Marko Grujic has agreed to spend a second season on loan from Liverpool at Hertha Berlin.

The Bundesliga side announced on Monday that the 23-year-old midfielder will be staying at the club for the 2019-20 campaign.

"I wanted to stay at Hertha, so I'm happy that it's all worked out well," Grujic said via Hertha's official website. "I'm looking forward to the new season and will work hard in pre-season, so that we can achieve more success next season."

Head coach Ante Covic added: "We're delighted that Marko is staying here for another year. He was excellent in the centre of midfielder last season.

"As he is still young, I believe that he can still develop a lot and Hertha BSC is the right club to do that at!"

Grujic made 22 appearances in Germany's top flight last season as Hertha finished 11th.

The Serbia international, who joined Liverpool from Red Star Belgrade in 2016, spent part of 2017-18 on loan with Cardiff City.

Manchester City have handed Jack Harrison a one-year contract extension but the winger will spend another season on loan at Leeds United, who have an option to make the move permanent.

Former New York City star Harrison made 42 appearances in all competitions last term as Leeds missed out on promotion to the Premier League via the play-offs.

And the 22-year-old will return to Elland Road to continue his schooling under Marcelo Bielsa after Leeds sealed another 12-month loan deal with City.

Harrison's contract at City now runs to 2022 but Leeds have a purchase option included in the terms of his latest loan.

Leeds have also snapped up centre-back Ben White on a season-long loan from Brighton and Hove Albion.

"It's really nice to secure another year at this football club," said White, who has signed a one-year contract extension with the Seagulls. "I've been here for six years now, and it shows that all my hard work is paying off and that's great to see.

"I knew Leeds were interested about 18 months ago, when I was at Newport, and they've obviously been keeping track of me. It's a massive football club, but I haven't really thought too much about it yet — I'm not the sort of person to get too ahead of myself."

Alisson has been handed Liverpool's number one shirt for the 2019-20 season. 

The Brazil goalkeeper, who is on international duty at the Copa America, inherits the jersey from Loris Karius.

German goalkeeper Karius retained the number last term despite being sent on loan to Besiktas following his error-strewn performance in the Reds' Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid.

And with Karius set to spend a second season in Istanbul, Liverpool have taken the opportunity to reward Alisson for his Golden Glove-winning performances.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has also been given a new shirt number as the England midfielder continues to bounce back from a serious knee injury.

Oxlade-Chamberlain will move from 21 to 15 for the new campaign, taking Daniel Sturridge's old number after the striker left the club at the end of his contract.

Frank Lampard has been excused from reporting back for pre-season training with Derby County as he continues to thrash out a deal with Chelsea.

Former Blues midfielder Lampard was given permission to speak to Chelsea last Tuesday as the Premier League club seek a replacement for Maurizio Sarri, who has joined Juventus.

The 41-year-old took his first step into coaching with Derby in 2018-19 and came within one win of guiding the club to Premier League promotion as they lost to Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final.

Derby's players returned to pre-season training on Monday but Lampard was not there to oversee it.

A club statement read: "Derby County Football Club has excused Frank Lampard from reporting back for pre-season training on Monday and Tuesday to allow his discussions regarding a potential move to Chelsea to be concluded as soon as possible.

"The first few days of pre-season training will be focused on fitness training and will continue as planned under the guidance of the fitness, medical, conditioning and sports science teams at the club’s training centre.

"On the assumption that Frank will reach an agreement with Chelsea to become their new manager, the club shall step up its efforts to find a replacement manager."

Lampard spent 13 years as a Chelsea player, winning 11 major honours and scoring a club-record 211 goals, and has been consistently linked with the vacancy at his former club since it became clear Sarri was set to leave.

Former Napoli boss Sarri returned to Serie A to take charge of Juventus earlier this month after a single season in London, with Chelsea finishing third in the Premier League and winning the Europa League.

Should Lampard be handed the reins at Chelsea, he will be unable to bring in new players due to the transfer ban imposed on the club, and will have to cope with the departure of star winger Eden Hazard to Real Madrid.

 

Lautaro Martinez has impressed at the Copa America and the forward could end up being team-mates with Lionel Messi at more than just international level.

