The race for Paul Pogba appears well and truly on, but Manchester United will not let the midfielder go easily.

The France international said on Sunday he would be interested in a "new challenge", casting fresh doubt over his future at Old Trafford.

Real Madrid have continually been linked with Pogba, but it seems Paris Saint-Germain, and perhaps former club Juventus, could also be interested.

 

TOP STORY – POGBA INTEREST INTENSIFIES

Real Madrid indicated they are willing to pay £90million for Pogba despite United valuing the midfielder at £150m, according to The Sun.

United are ready to do their all to keep Pogba, with the Daily Mail reporting they are set to offer him a bumper new contract worth close to £500,000 per week.

This saga appears likely to take time to play out with Ligue 1 champions PSG also expressing an interest in Pogba, according to The Independent.

ROUND-UP

- Neymar appears more and more likely to leave PSG in the close season. Globo Esporte says talks are already underway for the Brazil international to return to Barcelona, who may pay €100m and send players, with Ivan Rakitic, Ousmane Dembele and Samuel Umtiti mentioned.

- It seems Benfica sensation Joao Felix has decided where he will be next season. According to Record, the 19-year-old Portugal international was in Spain to sign with Atletico Madrid in a €120m move, a report Benfica denied. El Chiringuito later claimed to have spotted the attacker and agent Jorge Mendes leaving a Madrid restaurant.

- Real Madrid look like they want to see Gareth Bale make an exit before next season. ABC says the LaLiga giants have lowered their asking price for the Wales international from €100m to €85m.

- With Neymar and Antoine Griezmann potentially arriving, Philippe Coutinho's Barcelona future seems clouded. AS reports PSG have made contact with the player's camp, while he may return to the Premier League. However, Sky Sports News reports Coutinho is unwilling to join Manchester United out of respect to former club Liverpool, but The Sun says he would head to Chelsea, although the club's transfer ban is standing in the way of that move.

- Now that Juventus have appointed Maurizio Sarri, the Serie A champions could make numerous additions. Tuttosport reported Juve vice-president Pavel Nedved met with agent Mino Raiola regarding Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt – who is expected to join PSG – and Pogba.

- A dream Chelsea return for Frank Lampard could be on the cards. The Sun reports the club great and Derby County manager is set for talks with owner Roman Abramovich over the position left vacant at Stamford Bridge by Sarri's departure. The same paper also reports Chelsea have rejected £35m bids from Barcelona and Atletico Madrid for Willian, with the Mirror saying Lampard wants the Brazil international to stay.

Harry Redknapp is confident nephew Frank Lampard will be appointed Chelsea's new head coach, despite Derby County's attempt to tie him down to a new deal.

Lampard is the frontrunner to succeed Maurizio Sarri in the Stamford Bridge dugout following the Italian's switch to Serie A champions Juventus.

But Derby are reluctant to let the legendary Chelsea midfielder return to his former club in a coaching capacity just a year into his three-year contract at Pride Park.

The Championship side, who suffered defeat to Aston Villa in this past season's play-off final, are reportedly in discussions with Lampard over extending his deal and chairman Mel Morris said on Monday no approach has yet been made by Chelsea.

Redknapp expects Lampard to land his dream job, however, telling BBC Radio 5 Live: "If Chelsea come calling, it's a difficult one for him to turn down.

"In my personal opinion, he'll be the manager of Chelsea. It looks to me like it's going to happen.

"It's a no-lose situation unless he finishes outside the top six. Anything in the top six would be OK, but [qualifying for] the Champions League would be a good season.

"No one is expecting him to finish first or second, third maybe. If he makes the Champions League next year, he's going to be a success."

Lampard is Chelsea's all-time leading scorer and won three Premier League titles with the club during his playing days, as well as the Champions League in 2012.

And Redknapp, who has managed the likes of Portsmouth, West Ham United, Southampton, Tottenham and QPR, urged Lampard to take the job if he is offered it.

