Ansu Fati has signed an improved contract with Barcelona until June 2022, the LaLiga champions have confirmed.

Under the fresh terms, the 17-year-old attacker's release clause is up from €100million to €170m and it will rise to €400m when he signs full-time professional terms.

Fati joined Barca's academy in 2012 and this season became the youngest LaLiga goalscorer in the club's history.

His second-half equaliser during August's 2-2 draw at Osasuna came with him aged 16 years and 304 days.

"For me, La Masia is the best school in the world," said Fati, who is both the youngest player to start a game at Camp Nou and also represent Barcelona in the Champions League.

"They helped me from the first day I arrived and I am extremely grateful to everyone who works there.

"They are all spectacular. From the first day, I have learned things from everyone. And they have also been there to support me through difficult times.

"Working every day with the best is a dream, and also a reward.

"From now onwards, what I have to do is keep working, even harder than ever, to keep getting chances and carry on enjoying myself. The rest will come after."

Fati, who is also eligible to play for Guinea-Bissau, was granted Spanish citizenship in September – clearing the way for him to represent them at Under-21 level for the first time the following month.

He has two goals in 11 appearances across all competitions in 2019-20, including four starts.

Emmanuel Adebayor left the door open to a Premier League return by saying "anything can happen" following his departure from Turkish Super Lig club Kayserispor.

The 35-year-old striker spent almost three years in Turkey after joining Basaksehir in January 2017, playing for the Istanbul club for two-and-a-half seasons before signing for Kayserispor in August 2019.

He scored two league goals in eight league appearances this term including one in his final game - a 4-1 defeat at Besiktas on Monday.

After the game, he announced his departure, telling reporters: "These are tough decisions and [it] was tough for me. One of the most important decisions of my life.

"I tried to give my energy and will to this team since I arrived. I gave my best but sometimes you have some issues in your personal life.

"You think about your family and have to make decisions about your future. And that decision should be fast. I have decided not to continue my career here. Even though I am leaving physically, my heart will always beat for this team."

Adebayor has strong links with English football, having scored top-flight goals for Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham and Crystal Palace.

His most prolific season in England came in 2007-08 when he scored 24 league goals in 36 Premier League appearances for Arsenal, and he did not rule out a move away from Turkey as he seeks a new club.

"I cannot say that I'm leaving Turkey for good," said Adebayor. "Anything can happen in life.

"I have to rest and spend some time with my family. I had three great years here and I think that the Turkish league is among the best leagues in Europe."

Paul Pogba remains on the sidelines but his club future is at the centre of the rumour mill.

According to a new report, Zinedine Zidane wants the Manchester United midfielder "at all costs".

Links between Pogba and Real Madrid have long been established, but it seems not all in the Spanish capital are keen on the move.

 

TOP STORY – ZIDANE WANTS TO POACH POGBA

Zidane views compatriot Pogba as "the final piece of the puzzle" for Madrid and has implored the club to secure his signature, reports Marca.

The Los Blancos boss reportedly made Pogba's arrival his only demand when he returned to the Santiago Bernabeu in March for a second stint as head coach.

However, Madrid executives are said to be sceptical about splashing at least €120million for a player who would potentially take a first-team spot from the improving Federico Valverde.

Zidane and Pogba had a "chance" encounter in Dubai in October, where the 26-year-old was undergoing warm-weather rehabilitation on his injured ankle.

ROUND-UP

- Paris Saint-Germain have been impressed with Mauro Icardi and will look to tie the on-loan striker to a permanent deal, claims CalcioMercato. The Ligue 1 champions can reportedly land the Inter outcast for €70m.

- Arsenal, West Ham and any other Premier League teams aiming to appoint Rafael Benitez would have to pay £20m to release him from his Dalian Yifang contract, says the Daily Mail.

- Copa Libertadores champions Flamengo could pull the plug on a bid for Gabriel Barbosa after growing frustrated with the forward's reluctance to finalise the arrangement, according to Fox Sports Brazil. 'Gabigol' is on loan from Inter and reportedly coverts a second chance in Europe.

- CalcioMercato reports Milan are plotting to sign PSG left-back Layvin Kurzawa when his contract expires at the end of the season.

