Lionel Messi is seemingly in no rush to extend his Barcelona contract.

Messi's future is regularly talked about after it was revealed earlier this year the superstar can leave the LaLiga giants for free at the end of any season.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner is contracted at Barcelona until 2021, though it remains to be seen if he wants to stay on beyond his current deal.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI IN NO RUSH OVER BARCELONA CONTRACT

Messi has no intention of discussing a contract extension at Barcelona until next season, according to Marca.

The 32-year-old plans to be at the club next season, the report says, but will not open talks regarding a new deal.

Messi has been at Barcelona during his entire professional career, winning 10 LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues among numerous other trophies.

ROUND-UP

- Paris Saint-Germain are looking to the future. Sport reports the Ligue 1 giants are seriously considering a move for Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior. Kylian Mbappe and Neymar have been linked with moves away from PSG and the 19-year-old could help the French club going forward.

- Manchester City and Real Madrid could be set for a transfer battle. The clubs are interested in Real Sociedad and Spain forward Mikel Oyarzabal, according to CalcioMercato. The 22-year-old has scored 29 LaLiga goals since the start of 2017-18.

- Unai Emery has some time. The Sun reports the under-fire Arsenal head coach will be given until 2020 to turn the club's form around. It also reports Manchester City would allow assistant Mikel Arteta – an ex-Arsenal midfielder – to head to Emirates Stadium, should his former club want to appoint the Spaniard.

- Liverpool could strengthen in January. TalkSPORT reports the Premier League leaders are in advanced talks with Bournemouth over a deal to sign winger Ryan Fraser, who is out of contract at the end of the season. Bournemouth may want Harry Wilson – who is on loan from Liverpool – as part of a deal.

- Struggling in ninth in Serie A, Fiorentina may be ready to move on from Vincenzo Montella. The club are ready to make an approach for former Inter coach Luciano Spalletti, according to Firenze Viola.

The Gareth Bale transfer saga continues to roll on as he remains frozen out at Spanish giants Real Madrid with seemingly no way back.

The 30-year-old was linked with a move to China in the summer but the move did not materialise and Bale has since continued to find himself out of favour with Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane.

All is not lost for Bale though with three Premier League clubs battling for the Welshman's signature in January, as he builds towards a possible Euro 2020 campaign with Wales next June.

 

TOP STORY – PREMIER LEAGUE TRIO KEEN TO SIGN BALE IN JANUARY

Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have all been linked with a January swoop for Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale, according to AS.

The three Premier League giants are seeking solutions to solve inconsistent starts to their respective seasons and believe the Welshman could provide a timely boost leading into 2020.

Bale is seen as the perfect fit for a return to Premier League football, having maintained his good reputation from time spent with Southampton and Spurs, but it remains to be seen whether Madrid's asking price or the player's wage demands will be met. 

Marca believe Bale could revisit a potential move to China, however, with the player's agent believed to be in talks with Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua.

 

ROUND-UP

- Inter Milan are hopeful of signing Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen on a free transfer this summer, according to The Guardian.

- Sky Italia say Inter are also considering a move for out-of-favour Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic, which would see the Serbian reunite with Antonio Conte.

- Staying in Serie A and Corriere dello Sport claim Roma have rejected the opportunity to sign former Sunderland flop Jack Rodwell on a free transfer.

- Corriere dello Sport also believe Napoli have pulled the plug on a potential move for Salzburg star Erling Braut Haaland as they expect the 19-year-old to join Manchester United in January.

- Manchester City will replace Leroy Sane with Real Sociedad playmaker Mikel Oyarzabal should the Germany winger get his move to Bayern Munich, according to Sky Sports.

- Turkish news outlet Takvim claim Besiktas are keen to cancel their two-year loan agreement with Liverpool for goalkeeper Loris Karius.

Martin Odegaard is enjoying a stellar season at Real Sociedad.

On loan from Real Madrid, Odegaard's starring performances are attracting interest from across Europe.

A Norwegian connection at Manchester United could see Odegaard move to Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED WANT ODEGAARD

Manchester United have joined the race to sign in-form Real Madrid midfielder Martin Odegaard, according to The Sun.

