Cristiano Ronaldo's departure from Manchester United this week has put plenty of clubs on alert.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner is a wanted commodity, given his quality and sudden availability.

Ronaldo and United parted ways with a mutual termination of his contract after his explosive interview with TalkTV.

 

TOP STORY – SAUDI AND BRAZILIAN GIANTS TO MOVE FOR RONALDO

Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal and Brazilian giants Flamengo are among the clubs queuing to sign free agent Cristiano Ronaldo according to reports.

Sky Sports claims that Al Hilal are exploring a deal with the Portuguese, who had declined a £305m bid from an unnamed Saudi Arabian club in the off-season.

Brazilian outlet Veja reports that the 2022 Copa Libertadores winners intend to formalize a proposal to Ronaldo's representatives, although an offer has not yet been made, nor have talks commenced.

 

ROUND-UP 

- Football Insider reports that Chelsea are set to open talks with Brighton and Hove Albion's Belgian forward Leandro Trossard with his contract to expire at the end of season. New Blues boss Graham Potter knows Trossard well from his time at Brighton.

- Chelsea are ready to swoop for Manchester United target Diogo Costa, having made contact with him, according to Relevo. The goalkeeper recently re-signed with Porto and has a €75 million (£64.5m) release clause in his contract.

- Amid talk that Chelsea will try to sell Romelu Lukaku at the end of this season, SkySport claims Inter will extend the Belgian forward's loan for another year.

- Torino's Ivorian defender Wilfried Singo could snub interest from Juventus to remain with his current club, reports Calciomercato.

- Fabrizio Romano claims that Scottish champions Celtic are in talks with Canada international Alistair Johnston, with personal terms already being discussed. The right-back is currently with MLS club Montreal.

- QPR are anticipating the departure of manager Michael Beale to take over Rangers, claims Talk Sport. The Gers sacked Giovanni van Bronckhorst earlier this week.

Jose Mourinho says he was "humble enough to apologise" to referee Antonio Rapuano after accepting he deserved his latest red card in Roma's late 1-1 draw with Torino.

Roma head coach Mourinho was sent to the stands in the 88th minute with his side a goal down for repeatedly protesting decisions made by the official in Sunday's fiery contest.

Mourinho watched on from the Stadio Olimpico stands as Nemanja Matic rescued a point with a 94th-minute goal – Roma's latest at home in the league in 12 years.

The 59-year-old is no stranger to being given his marching orders and did not react kindly to being banished from the sidelines, but he later held his hands up for his actions.

"It was the right decision – my words to the referee deserved a red card," he told DAZN. "I spoke to him after and apologised, but I don’t want to talk about his performance. 

"I was humble enough to apologise, but I will leave his performance and the hypothetical influence on the match to you. 

"I don't want to talk about what we said, that was private. My words deserved a red card, but I will not judge the referee's performance."

Matic's dramatic late leveller came immediately after substitute Paulo Dybala had hit the frame of the goal, while former Torino striker Andrea Belotti missed an injury-time penalty just moments earlier in an exciting end to the contest.

 

Mourinho's side enter the World Cup break seventh in Serie A after winning just one of their past five matches.

The 10 points the Giallorossi have collected from their opening seven home league games this term is their lowest return since the 2005-06 season, when accruing eight.

Roma's disappointing form has coincided with Dybala's month-long absence from the side, with the Argentina international making a difference on his return against Torino.

"There are two games tonight – one until the 70th minute and one after," Mourinho said. "Until the 70th, Roma fans wanted to just go home.

"But in the final 20 minutes we created more, perhaps more than we have done in the last four or five games. Why? Easy, because Dybala came on.

"When you have a player like Paulo and he doesn't play, it's different. How many extra points would we have now if Dybala hadn't been injured? 

"The break is coming up, it will be the right moment for certain players to look at themselves and try a little self-criticism.

"Despite all these problems, we are a united group. A team that misses a penalty at the 92nd minute is usually dead, but not us, we kept going."

Roma host Bologna on their return to action on January 4, before travelling to reigning champions Milan four days later.

Stefano Pioli insisted Milan were not distracted by Wednesday's decisive Champions League meeting with Salzburg during their demoralising Serie A loss to Torino.