- Jose Mourinho's Tottenham hope to capture Norwich City centre-back Ben Godfrey in January for around £25m, reports Football Insider.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has indicated he will return to Serie A, saying he will join a club that "has to win again".

Ibrahimovic, 38, has been heavily linked with a return to former club Milan after confirming his departure from MLS side LA Galaxy last month.

The star striker is set to be back in Serie A and he could end up at San Siro, where he has played for Milan and Inter previously.

"I will go to a club that has to win again, that has to renew its history, which is looking for a challenge against everyone," Ibrahimovic told GQ Italia.

"See you soon in Italy."

Ibrahimovic scored 59 goals in 89 games for Milan between 2010 and 2012, winning a Serie A title and Supercoppa Italiana.

Milan desperately need to add firepower after netting just 13 times in 14 league games this season to sit 11th in the table.

Ibrahimovic, who struck 53 goals in 58 games for the Galaxy, said there were multiple factors when it came to deciding his next club.

"Only in this way will I be able to find the necessary stimuli to surprise you again," he said.

"As a footballer it is not just a matter of choosing a team. There are other factors that must fit in, even in the interests of my family."

Jurgen Klopp has moved to quash reports Liverpool are in line to move for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho in January.

After a stellar season at Klopp's former club Dortmund last term, England winger Sancho has had a more difficult spell in November, taken off in the first half in a 4-0 defeat to Bayern Munich before he started on the bench against Barcelona in a crucial Champions League match.

Under-pressure Dortmund coach Lucien Favre claimed he preferred to select players who are "focused and ready", though Sancho then scored after he was brought on in a 3-1 defeat at Camp Nou.

However, rumours of a return to England for the former Manchester City youngster, who joined Dortmund in 2017, have persisted, with Liverpool the most recent team to be heavily linked.

Dortmund's sporting director Michael Zorc said on Friday that he does not expect Sancho to leave in January, and Klopp insists any speculation of Liverpool moving for the teenager is not surfacing from Merseyside.

"He's a very good player," Klopp said of Sancho in a news conference ahead of Liverpool's derby clash with Everton.

"I have no clue where these kind of things [the rumours] are coming from, but it cannot come from us because we never speak about it.

"If we would be involved, nobody would know about it apart from a person who wouldn't speak about it. There's nothing to say. I know how it sounds, but I cannot change that.

"There's nothing to say about it, which can mean there's absolutely nothing to say about it."

Reports have suggested Dortmund could value Sancho – who has scored seven goals in 19 appearances in all competitions this season – as high as €140million (£120m).

"That's one issue, 100 per cent an issue," Klopp said when asked if Liverpool would be able to afford such a high fee.

Klopp did, however, acknowledge Liverpool, who hold an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League, may attempt to bolster their squad in January.

"We don't speak about it, but we are pretty much always ready to do something if it will help us," he said.

"If not, then not. We will see. I think the summer window is more difficult because of the different moments when it closes in Europe. That makes it really difficult. We will see how that will be in the future. The summer window only hurts the English clubs."

Criticism of veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon irritates Juventus, the club's sporting director Fabio Paratici has admitted.

Buffon was at fault for the concession of Francesco Caputo's goal in Juve's 2-2 draw with Sassuolo on Sunday.

The 41-year-old, who was making his fifth Serie A start of the season, let a tame shot squirm through his grasp following Matthijs de Ligt's panicked clearance.

Maurizio Sarri later absolved Buffon of blame and Paratici felt the Italy legend was deserving of more respect than he has received in some quarters.

"The criticism of Buffon bothers us a lot," Paratici told Sky Sport Italia.

"I always say that Buffon, [Leonardo] Bonucci, [Andrea] Barzagli and [Giorgio] Chiellini are the heroes we have had over the years. They are great people first and then great players. If they have bad days, which happens very rarely, it is proof they are human.

"Buffon is a great goalkeeper, the greatest in the history of football, and above all a great person."

The glaring mistake left Juve trailing early in the second half and a largely poor team performance did not improve until Paulo Dybala's introduction in the 53rd minute.

The Argentina international has been in excellent form in recent weeks and won the penalty from which Cristiano Ronaldo equalised.