"He's a true legend at Chelsea, one of the greatest players in the club's history," he said. "It may not come along again, you never know in football, the opportunity is there for him to go back now.

"He has a house around the corner from the training ground, his wife works in London."

Chelsea are banned from signing new players for the next two transfer windows, potentially giving some of the youngsters in their squad a chance to shine.

"Maybe it's time for someone who is going to be bold enough to play those young players," Redknapp said. "[Lampard] went to Derby, he brought young players in, Derby got to the play-off final with a few kids.

"It could be an interesting time for Chelsea, they are going to have to play some of their kids, give them a go.

"We keep talking about how good these kids are, they're playing for England Under-17, Under-19, so get them in the first team, let's see them play.

"Chelsea have a great group of young players, it might be a good chance to throw three or four of them in. You may have something special there."

Chelsea have not approached Derby County about making Frank Lampard their new manager, Rams chairman Mel Morris has said.

Blues legend Lampard is seen as the favourite to take over at Stamford Bridge following Maurizio Sarri's departure to Juventus.

Lampard led Derby to the Championship play-off final, where they lost 2-1 to Aston Villa, in his first season in senior management.

"We have made it very clear to everyone, but most importantly to Frank, that we want to retain Frank for the long term," said Morris in a statement reported by BBC Sport.

"If Chelsea want to hire Frank, then it is in their gift to make an offer in pursuit of that.

"In the meantime, we will continue to put our best foot forward to continue with our plans for the coming season and work with Frank for him to know how much he is wanted by everyone associated with the club."

Lampard is Chelsea's all-time top scorer with 211 goals and is fourth on their all-time appearance list having featured 648 times in a decorated spell with the club.

He won every major honour in English football with Chelsea and also lifted the Champions League and Europa League.

Former Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo has described Frank Lampard as a "great fit" to replace Maurizio Sarri in the Stamford Bridge dugout.

Sarri is reportedly close to leaving Chelsea after less than 12 months at the club amid suggestions he has been enticed back to Serie A by Italian champions Juventus.

Fan favourite Lampard has emerged as the frontrunner to succeed Sarri following a positive first campaign in management with Championship side Derby County, which ended with defeat to Aston Villa in the play-off final.

Some have questioned the 40-year-old's lack of managerial experience, but Di Matteo believes his old team should take a gamble by appointing their former midfielder.

Speaking at the Costa Smeralda Invitational, Di Matteo said: "He's definitely the right man. He's got personality. I followed Derby last year and his team plays very good football. He's got all the experience in the world. 

"It's a great fit. Whether it's right now or not, only time can tell that. You can say it is too early but you have to give people a chance. Frank has got all the tools and I think he will make a lot of people happy if he was the next manager."

Di Matteo, who lifted the Champions League and FA Cup with Chelsea in 2012 during his eight months in charge, is not surprised Sarri is moving on.

The ex-Napoli boss won the Europa League in his debut campaign with the London side and guided them to a third-place finish in the Premier League, but he never truly won over supporters with his style of play.

"That's what the industry is like," Di Matteo said. "People are always moving. I'm not entirely sure what the details are but it looks like he wants to go back to Italy and he has probably had a good offer from Juventus - one of the biggest clubs in Italy and Europe. 

"But Chelsea will find a suitable manager to lead the team."

Chelsea marked the anniversary of Frank Lampard signing for the club amid reports the former midfielder Frank Lampard is set to take over from Maurizio Sarri.

Despite leading the club to a third-place finish in the Premier League, the final of the EFL Cup and Europa League glory against Arsenal, Sarri has by no means been a popular figure at Stamford Bridge.

The Italian, who left Napoli for Chelsea last year, is widely reported to be on the brink of being appointed as head coach by Juventus, who are seeking a successor to Massimiliano Allegri.

The switch was expected to be completed on Friday, when Chelsea noted on social media it was 18 years since Lampard, now managing Derby County, joined the club from West Ham.

