Manchester City full-back Oleksandr Zinchenko has distanced himself from his wife's criticism of manager Pep Guardiola, insisting Vlada Sedan was speaking as a fan and not a journalist.

Sedan is a sports reporter in her native Ukraine and posted a scathing assessment of Guardiola's much-criticised tactics during City's 3-1 Champions League quarter-final loss to Lyon on her YouTube channel.

City lined up in a 5-3-2 formation to match up with their French opponents, a departure from Guardiola's usual variations on a 4-3-3, while attacking options such as Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva remained as unused substitutes alongside Zinchenko when Moussa Dembele's late brace took the game away from the Premier League side.

“Perhaps I have no right to say this, and perhaps Zinchenko will forbid me. But to put it mildly, in order not to swear, this is completely Guardiola's fault," Sedan said.

"At such a crucial moment, using such an experimental tactic for City was a bummer. I have no right to criticise, but why play three central defenders?

"I simply have no words because to have such a line-up... look at the players City have, what a bench. Literally only a few clubs in the world can boast having such players at substitutes.”

Zinchenko, who also appeared in the video, took time out from the couple's wedding celebrations to post a statement on his Instagram story, insisting he still holds Guardiola in the highest regard.

"Guys, I need to say a few things about this interview," it read.

"First of all, I didn't say anything bad or judgemental about our tactics, so don't confuse my words, please.

"I was explaining that we as players understand the effect tactics have and how, given we have such great experience, we can adapt to the tactics we are given.

"On the night, we lost to Lyon but that doesn't mean the manager was wrong to try.

"If you have seen my interviews in the past and the way I talk about our manager then you can believe me. He is number one."

He added: "Second one, about my wife. Although she is a journalist, she is also a fan. During all the season she was travelling with us for all away and home games because she is a massive City fan.

"In the video, you can see her emotions straight after the game and she gave an opinion like all fans do because she wanted us to do better.

"We totally understand now that she shouldn't post it in the social media because she is my wife, but she was not trying to make a journalist's opinion on the manager of the team, she was simply reacting to her disappointment as a fan."

Signed as a midfielder from FC Ufa in 2016, Zinchenko established himself as a surprise first-team fixture under Guardiola after an unsuccessful loan at PSV.

He made 29 appearances in 2018-19, concluding the season as first-choice at left-back as City won an unprecedented domestic treble.

The 23-year-old found the going tougher last term as Benjamin Mendy returned to regular fitness and he failed to start any of City's final five Premier League games, with right-back Joao Cancelo preferred on the left-hand side of defence against Real Madrid and Lyon.

Angelino's return from a successful loan at RB Leipzig, which has attracted interest from Barcelona, could further complicate matters at left-back.

Barcelona have expressed an interest in Manchester City full-back Angelino, with the Premier League club setting a €30million (£27.7m) asking price.

Angelino re-joined City from PSV last year when a £5.3million buyback option was exercised but he struggled to establish himself under Pep Guardiola.

The 23-year-old made 12 appearance in all competitions, starting the Premier League defeats against Liverpool and Manchester United before signing for RB Leipzig on loan in January.

He impressed as Julian Nagelsmann's side reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, with those displays attracting the attention of Barcelona and their newly installed head coach Ronald Koeman.

Stats Perform News understands City are holding firm on their valuation of Angelino, which could prove prohibitive to Leipzig.

The Bundesliga side have an option on the player but it is non-exclusive.

"I'm very confident that we can reach an agreement with Manchester City, now that both clubs are out of the Champions League and the focus is no longer on the tournament," Nagelsmann told Bild.

"'Angel' is a very interesting player for us and he wants to stay with us."

It remains a possibility that Angelino could contest a first-team place at the Etihad Stadium next season, with left-back remaining a problem position for Guardiola.

Benjamin Mendy is still rebuilding form and confidence having undergone two bouts of knee surgery since his £52million move from Monaco in 2017, while Oleksandr Zinchenko fell out of favour last term.

Mendy and Zinchenko were both on the bench as Joao Cancelo started at left wing-back during last weekend's 3-1 Champions League quarter-final loss to Lyon.

Angelino is not the only City defender to have won admiring glances from Catalonia.

