Bournemouth have completed the signing of highly-rated winger Dango Ouattara from Lorient on a five-and-a-half-year contract.

Ouattara, 20, has impressed in Ligue 1 with Lorient, scoring six goals and providing as many assists in 18 appearances this season.

The Burkina Faso international had been linked with the likes of Everton and Leicester City, but the Cherries beat their Premier League rivals to his signature in a deal reported to be worth around £20million (€22.9m).

Bournemouth will be hoping Ouattara can help them pull away from the Premier League relegation zone after an alarming run of form, with eight defeats in their last nine league games leaving them just a point and a place above the bottom three.

Cherries chief executive Neill Blake said: "We are pleased to secure the services of Dango, a promising and sought-after player with a great deal of potential.

"We have been monitoring him for a period of time and he fits the profile of the young, ambitious, hungry and hard-working player this club is looking to recruit."

Arsenal have reportedly made an effort to assess the availability of Barcelona forwards Ferran Torres and Raphinha.

Raphinha arrived at the club in July in a €55million move from Leeds United, but he has struggled to break into Xavi's best side, making only seven starts in his 15 appearances.

Torres is in a similar situation after Barcelona signed him from Manchester City for €55m just over 12 months ago, making six starts from his 16 LaLiga outings this season.

With Arsenal's pursuit of Mykhaylo Mudryk getting hijacked by Chelsea, the duo are now being considered as alternatives, but the asking price may not be much lower.

 

TOP STORY – ARSENAL TURN TO BARCELONA AFTER MUDRYK DISAPPOINTMENT

According to 90min, Arsenal director Edu reached out to Barcelona and engaged in "exploratory talks" about what it would take to secure Torres or Raphinha before the end of the month.

The report also says that Arsenal have enquired about Brighton and Hove Albion duo Leandro Trossard and Kaoru Mitoma, as well as breakout Napoli star Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who is believed to be unavailable.

Meanwhile, Sport is reporting Barcelona have demanded €100m (£88m) as a starting point for any discussions about Raphinha, but there is no indication about what Torres could cost.

 

ROUND-UP

– Football Insider is reporting Chelsea will listen to offers for 28-year-old England international Raheem Sterling.

– According to Foot Mercato, West Ham have submitted a £26.5m (€30m) offer for 23-year-old Lorient striker Terem Moffi, who would prefer to move to fellow Ligue 1 side Nice, but their bid remains insufficient.

Arsenal are interested in 18-year-old Real Valladolid right-back Ivan Fresneda, per the Telegraph, while Tuttomercatoweb adds Juventus have also enquired and been informed of a €15m asking price.

– According to Fichajes, Manchester United and Arsenal are both pursuing 22-year-old Real Betis winger Luiz Henrique.

– Calciomercato is reporting Arsenal are preparing a £71m (€80m) bid for 22-year-old Juventus striker Dusan Vlahovic.

Kylian Mbappe suffered from muscle fatigue in Paris Saint-Germain's win at Lorient, says Christophe Galtier, who has eased fears over the attacker's fitness ahead of the World Cup.

Danilo Pereira's late header sent PSG five points clear at the top of Ligue 1 on Sunday, after in-form Terem Moffi had cancelled out Neymar's opener at the Stade du Moustoir.

However, Mbappe attracted attention by heading straight down the tunnel following his 85th-minute withdrawal.

France will already be without Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante for their World Cup defence, while Karim Benzema has missed several of Real Madrid's fixtures during an injury-hit season, including the upcoming meeting with Rayo Vallecano.

Galtier, however, quashed concerns over Mbappe's condition after the win, telling Amazon Prime Video: "[It's] nothing serious. We saw the news about Karim, but nothing serious for Kylian. 

"Kylian made an effort. It's much better to ask to go off than to take the risk of staying on the pitch, or being on the pitch and being totally absent."

In his post-match press conference, Galtier revealed Mbappe had been suffering from fatigue as a result of PSG's congested schedule. 

"There is no alert in a specific area, it's fatigue linked to the sequence of matches," Galtier said. "The playing conditions were difficult. 

"He also came out tired after Juventus on Wednesday. It's a very busy schedule, with a certain apprehension. Everyone is listening to their body in this pre-World Cup period. There can be a fear."

