Neymar has sparked speculation over Lionel Messi's future.

Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar enjoyed a successful period alongside Messi at Barcelona before leaving in a world-record deal in 2017.

Now, Neymar wants to team up with Messi again.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE OUT, MESSI IN?

Paris Saint-Germain will have to sell Kylian Mbappe if they sign Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, according to Diario AS.

Messi has been linked with a move to Ligue 1 champions PSG after former Barca forward Neymar expressed his desire to reunite with the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

If Manchester City target Messi arrives in the French capital, it could send Mbappe closer to LaLiga champions Real Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

- Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has not ruled leaving the Spanish giants, reports El Transistor. Ramos is out of contract at the end of the season and he has been linked with PSG, Juventus, Milan and Manchester United.

Mauricio Pochettino has been contacted by Madrid to replace under-fire head coach Zinedine Zidane, claims Sport. Pochettino, who has been out of work since he was sacked as Tottenham boss last year, has also been linked to United.

- Diario AS says Atletico Madrid are lining up a January bid for Napoli's Arkadiusz Milik. The Poland international has been frozen out since making it clear he will not re-sign with the Serie A side. Tottenham, Everton and Roma have also emerged as possible destinations.

Romelu Lukaku is on Pep Guardiola's shortlist of forwards at City but Inter insist the Belgian star is non-transferable, according to Calciomercato.

- The Telegraph reports Chelsea's plan to sign West Ham midfielder Declan Rice rests on the success of off-season recruit Ben Chilwell.

Is Zinedine Zidane's second spell in charge of Real Madrid coming to an end?

Zidane guided Madrid to three successive Champions League titles in his first stint, and last season's LaLiga crown after returning to the Santiago Bernabeu in 2019.

But the Los Blancos great is under mounting pressure amid the club's struggles this season.

 

TOP STORY – ZIDANE IN DANGER

Mauricio Pochettino and Raul are waiting in the wings to replace Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid, according to widespread reports in Spain.

Madrid head coach Zidane is in danger of losing his job following Tuesday's Champions League loss to Shakhtar Donetsk.

Los Blancos have suffered back-to-back defeats and three in their past five outings across all competitions to be seven points adrift in LaLiga and on the cusp of Champions League elimination.

Thursday's Mundo Deportivo, Diario AS and Sport report former Tottenham boss Pochettino and Madrid Castilla coach Raul are eyeing the hot seat.

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato claims the race to sign Rennes and France sensation Eduardo Camavinga is down to Madrid and Manchester United. Serie A champions Juventus had also been linked, though there has been talk of Paul Pogba returning to Turin after leaving for Old Trafford in 2016.

- Bayern Munich star David Alaba is hoping to strike a January agreement with Chelsea, according to Fabrizio Romano's 'Here We Go Podcast'. Alaba is a free agent at the end of the season and he has been linked to the likes of Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.

Juventus have shown an interest in Barcelona centre-back Samuel Umtiti, according to Calciomercato. Arsenal's Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic are also on the shortlist.

Madrid are eyeing Benfica forward Darwin Nunez, reports Calciomercato. The Uruguay international has also caught the attention of LaLiga rivals Barca.

- What does the future hold for Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland? Heavily linked to United, Madrid, Liverpool, PSG and even Barca, Calciomercato says Juve are monitoring the Norwegian closely.

Jose Mourinho is celebrating a year in charge of Tottenham as he prepares for a return to Premier League action. 

The former Chelsea and Manchester United boss was appointed Spurs head coach after Mauricio Pochettino's previously successful stint came to a disappointing end. 

Tottenham were 14th when Mourinho arrived but could now go top of the table this weekend as they host Manchester City. 

Victory against Pep Guardiola's side would cap a fine 12 months for Jose, as demonstrated with the use of Opta data. 


IMPROVING ON POCH

Tottenham finished sixth last season, leaving Mourinho to celebrate a place in Europa League qualifying on the final day. 

Spurs had reached the Champions League final the previous season, but securing European football of any sort was a success for Mourinho given their perilous position when he arrived.

