Rudi Garcia rued Lyon allowing their Champions League fate to slip from their grasp with a 2-0 defeat at Zenit.

Lyon controlled the action in St Petersburg for long periods but lacked cutting edge in the injury absence of star attacker Memphis Depay.

Zenit's imposing centre-forward Artem Dzyuba headed the hosts into a 42nd-minute lead and Magomed Ozdoev's deflected strike six minutes from time made the points safe.

The result leaves Lyon level with Zenit on seven points heading into the final matchweek, knowing they must better the Russian Premier League champions' result next time out to finish above them.

"We owed it to ourselves to do better," Garcia told reporters.

"We needed at least a draw to keep matters in our own hands when it comes to qualifying.

"We conceded two goals when we sat back. We would have done better pressing higher up the pitch and creating more chances."

Group leaders RB Leipzig have already qualified and are up next for Lyon, while Zenit travel to Benfica – a Europa League berth now the best the Portuguese giants can hope for.

Sergei Semak oversaw back-to-back defeats against Leipzig and knows his men have room for improvement.

"What I didn't like was the first part of the second half when we were too passive," the Zenit head coach said.

"Apart from that we did what was needed and deserved to win. But as you saw, there are certain aspects we have to work on."

Dzyuba could not resist poking a little fun at Zenit's domestic rivals Lokomotiv Moscow being knocked out of the Champions League following their defeat at home to Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday.

"It was sad to see Lokomotiv eliminated last night but we'll try to go as far as possible – I can promise that," he told UEFA.com.

"It was tough under pressure from Lyon in the second half. But we were quite good and Misha Kerzhakov, especially, had a great game in goal."

Zenit reinvigorated their hopes of reaching the Champions League knockout stages with a 2-0 win over Lyon in St Petersburg.

Zenit and Lyon are on seven points apiece heading into the final matchday thanks to a precision headed finish from powerhouse forward Artem Dzyuba in the 42nd minute and a late deflected Magomed Ozdoev strike.

Lyon enjoyed the lion's share of possession, controlling the action for long periods, but lacked a cutting edge in the injury absence of Netherlands star Memphis Depay.

Sergei Semak's men responded well to consecutive defeats at the hands of Group G leaders RB Leipzig to move above their Ligue 1 opponents into the second qualifying spot by virtue of a superior head-to-head record.

Both teams had bright moments during the opening half hour but Lyon had the greater control and almost led in the 23rd minute – Zenit goalkeeper Mikhail Kerzhakov plunging bravely to prevent Ozdoev from turning Bertrand Traore's cross into his own net.

The hosts came close when Sardar Azmoun got to Daler Kuzyaev's chipped pass ahead of Lyon keeper Anthony Lopes and the bouncing ball came back off the left post.

Azmoun's towering striker partner Dzyuba found the breakthrough three minutes before the break, expertly directing Douglas Santos' corner past the despairing Lopes.

Moussa Dembele headed just wide as the hour approached, as Lyon forced their opponents on to the retreat.

Lopes leapt theatrically to gather a speculative Sebastian Driussi strike after Lyon again failed to deal with a set piece, but the threat from Zenit was increasingly sporadic.

Nevertheless, one of those raids six minutes from time was enough to seal the points as Ozdoev's deflected drive from substitute Yuri Zhirkov's lay-off left Lopes with no chance.

What does it mean? All to play for on matchday six

Zenit will remain ahead of Lyon if they match the latter's result in Leipzig when they travel to Benfica, with other permutations to be decided once Group G's first and last sides clash later on Wednesday.

Dominant Dzyuba proves decisive

A throwback centre-forward unlikely to win any marks for artistic impression, Russia international Dzyuba is a handful for any defence and Lyon never looked comfortable in his presence.

The 31-year-old's little-and-large partnership with Azmoun will always pose questions and his finish was one any classic number nine would be proud of.

Cornet fails to hit the right notes

Goals home and away against Manchester City last season served notice of Maxwel Cornet's pedigree at this level, but the Lyon winger remains a frustratingly inconsistent performer. He was too often on the margins in St Petersburg, failing to play his part in terms of filling the Memphis void.

What's next

Zenit return to their own patch on Sunday to host Spartak Moscow in the Russian Premier League, while Lyon will have to regroup in time for a Ligue 1 trip to Strasbourg.

