Mesut Ozil has claimed his relationship with Arsenal head coach Unai Emery is "really good" despite struggling to maintain form and a starting berth last season.

Ozil became the club's highest-paid player in 2018 after signing a three-year contract extension, but has battled with injury and inconsistency, starting only 20 of the Gunners' 38 Premier League games last term.

But despite continued speculation surrounding his future at the Emirates, the German believes he can play a part in Emery's plans this season and insists he gets on well with the Spaniard.

"I have had a lot of coaches in my career so of course every coach is different and wants something different from you as a player, but of course I had a few injuries before the season started last season so I had a tough time," Ozil said.

"At the end of the day, especially the end of the season I played a lot of games. I have a really good relationship with the coach, so we are speaking a lot and he wants to help me and I want to help the team."

Ozil has appeared in Arsenal's first two pre-season matches of their America tour, with the Gunners' most recent result a 2-1 win against German champions Bayern Munich.

The 30-year-old linked up well with Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang during the game and is feeling health ahead of the 2019-20 season.

"I am really happy," he said. "I am fit.

"We train really hard to be fit for the whole season and are doing our job very well. We work hard together and we showed, especially against Bayern Munich we look very fresh, we played our game and deserved to win.

"We are working hard and as an Arsenal player and Arsenal team we always have goals to win titles, so hopefully we can win titles this season with the team, and let's see what happens at the end of the season."

Jurgen Klopp found Liverpool's Champions League celebrations "absolutely overwhelming" and now "will not think about stopping" in pursuit of further success.

The German boss won his first silverware since becoming Liverpool manager when he guided the Reds to a 2-0 European final win over Tottenham at the end of last season.

That triumph sparked predictably wild celebrations in the stadium in Madrid and back home on Merseyside.

And Klopp admits he was taken aback by the scenes, including on an open-top bus tour, which fed his "greed" for more trophies at Anfield.

"It was absolutely overwhelming," he said. "It was too much to comprehend, one of the best things I've witnessed in my life.

"Everyone tells you it will be something special if you win something with Liverpool and this was proper proof.

"I was thinking, 'Wow, that was brilliant!' then the bus came around the corner and you are like, 'What the heck is that?' I could not imagine the noise.

"We made so much eye contact with so many people - people in their late 60s or early 70s. There was one guy and he was like this: Boom! Boom! and he is shouting, 'I love you!'

"I was like, 'Stop, calm down!' My God. That is only one example of thousands.

"It meant so much to us and obviously meant so much to the people. It was absolutely brilliant. Even now, you wake up in the morning and realise it is still true."

He added: "Nobody should be worried about us being complacent. There are so many reasons for staying greedy. We tried so many things to win and finally it worked out.

"The Champions League is the biggest cup that I see in football apart from the World Cup. Absolutely massive. But you now want to have it all the time.

"Nobody should be worried. Nobody is satisfied and we are not ready to go home. We have won something and got it in our trophy cupboard, but our attitude does not change.

"I couldn't have imagined it when we sang the year before at the funeral party that 'We bring it back to Liverpool' and it would work out. We got there.

"So let's try to get there again next season. We will not even think about stopping."

Steve Bruce has revealed David Beckham backed him in taking the Newcastle United job despite Alan Shearer's doubts.

Boyhood Magpies fan Bruce was appointed as the club's head coach this week, replacing Rafael Benitez, whose popular reign ended as he failed to agree with controversial owner Mike Ashley on a route forward.

Newcastle supporters are set to boycott their first match of the Premier League season amid anger at Ashley, while the arrival of Bruce - a former Sunderland boss - has not gone down well with many.

Club great Shearer, Bruce's friend, was vocal in advising the new man against moving to St James' Park, but ex-Manchester United team-mate Beckham was more positive.

"Tons of them [were positive]," Bruce said of his friends. "'You've got to do it,' people said.

"I don't want to mention names, but David Beckham was one of them. I'll have to show my daughter that text message.

"[Shearer] said 'no, no, no'. I said 'yes, yes, yes'. He's a big friend and he's a big Newcastle fan, but I had no hesitation as soon as I got the phone call.

"When it became real, there was no hesitation. I had to have a crack."

One of Bruce's first tasks at Newcastle will be to settle the future of Sean Longstaff, who is linked with a switch to Old Trafford.

