Chelsea have been crowned European and world champions since Thomas Tuchel's appointment just over 12 months ago.

The Blues, however, finished fourth in the Premier League last season.

Chelsea are third this term but 16 points behind leaders Manchester City with a game in hand, and it seems recruitment is in the offing.

TOP STORY – BLUES SET TO SPLASH THE CASH

Chelsea are set for an off-season transfer splash as they prepare to back Tuchel fresh from their Club World Cup triumph, according to The Telegraph, 

The Blues have their sights firmly set on signing long-term target Jules Kounde from Sevilla as a priority in the upcoming off-season.

Chelsea are also interested in West Ham United's England international Declan Rice and Monaco's 22-year-old French midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni.


ROUND-UP

- Football London reports Arsenal are plotting a move for Chelsea forward Armando Broja, who is currently on loan at Southampton. The Gunners are short on attacking options after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's exit and with Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah running down contracts.

- Fichajes also claims that Arsenal are interested in Milan forward Rafael Leao, along with Newcastle United.

Barcelona are trying to agree new deals with star young pair Gavi and Ronald Araujo amid interest from Liverpool and Manchester United, reports ESPN.

Juventus are willing to listen to offers for Adrien Rabiot and Alex Sandro according to La Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Fichajes claims that West Ham want to sign Lille defender Sven Botman, Villarreal left-back Pervis Estupinan and Real Sociedad centre-back Robin Le Normand.

The pursuit of 21-year-old Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland is well known.

Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester United and Bayern Munich have all been linked with Haaland.

The race is set to heat up, with Haaland reportedly holding a €75 million (£68m) release clause in his Dortmund contract which triggers at the end of the current season.

TOP STORY – MAN CITY LEAD THE WAY IN HAALAND RACE

Football Insider reports that Man City are in the box seat to sign Haaland in a major development with his father Alf-Inge Haaland's connection with the club.

Alf-Inge played with City from 2000 to 2003 and is telling Erling to join the club ahead of other suitors.

City's Abu Dhabi owners are set to launch a concerted pursuit for the Norwegian and will be able to meet his release clause.

Madrid 's bid to sign Haaland may be aided by Adidas, who are associated with the club and looking to bring him on board, after his deal with Nike expired at the end of January.


ROUND-UP

- ESPN reports that Lyon are preparing a significant offer for Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette, whose contract expires at the end of this season. Lacazette joined the Gunners from Lyon in 2017.

- El Nacional claims that Madrid are open to selling Brazilian midfielder Casemiro, who is being targeted by PSG. Casemiro is a regular but his sale may open up funds for moves for Kylian Mbappe and Haaland.

- Franck Kessie will depart Milan when his contract expires at the end of this season, reports Calciomercato, with Barcelona entering the race to sign the midfielder, and Tottenham also interested.

- Sport claims that Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta already has an agreement in principle to join Barcelona on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of the season.

- Edinson Cavani will exit Manchester United at the end of his contract in June, with Spain his preferred destination rather than returning to South America according to Fabrizio Romano.

Thomas Tuchel felt Chelsea were deserving Club World Cup winners and has challenged his "relentless" side to keep adding to their growing collection of titles in the remainder of the season.

Kai Havertz converted an extra-time penalty to secure a 2-1 win against Copa Libertadores holders Palmeiras, as Chelsea added success in FIFA's showpiece club tournament to the Champions League and Super Cup titles they lifted last year.

Tuchel, who missed his team's semi-final win over Al Hilal after testing positive for COVID-19 but was able to travel to the United Arab Emirates for the final, was full of praise for his charges after the contest.

While admitting Chelsea needed a little luck to avoid a shoot-out, the beaming former Paris Saint-German boss considered this a deserved victory.

"You need luck to score late on, but we were relentless, and we did not stop trying", Tuchel told Channel 4, having seen Romelu Lukaku's opener cancelled out by Raphael Veiga's spot-kick.

"We did not give in. We had the lead, then lost it, but never stopped. It was deserved, but it's also lucky when you score so late.

"The penalty [from Havertz] did not look nervous but for sure he was. 

"You cannot not be nervous in this situation. We trusted the statistics, and I'm happy for him."

Kai Havertz converted a penalty deep into extra time to clinch Club World Cup glory for Chelsea with a 2-1 win over Palmeiras.

The game appeared destined for a penalty shoot-out after a drab extra period, but the Blues got the opportunity to go in front again and they took it.

