Paris Saint-Germain are focused on Kylian Mbappe and Neymar over Cristiano Ronaldo.

Mbappe and Neymar have both been linked with moves away from the Ligue 1 champions, while Ronaldo has reportedly been a target for PSG previously.

PSG seemingly know where their priorities are.

 

TOP STORY – PSG FOCUS ON MBAPPE, NEYMAR OVER RONALDO

PSG would prefer to extend the contracts of Mbappe and Neymar than chase Juventus star Ronaldo, according to ESPN.

Mbappe and Neymar are both coming to the end of their contracts in 2022 and have been linked to Real Madrid and Barcelona respectively.

 

ROUND-UP

- Arsenal are reportedly ready to splash the cash. The Sun says the Premier League side are set to spend £100million on Real Madrid's Dani Ceballos, Atletico Madrid's Thomas Partey and Lille's Gabriel Magalhaes, but must sell at least three players.

- With Eric Garcia set to leave Manchester City, Barcelona are preparing a move. The Sun reports Barca will make a €15.5m (£14m) bid for the defender.

- Will Chelsea find a way to land West Ham star Declan Rice? The Daily Star says Chelsea are looking to raise £65m to land the midfielder.

- Liverpool continue to be linked with moves. The Liverpool Echo reports Watford attacker Ismaila Sarr is on the Premier League champions' shortlist.

- Staying at Anfield and Yahoo reports Liverpool are tracking Vasco da Gama's 18-year-old forward Talles Magno.

- Ryan Sessegnon continues to be linked with a move from Tottenham. The Guardian reports Ajax are interested in Sessegnon on loan.

Chelsea must pull off one of the greatest second-leg comebacks if their Champions League hopes are not to be killed off by Bayern Munich on Saturday.

There has been a spate of stunning salvage jobs in recent seasons that may give hope to Frank Lampard's side, who trail 3-0 from the first leg in London.

Nevertheless, Bayern start as firm favourites to clinch a place in the quarter-finals heading into the clash at the Allianz Arena.

Here is a look at games that may give Blues fans some hope as their team head to Germany.

2019: Liverpool 4-0 Barcelona (4-3 on aggregate)

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool had been well beaten at Camp Nou, with the 3-0 scoreline flattering Barcelona but making the Catalans clear favourites to complete their semi-final task at Anfield.

Liverpool were without injured forwards Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino for the second leg, yet two goals each from Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum saw the hosts defy the odds in sensational style.

Origi had the final word thanks to Trent Alexander-Arnold's quick thinking from a 79th-minute corner.

It meant a Barcelona side boasting Lionel Messi and former Liverpool stars Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez were left devastated, while Klopp's men celebrated reaching the Madrid final.

2019: Real Madrid 1-4 Ajax (5-3 on aggregate)

Despite an impressive display in their 2-1 first-leg defeat, few thought Ajax could turn things around at the Santiago Bernabeu. Madrid's Sergio Ramos certainly did not - he earned a first-leg booking to avoid the risk of a quarter-final ban, earning an extra-game suspension from UEFA in the process.

In the absence of their captain, Madrid capitulated against a fearless and thrilling Ajax. Hakim Ziyech and David Neres put the visitors 2-0 up after only 18 minutes and it was 3-0 just after the hour mark thanks to the inspired Dusan Tadic.

Marco Asensio got a goal back, but Lasse Schone's free-kick beat Thibaut Courtois and sent Madrid crashing out. It was the first time Madrid had ever been knocked out after winning the first leg of a Champions League tie, while Ajax would themselves be stung by a comeback in the semi-finals.

2019: Ajax 2-3 Tottenham (3-3 agg)

Ajax looked certain finalists when they extended their 1-0 first-leg lead to 3-0 in Amsterdam with first-half goals from Matthijs de Ligt and Ziyech.

Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs took inspiration from Liverpool's stunning fightback against Barcelona 24 hours earlier, though, and Lucas Moura stepped up to emerge as their hero.

The Brazilian winger was thrust into a central attacking role and scored an improbable hat-trick in the second half, the vital third goal coming deep into stoppage time, as Spurs won on away goals.

2018: Roma 3-0 Barcelona (4-4 agg)

Barcelona were stunned in the Italian capital as Roma completed one of the most unlikely quarter-final turnarounds.

Eusebio Di Francesco's side came back from a 4-1 first-leg deficit to progress to the last four on away goals after a thrilling 3-0 win in front of their home fans.