Martinez, 21, has scored in back-to-back games to lead Argentina into a semi-final against rivals and hosts Brazil at the Copa.

The Inter forward seems to have caught the eye of Barcelona, who have enquired about his services.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA LOOKING AT MARTINEZ

According to Radio La Red, Barcelona have contacted Martinez's agent to express their interest.

A move would see Martinez team up with Messi – who is yet to hit top form at the Copa America – at club level.

But Barca are also linked with moves for Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann and PSG forward Neymar, so Martinez may just be a back-up option.

 

ROUND-UP

- Neymar is heavily linked with a return to Barcelona , but it seems Paris Saint-Germain may not let the star go so easily. Telefoot report PSG are still unwilling to let Neymar go. Meanwhile, Marca say Kylian Mbappe wants Neymar alongside him at the Parc des Princes.

- Real Madrid are expected to sign another midfielder heading into 2019-20, with Paul Pogba and Christian Eriksen linked. But AS report Madrid have made an offer to Ajax star Donny van de Beek, who apparently has eight proposals from top European clubs.

- Tottenham may finally get their man. The Daily Mail reports Spurs are close to an agreement to sign midfielder Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon in a deal worth up to £64million (€71.7m).

- Manchester United appear to be leading the race for Sporting CP midfielder Bruno Fernandes. Liverpool and Spurs have distanced themselves from the Portugal international, according to the Daily Express, and La Gazzetta dello Sport say United have had a £35m (€39.2m) bid rejected.

- Leonardo Bonucci continues to be linked with a Juventus exit ahead of the Serie A champions' expected signing of Ajax star Matthijs de Ligt. An apparent target for PSG, Bonucci has also become an option for Manchester City, according to The Sun.

Rafael Benitez says he wanted to stay at Newcastle United but could not agree on a shared vision with "those at the top of the club".

After he was unable to stave off relegation from the Premier League in 2015-16, Benitez led the Magpies out of the Championship at the first attempt and subsequently re-established them as a top-flight club.

But Benitez had a difficult relationship with controversial owner Mike Ashley, regularly hinting in his comments to the media at disagreements over the club's perceived lack of transfer activity.

And in a letter to Newcastle fans posted on social media on Monday, the day after his contract expired, Benitez explained why he was unable to agree a new deal for the 2019-20 campaign.

"I wanted to stay, but I didn't just want to sign an extended contract, I wanted to be part of a project," Benitez said.

"Unfortunately, it became increasingly clear to me that those at the top of the club did not share the same vision.

"I'm very sad about that, but I do not regret for one moment my decision to come to Tyneside and I'm very proud about what we achieved together.

"I will always have you in my heart. Best of luck for the future."

 

 

Newcastle legend Alan Shearer blasted the club as a "shambles" for allowing Benitez, who won the Champions League with Liverpool, to leave.

"A world class manager. A manager who performed so well in very difficult circumstances. A manager who understood the fans," he wrote on Twitter.

Newcastle are yet to appoint a replacement for Benitez, with managers including Steve Bruce, Claudio Ranieri, Sean Dyche and Garry Monk among those linked with the vacancy.

Pep Guardiola expressed his disagreement with the idea of a breakaway competition for Europe's top clubs, saying a prospective Super League would "kill" domestic football.

Reports suggesting Bayern Munich and their chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge might attempt to lead the creation of a new competition for Europe's biggest clubs have been circulating since late 2018, and Guardiola is one of many to have voiced their concern.

Bayern and Rummenigge have strongly denied the reports but rumours persist that the clubs who dominate their respective leagues might seek to establish a year-round competition that offers the quality, competitiveness and lucrative rewards of the Champions League.

Guardiola was asked for his views on a breakaway league in an interview with Catalan daily newspaper Ara, and he said: "I do not agree much with the idea. Someone should explain to me [why it's a good idea].

"If it happens we'll kill the leagues. If Barca and Madrid go and they do not play against Espanyol, who will follow the league? The Spanish league will die.

"In England they are very intelligent, the grounds of the fourth division are full. England will not let this essence of local football die."

Guardiola's failure to deliver glory in the Champions League has been one of his few shortcomings during an otherwise hugely successful three-year spell at Manchester City.

