Real Madrid have reached an agreement to sign Palmeiras forward Endrick, with the 16-year-old sensation set to join the Champions League holders in July 2024.

Endrick scored three goals in seven appearances as Palmeiras won the Brazilian top flight in 2022, having become the first player born in 2006 to play a Brasileiro game in October.

The left-footed attacker cannot officially join a European side until he turns 18 in July 2024, but that has not stopped several of the continent's biggest clubs – including Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea – from being credited with an interest in him.

However, Madrid have won the race for Endrick's signature after reportedly offering €70million for his services, while it has been suggested he will sign an initial three-year contract with an option for three further years.

A Madrid statement said: "Real Madrid CF, Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras, Endrick and his family have reached an agreement whereby the player will be able to join Real Madrid when he comes of age in July 2024.

"Until then, Endrick will continue his training at Palmeiras. The player will travel to Madrid in the coming days to visit our club's facilities."

Upon his arrival at the Santiago Bernabeu, Endrick will hope to follow in the footsteps of compatriots Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo, who both joined the cub in similar circumstances.

Madrid agreed to sign Vinicius and Rodrygo when the duo were aged 16 and 17 respectively, with both going on to play key roles in their 14th European Cup/Champions League triumph last term.

While Palmeiras refused to reveal the financial details of the deal, president Leila Pereira described it as "the biggest negotiation in the history of Brazilian football".

"Real Madrid's proposal is compatible with Endrick's enormous talent and corresponds to the sporting and financial goals that we have established since the beginning of negotiations," she said.

Endrick said: "I thank Palmeiras, the greatest champion of Brazil, champion of America, champion of the world and, forever, the club of my heart, for offering me everything necessary to become what I am today, for helping me to accomplish several of my dreams, and for respecting my desire and that of my family to make another dream come true. 

"Until I join Real Madrid, I will continue to dedicate myself as I have always dedicated myself to being able to offer Palmeiras even more on the field: more goals, more victories, more titles and even more joy for our fans."

 

Everton and Wolves are reportedly interested in signing Atletico Madrid forward Matheus Cunha as the Spanish side look to cash in on their young talent.

The 23-year-old arrived at the club in August last year and, despite making 29 LaLiga appearances, he was only awarded eight starts, scoring six goals and contributing six assists for the campaign.

This season has been more of the same for the Brazilian international, being subbed on in 15 games across all club competitions, while making just two starts. He is yet to score this season.

Sitting fifth in LaLiga with only seven wins from 14 fixtures, Atletico were also eliminated from all European competition by finishing bottom of their Champions League group – and they have decided it is time for some changes.

 

TOP STORY - BRAZIL'S CUNHA BEING PURSUED BY PREMIER LEAGUE CLUBS

According to Fichajes, Wolves and Everton are the two main clubs showing a desire to bring in Cunha, who has eight international caps for Brazil, but was left out of their World Cup squad.

The report states the club needs to part ways with some prominent players for financial reasons, and while Thomas Lemar and Rodrigo De Paul have plenty of suitors, Atletico are more likely to ship off Cunha and fellow Brazilian Felipe.

Wolves are said to be investigating a potential deal to bring in both Cunha and 33-year-old centre-back Felipe, while Everton are focused on Cunha by himself, with no mention of an asking price.

 

ROUND-UP

– 90min is reporting Newcastle United and Liverpool are among a host of teams interested in a loan deal for Chelsea winger Christian Pulisic, but the Stamford Bridge club would prefer to send him overseas to avoid strengthening their competition.

– According to Marca, Real Madrid have decided to make a run at Borussia Dortmund star Jude Bellingham in January after his impressive World Cup campaign.

– Sport claims Real Madrid are no longer planning a move for Manchester City's Erling Haaland after securing 16-year-old Brazilian prodigy Endrick from Palmeiras.

Fulham are the favourites to land Roma right-back Rick Karsdorp, with Lille and Juventus falling behind due to their hesitance for a permanent deal, per Calciomercato.

– Fabrizio Romano is reporting Chelsea will aggressively pursue a striker in January after the ACL injury to Armando Broja.

Real Madrid are widely reported to have won the race for Endrick, with the teenage sensation expected to join in 2024.

A host of clubs from across Europe were attributed with an interest in the 16-year-old, though Los Blancos have seemingly won the hunt – reportedly paying a whopping €72million for the privilege.

