Lyon sporting director Juninho insisted there have been no offers for Houssem Aouar or Barcelona target Memphis Depay.

Aouar and Depay are in demand following their exploits for Ligue 1 club Lyon, who reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2019-20.

Aouar has been linked with the likes of Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal and Chelsea, while Depay is reportedly wanted by LaLiga giants Barca.

Juninho was asked about the star duo following Lyon's 2-1 loss at Montpellier on Tuesday.

"For now, there is nothing for these players, we have not received anything for Houssem [Aouar], we have not received anything for Memphis [Depay]," Juninho said.

Depay has been tipped to reunite with former Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman at Barca, however, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas claimed the Spanish powerhouse cannot afford to buy the former Manchester United forward due to their finances amid the coronavirus crisis.

Amid talk of a €25million transfer, Juninho told Telefoot: We have not received anything from Barcelona. Not even a call to ask for the price for Memphis.

"What I have understood, is that if he stays, he will be happy to help us to have a good season. The players who received offers have already left."

Ronald Koeman said Barcelona must sell before they can think about signing Lyon captain Memphis Depay as the head coach expects to start the LaLiga season with no additions to the squad.

Depay has been tipped to reunite with former Netherlands coach Koeman at Barca following his exploits for Ligue 1 outfit and Champions League semi-finalists Lyon.

However, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas – prior to Tuesday's 2-1 loss against Montpellier – claimed Barca cannot afford to buy Depay due to their finances amid the coronavirus crisis.

Koeman, who has replaced Quique Setien at Camp Nou, was asked about former Manchester United forward Depay amid talk of a €25million transfer and he told Fox Sports Netherlands: "For Depay to arrive, you must first sell."

Barca have been linked with a number of players following a miserable 2019-20 campaign, which saw the Spanish powerhouse dethroned by bitter rivals Real Madrid in LaLiga and embarrassed 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

After receiving Miralem Pjanic in a swap deal that sent Arthur to Serie A champions Juventus, Barca continue to be linked with Inter star Lautaro Martinez.

Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has emerged as a possible target for Barca, while former star Thiago Alcantara has also been linked with a move from Bayern.

However, Koeman said: "We're working towards the new season and I think we will go into it with the same group of players that we have now for pre-season."

Barca will open their 2020-21 LaLiga campaign at home to Unai Emery's Villarreal on September 26.

Lionel Messi is set to take to the field for Barca following a turbulent off-season, which saw the superstar captain try to leave the club.

Linked to Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter and Juventus, six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi decided to stay after handing in a transfer request amid frustration with Barca's board.

Asked about the situation involving Messi, former Barca defender Koeman added: "That has passed me reasonably well. That was mainly a conflict between Messi and the club.

"I have spoken to Messi since then and we will continue as usual." 

Gareth Bale could make a sensational return to Tottenham after the Real Madrid star's agent talked up a reunion.

Wales star Bale has been frozen out of the first-team picture at Madrid by head coach Zinedine Zidane, despite a decorated stint in the Spanish capital which has included four Champions League triumphs.

The 31-year-old joined Madrid from Spurs in September 2013 for what was then a world-record €100million fee.

Tottenham are reported to be in talks over re-signing Bale, with a loan move thought to be most likely and wages understood to be in the region of £600,000 per week a significant hurdle to negotiate.

Nevertheless, the winger's agent Jonathan Barnett stated playing in north London once again would be his client's preferred option.

"Gareth still loves Spurs," he told BBC Sport Wales. "It's where he wants to be."

Manchester United have frequently been linked to Bale during his time in LaLiga.

He does not fit the age profile of players United tend to sign, although he might be viewed as an alternative option at a time when attempts to bring Borussia Dortmund and England youngster Jadon Sancho to Old Trafford appear to have stalled.

Bale's team-mate, left-back Sergio Reguilon, has been linked to both United and Spurs.

Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho spoke of his desire to sign another forward ahead of the season opener against Everton last weekend and Bale's arrival would certainly serve as a timely boost after that dispiriting 1-0 home loss.

Barcelona cannot afford to buy Memphis Depay because of the hit their finances have taken during the COVID-19 crisis, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has claimed.

The dramatic twist on Tuesday evening followed reports that Depay was set to leave Lyon and be reunited with Ronald Koeman, who until recently was his Netherlands coach, at Camp Nou.

The striker looked set to move to Spain in a deal costing Barcelona in the region of 25-30 million euros, various reports indicated.

Yet the deal now looks to be off, with Aulas declaring Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu personally told him the Catalan giants were in no position to make an offer.

