Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez started the MLS season with a bang, scoring twice as LA Galaxy spoiled Phil Neville's Inter Miami debut in a 3-2 victory.

Former Manchester United and Real Madrid striker Chicharito endured a difficult and injury-plagued 2020 season, Mexico's all-time leading goalscorer netting just twice after joining the Galaxy.

But Chicharito kicked off his redemption season in style – his two-goal second half sinking David Beckham's Inter Miami in Sunday's season opener.

"I'm holding [back] my tears. I suffered the loss of my grandfather, I would love him to keep watching [me] scoring goals," Chicharito said. "I'm very touched because, like I told you, last year was very difficult.

"I miss him so much and these goals are for him, my kids, my whole family, my friends, everyone. I maintain patience, I keep grinding and thankfully things are coming around and hopefully, like I say, I just want to be a part of an unbelievable season and lift the trophy."

Trailing to Robbie Robinson's opening goal in first-half stoppage time, Chicharito equalised just past the hour mark in front of a sell-out crowd in Miami.

Former Juventus and Real Madrid striker Gonzalo Higuain restored Inter Miami's lead in the 68th minute – just his second goal for the club since arriving in the United States.

It had ex-United utility and former England women's boss Neville dreaming of a dream start in Miami, where he replaced Diego Alonso as head coach ahead of the 2021 season.

But Chicharito levelled proceedings again with a trademark header 17 minutes from the end before Sacha Kljestan put the Galaxy in front in the 81st minute.

Elsewhere, reigning champions Columbus Crew drew 0-0 against Supporters' Shield holders Philadelphia Union, while Vancouver Whitecaps edged Portland Timbers 1-0.

The New York Red Bulls let slip a lead to lose 2-1 to Sporting Kansas City on the opening weekend of the new Major League Soccer (MLS) season.

Caden Clark had put the Red Bulls up with a spectacular goal early in the second half but last season's Western Conference top spot finishers hit back.

Gadi Kinda netted a 59th minute penalty with Hungarian forward Daniel Salloi putting KC ahead barely 60 seconds later with a simple close-range finish.

New York City were also opening day losers, blowing a 1-0 lead to go down 2-1 at D.C. United.

City, who reached last season's play-offs, went ahead on the quarter hour from Valentin Castellanos.

But United responded by taking the lead before the interval with a sensational long-range drive from Brendan Hines-Ike and another from Russell Canouse, coming from a perfectly executed corner routine.

 

10-man Revolution hit back, Pato debut

Last season's semi-finalists New England Revolution fought back from two goals down to claim a thrilling 2-2 draw away to Chicago Fire.

Revolution, who were reduced to 10 men in second-half stoppage time after a DeJuan Jones red card, trailed 2-0 after 11 minutes following goals from Robert Beric and Luka Stojanovic.

Polish attacker Adam Buksa and Gustavo Gou netted in the following 15 minutes to level the match.

New England debutant Edward Kizza should have scored the winner when he struck the crossbar with an 87th minute header.

Victor Wanyama was among the goals as Montreal eased past Toronto 4-2 in their Canadian clash, while former Brazil international Alexandre Pato debuted for 2020 quarter-finalists Orlando City who had a scoreless draw with Atlanta United.

However, Pato limped off in the 80th minute with an apparent knee issue which will have Orlando sweating on scans.

Los Angeles FC started the new season with a solid 2-0 victory at home over newcomers Austin with goals from Corey Baird and Jose Cifuentes.

Nashville fought back from a two-goal deficit to draw 2-2 with Cincinnati thanks to Randall Leal's 64th minute long-range curler, while Dallas and Colorado also played out a 0-0 draw.

 

Premature substitution

LAFC coach Michael Bradley admitted he "might have jumped the gun" when he accidentally subbed off star Mexican attacker Carlos Vela in the 22nd minute after he waved in his direction. In hindsight, Vela was calling for treatment from a trainer after picking up a knock.

 

Teenager's special strike

The Red Bulls went ahead when 17-year-old midfielder Clark fired in a superb volley out of mid-air. The teenager appears a star in the making.

