Europe's top five leagues all conclude this week and there are still plenty of matters to be resolved – not least who will be crowned champions in Spain and France.

Every division has something riding on the final days of the season, whether it be top spot, European qualification, or relegation.

Ahead of what is set to be a dramatic conclusion to the Premier League, LaLiga, Ligue 1, Serie A and the Bundesliga campaigns, we look at the state of play in each league.

 

PREMIER LEAGUE

Manchester City wrapped up the Premier League title with three games to spare, making them the first team in the competition's history to win the title despite being as low as eighth on Christmas Day.

All three relegation places were also decided with three games remaining – a Premier League record – with Fulham joining Sheffield United and West Brom in dropping down a division.

That leaves just the European spots to fight for, and it is shaping up to be an entertaining end to the English top-flight season in that regard. Manchester United are guaranteed a top-four finish, but five other teams – Leicester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and West Ham – are in the mix for the two other Champions League berths with two rounds of games to go.

There is also the small matter of the Europa League places for the teams finishing in fifth and sixth, as well as a spot in the inaugural Europa Conference League, which goes to the team in seventh, meaning everyone from 10th-placed Leeds United to Leicester in third have something to play for. That includes Arsenal, who have not missed out on European football of some sort in 25 years.

LALIGA 

The Spanish title race appeared to take a dramatic twist on Sunday as Real Madrid leapfrogged Atletico Madrid at the summit for around 20 minutes. However, Atleti scored two late goals to beat Osasuna, meaning they are two points ahead of their city rivals heading into the final round of games.

Atleti, who have led the way at the top for 29 matchdays, now need to match Madrid's result against Villarreal when they travel to relegation-threatened Real Valladolid on the final day of the season. It is worth noting that Los Blancos have the superior head-to-head record, so a draw would not be enough for Atleti if Madrid win.

Barcelona are officially out of the title race, meanwhile, but they are assured of a top-four finish along with Sevilla. Real Sociedad and Real Betis occupy the Europa League spots, while Villarreal are in a Europa Conference League berth, though just one point separates the three teams so that could all yet change.

To complicate matters, Villarreal could still qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa League final against Manchester United.

At the bottom end of the division, Eibar are already relegated and they will be joined by two of Valladolid, Elche or Huesca. Valladolid must beat Atletico in their final game to have a chance of staying up, while the onus is on Elche to better Huesca's result as they are level on points but have an inferior head-to-head record.

LIGUE 1

The Ligue 1 title battle is also going right down to the wire in a three-way dogfight. After a thrilling race that has lasted the course of the season, underdogs Lille lead heavyweights Paris Saint-Germain by one point with one matchday left.

Monaco have won seven of their previous eight games and are three points off leaders Lille, though they require both Les Dogues and PSG to slip up on the final day, as well as beating Lens. Should it come down to goal difference, PSG hold a big lead over their two title rivals.

Incredibly, PSG are still not yet technically assured of a Champions League place as Lyon in fourth are only three points worse off, although it would take a defeat for the reigning champions and victory for Lyon, plus a goal swing of 16, for them to miss out.

Monaco's opponents Lens, incidentally, also have plenty to play for at the weekend as they are sixth – enough for Europa Conference League qualification – but can still be caught by Rennes in seventh, while they could yet overtake Marseille in fifth if results go their way.

At the opposite end of the table, there may only be one spot left to be settled in the bottom three – Dijon and Nimes are both already down – but six teams are still very much in danger of the drop. Nantes occupy the relegation play-off spot, with Lorient, Brest and Strasbourg just a point better off, and Bordeaux and Reims only two points clear.

SERIE A

With Inter being crowned Scudetto winners for the first time in 11 years at the start of the month, the biggest storyline in Serie A regards Juventus' top-four fate. The dethroned champions, who had finished top nine years running before this season, are currently down in fifth.

Juve are one point behind Napoli and Milan in the two spots directly above them, while Atalanta are three points better off in second and have the better head-to-head record against the Bianconeri.

