Ernesto Valverde has refused to speak about the possibility of Barcelona bringing back Neymar, who is unsettled at Paris Saint-Germain.

PSG sporting director Leonardo has confirmed the French club will listen to offers for the Brazil international, who left Barca in a world-record €222million deal two years ago.

Neymar is reported to favour a switch to Camp Nou, where Lionel Messi is said to be pushing for his return, but LaLiga rivals Real Madrid are also rumoured to be interested in the 27-year-old.

Reports have claimed Barca and Madrid have both had offers rejected by PSG, whose fans displayed banners criticising Neymar during their first Ligue 1 game of the season, against Nimes last Sunday.

But Valverde, who has led Barca to the LaLiga title in each of his two seasons in charge, is unwilling to allow the ongoing saga to act as a distraction ahead of the new campaign.

"I'm outside all these matters and focusing on coaching the team, I have enough to think about ahead of the game without thinking about players from other teams," Valverde told reporters on Thursday. 

"We need to respect players that play for other clubs, he belongs to Paris Saint-Germain right now so no, I have nothing to comment on right now.

"I have a squad to consider and I think about them for tomorrow, what happens after that is a problem for the future.

"I'm very happy with the squad and I have no reason to talk about players in other teams.

"I'm the coach, my job is to adapt to the players I've got. At a club like this there are always mixed opinions."

It has been suggested Barca have offered Ivan Rakitic as a makeweight in a potential deal, but Valverde hopes the Croatia midfielder remains in Spain.

"He's a very important player for us, he has been for my two years here," he added. "I hope he will continue doing so."

Despite Barcelona's season getting under way at Athletic Bilbao on Friday, LaLiga's transfer window remains open. Valverde admits he would rather be sure of his squad ahead of the big kick-off.

"Yes it [the transfer window] is a problem, it's not logical," he said. "We had a similar situation last season, you want to know your squad when you start the league.

"It's not a sensible situation that the market is still open when the league is starting. The team that starts the league might not finish it and we have 15 days of uncertainty ahead.

"But anyway, I have to concentrate on the squad I have. It would be nice if it was definitive, but I don't know yet."

Neymar would be a threat to Barcelona's squad harmony if he returned to the club from Paris Saint-Germain, according to Blaugrana great Hristo Stoichkov.

Brazil star Neymar left Barca for PSG in a world-record €222million move in 2017, as the Ligue 1 side paid the forward's release clause.

Neymar's split from Barca was ugly – the club criticising PSG's conduct and disputing the player's loyalty bonus.

But, according to media reports, that has not stopped Neymar and Barca working behind the scenes in recent weeks in order to facilitate a move.

Neymar's position at PSG looks untenable after the club's ultras sang offensive chants about him during their Ligue 1 opener, while Barca are said to have offered multiple players and a transfer fee to secure his return.

But Stoichkov, who spent seven years at Barca across two spells, is adamant Neymar is more trouble than he is worth.

"He would be a bomb inside the locker room," Stoichkov told Univision. "Barcelona don't need Neymar. He would have no space to play because they already have very important players.

"There are [Ousmane] Dembele, [Antoine] Griezmann, [Luis] Suarez, [Lionel] Messi. Where would he play? For my part, I don't want him to come back.

"I'm sure there are players who want to come back and ask the president for his effort, but Barca isn't going to move a single Euro to get him back. Barca doesn't have the money to pay PSG.

"There are [swap] options, but the players Barca is offering to PSG is disrespectful [to the players]. Firstly, because Ivan Rakitic is a great worker, a very humble lad who has never let his guard down and has always defenders the interests of Barcelona.

"And [Philippe] Coutinho cost a lot of money, but he has a lot of ability and I defend him, and hopefully no Barca player leaves."

If Real Madrid want to sign Neymar, they may have to part with one of their young stars.

Neymar wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain and a return to Barcelona has been mooted for the world's most expensive footballer.

Madrid, however, are also eyeing Neymar but PSG have identified one Los Blancos Brazilian to replace their wantaway star.

 

TOP STORY – PSG ASK FOR VINICIUS AS PART OF NEYMAR DEAL

According to Spanish media, Paris Saint-Germain have asked for Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior to be included in any deal to send Neymar to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Neymar has been linked to former club Barcelona and fellow LaLiga giants Madrid as he looks to leave Paris.

