Jadon Sancho has been tipped to swap Borussia Dortmund for Manchester United, but he remains in Germany.

Sancho's valuation has proved a stumbling block for United, who have made the England international their number one transfer target.

United, though, are not giving up hope as they reportedly make one last attempt to sign the 20-year-old.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED SET FOR FINAL SANCHO OFFER

Manchester United will make a take-it-or-leave-it offer for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to the Daily Star and the Mirror.

United have so far been unable to prise Sancho from Dortmund, who refuse to budge on their €120million (£108m) asking price.

But United are preparing a final and non-negotiable £90m (€98m) offer, with £75m (€82m) up front with an additional £15m (€16m) in add-ons.

 

ROUND-UP

- AS reports Real Madrid face competition for Rennes teenager Eduardo Camavinga. Eyeing a move for Camavinga in 2021, Madrid are set to face a battle from Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Bayern Munich.

Kylian Mbappe could be available for around €100m, says L'Equipe. The PSG star, who is reportedly seeking an exit, is wanted by Madrid and Liverpool.

- The Sun claims Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga is set to leave Stamford Bridge on loan following Edouard Mendy's arrival.

- Madrid forward Borja Mayoral has agreed to join Serie A side Roma, reports DiMarzio.

- Alfredo Pedulla says Juventus are weighing up a €60m move for Fiorentina star Federico Chiesa, who has also been linked to Milan.

- If Milan Skriniar leaves for Tottenham, DiMarzio claims Inter could target Schalke star and Liverpool target Ozan Kabak.

- According to Marca, Barcelona are making a late push to sign long-time target and Inter forward Lautaro Martinez following Luis Suarez's switch to Atletico Madrid.

Barca are confident they will sign Ajax full-back Sergino Dest ahead of Bayern, says Fabrizio Romano.

- Romano also reports that Atletico will not negotiate with Arsenal regarding Thomas Partey as they believe he will stay in the Spanish capital.

Hansi Flick thought it was fitting that Javi Martinez was Bayern Munich's unlikely Super Cup hero just a day after he was reported to be re-joining Athletic Bilbao.

Martinez came off the bench in extra time of Thursday's Super Cup against Sevilla in Budapest and five minutes later he headed in the winner in a 2-1 victory that earned Flick's treble-winning side yet more silverware.

It was Martinez's first goal since April 2019 and it may be the last of his eight-year Bayern career as rumours of a return to LaLiga outfit Athletic persist.

The 32-year-old is in the final year of his Bayern deal, and reports suggest the Bundesliga and Champions League holders want a transfer fee for the midfielder despite Athletic's wish to bring him back to Spain on a free transfer.

"Javi scored the goal and won us the game. Sometimes football writes these stories – this is a beautiful one," head coach Flick told Sky.

"On Wednesday there were reports that he was in Bilbao, yet tonight he scored the winning goal."

Martinez also came off the bench to score an extra-time goal in Bayern's previous Super Cup triumph seven years earlier, when they beat Chelsea on penalties.

This time they triumphed inside 120 minutes, having fallen behind to Lucas Ocampos' penalty before Leon Goretzka levelled prior to half-time.

It may not have been as comprehensive as their season-opening 8-0 win over Schalke in the Bundesliga last week, but Flick was nevertheless pleased with his team's staying power.

"It took the first 15 minutes for us to get into the game," Flick said.

"It was great for me to see the team try to pull through with their mentality – and succeed. In the end, my players went through the pain barrier to win."

Ivan Rakitic felt goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was the difference between Bayern Munich and Sevilla in the Super Cup as the Bundesliga champions claimed a 2-1 victory after extra time.

Europa League holders Sevilla led through Lucas Ocampos' penalty in Budapest but were pegged back before half-time through Leon Goretzka's leveller on Thursday.

Sevilla proved obdurate opponents in the second period, though, and substitute Youssef En-Nesyri came close to ending Bayern's 22-game winning run when put through in the 87th minute, only for Neuer to turn his effort behind.

The Germany international made an even better save for the Champions League winners when he flicked a right foot out to divert En-Nesyri's attempt onto the post at the start of extra time, but the Sevilla forward did appear offside.

