Dimitri Payet was hit by a bottle thrown from the crowd early in Lyon's home game with Marseille, causing Sunday's big Ligue 1 clash to be suspended.

Former West Ham playmaker Payet was preparing to take a corner amid a hostile atmosphere when he was struck on the side of the head by a bottle full of liquid.

He immediately went to ground and needed treatment, prompting referee Ruddy Buquet to take the players off the pitch.

Payet left the pitch with an ice pack pressed to the side of his head.

There have been a number of major crowd trouble incidents in French football this season, starting from the opening weekend when Marseille midfielder Valentin Rongier was hit by a bottle while celebrating a goal that Payet scored against Montpellier.

Marseille and Payet were on the receiving end later in August after Nice fans hurled bottles onto the pitch. Payet was struck and hurled the bottle back into the stand, sparking a pitch invasion by Nice ultras. That match was abandoned and replayed behind closed doors at Troyes' neutral ground in October.

It remained to be seen whether Sunday night's game would continue, with the players still off the pitch more than half an hour after Payet was hit.

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino declared himself "satisfied" with what he saw from Neymar in the Ligue 1 leaders' 0-0 draw with rivals Marseille in Le Classique.

Neymar returned to the squad after missing PSG's Champions League win over RB Leipzig on Tuesday with a groin injury and started up front alongside Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi on Sunday.

That reunion did not produce the desired effect, with the vaunted attacking trio unable to find the net away to Marseille at the Velodrome. 

PSG were forced to play with 10 men from the 57th minute, when star full-back Achraf Hakimi was sent off.

That tactical disadvantage forced Neymar to drop back into the midfield after Thilo Kehrer replaced Angel Di Maria just past the hour.

Neymar gave way himself in the 83rd minute, as Georginio Wijnaldum came on to see out the draw. 

It was the first 0-0 between Marseille and PSG at the Velodrome in Ligue 1 since November 1998, the end of a 21-match run.

"After the sending off, a choice needed to be made, and at that point, we thought we had to bring on Kehrer and bring Neymar back as a third midfielder," Pochettino told reporters.

He added: "I am very satisfied with Neymar's game, he has sacrificed a lot for the team after returning from the Brazilian national team and being inactive."

Neymar played all 90 minutes in Brazil's CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers against Colombia and Uruguay during the international break, producing a goal and two assists as Brazil won the latter fixture 4-1. 

Though the Brazilian has not scored for his club since September 19, PSG have plenty of options.

PSG are unbeaten in their last nine trips to Marseille in Ligue 1 (W6 D3), and remain on a run of three clean sheets at their rivals in the top flight – a first in their history.

None of them came through on Sunday, but Pochettino sounded an upbeat note afterward. 

"There are several positive things to take from the game," he said. "The team was solid, it showed character, it was well-organised with and without the ball.

"It's a shame to have played with 10 men for nearly 40 minutes. But even in these conditions, we controlled the game.

"We don't want to celebrate the point because there's a bitter feeling with this game. But there were some good things from an attacking point of view, we just lacked in finishing. I think we were a bit better than OM, not by much, but we deserved to win."

Mauricio Pochettino believes Paris Saint-Germain displayed "character and personality" in their 0-0 draw with Marseille on Sunday.

PSG largely struggled to break down a stubborn Marseille defence despite starting with Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, before their hopes of claiming all three points were dented when Achraf Hakimi received a straight red card in the 57th minute for bringing down Cengiz Under.

Marseille went close to finding a winner in the closing stages, while Messi was chased by a spectator late in the second half, with security slow to apprehend the man.

The result stretched PSG's unbeaten run at Marseille in Ligue 1 to nine games, while they have now kept clean sheets at the Orange Velodrome in three straight matches for the first time in their history.

Despite PSG's lacklustre showing in attack, Pochettino was pleased with his side's efforts in front of a hostile home crowd, who routinely threw objects at PSG players as they took corners.

"I think overall our performance was good," he told RMC Sport. 