Eric Garcia has been widely linked with a return to his boyhood club, with Guardiola stating earlier this month the teenage centre-back had opted against a renewed deal in Manchester.

"He announced to us that he doesn't want to extend his contract with Manchester City," Guardiola said.

"He has one more year and after that, he doesn't want to extend. We want it but he doesn't want to, so I imagine he wants to play in another place."

Barcelona are not considering an exit for Lionel Messi as a decision on the star's future nears.

Messi, 33, has been linked with a move away from the LaLiga giants after a trophy-less 2019-20 season.

But the star may yet remain at Barcelona.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA NOT CONSIDERING MESSI EXIT

Messi's rumoured departure from Camp Nou is not on the agenda at all for Barca, according to Mundo Deportivo.

The cover of the Spanish daily reads: "Untransferable".

Messi is contracted at Barcelona until 2021 and Sport reports a decision on his future is expected in the next few days, with the club beginning pre-season training on August 30.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner reportedly considers an exit difficult due to his €700million release clause.

 

ROUND-UP

- Another player who has been linked to Barcelona is Lautaro Martinez, but the Inter star could head elsewhere. The Sun reports Martinez is Manchester City's number one target.

- Chelsea may be getting closer to strengthening their defence. The Premier League giants are close to agreeing a £50m deal for Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell, according to The Athletic. Meanwhile, Goal reports Chelsea have been offered Paris Saint-Germain centre-back Thiago Silva on a free transfer.

- At Manchester United, the talk has been around adding firepower in attack. The Manchester Evening News reports Lyon forward Moussa Dembele is not ruling out a move this close season, having been linked to United previously.

- More changes are expected at Juventus. Fabrizio Romano reports the Serie A champions want to terminate the contracts of Gonzalo Higuain and Sami Khedira, who both have a year left to run on their deals.

- Benjamin Pavard has impressed for Bayern Munich, leading to interest from his homeland. L'Equipe reports Paris Saint-Germain are interested in the France international defender.

- Linked with a move away from Tottenham, Serge Aurier could head to Italy. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports Milan want the right-back.

Manchester City players could be suffering psychologically from their latest Champions League exit, former midfielder Yaya Toure says.

Eight days on from a 2-1 win over Real Madrid that secured a 4-2 aggregate victory in the last 16, Pep Guardiola's side were stunned 3-1 by Lyon, who finished seventh in Ligue 1 last season.

Guardiola has led City to six major domestic trophies since 2016, including two Premier League titles, but he has never gone beyond the last eight in Europe in that time.

Indeed, despite their significant Abu Dhabi-backed investment in the playing squad, they have only reached the semi-finals of Europe's elite competition once - in 2016, under Manuel Pellegrini.

Toure, a Champions League winner under Guardiola at Barcelona in 2009 before joining City, thinks the continued disappointment in the tournament could start to take its toll.

"In Europe, all the clubs are vicious. Other clubs are very good, and clever," he told Sky Sports.

"This competition is hard. Psychologically, it can affect you. When you keep on losing, losing, any team can beat you.

"In the Champions League, you saw RB Leipzig beating Atletico Madrid, that was a shock for people because football now is so unpredictable. When those teams came, they just put everything on it. They want to win, 100 per cent.

"Of course, maybe City against Lyon, the way they were playing in the beginning [did not help], but after that, you have to give credit to Lyon as well. They got it spot on, and they knocked City out."

Guardiola was criticised in some quarters for his tactical approach, choosing to match Lyon's 3-5-2 and leaving a host of attacking players on the bench, but Toure thinks the French side deserve some credit.

"Of course, Lyon played well, they were well organised, but I don't think City changed much," he said. "People have talked about his tactics, but the team always have to play the same way. It's just Lyon caused them problems, defended well and caught them on the counter-attack.

"We were all shocked when City lost to Lyon. For all the fans who were thinking it was the season City would win.

"You have to only play one-off games, thinking it would be an easy one with playing against Lyon rather than Juventus, and people were shocked. But you have to admit that Lyon played very well, they were very well prepared."

Excitement is building for the new Premier League season after the 2020-21 fixtures were announced on Thursday.