Odegaard is currently on loan at LaLiga side Real Sociedad, where the 20-year-old has scored two goals and supplied two assists this term.

The Norway international, who joined Madrid from Stromsgodset in 2015 but only has two appearances to his name for the Spanish giants, has also been linked to Premier League rivals Manchester CityLiverpool and Arsenal.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Mail reports manager Mauricio Pochettino wants to leave struggling Tottenham. It comes after Spurs' season hit a new low following Tuesday's embarrassing 7-2 Champions League loss to Bayern Munich. Former Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has been linked to the London club.

- As doubts grow over Pochettino, The Sun claims ex-Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri will wait until the end of the season before taking a Premier League job. Allegri, who left Serie A champions Juventus at the end of 2018-19, has emerged as a possible target for Tottenham and United.

Arsenal have the chance to sign RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano for £53million (€59.4m) at the end of the season, claims L'Equipe. The Gunners were heavily linked to the 20-year-old during the recent transfer window and they could return for the defender, whose release clause is reportedly set to drop.

- Bayern Munich are interested in Birmingham teenager Jude Bellingham, says The Sun. The 16-year-old has impressed in the Championship this season with two goals in six matches. Bundesliga champions Bayern have an eye on English talent following their unsuccessful pursuit of Chelsea star Callum Hudson-Odoi.

- Sport Bild claims Bayern will "resume talks with Leroy Sane's management in the coming weeks". The Manchester City star was targeted by the German giants before suffering a serious ligament injury in the Community Shield.

- According to Calciomercato, Juventus are hoping to agree a new deal with midfielder Blaise Matuidi. The Frenchman, who was linked with a move away before the transfer window closed, is out of contract at the end of the season. Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reports Juve boss Maurizio Sarri is keen on reuniting with Chelsea star N'Golo Kante.

Inter are set to launch a shock January move for Burnley forward Jay Rodriguez, says Calciomercato. Antonio Conte's list of attacking options to add to Romelu Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez and Alexis Sanchez reportedly includes Chelsea's Olivier Giroud, Real Madrid striker Luka Jovic, Udinese's Kevin Lasagna and Andrea Petagna of SPAL.

Manchester City again have a headline act in FIFA 20's FUT Team of the Week, with Riyad Mahrez earning himself a spot.

Algeria international Mahrez had a stuttering first season at the Etihad Stadium, but in recent weeks he has found some consistency and played a vital role in Saturday's 3-1 win over Everton, scoring a fine free-kick and generally running the defence ragged.

It meant he took a top rating in the FIFA Ultimate Team, a week after City team-mate Kevin De Bruyne achieved the same feat.

The only other Premier League player in the starting XI is Leicester City's Wilfred Ndidi - the young midfielder putting in a masterclass as Newcastle United were swept aside 5-0 on Sunday.

Bayer Leverkusen's Kai Havertz and Duvan Zapata of Atalanta lead the attack after both got a goal and an assist at the weekend.

Below, we have the full squad of in-form cards now up for grabs.

FUT Team of the Week

GK: Thomas Strakosha (Lazio) - 84

CB: German Pezzella (Fiorentina) - 82

CB: Daley Blind (Ajax) - 85

CB: Salif Sane (Schalke) - 83

RW: Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) - 86

CM: Aleksandr Golovin (Monaco) - 82

CDM: Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City) - 84

LW: Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad) - 84

CAM: Santi Cazorla (Villarreal) - 84

ST: Duvan Zapata (Atalanta) - 84

CAM: Kai Havertz (Bayer Leverkusen) - 86

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Alban Lafont (Nantes) - 82

RWB: Matt Doherty (Wolves) - 82

CM: Grzegorz Krychowiak (Lokomotiv Moscow) - 82

CM: Vladimir Darida (Hertha Berlin) - 81

LW: Alexandru Mitrita (New York City) - 81

ST: Franco Jara (Pachuca) - 81

ST: Islam Slimani (Monaco) - 80

RESERVES

CB: Georg Margreitter (Nurnberg) - 79

CAM: Yeison Guzman (Envigado) - 76

LM: Kenta Nishizawa (Shimizu S-Pulse) - 73

ST: Ollie Watkins (Brentford) - 80

RW: Vladimir Rodic (Hammarby) - 76

Diego Simeone says he worries about "everything offensively and defensively" and admitted Atletico Madrid need to improve after seeing their 100 per cent start in LaLiga ended by Real Sociedad.

