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.

Frank Lampard's lack of managerial experience should not concern Chelsea but they must make sure they get the right people on his staff, according to Ruud Gullit.

The Blues are searching for a new boss after confirming Maurizio Sarri's departure on Sunday, with the Italian leaving Stamford Bridge to take over at Serie A champions Juventus.

Chelsea great Lampard is the favourite to take over despite his coaching CV including just a solitary season in charge of Derby County, who missed out on promotion after losing in the Championship play-off final to Aston Villa.

Yet Chelsea have taken the plunge with inexperienced appointments in the past. Gullit came in as player-coach in 1996, while Gianluca Vialli filled the same role after the Dutchman departed in February 1998.

"Look, he [Lampard] has done nothing yet as a coach. They gave me this opportunity as well - and we won. That has nothing to do with it," Gullit said at the Costa Smeralda Invitational event.

"I think it's important for Chelsea to have somebody who they can relate to - that's what they try to find.

"I hope also that they get the right people around him who can help him.

"So don't make a mistake to get friends there, make sure that you get somebody that has experience in managing and coaching teams and things like that. That would be the best thing for him."

Sarri won the Europa League and finished third in the Premier League in the 2018-19 campaign, yet a section of the club's support failed to warm to him during his reign.

Gullit, however, feels the Italian did a solid job, particularly as he was left to work with a lopsided squad that forced him to play Eden Hazard out of position.

"It's just Chelsea," he said of Sarri's exit. "Every time somebody wins something they're going to get sacked. It's better not to win anything!

"I think he was in a little bit of a difficult situation because of the fact he had three wingers all for the right side. He tried Eden Hazard up front and it didn't work. So he had to play him on the left.

"He kept on rotating with three of them, Pedro, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Willian, of course. For that reason, they wanted to have the youngster to give the benefit, but Willian is a Brazilian international.

"It was a difficult situation that [Sarri] didn't create. But I think that he did okay. If you see how the rest are, with Liverpool especially and Manchester City, it was difficult to get to first place."

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.

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.

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.

John Terry is making no secret of his plans to go into management, but he is in no rush to leave his role as assistant at Aston Villa.

Ex-Chelsea captain Terry is on Dean Smith's staff at Villa Park and helped the former European champions back into the Premier League with a 2-1 play-off final win over Derby County on Monday.

And the 38-year-old's work under Smith has seen him linked with the vacant Middlesbrough job, where former England team-mate Jonathan Woodgate is also said to be in the running following Tony Pulis' departure.

However, despite hoping for a future as the main man, Terry is content to continue his education alongside Smith and colleague Richard O'Kelly for now.

"I've always wanted to do it," he said of management. "I think you know as a player when your time is up and I kind of knew that last year in my last game at Wembley.

"In the long run, obviously management is my ambition. But I'm not thinking about that at the moment. As a player, I got to the heights I wanted to get to but I firmly believe I'm a YTS [youth training scholar] again.

"I'm starting right from the very bottom and I'm not afraid to say that. I'm not afraid to do all the dirty work, picking up the cones, the balls and the bibs. All of that stuff is part of my education.

"It is something I have been planning for a few years and the experience and the day-to-day work on the training field and what the manager allows me to do has been fantastic for me.

"I've got a great teacher in Dean - and Richard as well - to bounce things off. I'm very fortunate to be able to sit there and learn from them, because they are superb."

Victory over Derby saw Frank Lampard and Jody Morris, friends and team-mates at Chelsea, denied promotion, yet Terry is tipping them for future success.

"It has been incredible what [Lampard] has done at Derby," he said.

"I don't think anyone would have put them back in the play-offs or anything this year but I think he has brought a great team spirit and, obviously, he has got a wealth of experience.

"He has got Jody, who has got a lot of experience in coaching as well, and it is just great to see young managers like Stevie [Gerrard, Rangers manager] and Lamps getting the opportunities.

"It was an unfortunate day for them on Monday because it's a horrible way to go. To come [to Wembley] and lose is tough to take, but he's got a great future in management, for sure."

Frank Lampard has refused to indulge speculation he could become Chelsea's new manager following Derby County's Championship play-off final defeat to Aston Villa on Monday.

Blues legend Lampard has been heavily linked with a return to Stamford Bridge to replace Maurizio Sarri, who has been tipped for the Juventus job following Massimiliano Allegri's surprise departure.

Lampard, whose first season as a manager ended in disappointment with a 2-1 defeat to Villa at Wembley, would not be drawn on the speculation and says he will speak to Rams owner Mel Morris in the coming days about his future.

"I'm not interested in the speculation," he said. "I'll sit down with Mel Morris over the next few days. I've got a two-year contract and I love working here.

"After my first year and the opportunity this club gave me it's massively important that everyone understands that is my overriding feeling.

