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.

From Madrid to Munich? Gareth Bale could be set for a new challenge.

Out of favour at Real Madrid, Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich are reportedly eyeing the Wales star.

With Madrid looking to trim their wage bill and raise some funds, Bale appears headed for the exit door…

 

TOP STORY – BAYERN WANT BALE

According to The Sun, Bayern Munich are ready to offer Gareth Bale an escape from Real Madrid.

Having already signed Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Ferland Mendy, Eder Militao and Rodrygo Goes, Madrid are looking to sell as Zinedine Zidane continues his overhaul in the Spanish capital.

And with Niko Kovac's Bayern keen to bolster their attacking options on the flank following the departures of Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, the German giants are reportedly prepared to take Bale on loan.

 

 

ROUND-UP

- Radio CRC in Italy reports that Napoli have moved closer to signing James Rodriguez from Real Madrid, which would reunite the Colombia star with Carlo Ancelotti after he was lured to Bayern Munich on a two-year loan deal in 2017.

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba will submit a transfer request in an attempt to force through a move to Real Madrid, according to ABC. Meanwhile, the Mirror claims the French World Cup winner is prepared to go on strike.

- The Mirror also says Mohamed Salah will weigh up his Liverpool future at the end of the 2019-20 season, despite reported interest from Juventus and Real Madrid.

- According to Sky Sports News, Manchester United are interested in West Ham defender Issa Diop. The Red Devils are reportedly willing to pay £45million plus a player. It comes as United struggle in their pursuit of a centre-back as they continue to be linked to Leicester City's Harry Maguire and Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is also reportedly persevering in his efforts to prise Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace.

- Premier League champions Manchester City have moved ahead of rivals Manchester United and Atletico Madrid in the race to sign Benfica sensation Joao Felix. That is according to the Daily Mail, which claims City's willingness to loan the 19-year-old – who has a £105million release clause – back to the Portuguese champions has tilted the transfer battle in their favour.

- The Daily Star reports Atletico Madrid star Antoine Griezmann will reject Manchester United's advances to team up with Lionel Messi at LaLiga champions Barcelona.

- According to Sky Germany, Mats Hummels is close to re-joining Borussia Dortmund from Bayern Munich. The 30-year-old defender left Dortmund in 2016.

Manchester United and Tottenham are Gareth Bale's only realistic options for a move back to the Premier League, says Ian Rush.

Bale looks to be out of favour at Real Madrid, having failed to establish himself in Los Blancos' side since Zinedine Zidane made his return to the club.

The Wales forward was an unused substitute in Madrid's final-day defeat to Real Betis, with Zidane claiming afterwards he would not have brought the 29-year-old on even if he had more changes available.

Madrid have since spent big money on bringing in Eden Hazard to fill the void left by Cristiano Ronaldo, with Luka Jovic also joining from Eintracht Frankfurt to further bolster their attacking options.

Bale's future at the club looks firmly in doubt, though his agent has suggested that the ex-Tottenham winger, who scored eight LaLiga goals in 2018-19, is fully committed to seeing out his Madrid contract.

Wales icon Rush, however, is hopeful Bale will return to the Premier League, but suggested Spurs and United may be the only sides that would make a move for his compatriot.

"Apart from that, where else are you looking at?" former Liverpool and Juventus striker Rush told BBC Sport.

"Looking at Manchester United last season, I think he'd walk into that side now. 

"When a club wants to get rid of you and he wants to stay, it's very difficult and I feel for him because like I've said before, Real Madrid supporters should be applauding him.

"You get to a stage now where different managers have different ways. You just hope that Gareth gets back, hopefully, in the Premier League because everyone wants to see him play.

"In the last two Wales games he hasn't been the player he is, but sometimes even the greatest players have to have a couple of bad games.

"He's still got a few years left in him and it depends which club wants to take him."

Real Madrid should allow Gareth Bale to leave on loan, says the club's former president Ramon Calderon.

Bale fell out of favour at Madrid after Zinedine Zidane returned for his second spell in charge in March.

But his lofty wages - reportedly as high as £350,000 a week - mean few clubs will likely be able to afford the Wales star.

Madrid have been spending heavily on reinforcements with France international Ferland Mendy their latest signing, the left-back joining Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic and Eder Militao in heading to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Manchester United have long been linked with a move for Bale, but reports suggest the Premier League side are no longer considering a move. 