Such a mouth-watering sum will undoubtedly garner attention, particularly for a player who still has to wait at least another two years before moving to the Spanish capital and is yet to hit double figures in senior league appearances for Palmeiras.

Despite that, he has already made quite the impression. On October 7, Endrick became the first player born in 2006 to play a Brasileirao game, then, just 20 days later, a brace against Atletico Paranaense saw him become the youngest ever scorer for Palmeiras, aged just 16 years and 96 days.

That display earned him a first start on November 7 against Fortaleza, where he scored again, with his record standing at three goals from seven appearances in the Brasileirao.

In total, Endrick has played 307 minutes of Serie A football, creating five chances, having 14 shots (10 on target) and a passing accuracy of 73 per cent.

Although such a small sample size cannot paint a full picture of Endrick's talents, his numbers are impressive and Real Madrid know what they are looking for – having signed Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo in similar deals from South America at age 16 and 17 respectively.

Like Endrick, both players were unable to move to Europe until they had turned 18 and continued to develop in Brazil until then – with Endrick's record being even more eye catching when compared to his potential future team-mates.

Rodrygo had the better record in front of goal, scoring nine times in Serie A, but had to wait a few months before his first goal for Santos after making his debut, which came in the Campeonato Paulista against Ponte Preta – though he scored in only his third Serie A appearance, whereas Endrick's first goal came in his fourth game.

Vinicius, scorer of seven Serie A goals, faced a similar wait to open his account for Flamengo, which came in the CONMEBOL Sudamericana against Palestino, and he had to wait until his 17th Serie A appearance for his first goal in the competition.

As a more central player, a quicker return could have been expected for Endrick but, given his age, the ability to quickly settle into the first-team paints an encouraging picture for the years ahead at Santiago Bernabeu.

Given the difference in appearances between the three players, a minutes-per-goal ratio in Brazil's Serie A is the fairest comparison between the trio, and it is Endrick (102 minutes) who fairs the best, with Vinicius averaging a goal every 239 minutes and Rodrygo finding the net every 341 minutes on average.

 

Though yet to register his first Serie A assist, Endrick averages a chance created every 61.4 minutes of football, ahead of Rodrygo at 68.2 minutes during his time in Brazil and Vinicius at 83.8 minutes.

Most encouraging for Real Madrid, however, is the relationship the trio of compatriots can have, with a front-three potentially becoming established on the international stage as well as at club level.

Endrick certainly has big boots to fill in Karim Benzema at Madrid and Neymar with the national side, but the early signs are extremely positive and Madrid have capitalised on this approach in the past with the deals to sign Endrick's aforementioned compatriots.

The signs are also good for Brazil, with former Selecao international Junior telling Stats Perform he believes such a transfer will reap rewards for the national side, whose wait for a sixth World Cup title lingers on.

"Endrick will certainly be a great player unless something very serious happens in his career," he said.

"It's a loss for Brazilian football, but on the other hand, I think we can win as Vinicius Jr did. He matured at the club, and today he is serving the national team."

The race to sign Palmeiras teenager Endrick is on.

Endrick turns 18 in July 2024, and he cannot officially join a European club until then, but teams are jostling for position in the meantime.

The 16-year-old has scored three goals in seven appearances for Palmeiras in the 2022 Serie A season.

 

TOP STORY - LOS BLANCOS HOME IN ON BRAZILIAN TEENAGER ENDRICK

Real Madrid are closing in on a deal worth €70million for Palmeiras teenager Endrick with personal terms agreed, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Madrid are in the final stages with the talented left-footed Brazilian striker with contracts discussed and they hope to complete the deal this month.

Romano claims that Paris Saint-Germain have withdrawn from the race despite a €58m offer a few days ago. Chelsea were previously interested too. 

ROUND-UP

Paris Saint-Germain were tracking Portugal's last-16 hat-trick hero Goncalo Ramos in the off-season, claims Fabrizio Romano. The 21-year-old forward is contracted with Benfica until 2025, with his price likely to surge after his latest World Cup display.

Manchester United have pulled out of the race to sign Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund, claims Sky Sports Germany. Liverpool, Manchester City and Real Madrid all remain interested but the England international may cost around £130m (€150m).

– Bild claims Manchester United have commenced talks with Borussia Monchengladbach goalkeeper Yann Sommer, who is out of contract at the end of this season, but Fichajes reports they have identified Atletico Madrid's Jan Oblak as their main target.

