Mohamed Salah is arguably the best player in the world on current form, though Liverpool have not yet tied him down to a new deal.

Talks over fresh terms for the 29-year-old have been ongoing for some time, but nothing is close to being agreed.

With his contract up in 2023, Salah could become one of the most sought-after free agents.

 

TOP STORY – MO HAPPY TO WAIT

According to Fabrizio Romano, Salah is perfectly happy at Liverpool and is not considering pushing through a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid or Barcelona.

However, there has been no further progress on the contract talks.

Salah, who has scored 28 goals already this season across all competitions, remains fully focused on Liverpool but could leave on a free transfer at the end of next season.

 

ROUND-UP 

- Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland will demand that a release clause is included in his contract should he sign for Manchester City, reports The Sun. The Daily Mail suggested a deal was close.

- Bundesliga reporter Jan Aage Fjortoft, however, has claimed that Haaland is of interest to Bayern Munich, who may be faced with the prospect of losing Robert Lewandowski.

- Bayern are also said to be interested in Barcelona full-back Sergino Dest. That is according to a report by Fichajes.

- Foot Mercato say that Neymar will be offered back to Barcelona, as Paris Saint-Germain prepare for a "shake up" ahead of next season.

- Juventus and Milan, meanwhile, are interested in Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos, according to Calciomercato.

Thomas Tuchel will expect Chelsea to mark his 50th Champions League game as a boss with a win at Lille and Juve will be favourites to knock Villarreal out on Wednesday.

There is huge uncertainty at Stamford Bridge after Roman Abramovich put the club up for sale before having his assets frozen by the United Kingdom government, but the London club have won four consecutive games.

The holders travel to Lille for the second leg of the round-of-16 tie with a 2-0 lead courtesy of goals from the in-form Kai Havertz and Christian Pulisic.

Juve and Villarreal will start their showdown at the Allianz Stadium locked at 1-1 after Dani Parejo equalised following Dusan Vlahovic's early strike.

Stats Perform picks out the standout Opta data ahead of the two games.

 

Lille v Chelsea

Havertz has become the Blues' main man, scoring four goals in his past three matches and six in seven.

Chelsea head coach Tuchel has won 31 of his 49 matches and can set a record for the most victories in his first 50 games as a boss in the competition with another success in Lille, as he is currently level with Zinedine Zidane's tally.

Lille's chances of forcing their way back into the tie appear to be slim, as not only do they trail by two goals, they have lost their past three Champions League games against the Premier League club.

They have also been eliminated from each of their three previous European knockout ties after losing the first leg.

The last side to progress against Champions League holders after failing to score in the opening leg was Arsenal versus Milan in 2007-08, with the first leg a goalless draw.

Each of Chelsea's past 11 wins in the Champions League have come with a clean sheet, 10 of which have come under Tuchel in just 14 matches.

Juventus v Villarreal

January signing Vlahovic set a record for the quickest goal by a Champions League debutant when he was on target after only 32 seconds of the first leg.

Juve are without a win in each of their past seven first-leg games in the Champions League (D3 L4), going on to be eliminated from four of their previous five knockout ties in the competition. 

Villarreal have won their past two away games in the Champions League, the same number of victories as they managed across the 15 such matches beforehand.

Juve have only lost three of their previous 23 Champions League matches at home to Spanish sides in this competition, winning 12 and drawing eight.

This will be Villarreal’s first visit to Juventus in any competition as they scent a place in the quarter-finals.

Juan Cuadrado is in line to make his 50th appearance for Bianconeri in the Champions League. He has provided 11 assists for the Serie A giants in the competition, which is the most by any player in the period since he first joined the club in 2015.

Massimiliano Allegri confirmed Juventus stars Giorgio Chiellini and Paulo Dybala will return against Villarreal in the Champions League, while he hailed the partnership between Dusan Vlahovic and Alvaro Morata.

The Bianconeri were held to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the last-16 clash between the pair on February 22, leaving it all to play for in the return meeting on Wednesday in Turin.

