Luka Modric has not held contract talks with Real Madrid and vowed to only stay at the club on merit.

The Croatia captain's Madrid deal is due to expire at the end of this season, but he is eager to remain with the LaLiga, European and Club World Cup champions.

Midfielder Modric revealed on the eve of the Champions League round of 16 first-leg clash at Liverpool there have been no developments over his future.

The long-serving 37-year-old reiterated he will not remain at Santiago Bernabeu if he does not feel he can make a significant contribution.

He said: "I can't say anything about the renewal because I haven't spoken to the club. I'm very calm. I always repeat the same thing. I want to continue here. I feel well and I want to continue in Madrid.

"I have to speak and know what the club thinks. I want to deserve to continue, not to be given [a new deal] as a gift. Nobody has ever given me anything. I want to continue out of merit.

"Nothing can change my relationship or my thoughts with the club. Madrid is the club of my life and nobody can break that or change it.

"I've been here for 11 years and I know that the demand is maximum. Many things are said from outside, it's normal because it's the best club in the world. Toni [Kroos] and I played together before the World Cup and now it seems that we can't.

"We've won a lot. It doesn't bother me, I'm used to it. We have to do well."

This club makes me happy. HALA MADRID!!  pic.twitter.com/Fav5wiebYA

— Luka Modrić (@lukamodric10) February 12, 2023

Liverpool have endured a difficult season, but will face Los Blancos on a high from back-to-back Premier League wins over neighbours Everton and Newcastle United.

Modric is well aware of the task Madrid face on Merseyside.

He said: "A very important, very tough game awaits us, against a very good opponent in a historic stadium with tremendous fans and it's a lot of pressure.

"We have to play well to get a positive result for the second leg. We have to be at the highest level, being together and helping each other."

Angel Di Maria's time in Europe may be winding down, with his Juventus contract expiring at the end of this season.

The winger, who turned 35 last week, is yet to agree an extension with the Bianconeri, sparking talk he may opt to return to his homeland.

However, the 2022 World Cup winner recently said he was "happy" in Turin, and in Europe, without committing to any direction beyond this season.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA PLOT BID FOR FREE AGENT DI MARIA

Barcelona are weighing up a shock bid to land Angel Di Maria as a free agent at the end of this season, claims Tuttomercatoweb.

Di Maria has previously expressed his desire to one day join hometown club Rosario Central but, at 35, may be tempted by another stint at the top level.

Atletico Madrid are also believed to be interested in the former Real Madrid, Manchester United and Paris-Saint-Germain winger.

 

ROUND-UP

Bayern Munich will provide opposition to Paris Saint-Germain and attempt to sign Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech, claims Fichajes.

PSG are keen to bring in Manchester United starlet Alejandro Garnacho, according to Mundo Deportivo. United are trying to extend the 18-year-old Argentinian's contract, which expires in 2024.

Real Madrid are interested in Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, but Napoli will not sell him for a price lower than €100m, claims Diario AS.

Newcastle United are monitoring the status of Arsenal's Kiernan Tierney, who has fallen behind Oleksandr Zinchenko as their preferred left-back, according to Football Insider.

Arsenal are front-runners in the pursuit to sign Inter defender Denzel Dumfries, reports Tuttosport. The Gunners have moved ahead of both Chelsea and Manchester United in the race for the Dutchman's signature.

– Fichajes reports that Zinedine Zidane, Mauricio Pochettino, Diego Simeone and Luis Enrique are all on Chelsea's shortlist to replace under-pressure manager Graham Potter, although The Mirror claims owner Todd Boehly has no intention of sacking him yet.

Xavi saluted Ferran Torres and Sergi Roberto as Barcelona racked up a seventh consecutive LaLiga win to go eight points clear of Real Madrid again.

Head coach Xavi made sweeping changes to his line-up but saw Barcelona grind out a 2-0 win over Cadiz at Camp Nou.