Tottenham are looming as a possible option for Ivorian midfielder Franck Kessie with Barcelona eager to sell him, according to Sport. Kessie joined the Blaugrana in July but has only made five starts this season.

– Nicolo Schira reports that Hansi Flick's future as Germany's head coach is in doubt following their World Cup group-stage exit. The German Football Association could move in a different direction amid links with ex-Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel.

Cody Gakpo's reputation has grown exponentially during the World Cup having netted three goals for the Netherlands in the group stage.

Manchester United, who are managed by ex-Ajax boss Erik ten Hag, were keen on the 23-year-old during the off-season but no move materialised.

The Red Devils have since parted ways with five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo and are eager to bolster their forward options.

TOP STORY – PSV UP GAKPO ASKING PRICE

Manchester United are ready to make their move for Netherlands forward Cody Gakpo in January, according to The Sun.

However, Gakpo's Dutch club PSV will demand £50million (€58m) for him, claims The Mirror, which is double what they wanted in the off season.

If that asking price is prohibitive, United may opt to switch their attention to Milan's Rafael Leao, who is contracted until 2024.

 

ROUND-UP

Real Madrid's plans to sign Leao will be deferred until 2024, according to Sport. Madrid's sights are set on chasing Manchester City's Erling Haaland, who reportedly has an exit clause from 2024, and Palmeiras teenager Endrick, who cannot move to Europe until he is 18, in 2024.

– Atletico Madrid are looking to sell Portuguese forward Joao Felix in January, reports Marca. Manchester United and Chelsea have been linked with the 23-year-old who is contracted until 2026.

– GiveMeSport's Dean Jones claims Newcastle United are considering Chelsea midfielder Christian Pulisic, who is currently the subject of plenty of speculation.

Arsenal are not making plans to sign a replacement for Gabriel Jesus whose World Cup was ended prematurely by a knee injury, despite there being no certainty on how long he will be out injured, claims Football Insider.

– La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Inter are in the hunt for a midfielder and weighing up a move for Valencia's United States international Yunus Musah, who caught the eye at the World Cup.

Barcelona head coach Xavi wants to sign Brazilian teenager Endrick, revealing he has held talks with the player and his father.

The 16-year-old Palmeiras forward is widely considered to be one of the finest prospects in South American football, drawing the attention of some of Europe's biggest sides.

Endrick's father will reportedly travel to Spain to tour Real Madrid's facilities later this month, but a fight is expected for his services, with Barcelona's own interest now being confirmed.

"We've been talking to his father and also directly to the player. I explained the project we have in Barcelona," Xavi told ESPN.

"We want talent and he's a talent, able to make a difference. He can score goals, he can dribble, he's got a brutal ability to make a difference.

"He's the kind of player we need. He already knows the project we have in Barcelona and we are talking.

"I hope he becomes our player. It's up to him. It always depends on the player. Usually, a player will end up playing where he wants to play. So, it's a very personal decision of Endrick."

While Endrick's future lies away from South America, any club looking to sign him will not be able to move him to Europe until he is 18 due to FIFA regulations.

Newcastle United are reportedly preparing an improved offer to pry midfielder James Maddison away from Leicester City in January.

Maddison, 25, is away at the World Cup with England after a blistering start to the Premier League season saw him force his way back into the national set-up after three years in the wilderness.

After scoring a career-high 18 goals last season, Maddison has continued to show it was no fluke, bagging seven goals and four assists in 13 league fixtures this campaign.

Newcastle have been fond of the Foxes star for some time, having had two bids rejected in the range of £50million in the previous transfer window, but they are said to be discussing if they should "break their wage structure" to meet the demands.

 

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE READY ANOTHER OFFENSIVE FOR LEICESTER'S MADDISON

According to Sky Sports, Maddison's contract demands have been a stumbling point for Newcastle in their pursuit, but the club are now willing to go above and beyond to secure their key target.

The report claims Leicester value Maddison at £60m, meaning the two sides are not far apart, and with just over 18 months remaining on his contract, his value will continue to fall the closer he gets to its conclusion.

Newcastle may face some competition, as GiveMeSport also believes Tottenham boss Antonio Conte is pushing to bring Maddison to north London.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport is reporting Aston Villa are interested in a January move for Barcelona midfielder Franck Kessie, and hope they can land him for a fee around €14m after he arrived in Spain as a free agent in July.

- According to 90min, Chelsea have offered goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to Tottenham amid news they are looking to replace club captain Hugo Lloris.