Koffi Djidji and Aleksey Miranchuk scored in quick succession in the first half as Milan collapsed to a 2-1 defeat in Turin on Sunday.

Junior Messias got the Rossoneri back in the contest following a defensive mix-up after the break, but the Serie A champions never looked likely to complete a comeback on a chastening outing.

Milan will approach the European clash with Salzburg requiring just a point to join Chelsea in qualifying from Group E, but head coach Pioli is certain that was not on their minds.

"We could have done better in the flow of the ball, in defence and in attack. It was not the best evening," he said at his post-match press conference.

"To prepare well for the Champions League we had to do well tonight, we didn't think about it at all.

"We could have done better. It was a difficult and physical game, but we had to move better without the ball. You have to go looking for the chances, and you have to exploit them. They succeeded, with two goals in a few minutes.

"In the second half, we had a different attitude, but we didn't score immediately. The match went on the tracks preferred by Torino."

Djidji's opener halted a 499-minute streak in which Torino had not scored in their Serie A meetings with Milan, while the Rossoneri saw a 17-game unbeaten run on the road in Serie A come to an end.

Milan's frustrations were summed up by the efforts of Rafael Leao, who approached the trip to Turin in excellent form but was hauled off at the break after a poor opening period.

The Portugal forward failed to hit the target with four shots amounting to 0.51 expected goals (xG) during his 45-minute outing, leading Pioli to confirm he was substituted due to his poor display.

"It was not his best evening, this is evident," Pioli told DAZN after the defeat. "I tried to change the attack, but we needed to take a chance a little earlier, to play a little earlier, and we did not manage to get it back."

Milan failed to move back within three points of Serie A leaders Napoli as goals from Koffi Djidji and Aleksey Miranchuk condemned the Rossoneri to a surprise 2-1 loss to Torino.

Miranchuk followed up Djidji's glancing header with a cultured left-footed finish as Torino scored twice in two frantic first-half minutes to stun Milan at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino.

Stefano Pioli's men travelled to Turin looking to stay within touching distance of the Serie A summit, but were uncharacteristically lethargic for long periods on Sunday.

Junior Messias was gifted a goal following a bizarre mix-up at the back, but Milan failed to build on that strike late on as Torino clung on for a huge win.

Rafael Leao missed two golden chances in the first six minutes, sending a wild volley over after breaking in behind before mishitting his shot after being teed up by Brahim Diaz.

Torino punished Milan for their wastefulness 10 minutes before the break, as Djidji nodded Valentino Lazaro's deep free-kick in off the right-hand post.

Things quickly went from bad to worse for the champions as Miranchuk latched onto Nikola Vlasic's knock-down before shifting the ball onto his left foot and finishing coolly across Tatarusanu. 

Sergino Dest fired over from range as Milan attempted to lift the tempo after the break, before Messias ensured a tense finish when he curled home following a clash between Vanja Milinkovic-Savic and Perr Schuurs.

Torino boss Ivan Juric was dismissed for berating referee Rosario Abisso following that goal, but his team showed greater composure to see out the closing stages in relative comfort.

What does it mean? Rossoneri fall short

Although the likes of Napoli and Atalanta have made headlines in Serie A by emerging as surprise pacesetters, Milan had begun their title defence in solid fashion, stretching their unbeaten away run to 17 league games ahead of Sunday's contest (W12 D5).

Milan had also kept five consecutive clean sheets in league meetings with Torino prior to this game, but they saw both of those records fall by the wayside after a quickfire double from their hosts, who richly deserved the win following a disciplined performance.

Djidji ends barren run

To say Torino have struggled against Milan in recent meetings would be an understatement: Djidji's opener ended a 499-minute run in which Torino had failed to find the net against Milan in Serie A meetings.

Their previous goal against the Rossoneri in the competition was scored by Andrea Belotti in September 2019, and prior to Sunday's game, no player in Torino's current squad had scored a league goal against Milan.

Leao kept quiet

Leao has emerged as the most obvious goal threat in an exciting Milan team, having recorded nine league goal contributions (five goals, four assists) ahead of the trip to Turin.

However, the Portugal attacker was hauled off at the break after a disappointing first half in which he squandered chances amounting to 0.51 expected goals (xG) and failed to hit the target with any of his four attempts.

