Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said the Bundesliga champions are ready to extend Niklas Sule's contract amid reported interest from Chelsea.

Sule has been linked with Premier League giants Chelsea, who are led by German head coach Thomas Tuchel, after Bayern announced the signing of RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano.

Germany international defender Sule, 25, is contracted to Bundesliga and Champions League holders Bayern until 2022.

Asked about Sule's future in Munich after Bayern's shock 2-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, Rummenigge told ZDF: "Basically he is a German national player - and the philosophy of our club is that we always want the good German national players at Bayern.

"He now has another year of contract and it will be now we have discussions. And then we will see what results they lead to. Now we have to wait. We will certainly look at the whole thing seriously and calmly until the summer and then we will have to make decisions.

"If we can find a solution, we are basically ready to extend the contract. But that will only be possible under certain conditions."

Sule, who arrived from Hoffenheim in 2017, has started 11 of his 15 Bundesliga appearances this season – scoring once.

Across all competitions, Sule has featured in 25 matches for Hansi Flick's Bayern in 2020-21.

Rummenigge, though, warned of the financial impact caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

"I will say this in no uncertain terms - no longer have the financial resources that we once had before coronavirus," he said. "Corona has also caused financial damage at Bayern."

Rummenigge is set to relinquish his role at the conclusion of his contract in December.

As the clock ticks on his exit, Rummenigge said: "I'm interested that we become German champions and ideally play for the title in the Champions League again this year.

"But again: It's not because of me. I don't need a good exit, I've been able to win an incredible number of titles as a player and in my current position. We have now, for example, won our sixth title in one season in Qatar [Club World Cup], that is the setting of a world record Barcelona are allowed to put on their shirts.

"We definitely have a good team, we just have to play a little more committed than this week."

Bayern are five points clear atop the table, though that advantage could be reduced to two points if Leipzig beat Hertha Berlin on Sunday.

"We want to be German champions," Rummenigge added. "We have now given five points this week. That is not necessarily what we had in mind. But I guess there are many fans in Germany who think that's a good thing because the top has moved closer together again."

Thomas Tuchel's view of football was changed by Ralf Rangnick and in Ralph Hasenhuttl he is looking forward to going up against another coach who worked alongside him.

Chelsea head to Southampton on Saturday and Tuchel will pit his wits against Hasenhuttl, who coached RB Leipzig during Rangnick's time as director of football at the Red Bull Arena.

Tuchel was a defender at Ulm for Rangnick between 1997 and 1998 and, following the premature end to his playing career due to a knee injury, was hired as a youth coach at Stuttgart by him two years later.

Rangnick is credited with revolutionising German football by introducing an intense high-pressing, counter-attacking style that was widely adopted.

His influence on Tuchel is clear, with Chelsea allowing the fewest opposition passes per defensive action (PPDA) in the Premier League since his first game in charge against Wolves on January 27.

Across the entire season, Southampton rank fourth in the league with a PPDA of 10.7, behind only Liverpool (10.4), Chelsea (10.3) and Leeds United (8.9).

"I was a player with Ralf Rangnick. I played in the third and second division and learned from Ralf that it's not necessary to follow the striker to the toilet," Tuchel told the media.

"He made a third-division team stronger than we actually were with brand new tactics, the back four not man marking but defending in the space in a 4-4-2 or 4-5-1.

"That was a gamechanger for me to watch football games after my experience with Ralf. It was different because I had a totally different view of what's going on.

"Ralf had his influence at Leipzig when he worked with Ralph as more or less the father of everything that happened in Leipzig.

"There are many coaches influenced by this philosophy, but I truly believe everybody has to find his own style, everybody needs to be authentic. You need to be yourself. You cannot copy anybody.

"The way from Ralph is very impressive. He had a very good season at Ingolstadt, very successful at Leipzig and now a big impact with his aggressive style of playing at Southampton.

"This is the challenge that we have to face. I cannot give you a reason why there is a trend, this is too much of a question for me right now."