Indeed, since his appointment, Tottenham rank third in the Premier League - behind only Liverpool and Manchester City. 

Spurs have taken 62 points from 34 games over this span, with their league win rate of 53 per cent marginally above Mourinho's overall mark. 

The Portuguese has won 52 per cent of his 50 Tottenham games in all competitions (26 victories), showing improvement from Pochettino's final half-century of matches. 

Pochettino triumphed in 22 of the 50 fixtures prior to his sacking but lost a hugely concerning 19. Mourinho's side have also scored slightly more (94 versus 89) and conceded one fewer (61 versus 62).
 

PROGRESS THIS TERM

If Mourinho's overall record shows only marginal gains so far, there is at least cause for encouragement for Spurs fans early this season. 

Tottenham began the new Premier League campaign by losing at home to Everton and subsequently dropped points in stoppage time against Newcastle United and West Ham. 

But Mourinho's squad are second, a point behind leaders Leicester City, and the style and effectiveness of their play has altered for the better.

In eight league games this term, Spurs are averaging 55.4 per cent of possession, an increase from 50 per cent in Mourinho's 24 matches in 2019-20. 

Crucially, they are also using the ball more effectively and creating more chances. Tottenham have had 13.9 shots per game in the new campaign, with 9.6 from inside the box - compared to 11.3 and 7.2 last season. 

The quality of these opportunities has improved too, with Spurs expected to score 1.95 goals per game - up from 1.33 - and converting 17.1 per cent of their attempts. 

Mourinho has, of course, benefited from the outstanding form of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min. Kane has been involved in 38 goals (27 scored, 11 assisted) and Son in 33 (20 scored, 13 assisted) during his reign. 
 

NO SPURS STANDOUT

For all the talk of a title tilt this season, Mourinho is not yet comparing favourably to his predecessors. 

His record might represent an improvement on the end of Pochettino's tenure, but the former Southampton boss finished his Tottenham career averaging 1.89 points per game across 202 Premier League matches.

Mourinho's rate of 1.82 points per game also trails Andre-Villas Boas (1.83) and Tim Sherwood, who finished with an outstanding mark of 1.91 from his 22 games. 

The last Spurs manager to oversee 20 or more Premier League matches and average fewer points than Mourinho was Harry Redknapp. 

He guided Tottenham away from relegation trouble and into the Champions League, picking up 1.74 points per game.

Cristiano Ronaldo's name is still chanted at Old Trafford, 11 years on from his Manchester United exit.

The 35-year-old enjoyed great success in Manchester, while he has gone on to break records with Real Madrid and Juventus.

However, the Juventus superstar could reportedly be set for a second stint at the Theatre of Dreams.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED EYE RONALDO RETURN

Manchester United are looking to re-sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus, according to ESPN broadcaster Christian Martin.

Ronaldo spent six years at United, winning three Premier League titles and the Champions League, before joining Real Madrid in 2009.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner swapped Madrid for Serie A champions Juve in 2018, but he has been linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Juve would negotiate a deal with United if Ronaldo asked to leave Turin, the report claims.

 

ROUND-UP

Kylian Mbappe tops Real Madrid's list of transfer targets, reports Diario AS. The club's wishlist includes the PSG forward, Rennes sensation and United target Eduardo Camavinga, Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland and RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano. It comes as United eye both Upamecano and Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane.

Matthijs de Ligt will not leave Juventus next season, reports Calciomercato. Juve are not entertaining offers, unless a club pay De Ligt's €150million release clause, which will be active in 2021.

- Calciomercato says United have set their sights on Dortmund defender Dan-Axel Zagadou. The 21-year-old arrived from PSG in 2017.

Madrid are concerned about the form of Zinedine Zidane's team, according to Cadena SER. While there are reports Madrid directors are losing faith in Zidane, the club are also unwilling to throw Raul or Mauricio Pochettino in the deep end at the LaLiga champions.

Could Cristiano Ronaldo's time in Turin be coming to an end?

