New signing Sarpreet Singh could be a surprise starter for Bayern Munich in the DFL-Supercup after catching Niko Kovac's eye in pre-season.

Serge Gnabry will miss Saturday's match against Borussia Dortmund because of a muscle issue, leaving a place free on the flank opposite to Kingsley Coman.

Thomas Muller and Alphonso Davies are among the alternatives but New Zealand international Singh, a midfielder by trade, is in contention to continue his rapid rise.

The 20-year-old joined from A-League outfit Wellington Phoenix a month ago and appeared comfortable in friendly appearances against Real Madrid, Arsenal and AC Milan.

"He's a good catch," Kovac said.

"He was planned for the second team but he's shown that he's already a long way ahead of many others.

"I'm very pleased for him and pleasantly surprised.

"With him and Alphonso Davies, you can see they are much further ahead of the others in the second team."

Singh's road to first-team minutes will become tougher if Bayern succeed in their attempts to sign Leroy Sane from Manchester City.

Where the winger will play next season has become a source of angst for both clubs, with Kovac compelled to apologise to opposite number Pep Guardiola after publicly confirming his interest in the 23-year-old.

Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge rebuked Kovac over the comments and the Croatian took no questions on the subject at his news conference on Friday.

"Everything has been said," he explained.

"Now is the present. We have an important match tomorrow and it's all about that. Dortmund have strengthened, they have been in training longer than us.

"It will be an intense game. Dortmund will be our biggest challenger. We need to be red alert tomorrow."

Paris Saint-Germain wrapped up their pre-season program with a comfortable 3-0 win over Australian champions Sydney FC in China on Tuesday.

Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani were on the scoresheet in the win that came in oppressive heat at the Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre.

Mbappe opened the scoring with a terrific 37th-minute finish and Cavani doubled the lead just before the break.

Metehan Guclu added a third in the 89th minute to round off things off for PSG, who open their season in just five days against Rennes in the Trophee des Champions.

Neymar was not involved, remaining at PSG's training base in Shenzen, but Thomas Tuchel still named a strong side that included new signings Ander Herrera, Pablo Sarabia and Abdou Diallo.

Cavani was denied a 13th-minute opener after Sydney FC goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne tipped the Uruguayan's effort onto the post but the A-League side acquitted themselves well in the opening half hour.

Sydney then had the ball in the back of the net but Milos Ninkovic's tap-in was disallowed after Rhyan Grant - who headed the ball across the face of goal and through the legs of PSG goalkeeper Kevin Trapp - was offside from a free-kick.

The 36th-minute incident was like poking a tiger, PSG stirring to score twice before the break.

Mbappe provided the first, playing a neat one-two with Juan Bernat before thrashing a left-footed effort past Redmayne despite the tight angle.

And Cavani was on hand to turn in the second, pouncing on the rebound after Sarabia's effort was saved following excellent build-up work by Julian Draxler.

Tuchel made 10 substitutions for the second half and one of his changes, Adil Aouchiche, twice forced Redmayne into a save, while he also went close from a free-kick.

A combination of the heat and the substitutions saw the match fizzle out but there was still time for Guclu to strike, the Turkey youth international producing a neat flick to turn Colin Dagba's cross in.

Former Italy international Alessandro Diamanti has joined Western United in a coup for the A-League newcomers.

Diamanti, 36, has joined the A-League club on a one-year marquee deal, it was confirmed on Thursday.

The playmaker, who made 17 appearances for Italy between 2010 and 2013, enjoyed a fine season with Livorno in Serie B in 2018-19, scoring 10 goals and providing seven assists in 32 games.

"I have played all around the world, with world-class clubs and team-mates and Western United stood out to me after speaking with the coaches and staff and hearing how they plan on having an impact in their first season in the A-League," Diamanti said.

"It's exciting to join a club in a country where the popularity of football is growing so quickly."

Diamanti joins former Bologna team-mate Panagiotis Kone as Western United's star signings ahead of their first season in the A-League.

The attacking midfielder has previously played for the likes of Fiorentina, West Ham and Watford.

Sydney FC have announced the signing of Australia defender Ryan McGowan.