Atletico entered Saturday's contest, the first competitive fixture played at Sociedad's Reale Arena, having won their opening three league matches.

However, a fired-up Sociedad took all three points thanks to a deflected opener from Martin Odegaard and a debut goal for former Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal.

Atletico coach Simeone concedes there is work for his side to do.

"Everything worries me, I worry about anything that happens offensively and defensively," he said.

"We need to grow. We know what we have and what we are and where we need to go. LaLiga is very difficult, when you don't start a match how you should start, you lose.

"Since pre-season this is the first defeat, we need to improve and grow."

Simeone added that Atletico did not produce their best football until the game was already gone.

"The team wore its best face when already 2-0 [down]," he said. "In the final part [of the game] it's when we identified more with what we were doing."

Atletico Madrid's 100 per cent LaLiga record was emphatically ended on Saturday, as they lost 2-0 to a fired-up Real Sociedad in the first competitive fixture played at the Reale Arena.

Diego Simeone's side had managed three straight wins prior to the international break but turned in a below-par performance on the road, conceding two goals in a costly three-minute spell in the second half.

After a trio of away games at the start of the 2019-20 campaign, Sociedad excelled in front of a raucous crowd at their revamped home, albeit Martin Odegaard's opener owed much to a huge deflection off Stefan Savic.

They doubled their lead soon after through debutant Nacho Monreal, the former Arsenal defender seizing on a loose ball to poke home ahead of Jan Oblak.

Atletico's goalkeeper was injured in trying to prevent Monreal scoring and, after lengthy treatment on the field, was replaced by Antonio Adan, adding further to Simeone's concerns ahead of the start of the Champions League group stage in midweek.

Oblak had saved from Mikel Oyarzabal with an outstretched leg in a first half that saw the home side on top, while Savic denied Sociedad's captain when he inadvertently turned away an on-target header with his thigh.

Simeone sent on Marcos Llorente and Angel Correa in an attempt to turn the tide early in the second half, only for the visitors to be laid out by Sociedad's rapid one-two punch.

They had rallied from a two-goal deficit to beat Eibar at home last time out but were unable to complete a similar comeback on this occasion, Sociedad goalkeeper Miguel Angel Moya denying both Vitolo and Savic with smart saves to keep a clean sheet against his former club on a memorable occasion for the hosts.

The transfer window may be closed but the rumours do not stop!

Christian Eriksen was unable to secure a move away from Tottenham prior to Monday's deadline.

Since then, the likes of Atletico Madrid, Manchester United and Inter have been linked to the Spurs star.

 

TOP STORY – ATLETICO PREPARING JANUARY MOVE FOR ERIKSEN

Atletico Madrid are set to return for Tottenham's Christian Eriksen in January, according to AS.

Eriksen was linked to the likes of Atletico, Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester United but a move did not materialise.

Now, Atletico, Inter and Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly monitoring the situation as Eriksen prepares to become a free agent at the end of the season.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to the Mirror, Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic is set to be offered a chance to move to the Premier League. The Croatian veteran was linked to Manchester United but a move failed to transpire prior to the transfer window closing.

- LaLiga pair Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao are keeping tabs on Chelsea and Spain full-back Cesar Azpilicueta, reports the Mirror. It comes amid concerns the Spaniard could lose his spot in the Chelsea XI to Reece James.

- Brazilian side Flamengo are interested in signing free agent Claudio Marchisio, says Gazzetta dello Sport. Former Juventus star Marchisio is without a club since leaving Zenit. Flamengo were also close to luring Mario Balotelli before he opted for Brescia.

- The Daily Mail claims Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola wants to sign a new defender in January. The report comes after Aymeric Laporte's knee injury left City with just two fit centre-backs – John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi.