Ronaldo is contracted to Juventus until 2022 but the Italian giants are believed to be willing to part with the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

Neymar could be his direct replacement.

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO OUT, NEYMAR IN?

Juventus are keen to swap Cristiano Ronaldo for Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar, according to TuttoMercatoWeb.

Ronaldo has been linked with a move away from Serie A champions Juve, while Neymar's future has often dominated headlines amid speculation over a Barcelona return.

But the superstar pair could be involved in a blockbuster swap deal as both players are on similar contracts.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca claims Athletic Bilbao are eyeing former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, with the future of current head coach Gaizka Garitano uncertain. Pochettino has been linked to Manchester United.

Milan are targeting a January move for Schalke defender and Liverpool target Ozan Kabak, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. Hellas Verona's Matteo Lovato is an alternative, while the Rossoneri are also eyeing Borussia Monchengladbach's Marcus Thuram. The French forward has been linked to the likes of Juve, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester City.

- Zinedine Zidane remains determined to bring Eduardo Camavinga to Madrid, however, Mundo Deportivo says the France sensation will not leave Rennes for below €100million.

- According to Manchester Evening News, United could rekindle their interest in Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish amid his dazzling form. Grealish and Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho were both linked with Old Trafford moves during the previous transfer window.

Barcelona's finances are reportedly precarious amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Wage cuts have been flagged, but the LaLiga powerhouse are also eyeing further sales.

Ousmane Dembele and Samuel Umtiti could be among the players to depart Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – DEMBELE AND CO. HEADING FOR EXIT

Barcelona are ready to sell five players during the January transfer window, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Ousmane Dembele, Samuel Umtiti, Carles Alena, Martin Braithwaite and Junior Firpo are the quintet up for sale as embattled LaLiga giants Barca look to raise funds.

Dembele was linked with Manchester United before the previous window closed.

 

ROUND-UP

- Former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has twice snubbed Barca as he eyes the United job amid speculation over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's future, says the Daily Star.

Barcelona have been linked with a move for Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram, according to Bild. Thuram's father, Lilian, played for Barca and Juventus, who are believed to be eyeing the Frenchman. Real Madrid have also been linked.

- OK Diario claims Madrid are interested in Rennes teenager Jeremy Doku. The 18-year-old has caught the eye of Madrid, who have also made Eduardo Camavinga one of their top targets.

- Staying at the Santiago Bernabeu and OK Diario says soon-to-be free agent and Bayern Munich defender David Alaba must lower his wage demands if he wants to play for Madrid. The Austria international has also been linked with PSGManchester City and Barca.

- Tuttosport says Antonio Conte wants Chelsea trio Olivier Giroud, Emerson Palmieri and Marcos Alonso at Inter.

- Lille star Renato Sanches is wanted in Italy. Calciomercato reports Serie A champions Juventus, Milan, Inter, Napoli and Roma are monitoring the former Bayern Munich midfielder.

- Salzburg sensation Dominik Szoboszlai is a serious January target for Arsenal, according to Index. The Hungarian has emerged as an alternative to Lyon star Houssem Aouar.

Erling Haaland is reportedly being lined up as a target for Real Madrid in 2022, while Manchester United are eyeing Mauricio Pochettino.

Haaland, 20, is widely regarded as one of the best forwards in Europe as he continues to star for Borussia Dortmund.

Madrid have plans for the Norway international.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID EYE HAALAND IN 2022

Real Madrid are convinced Dortmund star Haaland is their man in 2022, according to AS.

Haaland has scored 10 goals in 10 games in all competitions for Dortmund this season.

The former Salzburg talent, Mino Raiola - his agent - and Dortmund reportedly have an agreement that a transfer away from BVB will be facilitated in 2022, though there is not thought to be a specific fee in mind yet.

Haaland has begun 2020-21 in fine form having netted five goals in as many Bundesliga games, picking up where he left off last term as he scored 13 in 15 league matches for Dortmund.

While early in the campaign, Haaland's shot conversion rate – excluding blocks – in the league this season (31.3 per cent) is lower than last term (52), but his big chance conversion is slightly higher (from 62.5 per cent to 66.7).

