Juventus are keen to renew Paulo Dybala's contract, but managing director Fabio Paratici revealed the club's coronavirus scare made negotiations difficult.

Dybala has two years remaining on his existing deal in Turin but an extension has long been mooted, with the Bianconeri said to be discussing an agreement until 2025.

But no clarity has been forthcoming in the opening weeks of the 2020-21 season.

Paratici is not overly concerned, though, explaining the reason for the delay.

"We're in talks to extend Paulo's contract," he told Sky Sport Italia. "He wants to stay and we want to keep him - he's part of our future.

"It has been a tricky period because we were locked in the hotel for two weeks due to the COVID scare and not allowed to meet anyone.

"But we'll continue the negotiations to find an agreement."

Juve were forced into "fiduciary isolation" earlier this month after two staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

Cristiano Ronaldo has also been missing in recent weeks having contracted the virus on international duty.

The absence of the Juve number seven allowed Dybala to come into the team against Hellas Verona on Sunday for his first start and just second overall appearance of the new campaign.

Dybala made his return off the bench against Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League, and Paratici said ahead of Sunday's game: "Paulo is in better shape physically now.

"Let's not forget he was out for two months with a muscular injury, then had a gastrointestinal infection in Argentina.

"It's right that he now has the opportunity to start after a few run-outs."

Andrea Pirlo is waiting to see if Cristiano Ronaldo has returned a negative test for coronavirus, as he confirmed Paulo Dybala will start in Juventus' clash with Hellas Verona. 

Ronaldo has been self-isolating since testing positive for COVID-19 while on international duty with Portugal and missed Juve's 1-1 draw with Crotone in Serie A last weekend and their 2-0 Champions League win over Dynamo Kiev on Tuesday. 

Pirlo revealed on Saturday that Ronaldo remains unavailable, though Juve were waiting on the result of the 35-year-old's most-recent test to see if he could return to training.

The Bianconeri have only played 13 Serie A matches without the Portugal captain since his arrival prior to the 2018-19 season and their win percentage in those games stands at 54 per cent, while they have been victorious in 73 per cent of league fixtures when he does play.

One forward who will feature on Sunday, however, is Dybala, who made his first appearance of the season against Dynamo and is set to start against Verona. 

Dybala played 33 times in Serie A last season, scoring 11 goals and providing six assists, but a thigh injury limited his game time this term. 

"We had time to rest after the trip to Dynamo Kiev, so apart from Giorgio Chiellini, everyone else is available," Pirlo told a news conference.  

"As of last night [Friday], I had no news on Ronaldo's COVID status. We all had swabs this morning, including Ronaldo at home. He is definitely out of the match against Hellas. 

"I can confirm Dybala will start tomorrow. He had the right progress in training and it's only fair now that he starts the match. 

"I always said it was an issue of time, as he had the injury, then a virus on international duty. The two times he was on the bench without coming on, it was because we'd gone down to 10 men. He played in Kiev as a substitute, it's only right that he starts tomorrow." 

While Dybala and Ronaldo have been absent, Alvaro Morata has performed well, scoring three goals in the past two matches. 

"This is why we signed him," said Pirlo. "We knew he was a great player who provided us with different tactical options, he knows Dybala well and I think they can happily coexist in the same line-up. 

"With Atletico Madrid, he had recently been accustomed to playing largely on the back foot, so there were 80 metres in front of him to go on the counter-attack. 

"We try to keep the ball, work on the position of the body when receiving a pass, pressing to free up a man. We work for each other to ensure we can move the ball quickly." 

Lionel Messi could extend his stay at Barcelona after all. 

Messi, 33, sensationally requested to leave the LaLiga giants in the close season, but he ended up staying put. 

However, it has been expected the six-time Ballon d'Or winner will depart Camp Nou when his contract expires at season's end. 

 

TOP STORY – MESSI MAY EXTEND BARCELONA STAY

Messi will stay at Barcelona if the club gets a new board and clear project, journalist Guillem Balague told FourFourTwo.