What's next?

Milan host Salzburg in the Champions League on Wednesday, needing to avoid defeat to reach the last 16. Torino, meanwhile, go to Bologna in Serie A next Sunday.

Stefano Pioli believes Milan are capable of going beyond the 85-point mark in Serie A and insists that is the target as a title battle with Napoli looms.

There are other teams who could also be a factor, but Napoli are the side who have made a flying start, and defending champions Milan were their closest challengers heading into this weekend.

The Rossoneri head coach says it is not essential that his team head the table when the World Cup break comes around next month, but he is wary of letting Napoli build any sort of substantial lead.

Luciano Spalletti's team have already beaten Milan this season, which remains the only league defeat suffered by Pioli's men through 11 rounds of games.

On Sunday, Milan head to Torino, and they only managed a goalless draw in the corresponding game last season.

With only three more Serie A matchdays remaining after this weekend before the World Cup leads to a seven-week pause, Pioli wants Milan to go into the interval on a high.

"We started at the beginning of the season with two objectives: to be as advanced as possible in the league on November 13 and to overcome the group in the Champions League," Pioli said.

Milan will have achieved the second of those aims if they avoid defeat to Salzburg at San Siro on Wednesday, as the games come thick and fast.

"We have many important games in a few days, but the team are doing well," Pioli said. "I have players who are available and strong.

"I will field those who I consider appropriate to win these challenges. Tomorrow is the most important, we are prepared to face it in the best possible way.

"We need to score as many points as possible. It will not be decisive to be first on November 13, but you have to get above 85 points. The more games you win now, the better."

It is not always the case, but passing 85 points is usually enough to land a Scudetto. The last team to top that mark but miss out on the title were Napoli in the 2017-18 season, when they posted 91 but finished four points behind Juventus.

Milan accumulated 86 points last term to pip Inter by two points.

Torino sit 10th in the table, and Pioli said Milan would need to show "quality and personality" on Sunday, predicting heavy pressure from the hosts.

"We want to give continuity by looking for a streak of results as long as possible. Napoli are doing very well and winning on Sunday would be important," Pioli said.

Brahim Diaz, who scored twice in the 4-1 win over Monza last weekend before being substituted with a muscle injury, has been passed fit for the game in Turin.

Dusan Vlahovic says the Juventus players are firmly behind Massimiliano Allegri after they stopped the rot with a 1-0 Derby della Mole win at Torino.

Head coach Allegri has come under increasing pressure after Juve were beaten 2-0 by Maccabi Haifa this week on the back of a Serie A defeat at Milan.

Bianconeri president Andrea Agnelli came out in support of Allegri following the midweek loss to Maccabi, which left the Turin giants surely facing a Champions League exit.

Allegri ordered his players in for a training retreat ahead of the clash with Torino, putting them through double sessions.

Juve responded with a derby victory on Saturday, Vlahovic scoring the only goal at the game in the second half at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino.

And the Serbia striker made it clear the players want Allegri to stay on.

"We knew it wouldn't be easy because it's the derby and they're a tough team," said Vlahovic. "We won in their home, and it was really important to us, we remain together and united.

"Now, we are working game by game, and the message is that Juve will never give up.

"We're all behind the coach, and you learn more in difficulties, I'm available, and I give 100 per cent, and I want to keep going like this."

Juve's win against their city rivals was their first away from home this season.

Massimiliano Allegri freed his Juventus players to go home and "hug their families" after they lifted the gloom with a 1-0 Derby della Mole win over Torino.

Dusan Vlahovic scored the only goal of the game in the 74th minute to settle the derby at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino on Saturday.

Under-pressure head coach Allegri had ordered his players to report for a training retreat after a 2-0 midweek Champions League defeat at Maccabi Haifa, which came on the back of a Serie A loss at Milan.

The Juve squad were put through their paces in double training sessions before facing their city rivals.

Allegri, who was given the backing of president Andrea Agnelli following a loss to Maccabi that left the Bianconeri facing a Champions League exit, says his players would not need to remain in their retreat after stopping the rot.

He told DAZN: "I told the guys that the team would be going home tonight to hug the families again."

