Andreas Christensen hopes he will soon be able to announce his next club after leaving Chelsea, as the Dane fuelled speculation he will join Barcelona by hailing the Blaugrana as one of Europe's biggest clubs.

Chelsea announced Christensen's departure last week, with the defender having been strongly linked with Barca.

Christensen joined Chelsea from Brondby in 2012 and after a spell on loan with Borussia Monchengladbach, went on to make 161 appearances for the Blues, winning the Europa League, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup during his time at Stamford Bridge.

Having played the full 90 minutes during Denmark's 2-0 Nations League win over Austria on Monday, the 26-year-old hopes to announce his next destination shortly, having made his decision some time ago.

"I know where I have to play," the defender told reporters.

Pressed on when an announcement regarding his future could be expected, he responded: "Unfortunately, it's not entirely up to me. There are also other things that need to fall into place.

"Hopefully soon. But I have known what I was going to do for a while. I'm just waiting for the right time."

Barcelona have been beset by financial difficulties in recent years, with LaLiga president Javier Tebas recently suggesting Xavi's team must sell prized assets – such as midfielder Frenkie de Jong – in order to fund any rebuild of their squad during the transfer window.

However, Christensen, who has been touted to provide competition for current Barca centre-backs Gerard Pique and Ronald Araujo, says Barca are a team that would interest any player. 

"It is one of the biggest clubs in Europe," he added. "I think it is for everyone.

"Whether they have had their problems or not, it is still one of the biggest clubs for a player to get to."

Nemanja Matic has reunited with Jose Mourinho at Roma following his departure from Manchester United, signing on a free transfer with the Serie A side. 

The 33-year-old has penned a one-year deal in the Italian capital, joining former United team-mate Henrikh Mkhitaryan and ex-Chelsea colleague Tammy Abraham at the Stadio Olimpico. 

The Serbia international confirmed last season that it would be his last at Old Trafford, having spent five years in Manchester, and has been signed by Mourinho for the third time in his career. 

"I am pleased and honoured to be joining this club and I cannot wait to start the new season with my team-mates," Matic said.

"Roma is a big club, with amazing fans and a coach, Jose Mourinho, who is well known to everyone – making the decision to come here very straightforward.

"I hope that by working together we are able to achieve some great things."

In 2014, following three years in Portugal, Matic re-signed for Chelsea during Mourinho’s second stint at Stamford Bridge and, three years later, followed the Portuguese boss to United and was a regular fixture in the first team throughout the managerial spells of Louis van Gaal and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Sevilla defender Jules Kounde will undergo surgery for a hamstring injury on Tuesday, having been withdrawn at half-time of France’s 1-0 Nations League defeat to Croatia. 

The 23-year-old is a rumoured transfer target for Premier League heavyweights Chelsea, who were unable to complete a move 12 months ago but have revived their interest ahead of this window – though the injury may put a dent in the Blues' plans.

Kounde’s injury was something the team were aware of prior to the game, France boss Didier Deschamps confirmed, though the extent of his problem was not detailed after the match. 

"I knew very well his physical condition today. Tomorrow [Tuesday] he will have a [surgical] intervention because he has a problem that has been going on for several months," Deschamps said.

Capped 11 times by France, Kounde has established himself among the highest-rated young defenders in world football and shot to prominence during Sevilla's Europa League success in 2019-20. 

Utilised mainly as a central defender by his club side, Kounde's versatility has seen him feature regularly down the right for France. 

Les Bleus' defeat to Croatia in the Nations League capped off a woeful sequence for the defending champions, who sit rock bottom of group A1 without a win in their opening four matches – putting them at significant risk of relegation.

Manchester City are looking to make a big midfield signing in this transfer window, with Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips reportedly at the top of their wish-list.

Phillips, 26, has been with Leeds his entire senior career, and excelled on the world stage when he started every game in England's run to the Euro 2020 final.

He was rewarded for his excellent international play with England's 2020-21 Senior Men's Player of the Year award, and may have the opportunity to parlay that into Champions League football at the Etihad Stadium.

 

TOP STORY – CITY SETS SIGHTS ON LEEDS' PHILLIPS

Phillips' stats of one goal and three assists in his past two Premier League campaigns do not tell the story of his impact, as he is arguably England's best defensive midfielder.

After 12 years with Leeds, Phillips has reportedly played his last game for the club, with The Sun claiming City have prepared a £60million bid.