Having seemingly been up for sale in the close season, Dybala is now making a case to be granted an improved deal at the Allianz Stadium.

"He is a great player, our number 10 and not by chance," Paratici said. "We are not talking about a renewal, but we will address the matter in due course."

Paratici confirmed outcast attacker Mario Mandzukic could leave the club in January but offered no insights into the futures of Merih Demiral, Daniele Rugani and Emre Can, who have also been linked with moves elsewhere.

Real Madrid have made Fabian Ruiz their top transfer target.

According to reports, "negotiations have accelerated" as the Spanish heavyweights aim to take advantage of the disarray at Napoli.

But the midfielder also has high-profile admirers in England and France.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID STEP UP FABIAN INTEREST

Napoli midfielder Fabian is a man in demand.

Madrid appear to be in pole position, with Cadena SER claiming the Spanish giants are "very serious" about taking the 23-year-old to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Negotiations over a contract extension at Napoli are said to have stopped and the Spain international is reportedly warm to the idea of joining up with Zinedine Zidane's side.

However, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain could look to force a three-way bidding war for the Spain international, who has previously been linked to Barcelona.

ROUND-UP

- Ex-Valencia head coach Marcelino has emerged as a left-field managerial candidate for Arsenal and Everton, according to the Daily Mail. The 54-year-old lost his job at the Mestalla in September following a reported falling out with owner Peter Lim.

- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fears he will be sacked if Manchester United lose their next two games against Tottenham and bitter rivals City, says The Sun.

- Former Premier League striker-turned-reporter Jan Aage Fjortoft claims Liverpool are favourites to land Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho – but the winger will cost the Premier League leaders €130million.

- Chelsea have offered little-used striker Olivier Giroud to Serie A sides Milan and Inter, according to CalcioMercato.

Barcelona are keeping tabs on 16-year-old PSG midfielder Edouard Michut, reports Le Parisien.

Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo has officially been named the best player in Serie A last season, a few hours after Lionel Messi beat him to a record sixth Ballon d'Or crown.

Ronaldo dodged the glitzy Ballon d'Or ceremony in Paris on Monday to instead attend the annual Gran Gala del Calcio in Milan, where he was honoured for his successful maiden campaign with Juve.

He scored 21 league goals in 2018-19 to help the Bianconeri to an eighth successive Scudetto and has six goals in 11 starts this term, despite injury issues curtailing his playing time over the past month.

"It is a proud moment to win this award," Ronaldo said upon collecting the award, which was won by Mauro Icardi, then of Inter, 12 months ago.

"I want to thank my Juventus team-mates. It was my first year in Serie A, a difficult league, and I am very happy. Thank you for voting for me.

"I will now try to repeat what I've done over the next year."

Ronaldo has been struggling with a knee injury in recent weeks and reacted angrily to being hauled off in wins over Lokomotiv Moscow and Milan last month.

However, Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici insisted the Portugal international – who finished third in the Ballon d'Or running behind Messi and Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk – will remain in Turin beyond the end of the campaign.

"This talk makes me smile because there are other problems," Paratici told Sky Sport Italia.

"Ronaldo is ambitious and came to Juventus to prove he is the best here too. We thought he should have won the Ballon d'Or – the rankings are always questionable.

"He will be a Juventus player next season, without a doubt. 

"We must thank him for making himself available to [Maurizio] Sarri, even though he has not been in optimal condition. Having not been able to train properly for a while, it is normal that he is not at his best."

Lautaro Martinez has been linked with a move from Inter to Barcelona but CEO Giuseppe Marotta is not concerned by the transfer speculation.

Martinez scored a first-half double in Inter's 2-1 win over SPAL on Sunday to fire his side to the top of Serie A and take his goals tally for the season to 13 in all competitions.

The 22-year-old's impressive start to his second campaign in San Siro has seen him emerge as a rumoured target for LaLiga champions Barcelona in recent weeks, as they look to identify a long-term heir for the aging Luis Suarez.

Despite Martinez's agent talking up a potential switch to Barca in the past, Marotta is not concerned by the rumours surrounding the Argentina international.


"His contract situation is not compromising," Marotta said at Monday's Serie A assembly. "He is a good boy and is grateful to Inter, so it does not cause a discomfort.

