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The arrivals of Lautaro Martinez and Neymar at the end of the season had been the dream for Barcelona.

Forming the best attack in the world had been the idea, prising Inter's Martinez to Camp Nou and re-signing Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain.

But Barca have reportedly been priced out of a deal for Neymar.

 

TOP STORY – PSG SET NEYMAR PRICE

Paris Saint-Germain want €175million in cash for Barcelona target Neymar, according to Sport.

Neymar left Barca for PSG in a world-record €222m transfer in 2017 but the Brazilian superstar continues to be linked with a Camp Nou comeback.

But Barca's hopes have been dealt a blow due to PSG's demands and coronavirus as they prioritise Inter forward Lautaro Martinez.

 

ROUND-UP

- RMC Sport claims Manchester City are interested in Milan midfielder Ismael Bennacer. Pep Guardiola has reportedly talked to Bennacer about a move to the Premier League. City are also interested in Barca's Sergi Roberto, claims Mundo Deportivo.

Real Madrid are keen on signing Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, AS says. The England international has been tipped to join United, while Chelsea and Liverpool have also been linked.

- Calciomercato claims Napoli are eyeing a move for Lille forward Victor Osimhen. It comes amid uncertainty over the futures of Arkadiusz Milik and Jose Callejon. Milik has been heavily linked to Juventus, while the likes of Sevilla and Real Betis are reportedly interested in bringing former Madrid winger Callejon back to LaLiga.

Sevilla are prepared to wait until the end of the season for Barca's Ivan Rakitic, reports Mundo Deportivo. Barca are willing to sanction Rakitic's transfer and Spanish rivals Sevilla are looking to bring the Croatia international back to Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

- According to L'Equipe, injury-plagued Barca star Ousmane Dembele has no intention of leaving Camp Nou for Juve.

- ESPN says United need more cash to sign Birmingham City sensation Jude Bellingham. The 16-year-old has also been linked to Dortmund.

Fabian Ruiz is wanted by Spain's two biggest clubs – Barca and Madrid. But Mundo Deportivo says the Napoli star is moving further away from a switch to the Santiago Bernabeu due to Madrid not being able to meet the Italian club's valuation. Luka Jovic and James Rodriguez have been mentioned as possible makeweights but Napoli only want cash.

- Lille defender Gabriel has emerged as a possible replacement for Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly. Le10Sport says Napoli have identified Gabriel as well as Fiorentina pair German Pezzella and Nikola Milenkovic. Sky Sport Italia, meanwhile, says United are offering £71m (€80m) for Koulibaly but Napoli are holding out for at least £89m (€100m).

Pedro is a player in demand. The Chelsea forward is set to become a free agent and AS says Roma are the Spaniard's "priority". Juve, Sevilla, Betis and Valencia have also been credited with interest.

Southampton attacker Moussa Djenepo is hoping to "become the next Sadio Mane" as he uses the Liverpool star as inspiration.

Djenepo, 21, joined the club for a reported £14million from Standard Liege last year, and had scored two goals and provided two assists in 18 Premier League games before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mane spent two seasons at St Mary's before joining Liverpool in 2016 and the Senegal international has developed into one of the world's best attackers.

Djenepo is using Mane as inspiration and the Mali international hopes he can exceed what the Liverpool star has achieved.

"Sadio is a big inspiration for me. I like him, he's a very big player," he told talkSPORT.

"But I think I can be better [than him] if I work hard. Sadio is a very big player, and I'm young and I need to learn more.

"In the future we will see. I will do my best to become the next Sadio Mane."

Mane has scored 14 goals and provided seven assists in 26 Premier League games this season.

A number of Premier League stars have put signed shirts up for a charity raffle to raise money for health services in the United Kingdom during the coronavirus pandemic.

Top-flight players launched their '#PlayersTogether' fund in April, an initiative working alongside NHS Charities Together.

In the latest development on Wednesday, players donated over 500 signed jerseys to the Shirts for Heroes raffle on eBay, with each ticket costing £5.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, who was said to be prominent in the initial movement, was among those to post of their involvement on Twitter.

Henderson and team-mate Virgil van Dijk each quickly gathered more than 150 ticket sales.

Manchester City's midfield duo Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva were also involved, along with Manchester United skipper Harry Maguire.

A number of Premier League stars have put signed shirts up for a charity raffle to raise money for health services in the United Kingdom during the coronavirus pandemic.

