Rumour Has It: LA Galaxy offer Messi Barca escape as Pogba nears Man Utd exit

By Sports Desk February 19, 2020

LaLiga champions Barcelona are a club in crisis.

From public rows to allegations that say the current board were involved in hiring a PR firm to spread negative narratives about Barca legends, a claim the club have denied.

It has been a turbulent time at Camp Nou and MLS powerhouse LA Galaxy have looked to capitalise.

 

TOP STORY – GALAXY ENQUIRE ABOUT MESSI

LA Galaxy enquired about Barcelona captain Lionel Messi's interest in moving to the United States, according to Radio Continental.

Messi was involved in a public row with director of football Eric Abidal, raising doubts over his Barca future amid links to Manchester United, Manchester City, Inter and Paris Saint-Germain.

Galaxy head coach and former Boca Juniors boss Guillermo Barros Schelotto reportedly reached out to Messi's father to see if the six-time Ballon d'Or winner was open to swapping Barcelona for Los Angeles.

ROUND-UP

Paul Pogba is confident he will finally be granted an exit by Manchester United, reports the Evening Standard. Pogba – still recovering from an ankle injury – has been linked with a return to former club Juventus as well as LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

- Staying at Old Trafford and The Independent claims United are in advanced negotiations with former PSG technical director Antero Henrique. Ralf Rangnick is also reportedly being considered.

- RB Leipzig's head of sport Rangnick is still being targeted by Milan for the role as head coach, reports Calciomercato. However, the Italian club are split as Stefano Pioli leads a resurgence.

- According to Tuttosport, Serie A champions Juventus are interested in bringing Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus to Turin.

- France Football says Barca are eyeing Galatasaray's teenage sensation Mustafa Kapi. The 17-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season.

Chelsea have entered the race to sign in-demand Hellas Verona centre-back Marash Kumbulla, says Calciomercato. The 20-year-old Albania international is also wanted by Inter, Napoli, Liverpool, United and City.

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    Juventus are "perfect" for Serie A but their surprise exit to Lyon highlighted their issues in the Champions League, according to Alessandro Del Piero.

    The Italian champions recorded a 2-1 win in the last-16 second leg on Friday but were still knocked out of the tournament on away goals after conceding in Turin.

    Memphis Depay converted a first-half penalty to double Lyon's advantage in the tie, the French side having triumphed 1-0 on home soil before the European season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice to turn the game around on the night but despite the Portuguese's best efforts, Juve slipped out to raise questions over the future of their coach, Maurizio Sarri.

    Club legend Del Piero praised Ronaldo for showing the way to play in such circumstances but is concerned over the way the team has performed in Europe. 

    "At times we have criticised him, but against Lyon he [Ronaldo] gave a lesson, not only for the goal but for how he played the whole game," he told Sky Sport Italia.

    "There is a problem for Juventus and that is to face the teams at European level. 

    "The team is perfect in the Italian league but both the first leg and the return match against Lyon showed some difficulties."


    Juve had been knocked out at the quarter-final stage in the previous two years, though defender Leonardo Bonucci said after this latest Champions League disappointment that the target this season was always to retain the Scudetto.

    Yet Del Piero, who was part of the side that won Europe's premier club competition back in 1996, feels the Bianconeri should set their sights higher than just domestic success.

    "If the goal is the Scudetto, then the season is fine but Juventus must have greater ambitions," the former Italy international said.

    Sarri's position will come under heavy scrutiny despite winning the league, with one media report in Italy linking former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino with the job.

    Juve president Andrea Agnelli made clear in the aftermath that one game will not be used to judge the entire 2019-20 season, though added there will be "cold and lucid analysis" done on what happened throughout the campaign, once the dust has settled.

  • Havertz has no 'COVID discount' - Voller says Chelsea must pay Leverkusen asking price Havertz has no 'COVID discount' - Voller says Chelsea must pay Leverkusen asking price

    Kai Havertz has no "COVID discount" and Chelsea must meet Bayer Leverkusen's valuation or miss out on a deal, Rudi Voller has warned.

    Germany international Havertz is reportedly keen on a switch to the Blues, who have long been linked with a move for the 21-year-old.

    Havertz is said to be in favour of a move to Stamford Bridge but the two clubs still seemingly have work to do to strike a deal.

    Leverkusen are claimed to want £90million for Havertz, with Chelsea thought to be interested in a structured deal that starts at around £70m.

    But sporting director Voller said simply any club wanting to buy Havertz must pay the asking price otherwise he will stay at the BayArena for another year.

    Asked if Leverkusen have agreed to sell Havertz, Voller told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "No, but with his talent, it means he's on the list of all the best clubs.

    "We know of the interest of a couple of clubs, especially Chelsea, but for us, the situation is quite simple: he has a two-year contract, if anyone wants him on our terms, fine, otherwise he stays here another year and we are happy.

    "It won't be easy, but for an artist like him there is no COVID discount."

    In Voller's opinion, Havertz is on course to be better than some illustrious Leverkusen alumni.

    "For me, he's the best I've seen at Leverkusen, and I've been here for a lifetime. We had Emerson, [Michael] Ballack, Ze Roberto, [Toni] Kroos, but he's on top," Voller added.

    Former Germany star Voller said Havertz reminds him of Ballack and Mesut Ozil, adding: "He takes the best bits from both of them."

    Voller also has no doubt Havertz will continue to represent Leverkusen for the completion of their Europa League campaign, with a quarter-final tie against Inter next up.

    Timo Werner opted not to play for RB Leipzig in the remainder of the Champions League after agreeing to join Chelsea, but Havertz did feature for Leverkusen in the second leg of their last-16 tie against Rangers and Voller is sure he will do so as long as the team are in the competition.

    "Of course he will play [in the Europa League quarter-final], also because he wants to," Voller said. "I am a bit old-fashioned: for me a season is over when it all ends.

    "Nobody leaves first. Now, with COVID-19, there have been transfers before the end of the season, but not from us."

  • Rumour Has It: PSG focused on Mbappe, Neymar over Ronaldo Rumour Has It: PSG focused on Mbappe, Neymar over Ronaldo

    Paris Saint-Germain are focused on Kylian Mbappe and Neymar over Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Mbappe and Neymar have both been linked with moves away from the Ligue 1 champions, while Ronaldo has reportedly been a target for PSG previously.

    PSG seemingly know where their priorities are.

     

    TOP STORY – PSG FOCUS ON MBAPPE, NEYMAR OVER RONALDO

    PSG would prefer to extend the contracts of Mbappe and Neymar than chase Juventus star Ronaldo, according to ESPN.

    Mbappe and Neymar are both coming to the end of their contracts in 2022 and have been linked to Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Arsenal are reportedly ready to splash the cash. The Sun says the Premier League side are set to spend £100million on Real Madrid's Dani Ceballos, Atletico Madrid's Thomas Partey and Lille's Gabriel Magalhaes, but must sell at least three players.

    - With Eric Garcia set to leave Manchester City, Barcelona are preparing a move. The Sun reports Barca will make a €15.5m (£14m) bid for the defender.

    - Will Chelsea find a way to land West Ham star Declan Rice? The Daily Star says Chelsea are looking to raise £65m to land the midfielder.

    - Liverpool continue to be linked with moves. The Liverpool Echo reports Watford attacker Ismaila Sarr is on the Premier League champions' shortlist.

    - Staying at Anfield and Yahoo reports Liverpool are tracking Vasco da Gama's 18-year-old forward Talles Magno.

    - Ryan Sessegnon continues to be linked with a move from Tottenham. The Guardian reports Ajax are interested in Sessegnon on loan.

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