Borussia Monchengladbach have signed France Under-21 striker Marcus Thuram from Guingamp.

The 21-year-old – son of World Cup winner and France great Lilian Thuram – has penned a four-year contract with the Bundesliga side for a reported fee of €10million.

Thuram joined Guingamp in 2017 from Sochaux and scored 17 goals in 72 appearances across all competitions for the Ligue 1 outfit.

"We're thrilled to have Marcus on board," said Monchengladbach's sporting director Max Eberl. "He is a fast, robust and dangerous attacker who fits into our squad well. We’re confident that he will make his mark in the Bundesliga."

Ivan Rakitic is keen to remain at Barcelona but admitted he is "open to anything" as he continues to be linked to a move away.

Croatia international Rakitic has two years left on his contract at Camp Nou and has reportedly been offered to Paris Saint-Germain as a potential makeweight in a deal that would send Neymar back to Barca.

Inter are also said to have an interest in the 31-year-old, and although he does not intend to seek out an exit from Barcelona, he suggested he would be willing to consider it in the right circumstances.

"My idea is very clear, I want to stay at Barca. It's a situation I'm used to. It happened to me last year," Rakitic told a news conference ahead of Barcelona's Rakuten Cup meeting with Chelsea on Tuesday.

"I've spoken with the club and the coach and we have the same idea - for me to stay at Barca. We're open to everything, as always, but my intention is to stay.

"I have two more years on my contract and I want to keep enjoying myself at Barca.

"It doesn't annoy me. I know that football works like this and it makes me proud because if other teams want me it's because I'm doing things very well. I'm calm."

Chelsea have sent Ethan Ampadu on a season-long loan to RB Leipzig.

Wales international Ampadu joined Chelsea from Exeter City in 2017 and made his first-team debut in the EFL Cup tie with Nottingham Forest that September.

However, the versatile centre-back made just five appearances in 2018-19 and was left out of the Blues' squad for their tour to Japan, with new coach Frank Lampard confirming the player was set to leave on loan.

Sporting director Markus Krosche revealed Ampadu turned down offers to remain in England, with the 18-year-old seeing Leipzig as the ideal place to continue his development.

"I am very happy to be at RB Leipzig and start the season with the team. I want to get to know the team as quickly as possible and integrate myself," said Ampadu in a statement.

"I've been following the club in recent years and saw how fantastic young players have come to develop here and the potential there is in the club. This is the perfect step for me."

Krosche said: "We are very pleased to have signed Ethan Ampadu on a one-year loan. He is only 18 and already has international experience and can play in both defence and defensive midfield.

"Despite many offers from England, Ethan decided to join us, and now we have another top talent in our ranks that is versatile enough to give our squad even more variation."

Ajax have completed the €15million signing of Edson Alvarez from Club America, helping to address the loss of Matthijs de Ligt.

Club captain De Ligt completed his long-awaited move to Serie A champions Juventus last week, with the Italians paying an initial €75m for the 19-year-old.

Ajax have wasted little time in spending some of that money on 21-year-old Mexico international Alvarez, who has signed a deal that will keep him at the club until June 2024.

The Dutch giants, winners of a domestic double last term as well as reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League, have been busy in the transfer market during the close season.

Alvarez follows Quincy Promes, Lisandro Magallan, Lisandro Martinez and Razvan Marin in signing for Erik ten Hag's squad.

Toby Alderweireld says he expects to start the 2019-20 season as a Tottenham player.

The Belgium international has been linked with a move away from the club during the close season, with Roma reportedly interested in signing the 30-year-old.

Alderweireld, who captained Spurs in their 3-2 International Champions Cup win over Juventus on Sunday, insists he is not looking to leave and is fully focused on the forthcoming Premier League campaign.

"I've always said that I'm focused on Spurs and trying to deliver the job that I need to do," he told reporters after the game in Singapore, which was won courtesy of Harry Kane's spectacular stoppage-time strike from the halfway line.