Top-flight players launched their '#PlayersTogether' fund in April, an initiative in which they would work with NHS Charities Together.

In the latest development on Wednesday, players donated over 500 signed jerseys to the Shirts for Heroes raffle on eBay, with each ticket costing £5.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson, who was said to be prominent in the initial movement, was among those to post of their involvement on Twitter.

Henderson and team-mate Virgil van Dijk each quickly gathered more than 150 ticket sales.

Manchester City's midfield duo Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva were also involved, along with Manchester United skipper Harry Maguire.

Tottenham have returned the lone positive result from the Premier League's latest round of coronavirus testing.

The solitary blemish comes from a batch of 1,197 tests carried out on players and staff at English top-flight clubs on Monday and Tuesday.

In line with the Premier League's established policy, the club or individual were not initially named, although Spurs swiftly confirmed they were the team in question via a statement.

"We have been informed by the Premier League that we have received one positive test for COVID-19 following the latest round of testing at our training centre," the statement read.

"Due to medical confidentiality, the individual’s name will not be disclosed.

"They are currently asymptomatic and will now self-isolate for seven days, in line with Premier League protocol, before undergoing further testing.

"We shall continue to strictly adhere to the Premier League's return to training protocol, which ensures our training centre remains a safe and virus-free working environment."

The fifth batch of tests represents another encouraging step in the Premier League's preparations to return to action behind closed doors later this month.

There were no positives from 1,130 tests in the fourth round, following four out of 1,008 in round three and two from 996 and six out of 748 in rounds two and one respectively.

The Premier League will restart on June 17 with matches between Manchester City and Arsenal, and Aston Villa and Sheffield United.

Emile Heskey believes Liverpool's impending Premier League title triumph is "amazing for football".

Jurgen Klopp's side are 25 points clear of defending champions Manchester City ahead of English football's upcoming restart, needing just two more victories to win the Premier League for the first time and end a 30-year wait for a top-flight championship.

The title would be Liverpool's 19th in all, having dominated the English game in the 1970s and 1980s.

Former Reds striker Heskey believes football will benefit from having one of its grandest clubs on top once more.

"It's huge," Heskey told Stats Perform News.

"It's such a big club, and you don't realise until you go there, until you walk down the streets of Liverpool or anywhere and you realise it's different.

"They are massive and they are so used to winning. If you go back to the 80s, that was their time of winning.

"This is the major one that has eluded Liverpool for 30 years. The Premier League hasn't been won by Liverpool. To get so close on many occasions but fall at that last hurdle...

"But now, being in the prime position to actually take it, is just an amazing feeling for the fans, amazing for the city and amazing for football in general because you've got one of the biggest clubs in the world at the pinnacle again."

The Premier League is set to kick-off again amid the coronavirus pandemic, but Heskey believes Liverpool should have been awarded the title regardless.

"It was a weird one for me," he said. "If you look back at when we went into lockdown, when sport actually locked down, if you think about it, one more week, they could have actually won the league.

"One more week and then, mathematically, we've won it, so you can't take it off us, so give us the league and let's just call off the league.

"Obviously there would be problems with that because relegation is a huge thing as well. With Leeds top of the [Championship] league, trying to get back into the league for 10, 15 years, so you'd have problems there.

"But just think about it, one more week and you could have actually won that."


Emile's book Even Heskey Scored has been shortlisted for Autobiography of the Year at the 2020 Telegraph Sports Book Awards.

Saul Niguez has made the big reveal about his "new club", which is the creation of a youth team in his home region of Alicante.

The Atletico Madrid midfielder had the rumour mill turning earlier this week when he posted a cryptic message on social media that read "New club: I'll announce [it] in three days".

Manchester United have long been linked with a move for the Spain midfielder, while Chelsea, Arsenal, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich have also been among his reported suitors.

However, with six years to run on his Atletico contract and a reported €150million release clause, it always seemed a little unlikely Saul's news would be transfer-related.

And so it has proven to be, with the 25-year-old announcing the creation of Costa City Club along with his brother Aaron.

The structure of the Costa City project, which is being sponsored by Nike, will see teams comprised of boys and girls aged between four and 18.

Saul said: "We have been developing this exciting and beautiful project for several years and I am very happy to be able to present it and make it official today."