Bruce is adamant Longstaff will not leave amid reports of a £50million valuation.

"[Longstaff] is a player we want to keep, he's had a remarkable rise," the coach said. "He is everything you would want in a player, big and athletic and he handles the ball well.

"We've got to be mindful of the fact he's had a nasty injury, we've got to nurture him through pre-season so he is ready for Arsenal [on the opening day].

"He is the type of player you want to build your team around. I’ve only seen him for a day, but he has had an unbelievable rise. He very much reminds me of a Michael Carrick.

"I'm not aware that he is going to Manchester United, I'm not aware of that at all."

Dimitar Berbatov feels criticism of Manchester United forward Romelu Lukaku is unfair and hopes the Belgian stays at Old Trafford.

Lukaku joined United from Everton in a £75million deal in 2017, scoring 28 goals in 66 Premier League games since then, but his performances have been much maligned.

The former Chelsea man has been heavily linked with a switch to Inter as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer shakes up his United squad ahead of the new season.

But Berbatov, who played under Alex Ferguson for four years at United, would prefer to see Lukaku remain at the club.

"I hope Lukaku is staying because he's a good player and the criticism he's facing is not fair," he told the Straits Times.

However, Berbatov believes United would have the firepower to cope with Lukaku's departure, backing Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford for big seasons.

"I am calm because I like Martial a lot," he said. "I used to play with him in Monaco a lot and I know that he is really good and that he can be even better.

"I like Rashford as well; he can develop and become even better."

Armando Izzo has signed a new contract at Torino, ending speculation he could move to the Premier League.

Arsenal were reportedly interested in the centre-back, who has also been linked with Manchester United and Everton.

But Izzo, who made his first Italy appearance in a Euro 2020 qualifier in March, has instead signed a new five-year deal with Torino.

Speaking last month, the 27-year-old indicated he would commit to the Granata and he is thrilled to have agreed an extension.

"Happy to continue with the Bull, with the same determination we will still face many battles together!!" Izzo wrote on Instagram.

Torino, who finished seventh in Serie A last season, will play in the Europa League in 2019-20 due to AC Milan's ban.

Walter Mazzarri's side face a qualifier against Hungarian outfit Debrecen, with the first leg to be played on Thursday.

Frank Lampard intends to keep Kurt Zouma at Chelsea despite Everton's interest in the defender.

Zouma made 32 Premier League appearances during a loan spell at Goodison Park last term and the Toffees are reportedly keen to seal a permanent deal for the 24-year-old.

But after Zouma started Friday's friendly defeat to Kawasaki Frontale in Yokohama, Lampard said he wants the France international to remain at Stamford Bridge.

"In terms of Kurt Zouma, he's a very good defender for us, very good player, very good person and professional," Lampard told a news conference. 

"I want him here, simple as that. We are competitive with the centre-backs we have in the team and he had a very good season at Everton and I can understand why they want him. He's a Chelsea player and I want him."

Chelsea's transfer ban means they cannot sign new players but Christian Pulisic made his first appearance for the club against Frontale, who won 1-0 thanks to a late Leandro Damiao header.

Kenedy and Mason Mount also featured in the J.League World Challenge clash as Lampard continues to examine his options ahead of the transfer window closing next month.

"In terms of Kenedy, my feeling coming into a big squad with a transfer ban was that I need to assess the players for as long as I can in pre-season to make sure we pick a squad with me having had good eyes on them in training and in games," added Lampard, who coached Mount at Derby County last term.

"I thought Mason's performance was really good and it was a continuation of how he played for me last year and how he's trained for me since last Friday as he's not been with us long, but his energy and his quality…Mason's part of the first-team squad this year and it's time for him."

Pulisic's Blues debut also impressed Lampard, who tasted defeat for the first time in his third game in charge since succeeding Maurizio Sarri.

"He has been here a couple of days really in terms of training, so I have been really impressed," Lampard said of the United States international. "He's comfortable on the ball and I think he should have had a penalty towards the end of the game.

"He wants to try to take people on, he's the sort of player the fans are going to like so we have to give him a little bit of time to adapt slightly. But the way he has trained, the way he has come in with his personality looks great so I am really pleased to have him."