When asked if he expects to be a Spurs player for the start of the season, he replied: "Yes, that's my focus."

Alderweireld was an integral part of Tottenham's squad last season, making 34 Premier League appearances and featuring 12 times in their run to the Champions League final, where they were ultimately beaten by Liverpool.

He admits that things can change quickly in football but believes manager Maurucio Pochettino is in no doubt about his commitment to the club.

"In football, everything can go quickly but my focus is on Spurs and to be ready for the start of the season," he added.

"The manager knows that I'm committed to the team and to the club. I was made captain, which shows the manager's trust in me."

Antoine Griezmann believes it will be difficult for Barcelona to re-sign Neymar and form a star-studded attack with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

Barca sealed a €120million move for Griezmann this month and are reportedly keen to bring Neymar back from Paris Saint-Germain, who signed him for a world record €222m in August 2017.

The World Cup winner is unwilling to contemplate lining up alongside the Brazilian until a deal is done, with the Catalan giants reportedly offering €100m and two of Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho, Samuel Umtiti, Nelson Semedo, Ivan Rakitic and Malcom in exchange.

Griezmann thinks it will be tricky for Barca to get a move over the line and stated they already have sufficient talent to challenge on multiple fronts.

"We have to get it done first, because it is a difficult transfer," he told Sky Sports.

"But he is a great player, he's had a couple of injuries but is at an incredible level.

"We also have Dembele, Coutinho and Malcom who are also important players for us and let's hope we can achieve great things with them.

"I hope I will have an important role, I want to be an important player for the team and help in whatever way I can.

"As long as I enjoy playing with my team-mates and give it all on the pitch, it doesn't matter."

Gareth Bale's situation at Real Madrid is "unsustainable" and a loan move would be the best solution, according to former club president Ramon Calderon.

Zinedine Zidane announced after the 3-1 International Champions Cup defeat to Bayern Munich that Bale did not play in the pre-season fixture because he was very close to leaving Los Blancos.

Madrid coach Zidane was forthright when discussing the Welshman's future at the Santiago Bernabeu, saying: "We hope he leaves soon, it would be best for everyone."

Bale's former club Tottenham, Manchester United and Bayern Munich have all been linked with a move for the 30-year-old, though the Chinese Super League is believed to be his most likely destination.

Yet Calderon predicted the finances of any exit for Bale will prove difficult to negotiate and said he would favour a temporary departure for the forward, though he acknowledged such an option is unlikely.

"I think it's unsustainable for everyone, for the player, the coach and the club. Zidane discarded him a long time ago. He said he wanted to keep Cristiano [Ronaldo] and to sell Bale [and] the president didn't follow that advice, so that's why he left the club [in May 2018]," Calderon told Sky Sports.

"When he came back he was promised Bale won't be there in the future. Maybe the comments weren't really appropriate, but I think what he showed is he's fed up with the situation. The best thing to do is find a solution.

"No top player, and he's one of them for sure, wants to be on the bench, they want to play. I'm sure he would like to play for Wales and mainly he'd like to be playing, it doesn't matter where [but] I suppose in a big club.

"What is true is that no offers have come. That's another problem. They are talking about Chinese clubs. They have the problem that when paying the transfer fee, with a new rule, you also have to pay the same money to the federation, so that doubles the transfer fee.

"I think in this case the best solution would be a loan, but no one is willing to do that. With the high salary he's got, and also the club trying to get a transfer fee, the solution is very difficult."

On whether Madrid have handled the situation appropriately, Calderon said: "I don't think so.

"When these things happen you have to act quickly. I know one year ago we received an offer of around €100million and we didn't accept it because the president thought that being his star, the one he signed, he should be here and perhaps the manager didn't know how to take advantage of his qualities.

"Maybe it's true, but when you have a coach that says he doesn't want to keep a player you have to look for a solution."

Mario Gotze has held discussions with Borussia Dortmund about extending his contract but revealed he is open to a move abroad.