History favours the Italian hosts at the Allianz Stadium, given Juve have won each of their last six Champions League home games - only managing more consecutive such victories once in the competition (10 games between 1996 and 1997).

Allegri's side will also be boosted by the return of Dybala and Chiellini, who have not featured in over a month due to muscle injuries, but they will be without Leonardo Bonucci and Alex Sandro.

"Chiellini, Dybala and [Federico] Bernardeschi are back," Allegri told reporters at Tuesday's pre-match news conference.

"They are three important returns, we hope to win the game in normal time otherwise we will have to do it in extra time.

"Tomorrow the substitutions will be important. Chiellini, Dybala and Bernardeschi are not ready to play 90 minutes, but they can be important changes.

"Bonucci is out: at Empoli and with Villarreal in the first leg, he was struggling with injury and made himself available to the team. He has a calf problem that will keep him out.

"Alex [Sandro] felt something in his calf and I do not want to risk it, since it is not the last game of the season. [Denis] Zakaria will maybe come back on Thursday, otherwise after the international break."

 

Vlahovic became just the third player in Champions League history to score inside the first minute on their debut in the competition, after Andreas Moller (for Borussia Dortmund v Juventus) and Ishak Belfodil (for Hoffenheim v Manchester City).

Allegri revealed that the former Fiorentina striker will start against Unai Emery's side, while he praised the recent form of the Serbian forward and partner Morata.

"Vlahovic will play, Morata is in good form and he's always had quality. He was always criticised despite playing in a position that was not his natural one.

"I am happy with him, he is playing well with Vlahovic, he has more freedom on the pitch. We all feel well, we'll also need a bit of luck to qualify.”

As for Juve's chances of winning the competition, Allegri - who has twice guided the Bianconeri to the Champions League final - insisted that his side must leave everything on the pitch and not have any regrets.

"I have clear ideas, hopefully, I’ll get it right. The team is feeling well. It’s the decisive moment of the season," he continued.

"We must have the ambition to reach the final, it's a target we have so we must try. If we are good and lucky, we'll make it, if the others are better than us, we won't make it.

"We can't have regrets, tomorrow is like a final that we play at home. 

"However, we've done nothing so far. We can't lose balance, we must keep our feet on the ground and take a step at a time. The target was to get to March and play for our targets. We are here, there's adrenaline, the fans will have to help us.

"Villarreal are an experienced team, with a very good coach. They concede almost nothing, we must make as few mistakes as possible and prepare the game well. We took some risks in Spain, but we also had a few chances to double the lead."

Edinson Cavani's stay at Manchester United seems to be coming to an end.

Signed as a free agent from Paris Saint-Germain in 2020, Cavani has found his game-time limited this season by both injury and managerial preferences, while it has also been claimed recently he has opted out of playing.

He is out of contract at the end of the season and appears determined to find a new club.

 

TOP STORY – CAVANI WANTS LALIGA SWITCH

Fabrizio Romano has reported that Cavani's preference is to join a team in LaLiga.

The 35-year-old, who has scored two Premier League goals this season, has not yet played in LaLiga, having previously starred for Napoli in Serie A before his move to PSG in 2013.

Cavani was previously linked with a move to Atletico Madrid, prior to joining United. Romano also reports that Argentine giants River Plate have approached the Uruguay international, but that potential move does not interest the striker.

ROUND-UP 

- Barcelona want to tie up deals for Ajax full-back Noussair Mazraoui, Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta and Milan's midfield powerhouse Franck Kessie, who are all approaching the end of their contracts, reports Romano.

- The Daily Mail, citing The Mirror, are reporting that United will consider making a move for Tottenham star Harry Kane at the end of the season.

- Aston Villa are one of the clubs monitoring Kalvin Phillips' situation at Leeds United, so say The Daily Mail.

- SPORT claim that Sergino Dest is willing to leave Barca and join Roma.

- According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Juventus and Milan are both keeping tabs on Lille midfielder Renato Sanches.

Manchester City's search for a permanent striker appears to be ramping up, with a deal for Erling Haaland reportedly in the works.

