Manchester United's bid to improve their backline has seen them make Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka two of the world's most-expensive defenders.

England defender Maguire has joined from Leicester City for a reported £80million, surpassing the record set by Liverpool's capture of Virgil van Dijk.

Earlier in this transfer window United spent £50m to acquire right-back Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace as they commenced a substantial rebuild of their squad.

Maguire has not cost United as much as their biggest signing Paul Pogba, who joined from Juventus in 2016 in a then-world record £89.3m deal, but he is the most expensive defender of all time.

Here, we profile the men at the back who have cost a fair whack.


HARRY MAGUIRE – Leicester City to Manchester United, £80m

The reported £80m fee is a serious outlay for a player who was playing for Hull City in the Championship three years ago.

It has been a rapid rise for Maguire, who is now first choice at the back for England alongside Manchester City defender John Stones. United will hope there is even more to come from the 26-year-old.

VIRGIL VAN DIJK – Southampton to Liverpool, £75m

Liverpool tried unsuccessfully to buy Van Dijk in June 2017 and were accused of tapping him up by Southampton, but the defender's absence from several matchday squads thereafter meant a departure was never far away.

The Reds gave their fans a late Christmas gift in December of the same year, confirming the Netherlands international's arrival and he has looked worth every penny since making the switch to Anfield, winning the Professional Footballers' Association Players' Player of the Year last term and helping the club clinch their sixth Champions League title.

LUCAS HERNANDEZ – Atletico Madrid to Bayern Munich, £68m

Having featured as France's first-choice left-back in their triumphant 2018 World Cup campaign, it did not take long for other clubs to begin being linked with Hernandez. Bayern were reported to have things tied up with the defender by the end of the year, though it was said they were trying to avoid paying his full release clause.

As it happened, Atletico received the €80m required to trigger Lucas' exit at the end of the 2018-19 season, meaning Bayern secured themselves a player who can cover two positions for the next decade. 

MATTHIJS DE LIGT – Ajax to Juventus, £67.5m

United had been strongly linked with De Ligt earlier in the window but it was Juventus who won the race for his much-coveted signature for a fee that, with add-ons, could eventually rise to a sum similar to Van Dijk's price.

Despite still being a teenager, De Ligt's leadership qualities shone through when he was captain of the Ajax team that won a domestic double and reached the Champions League semi-finals last season.

AYMERIC LAPORTE – Athletic Bilbao to Manchester City, £57m

City had been put off by the fee Southampton wanted for Van Dijk but were more willing to part with what was - in January 2018 - a club-record £57m to sign left-sided French centre-back Laporte.

Though he curiously remains without a senior cap for Les Bleus, Laporte has become a key figure under Pep Guardiola and was City's best defender in 2018-19 as they won an unprecedented domestic treble.

BENJAMIN MENDY – Monaco to Manchester City, £51.75m

City broke the record for a defender when they signed Mendy from Monaco in July 2017, the left-back having quickly established himself as one of Europe's most exciting attacking full-backs as his side won the 2016-17 Ligue 1 title and reached that season's Champions League semi-finals.

His arrival was part of a spectacular overhaul of the City backline, which saw them spend close to £165m on three defenders and goalkeeper Ederson, but two serious knee injuries have badly hindered his time in Manchester so far. 

DAVID LUIZ – Chelsea to Paris Saint-Germain, £50m

Paris Saint-Germain paid a whopping fee to sign Brazil international David Luiz from Chelsea in 2014.

He won Ligue 1 in both of his seasons at the Parc des Princes and made it three top-flight titles in a row after he surprisingly returned to Chelsea for £34m in August 2016, claiming his first Premier League winners' medal.

KYLE WALKER – Tottenham to Manchester City, £50m

When Walker joined Spurs from hometown club Sheffield United for £5m in 2009, few would have guessed he would one day become the most expensive English player in history.