"We played almost 40 minutes with 10 men because of Hakimi's red card. Yes, we wanted to win, it was our idea. But, in the end, we are quite happy with this performance.

"I think we played well. Yes, it was a very good game, with different phases. I think we just missed scoring. We did a lot of positive things. I'm pretty happy because it was a very difficult game. 

"The team showed character and personality. By playing with 10 for 40 minutes, I think we showed a lot of character. Of course, we showed identity and style in the game."

 

The result means PSG are seven points clear at the Ligue 1 summit, while Marseille are 10 points behind in fourth, although Jorge Sampaoli's side have a game in hand.

It was their first draw of the season and, while happy with the performance, Pochettino expects his side to return to winning ways soon.

"Obviously, as coach of PSG, we always hope to win, but I can only congratulate the players for what they did today," he added.

"We are in search of a balance. From experience, we know that these periods in October and November are always difficult.

"But I am happy with the progress of the team, I am satisfied with where it is today in its course of evolution."

PSG are next in action on Friday when they host reigning champions Lille at the Parc des Princes.

Achraf Hakimi was sent off for Paris Saint-Germain as the Ligue 1 leaders played out a 0-0 draw with Marseille in Le Classique on Sunday.

Mauricio Pochettino's side, who started with the heralded trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, largely struggled to break down their stubborn hosts, even before Hakimi's dismissal in the 57th minute for a foul on Cengiz Under.

Valentin Rongier and Konrad De la Fuente wasted glorious opportunities to find a winner in the closing stages as PSG ultimately held on to take a point back to the capital.

The result means PSG are seven points clear at the Ligue 1 summit, while Marseille are 10 points behind in fourth, although Jorge Sampaoli's side have a game in hand.

PSG thought they had taken a 14th-minute lead when Luan Peres diverted Neymar's mis-hit shot into his own net, but a VAR review showed the Brazilian was in an offside position.

Marseille had an effort of their own ruled out seven minutes later, Pol Lirola straying into an offside position before Arkadiusz Milik found the back of the net.

Moments after Pau Lopez tipped a Lionel Messi header onto the crossbar referee Benoit Bastien stopped play for a few minutes after projectiles were thrown at Neymar as he tried to take a corner.

PSG's hopes of claiming all three points were dealt a blow in the 56th minute when Hakimi was shown a straight red card for bringing down Under outside the penalty area as he bore down on goal.

An unmarked Rongier inexplicably headed wide in the 65th minute, while Konrad fluffed his lines when the ball fell kindly to him at the back post as the game petered out for an uninspiring draw. 

Paris Saint-Germain manager Mauricio Pochettino revealed that Mauro Icardi would be available for Sunday's Le Classique clash at Marseille.

The 28-year-old has missed several training sessions and was not named in the squad that beat RB Leipzig 3-2 in the Champions League due to personal issues, but Pochettino has confirmed that the striker is now back in contention.

Icardi is PSG's joint-second highest scorer in the league and, of players at the club to have played at least 300 minutes in the competition, the striker has the best minutes per goal ratio (159.67) and ranks second for expected goals (2.37).

"Mauro is a mentally strong person," Pochettino said. "He trained with us before Leipzig, although he didn't play, and [he came back on Thursday]. 

"He will be in the group [on Sunday]. The club, from the president to the staff, makes sure to support him and be present if necessary. But he's good, available."

Pochettino was also boosted by the availability of Neymar on Friday, but Leandro Paredes remains sidelined, with a return scheduled after the next international break, as do Spanish pair Sergio Ramos - who still has yet to make his debut - and back-up goalkeeper Sergio Rico, who is expected to be back in training in a week.

The former Tottenham and Southampton boss in relishing a special contest between the Ligue 1 leaders and third-placed Marseille.

"Tomorrow's game is different," Pochettino added. "I've experienced it as a player and as a coach last year. 

"We know each other well, it will be a special game. We play for the three points, but also for pride, joy."