With PSG failing to meet their usual standards in their penultimate game before the World Cup break, Galtier believes the spectre of the tournament caused his side to play with "restraint".

"Automatically, the World Cup is in the minds of the players. It's hard for them to manage. There is always information that can make them doubt," Galtier said.

"You have the feeling of playing at 100 per cent, but today I saw a certain restraint, linked to fatigue, plus the announcement of the squads in a few days. 

"We did a little less, we were a little fearful in duels, but fatigue also made it difficult in the second half."

PSG were without Lionel Messi against Lorient, though he is expected to return before the World Cup break.

Paris Saint-Germain moved five points clear at the top of Ligue 1 as Danilo Pereira's late header gave the champions a 2-1 win over Lorient.

Neymar continued his stellar campaign with the opening goal inside nine minutes, but PSG were unable to extend their lead at the Stade du Moustoir.

Lorient's equalised eight minutes into the second half, with Terem Moffi firing home his ninth goal of the league campaign and then promptly hitting the bar.

It seemed that would be the closest either side came to a decisive second until Danilo rose highest from an 81st-minute Neymar corner to nod the winner.

Lionel Messi will miss Paris Saint-Germain's Ligue 1 trip to Lorient after suffering from inflammation in his Achilles tendon, but Christophe Galtier expects him to return before the World Cup. 

Messi has been in spectacular form during his second season with PSG, recording 26 goal contributions (12 goals, 14 assists) in all competitions this campaign.

With just over two weeks to go until Argentina's World Cup opener against Saudi Arabia, however, a PSG medical update sparked fears over Messi's condition by ruling him out of Sunday's match.

The club said Messi would miss that fixture as a precautionary measure before returning to training next week, and Galtier expects him to be available against Auxerre on November 13.

"Messi has inflammation in his tendon," Galtier said at Saturday's pre-match news conference. "I think he will be available for our next game, just like Presnel Kimpembe, who is still in rehabilitation.

"He should be back for the Auxerre game."

The packed pre-World Cup schedule has been heavily criticised amid a swathe of injuries to big-name players including Paul Pogba, Son Heung-min and Reece James, leading some onlookers to suggest players may play with caution ahead of the tournament.

While some coaches, including Real Madrid's Carlo Ancelotti and Tottenham's Antonio Conte, have said their players will not be thinking about the World Cup, Galtier revealed he regularly discusses such considerations with his own squad.

"We have played a lot, it is a very intense season, and that is the case for everyone, and we must not hide from that, of course, it generates fatigue," Galtier said.

"Usually, our last Champions League group game is in mid-December. Having so many weeks with Champions League games has taken up a lot of energy.

"There are no excuses, that's how it is. Of course, we are a bit tired, we are worn out. 

"Of course, every player that may be involved at the World Cup has that fear in their heads, even more so when the Champions League group stage has finished, with all those fixtures.

"You might have that in your head as a player. I often speak to the players and listen to them. We have to listen to them and they can tell us anything. 

"If someone is apprehensive, I tell them to have faith in what we put forward here in training. If a player comes to me and says they don't want to play, he won't play."

Atletico Madrid were eliminated from Europe in midweek after a 2-1 loss at Porto and are looking to bolster their squad.

One player who could be sold is Joao Felix, who Atleti signed for €126million from Benfica on a seven-year deal in 2019.

The Portuguese forward has underwhelmed this season, with only two goals, and has been unsettled at times.

 

TOP STORY – ATLETICO WILLING TO LISTEN TO JOAO FELIX OFFERS

Cadena SER claims Atletico Madrid have put Joao Felix on the market and are open to offers for him.

Bayern Munich were rumoured to have made a €100m off-season move for Felix, while Manchester United reportedly had a €130m bid turned down in August.

Fichajes reported last month that the 22-year-old had handed in a transfer request, while Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona have been linked with him recently.

 

ROUND-UP

Real Madrid are getting proactive in the pursuit of Palmeiras' 16-year-old talent Endrick, sending officials to Brazil to commence talks over a deal, claims Marca. Endrick cannot officially join Madrid until he is 18-years-old but Los Blancos are eager to get an agreement in place.