Lionel Messi is bidding to score at home in the Champions League for the first time this season as Barcelona take on Borussia Dortmund.

The Argentina international fired his latest blank in the 0-0 draw with Slavia Prague three weeks ago, leaving his side with work to do if they are to progress to the last 16.

Barca will be through if they beat Dortmund or if they draw and Inter fall to defeat at Slavia in the other Group F contest taking place on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, holders Liverpool host Napoli at Anfield aiming to avenge a 2-0 defeat from the reverse fixture, while Chelsea will reach the knockout stages with victory against Valencia.

Below, we have highlighted the key data ahead of Wednesday's eight matches.

Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund

12 - Barcelona forward Messi scored with his last shot at Camp Nou in the 2018-19 Champions League season. He has attempted 12 without success this term, failing to score in both home matches. Should he not to score in this game, it would be first time since October 2011 he has failed to find the back of the net in three consecutive home games in the competition (a run of four).

4 - Borussia Dortmund's Achraf Hakimi has scored four Champions League goals this season – only one Moroccan player has ever netted more in a single campaign, with Marouane Chamakh scoring five for Bordeaux in the 2009-10 campaign.

Slavia Prague v Inter

3,119 - Slavia Prague have given 3,119 minutes to Czech players in the Champions League this season – the most by players of the nation of the club they are representing in the competition this campaign.

3 - Lautaro Martinez has scored in his last three Champions League appearances for Inter. He could become the fifth Argentinian to score in four consecutively, after Hernan Crespo (2002), Lionel Messi (six occasions), Sergio Aguero (2019) and Ezequiel Lavezzi (2013).

Liverpool v Napoli

2 - Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has scored in his last two Champions League appearances – the only Englishman to score in three consecutive matches for the Reds is Steven Gerrard (five in a row in 2007-08).

3 - Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti was the last manager to win an away Champions League match at Anfield, leading Real Madrid to a 3-0 victory in October 2014. No coach has won more away Champions League games in England than Ancelotti (three – level with Jose Mourinho and Massimiliano Allegri).

Genk v Salzburg

0 - Genk remain winless in all 16 of their Champions League matches (W0 D8 L8). It is the fifth longest winless run in the competition's history and the longest since December 2017 (Maribor – 17 matches).

5 - Salzburg striker Erling Haaland will become just the third player to score in his first five Champions League appearances if he scores in this match. The two to do so are Alessandro Del Piero (1995, Juventus) and Diego Costa (2013-14, Atletico Madrid).

Valencia v Chelsea

3 - Valencia have won three of their last four home Champions League games (W3 D0 L1), having lost four of their previous five (W1 D0 L4).

14 - Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham has had more shots than any other Chelsea player in the Champions League this season (14). However, he has found the net with just one of those shots and has scored as many own goals as he has goals (one).

Lille v Ajax

10 - Lille are winless in 10 home Champions League matches (W0 D4 L6). Only two teams have ever had longer home winless runs – Spartak Moscow (11 between 2001 and 2006) and Steaua Bucharest (13 between 1996 and 2013).

10 - Ajax's Hakim Ziyech has been involved in 10 goals in his last 12 Champions League appearances (four goals, six assists). The Moroccan has either scored or assisted in each of his last six away games in the competition (two goals, five assists).

RB Leipzig v Benfica

30 - RB Leipzig are one of only two teams yet to give a single minute to a player aged 30+ in the Champions League this season, along with Genk. In his 10 games as coach in the competition, Julian Nagelsmann has only used one player aged 30 or older – Hungarian striker Adam Szalai for Hoffenheim last season.

10 - Benfica have lost all 10 of their away matches in Germany in the European Cup/Champions League, facing six different teams without success.

Zenit v Lyon 

2 - Zenit have lost two of their last three home European matches (excluding qualifiers) – one more than they had lost in their previous 21 home games (W18 D2 L1).

4 - Lyon's Memphis Depay has scored in all four Champions League matches this season. No Lyon player has ever scored in five consecutive appearances, while only three Dutchmen have scored in five or more – Roy Makaay (2002), Ruud van Nistelrooy (2002, 2003 and 2007) and Arjen Robben (2013).

OL Groupe, the owners of French heavyweights Lyon, are close to completing the purchase of National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) side Reign FC.

The parties have entered into exclusive negotiations and expect to close the transaction before January 31, 2020.