Edin Dzeko, Daniele De Rossi and Kostas Manolas secured the 4-4 aggregate draw and sent the Stadio Olimpico into raptures, as Barca fell to pieces.

2017: Barcelona 6-1 Paris Saint-Germain (6-5 agg)

Before their humblings by Roma and Liverpool, Barcelona pulled off an astonishing Champions League comeback of their own, and the greatest so far in terms of the deficit overhauled.

Trailing 4-0 from the first leg of their last-16 tie with PSG, Suarez and Messi scored either side of a Layvin Kurzawa own goal, only for Edinson Cavani to grab what was expected to be the decisive away goal for the visitors.

However, two quickfire Neymar goals against his future club – the second a highly controversial penalty after an apparent Suarez dive – levelled the tie at 5-5.

Then, in the fifth minute of stoppage time, Sergi Roberto struck to create a slice of Champions League history – no side had ever turned around a four-goal first-leg deficit before.

2004: Deportivo La Coruna 4-0 Milan (5-4 agg)

Deportivo were among Spain's major forces just after the turn of the century and one of their finest moments in Europe came in April 2004 when, despite being 4-1 down from the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final with Milan, they stunned the Rossoneri at the Riazor.

Walter Pandiani, Juan Carlos Valeron and Albert Luque had Depor ahead on away goals before half-time, with veteran Fran Gonzalez scoring the fourth to make sure of their passage.

Depor were eliminated by eventual winners Porto in the semi-finals, but this comeback stood as arguably the very best in Champions League history until Barca went one better.

2000: Barcelona 5-1 Chelsea (aet, 6-4 agg)

This is not one Chelsea will remember fondly.

A 3-1 first-leg loss at Stamford Bridge – having trailed 3-0 – had Barca in danger of being on the wrong end of a major Champions League upset prior to Chelsea's Roman Abramovich era, but in the return match the Catalan giants showed their true class.

Tore Andre Flo's 60th-minute goal was sending Chelsea through despite Rivaldo and Luis Figo scoring before the break, but Dani Garcia headed home seven minutes from the end of regulation to force extra time.

Rivaldo atoned for an earlier missed penalty by converting from the spot after Celestine Babayaro was sent off and Patrick Kluivert finished the game off, crushing Chelsea's dreams.

Ajax have confirmed a number of players and staff have had coronavirus after De Telegraaf reported 13 cases for the Eredivisie champions.

According to the newspaper, 13 people from approximately 90 tested were shown to have antibodies against COVID-19 following blood tests conducted in June.

Players and coaches from the Ajax first-team squad, Jong Ajax and staff associated with both teams were tested for antibodies and continue to undergo weekly coronavirus tests.

Ajax's head of communications Miel Brinkhuis told De Telegraaf that these provisions indicate there are no current cases of COVID-19 among Erik ten Hag's squad.

"It is true that a number of players and staff members have had the coronavirus," he said, while declining to confirm the identify or number of cases for legal reasons. 

"I want to emphasise that there is currently no one with corona and - except Andre Onana, who has mild ankle complaints - everyone was present on the training on Tuesday."

In February, Ajax played Madrid-based Getafe in a two-legged Europa League tie, around the time of the first confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Spanish mainland.

Those fixtures represent a possible explanation for the reportedly high number of antibodies found among the Ajax squad.

Ajax are set to begin their bid for a third consecutive Eredivisie title away to Sparta Rotterdam on September 13.

Ten Hag's men were declared champions for 2019-20 when the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) cancelled the season amid the coronavirus pandemic in April.

Bayer Leverkusen will be powerless to resist selling Kai Havertz to Chelsea if the Blues' billionaire owner Roman Abramovich wants the German at Stamford Bridge, according to the Premier League club's former manager Avram Grant.

Havertz, 21, has been a revelation in the Bundesliga ever since making his breakthrough as a 17-year-old in the 2016-17 campaign.

The midfielder, who has been played in an increasingly attack-minded role over the past two years, has scored 29 Bundesliga goals since the start of the 2018-19 campaign, while his haul of 12 this term was added to with six assists.

Already a Germany international, Havertz is widely expected to leave Leverkusen in the coming weeks, with Chelsea said to be his most likely destination.

The financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic, combined with Chelsea's recent deals for Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner, have led to suggestions the club might not be willing to meet Leverkusen's apparent €78million (£70m) asking price.