Allegri made four changes to his starting line-up and went with a three-man defence in only a fourth Serie A win of the season for Juve, who moved up a place to seventh in the table.

The Bianconeri boss said it was the way his players approached the game that made the difference.

He said: "I was very serene on the bench because I saw that the team was playing a serious game."

Allegri added: "Regardless of the tactical part, today I liked the attitude. In a race the more duels you win, the more you have the chance to win the game.

"Football has evolved a lot, but this is always a topical aspect."

Juve's victory was also their first away from home this season and Allegri says they must kick on.

He said: "Today the boys showed that they are a team, an important group. The boys played a good match and I'm happy because it's the first away win.

"I'm sorry for this period, but sometimes there are things that go beyond what we can do. Today we took a first step, the team responded well, but now we have to continue."

Dusan Vlahovic scored the only goal of the game as Juventus lifted the gloom with a 1-0 Derby della Mole win at Torino.

Head coach Massimiliano Allegri has come under increasing pressure following 2-0 defeats to Milan and Maccabi Haifa, but the Bianconeri secured only their fourth Serie A win of the season against their city rivals on Saturday.

Vlahovic's seventh goal of the season in the 74th minute was enough to settle the derby at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino.

Victory for Juve moved them above Inter into seventh and was a welcome relief for the under-fire Allegri.

Allegri switched to a three-man defence of Danilo, Bremer and Alex Sandro as he made four changes to his starting line-up, but Juve were slow to get going in a frantic first half.

Aleksey Miranchuk forced a save from Wojciech Szczesny, and it was not until the 32nd minute that the Bianconeri had their first shot, Vanja Milinkovic-Savic comfortably gathering Vlahovic's effort.

Milinkovic-Savic stuck out a right hand to deny Vlahovic again moments later, then palmed away long-range drives from Adrien Rabiot and Manuel Locatelli before Juve captain Juan Cuadrado fired just wide.

Juve had a let-off when Nikola Vlasic was afforded too much space just inside the penalty area but Szczesny saved.

Moise Kean had been starved of service, yet the striker missed a golden opportunity to put the Bianconeri in front when he failed to hit the target from close range after Filip Kostic had picked him out.

Although Milinkovic-Savic produced more heroics to tip Vlahovic's header around the post, the striker was on hand to break the deadlock from point-blank range after Danilo headed the resulting corner into his path.

Massimiliano Allegri has denied reports that several Juventus players were angered by his decision to impose a training retreat ahead of Saturday's derby against Torino.

Juventus suffered a humiliating 2-0 defeat at Maccabi Haifa on Tuesday, leaving Allegri's team on the brink of a group-stage exit from the Champions League.

Meanwhile, Juve have taken just 13 points from their first nine matches of the Serie A season, their worst return at this stage of a campaign since 2015-16 (12), and are already 10 points adrift of leaders Napoli.

Bianconeri chairman Andrea Agnelli was forced to reject reports Allegri would be fired following the loss in Israel, after which the Juventus coach revealed the team would hunker down at their Continassa training ground ahead of Saturday's Derby della Mole.

Subsequent reports suggested that decision irritated several players, but Allegri claimed that is not the case on Friday, saying: "These are unfounded rumours. The team has never asked not to retire. 

"We know the moment, we came back on Wednesday, we trained when we arrived and the next morning we were on the pitch. 

"We are focused on trying to get out of this situation which is certainly not beautiful. We know that we cannot come out with just one match, but we must start achieving results.

"I talk to the team every day. Withdrawal is just a moment to be together, it is not a punishment. 

"We had yesterday and today to do double workouts, to give a little more order because it is normal that when there are no results, we tend to see things blacker than they are."

Juventus are winless in their last six away games in Serie A (D2 L4), their longest such run since they failed to win on seven consecutive road trips in 2010, but Allegri says the Bianconeri retain a sense of togetherness.

"It is not my personal challenge, it belongs to everyone," he added. "It is not that one wins and the others lose, it is done all together. 

"The team has worked well for two days, this afternoon we will do the last refinement and then we will arrive tomorrow evening to play against Torino."

Massimiliano Allegri insists he will not walk away from Juventus despite their dismal campaign hitting a new low with Tuesday's shock Champions League loss at Maccabi Haifa.

