Rumour Has It: Barcelona plotting Mbappe swoop

By Sports Desk December 29, 2022

The power dynamic at Paris Saint-Germain is a curious watch, with Lionel Messi set to formalise an agreement to remain for another season.

Kylian Mbappe re-signed with the French champions in May until 2025 but has still been linked with moves away from the club.

Messi came out on top over Mbappe in the World Cup final earlier this month, and Barcelona believe an opportunity might arise. 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA SET TO SWOOP FOR FRUSTRATED MBAPPE

Mundo Deportivo claims that Barcelona are set for a shock move to sign Mbappe.

Speculation over Mbappe's future is growing amid reports he was further frustrated at Parc des Princes after Messi committed to extending his PSG stay.

The 24-year-old was close to joining Real Madrid in the past but he has been turned off by Los Blancos, since copping heavy criticism after opting to renew with PSG, and could now move to their fierce LaLiga rivals instead.

ROUND-UP

– Fabrizio Romano claims Barca have identified 18-year-old Borussia Dortmund forward Youssoufa Moukoko as a potential target and want to sign him as a free agent next year.

Liverpool want to sign Brighton and Hove Albion's World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister, reports La Repubblica. The Reds have joined Juventus, Dortmund, Inter and Benfica in pursuing the Argentina midfielder.

– Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham is set to choose Real Madrid over Liverpool, with the Spanish champions to prioritise a deal in 2023, claims Goal. The Liverpool Echo reports Bellingham and Dortmund will sit down in January to discuss his future.

Liverpool are interested in Inter defender Milan Skriniar , according to Fichajes. The Reds are looking at defensive reinforcements, with Skriniar out of contract at the end of this season.

Chelsea are interested in signing Celtic's Croatia international Josip Juranovic as cover for the injured Reece James, according to Sky Sports.

– Il Tempo claims that Roma have sounded out PSG about terminating Georginio Wijnaldum's season-long loan. The Dutchman suffered a serious injury in August.

Related items

  • Barcelona lose Frenkie de Jong and Pedri to injury in Athletic Bilbao stalemate Barcelona lose Frenkie de Jong and Pedri to injury in Athletic Bilbao stalemate

    Barcelona suffered a costly evening against Athletic Bilbao as they failed to make ground on leaders Real Madrid after a goalless draw that saw Frenkie de Jong and Pedri pick up injuries.

    Defeat for second-placed Girona and Real’s draw at Valencia opened up an opportunity for Barca but they were held to a stalemate at San Mames and sit eight points off top spot.

    Worse yet, they lost midfielders De Jong and Pedri in the first half, with the latter unable to hold back the tears as he contemplated the latest in a series of fitness setbacks.

    Ernesto Valverde’s side struggled to get time on the ball in the opening stages, with his former club Barcelona enjoying plenty of possession as Joao Cancelo established himself as the liveliest outlet on the park.

    Hanging on to the ball did not translate into obvious openings, though, with a pair of set-pieces the closest they came to an early breakthrough.

    Andreas Christensen headed over Ilkay Gundogan’s free-kick and Jules Kounde’s ambitious flick off a corner also cleared the crossbar.

    For their part, Athletic were feeding on scraps and largely unable to make use of the ball when they made it into the final third. Barca’s flow was disrupted when De Jong went over on his ankle in the 26th minute, clearly unable to shake off the pain as Fermin Lopez took his place.

    They almost grabbed an opener out of nowhere shortly after the half-hour when Cancelo tried his luck from long-range after Unai Simon’s punt up-field and caught the keeper out of position. Simon managed to back-track and get a hand on it but still needed Yeray Alvarez to clear up on the line.

    With time running down on the first half Pedri went down with nobody else involved, forced out of the match and letting his emotion get the better of him as he returned to the dugout.

    Athletic came alive at the start of the second period, captain Inaki Williams twice finding space in behind and twice missing the target as he let loose. Barca defenders Ronald Araujo and Pau Cubarsi were also forced into shutting down promising moves as the tide threatened to turn.

    Alex Berenguer had a couple of promising breaks but floundered when it came to an end product while 16-year-old Lamine Yamal, Pedri’s replacement, saw a penalty shout waved away at the other end.

    The hosts almost made Barca’s night even worse in added time when Dani Garcia arrived unmarked at the far post from a corner but failed to direct his header on target.

  • Napoli strike late to edge narrow Serie A victory over Juventus Napoli strike late to edge narrow Serie A victory over Juventus

    Giacomo Raspadori’s late goal earned a Napoli a second-straight Serie A win for the first time since September as they recorded a 2-1 victory over Juventus, who lost further ground on the league leaders as a result.

    A frantic first-half was on show for supporters inside the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium but Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s strike three minutes before the break put Napoli a goal up at half-time.

    Excitement levels in the second period did not drop and Juventus thought they would take a share of the spoils when Federico Chiesa’s beauty levelled things up.

    However, Giacomo Raspadori’s rebound from Victor Osimhen’s missed penalty gave Napoli a second win on the bounce, while – as a result – Juventus dropped further behind leaders Inter Milan.