But Grant, a friend of Abramovich and a former Chelsea manager, thinks the Blues will sign anyone if the owner wants them.

Speaking to Stats Perform News, Grant said: "Abramovich didn't have a problem with money before! When he wants something, he buys it.

"He doesn't do things to save money. Whether they have more or less money, I don't think it's important.

"What I think is important is that they started to use the academy. They spent so much money on it and they didn't give anyone a chance [before]. My policy at Chelsea was that we wanted one third of the squad as under-21 players, because you cannot invest a lot into the academy and not give them a chance.

"Now, not as a policy, they gave them a chance, and Frank has done a great job. Michael Emenalo, a director, was always complaining that we invested a lot of money in them [academy players] but we don't give them a chance.

"When you have a good young player, they can develop a lot and there are a lot of good talents at Chelsea, and we're in a good phase for the coming years.

"With a good signing they can compete with Liverpool or Man City. [Havertz] has the quality. We need to wait and see [if he's the one to bridge the gap]."

The signings of Ziyech and Werner, from Ajax and RB Leipzig respectively, have been widely applauded, particularly given they were both secured well before the conclusion of the season.

But Grant did urge caution, highlighting that many big signings in a short period does not always guarantee success.

"On paper they look like good signings and that they can make the team stronger, but we need to wait and see," Grant said. "We've seen years ago, Tottenham bought a lot of players but they bought too much and many didn't perform well - eventually Harry Redknapp saved them and did a very good job.

"I think you need to be careful when you sign a player, whether they will be good for the squad, but I'm sure they've checked this. It's not only about quality."

Brighton and Hove Albion have signed Netherlands international Joel Veltman from Ajax on a three-year contract.

The defender, who can play at right-back or centre-back, becomes Brighton's latest signing following the arrival of Adam Lallana from Liverpool.

Veltman came through the Ajax academy and played a part in three Eredivisie title triumphs.

The 28-year-old also featured in their run to the 2018-19 Champions League semi-finals, although he has been hampered by injuries over the past two seasons.

Brighton head coach Graham Potter said: "We're delighted to welcome Joel to the club.

"He has terrific experience from his time with Ajax - including the Champions League - and, of course, with the Dutch national team.

"He's an excellent defender who can play at right-back and at centre-half, but he's also comfortable in possession. 

"He is really looking forward to the challenge of playing in the Premier League. We're delighted he is now a Brighton player and we're looking forward to working with him."

Kai Havertz's reported move from Bayer Leverkusen to Chelsea should speed up, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set for a Milan stay.

Chelsea recorded a 2-0 win over Wolves on Sunday to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League and a spot in next season's Champions League.

That result should open the door for the arrival of Havertz – and soon.

 

TOP STORY – HAVERTZ TO CHELSEA SET TO SPEED UP

Chelsea's qualification for the Champions League should see a deal for Leverkusen star Havertz speed up, according to Sport Bild.

Leverkusen are in the Europa League last 16, but reportedly do not insist on keeping the Germany international for the rest of the tournament.

Havertz, 21, has scored 17 goals and provided nine assists in 43 games in all competitions this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Coming out of contract at Milan, Ibrahimovic could be set to extend his stay. CalcioMercato reports the 38-year-old forward is open to accepting a deal worth around €4million, lower than his initial demand of €6m. The report also says Gianluigi Donnarumma, whose deal expires next year, could renew until 2023.

- What's next for Philippe Coutinho? The cover of Sport says the playmaker, who is on loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona, is considering options to join Arsenal, Tottenham or Leicester City.

- Brescia star Sandro Tonali is linked with a big-money move. CalcioMercato says Inter have agreed terms with the Italy international midfielder and are nearing a €35m agreement with Brescia, while Milan are also reportedly interested in the 20-year-old.

- With Dejan Lovren reportedly set for an exit, Liverpool may have found a replacement. Sport Bild reports the Premier League champions have started talks with Schalke to sign 20-year-old centre-back Ozan Kabak.

- With uncertainty over Kepa Arrizabalaga's future at Chelsea, the Premier League club are said to be looking for a new goalkeeper. Voetbal International reports Chelsea and Leverkusen have strong interest in Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana.

- Edinson Cavani may be close to deciding his future. Todofichajes reports the former Paris Saint-Germain striker is close to agreeing a deal with Benfica.

Arsenal may get an opportunity to sign Philippe Coutinho, while Mason Greenwood is set to be rewarded by Manchester United.