Attacking midfielder Gotze has one year left on his deal at Signal Iduna Park and has reportedly attracted the interest of Arsenal.

The World Cup winner is considering the potential of joining a club outside Germany despite being in talks over a renewal at Dortmund.

"I am now going into my 10th Bundesliga season, so it's logical foreign countries sometimes play a role in your thoughts," Gotze told Bild.

"As a footballer, you have the privilege of being able to work in almost every country in the world.

"There have already been one or two conversations with BVB. I have one more year on my contract and I am totally relaxed in every aspect."

Dortmund are believed to have spent more than €100million to sign Mats Hummels, Thorgan Hazard, Nico Schulz and Julian Brandt ahead of the 2019-20 season.

However, Gotze warned such expenditure alone will not be enough to overthrow Bayern Munich, who won a seventh straight Bundesliga title last term.

"In the end, what it looks like after the 34th matchday is all that counts. And many new additions do not necessarily mean success," said Gotze.

"If you have ambitions and big goals, you have to buy quality to get better. Money alone, however, is no guarantee of a title."

On his reunion with Hummels, he added: "Mats and I have been through a lot of great things together, things we'll never forget; we've won a World Cup together, celebrated Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal titles.

"But today things are a little different than they were back then. We have a different coach and the team is completely different."

Bayern's only major moves in the transfer market have been to bring in Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard, but Gotze does not think that means they can be discounted as title favourites.

"They are still Bayern Munich. It should not be forgotten that even without a load of new signings, they have a top squad with whom they won two titles last season," he said.

Jasper Cillessen had grown tired of sitting on the bench at Barcelona and does not view his move to Valencia as a backward step.

Valencia shelled out €35million in June to sign Cillessen, who spent three seasons at Barca acting as back-up to Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

The 30-year-old Netherlands international made just 12 appearances in all competitions for the Catalan giants last season and believes the transfer is a positive move for him at this stage of his career.

"I have not had problems with Barcelona or with any team. For me, the most important thing is to play. It's the only reason I'm here," Cillessen told Marca.

"For me to come to Valencia is not a step back. Between being on the bench of Barcelona or playing at Valencia, playing at Valencia is much better. It is easy. It is not a step back.

"When I arrived at Barcelona, Ter Stegen was on a different level than now. And after three years he is one of the best goalkeepers in the world.

"I think we both improved, but it was time for me to leave."

Valencia are reportedly interested in Barca midfielder Rafinha and Cillessen hopes the Brazilian, who has been out of action since November due to a serious left knee injury, follows him in heading to Mestalla.

The Dutchman said of Rafinha: "He is a very good player, he has had very bad luck with injuries. But he is a great player, it would be very important here with this system and for the coach.

"He is my friend and I want him to come here."

Paul Pogba is a positive influence on his Manchester United team-mates and should remain at the club, says Juan Mata.

World Cup winner Pogba announced his desire for a "new challenge somewhere else" in June and has been heavily linked with a transfer to former club Juventus and Real Madrid.

The Frenchman has struggled to live up to expectations since arriving at Old Trafford from Juve in August 2016 for £89million, then a world-record fee.

Pogba was still included in United's squad for their pre-season tour to Australia and Asia, with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hopeful of retaining his services.

Mata also wants Pogba to stay put and help unify the team.

"We all know Paul and he is a fantastic midfielder, and a very good guy, very positive, and a good influence for everyone," said Mata.

"I think he is happy and brings everyone together, but I cannot speak for other people - I speak for myself.

"As a team-mate and a friend I would like him to stay and be happy because he is a very good player for us."

David de Gea looks set to continue his career at United, as he is reportedly ready to sign a six-year contract extension.

"David is the best goalkeeper in the world and one of my best friends so I want him to stay," said Mata.

"On a professional level, it would be great if he stays because he will give us many points over the next season, so I'm very happy if he stays."

Neymar and Gareth Bale have been locked in something of a transfer impasse in recent weeks - but it appears there could be a solution.