- Juventus and Newcastle United are discussing a potential swap deal that would send Moise Kean back to the Premier League and Allan Saint-Maximin to Turin, per Juve Dipendenza.

- Calciomercato is reporting Inter have rekindled their interest in Borussia Monchengladbach's Marcus Thuram after their attempt to sign him 18 months ago was torpedoed by a knee injury at the 11th hour. 

- Arsenal have been joined by Monaco and Ajax in the chase of 21-year-old Palmeiras midfielder Danilo, who the club are reportedly willing to part ways with for €24m, per ESPN.

Newcastle United are reportedly preparing an improved offer to pry midfielder James Maddison away from Leicester City in January.

Maddison, 25, is away at the World Cup with England after a blistering start to the Premier League season saw him force his way back into the national set-up after three years in the wilderness.

After scoring a career-high 18 goals last season, Maddison has continued to show it was no fluke, bagging seven goals and four assists in 13 league fixtures this campaign.

Newcastle have been fond of the Foxes star for some time, having had two bids rejected in the range of £50million in the previous transfer window, but they are said to be discussing if they should "break their wage structure" to meet the demands.

 

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE READY ANOTHER OFFENSIVE FOR LEICESTER'S MADDISON

According to Sky Sports, Maddison's contract demands have been a stumbling point for Newcastle in their pursuit, but the club are now willing to go above and beyond to secure their key target.

The report claims Leicester value Maddison at £60m, meaning the two sides are not far apart, and with just over 18 months remaining on his contract, his value will continue to fall the closer he gets to its conclusion.

Newcastle may face some competition, as GiveMeSport also believes Tottenham boss Antonio Conte is pushing to bring Maddison to north London.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport is reporting Aston Villa are interested in a January move for Barcelona midfielder Franck Kessie, and hope they can land him for a fee around €14m after he arrived in Spain as a free agent in July.

- According to 90min, Chelsea have offered goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to Tottenham amid news they are looking to replace club captain Hugo Lloris.

- Juventus and Newcastle United are discussing a potential swap deal that would send Moise Kean back to the Premier League and Allan Saint-Maximin to Turin, per Juve Dipendenza.

- Calciomercato is reporting Inter have rekindled their interest in Borussia Monchengladbach's Marcus Thuram after their attempt to sign him 18 months ago was torpedoed by a knee injury at the 11th hour. 

- Arsenal have been joined by Monaco and Ajax in the chase of 21-year-old Palmeiras midfielder Danilo, who the club are reportedly willing to part ways with for €24m, per ESPN.

Paris Saint-Germain are weighing up their forward options given the uncertainty around Lionel Messi once his contract expires at the end of this season.

Messi has deferred all talk around his future for both club and country until after the upcoming World Cup.

The French champions also have doubts around Kylian Mbappe, who has been the subject of constant speculation despite re-signing until 2025 at the start of the season.

TOP STORY – PSG WEIGH UP SON HEUNG-MIN MOVE

Paris Saint-Germain  are considering a move for Tottenham forward  Son Heung-min , reports El Nacional.

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi will try to speak to Son during the World Cup, where he has been selected by his country despite a fractured eye socket sustained a fortnight ago.

The report claims  Real Madrid  had previous interest in Son, but president Florentino Perez has moved on given the €80million (£70m) asking price for a 30-year-old.

ROUND-UP

–  Chelsea  and  Manchester United  are both keeping a close eye on Brighton and Hove Albion goalkeeper  Robert Sanchez , according to the Sunday Mirror. That comes in light of a Daily Star report that claims David de Gea will need to accept a £100,000 pay cut to stay at United.

–  Chelsea are Palmeiras' 16-year-old  Endrick 's preferred destination amid interest from numerous clubs, reports ESPN Brazil. Palmeiras have declined an offer from  PSG already.

–  Juventus  held talks this week with Lazio midfielder  Sergej Milinkovic-Savic 's agent about a move to the Bianconeri, claims Calciomercato. The report claims Juve have made him a priority but will likely need to wait until the end of the season.

– L'Equipe reports talks between  Marco Verratti and  PSG  on a new deal are well advanced. The Italian midfielder is contracted until June 2024.

–  Villarreal  are ready to offer a deal to Blackburn's Chile international forward  Ben Brereton Diaz , claims The Sun. Brereton Diaz's contract expires at the end of this season.