PSG are top of Ligue 1 with 27 points from their opening 10 games, winning nine and losing one, while Marseille are third on 17 points, although they have a game in hand.

Is the end nigh for Aaron Wan-Bissaka at Old Trafford?
 
Wan-Bisakka joined Manchester United in a big-money deal in 2019 but the Red Devils are reportedly ready to replace the Englishman.
 
A talented RB Leipzig defender could be the team's next right-back.

 

TOP STORY – NEW RIGHT-BACK SET FOR OLD TRAFFORD?

Manchester United are eyeing RB Leipzig right-back Nordi Mukiele, according Fichajes.net.

United are reportedly keen to sign a replacement after losing patience with Aaron Wan-Bissaka at Old Trafford.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is believed to be interested in Leipzig's 23-year-old star Mukiele.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato claims Milan and Juventus are interested in United States and Dallas sensation Ricardo Pepi. The 18-year-old has also been linked with Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

- Inter are willing to let Alexis Sanchez leave the Serie A champions, reports Calciomercato. Marseille, Real Betis and Sevilla are among the possible options for the 32-year-old Chilean.

Tottenham are weighing up a move for Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins, per Fichajes. It comes amid continued uncertainty over Spurs star Harry Kane, who has been linked with Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus as well as United.

 

The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) docked Nice two Ligue 1 points, one of which was suspended, due to their involvement in the chaotic scenes with Marseille last month.

The August 22 clash was suspended and then abandoned after home fans stormed the Allianz Riviera pitch in response to Marseille's Dimitri Payet, who was hit on the back of the neck, throwing a bottle back into the Nice crowd.

The LFP had summoned the two teams to a disciplinary hearing on August 25 to explain the unsavoury scenes, which saw a melee break out on the pitch and subsequently in the dugout.

On Wednesday, the LFP announced its decision to punish Nice with a one-point deduction, while also subjecting the French club to three games behind closed doors.

For inciting the crowd, Marseille star Payet received a one-game suspension while team-mate Alvaro Gonzalez faces a two-match ban for also provoking the home fans.

The fixture with rivals Marseille, which failed to be completed as the visitors refused to come back onto the pitch, will also be rearranged and played on a neutral ground without supporters in attendance.

"After reading the investigation report in the presence of the two clubs, the Commission decided to replay the match on a relocated field," the LFP said in a statement midweek.

"In addition, two penalty points were imposed on OGC Nice, including one suspended point."

Marseille physio Pablo Fernandez was caught on camera punching a Nice fan and, after already being suspended indefinitely by the LFP, he will not return to the touchline until June 30th 2022.

Of Payet and Gonzalez, France football's governing body added: "Regarding the players, defender Alvaro Gonzalez received two games of suspension.

"As for his team-mate Dimitri Payet, he was sanctioned with a suspended match."

Nice have won two of their opening three league matches following an unbeaten start to the season, while Marseille also boast the same record.

The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) have summoned Nice and Marseille to explain the chaotic scenes that marred their Ligue 1 fixture.

Sunday's contest was suspended and then abandoned after Marseille's Dimitri Payet threw a bottle back into the stands at Nice's Allianz Riviera, prompting home fans to storm the pitch.

A statement from LFP said: "Following the serious incidents of the meeting between Nice and Marseille, the disciplinary commission of the LFP summons the two clubs for the session of Wednesday, 25 August 2021."

Marseille plan to take action to reverse the LFP decision to award Nice a 3-0 victory after OM's players refused to come back out to complete the match.

Captain Steve Mandanda justified his team's refusal to return to the field after supporters had been ushered back into the stands.

"Quite simply, for us players, our safety was no longer guaranteed," the goalkeeper told Marseille's official website.

"We are very clearly shocked by what happened. It is for us something unacceptable that the supporters can come on to the field like that.

"We found each other in danger. A lot of our players have been targeted or affected."

France's minister for sport, Roxana Maracineanu, has called on football's authorities to take action against Nice for the "intolerable" behaviour of their supporters.

