Once dubbed the 'German Messi', Marko Marin has found his home at boyhood club Red Star Belgrade.

Marin's European odyssey has taken him to Borussia Monchengladbach, Werder Bremen, Premier League giants Chelsea, Sevilla, Fiorentina, Anderlecht, Trabzonspor and Olympiacos.

Now, in Belgrade – less than a three-hour drive from where Marin was born in the Bosnian city of Gradiska – the 30-year-old attacker is playing a key role in restoring the global reputation of 1991 European Cup champions Red Star, having disappeared off the radar.

"Even more for me, with my childhood club because I'm a fan from a kid," Marin, a league winner with Red Star and Olympiacos, told Omnisport as he reflected on Red Star's Champions League qualification. "To play Champions League with them is even more special. It's a very nice experience to bring the Champions League back to Serbia after so many years."

Born in Bosnia-Herzegovina to Bosnian Serb parents in 1989, Marin – a Europa League winner with Chelsea (2013) and Sevilla (2014) moved to Germany at the age of two and 16 international caps for his new country followed.

Marin waited for calls from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia but they were not forthcoming as he opted for Germany – he was rewarded with a spot in Joachim Low's 2010 World Cup squad after impressing for Bremen.

While he represented Die Mannschaft, Marin's love for Serbian powerhouse Red Star – who snapped a 26-year drought from Europe's premier club competition last term – runs deep and a second successive season of Champions League football means a lot to the club captain.

"It's different because you play with more passion for the club," Marin said when asked about the satisfaction of qualifying. "You always give everything for the club you represent because it's your job and love football. But it's different if you play for the club you really loved as a kid.

"We have many players in the team like this. The foreign players maybe give us more quality but the main group of the team and the strength – when you grow up as a Red Star fan, many of them trained in the youth team. It's a bit different to play Champions League for Chelsea or Werder Bremen for example."

"After every game, Belgrade and Serbia is so happy and even kids outside of the country," he said. "I grew up in Germany and I was a fan of Red Star and when I went with my friends to school, you would always talk and I said that I'm a Red Star fan but they didn't really know. But now, Red Star are playing in the biggest competition in Europe. You make Red Star big again. They're getting used to it. This is a motivation.

"For sure this season, we will make some good games. Even qualifying for the group stage is a big, big success. If you compare with Manchester City, Barcelona or Real Madrid, their aim is to win the Champions League... ours is to qualify first."

Marin arrived at Red Star from Greek giants Olympiacos prior to the side's 2018-19 Champions League group-stage campaign involving eventual champions Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli.

One of the game's most promising talents a decade ago, Marin's switch from Piraeus to Belgrade last year barely made the news outside of Serbia. What could have been is a question often asked about the Bosnian-born German. But what does he think about his career?

"It's a fantastic career," Marin replied. "I played in nearly every big league for the biggest teams. When I was at Bremen, we played for the title and in the Champions League. At Chelsea, I don't have to explain how big this team is and Sevilla.

"Maybe it could be better, for sure. There are some reasons. Maybe I wasn't patient enough in some situations. Injuries didn't help to make it even bigger. But I wouldn't have this experience with Red Star if this didn't happen. I'm very happy with my career. To feel this what I feel at the moment, it's the best part of my career."

Marin, who joined Chelsea on a five-year deal from Bremen in 2012, added: "Who knows what would've happened if I stayed longer in Germany? The experience to play for Chelsea was amazing. To play alongside the best players, the professionals. [Frank] Lampard, [John] Terry – these leaders. How they train every day and the passion and quality. I saw this for the first time in Chelsea. I played before with very good players but that was another level."

Fast forward to this season and Marin's Red Star are preparing to welcome Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, 2019 Champions League runners-up Tottenham and Olympiacos to Rajko Mitic Stadium – also known as the Marakana – in Group B.