Liverpool begin the defence of their first top-flight title in 30 years with a home match against promoted Leeds United, who will play at the highest level for the first time since 2004.

The two Manchester clubs will not be playing on the opening weekend due to their recent European commitments, but the other top sides are in action as Arsenal play at Fulham, Chelsea travel to Brighton and Hove Albion, while Tottenham will host Everton.

With the help of Opta data, here are some of the most interesting stats ahead of the first weekend of the season, which begins on September 12.

Mourinho magic – The Portuguese boss has managed 10 matches on the opening day of the Premier League season. He has a superb record having won nine and drawn the other.

Guardiola also shines – The Manchester City coach is the only active Premier League manager to have taken charge of more than two matchday one fixtures (four) and still have a 100 per cent record. He does not have a game on the first weekend of the season this year.

Defending champions – Liverpool will hope to follow in the footsteps of City, rather than other recent champions, on the opening day. City won all four of their opening matches after their title wins in the last decade, but Chelsea (twice) and Leicester City (once) failed to kick off their trophy defences with victory.

United we stand – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have the most opening day points in Premier League history. They have 61 from 28 games with a win rate of 67.9 per cent, and beat Chelsea 4-0 in their first match of last season.

Liverpool start well – Liverpool have the fewest defeats of any team to play more than 12 opening day games in the Premier League, losing just four from 28 (with 16 wins and eight draws).

But so do Leeds… – Although they have not been in the top-flight for 16 years, Leeds have impressively never lost their first match of a Premier League season, winning five and drawing seven of their 12 encounters.

Six appeal – The biggest win in a Premier League matchday one contest is Chelsea's 6-0 home victory over West Brom in 2010.

West Ham woe – David Moyes' side have the most defeats (13) of any team in a Premier League opener, though they also have 10 wins, meaning just one of their 24 games has ended in a draw.

Seeing red – Everton have had players sent off in each of the previous two opening matches they have played, with Phil Jagielka and Morgan Schneiderlin given their marching orders against Wolves and Crystal Palace respectively.

Fulham frustration – The promoted side have lost each of their past five Premier League matches against Arsenal, conceding nine goals in their two defeats against the Gunners the last time they were in the top-flight in 2018-19.

Super Spurs – As well has having Mourinho's strong record to bank on, Tottenham are unbeaten in each of their past 15 Premier League matches against Everton (W8 D7) since a 2-1 defeat back in December 2012 under Andre Villas-Boas.

Bogey team – Having lost heavily to United to kick off last season, Frank Lampard will be comforted by the fact Brighton have failed to win any of their six Premier League encounters with Chelsea, losing five times and scoring just two goals in the process (D1).

 

Arsenal are braced for a series of tough away games in the early stages of the new season after the Premier League fixtures were released on Thursday.

The 2020-21 season-opener involves a short trip across London for the Gunners, but after that visit to newly promoted Fulham, things are set to get markedly more difficult on the road.

Before October is out, Mikel Arteta's side will have visited Anfield, the Etihad Stadium and Old Trafford.

Fans will have to wait until December 5 for a chance to see if Arsenal can avenge their July defeat to Tottenham at their bitter rivals' stadium. The return match is not until March.

The club's opening home game is also a London derby, with West Ham the visitors, while Boxing Day will see Chelsea visit the Emirates.

Arteta led Arsenal to a disappointing eighth-placed finish last season, but the club did claim silverware by lifting the FA Cup.

Arsenal's fixtures in full:
September 12 - Fulham v Arsenal
September 19 - Arsenal v West Ham 
September 26 - Liverpool v Arsenal
October 3 - Arsenal v Sheffield United
October 17 - Manchester City v Arsenal
October 24 - Arsenal v Leicester City
October 31 - Manchester United v Arsenal
November 7 - Arsenal v Aston Villa
November 21 - Leeds United v Arsenal
November 28 - Arsenal v Wolves
December 5 - Tottenham v Arsenal
December 12 - Arsenal v Burnley
December 15 - Arsenal v Southampton
December 19 - Everton v Arsenal
December 26 - Arsenal v Chelsea
December 28 - Brighton v Arsenal
January 2 - West Brom v Arsenal
January 12 - Arsenal v Crystal Palace
January 16 - Arsenal v Newcastle United