Juventus were unable to respond to Omer Atzili's first-half double as the Israeli outfit claimed a famous 2-0 win over the Bianconeri, turning up the pressure on Allegri.

Juventus are already 10 points off the pace on the domestic front after winning just three of their nine Serie A games this season, and their latest European reverse represents a severe blow to their hopes of progression.

With Paris Saint-Germain and Benfica sharing a 1-1 draw later on Tuesday, Juventus are five points adrift of the duo with just two games remaining in Group H.

With Allegri leading the Bianconeri to three defeats in their first four Champions League group games for the first time ever, chairman Andrea Agnelli was forced to deny the coach would be fired in the immediate aftermath of the loss.

Speaking to Sky Sports shortly thereafter, Allegri was adamant he remained up for the fight, saying: "I have never thought about resigning. 

"When a challenge becomes more difficult, it becomes even more beautiful. You have to come out with courage, desire and passion."

While Agnelli looked to absolve Allegri of blame after the defeat, he said he was "ashamed" of Juventus' display, and the head coach concurred.

"Agnelli is absolutely right," Allegri said. "It was one of the worst first halves we have done. It is not right to make a performance like that.

"We had the wrong attitude from the start. This match is difficult to explain, we just need to be silent. 

"The performance was not up to par, especially from a character point of view. We just have to keep quiet, work and get out of this situation."

Juventus' next fixture sees them face Torino in the Derby della Mole on Saturday, and Allegri revealed the side will bunker down at their Continassa training ground until that crucial game.

"Tomorrow, we return and until the derby we will all stay in Continassa," he added. "This is a duty we have towards the club, the fans and above all, ourselves."

Manchester United have identified Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans as a key target in January, filling one of the three gaps the club reportedly believe they need to address at the next opportunity.

Tielemans, 25, has already earned 52 international caps for Belgium and fits the bill as a creative technician in the middle of the park, with Fichajes claiming United feel Christian Eriksen is their only current option for that role.

Leicester have been unwilling to part ways with one of their best players, but with his contract set to expire at the end of this season, January will be their last chance to cash-in before he can leave on a free transfer.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED EYE TIELEMANS AS THEIR NEXT MIDFIELD MAESTRO

Due to Tielemans' contract situation, United may be able to scoop him up for well under his market value, although the player himself will ultimately have all the leverage if he chooses to wait things out and become a free agent.

As well as a central midfielder, the report also includes United are aggressively hunting another right-back – particularly in the Dutch market – and a forward.

Their January budget is said to be at £70million, but if they can find a team to take Cristiano Ronaldo off their books then that number will rise to £100m.

 

ROUND-UP

– The Liverpool Echo is reporting a bidding war is set to break out between United and Liverpool over 21-year-old Flamengo midfielder Joao Gomes, who is believed to be valued at over £30m.

– According to Ole, Moises Caicedo is keen to follow former Brighton manager Graham Potter over to Chelsea

Chelsea are locking up 18-year-old midfielder Lewis Hall on a contract that will keep him tied to the club through 2025, per Football London.

Arsenal are joining Manchester City, Juventus, Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the hunt for Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Jesper Lindstrom, who Calciomercato are reporting is worth £17m.

– Transfer Tavern is reporting West Ham will make another run at Torino full-back Ola Aina in January after having their interest rebuffed the last time around.

Marcelo Brozovic hailed Inter's resolve after he snatched a 89th minute winner in their 1-0 victory over Torino.

The Serie A heavyweights moved back into the top four thanks to some late heroics at San Siro, after a particularly toothless performance from Simone Inzaghi's men.

On the back of a derby defeat to Milan a week prior, followed by a lacklustre loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, the Nerazzurri had been hunting a crucial three-point haul this weekend.

Speaking afterwards, Brozovic did not understate the crucial nature of coming away on the winning side, and hopes the side can use it as a springboard to a stronger run.

"This is a really important victory, because it is a tough match," he told DAZN. "Torino are one-on-one all over the field. It was difficult.

"We needed this. In some games, we [have been] unable to do what we wanted. Now, we need to keep going and win. It is a victory for all of us and we hope for more."