Lyon have been the dominant force in women's football in Europe over the last decade, winning the Women's Champions League in six of the past nine seasons.

Last term's Division 1 Feminine triumph was Lyon's 13th successive league title.

An OL Groupe statement read: "This investment is expected to consolidate OL's position as a major player in women's football worldwide and further develop the OL brand in the United States."

Reign are home to United States star Megan Rapinoe, the Golden Ball winner at this year's Women's World Cup in France, and former Lyon midfielder Jess Fishlock.

The team moved from Seattle to Tacoma at the beginning of 2019 and finished fourth in the regular season, before losing out to eventual champions North Carolina Courage in the play-offs.

Majority owner Bill Predmore said: "Our ambition has always been to operate the best women's football club in the world.

"This is a distinction long held by OL, making them the perfect organisation to help us achieve our long-term objectives for the club."

The 2020 NWSL season begins in March.

With Barcelona and Real Madrid keen to strengthen their defences, one Inter star is attracting interest.

Milan Skriniar is reportedly wanted by LaLiga champions Barca and Spanish rivals Madrid.

Will Inter be able to retain the centre-back?

 

TOP STORY – SKRINIAR WANTED BY LALIGA GIANTS

Barcelona and Real Madrid have set their sights on Inter defender Skriniar, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Skriniar – contracted to Inter until June 2023 – has established himself as one of the world's best defenders since moving to Milan from Sampdoria in 2017.

The likes of Manchester City and Manchester United have also been linked to the 24-year-old Slovakia international.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United are desperate to strengthen their squad and ESPN claims the Premier League side have an eight-man shortlist, which includes Leicester City's James Maddison, Borussia Dortmund sensation Jadon Sancho, Salzburg's goalscoring machine Erling Haaland, West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, Bournemouth's Callum Wilson, Lyon forward Moussa Dembele, as well as Aston Villa pair Jack Grealish and John McGinn.

- Staying at Old Trafford and The Mirror says United are monitoring Sporting CP's Matheus Pereira, who is on loan at Championship outfit West Brom. It comes as The Sun reports the Red Devils could sign Gareth Bale and send Paul Pogba to Real Madrid.

- Bild says Borussia Monchengladbach have no plans to sell midfielder Denis Zakaria in January. Zakaria has reportedly attracted interest from United, Bayern Munich, Dortmund and others.

Manchester City are circling Inter midfielder Stefano Sensi, according to Calciomercato. Sensi moved to Inter on loan from Serie A side Sassuolo and the 24-year-old has starred at San Siro.

- Calciomercato claims Juventus are looking at Paris Saint-Germain's Thomas Meunier and Chelsea full-back Emerson Palmieri amid their injury crisis in Turin.

- Brescia sensation and Italy international Sandro Tonali is being chased by Serie A champions Juve and LaLiga side Atletico Madrid, reports Corriere di Torino.

Marseille want to propose microphones for referees and written explanations of VAR decisions after Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas bemoaned the officiating in his side's defeat at the Stade Velodrome.

Dimitri Payet scored twice as Marseille defeated their rivals 2-1 on Sunday, although the opening goal came from the penalty spot amid much controversy.

Lyon midfielder Thiago Mendes was punished for handball inside the area, yet replays appeared to show Marseille's Morgan Sanson had also handled earlier in the move.

Aulas later criticised the VAR decision, also referring to a clash between Dario Benedetto and Leo Dubois, prompting a response from Marseille on Wednesday.

While "surprised" Aulas, who holds a role on the executive committee at the French Football Federation (FFF), had questioned officials, they offered ideas for how VAR could be better implemented in the league.

In a lengthy statement, Marseille suggested they join with the FFF to approach refereeing body the International Football Association Board, with their plan to install a microphone on referees to broadcast live the exchanges between the official and players, as well as broadcasting such conversations on a slight time delay.

They also advocated slow-motion replays being aired inside the stadium "in such a way as to show the public that the picture does not explain everything", plus a report be published after each day of the championship "specifying the right refereeing decisions, the obviously erroneous decisions and the decisions that should have been made but which were not".

Marseille pointed to the successful implementation of similar systems in both rugby and the NBA.

They described the increased "transparency" of such processes, adding they would "prove that these mistakes affect all clubs equally in the long run".