- David Beckham's Inter Miami are set to sign River Plate midfielder Exequiel Palacios, according to TNT Sports. The expansion franchise – who are backed by the former Manchester United star and will enter MLS in 2020 – have also been linked to Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani and Barcelona forward Luis Suarez.

Mauro Icardi's Inter saga could be at an end after Paris Saint-Germain made the headline-grabbing move of transfer deadline day.

Frozen out by Nerazzurri boss Antonio Conte, Argentina striker Icardi was facing a bleak few months until PSG came in and managed to complete an initial loan move.

PSG reportedly have an option to buy the 26-year-old for €70million, while the Ligue 1 champions also signed three-times Champions League winner Keylor Navas from Real Madrid in a deal that saw another goalkeeper, Alphonse Areola, move in the other direction on loan.

Serie A was a hive of activity on Monday, while plenty of Premier League players took the opportunity to move elsewhere – the window for incomings having closed in England's top flight last month.

Roman holiday for Mkhitaryan as Fiorentina aim for renaissance

Roma completed loan moves for Arsenal playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Atletico Madrid striker Nikola Kalinic, but there was a youthful edge to Fiorentina's late spree.

Wantaway Liverpool teenager Bobby Duncan will now ply his trade at the Stadio Artemio Franchi alongside Algeria winger Rachid Ghezzal – a loan signing from Leicester City.

The Viola also paid Fluminense in the region of €14m for Pedro, another player to replenish Vincenzo Montella's squad after Giovanni Simeone joined Cagliari on loan with an obligation to buy over the weekend.

Simone Verdi has joined Torino in similar fashion, ending an unhappy spell at Napoli – where free transfer Fernando Llorente bolsters Carlo Ancelotti's options at centre forward.

Napoli are joined in the Champions League by Atalanta this season and Simon Kjaer will be on hand to bolster their defence following a loan from Sevilla, although Martin Skrtel's swiftly terminated contract preceded him leaving Bergamo for a one-year deal with Istanbul Basaksehir.

Matteo Darmian was the latest member of Manchester United's defensive surplus to switch to Serie A, the Italy international joining Parma on a four-year deal after Chris Smalling was loaned to Roma. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson made the considerably shorter trip to League One side Tranmere Rovers.

The road from Watford to Udinese is incredibly well travelled and striker Stefano Okaka is back after a loan at the Stadio Friuli last season.

 

Italian flavour to Bundesliga business

AC Milan secured Croatia winger Ante Rebic on a two-year loan from Eintracht Frankfurt, for whom Andre Silva will seek to reignite his career and serve as a suitable replacement for Luka Jovic over the same period.

Bundesliga pacesetters RB Leipzig also have a talented attacker seeking a kickstart after Patrik Schick joined on an initial loan from Roma.

Vincenzo Grifo returned to Freiburg on a four-year deal from Hoffenheim, who also loaned Leonardo Bittencourt to Werder Bremen.

Marius Wolf left Borussia Dortmund for Hertha Berlin on a season-long loan and BVB's rivals Schalke sold Ukraine winger Yevhen Konoplyanka to Shakhtar Donetsk.

Rafinha on the move again as Hernandez and Bono conclude Sevilla's transfer frenzy

Had events panned out differently, this might have been the day Barcelona triumphantly welcomed Neymar back to Camp Nou.

As it was, a Brazilian left – Rafinha moving to Celta Vigo on loan after signing a contract extension with his parent club.

Barca have also agreed to sign 16-year-old midfielder Pedri from Las Palmas, who welcome back club stalwart Jonathan Viera on loan from Beijing Guoan for their Segunda promotion push.

Mexico striker Javier Hernandez and Morocco goalkeeper Bono were arrivals 12 and 13 of the window at Sevilla.

Maxime Gonalons was a loanee at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan last season and has joined Granada on a temporary basis from Roma.

Almeria were another hive of activity, with Nottingham Forest's Arvin Appiah and Joan Munoz concluding their incomings.

Real Sociedad signed Monaco's Spain Under-17 international Robert Navarro and loaned Kevin Rodriguez to Leganes.