Inzaghi doubled down on the importance of the result, and praised his team for their willingness to take a blow along the way.

"We knew that we'd have to suffer today," he added. "Our fans were with us to the end. I liked the fighting spirit. Games like this are very, very important to win.

"I wanted this, for us to get back to winning ways. We know the pressure is always on. Seeing the team work together in difficult circumstances, that is the most pleasing for a coach."

A last-gasp volley from Marcelo Brozovic spared Inter's blushes as they overcame Romelu Lukaku's absence to snatch a late 1-0 win against Torino in Milan.

The Croatian latched onto Nicolo Barella's lob into the box in the 89th minute to steer the ball just beyond Vanja Milinkovic-Savic and spark wild celebrations.

Inter, still without the injured Lukaku following his absence for their midweek UEFA Champions League loss to Bayern Munich, had looked lacklustre throughout, without a cutting edge.

But Simone Inzaghi will still take this victory with all the jubilation it was greeted with, while Ivan Juric will be left to rue what could have been for his stubborn visitors.

Roma have completed the signing of free agent Andrea Belotti on a one-year deal.

The Italy international is the Giallorossi's sixth arrival of the transfer window after Nemanja Matic, Mile Svilar, Zeki Celik, Paulo Dybala and Georginio Wijnaldum.

Striker Belotti could sign a two-year contract extension with the Eternal City giants, dependent on performance-related criteria.

Belotti, who departed Torino when his contract expired in June, arrives off the back of a successful seven-year stint with Il Toro, for whom he scored 113 goals in 251 appearances across all competitions.

The 28-year-old will bolster Jose Mourinho's attacking options, providing competition for the likes of Dybala, Tammy Abraham and Eldor Shomurodov.

And the Euro 2020 winner is excited to get down to work in the Italian capital.

"The ambitions and growth of Roma are there for all to see, and have exerted an incredible fascination in me," he told the club's official website.

"At this point in my career, I want to continue to improve, day after day, and I am happy to be able to do it with this new shirt.

"Now, I can't wait to hear the anthem at the stadium, in front of our fans."

Belotti could make his Roma debut when the Giallorossi welcome Monza to Stadio Olimpico in Serie A on Tuesday.

The 2022-23 season is right around the corner, with plenty to keep an eye on across Europe.

Title battles in England, Spain and Italy could be too close to call, while France and Germany will see rivals trying to knock Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich off their respective perches – while there is even more set to occur in the fight for European qualification and to avoid the drop.

Central to these battles will be the players, both new signings and established members of the old guard, and here are 10 to watch in the year ahead.

 

Ousmane Dembele – Barcelona

Previously considered to be one of the biggest pieces of evidence on Barcelona's transfer failings in recent years, Dembele turned a corner in the second half of last season to finish the campaign as one of Xavi's most important players.

Dembele finished with 13 assists in LaLiga last term, the most in the competition, 11 of which came in the final 15 games of the season – with the tally being more in that run from February than he accumulated across all competitions combined in the previous two seasons.

Handed a fresh new contract, all eyes will be on Dembele to see whether he is back to his best or whether the former Borussia Dortmund winger, who now has Raphinha for competition, merely had a purple patch.

 

Matthijs de Ligt – Bayern Munich

It has now been three years since De Ligt shone with the Ajax side that reached the Champions League semi-finals, where his performances made him one of the most coveted players in world football.

Stability was never quite found at Juventus, however, with shoulder injuries hampering his progress and the defender himself admitting the style was a "bit different" in Turin to what he experienced with Ajax.

Now at Bayern, De Ligt will look to return to the heights he was once at and is expected to form an exciting partnership with Dayot Upamecano.

Rafael Leao – Milan

In Milan's title-winning campaign last term, Leao was the team's joint-leading scorer in Serie A with 11 goals, alongside Olivier Giroud, but that was way off the pace in the overall charts as 15 players found the net more times.

Milan's total tally for goals in 2021-22 was 69, less than three of their rivals in the top five, and pressure is on Stefano Pioli's side to improve that return – with the signing of Divock Origi showing the desire to improve their return in the final third, with rivals Inter having strengthened by bringing Romelu Lukaku back to San Siro on loan.