"The fight should never have taken place, people should never have been able to enter a field," she told BFM.

"There must be penalties for the club in question so that it affects the fans of the team.

"It's intolerable because the first condition for a match taking place is that the safety of the players on the pitch is assured.

"I hope that the investigation, whether disciplinary or criminal, will make it possible to identify the culprits and to punish them as necessary."

Olympique Marseille intend to take action to reverse the Ligue de Football Professionnel's (LFP) decision to award Nice a 3-0 victory from Sunday's abandoned Ligue 1 game.

Play was suspended between Nice and Marseille at Venue Allianz Riviera with the hosts 1-0 up in the 76th minute when home fans flooded on to the pitch after OM's Dimitri Payet reacted to being hit by a bottle projectile thrown from the crowd by sending it back.

The situation spilled over as Nice ultras spilled on to the pitch and skirmishes broke out among fans, officials and players from both sides. The players eventually left the field of play.

Marseille head coach Jorge Sampaoli was demonstrative in the tunnel and insistent his players should not return given the situation, along with OM president Pablo Longoria.

The match was set to resume but Marseille refused to return due to safety fears, meaning the decision was made by the LFP that it was abandoned and Nice handed a 3-0 win.

According to Amazon, Marseille will take action to have that decision reversed.

"The league has decided to resume. We have decided, for the safety of our players, who have been attacked, not to resume the match," Longoria said.

"It is already the second time, we have experienced this in Montpellier. We had decided what happened today is completely unacceptable. We must set a precedent for French football by taking a stand.

"The referee agreed with us. He confirmed to us that safety was not guaranteed, he did not want to resume the game.

"But the LFP, for a matter of public order, wanted to resume. This is why we decided not to resume and to go back to Marseille this evening."

Three OM players Luan Peres, Matteo Guendouzi and Dimitri Payet were injured in the melees, while Nice claimed according to RMC that players Jean-Claire Todibo and Justin Kluivert were subjected to physical violence by Marseille's security staff during the on-field melee.

"It is disappointing that it ends like this," Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere said. "Things are quite clear... We had water bottles being thrown unfortunately but it is the reaction of the Marseille players to throw bottles back into the stands.

"Marseille's security should not have come onto the pitch and hit our players."

Rivere added: "What catalysed things was the reaction of two Marseille players… I don’t really understand why Marseille didn’t restart."

The Ligue 1 match between Nice and Marseille was suspended and then abandoned after Dimitri Payet threw a bottle back into the stands, causing home fans to storm the pitch.

Footage showed Payet was struck on the back by the missile near the corner flag during the second half, with Nice leading through Kasper Dolberg's 49th-minute goal.

Marseille star Payet then appeared to hurl a bottle back into the crowd, then a second lying on the turf, as his team-mates reacted furiously towards the terraces.

Fans then surged to the sidelines and forced their way past stewards and onto the pitch, where a melee broke out.

The referee suspended the match as security staff attempted to restore order, but fans continued to get onto the field of play and there were further skirmishes in the dugouts as players were led towards the tunnel.

Both sides were eventually taken to the dressing rooms for nearly an hour before Nice players returned to the pitch to warm up, with the game apparently set to resume.

The match officials set up play to continue from Marseille's corner but, as the visitors had not come back onto the pitch and were apparently refusing to do so, the referee ended the game.

Marseille president Pablo Longoria told RMC Sport: "We decided not to resume the match for the safety of our players.

"The league decided as a matter of public order to resume the match. This isn't acceptable for us. It's why we decided not to resume."

 

 

 

Everyone wants Lionel Messi but few have the resources to sign him.

Paris Saint-Germain appear to be strong favourites to land the Argentina international.

A deal could happen in the coming days.

 

TOP STORY - PSG CLOSE IN ON MESSI

PSG believe they are close to a deal to land Lionel Messi.

ESPN reports PSG have been in contact with Messi's father and agent Jorge "for some time" and are set to offer a three-year contract. 