City have not been able to properly replace Sergio Aguero despite leading the Premier League, and Haaland looks to be their primary target.

Details and discussion of the deal already appear to be in advanced stages, and City look to be best placed to sign the Norwegian.


TOP STORY – HAALAND SET FOR MAN CITY SWITCH

According to the Daily Mail, Haaland is set to move to Manchester City at the end of season, with personal terms already discussed and the framework for the deal already green-lit by City decision makers.

Haaland's father Alf-Inge played for the club but more importantly, City appear willing to meet Borussia Dortmund's release clause of £63million (€75.1million). 

The 21-year-old's agent, Mino Raiola, would also be set to earn a significant portion of the transfer fee per reports, meaning the total outlay will reach nine figures.

Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid have shown keen interest in the Norwegian striker, but the Premier League leaders look to be in pole position.

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona are looking at Real Sociedad's Alexander Isak as an alternative in the event they don't manage to sign Haaland from Dortmund . According to El Nacional, Xavi is an admirer of the 22-year-old Swedish striker, but they would face competition from the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal .

- Milan are set to make an offer for Mamadou Coulibaly from Monaco. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports Rossoneri scout Geoffrey Moncada is particularly keen on the 17-year-old, who will be leaving Monaco at the end of the season.

- According to reports from Calciomercato, Napoli will look to begin talks with Sassuolo for talented attacker Hamed Junior Traore soon. Following the expiry of Juventus' right of first refusal clause, reports also say the Partenopei will want to move quickly.

- Real Madrid are close to confirming a contract extension for Luka Modric, per Marca reports, but are unwavering in their plans to offload Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Isco at the end of the season.

Romelu Lukaku's Chelsea return has not gone to plan – and it may well be that the striker departs after just one season back at Stamford Bridge.

The Belgium international has 11 goals in 31 matches and is struggling to nail down a spot in Thomas Tuchel's starting line-up.

With Chelsea's problems growing off the field, they may now face a big decision regarding their record signing.


TOP STORY – LUKAKU WANTS INTER RETURN AT ALL COSTS

According to Calciomercato, Lukaku is doing everything in his power to push through a return to Inter ahead of next season after departing the Serie A champions in August.

The Italian outlet claims that Lukaku accepts he made a big mistake in departing San Siro and, amid a breakdown in his relationship with Chelsea fans, he is desperate to return.

However, while the 28-year-old is said to be willing to take a pay cut, Inter are unable to finance a permanent transfer and may instead look to purchase him on an initial loan. 

Chelsea would also have to be cleared to sell the player following the heavy sanctions placed upon owner Roman Abramovich by the United Kingdom government this week.

ROUND-UP

- Those sanctions cast doubt over Chelsea's ability to sell or recruit players in the next transfer window, but that has not stopped the Blues being linked with more players. The Mirror reports that they remain hopeful of signing Saul Niguez from Atletico Madrid on a permanent deal.

- Should they be allowed to offload players in the coming months, Tuttosport suggests that Juventus will attempt to sign Jorginho from Chelsea. The Italian club are also reported to be in the mix to land wing-back Emerson Palmieri.

- With Harry Maguire struggling, Fichajes reports that Manchester United are targeting versatile Bayern Munich defender Lucas Hernandez. However, United may face competition from LaLiga heavyweights Barcelona and Real Madrid.

- According to The Sun, United are ready to offer Juan Mata a coaching role should the midfielder call time on his playing career. Mata has played just four games all season, starting two of those, and is due to be out of contract at the end of the season.

- The Daily Mail reports that mega-rich Newcastle United intend to move for Leeds United's in-demand midfielder Kalvin Phillips, who has also been linked with ambitious Aston Villa. Antonio Rudiger of Chelsea is another supposed target for the Magpies.

Massimiliano Allegri was full of praise for Alvaro Morata following Juventus' 3-1 win away to Sampdoria on Saturday.

The Spanish forward bagged a brace in an important victory for Juve, who put themselves nine points clear of Atalanta in Serie A's race for the final Champions League spot, though having played two games more.

