Liverpool are reportedly prioritising a new deal for Virgil van Dijk over Mohamed Salah, while they could be beaten to Dayot Upamecano by Manchester United.

Salah's future has been a talking point in recent weeks, although the forward is contracted until 2023.

Van Dijk also has an agreement at Anfield until 2023, but the injured defender is apparently Liverpool's focus.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL PRIORITISE VAN DIJK DEAL OVER SALAH

Liverpool are prioritising a new contract for Van Dijk over Salah, according to Eurosport.

Van Dijk, 29, is recovering from a serious knee injury and his absence has been felt by the Premier League champions.

Salah, meanwhile, has scored 13 goals in 18 league games this season, but in an interview with AS last month the 28-year-old refused to rule out a move to Real Madrid or Barcelona.

The report also says Liverpool may look at West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, with Georginio Wijnaldum set to leave as a free agent at the end of the campaign.

ROUND-UP

- With Van Dijk and Joe Gomez injured, Liverpool have been linked with a move for RB Leipzig defender Upamecano. But The Sun reports Manchester United are poised to sign the centre-back for £38million (€42.7m).

- Amid uncertainty over his future at Barcelona, Ousmane Dembele is being looked at by numerous European giants. Sport reports Chelsea, Manchester United, Juventus and Bayern Munich are monitoring the forward's situation. Dembele is out of contract in 2022 and the Catalan giants could sell him if he does not extend his deal.

- Frank Lampard is under enormous pressure at Chelsea as the Premier League side struggle for form. The Mirror reports Chelsea could turn to Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers if they move on from Lampard.

- Yet to re-sign with Southampton with his contract expiring next year, Danny Ings is linked with a move. 90min reports Leicester City and Everton have joined the race for the forward, who has also been linked to Tottenham.

RB Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann insisted the club are not nervous about Dayot Upamecano's future amid interest from Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge revealed the Bundesliga and Champions League holders are keeping an eye on star Leipzig centre-back Upamecano, with David Alaba set to leave Munich on a free transfer at season's end.

Upamecano – who reportedly has a release clause – has also been linked to the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool following his exploits for last season's Champions League semi-finalists Leipzig.

Nagelsmann responded to Rummenigge's comments and he was bullish regarding the 22-year-old France international's future, after questioning Bayern's public approach.

"It's always clever to get the other team nervous, however we aren't nervous," Nagelsmann told reporters ahead of Saturday's trip to Mainz.

"We know about Upamecano's contract. We know that we want to keep him for longer and that we like to have him with us.

"You can see that, as he's playing every single game for us.  But we also know the mechanisms in football. So if they want to make me or the club nervous, then it hasn't worked.

"But I don't think that this was their main intention. I believe that they said that to get a foot inside the door and make other teams that want to sign him nervous instead. But you have to ask Mr. Rummenigge, why he said what he said."

Nagelsmann added: "It is pretty normal in our business, that if a talented and young player has a buy-out clause other teams are interested in him. To what extent, someone has to then mention that publicly is up to them to assess if it's right or wrong.

"I don't have anything against it. But if it would've been the other way around, they might not have enjoyed it at all. I'm not really bothered by it. As I said already, in our business it is pretty usual. It is a part of it. Sometimes it's only about rumours but sometimes it is more concrete.

"Therefore, it isn't much of a surprise to me. Dayot Upamecano played a lot lately. I have already clarified, that some people tend to forget that he is still very young and still has to take more steps to progress further. But he is clearly capable of going those steps forward. Indeed, he had a couple of unlucky situations on the way forward."

Zinedine Zidane's future at Real Madrid is being questioned, while Paul Pogba could be set to stay at Manchester United.

Madrid were stunned by third-tier side Alcoyano in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday, sparking fresh talk about Zidane's position at the helm.

Zidane is under fire, but the Frenchman may get more time.

 

TOP STORY – ZIDANE BEING QUESTIONED AS REAL MADRID BOSS

Zinedine Zidane is being questioned more than ever as Real Madrid head coach, according to AS.

The report says he will remain at the helm until the Champions League, which will resume in February, and former star forward Raul is the top candidate to replace him.

Madrid are second in LaLiga, seven points behind Atletico Madrid, who also have a game in hand.

ROUND-UP

- Pogba may be happier at Manchester United. The Daily Star reports United are increasingly confident the midfielder will see out his contract, which runs until 2022, despite interest from Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.

