Bayern Munich or Barcelona?

Two of the world's biggest clubs are going head-to-head for Ajax sensation Sergino Dest.

And the club from LaLiga are reportedly favourites to land the teenager.

 

TOP STORY – DEST WANTS BARCA

Ajax full-back Sergino Dest has pushed aside an offer from Bundesliga and Champions League holders Bayern Munich as he looks to join Barcelona, according to Sport.

Bayern and LaLiga giants Barca are both interested in the 19-year-old United States international.

But Dest has his heart set on Barca, where a principle agreement is reportedly in place between the player and Ajax.

 

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Tottenham and Inter are in talks regarding centre-back Milan Skriniar, reports Sky Sport Italia. Skriniar is wanted by Jose Mourinho's Spurs but the Premier League club are unwilling to match Inter's £55million (€60m) valuation. Benfica's Ruben Dias remains a serious alternative.

- Diario AS claims Real Madrid defender Nacho Fernandez is wanted by Serie A trio Napoli, Roma and Milan.

- The same outlet also reports that Manchester United and Arsenal are two possible destinations for out-of-favour Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti. Former club Lyon, Rennes and Inter have also been linked.

Aston Villa are eyeing Chelsea midfielder Ross Barkley on loan, according to the Telegraph. Barkley is down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge.

- Kicker says Barca and Roma have joined Paris Saint-Germain in looking at Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger, who looks set to leave London.

Manchester City are still pursuing Atletico Madrid's Jose Gimenez, says the Daily Star. An alternative to Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly, City's interest in Gimenez could be scuppered as the Uruguay international isolates and recovers from coronavirus.

- Despite already signing Gonzalo Higuain and Blaise Matuidi, Le10 Sport claims David Beckham's Inter Miami remain keen on free agent Edinson Cavani. However, the former PSG forward is still hoping to remain in Europe.

Real Madrid and Liverpool reportedly lead the race for Kylian Mbappe if the France star decides to leave Paris Saint-Germain.

Mbappe, 21, is contracted at PSG until 2022, making his future a talking point heading into next year.

It seems the France international's future lies at one of three clubs.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID, LIVERPOOL LEAD RACE FOR MBAPPE

Mbappe's future will be decided next year and the forward will be at PSG, Real Madrid or Liverpool, according to L'Equipe.

The World Cup winner has been heavily linked with Zinedine Zidane's Madrid previously, while Jurgen Klopp's Premier League champions have also reportedly been interested in the past.

The report says Liverpool and Madrid are in regular contact with Mbappe.

 

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- Luis Suarez is set for a Barcelona exit, but the forward's next club remains unclear. Sport reports Suarez has an agreement with Atletico Madrid, apparently for two seasons, but Barca are said to be intending to block him joining a direct rival for free.

- Manchester United could strengthen as soon as this week. The Guardian reports Porto left-back Alex Telles hopes to seal a move to United this week and it says the Premier League club are hoping to get the 27-year-old's price down to £23mllion (€25m).

- With Kepa Arrizabalaga again coming under fire, Chelsea are set to welcome a new goalkeeper. RMC Sport reports the Premier League club have finalised a deal worth £22million (€24m), plus £5.5m (€6m) in bonuses, with Rennes for Edouard Mendy.

- Staying at Chelsea and N'Golo Kante is reportedly wanted by Inter. Corriere dello Sport reports Inter coach Antonio Conte wants the midfielder, but a €50million (£45.9m) asking price is unthinkable for the Serie A club unless Christian Eriksen or Marcelo Brozovic are sold.

- There could also be movement at Real Madrid. EFE reports Luka Jovic is pushing for a return to Eintracht Frankfurt on loan after struggling in his first season with the LaLiga giants. Meanwhile, Marca says former Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani has been offered to Madrid.

- While Suarez may arrive, Atletico Madrid are also considering their transfer options. AS reports they are waiting for offers for Diego Costa, while Marca says the LaLiga club need to see a player leave before potentially signing Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira.

Gremio president Romildo Bolzan Junior hopes to hold talks with Edinson Cavani over a move to the Brazilian club.

Cavani is a free agent, having left Paris Saint-Germain at the end of his contract in June after seven successful seasons in Paris.

The club's all-time record goal-scorer with 200 in all competitions, Cavani has been linked with a host of European clubs including Inter, Bayern Munich and, more recently, Barcelona.

It has also been suggested the 33-year-old could choose to return to South America, with Gremio among the clubs said to be interested.