Barcelona are due to hold a presidential election in March next year amid pressure on Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Ahead of Saturday's Clasico against Real Madrid, Messi has scored two goals and provided one assist in five games in all competitions.

 

ROUND-UP

- Neymar's deal at Paris Saint-Germain runs until 2022, but there is constant talk over the star's future. Le 10 Sport reports PSG got closer to the Brazil international and his representatives after the transfer window and are prepared to offer him a new contract, although a concrete offer is yet to be presented.

- Zinedine Zidane is under pressure at the helm of Real Madrid. However, AS reports even if the coach left, it would not impact the LaLiga giants' pursuit of PSG star Kylian Mbappe.

- Yet to renew at Juventus, Paulo Dybala's future seems uncertain. Todofichajes reports Chelsea are working to convince the playmaker to join the Premier League club and are prepared to offer up to £90.9million (€100m) for the Argentina international.

- Manchester City are set to make at least one signing in January. The Manchester Evening News says City are ready to pay around £6m (€6.6m) for Partizan winger Filip Stevanovic, 18.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be ready to extend his contract at Milan after a fine start to the season. 

Ibrahimovic returned to the Serie A club in January, extending his deal in August through until the end of the 2020-21 season. 

However, the veteran striker could be set to remain at the club for longer, per speculation in Italy.

 

TOP STORY – IBRAHIMOVIC COULD RENEW AT MILAN UNTIL 2022

Ibrahimovic's agent Mino Raiola is already studying a plan to extend the striker's deal at Milan until 2022, according to Corriere della Sera.

The 39-year-old has scored four goals in two Serie A games for league leaders Milan this season, including a brace in the derby win over rivals Inter at the weekend.

Ibrahimovic netted 10 goals and provided five assists in 18 league appearances in 2019-20.

ROUND-UP

- Unhappy about being left on the bench against Crotone, Paulo Dybala's future at Juventus is again a subject of interest. However, Tuttosport reports the aim is still for the playmaker – who is contracted until 2022 – to renew his deal before January.

- Barcelona could be set for good news. Goal reports Barcelona are working on new deals for Frenkie de Jong and Clement Lenglet after agreeing to a contract with goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Meanwhile, AS says Gerard Pique is ready to accept a pay cut.

- Phil Jones is yet to play for Manchester United this season and could leave in January. The Sun reports United could demand £20million for the defender, who is contracted until 2023.

- Maurizio Sarri could be set for a return to coaching. CalcioMercato reports the former Juventus and Chelsea boss is a target for Fiorentina amid pressure on Giuseppe Iachini after the club collected just four points from their opening four Serie A games of the season.

- Out of contract at Marseille at season's end, Florian Thauvin could be set for a move. Le 10 Sport says Milan are interested in the forward.

- With Virgil van Dijk out due to a serious knee injury, Liverpool could be looking for a defender in January. Football Insider says Brighton and Hove Albion defender Ben White remains on the Premier League champions' radar.

Paulo Dybala was "angry" at being left on the bench for Juventus' draw at Crotone but is again available for the Bianconeri's Champions League opener against Dynamo Kiev, says head coach Andrea Pirlo.

Argentina forward Dybala has yet to feature in Serie A this season, although he was named in the XI for the side to face Napoli in a match that never took place when their opponents were unable to fulfil the fixture due to travel issues caused by coronavirus restrictions.

Dybala has been contending with a muscular injury and Pirlo had planned to give him some game time in the 1-1 draw against Crotone only for a sending off for Federico Chiesa on debut to complicate his plans.

Reports said Dybala had an angry confrontation with Juve's chief football officer Fabio Paratici in the tunnel and Pirlo explained his side of events.

"I talked to him [Dybala] yesterday as I do to everyone else. He was a bit angry for not having played in Crotone but we have to remember that he hasn't played for three months," Pirlo said. 

"He spent 10 days in his room in Argentina taking medicines because he couldn't train. 