January signing Dusan Vlahovic started on the bench for the Old Lady ahead of their second leg tie against Villarreal in the Champions League last-16 on Wednesday, but it was Morata who made the difference at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

Allegri was quick to compliment the 29-year-old, who followed up his first half penalty with a fine header in the 88th minute after Abdelhamid Sabiri had pulled a goal back for the hosts two minutes earlier.

"Alvaro is one of the best forwards on a technical level in Europe," the Bianconeri boss told DAZN post-match. "He will struggle more if you use him with his back to goal, but if he plays a little wider, with the space to run inside and use his characteristics, he's excellent.

"The team did well today on a technical basis. We need to improve when we are in control of the match, though, lower the tempo and then speed it up with a vertical pass. We need to understand when it's time to be patient and wait a moment."

Despite Maya Yoshida's opening own goal on 23 minutes, taking the eventual three points was not a simple task for Juventus. Allegri believes the result puts his team in good stead for the return leg against Villarreal, though.

He also gave special mention to Moise Kean, who made his second start in three games after a string of appearances off the bench in February.

"Sampdoria are not an easy team to face, we needed this result to consolidate fourth place and prepare for Villarreal in the best possible way," Allegri said.

"Kean played a good game, when he plays he is always effective. He earned the penalty [for 2-0], and started the action for the first goal, so he is an important player for this squad. He has to improve from a technical point of view, but can be devastating when he has space to run into."

Juventus secured a 3-1 win away at Sampdoria on Saturday to move within a point of third-placed Napoli in Serie A.

An own goal from Maya Yoshida and an Alvaro Morata brace were enough to give all three points to Massimiliano Allegri's side at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris, despite a late strike from Abdelhamid Sabiri.

The hosts had previously squandered a golden chance to get back into the game in the second half when Wojciech Szczesny saved Antonio Candreva's penalty, sealing the win and giving the Bianconeri momentum going into their Champions League last-16 second leg against Villarreal on Wednesday.

Likely with that game in mind, Dusan Vlahovic started on the bench as Moise Kean was given a start alongside Morata.

It was a quiet opening to the game, with the first shot on target from either team coming from Candreva in the 22nd minute, which was palmed away by Szczesny.

However, Juve went straight up the other end and took the lead as Juan Cuadrado's cross from the right was turned into his own net by Yoshida.

Bizarrely, Allegri's men were ahead before they had taken a single shot at goal, and their first effort of the game made it 2-0 as Morata coolly slotted home from the spot after Omar Colley had clumsily brought down Kean in the box.

A listless second half finally came to life when Adrien Rabiot was judged to have handled in the box, but Szczesny got a good hand to Candreva's spot kick down to his right to briefly keep it at 2-0.

The Polish shot-stopper could do nothing about Sabiri's free-kick in the 84th minute, which deflected in off substitute Vlahovic to give the home side late hope, but Juve had their two-goal cushion back shortly after when Morata headed in Manuel Locatelli's cross at the back post to seal victory.

Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri warned that "a moment can change everything" heading into a decisive stage of the season.

Allegri's side started the season in mixed fashion, but a 14-game unbeaten streak in Serie A has them back on track and they are one of only five teams still unbeaten in Europe's top-five leagues in 2022.

Juve sit fourth in the league, six points clear of fifth-placed Atalanta and just seven adrift of leaders Milan, and are still in the Champions League with the return leg of their last-16 clash against Villarreal to come on Wednesday.

The Bianconeri next head to Sampdoria, who Juve have won their last six against in all competitions and scored at least two goals in each of those games, but Allegri is expecting a tough test on Saturday.

Juve boss Allegri also referenced a frantic Champions League clash between Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid as a warning sign for how quickly things can change in football.

"We've reached the decisive moment of the season," he told reporters at Friday's pre-match news conference. 

"With two months to play, this is the run-in. There's the international break in a week, but in the meantime, we have an intense week ahead of us. 

