Newcastle United have confirmed the appointment of boyhood fan and ex-Sunderland boss Steve Bruce as their new head coach, replacing departed manager Rafael Benitez.

The Magpies had been searching for a new coach since Benitez's departure at the end of his contract last month and they have found their man in Bruce, who leaves Sheffield Wednesday after a short but impressive stint.

The former Manchester United captain was reported to have resigned from his role at Wednesday earlier this week, having confirmed talks with Newcastle.

Bruce's links to rivals Sunderland, where he was manager between 2009 and 2011, may not go down well with supporters who were already organising protests against owner Mike Ashley, but he has signed a three-year deal at St James' Park.

Fleetwood Town manager Joey Barton has been charged with actual bodily harm following an incident at his side's match against Barnsley at Oakwell in April.

South Yorkshire Police (SYP) confirmed Barton, 36, has been bailed to appear before Barnsley Magistrates Court on October 9.

An SYP statement read: "On Saturday 13 April 2019, a man was left with facial injuries after an incident in the club tunnel around 5pm, following the conclusion of Barnsley's match against Fleetwood Town."

Barnsley lodged a formal complaint to the English Football League and Football Association following the incident and assisted with police enquiries.

Barton duly denied allegations he had assaulted Barnsley boss Daniel Stendel.

On April 18, he tweeted: "With regards to the alleged incident on Saturday following our game against Barnsley, I emphatically deny all the allegations made.

"Given this matter has not been formally closed, it would be inappropriate for me to make any further comment."

Barton, who had spells with Manchester City and Newcastle United during his playing career, guided Fleetwood to 11th in League One last season, his first in charge.

Matthijs de Ligt arrived at Juventus' health facility on Wednesday to complete the final formalities of his long-awaited transfer from Ajax.

The Serie A champions published a video to social media of Netherlands defender De Ligt acknowledging fans and posing for photos ahead of his medical.

The 19-year-old flew into Turin on Tuesday to finalise what will reportedly be an €80million move.

Having attracted reported attention from Barcelona, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain, De Ligt - who scored the goal that knocked Juve out of the Champions League last season - settled on Allianz Stadium as his preferred destination and the Italian giants eventually came to an agreement with Ajax.

He is tipped to a sign a five-year deal.

Pending the successful completion of his medical, De Ligt will become the Bianconeri's seventh signing of the close-season.

Free agents Adrien Rabiot and Gianluigi Buffon are among the other players to have signed on since ex-Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri took charge in June.

Barcelona are making moves to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou, but they have work to do.

Neymar, 27, is set to leave Paris Saint-Germain this close season, having told the Ligue 1 champions of his desire for a Parc des Princes exit.

It comes just two years after his world-record €222million move from Barcelona, who are taking steps to bring the Brazil star back.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA OFFER COUTINHO, RAKITIC PLUS €40M FOR NEYMAR

Barcelona have verbally offered Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic, plus €40m, to PSG for Neymar, according to L'Equipe.

The report says PSG are standing firm over Neymar, having paid €222m for the superstar forward two years ago.

There have been contrasting reports about Barca's offer, with others saying it was Ousmane Dembele, not Rakitic, included as part of the deal.

ROUND-UP

- Romelu Lukaku's possible switch from Manchester United to Inter has moved slowly, but the Serie A outfit could be getting closer. According to The Sun, Inter will tell United they will meet their €83m (£75m) asking price if the deal includes bonus payments.

- Atletico Madrid are well and truly rebuilding and their latest addition looks set to be Kieran Trippier. AS say the Tottenham right-back could soon complete a €30m (£27.1m) move to Atletico, while Spurs have enquired about Angel Correa in a potential deal.

- Arsenal have had a quiet close season, but they are still chasing Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos. According to AS, Ceballos is set to join the Premier League outfit on a one-season loan deal.

- Daniele De Rossi was apparently contemplating retirement, but the Roma great could instead be set for a surprise move. Sky Sport say De Rossi is set to accept a short-term deal with Boca Juniors.

- Napoli are struggling to agree a deal with Real Madrid for James Rodriguez and they may turn their attentions to Nicolas Pepe. The Lille forward has been linked with numerous clubs this close season and Gianluca Di Marzio reports Napoli could move for the Ivory Coast international.

- Barcelona are extremely interested in signing Real Betis left-back Junior Firpo, according to Marca. The Spain youth international has reportedly been a target for Liverpool and Manchester United, but Barca are looking at negotiating with Betis over a €50m release clause.