Red Star will be relying on their fanatical and daunting home support in the Serbian capital, where Liverpool lost 2-0 in November – one of four defeats for last season's champions in the 2018-19 competition – as Vladan Milojevic's men eye a third-place finish.

"It's difficult for teams coming here because they don't know, they can't expect this," Marin said. "Before last season's game against Liverpool in the news conference I said you will see it's completely different. I know Anfield is amazing with a big crowd, but it's totally different to what they experienced in Belgrade. You cannot explain it.

"They go to warm-up and the stadium is already full. We were waiting to come out of this big, long tunnel that you don't have anywhere in the world. Then you go out and the stadium is exploding. It's not easy for visiting teams. We play 11 against 11 but when they feel this atmosphere, it's different.

"I hope we can challenge for third place. I'm not sure if would be a surprise if we take some points because people know us and how difficult it is to play at Marakana. Our strength is team work and it's even more so at home. Of course we have quality but the biggest strength is teamwork."

And what about the 'German Messi' tag? "I couldn't change this. It didn't come from me. We all know there's only one Messi and no one is even near him. It wasn't big pressure because I don't think they took it seriously when they compared me to Messi. He is the number one. [Cristiano] Ronaldo is another type of player. Maybe they see it as my ability maybe in one-on-one situations. I take it as a compliment but it's not a real comparison."

Sergio Ramos is a born winner who deserves to become Spain's record caps-holder, according to former Sevilla coach Joaquin Caparros.

Ramos, 33, equalled Iker Casillas' tally of 167 senior appearances for La Roja in the 4-0 Euro 2020 qualifying victory over the Faroe Islands on Sunday.

The centre-back, who made his Spain debut in 2005 and has won the World Cup and two European Championships, said he would like to reach 200 caps before he retires from international football.

Caparros, who brought Ramos into the Sevilla first team just a year before he first appeared for his country, says it comes as little surprise to see the player on the brink of taking the Spain record - something he is likely to do in next month's Euro 2020 qualifier with Norway.

"He's a born winner, with a great personality since he was young," Caparros told Radio Marca. "He's always had a great talent that has allowed him to reach these figures.

"He arrived at Real Madrid at a very young age and if it wasn't for his personality and clarity of ideas he wouldn't have achieved so much [in his career]."

Ramos has enjoyed spectacular success at club level since joining Real Madrid in 2005, winning 20 major trophies, including four LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues.

Caparros says the player has always demonstrated the right attitude when it comes to chasing honours.

"All the youth coaches at Sevilla were really on the lookout for Sergio Ramos," he said. "He always wanted to play and he listened very attentively to the older players, you would always see him with exemplar professionals like Pablo Alfaro, Javi Navarro or Pep Marti.

"It's no coincidence that he's got this far [in his career]."

Caparros believes more recent criticism of Ramos' form for Madrid, particularly in 2019, is to be expected of someone who has delivered much to a demanding fan base.

"Winning everything is in the DNA of the club and Sergio Ramos is a Real Madrid icon," he added. "Therefore, it's normal that the focus is on him.

"The hunger of Sergio Ramos to overcome every kind of situation serves him well in confronting negative spells. Criticism is normal at Real Madrid but, from my point of view, the problem is more collective than individual in regards to Sergio."

Javier Hernandez has left West Ham for Sevilla in a reported €7.7million (£7m) deal, becoming the Spanish club's 12th signing of the transfer window.

Mexico international Hernandez, 31, leaves London after two seasons and has signed a three-year contract in LaLiga.

The striker made the leap to Europe in 2010 when moving from Chivas to Manchester United, becoming a fan favourite during four years in their first-team squad, before going on loan to Real Madrid and then being sold to Bayer Leverkusen.

Hernandez's form in Germany brought about a return to England with West Ham and, although he has not always been their first-choice striker, he scored 16 goals from 31 Premier League starts.