"I took him to Crotone to let him do a few minutes but unfortunately there were 10 of us left and I couldn't add him. He is available and we will see what to do."

On Tuesday, rookie coach Pirlo will pit his wits against a man set to become the oldest to lead a team in the Champions League in the form of 75-year-old old Mircea Lucescu.

Lucescu is the man who gave a 16-year-old Pirlo his debut at Brescia and later signed him for Inter.

Pirlo spoke fondly of his former boss and revealed he is still in contact with him.

"Lucescu was my first coach, he put me in the first team at the age of 15 and I made my debut at 16," he added. 

"I have a wonderful memory of him as a coach and as a person, sometimes we still talk. I will forever be thankful to him. It will be a good challenge between us."

Asked how he was feeling ahead of his Champions League debut as a coach, Pirlo replied: "I am calm and serene. I'm looking forward to my first match as a coach in the Champions League. 

"In this competition it is essential to start with a win, and we know what we have to do."

Adama Traore is reportedly set to snub Barcelona and Liverpool to extend his stay at Wolves.

Traore has been linked with a move away from Wolves, where he arrived from Middlesbrough in 2018.

But the winger is seemingly happy at the Premier League club.

 

TOP STORY – TRAORE TO EXTEND WOLVES STAY DESPITE BARCELONA, LIVERPOOL INTEREST

Traore is set for a pay rise and is close to agreeing to a four-year deal with Wolves despite interest from Barcelona and Liverpool, according to The Sun.

The three-time Spain international is reportedly set for the new contract despite having a deal until 2023.

Barcelona and Liverpool have been linked with Traore previously.

 

ROUND-UP

- Paulo Dybala's Juventus future is again a talking point. An unused substitute against Crotone on Saturday, Dybala reportedly clashed with Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici. CalcioMercato reports the Serie A champions are preparing for Dybala to exit amid links to Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, and they are eyeing Salzburg teenager Luka Susic.

- Manchester United missed out on Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho during the close season, but there is a belief the Premier League giants will target the attacker again in January or next year, according to the Daily Star.

- Marcelo Brozovic could be set for an Inter exit. CalcioMercato reports the Serie A club are prepared to sell the midfielder in January, with interest from Tottenham and Monaco.

- As he continues to impress at Salzburg, Dominik Szoboszlai is linked with a move. Football.london says the Hungary international is a target for Arsenal.

- Compared to Portugal great Luis Figo, Sporting CP teenager Luis Gomes is a target for Manchester United, according to the Mirror.

Andrea Pirlo says Juventus have "clear ideas" over the transfer business they would like to do before the window closes. 

The Serie A champions are reportedly closing in on a deal for Fiorentina winger Federico Chiesa, while several players have been linked with moves away from Turin. 

Sami Khedira, Mattia De Sciglio and Douglas Costa could be on their way out, according to media speculation. 

Juve head coach Pirlo says only time will tell whether there will be any new arrivals or departures before Monday's deadline. 

"If anyone arrives, we will only see him on Monday evening. Fabio Paratici [Juve's sporting director] is working on it, we have clear ideas within the club," Pirlo told the media.

He added: "Khedira, De Sciglio and Douglas Costa are training like all their team-mates. At the moment, they are available to play." 

Pirlo revealed big-money signing Arthur could make his first start when the Bianconeri host Napoli on Sunday after Adrien Rabiot was sent off in the 2-2 draw at Roma last weekend. 

"There is a possibility that Arthur will play from the start and [Juan] Cuadrado and [Gianluca] Frabotta are potential starters,” he said. 

Paulo Dybala could also be promoted to the starting line-up, having been an unused substitute at Stadio Olimpico after recovering from a muscular injury. 

Pirlo said: "Paulo was recovering from an injury and needed a recovery period. We will understand in the next few hours if he can start from the beginning." 

Napoli have won their opening two matches in Serie A and Pirlo expects a big test against Gennaro Gattuso's side. 