In addition to Aulas' comments regarding decisions on the field, Marseille also responded to criticism of the atmosphere at their ground, where Lyon's bus was attacked as it arrived at the venue.

Lyon had been advised to use an unmarked bus, as Marseille do against Paris Saint-Germain, but chose instead to arrive in club colours.

"The match was marked in the stadium by the exemplary behaviour of the immense majority of our supporters who, with their tifos and their encouragements throughout the match, gave the most beautiful expression of support to their club," the statement read.

"The Velodrome - with a record Ligue 1 attendance - showed again a unique atmosphere in France and Europe. The show on the field and in the stands ensured our championship an exceptional promotion around the world."

Manchester United have an option to bring Memphis Depay back to Old Trafford, according to Lyon sporting director Juninho.

Netherlands international Depay joined United from PSV in 2015 but could only manage seven goals in 53 appearances across all competitions.

An unhappy 18 months concluded when he joined Lyon for a fee in the region of £16million in January 2017 - and the 25-year-old has been revitalised in Ligue 1.

Depay has scored seven times in 10 top-flight appearances this season despite his club's troubled start to the campaign, along with four in as many Champions League outings.

Speaking on Tuesday, Netherlands head coach Ronald Koeman told reporters it would be better for his country if Depay was playing for a bigger club.

In the event of his performances drawing offers from some of Europe's big hitters, Juninho told his club's official website that United retain first refusal under the terms of Depay's move to France.

"Manchester has a priority if several clubs line up to buy him," he said.

"But we have not received any offers so far. He is really happy right now in Lyon.

"We will discuss a contract extension by the end of the year."

Depay's current deal runs until the end of next season.

Lyon lie 14th in Ligue 1 after a 2-1 defeat to rivals Marseille last Sunday, although recently installed head coach Rudi Garcia had overseen three consecutive wins before that setback.

Lyon sporting director Juninho wants Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema to finish his career at the Ligue 1 club.

Benzema, 31, came through the Lyon academy and starred in Ligue 1 before joining Madrid for €35million in July 2009.

The Frenchman has scored 233 goals for Madrid, helping the Spanish giants win two LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues among numerous other trophies.

Juninho, who played alongside Benzema at Lyon, wants the forward to return to the club.

"My desire is to propose to Karim that he finishes his career at Lyon," the Brazilian told OLTV.

"He is from here, he feels from here. Why not make an economic effort between both parties to make it happen?

"We can't offer the same salary as Real Madrid, but we will wait for the right moment.

"We exchanged messages when I was in Brazil. I felt like he would like to come. He has a lot of respect for the club.

"I want him to come and play with us for two years, and then train some of the younger players.

"Karim could be the leader that we need. I dream that he will end his career here at Lyon, his home."

Benzema has made a fine start to this season, scoring 11 goals in 15 games in all competitions for Madrid.

Lyon, meanwhile, are struggling in 14th in Ligue 1, with Rudi Garcia replacing Sylvinho at the helm last month.

Memphis Depay leaving Lyon and joining a "bigger club" would only benefit Netherlands, according to Ronald Koeman.

The 25-year-old signed for the French club in January 2017 and has got his career back on track following a disappointing 18-month spell with Manchester United.

He scored 29 goals in his first two full Ligue 1 campaigns and has seven in 10 outings this term, earning him links with a number of teams, including Tottenham.

Although recognising Lyon as a big club in their own right, Netherlands boss Koeman believes his side will reap the rewards of Depay joining a new side next year.

"He plays at Lyon and is even their captain sometimes," Koeman said at Tuesday's news conference. 

"The fact that he doesn't play for the biggest team in the world clearly doesn't have consequences for his place in the national team. But if he plays at a bigger club, that will also be better for us. 

"Still, Lyon is also a big club that always plays in the Champions League. Again, the fact that he plays in Lyon doesn't mean that he won't be selected for the national team.

"You always hope that every player plays for the biggest clubs that actually compete for the big prizes. 

"I think he's the kind of player that should play at a club like that. If that's in the Premier League or at any other big club, that would be great for him. But you have to ask him about his plans."

Depay has started five of Netherlands' six Euro 2020 qualifiers but is doubtful for Saturday's trip to Northern Ireland due to injury.

The forward also missed the 2-1 win in Belarus last month and Koeman said: "It's nearly the same injury as last time, but in the other leg. 