PSG and Barca are yet to strike a deal, though talks are ongoing. In the meantime, sporting director Leonardo requested Brazilian youngster Vinicius in a potential deal with Madrid but it was swiftly rejected by Los Blancos, reports AS.

Marca, meanwhile, says PSG are keen for Vinicius and Luka Modric to be involved.

 

ROUND-UP 

- New signing Luka Jovic will not be leaving Real Madrid on loan, Bild says. Reports emerged on Wednesday that Jovic had failed to impress Zinedine Zidane following his €60million arrival from Eintracht Frankfurt. However, the Serbia forward is not set for a short-term move away.

- Inter want €80million for former captain and outcast Mauro Icardi, according to Tuttosport. Icardi has been deemed surplus to requirements at Inter following Romelu Lukaku's club-record arrival and the Argentina striker reportedly wants to join Juventus, while Roma and Napoli are believed to be interested.

- According to the Daily Mail, Alexis Sanchez is ready to quit Manchester United amid interest from Serie A. Having struggled to make an impact since his big-money arrival from Arsenal, Sanchez has been linked to AC Milan, Napoli, Juventus and Napoli.

- Staying at Old Trafford and the Mirror claims Victor Lindelof is set for a massive new Manchester United deal. Linked to Barcelona during the off-season, Lindelof is reportedly in line for a three-year extension. Meanwhile, the Daily Mail says United scouts passed on signing Sporting CP captain Bruno Fernandes.

- The Washington Post claims Mesut Ozil's agent was in Washington to meet with DC United on Wednesday. The MLS side have identified the Arsenal playmaker as a replacement for Wayne Rooney, who has agreed to join Derby County as a player-coach in January.

- AC Milan will resist offers for Suso and Franck Kessie as they want to keep the pair, reports Sky Sport Italia. Suso has been linked to Lyon, Sevilla and Roma, while Kessie rejected a move to Wolves.

Neymar leaving Paris Saint-Germain would not be good for Ligue 1, Marseille head coach Andre Villas-Boas believes.

PSG star Neymar has been linked to former club Barcelona and Real Madrid before the LaLiga transfer window shuts on September 2.

Neymar reportedly wants to return to Barca after his world-record €222million exit in 2017, while Madrid are also an option.

Asked about Brazil international forward Neymar, Villas-Boas said: "This type of player has an important image in football, a bit like when Ronaldinho was here in Paris.

"There's this attractiveness, the football world wants to watch these kinds of players. I don't know what's going to happen, I can't comment on the separation because I'm not the PSG coach.

"He is an important player in the world of football. For me, it was the player who could succeed [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Lionel] Messi for the Ballon d'Or. But he did not recover all the qualities he had shown in Barcelona.

"For Ligue 1, it's not good if he leaves. But we have other good players and clubs like OM, with an international reputation, who will always make Ligue 1 attractive."

Neymar has scored 34 goals in 37 Ligue 1 appearances despite both his seasons at PSG being interrupted by serious foot injuries.

In total, Neymar has managed 51 goals in 58 games for PSG – who opened their title defence with a 3-0 win over Nimes in the absence of the 27-year-old.

Lyon have completed the signing of Jeff Reine-Adelaide from Angers for an initial fee of €25million.

The 21-year-old signed a five-year contract after passing a medical on Wednesday.

Angers could be due a further €2.5m in incentives and will receive 15 per cent of any capital gain from a future transfer.

"Olympique Lyonnais welcomes Jeff Reine-Adelaide, considered one of the big hopes of the future in his position," the Ligue 1 club said.

The France Under-21 international joined Angers on a permanent deal last year after impressing in a loan spell away from Arsenal.

The Gunners are said to have had the opportunity to hijack the transfer to Lyon by submitting an equivalent bid.

He made 35 Ligue 1 appearances last season and scored last Saturday in the 3-1 opening-day win over Bordeaux.

Cardiff City are "concerned" by the results of the latest report from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) into the death of footballer Emiliano Sala.

The striker, along with pilot David Ibbotson, went missing when their plane crashed over the English Channel in January, days after his move to the Premier League club from Nantes was announced.

Sala's body was later recovered from the wreckage, but Ibbotson has not been found.

A report from the AAIB released on Wednesday said Ibbotson was "likely" to have been exposed to carbon monoxide before the crash, while toxicology tests on Sala showed clear signs of exposure to the poisonous gas.

Cardiff say the latest findings show the plane carrying Sala was "not appropriate".

