase option if €160million can be paid in instalments, according to Sport.

Meanwhile, the cover of Marca says Neymar is entering "Zone Florentino", referencing Real Madrid president Perez as Barca's rivals maintain hope of signing the 27-year-old.

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- There could be plenty of movement at Barcelona late in the window. Juventus are discussing a potential swap deal to land Ivan Rakitic and see Emre Can head to Camp Nou, according to Tuttosport, which says the Catalans also put Luis Suarez on the table.

- One midfielder not leaving Turin is Blaise Matuidi. RMC Sport reports the France international will stay at Juventus amid links to PSG and Bayern Munich, with Can seemingly more likely to depart the Serie A champions.

- Mariano Diaz's future is uncertain. AS claims Mariano is not in Real Madrid's plans for this season, but no club has come close to meeting a €20m valuation of the forward.

- Franck Ribery is set to become a Fiorentina player. The former Bayern Munich star has agreed to a deal with the Serie A club, according to Sport Bild and Gianluca Di Marzio, with the Frenchman set to sign on Thursday.

- Amid reported interest from Manchester City and Manchester United, Jadon Sancho is said to be re-signing with Borussia Dortmund. The 19-year-old England international has sealed a £190,000-per-week long-term deal with Dortmund, according to the Daily Mail.

- Michy Batshuayi is not ready to give up on his Chelsea career. The Belgium striker wants to stay and fight for a place in Frank Lampard's team, according to the Evening Standard.

Borussia Dortmund have been drawn against Borussia Monchengladbach in the second round of the DFB-Pokal, while holders Bayern Munich will travel to second-tier side Bochum.

Dortmund saw off lower-league opposition Uerdingen in the first round but have a far tougher test to come against Gladbach in one of two all-Bundesliga ties.

Bayern continue the defence of their crown with a trip to Bochum, who they beat en route to winning the competition in 2015-16.

Elsewhere, last season's beaten finalists RB Leipzig will take on top-flight rivals Wolfsburg for a place in round three.

The two remaining semi-professional sides in the competition, FC Saarbrucken and Verl, were paired with Koln and Holstein Kiel respectively in Sunday's draw.

The games will be played on October 29 and 30.

 

Draw in full:

Kaiserslautern v Nurnberg
Verl v Holstein Kiel
MSV Duisburg v TSG Hoffenheim
Saarbrucken v Koln
Darmstadt 98 v Karlsruher SC
Bayer Leverkusen v Paderborn
Freiburg v Union Berlin
Fortuna Dusseldorf v Erzgebirge Aue
Bochum v Bayern Munich
Arminia Bielefeld v Schalke 04
Borussia Dortmund v Borussia Mönchengladbach
Hertha Berlin v Dynamo Dresden
Wolfsburg v RB Leipzig
Werder Bremen v Heidenheim
Hamburger SV v Stuttgart
St. Pauli v Eintracht Frankfurt

First Romelu Lukaku. Now Alexis Sanchez?

Lukaku left Manchester United for Inter and former team-mate Sanchez could join the powerhouse Belgian in Milan.

Antonio Conte's Inter are set to be active before the transfer window closes.

 

TOP STORY – SANCHEZ SET FOR INTER

Manchester United forward Alexis Sanchez has agreed terms with Inter, according to Sky Italia.

Sanchez has endured a nightmare spell since joining United from Premier League rivals Arsenal in 2018, managing just five goals in all competitions.

While United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has publicly declared Sanchez will play a significant role this season, the Chilean is reportedly poised to join former Red Devils striker Romelu Lukaku at Inter.

 

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- Real Madrid will make a late €65million (£60m) bid to sign Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen, The Sun reports. The Danish star has been linked to Atletico Madrid and Juventus, while Madrid have been talking to Ajax about Donny van de Beek as they struggle to prise Paul Pogba from Manchester United.

- Le Parisien says Neymar remains convinced he will leave Paris Saint-Germain before the transfer window shuts. It comes as Sport claims Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has taken command to re-sign the Brazilian, who left for a world-record fee in 2017.

- According to the Mirror, Manchester United are ready to pay defender Marcos Rojo to leave Old Trafford. With two years remaining on his contract, Rojo was linked with a deadline-day move to Everton. The Argentina international is now reportedly pushing for a loan switch to Turkish giants Fenerbahce.

Bayern Munich want to re-sign Mario Mandzukic from Juventus, claims Bild. Mandzukic spent two years at Bayern, where he won back-to-back Bundesliga titles and the Champions League.

- It comes as Soccerlink reports Serie A champions Juve have turned to Lyon forward Moussa Dembele, with Inter outcast Mauro Icardi proving difficult to sign.