Seemingly flowing with confidence from last season, Haaland is averaging more shots in 2020-21 as well. Per 90 minutes, the striker is attempting 3.7 attempts from inside the box (including blocks) compared to 2.8 in 2019-20.

 

ROUND-UP

- With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer under pressure, Manchester United have approached former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino to potentially become manager, according to the Manchester Evening News. United are 15th in the Premier League ahead of visiting Everton on Saturday.

- In good news for Barcelona, Sport reports goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen is completely committed to the Spanish giants amid links to Bayern Munich. Mundo Deportivo, meanwhile, says Barca could sign Manchester City defender Eric Garcia and Lyon star Memphis Depay for free next year, allowing them to potentially negotiate lower fees in January.

- Amid expectations he will leave Bayern Munich, David Alaba has been offered to Real Madrid, according to Marca. The defender is out of contract at season's end.

- Staying with Madrid – full-back Dani Carvajal is close to agreeing to a new contract until 2024, according to Marca.

- While he is contracted at Liverpool until 2023, Fabinho could be set for a renewal. Fabrizio Romano reports the midfielder is in talks to extend his deal through to 2025.

Mauricio Pochettino is missing football management in England and is ready to return to the game.

The Argentinian was sacked by Tottenham and replaced by Jose Mourinho last November.

Pochettino took charge of 293 games for Spurs and left with a win percentage of 54 – Andre Villas-Boas (55 per cent) is the only manager to have overseen at least 50 matches for the club and possess a better win rate.

He was victorious in 113 of his 202 Premier League games for Spurs (D43, L46), earning an average 1.89 points per game.

Pochettino has previously been linked with several top jobs including Real Madrid, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain, but more recently he has been touted as a leading candidate to take over at Manchester United should under-pressure boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer be disposed of.

When asked if he was looking for a return to management, Pochettino told Sky Sports: "I was always ready to be involved in the game again. I love football. It's my passion, not my job.

"It's not a stress when you are working. It's not a stress to go to the training ground. It's not a stress to prepare for a game. It's not a stress to compete.

"I am looking forward to being involved in the game again, I love the game.

"We are inside, we are working, we are doing things, but it is not the same thing to be involved every day, to share it with your players, your staff and the club. You miss that."

Spurs had managed only two top-four finishes in 22 Premier League seasons before Pochettino's arrival; he achieved the feat in four of his five seasons in charge.

The north London club also reached the Champions League final for the first time in their history in 2019 but lost 2-0 to Liverpool in Madrid.

The 48-year-old appears particularly keen to return to the Premier League having managed for six years in England after spells with Southampton and Spurs.

"I discovered an amazing people in this country, an amazing culture. I am in love," he added.

It remains to be seen whether Pep Guardiola will re-sign with Manchester City.

Guardiola's contract expires at the end of the season in Manchester.

Should the Spaniard decide to move on, there are already two men on the list to replace him.

 

TOP STORY – CITY INTERESTED IN NAGELSMANN

Manchester City are eyeing RB Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann as a possible replacement for Pep Guardiola, according to the Daily Mail.

Guardiola is out of contract at the end of the 2020-21 campaign and the City manager – who has been previously linked to Juventus – is no closer to re-signing.

Should Guardiola decide to leave after arriving in 2016, Nagelsmann and former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino are early candidates.

 

ROUND-UP

Sergio Ramos and LaLiga champions Real Madrid remain deadlocked over contract talks, claims the front page of Monday's Diario AS. The 34-year-old is set to become a free agent at the end of the season and he wants a two-year deal, though Madrid are only committed to 12 months.

- Tuttosport reports Juve and Barcelona are both pursuing Ajax sensation Ryan Gravenberch. The 18-year-old midfielder emerged from Ajax's youth system in 2018.

