James Rodriguez is hoping to become an important player for Real Madrid this season after staying at the LaLiga giants.

Atletico Madrid and Napoli were heavily linked with star playmaker James, who was tipped to leave Madrid in the off-season.

But James stayed and started for Madrid for the first time since May 2017 in their 1-1 draw with Real Valladolid on August 24.

After two years away on loan at Bayern Munich and an off-season dominated by speculation, James wants to make an impact in the Spanish capital.

"I really hope that this can be my season with Real Madrid," James told El Chiringuito.

James is recovering from a calf injury sustained in action for Madrid prior to the international break.

The injury ruled James out of Colombia's friendlies against Brazil and Venezuela.

Zinedine Zidane's Madrid have only won one of their opening three matches following back-to-back draws to be four points adrift of leaders Atletico Madrid.

Madrid return to action when they welcome Levante to the Santiago Bernabeu on September 14.

Real Madrid forward James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao not been included in Colombia's squad for next month's friendlies against Brazil and Venezuela.

Madrid confirmed on Monday the 28-year-old had suffered a calf injury in his right leg but did not say how long he would be out for.

James started for the Spanish giants for the first time since May 2017 on Saturday, when Zinedine Zidane's side were held to a 1-1 LaLiga draw by Real Valladolid.

Atletico Madrid and Napoli were reportedly interested in signing James during the transfer window, but a deal failed to materialise and it looks likely he will stay at the Santiago Bernabeu beyond the transfer deadline of September 2.

Falcao is yet to make an appearance for Monaco this season due to injury and in his absence Colombia have called up Duvan Zapata, Rafael Santos Borre, Luis Muriel and Roger Martinez in attack for the double header.

Some major European clubs have only a week left to add to their squads with the transfer window for much of the continent set to close on September 2.

Lots of big moves have already been completed with players including Eden Hazard, Joao Felix, Antoine Griezmann, Nicolas Pepe and Harry Maguire swapping teams for huge fees.

But the last week of the window tends to be when clubs kick into gear, with one super-sized deal potentially setting off a chain reaction.

Who are the stars still in the middle of transfer sagas? Omnisport picks out a few names to keep an eye on in the coming days.


ALEXIS SANCHEZ

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seems to have decided there is no place in his Manchester United squad for Sanchez, who is being strongly linked with a loan move to Inter. That would see him reunite with another player who found himself on the fringes at Old Trafford in Romelu Lukaku, who has reportedly been encouraging the Chile international to join him at San Siro. Sanchez's wages – said to be as high as £500,000 a week – are likely to pose a problem for any deal, though.

NEYMAR

Injuries to Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe have complicated matters for Paris Saint-Germain's wantaway superstar Neymar. A return to Barcelona has been mooted for the 27-year-old, who left Camp Nou in 2017 for a world record €222million, but the Catalans have reportedly seen a number of cash-plus-players offers rejected. LaLiga rivals Real Madrid have long been linked with Neymar too, though their capture of Hazard means they have already added one world-class talent who prefers to operate from the left flank. It has been suggested a loan move might now be the Brazilian's best chance of securing the departure from PSG that sporting director Leonardo has confirmed he wants.

PAUL POGBA

Pogba was United's top scorer in the Premier League last term but his season ended with a confrontation with supporters after the final game of the campaign, a home loss to Cardiff City. The Frenchman confirmed in June he was seeking a "new challenge" but is yet to get a move away. Pogba, who was targeted by racist abuse after failing to convert a penalty in a draw at Wolves last Monday, is reportedly wanted at Madrid by Zinedine Zidane. But time is running out to do that deal, especially as United are unable to secure a replacement as the Premier League's window has already closed.


CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN

Mauricio Pochettino has only started Eriksen in one of Tottenham's three Premier League games this term amid continued speculation over his future. Like Pogba, Eriksen is on record as saying he wants to move on, but his position is even more perilous for Spurs as the Denmark midfielder is in the final year of his contract. Chairman Daniel Levy is known for his brinksmanship, so this deal could go right down to the wire. Eriksen is believed to be Madrid's back-up option should they fail to land Pogba.