Bayern substitute Javi Martinez then scored a 104th-minute winner to leave Sevilla midfielder Rakitic lauding the display of Neuer.

"It's disappointing but that's football," the former Barcelona star told Sky Germany.

"We saw tonight how important Neuer is for them. We had two great chances to go ahead but he stopped them. Then we gave away a silly corner and they scored.

"Nevertheless, we can be proud of how we played against the best team in Europe and we feel well prepared for the league season."

Sevilla had been unbeaten since February and certainly performed better than the last LaLiga side that faced Bayern, who thrashed Rakitic's old club Barcelona 8-2 in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Julen Lopetegui's men begin their domestic season on Sunday against newly promoted Cadiz in LaLiga and Sevilla captain Jesus Navas wants them to quickly put this defeat behind them.

"It was a really even game and in the end it was them who were able to score the winner, but we had our chances," he said.

"We had chances and didn't take them. We need to bounce back and carry on."

Joan Jordan thought Sevilla could take heart from the display, though.

"We should be proud," the midfielder claimed. "We played a great game and we could've won. Little details decide these things and it wasn't our day. We fought until the end to win this trophy for Sevilla."

Thomas Muller paid tribute to Bayern Munich's "Mr Super Cup" after Javi Martinez netted the winner against Sevilla.

Martinez headed the decisive goal in Thursday's Super Cup final, securing a 2-1 victory after extra time following first-half goals from Leon Goretzka and Sevilla's Lucas Ocampos.

It was the second time the midfielder has come up with a crucial goal as a substitute in this fixture, having also scored in the 121st minute against Chelsea in 2013 as Bayern reached a penalty shoot-out and won the title.

The familiar circumstances were not lost on Muller or Martinez, who had been on the pitch just shy of five minutes.

Muller told UEFA.com: "We're delighted, it's unbelievable. We're so tired after 120 minutes against Sevilla, a tough opponent.

"We fought hard and showed as a team that we have that winner's mentality, even when we're not at our best.

"Congratulations to the team and to Javi Martínez, our Mr Super Cup."

Martinez made just 24 appearances for Bayern last season without scoring but told Sky Sport: "I always want to give 100 per cent for Bayern and I showed that today.

"Even if I only play 10 or 15 minutes, I try to help the team and I did that today with my goal.

"I'm really happy to win this trophy for a second time. I also scored in 2013, so it's a great night."

The result means it is now 23 wins in a row for Bayern, who have gone 32 games without defeat.

Javi Martinez was Bayern Munich's unlikely hero as the Spaniard came off the bench to head in an extra-time winner in the 2-1 Super Cup victory over Sevilla.

Hansi Flick's treble-winning outfit struggled against a stubborn Sevilla side who had been unbeaten since February – a run that included a record sixth triumph in the Europa League, formerly the UEFA Cup – and the LaLiga side went ahead through Lucas Ocampos' penalty.

Leon Goretzka levelled before half-time but Bayern's run of 22 successive victories would have come to an end had Youssef En-Nesyri not been thwarted by Manuel Neuer in the dying stages of normal time.

But it was fellow substitute Martinez, linked with a return to Athletic Bilbao after eight years in Bavaria, who scored his first goal since April 2019 to earn Bayern yet more silverware.

Bayern opened their 2020-21 season with an 8-0 rout of Schalke but it was Sevilla who struck first through Ocampos' penalty.

Luuk de Jong's cushioned header reached Ivan Rakitic, and the midfielder – back at the club after re-joining from Barcelona – was barged over by David Alaba, with Ocampos outfoxing Neuer from a no-look spot-kick. 

Robert Lewandowski failed to beat Yassine Bounou from a one-on-one as Bayern responded, but he made up for that before half-time, laying the ball back for Goretzka to pick his spot and score the equaliser.

The Champions League winners thought they had the lead within six minutes of the restart after Muller teed up Lewandowski, having initially been presented with the chance himself by the Pole, but VAR spotted Bayern's number nine was offside when first collecting Leroy Sane's pass.

It was one-way traffic thereafter as Bounou denied Serge Gnabry and Diego Carlos blocked the rebound from Sane, who had a goal disallowed himself after Lewandowski was adjudged to have fouled Sergio Escudero in the build-up.