Calderon therefore feels a loan deal could suit both Madrid and Bale, who cost what was then a world-record £85million fee when he signed from Tottenham in 2013.

"His situation here is very difficult," Calderon told Sky Sports. "It is clear Zidane has discarded him in his mind.

"He showed that last season by not having him in the starting line-up. It is very disappointing for a player like him.

"Also the problem is the transfer fee. Real Madrid want to get a lot of money for him, but I find that difficult.

"Maybe the best thing for everyone would be a loan. The player could recover his confidence on the field and Real Madrid could see his value rise.

"He wasn't successful here for many reasons - injuries, also the handicap of the money. When he came we paid more than we did for Cristiano [Ronaldo].

"People thought he should be better than Cristiano but that is very difficult."

Hazard has become Madrid's latest 'Galactico' signing and the Belgium star will be presented by the club on Thursday.

But Calderon does not believe Hazard, who joined from Chelsea for a fee that could reportedly exceed £150m, can succeed Ronaldo either.

"[Hazard] is a fantastic player, but Cristiano is unique," Calderon said. "I've never seen or found a player like him.

"Hazard is very talented and skilful, he's proven that in the strongest championship in the world, which is the Premier League.

"He can play on both flanks, is a good dribbler with excellent passing. He can play in many positions - attacking midfielder, winger, even a false nine - so it is a fantastic opportunity."

Manchester United know what they want for star midfielder Paul Pogba, according to reports.

Pogba, 26, has been heavily linked with a move away from Old Trafford, with Real Madrid reported to be his most likely destination.

With Zinedine Zidane starting a rebuild at the Santiago Bernabeu – Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic and Ferland Mendy have all just been signed – perhaps Pogba could be next.

But, unsurprisingly, there will be work to do between United and Madrid to make the move happen.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED SET POGBA PRICE

Manchester United want at least £150million for Pogba, according to the Mirror.

That would top the then-world record £89m United paid to bring Pogba back to Old Trafford from Juventus in 2016, an indicator of the state of the market rather than the France international's performances.

However, Eduardo Inda reports Real Madrid have offered €120m (around £107m) plus bonuses, leaving a rather big gap between the teams' valuations.

 

ROUND-UP

- Atletico Madrid's chief executive claimed on Wednesday he has known since March that Antoine Griezmann will join Barcelona. But it seems Manchester United still have hope, The Sun reporting the Premier League giants are ready to offer £95m for the forward.

- While Manchester United are looking to strengthen their attack, perhaps they have little interest in Real Madrid attacker Gareth Bale. ESPN report that United have rejected the chance to talk to Madrid about the possibility of signing the Wales international.

- Benfica teenager Joao Felix is sought-after. Goal report that Atletico Madrid also want the attacker, hoping to convince the Portugal international he will get more first-team chances with them than possibly Manchester City. According to Estadio Deportivo, Atletico have also put in a bid – close to €55m – for reported Tottenham target and Real Betis midfielder Giovani Lo Celso.

- Bayern Munich may want Manchester City attacker Leroy Sane, but they have other options. Bild report the Bundesliga champions will target Yannick Carrasco, who is at Dalian Yifang but wants a return to Europe, if they cannot land Sane.

- Barcelona are seemingly ready to head into next season with Ernesto Valverde as coach. Sport report that Valverde met with president Josep Maria Bartomeu on Tuesday to discuss possible transfers.

- Dejan Lovren has fallen down the pecking order at Liverpool, but the European champions will not let the defender go cheaply. Lovren is linked to AC Milan and the Mirror report Liverpool want around £25m for the Croatia international.

Ryan Giggs admitted he has faced "a juggling act" in trying to find an effective role for Gareth Bale in his Wales side after watching the Real Madrid forward struggle in a 1-0 Euro 2020 qualifying defeat against Hungary.

Bale missed Wales' best opportunity of the game, firing tamely at Hungary goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi when the ball arrived at his feet 12 yards from goal, and Mate Patkai punished his wastefulness by scoring the winner 10 minutes from time.

After opting to play Dan James as a lone striker while Bale started on the left wing, Giggs said the forward's morale was not a problem during training despite the 29-year-old having endured a difficult season in LaLiga.