In a Twitter message, Aulas pointed to a report from Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that suggested a 30 million euros move for the 26-year-old was in the offing.

Aulas wrote: "The president of Barca indicated to me on Sunday that Barca were suffering a lot from the COVID crisis and didn't have the possibility to make an offer. #memphis"

Bartomeu recently said Barcelona faced losing around 30 per cent of their budgeted income because of the coronavirus pandemic, with that figure likely to equate to somewhere close to 300 million euros.

Depay has scored 46 goals in 103 Ligue 1 games for Lyon, Opta statistics show, since joining from Manchester United in the January 2017 transfer window.

Barcelona sporting director Ramon Planes confirmed they want to sign a new striker but would not confirm Luis Suarez is leaving the club.

Suarez has been heavily linked with Juventus after he was reportedly informed over the phone by new head coach Ronald Koeman that he will not be in his first-team plans this season.

No deal has yet been secured with the Serie A champions, though, and Planes was unwilling to give too much away on the Uruguay star's future at the presentation of Miralem Pjanic on Tuesday.

"He has been – and is – an important player for Barcelona in recent years and for that reason deserves maximum respect," Planes said.

"Following the end of the season, we're in a process of change, changing the coach, ideas... But we have to respect the players and their contracts. Until October 5, when the [transfer] window closes, anything can happen."

With Suarez expected to leave, Barca have been tipped to bring in Memphis Depay from Lyon, a player who thrived under Koeman for the Netherlands.

There were reports in Depay's homeland on Tuesday that a deal to bring him to Camp Nou for an initial €25million was in place, although counterclaims in Spain have denied such an agreement.

Planes made it clear the Catalans are looking for attacking reinforcements, saying: "It's been public for months that we're working on improving the team, looking for players of quality and experience, because not just any footballer can play for Barca.

"Among them, we're looking for a forward, but that's not dependent on the departures of players in the squad now. We always aspire to have the best possible squad."

Planes also admitted interest in Manchester City defender Eric Garcia, who is in the final year of his contract at the Etihad Stadium and will not be renewing.

"We are looking for players to help in defence and Eric's a good player, he developed here," Planes added.

"We want to build a team that mixes talent, quality and youth, and Eric fits the profile we want and we're looking into it, but there are also other names being followed that haven't come out in media."

Miralem Pjanic is fulfilling a dream by sharing a dressing room with Barcelona legend Lionel Messi and cannot believe his luck having also previously played with Francesco Totti and Cristiano Ronaldo.

New €60million signing Pjanic was belatedly presented as a Barca player on Tuesday, having tested positive for COVID-19 in August which meant the 30-year-old had to go into quarantine.

That delayed the midfielder's arrival in Barcelona until last week, with him working out at the club's training ground for the first time on Saturday prior to their friendly against Gimnastic.

A tumultuous transfer window for Barca saw Messi ask to leave the club before ultimately staying, a decision Pjanic both expected and relished.

"I have met with him two or three days ago," Pjanic told reporters about Messi.

"I have played with Totti, Cristiano and now Messi. That is fortunate, to have players like this as team-mates. They are athletes who have given a lot to football. 

"Today I have the opportunity to share the dressing room with an alien and it will be beautiful. 

"Sharing a dressing room with Messi and not only with Messi, with others too, is a dream for me. 

"But we will be a squad of 25 and all 25 will be important.

"I have played in great teams and I have respected my teams, but today a dream comes true. It is the ultimate dream. I will give everything I can to leave a good memory of me."

Of the transfer saga, which saw Barca refuse to allow the Argentina international leave for free, Pjanic added: "I followed everything that happened about Messi. 

"But I don't see Messi outside of this club. He has made an incredible story for the team and I think this story will end well. Leo is a winner, an achiever. 

"I only imagined Messi at Barca because this is his home. He is perhaps the best player of all time and for us having him is a great asset.

"Messi has grown up here and I've seen him happy. Everyone is going to have a good time here.

"He has made an incredible history with this club and all will be well.

"My will was to play with this player and I had no doubt that it would happen. I did not imagine him being in other colours or a different shirt."

Memphis Depay will reportedly join Barcelona, who are having problems in their pursuit of Lautaro Martinez.

After a trophy-less 2019-20 season, LaLiga giants Barca are rebuilding under Ronald Koeman.

They have been linked with numerous forwards, and one looks set to join as early as this week.

 

TOP STORY – DEPAY TO JOIN BARCELONA

Lyon star Depay will join Barcelona and his €30million move could be announced this week, according to De Telegraaf.

The move would see the forward reunite with his former Netherlands coach Koeman.