Coutinho is expected to leave Barcelona permanently this close season after a loan spell at Bayern Munich.

A stunning swap deal could see the playmaker end up at Emirates Stadium.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA OFFER ARSENAL COUTINHO FOR GUENDOUZI

Barcelona are in talks to send Coutinho to Arsenal in exchange for Matteo Guendouzi, according to Foot Mercato.

Coutinho has struggled to have an impact at Barca, while Guendouzi seems set for an Arsenal exit.

Former Liverpool star Coutinho has been heavily linked with a return to the Premier League.

ROUND-UP

- Greenwood is set to be rewarded for his breakthrough season at Old Trafford. The Mirror reports the forward, who has scored 16 goals this campaign, is set to be offered a new deal to double his wages at Manchester United.

- Ajax defender Nicolas Tagliafico has been linked with a move away. Goal reports Atletico Madrid have joined the race for the Argentina international, who is also said to be a target for Chelsea.

- Manchester City could be set to sign a Brazilian teenager. According to the Daily Mail, City are in talks with Gremio over a £4.5million (€5m) deal for midfielder Diego Rosa.

- Compared to Cristiano Ronaldo, Joelson Fernandes is linked with several European heavyweights. A Bola reports Arsenal are leading the race for the Sporting CP forward, with Barcelona and Juventus also said to be interested.

- West Ham are preparing to make changes. The Sun reports they are open to offers for Manuel Lanzini and Fabian Balbuena ahead of next season.

- Amid apparent interest from the Bundesliga, Timothy Fosu-Mensah is set to be given a chance to earn a new contract at Manchester United, according to The Sun.

Ajax have beaten off reported competition from several Premier League clubs to sign highly rated Ghanaian teenager Mohammed Kudus from Nordsjaelland.

The 19-year-old attacking midfielder is thought to have cost Ajax roughly €9million and has signed a five-year contract.

Kudus came through the Right To Dream academy in Ghana, an organisation set up by former Manchester United scout Tom Vernon in the late 1990s.

Vernon and a group of investors acquired Danish Superliga side Nordsjaelland in 2016, with the view to eventually developing a team made up entirely of academy graduates, and Kudus is one of the early success stories.

Kudus made the move to Nordsjaelland two years after the initial link was established and he proved a big hit, playing 51 league matches across two seasons with the senior side, scoring 14 times.

Eleven of those came in 2019-20, with his form attracting the interest of several of Europe's leading clubs.

But it is Ajax who have taken the plunge, with Kudus potentially seen as a long-term replacement for Hakim Ziyech, who has joined Chelsea.

Kudus, a nominee for the 2020 Golden Boy award, made his senior international debut for Ghana last year and is predicted to have a bright future.

For most of the year, Lautaro Martinez has been tipped to leave Inter for Barcelona.

Barca are eyeing a long-term replacement for veteran forward Luis Suarez, though, the coronavirus pandemic appears to have impacted their transfer plans.

However, a blockbuster move could still be on the cards.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA STILL WANT TO SIGN LAUTARO

Barcelona remain keen on signing Inter star Lautaro Martinez at the end of the season, according to the front page of Tuesday's Mundo Deportivo.

Barca's interest in Martinez is well documented but a transfer has been put on hold as the LaLiga giants re-assess their plans after the Argentina forward's €111million release clause expired at the start of the month.

However, Barca head coach Quique Setien is reportedly considering three options in his pursuit to recruit Martinez.

Ousmane Dembele could be sold to raise funds or a swap deal involving Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic and Samuel Umtiti could be proposed to Inter, while a player plus cash offer including Junior Firpo is the third alternative.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Mirror says Chelsea are ready to swap goalkeepers. Unhappy with the world's most expensive keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, Chelsea are ready to use the Spaniard as a makeweight in a deal to sign Atletico Madrid star Jan Oblak.

Paris Saint-Germain are eyeing in-demand Salzburg sensation Dominik Szoboszlai, reports Tuttosport. The Hungary teenager has been heavily linked to Milan and Napoli, as well as Arsenal.

Ajax are hopeful of keeping star goalkeeper Andre Onana for one more season, claims De Telegraaf. Onana has been linked to the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Barca.

- Journalist Nicolo Schira reports Napoli are confident of reaching an agreement with Lille forward Victor Osimhen. The Nigerian has been tipped to join the Serie A side, who have prepared a five-year contract worth €3.5m per season amid talk of an €80m transfer.