"He is disappointed like all of us with the two games," Giggs told reporters when asked about Bale.

"I have said before, in the training camp he was great, about the place he has been great. It's difficult fitness wise having not played for a long time and then that short turnaround.

"The way he plays as well, those high-intensity sprints. It's difficult. But he's been fine around the place, no problem.

"It's always a bit of a juggling act trying to find where Gareth can be effective. We have so many players who can play off the right or number 10.

"Gareth has shown over the last few years he can play up front, number 10, off the right. It's my job to try and get his best position and to get the other players in their best positions as well."

The defeat was Wales' second in four days and left them second-bottom of Euro 2020 qualifying Group E after three games played, and Giggs acknowledged his side face a struggle to get their campaign back on track in their remaining five matches.

Group E strugglers Azerbaijan are Wales' next opponents on September 6, by which time Giggs will hope his squad is in better shape.

Having seen his side lose 2-1 in Croatia three days before their reverse in Hungary, Giggs said: "We've had two tough away games five weeks after the season finished, and you saw it in both games - a lot of the players were short of match fitness and we're asking miracles of our players.

"Ethan [Ampadu] has not really played, I did well to get 50 minutes out of him. Brooksy [David Brooks] was the same. Asking Gareth [Bale] to play two games in a short space of time with the way he plays after not playing for six weeks.

"But still, we had enough chances to win the games. It's tough, not enough of our players were at peak fitness but we have to probably win nearly every game now.

"We've made it really difficult for ourselves and we're probably relying on other teams to drop points, which they will do, because it's a competitive group.

"But obviously we have to start winning, if not win all of the games, then the majority of them."

Paris Saint-Germain may be heading for a tough rebuild that includes losing two of the world's best players.

While they won Ligue 1 once again, PSG fell short in the Champions League, exiting in the round of 16. Still, Thomas Tuchel has earned trust in Paris, signing a new contract in May.

He may have some massive work to do in the close-season, with Kylian Mbappe reportedly eyeing a move to Real Madrid, while Neymar is considering his options.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE WANTS MADRID MOVE

After a standout season, Mbappe is feeling undervalued at PSG and wants a move to Real Madrid, according to ABC.

The France international, who scored 39 goals in 2018-19, does not feel properly valued in Paris, the report said.

Mbappe has continually been linked with a move to Madrid, where his fellow Frenchman Zinedine Zidane returned to the helm late in the season.

There may be even further worries for PSG, too, with Neymar considering his options, according to Telefoot.

 

ROUND-UP

- Gareth Bale is on his way out at the Santiago Bernabeu and Manchester United may be interested. According to the Mirror, United are ready to meet the attacker's wage demands, initially signing him on loan before holding on to him for a second season.

- Manchester United are also looking at potential replacements for Paul Pogba, who is linked with a move away. The Evening Standard report that United are considering Tottenham star Christian Eriksen and Monaco's Youri Tielemans, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Leicester City.

- While Madrid's rebuild has well and truly started, there appears to be some uncertainty over Vinicius Junior. According to AS, Zidane is still unsure about the forward, while president Florentino Perez believes the Brazilian should be part of Madrid's squad.

- Real Madrid are nonetheless expected to sign Lyon left-back Ferland Mendy, but AS say there are concerns over the defender's hip. The LaLiga giants are hoping to do another medical on Wednesday before confirming the signing.

- Atletico Madrid are set to lose Antoine Griezmann and are looking at AC Milan's Suso to add some strength to their attack, according to Corriere dello Sport.

- Manchester United will need a bigger bid to land Crystal Palace defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka. The Times report Palace rejected a £40million bid, looking for something closer to £65m.

Wayne Rooney has urged Manchester United to resist the temptation to target world superstars such as Cristiano Ronaldo or Gareth Bale because he fears it could prove a huge waste of money.

The Red Devils are in the early stages of a new era under the leadership of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and have been linked with a host of established top-tier players.

They are eager to rival neighbours Manchester City, who have pulled away to become the leading side in the Premier League, while United failed even to qualify for next season's Champions League.

And with arch-rivals Liverpool becoming European champions only last week, United are longing to bring back their own glory days and improve substantially on their sixth-place finish in the top flight in 2018-19.

