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Gareth Bale's days at Real Madrid appear to be numbered after head coach Zinedine Zidane confirmed the club are working on a transfer for the forward.

Zidane was billed a "disgrace" by Bale's agent Jonathan Barnett, who has previously confirmed the coach and player have a fraught relationship, with the Frenchman seemingly not valuing Bale's ability despite his contribution to three consecutive Champions League titles.

It was Bale's double that sealed Madrid's last European crown a year ago, a stunning overhead kick contributing to a 3-1 defeat of Liverpool in Kiev that proved Zidane's last match in charge - soon after he announced his shock resignation.

But Zidane is back and seemingly set on selling Bale, so what are the options available to the Wales international now the Madrid coach has clearly signalled he has no place for him?

 

TOTTENHAM

The romantic option, a return to Tottenham would enable Bale to play first-team football and slot back into a club where he became a global superstar. Finances would surely scupper a permanent move although Spurs have smashed their club record to buy Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele and are reportedly considering doing so again to sign Giovani Lo Celso from Real Betis. An initial loan has been mooted but Madrid would still likely have to cover a large portion of Bale's massive wages - how desperate are they to move him on? Bale would certainly improve Mauricio Pochettino's forward options and a front three of Son Heung-min, Harry Kane and Bale looks incredibly strong on paper.


MANCHESTER UNITED

Bale has long been linked with United, but their failure to qualify for the Champions League does not make them an attractive option for top-level players right now although they remain among the world's biggest clubs. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has also indicated he is willing to put his faith in young players such as the talented teenager Mason Greenwood, who has impressed in pre-season to force his way into first-team contention at Old Trafford despite being just 17. Bale would be an upgrade on United's wing options but they seem to be going in a different direction with the arrivals of Dan James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka signalling a long-needed change in transfer policy. Madrid's reported interest in Paul Pogba could see Bale offered to United as part of a potential deal, though.


PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN

If PSG lose Neymar - the club confirmed recently he wants to leave - they will have room for another elite talent and Bale might just fit the bill. Whether moving to what is essentially a one-team league due to PSG's financial firepower is attractive to the Welshman is unclear, but teaming up with a thrilling talent like Kylian Mbappe could be persuasive. PSG are also one of a very small number of teams who could pay Bale the wages he has become accustomed to earning in Madrid and he has plenty of experience of winning the Champions League, which remains PSG's goal.


CHINESE SUPER LEAGUE

According to the bookmakers, Bale's most likely next destination is the Chinese Super League. Finances are again the key here, although CSL clubs have shown a reduced willingness over the last 12 months to pursue the most expensive players on the market due to a change in the league's regulations, which means they must pay considerable taxes on top of large transfer fees. Bale has been unable - or perhaps unwilling - to learn Spanish while in Madrid so it would be interesting to see how he would fare with the culture clash in China.


STAY AT REAL MADRID

Reports in Spain previously claimed Bale is happy to see out his contract at the Santiago Bernabeu, which still has three years to run. It would be a tempting option given no other clubs are likely to match his pay packet, while the lack of stability in the dugout could play in his favour. Zidane was Madrid's third permanent head coach last term and failed to inspire any significant improvement in the latter weeks of the 2018-19 campaign. Although the Frenchman has considerable credit from his trio of consecutive Champions League titles, it is not impossible to see Madrid starting the season poorly and president Florentino Perez opting for yet another change of head coach. Another man in charge could see Bale as an asset so the 30-year-old may choose to stay put for now.

Liverpool keeping a settled squad under Jurgen Klopp means they are set up to challenge for honours over the next few years, according to Dejan Lovren.

The Reds won last season's Champions League – a year after losing in the final to Real Madrid – and finished just a point behind Manchester City in the race for the Premier League title.

Centre-back Lovren believes the Reds' ability to hold on to their best players puts them in the perfect position to enjoy a period of sustained success, both domestically and in Europe.

"There are quite a lot of players who stayed in this team, which is quite important," he told the club's official website.

"If we keep this focus for the next couple of years we can reflect on last season and hopefully win many more trophies.

"We are a team with special characteristics, with fantastic individual players who can change the game in a second."

Jurgen Klopp's side face Sevilla in Boston on Sunday amid a heatwave that has hit much of the United States.

Lovren, however, has backed his team-mates to cope with the challenging conditions.  