- Christian Eriksen looks set to leave Inter, but it remains to be seen where he ends up. The Telegraph claims Leicester City have ruled out a loan move for the midfielder due to his wage demands.

- RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano is set to be the subject of speculation for months to come. Goal reports Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea have shown interest in the defender, who is also wanted by Bayern Munich.

- Dele Alli wants to reunite with Mauricio Pochettino at PSG. 90min says the Tottenham midfielder has asked chairman Daniel Levy not to block a potential switch this month.

- Arsenal appear set to strengthen in January. Sport reports midfielder Martin Odegaard is very close to joining the Premier League club on loan from Real Madrid.

Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says the club are keeping an eye on Dayot Upamecano, even if it is too early to expect the RB Leipzig defender to join them.

Upamecano, 22, has developed into one of the most highly prized centre-backs in Europe in recent seasons and has been tipped for a major move at the end of the season.

Bayern have been heavily linked with the France international, particularly with David Alaba expected to leave on a free transfer, most likely to Real Madrid.

Rummenigge confirmed transfer plans are being drawn up but was not prepared to state that any agreement had already been reached.

He told Bild that Upamecano was "at least at Leipzig until the end of the season", adding it was "a bit too early" to assume he would join the champions.

"We'll deal with this, of course, not only with him specifically but crucially which positions we want and where we have to do something," he said.

Bayern could also lose Jerome Boateng after this season, with the 32-year-old's contract expiring in June.

However, Rummenigge suggested he could extend his deal at the Allianz Arena after re-establishing his place in Hansi Flick's plans.

"Jerome is playing a good role again. The coach is satisfied with him," said Rummenigge.

Rummenigge also rubbished suggestions Bayern could look to sell Leroy Sane this year.

The former Manchester City winger has only started seven times in the Bundesliga in 2020-21, although he has scored four goals and provided five assists in those appearances.

"He has a five-year contract. It would be nonsensical [to sell]. We need this kind of player," Rummenigge added.

"Of course he will stay here at Bayern. And I'm convinced he'll find his way here."

Dayot Upamecano is set to leave RB Leipzig – but not just yet – while Eric Garcia is getting closer to joining Barcelona.

Upamecano has been linked with several European giants after impressing for the Bundesliga club.

But the defender looks set to stay at the Red Bull Arena until the end of the season.

 

TOP STORY – UPAMECANO SET FOR €42M MOVE

Leipzig are not considering selling Upamecano in January even though he can leave for £37.4million (€42m) at the end of the season, according to The Guardian.

Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea have each been linked with a move for the France international.

Upamecano has made 21 appearances in all competitions for Leipzig this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Garcia is seemingly getting closer to a Barcelona move. Sport reports the Manchester City defender is a step away from joining the Catalan giants on a five-year deal and Barca are hopeful a move can happen in January.

- Coming out of contract at the end of the season, Hakan Calhanoglu's future has been a talking point. Sky Sport reports negotiations are ongoing between Milan and the midfielder, who has been linked to United.

- Mauricio Pochettino seems eager to get Dele Alli to Paris Saint-Germain. The Guardian reports the Tottenham midfielder is PSG's main target this transfer window.

- Arkadiusz Milik is set to leave Napoli. CalcioMercato reports Marseille want the striker and had an offer of €8m rejected.

- With Frank Lampard under pressure, Chelsea were reportedly considering bringing back Avram Grant to support the head coach. However, The Sun reports the Premier League giants are not lining up such a move.

Despite the coronavirus situation, Real Madrid are still looking to make a splash in the transfer market.

Madrid have long been linked with Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe.

And if reports are to be believed, the LaLiga champions are planning for the Frenchman.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID WORKING ON MBAPPE MOVE

Real Madrid are working on a plan to sign Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe, according to Tuesday's frontpage of Diario AS.

Mbappe – also linked to Liverpool – has been tipped to join Madrid, though Ligue 1 holders PSG remain committed to trying to re-sign the Frenchman.

Despite the economic fallout caused by coronavirus, Madrid are still looking to prise Mbappe to the Santiago Bernabeu thanks to player sales and revenue generated by the return of fans.