"On this day in 2001... Frank Lampard became a Blue!" Chelsea posted on Twitter in a message that quickly racked up thousands of likes.

Lampard is regarded as a Chelsea great, winning three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and the 2011-12 Champions League and becoming the club's all-time leading goalscorer during his 13 years at Stamford Bridge.

In his first season as a manager in 2018-19, the 40-year-old led Derby to the Championship play-offs finals, but they were beaten 2-1 by Aston Villa at Wembley.

Jonathan Woodgate has been appointed head coach at Championship club Middlesbrough, succeeding Tony Pulis at the Riverside Stadium.

The former Boro defender, who won eight caps for England and endured an ill-fated spell at Real Madrid during an injury-blighted playing career, has signed a three-year deal after being part of Pulis' coaching team.

His staff includes former Tottenham striker Robbie Keane, who will also continue in his role as assistant manager to Mick McCarthy with the Republic of Ireland. 

"There was huge interest in the coaching positions following the departure of Tony Pulis and in a robust process the club spoke with a number of potential candidates both in the UK and abroad," read a club statement.

"It was during this procedure that it became clear that Jonathan was the outstanding candidate to head up the new structure, and his staff bring a wealth of experience and knowledge.

"Jonathan's vision is very much aligned to our own for the club as we look to develop a new identity."

Pulis left the club last month having missed out on securing a play-off spot by one point.

Swansea City have appointed England Under-17s World Cup-winning boss Steve Cooper as their new head coach on a three-year contract.

The Championship club were seeking a replacement for Graham Potter, who left to take over Premier League side Brighton and Hove Albion last month after just one season at the Liberty Stadium.

Welshman Cooper, 39, has been named Potter's successor in what will be his first senior role after stints with the academies at Wrexham and Liverpool preceded a post working with England's youth teams.

He was in charge of the England Under-17 side that beat Spain in the 2017 World Cup final, with Manchester City's Phil Foden, Chelsea's Callum Hudson-Odoi and Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho all starring in that tournament.

"This opportunity is something I've been working towards my whole life, certainly since I started coaching 22 years ago," Cooper said in quotes published on the club's official website.

"I'm extremely grateful to Swansea for giving me this chance. I'm really excited about the challenge ahead."

Slaven Bilic has been appointed West Brom's new head coach.

The Croatian, who was in charge of West Ham in the Premier League from 2015 to 2017, has signed a two-year deal with the Baggies.

West Brom missed out on promotion from the Championship after they lost on penalties to Aston Villa in the play-offs.

They sacked Darren Moore in March, with James Shan taking charge for the rest of the season.

"I'm delighted with this opportunity of course," Bilic told West Brom's official website.

"We want to improve, we want to improve on the pitch and Albion have convinced me they want to return to the Premier League. Albion have a short-term project and a long project, and they do not clash.

"They wanted me to lead them, to help improve them. They made it clear they wanted me to be the one to lead them in this and I didn't think twice once they had spoken to me."

Bilic, 50, previously spent six years in charge of Croatia, who reached the quarter-finals at Euro 2008 under his leadership.

Rio Ferdinand believes Frank Lampard can be Chelsea's answer to Pep Guardiola as Maurizio Sarri reportedly nears a move to Juventus.

Chelsea head coach Sarri is poised to sign a three-year deal to replace Massimiliano Allegri at Serie A champions Juve, according to reports.

Former Chelsea midfielder Lampard has emerged as one of the favourites to take over if Sarri leaves after almost guiding Derby County to the Premier League via the Championship play-off in his first season at the helm.

Ex-Manchester United defender Ferdinand – who played alongside Lampard with England – likened the 40-year-old to Manchester City manager Guardiola prior to the Spaniard being appointed Barcelona boss in 2008.

"He is the perfect choice," Ferdinand said. "People talk about experience and what-not but what experience did Pep [Guardiola] have when he went into Barcelona's first team? He trained the younger kids at the club.