"We adapt to everything," he added. "It's an important tour for us, playing against big teams.

"It will be a challenge again to play in the heat and to adapt. There are no easy opponents. But it's about our character and we are used to it already."

"It's always a pleasure to come to the States and see so many fans behind us. It's a privilege to be here."

Sheffield United have broken their transfer record for the third time in a month to sign striker Lys Mousset from Bournemouth.

The Blades reportedly paid £10million to secure the Frenchman and have tied him to a three-year deal.

The fee eclipses the club's outlay on Luke Freeman and Callum Robinson, who are said to have joined for £5m and £8m respectively, earlier in the window.

Mousset, 23, becomes United's fifth new addition since winning promotion to the Premier League.

Manager Chris Wilder said: "Lys is big, quick and a different type of threat at the top of the pitch to what we already have.

"I think he will prove to be a great fit for us and the fact that he selected us above other options shows he's hungry to do well.

"It is a fantastic bit of business for us in the current market and we are looking forward to him joining up with the squad."

Mousset struggled for goals at Bournemouth after joining from Le Havre in 2016.

The former France Under-21 international netted three in the Premier League during his stay at the Vitality Stadium, appearing almost exclusively as a substitute under Eddie Howe.

Wilfried Zaha's arrival at Arsenal would create "more stress" for Alex Iwobi and potentially lead the forward to consider his future at the club.

Arsenal reportedly lodged an unsuccessful £40million bid for Crystal Palace winger Zaha earlier this month.

The Eagles star is thought to be interested in the move and would command a starting spot at Emirates Stadium after hitting 19 goals across the past two Premier League seasons.

Nigeria international Iwobi is prepared to fight for his position but reduced playing time could prompt him to seek a move elsewhere.

"Whenever the chance comes I always try and prove I should be starting," Iwobi told The Sun.

"But it's going to be difficult if Zaha comes. He will add more stress.

"I am up for the fight but the only time I would consider leaving is if I am not playing as much as I would like to.

"Obviously, my joy is to play football and not just sit out.

"If it comes to that I would have no choice but to leave. But I would always put up a fight to play - that is what I have done all my life.

"We have big stars already, so by adding another one I'll just have to prove I can do better than them."

Iwobi started 22 times in the Premier League last season, scoring three goals. 

N'Golo Kante has left Chelsea's tour of Japan to undergo rehabilitation on an issue stemming from the knee injury he suffered late last season.

Chelsea confirmed Kante's departure from their Saitama base less than 48 hours after the friendly loss to Kawasaki Frontale in Yokohama.

The midfielder missed multiple matches for club and country throughout May and June – though he started the Europa League final – and has failed to feature in pre-season so far.

Chelsea open their Premier League campaign against Manchester United on August 11.

"N'Golo Kante has travelled back to the UK to continue his rehabilitation for an injury connected to the knee problem he sustained at the end of last season, " the club confirmed on Twitter.

Speaking before the journey to Japan, head coach Frank Lampard said of Kante: "[He's] still feeling the effects of his injury from the end of last season, which we know with the Europa League final.

"It's not a problem, we know he's a fit boy, we know he's got a great attitude."

Kante's potential absence at the start of the 2019-20 season could generate more opportunities for Mason Mount, who played over an hour against Kawasaki Frontale.

The young midfielder idolised Frank Lampard growing up and hopes years spent modelling his game on the club legend will lead to a Stamford Bridge breakthrough.

"Being at Chelsea, and being a midfielder, the thing I took from him was how he got into the final third to score goals and make assists," Mount told reporters.

"He was the one I always looked up to as a role model, watching his game, trying to learn from him and working first hand with him.

"There's no one better to learn from and speak to day in, day out."

Chelsea's next pre-season outing is against Barcelona on Tuesday.

Christian Eriksen put some of Europe's biggest clubs on alert when he declared he would "like to try something new" and now it seems the Tottenham star could make a surprise move.

Initial speculation suggested that Real Madrid would make a move for the talented Spurs playmaker.

As the 2019-20 season draws ever closer, however, it could be that another Spanish giant – and neighbours of Real Madrid – steal a march in the quest to land the Denmark international.

 

TOP STORY – ATLETI AND TOTTENHAM IN ERIKSEN TALKS

Atletico Madrid have enjoyed a productive transfer window – despite losing Antoine Griezmann, Rodri and Diego Godin – and could be set to swoop for Tottenham's Christian Eriksen.