But it was Sevilla who should have won the game in normal time when Jesus Navas released En-Nesyri on a counter-attack, only for Neuer to make the save from an attempt that was too easy to anticipate.

Sevilla had renewed optimism at the start of the additional period, though En-Nesyri looked offside when he aimed an effort at goal that Neuer's right foot diverted onto a post.

And Martinez made him pay five minutes after coming on when he directed a header past Bounou after the goalkeeper could only push Alaba's effort back in front of him.

It is Monday September 28, 1992, and Sevilla's Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan is the location of a media circus rarely seen before or since in the stadium. Bavarian giants Bayern Munich are in town for a hastily arranged friendly.

Aside from the two teams' meeting in the UEFA Super Cup on Thursday and a Champions League quarter-final tie in 2018, this friendly 28 years ago is the only previous occasion in which Sevilla faced their illustrious German visitors.

Yet, Bayern were not the focus of the media attention. No, they were there for the first game of Diego Maradona's return to Spain.

The world's most renowned footballer - formerly of Barcelona - was barely given enough space to take part in the coin toss such was the scrum around him, with microphones and cameras shoved towards his face with little regard by voracious reporters.

 

STILL THE BEST

Maradona, wearing the captain's armband, was making his comeback from a 15-month ban for cocaine use which ultimately ended his love affair with Napoli.

From midfield, the 31-year-old dictated the tempo and stretched Bayern's defence with his imaginative passing. He, Diego Simeone and Rafa Paz combined excellently in the middle, while an understanding with a young Davor Suker showed evidence of promise.

Maradona forced goalkeeper Raimond Aumann into a smart early save before hitting the crossbar with an audacious free-kick from near the corner flag.

Out of shape, unfit and without competitive football in over a year, Maradona was still the best player on the pitch, setting up Suker before also playing a key role in one of Monchu's goals. Sevilla won 3-1.

His weight was mocked by a banner depicting a Maradona caricature whose belly could not be contained by his jersey, but, his "cosmic barrel" physique aside, this was the same player who had astonished with Napoli and Argentina.

 

REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO GOOD

His move to Andalusia meant a reunion with Argentina's 1986 World Cup-winning coach – and close friend – Carlos Bilardo.

Bilardo called the signing a "gift", while Maradona said his "happiness is complete" upon arrival at Seville's San Pablo airport in a striking cerise suit – "I looked a treat," he concluded about his fashion sense.

Having lost Ivan Zamorano to Real Madrid, Sevilla president Luis Cuervas and vice-president Jose Maria del Nido will have been looking on, certain they had pulled off a masterstroke by getting Maradona in as a replacement, reportedly boosting season ticket subscriptions from 26,000 to 40,000.

His performances continued to excite in competitive games and he enjoyed what many consider to be his best display in Spain during an ill-tempered 2-0 win over Real Madrid on December 19.

Madrid, complete with the likes of Manolo Sanchis, Fernando Hierro, Michel and Luis Enrique, simply had no answer as Maradona ran the show. Everything was going as well as it could have, until things – somewhat inevitably – turned ugly in the second half of the season.

 

THE FALLOUT

A dispute over El Diego's juggling of international and club commitments saw the two parties at loggerheads, but things got out of control late in the campaign.

After being given painkilling injections against his will for a persistent injury caused by receiving a kick from an angry Venezuela fan in 1985, Maradona was withdrawn by Bilardo early in the second half of a 1-1 draw with Real Burgos and he blew his top.

"Bilardo, you m***********," he claimed to yell in his coach's direction, with the pair coming to blows a day later, as detailed in the troubled star's autobiography.

What made the situation worse for Maradona was Sevilla's chiefs revealed to him just a few days earlier their plan to offer him a player-coach role after ditching Bilardo. They received a stern refusal in reply, with El Diego not about to betray his friend, but he ultimately felt as though such loyalty was not reciprocated.

Everyone wanted out of the marriage, and Del Nido's public comments about Maradona's fitness proved the final straw.