Sky Sport Italia says the deal is more likely to be for two years with an option to extend it to a third. 

The ESPN report said adding Messi would make it more likely Kylian Mbappe would stay with the club rather than leave when he is out of contract next year, though it would end PSG's pursuit of Paul Pogba, partly due to FFP concerns.

 

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea are set to pay about £95million for Romelu Lukaku as Inter prefer a cash-only deal, the Daily Mail reports. Calciomercato says the Blues offered Davide Zappacosta and Marcos Alonso in a swap deal but the Nerazzurri were not interested. 

- Inter are looking within Serie A to replace their outgoing striker, Sky Italia says, with Atalanta's Duvan Zapata and Roma's Edin Dzeko their preferred options.

- Barcelona are trying to come to an agreement with Lille on midfielder Renato Sanches, Le10 Sport reports. 

- Rafa Mir is set for a move from Wolves to Atletico Madrid, with Fabrizio Romano reporting personal terms have been agreed. 

- West Ham have offered €14m (£12m) to Marseille for Duje Caleta-Car, L'Equipe reports, saying the Ligue 1 side are holding out for €20m (£17m).

Arsenal have loaned defender William Saliba to Marseille for the duration of the 2021-22 campaign.

The 20-year-old has yet to make a competitive appearance for the Gunners since being signed for a reported £27million (€29.7m) in July 2019.

Saliba was loaned straight back to Saint-Etienne and spent the second half of last season with Nice after being left out of Arsenal's Premier League and Europa League squads.

He will now return to Ligue 1 for another spell after Marseille reached an agreement with Arsenal over a season-long loan.

Following confirmation of the deal on Thursday, Arsenal technical director Edu told the club's official website: "Together with William, we have decided it will be good for his continued development to spend another season on loan.

"William joined us as an 18-year-old, and he is still only 20, so he is still developing all the time. William is a player with strong natural ability and next season has the potential to be really beneficial for him at Marseille, a good club.

"To play another season in Ligue 1 will be very important for his development. We will of course be keeping in close contact with William during the season and wish him all the best in France with Marseille."

 

Speaking earlier this year during his time on loan with Nice, Saliba claimed he was "judged on two and a half matches" by Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.

The France Under-20 international featured 22 times for Nice in all competitions in the second half of last season, 20 of those appearances coming in Ligue 1.

Among defenders to have played at least four times in the French top flight last season, Saliba ranked fifth for successful passes per 90 minutes (66.75), behind Marquinhos (67.98), Nayef Aguerd (70.02), Dante (72.81) and Presnel Kimpembe (72.95).

He averaged 73.15 attempted passes per 90 minutes in Ligue 1 last term, which compares to 69.85 for Gabriel Magalhaes for Arsenal in the Premier League, 55.17 for Rob Holding and 55.1 for Pablo Mari.

Marseille have already signed Matteo Guendouzi from Arsenal on a permanent transfer during the close season.

Europe's top five leagues all conclude this week and there are still plenty of matters to be resolved – not least who will be crowned champions in Spain and France.

Every division has something riding on the final days of the season, whether it be top spot, European qualification, or relegation.

Ahead of what is set to be a dramatic conclusion to the Premier League, LaLiga, Ligue 1, Serie A and the Bundesliga campaigns, we look at the state of play in each league.

 

PREMIER LEAGUE

Manchester City wrapped up the Premier League title with three games to spare, making them the first team in the competition's history to win the title despite being as low as eighth on Christmas Day.

All three relegation places were also decided with three games remaining – a Premier League record – with Fulham joining Sheffield United and West Brom in dropping down a division.

That leaves just the European spots to fight for, and it is shaping up to be an entertaining end to the English top-flight season in that regard. Manchester United are guaranteed a top-four finish, but five other teams – Leicester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and West Ham – are in the mix for the two other Champions League berths with two rounds of games to go.

