The pause in the football calendar (except in Belarus, of course) gives players across Europe plenty of time to reflect on their efforts so far this season.

While some have a few things to work on when matches return, there are others for whom 2019-20 has been a showcase of the very best they have to offer.

In the latest piece in our series, we look at the best-performing forwards in the Bundesliga, LaLiga, Ligue 1, Premier League and Serie A.

Goals might be the most obvious (and fundamentally important) of metrics for these players, but the number of times the ball crosses that white line is not the only measure of their quality.

To that end, we have also examined seven other parameters: minutes-per-goal rate, shots on target, shooting accuracy, shot conversion rate, big chance conversion rate, dribbles completed and dribble success rate. And these are for those players to make at least 10 league appearances this season, to avoid any unfair imbalance in the results (we're looking at you, Florin Andone).

Without further ado, we present the most ruthless forwards elite-level football in Europe has to offer...

THE MOST RUTHLESS FORWARDS IN EUROPE'S TOP-FIVE LEAGUES 2019-20:

 

BUNDESLIGA:

Most goals scored: Robert Lewandowski (25)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Robert Lewandowski (81.7)
Most shots on target: Robert Lewandowski (55)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Marcus Thuram (76.3 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Paco Alcacer (35.7 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Rouwen Hennings (71.4 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Marcus Thuram (57)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Lucas Alario (83.3 per cent)

LALIGA:

Most goals scored: Lionel Messi (19)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Lionel Messi (99.5)
Most shots on target: Lionel Messi (55)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Lionel Messi (68.9 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Lucas Perez (40.7 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Charles (83.3 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Lionel Messi (118)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Pione Sisto (76.9 per cent)

LIGUE 1:

Most goals scored: Kylian Mbappe and Wissam Ben Yedder (18)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Kylian Mbappe (84.1)
Most shots on target: Kylian Mbappe (49)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Kasper Dolberg (78.1 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Mauro Icardi (37.5 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Moussa Dembele (72.2 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Neymar (90)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Zaydou Youssouf (85.7 per cent)

PREMIER LEAGUE:

Most goals scored: Jamie Vardy (19)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Sergio Aguero (87.6)
Most shots on target: Mohamed Salah (43)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Anthony Martial (68.2 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (36.2 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Harry Kane (70 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Adama Traore (144)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Billy Sharp (86.7 per cent)

SERIE A:

Most goals scored: Ciro Immobile (27)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Luis Muriel (70.2)
Most shots on target: Cristiano Ronaldo (53)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Romelu Lukaku (65.5 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Ante Rebic (42.9 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Felipe Caicedo (85.7 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Jeremie Boga (106)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Sergio Floccari (72.2 per cent)

AND THE TOP EIGHT:

Most goals scored: Ciro Immobile (27)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Luis Muriel (70.2)
Most shots on target: Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski (55)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Kasper Dolberg (78.1 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Ante Rebic (42.9 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Felipe Caicedo (85.7 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Adama Traore (144)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Billy Sharp (86.7 per cent)

Tottenham have reversed the decision to cut the pay of 550 non-playing staff due to the coronavirus pandemic, instead promising to fulfil 100 per cent of their wages for April and May.

In a statement, Tottenham said that only board members would take salary reductions in order to protect the club's financial position, and chairman Daniel Levy expressed regret for the concern caused by the initial decision to furlough staff.

Spurs were one of five Premier League clubs to come in for criticism after taking advantage of the United Kingdom government's furlough scheme, along with Liverpool - who have since reversed their decision - Bournemouth, Norwich City and Newcastle United.

Levy insisted the move was made to protect jobs, saying in a statement on the club's official website: "The criticism the club has received over the last week has been felt all the more keenly because of our track record of good works and our huge sense of responsibility to care for those that rely on us, particularly locally.

"It was never our intent, as custodians, to do anything other than put measures in place to protect jobs whilst the club sought to continue to operate in a self-sufficient manner during uncertain times.

"We regret any concern caused during an anxious time and hope the work our supporters will see us doing in the coming weeks, as our stadium takes on a whole new purpose, will make them proud of their club."