Tuchel is unbeaten in six games since taking over at Chelsea, winning five straight since a 0-0 draw with Wolves in his first match.

Olivier Giroud found the back of the net in their 2-0 success over Newcastle United last Monday and Tuchel intends to give the France striker time to stake his claim for a new deal, with his contract due to expire at the end of the season.

Tuchel said: "No decision is made because it's too soon to make these decisions. [It's] too soon in the season and I haven't had enough time to make these decisions because I just started three weeks ago and we need more time to get to know the group better. Everybody deserves more time to show their value.

"What I can say is that I am super happy that he's here. He's one of the top strikers in the box, he's physically strong, he has an incredible first touch and he's strong in headers.

"He did an amazing game against Newcastle. He's very strong, very positive in training, very impressive.

"Right now, he plays a key role in the squad with a lot of young offensive players. He is a key figure, maybe not because he plays every three days 96 minutes, but because of the way he behaves and with his experience on a daily basis, he has a huge impact in the most positive way.

"This is what I can say. When the decision arrives, we will make it."

Manchester City are counting the cost of the current financial climate and have slashed the budget assigned to lure Lionel Messi away from Barcelona.

The 33-year-old Barca captain could depart his boyhood team in the 2021 off-season after publicly trying, and failing, to force an exit from the Catalan club last August.

A reunion with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City has been the subject of much speculation, but Messi may have to compromise to make the move happen as the Premier League leaders' bargaining power has taken a hit.

 

TOP STORY – CITY FORCED TO LOWER MESSI CONTRACT OFFER

City had already tabled a five-year contract designed to tempt Messi to switch LaLiga for the Premier League – but the numbers have now changed, reports The Sun.

A package worth £600million (€693m) had reportedly been prepared in order to tie the six-time Ballon d'Or winner down for the rest of his career, should he opt to leave Barca at the end of the season.

But The Sun says City will now not match the terms set in August, and the offer has dropped to £430million (€496m), potentially opening the door for Paris Saint-Germain to swoop.

ROUND-UP

Chelsea have already made contact with winger Jonas Hofmann, according to Bild, as the Borussia Monchengladbach exodus threatens to begin following the news that coach Marco Rose is leaving for Borussia Dortmund next season. Hofmann played for Thomas Tuchel at Dortmund.

Milan midfielder Franck Kessie is also in Tuchel's sights, and the Blues could offer Fikayo Tomori to the Serie A giants on a permanent deal as part of a player-plus-cash exchange, reports Il Milanista.

- Everton loanee Moise Kean has netted 14 goals in 25 games for PSG and his parent club will not part with the Italy international for any less than £60m, says Fabrizio Romano, while Juventus want to bring the striker back to Turin, according to Le 10 Sport.

 

Everton 'will demand £70m for Moise Kean transfer' after impressing at PSG https://t.co/3PvjhBQ1rf

— Sun Sport (@SunSport) February 18, 2021

- 'If there are opportunities, I will have a look at them,' is what Wilfried Zaha told the Financial Times Business of Football Summit, reports The Sun. The Crystal Palace winger has been previously linked with Arsenal and Tottenham.

- Gunners midfielder Lucas Torreira, currently on the fringes while on loan at Atletico Madrid, is close to securing a move to Fiorentina for next season, claims Gazzetta Dello Sport.

Manchester United are making plans for Paul Pogba's departure and may have already identified the Frenchman's replacement in Real Madrid's Federico Valverde.

The 22-year-old has struggled with injuries this season, while veteran midfielders Luka Modric and Toni Kroos have been in vintage form for LaLiga's champions.

Valverde has only started 12 games in all competitions this season, but the Uruguayan has impressed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer enough for United to step up their efforts to bring him to Old Trafford this off-season.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED EYE VALVERDE TO PLUG MIDFIELD

Valverde has shown his class while featuring in 89 games during his three seasons in the Spanish capital and has turned heads at United.