Depay scored 15 goals in 22 games for Lyon last season, during which he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona's move for Martinez is more complicated. Sport reports they are waiting for exits before making a move, while Real Madrid and Manchester City are keeping an eye on the forward. Meanwhile, Fabrizio Romano claims Inter will have another meeting with Martinez's agents after the transfer window to extend his contract beyond 2023. It comes as Sport also believes former Paris Saint-Germain star Edinson Cavani has offered his services to Barca.

- Staying at Barcelona, Mundo Deportivo reports they will make a second offer for Eric Garcia. It says they are prepared to pay €15m (£13.9m) for the Manchester City defender, but the Premier League club want €18m (£16.7m). Meanwhile, Marca says Atletico Madrid have rejected a £92.5m (€100m) bid from City for defender Jose Gimenez.

- At Madrid, the attention is on a possible move for Kylian Mbappe next year. AS reports Los Blancos have an advantage over other clubs in their pursuit of the France international due to the forward's admiration for French coach Zinedine Zidane.

- Gareth Bale continues to be linked with Manchester United. The Sun reports United are preparing to make a loan move for the Real Madrid forward, whose high wages have seemingly made an exit from the Santiago Bernabeu difficult.

- United are also poised to make other moves. The Premier League giants are considering a move for Valencia midfielder Uros Racic, according to The Sun, which says the Serbian midfielder could be available for £28million (€30.3m). Meanwhile, Fabrizio Romano claims United are in talks with Sergio Reguilon's agents, but club officials are unwilling to accept Real Madrid retaining a buy-back clause for the left-back.

- Lucas Torreira could be set for the Arsenal exit. CalcioMercato reports Torino have agreed to pay €24m (£22.2m) for the 24-year-old midfielder.

Lautaro Martinez is staying at Inter despite rumoured interest from Real Madrid and Barcelona, according to the player's agent Carlos Beto Yaque.

Barcelona have been strongly linked with the Argentina international for a number of months, while LaLiga rivals Madrid have also recently been credited with an interest.

A couple of members of Martinez's entourage were seen entering Inter's headquarters on Monday, with reports in Italy suggesting Madrid had a bid accepted over the weekend. 

However, agent Beto Yaque insisted it was a routine meeting and the 23-year-old will remain at San Siro beyond the end of the transfer window.

"It was just a courtesy visit, that is all," he told Tuttomercatoweb. "There is nothing with Real Madrid and Barcelona. Lautaro is staying here at Inter."

Martinez scored 21 goals in all competitions as Inter finished second in Serie A and reached the Europa League final last season.

His €111million (£98.8m) release clause expired in July and he has three more years to run on his existing deal.

Wolfsburg midfielder Ignacio Camacho has called time on his playing career at the age of 30 after struggling with a persistent ankle injury.

Former Atletico Madrid and Malaga man Camacho spent three seasons with Wolfsburg but last made a competitive appearance in September 2018.

The ex-Spain international injured his ankle in a DFB-Pokal game against Hannover in 2017 and failed to truly recover, despite undergoing five separate operations to resolve the issue.

Wolfsburg announced on their official website on Monday that Camacho's contract has been terminated, but he will stay at the club on a two-year training programme, which involves learning about the academy and other departments.

"I fought non-stop to get back on the pitch," Camacho said. "But I'm leaving safe in the knowledge that I did all that I could. 

"I gave it absolutely everything I'd got to get back to doing what I love best, and that's playing football. 

"It wasn't easy - I've been in pain every day over the last three years and, ultimately, it has prevented me from carrying on. 

"I'm very grateful to those who have helped me - it wasn’t easy for them either."

Camacho earned his only senior cap for Spain in a 2014 friendly against Germany and previously spent six years with Malaga, having come through the ranks at Atletico.

He was an unused substitute for Atleti in their Europa League final win over Fulham in 2010 and featured in that year's UEFA Super Cup triumph against Inter Milan.

Sevilla have signed Marcos Acuna from Sporting CP to all but end their interest in fellow left-back Sergio Reguilon.

Reguilon starred on loan with Sevilla last season and the Europa League winners had hoped to re-sign him from Real Madrid for the 2020-21 campaign.

However, sporting director Monchi conceded last week his side would likely miss out on the 23-year-old, who is also a reported target for Manchester United.

And on Monday the LaLiga outfit confirmed the arrival of Argentina international Acuna on a four-year deal for a reported upfront fee of €10million.

Acuna spent three seasons with Sporting, making 134 appearances for the Portuguese giants in all competitions.

He becomes Sevilla's fifth signing of the window following deals for Ivan Rakitic, Oscar Rodriguez, Yassine Bounou and Suso, the latter two making their loan moves permanent.