The club announced that equipment has been installed at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to operate "drive-through COVID-19 testing and swabbing for NHS staff, families and their dependents", making it the first Premier League ground to be adapted for such purposes.

The pay of non-playing staff is something the club said it would keep under review, while making no announcement about salaries beyond May.

A statement on the club's official website said: "In these uncertain times, we have to ensure we are in a position to meet our financial obligations and protect the Club's ability to be able to operate when football returns. However, we also need, importantly, to support our wider communities and the NHS. This has been a week when we have worked hard to do both.

"In our last update we said we would keep our position under review, especially in the context of revised budgets and cost-cutting. Having done so we have decided that all non-playing staff, whether full-time, casual or furloughed, will receive 100 per cent of their pay for April and May. Only the board will take salary reductions.

"With no clarity on when football might resume and under what conditions, we shall continue to keep this under on-going review. We should like to thank our staff for their incredible support and understanding."

Harry Kane would fit in with Manchester United's traditions of "historical transfers", according to former captain Gary Neville.

The Red Devils are reportedly interested in signing the Tottenham striker for a fee that could be worth up to a world-record £200million, a sum that would potentially be welcome during the economic uncertainty brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Although more recent reports have claimed Spurs have no desire to sell Kane to a rival club, it was the forward's own admission during an Instagram live chat that he could consider leaving to challenge for silverware that has prompted the rumours.

Neville believes that was a calculated move by Kane, a player he feels will have been disappointed by Spurs' decision to take advantage of the United Kingdom government's Job Retention Scheme and place staff on furlough.

Neville also thinks United's pursuit of Kane would make sense given their history of signing some of the biggest home-grown stars in the Premier League era.

"It fits Manchester United's historical transfers, going back to Brian Robson, Roy Keane, trying to sign Alan Shearer, Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney," he told Sky Sports News.

"They were the best or most famous English, British or Irish players in the Premier League and Manchester United tried to sign that player so it does fit with that. Just look at what Manchester United did last summer with Harry Maguire, who was one of the best players on the market.

"In terms of Kane, I did work with him for England. He's a clever lad and he's not somebody who would get caught out if he didn't want to say something. The little opening of the door that he left in that Instagram piece with Jamie [Redknapp] was probably something that had something in it.

"I also don't think Kane would have been that impressed with his club a couple of weeks ago with what they did [using the government's Job Retention Scheme and furloughing staff]. Kane is a good lad, a solid lad and he wouldn't have taken that particularly well and he's probably just poking them back. In my mind, I think he would have been warning them and saying, 'just be careful because I'm watching you and it's not something that we do'."

United have also been heavily linked with Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho, who is expected to cost upwards of £100m if he decides to leave the Bundesliga club.

However, Neville does not think it would necessarily be appropriate for Premier League clubs to pursue expensive transfers at a time when there is uncertainty over their finances.

He even believes a transfer embargo should be placed on those sides that bring in wage reductions.

"These transfer discussions, whether it be Harry Kane to United for 200million or Jadon Sancho to City or United for 100million, it completely undermines the discussions the Premier League are having with the players around taking a 30 per cent pay cut," he said.

"Transfers are things the fans love, and we love players moving around, but it does seem to me to be awry when we've got such a behind-the-scenes war going on with respect to players taking cuts, the clubs needing support, and then in the next breath you've got a £200million transfer speculation going on.

"That doesn't feel right to me. Premier League clubs can't stop the speculation, but there's no smoke without fire. I would suggest the Premier League to stop this would probably put a transfer embargo in place on all clubs that are looking to reduce their players' wages.

"That would take away a lot of the angst that is existing among the players behind the scenes who feel they're having the wool pulled over their eyes by the clubs."

Harry Kane's future continues to make headlines.

Since saying he would not stay at Tottenham "for the sake of it" in his pursuit of silverware, Kane has been linked to Manchester United and Real Madrid.

Now, Spurs have reportedly named their fee for the England international.

 

TOP STORY – TOTTENHAM SET KANE PRICE

Tottenham will allow star striker Harry Kane to leave for £200million, according to the Daily Mail.