Barcelona will block a January loan offer from Ligue 1 holders Paris Saint-Germain for Riqui Puig, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Kylian Mbappe extending his PSG contract has not been ruled out, claims L'Equipe. Tipped to eventually join Madrid, while the likes of Liverpool, Barca and Manchester United have also been linked, Mbappe could stay in Paris should certain conditions be met. The Frenchman is keen to see what unfolds in the next transfer windows.

Mauricio Pochettino could find himself back in management sooner rather than later.

Pochettino was sacked by Tottenham in November, having led Spurs to the 2018-19 Champions League final.

Now, Manchester United and Manchester City are reportedly considering moves for Pochettino.

 

TOP STORY – POCH A MAN IN DEMAND IN MANCHESTER

Manchester United and neighbours Manchester City are both eyeing Mauricio Pochettino, according to the Mirror.

Pochettino has been out of work since his Tottenham sacking last year, and the former Spurs boss has emerged as the favourite to replace struggling United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

United vice-chairman Ed Woodward is reportedly ready to sack Solskjaer if results do not improve, while City are considering Pochettino, with Pep Guardiola yet to sign a contract extension.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport claims Barcelona are already planning for the next transfer window. The LaLiga powerhouse are keen to sign two players, with City defender Eric Garcia and Lyon captain Memphis Depay at the top of the list. Barca are also looking to offload Ousmane Dembele who failed to join United on deadline day.

Liverpool are in talks to sign Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland, claims the Mirror. It comes after Adrian struggles to deputise in the absence of injured number one Alisson.

- Tuttosport reports Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain are interested in signing Bayern Munich star David Alaba. The two clubs are eyeing Alaba on a free transfer, with the Austria international's contract expiring at season's end. Alaba has also been linked to the likes of City and Real Madrid.

West Ham are trying to sign Brentford star Said Benrahma in a £17million deal, according to the Telegraph.

Manchester United had a busy transfer deadline day but it is reported their most significant arrival could be to come.

United completed deals for Edinson Cavani, Alex Telles, Facundo Pellistri and Amad Diallo before the window closed on Monday.

There is now talk a new manager could be heading for Old Trafford, with Mauricio Pochettino lined up to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED TARGET POCH AFTER SPURS BATTERING

Former Tottenham boss Pochettino is a strong favourite to take over as United boss.

The Mirror report that United have made contact with the Argentinian following United's 6-1 home Premier League drubbing at the hands of Spurs on Sunday.

Pochettino was strongly linked with United after Jose Mourinho was sacked in December 2018 but he remained in London.

The 48-year-old has been waiting for the right opportunity to resume his managerial career following his dismissal last November, and that could be at United if Solskjaer loses his job.

ROUND-UP

- John Stones reportedly snubbed a loan move to Tottenham before the window shut. The Daily Star claim Mourinho wanted to take the Manchester City centre-back to the capital on loan for the rest of the season, but he opted to stay put.

- Another defender who rejected a switch to Spurs is Antonio Rudiger, according to The Athletic. Rudiger was said to be concerned about incurring the wrath of Chelsea fans by joining their rivals. Paris Saint-Germain and Roma were also reported to be keen on Rudiger, who ultimately stayed at Stamford Bridge.

- The Manchester Evening News say Eric Garcia missed out on a move to Barcelona because a deal with City could not be reached. Garcia may still get his move at the end of the season, when his contract expires.

- West Ham midfielder Felipe Anderson is set for a loan move to Porto on Tuesday. TalkSPORT say the former Lazio man is on the verge of a switch to Portugal for the remainder of the season.

- Fikayo Tomori pulled out of a loan deal with West Ham just 10 minutes before the window closed, according to Sky Sports. The centre-back will instead try and win his place back at Chelsea.

Mauricio Pochettino said he did not receive an offer to coach LaLiga giants Barcelona, while the former Tottenham boss insisted leading Real Madrid is his dream.

Pochettino was linked with Barca following Quique Setien's sacking before the embattled Spanish powerhouse opted for Ronald Koeman after a trophy-less 2019-20 campaign.

Argentine manager Pochettino, who departed Tottenham in November last year, was asked about the Barca speculation.