Walker, who in June signed a new long-term deal at the Etihad Stadium, quickly established himself as a key component at the back following his July 2017 arrival and he has won two Premier League titles, two EFL Cups and an FA Cup.

AARON WAN-BISSAKA – Crystal Palace to Manchester United, £50m

Walker now has company as his country's most costly player following fellow right-back Wan-Bissaka's arrival on the other side of Manchester.

Wan-Bissaka fits the mould for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who wants young players to spearhead a revival at Old Trafford, and he made 129 tackles last term, more than any other defender across the top five European leagues.

JOHN STONES – Everton to Manchester City, £47.5m

City have certainly shown a willingness to pay large amounts for English talent, with Stones joining the club from Everton in 2016.

The 25-year-old had a difficult first campaign as Guardiola's side under-performed. His displays have since improved considerably, although he largely spent the final weeks of last season among the substitutes. 

(*Prices are as reported at the time of transfers being completed.)

Andy Robertson felt Manchester City could not handle Liverpool despite edging Sunday's Community Shield with a penalty shoot-out win at Wembley.

Claudio Bravo's save from Georginio Wijnaldum's spot-kick proved the difference as Premier League champions City netted all five of their attempts from 12 yards – Gabriel Jesus beating Brazil team-mate Alisson to seal victory.

Raheem Sterling opened the scoring against his former club to give City a deserved early lead but Jurgen Klopp's side were transformed after the break, with Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah hitting crossbar and post respectively before substitute Joel Matip headed in a 77th-minute equaliser.

Bravo then saved from Naby Keita and Salah before the Egypt star was denied by a remarkable airborne clearance from City full-back Kyle Walker.

"It was just about belief again," Robertson said of the Reds' second-half improvement.

"It was about not thinking you're tired and things like that – breaking through that barrier and putting them under that pressure, which I didn't think we did in the first half.

"We did that in the second half and I don't really think they could deal with us. We were just trying to get the winner."

Walker's clearance evoked memories of John Stones' heroics in similar circumstances as City claimed a pivotal 2-1 win over Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium last season – a result that weighed heavily in the final reckoning of a title race decided by a solitary point.

"It didn't quite fall to us. That's football and I said to Kyle Walker after, I still don't know how he's cleared that off the line," Scotland international Robertson said.

"He's an incredible player, an incredible athlete – that's why.

"We just couldn't get the ball over the line and, if we did, we'd have been quite comfortable, I think."

Liverpool have overseen a quiet transfer window, only bringing in teenagers Sepp van den Berg and Harvey Elliott, but Robertson believes retaining the nucleus of the squad that amassed 97 top-flight points before running out European champions will be key.

The former Hull City man also does not expect City and Liverpool to dart away so far clear of the chasing pack this time around.

"Look, we believe we'll be there or thereabouts again. But I believe the teams that were further behind us last season will be closer," he added, with Liverpool set to open the Premier League season at home to newly promoted Norwich City on Friday.

"I think it will be a lot more competitive but I believe we can compete in this league. We haven't lost anyone, the squad is still the same as it was last season.

"It’s just about us having the same mentality and the same way of playing and same application going into every single game. If it is then we'll see where we are in May."

Manchester City are hopeful Ilkay Gundogan will sign a new deal over the coming weeks to end a lengthy period of uncertainty over the midfielder's future.

Gundogan, who featured as a second-half substitute and scored in Sunday's shoot-out as Manchester City beat Liverpool in the Community Shield on penalties, is out of contract at the end of the 2019-20 campaign.

The Germany international was Pep Guardiola's first signing at City in 2016, although a cruciate knee ligament injury curtailed his debut season at the Etihad Stadium before the turn of the year.

He has since proved a valuable member of the squad that won back-to-back Premier League titles and a domestic treble last term, even if not always a guaranteed starter.

Talks over a contract extension broke down during the second half of last season but Gundogan expressed a willingness to reopen negotiations at the end of City's treble-winning campaign.