- While Osimhen could arrive, Napoli are set to lose Arkadiusz Milik. Calciomercato claims Italian champions Juventus are interested, while the likes of Atletico, Tottenham and Roma are also keen. Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette is an alternative for Juve, as well as Atletico.

- According to Calciomercato, Edinson Cavani has turned down a move to David Beckham's Inter Miami in MLS. A free agent since leaving PSG, Cavani is reportedly wanted by Roma.

Everton and PSG both want to sign Napoli midfielder Allan, says Calciomercato. Napoli are looking to raise funds.

Manchester City will accelerate their rebuilding plans after having their Champions League ban overturned, claims the Telegraph. Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly – also linked to United, Liverpool and Real Madrid previously – is reportedly high on the list of targets, which includes Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell, Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish and Atletico star Saul Niguez.

Ajax coach Erik ten Hag has resigned himself to losing Nicolas Tagliafico in the next transfer window, while midfielder Donny van de Beek may depart Amsterdam too.

A year ago an Ajax team that reached the Champions League semi-finals - and came within a whisker of making the final - was broken up as Frenkie de Jong was sold to Barcelona and Matthijs de Ligt to Juventus.

Now a few more key figures from that double-winning side of 2018-19 may leave too, with Hakim Ziyech's transfer to Chelsea already confirmed.

Left-back Tagliafico, 27, is the most likely to depart and the Argentina international is thought to be interesting both Chelsea and Arsenal.

Van de Beek, linked to Real Madrid and Manchester United, and goalkeeper Andre Onana are another two Ten Hag fears will exit if the price is right.

"The transfer market will start in August - the top leagues are now being played out, so the money flows are maintained," Ten Hag told Het Parool.

"The market value of players will be slightly depressed, but not much. Based on their performance and ambition, a number of our players also want to make the move abroad. 

"Agreements have been made with Andre Onana, Donny van de Beek and Nicolas Tagliafico, but it remains to be seen whether the market is indeed breaking loose. 

"For Onana and Van de Beek, another year of Ajax could certainly be an option, for Tagliafico it is slightly different because of his age."

Another Ajax youngster on the radar of Europe's major clubs is Sergino Dest.

Bayern Munich have been linked with the Netherlands-born teenage defender, who has already represented the United States at senior level, but Ten Hag would rather the 19-year-old continued to develop with Ajax.

"I can only argue why he should stay," he said.

"I know how it is. If I can't convince him and the right price is paid, I can't rule out going. In general, I say you have to make the step abroad if you are ready for it. If you go too young, there is a chance of failure. 

"The culture and structure in which you grow up is your support. In order to stay upright in another country, in another competition, at the age of 20, you have to do a lot."

Maarten Stekelenburg has signed a short-term extension with Everton but will leave for Ajax at the end of the season.

Veteran goalkeeper Stekelenburg's contract had been set to expire at the end of June, but he will remain at Goodison Park for an extra month after the Premier League's end date was pushed back following the coronavirus-enforced shutdown. 

The 37-year-old, a World Cup runner-up with Netherlands in 2010, has signed a one-year deal with Ajax from August 1 and will leave the Toffees after their final top-flight fixture of 2019-20 against Bournemouth on July 26.

Stekelenburg started his professional career at Ajax in 2002 and won three Eredivisie titles and the KNVB Beker on three occasions during a nine-year spell.

"I am very happy to be able to return to Ajax, the club where it all started for me," Stekelenburg said in a statement.

"As a family we really wanted to go back to the Netherlands this year and I was really only hoping for one club.

"After good conversations with Marc Overmars and Erik ten Hag, it was clear to me. I'm really looking forward to it."

Ajax's director of football Overmars said: "Maarten Stekelenburg is not only a well-known name, but also a goalkeeper we can use here.

"He will be one of the three goalkeepers in the A-team from August. I think he adds quality on the pitch and given his age and experience he is also going to create better balance in our squad."

After stints at Roma, Fulham, Monaco and Southampton, he arrived at Everton in 2016 and has made 26 appearances for the club, primarily serving as back-up to England number one Jordan Pickford.

For so long, Real Madrid have been tipped to sign Kylian Mbappe.

Zinedine Zidane has made no secret of his admiration for the Paris Saint-Germain sensation.

But, Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool could throw a spanner in the works, especially if Sadio Mane departs Merseyside.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL EYEING MBAPPE AMID MANE FEARS

Liverpool are plotting a move for Real Madrid target Kylian Mbappe amid fears over Sadio Mane's future at Anfield, according to The Sun.