Kane has been heavily linked to Premier League rivals Manchester United and LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

Spurs are reportedly keen on some extra funds amid the coronavirus pandemic.

ROUND-UP

Lautaro Martinez to Barcelona? Not necessarily. The Sun claims Manchester City are favourites to sign the Inter forward, despite the Argentina international being tipped to move to Camp Nou.

- Fabrizio Romano says Juventus will consider moving for Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic if they are unsuccessful in their pursuit of United star Paul Pogba. Brescia's Sandro Tonali and Gaetano Castrovilli of Fiorentina are also on the list.

Barca are desperate to strengthen their squad. Martinez is the priority up front for the LaLiga champions, but Mundo Deportivo says they want more. Barca are eyeing a midfielder, with Napoli star Fabian Ruiz and Tottenham's Tanguy Ndombele being considered. The Catalan giants are also looking for a central defender and have been linked to City centre-back Aymeric Laporte, Dayot Upamecano of Leipzig and Sevilla's Diego Carlos.

Inter are interested in Bayern Munich midfielder Corentin Tolisso, reports Calciomercato. The Frenchman is also being followed by United and Arsenal.

- Signing Mauro Icardi remains the main objective for Juve, according to Calciomercato. The Serie A champions are keen to sign a striker amid links to Inter's Icardi, who is on loan at Paris Saint-Germain. Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, Timo Werner of RB Leipzig, City forward Gabriel Jesus, Arkadiusz Milik of Napoli, Lyon's Moussa Dembele and Kane are also on Juve's radar.

Manchester United must splash the cash to sign Tottenham striker Harry Kane and become title challengers, insisted Danny Murphy.

Kane's future at Tottenham is up in the air after the Spurs star said he will not stay "for the sake of it" as the England frontman eyes silverware.

Premier League rivals United and LaLiga giants Real Madrid have been linked to the 26-year-old, who won back-to-back Golden Boot awards in 2016 and 2017.

Former Tottenham and England midfielder Murphy believes Kane is the last piece of the puzzle for United, who have not claimed the Premier League title since 2012-13.

"Manchester United are closer to challenging for the Premier League title and Champions League than many people think," Murphy wrote in a column for the Daily Mail.

"The final piece in the jigsaw is a world-class centre-forward. We know it and they know it. It is why they tried to sign Erling Haaland in January.

"If Harry Kane is available, even for a record price, United would be mad not to look a gift horse in the mouth.

"They are the richest club in England and, if there is ever a time to use that financial power, it would be to prise the best striker in the country away from Tottenham.

"Kane will guarantee United goals but will also get the best out of Marcus Rashford, who could play in his best position out wide and still come inside to score. Can you imagine Kane on the end of the creativity of Paul Pogba or Bruno Fernandes?

"Sometimes you don't know if new signings will adapt to playing under pressure at Old Trafford but we know from the World Cup that Kane comes alive on the big stage. 

"I could see why Spurs fans would be aggrieved at me linking Kane with United but I know from personal experience that the two things which drive players most is regular football and winning the big trophies. 

"Kane can do that at United. At Spurs, he may have to settle for a domestic cup or two. Kane has been injured since January but I don’t see why a hamstring injury like that should stop him from becoming the player he was. In fact, the rest might have done him good after playing non-stop for a few years.

"Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is a tough negotiator and £200million is a mouth-watering price. But if United have the money, they should spend it on Kane. He can turn them from a team with potential, into genuine challengers."

Real Madrid's top defensive transfer target is apparently known, while Sergej Milinkovic-Savic may be set for Paris Saint-Germain.

While Madrid are said to be chasing a goalscorer, it seems they also have a defender in mind.

Meanwhile, PSG's interest in Milinkovic-Savic has reportedly been renewed.

 

TOP STORY – UPAMECANO MADRID'S TOP TARGET

RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano is top of Real Madrid's defensive wish list, according to AS.

Upamecano, 21, has regularly been linked with a move, with Arsenal among those understood to be interested in the France youth international.

AS reports Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane wants to freshen up his defensive options.