City have been knocked out in the round of 16 once and the quarter-finals twice under Guardiola, but he expressed his appreciation for the Champions League's format while making it clear he does not see an alternative European competition as the way forward for anyone.

"Part of the greatness of the Champions League is that it is not every Sunday," said Guardiola. "If games were every week it would lose its charm.

"Barcelona v Espanyol is very necessary for the city. And the more Catalan teams in LaLiga, the better.

"If we kill the domestic leagues, nobody will be interested in watching teams that do not have the chance to go to the European league."

Liverpool have nothing to lose from signing teenage Dutch defender Sepp van den Berg, according to his former boss Jaap Stam.

Van den Berg joined Liverpool from Eredivisie side PEC Zwolle on Thursday in a reported €1.5million (£1.3m) deal that could rise by a further €3.5m with add-ons.

The 17-year-old has featured 22 times in the top tier of Dutch football and is rumoured to have been courted by clubs across Europe, including Bayern Munich, Ajax and PSV.

And Stam, who managed Van den Berg during his half-season in charge of Zwolle in 2018-19, insisted Liverpool are signing a player with plenty of potential.

"Sepp is a very talented player, we've said that many times at PEC Zwolle," Stam told a news conference on Sunday. 

"We all know how this world works, so it's inevitable that a player makes a transfer at a certain point in his career. 

"We know that English and Spanish clubs scout all over the world, but especially in the Netherlands for talented Dutch defenders, because they're known to be good with their feet. 

"Those clubs usually have enough money lying around to take a risk and sign a few of them and see if it pays off in the long run. 

"If it works out, great. If it doesn't, they'll probably sell them for more money than before. In the end it's up to the clubs, but I wish Sepp all the best and I hope he'll turn out to be a big success story at Liverpool."

Stam has taken over as Feyenoord head coach ahead of the new season, but he did not try to bring Van den Berg across from Zwolle.

"We haven't talked about that," he said when asked if the in-demand defender was one of his transfer targets. 

"Looking back at the situation we were in at PEC Zwolle, we were battling against relegation. In those cases, you have to make sure that the available players are of the sufficient level to perform week in week out. 

"In those cases, you don't have time to educate and to develop, which sometimes could hurt the development of youth players. But to be very clear about the subject - if the youth players show they are ready, they get a shot."

Former Liverpool shot-stopper Alexander Doni has hailed the club's current goalkeeper Alisson as the best in the world.

Doni played for a host of Brazilian clubs in a career that also included six years at Roma and a brief stint at Liverpool.

And the 39-year-old told Liverpool's official website that not only was he immediately impressed by Alisson, a fellow Brazilian, he also recommended the English giants move to sign him.

Liverpool tracked Alisson from there, eventually making him the world's most expensive goalkeeper in 2018.

"When I saw him play, I immediately recommended him to [goalkeeping coach] John [Achterberg] and tried to get him signed," Doni said.

"I explained to John that he was a very skilful player and that he would soon play for the national team.

"The first time I saw him playing for Inter, I knew he had what it takes to succeed in the Premier League."

Alisson moved from Inter to Roma before joining Liverpool last year and he proved his worth in a terrific season that saw Jurgen Klopp's side win the Champions League and push Manchester City all the way in a gripping Premier League title race.

Asked if Alisson was now the best goalkeeper in the world, Doni added: "Yes, without a doubt.

"I am very impressed with how quick he was able to adapt to the way the Premier League is played and how quick he obtained success in England.

"This only shows what a great player and a person he is. Besides being an overall complete player, I really like how he is able to maintain calm and control."

Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks is not getting complacent in his bid to become a regular Premier League starter in the 2019-20 season.

The 23-year-old made 17 top-flight starts last term as he battled hip and groin injuries during somewhat of a stop-start campaign.

But Winks' quality was on full display in June's Champions League final, impressing in an ultimately disappointing outing for Tottenham as Liverpool ran out 2-0 winners.

Winks described his season as "probably my best" in Tottenham colours but knows the importance of keeping level-headed.

"I feel I've become an important player now and I couldn't ask for more," he told Tottenham's official website.