PAULO DYBALA

One of the players in the Neymar chain is Dybala, who was an unused substitute as Juventus started their Serie A title defence with a 1-0 win at Parma on Saturday. Cristiano Ronaldo's arrival in Turin last year was always likely to be bad news for someone – and it was Dybala who suffered the most. The Argentina attacker is still regarded as one of world football's brightest lights, but at 25 he cannot afford another season on the periphery. Tottenham almost signed Dybala but the deal was understood to have collapsed amid problems with his image rights, while United reportedly pulled out over his wage demands. Should Neymar leave Paris, Dybala is said to be top of PSG's list and, with Juve needing to cut a bloated squad, he would likely be allowed to leave if the price was right.


LUKA JOVIC

Madrid also have too many players and, despite the Serbia striker only recently joining from Eintracht Frankfurt, Jovic may be allowed to leave - even if his departure is a loan move. Jovic's goals were instrumental in Eintracht's run to the Europa League semi-finals but Zidane is seemingly not a fan of the 21-year-old. Jovic has said he will not be leaving but, if the right club comes in, Madrid could be persuaded to let him go.


GARETH BALE

The relationship between Zidane and Bale seemed to be beyond repair, especially as the Madrid coach said during a pre-season tour that it would be best if the Wales star left the club. But after a move to Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning fell through, Bale has been reintegrated at the Santiago Bernabeu and has started their two LaLiga games this season. It is not out of the question that Bale could still leave in the next week, but his future seems to be in the Spanish capital - at least for now.


JAMES RODRIGUEZ

Similarly to Bale, James has been selected by Zidane in the new LaLiga season after apparently being outcast at Madrid. The Colombia playmaker spent the past two years on loan with Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga and was strongly being linked with a move to Atletico Madrid before Diego Simeone's side thrashed their cross-city rivals 7-3 in a pre-season game in the United States. Carlo Ancelotti - who coached the 28-year-old at Madrid and Bayern - has also confirmed James is a target for Napoli, but the Serie A side have been unable to make that deal happen. A calf injury sustained on Saturday could also throw a spanner in the works for James.

Real Madrid have confirmed James Rodriguez has suffered a calf injury.

The Colombia international had tests on Monday, which confirmed muscle damage in his right leg.

It is unclear how long James will be out, but he is likely to miss the trip to Villarreal on September 1 and could sit out the international break, with Colombia playing Brazil and Venezuela in friendly matches next month.

The playmaker started for Madrid for the first time since May 2017 on Saturday, when Zinedine Zidane's side were held to a 1-1 draw by Real Valladolid at the Santiago Bernabeu.

James' injury is a blow to Zidane, who is already without Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio.

It had looked like James would leave the club during the transfer window but reported interest from Atletico Madrid and Napoli failed to materialise in a deal.

The 28-year-old is now expected to stay at Madrid beyond the transfer deadline of September 2.

"James has been in good shape and I would be happy if he stayed with us," Zidane said at the weekend.

Barcelona are preparing their latest bid for Neymar – and this one includes Ousmane Dembele.

With the transfer window closing on September 2, the Neymar saga is seemingly no closer to ending amid reports the star forward wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain.

Barca are still trying to find a way to get the Brazil international back to Camp Nou and their latest offer is set to see Dembele move the other way.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA TO OFFER DEMBELE TO PSG IN NEYMAR BID

Barcelona will offer Dembele to PSG as they try to sign Neymar, according to Le Parisien.

The LaLiga champions are still trying to work out a way to buy Neymar and are set to offer €170million after an initial loan deal with either an option or obligation to buy, the report says.

Barca are also prepared to offer €40m and Dembele as they try to land Neymar.

Meanwhile, Le Monde reports PSG's owners are unwilling to sell Neymar two years after his €222m move from Barcelona.

 

ROUND-UP

- It remains to be seen if Ivan Rakitic will stay at Barcelona. The Croatia midfielder's name was put on the table during a recent meeting between Barca and Juventus, according to Sport.

- After starting for Real Madrid against Real Valladolid, James Rodriguez wants to stay at the Santiago Bernabeu, according to AS. The playmaker has been linked to Napoli and Atletico Madrid during the transfer window.

- Staying at Real Madrid, Cadena SER report the LaLiga giants will not make it easy for Keylor Navas to leave the club. The goalkeeper has been linked with a move away, but Madrid will only sell the Costa Rica international for the right price and provided they can find a replacement.

- Robert Lewandowski appears set to extend his stay at Bayern Munich. The striker will sign a new deal that runs until 2023 with the Bundesliga champions, according to Sport Bild.