Barcelona forward Memphis Depay reportedly is looking to leave the club on a free transfer in January, and a trio of high-profile Premier League teams are mentioned as potential suitors.

Depay, 28, played 38 games for the Catalan giants in the 2021-22 campaign, but he has found himself on the outside looking in this season, appearing in only three contests.

With his contract set to expire at the end of the season, and Barcelona looking to shed his salary to increase their financial flexibility, the Netherlands international is hopeful his exit can be arranged mid-season.
 

TOP STORY – PREMIER LEAGUE TEAMS CIRCLE OUT-OF-FAVOUR BARCA FORWARD

According to Mundo Deportivo, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham are paying close attention to Depay's situation with Barcelona.

If he is allowed to leave on a free transfer, United are said to have strong interest in bringing him back to Old Trafford, where he spent two seasons from 2015 to 2017 before being sold to Lyon.

The report also mentions Chelsea and Tottenham, who had interest in the previous transfer window before deciding against a move.

Depay has not played since a September 22 Nations League match for the Netherlands against Poland, but if he puts on a show at the World Cup, interest could skyrocket.


ROUND-UP

– According to The Guardian, Erik ten Hag plans on selling United captain Harry Maguire at the end of the season.

– 90min is reporting Arsenal are planning moves for Leicester City's Youri Tielemans and Palmeiras' 21-year-old Danilo in a bid to strengthen their midfield in January.

Newcastle United will rival Arsenal in the chase for 21-year-old Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk, who will reportedly cost in the range of £100million, per Football Insider.

– The Daily Mail is reporting Chelsea have hosted 16-year-old Palmeiras prodigy Endrick on an official club visit, introducing him to fellow Brazilian Thiago Silva.

Newcastle and Borussia Dortmund have shown interest in 20-year-old Leeds right-back Cody Drameh, per the Daily Mail.

Real Madrid are looking to Serie A for their next striker, with Napoli's Victor Osimhen and Milan's Rafael Leao interesting the Spanish giants.

Osimhen, 23, arrived at Napoli after a club-record €70million transfer from Lille in 2020 and quickly adapted to life in Italy.

Leao, who is the same age, was Osimhen's team-mate at Lille back in 2019 before being pried away to Milan. He was spectacular last campaign in helping Milan to their first Serie A title since the 2010-11 season, scoring a career-high 11 league goals, and has hit form this term, too.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID IDENTIFY OSIMHEN AND LEAO AS KEY FORWARD TARGETS

According to Calciomercato, the only thing standing between Madrid and "another nine-figure investment" in one of Serie A's leading lights is the contract of 31-year-old winger Eden Hazard.

Forbes reports Hazard is making approximately €500,000 per week, and if Madrid can find a taker for him in January, or at the end of the season, their financial flexibility will vastly improve.

Come January, Leao will have 18 months remaining on his contract, and with numerous reports that negotiations for an extension have made little progress, Milan will eventually have to entertain the likelihood of a sale.

Osimhen has an extra year on top of that, tying him to Napoli until 2025 and giving the club plenty of leverage in any potential sale.

ROUND-UP

– The Evening Standard is reporting Chelsea have held multiple meetings with 16-year-old Palmeiras prospect Endrick, who is also a target for Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain. He will not be allowed to leave for Europe until he turns 18 in 2024.

– According to TeamTalk, Tottenham are looking to replace goalkeeper and club captain Hugo Lloris.

West Ham and Leicester City are interested in 28-year-old Inter left-back Robin Gosens, per Gazzetta dello Sport. 

– Sport is reporting Juventus are willing to meet the contract demands of Chelsea midfielder Jorginho, with the Italy international demanding €13.6m per year.

Barcelona are considering a move for Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha, who they view as a potential replacement for Memphis Depay, according to Sport.

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.

Liverpool's search for midfield reinforcements has reportedly led them to RB Leipzig's Konrad Laimer – and a move could come as soon as January.

Laimer, 25, enjoyed a career-best season in his last Bundesliga campaign, netting four goals and contributing four assists despite starting in just 15 of the 26 league games in which he featured.

This season, the man with 24 senior international appearances for Austria has started every Bundesliga and Champions League game he has been available for, although a high-ankle sprain has kept him out for six weeks now, and he may not return until January.

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL LOOK TO INJURED LEIPZIG MIDFIELDER FOR REINFORCEMENTS

According to Sky Sport Germany, Liverpool are considering going for Laimer in January, six months before the end of his contract with Leipzig.