The A-League champions confirmed the 29-year-old, who spent the second half of the 2018-19 season with Dundee, has joined on a two-year deal.

McGowan will play in the A-League for the first time in his career and could face his younger brother, Dylan, who has joined rivals Western Sydney Wanderers.

And the centre-back, who has spent much of his career in Scotland, is looking forward to teaming up with former Socceroos team-mate Alex Wilkinson.

"I'm excited to be coming back to Australia and to be playing my first Hyundai A-League football,” McGowan told Sydney FC's official website.

"It's a brilliant opportunity, especially to be joining the reigning A-League champions. Sydney FC's success in recent years speaks volumes about the type of club it is and I needed no convincing to sign.

"It will be great playing alongside Wilko again after our days with the Socceroos and at the World Cup in Brazil. I'm sure we will have no problem in quickly regaining our understanding."

On facing his younger sibling, he added: "It's going to be great to have my brother living in the same city once again. I've heard and seen so much about the Sydney derbies over the years and I can't wait to play in one.

"It will be extra special having Dylan play in the game as well. I'm also looking forward to getting another taste of AFC Champions League football again and performing well for the club in that."

McGowan's arrival comes after Steve Corica's side brought in former Wanderers attacking midfielder Alexander Baumjohann.

"At 29, Ryan is in the prime of his career and with so many high-level games under his belt, he is a huge asset to us," Corica added.

"He reads the game well, can play out from the back and is physically very quick and strong. He is a great signing who will fit into our vastly experienced defensive line-up with ease."

Bayern Munich have signed New Zealand international Sarpreet Singh from A-League side Wellington Phoenix.

The 20-year-old has joined the Bundesliga champions on a three-year deal but will initially play for Bayern Munich II in Germany's third tier.

Singh made 26 appearances in the A-League last term and will now have a chance to prove himself in Europe.

"With Sarpreet we were able to sign a technically strong and very talented attacking midfielder," said Jochen Sauer, head of FC Bayern Campus. "We are very happy that he has chosen FC Bayern."

Singh, who earned his first senior New Zealand caps last year, cannot wait to get started.

"It is with great joy that I announce I have signed with Bayern Munich for the next three years," Singh wrote on Instagram.

"Words cannot describe how I'm feeling right now but I'm extremely excited for this opportunity to develop myself further here in Munich and represent my country and New Zealand football.

"I look forward to getting to know everyone and also learning German."

Phoenix have not disclosed the fee paid by Bayern but said the deal is "arguably the largest transfer of a New Zealand football player".

"We are thrilled for Sarpreet and his family and are extremely proud of what he has achieved to get to this stage of his career," said Phoenix general manager David Dome.

"We wish him all the best in Germany and look forward to seeing him progress all the way through to Bayern’s first team as he continues his development as a professional footballer."

Melbourne City confirmed the appointment of former Paris Saint-Germain boss Erick Mombaerts as their head coach on a three-year deal.

Mombaerts, 64, has previously been in charge of the likes of PSG, Toulouse and Le Havre, while his most recent job was at the helm of Yokohama F. Marinos from 2015 to 2018.

The former France Under-21s and Under-18s coach takes over a City side that lost in the Elimination Finals in 2018-19 before the A-League club opted not to renew Warren Joyce's contract.

"I am delighted to join Melbourne City at this exciting time for the club. I am here to achieve two main objectives – to implement a style of play that gives the team a clear identity, and in doing so to win silverware," Mombaerts said in a statement on Thursday.

"Having worked in both Japan and in Manchester with City Football Group, I know the City style of play inside out. It is my challenge now to bring my experience to Melbourne, which has a different set of players and a different football culture, and to apply it so that we can win.

"It is also very important to me that fans can feel proud of how we play, and that they will enjoy the whole experience watching the game.

"We have some fantastic young talent, some exciting new signings and a solid existing squad. My focus now is on our pre-season preparation, together with my coaching team, who provide a fantastic combination of local and international experience. Our hard work begins today."

While several players have departed since the end of last season, City have also signed former Bolton Wanderers winger Craig Noone and Australian full-back Scott Galloway.

Neymar for Paul Pogba?