There is also the small matter of the Europa League places for the teams finishing in fifth and sixth, as well as a spot in the inaugural Europa Conference League, which goes to the team in seventh, meaning everyone from 10th-placed Leeds United to Leicester in third have something to play for. That includes Arsenal, who have not missed out on European football of some sort in 25 years.

LALIGA 

The Spanish title race appeared to take a dramatic twist on Sunday as Real Madrid leapfrogged Atletico Madrid at the summit for around 20 minutes. However, Atleti scored two late goals to beat Osasuna, meaning they are two points ahead of their city rivals heading into the final round of games.

Atleti, who have led the way at the top for 29 matchdays, now need to match Madrid's result against Villarreal when they travel to relegation-threatened Real Valladolid on the final day of the season. It is worth noting that Los Blancos have the superior head-to-head record, so a draw would not be enough for Atleti if Madrid win.

Barcelona are officially out of the title race, meanwhile, but they are assured of a top-four finish along with Sevilla. Real Sociedad and Real Betis occupy the Europa League spots, while Villarreal are in a Europa Conference League berth, though just one point separates the three teams so that could all yet change.

To complicate matters, Villarreal could still qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa League final against Manchester United.

At the bottom end of the division, Eibar are already relegated and they will be joined by two of Valladolid, Elche or Huesca. Valladolid must beat Atletico in their final game to have a chance of staying up, while the onus is on Elche to better Huesca's result as they are level on points but have an inferior head-to-head record.

LIGUE 1

The Ligue 1 title battle is also going right down to the wire in a three-way dogfight. After a thrilling race that has lasted the course of the season, underdogs Lille lead heavyweights Paris Saint-Germain by one point with one matchday left.

Monaco have won seven of their previous eight games and are three points off leaders Lille, though they require both Les Dogues and PSG to slip up on the final day, as well as beating Lens. Should it come down to goal difference, PSG hold a big lead over their two title rivals.

Incredibly, PSG are still not yet technically assured of a Champions League place as Lyon in fourth are only three points worse off, although it would take a defeat for the reigning champions and victory for Lyon, plus a goal swing of 16, for them to miss out.

Monaco's opponents Lens, incidentally, also have plenty to play for at the weekend as they are sixth – enough for Europa Conference League qualification – but can still be caught by Rennes in seventh, while they could yet overtake Marseille in fifth if results go their way.

At the opposite end of the table, there may only be one spot left to be settled in the bottom three – Dijon and Nimes are both already down – but six teams are still very much in danger of the drop. Nantes occupy the relegation play-off spot, with Lorient, Brest and Strasbourg just a point better off, and Bordeaux and Reims only two points clear.

SERIE A

With Inter being crowned Scudetto winners for the first time in 11 years at the start of the month, the biggest storyline in Serie A regards Juventus' top-four fate. The dethroned champions, who had finished top nine years running before this season, are currently down in fifth.

Juve are one point behind Napoli and Milan in the two spots directly above them, while Atalanta are three points better off in second and have the better head-to-head record against the Bianconeri.

Andrea Pirlo's side are therefore in need of favours on the final day in what is poised to be a nail-biting finale in terms of those Champions League places. Lazio will finish sixth, so they are assured of Europa League football next term, while Roma hold a two-point advantage over Sassuolo in the Europa Conference League position.

Parma and Crotone are both down already and one of Benevento or Torino will join them, the latter currently three points outside of the relegation zone and with a game in hand to play on Benevento.

BUNDESLIGA

RB Leipzig provided Bayern Munich with some stern competition for a while, but the Bavarian giants' quality eventually told and they are Bundesliga champions for a ninth year running.

It's not only the title race that's done and dusted in Germany, in fact, as RB Leipzig are certain of second place, and both Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg will join them in the Champions League next season.

Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen, meanwhile, will finish in fifth and sixth respectively regardless of events later this week.

However, Union Berlin have work to do if they are to finish seventh for a place in the Europa Conference League play-offs as Borussia Monchengladbach are a point further back, while Stuttgart and Freiburg are two behind with a game to go.