Julen Lopetegui's side finished fourth last season to qualify for the Champions League and begin their 2020-21 campaign with a UEFA Super Cup clash against Bayern Munich on September 24.

Raphael Varane will lead Real Madrid in his own way should he one day succeed Sergio Ramos as captain.

The France international has formed a formidable partnership with Ramos in the heart of Madrid's defence during his nine seasons at the club.

He has been touted as a possible contender to take on captaincy duties when Ramos, who will turn 35 later this campaign, eventually departs the Santiago Bernabeu.

However, the World Cup-winning centre-back is not thinking about what the future holds and says Ramos remains an integral player for Madrid.

"For the future, it's difficult to plan," he told beIN SPORTS. "Real Madrid is a very, very big club with great players. What is important is that everyone plays their part in the team. 

"When we won our titles, our Champions Leagues, it was as a team, with eleven leaders on the pitch each time. 

"Sergio is a legend in Madrid. The future for the moment I do not project about it, but for sure Ramos is a very important player for us.

"What is certain is that we are very complementary with Sergio Ramos, in our way of playing.

"We have qualities that complement each other perfectly. We have been playing together for several years, so we know each other very well. 

"In defense, it works in pairs and this understanding is very important. For the future, after the departure of Ramos, it is difficult to project yourself. 

"I am a leader in my own way. With my team-mates, I talk a lot before matches about tactics and positioning. We each have our own way."

Without the suspended Ramos alongside him, Varane made a couple of costly errors in August's 2-1 loss to Manchester City as Madrid exited the Champions League.

Varane takes full blame for Madrid's last-16 defeat and is keen to quickly move on when the new campaign begins next weekend.

"For sure, that will not remain a very good memory in my career. It was a difficult game for me, this elimination," he said. "Immediately after the match I wanted to take responsibility. 

"I made some mistakes, it cost us the victory. You had to digest and watch what is happening ahead, and think about what is happening.

"At the high level, we don't have time to think about it - we have to think about the next game. The days that followed were a bit difficult, I admit, but at the top level, you have to look ahead quickly."

Real Madrid have made no secret of their admiration for Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe.

Mbappe himself has flirted with the possibility of working with fellow Frenchman Zinedine Zidane at the Santiago Bernabeu.

A blockbuster transfer could be getting closer…

 

TOP STORY – MADRID WAITING FOR MBAPPE

Real Madrid are prepared to target Kylian Mbappe next year as the Paris Saint-Germain forward wants to leave the Ligue 1 champions, according to reports in Spain.

Mbappe has reportedly told PSG he wants to depart the French capital at the end of the 2020-21 season.

Monday's editions of Marca and Diario AS are dominated by Mbappe, with the front pages saying Madrid are waiting to pounce for the France star in 2021.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Telegraph claims Manchester United have shown an interest in Inter's Ivan Perisic as the Red Devils struggle to negotiate a deal with Borussia Dortmund for Jadon Sancho. Perisic spent last season on loan at Bayern Munich.

Tottenham have set their sights on Southampton striker Danny Ings, says Football London. Spurs are desperate to bolster their attacking stocks, though it will be tough to prise the former Liverpool man to London.

- Sportitalia claims Roma have agreed personal terms with Napoli forward Arkadiusz Milik, who has also been linked with Tottenham and Juventus. Milik's possible arrival in Rome could see Edin Dzeko leave for Serie A champions Juve.

Milan are confident of signing Federico Chiesa from Fiorentina, reports La Gazzetta dello Sport. Milan's faith is based on the likely exit of Lucas Paqueta and Chiesa's dropping price tag.

- Mundo Deportivo says Liverpool star Georginio Wijnaldum is set to stay at Anfield despite interest from LaLiga champions Barcelona. Ronald Koeman's Barca could now rival Liverpool for Bayern's Thiago Alcantara, who has also been linked with United.

Roma are struggling to reach a deal with United for defender Chris Smalling, claims Calciomercato. Roma had hoped to sign the former loanee by the weekend, but the Italian club are now turning to Torino centre-back Armando Izzo as a possible alternative.

- Madrid defender Sergio Reguilon prefers another loan move to Sevilla rather than a United transfer, according to Diario AS. Despite United's interest, Reguilon wants to remain in Spain as he eyes a possible return to the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of 2020-21.

Eduardo Camavinga admitted he is flattered by Real Madrid's interest but the Rennes sensation remains focused after opting to remain at the French club in 2020-21.

Camavinga has been strongly linked with LaLiga champions Madrid, while Ligue 1 titleholders Paris Saint-Germain are also reportedly eyeing the 17-year-old midfielder.