He becomes Sevilla's 12th new arrival of the transfer window – which closes on Monday – and his signing is expected to lead to Munas Dabbur's exit, despite the Israel international only joining in July after the club acquired him from Salzburg in January.

Real Madrid look set to finally land a midfielder before the transfer window closes.

The LaLiga giants have been linked to numerous midfielders and, after a slow start to the season, they may make a signing ahead of the window shutting on Monday.

Madrid are reportedly close to strengthening their squad by completing a move for Sporting CP star Bruno Fernandes.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID CLOSE TO SEALING FERNANDES DEAL

Real Madrid have almost completed a deal for Fernandes, according to ESPN.

The Portugal international, 24, was linked to Manchester United and Tottenham earlier in the window.

Now, the Sporting captain looks set for Madrid, who have reportedly targeted United's Paul Pogba, Spurs' Christian Eriksen and Ajax's Donny van de Beek during the close season.

It comes just days after Fiorentina sporting director Daniele Prade said Fernandes was heading to Madrid for €70million.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Neymar saga will finally end – for now – with the Paris Saint-Germain star staying with the Ligue 1 champions. L'Equipe reports the Brazil international will remain with PSG, while Sport reports Barcelona will resume their pursuit of Neymar in 2020.

- That could mean a few more eyes on Mauro Icardi on Monday. PSG are in talks with Inter over a potential loan deal for the forward, according to RMC Sport and Gianluca Di Marzio.

- Pogba may still be hoping to eventually get his move to Real Madrid. The Mirror reports the France international will resist signing a new deal with Premier League giants Manchester United, with his current contract running until 2021, although the club have an option to extend that by a year.

- Javier Hernandez should get a deadline-day move from West Ham. The Premier League club have agreed to sell the forward to Sevilla for close to €8.9m (£8m), according to Sky Sports News.

- Henrikh Mkhitaryan came off the bench during Arsenal's draw against Tottenham on Sunday and he could be on his way out of the Emirates Stadium a day later. Roma are pressing hard to sign the midfielder on loan with an option to buy, according to Gianluca Di Marzio.

- Phil Foden may have to wait for his chances at Manchester City, but the Premier League champions are keen to keep the teenage midfielder in their squad. The Sun reports City rejected loan bids from Rangers and Roma for the England youth international.

Paris Saint-Germain have signed Sergio Rico from Sevilla on an initial season-long loan.

The French champions have been in the market for a new goalkeeper and were strongly tipped to move for Real Madrid stopper Keylor Navas - a deal that could yet still go through.

Back-up keeper Gianluigi Buffon left PSG at the end of last season and the Ligue 1 giants are light on options, with Alphonse Areola being left out of the starting line-up for Friday’s match against Metz.

Boss Thomas Tuchel said before the 2-0 win that Areola was in talks over a possible move to another club, reported to be Madrid, which could free up Navas to head the opposite way.

With the transfer window set to close on Monday, however, PSG have moved to bring in one-cap Spain international Rico until the end of the campaign, with the option to sign him permanently next year.

Rico spent last season on loan with Fulham in the Premier League and appeared 29 times, keeping five clean sheets as the London side suffered relegation.

"I am extremely excited about joining Paris Saint-Germain today," he told his new team's official website.

"Everyone in Europe knows the extraordinary dimension taken by this club in recent years. It will be an honour to be part of this group and in which I will have the pleasure of rubbing shoulders with several compatriots!

"I will invest myself fully every day to help my new club to be the best performer in France and Europe. It is a wonderful adventure that starts today."

Atalanta have announced the arrival of Guilherme Arana on loan, with the Brazilian becoming the 17th player to leave Sevilla this transfer window.

Arana will spend the 2019-20 campaign with the Serie A side, who will find out their opponents in the Champions League group stage on Friday.

The Brazil Under-20 midfielder signed for Sevilla from Corinthians in 2017 but started only 10 LaLiga games for the club.

He has now been given the green light to depart as returning sporting director Monchi continues to reshape the Sevilla squad.