Robert Lewandowski urged Bayern Munich to make more signings if the Bundesliga giants want to remain competitive and win the Champions League.

Bayern head into the 2019-20 season as seven-time reigning Bundesliga holders but without Champions League success since 2013.

The German champions have already signed World Cup-winning French duo Lucas Hernandez (€80million) and Benjamin Pavard (€35m) following the departures of Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, Mats Hummels, Rafinha and James Rodriguez.

But star striker Lewandowski insisted Bayern must splash the cash in their ongoing pursuit of domestic and European glory.

"We have to wait for more transfers to come in," Lewandowski told reporters in Los Angeles on the eve of Wednesday's International Champions Cup game against Arsenal. "It is difficult to win Champions League without new signings.

"To play at that top level, you need certain qualities and a strong team to be competitive. We haven't really done a big transfer in the past two years. We need new signings."

"Everyone knows it's not optimal that we have so few players in the first team right now," the 30-year-old added. "We need more players for the competition in training. I hope something will happen in the next few days."

On recruits Hernandez and Pavard, Lewandowski said: "Players like Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard can only help us. They are versatile, both World champions and ready to play at the top level at Bayern and we can be successful with them."

Lewandowski, who scored 40 goals in all competitions last season, is contracted until 2021 and Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said the Poland international could extend his deal.

"We are in talks," Lewandowski replied when asked about negotiations. "I don't know how long it will take but we are on the right track."

"I feel really well, not only with the team but I also love the city. It doesn't only depend on me, there's other factors," he continued. "We still have to finish our negotiations.

"It's a little too early to say I want to end my career in 2023. If I get this extension, I would like to play longer of course. I still feel young. How long I want to play, I have to figure it out still. I'm not thinking about it now."

Fiorentina opened the International Champions Cup with an entertaining 2-1 win over Guadalajara in Chicago.

Giovanni Simeone and Riccardo Sottil were on target for Vincenzo Montella's Fiorentina in the 2019 ICC curtain-raiser at SeatGeek Stadium on Tuesday.

Scores were level at half-time after Simeone cancelled out Javier Lopez's 25th-minute opener and Guadalajara's Alan Pulido failed to convert a penalty.

But Sottil secured victory for Fiorentina – who ended last season without a win in their final 14 Serie A matches – courtesy of a great solo goal in the 52nd minute.

Italy star Federico Chiesa started on the bench amid growing links with Juventus, while midfielder Jordan Veretout was absent ahead of his reported move to Roma.

It was a lively start by both teams, with Fiorentina's Simeone and Guadalajara's Isaac Brizuela going very close inside the opening 11 minutes.

Guadalajara broke the deadlock against the run of play thanks to Lopez, whose seemingly harmless long-range strike wrongfooting goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski following a deflection.

The Mexican side's lead was short-lived, however, as Simeone's glancing header restored parity for Fiorentina two minutes later and Diego Simeone's son almost put Viola ahead after forcing Jose Rodriguez into a fine save.

Guadalajara had a golden opportunity to restore their advantage 10 minutes before half-time following a contentious handball on Aleksa Terzic, but Alan Pulido's awful penalty was easily saved by Dragowski.

Fiorentina took the lead seven minutes into the second half thanks to a fabulous piece of skill from Sottil, who turned his opponent and curled a shot past Rodriguez after the Guadalajara keeper had denied Marco Benassi from close range.

Dusan Vlahovic came off the bench to replace Simeone and rattled the crossbar with a ferocious effort in the 69th minute as the match finished with a host of substitutions.

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo denied James Rodriguez is poised to join the LaLiga side, adding there have not been negotiations for the Real Madrid midfielder.

Tipped to move to Napoli throughout the off-season, Atletico have reportedly emerged as the favourites to sign James as the Italian outfit and Madrid struggle to reach an agreement.

James is set to leave Madrid following a two-year loan spell at Bayern Munich, who opted not to make the deal permanent at the end of 2018-19.

Asked about Colombia star James, Cerezo told reporters: "Atletico are interested in great players and James is a great player, but from that to he's going to come, there's some distance.

"Negotiations? Not that I know of, no."

Atletico have been busy in the transfer market, breaking a club record to sign Portuguese sensation Joao Felix, while also adding Marcos Llorente, Hector Herrera, Felipe, Renan Lodi and Ivan Saponjic following the departures of stars like Antoine Griezmann, Rodri, Lucas Hernandez and Diego Godin.

