Where will Lionel Messi land?

Barcelona's shock announcement of his departure set rumours flying.

Will it be Paris, Manchester or somewhere else?

 

TOP STORY - MESSI ON THE MARKET

Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City are rumoured to be the top suitors for Lionel Messi.

The French giants have already made contact with Messi's representatives, according to Fabrizio Romano, and are seen in many quarters as the favourites to land the Argentine forward.

It remains to be seen wherher PSG can take on Messi after making several major moves during the transfer window, while City may be in a similarly difficult situation after finalising their £100million deal for Jack Grealish on Thursday.

A reunion with Pep Guardiola may still be a possibility, though, especially if Tottenham refuse to engage in talks around a Harry Kane deal.

Major League Soccer could also be a possibility, though Messi is expected to remain in Europe for at least a few more years.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United have not given up on a move for Kieran Trippier, though they have not come close to Atletico Madrid's £34million demands for the England international, The Sun says.

- West Ham are in talks with Fiorentina for centre-back Nikola Milenkovic, Fabrizio Romano reports, with the Serie A side eyeing Matija Nastasic of Schalke as a replacement.

- Arsenal have bid £17m for Lazio striker Joaquin Correa, claims Corriere dello Sport.

- Juventus are interested in bringing back Barcelona's Miralem Pjanic on either a loan or a permanent deal, says Calciomercato.

- Roma are lining up a £21m bid for Fulham midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, says Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Crystal Palace are among multiple clubs hoping to lure Adam Armstrong from Blackburn, with the Daily Mail saying they are favoured ahead of Norwich City and Southampton.

Jack Grealish's mooted move to Manchester City appears set to imminently go through.

City manager Pep Guardiola has long admired the 25-year-old England midfielder.

English champions City have also been linked with Harry Kane as they chase an elusive Champions League crown.

TOP STORY - GREALISH BOOKED IN FOR MAN CITY MEDICAL

Aston Villa's Grealish is on the cusp of completing his £100million transfer to join Manchester City, according to the Birmingham Mail.

The report claims Grealish was due to arrive in Manchester on Wednesday, with a medical booked in.

Grealish returned from a holiday after Euro 2020 this week and was spotted at Villa training on Wednesday but has since reportedly headed north.

ROUND-UP

- Sky Sports claims Aston Villa are lining up a move for Norwich City midfielder Todd Cantwell as they prepare for Grealish to depart.

- Tottenham are plotting moves for PSV's Noni Madueke and Denmark's Euro 2020 star Mikkel Damsgaard according to the Evening Standard, as they plan their windfall from Harry Kane's potential sale to Manchester City.

- Fresh from Danny Ings leaving for Villa, Southampton are closing in on Blackburn forward Adam Armstrong, reports Football League World.

- The Sun claims Norwich City are looking to launch a £15m bid for Blackburn's Armstrong too. Irish prospect Adam Idah could be included in a player-plus-cash deal.

- Atalanta are set to hold talks with Chelsea for a move for striker Tammy Abraham according to Gianluca Di Marzio.

Liverpool youngster Harvey Elliott has been challenged to take the "next step" at Anfield this season by manager Jurgen Klopp.

Elliott has played nine times for Liverpool and impressed last season when he was loaned out to Blackburn Rovers in the Championship.

The 18-year-old had seven goals and 11 assists in 41 Blackburn outings in the league, a spell he hoped would increase his chances of getting "in and around" the Liverpool first-team in 2021-22.

Only two players registered more assists than Elliott in the Championship last season – Emiliano Buendia (16) and Michael Olise (12).

Elliott is poised to be involved in Liverpool's two 30-minute friendlies against Wacker Innsbruck and Stuttgart on Tuesday, with another warm-up fixture against Mainz on Friday.

"Harvey made a step, I have to say. He looks in a proper shape, really, really fit," Klopp told Liverpool's official website.

"He came back in a good shape and is here now in full training obviously.

"You can see last year really worked well for him. Now let’s make the next steps together."

