The Premier League window may have already closed, but Manchester United and Manchester City are still in the headlines.

After going head-to-head for Harry Maguire, the two Manchester clubs are reportedly eyeing Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho.

This rumour will not go away anytime soon.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED AND CITY BATTLING FOR SANCHO

According to the Daily Mail, Sancho will leave Dortmund at the end of the season as rivals United and City do battle for the England international.

Sancho was reportedly on United's list of targets during the off-season, but Dortmund were unwilling to sell their 19-year-old star.

The English talent has flourished since joining Dortmund from Premier League champions City in 2017, and the Daily Mail claims the Bundesliga club are already looking for replacements.

 

ROUND-UP 

- Inter are considering a move for Man United's Alexis Sanchez after missing out on Edin Dzeko, reports Gianlucadimarzio.com. Bosnian striker Dzeko signed a new contract with Roma and Inter are now looking for alternatives, including Sanchez, free agent Fernando Llorente, Eintracht Frankfurt star Ante Rebic and Arkadiusz Milik, who could be used in a swap involving Mauro Icardi.

- According to le10sport, Ajax, AC Milan and Lille are among the clubs interested in Barcelona defender Jean-Clair Todibo. The 19-year-old arrived from Toulouse in January.

- Brescia have offered former Juventus and Italy midfielder Claudio Marchisio a two-year deal, reports Sky Sport Italia and other outlets in the country. Marchisio is a free agent after leaving Zenit and the 33-year-old could be joined at Brescia by Mario Balotelli.

- Sport claims Barcelona are prepared to sell midfielder Arturo Vidal for €20million as the Chile international continues to be linked to Inter and a reunion with former Juve boss Antonio Conte.

- According to Corriere dello Sport, Napoli and Juve are the only options for Inter outcast Icardi following Dzeko's Roma renewal.

- James Rodriguez may not leave Real Madrid following an injury to Eden Hazard, according to reports. James had been tipped to join either Napoli or Atletico Madrid, but the Colombia star is in Madrid's squad for their LaLiga opener at Celta Vigo on Saturday.

Ajax star Donny van de Beek says he could stay at the club despite interest from "fantastic" Real Madrid.

The 22-year-old has already confirmed Madrid have contacted Ajax over a possible transfer as a successful move for Manchester United's Paul Pogba looks increasingly unlikely.

Van de Beek, who excelled in Ajax's run to the Champions League semi-finals last season, says there is nothing certain about his future but is not ruling out staying in Amsterdam.

"They're a fantastic club, but Ajax are too," he said to Ziggo Sport when asked about Madrid.

"I've nothing to complain about in that regard. There's a very good chance I'll continue playing here, but nothing is certain yet."

When pressed on whether it would be better for the club to have clarity on his future, he said: "I hope so, too, because I'm a bit fed up with all the questions about it."

Van de Beek was involved on Tuesday as Ajax claimed a 3-2 win over PAOK to secure a 5-4 aggregate triumph in the third round of Champions League qualifying.

Speaking ahead of that match, director of football Marc Overmars voiced his confidence that Van de Beek could decide to spend a little longer with the Eredivisie champions.

"I don't think it will take long for things to be clear," Overmars told Ziggo Sport.

When asked if he thought Van de Beek would stay, he replied: "I'll go for yes."

Overmars did, however, confirm there is "absolutely" interest in the player.

"I said a few weeks ago that, by a certain date, I want clarity. That date is set," he added.

Porto and Celtic crashed out in Champions League qualifying but last season's semi-finalists Ajax managed to advance to the play-off round.

It was a day of upsets as giants Porto and Celtic fell in the third round of qualifying following respective losses to Krasnodar and CFR Cluj.

Porto – who had featured in the Champions League group stage in each of the last three campaigns, including a run to last season's quarter-finals – were upstaged 3-2 by visiting Krasnodar on Tuesday.

Krasnodar blitzed Porto with a three-goal first half thanks to Magomed Suleymanov's brace as the Russian side prevailed on away goals after a 3-3 draw.

Scottish champions Celtic were denied a play-off berth by Cluj, whose 4-3 victory on the night in Glasgow secured a shock 5-4 success across two legs.

Celtic led the second leg 3-2 after 76 minutes but Billel Omrani and George Tucudean struck inside the final 10 minutes to silence Parkhead and give the Romanian outfit a memorable victory.

Captain Dusan Tadic was at the double as Erik ten Hag's Ajax held on to beat PAOK 3-2 in Amsterdam, where the Eredivisie holders escaped 5-4 on aggregate.