The recalled Sergi Roberto got the opener, after Robert Lewandowski's header was cleared off the line, with Lewandowski then striking the second.

Both goals came in the closing stages of the first half, with Barcelona then doing enough to see out the win over their lowly visitors, albeit riding their luck to keep another clean sheet.

It was their 17th shutout in 22 domestic league games this season, a record number at this stage of a season, with two disallowed goals for Cadiz piling on frustration for the visitors, who Xavi agreed deserved to score.

Torres and Sergi Roberto were among those who came into the team, for a Sunday game falling between midweek Europa League play-off clashes with Manchester United.

Both impressed, Torres on the right of the attack and stalwart Sergi Roberto in midfield.

Xavi said Torres had "taken a step forward to gain confidence" and would be important for the rest of the season if he maintains his level, but his highest compliments were for Sergi Roberto.

"He is a player who can play various positions and he is fantastic," Xavi said of his former team-mate.

The versatile 31-year-old, who has entered the last six months of his contract, has been characterised in some quarters as a player with little to offer this incarnation of Barcelona, but Xavi sees it differently.

"The criticism of him is very unfair," Xavi said. "Of course I want him to renew, for me he offers a guarantee. I see him train and how he gives the performance and he is always criticised. It's one of the most unfair situations I've ever seen in my life."

Xavi said Barcelona were "very good" in the first half, but less so after the break, when goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen was kept busy.

"We have given away a lot and I didn't like it. Cadiz deserved a goal and Marc had to make extraordinary saves," Xavi said.

"But the team met its goal and is maintaining its good run of results. I like the dynamic we have, we have kept a clean sheet and we continue to be eight points clear."

Robert Lewandowski scored just his second LaLiga goal since October as Barcelona beat Cadiz 2-0 to restore their eight-point lead over Real Madrid.

The 34-year-old added to Sergi Roberto's opener as two goals late in the first half undid a Cadiz side who held their own for much of the Camp Nou clash and had two goals from Roger disallowed.

Another clean sheet, Barcelona's 17th shutout in LaLiga this season, puts Xavi's side a step nearer the title, and this was a seventh consecutive league victory, the third time they have had such a run under the leadership of their former midfielder.

It sealed a double for the season, too, with Barcelona having won 4-0 in September against the team who are now fighting a relegation battle, sitting just two points outside the bottom three.

Cadiz thought they had made a 19th-minute breakthrough when a delicious pass over the top from Santiago Arzamendia, with the outside of his left boot, found Roger. The striker finished well but had strayed a foot offside, to Barcelona's relief.

Lacking service, Lewandowski barely had a sniff of goal until the 41st minute, when a cross from Ferran Torres on the right looked ideal for him to nod in at the far post. Under pressure, though, he could not make a clean connection.

The same combination combined as Barcelona struck two minutes later. Lewandowski's stooping header from Torres' clipped cross was kicked off the line by Isaac Carcelen but only as far as Sergi Roberto, who slammed it back into the back of the net from eight yards.

Lewandowski drove in Barcelona's second goal in stoppage time, a clinical low strike from 16 yards taking his haul to 15 in the league this season.

The former Bayern Munich striker prodded a shot against the top of the bar early in the second half, before Cadiz's Roger had a second goal disallowed after finishing well from a corner, with team-mate Fali penalised for a nudge into Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

The visitors perhaps had reason to feel aggrieved, and Cadiz kept pushing, with Ter Stegen saving well from substitutes Fede San Emeterio and Chris Ramos late in the game, before Anthony Lozano headed against the left post. It wasn't to be their night.

Marcus Rashford is in talks over an extension on his Manchester United contract, which currently expires in mid-2024.

Rashford has scored 22 goals in all competitions this season, including a run of 14 strikes in 16 games.

Last off-season, United triggered a one-year option to prevent him becoming a free agent in June but interest in Rashford is ramping up amid his hot form.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD PLACE £120M PRICE ON RASHFORD

Manchester United have slapped a bumper £120 million price tag on in-form forward Marcus Rashford to ward off interest, claims The Daily Star.