"I believe that Napoli, with the arrival of Gattuso, has shown a change of mentality," the former Italy international said. "They are a strong and cohesive team. But we are no different and we know what we have to do."

Juventus' faltering end to their Serie A campaign saw Inter finish just one point behind the Bianconeri in 2019-20.

Antonio Conte's side had looked like genuine title challengers in the first half of the season, yet a poor run pre-lockdown saw them all but fall out of contention before a late charge – combined with Juve's inconsistencies – made things tight after the title was already wrapped up.

Yet heading into Conte's second season, there should be genuine optimism at San Siro.

Inter may have failed to win the Europa League – going down to serial champions Sevilla in the final – but with Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, along with some promising new additions, they look all set for a strong title tilt this time around.

Juve, under the tutelage of Andrea Pirlo in the wake of Maurizio Sarri's sacking, still have the Cristiano Ronaldo factor, though there is a feeling the club's dominance of Serie A may finally be waning. 

Using Opta data, we take a look at what Inter need to improve on if they are to seriously challenge in 2020-21.

CONTE'S SECOND-SEASON SYNDROME

Despite Inter's second-placed finish in Serie A, there was some doubt that Conte would in fact remain their head coach heading into this season.

Indeed, in early August – prior to the final stages of the Europa League taking place in Germany – Conte told DAZN: "There's no recognition of the work I've done, and I've found very little protection from the club. None whatsoever. There will be things to discuss with the president, but he's in China right now..."

However, Conte has stayed, and will look to build on a promising first campaign.

Inter's haul of 82 points last season was their best tally in Serie A since 2009-10. It also meant Inter were the eighth side since 1994-95 to not win the Scudetto after managing 82 points or more.

Yet with the last two club teams Conte has coached, there has been a decline in his second campaign.

In Conte's first season at Juve in 2011-12, his side won the Serie A title without losing a game – Ilario Castagner and Fabio Capello were the only coaches to have previously managed this in Italy's top flight.

Juve lost five times in Serie A in 2012-13 but still won the title, and there was a similar story at Chelsea. The Blues won the Premier League with 93 points in 2016-17, losing only five games, but in Conte's second term, Chelsea finished fifth, losing on 10 occasions.

If Inter truly are to go one step further than last season, then Conte will need to avoid any noticeable dip.

THE STAR STRIKERS

Ronaldo's 31 Serie A goals ultimately proved the difference for Juve last season, with the 35-year-old turning in more match-winning moments.

Valuable support also came from Juve's other main forward, Paulo Dybala, who netted 11 goals and provided six assists.

Conte, on the other hand, often complained over a lack of clinical finishing from his side at times last term, though Lukaku and Martinez more than did their fair share.

They scored a combined 37 goals – Lukaku netting 23 and Martinez 14 – providing two and three assists respectively.

It was still five fewer goals than Ronaldo and Dybala accumulated, though, while Juve's strike partners also boasted better link-up statistics.

In total, Dybala found Ronaldo 121 times across the campaign, crafting 31 chances for his team-mate – compare that with Martinez creating just 11 for Lukaku.

Ronaldo did not fully return the favour, with only nine chances created for Dybala by the former Real Madrid star, while Lukaku provided 14 chances for Martinez.

MORE CLEAN SHEETS REQUIRED

Inter ended the 2019-20 season with the best defence in Serie A, conceding only 36 goals, but that does not tell the whole story.

Conte's side managed just 14 clean sheets across the campaign – since 2004-05, only Juve, in 2019-20, have won Serie A with fewer than 15 shut outs.

In Milan Skriniar, Conte has a commanding centre-half who is not yet near his prime, while Diego Godin - if he stays - is a reliable older head and Stefan de Vrij has impressed, but as a unit they were sometimes liable to defensive lapses which, in matches where Inter's strike force failed to make the most of their opportunities, ultimately cost the Nerazzurri.

Under the guidance of Conte from 2011 to 2014, Juve kept 21, 19 and 22 clean sheets respectively in those three seasons.

SAN SIRO TROUBLES?

