Rumour Has It: Dembele key to Depay joining Barca as Man Utd lurk, Juve to sign Chiesa

By Sports Desk October 05, 2020

Ousmane Dembele out, Memphis Depay in?

Barcelona want to reunite former Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman with Lyon captain Memphis Depay.

And Dembele is believed to hold the cards amid Manchester United links.

 

TOP STORY – DEMBELE TO UNLOCK DEPAY TRANSFER?

Ousmane Dembele's exit is the key to Barcelona signing Lyon star Memphis Depay, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Lyon captain Depay has an agreement with Barca, but the LaLiga giants must reportedly first sell forward Dembele before bringing in the Dutchman for a rumoured €25million fee.

Dembele is open to joining Manchester United, who are believed to be eyeing the Frenchman as an alternative to Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho.

United are poised to complete the signings of free agent Edinson Cavani and Porto full-back Alex Telles on Monday's deadline.

 

ROUND-UP

- Goal confirmed Juventus are close to signing Fiorentina star Federico Chiesa. The Italy international is set to join Juve on an initial two-year loan deal, with an obligation to buy permanently for €40million if certain conditions are met.

Juve are free to bring in Chiesa as Douglas Costa prepares to move to Bayern Munich on loan, reports Goal. The 30-year-old previously played for Bayern between 2015 and 2018.

- Sky Sports says Milan and Chelsea are in talks over a loan deal for defender Antonio Rudiger. The Germany international is free to leave Chelsea, with Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham also reportedly interested.

- Fabrizio Romano claims Roma are poised to sign Chris Smalling from United. Smalling spent the 2019-20 season on loan at Roma.

- Arsenal outcast Matteo Guendouzi is nearing a loan switch to Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin, according to Goal.

Related items

  • Messi named LaLiga's Player of the Month for February Messi named LaLiga's Player of the Month for February

    Lionel Messi's inspirational form through February has seen the Barcelona captain collect his first Player of the Month award of the season.

    February was Messi's most fruitful month of the 2020-21 campaign to date as he scored seven goals, two more than he managed in January.

    No player scored more than him, while Real Sociedad's Alexander Isak was the only other individual to net more than four times in the month.

    Messi's goalscoring habits helped Barca win four of their five games in the qualifying period, all of which saw him score at least once.

    As such, Barca have improved their chances of potentially sparking a genuine title scrap in the final months of the season, with the Blaugrana only five points adrift of the leaders Atletico Madrid.

     

    While Diego Simeone's men do still have a game in hand, Los Colchoneros also have the tricky test of a derby clash with Real Madrid to look forward to this weekend.

    Messi's commitment to the cause was questioned earlier in the campaign after he rocked the club in pre-season with his transfer request.

    He had only scored four times heading into December, when he added a further three – he already has 12 in 2021 and sits atop the 'Pichichi' standings with 19, three clear of nearest rival and friend Luis Suarez.

    Messi is only the second Barcelona player to win the award this term, with Ansu Fati – who has missed much of 2020-21 through injury – claiming it for September.

    Ronald Koeman's captain saw off competition from Isak, Yassine Bounou, Thibaut Courtois, Alex Berenguer, Nabil Fekir and Jose Luis Morales to win the prize.

  • There's only two N'Golo Kantes? Tuchel blown away by 'world class' Chelsea star There's only two N'Golo Kantes? Tuchel blown away by 'world class' Chelsea star

    N'Golo Kante has put fitness worries behind him and is back to doing the work of two people at Chelsea, winning the approval of new boss Thomas Tuchel in the process.

    Kante did not start any of Tuchel's first five Premier League games in charge at Stamford Bridge and was also restricted to a 16-minute cameo in the 1-0 Champions League win at Atletico Madrid.

    However, Thursday's victory by the same scoreline over Liverpool was Kante's third straight appearance in a Premier League XI and he turned in a typically all-action display.

    The 29-year-old France international gained possession 11 times at Anfield, more than any other Chelsea player, while his 14 duels contested were only bettered by Jorginho and Timo Werner (both 16).

    "Super big," Tuchel replied when asked how important it was to have Kante back to his best.

    "It was clear from the first second in training what this guy is capable of doing. It's unbelievable.

    "You see his intensity and in the physical report after matches, you think they maybe tracked two people and put them into one sheet.

    "It's unbelievable in terms of what he delivers, in terms of intensity, in terms of ball recoveries and devotion to a group. This is world class, the highest level, and very, very happy that he's in our squad."

    Despite not enjoying the most memorable season of his career, the two-time Premier League champion and World Cup winner has made more recoveries (200), tackles (76) and interceptions (57) than any other Chelsea midfielder across all competitions.