Rashford, who is in the form of his life, has been the subject of reported interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid.

Barcelona are also monitoring Rashford according to the report, with United are desperate to retain his services amid talk of a change of ownership at Old Trafford.

 

ROUND-UP

Chelsea and Bayern Munich are among the clubs lining up to sign 19-year-old Atalanta defender Giorgio Scalvini who is valued at €40m according to Football Italia.

Manchester City are set to reward Nathan Ake with a new contract offer, which represents a 50 per cent pay rise, according to the Daily Star. The Dutchman's weekly wages will rise from £80,000 to £120,000.

Juventus will rival Liverpool in trying to sign Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount in the off-season, claims CalciomercatoWeb.

– Fichajes reports Tottenham are looking to sign Real Madrid defender Antonio Rudiger after this season.

Newcastle United want to bolster their ranks by luring Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot, according to Fichajes. Rabiot's contract expires next season.

– Football Insider reports Liverpool are tracking 19-year-old Independiente defender Kevin Mantilla who impressed during the recent Under-20 South American Under-20 Championship with Colombia. The Reds have held preliminary talks with Mantilla.

Carlo Ancelotti lauded Vinicius Junior as an "extraordinary player" after the Real Madrid star stepped up in the absence of Karim Benzema.

Madrid's LaLiga top scorer Benzema was rested for the trip to Osasuna on Saturday ahead of Tuesday's Champions League last-16 clash at Liverpool.

Vinicius twice saw goals ruled out for offside at El Sadar and assisted Federico Valverde as Madrid ran out 2-0 winners to cut Barcelona's lead at the top-flight summit to five points.

The Brazil winger created a team-leading three chances for Los Blancos, much to the delight of coach Ancelotti.

"It is clear that Vinicius is a player who makes a difference," the Italian said at his post-match press conference.

"He played an outstanding game. He is an extraordinary footballer."

Ancelotti was less impressed with the manner of Madrid's victory, though, after waiting until the 78th minute for Valverde's opener before Marco Asensio sealed the points 14 minutes later.

"What I liked least is that we have done in the second half what we could have done in the first," he added.

"What I liked most is that the team has not lost its mind and has been patient [in the final stages]. 

"The team has played well. They have had to suffer when they had to suffer and we are very satisfied with that."

Toni Kroos also missed the visit to Osasuna, as well as Aurelien Tcouhameni, but Ancelotti assured Madrid will be prepared for the first leg at Anfield in Europe.

"We had a last-minute problem with Tchoaumeni, but we're fine," he continued. 

"We will go into Tuesday's game with good dynamics. The players are recovering and we will arrive with all the confidence in the world."

Real Madrid and Brazil great Marcelo has left Olympiacos just five months after signing for the Greek Super League champions.

The left-back, a five-time Champions League winner, called an end to his glittering Madrid career in September as he joined Olympiacos on a free transfer.

Marcelo made just five appearances in the Greek top flight this term, failing to start in any of those, after signing a reported one-year deal with an option of an additional year extension.

The 34-year-old took to Instagram to confirm he had parted ways with Olympiacos on Saturday.

"I have lived unforgettable moments in Greece, in which I was warmly welcomed to a new home, not only for me, but also for my family," he wrote.

"Piraeus and the people have all my heart and this won't be my last time in this amazing country. I can only express gratitude for wearing the Olympiacos jersey.

"Even though the brief stay, the experience and the friends I made there will be forever marked in my life.

"Today I say goodbye but I'm leaving my affection and respect to the president, my team-mates, all the employees and fans of the club.

"I wish Olympiacos a successful future! Thank you, Olympiacos."

The Greek Super League side added: "The entire Olympiacos family would like to thank @MarceloM12 for his cooperation and presence in Olympiacos.

"The time he stayed with us was brief but enough to create everlasting bonds. He knows that in Greece, in Piraeus he will always have friends!"