"He's very positive, because last time he was back on the pitch in about 10 to 12 days. It's too early now to say if he makes the Northern Ireland match. 

"It might be possible that he skips the first match, but plays the second against Estonia. We'll have to wait how that develops day by day."

A draw in Belfast will be enough for Netherlands to seal a spot at next year's European Championship finals, but Koeman is targeting back-to-back wins to finish above Germany in Group C.

"It's the last two matches, the earlier we qualify, the better. A draw might be enough. But I'd rather take six points and win the group. In the end, qualifying is our goal, but I'd rather finish first."

Arsenal's 2-0 loss to Leicester City could spell the end of Unai Emery's tenure.

The Gunners failed to win for the fourth Premier League match in succession on Saturday, testing the patience of club officials.

According to reports, contact has been made with Luis Enrique to assess his interest in the job.

 

TOP STORY – ARSENAL MAKE LUIS ENRIQUE ENQUIRY

It could be a case of one Spaniard out, another Spaniard in at Emirates Stadium.

El Confidencial's Kike Marin claims Arsenal head of football Raul Sanllehi has sounded out Luis Enrique about replacing Unai Emery as head coach.

The ex-Barcelona and Roma boss has been out of football since stepping down as Spain's head coach due to personal reasons in June, two months before the tragic death of his young daughter, Xana.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United have joined the race for in-demand Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana, according to the Mirror. The Red Devils are also rumoured to be chasing Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen and Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, their former player.

- As rumours linking Eriksen to Old Trafford re-emerge, Tottenham are preparing to move for a former United man. The Mirror say Spurs are plotting a £50million bid for Memphis Depay, who has flourished since leaving the Premier League for Ligue 1's Lyon.

- The same British tabloid believes Chelsea could splash £70million on towering Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic if their transfer ban is lifted in January.

- Olivier Giroud could be leaving Chelsea for a fee of around £5million. The Daily Express say Antonio Conte's Inter and Major League Soccer side Vancouver Whitecaps are prepared to offer the France international an escape route.

- Giroud could depart Stamford Bridge for Italy and Mario Pasalic might remain there. The Chelsea-owned midfielder is on loan at Serie A outfit Atalanta, who are considering forking out the €15million required to keep him, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Lyon's resurgence under Rudi Garcia continued as the Ligue 1 club recorded a 3-1 Champions League triumph over Benfica.

Having lost 2-1 in the reverse fixture in Lisbon, Lyon put themselves in control when they moved into a 2-0 lead after 33 minutes of Tuesday's Group G encounter.

Depay's strike saw him become the first Lyon player since 2002 to score in four successive Champions League fixtures, with Joachim Andersen having headed the hosts into an early lead.

Substitute Haris Seferovic dragged Benfica back into contention with a VAR-awarded goal, but Lyon restored their two-goal cushion through Bertrand Traore, his superb effort in the final minute making sure Garcia's side moved within two points of group leaders RB Leipzig, who had won at Zenit earlier in the day.

Lyon went ahead within four minutes - Andersen meeting Leo Dubois' wonderful first-time cross and powering in the opener.

Benfica were dealt a further blow soon after, Ferro taken off on a stretcher after receiving lengthy treatment for a head injury sustained in a collision with team-mate Odisseas Vlachodimos.

Garcia's side had their second just after the half-hour, Depay tucking home on the volley after fantastic work from Houssem Aouar.

Benfica managed to stem the tide prior to the interval, however, and Anthony Lopes had to react swiftly to prevent Chiquinho hauling one back and then denying Seferovic after the interval.

With Depay subbed off at half-time due to injury, Jeff Reine-Adelaide almost curled in a sensational third for Lyon before Seferovic struck in the 76th minute, with the goal awarded after a check for offside.

However, Lyon substitute Traore having the final say, leaving Benfica planted to the bottom of Group G.

 

 

Tuesday's Champions League schedule presents the chance for Marco Reus to set a new record for Borussia Dortmund, while Erling Haaland will hope to maintain his scoring run.

Reus drew a blank last time out in Europe, the Bundesliga side losing 2-0 to Inter, but will hope to make club history in the return fixture in Germany.

Barcelona are top of the table in the same group and the reigning LaLiga champions will be eager to preserve their unbeaten home run when they take on Slavia Prague at Camp Nou.