It may all fall upon Leao, however, with the 23-year-old needing to show consistency in order to prove a significant venture into the market next year to replace veterans Giroud and Zlatan Ibrahimovic is not required.

 

Djed Spence – Tottenham

Middlesbrough will likely wonder what might had been if they retained Spence's services, having loaned him to Championship rivals Nottingham Forest and seeing him play a key part in their promotion back to the big time.

From September, the only two games Spence missed during Forest's league campaign were the two clashes with his parent club and his displays, including those in the FA Cup against the likes of Arsenal, made him hot property.

Spurs ultimately signed the England U21 international, who could be a contender to break into Gareth Southgate's World Cup squad if he quickly finds his feet in north London. He is a right-back, after all...

Darwin Nunez – Liverpool

Liverpool's prowess in the transfer market is facing its biggest test under Jurgen Klopp, who is looking to rejuvenate what has been a brilliant attacking trio with Sadio Mane moving on and Roberto Firmino's future uncertain.

Having signed Luis Diaz in January, the Reds raided a Portuguese giant again – this time Benfica – for Nunez.

Nunez scored six Champions League goals in the 2021-22 season and plundered a further 26 in the league, averaging a goal every 76 minutes. Nunez certainly has the capability to fill Klopp's Mane-shaped void, even if his style is slightly different to the Senegal attacker.

 

Matteo Guendouzi – Marseille

Swiftly breaking onto the scene at Arsenal but just as quickly earning himself a bad-boy reputation, Guendouzi flourished in his loan spell with Marseille last season and has now made the switch permanent.

The France international featured in every game for Marseille in the 2021-22 season, starting in 35 of his 38 Ligue 1 appearances, and forced his way back into contention to make Didier Deschamps' squad on a regular basis ahead of Les Bleus' World Cup defence in Qatar.

Guendouzi's growing maturity saw him captain Marseille in a 2-0 defeat against Lille last season and the forthcoming campaign may continue his redemption arc.

Adam Hlozek – Bayer Leverkusen

A name that will be familiar to Football Manager enthusiasts, Hlozek has earned his big move to one of Europe's top leagues after leaving Sparta Prague in his homeland for Bayer Leverkusen and the challenges of the Bundesliga.

Capable of playing across the front line, Hlozek heads to Germany with a stellar record of 29 goals and 30 assists in 91 league appearances in the top-tier in the Czech Republic.

Add in the 24 goals that compatriot Patrik Schick netted for Leverkusen last season along with the creativity of Florian Wirtz from midfield and the result is one that could be extremely exciting.

Vinicius Junior – Real Madrid

A formidable season for Vinicius saw the Brazilian net 17 goals and contribute 10 assists during Real Madrid's La Liga title-winning campaign, only being outscored by team-mate Karim Benzema in the league.

Benzema, who was one of only two players to get more assists than Vinicius last season, is now in the twilight years of his career and will soon surely hand the mantle to the next star forward at the Santiago Bernabeu – with Vinicius near-certain to be that man now Kylian Mbappe has decided to remain in Paris for the time being.

In a World Cup year, Vinicius could enjoy a campaign that sees him take the leading man tag for both club and country come the end of the season.

 

Hugo Ekitike – Paris Saint-Germain

Arriving into an attacking that already boasts Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi, it remains to be seen just how much football 20-year-old Hugo Ekitike will manage to play for Christophe Galtier's side.

Moving initially on loan, Ekitike, who was also a target for Newcastle United, is certainly one for the future.

With 10 goals and four assists for Reims last term, Ekitike has shown his prowess in the final third and could be a valuable asset in the hunt to end the elusive wait for a Champions League crown.

Samuele Ricci – Torino

Long touted as the next star in Italy's midfield, Samuele Ricci has moved on from Empoli but, to the surprise of some, did not take the leap to one of Serie A's big guns and instead continued his development by joining Torino in January.

Ricci featured 13 times for Torino, including nine starts in what was a stellar breakout year in Italy's top tier, with the 20-year-old having previously been crowned Serie B's best player in the 2020-21 season.

Breaking into Italy's squad in 2022, Ricci's meteoric rise should continue, and he may find himself coveted by some of the biggest clubs across Europe.

Page 1 of 6
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.