Inter were outstanding away from home in Serie A last season, collecting more points on the road than any other side (43), winning 13 matches, drawing four times and losing just twice.

They were only the second club with 13 or more away wins in a single campaign to not win the title, after Napoli, who did so in both 2016-17 and 2017-18.

However, it was a different story at home, where the Nerazzurri picked up just 39 points – 11 less than Juve's total of 50.

Inter must improve their efficiency at San Siro if they are to end Juve's dominance of Italian football, as no Scudetto-winning side has ever claimed the title with fewer than 13 wins at home since 20 teams have been in the top flight.

Lionel Messi headlines Argentina's preliminary 30-man squad for next month's CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers against Ecuador and Bolivia.

World Cup qualifying for the 2022 showpiece in Qatar was due to begin in March, but the coronavirus pandemic forced a delay until October.

Now, Lionel Scaloni's Argentina – who have not played since November – will kick-off their campaign against Ecuador in Buenos Aires on October 8 before travelling to Bolivia five days later.

Argentina and Barcelona captain Messi is joined in the preliminary squad by Juventus star Paulo Dybala and Inter forward Lautaro Martinez.

Uncapped duo Facundo Medina and Nehuen Perez have also been included, while former Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez could make his debut after completing a move to Aston Villa.

 

Argentina squad: Agustin Marchesin (Porto), Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa), Juan Musso (Udinese); Marcos Acuna (Sevilla), Leonardo Balerdi (Marseille), Juan Foyth (Tottenham), Walter Kannemann (Gremio), Facundo Medina (Lens), Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City), Nehuen Perez (Atletico Madrid), German Pezzella (Fiorentina), Renzo Saravia (Internacional), Nicolas Tagliafico (Ajax); Joaquin Correa (Lazio), Rodrigo De Paul (Udinese), Nicolas Dominguez (Stuttgart), Alejandro Gomez (Atalanta), Giovani Lo Celso (Tottenham), Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton and Hove Albion), Lucas Ocampos (Sevilla), Exequiel Palacios (Bayer Leverkusen), Leandro Paredes (Paris Saint-Germain), Guido Rodriguez (Real Betis); Lucas Alario (Bayer Leverkusen), Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Lautaro Martinez (Inter), Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Cristian Pavon (LA Galaxy), Giovanni Simeone (Cagliari).

Paulo Dybala will be part of Andrea Pirlo's project at Juventus, but Gonzalo Higuain is set to leave the Serie A champions.

Pirlo was appointed as the successor to Maurizio Sarri following Juve's Champions League last-16 exit at the hands of Lyon, the former midfielder being promoted to the top job a week after being named the club's Under-23 boss.

Dybala was heavily linked with a move to Manchester United last year and transfer rumours around the Argentina international persist, with Barcelona said to be interested amid uncertainty over the future of Lionel Messi.

However, Pirlo insisted Juve have never been open to offers for Dybala, who will be a key part of his plans for the 2020-21 season.

"He has never been on the market, it is you [the media] who make these rumours," Pirlo said of Dybala when introduced to the media on Tuesday.

"For me, he is as important as the others. As soon as he returns [from the off-season] he will be part of the project."

While Dybala is set to remain in Turin, Pirlo confirmed Higuain will be allowed to leave and a decision on midfielder Sami Khedira will be taken once he returns from a thigh injury.

"I talked to Higuain. He is a person I admire very much. He had an important cycle here, he was a great player but in speaking with him we decided our roads must separate," said Pirlo.

"He was a great champion but cycles end. He was sidelined but as a serious person we spoke to each other to make this decision.

"As for Khedira, he is injured. We'll see when he gets better."

Sarri found it tough to combine Dybala and Cristiano Ronaldo effectively during his tenure and Pirlo believes compromise will be required in order for the duo to have the impact expected.

"Not all the boys are available. We are working in small groups. We will soon get on the pitch and prepare things," said Pirlo.

"Quality players can always play together, as long as there is sacrifice. The more quality players there are, the more chances there are to win – but always withing a team structure.