Asked if he was thinking of remaining in Manchester after the Community Shield win, he smiled and told reporters: "If you stay patient for another couple of weeks you will know – we will see."

Fresh terms for Gundogan would bring a level of clarity to his City career presently lacking with regards to compatriot Leroy Sane.

Bayern Munich have been linked with a mega-money move for Sane throughout the close season and Guardiola conceded this week that talks over a contract renewal for the 23-year-old had regressed.

"Every situation is different and every situation is individual. Everyone is different and has to take a decision for himself," Gundogan said.

"These kind of decisions sometimes take a little bit of time.

"That's why I already mentioned during last season to stay patient because in the end it's a decision you make for the next few years.

"That's why I was calm and relaxed and I'm still relaxed. It's a comfortable situation for me at the moment."

Sane hobbled down the Wembley tunnel with a knee injury around the time Raheem Sterling gave City a 12th-minute lead against his former club, but the Premier League champions passed up opportunities to extend their advantage and substitute Joel Matip equalised for a much-improved Liverpool during the second half.

Both Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp have decried the lowly status that the English season's traditional curtain raiser has in the eyes of many observers and Gundogan insisted the game he entered with an hour gone certainly did not seem like a warm-up match.

"I never felt it was like a friendly, even last year and in my time in Germany, playing in the Supercup for Dortmund," the 28-year-old added.

"It's not a friendly when there is a trophy included – it’s a competition. When we are part of a competition we are going to try to play our best and try to win it. We won't stop doing that."

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes there are "many contenders" for the Premier League title, including rivals Manchester United.

City will go into the 2019-20 season as favourites to win the league for the third straight year and they edged Liverpool on penalties in the Community Shield on Sunday.

While Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp led their teams clear of the pack last season, Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal in particular have strengthened heading into the new campaign.

Guardiola talked up European champions Liverpool, but said the usual 'Big Six' were in contention – highlighting United's expected signing of England centre-back Harry Maguire from Leicester City.

"I think United with Maguire and the other players they bought, Arsenal as well, Chelsea and Tottenham, they won all of their pre-season so I think there will be many, many contenders this time," he told a news conference on Sunday.

"But I think Liverpool... we were so happy when we realised which team we were going to face for the rest of the season, they are the champions of Europe, that's why I gave a lot of credit to our victory today.

"The way we played, particularly in the first half, and the way we defended, but they are a top-class team. The difference can be one point ahead, one penalty ahead, that is the difference, it's minor.

"Sometimes a call will come on your side, sometimes not, that's why it's good to face them, this is the team we are going to face this season.

"This is how well prepared we have to be until the end to try to win the titles."

Manchester City begin their league campaign at West Ham on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp admitted Liverpool have been "affected" by a tough pre-season after their penalty shoot-out defeat to Manchester City in the Community Shield, but said he was encouraged by the Reds' performance at Wembley.

Liverpool lost three and drew one of their five pre-season friendlies heading into their 1-1 Community Shield draw and subsequent 5-4 shoot-out defeat to City.

The European champions suffered defeats to Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla and Napoli, drew with Sporting CP and beat Lyon during a run that left Klopp with mixed feelings ahead of his side's Premier League season opener against Norwich City on Friday.

Reflecting on Liverpool's performance against City, he said: "I thought they looked pretty hungry. That doesn't mean it will work out but we fought today.

"After all the things that were said about the competition, both teams wanted to win it desperately, I saw that.

"My team is not in doubt about being satisfied or whatever, to stop working or stop running. The character of the team is still incredibly good.

"We had a difficult pre-season but the boys did what they had to do and were affected by it. We played football games against really good teams and that didn't feel too good.

"It was very important we all gave ourselves and our supporters a sign of the performance today. Now let's carry on."

Klopp said his squad to face Norwich would be boosted by the return of vice-captain James Milner, who missed the trip to Wembley due to a muscle strain.

Milner, 33, played a vital role in Liverpool's successes last season, making 31 Premier League appearances and 12 in the Champions League.