Andrea Pirlo's side are therefore in need of favours on the final day in what is poised to be a nail-biting finale in terms of those Champions League places. Lazio will finish sixth, so they are assured of Europa League football next term, while Roma hold a two-point advantage over Sassuolo in the Europa Conference League position.

Parma and Crotone are both down already and one of Benevento or Torino will join them, the latter currently three points outside of the relegation zone and with a game in hand to play on Benevento.

BUNDESLIGA

RB Leipzig provided Bayern Munich with some stern competition for a while, but the Bavarian giants' quality eventually told and they are Bundesliga champions for a ninth year running.

It's not only the title race that's done and dusted in Germany, in fact, as RB Leipzig are certain of second place, and both Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg will join them in the Champions League next season.

Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen, meanwhile, will finish in fifth and sixth respectively regardless of events later this week.

However, Union Berlin have work to do if they are to finish seventh for a place in the Europa Conference League play-offs as Borussia Monchengladbach are a point further back, while Stuttgart and Freiburg are two behind with a game to go.

Seven-time German champions Schalke will be competing in the second tier of German football next season, but Cologne and Werder Bremen are hanging on in there, sitting two and one point behind Arminia Bielefeld respectively in 15th place.

Could Luis Suarez return to Liverpool, where he spent three and half seasons from 2011 to 2014?

The Uruguayan forward has been a key part of Atletico Madrid's LaLiga title push this term, with 19 league goals.

The Reds are reportedly keen to bolster their forward options, with Suarez on their list.

 

TOP STORY – REDS PREPARING SUAREZ OFFER

Liverpool are interesting in the return of Suarez this off-season and are preparing an offer for the Atletico Madrid forward, according to Fichajes.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp reportedly wants to add experience to his front line and 34-year-old Suarez fits the bill.

Suarez scored 82 goals in 133 appearances for the Reds in his previous stint before joining Barcelona.

ROUND-UP

- Spanish outlet Cope claims that Real Madrid are not contemplating a move for Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo despite widespread speculation of a return. The report says Madrid are focused on the future rather than a veteran player whose career is winding down.

- Barcelona are planning to release Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho this off-season due to their financial issues, allowing them to retain young talent Pedri, Ilaix Moriba and Ansu Fati, according to El Confidencial.

- On the topic of Barcelona, Sport is claiming the Catalans have approved the signings of Georginio Wijnaldum from Liverpool and Memphis Depay from Lyon and are awaiting validation from their new board.

- Diego Costa has reached an agreement to join Benfica as a free agent, according to Mundo Deportivo. Costa left Atletico Madrid in December and returned to his native Brazil.

- Manchester United are considering a move to sign 24-year-old Villarreal defender Pau Torres in the off-season, according to the Manchester Evening News.

- Galatasaray, Flamengo or Marseille are the primary options to be Arturo Vidal's next home as he is set to leave Inter, reports Calciomercato.

Mauricio Pochettino is hoping bitter rivals Marseille can give Paris Saint-Germain a helping hand in the Ligue 1 title race when they face Lyon on Sunday.

PSG eased to a 4-0 win over bottom side Dijon on Saturday to climb two points above Lyon in second place and a point behind leaders Lille, both of whom have a game in hand.

Lyon have won five of their last six league games and can move back above the reigning champions when they make the trip to the Stade Velodrome.

There is no love lost between PSG and Marseille, but Pochettino will be supporting Les Phoceens in Sunday's clash.

"We're going to watch the match and it would be welcome if Marseille wins," Pochettino told Canal+ "You have to win matches and stay consistent."

PSG were comfortable winners at Stade Gaston-Gerard thanks to Kylian Mbappe's double - the first of those from the penalty spot - either side of a Moise Kean strike and Danilo Pereira header.

It marks the first time since October that the Parisians have won back-to-back away matches in the league and, a week on from losing at home to Monaco, Pochettino was pleased with the manner of the victory.

"I am very happy. We were very professional today," he said. "It's important to win again and feel that feeling, and also to be perfect from the start. 

"It was a very physical team we played and our approach was the right one. We were as we wanted to be, constant from the start."

Danilo's late header was his first goal for PSG and the holding midfielder also made a big contribution defensively, gaining possession more times (eight) than any player on the field.