West Ham, Leicester City, Southampton and Brentford are all monitoring Lyon's Brazilian winger Tete, according to The Sun.

– Diario Sport reports Barcelona want to sign Athletic Bilbao centre-back Inigo Martinez as a replacement for the retiring Gerard Pique.

Leicester are weighing up their options for a Youri Tielemans replacement, keeping tabs on Lorient midfielder Enzo Le Fee, reports 90min.

– La Gazzetta dello Sport reports veteran French forward Olivier Giroud will be rewarded with a new Milan contract after the World Cup. The new deal will run until 2024.

The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) has made the decision to postpone Lyon's Ligue 1 trip to Lorient on Sunday owing to an unsafe pitch at the latter's home ground.

The two sides were due to play their second league match of the new season, having got their campaigns underway last weekend.

But the LFP has elected to delay the encounter after a pitch inspection at Stade du Moustoir deemed the surface to possess a risk to the welfare of both teams.

"The LFP Competitions Committee decided on Friday to postpone the match between FC Lorient and Olympique Lyonnais to a later date," read an official statement.

"The commission noted that the current state of the pitch at Stade du Moustoir did not ensure the safety of the players. As a result, the LFP Competitions Committee decided to postpone the meeting."

Reports suggest that both the ongoing heatwave and drought across Western Europe, coupled with the ground playing host to events for the Inter-Celtic Festival of Lorient contributed to the poor conditions.

Both teams kicked off their campaign with a win last weekend, as Lyon defeated Ajaccio and Lorient scored a surprise victory over Rennes.

The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) has made the decision to postpone Lyon's Ligue 1 trip to Lorient on Sunday owing to an unsafe pitch at the latter's home ground.

The two sides were due to play their second league match of the new season, having got their campaigns underway last weekend.

But the LFP has elected to delay the encounter after a pitch inspection at Stade du Moustoir deemed the surface to possess a risk to the welfare of both teams.

"The LFP Competitions Committee decided on Friday to postpone the match between FC Lorient and Olympique Lyonnais to a later date," read an official statement.

"The commission noted that the current state of the pitch at Stade du Moustoir did not ensure the safety of the players. As a result, the LFP Competitions Committee decided to postpone the meeting."

Reports suggest that both the ongoing heatwave and drought across Western Europe, coupled with the ground playing host to events for the Inter-Celtic Festival of Lorient contributed to the poor conditions.

Both teams kicked off their campaign with a win last weekend, as Lyon defeated Ajaccio and Lorient scored a surprise victory over Rennes.

Another Ligue 1 campaign begins on Friday after a big window for French football, the highlight of which was Paris Saint-Germain retaining Kylian Mbappe.

New arrivals in the league include returns for Lyon duo Alexandre Lacazette and Corentin Tolisso, while high-profile departures have seen Aurelien Tchouameni, Sven Botman and Nayef Aguerd depart.

With PSG once again investing heavily in their squad, adding the likes of Vitinha, Hugo Ekitike and Nordi Mukiele, the capital club are widely expected to storm to another title – but can there be an upset?

The verdict, unsurprisingly, is probably not – as Stats Perform AI predicted the outcome of the coming campaign, estimating the likelihood of teams finishing in each position informed by their expected results in each match.

These are calculated using betting odds and Stats Perform's team rankings – based on historical and recent team performances – and, while the title race is not likely to get going, there are some big battles elsewhere in the division.

PSG PARTY ONCE AGAIN

With one of the most expensive squads ever assembled, including the devastating attack of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, PSG are unsurprisingly expected to romp to another Ligue 1 success.

Having won eight of the last nine titles, Stats Perform AI has given PSG a 76.01 per cent chance of retaining their crown.

Marseille, runners-up last season, are seen as the side most capable of mounting a challenge, though their 7.29 per cent chance is slim. Monaco, title winners in 2016-17, are given a 6.55 per cent chance.

Lyon, once the dominant force in French football, have just a 4.29 per cent chance, while Rennes clock in at 3.44 per cent and Lille, the last side to prevent PSG from winning the title having lifted the trophy in 2020-21, have only a 0.71 per cent chance.