Reports suggest retirement is not on the cards for Marcelo, who remains Madrid's most decorated player after the 58-cap Brazil international lifted 25 major trophies with the LaLiga giants.

Real Madrid closed the gap on Barcelona at the LaLiga summit after late goals from Federico Valverde and Marco Asensio downed Osasuna 2-0 on Saturday.

Carlo Ancelotti rested Karim Benzema ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash at Liverpool as Madrid, also without Toni Kroos, struggled to victory at El Sadar.

Chances were limited without top scorer Benzema, but Valverde's calm finish after 78 minutes and Asensio's similarly cool strike 14 minutes later snatched a vital win in Madrid's title defence.

Victory moved Los Blancos five points behind Barca ahead of Xavi's side hosting Cadiz on Sunday.

Sergio Herrera thwarted a glorious Vinicius Junior chance after an errant Jon Moncayola pass, while Thibaut Courtois parried away from Moi Gomez in an entertaining opening.

Valverde whistled a long-range attempt narrowly off target before Ante Budimir whipped the best first-half opportunity just wide from the edge of the area.

A resurgent Madrid twice went close to breaking the deadlock after the interval.

Rodrygo had Herrera scrambling with a curling effort that evaded the bottom-right corner and Vinicius' cool finish was denied for offside from David Alaba's throughball.

Osasuna responded as Gomez struck the right post with a driven effort through a crowd of Madrid defenders before Moncayalo volleyed narrowly wide with Courtois static.

Madrid finally edged in front against their mid-table opponents as Vinicius crossed for Valverde to coolly poke into the bottom-right corner, before the Brazil international saw another goal ruled out for offside.

Asensio sealed victory in the closing stages with a deadly finish past Herrera following Alvaro Rodriguez's selfless pass.

What does it mean? Madrid keep feint title hopes alive with another Osasuna win

Madrid have enjoyed their recent visits to Osasuna, winning four of their past five LaLiga trips – they had triumphed just once in their previous six league games at El Sadar before that.

Yet another success on the road at Osasuna means Xavi's Barca cannot afford to slip up, with a potentially title-deciding Clasico at Camp Nou coming in March.

But for now, Madrid's attention will turn to defending their European crown at the resurgent Liverpool, who have won back-to-back games to end a poor start to 2023.

Energetic Vinicius leads the way

Vinicius was central to all of Madrid's attacking play as the Brazil star shone in the absence of key attacker Benzema.

The winger was twice denied by offside decisions and created a team-leading three chances, including the pivotal assist from the left flank for Valverde's opener.

Ancelotti record over Osasuna continues

Ancelotti continued his impressive managerial record against Osasuna with this victory.

The Italian has faced Osasuna eight times in all competitions without losing (W4 D4) – only against Elche (W7 D1) has he managed as many games without defeat (among LaLiga teams).

What's next?

Los Blancos visit Anfield in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday, before a crucial derby at home to Atletico Madrid in LaLiga four days later.

Ansu Fati can follow Marcus Rashford's example and turn a promising start into a flourishing career, according to Barcelona head coach Xavi.

Teenage Barcelona forward Fati has had a stop-start beginning to his time in the spotlight, with injuries and a dip in form seeing him struggle to establish himself as a starter.

He has featured in 47 first-team games for Barcelona over last season and the current campaign but has started just 13 times, netting 12 goals and adding three assists.

This season he has six goals in 32 appearances, having managed the same number in 15 games during the 2021-22 campaign, and his shot conversion rate has plummeted from 24 per cent last term to just 9.38 per cent this time around.

Fati turned 20 in November and Barcelona see the Spain international playing a big part in their future, although they might like to see the return of the 2019-20 Fati, who hit eight goals as a teenage sensation.

In every season except this one, Fati has exceeded his expected goals (xG) tally, which assesses the quality of chances and the likelihood of a player scoring. This term his xG total stands at 7.87.