 

ROUND-UP

Bayern Munich have identified RB Leipzig star and centre-back Dayot Upamecano as the player to replace David Alaba, reports Sport 1. Alaba is out of contract at season's end and the Bayern star has been linked to the likes of Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester City. With Alaba heading for an exit, in-demand Upamecano is wanted in Munich. It comes as Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Barca vie for his signature.

- According to Esporte Interativo, Neymar wants to stay at PSG as the French giants prepare a new contract. Neymar has been linked with a return to Barca.

- Fabrizio Romano says an agreement has been reached between United and Bayer Leverkusen for Timothy Fosu-Mensah to join the Bundesliga side.

Milan are eyeing a move for Chelsea's Fikayo Tomori, reports Sky Sports. Strasbourg defender Mohamed Simakan remains the primary target for the Rossoneri. It comes as Fiorentina close in on Milan full-back Andrea Conti.

RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano's long-term future appears uncertain, though there is a strong possibility he will end up in the Premier League.

The France international centre-back has emerged as one of Europe's most-promising defenders in recent seasons and is part of a Leipzig side that has conceded just 12 goals in 15 Bundesliga games this season.

Upamecano, 22, looks certain for a big-money move eventually, and although his next destination is unclear, he has plenty of admirers in England.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA TO RIVAL MAN UNITED FOR UPAMECANO

Chelsea are going through a difficult period as they sit ninth in the Premier League, and their options at centre-back do not appear to be entirely to Frank Lampard's liking.

While 36-year-old Thiago Silva and Kurt Zouma have become his preferred pairing, Lampard seems unconvinced by back-up options Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Fikayo Tomori.

The Mail on Sunday reports Chelsea have joined the list of clubs lining up for Upamecano, who reportedly has a release of around €50million (£45m) in the new contract he signed last year.

But Chelsea will not expect a free run at Upamecano – the Manchester Evening News claims Manchester United retain an interest in him, with the Red Devils' centre-back options also far from impressive in 2020-21.

ROUND-UP

- Paul Pogba appears to be returning to form on the evidence of his recent displays, but how much longer will he remain at Old Trafford? The Daily Star believes Mauricio Pochettino has identified him as a key target at Paris Saint-Germain. Real Madrid and Juventus have also been linked.

- Declan Rice's future continues to be subject of speculation, with the Daily Mirror reporting he favours a return to Chelsea – whom he played for at academy level – over joining Manchester United.

- Lucas Torreira could be on the move again. Arsenal loaned the Uruguayan midfielder to Atletico Madrid at the start of the season, but he has featured only six times in LaLiga. Mundo Deportivo suggests he is being lined up by Fiorentina.

- Inter could be set to further increase their contingent of former Manchester United players. The Mirror says Jesse Lingard is the latest to be targeted by the Nerazzurri, who already have Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Matteo Darmian and Ashley Young on their books.

- M'Bala Nzola has been one of the revelations of the season in Serie A with promoted Spezia. Napoli are said to be keen on the striker, though CalcioMercato reports Newcastle United and West Ham are monitoring the situation as well.

It has been a year like no other, but football eventually managed to continue amid the coronavirus pandemic and give fans across the world something positive to focus on.

Ligue 1 was curtailed and a streamlined version of the Champions League knockout rounds took place in Lisbon in August, before a new season got under way.

There have still been plenty of performances to savour, though, and Stats Perform News has used Opta data to calculate a Team of the Year from the top five European leagues.

Six-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi made the grade in 2020 but the same could not be said of Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, while Kylian Mbappe earned a spot that his Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Neymar could not.

Supporters of Premier League clubs may not be rejoicing about the selections, which were made based solely on data.

 

Goalkeeper: Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid)

Atletico lead the way in LaLiga on goal difference and have two games in hand on nearest rivals Real Madrid. Diego Simeone's side owe much of their success to Oblak, who has kept 17 clean sheets in 33 LaLiga appearances this year – the most of any keeper in the division during the same period.

Right-back: Juan Cuadrado (Juventus)

Juve won a ninth straight Scudetto this year and Cuadrado has played an important role throughout 2020, creating 45 chances (including seven assists) for the Bianconeri in Serie A – only Paulo Dybala (56) supplied more key passes for the club.

Centre-back: Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund)

Bayern Munich may be the dominant force in the Bundesliga, but Hummels has continued to show his worth since returning to Dortmund. He made the most interceptions (57) and completed the most passes (2,056) of any Bundesliga defender in 2020.