That was the proposal by Paris Saint-Germain to Manchester United, who are both set for busy off-seasons due to their wantaway stars.

But a swap between the two clubs does not appear to be on the agenda.

 

TOP STORY – WOODWARD SAYS NO TO NEYMAR

A swap deal involving Neymar and Paul Pogba was rejected by Manchester United vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

That is according to the Independent as Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar and United midfielder Pogba both seek exits.

Woodward reportedly said no to the idea due to costs and his determination to keep Pogba, who has been linked with a return to Juventus and Real Madrid .

Neymar is set to leave PSG and the world's most expensive player is ready to publicly apologise to Barcelona over his exit in 2017 to help facilitate a return to Camp Nou, according to AS.

 

ROUND-UP

Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has agreed to join Paris Saint-Germain in an €80million deal, according to Serbian newspaper Blic. The 24-year-old was linked with Manchester United and Real Madrid prior to the 2018-19 season. AS reports that Ligue 1 champions PSG are also set to sign Sevilla attacker Pablo Sarabia.

- A move to Barcelona for Matthijs de Ligt is "still possible", according to Mundo Deportivo. Italian press have reported that Juventus are favourites to sign the 19-year-old Ajax captain, however, LaLiga champions Barca still appear to be in the running.

- According to AS, Real Madrid are keen on signing Napoli midfielder and Spain international Fabian Ruiz. The 23-year-old only moved to Serie A from Real Betis in 2018-19.

Edin Dzeko's move from Roma to Inter will be announced shortly, Corriere dello Sport reports. Antonio Conte's Inter are now targeting Cagliari star Nicolo Barella. The Nerazzurri are also interested in Brazil captain Dani Alves after his Paris Saint-Germain exit, according to France Football.

- Former Manchester City and Arsenal star Samir Nasri is a target for new A-League side Western United in Australia, according to the Herald Sun. The 31-year-old Frenchman is a free agent after leaving West Ham.

Borussia Dortmund defender Dan-Axel Zagadou is wanted by Arsenal, according to the Mirror. The Gunners have been linked with Saint-Etienne teenager William Saliba but Zagadou could be available following Mats Hummels' return to Dortmund.

- Serie A rivals Juventus and Napoli are battling it out to sign Tottenham full-back Kieran Trippier, the Mirror reports. Joao Cancelo is reportedly close to joining Manchester City and Juve see the England international as the perfect replacement.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) has outlined plans for a national second division below the A-League, which would potentially come into effect in 2021-22.

A-League sides do not face relegation in the existing format but could in future after FFA released details of its plan to work towards a second tier.

Its aim is to form a league that would be "financially sustainable and provide professional pathways for more Australian players".

FFA director Remo Nogarotto acknowledged the introduction of promotion and relegation would have to be discussed, although it could prove a contentious issue.

"If a second-tier competition in the purest form is the objective - one that not only opens up a new pathway for talented footballers but also differentiates our game from other football codes - then a system of promotion and relegation should be considered over the longer term," he said.

A committee comprised of the FFA chairman Chris Nikou, two member federations, two representatives of the Association of Australian Football Clubs, one from Professional Footballers Australia and one from an A-League club will be established and report back to the FFA board by the end of November.

After threatening to dominate Turkish football and take Europe by storm, Besiktas and their rise has been curbed since back-to-back league titles.

Besiktas won the Super Lig in 2016 and 2017 – the Turkish giants leaving Istanbul rivals Galatasaray and Fenerbahce in their shadow.

A financial crisis threatened the collapse of Besiktas in 2012 but the election of president Fikret Orman set the wheels in motion and the Black Eagles were champions four years later.

It ended a seven-year wait for 20-time Turkish champions Besiktas. Led by Senol Gunes and with Australian-born Ersan Gulum in the centre of defence, the club added another title the following season.

But following a run to the Europa League quarter-finals the same year after narrowly missing out on progressing from the Champions League group stage, Besiktas have struggled to maintain their momentum.

Besiktas' title defence ended in a fourth-place finish in 2017-18, followed by third this term. Financial problems and big-name departures halted the club. Former Turkey international Gulum, however, believes Abdullah Avci's men are bound for success again sooner rather than later.