 

Saturday's results

Montreal 4-2 Toronto FC
Orlando City 0-0 Atlanta United
Los Angeles FC 2-0 Austin
Sporting KC 2-1 New York Red Bulls 
FC Dallas 0-0 Colorado Rapids
DC United 2-1 New York City FC
Chicago Fire 2-2 New England Revolution
Nashville 2-2 Cincinnati

 

Galaxy in Florida

There's three games on Sunday including a glamour fixture between David Beckham's Inter Miami against his former club Los Angeles Galaxy.

MLS concluded David Beckham's Inter Miami violated the league's roster and salary rules following the signing of France international midfielder Blaise Matuidi.

Inter Miami lured Matuidi from Serie A champions Juventus to the United States for their inaugural season in 2020 – the World Cup-winning star teaming up with Gonzalo Higuain after the club used targeted allocation money (TAM).

But as Inter Miami prepare for their second season in MLS, which kicks off under Phil Neville against LA Galaxy on Sunday, MLS deemed the club were not roster compliant – meaning the team effectively had four designated players last season rather than the three allowed.

Higuain, Rodolfo Pizarro and Matias Pellegrini were Inter Miami's listed designated players in 2020.

"The league has concluded that Inter Miami was not in compliance with the roster and budget rules during 2020," a statement read on Friday, with the league to finalise its investigation and sanctions in the "near future".

"In 2020, Matuidi was categorised as a targeted allocation money [TAM] player. Matuidi's compensation was above the compensation limit for a TAM player and he should have been classified as a designated player.

"As a result, Inter Miami CF violated the designated player limit as the team had three designated players in addition to Matuidi during 2020."

To become roster compliant, Inter Miami exercised their off-season buyout on midfielder Pellegrini – one of last season's designated players.

Pellegrini – signed from Argentine side Estudiantes ahead of the 2020 campaign – joined the club's USL League One affiliate Fort Lauderdale CF on loan and will not be eligible to play on the team's 2021 MLS roster.

"We've been working with Matias, his representatives and MLS to reach an agreement, and at this time we believe this is the best option for all parties," Inter Miami sporting director Chris Henderson said.

"Matias is a talented young player with an exciting career ahead. He will remain with the organisation as we work on finding an on-field opportunity and next steps for him."

Inter Miami endured a tough time in 2020, finishing 10th in the Eastern Conference before losing in the play-in round of the playoffs.

They also suffered three defeats in three games in Group A of the MLS Is Back tournament amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Raul Ruidiaz netted a brace and Joao Paulo scored a stunning goal as Seattle Sounders started their 2021 MLS season with a 4-0 drubbing of Minnesota United.

Ruidiaz scored twice in the second half after Joao Paulo's memorable opener to give last season's runners-up Seattle the perfect start on opening day.

The Sounders – beaten by Columbus Crew in the 2020 MLS Cup final – hit the front four minutes into the second half, Joao Paulo cushioning a cleared cross with one touch before rifling a thunderous volley into the top corner on Friday.

Ruidiaz entered the new season on the back of 12 MLS goals last term. According to Stats Perform, his 0.76 goals per 90 minutes led the league in 2020. When the Peruvian star was on the field, the Sounders scored two goals per 90 – besting their average of 1.5 goals per 90 when he was not last year.

A dominant force in the Western Conference since Brian Schmetzer succeeded legendary former boss Sigi Schmid in 2016, the Sounders doubled the lead with 20 minutes remaining when Will Bruin teed up Ruidiaz.

Ruidiaz made it 3-0 three minutes later after Cristian Roldan turned provider before Fredy Montero completed the rout four minutes from time at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, where the Sounders had an expected goals (xG) difference of 20.9 last season, well clear of next-best team Los Angeles FC (12.0)

In the only other match on Friday, Houston Dynamo edged San Jose Earthquakes 2-1.

Houston built a two-goal buffer by the 55th minute thanks to Memo Rodriguez and Maximiliano Urruti.

A stunning 74th-minute strike from San Jose substitute Paul Marie set up a tense finish, but the Dynamo held on for maximum points.

Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham believes signing stars such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar is far from a pipe dream for the MLS club.

The franchise has been linked with offers for Barcelona captain Messi and Juventus superstar Ronaldo as they approach the final years of their storied careers, while Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar stated last year he had given Beckham his word he would sign for him in the future.

Former Manchester United midfielder and England captain Beckham remains confident he can attract players of such calibre to Florida.

"When we announced Miami, there was always going to be talk about what players we were going to bring in, whether it was Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar," Beckham told ESPN.