Chelsea duo Baba Rahman and Kenedy were loaned to Real Mallorca and Getafe respectively.

Galatasaray's deadline-day delight

Radamel Falcao followed a rapturous reception following his arrival in Istanbul by signing a three-year contract with Galatasaray, who also secured Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina and Brighton and Hove Albion forward Florin Andone on loan.

Gala's rivals Fenerbahce were not to be outdone entirely as they brought in Brazilian midfielder Luiz Gustavo from Marseille on a four-year deal.

Sporting CP were already buoyed by keeping hold of the highly rated Bruno Fernandes, who will look to supply an attack reinforced by the loan arrivals of Jese from PSG and Yannick Bolasie from Everton.

Royal Antwerp snapped up Steven Defour after the playmaker's release by Burnley and also added Wesley Hoedt on a season-long loan from Southampton.

In Scotland, Celtic signed Kilmarnock left-back Greg Taylor, Manchester City teenager Jeremie Frimpong and Manchester United youngster Lee O'Connor – all on four-year deals. Rivals Rangers bought Ryan Kent from Liverpool for a fee that could reportedly rise to £7.5m.

Fellow Europa League contestants Qarabag secured former Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begovic on loan from Bournemouth.

Nacho Monreal has left Arsenal after more than six seasons and signed a two-year deal with Real Sociedad.

The 33-year-old started each of the Premier League side's opening three fixtures but Unai Emery admitted his departure was possible following last weekend's 3-1 loss to Liverpool.

An experienced and versatile defender, Monreal moved to north London from Malaga in January 2013 and made 250 appearances in all competitions, scoring 10 goals.

Neither club has confirmed the transfer fee involved.

"We would like to thank Nacho for his contribution to the club and everyone at Arsenal wishes him the best for his future," read a statement from the Gunners.

"The transfer is subject to the completion of regulatory processes."

Monreal's days at Arsenal appeared numbered when the younger Kieran Tierney, a left-sided defender of similar profile, arrived from Celtic on deadline day.

Head coach Emery further strengthened his options at the back by signing David Luiz and William Saliba, who is spending the season on loan at Saint-Etienne.

The Spain international is due to be presented by Sociedad on Monday and could debut in front of his new fans when Imanol Alguacil's men host Atletico Madrid after the international break.

Gaizka Mendieta has named four players as the pre-eminent rising stars in LaLiga.

The Valencia great identified Mikel Oyarzabal, Carlos Soler, Sergio Reguilon and Marc Roca as the young Spanish players who could take the top flight by storm in 2019-20.

Oyarzabal, 22, was linked with Barcelona and Manchester City after hitting 13 goals in the highest-scoring LaLiga season of his career last term.

Soler, too, is a reported target for some of Europe's top clubs, while Espanyol's Roca has been tipped for a €40million move to Bayern Munich before the end of this transfer window.

Reguilon, meanwhile, will spend the season with Sevilla on loan after making the breakthrough at Real Madrid in 2018-19.

"I think Oyarzabal was already a star last season for Real Sociedad," said Mendieta, courtesy of LaLiga.

"He's been important for the Under-21 national team, too. He's a player that excites when you watch Real Sociedad, a player who does something different and who can score goals. He's very vertical, very direct. 

"For me, talking about Valencia, you've got Carlos Soler. He was key at the end of last season. Hopefully, this is the year that he gets more regular playing time throughout the season. 

"Maybe Reguilon, who's gone to Sevilla, too. It's a big challenge leaving Real Madrid and getting regular games at a team like that. 

"Then there's Marc Roca at Espanyol. I think we're fortunate to have so much young talent in LaLiga."

Six players who were due to miss the opening round of LaLiga fixtures this weekend through suspension will be pardoned by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF), provided the Higher Sports Council (CSD) approves the move.

The RFEF had proposed a new law whereby players who received a fifth yellow card on the final day of a given season will not then be suspended for the first match of the following campaign.

President Luis Rubiales is hopeful the six individuals set to be sidelined will be free to play for their respective clubs.