"Frank knows the club and he knows the players and the players will respect him. You can see he can carry himself in a particular way in front of the media and in the football club and he can change things within a season.

"If Chelsea are going to get a ban transfer-wise I don't think they can look anywhere but Frank if I'm honest. Because he and Jody [Morris, Derby assistant manager] they know all the kids from 16 upwards. They know what they can all do.

"Chelsea have had the best young kids in the country for a while now - Man City are coming around that but for the good years they have had the best kids and none of them get in the first team.

"As a football club, you would think they would like to change that. If they want to change that there is no one but Frank."

Lampard won three Premier League titles, the Champions League and four FA Cup trophies among other silverware during his time at Chelsea.

He is also Chelsea's all-time leading scorer with 211 goals across all competitions, including 147 in the Premier League, after joining from West Ham in 2001.

Nigel Adkins will leave his role as head coach of Hull City at the end of June after turning down a new deal.

Adkins, who has previously enjoyed spells in charge of Southampton, Reading and Sheffield United, took over at Hull in December 2017 and led the club away from a Championship relegation scrap.

The Tigers finished 13th last season but Adkins will not be at the helm for 2019-20 after Hull confirmed he had declined their offer of fresh terms.

Adkins' assistant Andy Crosby will also be leaving the KCOM Stadium.

"I'd like to thank all the staff and players, and in particular Andy Crosby, my assistant, for the hard work, camaraderie, togetherness and support they have shown me and wish them all good luck with their future careers," Adkins said.

"The unity the supporters have shown with the staff and players has also been very special. The fantastic relationship I have had with the fans makes leaving extremely difficult. I will take with me very special memories from the past 18 months."

The English Football League (EFL) has confirmed it will adopt the Rooney Rule.

An 18-month trial saw EFL clubs voluntarily committing to interview at least one black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) candidate when recruiting for any managerial position in first-team football. 

The scheme is a variation of the Rooney Rule in the NFL, where teams are required to interview ethnic minority candidates for head coaching jobs.

A new regulation has been introduced by the EFL, which it said will ensure "that the principle of providing more opportunities to BAME candidates is mandatory when clubs consider multiple applicants for a role". 

The EFL also confirmed a change in regulations following the 'Spygate' row between Championship clubs Leeds United and Derby County earlier in the year.

Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa admitted sending a staff member to watch Derby's training sessions ahead of a league game between the sides in January.

The EFL concluded after an investigation that the conduct undertaken by Leeds breached its regulations, but on Friday noted a clarification of the rule was needed.

It now reads: "Without prejudice to the requirements of Regulation 3.4 (that each club shall behave towards each other club with the upmost good faith), no club shall directly or indirectly observe (or attempt to observe) another club's training session in the period of 72 hours prior to any match scheduled to be played between those respective clubs."

QPR have announced that Loftus Road will be renamed The Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium from the start of next season.

Supporters were encouraged to nominate a local charity to be gifted the naming rights and a shortlist of five possible options was drawn up.

A further ballot followed and, after receiving more than 63 per cent of the overall votes, The Kiyan Prince Foundation – a charity founded in honour of a promising footballer in the QPR academy who was tragically killed – came out on top.

Kiyan Prince was stabbed to death outside his school at the age of just 15 when he broke up a fight in May 2006.

His father Mark set up the foundation to educate young people about the consequences of knife crime and he was grateful to the London club for renaming their home of more than 100 years.

"I can't tell you what this means to Kiyan's mum, to me, his brothers and sisters, his friends and people who have been supporting the work we have been doing," Mark Prince said in a statement.

"Kiyan was a very special young man. We hear many stories about his kindness and good nature so to have The Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium at a place where his skills were honed is a dream come true.

"It means so much and only confirms the relationship that I know I have with the QPR fans. They always give me their support.

"This gives us so many opportunities and we have to make sure we capitalise on them. Kiyan would be blown away by what is going on."