 

Asked whether Fati might become Barcelona's equivalent to Manchester United's Rashford, Xavi said on Saturday: "He has the potential to be. It is clear we have a lot of hope in him.

"We will give him confidence. Performance will mark his development. He will be important. He is being and will be."

Rashford was a teenage star whose game briefly went off the boil after a fast start. He featured in 53 games in the 2016-17 campaign as United won the EFL Cup and Europa League, their last major trophies, and Rashford hit 22 goals in the 2019-20 season followed by 21 in the next campaign, before managing just five in the 2021-22 season.

This season has seen 25-year-old Rashford back to his best, matching his best season haul of 22 goals by netting against Barcelona on Thursday in a 2-2 Europa League draw.

 

LaLiga leaders Barcelona host Cadiz on Sunday, wary they lost 1-0 in this fixture last year.

Barcelona are unbeaten in their last 12 LaLiga games (W11 D1), and victory over Cadiz would see them bring up a seventh consecutive win in the competition, matching their best run under Xavi, twice achieving seven-game runs previously.

Striker Robert Lewandowski scored and had two assists when Barcelona won 4-0 at Cadiz in September, the only time he has been involved in three goals in a single LaLiga game.

Xavi has urged Barcelona to make the most of having one of Europe's deadliest strikers as the spearhead to their attack.

With just one goal from his last five games, this is a lean patch for Lewandowski who has had 19 shots across those fixtures.

Xavi said: "He was extraordinary and now he's lower, but it's not bad. I'm happy with him because of how he works and moves. Maybe we have to use him more. He's a top player who makes a difference.

"He's always a danger. He links well and gives assists. You have to play more with him."

Barcelona will make changes with next week's second leg of their Europa League play-off against Rashford's United in mind, and midfielder Pedri misses out with a hamstring problem.

Liverpool are reportedly keeping a close eye on Chelsea's Mason Mount as negotiations for a contract extension continue to stall.

Mount, 24, has been with Chelsea since he was six years old, racking up 190 appearances and 33 goals for the club since breaking into the first team for the 2019-20 season.

An England regular with 36 international caps, Mount is a crucial part of Chelsea's midfield options, although his minutes have been far less secure under Graham Potter than previous managers.

Of his 19 Premier League starts this campaign, Mount has been subbed off 12 times, and the club are reportedly hesitant to meet his contract demands.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL MONITOR MOUNT AS HIS CONTRACT WINDS DOWN

Mount only has one more season remaining on his deal before he will be able to leave on a free transfer, and the Daily Mail is reporting Liverpool are hovering for an opportunity to pry him away.

The report claims Mount is aiming to triple his current £80,000-per-week wages, which would bring him in line with recent transfer acquisitions, as well as 23-year-old team-mate Reece James, who was rewarded with a £250,000-per-week deal in September.

If Chelsea are not able to lock up their talented midfielder by the end of the season, they will likely be forced into a sale.

 

ROUND-UP

– According to 90min, Manchester City have renewed their interest in 24-year-old West Ham midfielder Declan Rice as they plan a midfield rebuild.

– The Evening Standard is reporting Chelsea and Juventus have mutual interest in converting Denis Zakaria's loan move into a permanent deal, with an optional buy-clause set at £27m (€30m).

Aston Villa will try to sign 25-year-old Roma striker Tammy Abraham at the end of the season, who is believed to be valued around £40m (€44m), per 90min.

– Footmercato is reporting Paris Saint-Germain have been in contact with Roma boss Jose Mourinho about potentially taking over from Christophe Galtier, although the French giants prefer Zinedine Zidane.

LA Galaxy defender Julian Araujo sealed a permanent move from the MLS team to Spanish giants Barcelona on Friday.

Paperwork for the transfer reportedly arrived 18 seconds after the deadline for LaLiga signings in January, causing a delay.

Araujo has now been able to make the move and is initially joining up with Barcelona's B team, Barca Atletic.

The Mexico international has signed a three-and-a-half-year deal, Barcelona said.