"There was always going to be those discussions. I actually don't think it's a tough one for players to decide, to be honest, because it's a great place.

"Obviously, it's a great city, I feel like we've got a great fan base, but I also understand there's great talent in Miami and South Florida, and I think we have a real opportunity. Miami is a city that has that pull on players who have been playing in Europe that are big stars."

After signing notable names such as Gonzalo Higuain, Blaise Matuidi and Rodolfo Pizarro, Inter Miami endured a tough time in 2020, finishing 10th in the Eastern Conference before losing in the play-in round of the playoffs.

Inter Miami also suffered three defeats in three games in Group A of the MLS Is Back tournament amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Co-owner Beckham is now hoping for a brighter second season in MLS under former team-mate Phil Neville, who took over from Diego Alonso as head coach.

"[Neville] is the kind of coach that will get the best out of the players," said Beckham. "He won't just work with the [Designated Players], he works with the young kids that have come through the academies.

"His experience being a part of one of the best academies in the game at Manchester United when we were growing up, working with different coaches.

"He was David Moyes' assistant at Manchester United, he was an assistant coach at Valencia, and then obviously he went on to be the coach of the England women's national team, which was a great experience, but also challenging at times."

Gianni Infantino says FIFA must be open to revolutionising the international calendar, after Arsene Wenger proposed radical changes.

Speaking on beIN SPORTS this week, former Arsenal manager Wenger claimed more focus had to be put on FIFA's flagship competitions, including the World Cup.

The Frenchman is currently serving as FIFA's chief of global football development.

Wenger put forward a plan to host major tournaments such as the World Cup and European Championship every two years, to give more players the opportunity to play at these events during their prime years.

Such changes would mean major alterations to the calendar, but Infantino insists FIFA will rule nothing out, and decisions could be taken within the next 12 months.

"We need to be open to everyone, to everything, to every proposal, every idea," said the FIFA president.

"Arsene Wenger is not only a successful and brilliant manager, he is a professor of football but besides that we have, of course, our bodies and we will debate and discuss the calendar, starting now, because we need to come to a decision in the next few months, the sooner the better, by the end of the year or in the course of next year, for everyone to be able to plan."

The international schedule is not the only item up for debate, with Infantino also interested in a possible merger of North America's leading leagues – Major League Soccer (MLS) and Liga MX.

MLS commissioner Don Garber commented in December that a merger was "a long way away", while FIFA has previously ruled out leagues spread across regions or continents, rather than individual countries.

However, Infantino seemingly sees things differently, as he stressed the need for other areas of the globe to challenge the quality on show in Europe.

"I think the potential in the United States and Mexico is enormous, each country by itself," he said.

"But of course if you could bring those two together that would be incredible and that could quite well be the best league in the world.

"Any discussion about organising such a competition, of course respecting the rules of member associations and FIFA and with the agreement of all stakeholders, any discussion in that respect is interesting and we see that in a positive light.

"Of course if we want club teams to be at the highest level around the world and not just in Europe, we need to have new ideas.

"We see the potential in North America, the economic potential and the potential in footballing terms. I trust them to take the best decisions in that regard."

David Beckham's Inter Miami are trying to woo Cristiano Ronaldo to MLS.

Ronaldo, 36, is contracted at Juventus until 2022, but his next move is seemingly already a discussion point.

And MLS could suit nicely if Beckham has his way.

 

TOP STORY – BECKHAM'S INTER MIAMI EYE CRISTIANO

Beckham is speaking to Ronaldo's representatives about a move to Inter Miami, according to todofichajes.com.

The Portugal international is understood to be interested by the challenge of joining the club in the United States.

The financial contract would be massive for Ronaldo but he may potentially make the move next January, lowering the transfer fee, given the MLS runs from March to December.

Lionel Messi was reportedly previously sounded out about a possible US switch.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Express are reporting that Gareth Bale's recent form upturn means Tottenham are now keen to sign him permanently, with the Welshman having joined on loan from Real Madrid. Subsequently, the funds availed from a permanent transfer could enable Madrid to enter the fray for Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe.

West Ham, Leicester City, Southampton, Brighton and Hove Albion and Aston Villa are among the list of clubs interested in Tammy Abraham if Chelsea deem him surplus to requirements, according to The Telegraph.