Tadic scored twice and missed a penalty as Ajax's hopes of repeating last season's remarkable Champions League run stayed alive amid uncertainty over the future of Real Madrid target Donny van de Beek.

In Copenhagen, 22 penalties were taken as Red Star Belgrade sensationally prevailed 7-6 in a dramatic shoot-out.

Penalties were required after the Copenhagen-Red Star tie ended 2-2 on aggregate following Tuesday's 1-1 stalemate at Telia Parken.

Elsewhere, Basel and Dynamo Kiev bowed out as LASK, Club Brugge, Dinamo Zagreb, Olympiacos, APOEL and Rosenborg progressed.

 

Champions League play-off ties:

CFR Cluj v Slavia Prague
APOEL v Ajax
LASK v Club Brugge
Dinamo Zagreb v Rosenborg
Young Boys v Red Star Belgrade
Olympiacos v Krasnodar

Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag said Donny van de Beek could stay at the Eredivisie champions despite interest from Real Madrid.

Van de Beek has already confirmed Madrid are in talks with Ajax over his transfer as the LaLiga giants struggle to prise Paul Pogba from Manchester United.

However, it seems €60million target and 22-year-old Netherlands international Van de Beek will remain in Amsterdam.

"[Van de Beek] only dedicates himself to playing," Ten Hag said ahead of Tuesday's second leg against PAOK, with the third-round Champions League qualifier locked at 2-2.

"I guess and I hope that he stays with us this season.

"Otherwise, I will hear from [Ajax's director of football,] Marc Overmars."

Van de Beek starred as Ajax earned a draw away to PAOK in the opening leg in Thessaloniki, while he has managed two goals in two Eredivisie matches this season.

He made 57 appearances for Ajax in 2018-19, scoring 17 goals and supplying 13 assists as Ten Hag's men clinched an Eredivisie and KNVB Beker double and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League.

 

Hakim Ziyech decided to stay at Ajax as the decision provided "clarity" over his future amid the uncertainty of a possible move to Bayern Munich.

Ziyech played a starring role in Ajax's run to the Champions League semi-finals last season.

But while Frenkie de Jong left for Barcelona and Matthijs de Ligt signed for Juventus in the transfer window, Ziyech has remained with the Eredivisie champions. Bayern were linked with the 26-year-old, but he instead signed a new three-year contract to stay put.

Although Ziyech admitted a move to Germany was possible, he would have been required to wait for such a transfer to happen.

"Yes, I could have [waited for Bayern]," he told Algemeen Dagblad. "But for me and Ajax, it felt like a good time to have clarity."

Ziyech added there was no real need to push for a move away from Ajax as he is thoroughly enjoying his football.

"I'm just having a great time here at Ajax," he said. "We have a nice team, the atmosphere is very good.

"And I want to ensure the successful season of last year was not an incident - with myself but also with everyone around me.

"That feeling is the most important thing for me. I'm happy here.

"[Money] plays no role for me and has never been a leading factor. I love football, and at Ajax I am experiencing football the way I prefer it."

Manchester United have agreed a deal with Monaco to take teenage midfielder Hannibal Mejbri to Old Trafford.

The France youth international, 16, had been linked with a number of clubs and is reported to be costing United an initial £9million (€9.6m).

Mejbri, who represented Monaco in the UEFA Youth League, is awaiting FIFA clearance before completing a move that will see him initially join United's academy ranks.

United announced the youngster's imminent arrival on their official website and revealed fellow new recruits Johan Guadagno, Dillon Hoogewerf and Mateo Mejia, all aged 16, have been cleared to play.

Goalkeeper Guadagno joined from Swedish side Brommapojkarna and highly-rated forward Hoogewerf arrived from Ajax, where his prolific goals return at under-17 level earned the 16-year-old a promotion to the under-19s last season.

Mejia was previously on the books of Real Zaragoza and is said to have also attracted the interest of Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal and Valencia.

Zaragoza denied reports in June that an agreement had been reached with United for the young attacker, but his arrival has now been made official.

United under-23 duo Paul Woolston and Luca Ercolani have also signed new contracts, the club said.

Hakim Ziyech has signed a one-year contract extension at Ajax amid reported interest from Bayern Munich.

Bayern were thought to be keen to step up their pursuit of Ziyech after it was confirmed Manchester City star Leroy Sane sustained ACL damage in his right knee that will keep him out for up to seven months.

The Morocco international was reported to be available for €35million, but he looks set to stay at Ajax for the foreseeable future after signing a deal that runs until June 2022.

Ziyech followed in the footsteps of David Neres, who also agreed a one-year extension in Amsterdam on Wednesday.