Atalanta also have an option to buy Arana, 22, who could make his Serie A debut for the club at home to Torino on Sunday.

The Bergamo-based outfit also confirmed on Wednesday that Arkadiusz Reca has been allowed to join SPAL on loan.

Joris Gnagnon has re-joined his former side Rennes on a season-long loan deal from Sevilla.

The 22-year-old signed a five-year contract with the Spanish club for a fee reportedly worth €15million in July last year.

He struggled to make an impact during his debut campaign in Spain, however, making just 16 appearances across all competitions.

The defender made headlines during pre-season for a horrendous challenge that left Liverpool youngster Yasser Larouci needing a stretcher during a friendly in the United States.

He was shown a straight red card with 14 minutes remaining after wildly kicking out at Larouci, later saying: "It was a heinous act on my part for whatever reason and should not be seen on a football field."

He becomes the 16th player to leave Sevilla during a busy transfer window and the ninth to leave on loan.

Gaizka Mendieta has named four players as the pre-eminent rising stars in LaLiga.

The Valencia great identified Mikel Oyarzabal, Carlos Soler, Sergio Reguilon and Marc Roca as the young Spanish players who could take the top flight by storm in 2019-20.

Oyarzabal, 22, was linked with Barcelona and Manchester City after hitting 13 goals in the highest-scoring LaLiga season of his career last term.

Soler, too, is a reported target for some of Europe's top clubs, while Espanyol's Roca has been tipped for a €40million move to Bayern Munich before the end of this transfer window.

Reguilon, meanwhile, will spend the season with Sevilla on loan after making the breakthrough at Real Madrid in 2018-19.

"I think Oyarzabal was already a star last season for Real Sociedad," said Mendieta, courtesy of LaLiga.

"He's been important for the Under-21 national team, too. He's a player that excites when you watch Real Sociedad, a player who does something different and who can score goals. He's very vertical, very direct. 

"For me, talking about Valencia, you've got Carlos Soler. He was key at the end of last season. Hopefully, this is the year that he gets more regular playing time throughout the season. 

"Maybe Reguilon, who's gone to Sevilla, too. It's a big challenge leaving Real Madrid and getting regular games at a team like that. 

"Then there's Marc Roca at Espanyol. I think we're fortunate to have so much young talent in LaLiga."

Wissam Ben Yedder is determined to help Monaco qualify for European football again after taking the "hard" decision to leave Sevilla.

The France forward signed a five-year contract with the Ligue 1 side last week as part of a deal that saw Rony Lopes move in the opposite direction.

After scoring 38 LaLiga goals during his three seasons with Sevilla, the former Toulouse player had been linked with a move to Spanish champions Barcelona and also Premier League side Manchester United during the close season.

Ben Yedder has instead returned to French football with Monaco – and he is not concerned about last season's successful battle to avoid relegation, insisting Monaco's struggles were an "anomaly".

"It was hard to leave Seville," he said at a press conference on Wednesday. "There was a lot of emotion, a lot of things happened in Spain for me. 

"But with the vice-president, [Oleg] Petrov, we exchanged a lot about the project. Monaco wants to be at the top of the table. Monaco is my choice. 

"We don't know what would have happened if I had stayed in Spain. There were many clubs that were interested in me. I chose Monaco and I am satisfied.

"It's a big club, although the situation is difficult at the moment. But during the last five seasons, there was a Champions League quarter-final and a semi-final. 

"We will make sure that what happened last season is just an anomaly. We will do everything to reach the European competitions."

Ben Yedder's arrival at Stade Louis II was expected to pave the way for Radamel Falcao to leave, with Galatasaray heavily linked with the Colombia international.

However, Petrov wants Falcao to stay put and see out the rest of his contract.

"Falcao told us that he wants to play in the Champions League, but we want him to stay in the team," Petrov said. "Falcao is a very good professional. He has to respect his contract with us."