"Sacrifice and desire to work for the team go beyond everything."

Paulo Dybala is happy at Juventus and is in talks with the Italian champions over a new contract, according to the player's agent Jorge Antun. 

The Argentina international was crowned Serie A's MVP last season after scoring 11 goals and setting up six more as Juve won a ninth straight Scudetto.

However, recent reports in Italy suggested Dybala has grown unsettled in Turin and may move on ahead of next season, with Real Madrid rumoured to be interested.

Dybala's agent has refuted those claims, though, and says the 26-year-old could extend his current deal at the Allianz Stadium.

"I have read the rumours in the newspapers in recent days - they are completely false," Antun said, quoted by Calciomercato. "Dybala is a Juventus player and is happy to be one.

"We are working with the club to renew his contract with our usual preparation."

Dybala has spent five seasons with Juventus and his existing deal runs through until 2022.

So, the Jadon Sancho saga rambles on.

Manchester United want to sign Sancho, but Borussia Dortmund are adamant the 20-year-old will be staying put in 2020-21.

Could Barcelona and Real Madrid enter the mix?

 

TOP STORY – UNITED BRACED FOR SANCHO BATTLE

Manchester United believe Barcelona and Real Madrid will enter the race to sign Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to The Mirror.

United have identified Sancho as their number one transfer target, however, Dortmund continually insist the England international will not leave the Bundesliga team.

If United fail to land Sancho this off-season, the Red Devils are bracing for a three-way battle with LaLiga giants Barca and Madrid next year.

ROUND-UP

- Cristiano Ronaldo to Barcelona? The Juventus superstar's entourage told AS he is happy in Italy, despite claims the former Madrid forward has been offered to the LaLiga outfit as the Scudetto holders look to free up cash.

- Journalist Fabrizio Romano claims Premier League champions Liverpool are in contact with Bundesliga holders Bayern Munich regarding Thiago Alcantara. The Spanish star has also emerged as a possible target for Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.

- Tuttosport says Paulo Dybala could be offered to United in exchange for Paul Pogba. Dybala has been linked with Juve exits as the Serie A champions look to slash their wage bill. Dybala could be the player sacrificed in a bid to lure Pogba back to Turin, while Madrid and PSG are believed to be interested in the Argentina international.

- Barcelona star Luis Suarez is wanted by Qatari outfit Al-Arabi, says beIN SPORTS. Suarez is contracted to the LaLiga giants until 2021 as Barca eye Inter forward Lautaro Martinez as his long-term replacement.

Juve are eyeing a move for Atalanta forward Duvan Zapata, reports Calciomercato. Zapata starred as Atalanta finished third in Serie A and reached the Champions League quarter-finals. Juve – now led by Andrea Pirlo – have also been linked with Napoli's Arkadiusz Milik and Roma veteran Edin Dzeko.

- The Sun claims City are considering a £40million bid for Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks.

United are challenging rivals Chelsea for Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell, who is valued at £80m, according to The Mirror.

Napoli are eyeing a double Roma raid, with Gazzetta dello Sport saying Cengiz Under and Jordan Veretout are on the list. With Jose Callejon and Allan set to leave, Napoli want to sign Roma's Under and Veretout.

Could Paulo Dybala swap Italy for Spain?

The Juventus attacker was close to leaving Juventus for either Manchester United or Tottenham prior to the 2019-20 season, while Paris Saint-Germain were also linked.

Now, Real Madrid are reportedly targeting the 26-year-old.

 

TOP STORY – KROOS OUT, DYBALA IN?

Real Madrid are set to offer Toni Kroos or Isco as part of a deal to bring Juventus star Paulo Dybala to the Santiago Bernabeu, according to SportMediaset.

LaLiga champions Madrid are eyeing a move for Dybala, who has been in negotiations with Serie A titleholders Juve over a new contract amid reported interest from Paris Saint-Germain.