"I'm happy with Danilo. He has shown that he can have a place in the side," he said. "Danilo is very professional and we are happy that he scored."

Danilo left the field seven minutes after scoring but has allayed fears of a possible injury lay-off heading into a crucial run of fixtures for PSG.

"It's nothing serious," he said. "Now I have to continue working hard every day to play. Today I was given an opportunity and I think I did well.

"I'm very happy to have scored my first goal and particularly happy with the win. It was a good game for us after losing to Monaco and important we took the three points."

Echoing the view of boss Pochettino, Danilo added: "Now I hope Marseille win!".

PSG have now won 11 of their 12 Ligue 1 meetings with Dijon, scoring 41 goals across those games.

Jorge Sampaoli has been appointed as head coach of Marseille on a deal until June 2023.

The 60-year-old has enjoyed a nomadic coaching career, most notably leading Chile to Copa America glory in 2015 before departing to take charge at LaLiga side Sevilla in June 2016.

Less than a year later, Sampaoli left to take over his native Argentina but an uninspiring qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup preceded a last-16 defeat to eventual winners France in the tournament proper.

Spells at Santos and Atletico Mineiro followed, Sampaoli winning the Campeonato Mineiro with the latter, and he will now have another crack at European football in Ligue 1 with Marseille, who are eighth in the table.

"I have been told all my life that Marseille is a special place for passion. That the Velodrome lights up when the team plays in the stadium," said Sampaoli. 

"Marseille is a club for the people. We're not here to hide: we're going to play hard. When I received this proposal, I dreamed of being able to party in the city. 

"In the world, there are places for calm and there are intense places. It is the latter that I want and I accepted without hesitation. This club has a soul and that is why we are here. We are ready."

Andre Villas-Boas' reign at the Stade Velodrome ended in tempestuous circumstances with the former Chelsea boss suspended by the club earlier this month.

The Portuguese had offered to resign amid frustrations over the running of the club, which came to a head with Marseille's signing of Olivier Ntcham from Celtic, a player he did not ask to be brought in.

Neymar climbed off his sick bed to help Paris Saint-Germain see out a 2-0 win at Marseille in the 100th Classique on Sunday.

Superstar forward Neymar was sent off in the reverse fixture and started from the bench after missing training this week with gastroenteritis, while Angel Di Maria departed early through injury at the Stade Velodrome, but Marseille could not capitalise.

First-half goals from Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi instead secured a commanding position against Ligue 1's crisis club, whose troubles are best illustrated by coach Andre Villas-Boas' suspension after offering his resignation.

It meant Neymar could be introduced with little risk of a repeat of the home defeat early in the season and the world's most expensive footballer duly provided a spark that pegged OM back – their frustration evident as Dimitri Payet was sent off – to secure victory and keep PSG within three points of leaders Lille.

Neymar's absence was not felt in a trademark PSG counter-attack after nine minutes when Mbappe skipped beyond Hiroki Sakai's desperate lunge and slid a cool finish under Steve Mandanda.

Di Maria appeared to hurt himself in finding Mbappe and was promptly replaced, although Neymar remained among the substitutes and some slack play at the back ensured a fizzing Pape Gueye drive had to be tipped over.

PSG were ruthless at the other end and Icardi's cute header earned a helpful touch from Alvaro Gonzalez as it looped over the static Mandanda, who might have conceded a third time before the break as Leandro Paredes thundered in an effort that kissed the outside of the post.

Marseille were better after the break and Boubacar Kamara's shot squirmed away from Sergio Rico and wide, but further chances were few and far between.

Neymar was belatedly introduced 25 minutes from time and should have immediately won a penalty, with Alvaro granted a fortunate escape following his clumsy challenge inside the area.

Marseille spent the remaining minutes on the back foot as Neymar found his groove, missing only a finish as he sought the third, before Payet's high boot on Marco Verratti was punished with a late red card.

 

What does it mean? No drama and PSG stay in the hunt

There were five red cards – three for PSG – when the sides met at the Parc des Princes in September in a game that contributed to the chaos of the champions' season to date, going some way to explain their underwhelming league position.