Napoli are preparing to relaunch a €60m bid to sign Icardi, according to Corriere dello Sport. Juventus are willing to offer Paulo Dybala in a swap deal but Inter are reluctant to deal with the Bianconeri. Napoli are also reportedly set to complete the signing of PSV's Hirving Lozano, who will undergo a medical on Wednesday.

AC Milan have asked Tottenham for full-back Serge Aurier on loan with an option to buy, claims Soccerlink.

Borussia Dortmund head coach Lucien Favre said his Bundesliga hopefuls can get even better following their 5-1 demolition of Augsburg.

Last season's runners-up Dortmund recorded their biggest-ever opening-day victory in the club's 52 seasons in the Bundesliga thanks to Saturday's rout of visiting Augsburg.

Florian Niederlechner gave Augsburg a shock first-minute lead, but that advantage was wiped out by Dortmund's Paco Alcacer two minutes later at Signal-Iduna Park.

It was one-way traffic from that point as Dortmund – who surrendered a nine-point lead to Bayern Munich last season – pilled on four unanswered goals in the second half via Jadon Sancho, captain Marco Reus, Alcacer and Julian Brandt.

"We upped the tempo in the second period, which was very good," Favre told Sky. "The result was then clear and deserved. But we also still have a few things to work on.

"We want to get better every day. What's important for me is that the players make progress – both individually and collectively too.

Reus, who scored Dortmund's third goal 12 minutes into the second half, added: "There was a lot of excitement to be playing our first game at home. The stadium was sold out and the fans were immense once again; especially after we went 1-0 down, they were extremely loud.

"We never doubted we could win this match. It obviously wasn't all perfect, we would've liked to have gone 2-1 up before the interval. At the break we said we needed to play with more purpose. That's how we then created our chances.

"The fact we were playing towards the South Stand in the second half gave us the push we needed, as it always does. You get the feeling you can apply even more pressure, that you're more on your game. We're happy we scored four goals in front of the South Stand."

Germany international Nico Schulz made his Bundesliga debut for Dortmund, alongside fellow new signings Mats Hummels and Thorgan Hazard, after arriving from Hoffenheim in the off-season.

"That was a very, very good start," Schulz said. "We went about the match the way we'd set out to. We kept our cool after conceding and we're delighted to get our first three points. We went 2-1 ahead relatively early and we had more space after that. Then it got slightly easier for us.

"The chants by the fans are an honour for me, of course. Obviously, the best way to pay them back will be with my performances."

The Premier League window may have already closed, but Manchester United and Manchester City are still in the headlines.

After going head-to-head for Harry Maguire, the two Manchester clubs are reportedly eyeing Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho.

This rumour will not go away anytime soon.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED AND CITY BATTLING FOR SANCHO

According to the Daily Mail, Sancho will leave Dortmund at the end of the season as rivals United and City do battle for the England international.

Sancho was reportedly on United's list of targets during the off-season, but Dortmund were unwilling to sell their 19-year-old star.

The English talent has flourished since joining Dortmund from Premier League champions City in 2017, and the Daily Mail claims the Bundesliga club are already looking for replacements.

 

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- Inter are considering a move for Man United's Alexis Sanchez after missing out on Edin Dzeko, reports Gianlucadimarzio.com. Bosnian striker Dzeko signed a new contract with Roma and Inter are now looking for alternatives, including Sanchez, free agent Fernando Llorente, Eintracht Frankfurt star Ante Rebic and Arkadiusz Milik, who could be used in a swap involving Mauro Icardi.

- According to le10sport, Ajax, AC Milan and Lille are among the clubs interested in Barcelona defender Jean-Clair Todibo. The 19-year-old arrived from Toulouse in January.

- Brescia have offered former Juventus and Italy midfielder Claudio Marchisio a two-year deal, reports Sky Sport Italia and other outlets in the country. Marchisio is a free agent after leaving Zenit and the 33-year-old could be joined at Brescia by Mario Balotelli.

- Sport claims Barcelona are prepared to sell midfielder Arturo Vidal for €20million as the Chile international continues to be linked to Inter and a reunion with former Juve boss Antonio Conte.

- According to Corriere dello Sport, Napoli and Juve are the only options for Inter outcast Icardi following Dzeko's Roma renewal.

- James Rodriguez may not leave Real Madrid following an injury to Eden Hazard, according to reports. James had been tipped to join either Napoli or Atletico Madrid, but the Colombia star is in Madrid's squad for their LaLiga opener at Celta Vigo on Saturday.

Halfway through last season, Borussia Dortmund were in pole position to dethrone Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga.

