Thomas Muller has been impressed with how effortlessly Hansi Flick has handled the pressure that comes with being Bayern Munich's head coach.

Flick signed a contract to be Bayern's boss until 2023 in April, having taken over from Niko Kovac on an interim basis in November.

He has overseen a run of eight straight league wins either side of the enforced break caused by the coronavirus pandemic, helping the Bavarian giants open up a seven-point lead at the Bundesliga summit.

The role is Flick's first as a head coach since 2005 and Muller, who has been in fine form since he took over, praised the way the 55-year-old has dealt with the scrutiny.

"I knew him from the German national team, but he also developed," he told a virtual media conference.  

"I didn't know him as a head coach, but I am very impressed by how well he has handled this situation. It's a difference to be assistant coach in the national team, where the media is a little bit more on your side as we are all playing for Germany and they are reporting for Germany and everyone wants Germany to win.

"But here in Munich, it's a little bit different. When you work for a club as big as Bayern is, you are always under pressure. The media is not always on your side and you have to be very successful to have a nice time here. I think he is handling it very, very well, so I am very satisfied about it."

Bayern have scored 13 goals in their four games since returning to action last month, with Muller in no doubt Flick's desire to play aggressive football has been key to their success.

"The most important thing for me was that he wants us to play very aggressively without the ball," he added. "Now, we play very aggressively, pressing in the opponents' half. We try to attack the opponent very early and with high intensity.

"With these early wins of the ball, the distance to the opponents' goal to create chances is less, so we score a lot of goals. When we get the ball with our pressing in spaces where the opponent is not organised, we can do what you have seen in the last month."

Bayern will be looking to make it nine consecutive Bundesliga wins when they travel to Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday. 

Thomas Muller has suggested he would rather play with Bayern Munich team-mate Robert Lewandowski than Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.

Muller was asked whether he would prefer to have Messi or Ronaldo as a colleague in a remote news conference on Wednesday.

The Bayern forward recognised his style of play would work better with Ronaldo than with Messi, yet he claimed Lewandowski would top both.

Former Germany international Muller has 18 assists in the Bundesliga this season, while Lewandowski has netted 29 times as Bayern march towards another title.

However, the World Cup winner did acknowledge Messi and Ronaldo are "outstanding" and cannot be compared to other players.

"Maybe in my past years I would like to play with Leo Messi, because in the first six or seven years of my career, I was more the receiving striker," Muller said.

"I got the ball in the box and tried to score. In the moment right now, in my very good shape at the moment, I assist many goals.

"Maybe now I need more a Cristiano Ronaldo to score the goals, but we at Bayern have Robert 'Lewan-goal-ski'! I think maybe right now he is the better option than Cristiano.

"I played against both [Messi and Ronaldo], I won against both, I lost against both.

"They are very, very good, they are special, they are not like normal very good players in the world of football. They are outstanding because they play always at the limit.

"Always, their whole 10 years, they score 50 goals each year. That's crazy.

"On my way to the World Cup, we won with Germany against both. On my way to several Champions League finals, we won against both.

"Every football player needs also the team, and that's why we love football so much."

Thomas Muller says Bayern Munich are "afraid of nobody" in the Champions League even if the scheduling looks set to work against the Bundesliga giants.

Germany's top flight was the first of Europe's elite leagues to resume amid the coronavirus pandemic and Bayern have returned in scintillating form as they march towards an eighth straight title.

Their performances under Hansi Flick have prompted talk of a treble bid, with the Bavarian club also going strong in both the DFB-Pokal and Champions League.

Bayern won 3-0 at Chelsea in their Champions League last-16 first-leg tie before the competition was suspended and Muller sees no reason to fear any potential opponents in the latter stages.

"At Bayern Munich, we have our 'Mia San Mia' slogan. The slogan means we are afraid of nobody," he told a remote news conference on Wednesday.

"We always trust in our strength and I think right now, in this moment, we are in a very good shape. In my opinion, everyone who wants to come to the Allianz Arena and play against us is invited.

"But of course, in the Champions League, there are always tough teams to beat. I think Barcelona...

"But we have to watch out for how the international teams come out of the coronavirus break. You don't know how they can handle it. Maybe there are some injuries.

"For the moment right now, here in Bayern Munich, everything works great and the players are in good shape, so we are looking forward to playing against anyone."