    The visitors were first to test the waters and Dusan Vlahovic aimed and fired just wide of the far post in the 11th minute.

    Napoli came closest to opening the scoring when Frank Anguissa was denied by Wojciech Szczesny from six yards and Matteo Politano’s follow up was also kept out by the Poland goalkeeper.

    The game was already teeing up to be an end-to-end thriller, this time Chiesa picked out Samuel Iling-Junior but his first-time effort went marginally wide.

    Juventus came within inches of breaking the deadlock in the 34th minute when Vlahovic latched onto Chiesa’s through ball, he dinked it over the onrushing Alex Meret and onto the post.

    Back came Napoli and Mathias Olivera’s goalbound header was cleared off the line by Alex Sandro with the score somehow still at 0-0.

    Three minutes before the break, Napoli had a breakthrough. Moments after Anguissa had a shot blocked, a defensive header fell into the path of Kvaratskhelia, who proved too powerful for Szczesny and volleyed the ball into the bottom corner.

    Juventus could have had an equaliser almost straight away after Daniele Rugani capitalised on some loose possession in the home defence, the ball fell kindly to Vlahovic but he could not take advantage and skied his effort over the crossbar.

    Chances continued to come for Serbia international Vlahovic but he failed to find the back of the net, this time he broke the line but tamely hit his shot into the firm grasp of Meret.

    Juventus went in search of an equaliser, Southampton loanee Carlos Alcaraz decided to have a crack this time but his shot deflected kindly for Meret.

    The visitors found an equaliser in the 82nd minute when Chiesa found space just inside the box and cracked a daisycutter into the bottom-left corner to level things up at one apiece.

    Napoli were given the chance to retake the lead after Osimhen was brought down inside the box by Joseph Nonge, with referee Maurizio Mariani awarding a penalty following a VAR check.

    From the resulting spot-kick, Osimhen saw his strike saved by Szczesny but Raspadori was on hand to smash home his rebound via the post to save the blushes of the Nigeria striker.

    Juventus missed a golden opportunity to snatch an equaliser at the death when Chiesa’s driven cross was diverted over the crossbar by Rugani with the goal at his mercy.

    Napoli held on for maximum points to move up to seventh and leave their second-placed opponents 12 points off the lead.

  • Phil Foden stars as Manchester City come from behind to win derby Phil Foden stars as Manchester City come from behind to win derby

    Phil Foden scored twice in the second half as title-chasing Manchester City came from behind to claim a crucial 3-1 win over rivals Manchester United.

    The champions were stunned by a brilliant strike from Marcus Rashford after just eight minutes but were otherwise the dominant force in a keenly-fought Premier League clash at the Etihad Stadium.

    Their pressure eventually paid off as Foden levelled with a long-range effort in the 56th minute and then put his side ahead 10 minutes from time. Erling Haaland put the result beyond doubt in stoppage time.

    Victory took City one point behind leaders Liverpool ahead of the two sides’ eagerly-anticipated meeting at Anfield next weekend.

    Foden, also last week’s match-winner at Bournemouth, is rapidly becoming City’s star of the season but prior to his intervention it seemed Rashford could steal the headlines.

    The England forward this week defended himself against suggestions he was not fully committed to United and his blistering opener was an excellent way to do his talking on the pitch.

    It came from a route-one punt upfield by Andre Onana which was taken under control by Bruno Fernandes and laid off to Rashford 25 yards out.

    He seized the chance as he hit a thunderous first-time shot which flew in off the underside of the bar.

    It could even have got worse for City with two more United breaks catching them out.

    A Ruben Dias slip allowed Rashford another run at goal but the bounce wrong-footed him and Kyle Walker cleared. Rashford was then unable to make clean contact with a shot after a low ball was whizzed into the area.

    Yet these were rare forays in a first half City otherwise dominated, racking up a remarkable 18 shots – their most without scoring in an opening 45-minute period under Pep Guardiola.

    Haaland was guilty of their most glaring miss. The prolific Norwegian, who scored five at Luton in midweek, remarkably volleyed over in front of an open goal from a well-cushioned Foden header.

    Prior to that Foden and Rodri were both denied by Onana while Jeremy Doku, Kevin De Bruyne and Haaland all failed to make the most of half-chances.

    The equaliser came early in the second half as Foden connected with another fine effort from outside the area that curled into the top corner.

    United protested, feeling Rashford had been fouled by Walker moments earlier and a furious Erik ten Hag was booked for his reaction on the touchline, but that contact had been deemed minimal by referee Andrew Madley.

    The leveller reignited an atmosphere that had become subdued and play was held up after a blue flare was thrown onto the pitch and landed close to Onana.

    City continued to probe with Walker shooting at Onana but United retained a threat on the counter-attack and Alejandro Garnacho broke clear only to be denied by an Ederson tackle.

    The decisive moment came 10 minutes from time as Foden combined with Julian Alvarez and beat Onana with a low drive across goal.

    Haaland wrapped up the scoring with a precise finish – his 28th goal of the campaign – late on.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.