"So that's where I am. I'll go away tonight and have a couple of beers with the lads and the staff, and afterwards we'll talk about where we go forward."

Villa's win ends a three-year stay in the Championship and boss Dean Smith believes the club are now back in their rightful place.

"The potential for the football club is massive," he said. "I have been asked how it feels right now? I think it feels right. 

"It feels right that Aston Villa are in the Premier League. I think the history of the football club, the size of the football club, the fanbase it has, I believe it is a Premier League club. 

"It's not me speaking with a supporter's head on. It's just the history that tells you that.

"But, unfortunately, we have had some hard years as we've tried to get back into the Premier League. 

"The players and owners deserve what they are going to get. The potential with the owners that we have is massive."

Aston Villa will return to the Premier League after a three-year absence having beaten Derby County 2-1 in the Championship play-off final at Wembley on Monday.

Dean Smith's side took charge early on and managed to avoid failing in a second successive play-off final despite Derby's late rally, with the Rams' hapless defending giving Villa a helping hand in a match estimated to be worth £170million to the victors.

Villa looked the more threatening of the two sides for most of the first half and finally took the lead in the 44th minute, as Anwar El Ghazi directed a cross home from close range.

John McGinn punished a woeful Kelle Roos error just before the hour and that was ultimately enough to send Villa up, with Martyn Waghorn's 81st-minute strike too little, too late for Frank Lampard's side.

Villa made a promising start, with Axel Tuanzebe fluffing his lines a few yards out and Jack Grealish rifling just over in the early stages.

That momentum waned initially, before Tammy Abraham's effort in the 33rd minute that narrowly missed the top-right corner of the net seemed to inspire an improvement.

And Villa finally got their goal just before half-time, as El Ghazi got ahead of his marker to meet Ahmed Elmohamady’s cross, the ball finding the net via his back as he stooped for a header.

Quality was lacking at the start of the second half and goalkeeper Roos epitomised that with a dreadful error in the 59th minute, failing to collect what appeared to be a routine catch as McGinn beat him to it to head in.

Derby piled the pressure on towards the end and, after going close through Jayden Bogle and Mason Mount, Jack Marriott's left-footed strike from the centre of the box took a slight deflection into the bottom-left corner off Waghorn. 

But Villa held on to seal their return to the top flight.

Frank Lampard has an "aura" and will certainly return to Chelsea in the future, according to Derby County owner Mel Morris.

Former England star Lampard has thrived at Pride Park in his first senior managerial job since ending his glittering playing career.

The 40-year-old leads Derby in the final of the Championship play-offs on Monday, where they will face Aston Villa at Wembley for a place in next season's Premier League.

Lampard's efforts have seen him linked with the Chelsea job, with head coach Maurizio Sarri having failed to win over sections of the club's support and tipped to return to Italy with Juventus.

And Morris thinks it is only a matter of time until Lampard heads back to Stamford Bridge.

"Frank has brought the buzz back to the place," he told the Telegraph. "He has created a special environment. It wasn't about him being a celebrity, it was about somebody giving us excitement. He has an aura, like all great managers.

"One day he is going to be [back] at Chelsea, I am sure, because of the legend he was there. The longer he is here with success, the easier it is to go there without risk because Chelsea is a big club with massive expectations.

"I would always be pleased we gave him the opportunity, proud of what he has achieved with us, and if that happened sooner rather than later I would just hope it works out for him. There would be absolutely no ill feeling and we'd understand it's probably an opportunity he couldn't turn down."

Harry Wilson is another to be impressed by the Derby boss, the Liverpool loanee having enjoyed a fine season under Lampard's guidance.

Having been used both as a winger and as a central attacking player, the 22-year-old now hopes to win the trust of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.

"I think when your manager is such a legend in the game, you've got to take everything you can off him, whether it's something to improve on or it's a pat on the back," he told the Guardian of Lampard.

"It is only going to benefit me because now I don't necessarily play on the wing; I play either side, number 10, central midfield.

"There is a loan guy called Jools [Julian Ward]; I am in touch with him and he reports back to the [Liverpool] manager. I have had a few texts off [Jurgen Klopp]. It's good to know you are not being forgotten.

"I wanted to come to a good football team so I could showcase what I could do. Hopefully the manager has seen the games on TV and I've made a good impression. I'll go back there in pre-season; what happens from there I don't know."

John Terry could beat Frank Lampard in the "race against each other" to become Chelsea boss, according to former Blues captain Dennis Wise.

Reports have linked Derby County manager Lampard with a return to Stamford Bridge amid rumours Maurizio Sarri could seek a switch back to his native Italy.

Lampard, 40, spent more than a decade with the London club as a player and has reached the Championship play-off final in first season in charge of Derby.

He will share a touchline with former team-mate Terry at Wembley on Monday and it is the Aston Villa assistant that Wise views as a stronger choice to land the Chelsea job first.