Bayern's Bundesliga campaign will conclude before the end of June, yet the Champions League is reportedly not set to restart until August.

Muller acknowledges this break is "not positive" for Bayern, as rival clubs will be concluding their domestic seasons, but he remains confident.

"When I think about the future, the next two months, I think the break for us is not that positive," he said.

"Now we are in the rhythm. We did the 'mini-prep' in May, so now the engines are fully loaded and we play three games a week and are used to doing the work.

"I'm a little bit sceptical because when we have the break, we will have 10 days or one week off in the middle of July. Then we have to start again.

"Maybe that's not the best preparation, but in this situation, right now, there is no space to complain. We have to handle the situation, and when we want to win, we have to handle it the best.

"For me, there is no problem but I think it's not positive that there is a break."

Bayern Munich's approach to conducting transfer business will not change as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the club's sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic. 

Clubs across the globe face financial uncertainty amid the COVID-19 outbreak and it remains to be seen what sort of impact the health crisis will have on teams' dealings in the market.

Salihamidzic recognises the challenges that await in terms of recruitment but says Bayern have always acted with prudence when it comes to signing players.

In an interview with Bayern magazine '51', he said: "Nobody needs a crystal ball to predict that our society and therefore all clubs will face major tests in the short and medium term. 

"Squad planning is always challenging, regardless of corona. We have to think even more creatively. 

"Before corona, the market had taken absurd moves. However, I can only speak for Bayern and say that we have always managed reasonably in this heated phase. 

"We will continue to handle this in the future. How we see football, which economic principles we follow and how we want to act in the transfer market does not change. And there are always opportunities in crises.

"In success, not losing sight of those who are not doing so well, [we have] always had a culture at FC Bayern. Compassion, solidarity, support - we will also try to live on for the European idea in this difficult time. Corona will challenge us all like nothing before. But we at FC Bayern are up to the task."

Bayern are top of the Bundesliga by seven points with five matches remaining.

Lautaro Martinez's move to Barcelona is seemingly getting closer.

The star Inter forward has been linked to the LaLiga giants, although questions have been raised over whether Barca can find a deal to land the 22-year-old.

But the Argentina international could be nearing a switch to Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – LAUTARO, BARCELONA AGREE TO FIVE-YEAR DEAL

Martinez and Barcelona have reached an agreement on a five-year deal at about €12million per season plus bonuses, according to Sport.

The report says Inter have given up on the star forward, but are yet to reach an agreement with Barcelona.

Martinez has scored 16 goals in 31 games this season.

ROUND-UP

- Bayern Munich have already decided not to purchase Philippe Coutinho, who has been linked with an extended stay on loan. However, Sport Bild reports there is no chance the playmaker stays in Munich.

- Timo Werner is reportedly a target for Liverpool, but another Premier League club could be making their move. The Telegraph claims Chelsea are plotting a move for the RB Leipzig forward.

- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's Arsenal future remains uncertain. The Telegraph reports head coach Mikel Arteta is trying to persuade the striker to stay at the Premier League club, while The Sun says Arsenal will keep Aubameyang until the end of his contract in 2021 if they cannot get more than £20m for him this close season.

- Could Eric Garcia return to Barcelona? Sport reports the LaLiga giants are tracking the defender, who came through their youth system before joining Manchester City in 2018.

- Having impressed at Lyon, Houssem Aouar may be ready for a move. According to CalcioMercato, the attacker would prefer a switch to Juventus over Manchester City.

- After contract talks with Newcastle United broke down, Matty Longstaff could be heading abroad. The Times says the midfielder is set for a move to Serie A, with Udinese frontrunners to sign the 20-year-old.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino says Bundesliga players who showed solidarity with George Floyd over the weekend would deserve "applause, not punishment" in an international tournament.

Football's governing body has urged national associations to adopt a common-sense approach when dealing with on-pitch protests and demonstrations amid the civil unrest in the United States.

Borussia Dortmund duo Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi displayed 'Justice for George Floyd' messages when celebrating goals during a Bundesliga victory over Paderborn on Sunday. Schalke's Weston McKennie sported an armband with the same message and Borussia Monchengladbach attacker Marcus Thuram took a knee after scoring against Union Berlin.