The versatile midfielder will rejoin the squad in plenty of time to face Norwich, according to Klopp, who said: "It was a minor muscle injury. I would say he can probably train tomorrow, although I am not 100 per cent sure.

"For today it did not work out, but I think by at least Tuesday he can train."

Police are investigating reports of a violent clash between Liverpool and Manchester City fans before Sunday's Community Shield match at Wembley.

Footage circulated on social media showing a group of men fighting on a London Underground train, with the altercation spilling out onto a platform at Great Portland Street station.

The British Transport Police say no arrests have yet been made and no injuries reported.

A statement confirmed: "BTP officers were called at 2.02pm [on Sunday] following a report of a large fight at Great Portland Street Station, London.

"The fight is reported to have involved football fans. Enquiries into the incident are ongoing. 

"Officers are working to identify those involved and at this time no injuries have been reported to the police.

"No arrests have been made."

City won 5-4 on penalties after the match finished 1-1.

Joel Matip cancelled out Raheem Sterling's opener, but Claudio Bravo saved Georginio Wijnaldum's spot-kick to secure the trophy for Premier League champions City.

Riyad Mahrez missed Manchester City's Community Shield triumph over Liverpool to avoid the risk of failing a doping test, manager Pep Guardiola said.

The Algeria international told Guardiola he was ready to play at Wembley on Sunday despite having only recently returned from Africa Cup of Nations glory in Egypt.

However, the winger was not named in the City squad as he took some medicine for an illness and club doctors could not be certain whether he had inadvertently ingested any banned substances.

Guardiola expects Mahrez to be available when City begin their Premier League title defence against West Ham on Saturday.

"Riyad called me right after being champions with Algeria and told me he wanted to come back in 10 days and play against Liverpool. I said he was more than welcome!" Guardiola told a news conference.

"But we don't know what he took, the medicine, and that's why today doping control was a risk. The doctors didn't [know], so that's why he didn't play.

"A guy who rested less, but could have played some minutes, but we could not take a risk because the doctors didn't have exactly the medicines or what happened, and we did not want to take a risk.

"Hopefully, next game against West Ham and the future, everything will be normal."

City won the Community Shield 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw in London.

Raheem Sterling's goal was cancelled out in normal time by Joel Matip, but Claudio Bravo saved Georginio Wijnaldum's spot-kick to secure the trophy.

Pep Guardiola revealed Manchester City wanted to sign Harry Maguire but were priced out of the race to buy the defender, who is on the verge of joining Manchester United.

Speaking after City's penalty shoot-out victory over Liverpool in the Community Shield, Guardiola congratulated United on the capture of Maguire, who arrived at United's Carrington training complex to complete his transfer from Leicester City on Sunday.

The champions signed Rodri, Angelino and Zack Steffen for a combined £80.8million during the close season, and United are expected to pay £80m for England centre-back Maguire.

Backing City's local rivals to challenge for the Premier League this season with Maguire in their defence, Guardiola told reporters: "Maguire is an excellent, top-class player.

"We were interested but we could not afford it. United could afford it.

"He had an incredible World Cup, he's strong in the air, he's good with the ball in the build-up, he can drive the ball, he's fast, so fast. Congratulations to United.

"At the beginning of the season I think there are five, six contenders [for the title].

"It doesn't matter what happened in the last four, five years [with United]. Always, at the beginning [of the season] they are contenders.

Guardiola gave a positive assessment of an injury to winger Leroy Sane, who lasted just 13 minutes of the Community Shield before suffering an injury.

The Germany international has been linked with a transfer to Bayern Munich in the close season but Guardiola has expressed his desire to keep Sane at the Etihad Stadium.

Asked about Sane's condition, Guardiola replied: "The first impression was not good but I think it's not bad.

"Honestly I don't know, we will wait to see what the doctor says but I think he will be okay."

Jurgen Klopp warned Pep Guardiola and Manchester City that Liverpool know they will challenge for domestic honours this season despite their Community Shield defeat.