The Red Devils are said to admire his energy and box-to-box qualities as they seek a long-term solution to lock down a place in the centre of Solskjaer's midfield, according to The Sun.

One snag in the recruitment drive could be the Uruguay international's buy-out clause of a staggering £148million, though United can offer him a major improvement on his current £120,000 per week wage.

Dayot Upamecano will be a Bayern Munich player in 2021-22, meaning Liverpool and Chelsea must go back to the drawing board.

The Premier League rivals had each been linked with a move for the RB Leipzig centre-back as they look to add to their options at heart of defence.

Now they each must look to different targets come the end of the season, with injuries and poor play at the back having derailed the Reds' hopes of winning a second successive league title.

But which centre-backs could be part of Liverpool and Chelsea's plans to pose a more serious challenge to Manchester City next season?

Here we look at four players who could be playing their football at Liverpool or Stamford Bridge next season.

Bremer

The Torino defender is reported to be Liverpool's top close-season target after an impressive season in Serie A.

His 75 clearances are the second-most in the Italian top flight among defenders, while Bremer has also excelled at making recoveries.

Indeed, he has tallied 114, putting him 11th among defenders to have played at least 10 league games. Only four defenders have won more aerial duels than Bremer's 47.

David Alaba

Chelsea have been linked with the man Upamecano is seemingly set to replace, though Alaba’s wage structure may reportedly be a sticking point for the Blues.

Alaba's versatility to play across the back four and in midfield would certainly appeal to Chelsea and former Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel.

The Austria international has consistently demonstrated his prowess in attack as well as at the back.

He has created at least 17 chances in every season since 2010-11 and has crafted 10 in 19 league appearances this season.

Ibrahima Konate

Could Leipzig be raided again? Both Chelsea and Liverpool have been linked with Konate, the France Under-21 international signed from Sochaux in 2017.

Injuries have been a problem for Konate, who has played only 15 league games since the start of last season.

However, when he has played extensively, he has shown his quality. 

Konate featured 28 times in the Bundesliga in 2018-19 and was sixth in the league with 100 aerial duels won, contributing to 12 clean sheets, a tally only bettered by two players – his Leipzig team-mates Marcel Halstenberg (15) and Willi Orban (13).

Jules Kounde

Liverpool are thought to be keen on Kounde, but they will likely face competition from across Europe for the Sevilla defender's services.

Kounde has emerged as one of the finest young defenders in European football is again excelling this season.

With 106 recoveries in 2020-21, Kounde – who has also previously been linked with Barcelona and Manchester City – has proven a reliable presence in the heart of defence, while he can also start attacks.

His 136 successful passes into the final third are more than Barca's Clement Lenglet (132) and Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos (128).

Ramos (84.77) and Lenglet (80.49) have a higher accuracy percentage on those passes than Kounde's 76.84, but at just 22 he has the time and the talent to develop into one of the world's top centre-backs.

Roses are red, violets are blue, have we got the perfect Valentine's Day content for you!

Questionable rhymes aside (okay, very questionable), love is in the air as long-standing couples and newly formed relationships celebrate the day of romance on Sunday.

The world of football is certainly no stranger to the language of love, so before you crack open a bottle of red and exchange cheap knock-off gifts with your significant other why not get some inspiration for love with our Valentine's Day facts with some help from Cupid!

(Well not Cupid, Opta – but the team at Opta are full of love!)

MATT LE KISS-IER LOVES TO SCORE ON VALENTINE'S DAY

Valentine's Day is of course a day for love (and overpaying for those last-minute flowers and cards you forgot to buy…).

Two players have been particularly good at spreading the joy on February 14th with Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier and ex-Liverpool striker Michael Owen each scoring three times in the Premier League on this date – the most of all players.

Here's something even more interesting about that stat, though – each man's tally is a result of scoring a Valentine's Day hat-trick.

Le Tissier registered three against the Reds back in 1994, while Owen took home the match ball with a treble versus Sheffield Wednesday four years later.