Atletico are due to return to LaLiga action following the suspension of top-flight football in Spain as a result of the coronavirus pandemic with an away fixture at Athletic Bilbao on June 14.

Jurgen Klopp has turned Liverpool into an "amazing" side who are a joy to watch, according to Yossi Benayoun.

The Reds are 25 points clear at the Premier League summit and two wins away from a first top-flight title in 30 years.

Klopp has already led the side to Champions League glory and Benayoun, who plied his trade at Anfield between 2007 and 2010, is delighted to see the progress they have made under the German.

"I'm happy to see it, it's amazing to see where Liverpool are at the moment," he told LFCTV's Legends in Lockdown.

"From what I see, they play amazing football. The most special thing is you feel they are a team – everyone knows what they're doing on the pitch, you don't have one or two big stars and everything is on them. The star of the team is the team itself, one unit. They play together. 

"And the commitment the players have is something special. I don't see any other team in Europe that has this commitment from the goalkeeper to the striker to work together, to press. When they decide to press they press everyone, no-one can play against them. It's amazing. 

"Of course, big credit to the manager, to Jurgen Klopp. I think this is the big difference from years before. I really enjoy watching them. Hopefully they will continue like this and make us proud."

After a lengthy coronavirus-enforced shutdown, Liverpool will be able to resume their title pursuit later this month.

However, their Champions League defence was ended just before fixtures were halted, suffering a round-of-16 exit to Atletico Madrid.

Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish regrets breaking the United Kingdom's lockdown rules but does not believe he should be defined by his mistake.

In late March, Grealish was pictured on social media on a Birmingham street next to his Range Rover, which had collided with two parked cars. The incident is being investigated by West Midlands Police.

Grealish later apologised and said he was "deeply embarrassed" after it emerged he had visited a friend's house, thereby flouting government restrictions that were imposed to try and limit the spread of coronavirus.

Just a day earlier, Grealish had taken to social media to urge people to follow protocols and he has since donated £150,000 to Birmingham Children's Hospital and raised £55,000 for the NHS by raffling off one of his shirts.

Grealish acknowledged his error of judgement, telling reporters: "I knew straight away that I had to come out and apologise myself, which I wanted to do; I didn't want to hide behind a club statement.

"I know I am a footballer but I'm still human and we all make mistakes and straight away I knew I'd made a mistake. 

"I'm also a role model as well to a lot of people out there, especially young children who might look up to me. So I try to act in respectable manner but since then I have tried to keep my head down, work hard and do as much charitable work as possible."

Grealish says people will always focus on his errors despite his efforts to make amends.

"That's just the way things are in this world that we live in. Everyone knows when you do something it's always going to be the bad stuff that gets out there," he added. 

"That's what I have to deal with. I respect my job, absolutely love what I do, and wouldn't change it for the world."

The Premier League is set to return later this month after a three-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Villa's return to training was overshadowed by the death of the father of manager Dean Smith as a result of coronavirus.

With Villa two points adrift of safety with a game in hand, Grealish said the squad is even more determined to avoid relegation for the Smith family.

"I always used to ask him every day how his dad was getting on," Grealish said. "Then when the news came it was devastating for him and his family. Us as players have tried to be there for him and try to help him. 

"One good thing about football when you are having a problem away off the pitch, when you do come into training or play a match, it takes your mind off everything else. It certainly does for me. That's what we tried to do for the manager.

"I'm sure we all want to avoid relegation even more now, for the Smith family."

Lautaro Martinez's move to Barcelona is seemingly getting closer.

The star Inter forward has been linked to the LaLiga giants, although questions have been raised over whether Barca can find a deal to land the 22-year-old.

But the Argentina international could be nearing a switch to Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – LAUTARO, BARCELONA AGREE TO FIVE-YEAR DEAL

Martinez and Barcelona have reached an agreement on a five-year deal at about €12million per season plus bonuses, according to Sport.

The report says Inter have given up on the star forward, but are yet to reach an agreement with Barcelona.

Martinez has scored 16 goals in 31 games this season.

ROUND-UP

- Bayern Munich have already decided not to purchase Philippe Coutinho, who has been linked with an extended stay on loan. However, Sport Bild reports there is no chance the playmaker stays in Munich.

- Timo Werner is reportedly a target for Liverpool, but another Premier League club could be making their move. The Telegraph claims Chelsea are plotting a move for the RB Leipzig forward.

- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's Arsenal future remains uncertain. The Telegraph reports head coach Mikel Arteta is trying to persuade the striker to stay at the Premier League club, while The Sun says Arsenal will keep Aubameyang until the end of his contract in 2021 if they cannot get more than £20m for him this close season.

- Could Eric Garcia return to Barcelona? Sport reports the LaLiga giants are tracking the defender, who came through their youth system before joining Manchester City in 2018.

- Having impressed at Lyon, Houssem Aouar may be ready for a move. According to CalcioMercato, the attacker would prefer a switch to Juventus over Manchester City.

- After contract talks with Newcastle United broke down, Matty Longstaff could be heading abroad. The Times says the midfielder is set for a move to Serie A, with Udinese frontrunners to sign the 20-year-old.

Juventus must talk to Chelsea if they want to sign Jorginho, according to the Italy star's agent Joao Santos.

Serie A champions Juve are reportedly interested in reuniting head coach Maurizio Sarri with Jorginho in Turin – the pair having worked together at Chelsea and Napoli.

Jorginho has emerged as a possible replacement for Miralem Pjanic, who has been linked to LaLiga champions Barcelona and Ligue 1 holders Paris Saint-Germain.

The latest rumours, however, claim Jorginho and Juve's Federico Bernardeschi could be involved in a swap deal.

Santos, though, denied Juve have made contact regarding Chelsea midfielder Jorginho.

"I only hear about these rumours from the newspapers, because nobody from Juventus has contacted me," Santos told TuttoJuve.com.

"Maurizio Sarri appreciates him very much as a person and a player, they worked very well together, but that's all there is to it right now. The player is focused only on Chelsea, he's resumed training and is preparing for the Premier League restart.

"In my view, it would be difficult for the Bianconeri to buy him today, because the transfer market has changed with the pandemic and Jorginho has a contract with Chelsea until 2023. He is the vice-captain and considered an important player for the squad.

"I don't just mean Juventus, but all the biggest European clubs would struggle to pay that much for one player right now."

Santos added: "If it should happen [a proposal from Juve], I say that anyone who wants Jorginho has to talk to Chelsea and Marina [Granovskaia]. Then we will evaluate together what to do. That would not be a problem."

Olivier Giroud admitted he "very nearly" left Chelsea during the January transfer window before extending his contract with the Premier League club.

Giroud was linked with Serie A sides Inter and Lazio, but last month extended his deal through until the end of next season.

The 33-year-old striker said he was close to leaving Stamford Bridge before receiving assurances from head coach Frank Lampard.

"I was supposed to leave in the January transfer window because I wasn't playing much and I needed more game time to make the France squad for Euro 2020," Giroud told the club's website.

"I very nearly left the club but I really think that God wanted me to stay at Chelsea.

"The manager told me that he couldn't let me leave because he didn't have anyone to replace me. Everyone knows what happened so I won't go back over it but the coach spoke to me privately and told me that he'd give more games.

"He kept his word and what then mattered to me was proving to him that he could count on me when I was called upon."

Giroud arrived at Chelsea from Arsenal in 2018 and has already helped the club win the Europa League and FA Cup.

The France international is eager to win more silverware with Chelsea, while saying he was happy in London.

"I want to keep winning trophies and I want to continue to show the manager that he can count on me," Giroud said.

"Plus, with the whole coronavirus lockdown situation, I didn't really feel comfortable with the idea of moving abroad and uprooting my family. I think a lot about our quality of life and we have a great setup here. I think a lot about my family now."

Newcastle United defender DeAndre Yedlin has revealed he received a disheartening text message from his grandfather stating he would be worried for the full-back's life if he lived in the United States.

Protests and riots have erupted within cities across the country following the death of George Floyd, who died while in police custody after an officer knelt on his neck.

USA international Yedlin, who moved to England to join Spurs in 2015, says the systemic racism within his home country makes a mockery of the promise of "liberty and justice for all" - a phrase contained within the national Pledge of Allegiance.

Writing on Twitter, Yedlin said: "A couple days after George Floyd's death, my grandfather texted me and told me he's glad that I am not living in the U.S. right now because he would fear for my life as a young black man. As days have passed, this text from my grandfather has not been able to leave my mind.

"He was born in 1946, lived through the civil rights movement, lived through some terribly racist times in U.S. history, and now 70 years later he STILL fears for the life of his black grandchild, in the country he and his grandchild were born in, in the country his grandchild represents when he plays for the United States, in the country his grandchild represents when he's playing in England.