Vice-president Paulo Luz denied holding talks with Cavani's representative, but Romildo does not appear ready to abandon the dream of signing the Uruguay star.

"He [Cavani's agent] didn't make a proposal. But in life, if you don't talk, you don't know anything," he told Hora do Consular.

"Suddenly, there is chemistry, something different, empathy, a desire, and then suddenly it happens.

"Rationally, if things were under normal conditions, we wouldn't have the slightest expectation of bringing in this player because he wants to play in Europe, he will have offers a thousand times greater than those that a South American and Brazilian team can offer.

"Now, if he has it in his head, his idea, his desire, to do a project that is close to his home, close to his businesses and close to Uruguay, I believe he could sit down with us.

"I have this expectation that he has this feeling, and that he can talk to us a little more."

Cavani won 19 trophies, including six Ligue 1 titles, after joining PSG from Napoli in 2013 for a reported fee of €64million.

Memphis Depay will reportedly join Barcelona, who are having problems in their pursuit of Lautaro Martinez.

After a trophy-less 2019-20 season, LaLiga giants Barca are rebuilding under Ronald Koeman.

They have been linked with numerous forwards, and one looks set to join as early as this week.

 

TOP STORY – DEPAY TO JOIN BARCELONA

Lyon star Depay will join Barcelona and his €30million move could be announced this week, according to De Telegraaf.

The move would see the forward reunite with his former Netherlands coach Koeman.

Depay scored 15 goals in 22 games for Lyon last season, during which he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).

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- Barcelona's move for Martinez is more complicated. Sport reports they are waiting for exits before making a move, while Real Madrid and Manchester City are keeping an eye on the forward. Meanwhile, Fabrizio Romano claims Inter will have another meeting with Martinez's agents after the transfer window to extend his contract beyond 2023. It comes as Sport also believes former Paris Saint-Germain star Edinson Cavani has offered his services to Barca.

- Staying at Barcelona, Mundo Deportivo reports they will make a second offer for Eric Garcia. It says they are prepared to pay €15m (£13.9m) for the Manchester City defender, but the Premier League club want €18m (£16.7m). Meanwhile, Marca says Atletico Madrid have rejected a £92.5m (€100m) bid from City for defender Jose Gimenez.

- At Madrid, the attention is on a possible move for Kylian Mbappe next year. AS reports Los Blancos have an advantage over other clubs in their pursuit of the France international due to the forward's admiration for French coach Zinedine Zidane.

- Gareth Bale continues to be linked with Manchester United. The Sun reports United are preparing to make a loan move for the Real Madrid forward, whose high wages have seemingly made an exit from the Santiago Bernabeu difficult.

- United are also poised to make other moves. The Premier League giants are considering a move for Valencia midfielder Uros Racic, according to The Sun, which says the Serbian midfielder could be available for £28million (€30.3m). Meanwhile, Fabrizio Romano claims United are in talks with Sergio Reguilon's agents, but club officials are unwilling to accept Real Madrid retaining a buy-back clause for the left-back.

- Lucas Torreira could be set for the Arsenal exit. CalcioMercato reports Torino have agreed to pay €24m (£22.2m) for the 24-year-old midfielder.

Could Antoine Griezmann leave Camp Nou now that Lionel Messi has committed to Barcelona for the 2020-21 season?

Griezmann endured a difficult first season at Barca following his arrival from Atletico Madrid.

Liverpool and Manchester United are among the teams who could tempt the Frenchman.

 

TOP STORY –  LIVERPOOL, UNITED CONSIDER GRIEZMANN

Liverpool and Manchester United are eyeing Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann, according to the Daily Mail.

Griezmann had reportedly been promised a leading role by new head coach Ronald Koeman had Lionel Messi left the club, but Barca's captain will remain at Camp Nou in 2020-21.

With Messi saying put, Premier League champions Liverpool, United and Arsenal are believed to be considering moves for Griezmann.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Guardian claims Manchester City are preparing a second bid for Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly. Pep Guardiola's City are hopeful they can find a compromise as United also reportedly eye the star defender.

- Sunday's La Gazzetta Sportiva is dominated by Barcelona pair Luis Suarez and Arturo Vidal. Suarez is poised to join Serie A champions Juventus, while Vidal is set to move to Antonio Conte's Inter.

- While Suarez is reportedly close to swapping Barca for Juve, the Italian giants are considering alternatives if the deal falls through. AS Diario says Juve are weighing up Atletico Madrid's Alvaro Morata, while Roma's Edin Dzeko and former Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani have also been linked.