"That's probably why that w***** Del Nido dared to say I wasn't even fit enough to play table tennis; to make me leave," Maradona wrote in his autobiography. "He knew I wouldn't put up with that kind of stuff. And that's how it happened, that was how my story with Sevilla ended. Badly."

Maradona then missed out on £625,000 worth of unpaid wages as Sevilla withheld payment because he had "not met obligations to the club", bringing a bitter close to a chapter which had promised so much on a thrilling evening against Bayern.

Bayern Munich or Barcelona?

Two of the world's biggest clubs are going head-to-head for Ajax sensation Sergino Dest.

And the club from LaLiga are reportedly favourites to land the teenager.

 

TOP STORY – DEST WANTS BARCA

Ajax full-back Sergino Dest has pushed aside an offer from Bundesliga and Champions League holders Bayern Munich as he looks to join Barcelona, according to Sport.

Bayern and LaLiga giants Barca are both interested in the 19-year-old United States international.

But Dest has his heart set on Barca, where a principle agreement is reportedly in place between the player and Ajax.

 

ROUND-UP

Tottenham and Inter are in talks regarding centre-back Milan Skriniar, reports Sky Sport Italia. Skriniar is wanted by Jose Mourinho's Spurs but the Premier League club are unwilling to match Inter's £55million (€60m) valuation. Benfica's Ruben Dias remains a serious alternative.

- Diario AS claims Real Madrid defender Nacho Fernandez is wanted by Serie A trio Napoli, Roma and Milan.

- The same outlet also reports that Manchester United and Arsenal are two possible destinations for out-of-favour Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti. Former club Lyon, Rennes and Inter have also been linked.

Aston Villa are eyeing Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley on loan, according to the Telegraph. Barkley is down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge.

- Kicker says Barca and Roma have joined Paris Saint-Germain in looking at Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger, who looks set to leave London.

Manchester City are still pursuing Atletico Madrid's Jose Gimenez, says the Daily Star. An alternative to Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly, City's interest in Gimenez could be scuppered as the Uruguay international isolates and recovers from coronavirus.

- Despite already signing Gonzalo Higuain and Blaise Matuidi, Le10 Sport claims David Beckham's Inter Miami remain keen on free agent Edinson Cavani. However, the former PSG forward is still hoping to remain in Europe.

Hansi Flick acknowledged he remains in contact with Mario Gotze after rumours circulated the Germany World Cup winner could return to Bayern Munich.

Gotze spent three years at Bayern between 2013 and 2016, winning the Bundesliga in each season and the DFB-Pokal twice, before returning to Borussia Dortmund.

The attacking midfielder was released at the end of last season, though, after struggling to regain the form that saw him rise through the ranks at Signal Iduna Park.

Flick was assistant to Joachim Low when Gotze scored the winning goal for Germany in the 2014 World Cup final and German publication Bild suggested the Bayern boss is keen on bringing him back to bolster his midfield, an option that has proved attractive as there is no fee involved.

Asked at a news conference prior to Bayern's Super Cup clash with Sevilla about Gotze, Flick replied: "As far as Mario Gotze is concerned, I am still in close contact with players who played in the national team during my time. 

"He went through a difficult phase and we spoke on the phone several times. I appreciate Mario very much and I know where he has his strengths, but he is currently not an issue for us."

Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, a member of the World Cup-winning team, talked up Gotze's qualities.

"Much has been said about it. Mario is a very good player who knows the Bayern environment and I think he said himself that he wanted to win the Champions League," he said. 

"He has ambitious goals and is very ambitious. He's in good shape, even though he wasn't preparing for a team. We'll see where it ends up later. I can only say that Mario Gotze is a good player. "

Flick, who hopes Robert Lewandowski will complete a full training session after taking a knock in the 8-0 hammering of Schalke, was asked how he felt about fans being allowed into the Puskas Arena for the annual European curtain-raiser.

The stadium will have no more than 30 per cent capacity but there were 951 new cases of coronavirus confirmed in Hungary over the past 24 hours.

"In Munich I almost live in a corona hotspot, so not too much has changed. No, we came to play football, decisions are made elsewhere," Flick added. 

"We're here to play football and we aim to win the Super Cup. We know that we can win these games. 

"I'm a coach, I'm not an advisor for things like that. I hope I have the right advice for my players. Everything else should be done by others."