"If you'd asked me three or four years ago if I wanted to be in this position now I would have snapped your hand off, but the most important thing now is not to get carried away, to work as hard as I can and try to stay in there and maintain that position because there are so many top players here.

"Staying in is the hardest. It's fantastic to get there but staying there is tough with so many top-quality players at the club, all wanting to start."

Tottenham have not made a signing since Lucas Moura in January 2018 but have been linked with moves for Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele and Leeds United winger Jack Clarke.

Pep Guardiola has reaffirmed his commitment to Premier League champions Manchester City and ruled out a return to Barcelona.

Guardiola led City to an unprecedented domestic treble last term, although they fell short of Champions League glory once more.

The Catalan was then linked with a move to Juventus as a replacement for Massimiliano Allegri, but indicated he was not interested in a switch to Serie A with Maurizio Sarri instead lured from Chelsea.

Former Bayern Munich boss Guardiola has long been linked with a return to Barcelona, where as manager he won the Champions League twice, as well as a trio of LaLiga titles.

But in an interview with Catalan newspaper Ara, Guardiola indicated he sees his long-term future at the Etihad Stadium, with his City contract running to 2021.

"I have everything here, sincerely, everything I need," Guardiola said of City, who have won the Premier League two years running.

"Work at home [in Spain] is more wearing because the emotions are so intense and the press conferences harder.

"Here, in Manchester, I have [director of football] Txiki [Begiristain], who is the most important person of my career because he trusted me when I was no one.

"I have [chief executive] Ferran [Soriano] also, who sometimes asks, 'How can it be so cold?'. But, at the same time, he manages with a brutal precision.

"When I win I am good, when I lose I am bad. That is the same everywhere, but in this club we are three or four people deciding in the sporting area, there isn't the noise of 18 board members.

"I extended my contract because we have a young team, I have everything I desire to do my job. I won't go back here [to Barcelona] or Germany.

"Where can I find facilities so good as in such a beautiful league as the Premier League?"

Neymar's return to Barcelona may be getting closer as Paris Saint-Germain seemingly accept the star is set to leave.

Neymar, 27, is heavily linked with a return to Camp Nou, two years after his world-record €222million move to PSG.

PSG reportedly set an asking price of €300m for Neymar, but that has apparently continued to reduce, increasing the chances of the Brazil star heading back to Barcelona.

 

TOP STORY – PSG'S ASKING PRICE FOR NEYMAR KEEPS DROPPING

From €300m to €222m to €130m plus two Barcelona players?

Le Parisien report PSG would be willing to accept the latter offer for Neymar as they continue to soften their demands.

The report says PSG would settle for somewhere between €130m and €150m plus two players, with Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele, Ivan Rakitic and Samuel Umtiti all talked about.

ROUND-UP

- Real Madrid have apparently opted not to pursue Neymar due to some interest in Kylian Mbappe. In some good news for the LaLiga giants, Marca report Mbappe is not working on a new deal with PSG. Still, the superstar forward is contracted at Parc des Princes until 2022.

- Paul Pogba wants out of Old Trafford. The Sun report the midfielder, a reported target for Real Madrid and Juventus, will make a plea to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to let him leave Manchester United.

- Perhaps Christian Eriksen's move from Tottenham to Real Madrid will become a reality. Marca report Spurs chairman Daniel Levy called Madrid director general Jose Angel Sanchez to offer the midfielder, who is out of contract next year.

- Real Madrid still seem to want Liverpool star Sadio Mane. The Express reports Madrid are set to offer Marco Asensio to the European champions to secure a deal for star attacker Mane.

- Manchester United have slowly strengthened their squad this close season and there is apparently more to come. The Sun report United are set to bid for Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn, who will cost £50million. The newspaper also reports United are not giving up on Antoine Griezmann despite the Atletico Madrid star apparently being set for Barcelona.

- PSG might be likely to miss out on Ajax star Matthijs de Ligt to Juventus, but they have other plans. La Gazzetta dello Sport report PSG have spoken to Leonardo Bonucci's agent about a possible move from Turin to Paris.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka thanked Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson for his "faith and trust" after completing a reported £50million move to Manchester United.