The new year saw Lucien Favre's bright young side falter just enough for Bayern's know how to tell, with Niko Kovac's men claiming a seventh successive top-flight crown.

But it means the anticipation is for a memorable tussle once again this time around, with the processions of recent campaigns hopefully a thing of the past. Throw in an ambitious chasing pack and you have quite a spectacle.

Before the first ball is kicked, five Omnisport journalists have put their necks on the line with some top-four predictions.

We totted up the overall scores and here's what we came up with. Apologies in advance to all at Signal Iduna Park…

 

1st – Borussia Dortmund

Unlike our near-unanimous choice for Manchester City to be Premier League champions, the panel was understandably split down the middle over who will prevail out of Dortmund and Bayern. BVB just got the edge.

STRENGTHS: Wonderful attacking quality, expertly coached by Favre, which is now bolstered by the arrivals of Julian Brandt and Thorgan Hazard. The returning Mats Hummels – alongside the likes of the talismanic Marco Reus and Axel Witsel – ensures a pleasing blend between experience and future stars.

WEAKNESSES: Can they handle the pressure better than last time around? Hummels is a fine addition but has a significant job on his hands to shore up a vulnerable defence in front of the gifted but error-prone Roman Burki.

2nd – Bayern Munich

Despite an unconvincing close season in the transfer market, defined by the unseemly Leroy Sane saga, it remains hard to back against the Bundesliga's dominant force. But we have!

STRENGTHS: Supreme title-winning pedigree and, although lacking some of the depth they would like, the best collection of individual players in the league. Robert Lewandowski is going for a fifth Torjagerkanone, while there are signs Manuel Neuer might be back to his best.

WEAKNESSES: Light in attack after the departures of club greats Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben. Significant doubts remain over whether Kovac is the right man from the job, seemingly from the terraces to boardroom level. As such, Uli Hoeness' mooted departure as chairman could lead to turmoil.

3rd – RB Leipzig

German football's new kids on the block were the only other a unanimous choice to finish inside the top four.

STRENGTHS: Julian Nagelsmann has cast himself as a generational coaching talent and should be the man to take last season's beaten DFB-Pokal finalists on to the next level. They have bought shrewdly by bringing in the likes of Christopher Nkunku and Ademola Lookman.

WEAKNESSES: The distraction of star forward Timo Werner entering the final year of his contract. Adapting to Nagelsmann's detailed pressing system is likely to be a challenge.

4th – Bayer Leverkusen

Peter Bosz's time in charge of Dortmund might have ended abruptly but he is doing plenty to convince with a vibrant Leverkusen side.

STRENGTHS: Kai Havertz scored 20 goals in all competitions last season and is a superstar-in-waiting. They have bought well, with Moussa Diaby an exciting replacement for Brandt. The arrival of Hoffenheim duo Kerem Demirbay and Nadiem Amiri also strengthens Bosz's hand significantly.

WEAKNESSES: The coach's system is always likely to lead to defensive vulnerability and there is a lack of quality cover for Jonathan Tah and Sven Bender at centre-back.

Thirteen weeks on from lifting the Bundesliga for a seventh successive year, Bayern Munich begin their latest title defence with a home match against Hertha Berlin on Friday.

Bayern have strengthened their defence during the close season, but they are a little light in attack following the departures of Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and James Rodriguez.

Will that give other teams, namely last term's runners-up Borussia Dortmund, an opportunity to catch Niko Kovac's side?

The transfer window does not shut until September 2 but, ahead of the opening round of fixtures, we look at the five best signings made by Bundesliga clubs.

 

5. Ademola Lookman (RB Leipzig)

Following the success of Jadon Sancho at Dortmund, German clubs are desperate to get their hands on the next young British talent.

Others have followed in the steps of Sancho, including Rabbi Matondo, Ethan Ampadu, Emile Smith Rowe and Reiss Nelson, each with the aim of making a name for themselves on foreign shores.

Lookman is no stranger to doing exactly that, having starred for Leipzig during a spell on loan at Red Bull Arena in 2018 when playing a direct part in eight goals across his 11 Bundesliga appearances.

First-team opportunities were few and far between on his return to Everton, but he now has a chance to truly kickstart his career after a permanent deal worth a reported €25million was agreed between the clubs.

 

4. Moussa Diaby (Bayer Leverkusen)

Awarded the Titi d’Or award in 2016 - given to the player deemed the most promising in Paris Saint-Germain's academy - Diaby was expected to go on and become a key member in PSG's first-team squad.