Mane is contracted until 2023 but Liverpool are reportedly growing anxious as Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain monitor the situation.

As a result, Liverpool are eyeing PSG star Mbappe and Mane could figure in a swap deal plus £200million (€221m), which could disrupt Madrid's grand plans for the French forward.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport Bild claims Bayern Munich have offered €40m (£36m) for Manchester City star Leroy Sane, who is set to leave the Premier League giants at the end of the season. Meanwhile, the Bundesliga champions are targeting Ajax sensation Sergino Dest. Sport Bild reports the United States international will arrive if they satisfy Ajax's demands, though Bayern are only thinking of a loan deal at the moment.

- It is a race against time for Miralem Pjanic to move to Barcelona. Sport says Barca and Juventus want to reach a deal by the end of June so it can be counted as part of the current season. The proposed deal would likely see Pjanic and Mattia De Sciglio join Barca, with Arthur moving in the opposite direction. However, Arthur is reluctant to swap Barcelona for Turin.

- Sport Bild reports Borussia Dortmund see no reason to sell Manchester United target Jadon Sancho in the off-season unless a club offers over €100m.

Mario Gotze remains in the sights of Milan, reports Calciomercato. Gotze will not renew his expiring contract at Dortmund and is set to leave Signal Iduna Park. Lazio have been linked but Milan are eyeing the German, with Ralf Rangnick reportedly in line to take over in the dugout.

- Napoli have turned down Liverpool's bid for star centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, according to Corriere dello Sport.

- Tuttosport says Juve want Napoli's Arkadiusz Milik to partner superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. Juve are willing to offer Federico Bernardeschi as a makeweight in the deal.

- FC Inter News says Inter have rejected an offer from Marseille for midfielder Joao Mario. The Portuguese has spent the season on loan in Russia via Lokomotiv Moscow.

Manchester United may be getting closer to finding a way to land Ajax star Donny van de Beek.

Van de Beek has been linked to numerous European giants after impressing with the Eredivisie outfit.

United are among them and the Premier League side could be ready to make a sacrifice to bring the Netherlands international to Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD FIND WAY TO LAND VAN DE BEEK

Manchester United will sell Andreas Pereira to bring in Van de Beek, according to the Mirror.

Van de Beek has been linked with the likes of Real Madrid, but United could beat the LaLiga giants to the midfielder.

The 23-year-old has managed double-digits in goals in three straight seasons, netting 10 times in 37 games in 2019-20.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Old Trafford and Manchester United may keep Alexis Sanchez. On loan at Inter this season, Sanchez is contracted at United until 2022 and the Mirror says the Chile international could stay at the club if he accepts a squad role over being first choice.

- Barcelona are said to be struggling to find a suitor for Philippe Coutinho. Marca reports no clubs have made a move for the playmaker so far.

- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is being linked with an Arsenal exit. However, The Sun says the Premier League club are willing to sell Ainsley Maitland-Niles to fund a new contract for Aubameyang, or find the forward's replacement. Aubameyang's deal at Arsenal expires next year.

- Several clubs are reportedly eyeing RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano. Tuttosport says Arsenal are favourites to land the 21-year-old ahead of Milan. Staying at Arsenal and La Gazzetta dello Sport reports Justin Kluivert could join the club from Roma, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan – on loan at the Serie A club this season – heading permanently in the opposite direction.

- Speculation continues around Achraf Hakimi. Marca reports Bayern Munich are keeping an eye on the defender's situation, with the 21-year-old on loan at Borussia Dortmund from Real Madrid this season.

- Juventus could be preparing to sell Aaron Ramsey. The Mirror reports Tottenham are one of several clubs to have been offered the chance to sign the midfielder.

Ajax midfielder Ryan Gravenberch has signed a new contract to keep him at the Eredivisie giants until 2023.

Gravenberch made his first-team debut for Ajax at 16 years and 130 days old in September 2018, breaking Clarence Seedorf's record to become the club's youngest Eredivisie player.

The Netherlands youth international has now made 14 senior appearances at club level in total.

Gravenberch turned 18 last month, although Ajax reportedly initially struggled to tie him down as agent Mino Raiola was said to be offering his client to top Serie A clubs.

However, Ajax confirmed on Thursday they had agreed terms, with Gravenberch - who would have been out of contract in 2021 - penning a three-year deal.