ESPN mentions a factor working in Phillips' favour with City is that he will count as a homegrown player for Champions League purposes, and that Pep Guardiola views him as a strong fit for both the number-six and number-eight roles in his set-up.

 

ROUND-UP

– The Manchester Evening News is reporting Manchester United remain in discussions with Barcelona for Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong, but they are not willing to pay the current £85m price-tag.

Liverpool and City are both monitoring 17-year-old Barcelona midfielder Gavi, despite his release clause reportedly coming in at £85m, according to Marca.

– RB Leipzig have set a price of £100m for teams chasing Christopher Nkunku due to the Frenchman not desiring a move away this transfer period, with the Independent reporting interest remains from Arsenal, United and Paris Saint-Germain.

– According to the Telegraph, Newcastle United are moving on from Lille defender Sven Botman after the asking price was raised from £30m to £36m.

– The Telegraph is reporting that Tottenham have joined the race for Everton's Richarlison, with the asking price set at £50m.

Erling Haaland will not guarantee more success for Manchester City, according to Liverpool great and television pundit Jamie Carragher.

City confirmed Haaland's arrival on Monday after agreeing personal terms and passing a medical, with the Norway striker signing a five-year contract.

The announcement came just over a month after City initially revealed they had reached an agreement with Borussia Dortmund over a deal reportedly worth £64.2million (€75m).

At Dortmund, Haaland developed into one of the world's most feared strikers, scoring 86 goals in 89 games across all competitions, averaging one every 84 minutes.

Over the same period, only Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (123 in 108 matches) boasted a better scoring rate among players from Europe's top five leagues.

City have largely gone without a recognised central striker for the best part of two years, with Sergio Aguero having left in 2021, though he had not been a regular during his final campaign in 2020-21.

Fans of other clubs might fear Haaland's signing takes City another step closer to domination and, while Carragher accepts such concerns are well-founded, he is adamant the 21-year-old's arrival brings no guarantee of greater success.

"It's a worry for the rest of the Premier League," Carragher told Sky Sports. "We are talking about one of the world's greats, even at such a young age, but I don't think anyone should be raising the white flag too early because it's going to be really interesting how he fits into the team.

"Pep Guardiola hasn't really used a central striker in the last couple of years and he's still been very successful. So, it will be really interesting to see how he settles, but from the Premier League's point of view, I think it is fantastic that we've got one of the world's leading players right now joining our league.

 

"That doesn't always happen, certainly at a young age, and a lot of his best years are going to be in the Premier League. So, it'll be really exciting for everyone to watch, but it's obviously going to be a tough proposition trying to stop Manchester City."

Elaborating on his comment regarding how Haaland fits into the team, Carragher suggested the striker will probably not make a huge difference to City's points total in the Premier League.

But in the Champions League, where the margin for error in two-legged ties is much less forgiving, he could be decisive.

"They have so many players now who don't play through the middle. They keep the ball so well and they control the game so well. Maybe they will lose a little bit of that," Carragher continued. "So, I don't think it's a forgone conclusion that means City are going to win everything.

"They have a great team and a great manager, and I actually think Haaland coming in won't make that much of a difference in terms of how many points they get. They always get in the mid-90s for points anyway, which is a remarkable feat.

"He may have been brought in just to make that difference in those games where they just fell short, maybe more in the Champions League than the Premier League, actually.

"He'll change, he'll evolve, he's still a lot to learn, he's a young player. He'll learn off one of the greatest coaches in world football. He'll bring things to his game. But he should also remember not to change too much. He is what he is. Powerful, his pace, the goals he gets.

"That's what I'm intrigued with, how he fits into that Pep Guardiola style which is a bit more slow and technical than the end-to-end type of football you see in the Bundesliga."

Erik ten Hag will face Rayo Vallecano in his first home game in charge of Manchester United.

United start their pre-season campaign with a clash against Liverpool in Thailand on July 12, before heading to Australia for friendlies with Melbourne Victory, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa.

The Red Devils will then head to Oslo as Ten Hag faces Diego Simeone's Atletico Madrid on July 30.

United return to Manchester to cap off their pre-season schedule with a friendly against LaLiga side Vallecano at Old Trafford.

That will be Ten Hag's first game at the Theatre of Dreams and United's football director John Murtough hopes the fans will give him a warm welcome.

"Pre-season is all about preparation and this is a great opportunity for those squad members who may not have featured in some of our earlier tour and pre-season matches to get valuable minutes on the pitch – and where better to do this than Old Trafford?," he said, as quoted by United's official website.