- According to Le10 Sport, Rennes are in discussions with Inter defender Diego Godin. The 34-year-old just finished his first season in Milan.

Milan remain one of the most active teams in the transfer market. Calciomercarto reports the Rossoneri have held talks with agent Fali Ramadani regarding Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic, while Real Madrid forward Luka Jovic is still of interest to the club.

- Norwegian journalist Fredrik A.N. Filtvedt says United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had spoken to Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho many times and the England international wants to leave for Old Trafford.

Premier League giants Chelsea and Arsenal appear close to strengthening their defences.

After conceding more league goals than any other side that finished in the top eight in 2019-20, the two clubs have been linked to defensive reinforcements.

It seems both are close to making additions.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA CLOSE TO SIGNING SILVA

Chelsea are close to signing Paris Saint-Germain centre-back Thiago Silva on a one-year deal, according to Sky Sports.

Silva, 35, confirmed after Sunday's Champions League final loss to Bayern Munich that he had played his last game for the Ligue 1 giants.

The Brazil defender has been linked to Chelsea and Fiorentina, but looks set to join the former.

 

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea's rivals Arsenal have almost landed a centre-back of their own. RMC Sport reports a deal taking Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes to the club is done, with the sides agreeing a £27million (€30m) fee and the 22-year-old opting for Arsenal over Napoli and Everton.

- On the outer at Real Madrid, just whether Gareth Bale leaves this close season remains to be seen. AS claims there have been no offers for the attacker and MLS seems the only way out due to his salary.

Lionel Messi reportedly has Barcelona in "suspense" amid talk over his future.

Messi, 33, has been linked with a move away from the LaLiga giants amid chaos at the club following their capitulation in the Champions League.

Contracted until 2021, Messi's future has become a major talking point.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA IN 'SUSPENSE' OVER MESSI FUTURE

Barcelona are in suspense amid uncertainty over Messi's future, according to Marca.

Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu said on Tuesday he expected Messi to lead the club into the future under Ronald Koeman.

TuttoMercatoWeb reports only Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain or Inter would be able to afford the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Barcelona and Mundo Deportivo reports Koeman wants a two-year deal at the club and Henrik Larsson as one of his assistants at Camp Nou.

- Chelsea continue to chase Kai Havertz. Sport Bild claims negotiations between the Premier League club and Bayer Leverkusen started last week and Havertz will become the most expensive German player of all-time.

- Will Kalidou Koulibaly leave Napoli? The Mirror reports City are being invited to make a £60million (€66.6m) move for the defender, who Napoli want to replace with Lille's Gabriel Magalhaes. ESPN says Arsenal are hopeful of sealing a deal for Gabriel for around £22m (€24.4m).

- Leeds United could be preparing to strengthen on their return to the Premier League. The Evening Standard reports Leeds are interested in Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi.

- Benfica could be nearing two big signings. Gianluca Di Marzio says the Portuguese giants want Inter midfielder Joao Mario, while Record reports Benfica are close to completing a deal for former Paris Saint-Germain star Edinson Cavani.

- Having signed Blaise Matuidi, Inter Miami may add some firepower. DIRECTV Peru says the MLS club have started talks to sign former PSV and Schalke forward Jefferson Farfan.

Arsenal star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's future has dominated headlines.

With Aubameyang due to become a free agent in 2021, Arsenal have been desperate to re-sign the Gabon international.

Now, it looks like the 31-year-old will remain at Emirates Stadium for an extended period.

 

TOP STORY – AUBAMEYANG TO SIGN NEW DEAL

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is close to signing a new three-year contract with Arsenal, according to The Telegraph.

Aubameyang's current deal is due to expire next year and the Arsenal star has been linked to LaLiga giants Barcelona, as well as Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain and Inter.

But Aubameyang is set to sign a deal that will run until 2023, a two-year extension.

 

ROUND-UP

- Journalist Fabrizio Romano claims it is only a matter of time before Willian signs a contract with Arsenal until 2023. Chelsea midfielder Willian is free to talk to clubs as his deal at Stamford Bridge expires. The Gunners are also eyeing Thomas Partey but Atletico Madrid insist the midfielder will not leave unless his £45million (€50m) release clause is paid.

Paul Pogba is happy at Manchester United and is ready to sign a new contract, reports Romano. Pogba has been previously linked to former club Juventus and LaLiga champions Real Madrid.