First Juventus, now Atletico Madrid.

For so long, Luis Suarez appeared set to leave Spain for Italy.

But a proposed move to Juve did not materialise as the Barcelona forward stands on the cusp of uniting with Diego Simeone in the Spanish capital.

 

TOP STORY – SUAREZ TO JOIN ATLETICO

Luis Suarez will swap Barcelona for LaLiga rivals Atletico Madrid, according to widespread reports in Spain.

Suarez had been tipped to join Serie A champions Juventus after being told he could leave Camp Nou.

But the 33-year-old Uruguay international forward will now sign a two-year deal with Atletico as he dominates the front pages of Wednesday's Marca, Diario AS and Mundo Deportivo.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United have progressed talks with Barca regarding forward Ousmane Dembele, Record Sport reports. Having so far failed to prise Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, United are eyeing an initial loan move for Dembele.

- Esport3 claims Barca are set to sign Ajax right-back Sergino Dest, who was also wanted by Bayern Munich.

Milan have offered €20million for Nikola Milenkovic but Fiorentina have said no, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. Celtic's Kristoffer Ajer and Schalke centre-back Matija Nastasic are also options for the Rossoneri.

- Tuttosport claims Wolves are circling Juventus winger Douglas Costa, who has also been linked to United.

Fulham and Newcastle United have entered the race to sign Napoli forward Arkadiusz Milik, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. Tottenham have also been linked to the Poland international, while Roma are believed to be in talks as Milik enters the final year of his Napoli contract.

- Sky Sport Italia says Tottenham have opened talks for Inter defender Milan Skriniar, while Benfica's Ruben Dias is another option for Spurs.

- Torino are battling Atletico for Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira, according to Sportitalia. The former Sampdoria star has also been linked to Milan.

- Telefoot says Paris Saint-Germain are in talks with Chelsea over the possible signing of midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko. Discussions with Milan over a return have become complicated and PSG are now eyeing an initial loan deal for the former Monaco star.

Andrea Pirlo was untouchable at the height of his playing career, a footballer whose grace and prowling presence drew widespread admiration and struck fear into rival teams.

As a coach, we can surmise but really it is a guessing game as to what we will be getting from Pirlo as the dugout rookie leads Juventus into the 2020-21 season.

On Sunday evening in Italy, the man who was a World Cup winner in 2006 takes charge of his first Serie A game with Juve, who play Sampdoria in Turin.

Maurizio Sarri's Juve reign lasted just one season, albeit another Scudetto-yielding campaign for the most successful club in the league's history. Pirlo will be expected to deliver at least that level of success, and encourage a swagger too.

He joins a host of significant former players plucked for leadership roles at an elite level, typically on a hunch rooted in familiarity, the chosen ones often still fresh from their playing days and with scant experience to call on. Top marks in coaching exams provide no guarantee that success will follow.

Many times, the gamble on a colt coach has paid off, with presidents and owners rightly sensing the novice harbours the innate expertise to lead and to inspire, and crucially to bring results. On other occasions, it has ended in frustration and tears, and in some instances the jury remains out.

Here is a look at just some of those cases, illustrating how there are no guarantees attached to such appointments.

PEP GUARDIOLA

The go-to example for any club that wishes to justify appointing a club legend to sudden seniority on the coaching side, former midfield general Guardiola was just 37 when he took charge at Barcelona in 2008, after a year coaching the B team. He departed four years and 14 trophies later, including three LaLiga titles and two Champions League triumphs, and was vaunted as the world's best coach.

Further successes have come with Bayern Munich and Manchester City. Plainly, Pep was born to lead and Barcelona were wise to the fact.

ZINEDINE ZIDANE

How would Zidane, the mercurial playmaker – the only rival to Brazil striker Ronaldo when assessing the greatest player of their generation – take to coaching? Could the erstwhile Galactico tease out the best from those who can but dream of matching the twinkling feet and god-gifted balance with which he was blessed? Could the former Real Madrid maestro really be a suitable fit for the Bernabeu job that has swallowed up many an experienced coach?