Although there was bite in Sunday's encounter, too, as the two teams shared 24 fouls and Payet was dismissed, the early Mbappe goal made sure there was no unnecessary drama this time, keeping the pressure on Lille and Lyon.

Mauro makes his mark

Only three times in the league this season have PSG started with Neymar, Mbappe, Di Maria and Icardi all in the XI as Thomas Tuchel and Mauricio Pochettino have each struggled to fit the attacking quartet into the same line-up – while also dealing with illness, injuries and suspensions.

Icardi has been restricted to just seven starts, but he showed here what he is all about. Along with a fifth goal of the campaign from his only attempt, the striker used his physicality at both ends of the field, winning his four aerial duels and making three clearances before making way for Neymar.

Alvaro out of his depth

The subject of some scrutiny following a clash with Neymar in Paris, Alvaro was at the centre of the action again in the return fixture and did not fare well.

The centre-back struggled to contain Icardi and got a touch as the second goal deceived Mandanda, before he somehow avoided a penalty for tripping Neymar, then hobbled off having succeeded in only a single duel and failed to make a tackle.

What's next?

PSG's title tilt goes on hold this week as they go to Caen on Wednesday in the Coupe de France, the same competition in which Marseille will visit Auxerre hours earlier.

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar is a doubt for Sunday's Ligue 1 match with Marseille after missing training through illness.

The Brazil international sat out Saturday's session due to gastroenteritis and his condition will be assessed later, PSG said in a statement.

Teenage defender Timothee Pembele will be unavailable after returning a positive coronavirus test, with the 18-year-old now self-isolating.

The champions will also be without Keylor Navas and Ander Herrera for Sunday's Classique, with neither player fully fit.

Colin Dagba (thigh) and Juan Bernat (knee) are still out, while Abdou Diallo remains sidelined due to coronavirus protocols after testing positive a week ago.

PSG, who are three points behind league leaders Lille after 23 games, are still favourites for Sunday's game against struggling Marseille.

OM suspended coach Andre Villas-Boas this week after he offered his resignation in protest against the club's "sporting direction", with Olivier Ntcham signed from Celtic without his consent.

Marseille, who are ninth, have won just once in their previous 10 matches in all competitions and lost 2-1 to PSG in the Trophee des Champions match on January 13.

This will be the 100th competitive meeting between the teams, with PSG leading the head-to-head record with 44 wins to 33, 18 of which have come since Qatar Sports Investment took over at Parc des Princes in 2011.

However, Marseille won the reverse game this season 1-0 in September and the potential loss of Neymar could be key, the 29-year-old having scored 11 goals in his previous nine games in all competitions.

Chelsea are not giving up in their pursuit of Bayern Munich star David Alaba.

Alaba, 28, is linked with numerous European giants, with Real Madrid reportedly leading the race to sign the defender.

But it seems Chelsea are unwilling to give up.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA STILL EYEING MADRID TARGET ALABA

Chelsea will attempt to hijack Real Madrid's move for Bayern Munich defender Alaba, according to The Guardian.

It was reported Alaba, who is out of contract at the end of the season, had agreed to a four-year deal with Madrid.

Chelsea have been linked with numerous centre-backs.

Goal reports the Premier League club's signing plans are linked to Bayern Munich's transfer plans as the Bundesliga giants are favourites to sign RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano.

Upamecano and Niklas Sule, another Bayern defender, are also said to be targets for Chelsea.

 

ROUND-UP

- Can Manchester City land Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland? The Daily Star reports City bosses believe winning the Premier League will help them beat Chelsea to Haaland in a £100million (€114m) deal.

- Tottenham have won just two of their past 10 Premier League matches, leading to talk about Jose Mourinho's future. The Telegraph reports the Spurs head coach is under pressure but not in imminent danger of being sacked.

- Manchester United are targeting a deal for Norwich City right-back Max Aarons as they seek competition for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, according to the Daily Express.