Romelu Lukaku initially put Chelsea ahead with an excellent header just before the hour, but Palmeiras levelled nine minutes later through a Raphael Veiga spot-kick.

Havertz then kept his cool from the spot in the 117th minute as Chelsea were crowned world champions for the first time.

Wayne Rooney said his "judgement was affected" when explaining comments he made about wanting to injure an opponent while playing for Manchester United against Chelsea in 2006.

The Reds Devils' all-time leading goalscorer, now manager at financially stricken Championship side Derby County, recounted how he changed his studs to the "long metal ones" as he wanted to "hurt someone" when recalling his mindset ahead of the game at Stamford Bridge.

Former Blues captain John Terry, an ex-England team-mate of Rooney's, later tweeted to say: "@WayneRooney is this when you left your stud in my foot?", although the addition of laughing face emojis suggested there were no hard feelings.

Rooney has provided an explanation of his comments to the Football Association and said how he believes his mental health was behind his feelings to want to hurt an opponent.

The Derby boss actually suffered a broken metatarsal in that match following a challenge with Paulo Ferreira.

"I think, as I said, I've been very open about my state of mind. And as I've said, a couple of nights ago, that was a feeling," he told a news conference ahead of Derby's Championship clash with Middlesbrough.

"I didn't go onto the pitch and say, 'right, I'm going to hurt and injure someone'. That was a feeling I had. 

"And obviously, I had a tackle with John Terry, which was a good, honest, 50-50 tackle between two players, no issues, and obviously the FA have asked for my response to that. And I've given them my response. So, there's not really much to say on that.

"I gave them my response yesterday, so they haven't responded.

"It's obviously private what I've said to the FA, but I'm sure if you look at how I've said things on that, I'm sure you'll have an idea of what I've said.

"There's not really much more to say. I've given my response to the FA, as asked, and I'll wait for what comes back from them.

"I spoke to people to try and help me get through that [period], which was the toughest part really at the start.

"In doing this documentary ['Rooney' – the Amazon Prime Video film], I had to be open and honest and some very hard subjects personally for me to talk about.

"I've been getting media exposure since I was 16 and I've been judged on many things.

"Sometimes it was my own fault, but I wanted to give my point of view of feelings I had, when you're down and you're struggling inside. Your judgement is affected.

"Seeing some of the young players' decisions they're making over the last couple of years, and seeing them get judged and not knowing what the causes of that is, whether they're struggling as well."

Chelsea are eager to fly out Thomas Tuchel to the Club World Cup final, as Jorginho said the head coach could make all the difference.

Tuchel tested positive for COVID-19 in the lead-up to the trip to the United Arab Emirates, with Chelsea announcing that blow to their preparations last Saturday.

The Champions League winners beat Al-Hilal 1-0 in the semi-finals without Tuchel on the touchline, thanks to a Romelu Lukaku goal, and now they are preparing to face Palmeiras in the final.

Brazilian giants Palmeiras, holders of the Copa Libertadores, were 2-0 winners against Al Ahly and will present tough opposition for Chelsea.

Saturday's trophy match is one that Tuchel would want to attend, and Chelsea reportedly have a private jet on standby, but he needs negative test results before he can be cleared to travel to Abu Dhabi.

Asked about preparing for the game without Tuchel, Jorginho said: "Of course it's different. His energy helps a lot, but he's not here now and the staff is trying to do their best. We can feel that.

"We feel sorry Thomas is not here with us, but he's involved all the time, in touch with the staff and team. We can feel the staff, all of them, are doing their best."

It would help, however, if Tuchel can be present in person, rather than making plans from afar.

"Of course it gives you more," Jorginho said. "There's more energy in the changing room. It'll be really important for us if he could be here. That's what we hope but at the moment we just don't know. We can hope."

Chelsea assistant boss Zsolt Low, set to lead the team if Tuchel cannot make the trip, added: "We still hope he can come and enjoy the group and the final as soon as possible.

"He is following the rules and getting tested. There is a lot of time. Any test he does could be negative. We hope this happens in the next hours. Thomas absolutely thinks he can be there, and the team and the whole staff want him to come for the final.

"We hope he can come, but if he cannot, we are still well prepared. We have had a lot of meetings. We had a video conference after the first game analysing it, and seeing what we can do better and what problems we had. We are absolutely clear what happened in the first game and what we have to do better in the second game."