Three Champions Leagues and two LaLiga titles later, we probably have a decent idea of the answer to those questions. There have still been ups and downs, and a brief split along the way, but 18 months in charge of Madrid's B team – Castilla – hardened Zidane for the obstacles he would face in the top job. His Madrid sides have at times lacked the verve that was his signature as a player, but they have delivered results and abundant trophies, and ultimately that is what counts.

MICHEL PLATINI

Before there was Zidane, France had Platini. A wonder of an attacking midfielder with Nancy, Saint-Etienne and Juventus, Platini was also a goalscoring titan of the France team that won Euro 84 and reached semi-finals at the 1982 and 1986 World Cups. It followed, to those that knew him, that Platini would go on to become a great national-team coach too, and at the age of 33 he was appointed to lead France, having retired as a player a year earlier. Platini took over with France already at a low ebb and defeats under his charge against Yugoslavia and Scotland meant they missed out on reaching the 1990 World Cup.

Could Platini bounce back? It seemed he might when France reached Euro 92 in style, with eight wins from eight qualifiers, Platini nurturing the likes of Didier Deschamps and Laurent Blanc, but Les Bleus flopped at the tournament itself as they and England bowed out of a group from which Sweden and Denmark advanced. Platini resigned not long afterwards, began to forge a solid reputation in football administration, and by the late 1990s had built a strong, ultimately fateful, alliance with the then FIFA secretary general Sepp Blatter. He would never coach again.

DIEGO MARADONA

If there were ever a case of being blinded by celebrity, then some of the presidents who have given Diego Armando Maradona coaching work surely have fallen victim. The biggest star of his generation, Maradona retired from playing in 1997 and, with barely a sniff of coaching experience and just about as much baggage as an airport carousel, was named boss of his native Argentina in 2008, tasked with taking the Albicelestes to the World Cup two years later. Argentina scraped their way into the finals and were thumped 4-0 by Germany in the quarter-finals. Maradona's contract was not renewed.

He has continued to pick up coaching work, one curious-looking appointment after another, most recently with Gimnasia in the Argentinian top flight. Maradona the coach has been no match for Maradona the player, and it was naive surely for anyone to think that was ever remotely possible.

FRANK LAMPARD

Pirlo was an artist of the 21st century game, and he is considered a deep thinker, while the common theory is that English midfield counterpart Lampard achieved much of his success through hard graft and maximising his rather more rudimentary talent. Whether either categorisation fits the bill is a moot point, but Lampard has a wiser head on his shoulders than many footballers, was top of the class in his school days, and his IQ is reputed to be through the roof.

Derby County gave him a first break in coaching but it took Chelsea just a year to pounce and parachute Lampard into his first Premier League manager's job. A Stamford Bridge great as a player, Lampard had an acceptable first season as Blues boss but the acid test comes in this new term after a spree of big-money signings. A high-stakes London gamble will play out in the coming months.

ALAN SHEARER

As Pirlo takes charge of those in the Bianconeri stripes he once wore – Cristiano Ronaldo and all – it bears remembering that returning black and white messiahs can fail. Former Newcastle United striker Shearer returned to St James' Park in April 2009, the club's record goalscorer aiming to rescue the team from the threat of relegation, but a dismal return of five points from eight games saw them sink out of the Premier League.

Shearer left and has not coached since, happily staying in his niche as a television pundit. There are pressures but also a certain comfort to that studio role. Two months at Newcastle was the sum of Shearer's coaching career: as Pirlo may yet find out, that can be all it takes to destroy the notion of it being a natural next step.

Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick said his side's 8-0 demolition of Schalke on the opening day of the Bundesliga season should serve as a benchmark for the rest of the campaign.

The reigning champions were in scintillating form against a hapless Schalke, storming into a 3-0 lead by half-time thanks to goals from Serge Gnabry, Leon Goretzka and a Robert Lewandowski penalty.

It got even better for Bayern after the interval as Gnabry completed a hat-trick before Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane and 17-year-old Jamal Musiala completed Schalke's misery.

While Flick was pleased his side laid down an ominous marker for the 2020-21 season, he still believes they should have scored more in the first half.

"We have had our first game but we need to take things slowly," he told reporters. "We played brilliantly but should have scored two, three, maybe four more goals in the first half.