"If I had to have a bet, if I was really pressed, then I would say John will get the Chelsea job before Frank," Wise told the Sun.

"They will both want it, I'm sure of that and it is a race against the clock — a race against each other — in many ways.

"John is doing it differently to Frank because he has gone in as an assistant at Villa to Dean Smith — and that's a shrewd move. It means he can listen to some conversations in the manager's office that he has never heard before.

"Players can look up to, respect and admire people like Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti out on the training field, or the way they conduct themselves around the club.

"What the players don't see is the planning, preparation, the tactical analysis and conversations that go on inside the manager's office."

Terry took up a coaching role at Villa in October after captaining the club in their play-off final defeat to Fulham 12 months ago.

The ex-England centre-back is said to be in the sights of Middlesbrough, who are searching for a new manager following the dismissal of Tony Pulis.

Derby Counter owner Mel Morris is not concerned by reports linking manager Frank Lampard to Chelsea.

Blues great Lampard won three Premier League titles, the Champions League and the Europa League while at Stamford Bridge, but he has made his first steps into management with Derby.

The 40-year-old has guided the Rams to Monday's Championship play-off final against Aston Villa, although the build-up to a pivotal match has been dogged by suggestions he might depart the club.

Lampard is said to be a candidate to replace Chelsea head coach Maurizio Sarri, who continues to be the subject of speculation despite a strong end to the season.

Derby chief Morris will work to keep Lampard, but admits there is little he can do to stop the former midfielder's name being discussed.

"Frank's always going to be linked with Chelsea," Morris told BBC Radio Derby.

"Is anyone surprised that lots of people would be interested in him given what he has achieved this season? His style of football has been fantastic.

"Right now, Chelsea have got a massive game coming up next week [the Europa League final against Arsenal] and we've got a massive game coming up.

"I can guarantee that no-one wants any focus on anything other than those two games.

"For Frank, he should view it as a compliment that he is being connected with that opportunity. But he always will be."

Lampard signed a three-year contract at Derby at the start of the season and has overseen the development of Chelsea loan men Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount.

Marcelo Bielsa indicated he is willing to stay at Leeds United despite their defeat to Derby County in the Championship play-offs.

Derby lost the first leg 1-0 and were trailing in the second clash at Elland Road on Wednesday before turning the match on its head to run out 4-2 winners on the night and 4-3 on aggregate. 

Former Argentina and Chile coach Bielsa signed a two-year deal on his June 2018 arrival at Leeds, who led the Championship table at Christmas but missed out on automatic promotion in the closing weeks.

"As you can imagine, it is not convenient to talk about this right now," Bielsa told reporters after Leeds' 15-year exile from the Premier League was extended.

"You know about this process. If the club offers me the possibility to carry on, I will listen to this proposal."

Gaetano Berardi's red card contributed to Leeds' downfall, with Jack Marriott scoring twice off the bench for the Rams, but Bielsa accepted responsibility for his side's failure to make it to Wembley.

"There have been mistakes and that leads to doubts about the head coach," said Bielsa, who was dejected at the full-time whistle.

"If you have resources to reach something and you don't reach it, if you face the difficulties you have to face and you have the possibility to reach the goal and you don't reach it, we have to assume the worst possibility. I couldn't find a solution and it's my job to find solutions.

"It is a painful situation and we are very disappointed. There was a loss of control. As managers, we should provide a solution, giving strong structures, but we had 20 minutes of disorder. We have many things to take into account."

Lampard and veteran left-back Ashley Cole will now face former Chelsea team-mate John Terry - assistant at Villa - for a place in the Premier League on May 27 and he celebrated wildly with his players after beating Leeds in a bad-tempered clash that also saw Scott Malone sent off. 

The former England midfielder and his players reclaimed the version of Oasis classic 'Stop Crying Your Heart Out' sung by Leeds fans in reference to the 'spygate' scandal engulfing Bielsa earlier in the year and Lampard hailed his young team's achievement.

"It means such a great deal," said Lampard, who is in his first season as a manager. "From the day I came in, we had issues. Every club in the Championship has issues, but it was about how can we bring the average age of the squad down, how can we bring energy into the team.

"There have been ups and downs on the way, including losing the first leg at home. In terms of personal achievement, it's up there with anything I've achieved, the way I'm feeling right now. I'm very proud of everyone.

"They say emotions are intensified as a manager and it's definitely true. I got caught up in it, but I do aim high. Maybe I was naive to do that because I was aware of the financial issues we had. I knew we had to sell players, loan players and because it's been so tough, it's more than I could have imagined the way it's turned out.

"I won't take back those celebrations because we've strived for it. Once they've enjoyed [the celebrations], it's heads down, get some rest and be ready for it. It'll be a test. Villa are a really great outfit and we'll be underdogs again."

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