Houssem Aouar's wait for a first France cap continues after he was replaced in the squad by former team-mate Nabil Fekir as a consequence of the Lyon midfielder contracting coronavirus.

Aouar, 22, received his maiden call-up to the senior France side on Thursday having impressed in Lyon's run to the Champions League semi-finals.

But Lyon announced a recent coronavirus test returned a positive result on Friday morning, just a few hours before the Ligue 1 clash with Dijon, though he remains asymptomatic.

The highly rated midfielder, who has been linked with several major European clubs, has been told he could have to stay away from first-team training for 15 days, depending on future tests.

"The results received this morning by the medical management of the club revealed that Houssem Aouar is the only player in the squad to have tested positive for COVID-19," Lyon's statement read.

"As soon as the results were made known, Houssem was put into isolation for a fortnight while still being completely asymptomatic.

"Olympique Lyonnais can also confirm that the contamination of the player occurred outside the club.

"Houssem Aouar will return to training with the first-team squad in 10 to 15 days, depending on his next follow-up tests."

France later confirmed Aouar had been removed from their squad and replaced by Real Betis attacker Fekir.

Les Bleus face Sweden and Croatia in Nations League matches on September 5 and 8.

Kylian Mbappe could be prepared to agree a new deal with Paris Saint-Germain – on one condition.

The France star has been linked heavily with a move to Real Madrid, although he is contracted in Paris until 2022.

Mbappe could also reportedly re-sign with PSG and it seems it is a possibility, although only if it includes a clause.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE WANTS REAL MADRID CLAUSE IN NEW PSG DEAL

Mbappe wants a clause in his PSG contract that allows him to leave for Real Madrid or another great club for a certain fee, according to AS.

The report compares the buyout clause to the one Neymar had in his deal before leaving Barcelona for PSG for a world-record €222million in 2017.

It says Real Madrid would prefer Mbappe did not re-sign as they would chase the attacker next year.

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- Barcelona are reportedly still pursuing Inter star Lautaro Martinez. But ESPN claims the LaLiga giants fear interest from Real Madrid, Manchester United and PSG could drive up the forward's price.

- James Rodriguez is seemingly still attracting interest from Atletico Madrid. El Universal reports the Colombia international is ready to make the move from Real Madrid and join Atletico.

- Again linked with a move, Nabil Fekir may be prepared to wait. AS says the Real Betis attacker is ready to wait for an offer from Barca or Real Madrid to emerge, amid apparent interest from Arsenal, Milan and Newcastle United.

- The chase is on for Aster Vranckx. The Mirror reports Manchester City and Liverpool will go head-to-head for the 17-year-old Mechelen midfielder, who is a Belgium youth international. It comes as The Mirror reports Liverpool are changing their transfer plans to focus on young talent.

- Brahim Diaz is yet to make an impression at Real Madrid and could make a move. Mundo Deportivo claims Betis are interested in the midfielder, who joined Madrid from Manchester City last year.

- Coming out of contract, Angel Gomes' future at Manchester United is unclear. The Sun reports United have made a last-ditch offer to Gomes, who has been linked with Chelsea and other Premier League clubs.

Neymar appears likely to remain at Paris Saint-Germain for another season, while Newcastle United have big plans.

Linked again with a return to Barcelona, Neymar could yet stay in Paris, where he is contracted 2022.

Meanwhile, Newcastle – reportedly on the verge of being taken over – are considering some big names.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR SET FOR PSG STAY AMID BARCELONA LINKS

Due to the coronavirus pandemic and troubles at Barcelona, Neymar looks set to stay at PSG for another season, according to Marca.

It also reported that Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu is struggling to find the financial formula to sign the Brazil forward.

Neymar only arrived at PSG from Barca in a world-record €222million move in 2017.

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- Newcastle could have money to spend if their proposed takeover goes through. Mundo Deportivo reports the club are looking at Barcelona attacker Philippe Coutinho, who it says is also a target for Everton. Foot Mercato claims Newcastle are eyeing PSG striker Edinson Cavani, Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly and Real Betis forward Nabil Fekir.

- Like they are struggling with Neymar, Barcelona are battling to find a deal for Inter forward Lautaro Martinez, according to Sky Sport Italia, which says the LaLiga side are struggling to meet the Argentina international's €111m release clause.

- Paul Pogba's future remains a talking point. Tuttosport says Manchester United are open to an exchange deal with Juventus, with Aaron Ramsey and Douglas Costa among the players linked with a move to Old Trafford.

- Barcelona are still a long way off reaching an agreement with goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, according to Sport. Ter Stegen is contracted at Barca until 2022. Meanwhile, Sport reports Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana is prioritising a move to Barcelona if he leaves the Eredivisie giants.

- Perhaps Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will stay at Arsenal after all. Sport reports the forward, whose deal ends in 2021, will renew with the Premier League club. Staying at Arsenal and the Daily Express says Arsenal are considering a move for Barcelona attacker Ousmane Dembele.

- A youth product who has spent his entire professional career at Barcelona, Sergi Roberto has gone from untouchable to transferable, according to Marca.

Juventus may be able to bring Paul Pogba back to Turin, but it could cost them a star.

Pogba, 27, has been linked with a move away from Manchester United, having returned to Old Trafford in 2016.

But the Serie A champions could be ready to give up a leading player in their bid to bring the France international back.

 

TOP STORY – POGBA TO JUVENTUS, DYBALA OR PJANIC TO MAN UTD

Manchester United midfielder Pogba could return to Juventus for money plus Paulo Dybala or Miralem Pjanic, according to Tuttosport.

Dybala almost headed to Old Trafford during the close season but is reportedly close to signing a contract extension with Juventus.