- The Star claims the Hammers are also keen on two other young English strikers; Arsenal's Eddie Nketiah and Brentford's Ivan Toney.

- Deportivo Alaves goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco is being pursued by Premier League pair Leeds United and Southampton, according to todofichajes.com.

Thierry Henry has stepped down as Montreal head coach after one season in charge.   

Former Arsenal and Barcelona forward Henry was appointed by the MLS side in November 2019 following his sacking by Ligue 1 outfit Monaco earlier in the year after just 20 games in charge.   

He guided the club to the 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs in his solitary campaign, where they were eliminated in the first round by the New England Revolution.   

Montreal had to relocate to the United States last year amid the coronavirus pandemic and would have to do so again when the new season starts in April.   

Henry, who had been linked with the managerial position at Championship club Bournemouth before Jonathan Woodgate was appointed, cited the continued separation from his family as the motivating factor behind his decision.   

"It is with a heavy heart that I've decided to take this decision," Henry said in a club statement. "The last year has been an extremely difficult one for me personally. Due to the worldwide pandemic, I was unable to see my children.

"Unfortunately, due to the ongoing restrictions and the fact that we will have to relocate to the US again for several months will be no different.  

"The separation is too much of a strain for me and my kids. Therefore, it is with much sadness that I must take the decision to return to London and leave Montreal." 

Sporting director Olivier Renard added: "Thierry's departure is unfortunate and premature because this was very promising, but he informed me of his desire to be back with his family because the situation was and remains very difficult for both him and his family.  

"I want to thank him, first on a human level because he led the players by example last year by being away from his family, but also from a sporting level and for what we have built together since his arrival. 

"We wanted to elevate this club and we are on the right track. The process of finding a new head coach is already underway and I will be looking for someone who is aligned with the philosophy we have implemented."

Bournemouth have confirmed Jonathan Woodgate will continue as head coach for the remainder of the season.

Woodgate was placed in temporary charge following the departure of Jason Tindall, having only joined the Championship club's staff at the start of February to replace Graeme Jones.

Since he stepped into the role, Bournemouth have won three of their five games and reached the last eight in the FA Cup for just the second time in their history.

The announcement that the former Leeds United and Real Madrid defender will remain in the post on a short-term basis comes after the Cherries were strongly linked with Thierry Henry.

"Jonathan's professionalism and leadership has impressed the board of directors since taking on the role of caretaker manager in difficult circumstances," Bournemouth chief executive Neill Blake said.

"As we head into a crucial part of the season, stability and clarity is of paramount importance for everyone at the club.

"With that in mind, and having concluded an extensive search for a new manager, we believe Jonathan is the best candidate to lead the team for the final 15 games of the season."

Henry is currently in charge at Montreal Impact, though media reports suggested Bournemouth had asked the MLS franchise for permission to speak to the former France international.

However, Woodgate - previously head coach at Middlesbrough, where he was sacked after less than a year in charge – has been given the task of trying to secure a return to the Premier League at the first attempt.

Despite Saturday's 2-1 defeat away at Queens Park Rangers, sixth-placed Bournemouth still occupy the final play-off spot in the Championship table.

Manchester City are reportedly yet to begin talks over a move for Lionel Messi, while Erling Haaland is Barcelona's ideal signing.

Messi's future continues to be a major talking point as the star's contract at Barcelona expires at the end of the season.

City have been one of the clubs most strongly linked with a move for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner, but it seems the Premier League giants are waiting.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY YET TO BEGIN MESSI TALKS

Manchester City are yet to open talks with Lionel Messi, according to ESPN.

The report says City will wait until the Argentina international has decided his Barcelona future before considering negotiations.

It comes after claims the Premier League side had already tabled an offer to Messi.

 

ROUND-UP

- Erling Haaland is wanted by numerous European giants. Mundo Deportivo reports the Borussia Dortmund star would be Barcelona's ideal signing, but the LaLiga side are considering more affordable options.

- Manchester United were seemingly keen to land Barcelona forward Ansu Fati last year. Mundo Deportivo says a £129.7million (€150m) bid from United for the 18-year-old was rejected ahead of 2020-21.

- With Tottenham slipping to ninth in the Premier League, Jose Mourinho has come under fire. ESPN reports Spurs chairman Daniel Levy will wait until the end of the season to make a decision on the head coach.