"They didn't offer me to coach Barca," he told Cope and Marca. "I didn't see myself with [president Josep Maria] Bartomeu.

"I did eat with Ramon Planes because we have a friendship for many years, since 2009 when he signed for Espanyol."

Pochettino had opened the door to potentially coaching Barca, having previously suggested he would not take charge at Camp Nou due to his links with rivals Espanyol.

"I was ironic then," Pochettino reflected. "It was my first news conference at Tottenham and they asked me about the Barca rumours. Then I answered with my irony and I think I went too far, I said what I said.

"It sounds very nice for the radical Espanyol fan but I did not want to speak for that radical fan. Nor do I have to justify any statement because no one can question my love for Espanyol."

Pochettino has also been linked with Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain, Serie A champions Juventus and Inter heading into the 2020-21 season.

Thomas Tuchel remains in charge of PSG, Juve turned to Andrea Pirlo and Inter have opted to continue with Antonio Conte.

"Neither PSG, nor Juventus, nor Inter Milan [made offers in the off-season]," Pochettino added. "I did have a call from Benfica and Monaco. I have no need to lie."

Pochettino shunned Madrid in 2018, deciding to honour his contract with Premier League side Tottenham at the time.

Madrid attempted to hire Pochettino as Zinedine Zidane's successor and asked about Los Blancos again, the 48-year-old said: "I don't know if I'll ever coach Madrid, but of course it's my dream.

"If it's not the best it's one of the best clubs in the world. I'm no different, everyone has it on their dream list."

Wantaway Barcelona forward Lionel Messi will "play wherever he wants" and is good enough to be the best player in any division he chooses, according to Mauricio Pochettino.

Messi informed Barca of his desire to leave the club last week and reportedly believes he can move on a free transfer after activating a clause that allows him to terminate his contract.

However, Barca and LaLiga are of the opinion the €700million release clause in his deal is still intact and will have to be met in full or a transfer fee be agreed with any potential suitor for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner to move on.

Messi's father and agent Jorge met with president Josep Maria Bartomeu on Wednesday to discuss a potential departure, with Manchester City the favourites to sign him.

And Pochettino, who was previously linked with the role of Barca head coach, expects his countryman to have the final say on his future.

"Anything can happen. Messi will play wherever he wants - in Spain or the Premier League. He's ready to be the best in any league," Pochettino told Argentine outlet Ole.

Pochettino has been out of work since leaving Tottenham in November and was touted as a contender to take over at Camp Nou following Quique Setien's departure last month.

The former Espanyol player and coach recently backtracked on comments made in 2018 when stating he "would prefer to work on a farm" than manage Barca.

However, Pochettino concedes the damage has been done and he is unlikely to ever be considered for one of world football's top jobs.

"I think the statements made the fans reluctant to accept me, but at no time did I receive an offer to manage Barca," he said.

"I was wrong in the way I conveyed that it would be impossible in the future to manage Barcelona. I exaggerated by not leaving an iota of doubt.

"It's clear that everyone who knows me knows that, from my past and a lot of things, it would be difficult to relate my name to the club. There are things that cannot be put together."

Kylian Mbappe would be a "stratospheric" signing for Real Madrid but a move is not financially feasible, according to the Spanish club's former president Ramon Calderon.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward has been strongly tipped to link up with Zinedine Zidane at the Santiago Bernabeu at some point in his career, potentially as early as this transfer window.

However, Mbappe still has two years to run on his PSG contract and would command a huge transfer fee, which Calderon feels no team can justify in the current climate.

"No doubt Mbappe is a player who everyone would like to sign. He has great potential, and he is very young," he told Stats Perform News.

"He reminds me a lot of Ronaldo, the Brazilian, because of his strength and his capacity to score goals. No doubt, he would be a great transfer. 

"I don't know if Real Madrid are able to do it now. It would be a stratospheric transfer. He has a contract with PSG – they will not give him away for free.

"On the other hand, we are into a very expensive deal with the rebuilding of the new stadium. It is up to €1billion. So, it is difficult.