Centre-back: Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig)

France international Upamecano is one of the hottest properties in European football and has been linked with a host of elite clubs. He shows great coolness in possession – as evidenced by him completing 24 of the 33 dribbles he attempted for a success rate of 73 per cent, the best of any Bundesliga defender to try at least 30.

Left-back: Theo Hernandez (Milan)

While Upamecano has established himself with Les Bleus, Hernandez's continued absence from the France set-up despite stellar showings for a resurgent Milan remains a source of much debate. The Rossoneri will end the year top of Serie A and Hernandez has been directly involved in 102 shots (46 chances created, 56 attempts on goal) in the league in 2020. That is more than any other defender in the same period.

Centre midfield: Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)

Kimmich's looping goal against Dortmund at the back end of last season was pivotal to Bayern retaining their German league title, which came as part of a treble. It has been the Germany international's distribution that has stood out this year, though. He completed an average of 75 passes per 90 minutes in the Bundesliga in 2020, the most of any midfielder in the competition to feature for at least 1,000 minutes.

Centre midfield: Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)

Madrid regained the title in LaLiga in 2020, with Kroos a central figure in Zinedine Zidane's midfield. Of all players who attempted at least 1,000 passes in the opposition half in the Spanish top flight this year, Kroos was the only one who had a completion rate higher than 90 per cent.

Right wing: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

This year may have proved to be terminal to Messi's tight relationship with Barcelona, and while he was not quite up to his previous goalscoring exploits he still proved massively influential in the final third. He was the only player in LaLiga in 2020 to both score at least 15 goals and register as many assists.

Attacking midfield: Alejandro 'Papu' Gomez (Atalanta)

His time with Atalanta may seemingly be coming to an end after a falling-out with Gian Piero Gasperini, but Gomez has been one of the club's most important players. He had more assists (12) and created more chances (81) in Serie A this year than any of his team-mates.

Left wing: Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)

PSG were crowned Ligue 1 champions despite the season being cut short in April, meaning they have played just 26 games this year. Mbappe only featured in 21 of those, but he was still directly involved in 24 goals (19 scored, five assisted) which was more than any other player in the competition in 2020.

Striker: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

It was no surprise to see Lewandowski named The Best FIFA Men's Player after an incredible campaign with Bayern. He scored 32 Bundesliga goals in 26 appearances this year and only five of them were spot-kicks. His tally of 27 non-penalty goals was the most of any player in the top five European leagues.

Dominik Szoboszlai is the latest highly rated player to make the move from Salzburg to one of Europe's major leagues.

RB Leipzig – not for the first time, given their links to the Austrian side – are the beneficiaries, with the Hungary playmaker, who has starred for both club and country this season, joining the Bundesliga team on a four-and-a-half deal.

The 20-year-old had long been tipped to leave Salzburg following his exploits for the Austrian champions, with a host of Serie A clubs, Real Madrid and Arsenal all linked with a move for the midfielder, who could make his Leipzig debut against Borussia Dortmund on January 9.

Szoboszlai has scored four goals and created six more across 11 appearances in the Austrian Bundesliga this season for Salzburg, and is another star name to come off the club's production line of talent, which has included the likes of Erling Haaland, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita.

Indeed, Haaland was the focus of much attention this time last year as he elected to switch Salzburg for Dortmund, where he has gone from strength to strength.

Providing players with regular Champions League football to showcase their talents, Salzburg, with an extensive scouting network and a clear pathway to one of Europe's biggest leagues, are quickly becoming one of the most attractive clubs for youngsters to learn their trade.

Using Opta data, we have looked at how some of the biggest names to have had stints at Salzburg have fared after moving on.

Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)

It has been some breakthrough for Norway striker Haaland, who joined Salzburg from Molde in 2018. He made just two league appearances for his new team in 2018-19, scoring once, but last term he transformed into a goalscoring machine.

Haaland netted 28 times in 26 appearances across all competitions, with Dortmund fending off interest from Manchester United to secure his signature last year. The move has paid off, and then some, with Haaland scoring 23 Bundesliga goals from as many games in Germany's top flight. That tally is bettered only by Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski (30) in the same timeframe, with Haaland averaging a goal every 74.5 minutes.