Following a brief spell on loan with Crotone in 2017-18, Diaby returned to the Parc des Princes and started 10 Ligue 1 matches last season, scoring two goals and setting up six more.

He further enhanced his reputation with France at the Under-20 World Cup, but with competition from the likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Angel Di Maria and Julian Draxler in the wide positions, he opted to move to Leverkusen.

Having also brought in Kerem Demirbay from Hoffenheim in a reported €28m deal, not many sides will have more creative midfield talents than Leverkusen this season.


3. Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Dortmund)

Dortmund were quick off the mark with their transfer dealings, using the cash from Christian Pulisic's £58m sale to Chelsea to bolster their squad from front to back.

Less than a week after the 2018-19 campaign finished, Hazard and Julian Brandt arrived at Dortmund on five-year deals from Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen respectively on the same day.

Brandt boasts plenty of Bundesliga experience from his five years with Bayer and represented Germany at the 2018 World Cup. 

It is arguably the capture of Hazard that is the more exciting of the two, though. The Belgian attacking midfielder registered double figures for both goals and assists in the top flight last season and he will provide BVB with some additional creativity.

 

2. Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich)

Like Dortmund, Bayern did not hang around to get their biggest pieces of transfer business - to date, at least - out of the way early on as they completed deals for French defenders Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard before last season was even over.

Pavard arrives from Stuttgart for around €35m and Lucas makes the switch from Atletico Madrid for a mammoth €80m.

Bayern now have both of the starting full-backs from France's World Cup-winning campaign, and in Lucas they have a player capable of playing on the left or in central defence, where he is most likely to feature during his time at the Allianz Arena.

He missed all of Bayern's pre-season programme but has now recovered from knee surgery and is expected to slot in alongside Niklas Sule in the early weeks of the season.


1. Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund)

Dortmund led the way at the top of the Bundesliga for a large part of last season, only to slip away when the going got tough.

The return of experienced defender Hummels in the heart of defence could potentially be the missing piece in the jigsaw for Lucien Favre's side, then, with BVB finishing just two points behind Bayern last time around.

He returns to Signal Iduna Park for a reported fee of €31m and has plenty of title-winning experience that he can put to good use, making Bayern's decision to sell him to a direct rival somewhat surprising - and one that could potentially backfire come next May.

Mats Hummels has made one return in recent months by going back to Borussia Dortmund, and he is still open to the possibility of playing for Germany again.

World Cup winner Hummels, along with then Bayern Munich team-mates Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller, was informed by Joachim Low earlier this year that he would not be considered for international selection going forward.

However, Hummels appears to harbour no ill feeling towards Low as he remains receptive to a call-up in the future.

For now, the 30-year-old centre-back is not giving the possibility too much thought.

"If I'm allowed to put on the Germany shirt again at some point, I would not resist it," he told Kicker.

"I do not have that option at the moment and will use the international break for other purposes. But I'll be playing for a few more years, so let's just see what happens."

Hummels moved back to Dortmund in this transfer window in a reported €38m switch from Bayern, where he had won three Bundesliga titles in three seasons.

Dortmund were champions twice previously with Hummels in the side, but he admits there is a mentality he hopes to bring back to BVB that might have been missing as they collapsed in the 2018-19 title race.

"It has to be acknowledged that the winning mentality in Munich is not the worst, as can be seen for more than 40 years," he said.

"However different the cultures of the clubs are, it must be my goal to bring this attitude even more in Dortmund now."

Werder Bremen have signed Borussia Dortmund centre-back Omer Toprak on a season-long loan with an option to buy to further strengthen their defence ahead of the new Bundesliga season.

Toprak was a regular in the Dortmund side of 2017-18 but fell out of favour last season, making just one Bundesliga start as Lucien Favre's side narrowly missed out on the title.

He becomes the second defender to join Florian Kohfeldt's side in the close-season, after fellow centre-back Marco Friedl arrived in a €3.35million deal from Bayern Munich.

Dortmund announced that Werder have "agreed a purchase option as part of the deal, which will take effect under realistic circumstances".

Turkey international Toprak, 30, started his career at Freiburg where he helped the club to 2. Bundesliga glory before joining Bayer Leverkusen for €3m in June 2011.

Dortmund paid €12m to take him to Signal Iduna Park in June 2017, and his most recent appearance came in a DFL-Supercup victory over Bayern Munich on August 3.

Kohfeldt told Werder's official website: "Omer is a fast centre-back who has played at the highest level for years. We are very glad that he has decided to join us.

"He last played a very strong game in the Supercup against Bayern and can help us directly."

Bayern Munich will begin their defence of the DFB-Pokal without midfielder Javi Martinez after head coach Niko Kovac confirmed the Spain international is out with a knee injury.