The gulf in class within French football is highlighted by the fact that nine teams, almost half of the division, are seen as having no hope in mounting a title challenge.

 

SCRAMBLE FOR EUROPEAN FOOTBALL

Unlike the other top leagues in European football, France has a limited number of places for qualification for UEFA competitions with just two guaranteed Champions League spots, one qualifying spot, one spot in the Europa League group stage and one in the Europa Conference League play-offs.

With PSG expected to surge to the title and take the first of the two group stage spots in the Champions League, with a 90.93 per cent likelihood, the scrap for the other automatic qualification spot could be fierce.

Marseille are seen as the favourites in that battle with a 29.97 per cent chance, with Monaco following suit with a 29.97 per cent chance.

Elsewhere, Lyon have an 18.7 per cent chance, with Rennes at 15.53 per cent, though they may have to settle for a third-place finish or a spot in the Europa League.

In the battle for fifth, and a play-off spot in the Conference League, it's also expected to be tight – with five clubs, as well as those already mentioned above, given at least a five per cent chance of reaching that spot.

Nice, Lens, Lille, Nantes and Strasbourg are all in with an outside shot of gunning for a spot in European competition, which could set up a thrilling battle.

 

REGULATION CHANGES INCREASE RELEGATION FIGHT

With Ligue 1 reducing to 18 teams from the 2023-24 season, the fight to avoid the drop to the second-tier will be fiercer than ever with the bottom four all being relegated – and there will be no play-offs either.

The situation looks bleak for Ajaccio (57.64 per cent chance of relegation), Clermont (57.57), Troyes (56.72) and Lorient (53.92), all of which are seen as more likely to suffer relegation than they are to avoid the drop.

Auxerre (46.58) and Toulouse (34.02) could also find themselves looking over their shoulders during the course of the season, while PSG, Marseille and Monaco are the three sides given no chance leaving the league through the bottom.

Of the promoted trio, it is Toulouse who are given the best chance of maintaining their top-flight status for another season – with their most likely position being 15th, with a 10.59 per cent chance of securing that spot.

Kylian Mbappe insisted there is no agreement to take him to Real Madrid after his majestic performance drove Paris Saint-Germain to a 5-1 victory over Lorient on Sunday.

The France international scored twice and assisted the other three PSG goals, with Neymar getting two and Lionel Messi the other, as Mauricio Pochettino's side maintained their 12-point lead at the Ligue 1 summit.

Uncertainty remains over where Mbappe will play next season, with Madrid leading the charge for the signature of the forward whose contract expires at the end of the current campaign.

Mbappe reiterated in the aftermath of the win against Lorient that a decision has yet to be taken, perhaps raising the possibility he could stay in Paris.

"No, no, no, I did not make my choice, everyone knows that I did not make my choice, I did not make my decision," he told Prime Video.

"I think because there are new elements, there are lots of things, lots of parameters and I don't want to be wrong, I want to make the right choice.

"I know that for the people, it's a little late, we talk about it every day. If I had made my decision I would say it, I don't have to report to anyone. It's a personal choice, if I made my decision, I come, I say it and I assume it.

"I think that, in the good things and the bad things that I have done, I have always assumed, I don't have to hide myself, I haven't killed anybody. It's just a choice, so I take my time and I want to make the best decision possible."

Neymar and Messi –,the latter ending a run of seven games without a goal – joined Mbappe on the scoresheet in the same game for the first time.

Brazilian star Neymar was delighted with the evening's work, with PSG showing positive signs after being jolted by last month's Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid.

"I'm happy with the victory," Neymar told Prime Video. "We knew this championship was difficult. We have to keep winning and show that we want this 10th title.

"Losing is very difficult. What happened against Madrid, that gave us a lot of harm. We must continue to move forward. We wanted to go to the end of the Champions League, but unfortunately we were eliminated. It's difficult for the public to accept defeat, but for us too it was hard."

Kylian Mbappe and Neymar both scored twice and Lionel Messi ended a barren spell as Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain crushed Lorient 5-1 on Sunday.

Mauricio Pochettino's side were overwhelmed in a 3-0 loss to Monaco before the international break, but they were soon ahead at the Parc des Princes when Neymar scored after 12 minutes.