"Inter and Suning [the club's ownership group] aim to grow and you can't do that by giving up your best players. But the market is unpredictable - there is always the will of the player to choose their own destiny. 

"This is not the time to talk about a possible transfer or contract renewal. Lautaro knows very well the trust we have for him."

Eight of Martinez's goals this term have come in Serie A, while strike partner Romelu Lukaku has scored 10 times in the Italian top flight since arriving from Manchester United.

Marotta has hailed the duo's chemistry in attack, with Inter not previously boasting two players with eight or more goals at this stage of the campaign since 2001-02.

"There is the right chemistry between them," he said. "Antonio Conte, a proven winner, knows how to get the best out of them. 

"They are friends off the field and have a great harmony on the pitch."

Inter spent big during the close season to bolster their squad, but Marotta has not ruled out further incoming activity when the transfer window reopens next month.

"We will evaluate the squad because we need to plan for certain situations, and we are lacking in certain areas," he said. 

"At the same time we have to bear in mind what this group has achieved with the guidance of Conte. We look at the window with optimism, but also with realism."

Brescia will allow Mario Balotelli to leave the club for free in January, according to the Serie A club's president Massimo Cellino.

Former Manchester City and Milan striker Balotelli signed for his hometown club Brescia – who sit bottom of Serie A – in August and has scored two goals in eight league appearances.

The 29-year-old, who played in his side's 3-0 defeat to Atalanta on Saturday, has endured a tumultuous return to Italy, with several incidents overshadowing his performances.

In an away Serie A clash with Hellas Verona last month, he kicked a ball into the stands and threatened to walk off the pitch after being subjected to monkey chants by home supporters.

That was followed by a training ground spat with head coach Fabio Grosso, which saw him dropped ahead of the 3-0 loss to Roma on November 24.

In the wake of that incident, Cellino said Balotelli was "black and is working on lightening up, but he is facing troubles". The word 'nero' in Italian means black but can also be used for 'gloomy', as in a person's state of mind.

Cellino concedes Balotelli's time at the club has not gone to plan and says he will not stand in his way if he wants to leave next month.

"Mario is sad because he can't express the game of football," Cellino told Le Iene. "For him to play in Serie A is a big sacrifice; maybe he thought it was simpler. 

"In January he is free to go away for free. Right now, he has to choose the road up or down. He has to convince himself. I don't want him to go away. If he leaves, we have both lost the bet."

Cellino moved to play down his recent remarks about the striker, denying there were any racist undertones.

"I wanted to play it all down, but I did it too much," he added.

"Me, racist? I'm Catholic, I can't be. What did I mean by 'he's clearing himself up'? If you don't like him, does it mean this boy must be cleared up to be accepted?

"I spoke with him, it was not me that offended him. When my joke was put in that way [by the media], I was more worried about Mario than anything else. My comment was manipulated.

"I said b******t, I do jokes too. After Verona, I told him to buy a can of paint, so he will make all these b******s happy. They are a******s that go to the stadium to offend.

"Mario is not a warrior who challenges everyone, it is not so. Mario must make people feel that he's suffering."

Marco Silva may be denied the chance to manage in another Merseyside derby.

Everton chiefs will reportedly begin the week with frank talks over the under-pressure Portuguese's future and could choose to sever ties.

The Toffees are due to head to Anfield on Wednesday, fresh from the late 2-1 loss to Leicester City that left the 42-year-old hanging on by a thread.

 

TOP STORY – SILVA ON CUSP OF EVERTON SACK

After close to a season and a half in charge, Everton boss Silva could be relieved of his duties on Monday.

Various UK newspaper reports indicate his position will be discussed at a meeting of executives two days out from the midweek clash with bitter rivals Liverpool.

Silva took charge in May 2018 and guided the Goodison Park outfit to eighth in his first season, but results have soured this term.

Everton have lost eight of their 14 Premier League fixtures and sit just above the drop zone.

ROUND-UP

- Kylian Mbappe has left Paris Saint-Germain waiting for an answer on contract discussions as he prefers to focus on the season at hand, says TF1 programme Telefoot.