ROUND-UP

- Contracted at Lazio until 2024, Milinkovic-Savic is still wanted by Europe's top clubs. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports PSG are interested in the midfielder, with €100million likely to be needed to land the 25-year-old.

- Valencia could be ready to let Geoffrey Kondogbia go. The Evening Standard reports they may be prepared to sell the midfielder for around £26.4m (€30m) amid apparent interest from Tottenham. Kondogbia is believed to have a release clause of €80m.

- Could Hector Bellerin head back to Spain? The Mirror reports Atletico Madrid and Sevilla are interested in the Arsenal right-back, who is a three-cap Spain international and started his career at Barcelona.

- Felipe Anderson has impressed at West Ham and is linked with a move away. The Mirror says the Premier League club could listen to offers of €47.8m (£42m) for the Brazilian, who is apparently wanted by Napoli.

- Chris Smalling may return to Manchester United after all. The Sun reports the defender, who has starred on loan at Roma, is set to head back to the Premier League club with the Serie A side unable to make the move permanent.

Dwight McNeil should be in no rush to leave Burnley despite reported interest from Manchester United, according to former Clarets defender Kieran Trippier.

Winger McNeil has been one of Burnley's star performers this season, scoring two goals and providing five assists in 29 Premier League appearances.

The England Under-21 international's form has prompted talk of a switch to United, among a host of other top clubs, in the post-season transfer window.

However, Atletico Madrid defender Trippier, who left Burnley for Tottenham in 2015, would encourage McNeil to remain at Turf Moor for now.

"Dwight has burst on to the scene, and when he trained with us last season for England, he was brilliant," Trippier said, as quoted by the Burnley Express.

"He's got to stay focused, keep performing well while he's young, and his time will come.

"I'd say, 'Don't rush anything, just keep playing.' And Dwight is at the right club to do that. He just needs to keep playing games, because that's the most important thing for somebody his age.

"He's got the right manager to guide him, and he'll be in no rush to go anywhere. If I was him, I'd stay put and keep playing games.

"Sometimes it can be difficult when you go to another club. I've experienced it. I went to Tottenham and I didn't play for months, and you get frustrated.

"For somebody like him, who is doing really well, why would you move now? There's no point. Just keep performing well on the biggest stage and stay put.

"I was in a different situation to him. I'd just been relegated, so I needed to go to a Premier League club.

"He's playing well week in week out for a Premier League club. He's a big player for Burnley. I'd stay put, if I was him, and keep enjoying his football."

Harry Kane is seemingly still an option for Real Madrid.

The LaLiga giants reportedly want to add a forward this close season and are linked with numerous players.

While Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland is believed to be their main target, it appears Kane is an option.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID STILL CONSIDERING KANE

Tottenham forward Kane is still an option for Real Madrid, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Kane, 26, has been linked with a move away from Spurs previously, having been prolific with the Premier League club.

The England international has scored 17 goals in 25 games this season.

ROUND-UP

- Talk around Philippe Coutinho's future appears set to continue for a while. The Mirror reports Tottenham could join the race for the playmaker, who is expected to leave Barcelona permanently in the close season. Coutinho is on loan at Bayern Munich this season and Chelsea are also reportedly interested in the Brazil international.

- Could Juventus get a deal done for Mauro Icardi? Tuttosport reports the Serie A giants could sell left-back Alex Sandro to raise funds for a move for Icardi, who is on loan at Paris Saint-Germain from Inter this season.

- Napoli may be preparing for life without Kalidou Koulibaly. Corriere dello Sport reports I Partenopei are following Sevilla centre-back Diego Carlos, while Koulibaly is linked with a big-money move to PSG or Manchester United.

- Only 21, Houssem Aouar has already made more than 100 appearances for Lyon. AS reports Real Madrid are tipped to make a move for the France youth international midfielder.

- Out of contract attacker Pedro is set to leave Chelsea. Corriere dello Sport reports Roma are interested in the former Barcelona man.

Could Lionel Messi swap Barcelona for Inter?

Messi has been linked to Inter since ex-president Massimo Moratti said the six-time Ballon d'Or winner joining the Serie A club was not a "forbidden dream".