- Staying at Old Trafford, and The Guardian claims United will listen to offers for Jesse Lingard as they try to prise Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund. United and Dortmund are still negotiating a transfer for Sancho, according to widespread reports.

Edinson Cavani could be poised to join Brazilian outfit Atletico Mineiro, reports Globo Esporte. The 33-year-old Uruguay international is a free agent after leaving PSG. Cavani has been linked to Portuguese giants Benfica, newly promoted Premier League team Leeds United, MLS outfit Inter Miami, Atletico and Inter.

Everton are interested in signing Atletico's Thomas Lemar, says Le10Sport. Carlo Ancelotti's Everton are also hoping to bring United full-back Diego Dalot to Goodison Park, reports The Mirror.

- According to The Athletic, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is set to join Tottenham from Southampton. Spurs will pay £19m for the former Bayern Munich midfielder.

Liverpool will have to pay close to £20m for Norwich City left-back Jamal Lewis after the Premier League champions had a £10m offer rejected, says The Guardian.

David Silva looks set to move to Lazio. According to Sky Sport Italia, the Manchester City midfielder – a free agent – will swap the Premier League for Serie A following the club's Champions League campaign.

Jadon Sancho has long been linked with a move to Manchester United.

The former Manchester City youngster is reportedly ready to return to his native England after starring in the Bundesliga for Borussia Dortmund.

With United's Champions League status confirmed, the Red Devils are ready to strike a deal.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED STEPPING UP SANCHO PURSUIT

Manchester United are prioritising the signing of Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho as they cool on Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish, according to Sky Sports.

United are determined to bring Sancho to Old Trafford after securing Champions League qualification, though both clubs are yet to come to agreement on a transfer fee – Dortmund are reportedly holding out for €120m (£109m).

England international Sancho has previously been linked to Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool and Chelsea.

It now looks unlikely that United will pursue Villa star Grealish, who is valued in excess of £80m by the Premier League side, with doubts over where he would fit into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.

 

ROUND-UP

- Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell will demand he wants to leave the club in order to force a move to Chelsea, reports The Mirror. Chilwell has also been linked to Manchester City and Manchester United.

Everton want to sign Lazio star Ciro Immobile, says 90min. Immobile has scored a Serie A-high 34 goals for Lazio this season.

- According to Diario AS, Lazio are in talks to sign Manchester City great David Silva. The Spanish star is set to become a free agent following the Champions League campaign.

- Calciomercato claims Tottenham are eyeing Inter outcast Ivan Perisic. The Croatia international, who was linked to United during Jose Mourinho's time in Manchester, spent the 2019-20 season on loan at Bayern Munich.

Milan are interested in signing Fiorentina centre-back Nikola Milenkovic, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. The 22-year-old has also been linked to the likes of Napoli and United.

- Edinson Cavani has emerged as a possible understudy for Bayern star Robert Lewandowski, says Le10Sport. Cavani is a free agent since leaving Paris Saint-Germain and has been linked to Portuguese giants Benfica.

- According to Cadena Cope, Barcelona have contacted Villarreal to discuss defender Pau Torres, who has a €50m release clause.

- Qatari side Al Gharafa are interested in Monaco midfielder Cesc Fabregas, claims France Football.

For most of the year, Lautaro Martinez has been tipped to leave Inter for Barcelona.

Barca are eyeing a long-term replacement for veteran forward Luis Suarez, though, the coronavirus pandemic appears to have impacted their transfer plans.

However, a blockbuster move could still be on the cards.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA STILL WANT TO SIGN LAUTARO

Barcelona remain keen on signing Inter star Lautaro Martinez at the end of the season, according to the front page of Tuesday's Mundo Deportivo.

Barca's interest in Martinez is well documented but a transfer has been put on hold as the LaLiga giants re-assess their plans after the Argentina forward's €111million release clause expired at the start of the month.

However, Barca head coach Quique Setien is reportedly considering three options in his pursuit to recruit Martinez.

Ousmane Dembele could be sold to raise funds or a swap deal involving Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic and Samuel Umtiti could be proposed to Inter, while a player plus cash offer including Junior Firpo is the third alternative.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Mirror says Chelsea are ready to swap goalkeepers. Unhappy with the world's most expensive keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, Chelsea are ready to use the Spaniard as a makeweight in a deal to sign Atletico Madrid star Jan Oblak.

Paris Saint-Germain are eyeing in-demand Salzburg sensation Dominik Szoboszlai, reports Tuttosport. The Hungary teenager has been heavily linked to Milan and Napoli, as well as Arsenal.