Laimer is hoping to return from his injury in January, and there could also be interest from Bayern Munich, who sized him up in the last transfer window.

Regardless of what happens with Laimer and the January window, Sky Germany reports Liverpool are planning "significant investment" into their squad at the end of the season.

ROUND-UP

– Football Insider is claiming 32-year-old Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan will leave the club on a free transfer at the end of the season.

Manchester United are looking at Bayer Leverkusen's Jeremie Frimpong, 21, and Norwich's Max Aarons, 22, to compete with Diogo Dalot for their starting right-back role, per The Sun.

– According to The Sun, Arsenal sent scouts to Brazil to watch 21-year-old Palmeiras midfielder Danilo, whom they are interested in making a move for in January.

– GiveMeSport is reporting Manchester United still have interest in PSV's Cody Gakpo, with recent reports claiming the Dutch club's financial position could prompt them to accept a bid in the range of £30million.

Bayer Leverkusen have made Inter left-back Robin Gosens their primary target, with the 28-year-old also attracting interest from Eintracht Frankfurt and Wolfsburg, according to Sky Sport Germany's Florian Plettenberg.

Chelsea are reportedly the latest Premier League club to signal their interest in 25-year-old Inter striker Lautaro Martinez.

Martinez, who has also scored 21 senior goals for Argentina in 40 international appearances, is coming off a career-best season in the Serie A.

He set a new personal-best with 21 league goals in 35 games in 2021-22, and has started this season in similar fashion, netting six times in 11 Serie A fixtures.

Martinez also showed his quality with a goal and an assist in the dramatic 3-3 Champions League draw against Barcelona.


TOP STORY – CHELSEA LOOK TO INTER FOR STRIKER SOLUTION

According to InterLive, what separates Chelsea's chances from Martinez's other Premier League suitors is their potential to include current loanee Romelu Lukaku in their bid.

The report states Inter's starting point for an acceptable price tag will be €90million, which is what Tottenham are said to have offered before the beginning of last season.

Tottenham are one of the other Premier League teams named in the report, while Manchester United and Newcastle United have previously been connected with a pursuit of Martinez.

Inter will have all the leverage in any negotiations, with Martinez's contract tying him to the club until 2026.


ROUND-UP

– De Telegraaf claims PSV are in such a dire financial situation that they will be forced to accept a €30m bid for 23-year-old breakout star Cody Gakpo

– According to Calciomercato, Arsenal, Newcastle and West Ham are all circling 21-year-old Midtjylland winger Gustav Isaksen.

– Diario Sport is reporting Paris Saint-Germain are the favourites to land prized 16-year-old Palmeiras prospect Endrick, while Real Madrid are also said to be all-in, and Barcelona may turn their attention to more pressing matters.

– Spezia are looking for €30m to part ways with 22-year-old centre-back Jakub Kiwior, with Milan, Juventus and West Ham said to have strong interest, per Tuttomercatoweb.

– The Chronicle is reporting Newcastle are weighing up a move for 18-year-old winger Eguinaldo, who plays for Vasco Da Gama in the Brazilian second division and has a £26m release clause in his contract.

A question we've likely all been asked in job interviews is: "Where do you see yourself in five years?"

Admittedly, it's difficult to imagine Roman Abramovich adding that to his list of essential questions ahead of meeting prospective Chelsea managers during his time as owner. After all, no head coach even reached three and a half years in one go under the Russian's ownership.

But Luiz Felipe Scolari went into his ultimately brief stint as Chelsea boss with a fairly clear vision for his future. Attending his first Chelsea press conference in Neuchatel, Switzerland, where he was based with his Portugal team for Euro 2008, 'Felipao' – 59 at the time – gave himself another five years in management.

"I will be 60 soon and I don't want to be technical coach forever. I want to work for five more years and then I want to retire."

More than 14 years later, Scolari is at long last about to call it a day. But first he has one last shot at glory with Athletico Paranaense in Saturday's Copa Libertadores final, a success that he believes would be the "pinnacle" of 40-year coaching career.

The catalyst

The vast majority of Athletico's squad weren't even born when Scolari took charge of his first Libertadores final in 1995.

He led his beloved Gremio – the team he supported growing up – to their second continental crown on that occasion thanks to a 4-2 aggregate defeat of Colombia's Atletico Nacional in August 1995.