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January 27 - Southampton v Arsenal
January 30 - Arsenal v Manchester United
February 2 - Wolves v Arsenal
February 6 - Aston Villa v Arsenal
February 13 - Arsenal v Leeds United
February 20 - Arsenal v Manchester City
February 27 - Leicester City v Arsenal
March 6 - Burnley v Arsenal
March 13 - Arsenal v Tottenham 
March 20 - West Ham v Arsenal
April 3 - Arsenal v Liverpool
April 10 - Sheffield United v Arsenal
April 17 - Arsenal v Fulham
April 24 - Arsenal v Everton
May 1 - Newcastle United v Arsenal
May 8 - Arsenal v West Brom
May 12 - Chelsea v Arsenal
May 15 - Crystal Palace v Arsenal
May 23 - Arsenal v Brighton

Liverpool will begin the defence of their Premier League title with a match against newly promoted Leeds United at Anfield.

The Reds spectacularly stormed to their first top-flight crown since 1990 last season, while Leeds secured their return to the highest level under Marcelo Bielsa after 16 years away.

Liverpool v Leeds on the opening day was one of the standout initial fixtures confirmed for the 2020-21 campaign, which begins on September 12.

Thursday's fixture announcement also saw another promoted side, Fulham, listed to host FA Cup winners Arsenal in a London derby to begin the campaign.

Jose Mourinho's Tottenham will play at home to Everton, while West Brom mark their Premier League return with a difficult home match against Leicester City.

Chelsea start with an away game against Brighton and Hove Albion on September 14, which is the same day as Wolves travel to play Sheffield United.

West Ham are due to face Newcastle United and Crystal Palace will meet Southampton.

Manchester United are due to start away to Burnley and Manchester City are at home to Aston Villa, but those games will be moved to a later date due to the sides managed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Pep Guardiola recently being involved in European competition.

After they have negotiated their first games, a huge contest on the second matchday will see Chelsea host champions Liverpool on September 19.
 

Opening weekend Premier League fixtures:

Burnley v Manchester United (Sep 12) *
Crystal Palace v Southampton (Sep 12)
Fulham v Arsenal (Sep 12)
Liverpool v Leeds United (Sep 12)
Manchester City v Aston Villa (Sep 12) *
Tottenham Hotspur v Everton (Sep 12)
West Brom v Leicester City (Sep 12)
West Ham v Newcastle (Sep 12)
Brighton v Chelsea (Sep 14)
Sheffield United v Wolves (Sep 14)

* Matches will be moved to a later date.

Liverpool will face an early test of their Premier League title defence credentials with a tricky start to the 2020-21 season, but they do not go up against bitter rivals Manchester United until January.

The Reds ended a 30-year wait for top-flight success last season, and although the coronavirus pandemic meant there was an eerie feel to their celebrations in an empty Anfield, the end of their long drought was no less significant on Merseyside.

Given they finished 18 points clear, Jurgen Klopp's men will undoubtedly be favourites again, but they will have to hit the ground running – Liverpool face newly promoted Leeds United in their first fixture on September 12, which will be followed by clashes with Chelsea and Arenal in consecutive games.

The champions go to local rivals Everton on October 17, before then being hosted by Pep Guardiola's City – their likeliest challengers – on November 7. All of these fixtures take place within the first two months of the season.

Liverpool's meeting with United on January 16 comes as part of a potentially nasty spell for the Red Devils. On December 12 they will contest the first Manchester derby of the season at Old Trafford, and seven days later host Leeds United, resuming a ferocious rivalry that has been on hold in recent years.

The second Manchester derby is set for March 6, while Liverpool host Everton again on February 20.

The north London derby will be played at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on December 5, before the reverse fixture on March 13 at Emirates Stadium.

Of the so-called 'big six', Chelsea look set for the trickiest run-in of all as they face City, Arsenal and Leicester in three of their final four matches.

Leicester also go up against Spurs late on, meaning Brendan Rodgers' side could have a telling impact on the final standings near the top of the table.
 