Owen's three goals are part of 12 Liverpool have tallied on the day of love – comfortably the most by a team. Arsenal follow on seven, with Aston Villa and Southampton on four.

A ROSE FOR THE LADY?

Flowers are synonymous with Valentine's Day but none more so than the rose.

Two players named Rose have plied their trade in the Premier League – Danny (194 appearances) and Matthew (five appearances). The former, of course, is an England international who with his marauding runs from full-back has often been a, ahem, thorn in the side of opponents…

There are other love-themed names to have featured in the top flight. Valentino Lazaro played 13 times in the Premier League for Newcastle United on loan last term, while Valentin Roberge made 10 appearances for north east rivals Sunderland.

The Black Cats also had Donald Love on their books, the defender having previously represented Manchester United once in the top flight.

FOXES RACK UP THE CARDS

Whether from a partner or a secret admirer, it's always nice to receive a card or two on Valentine's Day.

Unless of course you're playing in the Premier League, in which case you want to see the referee keep their cards in their pockets.

In this regard, Leicester City have not been overly successful – the seven yellow cards representing the most received by a team on Valentine's Day. Arsenal follow closely behind with six, with Manchester City on four.

The Foxes also fare badly when it comes to red cards, having picked up two on February 14th – Danny Simpson and Hamza Choudhury account for those dismissals. The only other player to have been sent off on Valentine's Day is Everton hero Duncan Ferguson ... no, we weren't shocked either.

THE BEST BROMANCES

It goes without saying that we don't need to confine our love sharing to one manufactured day of the year…

No, we should be spreading the joy in our hearts all year round and these strike partnerships certainly succeed in that category.

Going back to the start of the 2015-16 season, no two players have combined for more goals than Spurs duo Harry Kane and Son Heung-min (33).

In fact, Kane features three times in the top-five – also ranking third with Christian Eriksen (19), and sharing 18 with Dele Alli.

Manchester City pairing Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne are second with 20, while Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez (18), who fired Leicester to shock title glory in 2015-16, also feature.

If reports are to be believed, Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona at the end of the season.

However, his next destination remains a mystery.

The United States, though, could be next on the list for the record six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

 

TOP STORY – MIAMI MOVE ON THE CARDS FOR MESSI?

Lionel Messi could be keen on joining David Beckham's Inter Miami in MLS, claims Sport.

Messi, whose contract is set to expire, is tipped to leave Barcelona at the end of the season amid strong links to Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain and Premier League giants Manchester City.

But the six-time Ballon d'Or winner could be lured to the United States, where Beckham co-owns Inter Miami.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to The Sun, Manchester United are battling Barca and Real Madrid to sign Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde. United are reportedly determined to bolster their defence and Kounde has emerged as a key target.

Liverpool have made Torino defender Bremer their top transfer target at the end of the season, reports the Mirror. Despite the January arrivals of Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies, Liverpool still want to strengthen their defence.

- Spanish journalist Siro Lopez says Sergio Ramos has made his decision to leave Madrid. It comes as the likes of United, PSG, Juventus and Chelsea eye the superstar Madrid captain on a free transfer.

Madrid are interested in Real Betis midfielder Nabil Fekir, reports Estadio Deportivo. Inter, Valencia, Atletico Madrid and Napoli are also believed to be eyeing the Frenchman.

The race for Premier League glory may have tipped in Manchester City's favour but Liverpool are hoping to beat their title rivals in the race for a new star midfielder.

Germany international Florian Neuhaus is the player in demand and his club Borussia Monchengladbach may not be able to hold on to one of Europe's brightest talents.

The 23-year-old is being closely monitored by five major Champions League clubs and there is set to be a battle for his signature in the off-season.


TOP STORY – GERMANY ACE NEUHAUS WANTED BY CITY AND LIVERPOOL

It is understood that Neuhaus has a €40million (£35m) release clause in his contract with Gladbach, according to German media outlet Kicker.

That means Neuhaus will have the pick of his suitors, believed to be City, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Italian champions Juventus.