Record scorer Rooney says his old club should be patient, however, and build for long-term success at home and in Europe rather than plot a quick and expensive fix.

Speaking on BBC Five Live's Sportsweek show, Rooney said: "For Ole, the first thing he's got to do is try and build the squad. I don't think bringing one or two players in for over £100million is going to really help with the squad and with the players who are there.

"I think he needs to try and look at maybe five or six players who have got potential to be top players but you're not spending £120-130m on these players.

"I think you're spending £30-40m and then you're trying to improve them, which will also give you longevity out of the players and allow you to build a squad around the five or six new players who come in plus a few of the players who are still there.

"You could bring three players in - you could bring in Ronaldo, Sergio Ramos and [Lionel] Messi, or Gareth Bale for instance - and it's going to cost you £300-350m.

"You'd get maybe two years out of Ronaldo, a couple of years out of Ramos and then you've written that money off.

"The club needs to rebuild with younger players. But obviously they need to be good enough and allow the managers to improve them."

Wales winger Daniel James is set to join from Swansea City after the clubs agreed a deal, with the 21-year-old a player United hope will blossom at Old Trafford.

Rooney, now at DC United, added: "I think the Man United fans will understand they're probably not going to compete for the Premier League next year.

"So, let them have that time, let Ole have that time to build a team for the next two or three years who are going to compete not only at Premier League level but at Champions League level."

First it was Daniel James, now is Aaron Wan-Bissaka on the verge of joining Manchester United?

After agreeing to sign Swansea City winger James, United have reportedly made an offer to prise Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace.

It is set to be a busy close-season at Old Trafford as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer attempts to overhaul the struggling Red Devils.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED BID FOR WAN-BISSAKA

A "substantial bid" has been made by Manchester United to secure the services of Crystal Palace right-back Wan-Bissaka, according to Sky Sports.

While 20-year-old Diogo Dalot only arrived from Porto last season, Solskjaer wants to address the right side of his defence following the departure of veteran Antonio Valencia.

And with Solskjaer determined to sign the best young British talent – highlighted by James' arrival – the 21-year-old fits the bill as United look to improve on their sixth-placed finish in the Premier League.

 

ROUND-UP

- Could Gianluigi Buffon finish his career where it started? La Gazzetta dello Sport claim the 41-year-old goalkeeper is in talks with former club Parma after leaving Paris Saint-Germain. Buffon, who only spent one season in Paris, debuted as a 17-year-old for Parma in 1995 before joining Serie A rivals Juventus for a then-world record fee of €52million in 2001.

- According to The Sun, Manchester United and Real Madrid have opened talks over a transfer for Paul Pogba. Zinedine Zidane wants to add the France star to his squad after signing Eden Hazard and officials from Madrid and United reportedly met last week. It comes as The Mirror claim United are planning an attempt to take Gareth Bale from Madrid on loan as the Wales international faces an uncertain future in the Spanish capital.

Madrid are not the only club interested in Pogba, with the Express claiming Juve want to re-sign the World Cup winner from United. The 26-year-old left Turin for a return to Manchester in 2016 after Juve pocketed £89m.

- With Madrid seemingly set to complete the signing of Lyon full-back Ferland Mendy, Marca report long-serving star Marcelo is free to decide his own future, having been linked to Serie A champions Juventus in the past.

- Is Jose Mourinho about to take over at United… Newcastle United, that is? According to The Mirror, Mourinho – who was sacked by Manchester United in December – is willing to talk to the Premier League side if billionaire Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan completes his takeover.

- Champions League holders Liverpool are willing to sanction Harry Wilson's exit for £21m, claim The Mirror. The 22-year-old impressed as Derby County reached the Championship play-off final, and he has attracted interest from Bundesliga duo Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig.

Eden Hazard completed his much-anticipated move from Chelsea to Real Madrid on Friday, the 13-time European champions agreeing to pay a fee that could rise to €140million.

In doing so, Hazard became the latest Premier League superstar to be drawn to the bright lights of LaLiga.

Over the past decade, Barcelona and Madrid have repeatedly cherry-picked the English top flight's hottest talent – a policy that has helped deliver six Champions League titles between the two great rivals in the 10 seasons from 2009-10.