"Our first objective is to defeat Sampdoria, then the second is to qualify to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

"Our objective is to finish in the top four. Whether fourth, third or second, it's not important. What is important is that we continue our positive run and hold down fourth place.

"Football is played on a knife's edge - as was demonstrated during the week between Real Madrid and PSG.

"When the situation appears to be going well, a moment can change everything. So, concentration needs to be kept to a maximum."

 

Sampdoria are eyeing three straight home league wins for the first time since a run between December 2018 and January 2019, and Allegri reiterated the challenge that a new-look side under Marco Giampaolo pose.

Allegri added: "In their two matches at home with Marco Giampaolo as coach, Sampdoria have scored six goals and conceded none, while 25 per cent of their goals were scored in the opening 15 minutes, so our approach needs to be right. 

"Winning in Genoa is always difficult, either against Genoa or Sampdoria. They are transformed when they play at home. We need to have the character to obtain the result we’re looking for."

Juve will be hoping that new signing Dusan Vlahovic can continue his fine scoring run against Sampdoria, who are his favourite opponent in Serie A having scored five goals in five games against them.

Allegri still wants to see more from the former Fiorentina striker Vlahovic, despite the forward topping Juve's scoring charts with three goals in five league games since his arrival, averaging a goal every 143 minutes in Serie A.

"I am happy with how Dusan Vlahovic is coping with the mental stress of playing every three days," he continued. 

"Every ball is decisive. I told him yesterday that he needs to be more precise in each action he’s involved in, to spare some energy and increase his skill."

While Vlahovic has impressed in recent weeks, Juve have been without talisman Paulo Dybala but Allegri hinted at a return for the Argentina international against Villarreal.

"I still need to decide who will play because I'm aware that some players need a rest," Allegri said of his team for the Sampdoria clash. 

"The good news is that Mattia De Sciglio and Alex Sandro are back with the team, and Juan Cuadrado feels fine. Federico Bernadeschi is suspended, but Danilo will definitely play. It will be his 100th game for Juventus, so how can he not play?

"Paulo Dybala is improving. He could be available for the Champions League, so could Leonardo Bonucci.

"On Sunday, Giorgio Chiellini should be back with the team. When the Champions League arrives, it's like honey, it attracts everyone."

Paris Saint-Germain's latest quest to win the Champions League was ended by Real Madrid on Wednesday.

The Ligue 1 leaders squandered a 2-0 aggregate lead with just half an hour of the tie remaining, losing 3-1 in the second leg and 3-2 on aggregate thanks to Karim Benzema's hat-trick.

It means head coach Mauricio Pochettino could already be looking ahead to a change of scenery.

 

TOP STORY – POCHETTINO SET FOR PSG SACK AND COULD TURN TO MAN UTD

Mauricio Pochettino's job is "hanging by a thread" at PSG, according to the Telegraph.

It is claimed the Argentine can expect to leave the club at the end of the season following their Champions League collapse against Real Madrid.

Pochettino has long been linked with the Manchester United manager job and could now start to prepare for the prospect of taking over at Old Trafford.

 

ROUND-UP

Cristiano Ronaldo has spoken with agent Jorge Mendes over his future at Manchester United, claims the Sun. Meanwhile, Bild reports the Red Devils are interested in signing Robert Lewandowski.

Paul Pogba is another who could be leaving Old Trafford this year, but Juventus are not yet certain whether to try to re-sign him on a free transfer or offer a new contract to Paulo Dybala, Tuttosport claims.

Barcelona are close to concluding an agreement with Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen, according to Sport.

Arsenal want to sign two new strikers and a midfielder as part of a major squad overhaul, the Standard says. Alexander Isak, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Jonathan David and Darwin Nunez are among the forwards being tracked.

- A consortium led by British businessman Nick Candy is working on a £2.5billion bid to buy Chelsea from Roman Abramovich, the Guardian reports.

Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Manchester United may be coming to a premature end.

The Portuguese forward has struggled since Ralf Rangnick's arrival as interim manager in December.

United are also battling to finish in the Premier League's top four.