Ben Yedder led Monaco's attack in Falcao's absence against Metz last weekend but was unable to prevent his new employers slipping to a second successive defeat at the start of the new season.

Rather than replace him, Ben Yedder hopes to get the chance to play alongside the 33-year-old.

"I will be glad if Falcao stays," he said. "Falcao is an extraordinary player and if he stays we will try to do everything to be at the top of the table, scoring as many goals as possible. 

"I learned a lot from the Spanish league and it's very important for me to continue and improve."

Monaco are reported to have paid €40million to trigger Ben Yedder's buyout clause, offset by receiving €20m for Lopes in a separate deal.

Islam Slimani became the French side's latest signing of a busy window on Wednesday, following on from the arrivals of Gelson Martins, Benjamin Lecomte, Henry Onyekuru, Ruben Aguilar and Ben Yedder.

If Real Madrid want to sign Neymar, they may have to part with one of their young stars.

Neymar wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain and a return to Barcelona has been mooted for the world's most expensive footballer.

Madrid, however, are also eyeing Neymar but PSG have identified one Los Blancos Brazilian to replace their wantaway star.

 

TOP STORY – PSG ASK FOR VINICIUS AS PART OF NEYMAR DEAL

According to Spanish media, Paris Saint-Germain have asked for Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior to be included in any deal to send Neymar to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Neymar has been linked to former club Barcelona and fellow LaLiga giants Madrid as he looks to leave Paris.

PSG and Barca are yet to strike a deal, though talks are ongoing. In the meantime, sporting director Leonardo requested Brazilian youngster Vinicius in a potential deal with Madrid but it was swiftly rejected by Los Blancos, reports AS.

Marca, meanwhile, says PSG are keen for Vinicius and Luka Modric to be involved.

 

ROUND-UP 

- New signing Luka Jovic will not be leaving Real Madrid on loan, Bild says. Reports emerged on Wednesday that Jovic had failed to impress Zinedine Zidane following his €60million arrival from Eintracht Frankfurt. However, the Serbia forward is not set for a short-term move away.

- Inter want €80million for former captain and outcast Mauro Icardi, according to Tuttosport. Icardi has been deemed surplus to requirements at Inter following Romelu Lukaku's club-record arrival and the Argentina striker reportedly wants to join Juventus, while Roma and Napoli are believed to be interested.

- According to the Daily Mail, Alexis Sanchez is ready to quit Manchester United amid interest from Serie A. Having struggled to make an impact since his big-money arrival from Arsenal, Sanchez has been linked to AC Milan, Napoli, Juventus and Napoli.

- Staying at Old Trafford and the Mirror claims Victor Lindelof is set for a massive new Manchester United deal. Linked to Barcelona during the off-season, Lindelof is reportedly in line for a three-year extension. Meanwhile, the Daily Mail says United scouts passed on signing Sporting CP captain Bruno Fernandes.

- The Washington Post claims Mesut Ozil's agent was in Washington to meet with DC United on Wednesday. The MLS side have identified the Arsenal playmaker as a replacement for Wayne Rooney, who has agreed to join Derby County as a player-coach in January.

- AC Milan will resist offers for Suso and Franck Kessie as they want to keep the pair, reports Sky Sport Italia. Suso has been linked to Lyon, Sevilla and Roma, while Kessie rejected a move to Wolves.

Spain's football season is almost upon us, with another thrilling campaign in store in LaLiga.

But while many will focus on Lionel Messi, Eden Hazard and the revolution at Atletico Madrid, some younger talents could establish themselves as LaLiga stars in the coming season.

There are several players up and down the league who will be desperate for their big opportunity.

With the help of Opta, we take a look at five prospects who debuted in the competition last term and will hope for breakout seasons.

 

Diego Lainez (Real Betis)

Winger Lainez only turned 19 in June, but he already has four caps for Mexico, having established himself as a top prospect at Club America after debuting at 16.