Will Hazard's arrival return Madrid to the head of European club football's top table? He has a lot to live up to if he is to fill the shoes of the first man on our list of players to recently swap the Premier League for LaLiga.

 

Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United to Real Madrid, €94m, July 2009

Arguably the greatest ever player to have represented the mighty Madrid. The Portuguese arrived from United and, in an incessant personal battle with Barca icon Lionel Messi, set new standards for goalscoring feats. In all, Ronaldo rattled in a record 450 for Los Blancos and delivered two LaLiga crowns as well as a remarkable four Champions Leagues over a five-year period of dominance. Now 34, he left for Juventus in a €112m switch last July.

Luka Modric, Tottenham to Real Madrid, €35m, August 2012

Alongside Toni Kroos in midfield, the heartbeat of the Madrid side that left the rest of Europe trailing in their wake. A glorious technician with Spurs, Modric blossomed even further at the Santiago Bernabeu into a player capable of controlling the tempo of games on the grandest stage. His individual brilliance was recognised last year as he broke the Messi-Ronaldo duopoly on the Ballon d'Or, having inspired Croatia to the World Cup final.

Gareth Bale, Tottenham to Real Madrid, €101m, September 2013

An immediate hit at the Bernabeu, Bale helped to secure the club's 10th European Cup at the end of his first season, scoring the crucial second goal against rivals Atletico Madrid. He has made a habit of delivering in major finals – a stunning solo effort against Barca in the 2014 Copa del Rey and a frankly ridiculous overhead bicycle kick against Liverpool to help win the 2018 Champions League ought to have endeared him to Madrid fans forever. But, amid injuries and a loss of form, it has gone slightly sour for Bale and rumours abound he is keen to leave the Spanish capital.

Luis Suarez, Liverpool to Barcelona, €81m, July 2014

Having almost earned the Reds a first league crown since 1990 in a devastating partnership with Daniel Sturridge in 2013-14, Suarez made the move to Camp Nou to link up with Messi and Neymar as part of the fabled 'MSN' strikeforce. Together, the trio inspired Barca to the treble at the end of that first season – just three of the 11 major honours picked up by Suarez in the five seasons since he left Liverpool behind.

Philippe Coutinho, Liverpool to Barcelona, €130m, January 2018

It is fair to say Barca will probably feel they are yet to see value for their significant outlay on another South American star taken from Anfield. Coutinho has struggled to find his feet at Camp Nou thus far, starting just 22 league games in his first full season with the Blaugrana. To make matters worse, he was essentially anonymous over two legs against his old club in last month's Champions League semi-final, hauled off on the hour in both matches.

Who's next?

With Madrid and Barca proving attractive prospects for any footballer with lofty ambitions, it seems certain that Hazard will not be the last Premier League superstar to join one of the colossal Clasico clubs. Paul Pogba is repeatedly linked with a move to LaLiga's big two, while Christian Eriksen has already indicated he is ready to leave Spurs and find a new challenge – Madrid being widely reported as his likely destination. United goalkeeper David de Gea is never far away from speculation about his future, while Sadio Mane and Harry Kane have previously been suggested as targets for Madrid, as has Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette for Barca.

Juventus are closing in on Massimiliano Allegri's successor.

According to the Guardian, Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri is poised to sign a contract with the Serie A champions.

Former Napoli head coach Sarri has been linked with a return to Italy after just one season in charge at Stamford Bridge.

 

TOP STORY – TURIN BECKONS FOR SARRI

Look away Napoli fans… Sarri is set to sign a three-year contract to become Juventus coach.

Sarri spent three years in charge of Italian rivals Napoli before replacing Antonio Conte at Chelsea in 2018-19.

However, the lure of Juve and a return to Italy has seemingly proved too strong for Sarri after Europa League success with Chelsea.

The 60-year-old has reportedly been granted a release and is free to leave the Premier League.

 

ROUND-UP

- With the future of Ajax captain and in-demand centre-back Matthijs de Ligt up in the air amid links to Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United have reportedly turned to Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly. One of their initial defensive targets as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks to bolster United's defence, Corriere dello Sport claim the Red Devils have offered €95million for the Senegal international.