Martinez was missing from Bayern's squad for the 2-0 DFL-Supercup defeat to Borussia Dortmund and has been ruled out of the trip to Energie Cottbus on Monday.

The 30-year-old's last appearance came during Bayern's 6-1 Audi Cup win over Fenerbahce in July and Kovac said he would not make the trip to Cottbus.

"Everyone's available apart from Javi," Kovac told reporters.

"Javi Martinez fell on his knee and was in pain, so we're not taking any risks."

Kovac indicated that close-season signing Lucas Hernandez would not be rushed back into action following his recovery from knee surgery.

"We're taking things slow with Lucas," Kovac, whose side get their Bundesliga campaign underway on Friday when Hertha BSC travel to Allianz Arena, said of the former Atletico Madrid defender.

The Bayern coach said his players would take nothing for granted against Cottbus, who were relegated to the fourth tier of German football at the end of 2018-19 season.

"The atmosphere in the team is good, the boys get along - on and off the pitch," said Kovac.

"Cottbus were unfortunately relegated from the third league and we know how difficult it is to play in Cottbus.

"We have two titles to defend and that's what we want to do. You don't achieve anything by sitting back and doing nothing. It's better to get things done sooner rather than later."

Shinji Kagawa has left Borussia Dortmund to join Real Zaragoza in Spain's second tier on a permanent deal.

The 30-year-old Japan international has signed a two-year contract at La Romareda, as Los Manos prepare for a seventh successive season away from the top flight.

Attacking midfielder Kagawa joined Dortmund in 2014 for a second spell at the club following an underwhelming-two-year stay at Manchester United.

Initially his return to Dortmund went to plan, playing regularly and often impressing in his first couple of years.

But he fell out of favour in the 2016-17 campaign and has failed to turn things around, featuring just twice in the Bundesliga last term before being sent out on loan to Besiktas.

Kagawa had been linked with clubs in LaLiga, particularly Celta Vigo, however a move did not materialise and he has dropped down a tier.

Zaragoza will hope Kagawa proves to be the arrival who inspires a return to the top flight, having been relegated in 2012-13 as an inevitable consequence of years of financial mismanagement.

 

Barcelona are still hopeful of bringing Neymar to Camp Nou, but Real Madrid's interest is rising as they give up on Paul Pogba.

Neymar, 27, is set to leave Paris Saint-Germain this close season, two years after joining the Ligue 1 champions from Barcelona for a world-record €222million.

While a return to Barca has been mooted, Madrid are also seemingly interested after accepting they are unlikely to land Pogba from Manchester United.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA HOPEFUL OVER NEYMAR, CONVINCED MADRID ARE INTERESTED

Barcelona are still eyeing a move for Neymar, but the LaLiga champions are convinced rivals Real Madrid are also chasing the Brazilian, according to AS.

The report says Barca believe the forward will definitely leave PSG, who do not want to loan or sell Neymar to them because of a fractured relationship between the clubs.

AS report that Barcelona feel PSG are still hoping Madrid will make a late bid for Neymar.

According to Globo Esporte, Real Madrid are ready to use Gareth Bale and Keylor Navas as part of the deal.

Barcelona want Neymar to publicly state his desire to return to the club and they will offer Philippe Coutinho to PSG as part of a deal, according to Sport.

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Real Madrid's intensified interest in Neymar comes as they accept their chances of signing Pogba from Manchester United are "practically zero", according to AS, after the Premier League club failed to sign a potential replacement for the France international before their window shut.

Coutinho may not have returned to the Premier League, but Barcelona still want to see the playmaker depart. Sport say PSGJuventus and Bayern Munich are the most likely destinations for the former Liverpool star.

Luka Modric was reportedly set to be offered to PSG by Real Madrid as part of a deal for Neymar. However, the Croatia international's camp has told AS the midfielder is not leaving the Santiago Bernabeu.

- Despite giving up on Pogba, Real Madrid still need to strengthen in midfield. Ajax star Donny van de Beek remains the most likely option for Zinedine Zidane, according to AS, but they are waiting amid a potential move for Neymar.

- Manchester United opted against signing a replacement for Romelu Lukaku, who left for Inter. The Times report the Premier League club ended talks with Juventus over striker Mario Mandzukic due to the £14m (€15.2m) valuation being deemed too high. Borussia Dortmund are interested in the Croatian, according to Corriere dello Sport.

- Mario Balotelli is a step away from joining Flamengo. According to Gianluca Di Marzio, the Italian striker has reached a salary agreement with the Brazilian club, but work is still being done relating to image rights.

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