City claimed the first trophy of the English season with a 5-4 penalty shoot-out victory at Wembley on Sunday after the 90 minutes ended 1-1.

Raheem Sterling put City ahead against his old club during a first half in which the Premier League champions were the dominant force.

Liverpool were the better side after the break, though, with Joel Matip deservedly heading them level and Mohamed Salah and Xherdan Shaqiri each going close to scoring winning goals.

Claudio Bravo kept them at bay and proved the hero in the shoot-out when he saved from Georginio Wijnaldum, allowing Gabriel Jesus to seal victory.

Liverpool manager Klopp was encouraged by his team's efforts in the second half, though, and believes they have shown City they will push them all the way in 2019-20.

"It was a really good performance, a powerful one in the second half," he told BT Sport. "Both teams had a similar pre-season – I spoke to Kevin de Bruyne after the game and we both said we don't really know where we are yet.

"The least we deserved was the equaliser. One save decided it and I cannot be disappointed. The performance was much more important today than a win. We know we are still here; we can still play proper football.

"In the first half we could have adjusted better, but we had chances as well. In the second half, we changed a few things, we wanted it and, in the end, it was a little bit lucky. Congratulations to City."

Guardiola's side finished just a point ahead of Liverpool at the top of the table last term, and the City boss felt this latest encounter highlighted just how close the two teams are.

"An incredible final from both sides; no team can dominate for 90 minutes," he said. "We had real good moments, in the last 15 minutes we were exhausted, and they had chances to win the game.

"It was a good test for both teams. It's nice for the players to realise what they will face this season. At this level, the difference is nothing: one penalty, one point.

"The first title of the season is in our sights. In the second half, they played more long balls and we didn't win the second balls. We could not control it."

While Sunday's game suggests Liverpool will be City's clear challengers in the title race, Guardiola is not willing to discount the other top sides from closing the gap.

"[Manchester] United will be back, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea...I don't know what will happen," he added.

Gabriel Jesus was standing on the touchline, yet to enter the fray. Sergio Aguero got back in his seat on the bench behind the Brazil forward and Leroy Sane started to hobble from view – perhaps for the last time in a Manchester City shirt.

And yet, despite being momentarily down to 10 men and without those three lavishly gifted attacking allies, Raheem Sterling scored to put his team 1-0 up against Liverpool in the Community Shield – David Silva providing the assist with a cute flick.

It was a moment to show the staggering depth of attacking capabilities at Pep Guardiola's disposal and why – if certain reports are to be believed – Sane has had his head turned by Bayern Munich's interest.

Sane's presence in the City starting line-up was notable given the conjecture over his future, while the abrupt end to his Wembley outing does none of the parties concerned any favours.

The 23-year-old seemed keen to let his football do the talking as he darted on to Sterling's early pass to rattle a shot into the side netting, before running in behind Trent Alexander-Arnold and having a cross blocked.

England right-back Alexander-Arnold had a torrid time of things during the opening exchanges but there was no malice in the foul that left Sane stricken. Indeed it was one of those to file under "innocuous", making the Germany winger's plea for immediate attention all the more concerning.

City then enjoyed their best period of the contest, with Sterling and Bernardo Silva restored to the wide berths they were trusted with ahead of Sane during a flawless title run-in last season.

Even before considering the pull of Bayern for any German player, it makes the appeal obvious. Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery riding off into the sunset mean the Bundesliga kings need a main man. That would be Sane who, for all his gifts, will never enjoy similar status under Guardiola.

As City weigh up whether or not to budge on their asking price, they will do so in the context of title rivalry set to rest on the finest of margins.

Is keeping a potentially unhappy and uncooperative Sane more of a danger than having a squad without his thrilling, game-breaking ability. Pick the wrong side of that equation and Liverpool are likely to capitalise.

Lacking the stifling high-stakes of their Premier League encounters last season, the first half at Wembley was notably looser and – certainly from a Liverpool perspective – more error-strewn.