Premier League 2020-21 key fixtures:

September 19 - Chelsea v Liverpool
September 26 - Liverpool v Arsenal
October 3 - Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur
October 17 - Everton v Liverpool
October 17 - Manchester City v Arsenal
October 24 - Manchester United v Chelsea
October 31 - Manchester United v Arsenal
November 7 - Manchester City v Liverpool
November 21 - Tottenham v Manchester City
November 28 - Chelsea v Tottenham
December 5 - Tottenham v Arsenal
December 12 - Manchester United v Manchester City
December 19 - Manchester United v Leeds United
December 26 - Arsenal v Chelsea
January 16 - Liverpool v Manchester United

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January 30 - Arsenal v Manchester United
February 3 - Tottenham v Chelsea
February 20 - Liverpool v Everton
February 27 - Chelsea v Manchester United
March 6 - Manchester City v Manchester United
March 13 - Arsenal v Tottenham
April 24 - Leeds United v Manchester United
May 1 - Manchester United v Liverpool
May 8 - Manchester City v Chelsea
May 12 - Chelsea v Arsenal
May 15 - Chelsea v Leicester City
May 23 - Leicester City v Tottenham

The transfer saga that is Jadon Sancho-Manchester United continues to roll on.

Sancho has long been tipped to join United, though Borussia Dortmund are adamant the England star will not return to his homeland this off-season.

United, however, are reportedly not giving up.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED HELD UP BY PERSONAL TERMS

Manchester United remain keen on signing Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho but personal terms and an agent fee are holding up their pursuit, according to ESPN.

Dortmund have insisted Sancho will not be sold, though United continue to target the former Manchester City youngster in a blockbuster transfer.

United have reportedly been given the green light to speak to Sancho and his representative but there has been an impasse with the player's camp over salary demands.

ROUND-UP

- Journalist Fabrizio Romano says Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen are still negotiating a deal for star Kai Havertz. While Chelsea are confident, there remains a difference between the two clubs as Leverkusen hope to conclude a deal by the end of the month.

Jack Grealish to United? The Aston Villa captain continues to be linked with a move to Old Trafford and ESPN reports United goalkeeper Sergio Romero could be included in a deal to sign Grealish. Romero is United's number two behind David de Gea and the Argentina international's future is unclear, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reportedly keen for Dean Henderson to challenge for the number one spot.

- According to Cadena Ser's El Larguero, Luis Suarez is aiming to stay at Barcelona. Linked with a return to former club Ajax, Suarez is reportedly one of a number of players who could be forced out following Ronald Koeman's arrival. However, Suarez, Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto all want to speak to Quique Setien's replacement.

- Amid doubts over Pique's long-term future with Barca, Libero claims newly promoted Premier League side Fulham have made an offer for the Spain international star.

United remain interested in signing Barca teenager Ansu Fati, reports Marca. The 17-year-old reportedly switched agents to Jorge Mendes, having previously been represented by Messi's brother.

- The Telegraph says Chelsea are considering a move for Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva. The 35-year-old will become a free agent following the Champions League final and he has already been linked with former club Milan and fellow Serie A side Fiorentina.

Juventus are negotiating with United for Federico Bernardeschi and Douglas Costa, claims La Gazzetta dello Sport. The report also says the Serie A champions are speaking to City regarding Alex Sandro, while new boss Andrea Pirlo is eyeing Roma striker Edin Dzeko and Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli.

- Tuttosport's frontpage on Thursday suggests a merry-go-round of strikers. Inter have reportedly told Real Madrid that Romelu Lukaku is not for sale, Juve are in talks with Wolves to sign Raul Jimenez and Inter are challenging the Bianconeri for Dzeko. Meanwhile, Napoli's Arkadiusz Milik is heading towards Roma.

- The countdown is on for Madrid to sell outcasts Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez, according to Marca.

Derby County goalkeeper Scott Carson will spend a second season on loan at Manchester City. 

The former England international spent the 2019-20 campaign with Pep Guardiola's side as third choice keeper behind Ederson and Claudio Bravo. 

City have signed the 34-year-old on for another season, so he appears to have played his last game with Championship side Derby as his contract expires in June 2021. 

Carson will again provide cover for Ederson, with Zack Steffen set to be the Brazilian's understudy after the United States international returned from a loan spell with Fortuna Dusseldorf. 