Ajax will be pleased to have retained the 26-year-old – also linked to Sevilla – after Lasse Schone on Friday followed Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong, Maximilian Wober and Daley Sinkgraven out the door in the wake of their incredible run to the Champions League semi-finals last season.

Bayern are likely to have to look elsewhere as they try to add depth in the wide areas, after veteran duo Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben left at the end of their contracts last season.

Ajax have lost another key member of their run to the Champions League semi-finals last season, with Lasse Schone departing for Genoa.

The Serie A side are reported to have paid €1.5million to sign the Denmark international, who was in the last year of his contract at Johan Cruijff ArenA.

Experienced midfielder Schone follows Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong, Maximilian Wober and Daley Sinkgraven in departing Ajax after their incredible run to the last four of the 2018-19 Champions League, where they lost to Tottenham.

The 33-year-old joined Ajax on a free transfer from NEC Nijmegen in 2012 and went on to make 287 appearances for the club, scoring 64 goals.

Schone won three Eredivisie titles, the Johann Cruyff Shield twice and one KNVB Beker during his time in the Dutch capital.

Barcelona are still hopeful of bringing Neymar to Camp Nou, but Real Madrid's interest is rising as they give up on Paul Pogba.

Neymar, 27, is set to leave Paris Saint-Germain this close season, two years after joining the Ligue 1 champions from Barcelona for a world-record €222million.

While a return to Barca has been mooted, Madrid are also seemingly interested after accepting they are unlikely to land Pogba from Manchester United.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA HOPEFUL OVER NEYMAR, CONVINCED MADRID ARE INTERESTED

Barcelona are still eyeing a move for Neymar, but the LaLiga champions are convinced rivals Real Madrid are also chasing the Brazilian, according to AS.

The report says Barca believe the forward will definitely leave PSG, who do not want to loan or sell Neymar to them because of a fractured relationship between the clubs.

AS report that Barcelona feel PSG are still hoping Madrid will make a late bid for Neymar.

According to Globo Esporte, Real Madrid are ready to use Gareth Bale and Keylor Navas as part of the deal.

Barcelona want Neymar to publicly state his desire to return to the club and they will offer Philippe Coutinho to PSG as part of a deal, according to Sport.

ROUND-UP

Real Madrid's intensified interest in Neymar comes as they accept their chances of signing Pogba from Manchester United are "practically zero", according to AS, after the Premier League club failed to sign a potential replacement for the France international before their window shut.

Coutinho may not have returned to the Premier League, but Barcelona still want to see the playmaker depart. Sport say PSGJuventus and Bayern Munich are the most likely destinations for the former Liverpool star.

Luka Modric was reportedly set to be offered to PSG by Real Madrid as part of a deal for Neymar. However, the Croatia international's camp has told AS the midfielder is not leaving the Santiago Bernabeu.

- Despite giving up on Pogba, Real Madrid still need to strengthen in midfield. Ajax star Donny van de Beek remains the most likely option for Zinedine Zidane, according to AS, but they are waiting amid a potential move for Neymar.

- Manchester United opted against signing a replacement for Romelu Lukaku, who left for Inter. The Times report the Premier League club ended talks with Juventus over striker Mario Mandzukic due to the £14m (€15.2m) valuation being deemed too high. Borussia Dortmund are interested in the Croatian, according to Corriere dello Sport.

- Mario Balotelli is a step away from joining Flamengo. According to Gianluca Di Marzio, the Italian striker has reached a salary agreement with the Brazilian club, but work is still being done relating to image rights.

David Neres has committed his future to Ajax until June 2023 after signing a one-year contract extension with the Champions League semi-finalists.

The 22-year-old Brazil international, who helped his country to Copa America glory in July, had reportedly drawn interest from Manchester United.

However, Neres showed loyalty to Erik ten Hag's side by signing fresh terms in the aftermath of high-profile departures from Ajax.

Since the Amsterdam club were knocked out of the Champions League at the last-four stage by Tottenham last season, Frenkie de Jong has joined Barcelona and Matthijs de Ligt has moved to Juventus.

Neres has scored 29 goals in 101 first-team matches for Ajax and was twice an Eredivisie runner-up with the club before lifting the title in 2018-19.

He signed his previous contract in September 2018 but has given the Dutch champions a boost by pledging his future for a further year.

Ajax star Donny van de Beek will play against PAOK in Champions League qualifying amid interest from Real Madrid, insisted head coach Erik ten Hag.

Van de Beek confirmed Madrid were in talks with Ajax over his transfer following Saturday's 2-2 Eredivisie draw against Vitesse.