Mbappe added a second 16 minutes later, and although Terem Moffi pulled one back after the interval, PSG's star France forward restored his side's two-goal advantage with 23 minutes remaining.

Messi halted his seven-game scoring drought before Neymar collected his second of the night, with Mbappe playing a part in all five of the hosts' goals as PSG maintained their 12-point lead over second-placed Marseille.

 

Danilo Pereira headed over from Neymar's corner in the opening exchanges, and PSG took the lead shortly after.

Intricate play between Messi and Mbappe allowed the latter to find Neymar to apply the finish into the bottom-left corner.

Messi volleyed an ambitious first-time effort over, before Mbappe brilliantly wrong-footed the unsighted Matthieu Dreyer after Idrissa Gueye's offload to double PSG's lead.

Enzo Le Fee curled narrowly wide after the break as Christophe Pelissier's visitors appeared reinvigorated, and their reward arrived when Moffi poked a wayward Achraf Hakimi pass past Gianluigi Donnarumma.

But Mbappe curtailed Lorient's hopes of a comeback when he expertly drilled into the bottom-left corner from outside the area following Hakimi's offload.

Mbappe turned creator six minutes later when he cut the ball back for Messi from the byline, and the Argentina star finished off the underside of the crossbar..

Neymar grabbed his second in the closing stages as Mbappe fed the Brazil international, who slotted past Dreyer to cap a fine victory.

Mauricio Pochettino denied that Paris Saint-Germain pulled off "a miracle" after their late equaliser rescued a point against struggling Lorient. 

The runaway Ligue 1 leaders only managed to scrap a share of the spoils at Stade du Moustoir thanks to Mauro Icardi's stoppage-time header. 

PSG had trailed to Thomas Monconduit's wonderful first-half strike for the 19th-placed hosts, who were on their worst ever run having lost each of their previous seven top-flight matches. 

The visitors were also reduced to 10 men when half-time substitute Sergio Ramos was sent off for two bookable offences but dug deep to narrowly avert a first Ligue 1 defeat in 10 games. 

Although Pochettino acknowledged his players could have performed better, he insisted that they were worthy of at least a point. 

Addressing suggestions his side had pulled off a miracle, the head coach told Canal+: "A miracle? Why a miracle? We scored a very nice goal that I think we deserved earlier. We had a lot of chances in the second half. I think you have to respect Lorient, they are a Ligue 1 team. 

"We started well with Mauro's opportunity and then we didn't have the right placements and every time we lost the ball, we allowed Lorient to have quick transitions.  

"We didn't have a good first half. Sergio [Ramos] entered the second half because we wanted to build with three central defenders and have more rhythm on the wings.  

"We were better in the second half, we had more chances and we could have scored more. The results are consistent for now. But we can still do better." 

Meanwhile, captain Marquinhos paid tribute to PSG's opponents, who produced a spirited display to end their lengthy losing run. 

"Teams are very motivated against PSG," he said. "They put us in trouble by all getting behind the ball. They defended well.  

"Any team that plays against them like that is going to have difficulties too."

Sergio Ramos was sent off as 10-man Paris Saint-Germain scrapped to a 1-1 draw against struggling Lorient at Stade du Moustoir.

On as a half-time substitute, the former Real Madrid defender was making only his third appearance for Mauricio Pochettino's side since making the switch from Santiago Bernabeu.

However, his involvement lasted just 40 minutes as he was dismissed for two bookable offences, while it took a stoppage-time Mauro Icardi header to spare his team-mates' blushes.

Thomas Monconduit's thumping strike just before half-time had looked like it would be enough for the hosts, who at least ended their worst ever run of seven successive defeats.

Seeking a 12th win in 14 league meetings with Lorient, PSG began brightly and almost took the lead in the second minute when Icardi steered Nuno Mendes' cross wide.

At the other end, the hosts squandered a glorious opportunity as Terem Moffi raced clear and sold Keylor Navas the dummy, only to chip the ball straight at the grounded goalkeeper.

The woodwork then came to Lorient's rescue as a fierce Lionel Messi volley rattled the post from Icardi's lay-off.