A club spokesperson said: "CCFC is concerned at the AAIB's latest report which once again highlights that the aircraft used for Emiliano Sala was not appropriate.

"We continue to believe that those who were instrumental in arranging its usage are held to account for this tragedy."

The AAIB, meanwhile, has responded to calls from Sala's family to recover the plane's wreckage.

"The reasons for our decision not to recover the aircraft wreckage have been explained in detail to both families concerned," the organisation said in a statement.

"In February our underwater search operation successfully located the wreckage, recovered the passenger's body and captured substantial video evidence from the scene using a remotely operated vehicle. It was not possible at the time to recover the wreckage. 

"We have carefully considered the feasibility and merits of returning to attempt to recover the wreckage. In this case, we consider that it will not add significantly to the investigation and we will identify the correct safety issues through other means. 

"In making our decision, we took into account the high cost of underwater recovery, the evidence we collected in February and the risk that, after a violent impact with the sea, the wreckage would not yield definitive evidence."

Pilot David Ibbotson is "likely" to have been exposed to carbon monoxide before the plane on which he and footballer Emiliano Sala were travelling crashed over the English Channel in January.

A report from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said toxicology tests on Argentinian Sala, whose body was found in the wreckage, showed clear signs of exposure to the poisonous gas.

Search teams have found no sign of Ibbotson, who is presumed dead.

Striker Sala, who was 28, had said goodbye to former Nantes team-mates before travelling to join his new club, Cardiff City, when the Piper Malibu plane crashed north of Guernsey.

He died from head and trunk injuries, an inquest heard in February.

The AAIB said in a statement on Wednesday that its latest findings showed "the danger of exposure to carbon monoxide in both piston and turbine engine aircraft".

"Toxicology tests found that the passenger had a high saturation level of COHb (the combination product of carbon monoxide and haemoglobin)," said the AAIB statement.

"It is considered likely that the pilot would also have been exposed to carbon monoxide.

"When our investigation has concluded, we will publish a final report."

Geraint Herbert, principal inspector of air accidents with the AAIB, explained the impact of carbon monoxide poisoning.

He said: “Carbon monoxide is an odourless and colourless gas.

“Symptoms at low-exposure levels can be drowsiness and dizziness, but as the exposure level increases it can lead to unconsciousness and death.

“Inexpensive carbon monoxide detectors are widely available and can be fitted to aircraft to warn pilots of the presence of carbon monoxide.

“The investigation continues to look into a wide range of areas in relation to this accident but in particular we are looking at the potential ways in which carbon monoxide can enter the cabin in this kind of aircraft.

“We'll be publishing our final report in due course.”

Lyon have agreed a deal in principle to sign attacking midfielder Jeff Reine-Adelaide from Ligue 1 rivals Angers.

The 21-year-old will undergo a medical before finalising a move reportedly worth around €30million.

Arsenal, Reine-Adelaide's former club, have the opportunity to hijack the deal by submitting an equivalent bid.

The Gunners inserted the clause as part of the France Under-21 international's departure in 2018 but are not expected to match Lyon's offer.

Reine-Adelaide made 35 top-flight appearances last season, scoring three times, and could make his Les Gones debut against Angers on Friday.

Elsewhere in France, Montpellier have acquired goalkeeper Geronimo Rulli on a season-long loan from Real Sociedad.

The deal includes an option for Montpellier to sign the Argentinian on a permanent basis.

Borussia Monchengladbach have completed the signing of Algeria international Ramy Bensebaini on a four-year contract.

The left-back leaves Ligue 1 side Rennes after 98 appearances and three goals in all competitions.

Bensebaini, 24, won the Africa Cup of Nations in July, starting in defence as Algeria edged Senegal 1-0 in the final.

He trialled with Arsenal in 2015 and faced the Premier League club in the Europa League last term.

Gladbach agreed a reported fee of €10million with Rennes to make Bensebaini their fifth signing of the close season.

Marco Rose's men begin the new Bundesliga campaign at home to Schalke on Saturday.

Monaco have signed striker Wissam Ben Yedder from Sevilla on a five-year contract and sent Rony Lopes in the opposite direction.

The Ligue 1 side are said to have activated Ben Yedder's reported €40million buyout clause to reinforce Leonardo Jardim's squad.

But they have reportedly recouped €20m in a separate deal that sees Lopes head for Andalusia, where he has signed for five years.