- Following Andre Villas-Boas' exit, Marseille are looking for a new coach. Le 10 Sport reports Atletico Mineiro boss Jorge Sampaoli is the favourite to take charge of the Ligue 1 club.

Is Erling Haaland's future becoming clearer?

Haaland's exploits for Borussia Dortmund have attracted interest from far and wide.

But Manchester City appear to be the frontrunners for his signature…

 

TOP STORY – CITY LINING UP BIG HAALAND BID

Manchester City are confident of landing Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland in a £100million (€114m) deal, according to the front page of Friday's Mirror.

Haaland is one of the most sought-after players in Europe, having been linked with the likes of Real Madrid, Liverpool, Barcelona, Manchester United and Juventus.

But City believe winning this season's Premier League will help them sign Haaland at the end of the campaign.

 

ROUND-UP

- Goal claims Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi will wait until season's end before deciding his future. Messi has been linked with Paris Saint-Germain and City on a free transfer.

Sergio Aguero is tempted by a move to Barca if Messi remains at Camp Nou, reports Cadena Ser. Like Messi, City forward Aguero is out of contract at the end of the 2020-21.

- Defensa Central says Chelsea are interested in re-signing Eden Hazard, but at a huge discount. Hazard has struggled for form and fitness since leaving Chelsea for Madrid in a big-money move in 2019.

Milan will miss out on signing Ajax teenager Brian Brobbey as he is set to join RB Leipzig, according to Calciomercato and widespread reports in Italy. But Milan are close to signing Marseille's soon-to-be free agent Florian Thauvin.

- Calciomercato claims Madrid have put veteran full-back Marcelo up for sale amid links to Juventus.

Chelsea are chasing defenders and Niklas Sule is reportedly a target, with David Alaba seemingly set for Real Madrid.

Premier League outfit Chelsea have been linked with defenders, particularly since Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard at the helm.

They have three at the top of their list.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA EYE SULE

Bayern Munich defender Sule is on Chelsea's shopping list, according to Sport Bild.

The report says Sule's Bayern team-mate Alaba , who is out of contract at the end of the season, and RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano are also among their targets.

Chelsea have kept back-to-back clean sheets since Tuchel took over last month.

 

ROUND-UP

- Alaba seems set to head elsewhere. Marca reports Real Madrid have a four-year agreement in place with Alaba, who has passed his medical.

- Borussia Dortmund seem to be preparing for Jadon Sancho's exit. Sport Bild reports PSV attacker Donyell Malen and Lyon star Memphis Depay, who is also apparently wanted by Barcelona, are targets for Dortmund with Sancho likely to leave at season's end.

- With Andre Villas-Boas having left his post, Marseille are looking for a new coach. Sky Sport reports former Chelsea and Juventus boss Maurizio Sarri has turned down an approach from the Ligue 1 side.

- John Terry is on the list of candidates to become the next Bournemouth manager, according to the Daily Mail. The Championship side sacked Jason Tindall and are said to be looking at the Aston Villa assistant.

- Martin Braithwaite could have left Barcelona. Sport reports the forward turned down a loan move to West Brom during the previous transfer window.

Andre Villas-Boas has been suspended by Marseille after the club accused the head coach of remarks that "seriously harmed" their reputation.

On Tuesday, the former Chelsea and Tottenham boss claimed he had offered to resign due to his frustrations with the running of the club, which came to a head with the signing of Olivier Ntcham, a player he did not ask to be brought in.

"I submitted my resignation saying that I did not agree with the sporting policy. I don't want anything from OM. I don't want money," he told a news conference.

"I'm waiting for an answer, it could be no and then we would continue. I don't want any money, I just want to leave."

Villas-Boas said he learned of the deal to sign midfielder Ntcham from Celtic "this morning from the press", adding: "He is a player that I had said no to. He was not on our list."

Those comments appear to have incensed Marseille bosses, who are now pursuing disciplinary action, which is likely to lead to Villas-Boas' dismissal. The Portuguese had previously stated he would not extend his contract, which expires at the end of the season.