Elliott became the youngest player to ever start a competitive game for Liverpool at 16 years and 174 days when featuring against MK Dons in the Carabao Cup in September 2019.

The former Fulham product, who signed a new long-term contract with the Reds earlier this month, has been taking tips from Liverpool's top stars as he eyes a breakthrough season in the Premier League.

Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders recently detailed how Mohammed Salah gave Elliott some advice about eating habits to the teenager during their pre-season training camp in Austria which pleased Klopp.

He added: "What is really nice about the story is that we created really an atmosphere where the boys care about each other as well, they really want to help each other.

"Most of these players were not in the same place like Harvey is in that age. 

"But everybody wants the group to be in the best shape, maybe that’s the example more for that story.

"It could happen with James Milner constantly that somebody takes something from him. That’s this team, that’s us and I really like it a lot."

Harvey Elliott has set his sights on regular game time for Liverpool after signing a new long-term contract with the club.

The 18-year-old agreed fresh terms with the Anfield club on Friday and now wants to make his mark in the first team.

Elliott has played nine times for Liverpool and impressed last season when he was loaned out to Blackburn Rovers in the Championship.

He had seven goals and 11 assists in 41 Blackburn outings in the league, a spell he hopes boosts his chances of getting "in and around" the starting XI under Jurgen Klopp in 2021-22.

"I think that's got to be everyone’s aim: to get in the team. - to get in and around it at least," Elliott, who joined Liverpool from Fulham in 2019, told the club's website.

"It's not going to come easily; there's a great bunch of boys here and great talent. 

"But it's down to me to work hard. I believe in myself that I can do it. I just want to be around the team, support everyone and be there if needed.

"Ever since I first walked through the door they [the coaching staff] have showed [faith]. 

"They show it with every single player; they always have faith in you.

"They're always giving you 100 per cent on the training pitch and off the training pitch, always wanting you to be the best possible person and player. 

"I feel like there's a lot of faith in me. But it's just down to me to go and show it and prove them right."

Elliott says he will never grow tired with the feeling of playing for Liverpool.

He added: "It's always going to be there throughout the years I'm here. Hopefully it's going to be a long time.

"There's always going to be those butterflies whenever you put on the shirt, whenever you go out to train and play, whenever you're involved in the club there's always that feeling.

"Especially for me, being a Red, as well as my family – it's nice to make them proud and make myself proud. But the hard work carries on.

"It's always a nice feeling when you sign a new contract – especially for your boyhood club. It's all done and dusted now so I've just got to focus on pre-season, get my work in and make sure I'm ready for the season."

Only two players registered more assists than Elliott in the Championship last season – Emiliano Buendia (16) and Michael Olise (12). 

Erling Haaland's future is a major talking point this off-season.

The Norwegian has been linked with several top clubs but could also stay with Borussia Dortmund.

Haaland and his representatives visited Real Madrid and Barcelona, while Chelsea and Manchester City have also been credited with interest.

TOP STORY - CHELSEA TO OFFER UP TO £150M FOR HAALAND

Chelsea are readying a bumper £150 million (€175m) move to sign Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund, reports 90Min.

The Blues are prepared to offer up to that amount, believing the deal will be too hard to refuse for Dortmund.

Chelsea spent approximately £120m (€140m) last off-season on German pair Timo Werner and Kai Havertz but want an out-and-out striker.

 

ROUND-UP

- New Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti wants to sign Brazil international Richarlison from his former club Everton, reports ESPN.

- Fabrizio Romano claims Milan are still working on a deal to sign Chelsea's French veteran forward Olivier Giroud.

- RB Leipzig's Marcel Sabitzer is in the sights of Borussia Dortmund according to Bild, amid reported interest from Premier League clubs.

West Ham and Tottenham are both interested in Sassuolo's Mert Muldur reports the Mail.

- Football League World claims Southampton will sign Blackburn Rovers forward Adam Armstrong for £10m plus add-ons.