- Out of contract at the end of the season, Gianluigi Donnarumma is yet to agree to a new deal with Milan. 90min claims the 21-year-old wants to succeed Manchester United shot-stopper David de Gea as the highest paid goalkeeper in the world, although he is prepared to take reduced terms at Milan.

- Thierry Henry could be set to take over at Bournemouth. talkSPORT reports the Championship club have requested permission from CF Montreal, where Henry is currently in charge, to talk to the Arsenal great.

If reports are to be believed, Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona at the end of the season.

However, his next destination remains a mystery.

The United States, though, could be next on the list for the record six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

 

TOP STORY – MIAMI MOVE ON THE CARDS FOR MESSI?

Lionel Messi could be keen on joining David Beckham's Inter Miami in MLS, claims Sport.

Messi, whose contract is set to expire, is tipped to leave Barcelona at the end of the season amid strong links to Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain and Premier League giants Manchester City.

But the six-time Ballon d'Or winner could be lured to the United States, where Beckham co-owns Inter Miami.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to The Sun, Manchester United are battling Barca and Real Madrid to sign Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde. United are reportedly determined to bolster their defence and Kounde has emerged as a key target.

Liverpool have made Torino defender Bremer their top transfer target at the end of the season, reports the Mirror. Despite the January arrivals of Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies, Liverpool still want to strengthen their defence.

- Spanish journalist Siro Lopez says Sergio Ramos has made his decision to leave Madrid. It comes as the likes of United, PSG, Juventus and Chelsea eye the superstar Madrid captain on a free transfer.

Madrid are interested in Real Betis midfielder Nabil Fekir, reports Estadio Deportivo. Inter, Valencia, Atletico Madrid and Napoli are also believed to be eyeing the Frenchman.

Alexandre Pato has signed a one-year deal with Orlando City after spending six months without a club.

Former Milan, Chelsea and Brazil attacker Pato had his contract with Sao Paulo mutually terminated last August and had been hoping for a return to Europe.

However, the 31-year-old will continue his career in MLS with Orlando, who fell to New England Revolution in the Eastern Conference semifinals last season.

"We are very excited to welcome Pato to Orlando. He's a veteran player who has featured at some of the top clubs around the world and has a proven track record at the international level," said Orlando executive vice-president of soccer operations Luiz Muzzi.

"The experience that Pato brings with him will be invaluable to the club. Pato is a high-calibre player and we're excited to add another great target up top."

Pato was one of the most highly rated young players in world football when he left Internacional for Milan in 2007, but his career stagnated due to injuries.

After largely unsuccessful stints at Corinthians, Sao Paulo, Chelsea and Villarreal he joined Tianjin Tianhai in the Chinese Super League and rediscovered his scoring touch with 30 goals in 47 Chinese Super League games.

He failed to maintain that form after returning to Sao Paulo in 2019 on a three-year contract and departed after dropping down the pecking order.

Real Madrid are considering a move for Kalidou Koulibaly, while Manchester United are targeting Jadon Sancho in a cut-price deal.

Amid uncertainty over Sergio Ramos' future at Madrid, the LaLiga giants continue to be linked with centre-backs.

They seemingly have plenty of options – and Napoli star Koulibaly is among them.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID LIKE KOULIBALY

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane likes Napoli defender Koulibaly, according to AS.

The report says Bayern Munich star David Alaba, who is out of contract at the end of the season, is still Madrid's first option.

With Ramos potentially leaving when his contract expires at campaign's end, AS also says Villarreal defender Pau Torres and Sevilla's Jules Kounde will be expensive.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United opted not to sign Borussia Dortmund star Sancho ahead of 2020-21, and it could pay off. Eurosport reports United could land Sancho for just £50million (€57.1m) in the next transfer window. The Bundesliga club were demanding about £100m (€120m) for Sancho last year.

- Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Florian Neuhaus is seemingly attracting plenty of interest. Kicker reports Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool, Manchester City and Juventus are interested in the three-time Germany international.

- Arsenal look set to strengthen ahead of next season. The Sun reports they are close to finalising a deal for 18-year-old Sporting CP forward Tiago Tomas for £20m (€22.8m).

- On loan at Real Betis from Barcelona, Emerson may not return to Camp Nou. CalcioMercato reports Milan are considering a move for the right-back.