Chelsea have yet to decide whether goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, back from helping Senegal win the Africa Cup of Nations, should come back into the team in place of Kepa Arrizabalaga.

"We have to take this decision tonight or latest tomorrow," said Low. "We talk to Thomas about it, we talk with the goalkeeper coaches, and we will make the final decision tomorrow, some hours before the game.

"Whoever sits on the bench has nothing to be worried or sad about. Both goalkeepers have had big performances in the last weeks, and that's why it's just a decision for this game."

Jorginho will be targeting another major trophy, after his Champions League win with Chelsea and Euro 2020 triumph with Italy last year.

"It's an important trophy. It's February. It's so much. We really want it. We're not thinking about the Premier League right now, we're thinking about tomorrow," Jorginho said. "That's the important thing right now."

This will be the fourth Club World Cup final between an English and a Brazilian side, making it the most commonly contested final by teams from two specific nations.

Brazilian sides have won three of their four games against English opposition at the tournament, the exception being a 1-0 defeat for Flamengo against Liverpool in the 2019 final.

Chelsea lost to Corinthians in the 2012 final, and Palmeiras are bidding to become the fifth Brazilian winners of the competition.

Palmeiras certainly head into the final in strong form, having achieved a 10-game unbeaten run across all competitions (W7 D3), with their last defeat coming back in November against Fortaleza in the league.

Things have not quite gone to plan for Cristiano Ronaldo in his second coming at Manchester United.

The Red Devils are out of both domestic cup competitions and sit well off the pace of Premier League leaders Manchester City, making an unlikely Champions League triumph their remaining hope for silverware this season.

Ronaldo is enduring a five-game goal drought and, according to a report, he could choose to end his second United spell after only one season.

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO WANTS MENDES TALKS OVER FUTURE

Cristiano Ronaldo will speak with his agent after growing disillusioned with life at Manchester United, according to the Daily Star.

The forward is hoping to speak with Jorge Mendes when he is back in Portugal for March's World Cup play-off against Turkey about his options after the end of the season.

Ronaldo, whose contract runs until the end of 2022-23, wants to see who will be appointed as United's next permanent manager – but he is not in favour of giving the job to interim boss Ralf Rangnick.

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- Paul Pogba is also looking to leave Manchester United this year when his contract expires, but he will have to accept a pay cut to get a move abroad that he wants, the Mirror says.

- A possible replacement for Pogba could be Youri Tielemans. Het Nieuwsblad reports Leicester City have dropped their asking price for the midfielder, who is wanted by United and Arsenal.

Real Madrid rejected the idea of signing Dusan Vlahovic, now at Juventus, because they are putting everything into getting Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, says Cadena Ser.

- However, AS reports Madrid are still seriously interested in Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, which could scupper Robert Lewandowski's hopes of moving to the Spanish capital.

Juve defender Matthijs de Ligt is flattered by interest from Chelsea and Barcelona, Sport Mediaset claims.

Barca are also desperate to sign Haaland and will therefore prioritise cut-price deals for defenders, says ESPN. Chelsea trio Cesar AzpilicuetaAndreas Christensen and Marcos Alonso are on their shortlist.

Manchester United remain on the lookout for a full-time manager, three months on from sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Ralf Rangnick has taken interim charge until at least the end of the campaign, but some mixed results have hampered his hopes of landing the job permanently.

A number of names have been linked with one of football's most prestigious positions, though one candidate is seemingly favoured by the players.

 

 

TOP STORY – UNITED STARS FAVOUR POCH APPOINTMENT

Mauricio Pochettino remains the favourite to succeed Solskjaer as United's next permanent boss and, according to The Express, that is an appointment that will go down well.

The Red Devils' first-team stars are said to have made clear that Pochettino, who is under pressure a year into his time with Paris Saint-Germain, is their preferred option.

Ajax boss Erik Ten Hag is another candidate to lead United forward from next season, but there are concerns over his lack of experience in English football.

 

ROUND-UP

- While there is uncertainty over who will be in charge at United next season, the Premier League heavyweights are pushing ahead with transfer plans. Sport1 reports that Borussia Dortmund defender Manuel Akanji is one of those being targeted.

- Memphis Depay could be on his way out of Barcelona less than a year after arriving at Camp Nou. Sport claims that Barca have other attacking options in mind, with Dortmund superstar Erling Haaland still on their radar.

- Inter remain in talks with Ivan Perisic over a new contract at San Siro. According to Nicolo Schira, the Croatia international is close to putting pen to paper on an extension that will run through until July 2024.