The 32-year-old's future at Camp Nou has made headlines throughout the 2019-20 season.

 

TOP STORY – INTER WANT MESSI

Inter are seriously working on trying to sign Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, according to TNT Sports.

Former Inter president Massimo Moratti said the Nerazzurri luring Messi – contracted until 2021 – to San Siro was not impossible and speculation has intensified since those comments.

TNT Sports says Inter are ready to push through negotiations for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner, while boyhood club Newell's Old Boys have also made an offer.

 

ROUND-UP

- AS Diario claims Manchester United and Juventus are both chasing Real Madrid outcast James Rodriguez. Napoli and Everton have also been linked to the Colombia international.

Philippe Coutinho is close to returning to the Premier League. Sport reports the former Liverpool star is nearing a loan switch to Chelsea from Barcelona. The Brazilian has spent the 2019-20 season on loan at Bayern Munich.

Milan are interested in signing in-demand Brescia star Sandro Tonali, according to Calciomercato. The Italian has been linked to the likes of Juve, Inter and United.

- Juve star Paulo Dybala is set to sign a new contract with the Serie A champions, says Calciomercato. Meanwhile, the same outlet reports that Juve are interested in Roma midfielder Bryan Cristante.

- Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane is chasing Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga, says AS Diario. The Frenchman wants to sign the 17-year-old if Madrid are unable to lure Paul Pogba from United.

- Mundo Deportivo reports Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham are among the clubs battling for Achraf Hakimi. The Moroccan full-back has spent the past two seasons on loan at Borussia Dortmund from Madrid. Juve, Bayern and Paris Saint-Germain are also reportedly interested.

Jose Mourinho has acknowledged he was in breach of the UK government's COVID-19 guidelines when he conducted training exercises with Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele on Tuesday.

The Spurs boss was pictured on Hadley Common in north London putting the club's record signing through his paces, with the images soon shared across social media.

Government regulations designed to combat the spread of coronavirus state people should only exercise with members of their own household.

"I accept that my actions were not in line with government protocol and we must only have contact with members of our own household," Mourinho said.

"It is vital we all play our part and follow government advice in order to support our heroes in the NHS and save lives."

Stats Perform understands Mourinho sought to respect social distancing instructions by remaining a minimum of two metres apart from Ndombele, although the fact the France international – a player the former Chelsea and Manchester United boss has publicly criticised – is from a different household makes this point somewhat moot.

Spurs have been doing regular work with their players online during the Premier League's hiatus, sharing videos of those sessions via their social channels.

Last month, Mourinho volunteered to help Age UK and Love Your Door Step prepare food parcels and other essentials for elderly people living in self-isolation due to the coronavirus crisis.

Tottenham great Jimmy Greaves has been taken to hospital, the Premier League club have confirmed.

Spurs issued a statement late on Tuesday to confirm the 80-year-old has been admitted and that they are in contact with his family.

"We can confirm that our record goalscorer Jimmy Greaves is currently being treated in hospital," the club said.

"We are in touch with his family and will provide further updates in due course.

"Everybody at the club sends their best wishes to Jimmy and his family."

Greaves scored a record 266 goals for Spurs between 1961 and 1970 and netted 44 times in 57 appearances for England.

His total of 357 goals in England's top flight is the highest figure in the competition's history.

Greaves suffered a stroke in 2015 that left him severely disabled, although his son Danny insisted in February that he remained "in good spirits".

Tottenham forward Son Heung-min will commence his military service in South Korea during the Premier League suspension, the club has confirmed.

Son is in quarantine in South Korea having returned to his home country at the end of March after football in England was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 27-year-old, who has not played since February after fracturing his arm, will return to Spurs in May.

Son was exempted from the mandatory 21-month military service after leading South Korea to a gold medal at the Asian Games in September 2018, but he was still due to complete a four-week programme ahead of the 2020-21 season.

However, with the Premier League acknowledging it will not resume in early May as previously planned, Son will use the period to undertake his duty.

"Our medical staff are in regular contact as he concludes his recovery after fracturing his arm in our 3-2 win against Aston Villa on 16 February and continues to train," a Tottenham statement read.