Ajax are hopeful of keeping star goalkeeper Andre Onana for one more season, claims De Telegraaf. Onana has been linked to the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Barca.

- Journalist Nicolo Schira reports Napoli are confident of reaching an agreement with Lille forward Victor Osimhen. The Nigerian has been tipped to join the Serie A side, who have prepared a five-year contract worth €3.5m per season amid talk of an €80m transfer.

- While Osimhen could arrive, Napoli are set to lose Arkadiusz Milik. Calciomercato claims Italian champions Juventus are interested, while the likes of Atletico, Tottenham and Roma are also keen. Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette is an alternative for Juve, as well as Atletico.

- According to Calciomercato, Edinson Cavani has turned down a move to David Beckham's Inter Miami in MLS. A free agent since leaving PSG, Cavani is reportedly wanted by Roma.

Everton and PSG both want to sign Napoli midfielder Allan, says Calciomercato. Napoli are looking to raise funds.

Manchester City will accelerate their rebuilding plans after having their Champions League ban overturned, claims the Telegraph. Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly – also linked to United, Liverpool and Real Madrid previously – is reportedly high on the list of targets, which includes Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell, Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish and Atletico star Saul Niguez.

Achraf Hakimi appears to have found a new home.

The Morocco international has impressed during his loan spell at Borussia Dortmund, attracting plenty of interest.

But LaLiga giants Real Madrid are reportedly ready to cash in on Achraf.

 

TOP STORY – INTER AGREE ACHRAF DEAL

Inter have agreed a deal to sign Achraf Hakimi from Real Madrid, according to Sky Sport Italia.

Achraf has spent the past two seasons on loan at Borussia Dortmund, who have been interested in signing the Morocco international permanently.

Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain have been among the clubs interested in Achraf, but Madrid are set to sell the 21-year-old to Antonio Conte's Inter for a reported €40million fee.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport1 claims Leroy Sane's proposed move to Bayern Munich is on hold until 2021. The Manchester City star is tipped to leave the Etihad Stadium for Bundesliga champions Bayern, though the two clubs have been unable to strike a deal. Sane now looks likely to depart once his contract expires next year.

Arthur will travel to Turin in the coming days to undergo a medical ahead of his move to Juventus, according to RAC1. Barcelona midfielder Arthur is set to join Juve, with Miralem Pjanic moving in the opposite direction.

Roma are plotting a move for free agent Edinson Cavani, says Calciomercato. Cavani is available on a free transfer after leaving PSG, with Atletico Madrid, Inter and Napoli eyeing the Uruguayan forward.

- Sport reports the Champions League will determine Neymar's future at PSG. Neymar has long been linked with a return to Barca following his world-record departure in 2017.

- Calciomercato says Milan are focused on signing Salzburg sensation Dominik Szoboszlai. However, PSG and Arsenal are also among the teams eyeing the 19-year-old Hungarian.

Manchester United are among the possible destinations for Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi, who faces an uncertain future with the London club, according to L'Equipe.

Thomas Tuchel believes Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League prospects are "different but not impossible" after learning he will not be able to call upon Thomas Meunier and Edinson Cavani.

PSG's all-time leading scorer Cavani and Belgium right-back Meunier rejected short-term contracts to stay on for the final stages of Europe's premier competition in August, with the Ligue 1 giants having reached the quarter-finals courtesy of victory over Tuchel's old employers Borussia Dortmund.

France's top-flight was curtailed in April, with PSG declared 2019-20 champions, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

That in turn complicated matters for Tuchel's out-of-contract players, with an eye towards the Champions League and the finals of the Coupe de la Ligue and Coupe de France – the latter two showpieces which are yet to be given rescheduled dates.

Captain Thiago Silva, along with Layvin Kurzawa, is reportedly set to stay on for the short term, but the veteran Brazil centre-back will not be offered a deal beyond this season.

"All the players are important to create a group and a mentality and to lose these three [Cavani, Silva and Meunier] decreases the group," Tuchel told a news conference.

"We have always played with these players and therefore we lose quality with their departures, that's for sure.

"After that it will not be impossible and I am convinced that we will be very strong. We have to prepare this team for the two finals with a very good mentality.

"We played an extraordinary Champions League with everyone. It is different but not impossible."

PSG were not only depleted in terms of senior professionals on their return to training this week.

Despite making 13 first-team appearances this season, 18-year-old defender Tanguy Kouassi has rejected an extended contract and is understood to be on the verge of joining Bayern Munich.