A statement from the RFEF read: "We want to inform you that, given the information that appears [in the media] in this regard, we have consulted the Higher Sports Council (CSD) on the feasibility and legality of the RFEF president adopting a pardon measure for those players who at the beginning of this season are required to comply with the sanction of a game without playing for the accumulation of five yellow cards in the previous season.

"We inform that if the CSD ratifies us in writing, the viability and legality of said measure and that with the adoption of the same, no disciplinary infraction would be committed, the president of the RFEF will immediately proceed to adopt the pardon agreement for all those players who are in that situation."

Despite the RFEF confirming their plans on Thursday, there remains a degree of uncertainty about whether the CSD will agree to alteration in time for the start of the 2019-20 season, which begins on Friday.

Should the law not be passed in time, Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Jose Luis Gaya, Dani Parejo (both Valencia), Nemanja Maksimovic (Getafe), Diego Llorente and Aritz Elustondo (both Real Sociedad) will miss their teams' fixtures.

Champions Barcelona play Athletic Bilbao when the 2019-20 LaLiga campaign begins on Friday.

Barcelona have won the title in the last two seasons and head into the new campaign as favourites again, having bolstered their squad with the additions of Antoine Griezmann, Junior Firpo and Frenkie de Jong.

Real Madrid have spent heavily during the close season in an attempt to close the gap on their bitter rivals, with Eden Hazard among those to arrive, and last term's runners-up Atletico Madrid also broke their transfer record by bringing in Joao Felix from Benfica.

There has been smart business right the way down the division, setting up what should be another thrilling year of Spanish top-flight action.

The transfer window does not shut until September 2 but, ahead of the opening round of fixtures, we look at the five best signings made by LaLiga clubs.

#LaLigaSantander is back this week! pic.twitter.com/kW0MWRSne0

— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) August 12, 2019

5. Marc Cucurella (Getafe)

Young Cucurella was one of the best left-sided players in LaLiga last season at Eibar and looked entirely capable of being an asset to Barcelona's first-team squad.

However, after triggering their buy-back option on him, Barcelona have since sent him out on loan to Getafe, who can make the deal permanent for €6million.

Given his impact in 2018-19, it looks immensely shrewd business by Los Azulones.

4. Alexander Isak (Real Sociedad)

Isak has had to live with comparisons to another Swedish scoring sensation in Zlatan Ibrahimovic since breaking through at AIK three years ago.

Borussia Dortmund saw enough potential to snap him up in 2017 and, after a handful of Bundesliga appearances, he was sent on loan to Willem II last term and blossomed when used regularly.

Thirteen goals in 16 Eredivisie appearances, followed up by one for Sweden 11 minutes after being brought on in June's Euro 2020 qualifier against Malta, led to reported interest from the likes of Chelsea and Real Madrid.

Sociedad, somewhat surprisingly, won the race for his signature and the €7m fee will be considered a bargain should Isak provide goals for one of last season's lowest-scoring sides in LaLiga.

 

¡Doblete de @alex_isak !  #RealSociedad #AurreraReala pic.twitter.com/sBhAasI2Yw

— Real Sociedad Fútbol (@RealSociedad) July 27, 2019

3. Hector Herrera (Atletico Madrid)

The loss of Rodri to Manchester City leaves a void to be filled at Atletico this season, but in Herrera they have a player capable of thriving under Diego Simeone, albeit in a slightly different role.

Herrera, signed on a free after his contract at Porto expired, will be expected to offer more of a goal threat, having scored 26 times in his six seasons at Estadio do Dragao.

A Primeira Liga title winner and a player boasting plenty of Champions League experience, Simeone will hope the tenacious 29-year-old's best years are still to come.

2. Nabil Fekir (Real Betis)

Fekir was on the brink of joining Liverpool in a £52m deal last year, only for the move to collapse late on, reportedly due to concerns flagged by his medical.

Liverpool's loss is now Betis' gain, with the Andalusian side reaching an agreement with Lyon for an initial €19.75m.

The France international's goal tally may have halved last term - dropping from 18 in 2017-18 to nine in 2018-19 - but he could thrive as the focal point in Rubi's attack.