"Sonny had surgery on his arm in South Korea before returning to the UK at the end of February to continue his rehabilitation, prior to the initial announcement of the professional game in England being suspended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The Premier League has since announced that the 2019- 20 season will only return when it is 'safe and appropriate to do so' and is under constant review.

"Son will return to London following the conclusion of his military service in May."

The futures of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe continue to make headlines.

Both Paris Saint-Germain players have been linked with big moves to LaLiga.

But coronavirus could scupper their plans.

 

TOP STORY – CORONAVIRUS TO STOP NEYMAR & MBAPPE EXITS

Paris Saint-Germain expect star pair Neymar and Kylian Mbappe to stay at the Ligue 1 champions due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to L'Equipe.

Neymar has been tipped to re-join Barcelona, while Real Madrid hold a strong interest in Mbappe.

But COVID-19 is wreaking havoc globally and the financial implications, which are expected to prompt a fall in transfer fees, could see the pair remain in Paris.

 

ROUND-UP

- Mundo Deportivo says Inter have turned down an exchange deal for Lautaro Martinez from Barca. LaLiga champions Barca offered Junior Firpo and Nelson Semedo as part of a deal to bring Martinez to Camp Nou, however, they were rebuffed.

Matthijs de Ligt wants to leave Juventus and his agent Mino Raiola is determined to take the Dutch defender to Madrid, reports ABC. De Ligt has also been linked to Premier League giants Manchester United. The 20-year-old only moved to Turin last year.

Milan are "dreaming" of signing Inter's Mauro Icardi, claims Corriere dello Sport. Icardi – not wanted by Inter – is on loan at PSG but the Argentina international reportedly wants to return to Serie A. The report comes amid speculation ex-Inter head coach Luciano Spalletti could be appointed by Milan for the 2020-21 season. Icardi has also been heavily linked to Juve.

- Calciomercato says Harry Kane to Juventus could be a possibility in the coming months, however, a deal with Tottenham is almost impossible amid the coronavirus pandemic.

- Milan captain and defender Alessio Romagnoli has emerged as a target for Barca, according to Sport. If Romagnoli leaves San Siro, Thiago Silva could return. Tuttosport says the 35-year-old PSG defender, who is out of contract at season's end, is thinking about returning to Milan.

Napoli are in the hunt for a replacement for Arkadiusz Milik, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. Milik is contracted until 2021 but the Polish striker is no closer to a new deal amid links to Milan. If he does leave, Napoli's list of targets includes Inter's Genoa Andrea Pinamonti, Madrid forward Luka Jovic and Mainz attacker Jean-Philippe Mateta.

- Calciomercato says Juve have decided to sell midfielder Miralem Pjanic to free up space in the squad and raise funds. Meanwhile, Gianluca Di Marzio claims Federico Bernardeschi will leave Juve following the arrival of Dejan Kulusevski.

Manchester City became the first Premier League club to confirm that their non-playing staff will not be furloughed due to the coronavirus pandemic after leaders Liverpool were heavily criticised for their handling of the crisis.

A number of Liverpool's non-playing staff were suspended on furlough, it was announced on Saturday, leaving them free to claim 80 per cent of their wages from the United Kingdom government while the club tops up any shortfall in their pay.

Tottenham, Newcastle United, Norwich City and Bournemouth took similar action by utilising the government's furlough scheme, prompting widespread criticism of wealthy clubs opting to put further strain on public funds.

Former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy was among those to slam the quintet, describing their actions as "grotesque".

City took a divergent move on Sunday, with a club spokesperson saying in a statement: "We can confirm, following a decision by the chairman and board last week, that Manchester City will not be utilising the UK Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (government funded furloughing).

"We remain determined to protect our people, their jobs and our business, whilst at the same time doing what we can to support our wider community at this most challenging time for everybody."

City are second in the Premier League table, 25 points behind Liverpool, and the league announced on Friday that play will not resume in early May as had been planned.

Premier League clubs met on Friday to discuss the prospects for completing the season, and the possibility of players taking a 30 per cent wage reduction was also discussed.

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