Midfielder Adil Aouchiche will also seek pastures new, although Kouassi's exit is the one preying on Tuchel's mind.

"For Adil I can understand because it is difficult to fight for a place in midfield at a club like this," he said.

"But for Tanguy, I'm sorry because it's been a pleasure to work with him. It's different because it's no secret, I wanted to keep him with us.

"He played against Dortmund, the most important game of the season with the most tension and stake. He played at 17 when he had no contract.

"There was confidence, he would have had minutes, he could have been a key player. I can't understand and I'm sad, but that's how it is. It is difficult to understand this situation for him."

Julian Draxler could also be heading for the exit door, with Hertha Berlin reported to be his next destination, although Tuchel would be keen to keep the Germany international.

"He is with us and for the moment," Tuchel added. "I only see the two finals and the Champions League. For me he is a very important player, I like working with him, he is ready.

"I count on him in the next four or five weeks for the finals and afterwards for the Champions League.

"After that is not my choice, we have to talk and make a decision together. I really like this player, I'm very happy that he is here."

Kalidou Koulibaly has been a man in demand for quite some time.

Clubs in Europe have reportedly queued up to sign the Napoli centre-back.

Koulibaly could finally get his move, with a Premier League giant reportedly working on a deal.

 

TOP STORY – CITY FRONTRUNNERS FOR KOULIBALY

Manchester City are favourites to prise Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli, according to Duncan Castles of the Sunday Times.

Koulibaly has long been linked with a Napoli exit – City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Tottenham, Real Madrid and Barcelona all reported admirers.

But it seems the star defender is more likely to join Pep Guardiola's City than Premier League leaders Liverpool.

 

ROUND-UP

Edinson Cavani is among the alternatives to Inter's Lautaro Martinez for Barcelona, says Sky Sport Italia. Barca want to sign Martinez but the LaLiga champions are struggling to meet Inter's demands. Now Cavani, who will not sign a new contract with Paris Saint-Germain and is a free agent, could end up at Camp Nou. The Uruguayan forward has also been linked to Inter and Atletico Madrid. Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is also on the list, though Juventus are reportedly eyeing the disgruntled Gabon international.

Juve and Barca have reached an agreement over a swap deal involving Arthur and Miralem Pjanic, reports Goal. Arthur had been reluctant to leave Barca for Juve but the Spanish giants could receive a fee of €70million.

Liverpool are frontrunners to sign Bayern Munich star Thiago Alcantara, says Bild. The Spanish midfielder had been set to extend his contract but he has apparently backed out of a new deal.

Borussia Dortmund may keep Jadon Sancho after all. The England international has been tipped to join United at the end of the season. Unless Dortmund receive £117m (€130m), they will continue with Sancho, reports Sport Bild, which also claims the Bundesliga club could offer a bumper new deal.

- Gianluca Di Marzio says Lazio and Inter are battling over the signing of Hellas Verona defender Marash Kumbulla. Inter have reportedly made a €25milion offer for Kumbulla, who has also been linked to Juve.

Chelsea and Real Madrid are going head-to-head for Bayer Leverkusen's Kai Havertz, claims WinSports. Chelsea are believed to have submitted an offer worth £8m (€8.8m) more than Madrid's bid.

Fred is ready to discuss a new long-term contract with United, the Sun reports. After a difficult start to life at Old Trafford, the Brazilian has established himself as a key member of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.

- According to Le10 Sport, Madrid and Barca are interested in Arsenal midfielder Matteo Guendouzi.

Dean Henderson has a decision to make as he continues to impress on loan at Sheffield United.

He is Manchester United's future number one, but Premier League rivals Chelsea are reportedly interested.

Could the 23-year-old goalkeeper swap Old Trafford for Stamford Bridge?

 

TOP STORY – UNITED AND CHELSEA IN TUG-OF-WAR OVER HENDERSON

Chelsea are trying to lure Dean Henderson away from Manchester United, according to The Sun.

Henderson has flourished at Sheffield United during his loan spell away from United.

Manchester United are offering Henderson a new contract amid doubts over David De Gea but Chelsea are reportedly plotting a big-money move for the Englishman.

 

ROUND-UP

- It appears as though Juventus will miss out on Barcelona midfielder Arthur. Marca says Arthur has rejected an annual salary of €5million to move to Turin.

- Liverpool are eyeing Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele after missing out on Timo Werner, claims Bleacher Report. Werner swapped RB Leipzig for Chelsea.