Seven-time German champions Schalke will be competing in the second tier of German football next season, but Cologne and Werder Bremen are hanging on in there, sitting two and one point behind Arminia Bielefeld respectively in 15th place.

Could Luis Suarez return to Liverpool, where he spent three and half seasons from 2011 to 2014?

The Uruguayan forward has been a key part of Atletico Madrid's LaLiga title push this term, with 19 league goals.

The Reds are reportedly keen to bolster their forward options, with Suarez on their list.

 

TOP STORY – REDS PREPARING SUAREZ OFFER

Liverpool are interesting in the return of Suarez this off-season and are preparing an offer for the Atletico Madrid forward, according to Fichajes.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp reportedly wants to add experience to his front line and 34-year-old Suarez fits the bill.

Suarez scored 82 goals in 133 appearances for the Reds in his previous stint before joining Barcelona.

ROUND-UP

- Spanish outlet Cope claims that Real Madrid are not contemplating a move for Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo despite widespread speculation of a return. The report says Madrid are focused on the future rather than a veteran player whose career is winding down.

- Barcelona are planning to release Antoine Griezmann and Philippe Coutinho this off-season due to their financial issues, allowing them to retain young talent Pedri, Ilaix Moriba and Ansu Fati, according to El Confidencial.

- On the topic of Barcelona, Sport is claiming the Catalans have approved the signings of Georginio Wijnaldum from Liverpool and Memphis Depay from Lyon and are awaiting validation from their new board.

- Diego Costa has reached an agreement to join Benfica as a free agent, according to Mundo Deportivo. Costa left Atletico Madrid in December and returned to his native Brazil.

- Manchester United are considering a move to sign 24-year-old Villarreal defender Pau Torres in the off-season, according to the Manchester Evening News.

- Galatasaray, Flamengo or Marseille are the primary options to be Arturo Vidal's next home as he is set to leave Inter, reports Calciomercato.

Mauricio Pochettino is hoping bitter rivals Marseille can give Paris Saint-Germain a helping hand in the Ligue 1 title race when they face Lyon on Sunday.

PSG eased to a 4-0 win over bottom side Dijon on Saturday to climb two points above Lyon in second place and a point behind leaders Lille, both of whom have a game in hand.

Lyon have won five of their last six league games and can move back above the reigning champions when they make the trip to the Stade Velodrome.

There is no love lost between PSG and Marseille, but Pochettino will be supporting Les Phoceens in Sunday's clash.

"We're going to watch the match and it would be welcome if Marseille wins," Pochettino told Canal+ "You have to win matches and stay consistent."

PSG were comfortable winners at Stade Gaston-Gerard thanks to Kylian Mbappe's double - the first of those from the penalty spot - either side of a Moise Kean strike and Danilo Pereira header.

It marks the first time since October that the Parisians have won back-to-back away matches in the league and, a week on from losing at home to Monaco, Pochettino was pleased with the manner of the victory.

"I am very happy. We were very professional today," he said. "It's important to win again and feel that feeling, and also to be perfect from the start. 

"It was a very physical team we played and our approach was the right one. We were as we wanted to be, constant from the start."

Danilo's late header was his first goal for PSG and the holding midfielder also made a big contribution defensively, gaining possession more times (eight) than any player on the field.

"I'm happy with Danilo. He has shown that he can have a place in the side," he said. "Danilo is very professional and we are happy that he scored."

Danilo left the field seven minutes after scoring but has allayed fears of a possible injury lay-off heading into a crucial run of fixtures for PSG.

"It's nothing serious," he said. "Now I have to continue working hard every day to play. Today I was given an opportunity and I think I did well.

"I'm very happy to have scored my first goal and particularly happy with the win. It was a good game for us after losing to Monaco and important we took the three points."

Echoing the view of boss Pochettino, Danilo added: "Now I hope Marseille win!".

PSG have now won 11 of their 12 Ligue 1 meetings with Dijon, scoring 41 goals across those games.

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