Former Barcelona keeper Bravo has left the Etihad Stadium after his contract expired. 

Lionel Messi reportedly has Barcelona in "suspense" amid talk over his future.

Messi, 33, has been linked with a move away from the LaLiga giants amid chaos at the club following their capitulation in the Champions League.

Contracted until 2021, Messi's future has become a major talking point.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA IN 'SUSPENSE' OVER MESSI FUTURE

Barcelona are in suspense amid uncertainty over Messi's future, according to Marca.

Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu said on Tuesday he expected Messi to lead the club into the future under Ronald Koeman.

TuttoMercatoWeb reports only Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain or Inter would be able to afford the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Barcelona and Mundo Deportivo reports Koeman wants a two-year deal at the club and Henrik Larsson as one of his assistants at Camp Nou.

- Chelsea continue to chase Kai Havertz. Sport Bild claims negotiations between the Premier League club and Bayer Leverkusen started last week and Havertz will become the most expensive German player of all-time.

- Will Kalidou Koulibaly leave Napoli? The Mirror reports City are being invited to make a £60million (€66.6m) move for the defender, who Napoli want to replace with Lille's Gabriel Magalhaes. ESPN says Arsenal are hopeful of sealing a deal for Gabriel for around £22m (€24.4m).

- Leeds United could be preparing to strengthen on their return to the Premier League. The Evening Standard reports Leeds are interested in Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi.

- Benfica could be nearing two big signings. Gianluca Di Marzio says the Portuguese giants want Inter midfielder Joao Mario, while Record reports Benfica are close to completing a deal for former Paris Saint-Germain star Edinson Cavani.

- Having signed Blaise Matuidi, Inter Miami may add some firepower. DIRECTV Peru says the MLS club have started talks to sign former PSV and Schalke forward Jefferson Farfan.

Manchester City have confirmed Claudio Bravo has left the club following the conclusion of his contract.

The 37-year-old Chilean goalkeeper signed from Barcelona in 2016 after two years with the Blaugrana.

His arrival at City came shortly after Pep Guardiola took over as manager, helping to establish the Catalan's possession-based philosophy.

Guardiola favoured Bravo's skillset – specifically his greater passing ability – to that of previous first-choice shot-stopper Joe Hart and he made 30 appearances in all competitions in his debut season.

Bravo's form was rarely consistent, and he spent the rest of his City career as back-up to Ederson following his move from Benfica in 2017.

Bravo leaves having won two Premier League titles and two EFL Cups.

While his next move is uncertain, Bravo has been most prominently linked with Celtic and Real Betis, who will be coached by former City boss Manuel Pellegrini next season.

Lazio sporting director Igli Tare has taken the extraordinary step of issuing a brief statement just to announce he has no respect for David Silva "the man" after he joined Real Sociedad instead of the Italians.

Silva, 34, officially left Manchester City on Monday after 10 years at the club, a period that marked him out as arguably their greatest player.

The playmaker had confirmed last year that he planned to depart in 2020 at the end of his contract, though there had generally been little speculation as to where he might end up next.

That was until the past few weeks, however, as Lazio looked certain to be Silva's new home, with media reports claiming everything was agreed and a medical had been scheduled.

But La Real caused something of a shock on Monday when, just a few hours after City announced plans to immortalise Silva with a statue, the Basque club confirmed the former Spain international was their new player.

The news was said to have infuriated and stunned Lazio, and Tare's decision to release a brief – albeit withering – statement seemed to confirm the club's position.

Accompanied by no other comment from the wider institution, Tare's analysis of the situation was posted to Lazio's website on Tuesday, the director saying: "I learn about David Silva's transfer to Real Sociedad. I have great respect for the player, but not for the man."

Silva signed a two-year deal with La Real, with whom he shall feature in LaLiga for the first time since leaving Valencia in 2010.

They will be Silva's second Basque club, having spent a season on loan at Eibar at the start of his career.

Is Ronald Koeman the chosen one?

Quique Setien was sacked by Barcelona on Monday, following the club's Champions League horror show.

And Netherlands head coach Koeman – a former Barca defender – is reportedly on the verge of being appointed.