- Tottenham are growing confident Toby Alderweireld will sign a contract extension, according to The Sun. The defender's current deal is up at the end of the season but he could be set to stay at Spurs.

- Gianluigi Donnarumma continues to be linked to PSG. The AC Milan goalkeeper is still a target for the Ligue 1 giants, le10sport report.

Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez said returning to play at the Santiago Bernabeu was a "unique feeling".

James started a Madrid match for the first time since May 2017 as Los Blancos drew 1-1 at home to Real Valladolid in LaLiga action on Saturday.

The Colombia star spent the last two seasons out on loan with Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, who opted against triggering their purchase option.

James looked poised to join either Atletico Madrid or Napoli, however, the 28-year-old played 57 minutes for Zinedine Zidane's men in the Spanish capital.

"Back at the Bernabeu after a long time," James wrote on Twitter post-match.

"It was a unique feeling. Thanks to the fans for the support.

"We will continue to work in order to improve."

James made 20 Bundesliga appearances for Bayern last season, scoring seven goals.

He also scored seven league goals in 23 Bundesliga matches during the 2017-18 after helping Madrid to Champions League glory the season prior.

James Rodriguez is set to start a Real Madrid match for the first time since May 2017 as Los Blancos welcome Real Valladolid in LaLiga.

Colombia international James spent the last two seasons out on loan with Bayern Munich, with his Madrid career seemingly over.

However, Bayern opted against triggering their purchase option and James has been integrated back into the Madrid squad with Zinedine Zidane's men having so far failed to offload him.

The playmaker slots into the midfield in place of Luka Modric after the Croatia international was sent off in Madrid's season opener last weekend – a 3-1 win at Celta Vigo.

James' last start for Madrid came in May 2017 and, having seemingly looked destined for the exit, he has a chance to prove himself once again to Zidane and his other detractors at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Gareth Bale found himself in a similar position to James during the close-season and came very close to joining Chinese side Jiangsu Suning, but that fell through and he is making his second successive LaLiga start.

The Wales winger could be in for a frosty reception from the notoriously vocal home support, however.

Madrid-owned Andriy Lunin is on the bench for visitors Valladolid.

Zinedine Zidane wants Gareth Bale to repeat the performance he showed against Celta Vigo and prove he is good enough to stay at Real Madrid in the long term.

Head coach Zidane claimed in July it would be better for all concerned if Wales star Bale were to leave the club, but a move to Jiangsu Suning in the Chinese Super League collapsed.

With no other options for an exit materialising, Bale was a surprise starter in the LaLiga opener against Celta and responded with an excellent display, setting up Karim Benzema for the opening goal of the 3-1 victory.

Madrid boss Zidane confirmed after the game that Bale would be staying at the club, and he now wants the former Tottenham man to perform consistently to the standard he hit at Balaidos.

"It was a good game by Gareth," Zidane said on Friday ahead of Madrid's meeting with Real Valladolid. "He worked hard defensively. We want to continue playing this way.

"We need to improve to achieve good things this season. These are talented footballers who want to play, and I want all my players to play a part.

"What we want from the players is that they want to remain at the club, want to be here. A lot of things were said but now he wants to stay, we want him to play a part. He' s an important player, he's proven that in the past and he has to do that again, to show just how good he is."

Zidane has similarly challenged James Rodriguez to impress, the Colombia playmaker another to find himself surprisingly back in the Madrid first-team picture as prospective moves to Atletico Madrid and Napoli have failed to materialise.

"We're happy to have James back here at the club," Zidane said. "Let's see how things progress going forward. He's happy to be here. There are lots of games coming up and all the players are going to have a role to play."

When asked if James could replace the suspended Luka Modric against Valladolid, Zidane replied: "We'll see. We choose 11 and three players could come in. And we have 24."

Prising Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain is proving difficult.

After Barcelona had an offer turned down by PSG, LaLiga giants Real Madrid are the latest club to be rejected.

With the transfer window set to close on September 2, time is running out to meet PSG's demands.

 

TOP STORY – MONEY PLUS BALE, NAVAS AND JAMES NOT ENOUGH FOR PSG

Paris Saint-Germain have rejected €100million plus Real Madrid trio Gareth Bale, Keylor Navas and James Rodriguez for Neymar, L'Equipe claims.

After Barcelona's initial loan bid was turned down by PSG, Madrid tried to jump the queue, but it was not enough to satisfy the Ligue 1 champions.