"This will be the new manager's first match at Old Trafford, and I am sure the fans will provide him with a warm welcome."

Arsenal have confirmed the signing of Brazil youth international Marquinhos from Sao Paulo.

The 19-year-old winger joins for an undisclosed fee having made 33 senior appearances for the Brazilian club, with whom he won the Campeonato Paulista last year.

Marquinhos scored twice for Sao Paulo and joins Arsenal on a long-term contract, with Gunners' technical director Edu revealing he is someone they have been keeping an eye on.

"We're delighted to have completed the transfer with Sao Paulo, as Marquinhos was a player we had been watching for a while," he told the club's official website.

"At 19, he is still very young, so he is a player for the future. We look forward to Marquinhos now joining us for pre-season, making his new home, and continuing to grow and develop with us."

Arsenal finished fifth in the Premier League last season.

Harry Kane says the arrivals of Erling Haaland and Darwin Nunez in the Premier League will drive him to improve in an enticing Golden Boot race.

Kane has won three Golden Boot awards in the English top flight – in 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2020-21 – and managed 17 goals this season as Tottenham qualified for the Champions League.

Spurs team-mate Son Heung-min shared the accolade for the most Premier League goals with Liverpool's Mohamed Salah this season, the pair scoring 23 goals each.

Jurgen Klopp looks set to add more firepower to his attack at Anfield, with Nunez close to joining Liverpool for an initial fee of £64million (€75m) from Benfica.

Nunez has scored 48 goals in 85 games for Benfica in all competitions and averaged 1.2 goals every 90 minutes in the Portuguese Primeira Liga last season.

Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola bolstered his own wealth of attacking options with the Premier League champions Manchester City by triggering Haaland's release clause at Borussia Dortmund.

The Norway international scored 86 goals in 89 games for Dortmund since joining from Salzburg in January 2020, averaging a goal every 84 minutes across all competitions.

Kane cannot wait to compete with the duo next season as the Premier League adds more talismanic talent to their ranks.

 

"Look, I think the battle for the Golden Boot is always tough," Kane said at a pre-match news conference while on Nations League duty with England on Monday. 

"The Premier League has produced some top strikers around the world for a number of years now.

"I think every season I've been playing it's always been a tough battle to win that Golden Boot and it's no different.

"You expect the top strikers to want to play in the Premier League and with those two new signings, that's gonna be the case.

"I think it helps me as a player to have good competition, it drives me to improve and get better. I look forward to the challenge."

The build-up to Kane's 2021-22 campaign was filled with distraction as City tried and failed to secure the services of the England striker, attempting to replace the void left by Sergio Aguero at the Etihad Stadium.

Kane will likely have a smoother pre-season this time around and will look to utilise that to prepare for another campaign under Spurs head coach Antonio Conte.

 

"I try and focus on myself to begin with. Going into any season I have things I want to achieve and goals I want to reach," he added.

"I try not to focus too much on other players in that aspect, I can't control what they do.

"But what I will do is continue to work hard and improve and after this game have a nice break but then look forward to what will be a tough pre-season.

"And then I'll get ready for the new season as I have done for the last seven, eight years now."

Chelsea have opted to trigger a one-year extension to keep Billy Gilmour at the club until 2024.

Gilmour joined from Rangers in 2017 and broke through under Frank Lampard, making his debut for the Blues in August 2019 against Sheffield United.

The Scotland international racked up just 192 Premier League minutes in the 2019-20 season, before playing 259 top-flight minutes across his five league appearances the next campaign.

Battling against N'Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho and Ruben Loftus-Cheek for a place in the starting XI, Gilmour was sent on loan to Norwich City in the 2021-22 season.

The 21-year-old managed 24 Premier League outings for the Canaries, 21 of those starts, and gained vast experience as he featured for 1,858 league minutes as Norwich were relegated back to the Championship.

While Thomas Tuchel's plans for the midfielder remain unclear, with returning loanee Conor Gallagher another potential contender for a place in the Chelsea team, the Blues have extended Gilmour's contract.

He initially signed a four-year deal when arriving from Rangers but, with that due to expire in 2023, the Blues have added another year as Gilmour looks to make his mark at Stamford Bridge.

Dusan Vlahovic believes comparisons with former Juventus striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic are "unfair", with the Serbia international wanting to focus on his own career.

The evergreen Ibrahimovic played for Juve for two seasons between 2004 and 2006, lifting the Scudetto in back-to-back campaigns.