"I think they just overspent in some areas and players where they didn't need to," Gulum – who spent six years at Besiktas across two spells from 2011 to 2017 – told Omnisport. "To have a good team, it's not just about players. We built a young team into an experienced team. That's when we weren't really successful but we were still building with the age group of players we had. We blossomed at the same time and we won two titles in a row, that shows the direction we were heading in.

"Financially we did have struggles at times during my early years there. Then towards the middle part, everything started blossoming. We reaped the rewards and then at the same time, there were players leaving. There were five, six of us that kept the team together, we always stayed together and that was the key… the atmosphere in the dressing room is what brought the two championships. We took initiative as a playing group.

"Obviously players got sold and big players came in. They had more Champions League ambitions, so higher quality players came in, which means higher salaries. And if you don't perform in the league, it can take a dint in the financial side of things. That's what happened and they had to rebuild, which is what they're doing. At a big club like that, it will only take a year or two for them to be back at the top again. You can see they'll be successful again in the next couple of years with that young group of players."

Gulum – born and raised in Australia to Turkish parents – initially joined in 2010, a rare transfer seeing the 32-year-old loaned out by a second division side before Besiktas signed him permanently for €4million.

And he has the utmost faith that president Orman, who arrived when Besiktas were on their knees seven years ago and oversaw the move to Vodafone Park, will help the club back to the summit of Turkish football.

"You'll know Galatasaray and Fenerbahce more globally than Besiktas because financially, they're always helped by wealthy businessmen no matter what," he said. "Besiktas are a club by themselves, they thrive off their fans. They don't thrive off wealthy businessmen on the side who come to the committee and say here's €10-20million, buy who you want.

"Besiktas own their own stadium, where other clubs have rented out their stadiums or sponsorships to invest into the stadium. That's big credit to the president because he came in when the club were financially in a bad crisis… there was a time players weren't being paid for nearly a year but it's Besiktas so you'll always get your money. But it's the struggles you went through to get where you are today. I was one of those players that saw those struggles and the president has achieved so much.

"They're in the right direction. When we won the league two years in a row, the president had a plan in place. Maybe they went too big too quickly when they should've gradually kept the same base players but not change so much at the same time. That's football, it happens."

Besiktas are known for their fanatical support – the club's stadium an intimidating and deafening cauldron. "Those fans, and I'm not just saying it because I played there and I've followed the club as a child, playing in front of them and in that atmosphere, it's why you become a professional athlete," Gulum added.

"You can't hear the person you're playing next to. It's hard to communicate at times, you just can't hear each other. That's how loud and big they are. Playing in that atmosphere, it gives you goose bumps."

After stints with Chinese side Hebei China Fortune alongside Ezequiel Lavezzi and Adelaide United in the A-League, seven-time Turkey international defender Gulum is preparing for a different challenge.

Gulum left Melbourne to pursue a career abroad in Turkey in 2005. Fast forward 14 years and the veteran is back home where it all started – with A-League newcomers Western United.

Western United – boasting former Celtic striker Scott McDonald and Greece international Panagiotis Kone – will make their debut in 2019-20 and Gulum, who contemplated quitting football, is excited as Mark Rudan and Co. start from scratch.

"I had probably thought in my mind I had retired," Gulum said. "I hadn't announced it but that's where I felt I was heading. I thought I'd start getting my coaching badges and I started that but I realised I'm still too young to give up playing. When I spoke to Mark Rudan, he excited me about what he wants to achieve. I wanted him to give me a reason to push myself again and body to become the same player I was three years ago when I played at the top level. His excitement is what triggered me.

"From Adelaide to Western United, it's a new club and no one knows what's going to happen or what we can achieve, but looking at the transfers we're heading in the right direction."

"The club can make finals in the first year with the players we've signed," he continued. "It should be our ambition to play finals in our first year. I only know one thing and one thing only and that's to win games. I've always been at a club where you have to win every game and that's how you have to look at it. We're going to be a team that when teams play us, they'll struggle."

Franck Ribery looks unlikely to move to Australia's A-League after Western Sydney Wanderers coach Markus Babbel accepted the Frenchman is too expensive for them.