A comical Victor Marulanda own goal – a sliced lob over 'scorpion-kick' visionary Rene Higuita – sent Gremio on their way, before Mario Jardel pounced on a spill by the eccentric Atletico goalkeeper to make it 2-0 before half-time in the first leg.

Paolo Nunes slammed in from close range early in the second half after Higuita again failed to hold the ball. Juan Pablo Angel's clever finish at least ensured Atletico returned home with something to fight for in the second leg, and Victor Aristizabal's early goal back in Medellin stoked the belief, but Dinho finished them off from the spot in the 85th minute.

That Gremio side was a pure embodiment of the ethos that eventually defined Scolari's playing style. It may not have been a team full of superstars, but they were tough and hard-working. It wasn't quite 'jogo bonito', yet they were a clinical attacking force and Scolari guided them to six trophies in three years.

Nevertheless, Scolari's second Copa Libertadores success in 1999 – with Palmeiras – was arguably the precursor to his most famous achievement.

For starters, it was Palmeiras' first Libertadores title. Secured with a 4-3 penalty shootout win over Deportivo Cali after the two were locked at 2-2 at the end the two legs, the success elevated Scolari to an altogether different standing in management, proving his Gremio spell was no fluke.

"I cemented my career on that title, I really expanded my horizons and had the opportunity to grow. This was made possible by Palmeiras."

Global recognition

Less than a year after leaving Palmeiras for Cruzeiro in June 2000, Scolari landed the biggest job of them all.

With Brazil's World Cup qualification campaign in danger of failure, Scolari was brought in to get them over the line. He certainly achieved that.

 

The Selecao actually lost to Uruguay in Scolari's first game and they were humiliatingly knocked out of the 2001 Copa America by Honduras.

But they got the results to take them to Japan and South Korea, where they flourished.

Scolari's exclusion of Romario from the squad for the finals was contentious but soon forgotten once the tournament started, with Brazil inspired by the legendary trio of Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho.

They were comfortably the best team on display at the 2002 World Cup, winning all seven games – the first side to win 100 per cent of their games at a single edition of the tournament since 1970 – as they claimed a record-extending fifth title.

 

Scolari's career was made. He helped right the wrongs of 1998, and there was an acknowledgement he could do no more for the team as he left his post after the World Cup.

He subsequently took over Portugal and led them to the final of Euro 2004 before bowing out at the semi-final and quarter-final stages at the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008 respectively.

Scolari couldn't recreate his Brazil success with Portugal, but he was a World Cup winner and nothing could take that away.

The greatest achievement of all?

That five-year spell in charge of Portugal was something of an anomaly – Scolari had never even managed four years in one job and he's enjoyed a fairly nomadic career ever since his Chelsea exit in early 2009.

But in this period was a gutting low that even threatened to overshadow his 2002 World Cup success.

Of course, Scolari was in charge when Brazil were demolished on home soil by Germany at the 2014 World Cup, with the eventual champions remarkably winning their semi-final encounter 7-1 in Belo Horizonte in one of the most infamous games in tournament history.

 

Brazil players left the pitch in tears, Scolari went on to resign, and many would suggest Brazil still haven't healed from that nightmare.

"I need a hug," Scolari said as he returned to Gremio later that month. "I came back at this moment because I need a hug, some affection."

He may not have brought success back to Gremio, but he did go on to enjoy a trophy-laden spell in China with Guangzhou Evergrande, and he even guided Palmeiras to Brasileiro glory as recently as 2018.

But there's something considerably more remarkable about the situation he now finds himself in at Athletico – yes, that's Athletico rather than Atletico after the club reverted to their founding name in 2018.

Scolari was hired in May as a technical director and he also took the reins as coach until the end of the season, given the task of steadying the ship after Athletico hit a difficult patch that culminated in an embarrassing 5-0 Libertadores defeat to Bolivia's The Strongest, costing Fabio Carille his job.

No one can argue with Scolari's impact, leading Athletico – whom he claims have only the 13th-biggest budget in Brazil – to just their second Libertadores final. Flamengo await and are favourites, but Scolari has presided over a shock by even getting his team this far.

 

"This career is coming to an end indeed," he told the Associated Press. "If we win the Copa Libertadores, it will be the pinnacle of a career for which I worked a lot. I never expected this much, winning all that I have won."

It would've been easy for Scolari to walk away for good in 2014, punishing himself for Brazil's humiliation by disappearing into a retirement brought about by self-deprecation.

But he fought on and stands on the precipice of an achievement he believes will outshine all that have come before.

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