- Serie A champions Juventus have started scouting emerging Brescia centre-back Andrea Cistana and will be closely monitoring his performances in December, according to CalcioMercato.

- Goal-shy Milan are preparing to celebrate their 120th birthday on December 15 and hope to mark the occasion by confirming the capture of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, claims Corriere della Sera. The Rossoneri have scored 13 times in 14 league fixtures this term.

- The English and Irish football associations are set to go ahead with a joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup following an encouraging feasibility study, reports The Times.

- Celtic are tracking 21-year-old Ivorian midfielder Ismaila Soro, says the Daily Record. Soro is contracted to Israeli side Bnei Yehuda.

On-loan star Philippe Coutinho said he would "love" to stay at Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

Coutinho is on a season-long loan deal from LaLiga holders Barcelona, however, the Brazilian is yet to convince in Bavaria.

Since swapping Camp Nou for Allianz Arena, Coutinho has scored three goals in 18 appearances for Bayern.

"I feel really good," said Coutinho. "I'm planning to stay here for a year and focus on the here and now.

"But if everything fits, then I'd love to stay."

Coutinho came off the bench in Bayern's shock Bundesliga loss at home to Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.

It was Hansi Flick's first defeat since replacing Niko Kovac as head coach until the end of the year.

"We understand his way of training and playing well," Coutinho added. "Things are going well because of that.

"Flick makes everyone feel important and we're happy, but we know there's a lot of work to do."

Bayern – fourth in the Bundesliga and four points adrift of leaders Borussia Monchengladbach – face the German pacesetters on Saturday.

Ivan Rakitic is confused by his position at Barcelona, saying he wanted more game time and there was "no better place" than the LaLiga giants.

The Croatia international made just his second league start of the season and first since September in Sunday's 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid.

Rakitic, who has been at Barca since 2014, said he wanted to remain at Camp Nou, if he is playing.

"I do not understand the situation because I want to play. If I can play, there is no better place than Barca," he said, via Marca. 

"I want to enjoy every day and if it can be here, much better."

Rakitic has won four LaLiga titles and a Champions League since joining Barcelona from Sevilla.

The 31-year-old said in November it felt like Barca had taken his ball away, but the midfielder is eager to start delivering for the club again.

"I said that the ball had been taken from me to imply how much I like football," Rakitic said.

"But if I can play, there is no better place than Barca. What I want to do is enjoy, doing my best because I still have a lot to give.

"I have the confidence of my team-mates and if the coach puts me in, I understand that it will also be like that."

Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal is a player many teams would like to sign, according to Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta.

Vidal featured in 13 of Barca's 18 matches this season prior to Sunday's trip to Atletico Madrid, though just four of those appearances have been starts.

The Chile international this week vowed to leave Camp Nou next year should he fail to be given more minutes by Ernesto Valverde, despite having 18 months to run on his contract.

Inter have been tipped to move for Vidal, who worked with Marotta and head coach Antonio Conte at Juventus, but the Nerazzurri chief said his Barcelona deal must be respected.

"He is an important player on the world stage and both Conte and I are tied to him because of our great past together," Marotta told Sky Sport Italia.

"We have great considerations of him. I think a lot of teams would like to sign him, but unfortunately he's at Barcelona. However, thoughts can certainly be made."

Inter beat SPAL 2-1 on Sunday through a Lautaro Martinez brace to leapfrog Juventus at the Serie A summit.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still evaluating his future and is not in negotiations with Milan over a January transfer, according to the Serie A club's director Frederic Massara.

The 38-year-old has been linked with a return the Rossoneri, where he spent two seasons between 2010 and 2012, after leaving Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy.

MLS commissioner Don Garber last month suggested Ibrahimovic is set to rejoin the Milan, but Massara insists talks between the club and the player are not ongoing.

"There is no news on Ibrahimovic, because this is not a negotiation," he told Sky Sport Italia.

"He is evaluating his future. He is on the market, but there are no developments."

Ibrahimovic spent 18 months with the Galaxy and was named in the MLS Best XI in 2018 and 2019 after scoring a combined 53 goals.

Fiorentina, Napoli and Bologna are among the other Italian sides to have been credited with an interest in the ex-Sweden international.

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