Those incidents came after Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis last week, sparking demonstrations and riots in the USA and beyond.

Sancho was booked for removing his shirt, while Hakimi, McKennie and Thuram received no on-field punishment in relation to their tributes. However, the German Football Association (DFB) said it would examine the incidents to see whether sanctions were necessary.

FIFA says competition organisers must "have in consideration the context surrounding the events" before deciding to punish any such on-field incidents going forward.

Infantino went further later on Tuesday by suggesting it would go against FIFA's anti-discrimination and anti-violence campaigns to take action against the likes of Sancho.

"For the avoidance of doubt, in a FIFA competition the recent demonstrations of players in Bundesliga matches would deserve an applause and not a punishment," he said in a statement.

"We all must say no to racism and any form of discrimination. We all must say no to violence. Any form of violence."

Thiago Alcantara has returned to team training after missing three Bayern Munich matches through injury.

The midfielder sat out the Bundesliga victories over Eintracht Frankfurt, Borussia Dortmund and Fortuna Dusseldorf due to muscular problems.

The Spain international took part in the team session on Tuesday as the leaders prepared for Saturday's meeting with Bayer Leverkusen.

Lucas Hernandez, who suffered adductor problems in the 5-0 win over Dusseldorf, could only train individually, while long-term absentees Niklas Sule and Philippe Coutinho continued their fitness programmes.

A win for Bayern at the BayArena could be a crucial moment in this season's title race.

Hansi Flick's side are seven points clear of Dortmund at the top of the table with only five matches left, with the trip to Champions League-chasing Leverkusen likely to be the most challenging of their remaining games.

FIFA has asked leagues to "use common sense" when deciding whether to punish players who protest against the death of George Floyd during games.

Borussia Dortmund duo Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi displayed 'Justice for George Floyd' messages when celebrating goals during a Bundesliga victory over Paderborn on Sunday. Schalke's Weston McKennie sported an armband with the same message and Borussia Monchengladbach attacker Marcus Thuram took a knee after scoring against Union Berlin.

Their actions were a show of support for the protests that have come in the wake of Floyd's death in police custody in Minneapolis last week, sparking demonstrations and riots in the United States and beyond.

Sancho was booked for removing his shirt, while Hakimi, McKennie and Thuram received no on-field punishment in relation to their tributes. However, the German Football Association (DFB) said it would examine the incidents to see whether sanctions were necessary.

With LaLiga, Serie A and the Premier League all due to restart this month, FIFA has urged competition organisers to take context into account when applying the rules.

"FIFA fully understands the depth of sentiment and concerns expressed by many footballers in light of the tragic circumstances of the George Floyd case," an official statement read.

"FIFA had repeatedly expressed itself to be resolutely against racism and discrimination of any kind and recently strengthened its own disciplinary rules with a view to helping to eradicate such behaviours.

"FIFA itself has promoted many anti-racism campaigns which frequently carry the anti-racism message at matches organised under its own auspices.

"The application of the Laws of the Game approved by the IFAB [International Football Association Board] is left for the competition organisers which should use common sense and have in consideration the context surrounding the events."

The DFB's sporting director of elite referees Michael Frohlich suggested on Monday it is not easy for officials to apply such guidelines during a game.

"It is hardly possible for referees to register political, religious or personal slogans, messages or images during a game," said Frohlich. "It isn't the same as referees examining that the equipment's colours match, for example.

"Should the referee notice a political or religious message on the player's equipment, they make a note of it in their match report.

"An exception is when the player's actions have an immediate impact on the game, such as delaying the restart of play, which the referee can punish with a yellow card."

DFB vice-president Rainer Koch said: "As is the case internationally, the game itself should remain free of political statements or messages of any kind; the fair and competitive action on the pitch should be the focus.

"There are of course opportunities before and after the match for these kinds of things. We'll have to wait and see whether sanctions are required in these instances."

Jean-Clair Todibo looks set to leave Schalke and return to Barcelona at the end of the season.

An option to make the French defender's loan stay a €25million permanent switch has expired, Schalke's head of sport Jochen Schneider announced.

Schalke have been out of sorts in 2020, with January recruit Todibo unable to prevent the team going 11 Bundesliga matches without a win.

Speaking about Todibo, Schneider told the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung on Monday: "The deadline passed yesterday. We no longer have a purchase option.