Sadio Mane (Southampton, Liverpool)

Mane's path from Salzburg to a Champions League and Premier League winner came via Southampton. Having joined Salzburg from Metz, the Senegal star moved to England in 2014 when he reportedly forced his way out of the club by refusing to attend training or matches.

Southampton paid a reported £11.8million fee for the winger, who thrived under now-Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman, scoring 21 goals and providing a further nine assists in 67 Premier League games. Eyebrows were raised when Liverpool paid big money to sign him in 2016, but Mane has become one of the leading forwards in world football, netting 67 league goals for the Reds (with 66 coming inside the area) and creating 215 chances.

Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig)

Like Szoboszlai, several other players have switched straight from Salzburg to Leipzig, including Dayot Upamecano, who has asserted himself as one of the most promising defenders in Europe.

The France international is rapid and strong, while his ability on the ball has been a huge facet to Leipzig's play under Julian Nagelsmann. This season, he has a tackle success rate of 91.7 per cent in the Bundesliga, winning 11 of 12 attempted. The 22-year-old may not be at the club much longer, but any transfer will bring a significant fee for the Germans.

Naby Keita (RB Leipzig, Liverpool)

Another to end up at Liverpool is Naby Keita. The all-action midfielder was one of the most dynamic players in the Bundesliga during his debut season in 2016-17, scoring eight league goals and making the team of the season.

It prompted Liverpool to pay a reported £48m, with Keita joining a year later, though he has so far been unable to stay consistently fit for Jurgen Klopp's team. The Reds' number eight has managed just four goals and four assists from 49 Premier League appearances, while his tackle success rate of 41.4 per cent is nothing to shout about.

Takumi Minamino (Liverpool)

Liverpool elected to cut out the middleman when they went for Minamino last January, bringing in the Japan forward for a modest £7.25m due to a release clause in his Salzburg contract. Signed as versatile cover for Liverpool's front three, Minamino is still yet to find his feet on Merseyside and is has not scored or got an assist in the Premier League.

The stunning start to Diogo Jota's Liverpool career has made things even more difficult, though with the Portugal forward out injured, Minamino may now have the chance to stake his claim at Anfield.

Erling Haaland will reportedly cost a suitor €75million next year, while Dele Alli could be set for a Tottenham exit.

Haaland is linked with a move away from Borussia Dortmund after dominating with the Bundesliga giants.

And the 20-year-old could be available for an affordable fee next year.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND AVAILABLE FOR €75M NEXT YEAR

Haaland can leave Dortmund for €75m next year, according to Esport3.

Real Madrid have been most heavily linked with a move for the forward, while Manchester United and Liverpool are also credited with interest.

Haaland, who is sidelined with a hamstring injury, has scored 33 goals in 32 games since arriving at Dortmund from Salzburg in January.

 

ROUND-UP

- Struggling for game time at Tottenham, Dele Alli could make a move in January. The Daily Mail reports Paris Saint-Germain are set to make another loan bid for Alli next month. Alli has played just 67 Premier League minutes this season.

- Amid inconsistent form and with injury worries, Barcelona may also be looking to strengthen in January. Sport reports Eric Garcia wants to join the club from Manchester City but may have to wait until the club's presidential election, which is due to be held on January 24. Garcia and Lyon star Memphis Depay feature on the cover of Mundo Deportivo, which says Ronald Koeman wants signings in January for Barca, who are ninth in LaLiga.

- Manchester United are considering their defensive options. The Manchester Evening News reports United are huge admirers of Brighton and Hove Albion defender Ben White, who is among their options alongside Real Madrid's Raphael Varane and RB Leipzig's Dayot Upamecano.

- A player who could exit Manchester United is Marcos Rojo. The Sheffield Star reports Sheffield United are interested in the defender.

Lionel Messi reportedly remains a target for Paris Saint-Germain.

Messi, 33, is contracted at Barcelona until the end of the season, having stayed at the club after sensationally requesting to leave earlier this year.

With uncertainty still surrounding his future, the Barcelona star is apparently wanted by PSG.

 

TOP STORY – PSG EXPLORING POSSIBILITY OF SIGNING MESSI

PSG are exploring the possibility of signing Barcelona star Messi, according to ESPN.

Along with Manchester City and Inter, PSG have been among the clubs most heavily linked with a move for the Argentina international.

The report says Neymar and sporting director Leonardo have discussed bringing Messi to PSG.