    Tuchel has an enviable array of options to deploy in the deeper central midfield positions, with the passing accuracy offered by Mateo Kovacic (91.5 per cent) and Jorginho (89) outstripping the less-smooth Kante (86.6).

    These figures widen from Tuchel's first game in charge against Wolves on January 27 onwards, with Kovacic and Jorginho almost identical on 91.5 and 91.3 respectively, while Kante is back on 82.5 per cent. Indeed, no Chelsea player ceded position more frequently than the former Leicester City man (18) against Liverpool.

    However, Kante brings so much to Chelsea in those aspects more associated with his game.

    Despite having restricted game time under Tuchel so far, his per 90 minutes average for recoveries (9), tackles (4.6), interceptions (2.5) and duels won (7.4) are the best of any Chelsea midfielder during this period.

    For context, none of his other counterparts average more than one interception per game, while Jorginho's average of 2.7 tackles is the next best behind Kante.

    "He comes from injury, he will not now play every game 90 minutes before we arrive at the international break," Tuchel said, adding a note of caution.

    "We have to manage him, we do this together with our physical coaches. We have to take care of him so he arrives fit for the international break and, when he comes back, I hope we can rely on him in every game.

    "I'm very, very happy to have him, Kova and Jorginho in defensive midfield. This is exactly the level we need in games of the highest level. I'm super happy with all of them."

    This competition for places is something Tuchel has already seen to be paying dividends.

    "I feel an unbelievable attitude towards training and towards games, I feel the bond between players that is necessary," he added.

    "In the whole world where football is played, the teams that stand out are the teams that fight for each other, who are ready to sacrifice, who are happy for each other, who push each other from the bench. This is exactly what I found."

  • They are not going to fly - Guardiola rules out internationals for 'red list' Man City players They are not going to fly - Guardiola rules out internationals for 'red list' Man City players

    Pep Guardiola insists it makes "no sense" for players who will have to quarantine upon their return to the UK to go on international duty later this month – stating Manchester City will not release such players.

    In light of on-going coronavirus travel restrictions, FIFA has made the unprecedented move of giving clubs the right to prevent players from joining up with their national teams if the fixtures in question mean a quarantine period of five days or more upon their return.

    In the UK, anyone travelling to 'red list' countries must isolate for 10 days when they come back, with no exemptions granted for elite sportspeople.

    The list features all of South America and parts of Africa. Portugal, the only European country on the list, have sought to mitigate the impact by moving their World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan on March 24 to Turin.

    Although that seemingly frees up City trio Bernardo Silva, Joao Cancelo and Ruben Dias, Guardiola will be able to put his foot down when it comes to Argentina striker Sergio Aguero, Algeria winger Riyad Mahrez and Brazil contingent Ederson, Fernandinho and Gabriel Jesus.

    "We didn't speak. We will wait until after this game against United and I am pretty sure that next week we'll talk about that," Guardiola told a news conference ahead of Sunday's Manchester derby.

    "But I think it makes no sense if the players go to the national team and then have to isolate for 10 days when they come back. It makes no sense.

    "We've worked incredibly hard for seven, eight or nine months and after the international break comes the real part of the season, and important players cannot play for 10 days? It makes no sense.

    "They are not going to fly. That’s for sure. If they can fly, play with the national team and come straight back to training, they’ll fly.

    "We invest a lot of time and money for the important part of the season and if six, seven, eight players cannot play with us, it makes no sense, honestly. No sense."

    Guardiola's stance means the runaway Premier League leaders are aligned with the reigning champions after Jurgen Klopp also said Liverpool players from affected countries would not be released.

    The City boss, who famously went against Barcelona's stance during his time as head coach and allowed Lionel Messi to win a gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games, insists he is not acting to devalue international football – just merely reacting to the realities of these times.

    "We want to let them go to the national team. I know how important it is for them. I'd never say don't go to represent your country and to prepare for the European Cup or American Cup," he added.

    "But it's no sense to do it and not play for 10 days, no training session, be at home, when we are playing for the league.

    "If we go through, we will still be in the Champions League and we don't play with these players.

    "They are not going to fly. I don't know what is going to happen but they are not going to fly, for sure.

    "We've followed the protocols for eight, nine months. No restaurants, closed. The people are here - home, home, here, in the bubble, don't do it [break protocols], protect them, test them every two days.

    "And after, in an important part of the season in the league, we don't have the players because the government has decided it is in a red zone and they cannot play when we are playing every three or four days?

    "They are not going to fly, sure. I'm pretty sure that UEFA or FIFA will understand this argument."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.