"Contract extensions are currently not an issue for us. We should rather focus on performance."

Todibo, 20, has made four starts and four appearances as a substitute in the Bundesliga since moving from Camp Nou, playing 363 minutes in the German top flight.

Borussia Dortmund forward Jadon Sancho was right to use his platform to stand up to racism, according to former England and Liverpool forward Emile Heskey.

Protests and riots have spread across the United States, with demonstrations also taking place around the world, following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Floyd died in police custody last week after an officer kneeled on his neck as he lay on the ground handcuffed, sparking outrage across the globe.

Dortmund star Sancho showed support for those protesting against racially driven police brutality by revealing a 'Justice for George Floyd' message on a T-shirt after scoring against Paderborn on Sunday.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga, Borussia Monchengladbach star Marcus Thuram took a knee after his goal against Union Berlin on the same day, and Schalke's United States international Weston McKennie wore a 'Justice for George Floyd' armband on Saturday.

Sancho was booked for removing his Dortmund shirt to display the message and the German Football Association (DFB) said it would examine the actions of the trio.

Heskey believes England international Sancho was right to use his platform to show support for the cause.

"Sports have a platform that is viewed by billions of people so it definitely has a say on what people think and how you put things out there," Heskey told Stats Perform News.

"It's very important that if they have a view on it, then why not? You look at Jadon Sancho who got booked for it as well. He felt it was right for him to put it out there because this is something that sits very close to his heart. He's a young black footballer who grew up in London. These are the certain things that he could have come up against growing up.

"I think football, sports in general, it has a platform so why not? I don't think they're doing anything wrong with supporting what's going on.

"He's not condoning violence or anything like that, so I think it's great."

This season has seen a significant number of racist incidents in football, but Heskey believes the problem first needs to be tackled in society as a whole.

He said: "I think until we in society get things right, football isn't going to change because it's just a mirror image of society.

"It's a lot better in a sense [that] what I had, you could be walking down the street, not bothering anyone and you could be racially abused. I don't think it's as bad as it was back then, but we're seeing it again online, people doing certain things, not just racism, sexism as well.

"These are things [that] have been going on for years. Will they get better? We hope. We can only pray that it will get better. It's not just a football problem or sport problem. This is a societal problem. We've got to attack it there and hope that it gets better and spreads everywhere else.

"At the end of the day the peaceful protests in and around London, Manchester as well, were great. It's highlighting the issues. I don't think they’re just protesting to protest, they're highlighting issues.

"So let's address those issues, let's talk about them. Let's deal with them because it's happening time and time again. That's all they want, they're not asking for anything else. Let's just deal with this first, let's stop it happening."

 

Emile Heskey’s book Even Heskey Scored has been shortlisted for Autobiography of the Year at the 2020 Telegraph Sports Book Awards.

Oliver Bierhoff has thrown his support behind the idea of a wage cap as football faces up to a financial crisis.

The former Germany striker warned time is up for the era that has seen top-flight footballers in Europe's top leagues securing huge contracts as a matter of course.

Since the coronavirus pandemic forced football to be widely suspended in March, clubs and leagues have warned of the impact of inactivity.

And even though many leagues are slowly restarting, behind-closed-doors games mean matchday revenue has been lost.

Bierhoff spoke of a "mass of mediocrity" within the leagues, and said such average footballers would have to accept they are not entitled to spectacular salaries.

"It has come to the time when many are ready to at least discuss it – even those who were not before the crisis," he told t-online.de. "Especially from the biggest clubs in Spain, England and France."

Bierhoff, now a director of the German Football Federation (DFB) said he would support salary limits that were "legally feasible and if we think about it together across Europe".

Football authorities are battling to protect the vital revenue stream of broadcasting deals, which have been the lifeblood of the game, allowing teams to finance an abundance of seven-figure salaries.

Bierhoff said: "I don't think that the top earners for fans are the problem – as paradoxical as it sounds. [Lionel] Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Jo[shua] Kimmich aren't the problem. The problem is the mass of mediocrity that swims in their wake and and are, in quote marks, 'overpaid'."

He added: "An average Bundesliga professional will have to expect that he will soon be offered less by his club."

Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is attracting plenty of interest in Europe.