According to the Independent, Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar's representatives are trying to push through a deal that would see the Brazil star move to the Santiago Bernabeu, with Bale and money moving the other way.

Manchester United are not thought to be interested in either player, but their pursuit of Harry Maguire may, at last, be coming to an end.

 

TOP STORY - NEYMAR AND BALE PROPOSED IN SWAP DEAL

Neymar is said to be "desperate" to leave Paris Saint-Germain and ideally return to Spain, but his options have so far seemed limited, with Barcelona and Real Madrid either unable or unwilling to stump up for the transfer.

Meanwhile, Gareth Bale has been told by head coach Zinedine Zidane that it would be best for him to leave, but suitors appear hard to come by for the Wales international.

The Independent claims this has prompted some of Neymar's camp to explore the prospect of the forward joining Madrid in a deal involving money and Bale heading to PSG.

The idea is that it would solve some of the concerns around transfer fees that have stalled moves for each player and allow the two teams to sign ready-made stars to replace the ones they are losing.

ROUND-UP:

Manchester United's chase for a centre-back could nearly be over, with the Independent claiming a deal to sign Harry Maguire from Leicester City is "imminent".

Manchester City could yet intervene but, according to the Sun, they would have to sell Nicolas Otamendi or Eliaquim Mangala to afford England international Maguire.

- If Bale does not become part of a Neymar swap deal, he could end up in China – the Mirror claim he has been offered a contract worth £1million per week to join Beijing Guoan.

- Having agreed personal terms, Andre Silva is close to moving to Monaco, which would free up AC Milan to sign Atletico Madrid's Angel Correa, both Sky Sport Italia and Sport Mediaset claim.

Napoli have been chasing James Rodriguez but might now go instead for Lyon captain Nabil Fekir, according to RMC Sport and L'Equipe.

- Another Madrid player tipped for an exit, Dani Ceballos, has been told to choose between Arsenal and Tottenham for his season-long loan, AS say.

- Calciomercato reports Juventus could sell either Merih Demiral or Daniele Rugani following Matthijs de Ligt's arrival. Demiral, who only just arrived from Sassuolo, has been linked to AC Milan. Roma are reportedly interested in Rugani.

Filipe Luis said he hopes Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar returns to LaLiga champions Barcelona for the good of Brazilian football.

Neymar wants to leave Ligue 1 holders PSG, with a move back to former club Barca on the cards two years on from his world-record €222million exit.

Real Madrid are another possible destination for Neymar, whose future is dominating headlines during the off-season.

While Filipe Luis would like to see his Brazil team-mate return to Camp Nou, the former Atletico Madrid full-back acknowledged it will not be easy.

"I want him to finish in Barcelona," Filipe Luis told Cope's Tiempo de Juego program.

"At Barca, Neymar is happy. I want him to enjoy and play next to [Lionel] Messi.

"I hope, for the good of Brazilian football, that Neymar returns to Barca, but I think it will not be easy."

Filipe Luis was speaking having confirmed his departure from Atletico following eight seasons with the LaLiga side.

The 33-year-old – who started his career at Figueirense – is reportedly set to return to Brazil via Flamengo on a free transfer.

It has been a busy off-season for Atletico, who have lost Antoine Griezmann, Lucas Hernandez, Rodri and Diego Godin but signed Joao Felix, Hector Herrera, Marcos Llorente, Kieran Trippier, Felipe and Renan Lodi.

Atletico have also been linked with Real Madrid and Colombia playmaker James Rodriguez, who is wanted by Serie A side Napoli.

Filipe Luis added: "Having a player like James at Atletico would be very interesting, it would not be bad. Whoever comes will help but signing James would be spectacular."

Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri expects the Serie A champions to make more signings before the transfer window closes.

It has been a busy off-season for Juve, who have signed Matthijs de Ligt, Aaron Ramsey, Adrien Rabiot, Luca Pellegrini, Merih Demiral and Gianluigi Buffon.