Although Lainez did not make an immediate impact at Betis after a €14million January move, starting just three LaLiga games, he scored a last-gasp equaliser against Rennes in the Europa League in February and is being tipped for a big season.

Bryan Gil (Sevilla)

Across the city at Sevilla, Bryan is getting fans excited. He became the first player born in the 21st century to score in the competition when he netted against Rayo Vallecano in April.

Bryan failed to start a league match last season, making more appearances (11) off the bench without lining up than any other player in LaLiga, while he also has the unenviable task of usurping Lucas Ocampos this season.

But under Julen Lopetegui – a coach renowned for trust in youth – he is expected to feature fairly regularly, having helped Spain to European Under-19 Championship success in the close season.

 

Samuel Chukwueze (Villarreal)

The most established name on this list, Chukwueze played a crucial role in Villarreal's survival last season, with his winner at Girona in April kickstarting a run that returned 13 points from the final six matches of the campaign.

Of the youngest 20 players to feature in LaLiga in 2018-19, no player managed more appearances (26) or goals (five) than Chukwueze. He got eight in all competitions and ended the season in the Nigeria team at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Waldo Rubio (Real Valladolid)

Rubio may turn 24 on Saturday, but he only got his first taste of LaLiga football in April after being promoted from the club's B team. As with Chukwueze at Villarreal, he was central to Valladolid staying up.

The attacker played eight games from his debut until the end of the season, starting five, and netted a crucial winner against Athletic Bilbao in his side's penultimate home league match of the campaign.

 

Adria Pedrosa (Espanyol)

In theory, left-back Pedrosa might find it tougher to catch the eye than the attacking talents elsewhere in this list, but that was not the case last term.

Pedrosa started 12 games in all competitions in 2018-19, establishing himself as a starter towards the end of the season and putting his blistering pace to good use with a goal against Deportivo Alaves and an assist for Diego Godin's own goal against Atletico Madrid.

The 21-year-old has already scored a fine goal in Europa League qualifying this season, too.

Monaco have signed striker Wissam Ben Yedder from Sevilla on a five-year contract and sent Rony Lopes in the opposite direction.

The Ligue 1 side are said to have activated Ben Yedder's reported €40million buyout clause to reinforce Leonardo Jardim's squad.

But they have reportedly recouped €20m in a separate deal that sees Lopes head for Andalusia, where he has signed for five years.

The Portugal winger only agreed fresh terms with Monaco in December and started the club's season-opening 3-0 loss to Lyon on Friday.

Monaco will hope the twin transfer moves can improve their fortunes after narrowly avoiding relegation last term.

Ben Yedder, 29, is a proven goalscorer, having notched 18 times in the last of his three LaLiga campaigns at Sevilla.

The France international famously struck a brace to knock Manchester United out of the Champions League in 2018 and was linked with a move to Old Trafford earlier this year.

"I chose Monaco because I believe in this project and I am determined to do everything possible to go after our common ambitions," Ben Yedder said. 

"I come with the intention to prove, as always, my qualities and with the desire to reach a new level. 

"I want to thank the club for the trust it gives me. It's a beautiful day and the beginning of a new story that I cannot wait to start."

Ben Yedder previously made his name in a successful spell at Toulouse.

Former Manchester City man Lopes, meanwhile, will get the chance to replace Pablo Sarabia at Sevilla following the attacker's close-season move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Barcelona are trying to find a way to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou – without paying a cent.

With Real Madrid reportedly emerging as frontrunners to sign the star forward, Paris Saint-Germain confirmed on Saturday they were in "advanced" talks regarding a deal for the Brazilian.

It remains to be seen as to which of the LaLiga giants Neymar ends up at, but Barcelona are struggling to find a deal, looking to complete one in which they pay with players only.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA DON'T WANT TO PAY EVEN €1 FOR NEYMAR

Barcelona are looking to secure a deal for Neymar that would see them give up only players, according to Marca and Le Parisien.