Liverpool are another team who seem to relish having home comforts, plus history tells us Chelsea should be feeling confident when Ajax visit Stamford Bridge.

We have picked out some of the notable numbers from Opta ahead of the eight games taking place at the start of matchweek four.

 

Barcelona v Slavia Prague

15 - Following his goal last time out, Lionel Messi has now scored in 15 consecutive UEFA Champions League seasons he has appeared in (since the start of 2005-06), a feat only matched by Real Madrid icon Raul (between 1995-96 and 2010-11).

33 - Barcelona are on a run of 33 home games without defeat in the competition. That is the longest streak in Champions League history, while they have only lost once in their last 55 outings at Camp Nou.

 

Borussia Dortmund v Inter

3 - Lautaro Martinez will look to become the first player to find the net in three consecutive Champions League appearances for Inter since Samuel Eto'o, who scored in four in a row in 2010

17 - Marco Reus has scored 17 Champions League goals for Borussia Dortmund, making him the club's joint-top scorer alongside former team-mate Robert Lewandowski.

 

Chelsea v Ajax

10 - Willian has created 10 goalscoring chances for his Chelsea team-mates so far in Europe this season. However, he is still yet to provide an assist!

100 - Chelsea have won every Champions League match when they have faced Eredivisie opponents. They overcame Ajax in the reverse fixture last time out, adding to home and away victories over Feyenoord in the 1999-2000 season.

 

Liverpool v Genk

11 - Alisson has kept 11 clean sheets in his Champions League career - six for Liverpool and five for Roma. Only Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen (12) has posted more since the start of the 2017-18 season.

23 - Liverpool have not lost at home in all European competitions since October 2014, a run of 23 games. The last visiting team to celebrate success at Anfield? Real Madrid (3-0).

 

Lyon v Benfica

0 - Benfica have won none of their four away Champions League matches played on French soil (D2 L2). In fact, they have failed to score a single goal so far!

6 - Lyon have drawn each of their last six home Champions League matches – the longest such run in the history of the competition.

 

Napoli v Salzburg

13 - Will Napoli get lucky at home for a 13th time in the Champions League? They have won 12 of their last 18 played out in front of their own fans, including four of the last five since a 4-2 loss to Manchester City in November 2017.

19 - Erling Haaland (19) is aiming to become only the second teenager in the history of Europe's top-tier club tournament to score in four consecutive appearances. Only Kylian Mbappe has previously achieved the feat.

 

Valencia v Lille 

10 - Valencia have conceded at least once in each of their last 10 home Champions League matches. They have been beaten in their last two European home games and will be aiming to avoid losing three in a row at the Mestalla for the first since November 2007.

14 - Including qualifiers, Lille are winless in their last 14 European games (D7 L7). Their last victory was way back in July 2014.

 

Zenit v RB Leipzig

14 - Zenit have won their previous 14 group-stage matches at home in the Europa League and Champions League combined, a run stretching back to November 2014, when they beaten 2-1 by Bayer Leverkusen.

10 - At 32 years and 105 days, Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann will become the youngest coach to reach the milestone of 10 Champions League matches in charge.

Raheem Sterling dreams of playing abroad and could be about to get his wish.

Real Madrid reportedly want to sign the Manchester City star after succeeding in their attempts to lure Eden Hazard from Chelsea.

To make the deal happen, the Spanish giants are ready to send Gareth Bale back to the Premier League.

 

TOP STORY – SANTIAGO BERNABEU CALLING FOR STERLING

China continues to loom as the likeliest escape route for Gareth Bale, but Real Madrid might just have a different destination in mind.

According to Sky Sports, Madrid are preparing to offer the Wales winger plus £70million in a bid to prise Raheem Sterling from Manchester City.

Whether the Premier League champions have any interest in 30-year-old Bale is another matter, while the long-term contract extension Sterling signed last November gives them a strong bargaining position.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fresh speculation linking Kylian Mbappe to Zinedine Zidane's Madrid will prompt Paris Saint-Germain to offer the France forward an enticing new deal worth around €40million per season, Le Parisien reports. Mbappe has just over two years left on his current contract.

PSG are not just busy attempting to tie down their own players. De Telegraaf claims the Ligue 1 champions are one of three clubs expressing interest in Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana. Tottenham and Manchester United have also reportedly made contact with the 23-year-old's agent.