But, as was the case in the title race, City could not convincingly shake them. Virgil van Dijk clattered the underside of the crossbar, Liverpool suddenly fizzing with a verve to belie their earlier torpor.

Mohamed Salah then hit the post having passed up three earlier chances, while showing Oleksandr Zinchenko left-back duties can be a wretched endeavour on a full-time basis. A weakness spotted, noted and logged.

Any equaliser always felt likely to come at the expense of Zinchenko and Nicolas Otamendi, who were collectively porous on the left of City's back four in the absence of Aymeric Laporte. Joel Matip being the man to exploit the opportunity was a surprise.

Claudio Bravo - also arguably culpable on the goal - saved from Naby Keita and Salah as City ended the 90 minutes smothered in a red rash, barely able to find the respite of the opposition half.

Having the outlet of an explosive, destructive left winger might have helped at that stage. A player with four goals in five Premier League appearances against Liverpool, including a priceless winner last term. Suddenly life without Sane didn't look so good.

As Kyle Walker's remarkable airborne clearance in stoppage time showed – an act eerily reminiscent of John Stones' heart-stopping heroics when the sides met in Manchester in January – there will remain little between these two formidable teams.

Title retained by one point; Community Shield retained by one penalty as Bravo denied Georginio Wijnaldum and City netted a perfect five. Any tweak to this delicate balance will shake English football's new centre of gravity.

City appear to have the ball in their court in the Sane saga. They have to be certain they make the right call.

Manchester City won the Community Shield for the second year in a row after a 5-4 penalty shoot-out defeat of Liverpool following a 1-1 draw at Wembley.

City were the best team in the first 45 minutes even after losing Bayern Munich-linked Leroy Sane to injury, with Raheem Sterling giving them a deserved half-time lead with his first goal against Liverpool in his 11th outing versus his old club.

Jurgen Klopp's side improved after the break, though, and Joel Matip's leveller was just reward for their efforts, as City started to wilt in the warm conditions.

The excellent Claudio Bravo made sure the game went to penalties and proved the hero when he kept out Georginio Wijnaldum's effort, allowing Gabriel Jesus to seal victory.

The blow of losing Sane just 11 minutes in was quickly forgotten as City made the most of the resulting free-kick, Liverpool's offside trap all over the place as David Silva flicked Kevin De Bruyne's cut-back across goal and Sterling forced the ball beyond Alisson.

City were in control but Liverpool could have levelled before the break had Mohamed Salah shown a touch of generosity, the forward clipping the outside of the post from a tight angle and then ballooning a second chance over the bar after a poor Oleksandr Zinchenko header, leaving Roberto Firmino angry not to receive a simple pass.

Guardiola then became the first Premier League manager to be booked on the touchline as he reacted furiously to a challenge from Joe Gomez on David Silva, the City boss suggesting the defender's boot had been dangerously high.

Sterling hit the base of the post - although any goal would have been ruled out for offside - as City started the second half strongly, with Guardiola and Klopp resisting the urge to make the most of the maximum six available substitutions at the break.

Liverpool suddenly threatened a leveller and were twice denied by the woodwork, Virgil van Dijk hitting the base of the crossbar with a half-volley and Salah firing against the foot of the right-hand post from the edge of the box.

Sterling then raced through on Alisson but dithered on the ball and the goalkeeper calmly took it back, and it proved a costly miss, with Matip nodding an equaliser past Bravo after Van Dijk picked him out in the six-yard box.

Bravo prevented Naby Keita and Salah from snatching late winners, and the latter was denied from another glorious chance as Kyle Walker's acrobatic clearance on the goal line forced a shoot-out.

Bravo saved comfortably from Wijnaldum's spot-kick - the only one that was missed - before Jesus confidently swept the ball past Alisson and sparked City celebrations.


What does it mean? Little to split the Premier League's top two

City claimed the bragging rights and were certainly the better side early on, but this was another indicator that their league title crown will come under serious threat this season.