He has already clocked up 81 appearances in the Bundesliga and the Reds see him as a potential replacement for the outgoing Georginio Wijnaldum.

Thomas Tuchel felt his Chelsea side showed a lack of courage and said he "expected more" from them in a 1-0 FA Cup fifth round victory at Barnsley.

Tammy Abraham's 12th goal of the season after 64 minutes at Oakwell on Thursday ensured the Blues will face Sheffield United in the quarter-finals at Stamford Bridge on the weekend of March 20-21.

That was the London club's only short on target as well-drilled Championship side Barnsley put up a great fight after being hammered 6-0 by the same opponents in the EFL Cup last September.

Tuchel switched to a back four at half-time, replacing Andreas Christensen - who took a knock on the head - and Marcos Alonso with Antonio Rudiger and Reece James.

The Chelsea head coach has overseen four wins and a draw since replacing Frank Lampard last month, conceding just one goal in the process, but wanted to see more from a much-changed side.

Tuchel, who cut an animated figure on the touchline, said: "The changes [he made at half-time] made it a little easier to get into the opponent's half and overcome the first press.

"We did it well at the start of the second half and played constantly in the opponents half. We scored the goal and I had the feeling that they increased the risk but we stepped down in the little decisions.

"Not enough courage and it was too deep for a long, long time. We clearly can play better, so yes I expected more but not in terms that I am frustrated.

"If you lack a rhythm and a bit of self-confidence and you have to show on this pitch, against an opponent that takes all the risk and plays the game of his life, that is not easy. We can do better but I don't want to be too hard on the players."

Chelsea beat the Blades 2-1 at Bramall Lane last weekend but Tuchel is happy not to be travelling back to South Yorkshire to face a team who are bottom of the Premier League and looking destined for the drop.

On playing Sheffield United in the last eight: "It’s going to be a tough one. They are a very physical team that presses high. They are organised but I am happy to have a home game. This is what we wanted."

Tammy Abraham scored his 12th goal of the season as Chelsea beat Barnsley 1-0 to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

Abraham tucked in his first goal of the Thomas Tuchel era in the second half and also headed off the line at the other end as the Blues knocked the Championship side out at Oakwell.

A young, fit Barnsley team gave a great account of themselves on a cold night in South Yorkshire, but it is Chelsea who will play Sheffield United in the last eight.

Chelsea have now won four and drawn one of their five games under Tuchel after he replaced Frank Lampard as head coach last month, and although they were not at their best, a much-changed Blues side had enough to edge through.

Callum Brittain missed a golden opportunity to put the Tykes in front 10 minutes in when he shot straight at Kepa Arrizabalaga from close range.

Chelsea should have had a penalty when Toby Sibbick caught Abraham before making contact with the ball, only for referee Martin Atkinson to wave play on.

Atkinson was right not to point to the spot following a tangle between Mads Andersen and Abraham, before Brittain's strike looked like it might be heading in, only to deflect wide off team-mate Victor Adeboyejo late in the first half.

Tuchel replaced Andreas Christensen, who took a knock on the head, and Marcos Alonso, bringing on Antonio Rudiger and Reece James after the break following a somewhat flat first-half display.

Barnsley showed more intensity than Chelsea as they pressed the Blues high up the field, although the visitors' Callum Hudson-Odoi flashed a shot wide after cutting in from the left at pace.

Rudiger then headed Hakim Ziyech's free-kick just wide after 63 minutes, but Abraham broke the deadlock when he tapped in a James cross a minute later, with the hosts feeling the flag should have gone up.

Home substitute Michael Sollbauer almost scored with his first touch, but alert Chelsea striker Abraham headed off the line as Barnsley were unable to force extra-time.

Manchester City and Manchester United have been handed away draws against fellow Premier League sides in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

City, who won their sixth FA Cup in 2018-19 but were knocked out in the semi-finals by eventual victors Arsenal last season, will play Everton at Goodison Park.

While City claimed a serene 3-1 win over Swansea City in the fifth round on Wednesday, Carlo Ancelotti's team overcame Tottenham 5-4 after extra-time in an instant FA Cup classic.