Milinkovic-Savic has been linked to the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and Manchester City.

Real Madrid, though, are reportedly fighting to bring the Serbia international to the Santiago Bernabeu.

 

TOP STORY – ZIDANE REACHES OUT TO LAZIO STAR

Zinedine Zidane has approached Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic regarding a move to Real Madrid, according to Le10Sport.

Milinkovic-Savic is a player in demand, linked to Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and Manchester City.

Zidane is interested in bringing Milinkovic-Savic to the Spanish capital, however, the Serbian midfielder reportedly wants to team up with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe at PSG.

 

ROUND-UP

- Mundo Deportivo says Barcelona are eyeing Ajax and United States sensation Sergino Dest. PSG are also reportedly interested in the 19-year-old full-back as a replacement for Thomas Meunier.

- Atletico Madrid defender Stefan Savic is being chased by Serie A champions Juventus and Ligue 1 outfit Monaco, reports Mundo Deportivo.

Luka Modric to Milan? The Madrid veteran was reportedly poised to swap the Santiago Bernabeu for San Siro at season's end. However, Calciomercato says the move is off after Zvonimir Boban's Milan exit.

- After Mauro Icardi completed a permanent transfer to PSG, Calciomercato reports Napoli striker Arkadiusz Milik is at the top of Juve's list of targets.

- According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Chelsea and Juve are set to hold talks over a deal that would see Jorginho and Federico Bernardeschi swap clubs.

Madrid have been favourites to sign Rennes teenager Eduardo Camavinga, but Le10Sport says PSG are preparing a sensational move for the 17-year-old.

- Could Raheem Sterling swap City for Manchester neighbours United? The Independent reports the Red Devils have placed Sterling high up in priority amid uncertainty over City's Champions League ban. Sterling, though, appears more likely to go to Madrid. RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano and Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly remain on United's list as they continue to target Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho.

RB Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann said his team were deserved winners after coming from behind to beat Cologne 4-2.

Leipzig returned to winning ways in the Bundesliga after being held by Hertha Berlin last week – Patrik Schick, Christopher Nkunku, Timo Werner and Dani Olmo on target on Monday.

Jhon Cordoba had put hosts Cologne ahead but four goals from four different goalscorers helped Leipzig climb to third in the standings, despite Anthony Modeste reducing the deficit.

"It was a strange game with lots of ups and downs. We were a bit sleepy before they scored," Nagelsmann said post-match, with Leipzig two points adrift of second-placed Borussia Dortmund.

"We didn't defend as well as we can. Overall, I think we could play better. It's hard to summarise things at the moment.

"A win was important for the table. Coming from behind was important too. It wasn't easy, but we deserved to win."

Schick equalised for Leipzig in the 20th minute after Cordoba had opened the scoring 13 minutes earlier at RheinEnergieStadion.

It means the Czech Republic international, who is on loan from Serie A side Roma, has scored in back-to-back matches for Leipzig.

Schick added: "It was another tough game tonight. It wasn't the start that we wanted. After that, we grew into the game and fought hard. At the end of the day, we're really happy with the three points."

RB Leipzig climbed to third in the Bundesliga table with a 4-2 victory away to Cologne on Monday.

Four goals from four different goalscorers secured a return to winning ways for Julian Nagelsmann's side, who were held by Hertha Berlin last Wednesday.

Jhon Cordoba put Cologne ahead, but Patrik Schick, Christopher Nkunku and Timo Werner put the visitors in control.

Anthony Modeste blasted in a lifeline only for Dani Olmo to score Leipzig's fourth two minutes later to make certain of the win.

Cologne were on a four-game winless run heading into the match after weeks of improvement under Markus Gisdol, but they were ahead just seven minutes in when Cordoba's shot was too much for Peter Gulasci after he had nudged Elvis Rexhbecaj's effort onto the post.

Cordoba saw a header held by Gulacsi as Cologne's bright start continued, but they were pegged back through frustratingly simple fashion, Angelino's cross from the left headed powerfully home by Schick.

After Cordoba went off injured, Leipzig grabbed a second before the break, Konrad Laimer sending Nkunku through on goal to chip a clever finish over Timo Horn.

The game looked to have been effectively wrapped up five minutes after the restart. Gulasci caught a free-kick from Florian Kainz and sent a long ball forward to Werner, who ran unchallenged into the box and slotted beyond Horn.