Barcelona have reportedly asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport to rule on whether Araujo should be allowed to play competitive games this season.

In the United States, reports said Barcelona would pay €3.7million ($4m) for the 21-year-old, with the Galaxy confirming they negotiated a sell-on clause in the deal.

Announcing his departure in an Instagram post, Araujo penned a goodbye letter to the Galaxy, saying he and team-mates "fought together, side by side, for four amazing seasons that I'll never forget".

"A big thanks to the incredible fans who cheered me on from my debut to my final game," he added. "To all of my team-mates, coaches and staff, it was a pleasure to represent the badge alongside all of you. I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to develop from an academy member to a first team player, with the biggest club in MLS.

"LA Galaxy will always be a part of my story and it was an honour to share these experiences with all of you. See you soon."

Galaxy head coach and sporting director Greg Vanney said two-time All-Star Araujo deserved the chance to go to Camp Nou.

Vanney said: "It's a wonderful story of a young Southern California native who came to the LA Galaxy academy with a dream of playing for the LA Galaxy.

"He's played now three years inside of the first team and he's been recognised for his growth and the effort he's put in and how we've been able to support him over that time.

"To have clubs like Barcelona come and have interest in Jules shows, a) his effort, and b) how the process can work as you work through the LA Galaxy.

"Now he's going to be moving to one of the biggest clubs in the world, which is exciting in many ways for him and his story. This is by no means the end of Julian's story, this is just the next chapter."

Karim Benzema would not have played if Real Madrid's Champions League round-of-16 first leg with Liverpool was on Saturday, says head coach Carlo Ancelotti.

Ancelotti ruled out Benzema from featuring at Osasuna in LaLiga this weekend as Madrid look to chase down leaders Barcelona, who currently hold an eight-point lead.

Benzema missed the World Cup with France with a thigh injury, and he was also absent for Madrid's league defeat to Real Mallorca and the Club World Cup semi-final victory over Al Ahly with a muscular issue.

The Ballon d'Or winner did then play and score in the Club World Cup final against Al Hilal and netted twice against Elche in midweek.

Madrid appear to be managing Benzema with a focus on big matches, but Ancelotti insisted on Friday he would not have been able to call on the striker the following day regardless of the opposition.

The European champions visit Liverpool in their next match on Tuesday.

"If the match were against Liverpool tomorrow, I wouldn't play him either," Ancelotti told reporters. "We prefer not to risk him.

"He's a bit tired, like many players, it's true, but he's coming back from an injury, so it's different.

"We hope he will be there by Tuesday."

Ancelotti acknowledged Benzema's advancing age contributes to the requirement for extra precautions to be taken to ensure he is fit and available at the business end of the campaign.

"After the World Cup, he has done very well," the Madrid boss added. "He has scored in almost every game.

"He is not injured. We simply prefer, due to his age, to give him rest. And that way he will be well for the rest of the season."

Madrid bounced back from the 1-0 loss at Mallorca with a 4-0 thrashing of Elche, but with Barcelona winning 11 of their past 12 league matches, Ancelotti knows his team must carry on taking maximum points to keep up with the rampant pace Xavi's men are setting at the summit.

"The goal is to get [the gap] to five points for the moment," Ancelotti explained. "The calendar is demanding, with important matches, and we want to keep the good feeling.

"We're good, but we can improve even more, and we're going for it. In football, you can go from the best to the worst in no time, and vice versa."

Toni Kroos has hit out at UEFA and believes it is only a matter of time before a European Super League is launched.

New plans for a continental Super League including up to 80 teams were laid out this month.

There would be at least 14 matches per season for the clubs involved in a multi-division format, with no permanent members and teams still participating in their domestic leagues.

A proposed breakaway European Super League collapsed in April 2021 soon after plans were announced, but Real Madrid midfielder Kroos is in no doubt a new competition will go ahead.