The teams will have a dress rehearsal for the last-eight clash on February 17, when they face off at Goodison in a Premier League match which was due to be played in December but had to be rescheduled due to a coronavirus outbreak at City.

Like their local rivals, United also fell short of reaching last season's final, going down to Chelsea in the last four.

United beat West Ham 1-0 after extra time on Tuesday and now face a trip to face Leicester City at the King Power Stadium. Brendan Rodgers' Leicester side are flying high in the Premier League along with United and leaders City, who are five points clear of their neighbours at the top.

Last season's runners-up Chelsea went into Thursday night's match at Barnsley knowing the winners would be rewarded with a home tie against Sheffield United, who beat Bristol City at the last-16 stage.

The other quarter-final tie throws up a south-coast clash, with Southampton travelling to Bournemouth.

Games are due to be played across the weekend of March 20 and 21.

FA Cup quarter-final draw in full:

Everton v Manchester City
Bournemouth v Southampton
Leicester City v Manchester United
Barnsley or Chelsea v Sheffield United

Manchester United are considering putting together a blockbuster deal to sign Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos.

Ramos is in his 16th season with LaLiga champions Madrid but the upcoming free agent has reportedly rejected a two-year contract extension to stay in the Spanish capital.

The 13-time European champions are not expected to go back to the 34-year-old with an improved offer, leaving the door open for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side to swoop.


TOP STORY – UNITED TO DECIDE ON RAMOS

Manchester United will decide in the coming months whether or not to lure the 178-cap Spain international to Old Trafford, according to Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano.

Ramos' contract expires in June 2021 and the Red Devils are yet to make an approach, although Champions League rivals Paris Saint-Germain are said to be interested.

Mauricio Pochettino's PSG will only pursue Ramos if he is available on a free transfer. That will remain the case unless Madrid make a late move to keep the club icon at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Thomas Tuchel insists Chelsea will conduct business behind closed doors after refusing to comment on the club's reported interest in Erling Haaland and Dayot Upamecano.

The German head coach was hired to replace Frank Lampard less than a week before the January transfer window closed and the Blues did not make any mid-season signings.

The 47-year-old will need to wait until the off-season before adding his own recruits and Borussia Dortmund's prolific striker Haaland and highly rated RB Leipzig defender Upamecano are two of the players the Blues are rumoured to be monitoring.

When asked about the reports, Tuchel said he is focused on developing his own centre-backs and forwards before discussing any new players arriving at Stamford Bridge.

"I can understand your interest in the question and the interest of every fan and supporter to talk about these subjects," said Tuchel.

"I am always a fan and am interested in what's going on. But now it is February and there is a long way to go.

"As you get to know me, you will know I will not talk about other players publicly when they are under contract. This is the type of respect we show to them but also to our own players.

"We think about our central defenders and strikers first and push them to the limits. Everything else will be decided behind closed doors. I'm sorry."

After signing an 18-month contract with the west London club, Tuchel has led the Blues to three wins and a draw from his four Premier League games in charge.

Chelsea travel to face Championship club Barnsley in the FA Cup fifth round at Oakwell on Thursday, before returning to league action against Newcastle United on Monday.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is delighted to have the chance to finally work with N'Golo Kante, a midfielder who "makes teams better".

Due to a hamstring injury, Kante has made just two substitute appearances since Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard in charge at Stamford Bridge last month. 

However, he has been deemed fit enough to start Thursday's FA Cup tie with Barnsley and Tuchel has talked up the qualities of the France international, who was strongly linked with Paris Saint-Germain during the German coach's time in charge at the Ligue 1 club.

"I think N'Golo fits into any manager's plans on the planet. I was desperate to have him in my teams [in the past]," Tuchel told reporters. 

"I am so happy to have him back again. We put him on the pitch against Tottenham and he helped everybody on the pitch, which is what he does. 