It comes just days after Neymar said he wanted to play with Messi again and was keen for it to happen "next season".

 

ROUND-UP

- Still linked with Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, Manchester United could look elsewhere. The Sun reports United are eyeing Leicester City winger Harvey Barnes as a possible alternative.

- Staying at Manchester United and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been under some pressure. Bild reports the Premier League giants are interested in PSG coach Thomas Tuchel if they decide to sack Solskjaer.

- With Christian Eriksen seemingly set for an exit, Inter are considering their midfield transfer targets. CalcioMercato reports Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante remains Inter's dream signing, but Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum is also an option with his contract expiring at the end of the season. However, the report also says Inter could challenge Liverpool for the signing of Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Yves Bissouma.

- Also at Liverpool, the Premier League champions are reportedly still eyeing a centre-back amid their injury woes. Bild reports RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano is on their list, as is his 21-year-old team-mate Ibrahima Konate.

- Atlanta United could be close to appointing a new coach. TyC Sports says former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Argentina defender Gabriel Heinze, most recently in charge of Velez Sarsfield, is a step away from taking over at the MLS club.

If Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich are to overcome second-place RB Leipzig at the Allianz Arena on Saturday, they will need to get the better of a player that could well be lining up for them next season.

Dayot Upamecano has become one of Europe's most sought-after defenders following a string of dominant displays in the German top flight and the Champions League.

With Bayern's centre-back pairing of David Alaba and Jerome Boateng expected to leave at the end of the season, Hansi Flick has been heavily tipped to pay the reported €42m release clause in Upamecano's contract to bring him to Bavaria.

Ahead of what many are billing as the 22-year-old's audition over the weekend, we use Opta data to see if Upamecano would be an upgrade on Bayern's experienced central defenders.

The story so far

Despite supposed interest from Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal at the time, Upamecano opted for Salzburg in 2015 and soon got a taste for first-team football at feeder club Liefering.

Given the links between the clubs, it came as little surprise when the centre-back chose Leipzig in January 2017, quickly adapting to a new country and league with 12 Bundesliga appearances over the rest of the campaign.

Upamecano's displays the next year saw him nominated for the 2018 Golden Boy award, won by then-Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt, but his game has since gone up another level under the stewardship of Julian Nagelsmann.

He has been a mainstay at the back, making 38 appearances in all competitions in the 2019-20 campaign.

Solid as a rock

Upamecano helped Leipzig finish third in the Bundesliga and reach the Champions League semi-finals last season.

He has started the 2020-21 campaign with a spring in his step and boasts particularly impressive defensive numbers when compared to Alaba and Boateng.

In his eight Bundesliga games, Upamecano has won 90 per cent of his tackles, with only Bayer Leverkusen's Edmond Tapsoba enjoying a better success rate (92 per cent) among those with at least 10 attempts. Alaba and Boateng are way behind in that department, with 50 and 57 per cent success rates respectively.

Upamecano contests significantly more duels than his Bayern counterparts, averaging 7.7 per 90 minutes to Alaba's 4.9 and Boateng's 5.7.

He has also won 65 per cent of his aerial battles this term, more than Alaba's 50 per cent and Boateng's 61 per cent, and has only been dribbled past by an opponent once all season.

With such impressive figures, it is hardly surprising that Upamecano has conceded just 0.7 goals per game this season, while Alaba and Boateng have let in 1.8 and 1.5 respectively per 90 minutes.

Contributing at the other end

It is not just in defence where Upamecano excels.

He boasts wonderful passing skills and consistently starts attacks for his side. This season he has initiated eight sequences that ended in a shot and been involved in 32 overall – both figures outstrip the Bayern pair.

Alaba and Boateng both average 75 passes per 90 minutes, while the forward-thinking Upamecano gets through 89 in the same period.

He is also more accurate when sending the ball long, successfully completing 75 per cent of such passes compared to Alaba's 54 per cent and Boateng's 58 per cent.

Robert Lewandowski will be licking his lips at the prospect of getting on the end of some of those passes should Bayern seal a deal for one of Europe's most impressive young defenders.

Paulo Dybala to Paris Saint-Germain?

Dybala, previously linked to Manchester United, Tottenham and PSG, is reportedly facing an uncertain future in Turin.

Juventus could be prepared to exchange players with PSG.

 

TOP STORY – DYBALA OUT, ICARDI IN?