Sean Longstaff has admitted to being flattered by interest from Manchester United following a whirlwind rise to prominence at Newcastle United.

The 21-year-old midfielder broke into the first team at St James' Park in January and made nine promising Premier League appearances before a serious knee injury ended his breakthrough campaign.

Manchester United took note and are reportedly weighing up whether to meet Newcastle's lofty transfer demands.

For his part, midfielder Longstaff is content just to enjoy the ride as he sets out to impress new Magpies head coach Steve Bruce.

"If somebody had said to me a year ago I would be in this position, I would probably have laughed at them," Longstaff told the Chronicle.

"This time last year I was deciding whether to go to League One on loan. A year on, you are seeing your name linked with one of the biggest clubs in the world.

"For me, it is all a positive really. It gives you even more confidence. When I was in [the team] for a short amount of time people took notice of me. It is flattering but my job is at Newcastle.

"The new boss is coming in and it's a clean slate for everybody – including me."

Manchester United have signed Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James since the end of last season and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made no secret of his desire to add further reinforcements.

Longstaff and Leicester City centre-back Harry Maguire are reported to rank highly on the Norwegian's wish-list.

"As I've said and answered a few times, we're working on one or two cases," Solskjaer said in Singapore, where the Red Devils are preparing for an International Champions Cup clash against Inter.

"But obviously my objective now when I'm here is to get ready for the games and training sessions.

"We're working on putting a squad together that can compete. Of course we have some youngsters but we have loads of players that can play and loads of ways we can play."

Frank Lampard tasted defeat for the first time as Chelsea head coach as his side went down 1-0 to Kawasaki Frontale.

After games against Bohemians and St Patrick's Athletic in Ireland, Chelsea headed to Japan for the J.League World Challenge.

But they slipped to a late loss with former Brazil striker Leandro Damiao on target for Kawasaki Frontale.

Next up for the Blues will be Barcelona in Saitama on Tuesday with Lampard's first Premier League game in charge coming against Manchester United on August 11.

Pedro failed to make the most of two opportunities in the first half-hour as Chelsea toiled in humid conditions in Yokohama.

Mason Mount then curled an effort just wide after Lampard made five changes to his side at the half-time interval.

The J.League side continued to keep Chelsea at bay, goalkeeper Shota Arai quickly off his line to deny Kenedy after Ross Barkley's pass split the defence.

David Luiz hit a free-kick into the wall before Olivier Giroud's set piece called Arai into action again, the goalkeeper making a smart save low to his left.

Giroud had a late header saved by Arai and Damiao got above Davide Zappacosta but saw his effort come back off the crossbar in a frantic finale.

There was still time for Kawasaki Frontale to win it at the death, Damiao arriving at the back post to nod beyond Willy Caballero and secure a famous victory.

Antonio Conte feels Romelu Lukaku would be an important signing for Inter as the striker continues to be linked with a move away from Manchester United.

Lukaku is yet to feature for United in pre-season, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer citing fitness issues for his continued absence from the team.

The Belgium international will not play when United take on Inter in the International Champions Cup on Saturday.

With Inter set to sell former captain Mauro Icardi, a new striker is needed at San Siro ahead of the new season.

Conte denied being frustrated at Inter's inability to land Lukaku but accepted the Nerazzurri need attacking reinforcements.

"Lukaku is a player of Manchester United," Inter boss Conte told reporters. "I know him very well from the days when I was coach of Chelsea, but today he is a player of Manchester, this is the truth.

"I like him as a player and I consider him an important element for us to have a good improvement but at the same there is a transfer market.

"We know very well our situation at the moment and we will see what happens but for now Lukaku is a United player.

"For sure it's not easy to play without a striker at the beginning of the season like this. The market is still open."

Inter have confirmed Icardi and Radja Nainggolan will be allowed to leave the club, with Conte backing the club's decision.

"The situation is very clear [with Icardi]," Conte added.."The club was very clear to tell that he is out of Inter’s project and this is the reality in this moment.

"I will play against Manchester United without any strikers. [Nainggolan] is out of the project."

Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku is "not fit" to face suitors Inter in Saturday's pre-season friendly in Singapore, according to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Lukaku has not featured on the pre-season tour of Australia and Asia amid speculation over his future.