The Portugal winger only agreed fresh terms with Monaco in December and started the club's season-opening 3-0 loss to Lyon on Friday.

Monaco will hope the twin transfer moves can improve their fortunes after narrowly avoiding relegation last term.

Ben Yedder, 29, is a proven goalscorer, having notched 18 times in the last of his three LaLiga campaigns at Sevilla.

The France international famously struck a brace to knock Manchester United out of the Champions League in 2018 and was linked with a move to Old Trafford earlier this year.

"I chose Monaco because I believe in this project and I am determined to do everything possible to go after our common ambitions," Ben Yedder said. 

"I come with the intention to prove, as always, my qualities and with the desire to reach a new level. 

"I want to thank the club for the trust it gives me. It's a beautiful day and the beginning of a new story that I cannot wait to start."

Ben Yedder previously made his name in a successful spell at Toulouse.

Former Manchester City man Lopes, meanwhile, will get the chance to replace Pablo Sarabia at Sevilla following the attacker's close-season move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Juventus, Roma, Napoli, Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain.

Where will Inter outcast Mauro Icardi end up before the transfer window shuts on September 2?

The Ligue 1 champions are reportedly interested in the former Inter captain.

 

TOP STORY – PSG WANT ICARDI IF NEYMAR LEAVES

According to journalist Tancredi Palmeri, Paris Saint-Germain are interested in signing Inter forward Icardi.

Icardi is not wanted at Inter, where he has been deemed surplus to requirements by head coach Antonio Conte.

And Icardi has reportedly been offered to PSG by Inter, who apparently want to block Paulo Dybala moving to Paris from Juventus.

Palmeri's column for Tuttomercatoweb insists Icardi's transfer to PSG depends on Neymar's departure, with Barcelona and Real Madrid eyeing the Brazilian.

 

ROUND-UP 

- The Neymar saga is ongoing as Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona try to strike a deal. Barca reportedly offered €80million plus Philippe Coutinho to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou, two years after his €222m departure. According to ESPN FC, Barca are willing to part with Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic as well as a fee.

Alexis Sanchez could be sent to Manchester United's reserves if he is not sold before the European window's closure, claims The Sun. United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is reportedly desperate to move on Sanchez, who has been linked to Roma.

- Gazzetta dello Sport says Inter and Juventus will go head-to-head to sign Fiorentina and Italy star Federico Chiesa at the end of 2019-20. Chiesa is a wanted man but new Viola owner Rocco Commisso is unwilling to sell his prized €70m asset.

Roma are preparing a bid to bring in Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi. That is according to Sky Sport Italia, regardless of whether Edin Dzeko is sold to Inter. Batshuayi spent time on loan with Valencia and Crystal Palace last season.

Monaco have approached Juventus defender Daniele Rugani, claims Goal. Roma have also been linked to Rugani, however, reports in England say Liverpool's Dejan Lovren is the Giallorossi's first choice.

- According to Marca, Valencia want AC Milan striker Andre Silva to replace outgoing forward Rodrigo Moreno. Rodrigo is poised to join LaLiga rivals Atletico Madrid and Silva is behind Krzysztof Piatek and Rafael Leao in Milan's pecking order. It comes as Milan try to wrap up a deal for Atletico forward Angel Correa.

Real Madrid would be among the favourites for this season's Champions League if they signed Neymar, according to Gheorghe Hagi.

The Brazil superstar has been linked to the LaLiga giants, as well as former club Barcelona, and he was absent as Paris Saint-Germain opened their Ligue 1 title defence with a 3-0 win over Nimes on Sunday.

PSG's sporting director Leonardo hinted Neymar – who cost a world-record €222million from Barca in 2017 – could be close to leaving the French capital.

Madrid have already signed Eden Hazard from Chelsea during the off-season and Hagi – who played for Los Blancos between 1990 and 1992 – says the addition of Neymar would make them a formidable force in the 2019-20 campaign.

"They can win easier," he told Super Deportivo Radio. "Without a doubt. If they sign Neymar and with the Hazard signing, they can win the Champions League again.

"[Zinedine] Zidane will then have to find a place for each one, but it's the best thing that can happen to a coach. You just have to motivate them."

Neymar has struggled to hit the heights of his time at Barca following his move to France, but Hagi is confident that he would rekindle his best form back in Spain.