Ribery played his last match for Bayern Munich in the 3-0 DFB-Pokal final win over RB Leipzig last week, bringing his 12-year stay to a close.

The 36-year-old has no plans to retire, however, and he is open to offers, recently suggesting a move to Sydney to link up with former Bayern defender Babbel was a possibility.

Babbel has tried to make that a reality, though he now accepts it is unrealistic having discussed the potential move with his club's chairman.

"The current state is such that we cannot afford him," Babbel told Sky Germany. "I've had a long talk with our chairman and unfortunately he's not ready to go that deep.

"But the door is still open. If he wants to lead a beautiful life, even with his family, he would have absolute peace and serenity with us.

"Australia would be the perfect place for that. You live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and have a fantastic lifestyle.

"From a footballing point of view, of course, he would be the rock star here. Some of my players would probably be frozen in awe, but the whole Ribery package is not affordable for us right now."

A-League newcomers Western United have appointed Mark Rudan as head coach ahead of their inaugural season.

Former Wellington Phoenix boss Rudan will lead Western United, who are set to enter the Australian competition as the 11th team in 2019-20.

Rudan enjoyed a successful debut season in charge of Wellington – guiding the Phoenix to a sixth-place finish and their first Finals appearance since 2014-15.

"It's an opportunity that couldn't be passed up," Rudan, 43, said following Thursday's announcement.

"To have a blank piece of paper to create what you want ... there's going to be some bumps on the way but I'm more than confident we'll see those through."

Western United have already signed former Australia international and Celtic striker Scott McDonald, 28-time Greece international Panagiotis Kone, ex-Besiktas defender Ersan Gulum and Sebastian Pasquali – who will arrive from Ajax's youth team.

Earlier on Thursday, Adelaide United announced former Feyenoord boss Gertjan Verbeek as their new coach.

Verbeek – who spent a year in charge of Eredivisie giants Feyenoord before stints with AZ, Nurnberg, Bochum and FC Twente – replaces Marco Kurz on a two-year deal.

"I am very excited to be joining Adelaide United and cannot wait for this incredible opportunity to begin," the 56-year-old Dutchman said. "I have followed Australian football for a while now and have admired the work ethic and passion Aussies have for the game. 

"I am coming to South Australia to improve the quality of football and establish a hungry and competitive team. I can promise the Adelaide United fans that our team will be incredibly hard-working and hope to entertain you all with some high-quality football.

"As I said, I am very excited for this journey and my family and I are very eager for it all to start."

Melbourne Victory head coach Kevin Muscat will leave the four-time A-League champions, it was announced on Monday.

Muscat's 14-year association with the Australian giants as a player and a coach will come to an end following Wednesday's final AFC Champions League group-stage clash against Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

The 45-year-old, who captained Victory and worked as an assistant before taking the reins in 2013, is set to depart after the side's humiliating 6-1 loss to Sydney FC in the A-League Semi-Final.

After captaining Victory to two championships, club great Muscat oversaw another two as coach – including the 2017-18 triumph.

"This is not a decision made overnight or taken lightly," former Australia international Muscat said in a statement.

"I believe the time is right for me to refresh, and in time, seek a new opportunity after giving everything I've got emotionally and physically to Melbourne Victory over the last 14 years.

"We have created and earned many great memories along the way including our eight trophies. It goes without saying that I will love and support this football club and wish it nothing but success."

Victory chairman Anthony Di Pietro added: "Kevin has been incredibly successful as both a player and coach and will go down as one of the most influential figures in Melbourne Victory's history.

"The parting was an ongoing collaboration and unified decision, and we wish Kevin nothing but the best for his future. He is a talented and highly successful coach, has been such an integral part of our club and will always be part of it."

Rumours about Muscat's replacement have already emerged, with former Adelaide United boss Marco Kurz linked to the Melbourne outfit.

Talk of an Italian coach joining Victory has been mentioned and Di Pietro said: "Our priority will be to secure the right person as our next head coach who fits our criteria to take our club forwards. This is an opportunity to reset and shape the next phase of our club, and we view this as an exciting prospect. 

"As I said on Friday, the one thing that will remain constant are the expectations we place on our club. We will not apologise for our relentless pursuit of success and this will remain at the forefront of our decision making."