Diego Simeone's transfer business is far from over, however, with Tottenham right-back Kieran Trippier and Espanyol defender Mario Hermoso reportedly close to moving to the Spanish capital.

"We've had a few signings and are in negotiations for a few more," Cerezo said. "Negotiations can end well or badly, but there are negotiations.

"Everything's going well, the team is training well, blending in well and very happy at Los Angeles de San Rafael. Now we're waiting for next season with a month left to go."

Juventus will be known as Piemonte Calcio on FIFA 20 due to the Italian's club's new exclusive partnership with Pro Evolution Soccer (PES), EA Sports has confirmed.

The Old Lady jersey was used on the front cover of FIFA 19 with Cristiano Ronaldo, but Konami now have use of official trademarks and intellectual property for the new PES game.

Instead, a club called Piemonte Calcio shall be created in their place on FIFA, using a custom badge and kits across all game modes.

The fictious club will, however, still include Juve's real-world players in FIFA 20 and FIFA Ultimate Team

EA Sports' loss is a result of PES' gain, with the game striking an exclusive "long-term" deal with Juve that will see the club's players recreated via a "full-body 3D scan in order to recreate their likeness in the game as accurately as possible".

eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020, the next edition's official title, will also boast a link-up with Barcelona, whose players have featured on the covers of the past three PES titles, albeit the deal with the Blaugrana is not exclusive.

Among the other PES "partnered clubs" that will be fully licensed - though not exclusive - in the game are: Manchester United, Arsenal, River Plate, Palmeiras, Boca Juniors, Bayern Munich, Flamengo, Sao Paulo, Corinthians, Vasco Da Gama and Colo Colo.

It is not all bad news for EA Sports, however.

Champions League winners Liverpool have struck a "long-term" deal of their own with the FIFA developers, who will become the Reds' "official football simulation game partner".

Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed the signing of defender Abdou Diallo from Borussia Dortmund for a reported €32million fee.

Diallo signed for Dortmund from fellow Bundesliga side Mainz in June 2018 and had an impressive season at Signal Iduna Park, making 28 league appearances.

But with Mats Hummels returning to Dortmund from Bayern Munich, Diallo has been allowed to depart, with Thomas Tuchel going back to his former club to bring in the 23-year-old.

The Frenchman, who came through the academy at Monaco and can play at both centre-back and full-back, has penned a five-year contract at Parc des Princes.

"It is a great honour to be involved with such a prestigious club as Paris Saint-Germain," Diallo said.

"I have always said that the Parisian project was very attractive. Joining the capital club is another important step in my career.

"I am committed to giving my all for my new club and look forward to bringing my qualities and desire to this team renowned for its high quality and high ambitions."

Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed the signing of defender Abdou Diallo from Borussia Dortmund for a reported €32million fee.

Diallo signed for Dortmund from fellow Bundesliga side Mainz in June 2018 and had an impressive season at Signal Iduna Park, making 28 league appearances.

But with Mats Hummels returning to Dortmund, Diallo has been allowed to depart, with Thomas Tuchel going back to his former club to bring in the 23-year-old.

The Frenchman, who can play at both centre-back and full-back, has penned a five-year contract at Parc des Princes.

"It is a great honour to be involved with such a prestigious club as Paris Saint-Germain," Diallo said.

"I have always said that the Parisian project was very attractive. Joining the capital club is another important step in my career.

"I am committed to giving my all for my new club and look forward to bringing my qualities and desire to this team renowned for its high quality and high ambitions."

Barcelona have signed Marc Cucurella from Eibar for €4million just two months after the 20-year-old joined Eibar on a permanent deal.

Cucurella impressed on loan at Ipurua last season, scoring in the 2-2 LaLiga draw with Barca on May 19.

Eibar took up the option to sign him for €2m but Barca inserted a €4m buy-back clause in that deal, which they have now activated.

It remains to be seen whether Cucurella will stay at Camp Nou for 2019-20 or be sold on to raise funds.

Sevilla and Real Betis had been linked with an interest in the player, who can operate both at full-back and as a winger.

Bundesliga clubs Eintracht Frankfurt and Borussia Monchengladbach are also rumoured to have been monitoring the Spain youth international.

Rafael Benitez lost his first match since taking charge of Dalian Yifang on Tuesday as a Paulinho hat-trick inspired Guangzhou Evergrande to a 4-1 win in the Chinese Super League.