Liverpool have not had a particularly encouraging pre-season and there were similar problems laid bare here. The usually imperious defence looked uneasy, Roberto Firmino is short of sharpness and the place for Divock Origi is not wide on the left.

That said, they outplayed City after the break and really should have won in normal time. They look ready to push Guardiola's men all the way again in the top flight.


Bravo brilliant

City's first choice in pre-season while Ederson had an extended break, Bravo was the only reason Liverpool did not win the game in normal time. He then saved Wijnaldum's penalty to secure the trophy.


Zinchenko unconvincing

Liverpool seemed to target Zinchenko and there were times when it was easy to see why. He was outmuscled by Salah too often, twice headed straight to red shirts within 20 yards of his own goal, and it was his foul that led to the equaliser.


What's next?

City begin their Premier League title defence away to West Ham on Saturday. Liverpool kick off the top-flight season on Friday at home to Norwich City.

Leroy Sane went off injured in the first half of the Community Shield clash between Manchester City and Liverpool on Sunday.

The Germany winger was a surprise starter for Pep Guardiola's side, with speculation persisting over a possible move to Bayern Munich.

Guardiola admitted before the match there had been a setback in contract negotiations with Sane, as some reports suggest the 23-year-old has already agreed terms with Bayern.

Sane was nonetheless used from the start at Wembley in a front three alongside Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva, but was hurt nine minutes in after being fouled by Trent Alexander-Arnold.

He could not continue, having apparently jarred his right knee, and hobbled from the pitch to be replaced by striker Gabriel Jesus.

City took the lead following the free-kick, Sterling scoring from close range against his former club after David Silva flicked the ball into his path.

Leroy Sane was named in Manchester City's starting line-up for the Community Shield against Liverpool despite ongoing speculation linking the Germany international with a move to Bayern Munich.

Sane, who has four goals in five Premier League appearances against Liverpool, will feature in a front three alongside Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling at Wembley, with Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus taking places on the City bench following late returns to training due to their involvement in the Copa America.

Pep Guardiola has regularly stated his desire to keep Sane but conceded on Friday that talks with the 23-year-old over a contract extension had regressed.

Like City's Africa Cup of Nations-winning winger Riyad Mahrez, Liverpool's celebrated front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane all had last season significantly extended by international commitments.

Salah and Firmino both start for the Reds, while Mane is not due to link up with the squad following his break until Monday.

James Milner is not available, the former City midfielder left out as a precaution after complaining of a tight muscle, while Joe Gomez is preferred to Joel Matip alongside Virgil van Dijk at the heart of the defence.

City's record signing Rodri makes his competitive debut in Fernandinho's absence, while Danilo is not part of Guardiola's matchday squad amid reports he will be used as a makeweight in a deal to bring Juventus full-back Joao Cancelo to the Etihad Stadium.

Aymeric Laporte is an injury absentee, meaning John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi start as City's only fit senior centre-backs in front of goalkeeper Claudio Bravo. Teenage defender Eric Garcia is on the bench after long-serving club captain Vincent Kompany departed at the end of last season.

Manchester United and Juventus have been discussing a swap deal involving Paulo Dybala.

However, Tottenham are also interested in the Argentina international.

With the Premier League transfer window to shut on August 8, there is still plenty of twists and turns to come.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS EYE DYBALA AMID UNITED TALKS

Tottenham have made an approach for Juventus star Paulo Dybala, according to SoccerLink.

Dybala is in talks with Manchester United, who have reportedly agreed a deal to send striker Romelu Lukaku to Juventus for the former Palermo forward.

The 25-year-old is reportedly not convinced about joining United and Champions League finalists Tottenham are ready to pounce after manager and fellow Argentinian Mauricio Pochettino tried to convince the player to move to London.

 

ROUND-UP

- The front page of SPORT is dominated by Neymar. The newspaper says Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain are working on a loan deal with a non-mandatory purchase option to unlock negotiations. The new formula could accelerate a transfer.