The Netherlands international midfielder emerged as a €60million target for the LaLiga giants, who have been unable to prise Paul Pogba from Manchester United.

Ajax – Champions League semi-finalists last season – will face Greek side PAOK in Tuesday's opening leg of their third-round qualifier.

Asked about Van de Beek, Ten Hag told reporters: "He has come here and is going to play.

"He'll play next week too [in the second leg]."

Van de Beek made 57 appearances for Ajax last season, scoring 17 goals and supplying 13 assists as Erik ten Hag's men clinched an Eredivisie and KNVB Beker double and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Manchester United's bid to improve their backline has seen them make Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka two of the world's most-expensive defenders.

England defender Maguire has joined from Leicester City for a reported £80million, surpassing the record set by Liverpool's capture of Virgil van Dijk.

Earlier in this transfer window United spent £50m to acquire right-back Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace as they commenced a substantial rebuild of their squad.

Maguire has not cost United as much as their biggest signing Paul Pogba, who joined from Juventus in 2016 in a then-world record £89.3m deal, but he is the most expensive defender of all time.

Here, we profile the men at the back who have cost a fair whack.


HARRY MAGUIRE – Leicester City to Manchester United, £80m

The reported £80m fee is a serious outlay for a player who was playing for Hull City in the Championship three years ago.

It has been a rapid rise for Maguire, who is now first choice at the back for England alongside Manchester City defender John Stones. United will hope there is even more to come from the 26-year-old.

VIRGIL VAN DIJK – Southampton to Liverpool, £75m

Liverpool tried unsuccessfully to buy Van Dijk in June 2017 and were accused of tapping him up by Southampton, but the defender's absence from several matchday squads thereafter meant a departure was never far away.

The Reds gave their fans a late Christmas gift in December of the same year, confirming the Netherlands international's arrival and he has looked worth every penny since making the switch to Anfield, winning the Professional Footballers' Association Players' Player of the Year last term and helping the club clinch their sixth Champions League title.

LUCAS HERNANDEZ – Atletico Madrid to Bayern Munich, £68m

Having featured as France's first-choice left-back in their triumphant 2018 World Cup campaign, it did not take long for other clubs to begin being linked with Hernandez. Bayern were reported to have things tied up with the defender by the end of the year, though it was said they were trying to avoid paying his full release clause.

As it happened, Atletico received the €80m required to trigger Lucas' exit at the end of the 2018-19 season, meaning Bayern secured themselves a player who can cover two positions for the next decade. 

MATTHIJS DE LIGT – Ajax to Juventus, £67.5m

United had been strongly linked with De Ligt earlier in the window but it was Juventus who won the race for his much-coveted signature for a fee that, with add-ons, could eventually rise to a sum similar to Van Dijk's price.

Despite still being a teenager, De Ligt's leadership qualities shone through when he was captain of the Ajax team that won a domestic double and reached the Champions League semi-finals last season.

AYMERIC LAPORTE – Athletic Bilbao to Manchester City, £57m

City had been put off by the fee Southampton wanted for Van Dijk but were more willing to part with what was - in January 2018 - a club-record £57m to sign left-sided French centre-back Laporte.

Though he curiously remains without a senior cap for Les Bleus, Laporte has become a key figure under Pep Guardiola and was City's best defender in 2018-19 as they won an unprecedented domestic treble.

BENJAMIN MENDY – Monaco to Manchester City, £51.75m

City broke the record for a defender when they signed Mendy from Monaco in July 2017, the left-back having quickly established himself as one of Europe's most exciting attacking full-backs as his side won the 2016-17 Ligue 1 title and reached that season's Champions League semi-finals.

His arrival was part of a spectacular overhaul of the City backline, which saw them spend close to £165m on three defenders and goalkeeper Ederson, but two serious knee injuries have badly hindered his time in Manchester so far. 

DAVID LUIZ – Chelsea to Paris Saint-Germain, £50m

Paris Saint-Germain paid a whopping fee to sign Brazil international David Luiz from Chelsea in 2014.

He won Ligue 1 in both of his seasons at the Parc des Princes and made it three top-flight titles in a row after he surprisingly returned to Chelsea for £34m in August 2016, claiming his first Premier League winners' medal.

KYLE WALKER – Tottenham to Manchester City, £50m

When Walker joined Spurs from hometown club Sheffield United for £5m in 2009, few would have guessed he would one day become the most expensive English player in history.

Walker, who in June signed a new long-term deal at the Etihad Stadium, quickly established himself as a key component at the back following his July 2017 arrival and he has won two Premier League titles, two EFL Cups and an FA Cup.