Cologne needed just four minutes to halve the deficit as Modeste turned into space and rifled a shot beyond Gulacsi from 25 yards out to drag them back into the contest, but Olmo restored the two-goal lead only two minutes later, side-footing through a crowded box and past Horn after the home side failed to clear a corner.

Modeste thought he had won a penalty following a challenge from Lukas Klostermann, but referee Christian Dingert correctly overturned the decision after checking the VAR monitor, and the striker's outing ended in further frustration when he dragged a shot wide after running clean through on goal in the closing moments.

 

What does it mean? Leipzig take back control in top-four race

With Bayern Munich nine points above them, Leipzig's title challenge looks forlorn with only five games to go, but this could be a result that goes a long way to securing a top-four finish.

They are two points above Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayer Leverkusen in fourth and fifth, respectively, keeping a Champions League return in their own hands.

Leipzig's four-midables on form

All of Leipzig's front four got on the scoresheet, their movement causing real difficulties for the Cologne back four despite a somewhat uneven display from Nagelsmann's side.

Upamecano uneasy

Europe's elite are said to be circling Dayot Upamecano, but this was a display to catch the eye for the wrong reasons. He lost Rexhbecaj in the lead-up to the first goal, gave Cordoba a good chance with a header and failed to stop Modeste's turn and strike.

What's next?

Leipzig host Paderborn on Saturday, while Cologne head to Augsburg a day later.

Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez sent social media into overdrive with a cryptic tweet on Sunday.

Spain international Saul posted a graphic with the words: "New club. I'll announce it [in] three days."

Followers immediately thought an impending transfer was coming, but the 25-year-old has another six years left to run on a contract that includes a reported €150million release clause.

While reports in the Spanish media insist the tweet has nothing to do with Saul's future, it echoed Antoine Griezmann famously announcing his Atletico future in a documentary entitled 'La Decision' in 2018. Griezmann confirmed he would be remaining at the club, only to leave for Barcelona a year later.

It has also been claimed Saul is set to announce he has bought part of a club or even invested in an esports team.

So even though it is highly unlikely Saul will reveal he is leaving the Wanda Metropolitano just a week before LaLiga resumes following its suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic, we look at who could be in the market for one of the world's best midfielders.

 

Manchester United

United have long been credited with an interest in the Atleti star, but they shelled out an initial £46.5m (€55m) on Bruno Fernandes in January. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hopes Fernandes can form a formidable midfield partnership with Paul Pogba, but the Frenchman's future at Old Trafford remains a constant source speculation.

Manchester City

The Red Devils would face competition from local rivals City, though. Fernandinho is not getting any younger and spent much of the 2019-20 campaign at centre-back through necessity, and Pep Guardiola will be looking for a long-term successor who can anchor the club's midfield for the coming years.

Paris Saint-Germain

Any time an elite player is available, PSG will always be linked. The Ligue 1 champions have just completed the signing of Mauro Icardi for a reported €50m and having previously managed to get a UEFA investigation into their finances shut down, they will not be shy in splashing out further to improve their chances of getting their hands of the Champions League trophy.

Barcelona

With Ivan Rakitic expected to be on his way out, Barca's hunt for a new midfielder has reportedly had them looking in the direction of Juventus' Miralem Pjanic, though Arthur refused to be included as part of the deal. The Blaugrana have never been afraid to shell out huge amounts of money and LaLiga's defending champions would no doubt be in the race if Saul was available.

Bayern Munich

Manuel Neuer has signed a new deal at Bayern and David Alaba is set to follow soon, but Thiago Alcantara has reportedly hesitated over extending a contract that is set to expire at the end of next season. Hansi Flick could therefore be in the market for an elite midfielder and Saul would fit the bill. However, Bayern have long maintained they will not spend over €100m on a player.

Other options

If Pjanic is on his way to Barca, and with Adrien Rabiot's future at Juve shrouded in doubt, the Serie A champions would surely see Saul as an ideal candidate to slot into their midfield.

Maurizio Sarri coached Jorginho at Napoli and Chelsea, though, and the Italy international is said to be a target for the Bianconeri. Should he leave Stamford Bridge, the Blues could see Saul as a great replacement.

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