PSG spent a world-record €222m on Neymar two years ago and it will take a lot more to sign the wantaway star as Barca and Juventus circle.

 

ROUND-UP

- Talk of Navas being included in a deal comes as Marca reports the Costa Rica goalkeeper has asked to leave Madrid after being told he will be back-up to Thibaut Courtois.

- Barcelona forward Luis Suarez is open to joining Inter Miami in MLS. Miami – owned by David Beckham – are set to enter the league in 2020 and they are keen to make a big-name signing. Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani has been linked, while Mundo Deportivo has now talked up Uruguay team-mate Suarez.

- According to Calciomercato.com and Corriere della Sera, PSG are interested in Paulo Dybala and Juventus team-mate Miralem Pjanic. Dybala has been tipped to leave the Serie A champions, while Pjanic could depart Turin as Juve look to raise funds following the arrivals of Matthijs de Ligt, Aaron Ramsey, Adrien Rabiot and Merih Demiral.

Atletico Madrid have no doubts that they will sign Rodrigo Moreno from Valencia, says Marca. Rodrigo will arrive once Angel Correa completes his protracted move to AC Milan.

Roma are in talks with Juve over a move for defender Daniele Rugani, claims Goal. Initially linked to Liverpool's Dejan Lovren after Kostas Manolas' switch to Napoli, Roma are now keen to bring in Rugani, who is valued at between €20-25m.

- The Sun reports Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea could wait until January before signing a new contract. The Spanish star has reportedly agreed in principal to extend his deal, which expires next year.

- Inter have accepted an offer from Napoli for former captain and outcast Mauro Icardi, according to Corriere dello Sport. However, Sky Sport Italia and Sportialia insist Icardi is not interested in moving to Napoli as he eyes Juve. With that in mind, Napoli are reportedly pushing to sign free agent Fernando Llorente.

Barcelona and Chelsea are leading the race to sign 16-year-old Las Palmas midfielder Pedri. That is according to Marca, which says Pedri could be available for €10m (£9m).

Philippe Coutinho's loan move to Bayern Munich is complete and so begins the club's season-long assessment of whether to activate their option to buy him on a permanent basis.

The former Liverpool star has suffered a loss of form since making a big-money move to Barcelona in 2018 and will now have the chance to reinvent himself in the Bundesliga.

While Bayern have chased Leroy Sane throughout the transfer window, it appears Coutinho and Ivan Perisic - signed on loan from Inter - will be the players tasked with replacing Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery.

Niko Kovac must also fill the creative void left by James Rodriguez's return to Real Madrid and Coutinho, who is accustomed to playing centrally, could be anointed chief playmaker.

Here, we use Opta data to assess the merits of such a move, comparing the strengths and weaknesses of his game in comparison James.

 

Direct and dangerous

Shedding the more pedestrian James and deploying Coutinho in his place should give Bayern a greater degree of dynamism going forward.

The Brazilian causes problems with his willingness and ability to beat defenders, traits not exhibited quite so regularly by James.

Over the past two seasons, Coutinho attempted an average of 2.4 more dribbles per match and completed them with a success rate of 58.1 per cent.

James trusts less in his ability to go beyond markers, a dribble success rate of 44.2 per cent explaining his hesitance.

Yet, as the silky former Real Madrid man showcased at the Allianz Arena, his skills in other departments are sharper than most.

 

Bayern to get creative with solution to missing assists

James tallied 67 appearances across all competitions in his two seasons with Bayern.

Coutinho, in the same period, featured in 96 matches for Liverpool and Barcelona, clocking up over 2,000 more on-field minutes.

Despite the huge discrepancy, the pair each recorded 19 assists.

James, with his 89.2 per cent passing accuracy, created 3.5 chances per 90 minutes, during which he averaged 95 touches.

He outperformed Coutinho in both departments, the former Anfield favourite averaging 2.1 chances created from 82 touches per game.

Perisic will help bridge the gap, but it seems Robert Lewandowski might have to make peace with a less consistent supply line this season.

 

New firepower in front of goal

Where the champions can reasonably expect clear return on their investment is in goals scored.

Despite well-documented difficulties, Coutinho still did his part at Barca by notching 13 times in LaLiga. Those goals contributed to a solid combined two-season tally of 33, averaging out at 0.5 per 90 minutes.

James, the Golden Boot winner at the 2014 World Cup, managed seven in each of his Bundesliga campaigns.