France's youngest debutant since 1914 after making his bow in the country's 4-2 Nations League win over Croatia, Camavinga has already committed to playing for Rennes this season.

Asked about Madrid's reported interest, Camavinga – contracted at Rennes until 2022 – told Telefoot: "Certainly when a big club is interested, it is nice. But I am not getting carried away.

"I took this choice with my family [to stay at Rennes]. Today we are happy to have made this decision. I just need to focus on football and not think too much about everything else around it.

"Life is very good at the moment. Life is very good at the moment."

Camavinga made 36 appearances in all competitions for Rennes last season as the Ligue 1 outfit qualified for the Champions League.

He has scored one goal and supplied one assist in three Ligue 1 games for Rennes this term, with Julien Stephan's unbeaten side boasting seven points.

On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT

  1. Well-deserved CPL win Trinbago Knight Riders!

It is one thing to be strong on paper but ensuring that it translates to on the field is the true test. Execution is key in any sport.

The Trinbago Knight Riders demonstrated that critical characteristic as they clinched a record fourth Caribbean Premier League title in style, making light work of the St Lucia Zouks and winning by eight wickets in Thursday’s final.

In doing so, they completed a historic unbeaten campaign, winning all 12 games.

Overall, TKR was the strongest team in the tournament with both bat and ball. Their score of 185/3 against Barbados Tridents was the highest total in the competition this year. Captain Kieron Pollard who was awarded “Man of the Tournament”, led from the front with his own heroic performances. Even when key players sat out important matches for various reasons, other players stepped up ensuring that the team remained unbeaten.

 

  1. LaLiga is back and oozing with excitement!

          The curtain was raised on the 2020/2021 LaLiga season on Saturday with three matches. Eibar and Celta Vigo played to a goalless draw while Granada beat Athletic Club 2-0 and Osasuna overcame Cadiz 2-0.  What we know is that La Liga promises tons of excitement both on and off the field.

   With this season likely to be the last for Lionel Messi in LaLiga, I will be keeping an eye out for the young players hoping to step to fill the void.

Among the candidates is Ansu Fati, the breakout star at the Camp Nou last season. Just 17 years old, he forced his way into Barca’s first team scoring eight goals last season. He is also now the youngest scorer for the Spanish national side having found the net on debut earlier this month.

 

  1. Alex Morgan joins Tottenham Hotspur!

 Tottenham has captured the talents of forward Alex Morgan, one of the biggest names in sports in United States.  Apart from her undeniable skill, the 31-year-old will bring her commercial impact to the Women’s Soccer League.  She has 9.1 million followers on her Instagram account, more than the Spurs’ 8.5 million.

Alex, who will don the No.13 shirt for Spurs, helped the USA win back-to-back FIFA Women World Cups. She scored six goals in 2019's tournament in France. The new mom, who gave birth to her daughter on May 7, has scored 107 goals in 169 international appearances for the USA. The WSL has just attracted a lot more fans! Smart move!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ronald Koeman explained why Barcelona need to change from their traditional 4-3-3 formation after enjoying a winning start as head coach.

The Blaugrana beat Gimnastic 3-1 in a friendly match at Estadi Johan Cruyff on Saturday, their first outing since Koeman took over from Quique Setien.

With Lionel Messi captaining the team for the first time since announcing he will stay at the club, Barca scored through Ousmane Dembele and a penalty each from Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho, with Javier Bonilla getting a goal for the Segunda B side.

Koeman changed all 11 players at half-time but stuck with a 4-2-3-1 set-up, a system he appears likely to keep for the start of the LaLiga season.

Explaining that decision, the former Netherlands boss told Barca TV: "The midfield system is a little different to previous seasons but the team has the quality to do that and do it well.

"We're looking to move the ball much quicker high up the pitch to break the lines [of the opposition], to create space and generate more dangerous [situations] so the team scores goals.

"It was our first match in pre-season and that is why everyone only played 45 minutes. They need to build rhythm and play with intensity. It was a little better in the second half than the first. Not picking up any injuries was also very important as we looked to set the tempo in the match. That was more important than the final result.

"All the boys did well and we saw some who hadn't played before. There are always things which can be improved upon but, in general, we are very happy with how the players did after just two weeks of training.

"It isn't a normal six-week pre-season. We've only got four weeks and some even less because they've gone away with their national teams or been injured.

"It's important to integrate everyone. It's complicated because all we want is to build up fitness and over the next two weeks add a more tactical side ahead of a complicated league season."

Barca's next friendly match is against Girona on Wednesday.

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