Ben Brereton does not speak the language and he barely knows his team-mates but the Blackburn Rovers forward won praise after scoring the winner in Chile's 1-0 Copa America victory over Bolivia.

Stoke-On-Trent-born Blackburn star Brereton linked up with Eduardo Vargas for Chile's 10th-minute winner in only his second appearance and first start for his adopted country on Friday.

The 22-year-old, who has a Chilean mother and grandfather, was a surprise call-up for the Copa America but has not disappointed, earning praise from head coach Martin Lasarte.

"It must be very difficult for him to play for a national team where they don't speak the language he speaks," Lasarte said during his post-match news conference following the Bolivia win.

"He is making a great effort and the group is helping him adapt. He had his chance, his goal, he shouted out and he scored."

Brereton finished the match with 18 successful passes out of 20 attempted (90 per cent), three shots on target, one chance created and having scored the winner.

Vargas, who laid off the pass for Brereton's goal, added: "We get along well with Ben. We don't know his language, he doesn't know how to speak Spanish either, but we understand each other very well on the pitch."

Brereton posted on Instagram in Spanish after the game, writing: "Great job everyone. I'm very happy for today's game. We will continue working hard!"

The adoration has been widespread, with former Chile international Mauricio Pinilla tweeting: "My next son will be called Ben!"

Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry have been announced as the first players to be named in the Premier League Hall of Fame.

Former Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers striker Shearer remains the leading goalscorer in the competition's history, having scored 260 times across 14 seasons for both clubs.

A champion with Blackburn in 1994-95, Shearer scored 112 goals in 138 Premier League games for Rovers before a move to boyhood side Newcastle for £15million in 1996, breaking the world transfer record.

The former England captain, who won the Golden Boot three times, went on to net 148 goals in 303 league games for the Magpies and remains the only player to have scored 100 Premier League goals for two different clubs.

"When you look at some of the unbelievable players to have graced the Premier League – week in, week out, year in, year out – I feel very honoured to join the Hall of Fame. I have to thank all of my team-mates, as well as the managers and coaches that I've worked with," said Shearer.

"All I ever wanted to be was a professional footballer. It was my dream to do that, my dream to win trophies and my dream to score at St James' Park, to wear the number nine black-and-white shirt and it was fantastic. I enjoyed every minute of it."

Henry is sixth on the all-time goalscoring list in the competition, having hit a club-record 175 in just 258 games for Arsenal.

The ex-France star, a record four-time Golden Boot winner, scored more than 20 goals in five consecutive seasons from 2001 until he left for Barcelona in 2006.

Twice a title-winner with the Gunners, including in the unbeaten 'Invincibles' side of 2003-04, Henry also registered 74 assists in the competition. His tally of 20 in 2002-03 remains a joint record for a single season, with Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne matching that tally in 2019-20.

"To be inducted alongside Alan Shearer as the two first inductees into the Premier League Hall of Fame is more than special," Henry said.

"When I was young, I was just trying to make sure I could get a pair of boots and now we're talking about the Hall of Fame. During my career I wanted to play hard and make sure I was fighting for the cause, because that's all the fans want to see.

"If you asked me at the start of my career about entering the Hall of Fame, I wouldn't have believed you. It's an amazing honour."

Harry Kane and Son Heung-min have set a new single-season Premier League record after combining for a 14th goal in 2020-21 against Crystal Palace.

Tottenham's star duo have enjoyed an outstanding campaign, with Kane scoring 16 and assisting 13, while Son has netted 13 and laid on nine.

Four of Kane's goal involvements came in a 4-1 win at home to Palace on Sunday, creating the first two for Gareth Bale before netting twice himself.

The final goal of the match saw Son cross for his strike partner, whose simple header ensured the duo surpassed the 13 goals Blackburn Rovers forwards Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton combined for in a 1994-95 title-winning campaign.

Further down the list, Bournemouth's Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser – both now at Newcastle United – linked up 12 times in 2018-19, while Les Ferdinand and Kevin Gallen at QPR and Shearer and Mike Newell at Blackburn each had 11 combinations in a campaign.