Juve have also been linked with former midfielder and Manchester United star Paul Pogba, as well as Inter outcast Mauro Icardi.

There is also uncertainty over the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Blaise Matuidi and Mario Mandzukic, and Sarri provided a transfer update following Sunday's International Champions Cup loss to Tottenham.

"I don't want to occupy myself too much on the market because I think that's the right thing to do and because I keep much less of an eye on it than those who are in charge," said Sarri, whose team lost 3-2 to Spurs.

"Maybe there are leagues and players I don't know about. Therefore, it's better to leave it to those who are in charge.

"We have lots of players in certain positions and less in others, but we're talking about a situation where I have seven players in Turin carrying injuries and five who have yet to return from international commitments.

"I think the club, between now and the end of the transfer window, will do something in terms of incomings, but we'll also have to do something in terms of outgoings.

"We have so many players right now that we'll have to keep two or three out of our Champions League squad. We certainly have to do something."

Cristiano Ronaldo was on target at the National Stadium in Singapore, where the five-time Ballon d'Or winner put Juve ahead four minutes after Higuain cancelled out Erik Lamela's opener.

Tottenham, however, stormed back thanks to Lucas Moura and Harry Kane's stunning long-range effort in the 93rd minute.

Discussing Ronaldo, Sarri said: "Cristiano's the best player in this team. Therefore, we must set up the other 10 well defensively. He can play anywhere on the field. He's the best and it's important for him to be free on the pitch."

James Milner's future at Liverpool is uncertain as the veteran revealed he was still waiting to hear about possible contract talks.

Milner is out of contract at the end of the season and could be set for an exit from Anfield, where he arrived on a free transfer in 2015.

The versatile 33-year-old, who helped Liverpool win the Champions League last season, said he had not heard back from the club regarding a possible new deal.

"As it stands, last year we spoke to the club and asked them if they wanted to do something and they said not at that time," Milner told UK media.

"We haven't heard anything since, so that's where we are at.

"All I can do is concentrate on my football and do what I can, but in terms of where I am with my contract, that's what has happened up until now and I haven't heard anything from the club."

Milner has made at least 40 appearances in all competitions in each of his four seasons at Liverpool, including playing 45 times in 2018-19.

The former England international, who has regularly been praised by manager Jurgen Klopp, hopes he can continue performing.

"Everyone pipes on about my age and stuff [and] I understand you are going to get that," Milner said.

"There are three things to it – availability, fitness and performance level. Hopefully I am delivering all three."

Carlo Ancelotti said Napoli are still negotiating a deal to prise James Rodriguez from Real Madrid as Atletico Madrid reportedly circle.

James has been linked with Napoli throughout the transfer window, but a deal reuniting the Colombia star and head coach Ancelotti is yet to materialise.

Atletico have emerged as a possible destination for James amid a deadlock in talks between Napoli and LaLiga giants Madrid.

Asked about Napoli's pursuit of James, Ancelotti told TV Luna: "I'm not aware of a deal with Atletico.

"We're still talking for James, a player that I really like. I'm very attached to James, I rate him very highly and he can certainly improve our team.

"He doesn't need to re-announce himself, he's a great player. But he's not the only player we're openly negotiating for. We're assessing many players."

While negotiations for James drag on, Napoli are close to signing Fenerbahce and Macedonia midfielder Eljif Elmas.

With Amadou Diawara now at Roma and Marko Rog poised for Cagliari, Napoli have turned to the 19-year-old Elmas as Ancelotti's men look to dethrone Serie A champions Juventus in 2019-20.

"We're very close and I hope a deal closes quickly. He's a very interesting player and we're defining the final details," Ancelotti added. "I hope he arrives before we leave Dimaro.

"We were looking for a player skilled at playing between the lines, and Elmas has a lot of quality.

"The squad is already very complete. We have to take a little step at a time. We're very close to the top.

"We'll be happy as of August 31. Napoli are working and nothing is impossible, but then there are the wants of the players or problems with the clubs or agents."

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