"But it was important to show that we are on the right track this season as well. I am very satisfied with the performance. This is now a benchmark for both Gnabry and Sane and the whole team."

Sane - making his debut following his July move from Manchester City - felt he slotted in seamlessly with his new team-mates and was pleased with their appetite for goals.

"It felt very good to be on the pitch with the boys," Sane said. "It was a very good day. I feel completely at ease and knew that it would work out well with the team. Everyone was hungry. Everyone just wanted to attack and give full throttle."

Sane started his professional career at Schalke before his move to the Premier League in 2016 and he admitted to feeling sympathetic towards his former side after such a crushing defeat.

"Of course, I was at Schalke for a long time," he added. "To get such a defeat at the start of the season and it goes so haywire is difficult. I'm of course a little sorry."

Schalke have now failed to win in their last 17 Bundesliga games, with head coach David Wagner left to rue his side's "naive" approach against the domestic and European champions.

"That was bad," Wagner said. "We didn't play well; Bayern were outstanding. We have to shake ourselves now, accept this bitter defeat and show the reaction against Werder Bremen that we expect of ourselves.

"It was naive that we wanted to continue going forward after the fourth or fifth goal."

Jurgen Klopp described Liverpool new boy Thiago Alcantara as an "exceptional" player who can bolster an already formidable side.

The Premier League champions confirmed on Friday they have brought in the 29-year-old from Bayern Munich in a deal worth up to £25million (€27.5m).

Thiago has arrived at Anfield on a four-year contract, with the Reds paying an initial £20million (€22m), plus an additional £5million (€5.5m) in potential bonuses.

The Spain international played an instrumental role in Bayern Munich's Bundesliga and Champions League triumphs last season and Klopp is delighted to have secured the services of such a talented player for a relatively small fee.

"It's pretty simple: he is – and nobody would see this in a different way – an absolutely exceptional player," Klopp told a news conference.

"It is difficult to improve the team in a normal way. Again, nothing to do with other teams, but if you take out £300million or £400million then maybe we could find a player, but even then it's not easy.

"In this specific case, he really brings a different dimension to our game and has some skills that are in general pretty rare and that suits us well. He's different and that's what I was very interested in.

"As well as that, he was pretty excited about the opportunity and did not need a lot of convincing. It always helps when a player really wants to be part of a specific project so all the things came together, and that's a win-win situation. I'm really happy we could do it."

Thiago is not available for Liverpool's Premier League clash with Chelsea on Sunday but could make his debut against Lincoln City in the EFL Cup on Thursday.

Bayern Munich started the defence of their Bundesliga title in ominous fashion as a Serge Gnabry hat-trick helped them to a stunning 8-0 win over Schalke at the Allianz Arena on Friday. 

A mere 26 days after winning the Champions League, Hansi Flick's side showed no signs of tiredness and powered into a fourth-minute lead thanks to Gnabry's superb strike.

That was added to by Leon Goretzka after 19 minutes before Robert Lewandowski swept home a third from the penalty spot shortly after the half-hour mark.

Gnabry completed his hat-trick with two goals inside the opening 15 minutes of the second half before Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane - making his debut following his July move from Manchester City - and 17-year-old Jamal Musiala completed Schalke's humiliation.

Bayern started in blistering fashion as Gnabry controlled Joshua Kimmich's long pass over the top, turned away from his marker with a deft turn and whipped a superb left-footed strike past Ralf Fahrmann from 18 yards.

Flick's side bamboozled Schalke's backline with relentless pressure and the hosts were unsurprisingly undone again shortly before the midway point of the first half when Goretzka slotted home from the edge of the penalty area after being picked out by Muller.

Lewandowski - who scored 55 goals in all competitions last season - opened his account for the 2020-21 campaign from the spot in the 31st minute after he had been brought down by Ozan Kabak, while Niklas Sule crashed an effort against the post shortly before the interval.

Bayern started the second half like they did the first, Gnabry slotting into an empty net two minutes after the restart after Sane had pushed the ball past an onrushing Fahrmann.