He struck a total of 15 times in all for Bayern, having averaged 2.3 shots and 3.5 touches in the opposition box per match.

Coutinho's role is still to be determined and how his team-mates receive him remains to be seen, but an average of 3.3 shots and 4.6 touches in the opposition box over the course of 90 minutes portrays a player who will actively seek out his own opportunities.

Zinedine Zidane praised Gareth Bale for his display against Celta Vigo and confirmed the Wales star will remain a Real Madrid player beyond the end of the transfer window.

Bale was told by Zidane in July it would be better for him to leave the Santiago Bernabeu, but a remarkable turnaround in fortunes saw him handed a start in Madrid's opening LaLiga match of the season.

He made the most of his opportunity by setting up Karim Benzema for Madrid's opening goal with some good play down the left in Saturday's 3-1 win at Balaidos, while also helping out defensively.

European clubs have a further two weeks to make signings, but Zidane has ruled out an exit for Bale at this stage.

"We talked before the game to say that he is going to stay and all the players we have now are thinking only about the season," the Madrid head coach said at his post-match news conference. 

"I think that Gareth and the others are only thinking about staying and playing."

Despite being light of options in attack due to the injury absence of new signing Eden Hazard, Zidane decided against bringing on James Rodriguez from the bench.

However, Zidane also offered an olive branch to the Colombia international, who has been strongly linked with a move away from the Spanish capital since returning from a loan at Bayern Munich.

"Hazard's injury is bad luck for us and I would have liked to have Eden," Zidane said. "It has not been possible and then from there we put another player into the side. 

"We began with Vinicius [Junior] and Gareth up top with Karim and I think it was a good game by all of them.

"Nothing has changed. We are now at the start of the season and I believe that Gareth, James and all the players that are here think about that and do their best to defend this shirt."

Madrid lost Luka Modric to a red card after Benzema had opened the scoring, but Toni Kroos and substitute Lucas Vazquez found the net before Iker Losada scored a last-gasp consolation.

Zidane was pleased with his side's winning start, coming a day after champions Barcelona suffered a 1-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao.

"We made a complete match from the beginning," he said. "The same playing later with 10 men. 

"I am happy and satisfied because it is a difficult ground and I believe that there are not many teams that will come and win here. 

"I'm also happy after the pre-season we have had, with complicated results. This is the fruit of that because, in the end, the competition was what mattered to us and starting in the league in this way was very good."

The Premier League window may have already closed, but Manchester United and Manchester City are still in the headlines.

After going head-to-head for Harry Maguire, the two Manchester clubs are reportedly eyeing Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho.

This rumour will not go away anytime soon.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED AND CITY BATTLING FOR SANCHO

According to the Daily Mail, Sancho will leave Dortmund at the end of the season as rivals United and City do battle for the England international.

Sancho was reportedly on United's list of targets during the off-season, but Dortmund were unwilling to sell their 19-year-old star.

The English talent has flourished since joining Dortmund from Premier League champions City in 2017, and the Daily Mail claims the Bundesliga club are already looking for replacements.

 

ROUND-UP 

- Inter are considering a move for Man United's Alexis Sanchez after missing out on Edin Dzeko, reports Gianlucadimarzio.com. Bosnian striker Dzeko signed a new contract with Roma and Inter are now looking for alternatives, including Sanchez, free agent Fernando Llorente, Eintracht Frankfurt star Ante Rebic and Arkadiusz Milik, who could be used in a swap involving Mauro Icardi.

- According to le10sport, Ajax, AC Milan and Lille are among the clubs interested in Barcelona defender Jean-Clair Todibo. The 19-year-old arrived from Toulouse in January.

- Brescia have offered former Juventus and Italy midfielder Claudio Marchisio a two-year deal, reports Sky Sport Italia and other outlets in the country. Marchisio is a free agent after leaving Zenit and the 33-year-old could be joined at Brescia by Mario Balotelli.

- Sport claims Barcelona are prepared to sell midfielder Arturo Vidal for €20million as the Chile international continues to be linked to Inter and a reunion with former Juve boss Antonio Conte.

- According to Corriere dello Sport, Napoli and Juve are the only options for Inter outcast Icardi following Dzeko's Roma renewal.