TOP STORY - RONALDO COURTS MOVE TO MESSI'S PSG

FootballTransfers claims that Ronaldo has decided that he will leave Manchester United if they do not qualify for the Champions League, with a move to join Lionel Messi at Paris Saint-Germain on his agenda.

Speculation about Ronaldo's future at Old Trafford ramped up after he missed Sunday's Manchester derby due to a hip flexor injury and flew to Portugal.

The report that claims that Ronaldo returning to Juventus has been ruled out, along with his original Portuguese club Sporting CP, with the five-time Ballon d'Or courting a move to Paris.

 

ROUND-UP

- Defensa Central reports that Newcastle United have commenced talks with Real Madrid over a move for 31-year-old ex-Chelsea forward Eden Hazard who has had an underwhelming spell with Los Blancos.

- Manchester United's Marcus Rashford has a list of clubs circling for his services with Arsenal, Newcastle and West Ham all interested, according to 90Min.

- The Mail claims that PSG will make a move for Rashford too, should Kylian Mbappe leave the French capital to join Madrid.

- Manchester City and Madrid are in the lead to sign Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland ahead of Bayern Munich and Barcelona claims The Athletic.

- RB Leipzig midfielder Christopher Nkunku is being tracked by Chelsea and Man City according to FootMercato.

Georginio Wijnaldum only joined Paris Saint-Germain in June but is reportedly unsettled.

The 31-year-old Dutch midfielder had signed a three-year deal with the Parisians.

Wijnaldum has been linked with several clubs given his situation.

TOP STORY – VILLA PLOT WIJNALDUM MOVE

Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa are considering a move for PSG's Wijnaldum , claims Sport.

Gerrard is keeping tabs on ex-Liverpool midfielder Wijnaldum, who is reportedly ready to leave PSG whom he joined less than 12 months ago.

The Villans were quoted with a £21million price tag for Wijnaldum who is contracted until 2024.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca claims that 35-year-old Luis Suarez will leave Atletico Madrid at the end of this season, with Inter, Ajax and Sevilla pursuing him along with unnamed Brazilian clubs.

- Newcastle United will table a £50m offer for Bayer Leverkusen's French winger Moussa Diaby,  according to the Mail. Leverkusen have set a £75m valuation for Diaby.

- PSG want to re-sign Italy international forward Moise Kean, who is currently on loan at Juventus from Everton, claims Calciomercato. Kean was on loan at PSG last season, netting 17 goals in 41 appearances.

- Football Insider reports that Arsenal are monitoring Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins as a cut-price forward option if moves for Alexander Isak, Dominic Calvert-Lewin or Darwin Nunez fail to materialise.

Weston McKennie will not return to action for Juventus until next season, head coach Massimiliano Allegri has confirmed.

The United States international fractured the second and third metatarsals in his left foot during last week's 1-1 draw with Villarreal in the Champions League.

Juve announced the following day that McKennie would likely sit out the next eight weeks, meaning he would be back in time for the closing stages of the campaign.

However, speaking after Juve's 1-0 win over Spezia on Sunday, Allegri said he does not expect the 23-year-old to return to action again this term.

"The season is over for Weston because of his injury. He'll be back next season," Allegri told DAZN.

McKennie has featured in 28 of the Bianconeri's 39 matches this season in all competitions, his 1,954 minutes on the field the eighth most of any Juve outfield player.

The 23-year-old, who has four goals to his name, will also miss the USA's upcoming triple-header of World Cup qualifying fixtures.

Juve won in McKennie's absence against Spezia on Sunday thanks to Alvaro Morata's 21st-minute strike at the Allianz Stadium.

 

Morata slotted home the only goal of the game after being played in by Manuel Locatelli – the Spain striker's first Serie A goal since netting against Bologna on December 18.

The victory extends Juve's unbeaten run to 14 Serie A matches – their best such streak since March 2019 when going 31 without defeat – and tightens their hold on fourth place.

"It's always important for the forwards. I'm happy with the goal and the performance," Allegri said at his post-match news conference when asked about Morata's goal. 