"But if the president thinks it can be possible, he will do it. However, I guess the economy will not be the best, especially at this time, when there will be financial issues at every club.

"The costs of transfers will totally change. They will go down, and also the salaries of the players will go down.

"So, it is basically an economic point. First, the player needs to ask for a transfer request and the financial agreement will come after.

"But, again, the financial agreement for Mbappe is not easy – it cannot be done by anyone."

Madrid's most recent marquee signing, Belgium forward Eden Hazard, failed to make much of an impact in his debut season after joining from Chelsea last year.

Hazard suffered from a series of injury issues and featured just 22 times in all competitions, but Calderon expects to see a lot more from the 29-year-old this coming season.

"We know he was a great player in the Premier League," Calderon said. "A fantastic player – so much talent and skill.

"But he did not play as regularly as Madrid demand of their players. Chelsea are a big team, but Chelsea players don't have to handle the pressure that Real Madrid players have.

"I have dealt with it. When they come here, you face the most difficult time of your career. You have to give 150 per cent and the fans are extremely demanding.

"So, we have to wait. It is only the first year, a year of adaptation. He also struggled with injuries. I believe he could show his talent the following year.

"It has happened before with other players when they couldn't perform the first season and the second one has been totally different. Hopefully, that will be the case."

Zinedine Zidane guided Madrid to their first LaLiga title in three years in 2019-20 – his 11th trophy in three seasons as head coach across two spells in the Spanish capital.

The Frenchman's future has sometimes been called into question, however, and Calderon has backed former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino to take over once Zidane does eventually move on.

"Pochettino is a very good manager. Of course he could manage Real Madrid," Calderon said.

"However, again, this is a very complicated club and so demanding of everyone. From that point, they have built their history.

"That demand makes every player know they need to be at 100 per cent in order to fight for all the trophies.

"I believe Zidane will stay, but it is true he already left once. He is not engaged to anyone, even though he has already shown his commitment to Real Madrid.

"I think he didn't plan at the beginning to become manager. But he finally decided to be manager and he has reached a point [that will be] very difficult to equal for many years.

"I hope he stays for many years, but nothing is forever. One day he will decide to leave and when it happens, it will be the time to think of another manager – and I think Pochettino would be really suitable."

Lionel Messi reportedly has no plans to hang around at Barcelona, while Neymar could be targeted for a return.

Amid the chaos at the LaLiga giants, there is fresh speculation over Messi's future.

The superstar is contracted at Barca until 2021 – but perhaps he could make a move sooner.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI WANTS IMMEDIATE BARCELONA EXIT

Messi wants to leave Barcelona immediately, according to Esporte Interativo.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner has been linked to Premier League giants Manchester City and Serie A side Inter recently.

Contracted until next year, Messi was expected to re-sign at Barcelona, but their capitulation in the Champions League has led to chaos at the club.

 

ROUND-UP

- With Barcelona moving on from Quique Setien, where to next for the LaLiga giants? Sport reports Ronald Koeman and former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino are the main candidates, while AS says the Netherlands head coach is the frontrunner.

- Moves are also expected at Camp Nou. According to Sport, Barcelona are preparing a deal for Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar, ready to offer Antoine Griezmann and €60million to bring the Brazil international back to the club. AS says Barca are also prepared to sell Arthur, who is joining Juventus, Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal, Martin Braithwaite, Junior Firpo, Samuel Umtiti and Ousmane Dembele.

- Pochettino is reportedly an option for Barcelona, but the Argentinian may have options. The Sun reports City are eyeing Pochettino amid doubts over Pep Guardiola's future as manager.

- It looks like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is staying at Arsenal. The Telegraph reports Arsenal have agreed terms with the forward over a new deal.

- Chelsea are expected to sign at least one defender this close season. According to the Mirror, they are preparing a move for City defender John Stones – even if they land Brighton and Hove Albion's Lewis Dunk.

- Another Brighton and Hove Albion defender is apparently attracting interest. The Sun says Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Leicester City are interested in Ben White, who spent 2019-20 on loan at Leeds United.

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