- Former Milan and Chelsea forward Alexandre Pato will join Orlando City on a one-year deal, according to Fabrizio Romano and The Mane Land. Pato has been without a club since leaving Sao Paulo in August last year.

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar has reportedly decided to stay with the Ligue 1 giants.

Neymar's contract is due to expire in 2022 and the forward has repeatedly been linked with a return to Barcelona.

But the Brazil international seems set to remain at PSG.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR AGREES TO FOUR-YEAR EXTENSION WITH PSG

Neymar has agreed to a four-year extension with PSG, according to TNT Sports Brasil correspondent Marcelo Bechler.

The deal will keep Neymar, who arrived at PSG from Barcelona in 2017, tied to the Parc des Princes until 2026.

Neymar has won nine domestic trophies, including three Ligue 1 titles, since arriving in Paris.

 

ROUND-UP

- Also out of contract next year is Neymar's star PSG team-mate Kylian Mbappe. TNT Sports Brasil reports selling the forward, who has been linked to Real Madrid previously, would give the Ligue 1 giants the chance to sign Barcelona star Lionel Messi or Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos, or both.

- Real Madrid could also be set for other business. AS reports LaLiga's champions are prepared to sell Vinicius Junior in the next transfer window, with the 20-year-old having netted just three times in 25 appearances in all competitions this term.

- Arkadiusz Milik joined Marseille on loan from Napoli in January, but Juventus are still considering a move for the forward, according to CalcioMercato.

- Dele Alli was reportedly wanted by PSG in January, but the midfielder ended up staying at Tottenham. The Telegraph reports Spurs chairman Daniel Levy blocked Alli's move due to the club's injuries and run of poor form.

- A free agent, Daniel Sturridge's future remains unclear. The Daily Mail reports the forward is wanted by MLS clubs.

Liverpool's need for defensive reinforcements was always likely to dominate the headlines on transfer deadline day and so it proved as the Premier League champions made two late signings.

Centre-back Ben Davies arrived from Preston North End, while Liverpool made a further addition to the heart of their backline with the loan signing of Ozan Kabak from Bundesliga strugglers Schalke until the end of the season.

Those signings came on a day that saw Joel Matip ruled out for the rest of the season with an ankle ligament injury. Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are long-term absentees and Liverpool were forced to play Jordan Henderson and Nathaniel Phillips at centre-back in Sunday's win at West Ham.

Heading for the Anfield exit door is Takumi Minamino, the forward moving to Southampton on a six-month loan deal having only joined Liverpool last January.

It came after Southampton loaned veteran Shane Long to promotion-chasing Championship side Bournemouth.

Bournemouth also sanctioned the departure of Joshua King to Everton for a nominal fee until the end of the season.

There were outgoings at Arsenal as well, with Shkodran Mustafi signing for Schalke on a short-term deal and Joe Willock going on loan to Newcastle United, who let DeAndre Yedlin leave for Galatasaray.

Arsenal also sent Ainsley Maitland-Niles to West Brom on loan.

Turkish giants Galatasaray acquired Gedson Fernandes on a temporary deal from Benfica following an unsuccessful stint at Tottenham.

In Serie A, Parma landed Bayern Munich's teenage forward Joshua Zirkzee in a loan deal that contains the option to sign the 19-year-old permanently.

Atalanta are firmly in contention for a top-four finish in Serie A and bolstered their ranks for that push with the capture of Ukraine midfielder Viktor Kovalenko from Shakhtar Donetsk.

Roma can afford to have hopes of a title challenge and brought in teenage full-back Bryan Reynolds from MLS outfit Dallas on an initial loan deal, with an obligation to buy, to help them.

Frozen out at Juventus, midfielder Sami Khedira is back in the Bundesliga following a switch to Hertha Berlin, but one of European football's most exciting talents is heading to Italy after Udinese signed Jayden Braaf on loan from Manchester City with an option to buy.

Elsewhere, Everton defender Jonjoe Kenny joined Celtic on loan for the rest of the season, Brighton and Hove Albion signed highly rated midfielder Moises Caicedo from Independiente del Valle, West Brom loaned Okay Yokuslu from Celta Vigo and defender Teden Mengi moved from Manchester United to Wayne Rooney's Derby County on a temporary basis.

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