"Today, after so many matches with the same players, all you have to do is congratulate the boys. It wasn't easy to win. We dropped in the second half. 

"For the first time we are mathematically fourth in the rankings. In the first half we had to finish the game, in the second it was normal that we would suffer a little."

Juventus have now won four Serie A matches by a 1-0 scoreline this season, a tally only sixth-placed Roma can better with five.

And the manner of this latest slender victory was particularly pleasing for Allegri.

"If you want to reach your objectives, you have to play these games with suffering and it was important to bring home the three points," he said. 

"I have never seen a team win every game easily. You get to the Champions League and all your targets through performances like this, winning 1-0 with suffering.

"People forget quickly in football, but in my five years we had a lot of 1-0 results spent sitting in our own half for the final 20 minutes. 

"The important thing is not to let anything go in those moments."

Alvaro Morata scored the only goal of the game as in-form Juventus boosted their bid to qualify for the Champions League with a victory over Spezia.

Massimiliano Allegri's side headed into the clash at the Allianz Stadium on a 13-game unbeaten streak in the league and took the lead when Morata struck in the first half.

Spezia rarely troubled their hosts, barring an Emmanuel Gyasi second-half chance, as Juve moved six points clear of fifth-placed Atalanta, who fell to a 1-0 defeat at Roma on Saturday.

The Bianconeri are just five points adrift of leaders Inter, while they were four behind Napoli and Milan ahead of their clash later on Sunday.

 

A wayward Ivan Provedel pass after 21 minutes allowed Dusan Vlahovic and Manuel Locatelli to combine through the middle, with the latter finding Morata to coolly slot home.

Provedel somewhat atoned for his mistake with a smart stop to deny Juan Cuadrado, who was teed up by Arthur, as Juve dominated the first half.

An unmarked Gyasi should have restored parity after the interval, but he could only head into Wojciech Szczesny's hands from close range following Salvador Ferrer's delivery.

Spezia continued to grow into the encounter as they searched for a first league goal in three appearances in Piemonte, with Szczesny forced to keep out Kevin Agudelo's effort.

But Allegri's side defended resolutely to see out victory and make it 14 games unbeaten in Serie A - their longest such streak since December 2019 under Maurizio Sarri.

Paulo Dybala will miss Juventus' Serie A clash with Spezia through injury, coach Massimiliano Allegri confirmed, while Dusan Vlahovic looks set to be rested to the bench.

Bianconeri forward Dybala has been the club's top league performer throughout the campaign, though his thunder has been arguably stolen by the arrival of his new team-mate from Fiorentina.

The Argentinian's contract in Turin runs out at the end of June, and attempts to persuade him to sign an extension have so far proven unsuccessful at Allianz Stadium.

Speaking ahead of his side's vital clash with relegation contenders Spezia on Sunday, Allegri confirmed Dybala would miss the game, and refused to be drawn on the player's future.

"Dybala left training prematurely yesterday," Allegri stated. "He had a problem with his flexor and he did not feel his leg free, so he is still out. If you want I will call him, but he cannot play."

Asked about the forward's injury problems and contract decision, the head coach added: "If we had known, we would have solved it. We are evaluating everything that has been done to understand.

"Then there is the contractual aspect, but it does not depend on me. It will be a negotiation between the club and Paulo. He has been here for eight years and on a technical level, [his contribution] is indisputable."

Vlahovic's arrival in the January transfer window has proven to be one of the more inspired buys of the season across Europe.

But Allegri says the Serbian may take a back seat this weekend, adding: "For Vlahovic I am thinking of the possibility of him starting from the bench. I will see and decide tomorrow."

Elsewhere, the Juve coach weighed in on Paul Pogba, after the Bianconeri were linked with a move for their former player as he appears to wind the clock down on his Manchester United contract.

"Talking about this doesn't make sense," Allegri said. "Pogba is a Manchester United player, I don't know what he'll do next year.

"I had a great relationship with him, he got angry when he lost in basketball and football. Now talking about the transfer market doesn't make sense. Our goal is to reach fourth place."

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