Inter are interested in Hertha Berlin's Matheus Cunha, reports Calciomercato. The 21-year-old Brazilian only arrived from Leipzig in January.

Jadon Sancho's head is already at Manchester United, according to German journalist Heiko Wasser. Borussia Dortmund star Sancho has been heavily tipped to join United, while the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool and Real Madrid are also eyeing the England international.

- Staying at San Siro and The Suns claims Inter want to sign Manchester City full-back Kyle Walker.

Dortmund have reached an agreement with Thomas Meunier to bring the Paris Saint-Germain full-back to the Bundesliga on a free transfer. It is also reported that Edinson Cavani will not sign a new deal and will sit out PSG's Champions League fixtures. He has been linked to Atletico Madrid and Inter.

- The Daily Mail says Juve are interested in bringing Wolves striker Raul Jimenez to Serie A amid interest from United and Madrid.

- Ansu Fati to United? Mundo Deportivo reports the Barca sensation wants to stay at Camp Nou and fight for his place.

If you go back a decade, Palermo had threatened to become a major force in Serie A football.

Known as U.S. Citta di Palermo, the Sicilian outfit secured three consecutive top-six finishes between 2004 and 2007 but there was something different about their famed 2009-10 side.

There was an extra sprinkle of stardust – Palermo boasting the youthful Edinson Cavani and Javier Pastore, as well as talismanic captain Fabrizio Miccoli, Antonio Nocerino and Salvatore Sirigu.

Palermo dazzled as they celebrated a memorable fifth-place finish, missing out on Champions League qualification to Sampdoria by an agonising two points.

A lot has changed since, however. Palermo were declared insolvent in October 2019 after they were kicked out of Serie B in July last year. Initially relegated to Serie C due to 'administrative irregularities', the Rosanero dropped to Serie D under a phoenix club – SSD Palermo, though they still wear their iconic pink jersey.

The rise and fall of Palermo – now owned by Hera Hora srl – is well documented but the heights of 2009-10 is something Federico Balzaretti remembers all too fondly.

Reflecting on the 10-year anniversary of Palermo's famous season, former full-back and Italy international Balzaretti told Stats Perform News: "I have many, many memories about that year because it was amazing. We were very close to the Champions League… The last home match to Sampdoria – the main match of the season. We were very close. The atmosphere in Palermo, the stadium, was amazing. Three hours before the match, the stadium was already full.

"It was amazing what happened in Palermo when we went back against Atalanta and we won [2-1]. It was full of fans waiting at the airport. It was a big, big festa for us. The team was very, very special. Special because the guys all together were amazing. Also because the quality of the team was very, very high. If you look at the stories about every one of us, you can see the career of Pastore, Cavani, me, [Mattia] Cassani, Sirigu, [Fabio] Simplicio, Nocerino, it was incredible.

"Another thing is that we expected so much from each other. We love each other so much. Even now, we have a group chat so we speak together and stay together and have dinner together when possible. It was something we built because the year before we were also close to qualifying for the Europa League. It was a very good cycle for Palermo."

Palermo – who were Coppa Italia runners-up the following season – were a force to be reckoned with in 2009-10, beating Italian giants Juventus and Milan home and away. It was a campaign which saw head coach Walter Zenga sacked in week 13 and replaced by Delio Rossi. The rest is history but what was the secret?

"The group," Balzaretti, who spent four years playing for Palermo before leaving for Roma in 2012, said. "The respect and the atmosphere you have in the locker room. This is the first thing because the mix was perfect. Italian players like me, Cassani, [Cesare] Bovo, [Fabio] Liverani with experience. Very simple guys. It was the experienced players with the mix of young players, talent, South American players because of Simplicio, Pastore, Cavani and Abel Hernandez and we always stay together. Every day and also after training we stay together. After every match we party together. It was a big family.

"With Walter Zenga, it was a very good atmosphere. The results were not bad, but you know our president [Maurizio Zamparini] was a little bit crazy about the trainer, so after two or three bad results, Delio Rossi came. He was very important for us because he was like a teacher. He explained everything at a tactical level – he was like a father for us. Also for the younger players, it was important for players like Pastore and Cavani. We improved a lot tactically and we prepared every match 100 per cent. We played against Juventus and Milan, we were sure to win. We won three years consecutive in Turin against Juve, it's not easy. We beat Milan, the huge Milan with Ronaldinho, Kaka and [Alessandro] Nesta. I remember in the second match against Milan, but after 20 minutes we were leading 2-0. It was very easy but it was natural because we play with our mind free, you have energy. It's not so easy to explain because there's some things you can't explain, it's in the air. I spent five years in Palermo and about the last years were so and so but the other four were top."