"To see the guy live, to see how he works, how humble he is, the quality he gives to the team. I am so humble to be his coach. He will start tomorrow." 

Kante has made 26 appearances in all competitions this term, 19 of which have come in the Premier League. 

The former Leicester City player ranks particularly high for interceptions - only six players in the division to have played at least 13 games have managed more per 90 minutes than Kante's average of 2.32. 

For all of the midfielder's undoubted quality, though, keeping him fit is now the biggest challenge for Tuchel. 

"I'm not concerned about any more injuries because I feel the support and quality of the medical department," he said. "We can manage his minutes and workload and take care of him. I'm not concerned about his quality.  

"What I see on the pitches here at Cobham is, how can I put it, everything I expected - and I expected a lot because I am a huge fan of him. 

"I can see the input he has on teams. He makes teams better. He has the mentality of a water carrier but on such a high level." 

Tuchel also confirmed at Wednesday's pre-match news conference that Hakim Ziyech will play a part against Championship side Barnsley. 

Ziyech's first season at the club has been hampered by injuries and Tuchel has challenged the Morocco winger to regain the type of form he displayed at Ajax. 

"Hakim is another one who hopefully tomorrow we will see the best of him," the German coach said. "We count on Hakim to do something different, no doubt about that.  

"He has lots of quality and we count on him like everyone else. He has had a good training week and will have the chance to show the same quality he shows in training." 

"For me it's clear he needs to adapt to this kind of football, this kind of league. He's come from a strong Ajax squad, but they were the benchmark in the league. 

"And it's not the same intensity and it's not the same competition as it is here. But he's adapting, and he has the certain quality to decide matches and the certain quality to do the unexpected." 

Thiago Silva remains on the sidelines with a hamstring problem, although Tuchel provided a positive update on the veteran defender's injury. 

"He feels better and better, which is good, and he's getting the right treatment," he said. 

"One thing we can be sure of with Thiago is that he will be spending every minute available to him to speed up the process of healing. It is a muscle injury, though, so we cannot force it and we will wait for Thiago."

Chelsea have been eliminated from just two of their previous 54 FA Cup ties against opponents from a lower division, though one of those instances was against Barnsley, back in the 2007-08 season.

"We play every competition to win it," Tuchel said. "Every round in a cup competition is the most important round.

"It's an elimination game so we have to be totally focused and on point tomorrow when the match starts. Winning the competition would be huge. It's one of the most prestigious cups in the world and it's played at Wembley. 

"Even as a little boy in Germany, with no internet or sports channel, you know the words Wembley for sure. It's a big, big game to play in and a big goal to achieve. But tomorrow is the most important game."​

Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are still eyeing Barcelona star Lionel Messi.

Unsurprisingly, Messi's future remains a talking point with his contract with the LaLiga giants expiring at the end of the season.

And the two clubs most strongly linked with the six-time Ballon d'Or winner remain interested.

 

TOP STORY – PSG, MAN CITY STILL EYEING MESSI

Paris Saint-Germain are quietly continuing their push to sign Barcelona star Lionel   Messi , according to France Football.

The Ligue 1 giants have angered Barca boss Ronald Koeman as those connected with PSG have regularly discussed Messi.

ESPN says Manchester City are also still tracking Messi, but will wait until March or April before making more of a move.

ROUND-UP

- Out of contract at Real Madrid in 2022, Raphael Varane 's future is unclear. Marca reports the LaLiga giants suspect the defender will not renew and they could sell him for €50million at the end of this season as a result, with PSG and Manchester United interested.

- Madrid are favourites to land Bayern Munich star David Alaba . The Telegraph reports Alaba's wage demands, believed to be around £20m per year, are too high for Chelsea . Alaba is set to leave the Bundesliga giants when his contract expires at the end of the season.

- United 's sights may be elsewhere. The Independent claims RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate is their main centre-back target ahead of 2021-22. Konate has also been linked to Liverpool and Chelsea .

- Arsenal want a young left-back to learn from Kieran Tierney, according to The Athletic.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.