Having already overseen two victories, former Newcastle United manager Benitez looked to be heading for a commendable draw before a late collapse at Tianhe Stadium.

Qin Sheng had given Dalian the lead 11 minutes in before Paulinho cancelled that out before the half-hour mark.

The visitors looked set to keep Fabio Cannavaro's side at bay in the closing stages until Paulinho struck again in the 83rd minute, and the former Barcelona man completed his treble with a stylish piece of skill and finish in injury time.

Elkeson added an impudent fourth moments before the final whistle, as Guangzhou claimed a win that puts them a point clear at the top of the table, having played a game more than Beijing Guoan. Dalian, meanwhile, stay in eighth.

Bayern Munich have signed young striker Leon Dajaku from Stuttgart.

The 18-year-old Germany youth international has agreed a four-year contract with the Bundesliga champions.

"We're very happy Leon has chosen Bayern," said Jochen Sauer, head of the FC Bayern Campus.

"We're convinced he will make great progress at Bayern."

Dajaku scored 17 goals in 31 appearances for Stuttgart's Under-19 side last season.

He also played twice in the Bundesliga for the senior side, who were relegated after losing to Union Berlin on away goals in a play-off tie.

Abdou Diallo is close to joining Paris Saint-Germain in a reported €32million move, Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc has confirmed.

Centre-back Diallo joined Dortmund from Mainz last year in a deal said to be worth €28m and made 28 Bundesliga appearances as Lucien Favre's men finished second, but it looks set to be his only campaign at the club.

A Monaco youth product, Diallo had been strongly linked with a return to France with Lyon, but PSG have moved to the front of the queue since their interest became known.

The 23-year-old, a former France Under-21 international, had enjoyed a solid campaign with Dortmund, but Zorc accepts the deal suits them as much as the player.

When asked by Ruhr Nachrichten if Diallo was departing, Zorc said: "That has turned out so.

"Abdou has decided that he wants to take on another challenge and for us it was a good fit, so we agreed to the change."

Diallo will further bolster PSG's centre-back options as the club look to the future, with the Frenchman joining Marquinhos, Thilo Kehrer and Presnel Kimpembe as central defensive options who are all 25 or younger.

After Pablo Sarabia and Ander Herrera, Diallo will be the third new addition to PSG's first-team squad for next season.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says Robert Lewandowski could extend his contract with Bayern Munich and has ruled out a deal to bring back Mario Mandzukic.

Poland striker Lewandowski appeared to be agitating for a move away from the Allianz Arena 12 months ago but was unable to secure an exit.

He went on to score 40 goals last season as Bayern won the domestic double and admitted in March he could see out his career at Bayern after becoming much more settled.

Chairman Rummenigge now hopes Lewandowski will agree to a new contract as he believes the 30-year-old could play for several more years. Lewandowski's current deal covers the next two seasons.

"It's not all wrapped up, but there's already the development with Robert that he feels extremely comfortable with Bayern Munich," Rummenigge said to Bild.

"When you look at his body, this is a player who can easily play at this level for a few more years."

Rummenigge also dismissed talk that former Bayern striker Mandzukic could be brought back to the club from Juventus as support for Lewandowski, saying: "Nothing is planned in that direction."

However, Rummenigge did confirm Bayern remain eager to sign another winger to help fill the void left by Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, who left at the end of last season.

"We still need a winger because we lost two with Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben," said Rummenigge, with Bayern still thought to be interested in Leroy Sane and Ousmane Dembele. "But I don't want to promise anything because there is no point in making big promises."

Rummenigge added he is confident head coach Niko Kovac can make further strides with the club in 2019-20 thanks in part to their impressive strength in depth in defence.

"When I look at our defence, with [David] Alaba, [Lucas] Hernandez, [Niklas] Sule, [Joshua] Kimmich, [Benjamin] Pavard and Jerome [Boateng], where we have to wait and see what's going on with him, I have to say I don't see many better in Europe," he said.

"Also, what we have to offer up front... it's all good. We have a good team and a good squad; the transfer market is not over yet. When the Bundesliga starts, I'm convinced our team will be very focused and motivated to get to work.

"Niko knows we are a club that needs success. We're interested in continuity, in the coaching position as well. I wish him as successful a second season as he had last year, with the double, and perhaps one more round in the Champions League. Everyone would then be very happy with Bayern."

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