However, Juve are unwilling to part with the Argentina international – who enjoyed a fine Serie A campaign prior to Maurizio Sarri's sacking as he looks ahead to life under Andrea Pirlo.

ROUND-UP

- Kicker claims Jadon Sancho has told Borussia Dortmund he is happy to stay at the club if a blockbuster transfer to Manchester United fails to materialise. The England international has been heavily tipped to join United, with personal terms reportedly agreed.

Barcelona want to sign Manchester City star Bernardo Silva, reports The Telegraph. The LaLiga giants are eyeing a cash-plus-player deal to try to prise the Portugal international to Camp Nou.

- Premier League champions Liverpool are poised to sign Olympiacos left-back Kostas Tsimikas, according to widespread reports. Having failed to strike a deal with Norwich City for Jamal Lewis, Liverpool are close to prising Tsimikas from the Greek powerhouse. Meanwhile, The Sun says Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool are targeting a shock £35million swoop for Bournemouth midfielder David Brooks.

- The front page of Monday's edition of Marca says Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane must sell before he is able to sign players ahead of the 2020-21 season. Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez are two players unwanted in the Spanish capital as Madrid continue to be linked with the likes of PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe, Dortmund's Erling Haaland and Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga.

- AS Diario reports Villarreal are on the verge of signing Valencia pair Dani Parejo and Francis Coquelin. Valencia captain Parejo and team-mate Coquelin have been told they are free to leave Mestalla.

Napoli have joined the race to sign Madrid full-back Sergio Reguilon claims Sky Sport Italia. On loan at Sevilla, Reguilon has been linked to Chelsea and Everton.

- According to Calciomercato, Inter are interested in Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele. However, salary demands may prove problematic amid talk of a swap deal involving Inter defender Milan Skriniar.

Paulo Dybala tweeted out his appreciation for Maurizio Sarri the day after the Italian coach was sacked by Juventus.

The Serie A champions decided to take swift action following Friday's Champions League exit to Lyon, announcing the end of Sarri's reign less than 24 hours after the second leg of the last-16 tie.

Juve did not wait long to name his replacement either, giving the job to Andrea Pirlo just over a week after appointing the former Italy international as their new under-23 team coach.

The internal promotion came as a surprise too, considering links to former Juve player and current Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, ex-Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino and Simone Inzaghi, who is in charge of domestic rivals Lazio.

Reacting to the departure of Sarri, Dybala published a picture on Twitter of the pair together with the comment: "Thank you so much for everything Mister!"

Argentina international Dybala enjoyed an excellent 2019-20 season under the former Napoli and Chelsea boss, scoring 11 goals and providing six assists in the league as the Bianconeri finished top of the table for a ninth successive year.

Dybala - who was linked with a move away from Turin last year, including to Manchester United - was named Serie A MVP for his performances in domestic games, including Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana games.

Maurizio Sarri suggested he had little choice but to risk Paulo Dybala in Juventus' Champions League clash with Lyon despite the forward's thigh injury.

Dybala was a doubt for Friday's second leg after hobbling out of a 2-0 win over Sampdoria on July 26.

But the Argentina international was still named on the bench in Turin, with Juve needing to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg.

The Bianconeri won 2-1 thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo's double, yet went out on away goals, while Dybala was introduced but later had to be substituted himself after pulling up.

However, with Juan Cuadrado also struggling and unable to take up an attacking role as Danilo was introduced from the bench, Sarri felt he had to utilise Dybala.

"If I had come here [to speak to the media] without using Dybala, I would have been asked why I hadn't risked him," Sarri told reporters. "If not tonight, then when?

"It was a risk, but it was something we had to do because Cuadrado had some muscular problems and was alerting the bench that he was struggling. He had to go off."

Dybala and Cuadrado are not Juve's only injury concerns as the season ends, however, with Matthijs de Ligt now hoping to address a persistent shoulder complaint.

"I want to recover from the shoulder problem for next season," the centre-back told Mediaset.

Asked if he would have an operation, De Ligt added: "Yes, I think so."

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