Kane and Son have created for one another 34 times across all Premier League seasons, closing on the all-time record of 36 held by former Chelsea team-mates Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba.

Meanwhile, Kane became the first Tottenham player to score twice or more and assist twice or more in the same game since Jurgen Klinsmann against Wimbledon in May 1998.

His second strike also brought up 100 Spurs goals in all competitions this term, a mark only previously reached by Bayern Munich (now 106 goals) across Europe's 'top five' leagues.

Manchester City have loaned highly-rated defender Taylor Harwood-Bellis to Championship side Blackburn Rovers. 

The 19-year-old made his debut for City against Preston North End in the EFL Cup in September 2019 and has gone on to make a further eight appearances across all competitions for Pep Guardiola's side. 

Harwood-Bellis will spend the rest of the 2020-21 campaign with Rovers, who are eighth in the Championship. 

His move means it is unlikely fellow central defender Eric Garcia will be allowed to join LaLiga giants Barcelona. 

There had been suggestions Garcia would return to his boyhood club before the close of the mid-season transfer window on Monday, but Guardiola will want to ensure he has adequate cover for the heart of his defence in the second half of the season. 

The 20-year-old's contract expires at the end of this season and it appears he will have to wait until then to rejoin Barca.

Southampton made Premier League history on Monday, as they became the first team to beat all seven winners of the competition in the season after they lifted the crown.

Ralph Hasenhuttl's men defeated Liverpool 1-0 at St Mary's, prevailing in the fixture for the first time since 2016 thanks to Danny Ings' second-minute lob against his former club.

Southampton have now beaten Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Blackburn Rovers, Leicester City, Chelsea and Arsenal in the campaign following a title triumph.

Here is a look back at the matches that make up that run.

Blackburn Rovers

Southampton sold Alan Shearer to Blackburn in 1992, and three years later the England striker led Rovers to their first and only Premier League title. In the following season, Blackburn finished seventh, while Southampton avoided relegation on goal difference.

They claimed three crucial points in that survival battle on April 6, 1996, with Matt Le Tissier's 80th-minute penalty sealing a 1-0 win over Blackburn at The Dell.

Manchester United

Southampton sensationally beat defending champions United 6-3 on October 26, 1996, with Eyal Berkovic and Egil Ostenstad both scoring braces as the mercurial Le Tissier starred once more

They also beat a title-defending United side in 1997-98, 2000-01 and 2003-04.

Arsenal

The Gunners were top dogs in 2001-02, but came unstuck at St Mary's in November the following season, with James Beattie scoring twice and Kolo Toure's own goal settling the game 3-2 in Southampton's favour.

Manchester City

Early in Mauricio Pochettino's tenure, Southampton defeated defending champions City at St Mary's 3-1 in February 2013.

Their win included a quite sensational own goal from Gareth Barry, who steered a fine, inadvertent finish into the bottom-right corner of City's net to cap off the victory. They beat City last season, winning 1-0 in July, though Liverpool already had already deposed Pep Guardiola's side by that point.

Chelsea

Southampton were relegated to when Chelsea won their first Premier League title under Jose Mourinho, losing both of their games to the Blues on the way down.

However, they beat Chelsea in October 2015, with Steven Davis, Sadio Mane and Graziano Pele doing the damage in a 3-1 win as Mourinho's second spell in charge at Stamford Bridge hurtled towards a premature conclusion.

Leicester City

The Foxes charged to a remarkable Premier League success in 2015-16, but they were thrashed 3-0 at St Mary's in January 2017.

James Ward-Prowse, Jay Rodriguez and Dusan Tadic were on target in what was Southampton's biggest home win in the Premier League since a 4-1 victory against Crystal Palace on the final day of the previous season.

Liverpool

History was made as, despite Liverpool having 16 attempts – albeit with only one on target – Southampton held on to claim a hard-fought, well-deserved win.

The result left Hasenhuttl in tears at full time and also lifted Saints to within four points of the Premier League leaders.

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