 

1. Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona)

Barcelona agreed the €75million signing of De Jong in January, seeing off competition from a number of rivals to ensure one of the hottest properties in world football would join them this summer.

Griezmann may add to Ernesto Valverde's attacking options and Firpo will provide long-term cover for Jordi Alba at left-back, but De Jong - allowed to stay on at Ajax for the second half of last season - looks like the most exciting of the Spanish champions' new recruits so far.

After starring for the Dutch champions in their run to the Champions League semi-finals, knocking out Real Madrid and Juventus along the way, there is no reason the versatile midfielder cannot make a similar impact in his new Camp Nou surroundings.

Lyon have agreed a deal in principle to sign attacking midfielder Jeff Reine-Adelaide from Ligue 1 rivals Angers.

The 21-year-old will undergo a medical before finalising a move reportedly worth around €30million.

Arsenal, Reine-Adelaide's former club, have the opportunity to hijack the deal by submitting an equivalent bid.

The Gunners inserted the clause as part of the France Under-21 international's departure in 2018 but are not expected to match Lyon's offer.

Reine-Adelaide made 35 top-flight appearances last season, scoring three times, and could make his Les Gones debut against Angers on Friday.

Elsewhere in France, Montpellier have acquired goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli on a season-long loan from Real Sociedad.

The deal includes an option for Montpellier to sign the Argentinian on a permanent basis.

Antoine Griezmann will quickly prove to be a "very important player" at Barcelona, according to ex-team-mate and former Real Madrid man Asier Illarramendi.

Griezmann, who played with Illarramendi at Real Sociedad, has left Atletico Madrid after five years in the capital to join Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez at Camp Nou.

The World Cup winner is the latest big-money Barca recruit since Neymar's sale to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017, with Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho - each bought for over €100million - failing to sparkle so far.

But Illarramendi does not see Griezmann having any issues fitting in with the Blaugrana after his work rate was honed by Atleti coach Diego Simeone.

"I think Griezmann has already shown what a good player he is," Illarramendi told Omnisport. "It is clear that he will contribute a lot to Barca.

"He works well, as we've already seen with Cholo [Simeone], as well as scoring goals, and I think he will be a very important player for Barca."

At Real Sociedad this season Illarramendi is set to link up with Martin Odegaard, another midfielder who struggled to have an impact for Madrid.

Odegaard became Madrid's youngest ever player in LaLiga when he featured at 16 in 2015 but he has yet to kick on, with a loan move to La Real hoped to provide a platform.

Illarramendi said of the 20-year-old: "I met him four years ago - I think he was 16 at the time - he was young and I was young, too. You could see he had good manners and he was a high quality player.

"Now four years have passed, he has already competed in the Dutch league.

"Even though we haven't played many games, you can see with the ball that he's a guy who has a lot of quality; without the ball, he also works very well.

"He has commitment, he works very well and I believe it'll be a good year for him."

Former Real Madrid defender Ivan Campo has tipped Real Sociedad to spring a surprise in LaLiga this season.

Imanol Alguacil's side missed out on Europe after finishing ninth last season, but three wins in their final four games – including a 3-1 defeat of Real Madrid – restored some confidence to Anoeta before a key loss to Espanyol on the ultimate day.

The close-season signings of Portu from Girona, Alexander Isak from Borussia Dortmund, Modibo Sagnan from Lens and Madrid youngster Martin Odegaard on loan have strengthened La Real's case for a shot at a top-four finish in 2019-20.

And Campo, a native of San Sebastian, thinks La Real could be the dark horses in Spain's top flight given the flourishing talent at Imanol's disposal.

"I think it will be Real Sociedad [who spring a surprise] this season," he told Omnisport, courtesy of LaLiga.

"They're doing things the right way, they've got the new stadium, young players coming through from the academy. This past season they played with something like nine academy products in the team. Their new signings are generating some buzz around the club, too.

"Being from San Sebastian and seeing how things are going there, La Real are definitely my surprise team for the new LaLiga season."

The Ttxuri-urdin are in England for pre-season friendly matches against Nottingham Forest, Millwall and Watford.

They start the new season away to Valencia on August 17.

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