Ibrahimovic has since returned to Milan – via Inter, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and LA Galaxy – and helped to end the Rossoneri's 11-year wait for the Scudetto this season.

Vlahovic swapped Fiorentina for Juve in a big-money move in January, managing 10 goal involvements in his 21 outings in all competitions – two more than any Bianconeri team-mate since he made his debut.

The former Viola talisman offers Massimiliano Allegri's side a notable point of difference up top, with his physicality and strength in contrast to the diminutive figure of the outgoing Paulo Dybala.

That has led to comparisons between Vlahovic and Sweden veteran Ibrahimovic, but the former is uninterested in the debate surrounding the pair.

"Comparing players with great champions who have scored 400, 500 goals in their careers, who have won 20 or 30 titles, is probably a little unfair!," Vlahovic told The Telegraph.

"It doesn't annoy me but it's also true that when those types of comparison are made and then you make one or two mistakes and the expectations have been hyped then you get critiqued.

"We all have the right to make mistakes; we are all human. I want to have my own career."

While Juve convinced Vlahovic to move to Turin in January, Premier League side Arsenal were also among his suitors, but the striker insists he never spoke to the Gunners about a transfer.

"Maybe my agent knows [about Arsenal's offer] but I never talked to anyone about it," he continued.

"I just had one club in my mind because Juventus is Juventus. There is nothing else to say, and now I feel honoured to be given this jersey. It's incredible every time I put it on.

"I definitely identify with their DNA. The Juventus personality coincides with my personality. When you come here you never give up, you fight all the time, you make the sacrifices. This was definitely what I was looking for."

Erling Haaland has revealed that Riyad Mahrez told him to sign for Manchester City last year, and the striker is also looking forward to playing with Phil Foden.

The Premier League champions announced on May 10 that an agreement was in place to sign Haaland from Borussia Dortmund after triggering his reported €60million (£51.2m) release clause, and Haaland has now officially put pen to paper on a five-year contract at the Etihad Stadium, with the deal to go through on July 1.

Haaland scored 86 goals in 89 games for Dortmund upon joining from Salzburg in January 2020, averaging a goal every 84 minutes across all competitions.

The 21-year-old was pictured with Mahrez while on holiday in Greece in 2021, and Haaland told City's official website that the Algeria international had spoken to him about moving to Manchester at the time.

"He told me to come to City!" he said in the interview published on Monday. "He was right about that. He said some good things about the club."

Haaland also expressed his excitement at the prospect of linking up with another highly-rated young player in Foden.

The England international recorded 11 assists in 45 games in all competitions for City last season, while creating 63 chances overall and 18 big chances, which is an opportunity from which a goal would normally be expected.

 

"I have been watching a lot of City games for as long as I can remember. Of course, then I also watched Phil and he is an amazing player," Haaland said.

"He is still a talent because he is still young, but he is an amazing player.

"He still has to develop and then we can really talk."

Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain is confident that Erling Haaland can get "even better" working with Pep Guardiola following confirmation of his transfer to the Premier League champions. 

The 21-year-old has established himself among the best strikers in the world following exceptional displays at Salzburg and Borussia Dortmund, boasting a remarkable record of 86 goals in 89 appearances for the Bundesliga side. 

That provides a daunting task for opposition defenders in the Premier League, and Begiristain has issued a further warning by backing Norway international Haaland to continue to improve and develop under the guidance of Guardiola. 

"We have been monitoring Erling for several years now, so we are delighted to bring him here to Manchester City," he told the club’s official website. 

"He is a huge talent and has been one of the best strikers in Europe over the last few seasons.

"His goalscoring record is exceptional and his performances at Borussia Dortmund and in the Champions League in particular have proved he can succeed at the highest level. 

Erling Haaland believes he has joined the right club to fulfil his ambitions after Manchester City officially confirmed the striker's arrival on Monday.

City announced on May 10 that an agreement was in place to sign Haaland from Borussia Dortmund after triggering his reported €75million (£64.2m) release clause.

The Norway international has now officially put pen to paper on a five-year contract at the Etihad Stadium, with that deal to go through on July 1.

Haaland had been one of Europe's most sought-after players and follows in the footsteps of his father Alf-Inge, who played for City between 2000 and 2003.

He scored 86 goals in 89 games for Dortmund upon joining from Salzburg in January 2020, averaging a goal every 84 minutes across all competitions.