Serie A side Inter have identified the Belgium international as a suitable replacement for the unwanted Mauro Icardi, but will reportedly have to pay around £75million to prise him from Old Trafford.

United are yet to provide specific details about the nature of Lukaku's fitness problem, which has been described as minor.

"He is not fit, so he won't be available, no," Solskjaer said ahead of the International Champions Cup clash.

Asked about Lukaku's transfer situation, the Norwegian responded: "I don't have any updates from the last time."

Lukaku's ongoing absence has allowed Anthony Martial to stake a claim for a starting place in attack.

The France international scored from the spot in the 4-0 friendly victory over Leeds United in Perth and Solskjaer remains a keen admirer of the 23-year-old despite his struggles to completely convince in the Premier League.

"Anthony can be a world-class forward," the United manager said.

"I think if you have followed Anthony, the way he has come back to pre-season, his attitude is spot on.

"I think he has always got the quality and talent, so I expect him and Marcus [Rashford] to be even better than last season."

Star goalkeeper David de Gea and left-back Luke Shaw have been cleared to feature against Inter after sitting out the Leeds match.

Pep Guardiola remains hopeful winger Leroy Sane will stay at Manchester City and claims he has not spoken to anyone at Bayern Munich regarding the Germany international.

Bayern are on the lookout for wide players to fill the sizeable void left by Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben with Sane top of their wishlist.

Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and coach Niko Kovac have been vocal in their admiration of the 23-year-old with the former even suggesting the Bundesliga champions are "ready" to make a move should the player express a wish to leave the Etihad Stadium.

Guardiola, speaking ahead of the Asia Trophy clash with Wolves, hinted at dissatisfaction with his former club's public pursuit and outlined his desire to keep Sane in the Premier League.

He told reporters in Shanghai: "For a long time they talk about their interest, but Leroy is our player and hopefully he can stay next season and next season and next season."

Pushed on if he had spoken to anyone at Bayern, Guardiola replied: "No."

City have been relatively quiet in the transfer window so far, with the signing of defensive midfielder Rodri from Atletico Madrid their only major acquisition.

Guardiola said: "We are so happy with the squad we have. I don't know if the players here will stay or if new players will come. But I am delighted with the players we have."

City have been linked with Leicester City's Harry Maguire although it seems Manchester United now lead the race for the England international. Guardiola suggested central defence was an area he was considering strengthening but had options in his squad should a move not materialise.

"There's a chance [of a defender coming in] but I don't know if it will be possible. We [already] have three incredible central defenders and Fernandinho can play in that position," he said.

Salomon Rondon has linked back up with former Newcastle United boss Rafael Benitez after leaving West Brom for Dalian Yifang.

Venezuela striker Rondon joins the Chinese Super League side for an undisclosed fee.

The 29-year-old played under Benitez on loan at Newcastle last season, scoring 12 goals in all competitions.

He previously netted 24 times across three Premier League seasons for West Brom following his arrival from Russian outfit Zenit for a reported £12million in 2015.

The Baggies were relegated to the Championship three years later and Rondon has now left the Hawthorns on a permanent basis.

His new team-mates at Dalian include Yannick Carrasco and Marek Hamsik. 

Mauricio Pochettino has admitted he would have strongly considered leaving Tottenham had they won last season's Champions League final.

Spurs lost 2-0 to Liverpool in Madrid in June, ending the club's bid for a first European Cup.

Tottenham defied expectations by reaching the final but manager Pochettino hinted at the time that returning with the trophy could make for a fitting swansong.

The Argentine has formerly been linked with Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus.

"When you touch glory, sometimes you behave and feel different and the players feel different," Pochettino said.

"The challenge becomes different.

"Of course, maybe with a different result after the final you can think 'okay, maybe it's a moment to step out of the club and give the club the possibility of a really new chapter with a new coaching staff.'

"But I think after the final it was not really great to finish like this. I am not a person to avoid problems or difficult situations.

"I am more on the side of loving a big challenge, a difficult challenge, to rebuild that mentality so it's possible to have a similar season. That excites and motivates me a lot."

Tottenham return to action for the first time since the Champions League final when they face Maurizio Sarri's Juve in a pre-season friendly in Singapore on Sunday.