AARON WAN-BISSAKA – Crystal Palace to Manchester United, £50m

Walker now has company as his country's most costly player following fellow right-back Wan-Bissaka's arrival on the other side of Manchester.

Wan-Bissaka fits the mould for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who wants young players to spearhead a revival at Old Trafford, and he made 129 tackles last term, more than any other defender across the top five European leagues.

JOHN STONES – Everton to Manchester City, £47.5m

City have certainly shown a willingness to pay large amounts for English talent, with Stones joining the club from Everton in 2016.

The 25-year-old had a difficult first campaign as Guardiola's side under-performed. His displays have since improved considerably, although he largely spent the final weeks of last season among the substitutes. 

(*Prices are as reported at the time of transfers being completed.)

Ajax will meet either APOEL or Qarabag in the Champions League play-offs if they defeat PAOK in the third qualifying round.

Last season's semi-finalists will take on the champions of Cyprus or Azerbaijan in a two-legged tie if they overcome the 2018-19 Greek Super League winners.

Scottish champions Celtic will take on Slavia Prague if they make it through their third-round tie with CFR Cluj.

Porto or Krasnodar will face Istanbul Basaksehir or Olympiacos, while Basel or LASK will meet Club Brugge or Dynamo Kiev.

Swiss champions Young Boys await Red Star Belgrade or Copenhagen, and Dinamo Zagreb or Ferencvaros will play Maribor or Rosenborg.

The first legs of the third-round matches are on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the return games on August 13.

The play-off matches take place on August 20-21 and August 27-28.

 

Manchester United and Juventus have been discussing a swap deal involving Paulo Dybala.

However, Tottenham are also interested in the Argentina international.

With the Premier League transfer window to shut on August 8, there is still plenty of twists and turns to come.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS EYE DYBALA AMID UNITED TALKS

Tottenham have made an approach for Juventus star Paulo Dybala, according to SoccerLink.

Dybala is in talks with Manchester United, who have reportedly agreed a deal to send striker Romelu Lukaku to Juventus for the former Palermo forward.

The 25-year-old is reportedly not convinced about joining United and Champions League finalists Tottenham are ready to pounce after manager and fellow Argentinian Mauricio Pochettino tried to convince the player to move to London.

 

ROUND-UP

- The front page of SPORT is dominated by Neymar. The newspaper says Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain are working on a loan deal with a non-mandatory purchase option to unlock negotiations. The new formula could accelerate a transfer.

- Manchester United star Paul Pogba fears being priced out of a move to Real Madrid, according to The Mirror. Madrid are in negotiations to sign Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek as they struggle to prise Pogba away from Old Trafford.

- The Express says Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is eyeing Real Madrid midfielder Isco and Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake. The Premier League champions are reportedly targeting Ake – who is believed to be wanted by Leicester City – as Manchester United close in on Harry Maguire.

- Napoli have entered the race to sign Romelu Lukaku from Manchester United, reports Alfredo Pedulla. However, Lukaku has apparently rejected the offer as he eyes a move to Juventus.

- According to O Jogo, Benfica are plotting a €6million transfer for Partizan Belgrade teenager Strahinja Pavlovic. The 18-year-old defender has been linked with Serie A champions Juventus.

- La Gazzetta dello Sport claims Ligue 1 duo Lyon and Monaco are keen on signing AC Milan attacker Suso.

- Barcelona are close to signing Real Betis full-back Junior Firpo, according to Marca. Mundo Deportivo says the two Spanish clubs have agreed a €25m fee for the 22-year-old.

Ajax star Donny van de Beek confirmed Real Madrid are in talks with the Eredivisie champions over his transfer.

Van de Beek has emerged as a €60million target for LaLiga giants Madrid, who have been unable to prise Paul Pogba from Manchester United.

The 22-year-old Van de Beek confirmed Madrid's interest on Friday, and he provided an update following Saturday's 2-2 draw away to Vitesse.

"It is true that Madrid are in talks with Ajax, but I can't say any more," Van de Beek told Fox Sports after scoring and providing an assist in the club's Eredivisie opener.

"My agent will have spoken with them. Real Madrid are a great club to play for, but Ajax are still a great club. We'll see what happens."

Van de Beek made 57 appearances for Ajax last season, scoring 17 goals and supplying 13 assists as Erik ten Hag's men clinched an Eredivisie and KNVB Beker double and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League.

Ajax have already lost captain Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus) and Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona) during the off-season and fans chanted for Netherlands international Van de Beek to stay on Saturday.

"You can obviously hear what the fans are singing during a game. 'Donny, one more year', something like that?" he added.

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