But the hosts got their just rewards for a positive first-half performance that yielded 11 attempts, Enzo Le Fee teeing up Monconduit, who beat Navas with a thumping 20-yard strike off the underside of the crossbar.

PSG turned up the pressure after the break and Angel Di Maria somehow fired over from 10 yards out with the goal at his mercy, before Paul Nardi produced brilliant reflexes to deny Messi from what was a first shot on target for the visitors.

The league leaders were reduced to 10 men as Ramos was shown a second yellow card for a body check on Moffi, yet they snatched a last-gasp equaliser with Icardi heading in from Achraf Hakimi's cross.

Sergio Ramos was sent off as 10-man Paris Saint-Germain scrapped to a 1-1 draw against struggling Lorient at Stade du Moustoir.

On as a half-time substitute, the former Real Madrid defender was making only his third appearance for Mauricio Pochettino's side since making the switch from Santiago Bernabeu.

However, his involvement lasted just 40 minutes as he was dismissed for two bookable offences, while it took a stoppage-time Mauro Icardi header to spare his team-mates' blushes.

Thomas Monconduit's thumping strike just before half-time had looked like it would be enough for the hosts, who at least ended their worst ever run of seven successive defeats.

 

Paris Saint-Germain will improve in 2022, says Mauricio Pochettino, who is satisfied with the progress he has made at the club so far.

PSG head into their final Ligue 1 game of the year, against Lorient, 13 points clear at the top of the table.

It has been a mixed bag for Pochettino since he took over in January, replacing Thomas Tuchel.

He took PSG to the Champions League semi-finals, where they were eliminated by Manchester City, who would go on to lose to Tuchel's Chelsea in the final.

Pochettino celebrated his first trophy as a coach, winning the delayed 2020 Trophee des Champions, and won the Coupe de France last season, but PSG finished second in Ligue 1 behind Lille.

They are firmly on course to regain that crown this season, with superstar Lionel Messi having arrived to form a formidable attacking trident with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Georginio Wijnaldum, Achraf Hakimi and Nuno Mendes also signed in a sensational transfer window.

However, doubts linger over Mbappe's future, with PSG rejecting Real Madrid's advances, but the 23-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season. Pochettino's future is also up in the air, with links to Manchester United not going away.

Asked for his thoughts on his first year in the job, Pochettino told a news conference: "You could compare the first six months and the last six months.

"I think it has been positive, because in the first few months you have to settle in, although I already knew the club, it was still new and the start of a project.

"Joining a club that I wanted to be at, where I played, with incredible supporters, I think that is my best memory. We have also achieved some of the success we wanted but I feel the best is to come next year.

"There aren't many bad memories. The most important thing is health, a key topic at the moment during this pandemic, so bad things in sport don't affect us in the day-to-day.

"The bad things are this pandemic made us live in a different way and has caused so much harm to loved ones, in many cases."

PSG have played 62 games in all competitions under Pochettino in 2021, with only two sides in Europe's top five leagues – Chelsea (62) and Man City (65) – playing more.

Only City (51) and Bayern Munich (42) have managed more wins than PSG's tally of 41, with Pochettino's side also ranking third for goals scored (128), while they have lost 10 times in total.

Mbappe has played the most games under Pochettino, tallying 53 appearances, five more than second-ranked Danilo Pereira.

 

The forward's 43 goals, at an average of one strike every 104 minutes, is way out in front of any other player, with Mauro Icardi next on 15.

Mbappe also leads the way for assists (16), but while Messi has gradually worked his way into consistency since signing from Barcelona, it has been a poor year for Neymar by his own standards.

The Brazil star came 16th in the Ballon d'Or voting and has played just 33 times, directly contributing to 19 goals (11 scored – six were penalties – and eight assists).

Neymar, who is injured, and the rest of PSG's South American contingent will be given freedom to return home over Christmas, with Pochettino happy to give his squad a break.

"It has been a year of a pandemic and there have been very high levels of competition," he said.

"Due to the competitiveness and the fact we are pleased with how we are doing, we are going to be back on January 1 to work hard.

"As for the South American players who are going to spend time with their families, they should be back on the 31st, so they have seven or eight days to recover with a specific plan. They will be ready to play at Vannes on January 3."

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