Sane was the provider again after 59 minutes, teeing up Gnabry to seal his hat-trick from 10 yards, while an outrageous rabona from Lewandowski set up Muller to add a sixth in the 69th minute, the 31-year-old's side-footed volley squirming underneath Fahrmann.

Sane capped a fine display with his first Bayern goal two minutes later, slotting past Schalke's woefully exposed goalkeeper after being played through by Kimmich, while substitute Musiala scored his first Bayern goal nine minutes from time to complete the nightmare for Schalke.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp revealed he only recently considered the prospect of signing Thiago Alcantara after previously believing he would be "out of reach".

The Premier League champions confirmed on Friday that they had captured the 29-year-old from Bayern Munich in a deal worth up to £25million (€27.5m).

Thiago has arrived at Anfield on a four-year contract, with the Reds paying an initial £20m (€22m), plus an additional £5m (€5.5m) in potential bonuses.

Klopp said has been a long-time admirer of the midfielder, but did not think the Spain international would be prepared to leave Champions League holders Bayern anytime soon. 

"Thiago – settled that much at Bayern – is usually out of reach for pretty much everybody," Klopp told Liverpool's official website. "If the player doesn't want [to move] massively then you have no chance. 

"You see that Bayern have long, long, long-term contracts with their main players and Thiago was a main player for Bayern over the years. 

"I know all the people at Bayern wanted to keep him desperately; that's normal and understandable because he played an important role last season as well. 

"He just was ready for a new challenge and he decided it was with us. But did I think about him earlier? I thought a lot about him but never as a potential transfer, to be honest."

Thiago arrives at Anfield as a Champions League and Bundesliga winner but Klopp says his squad will not be in awe of him given their own European and Premier League success over the past two seasons. 

"The players are happy," he added. "Since they knew about it they are really excited about it as well. And when they meet him, they will know he is a guy who doesn't need any special treatment. 

"He won the Champions League this year but all the other guys won it last year. Yes, he became German champion this year; our guys became English champions. 

"It's not that somebody is coming in and now we have to roll red carpets out or whatever; not at all. He wants to be part of the team, work hard and be as successful as possible."

Klopp confirmed that Thiago will not be part of the squad for their top-flight clash with Chelsea on Sunday, meaning he could make his debut in the EFL Cup meeting with Lincoln City on Thursday.

Liverpool have completed the signing of Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich in a deal worth up to £25million (€27.5m).

Thiago was rumoured to be a target of Jurgen Klopp's before the transfer window opened, with the Reds boss aiming to add more creativity to his midfield unit.

The Premier League champions have now got their man, with the 29-year-old – whose deal at Bayern was due to expire in June 2021 – signing a four-year contract at Anfield.

Stats Perform News understands Liverpool will pay an initial £20m (€22m), with an additional £5m (€5.5m) in bonuses.

Liverpool's pursuit of Thiago developed into something of a saga, with the midfielder acknowledging his signing has felt "a long time" in the making, but he is now relishing further success on Merseyside, where he has been impressed by a feeling of unity.

"I think it's an amazing feeling. I was waiting for this moment for a long time and I am very, very happy to be here," he told the club's website.

"When the years are passing, you are trying to win as much as you can – and when you win, you want to win more. I think this club describes what I am as well; I want to achieve all of the goals, win as many trophies as possible.

"It also [has] this kind of family [feeling] that I need because we [like to] have a very close relationship with the club and I think I will feel this, I will have this feeling, with this club as well.

"[The supporters] are not more excited than I am, for sure not! It is not about saying words, it is about doing the things. I will give my heart on the field to my teammates, the club and also to the fans."

Spain international Thiago has thrived since joining Bayern in 2013, having been brought to the Bundesliga giants by his former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola.

After coming through at Barca as an attacking midfielder, Thiago has dropped into a deeper role in recent seasons and was integral to Bayern's treble success in 2019-20.

In total, Thiago made 235 appearances in all competitions across his seven seasons with Bayern, scoring 31 goals and providing 35 assists.

Thiago, who will wear the number six shirt for Liverpool, helped Bayern to seven successive Bundesliga titles, four DFB-Pokal wins and one Champions League triumph.

He becomes Liverpool's second signing of the transfer window following the arrival of left-back Kostas Tsimikas.

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