Pjanic, meanwhile, has made 32 appearances in all competitions this season, having arrived at Juve from domestic rivals Roma in 2016.

 

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- The talk around Lautaro Martinez possibly leaving Inter to join Barcelona continues. Sport reports Barca are advancing in their bid to convince Martinez, with their project and potentially playing with Lionel Messi at club level their key points.

- With his Real Madrid future uncertain, Marcelo could be set for a move. Juventus are again interested in the left-back, according to Marca.

- Staying at the Santiago Bernabeu - Lucas Vazquez could also be heading for a Real Madrid exit. AS reports there have been no discussions over a potential contract extension with the forward, whose deal expires next year.

- Martin Braithwaite only arrived at Barcelona in February, but the LaLiga giants are already considering their options. Sport says Barca will not sell Braithwaite for less than €18million, which is what they paid to land the forward. Everton and West Ham are reportedly interested in the Denmark international.

- Arsenal are seemingly considering a move for Nabil Fekir again. The Premier League club were linked with the forward last year, but the Daily Star reports the Real Betis man is back on their radar as a potential replacement for Dani Ceballos, whose loan from Real Madrid ends at the conclusion of the season.

Real Madrid missed the opportunity to return to the top of the table in LaLiga as they fell to a late 2-1 defeat at Real Betis on Sunday.

Zinedine Zidane's side had climbed to the summit with their Clasico defeat of Barcelona last week, but they slipped back below their bitter rivals after Quique Setien's men triumphed on Saturday and could not reclaim first place following a below-par display in Seville.

Indeed, Madrid would have been fortunate to emerge with even a point, as Betis enjoyed the better of the contest and led through Sidnei, only for the defender to swiftly concede a penalty at the other end that Karim Benzema scored.

Former Barca winger Cristian Tello netted with eight minutes remaining, though, and Los Blancos' have now won just once – against the Blaugrana – in their past five matches in all competitions, with Betis picking up their first win in seven top-flight games. 

Lionel Messi grabbed a hat-trick of assists as Barcelona ended a tumultuous week with a pulsating 3-2 LaLiga win over Real Betis at the Benito Villamarin on Sunday.

The Catalan giants were dumped out of the Copa del Rey by Athletic Bilbao in midweek, while Messi has been involved in a public spat with technical director Eric Abidal after he questioned the work ethic of some players under previous boss Ernesto Valverde.

Quique Setien's side got off to a terrible start against his former employers, with Sergio Canales' penalty putting the hosts ahead early on, but a wonderful goal from Frenkie de Jong pulled the champions level soon after.

Nabil Fekir - who was later dismissed for two bookable offences in quick succession - restored the hosts' advantage with a fine finish, before Sergio Busquets scored a second equaliser on the stroke of half-time.

Clement Lenglet then headed home Messi's free-kick 18 minutes from time to ensure Barca remain three points behind leaders Real Madrid after their 4-1 win at Osasuna earlier in the day, although the Frenchman blotted his copybook by picking up a second yellow card soon after Fekir's dismissal.

Betis opened the scoring in the sixth minute, Canales stroking home from the penalty spot after Lenglet had handled Fekir's strike inside the penalty area.

Their lead lasted just three minutes, though, as De Jong chested down Messi's superb ball over the top and volleyed past Joel Robles from six yards.

Fekir rounded off a swift counter-attacking move with a fine low strike from 18 yards past Marc-Andre ter Stegen to restore Betis' advantage just before the half-hour mark.

Messi was again the provider for Barca's equaliser in first-half stoppage time, his deep free-kick turned in by Busquets from eight yards.

Messi was twice denied by Robles after the interval but he was central to Barca's winner, floating in a free-kick that was headed home by a towering Lenglet.

Fekir saw red 14 minutes from time, picking up quickfire bookings for a foul on Lenglet and dissent, while Barca's French defender also received his marching orders three minutes later after catching Joaquin.

Benjamin Mendy has been handed a recall for France's Euro 2020 qualifiers against Moldova and Albania.

The Manchester City full-back was given the nod over Real Madrid counterpart Ferland Mendy when France's squad was announced on Thursday.

Coach Didier Deschamps named a 23-man selection which includes Kylian Mbappe, who has not featured for his country since June amid injury problems.

Similar issues have hindered Benjamin Mendy, though to a much greater extent, the former Monaco star having required knee surgery during his stop-start time at the Etihad Stadium.

Benjamin Mendy last appeared at international level in the Nations League last September.

Nabil Fekir, who was absent for the previous two international matches, also returns, and N'Golo Kante is included.

Injury meant midfielder Kante could not feature in the previous international break, though he did not return to Chelsea until after the second fixture, frustrating Frank Lampard.

There is no place in the squad for Barcelona duo Ousmane Dembele or Samuel Umtiti, while Hugo Lloris, Paul Pogba and Lucas Hernandez are all sidelined. 

France sit joint-top of Group H alongside Turkey, boasting a four-point lead over third-placed Iceland with two matches remaining.

Moldova visit the Stade de France on November 14, and France conclude their qualifying campaign in Albania on November 17.
 

France squad: Alphonse Areola (Real Madrid), Mike Maignan (Lille), Steve Mandanda (Marseille); Lucas Digne (Everton), Leo Dubois (Lyon), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris Saint-Germain), Clement Lenglet (Barcelona), Benjamin Mendy (Manchester City), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Kurt Zouma (Chelsea); N'Golo Kante (Chelsea), Blaise Matuidi (Juventus), Tanguy Ndombele (Tottenham), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham), Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich); Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Nabil Fekir (Real Betis), Olivier Giroud (Chelsea), Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona), Thomas Lemar (Atletico Madrid), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain).

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