- Calciomercato reports that Milan are planning talks with the representatives of Lille centre-back Sven Botman. The highly rated defender has been touted as a target for numerous clubs across Europe, most notably Newcastle United.

- Chelsea have not given up hope of tying Antonio Rudiger down to a new deal, according to Goal. It is claimed that the Germany international has been offered close to £200,000 a week to turn down interest from Real Madrid and PSG.

Chelsea assistant coach Zsolt Low heaped praise on Kepa Arrizabalaga following his impressive display in the Club World Cup semi-final win over Al-Hilal.

The 2020-21 Champions League winners progressed to the final of the competition, where they will face Palmeiras after scraping past the Asian champions 1-0.

Romelu Lukaku's 32nd-minute strike settled the contest at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, but it was a generally lacklustre display by Chelsea.

After controlling large periods of the first half, recording 61.9 per cent of possession, the Blues only registered 45.4 per cent after the break and had to rely on important saves from Kepa to keep Al-Hilal at bay.

The Spain international, who was given the nod ahead of Edouard Mendy following the latter's return from his Africa Cup of Nations triumph with Senegal, denied Plymouth Argyle's Ryan Hardie from the penalty spot in the narrow FA Cup victory on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the pick of his saves against Al-Hilal four days on saw him deny Mohamed Kanno in brilliant fashion.

And Low, who oversaw Chelsea in the absence of Thomas Tuchel following a positive COVID-19 test, highlighted the performance of his goalkeeper.

"[Kepa's] very important," he said. "In the cup, he did a big performance to save the penalty. 

"Today when we needed him, he was there and made one big save. 

"He's in very good shape; he plays and trains well. We're lucky to have him. 

"In the next days, we have to decide who plays the final. 

"We're waiting for Thomas' opinion and the goalkeeping coaches before we take the decision for the final."

Low also applauded Lukaku, who netted his first goal since the 5-1 win over Chesterfield in the FA on January 8.

Other than his strike, though, the Belgium international registered just one shot on goal – straight at the goalkeeper – and was caught offside on three occasions.

Nevertheless, Low insisted he was delighted with the striker's efforts.

"Everyone's very happy he scored," he added. 

"He fought very hard and tried hard in the last game; that's why we gave him the chance. 

"We hoped for a bit of luck to score today. He's very happy, we're very happy and hope he continues and scores in the final."

Chelsea made hard work of reaching the Club World Cup final with a 1-0 win against Al Hilal in the last four on Wednesday.

Thomas Tuchel's side – playing without their coach following his positive coronavirus test – were in control from the outset and should never have been in danger of becoming the first European champions to fall short of the final since Manchester United in 2000.

But slack play in the final third, when both shooting and playing the final pass, meant Romelu Lukaku's first-half strike was their only goal and Kepa Arrizabalaga had to step up at the other end. 

Asian champions Al Hilal, who had scored six against Al Jazira in the previous round, remained in the game until the final whistle but could not find the leveller to prevent Chelsea advancing to face Palmeiras in Saturday's decider.

Setting the tone for much of the contest, Lukaku had initially been frustrated in his pursuit of a first goal in more than a month, repeatedly taking up promising positions without finding the finishing touch.

But Chelsea's record signing could not miss on 32 minutes when Kai Havertz's cross bounced kindly off unwitting defender Yasser Al-Shahrani into the six-yard box, allowing the forward to slam into the net right-footed.

Havertz came close to scoring himself at the start of the second half as he followed a brilliant run down the left by beating Abdullah Al-Mayoof from a tight angle, only for the ball to bounce back out off the near post.

With Al Hilal still just one behind, Kepa was twice required to come to Chelsea's rescue, advancing from his line to block from Moussa Marega and then pulling off a sublime stop from Mohamed Kanno.

An extended spell of pressure followed, but Chelsea held on to give themselves a second shot at a first Club World Cup title after 2012's final failure.


What does it mean? Improvement needed to avoid final repeat

Wasteful Chelsea underperformed their expected goals total of 1.60, but that figure also does not take into account the numerous occasions when the final ball was not quite right or Lukaku mistimed his run.

Such profligacy allowed Al Hilal to grow into the game and rack up 12 shots worth a combined 0.95 xG themselves – albeit while similarly failing to convert.

Palmeiras, Chelsea's final opponents, may not be quite so forgiving, and Blues supporters have painful memories of coming up short against Brazilian opponents after Corinthians were crowned world champions 10 years ago.