Indeed, only Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski (123 goals in 108 games) boasts a better scoring rate over that period among players from Europe's top five leagues.

And after making the switch to the Premier League champions, Haaland is hopeful that his goals will lead to trophies under the management of Pep Guardiola.

"This is a proud day for me and my family," he told City's official website. "I have always watched City and have loved doing so in recent seasons. 

"You can't help but admire their style of play, it’s exciting and they create a lot of chances, which is perfect for a player like me. 

"There are so many world-class players in this squad and Pep is one of the greatest managers of all time, so I believe I am in the right place to fulfil my ambitions. 

"I want to score goals, win trophies and improve as a footballer and I am confident I can do that here. This is a great move for me and I can't wait to get started in pre-season."

Haaland won two Austrian Bundesliga titles during his time with Salzburg and the DFB-Pokal in 2020-21 across his two-and-a-half seasons at Dortmund.

The prolific striker struggled with injuries in the 2021-22 season, yet he still managed 29 goals in 30 games in all competitions for BVB, including a strike in his final game.

England manager Gareth Southgate has warned the Manchester United players missing from his current squad that they face a tough test to secure a spot for the World Cup in Qatar later this year. 

The Three Lions are preparing for their fourth Nations League match against Hungary on Tuesday, following a three-match winless streak that has seen them lose in Budapest before draws with Germany and Italy. 

Southgate's focus is already on fine-tuning his squad for the World Cup, which begins on November 21, and managing the "strange lead-in" to the finals that fall midway through the 2022-23 Premier League season. 

There are several notable absentees from Southgate’s ranks this month, including Manchester United trio Luke Shaw, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford, with Harry Maguire currently the only representative from United in the squad. 

When asked if United’s absence from the Champions League next season could result in their England contingent being fresher than some of their counterparts, Southgate declared "They've got a lot to do to get back in the squad." 

Shaw is currently sidelined through injury and has a clearer route back into Southgate's plans since Chelsea's Ben Chilwell is currently the only recognised left-back available, while Sancho and Rashford were both omitted due to poor form. 

With just one England camp before the World Cup, falling in September with the final two Nations League games against Germany and Italy, opportunities to break back into the squad will be limited and there is vast competition for a seat on the plane to Qatar. 

Rashford contributed four goals and two assists for United in the Premier League last season in 25 appearances, while Sancho's debut season at Old Trafford saw him net three goals and secure three assists in 29 league appearances. 

Southgate has until October 21 to submit a long list of players to FIFA, with the final squad expected to be announced three weeks later.

The 51-year-old, who has come under fire for his perceived cautious team selections, is hoping to work closely with clubs to monitor the fitness of his players early next season.

"Information sharing is pretty good medically and we get the performance data from the Premier League so you've got some markers," he said.

"But equally there's always an understanding that clubs that have big games might not want to share certain things too early if they've got players that might miss games. 

"In general we have decent relationships with the clubs on that stuff but there's always going to be a bit of an element of the unknown in that period."

There has not been a lot of movement among Inter's defensive stocks in recent years, with Milan Skriniar, Stefan De Vrij and Alessandro Bastoni providing continuity in front of Samir Handanovic.

Skriniar appears set to leave this off-season, however, after five years at the club.

The Nerazzurri are reportedly well-prepared in what looks set to be an active transfer window for them.

 

TOP STORY – INTER PLAN FOR SKRINIAR EXIT AS PSG MOVE NEARS

Inter have identified who they would want to replace Skriniar in the event he departs for PSG, according to Tuttosport and Corriere dello Sport.

Gleison Bremer and Nikola Milenkovic are viewed as possible replacements for the 27-year-old Slovakia international, as his move to Ligue 1 appears increasingly likely.

Skriniar's priority is to remain with Inter, where he has been since 2017 after signing from Sampdoria, but would not stand against a move to PSG if it helped Inter financially.

Bremer has reportedly already agreed personal terms with the Nerazzurri, while Milenkovic's agent met with club representatives this week.

ROUND-UP

Roma and Lazio are both keen to sign Napoli forward Dries Mertens, whose contract expires this off-season, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Denzel Dumfries is open to leaving Inter in order to join Erik ten Hag at Manchester United, the Daily Mail reports.

– Meanwhile, the Nerazzurri are set to sign Paulo Dybala on a three-year deal with his contract at Juventus expiring, per Goal.

– Bild claims that Jonjoe Kenny has committed to joining Hertha Berlin on a free transfer from Everton.

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