The Dane has spent six seasons with the north London club but is ready for a new challenge and could join former team-mate Kieran Trippier in the Spanish capital.

AS reports that the two clubs have started discussions over a fee for the 27-year-old, with Spurs likely to demand in excess of €70million.

ROUND-UP

- Paris Saint-Germain have found their target if Neymar gets his desired move away from the Parc des Princes. According to RMC Sport, Juventus midfielder Paulo Dybala is PSG's top option if Neymar leaves.

- James Rodriguez is linked with the likes of Atletico Madrid and Napoli, and Real Madrid want around €40m for the playmaker, according to Marca.

- David de Gea will become the world's highest paid goalkeeper. The Manchester United shot-stopper has agreed to a six-year deal worth around £117m with the Premier League giants, according to The Telegraph.

- Arsenal could land Moise Kean from Juventus, but only if any deal includes a buy-back clause. The Daily Mail say Juve will insist on a £36m (€40.1m) clause in a possible deal involving the forward.

- Danny Rose is widely expected to leave Tottenham this close season, with numerous clubs linked with the left-back. Now, the Mirror report Serie A champions Juventus are the frontrunners to sign the defender.

- After Aaron Wan-Bissaka's move to Manchester United, Crystal Palace may have found their replacement. The Daily Mail report Palace have held further talks over a potential deal for Liverpool right-back Nathaniel Clyne.

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery said he wants to sign "three or four players" ahead of the 2019-20 Premier League season.

It has been a quiet transfer window so far for Arsenal, who have been linked with moves for Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney, Saint-Etienne teenager William Saliba, Real Madrid's Dani Ceballos and Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha.

However, Arsenal are reportedly close to signing Saliba in a deal which would see the 18-year-old loaned back to Saint-Etienne until the end of the season.

Speaking to reporters following Arsenal's 3-0 win over Fiorentina at the International Champions Cup on Saturday, Emery said: "I am patient because we want to choose the best solution.

"Some players are very expensive and we are waiting for this possibility because we don't want now to go to the second line of players. We are waiting and really we have very good young players.

"We are aware we also need to improve some areas in this squad. But I only want to sign three or four players only if we can be sure they are coming to improve our squad.

"There are a lot of names and the club is working. Edu is very close to me every day and also with the Kroenke family.

"I want to send a message to all our supporters that we want to [build] the best squad possible."

While Arsenal try to sign players, Eddie Nketiah has impressed on the United States tour and the 20-year-old continued his fine form against Fiorentina in Charlotte.

After scoring a late winner against Bayern Munich on Wednesday, Nketiah netted a brace to lead Arsenal past Fiorentina in North Carolina.

Asked if Nketiah will remain at Arsenal instead of being loaned out, Emery said: "I spoke with him and with the club. He has started with a doubt if it is better for him to stay here with us or leave to play more minutes with another team.

"But we have examples last year of some players who wanted to go away and didn’t play all we wanted. I said to him to first be focused here. If you earn the right to be with us it’s because I can promise you that you are going to have minutes. But in those minutes you need to learn.

"And in the pre-season at the moment he’s playing like we want. The young players who are here, this is the moment for them to show how we can use them to help us in the season."

Leicester City star Harry Maguire has not been affected by links to Manchester United and Manchester City, insisted captain Wes Morgan.

Maguire has emerged as a target for Manchester neighbours United and City, with the Red Devils reportedly the favourites to sign the England centre-back.

Leicester have rejected two bids for Maguire, who is thought to be valued at £80million by the Premier League side, as the 26-year-old's future continues to dominate headlines.

Amid the transfer rumours, Leicester defender Morgan said in-demand team-mate Maguire has not changed.

"He has been the same Harry that we know and love," said Morgan. "You can see in the games he's putting 100 per cent effort into everything he does and his quality is there for everyone to see. 

"I don't know what's going to happen in the future but for now he's still a Leicester player and we enjoy having him here. He's said nothing.

"There's going to be speculation because he's a top-class player who has done well at international level. Big teams are going to take an interest and that goes for many of our top players. People want our best players and he is one of them.

"In training, it's the same old banter, the same old training. He's part of Leicester so we just treat him the same."

 

Lazio will not stop Sergej Milinkovic-Savic from moving on to fulfil his ambitions at one of Europe's biggest clubs but the Serie A side have not received a concrete offer, according to president Claudio Lotito.