Keeper Kepa keeps delivering

Edouard Mendy enjoyed a warm welcome as he linked up with the Chelsea squad having won the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal, but the goalkeeper has scarcely been missed – particularly in the past two matches.

Kepa counted an 118th-minute penalty among four saves in a nervy FA Cup win over Plymouth Argyle on Saturday and had to be at his best again against Al Hilal. There were three stops this time, with his save from Kanno the game's standout moment.

Still Luk-ing for best form

Lukaku would have been relieved to get on the scoresheet having not netted since a 5-1 win against Chesterfield on January 8.

Yet there were few signs of a scoring return triggering an improvement in performance levels here. Besides his goal, Lukaku had only one shot – straight at the goalkeeper – while he was caught offside on three occasions.

What's next?

Chelsea play Palmeiras on Saturday for the title after Al Hilal are in action in a third-place play-off against Al Ahly.

Chelsea playmaker Hakim Ziyech has seemingly called time on his international career, saying he will not play for Morocco again.

Former Ajax star Ziyech has not played for his country since a friendly against Burkina Faso in July due to a reported falling out with head coach Vahid Halilhodzic.

Ziyech was not included in Morocco's squad for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Without him, Morocco progressed to the quarter-finals, but lost to eventual runners-up Egypt at that stage.

After Morocco's elimination from the tournament, Halilhodzic said that Ziyech would not be welcomed back into the fold "even if his name was Lionel Messi".

 

Ziyech, speaking to ADSports TV, has now had his say, and believes it is very clear he will not be featuring for Morocco again, at least while Halilhodzic remains in position.

"I understand them, but I will not return to the Moroccan national team and this is my final decision," Ziyech said.

"It's all clear for me how things are going over there and I am focusing on what I am doing and, right now, that is my club.

"At the end of the day, it's a decision he makes and you have to respect it. All the lying that comes with it, it's, for me, clear and I will not return to the national team.

"I understand and feel sorry for [the fans], but that's the situation we're in."

Halilhodzic has previously hit out at Ziyech's behaviour and attitude while on international duty, claims that the 28-year-old has refuted.

Chelsea coach Zsolt Low is confident his side can cope without Thomas Tuchel on the sidelines for Wednesday's Club World Cup semi-final against Al Hilal.

Tuchel missed Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round win against Plymouth Argyle after testing positive for coronavirus and was also unable to fly out to Abu Dhabi.

The German will definitely miss the clash with Asian champions Al Hilal, but he could return for a potential final against either Palmeiras or Al Ahly on Saturday.

Low and Arno Michels will continue to fill in and the former insists Chelsea's preparations have not been hampered too much as Tuchel is providing regular input from London.

"We are constantly in contact with Thomas. We're using video calling all the time," Low said at a pre-match news conference on Tuesday.

"We change our ideas a lot of times in the day. We have good conversation to make it like he is here with us together.

"Petr Cech supports us well when Thomas is not here. We have a good medical staff, team management. We have a lot of support. And a lot of video calls with Thomas. 

"He'll support us as best he can and give us every day preparation in meetings. In the next days there's the possibility to talk to the team."

 

Despite the four-hour time difference between London and the United Arab Emirates, Low says Tuchel is available at any time of the day.

"It's not necessary for him to change time zone. We have meetings with an alarm call," he said. "If we need him at 6am, we need him at 6am. 

"We are training in the afternoon so Thomas is already awake then anyway. In the hotel it's a bit easier for him to chat to the team because of the connection. 

"Maybe here in the dressing room can be more difficult. We all the time have phone contact also during the game so he can analyse and try to translate to the team.

"Phone calls and messages aren't Thomas' strongest part but he needs to be prepared and ready and be with us on the phone. He's been absolutely perfect in the last few days."

Tuchel is continuing to isolate, but if he returns a negative test by Thursday he will be in place for this weekend's final – assuming Chelsea first overcome Al Hilal.

"He'll follow the government rules, get tested every day and we hope the next will be negative so he can travel as fast as possible and enjoy the group and the team," Low said. 

"We hope but we have texts, phone calls, video calls and give him the feeling he's with us. We need his absolute support. In 24 hours he could be here."

Al Hilal beat Al Jazira 6-1 to set up a showdown with Chelsea, who are looking to add the Club World Cup to their collection following last year's Champions League triumph.