Miccoli scored a career-high 19 Serie A goals that season, while Cavani – who has gone on to play for Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain – contributed 13 of this own. As for Pastore, the Argentinean was the creative spark in midfield.

Uruguayan Cavani, though, soon departed – making the move permanently to Napoli in 2011. Pastore also said goodbye to Palermo that season, swapping the south of Italy for PSG in the French capital. Those sales, in some ways, were the beginning of the end for Palermo, who were relegated in 2013.

"The challenge of Palermo is to buy this kind of player [like Cavani and Pastore] – very young, develop the player and then sell," Balzaretti said. "I compare our Palermo with Atalanta. They reached the Champions League, now they are in the quarter-finals so they did better than us in terms of results but we were similar. It's very difficult to play for the championship but I think if this team could play together for more years, the possibility to reach the Champions League would have been very high, maybe sure. But the focus and goal of Palermo is not to reach the Champions League but to finish mid-table and sell the best player.

"If we stayed with Cavani, Pastore, Sirigu, [Mark] Bresciano, Nocerino, me, maybe yes to challenge or the possibility to reach the Champions League or Europa League every year was very possible. What the president wants, however, is not to arrive in the Champions League, to be stable. When I arrived at Palermo, we were better than Napoli. Better players, better results. But if you see Palermo and Napoli after 10 years, you can understand two different styles of strategy because the president of Napoli invests every year and keeps the best players. Palermo, unfortunately, the investment and management was not so good. Now, here we start in Serie D and win championship into Serie C but the strategy was so different. Ten years ago Napoli and Palermo were maybe the same, now it's different."

Palermo, who returned to Serie A in 2014 before dropping down to the second tier again in 2017, remain a unique club on the island of Sicily – separated from Italy by the narrow Strait of Messina – and close to Balzaretti's heart. Despite the pain and frustration of recent years, passion has not subsided with Palermo setting an attendance record this season on their way back from bankruptcy in Serie D.

Stadio Renzo Barbera welcomed 17,000 fans for their fixture against San Tommaso in September 2019. Palermo were seven points clear through 26 matches in Group I when the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic in March as Rosario Pergolizzi's men now prepare for life in Serie C.

"The city is so special," Balzaretti, 38, continued. "The club was always very easy and direct because the president didn't live in Palermo, so he came sometimes before the match. But we had very good sport director in Walter Sabatini, he is like a second father for me because he was my director at Palermo and Roma.

"In the club, the people were very easy and very good. The feeling with the city was very special. It is one of the most important parts of this project because Palermo is a top city, the people are very generous and kind. You feel like you're at home. I lived in the north of Italy for 25 years, but I love the south. I love Palermo. I married a woman who was born in Palermo, so I have a very special family in Palermo. My wedding was in Palermo. An amazing relationship with the city.

"Also on the phone with other team-mates, we say we have to go to Palermo and stay there because it's something special. The people are very warm, they touch you and I need this, you feel like a star. That's great. In every bar you go, you hear and see Palermo. When you go to the stadium, it's full every match. Even this year in Serie D, they beat the record of attendance in Serie D. This is one of the factors that bring our team to the top at the moment. The fans are a very important part of football. Football without fans is not football."

Balzaretti, highlighting the renaissance of Parma and success of Monza through the divisions, added: "Next season in Serie C will be the most difficult season. You need to invest money. You can lose or beat anyone. Serie B and Serie A is a little bit easier to prepare. They deserve, the fans and city, to be in Serie A. They are missed a lot. I think it's possible in the next three, four years that they join Serie A. Parma were a similar story – a great story in the 1990s and then not good seasons. They failed and went to Serie D. Now they're playing very well in Serie A. This is a good challenge for Palermo, to follow the same path as Parma.

"I know the president at Palermo, he is very serious. The mentality is very good. The city deserves Palermo in Serie A but it's true, next season, many clubs in Serie C stay for many years. It's a difficult division. Then it's more easy to win Serie B and be more stable in Serie A. Serie C is not so easy but this is what they want. They need to invest – you look at Monza this season they invested a lot of money. Catania, three or four years in the same region in Sicily, they can't go up from Serie C. It's not the name that you win the league, but the team is more important than the name. I believe in the president. I know the general director because he was ours at the time, so I have a lot of confidence in these people."

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