United confirmed the capture of the 21-year-old on Saturday following lengthy negotiations with Palace.

Wan-Bissaka made his Eagles debut against Tottenham in February 2018, making a further six appearances during the final months of that campaign.

Hodgson saw enough to make the England Under-21 international his first choice right-back for the 2018-19 season and he did not disappoint, swiftly establishing himself as one of the most promising defenders in the Premier League.

Following his switch to Old Trafford, Wan-Bissaka saluted Hodgson for giving him an opportunity in the senior ranks.

"I would like to thank the youth coaching staff and first-team staff for helping me massively to develop into the player I am today," he wrote on Instagram.

"Most importantly, I would like to thank Roy Hodgson for giving me the opportunity I have always dreamed of, which was to play in the Premier League.

"The faith and trust he had in me led me to have the chance to take my development to a next level."

Palace chairman Steve Parish was quick to praise Wan-Bissaka, telling the club's official website: "He is a really fantastic young man and we have all enjoyed having him as part of the club for the past 10 years.

"He is a shining example of what south London is about and I wish him the very best for the future journey with Manchester United and England."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer described Aaron Wan-Bissaka as the model for a new brand of Manchester United signing after splashing a reported £50million on the right-back.

United confirmed the capture of 21-year-old Wan-Bissaka on Saturday following protracted negotiations with Crystal Palace that reportedly began earlier this month.

He becomes the club's second arrival of the close-season after Wales winger Daniel James, also 21, as manager Solskjaer recalibrates a transfer policy that in recent years has favoured experienced heads like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Nemanja Matic and Alexis Sanchez.

Early opportunities are expected to be forthcoming with Wan-Bissaka tipped to dislodge Ashley Young at right-back and prove Antonio Valencia's long-term successor.

"Aaron is one of the best upcoming defenders in the Premier League," Solskjaer said.

"He has the right work ethic, talent and mentality to play for Manchester United and he fits exactly the type of player that we are looking to bring into the squad to help us improve and push on further.

"Aaron is a young, hungry player and eager to learn and that's important at his age.

"I am delighted he has signed with us and we look forward to continuing his tremendous development so far."

Wan-Bissaka made 42 Premier League appearances in total for Palace, including 35 starts last term.

The Londoner will hope his move to Old Trafford leads to a full international debut on the right side of England's defence, where Kyle Walker, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kieran Trippier are in competition.

"It's an unbelievable feeling and an honour to call myself a Manchester United player and something I know that only a small number of players have the privilege to say," Wan-Bissaka said.

"I can't wait to get going and integrated into the squad.

"I will have a short break now after the [Under-21] European Championships but I'm looking forward to starting training with the manager and my new team-mates on the pre-season tour."

United's pre-season schedule begins with two friendlies in Australia in July, against A-League club Perth Glory and traditional rivals Leeds United.

Juventus are set to sign "a phenomenon" if they complete a deal to bring Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt to Turin, according to former Bianconeri boss Marcello Lippi.

The Netherlands international has been strongly linked with Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain but reports suggest the Italian champions are close to finalising a deal that will earn the 19-year-old €12million per year for the next five years.

Lippi, who guided Juventus to five Scudetti and the Champions League during two trophy-laden spells as head coach, said De Ligt's performances for Ajax over the last three years have put him on course to emulate legendary Italian defenders like Alessandro Nesta, Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini if he opts to play in Serie A.

"From Nesta to Baresi, from Maldini to [Ciro] Ferrara, from [Fabio] Cannavaro to [Marco] Materazzi, I have seen so many exceptional defenders, but never one like this in relation to age," Lippi told Tuttosport.

"Yes, he can make the difference."

Lippi said he was close to a return to Serie A himself after Eusebio Di Francesco was sacked by Roma in March, but revealed he opted to remain in charge of the China national team.

The 71-year-old is in his second spell as China coach following his reappointment in May, and intends to end his coaching career with Team Dragon.

"I was close to Roma several times in my career, including recently," said Lippi.

"I was about to go there when Eusebio Di Francesco was fired.

"They called me and asked if I was available to be the coach of Roma, but I said no. I thanked them, saying that my time in club football is over.

"After China, I am going to retire."

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