The official unveiling of the new stadium name will take place when QPR play their first competitive home fixture of the new campaign.

Aston Villa have signed Jota from rivals Birmingham City on a two-year deal for an undisclosed fee, reuniting the Spanish winger with manager Dean Smith.

Jota was a key player for Smith at Brentford before joining Birmingham in 2017, going on to make 75 appearances during a two-year spell at St Andrews.

The 27-year-old has previously played for hometown club Celta Vigo, Real Madrid Castilla and Eibar, and Smith expressed his delight at having him in his squad for Villa's first season back in the Premier League.

"I worked with Jota at Brentford," Smith told the club's official website. "He's a superb, talented player and Birmingham signed him as their record transfer.

"I'm really happy to have him back working with us. He's got great ability, great balance and a great eye for both goals and assists."

Jota, whose most prolific season in English football came when he scored 12 goals in 21 Championship appearances for Brentford in 2016-17, said: "I am very happy to come and play for a club like Aston Villa.

"It's important for me to come and play in the Premier League. I've been looking for this for some years. I think I am in a good club to play there. This is one of England's best clubs."

Meanwhile, 26-year-old midfielder Gary Gardner completed a move in the opposite direction, joining on a permanent contract after spending 2018-19 on loan at Blues.

Leeds United should consider selling star centre-back Pontus Jansson and allow youngsters the chance to impress, according to former manager Simon Grayson.

Marcelo Bielsa could face a fight over his most talented players following the failure to win promotion to the Premier League.

Young winger Jack Clarke has been linked to Tottenham, while Aston Villa are rumoured to be monitoring midfielder Kalvin Phillips.

Top scorer Kemar Roofe is also entering the final season of his contract and Grayson advised his ex-employers to focus first and foremost on retaining their crop of young prospects.

He thinks selling Jansson, who has been linked with Premier League clubs including Wolves and Newcastle United as well as Benfica, would not necessarily be a bad decision.

"There are other players I would want to keep ahead of Pontus Jansson," Grayson told Omnisport. "People like Kalvin Phillips and Jack Clarke, the younger players who can be the bedrock of Leeds for the next few years.

"I think Jansson does well when he concentrates on what he is there to do, in terms of being a defender

"Of course, they want to try and keep hold of them if possible, but players have been sold in the past to finance the next group of players.

"Roofe has proved he is goalscorer and Phillips, with his versatility and age, his ability on the ball, he is such a key player for what Leeds have done this season.

"I think he has a really bright future in front of him and let's hope they can keep hold of him."

It could be a period of upheaval at Elland Road with Qatari Sports Investments, the group that controls Paris Saint-Germain, reportedly in talks to acquire at least a minority stake from owner Andrea Radrizzani.

Fresh investment would boost the Yorkshire club's bid to end a 15-year absence from the Premier League but Grayson, whose Leeds side sat second at Christmas in 2010, believes they might already be there had Bielsa been more aggressive in the transfer market.

Leeds failed to land top target Daniel James from Swansea City in January and surrendered second spot to Sheffield United, before losing out in the play-offs to Derby County.

"I think personally I would have strengthened in January," Grayson said.

"When I was in charge of Leeds I wasn't given that opportunity. I think Bielsa was given that opportunity, but he just didn't want to do it.

"That was his decision, but I just felt they were a couple of players short of getting over the line."

Ashley Cole has not been offered a new contract by Derby County after they failed to earn promotion to the Premier League.

The former England left-back, 38, is set to leave Frank Lampard's side, who were beaten by Aston Villa in last month's Championship play-off final.

Efe Ambrose, Alex Pearce, David Nugent and Marcus Olsson are also to be released, while the loan deals of Fikyao Tomori, Harry Wilson, Mason Mount and Andy King have concluded.

Cole made 11 appearances in the Championship after reuniting with former Chelsea team-mate Lampard in January.

Lampard continues to be linked with a return to Chelsea should head coach Maurizio Sarri depart.

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