- Manchester United star Paul Pogba fears being priced out of a move to Real Madrid, according to The Mirror. Madrid are in negotiations to sign Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek as they struggle to prise Pogba away from Old Trafford.

- The Express says Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is eyeing Real Madrid midfielder Isco and Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake. The Premier League champions are reportedly targeting Ake – who is believed to be wanted by Leicester City – as Manchester United close in on Harry Maguire.

- Napoli have entered the race to sign Romelu Lukaku from Manchester United, reports Alfredo Pedulla. However, Lukaku has apparently rejected the offer as he eyes a move to Juventus.

- According to O Jogo, Benfica are plotting a €6million transfer for Partizan Belgrade teenager Strahinja Pavlovic. The 18-year-old defender has been linked with Serie A champions Juventus.

- La Gazzetta dello Sport claims Ligue 1 duo Lyon and Monaco are keen on signing AC Milan attacker Suso.

- Barcelona are close to signing Real Betis full-back Junior Firpo, according to Marca. Mundo Deportivo says the two Spanish clubs have agreed a €25m fee for the 22-year-old.

Manchester City and Liverpool will lead a two-horse race in the Premier League once again in the 2019-20 campaign, Reds icon Graeme Souness believes.

Pep Guardiola's City edged the Premier League title last term, finishing on 98 points – just one more than Liverpool – to defend their crown.

It was a remarkable campaign, with Liverpool setting a new record points total for a side that finished second, their swashbuckling attacking style aided by a new-found defensive shrewdness inspired by Alisson and Virgil van Dijk.

Although the Reds won the Champions League, there was still an air of what might have been domestically, as they lost only once in the top flight.

Liverpool also finished a whopping 27 points ahead of third-placed Chelsea and Souness does not see anyone bridging the gap in this season.

Speaking to Omnisport at Brighton and Hove Pride on behalf of PaddyPower, Souness said: "I think they [Man City and Liverpool] showed last season they're a good bit ahead of anyone else, both of them.

"Man United have obviously strengthened where they needed to, at the back. I suppose United will be hoping Harry Maguire 'does a Virgil van Dijk' and brings them all along, makes everyone feel better about themselves and play better.

"I think Tottenham, they've spent a bit of money, they've been a team threatening for a few years now, they need to make that leap.

"Arsenal I don't see challenging and Chelsea could have a difficult year. They've lost the best player [Eden Hazard] in the Premier League of the last six or seven years.

"He's now gone and he was a scorer and provider of goals for Chelsea, they'll miss him enormously and, given they've this transfer embargo, I think it'll be a difficult year.

"I still see the big two, then the nearest challengers as Spurs. But United, if they get some momentum, they'll take some stopping, because you have to accept they're a very special football club and the support get behind them there."

Liverpool's pre-season has had its problems, as manager Jurgen Klopp has been without numerous key players due to international competitions and they won only once from matches against Lyon, Sevilla, Napoli, Borussia Dortmund and Sporting CP.

Up next before they get the new Premier League season started is the Community Shield against City, though Souness insists – win or lose – it will not be an indicator of how the season will unfold.

"The game [on Sunday] is not about who wins, it's about players getting through the game, getting up to speed for, in Liverpool's case, their game at home to Norwich, Souness added.

"It's about getting them through the pre-season and to the first day [of the campaign] – the first day is everything.

"You think of Liverpool losing it by one point last year, I think it'll be those two [teams at the top] again, it'll be nip and tuck all the way.

"Every single game, every single point is important, but Sunday is not – in terms of a result – important.

"I'm talking from a manager's perspective, saying that, as a player you don't rock up at Wembley and not want to win, you're bang at it. But the priority is getting them that bit fitter."

 

Graeme Souness was talking to Omnisport on behalf of PaddyPower's Come Out and Play campaign and Proud United, a team of LGBTQ footballers from across the United Kingdom working to tackle homophobia in football.

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