Sydney FC clinched a fourth A-League title with a 4-1 penalty shoot-out victory over premiers Perth Glory in the Grand Final after a goalless 120 minutes at Optus Stadium.

Having been controversially denied what looked to be a valid Adam Le Fondre goal, Sydney held firm in the second half thanks to a fantastic save by Andrew Redmayne.

And the goalkeeper proved their hero in the shoot-out, keeping out Andy Keogh's strike before standing his ground when Brendon Santalab - making his last A-League appearance prior to retirement - attempted a Panenka.

Substitute Reza Ghoochannejhad stepped up to convert the winning spot-kick, sealing Sydney's second title in three seasons.

Both sides exchanged good chances in the opening stages, Sydney's Rhyan Grant heading over after Joel Chianese had gone close at the other end.

Sydney thought they had the lead in the 28th minute when Le Fondre tucked home from Michael Zullo's cross, only for the offside flag to cut his celebrations short and, despite the former Reading striker having clearly been onside when the ball was delivered into him, VAR upheld the decision.

Sydney's frustration would have been compounded eight minutes into the second half, had Redmayne not pulled off a fine save to deny Diego Castro, but that was the closest either side came to preventing extra time.

Alex Brosque's A-League career came to an end when he was replaced by Ghoochannejhad shortly after the restart, but it was Perth who had the chance to clinch the win late on only for Jason Davidson to shoot straight at Redmayne from a tight angle rather than tee up Castro.

Davidson's profligacy duly proved costly in the shoot-out - Redmayne diving low to his right to parry Keogh's effort away before Santalab sent a dreadful Panenka attempt straight at Sydney's goalkeeper, with Ghoochannejhad hammering home to secure the trophy.

Former A-League player Andy Brennan has become the first Australian male footballer to come out publicly as gay.

Brennan played for Newcastle Jets in the top flight between 2015 and 2017 and now lines up for Victorian National Premier Leagues side Green Gully.

While the 26-year-old says his decision to go public has been a big weight off his shoulders, he does not want to pressure others to do the same if they are not ready.

"You've got to realise that's who you are and you've just got to be who you are – whether you're gay or whatever, whoever you are," he told the Herald Sun.

"There will be people out there thinking, 'Why has he got to voice his own personal whatever to the world?'. The reason I wanted to do this in the first place was to make me feel comfortable. It's been a big lift off my shoulders and I can just focus on playing football.

"This isn't a call for those people to come out and tell everyone who they are. They shouldn't have to, shouldn't need to.

"I did it this way because this is what is going to make me most comfortable – being open and honest with who I am."

Outgoing Bayern Munich forward Franck Ribery is open to linking up with Markus Babbel at Australian team Western Sydney Wanderers.

Ribery will leave Bundesliga champions Bayern when his contract expires at the end of the season and the 36-year-old has been linked to Western Sydney and Al Sadd.

Former Bayern defender and Stuttgart boss Babbel – now head coach of the Wanderers – floated the prospect of Ribery moving to the A-League in March.

In an interview with the Herald, Babbel said: "Franck Ribery, of course, I was in touch with him. I said 'OK, if you want to earn a lot of money then you have to go to Qatar or somewhere. But if you want to be a rock star, then you have to come to Australia'.

"He hasn't decided at the moment but I can't believe that he will come here, because we're talking about a category that normally for the A-League is not realistic.

"We also have to go further, and find a team for next season – I can't wait the next 100 years. If there's a chance there, you have to try it. But the chance to get someone like that is maybe one per cent."

Ribery – who is set to bring down the curtain on his trophy-laden 12-year association with Bayern – was asked about Babbel and reports of a switch to Australia.

"You know that I played football because of the fun and to enjoy it," Ribery told reporters. "I love football.

"If you play well, then you make yourself a great name and the money comes on its own. You earn money for what you did. I do not just play for money.

"But why should not I move to colleague Babbel? I do not know. There are many options. I'm not sure yet where I'm going."

Ribery has scored five goals in 23 league appearances this season, with the Frenchman set to become the only player to win the Bundesliga nine times if Bayern beat RB Leipzig on Saturday.

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