- Chelsea have identified several big-name January targets if their transfer ban is lifted at an appeal hearing later this month. Borussia Dortmund teenager Jadon Sancho, Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha and Lyon striker Moussa Dembele are the primary targets according to The Telegraph, which also lists Ben Chilwell and Nathan Ake among the names interesting Frank Lampard.

- Rade Krunic, one of AC Milan's better performers in the weekend loss to Lazio, will not be allowed to leave the club on loan, despite Bosnia and Herzegovina boss Robert Prosinecki advising him to seek more playing time. Calciomercato say the recent Rossoneri signing is part of Stefano Pioli's plans and will be staying put at San Siro.

Juventus are not resting on their laurels.

Despite their domestic dominance, Juve are craving European glory as they eye a first Champions League crown since 1995.

So much so that they have three Premier League stars on their mind.

 

TOP STORY – JUVE WATCH SALAH, SON & ERIKSEN

Juventus scouts watched Mohamed Salah, Son Heung-min and Christian Eriksen during Liverpool's Premier League clash with Tottenham, according to Tuttosport.

Seeking a ninth successive Scudetto, Serie A champions Juve are prepared to spend heavily in pursuit of Champions League glory.

With money no obstacle as they reap the benefits of Cristiano Ronaldo's presence, Liverpool star Salah and Tottenham duo Son and Eriksen are reportedly on Juve's list.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Sun claims Jose Mourinho wants to become the first manager to win major trophies with three English clubs as the former Manchester United boss is linked to Arsenal. Gunners head coach Unai Emery is under pressure at the Emirates Stadium amid growing fan frustration.

Manchester United are hopeful of completing a deal for Lyon striker Moussa Dembele in January, reports Soccerlink. With Dembele's future uncertain, Lyon are lining up Chelsea's Olivier Giroud.

- Staying at Old Trafford and United's name has again been thrown into the mix for Brescia sensation Sandro Tonali. The 19-year-old Italy international is fast becoming one of the most sought-after players in Europe, attracting interest from Juventus, Manchester City and Inter. Now, The Suns says United are weigning up a £40million move for Tonali after sending scouts to watch him once more.

- Calciomercato claims Napoli are considering a January move for Benfica full-back Alejandro Grimaldo. The 24-year-old Spaniard has been linked to Arsenal, Tottenham and Barcelona.

Newcastle United are close to agreeing a deal to sign Strasbourg's Ibrahima Sissoko. The 21-year-old French midfielder is poised to make the switch when the transfer window opens in January.

Take your pick: Real Madrid, Barcelona or Manchester City?

Napoli star Fabian Ruiz is in demand following his exploits in Serie A since leaving Real Betis in 2018.

LaLiga giants Madrid are keen to bring Spanish midfielder Fabian to the Santiago Bernabeu.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID STEPPING UP FABIAN INTEREST

Real Madrid are prepared to offer €20million and Isco for Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz, according to Mundo Deportivo.

In-demand Napoli star Fabian is wanted by Madrid, LaLiga champions Barcelona and Premier League holders Manchester City.

Fabian swapped Real Betis for Napoli in 2018 and Madrid are determined to bring the Spain international to the Santiago Bernabeu, though Napoli are reportedly uninterested in an exchange and wanted a bigger transfer fee.

 

ROUND-UP

- According the Mirror, Manchester United have been given the green light for a £125million double swoop to sign Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz and Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller. Havertz is wanted by Europe's elite, while Muller is searching for more game time.

United have been put off signing Real Madrid's Gareth Bale due to his injury record, reports the Daily Mail. Bale's name continues to be mentioned amid Madrid's interest in United midfielder Paul Pogba.

Inter are ready to make January bids for Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal and Manchester United's Nemanja Matic, according to Corriere della Sera. Sport also claims Inter are in talks with Barca for Ivan Rakitic.

- AS claims Barcelona want Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman to replace head coach Ernesto Valverde, who is out of contract at season's end. PSV's Mark van Bommel is also on the list of alternatives.

Manchester City are set to offer Wayne Rooney's son Kai the chance to join their academy, says the Mirror. Kai joined City in 2016 during Wayne's time at Premier League rivals Manchester United.

- Soccer Link reports Lyon are open to selling Manchester United target and star striker Moussa Dembele.

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