The French daily reports that kind of deal is "unimaginable" for PSG, who are looking for at least €200million for Neymar – which would see them make a €22m loss.

Meanwhile, AS say PSG and Real Madrid have opened talks regarding a move for Neymar, including the option of a one-year loan deal.

 

ROUND-UP

- With Mauro Icardi no longer wanted at Inter, a possible switch to Napoli has been mooted. Corriere dello Sport say Icardi is willing to make the move to Napoli, who are looking to sign a forward. Icardi has also been linked to Juventus.

- That comes as Napoli seemingly stop their pursuit of Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez. The Serie A club have given up on signing James and will instead focus on PSV forward Hirving Lozano, according to AS.

- David de Gea looked certain to extend his contract at Manchester United just last month. However, the Mirror reports the Premier League club are yet to reach an agreement with the goalkeeper, casting fresh doubt over the Spain international's future at Old Trafford.

- With previous target Leroy Sane suffering a serious knee injury, Bayern Munich are turning their attentions elsewhere as they still look to sign replacements for departed stars Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery. The Bundesliga champions have reached an agreement with Inter to sign Ivan Perisic, according to Corriere dello Sport.

- Radamel Falcao is nearing a Monaco exit. The forward is set to sign a three-year deal worth €6m per season with Galatasaray, according to AS. However, the Ligue 1 club want to sign a replacement before letting Falcao leave, and are expecting to land Wissam Ben Yedder from Sevilla.

- Dani Olmo is expected to make a move from Dinamo Zagreb to one of Europe's biggest clubs during this transfer window. Sportske Novosti report Bayern Munich and Everton offered €28m for the Spain youth international and Manchester United put in a bid of €25m to land Olmo. However, Dinamo Zagreb are hoping Olmo can help them reach the Champions League group stage before selling the 21-year-old.

Newly promoted Premier League side Norwich City are set to complete the loan signing of Ibrahim Amadou from Sevilla.

Amadou, 26, joined Sevilla for a reported fee of €14million in July last year, but he started just seven times in LaLiga in 2018-19.

Injuries disrupted the early part of his campaign, before he failed to hold down a place in the team under Pablo Machin and his replacement Joaquin Caparros, who had been sporting director when Amadou signed.

Monchi, who returned to the club as sporting director in the close season, has since overseen a massive overhaul of the squad and Amadou looks set to be the latest to be moved on.

Omnisport understands the former France youth international will become the Canaries' seventh signing of the transfer window, finally giving him a taste of English football after a move to Crystal Palace in January 2018 reportedly fell through.

Norwich are reported to have a purchase option in the event they avoid relegation back to the Championship.

LaLiga has insisted it will not change the dates of fixtures in the opening three rounds of the 2019-20 season, despite a demand to do so from the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

The RFEF released a statement on Friday confirming the competition judge had ruled football was only to be played on Saturday or Sunday in August and September.

As such, it demanded LaLiga alter its calendar as it had not sought permission to play matches on Fridays and Mondays, with defending champions Barcelona initially scheduled to begin their campaign against Athletic Bilbao on August 16.

But LaLiga refutes the decision, instead claiming to be the only organisation able to set the schedule for league fixtures.

"LaLiga confirms that there is a judicial hearing indicated for August 7 with the objective of resolving this RFEF attack with caution to LaLiga's powers and the value of the audiovisual rights of the associated clubs," a statement read, adding that fixture changes could affect signed contracts worth "more than" €2billion.

Should LaLiga lose the case, Barca's clash with Bilbao will be put back to Saturday, August 17, along with Real Mallorca's meeting with Eibar, which was initially set for August 19. Real Betis' game against Real Valladolid will also been moved.

Atletico Madrid, Sevilla, Real Sociedad and others will also be impacted across the opening weekends if the August hearing rules in favour of RFEF.

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