Milinkovic-Savic, 24, has been linked to Premier League giants Manchester United and Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.

Lazio are reportedly refusing to consider bids under €80million for star midfielder Milinkovic-Savic, who was the subject of strong interest prior to the 2018-19 season.

Amid ongoing speculation over Serbia international Milinkovic-Savic, Lotito told Sky Sport Italia: "The important thing is that we have today built a club that is no longer just a stepping stone to bigger things, but many players dream of coming here.

"Last year, I fought hard to ensure Milinkovic-Savic didn't leave. This season, I certainly have fewer weapons to call upon if the situation should arise again.

"That doesn't mean the club is working actively to sell him. Certainly, Milinkovic-Savic on a personal level has other ambitions and that seems fair, so we won't clip his wings.

"We understand it's important for a player to step up to one of the biggest clubs in the world. However, a player only has a price-tag when he is for sale and the transfer market is dictated by action, not words.

"When a concrete proposal arrives, we'll examine it and see what the conditions are, whether they satisfy the club and the decisions we'll then make."

Milinkovic-Savic scored seven goals in all competitions last season as Lazio won the Coppa Italia and finished eighth in Serie A.

 

Antonio Conte says it is his "will and hope" that Inter sign Romelu Lukaku but concedes a potential transfer is out of his hands.

Lukaku missed Manchester United's 1-0 win over Inter on Saturday, just hours after widespread reports that the Red Devils had turned down a £54million bid from the Serie A side for the Belgium international.

Inter look set to sell Mauro Icardi during the close season and Conte has made no secret of his desire to bring Lukaku to San Siro.

Speaking after the defeat to United in Singapore, Conte again revealed his desire to link up with the 26-year-old.

"He is a United player and for this reason we must show great respect for the club, for the player and also for my own players," he told a media conference.

"Lukaku is a player that I like because I consider him a player that could improve our team. On one side is my hope and my will and on the other side we will see what we find with the club."

Conte, meanwhile, has suggested that Ivan Perisic does not fit into the system that he wants to play at Inter.

The Croatia star was introduced as a half-time substitute against United but Conte was not impressed with his contribution, believing it fell short of the standard set by Dalbert on the left flank.

"We are working but the answers are not positive," the Inter boss said of Perisic. "I don't think he is adapting to the role that I asked him to do.

"The only place he can play right now is as a striker. On the other hand, I saw Dalbert applying himself greatly in this match.

"We have to improve so much from all points of view. We have a lot of work to do and we will do it."

Christian Pulisic does not believe he is under any additional pressure to fill Eden Hazard's boots at Chelsea, with the United States international insisting he is his "own player".

The 20-year-old agreed to a €64million (£58m) move from Borussia Dortmund in January before finishing the season on loan at the Bundesliga club.

Pulisic has now joined his new Chelsea team-mates for pre-season and made his first appearance for the club in a 1-0 defeat to Kawasaki Frontale on Friday.

Hazard left Stamford Bridge when he signed a five-year deal with LaLiga giants Real Madrid last month, and despite playing in a similar position to the Belgium international, Pulisic is adamant that he will not be weighed down by the inevitable comparisons.

"I'm not here to compare or anything," he told Sky Sports News.

"Obviously Eden was amazing and he did so well for this club, as you could see last season and the whole time he's been here. He was an incredible player.

"For me, it's coming in as my own player, proving myself and doing the best I can to help this team.

"Right now, it's going in and helping the team whatever way I can. It's just bringing an intensity into the training first of all and earning respect in the beginning.

"Then I want to make an impact as much as I can on the pitch."

Pulisic will hope to continue his preparations for the 2019-20 campaign when the Blues take on Barcelona in a friendly on Tuesday.

Pep Guardiola will place little significance on Manchester City's Premier League Asia Trophy final defeat to Wolves on penalties.

After Saturday's goalless draw in China, Rui Patricio saved spot kicks from Ilkay Gundogan, David Silva and Lukas Nmecha to secure a 3-2 victory in the shootout.

City won an unprecedented domestic treble last term but were denied the chance to add more silverware ahead of the new season kicking off.

Asked if the result worried him, Guardiola replied: "I don't think so. Sometimes it is good to lose against the Premier League teams in that period [pre-season] but honestly I don't think so.