"Olympique de Marseille announces the pending disciplinary proceedings of Andre Villas-Boas," the club said in a statement. "This decision has become unavoidable given the recent and repetitive actions and attitudes that have seriously harmed Olympique de Marseille and its employees who devote themselves to it on a daily basis.

"The remarks made today during a press conference in regard to Pablo Longoria, general manager in charge of football, are unacceptable.

"His exceptional achievements should not be questioned and, on the contrary, were welcomed by all during this winter transfer window which was affected by an unprecedented crisis. Possible sanctions may be taken against Andre Villas-Boas following disciplinary proceedings."

Marseille, who are ninth in Ligue 1, have won just one of their past eight top-flight matches and lost each of their previous three, a run that prompted angry fans to stage an attack on the training ground last weekend in protest against the club's running.

They were also knocked out of the Champions League group stage with just three points from their six games.

Villas-Boas had previously stated he would prepare the team for Wednesday's trip to Lens.

Andre Villas-Boas has offered his resignation at Marseille after the Ligue 1 club went against his wishes by signing Olivier Ntcham. 

Ntcham joined on loan until the end of the season from Celtic on deadline day despite Villas-Boas saying he did not want the player. 

The former Tottenham and Chelsea boss consequently felt his position was no longer tenable and offered to leave, citing a disagreement with Marseille’s sporting policy. 

Villas-Boas said the training ground being attacked by angry fans at the weekend "had nothing to do with it" and that he was awaiting a response from the club. 

"I submitted my resignation saying that I did not agree with the sporting policy. I don't want anything from OM. I don't want money," he told a news conference on Tuesday. 

"I'm waiting for an answer, it could be no and then we would continue. I don't want any money, I just want to leave. 

"[Signing Ntcham was] a decision that was not taken by me, I learned of it this morning from the press. He is a player that I had said no to. He was not on our list. 

"The results – it's my fault. I'm very upset. But if there's something you cannot touch, it's my professionalism. I cannot accept this. This club has already been through a couple of messy years in terms of transfers."

Marseille have won just one of their past eight Ligue 1 matches, with a 3-1 loss at Monaco last time out their third straight defeat. 

Their meeting with Rennes on Saturday was called off after fans stormed the training ground in protest. 

Villas-Boas accepted the club's request for time before making a decision on his resignation and he was still preparing the team for Wednesday's trip to Lens. 

"I'm focused on Lens. We continue until the board lets me go," he added. 

Marseille's Ligue 1 match with Rennes has been postponed after violent protests from supporters at the club's training ground.

A mob of Marseille fans breached the club's facilities on Saturday, seemingly in protest over the club's poor form and the leadership of president Jacques-Henri Eyraud.

Andre Villas-Boas admitted on Friday that he expects to leave at the end of the season, with Marseille sitting way off the pace in Ligue 1.

Marseille have lost their last four matches in all competitions, and are without a win in as many league games.

Videos and images shared on social media of fans storming the club's training ground - where the players had gathered before they were due to face Rennes - also showed fires had been started, while L'Equipe also claimed that defender Alvaro Gonzalez was hit by a projectile.

Fans also left graffiti around the entrance, stating: "Eyraud out... Eyraud leave."

Marseille subsequently requested the postponement of their match with Rennes, which was scheduled to kick-off at 21:00 local time (20:00 GMT).

The LFP, with the agreement of Rennes, approved the request, and it remains to be seen when the match will be played.

A statement on Ligue 1's official website read: "The match of the 22nd day of Ligue 1 Uber Eats between Olympique de Marseille and Stade Rennais FC has been postponed.

"Given the incidents that occurred this afternoon at the Olympique de Marseille training center, the OM – Stade Rennais FC match has been postponed to a later date."

Andre Villas-Boas expects to leave Marseille at the end of the season after the former Chelsea and Tottenham boss admitted to an "abysmal" failure.

The 43-year-old, who was appointed by OM in May 2019, will see his two-year contract expire at the end of this campaign.

Marseille sit 13 points behind Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain heading into the latest round of fixtures, occupying sixth place having lost their last three games in the competition.

Their Champions League performance was also far short of expectations, with Marseille finishing at the foot of their group with just three points.