The Blues were beaten 1-0 by Corinthians in the final in their only participation in the tournament a decade ago, but they are favourites to go all the win this time around.

"We have to take that role after winning the Champions League," Low said. "We know we're a good team and play a good game but Al Hilal are very good.

"Leonardo Jardim is a very good coach and they have a very good team. We take the role as favourites but for sure it will be a difficult game tomorrow."

The Champions League winners have made the final of the Club World Cup at 16 of the previous 17 editions, with Manchester United in 2000 the only exception.

Chelsea have lost just one of their past 15 games in all competitions, meanwhile, with their only loss in that period coming against Premier League champions Manchester City.

The English heavyweights will be without Reece James against Al Hilal, despite the defender being included in their squad, while Mason Mount will undergo a late fitness test.

Edouard Mendy is also set to link up with the squad ahead of the match, despite featuring for Senegal in Sunday's Africa Cup of Nations final win against Egypt.

Karim Benzema leads the LaLiga scoring charts this term with 17 goals.

But Real Madrid are set to revamp their attacking options if transfer speculation is true.

Benzema turned 34 in December and is contracted until 2023.

TOP STORY – BENZEMA CONCERN ON MADRID FUTURE

Madrid top scorer Benzema has requested a meeting with president Florentino Perez over concerns on his future with Erling Haaland's potential addition, reports Onze.

Los Blancos are set to be bolstered by forwardKylian Mbappe's arrival in the off-season to form an attacking trio alongside Benzema and Vinicius Junior.

But Haaland's potential move from Borussia Dortmund has left Benzema fearing he may lose his spot.

ROUND-UP 

- Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger is being lined up by Bayern Munich as their ideal replacement for Niklas Sule, claims Fichajes. Sule has confirmed his exit to Borussia Dortmund for next season.

- Juventus have a new plan ahead of fresh contract talks with Paulo Dybala, according to Calciomercato. Dybala is unsigned beyond this season.

- Manchester United and Brazilian giants Flamengo have agreed to a £12m fee for the permanent sale of Andreas Pereira, reports Universo.

- Atletico Madrid, who are looking to replace the departed Kieran Trippier, are set to make a €30m offer for Aston Villa full-back Matty Cash, claims Mundo Deportivo.

- Calciomercato reports that Milan still have an eye on Club Brugge's Dutch talent Noa Lang.

Rising Spain star Gavi has earned plenty of admirers since bursting onto the scene last year.

Gavi has made 26 LaLiga appearances for Barcelona despite only turning 17 in August.

The teenager has also been capped by Spain, with four appearances to his name.

TOP STORY – REDS PLOT GAVI SWOOP

Liverpool are set to make an audacious swoop for Barcelona teenager Gavi amid the Blaugrana's financial issues, reports the Daily Express.

Barca have been trying to convince the 17-year-old to re-sign with the club but have not met his salary demands yet.

The Reds are hoping to capitalise on that situation, with a view to an offer in the near future.

 

ROUND-UP

Borussia Dortmund are in contract talks with outgoing Bayern Munich defender Niklas Sule, claims Transfermarkt's Manuel Veth. Sule has confirmed he will leave Bayern when his contract expires at the end of this campaign and is reportedly asking for €12-15million per season.

- Former Germany national team head coach Joachim Low is being lined up as Carlo Ancelotti's successor at Real Madrid, claims El Nacional.

Barcelona could swoop for Chelsea target Jules Kounde with the Catalans lining up an off-season move for the Sevilla defender, according to the Daily Star.

- Express reports Barcelona are also looking to seal deals for Chelsea defenders Cesar Azpilicueta and Andreas Christensen in the coming days.

Manchester United and Chelsea will both chase West Ham United's Declan Rice in the next transfer window, reports Sky Sports.

Al Hilal thumped hosts Al Jazira 6-1 on Sunday to book their place in the Club World Cup semi-finals against Chelsea.

2020-21 UAE Pro League champions Al Jazira opened the scoring through Abdoulay Diaby after 14 minutes, but goals from former Premier League forwards Odion Ighalo and Matheus Pereira put Al Hilal into the lead before the break.

That narrow lead was extended into an emphatic scoreline in the second half, as Mohamed Kanno, Salem Al-Dawsari, Moussa Marega and Andre Carrillo all found the back of the net.

Asian champions Al Hilal will face European counterparts Chelsea in the last four on February 9, while Al Jazira play Monterrey earlier that same day in the fifth-place play-off.

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