"I remember being in elementary school, and having to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, which ends "with liberty and justice for all". Every American needs to ask themselves, "Is there 'liberty and justice for all'" and if their answer is yes, then they are part of the problem.

"In no way are we asking black lives to matter more than white lives, all we're asking is we are seen as equal, as more than 3/5 of a man, as humans.

"My heart goes out in solidarity to George Floyd, his family, and all of the countless number of victims that have had their lives taken at the hands of meaningless police brutality."

Premier League stars including Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba have issued messages of support towards Black Lives Matter protestors in recent days, while clubs including Newcastle, Liverpool and Chelsea have taken a knee during training in a show of solidarity with the movement.

The FA has promised to adopt a "common-sense approach", as encouraged by FIFA, towards any players who make similar gestures during matches that might ordinarily breach the rules of the game.

FIFA's message to national associations came after the German Football Association (DFB) said it would investigate whether further action was required against players including Jadon Sancho, Achraf Hakimi and Marcus Thuram for their actions last weekend.

Borussia Dortmund duo Sancho and Hakimi revealed t-shirts with the words 'Justice for George Floyd' during their 6-1 win over Paderborn, while Thuram took a knee after scoring for Borussia Monchengladbach against Union Berlin.

Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti has suffered a blow to his plans for the return of the Premier League after former Barcelona defender Yerry Mina suffered a quad muscle injury.

Mina has been a regular at centre-back this season, appearing in 25 of Everton's 29 top-flight games and scoring twice.

However, there appears little prospect of him being available when the league resumes later this month.

His club stated on their website: "Everton Football Club can confirm Yerry Mina is set to be sidelined for several weeks after sustaining a muscle injury.

"A scan confirmed the Colombia international suffered a partial tear in his left quad muscle during training last week.

"The 25-year-old is now in the early stages of his rehabilitation under the care of the club's medical staff and making good progress."

Mina was an eye-catching €30million signing from Barcelona in August 2018, just weeks after scoring three goals for his country in the World Cup.

The 2019-20 Premier League season is due to return from a three-month coronavirus suspension when two games are played on Wednesday, June 17, followed by a full programme of weekend fixtures.

Everton sat 12th in the Premier League when the season was halted, six points behind sixth-placed Wolves.

News of Mina's injury comes after last week's setback to Everton, that saw midfielder Jean-Philippe Gbamin suffer a severe Achilles injury in training that will keep him out for the rest of the season.

A "buzzing" Odion Ighalo has thanked Shanghai Shenhua for allowing his loan move to Manchester United to be extended until January 2021.

Ighalo initially joined United in a temporary deal at the end of the January transfer window as the club sought cover in attack for the rest of the season, with Marcus Rashford suffering a long-term injury.

The signing of Ighalo raised eyebrows, but the former Watford man scored four goals in eight matches in all competitions - starting just three of those games.

The season's suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic in March led to concerns United would lose the services of Ighalo before the conclusion of the 2019-20 campaign.

But United confirmed they had reached an agreement with Shanghai on Monday, leaving the 30-year-old overjoyed.

"I'm really happy," he told United's official website. "It's a dream for me to be here. I'm buzzing and ready to go.

"I feel okay. The last few days have been difficult as there have been different talks about it but now I'm really happy, so I need to concentrate fully. I'm here until the end of January, so it's good for me.

"I decided I want to stay and I'm happy. Since the first day I arrived, I made it clear that I wanted whatever it takes to continue that work. It was very difficult, there were some talks, but I'm happy they finally agreed and got everything done. Everything is official now.

"I'm sending thanks to the Shanghai president and director for the support because they know this is what I want. So, I'm thanking them and I'm happy that this has happened. They wish me all the best too.

"Like I've said, since I was young, I've been supporting this club and playing for it is a dream. Now I've extended my loan, it makes it more even clear and I'm committed as I know, in my head, I'm here until the end of January

"I just want to work hard and enjoy it, support the team and do whatever I can to make us go higher and higher."

Pending final government approval, the Premier League will resume later this month.

United head into the final nine league games three points adrift of fourth-place Chelsea, while they are also in the FA Cup quarter-finals and have one foot in the last eight of the Europa League having thrashed LASK 5-0 in their final match before the season halted.

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