Juventus are considering a swap deal that would send Paulo Dybala to Paris Saint-Germain in exchange for Mauro Icardi, according to Calciomercato.

Dybala has struggled for form in 2020-21, while contract negotiations with Serie A champions Juve have so far proved fruitless.

Icardi was linked to Juve prior to joining Ligue 1 holders PSG permanently from Inter and the Argentina forward could swap clubs with Dybala.

 

ROUND-UP

- TodoFichajes says Arsenal are set to make an offer for RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate. Leipzig centre-back and team-mate Dayot Upamecano has dominated headlines amid links to the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, but Konate is also attracting interest.

Juve are eyeing a move for Atletico Madrid centre-back Stefan Savic, reports Calciomercato. Savic has also been linked to Inter.

- A Bola claims Premier League champions Liverpool are interested in signing Sporting CP left-back Nuno Mendes.

Raul Jimenez to Inter? Calciomercato says Inter could replace Lautaro Martinez with the Wolves star. Martinez has been linked to Barca and Manchester City.

Forget Lionel Messi and Harry Kane, Manchester City reportedly want Jack Grealish.

Grealish, 25, has starred for Aston Villa this season and also impressed with England during the international break.

And the playmaker seems to have impressed City manager Pep Guardiola.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY TARGET GREALISH OVER MESSI, KANE

Guardiola wants Manchester City to make a move for Villa star Grealish, according to The Independent.

The report says Barcelona star Messi and Tottenham forward Kane were discussed as potential signings, but Guardiola is an admirer of Grealish.

Only Kane (nine) has more Premier League assists than Grealish (five) this season, while the latter has also netted four times.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester City may soon have good news to report about Kevin De Bruyne. TodoFichajes reports De Bruyne has agreed to a new contract at City until 2025.

- Still linked with a move to Barcelona, Lautaro Martinez's future at Inter is unclear. However, FC Inter News says there is optimism Martinez will re-sign at Inter, who want to extend the forward's deal through to 2025.

- Having conceded 14 goals in eight Premier League games this season, Manchester United are reportedly considering moves for defenders. 90min reports Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres has moved top of their shortlist alongside RB Leipzig star Dayot Upamecano.

- As he struggles for game time at Inter, Christian Eriksen is being linked with a move. Tuttomercatoweb reports Borussia Dortmund are keeping an eye on the midfielder's situation, with the Bundesliga club having apparently been interested in the Denmark international during the previous transfer window too.

What does the future hold for Manchester United star Paul Pogba?

Out of form and out of favour, Pogba has found himself out of the starting line-up this season and the Frenchman is not happy.

Could Pogba be prepared to wait for his perfect move away?

 

TOP STORY – POGBA EYEING EXIT

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba could leave Old Trafford on a free transfer, according to The Athletic.

Pogba left United for Juventus on a free transfer in 2012 before returning to Manchester for a then-world record €105million (£89.3m) in 2016.

But the France international is unhappy at the Theatre of Dreams, where he is contracted until 2022, amid links with former club Juve and LaLiga champions Real Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

- Tuttosport says Juve have turned their attention from Pogba to his countryman and Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga. The 18-year-old has been tipped to join Madrid, while Paris Saint-Germain are also reportedly interested.

- Bayern Munich centre-back Niklas Sule is dreaming of a move to United, claims Bild. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United are believed to be pursuing a defensive partner for Harry Maguire, with Madrid's Raphael Varane and RB Leipzig star Dayot Upamecano reported targets.

Isco is ready to leave Madrid in January, reports Marca. The attacking midfielder has been linked with Everton, following previous links to Juve and Manchester City.

- Liverpool Echo claims Liverpool have been quoted £26.7million (€29.8m) to sign Ajax defender Perr Schuurs. The 20-year-old is also reportedly wanted by Milan.

Arsenal are working on a structured payment plan to sign Salzburg sensation Dominik Szoboszlai, says the Mirror.

Juve are targeting Sporting CP defender Nuno Mendes, A Bola reports. The 18-year-old has also been linked with Milan, Arsenal, Manchester United and Wolves.

Inter and Antonio Conte have reached an agreement over a new contract but Corriere dello Sport says there will be no contract extensions during the season. Barcelona target Lautaro Martinez is the most problematic case for the Nerazzurri.

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