"There are times that he is good and sometimes he is not," he added. "The value of the player is the same. He is a player who would do well for all the teams in the world."

Hagi was also drawn on the age-old debate of whether he prefers Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, with the 54-year-old opting for the Barca star.

"I would love to be his coach, but I confess that I choose Messi because I have a small weakness for him being left-footed," he explained.

"I was a left-footed footballer myself. I can't choose another one, it's my style." 

What does the future hold for Neymar?

That remains unclear. Though it is certain that the world's most expensive player wants to leave Paris just two years on from his €222million arrival in the French capital.

A return to former club Barcelona and a blockbuster move to Real Madrid are both options as this transfer saga drags on.

 

TOP STORY – TUCHEL WANTS DEMBELE IN NEYMAR DEAL

According to le10sport, Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel wants Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele included in any deal for wantaway star Neymar.

Neymar has been linked with a return to LaLiga champions Barcelona, as well as Real Madrid before the European transfer window shuts.

Having already splashed the cash on Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong, Barca are unable to meet PSG's demands in cash, so players and a sum of money has been mooted.

Philippe Coutinho is one played reportedly in the mix to move to PSG, though Tuchel wants to reunite with former Borussia Dortmund star Dembele.

 

ROUND-UP 

- Real Madrid will give up on signing Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba if they manage to sign Neymar from PSG, says The Sun. Los Blancos are desperate to beat Barca to Neymar's signature, reportedly willing to offer Isco, Marcelo or Raphael Varane plus cash for the Brazilian.

- Tottenham are ready to double Christian Eriksen's wages with a £200,000 per-week offer, according to the Daily Mail, as Juventus and Real Madrid continue to monitor the Denmark playmaker. Eriksen's current deal with Spurs expires at the end of this season.

- According to Gianluca Di Marzio, Ligue 1 side Monaco have joined the hunt to sign Inter outcast Mauro Icardi. Roma and Napoli are also interested in Icardi, however, Sportitalia claims the Argentina international only wants Juventus.

Napoli are eyeing former Tottenham striker Fernando Llorente, says Sky Sports. Llorente is a free agent after leaving Spurs. It comes as Napoli close in on PSV winger Hirving Lozano, with Corriere dello Sport reporting the Italian team have offered €60million for Icardi.

- The Corriere dello Sport also says AC Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma is close to leaving San Siro. PSG are the favourites to land Donnarumma thanks to sporting director Leonardo, who left Milan for PSG at the end of 2018-19.

Bayern Munich are interested in Barcelona playmaker Coutinho, reports Mundo Deportivo. A transfer depends on whether Coutinho is included in a deal to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou.

Michael Emenalo has left his post as Monaco sporting director.

The Ligue 1 club announced on Monday that the 54-year-old is stepping down by mutual consent.

"AS Monaco thanks Michael Emenalo for his commitment and wishes him all the best for future projects," the club said in a statement.

Emenalo took on the role in November 2017 after quitting a similar position with Chelsea.

Monaco have endured a difficult spell since winning the Ligue 1 title and reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2016-17.

They only avoided relegation to France's second tier on the final day of last season and started 2019-20 last Friday with a 3-0 home defeat to Lyon.

The club have confirmed a reorganising of the sporting sector around a new technical director.

Former Barcelona doctor Lluis Til-Perez has been appointed chief medical officer, while Olga Dementeva will oversee the club's medical department as a whole, "among other things".

Deputy CEO Oleg Petrov will remain in charge of recruitment.

 

Monaco have signed Henry Onyekuru from Everton on a five-year deal for an undisclosed fee.

The Nigerian joined the Toffees ahead of the 2017-18 season but has never played in a competitive fixture for the Premier League side.

He was immediately loaned out to Anderlecht and scored 10 goals in all competitions for the Belgian side before a knee injury cut his campaign short.

He was loaned out again for the 2018-19 season, scoring 14 league goals to help Galatasaray secure the title.

Monaco endured a torrid campaign last time out, finishing 17th in Ligue 1, and suffered a 3-0 defeat to Lyon in the opening round   

Writing on Twitter, Onyekuru said: "I want to thank Everton for the opportunity and making it possible for me to experience the best year of my career at Galatasaray.

"My time in Turkey was nothing short of amazing. The supporters, the club and my team-mates made me feel at home from day one."

Onyekuru, who has reportedly cost £12.5million, could make his debut for the club when they travel to Metz on Saturday. 

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