For the first time in a while, there is a genuine and understandable enthusiasm around Manchester United's midfield options.

Bruno Fernandes settled exceptionally quickly following his January move from Sporting CP, Fred has established himself in the team and produced a string of positive performances, Scott McTominay continues to improve and speculation relating to Paul Pogba has gone quiet.

Now there is reportedly increasing confidence of being able to sign Ajax star Donny van de Beek, a key figure in the Dutch side's march to the Champions League semi-finals last year.

The Netherlands international had been heavily linked with Real Madrid, with claims a deal had already been agreed between the club and player, but those reports have since cooled.

There's little doubt Van de Beek would be a fine addition at Old Trafford, but would the fans' ideal midfield trio comprising of Pogba, Fernandes and the 23-year-old be too unbalanced?

More responsibility, greater productivity

One of Van de Beek's biggest strengths is his well-rounded style of play, and it is especially relevant when looking at the roles he has played across the past two seasons.

Last term he was regularly deployed in an attack-minded position ahead of Frenkie de Jong, whereas in 2019-20 he was largely used in a deeper role, helping to fill the void left by his international colleague's departure to Barcelona.

Therefore, if we accept Pogba and Fernandes would automatically fill the first two midfield spots at United, it is likely Van de Beek would be asked to play a deep-lying role if he was to move to Old Trafford.

This certainly did not negatively impact his influence for Ajax in 2019-20, however, even with respect to his attacking output.

Across all competitions, he averaged more touches of the ball (53.5 to 46.7) per game this season, while his touches in the opposition's penalty area also increased from 5.9 to 6.9.

The fact Van de Beek saw more of the ball reflects in his higher passing frequency (up to 38.8 per match from 33.1), and the accuracy of that distribution was 81 per cent, having been at 79 last term.

Understandably he did not average as many shots per game (down from 2.1 to 1.9), but his chance creation increased to 1.8 from 1.6 in 2018-19.

While these were mostly slight changes, it does highlight a suitability for the position – the fact his attacking productivity generally increased, even from a deeper role, speaks volumes for his influence, particularly given Ajax were widely accepted to have been less impressive collectively this term.

The best option for a defensive role?

From a defensive perspective, there were not major changes to Van de Beek's contributions in 2019-20. He still averaged five recoveries, one interception and two tackles per game, while his participation in duels (from 8.0 to 8.4) and duels won (from 4.2 to 4.4) were up slightly in all competitions.

But it is worth remembering Ajax were generally a dominant force in matches – they spent more time with the ball than without it, and Van de Beek's influence was most felt when they were on the attack.

Fred and Nemanja Matic – who also enjoyed something of a resurgence before the season's suspension – would likely be those most threatened by Van de Beek's arrival.

But both can claim a better frequency of interceptions, with Matic averaging 1.2 per Premier League game and Fred 1.4, while they also complete more passes per match – 46 and 53, respectively.

And although Van de Beek's all-action approach serves him well, Matic and Fred both out-do him with respect to average duels; the Serbian is involved in 10 per top-flight game, the Brazilian 12.

While neither boast Van de Beek's effectiveness in attack, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could argue that is not their job if occupying a deep position.

A replacement for Pogba?

While Van de Beek's game was not hurt by operating in a deeper role this term, he is clearly at his most useful when in possession, and he has also been praised for his clinical nature in front of goal.

After all, in the Eredivisie this season his expected goals (xG) was 5.5 but he scored eight times. Similarly, in the Champions League, he got a pair of goals despite his xG being 1.3.

Were United to sign Van de Beek as a deep-lying midfielder whom the defensive burden was on, there is a strong chance the Premier League would not see the best of him. It would be bold to expect a similar attacking output from him in England's top flight if he was also tasked with protecting the defence.

But if he was to be seen as a long-term replacement for Pogba, there is an equally arguable case that United's overall midfield unit could improve with his box-to-box capabilities.

Pogba – who has missed the majority of the 2019-20 season through injury – averaged 1.3 tackles and 0.5 interceptions in his 35 Premier League games last term, which is fewer than Van de Beek. And while people might be correct to point out the World Cup winner is more known for his creativity than his work off the ball, Van de Beek's average chance creation of 1.8 is also better than Pogba's 1.6 in 2018-19.

Either way, it seems likely Van de Beek would be a solid acquisition if United were able to snatch him from the grasp of Madrid – but his well-rounded game could see him pigeonholed and his influence limited.

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