They will do so with one new arrival, club-record signing Tanguy Ndombele, available, while Christian Eriksen is an outside chance to feature as he recovers from a "small procedure".

Doubts exist over the Denmark international's future but Pochettino will not be lobbying club owner Daniel Levy for reinforcements.

"I told Daniel during the flight from London that I will be happy with the squad that you are going to provide me to work with," he said.

"I'm always happy. That is my nature. I'm a happy man, working with 25 players, and we are going to have 25 players to work with."

Maybe Juventus are not ready to give up on signing Manchester United star Paul Pogba just yet.

Pogba, 26, has been linked with a return to Turin and a move to Real Madrid as he looks for an Old Trafford exit.

But, just as it looked like Juve were struggling and Madrid was the midfielder's most likely destination, that may have changed.

 

TOP STORY – JUVE TO OFFER THREE PLAYERS IN MOVE FOR POGBA

Juventus could offer a fee plus three players in their move for Manchester United star Pogba, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Full-back Joao Cancelo, attacker Douglas Costa and midfielder Blaise Matuidi are the players mentioned for potential moves in the report.

Meanwhile, ESPN FC report Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has told coach Zinedine Zidane that it will be very difficult to sign Pogba this close season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona are still trying to find a way to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou from Paris Saint-Germain. According to Sky Germany, Barca are offering €100million plus two players, having given PSG a list of six that includes Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele, Ivan Rakitic, Nelson Semedo and Malcom. That is up from the earlier offer of €40m plus two players. According to Sport, Barca have made Coutinho and Rakitic priorities to be sold.

- After being linked to Bayern Munich, Callum Hudson-Odoi is set to re-sign with Chelsea. The Daily Mail report the 18-year-old England international will sign a five-year deal worth more than £100,000 per week to stay at Stamford Bridge.

- Giovani Lo Celso apparently wants to join Tottenham, but Spurs are unwilling to meet Real Betis' £60m (€66.8m) asking price, according to The Sun, who say Erik Lamela could be added into a deal. Danny Rose could also reportedly leave Spurs and Sky Sports say PSG are interested in the left-back.

- Arsenal have beaten their north London rivals to the signing of Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba, according to ESPN FC. Arsenal will complete the signing of Saliba for £26.9m (€30m) and loan him back to the Ligue 1 club despite late interest from Spurs, the report says.

- Another reported Arsenal target, Wilfried Zaha, has told Crystal Palace he wants to leave, according to The Sun. Arsenal have reportedly had a £40m bid for the attacker rejected.

- Bayern Munich are ready to meet Celta Vigo midfielder Brais Mendez's €25m release clause, according to Kicker. Mendez, 22, was handed a Spain debut late last year and scored six goals while providing seven assists for Celta in LaLiga in 2018-19.

Jurgen Klopp insisted it was too early for contract talks with Liverpool with three years still remaining on his deal.

The German led the Premier League giants to Champions League success last season and reports suggested he was set to extend his contract, which runs until 2022.

But Klopp, whose side face Borussia Dortmund in a pre-season friendly on Friday, said he was unfazed about a new deal just yet.

"I will not leave before the contract is ending. That is my side. That is why a contract is important," he told a news conference, via The Telegraph.

"We have enough time to make decisions in that department. There is no need to do it now. Three years is really a bit early to be concerned. It is just a contract.

"The owners like what I do. I like what the owners are doing. I love the team, they are brilliant. Melwood is sensational. I'm looking forward to going to [the new training ground in] Kirkby and all these things. There is always a step forward.

"We all want to keep the past and traditions and all that stuff, but there needs to be a step forward. It is important that is our attitude. You cannot make that step in three or four years by making sure that I stay until 2000-and-something. It just makes sure that I will stay until then."

Liverpool lost just one Premier League game last season, earning 97 points but falling short of a first league title since 1990.

Klopp said he was only worried about his team, who have had a quiet transfer window, but also believes champions Manchester City are again favourites.

"[I am] completely focused on Liverpool. Completely," he said.

"It would be great if we could be around Man City again because that's the only possibility to have to pass them because it is already clear they are the big favourite again. No problem with that.

"They have a very good situation, which they showed last year especially after having 100 points in the season before – the greed they showed, the determination they showed, it was just impressive."

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