Asked whether it looked as though he would leave in June, Villas-Boas said on Friday: "Yes, I think so. I don't have other information.

"But I'm not asking for anything, with the position we have, it's rather normal.

"With our performances this year, it's normal. It's true that it goes a bit against what the management said, but yes, I think it'll be the end.

"I think we all agree this is the path it's taking. Before, there was some noise, there were some talks between my agents and the club, now there's nothing."

Villas-Boas had hoped his team would be challenging PSG for the title, but instead they are outside the Europa League qualifying places.

Marseille sold midfielder Morgan Sanson to Aston Villa this week, while young winger Marley Ake left for Juventus and Kevin Strootman was loaned to Genoa.

Such exits may weaken Marseille for the remainder of the season, although they have signed Arkadiusz Milik on loan from Napoli and Franco Tongya arrived from Juventus.

"Guys, look, we're 15 points behind, which is an abysmal gap behind our season goal," Villas-Boas said.

"I'm not going to argue that. I told you that next season is Year Zero for the club, after all has been done, it's going to be deep cleaning.

"And it's good to create a strong base for the future."

Portuguese coach Villas-Boas had his big break when he served on Jose Mourinho's staff at Porto, Chelsea and Inter before striking out on his own.

After spells in Portugal with Academica and Porto, he had stints with Chelsea and Tottenham before moving on to Zenit and Shanghai SIPG, spending 18 months without a club prior to accepting the Marseille job.

Aston Villa have completed the signing of midfielder Morgan Sanson from Marseille for a reported fee of £15.5million.

The 26-year-old has agreed a four-and-a-half-year contract with Villa.

Sanson has played with Marseille since he signed for them from fellow Ligue 1 side Montpellier in January 2017.

He was part of the Marseille team which made the Europa League final in 2018 and the one which finished second under Andre Villas-Boas last season.

Villa boss Dean Smith, whose team have had a strong first half to the Premier League season, was enthusiastic about Sanson's credentials after the deal was confirmed on Tuesday.

"Morgan has performed consistently at the highest level in French football for a number of seasons as well as in this season's Champions League," Smith said.

"He is a player with the quality and experience to play in any midfield position.

"He will add real competition for starting places and gives us more squad depth which is vital to competing successfully in the Premier League."

Sanson has two goals and three assists in 10 Ligue 1 starts and two substitute appearances this season.

In his first interview with Villa, he told the club's website: "I'm really happy to be here, very proud to join the Aston Villa family.

"In the future I hope we can do great things together.

"It's a magical club, a big club in England. When Aston Villa called me, I didn't have to think about it for a long time – it was the best opportunity for me and my career.

"I love the team; I love the spirit – I'm a warrior and I like it when all the players run for the team and run for the club. I appreciate watching Villa because it's good football.

"I hope the best for the club. I think we have a very good team."

Villa are eighth in the table, just five points behind fourth-placed Liverpool with two games in hand on the reigning Premier League champions.

Having beaten Newcastle United last time out, they return to action away to Burnley in the top flight on Wednesday.

Arkadiusz Milik has joined Marseille on loan from Napoli until 2022 and the forward's move could be made permanent for a reported €12million.

Milik, 26, heads to the Ligue 1 club after four and a half seasons at Napoli, although he has not made an appearance in 2020-21.

The Poland international scored 48 goals in 122 games in Serie A, having arrived from Ajax for a reported €35m in 2016.

Knee injuries hampered his Napoli career, and his switch to Marseille was confirmed on Thursday.

While Napoli said Marseille had an "obligation to make the transfer permanent", the Ligue 1 side claimed it was an option.

Reports say a permanent deal would be an initial €8m plus €4m in bonuses.

Milik had also been linked to Premier League sides Tottenham and Everton, but he was delighted to get the move to Marseille, who sit sixth in the Ligue 1 table – 10 points behind Paris Saint-Germain but holding a game in hand.

"I am happy and proud to announce that I am officially a player of Olympique de Marseille, one of the most prestigious clubs in Europe," Milik wrote on Twitter.

"I'm ready for this new adventure. Allez OM."

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