- James Rodriguez may not leave Real Madrid following an injury to Eden Hazard, according to reports. James had been tipped to join either Napoli or Atletico Madrid, but the Colombia star is in Madrid's squad for their LaLiga opener at Celta Vigo on Saturday.

Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Luka Jovic have been named in the Real Madrid squad to face Celta Vigo.

The attacking trio have been called up by head coach Zinedine Zidane for the opening match of Madrid's LaLiga season.

However, Eden Hazard is not in the 22, having sustained a muscle injury this week.

Bale's future at the club has been in doubt for some months and he appeared set to join Jiangsu Suning in the Chinese Super League only for the deal to fall through.

James has also been tipped to leave the Santiago Bernabeu, although reported interest from Napoli and Atletico Madrid has not materialised into a transfer.

Jovic joined Madrid from Eintracht Frankfurt in June for a reported €60million, but it has been suggested he could be sent out on loan for 2019-20.

Speaking on Friday, Zidane insisted he was happy to use James and Bale in the first team, despite the uncertainty over their long-term futures.

Their chances of playing against Celta have increased since Hazard is unavailable due to a thigh injury.

Zinedine Zidane is surprised Gareth Bale remains a Real Madrid player but has vowed to use the Welshman regularly this season.

Bale saw a move to Chinese club Jiangsu Suning collapse in July and looks set to stay at the Bernabeu, despite tenuous links to Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain refusing to go away.

With the European transfer window still open and amid rumours of a falling-out with Zidane, the 30-year-old forward missed Madrid's previous three friendlies before coming on as a substitute in last weekend's defeat on penalties to Roma.

Ahead of Saturday's LaLiga opener with Celta Vigo, Zidane gave Bale his backing and challenged the forward to "make things difficult" for him in terms of his squad selection.

"It seemed that he was going, but now he is with us," the Frenchman said at his pre-match news conference on Friday.

"Things change and now I will be using him as much as the other players in the squad. I'm going to use all the players I've got.

"He is registered with us and he is a good player. I hope all the players here want to make things difficult for me."

James Rodriguez is another player facing an uncertain future in the Spanish capital, having yet to feature for Madrid since returning from a two-year loan spell with Bayern Munich.

Like Bale, though, Zidane will give rumoured Napoli and Atletico Madrid target James an opportunity to prove himself.

"James is fit and we are happy to have him in the squad," Zidane said. "I'll repeat what I said before - I have a big squad and I'll use all the players. They're all happy to be here."

Zidane was brought back to the Bernabeu for a second spell in charge in March and has been heavily backed during the close season with the arrivals of Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Eder Militao and Ferland Mendy.

The transfer window remains open for Spanish clubs until September 2 and there are continued links with Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba and Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar.

But Zidane was in no mood to entertain speculation regarding further incoming players.

"Neymar is not a Real Madrid player," he said. "The important thing is the players that are here.

"Paul is a player who plays for Manchester United, you must respect that.

"I'm happy with the players I've got. I'm just focused on the game tomorrow, nothing else.

"We are ready and want to play a good game. I've got the best players, I've always said that. All I'm worried about is what we are going to do tomorrow."

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane insists Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez have "100 per cent" of his backing but refused to rule out their sales before the end of the transfer window.

Bale and James have been strongly linked with the Madrid exit throughout the close season, but so far the club have been unable to shift them.

James has been interesting Napoli and Atletico Madrid following his return after two years on loan at Bayern Munich, while Bale almost joined Chinese side Jiangsu Suning last month before the move collapsed.

Colombia international James has not featured once in pre-season for Madrid, while Bale missed their previous three games before coming on as a substitute in Sunday's penalties defeat to Roma, a game that finished 2-2 after 90 minutes.

Zidane is adamant both players can consider themselves part of the squad, though he did little to clarify the future of either.

"James and Bale are players of the squad," Zidane told reporters after the match in Rome. "They are both registered, but anything can happen and I, as a coach of Real Madrid, must count on them.

"I count on them 100 per cent. James has not been summoned [to the squad recently], but this can change. Even before the end of the transfer window, everything can happen."

Although the new season starts next weekend in Spain, the transfer window will remain open until September 2, giving Madrid plenty of time to bring in further additions.

Neymar and Paul Pogba are two players linked with the club, but Zidane was in no mood to entertain speculation.

When asked about Pogba and Neymar, Zidane said: "We are with what we have and we only think about that. Our mind is only thinking about Saturday [the match against Celta Vigo]."

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