"If we are going to lose in the future it will not be because today we lost on penalties in this competition. That is my feeling but everything can happen in sport."

Kevin De Bruyne shone during the opening 45 minutes and Guardiola hailed his team's display in Shanghai despite their failure to score.

"They played incredibly well in the first half," he said. "Wolves defended so well and deep with a low block.

"It's not easy to create chances and we created and we didn't concede one counter-attack in that first half and the second first 15 minutes.

"Everybody, not just the young players, made a good performance. We [can] learn from that. We realise how difficult everything is and we are satisfied, especially with the way we played."

Injuries restricted De Bruyne to 11 Premier League starts last term with Guardiola hoping the Belgium playmaker can stay fit in 2019-20.

"He was top," Guardiola said. "Unfortunately last season we missed him a lot. We did incredibly well without him but we are stronger with him.

"Last season he had no holidays, this season he has had time to rest. Hopefully he can reach his level. He is very positive in his mind. He made an incredible first half, really good.

"He's a guy who likes to play football - a huge competitor. He never loses confidence in himself."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he is impressed with how Manchester United are performing without the injured Romelu Lukaku.

The Belgium international is yet to feature for United in pre-season, with Solskjaer citing fitness issues for his continued absence from the team.

Lukaku missed United's 1-0 International Champions Cup win over Inter on Saturday, with reports circulating before kick-off that the Serie A side had seen a £54million bid turned down for the 26-year-old.

Young striker Mason Greenwood scored the decisive goal against Antonio Conte's men and Solskjaer says he is pleased with how his side is shaping up ahead of the 2019-20 campaign.

"I think we have done really well without Romelu, but we all know he is one of the top, top strikers in the world," he told a media conference.

"We played a different way, maybe, with Anthony [Martial], Marcus [Rashford] and Mason.

"As a coach you adapt to the players that are available. We're looking forward to the game against Tottenham [on Thursday] and let's see who is available for that game."

Solskjaer was unable to put a timescale on Lukaku's return to fitness and says the striker will be "concerned" about his lack of time on the pitch.

"If you're a player and you don't manage to train for a week, and he's missed three games now, I think he'll be concerned," the manager added.

"He's working to get back on the pitch and we'll see how long that takes."

Manchester City failed to collect their first trophy of the 2019-20 season after losing the Premier League Asia Trophy final to Wolves on penalties.

Following a goalless draw in Shanghai on Saturday, Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio saved three penalties to seal a 3-2 shoot-out victory for Nuno Espirito Santo's side.

Pep Guardiola's men completed a domestic clean sweep of silverware last term but must wait until next month's Community Shield for a chance to add to their growing collection of medals.

City were gifted the chance to take a first-half lead when Adama Traore fouled Leroy Sane in the box and referee Martin Atkinson pointed to the penalty spot.

But Raheem Sterling, who started in a central attacking role after he scored twice against West Ham to send City into the final, blazed his effort from 12 yards well over the angle of post and bar.

David Silva's 77th-minute free-kick tested Patricio, who earlier needed lengthy treatment on a facial injury, as City continued to fruitlessly probe for the breakthrough.

Conor Coady and Ilkay Gundogan were each denied in the first round of penalties, with Patricio also keeping out Silva's strike before Maximilian Kilman fired his kick wide for Wolves.

Danilo made it 1-1 after three kicks each with a low shot that squeezed under Patricio, who then saved the decisive effort from Lukas Nmecha to secure the trophy.

Earlier in the day, with new head coach Steve Bruce watching from the stands, Newcastle United beat West Ham 1-0 in the third-place play-off thanks to Japan striker Yoshinori Muto's goal.

Maurizio Sarri has hinted he would like Paul Pogba to leave Manchester United and join Juventus.

Pogba's agent Mino Raiola has confirmed the midfielder wants to leave Old Trafford, three years after he returned for a second spell.

The France midfielder was nevertheless named in United's starting line-up for Saturday's International Champions Cup clash with Inter.

But Juve's new head coach Sarri, speaking ahead of their ICC game against Tottenham, opened the door to a potential transfer.

"I like him very much, but he's a Manchester United player," Sarri told a news conference. 

"I'm not the technical director [Fabio Paratici] so I don't know the situation."

Pogba, who played for Juve between 2012 and 2016, started renewed speculation over his future by saying he wanted a "new challenge" last month.

The World Cup winner has been linked with LaLiga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, as well as Juve.

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