The former Germany international said on his podcast Einfach mal Luppen: "I think we will see the Super League. And I believe so for several reasons. The idea of the Super League has changed and deserves to be heard.

"If you look carefully from both angles, you will see that UEFA is by no means a great Samaritan for football fans and that the Super League has no plans, at least in the second attempt, to exclude any team, because there will be no permanent founding members.

"It is a sports competition, an open tournament, but managed by the clubs and not by UEFA, because these clubs believe that they do not need UEFA for that. I think this deserves at least one chance.

"Although we have already talked about the loss of passion for football, I believe that the Super League has the opportunity to reverse that situation. Let there be more enthusiasm and emotion for the games that we will be able to see.

"Because in the end, let's not fool ourselves, many people always say: 'Who wants to see Real Madrid against Manchester City every week?' But have you gotten tired of watching [Roger] Federer against [Rafael] Nadal over and over again? I don't. That’s my opinion,"

Kroos suggested Europe's governing body is guilty of double standards.

He added: "I think we have only heard the UEFA side, and too often in my opinion. Why is it okay for UEFA to introduce a Nations League that no one needs?

"Suddenly no one asks them about it. That's why I think it's incredibly important to listen to other proposals like the Super League. I get the feeling that we are no longer being listened to."

Ernesto Valverde has agreed a one-year contract extension with Athletic Bilbao.

Valverde, who is in his third stint as Athletic coach, was coming to the end of his existing deal at the end of this season.

The former Barcelona coach returned to San Mames last June and enjoyed a strong start to the campaign.

Athletic were level on points with fourth-placed Atletico Madrid in LaLiga heading into the World Cup break, although they were winless in five following the resumption of the season.

Back-to-back victories have set Athletic back on course, however, and Valverde will now continue to lead the team until the end of next season.

He and his side have a big match against Atletico Madrid, now fourth and six points ahead, on Sunday.

Neymar's interest in a move to the Premier League is gaining momentum, with Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool among the teams alerted about his potential availability.

The 31-year-old star had reportedly come up in a recent conversation between Chelsea owner Todd Boehly and Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, and with a deal not being ruled out, Neymar's team have contacted more of England's top sides.

Neymar is tied for the Ligue 1 assist lead with 10, while he has 12 goals in 19 appearances.

Now in his sixth season in France since arriving for a world-record €222million fee, and on the brink of another disappointing Champions League exit, Brazil's joint all-time leading scorer is eyeing a new challenge.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR'S TEAM GAUGES THE INTEREST OF TOP PREMIER LEAGUE CLUBS

According to 90min, Neymar's "intermediaries are believed to have spoken with Chelsea, Liverpool, City, United, and Newcastle United" – informing the clubs of his desire for a Premier League transfer.

The report claims Paris Saint-Germain are not desperate to part ways with Neymar, but would be open to facilitating a deal.

Chelsea owner Boehly is believed to be "intrigued" about the potential for such a high-profile signing, although it remains to be seen who else would be willing to meet what is expected to be an enormous contract demand.

 

ROUND-UP

– ESPN is reporting Liverpool, City and United are closely monitoring Mason Mount, who only has one more season on his current Chelsea contract, and is hesitant about signing the kind of long-term deals Chelsea have been handing out.

Newcastle, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and City all want 22-year-old Napoli winger Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, but the Serie A leaders have no interest in selling, and are in the process of rewarding the Georgian with a big new contract, per 90min.

– According to Tuttosport, Real Madrid, Barcelona, City and Chelsea are keeping an eye on 17-year-old Velez prospect Gianluca Prestianni, who is the third-youngest debutant in the history of Argentina's top flight behind Diego Maradona and Sergio Aguero.

– Calciomercato is reporting Bayern Munich will continue their pursuit of Tottenham striker Harry Kane, but are unwilling to meet their £100m (€112m) valuation. 

Arsenal have sent scouts to watch 17-year-old Athletico Paranaense forward Vitor Roque, who is reportedly valued at over £50m, per CaughtOffside.

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