 

TOP STORY – KOEMAN TO LEAD STRUGGLING BARCA

Ronald Koeman is set to become Barcelona head coach, according to widespread reports.

Netherlands boss Koeman is reportedly the man Barca want to appoint following Quique Setien's sacking in the aftermath of their 8-2 Champions League humiliation against Bayern Munich.

Tuesday's frontpages of Marca and Sport say former Barca defender Koeman will replace Setien.

Voetbal and Sky Sports claim LaLiga giants Barca are holding talks with the Dutch Football Federation (KNVB) as they seek to appoint Koeman.

 

ROUND-UP

- With Koeman set to vacate his position, Fox Sports presenter Jan Joost van Gangelen claims former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has offered to take the Netherlands job. Wenger has been out of work since leaving Arsenal in 2018.

- The Guardian reports Premier League champions Liverpool are unwilling to pay the €30million (£27m) fee Bayern Munich are asking for star midfielder Thiago Alcantara. The Spaniard has also been linked to Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City.

Inter remain in talks with Brescia to sign star midfielder Sandro Tonali, reports Fabrizio Romano. Inter will reportedly try to finalise a transfer following the Europa League final. Tonali has also been linked to champions Juventus.

- Alfredo Pedulla says Napoli want to sign Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos but are still trying to negotiate a fee. It comes as Arsenal reportedly close in on Lille centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes, who has also been targeted by Napoli.

City are preparing a new and improved offer for Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly, says Sportitalia's Pedulla. Napoli are reportedly keen to sell Koulibaly in order to raise funds for Gabriel.

- According to Sky Sports, Manchester United are monitoring Juve winger Douglas Costa. The future of Costa in Turin is in doubt as new boss Andrea Pirlo rebuilds and with United struggling to prise Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, they could turn to the Brazilian.

- Cadena Ser claims Barca plan to force pay cuts on players who refuse to leave Camp Nou. Luis Suarez, Jordi Alba and Ivan Rakitic are among three of the highest earners who the club are hopeful of selling this off-season.

Milan are hopeful of re-signing Gianluigi Donnarumma and Zlatan Ibrahimovic before the end of the month despite negotiations dragging on, according to Calciomercato.

- AS reports RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano could join Real Madrid in 2021. Due to the financial situation amid the coronavirus pandemic, Madrid are reportedly holding off on major transfers until next year.

David Silva has moved back to LaLiga following his departure from Manchester City, signing for Real Sociedad on a free transfer.

With his 10-year stay at City coming to an end with the Champions League defeat to Lyon on Saturday, Silva appeared set to join Serie A side Lazio.

However, it is Sociedad who have secured his signature, with Silva - who left Valencia in 2010 to continue his career in England - opting to return to his homeland. 

The 34-year-old, who won four Premier League titles, the EFL Cup fives times and the FA Cup twice during his time with City, has agreed terms on a two-year deal with the Basque club. 

Sociedad, who have handed Silva the number 21 shirt, finished sixth in LaLiga in the 2019-20 campaign, though they won just two of their 11 fixtures following the restart.

They progressed to the Copa del Rey final in March, though the match has been indefinitely suspended at the request of both Sociedad and their Basque rivals Athletic Bilbao, neither club wishing to play until it is safe for fans to attend following the coronavirus pandemic. 

On Monday, City revealed they have commissioned a statue of Silva which will eventually be located at the Etihad Stadium.

Silva will also have a bespoke mosaic dedicated to him at the City Football Academy, reflecting his contribution to the 6-1 defeat of Manchester United in 2011.

In a post on his official Twitter account, he wrote: "The time has arrived. Ten years and 13 titles later, it's time for me to say goodbye to the club that has left an incredible mark on my life and career.

"City and I have grown together. In 10 years, I have developed personally and professionally. I have celebrated many victories and titles and lived through epic moments.

"It has been a real pleasure wearing the sky blue shirt and the captain's armband of our club, sharing the dressing room with the best players and coaches in the world, and working closely with the finest club representatives and board members the game has to offer.

"I hope that City will achieve even bigger triumphs in the future. I am going to support the team from a distance. I am so happy to have shared these unforgettable moments with the City family."

Silva made 27 Premier League appearances in 2019-20, scoring six goals and providing 10 assists.

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