- The end is near for Mauro Icardi at Inter. Despite wanting to remain in Milan, where he was stripped of the captaincy by former boss Luciano Spalletti in 2018-19, Icardi is not in Antonio Conte's plans, according to Sky Sport Italia. Inter are believed to be trying to force the Argentina striker to leave as they near a €13m deal for Roma's Edin Dzeko, a fee reported by Calciomercato.com. Radja Nainggolan could also be on the chopping block, with SportItalia claiming the Belgian midfielder could return to Roma after just one season.

- Eden Hazard in at Real Madrid and Paul Pogba to follow? According to the Mirror, Zinedine Zidane is ready to offer Gareth Bale to Manchester United to persuade the Premier League side to sell Pogba to the Spanish giants.

- Tottenham are preparing for a busy transfer window as they try to keep hold of manager Mauricio Pochettino following a remarkable run to the Champions League final. And if they are unable to sign Celta Vigo star Giovani Lo Celso, the Mirror reports Spurs could turn to Sporting CP sensation Bruno Fernandes.

Real Madrid announced the arrival of Chelsea forward Eden Hazard on Friday to bring an end to the long-running transfer saga - and potentially spell the end of Gareth Bale's time at the club.

Los Blancos have handed over a reported initial fee of €100million for the 28-year-old, who outlined his intention to leave the London club after scoring a brace in the Europa League final win over Arsenal.

The Belgium international joined Chelsea from Lille in 2012 and swiftly adapted, before becoming undoubtedly one of the English top-flight’s best players.

Hazard will be remembered as one of the club's true icons alongside John Terry, Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba, such is the impact he has had in his seven years.

And his arrival at the Bernabeu could push Bale further down the pecking order, with the Welshman seemingly out of the picture under Zinedine Zidane.

Bale made just 21 league starts in 2018-19, though his agent has indicated the player is happy to stick around in the Spanish capital for the remainder of his contract.

Madrid will seemingly be getting an upgrade in Hazard, though, as the following Opta data shows...

BEST OF THE BLUES

191 – Across his 352 appearances for Chelsea, Hazard scored 110 times and provided 81 assists for a combined 191 goal involvements.

21 – The 2018-19 season was his best in terms of goals for Chelsea, netting 21 times across all competitions.

19 – Hazard's best campaign for assists was 2012-13, when he created 19 goals. In his last Chelsea season he laid on 17, with 15 coming in the Premier League to make him the most creative player across Europe's top five leagues.

 

85 – A haul of 85 Premier League goals makes Hazard Chelsea's third all-time leading scorer in the division, behind only Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba.

595 – Since moving to the Premier League, Hazard has created more chances than anyone else. David Silva is second to him with 566.

102 – In 2018-19, Hazard averaged a goal or assist every 102 minutes, making it easily his most productive campaign at the club, improving on his record of a goal involvement every 128.6 minutes from the previous season.

 

 

MORE PRODUCTIVE THAN BALE

11 - Hazard has managed 55 goals over the past three seasons, in comparison to 44 for Bale in all competitions over the same period.

248 - His tally of 371 chances created since the start of 2016-17 is 248 more than Bale has managed.

598 - The Belgian completed 598 dribbles over that same three-season timeframe - 484 more than Bale (114).

824 - The big-money signing from Chelsea is also more involved in the game high up the pitch, touching the ball 824 times in the opposition box in the last three seasons, compared to Bale's 454 touches.

Eden Hazard's arrival from Chelsea is likely to pave the way for more big money moves to be completed by Real Madrid ahead of the 2019-20 season.

Zinedine Zidane has signalled he wants a squad overhaul in a bid to close the gap to LaLiga rivals Barcelona, with Hazard the first 'Galactico' signing of the Frenchman's second spell in charge.

Eder Militao and Luka Jovic have already sealed deals with Los Blancos and Ferland Mendy is widely expected to be next, arriving from Ligue 1 side Lyon.

There will be high-profile departures too, so how could Madrid's squad look ahead of the 2019-20 season? Omnisport takes a look at their likely ins and outs.

IN: Eder Militao, Luka Jovic, Eden Hazard, Ferland Mendy, Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba, Christian Eriksen, Neymar?

Militao boosts an increasingly leaky defence that shipped 46 league goals last term. Serbia striker Jovic is set to provide competition for Karim Benzema, while Hazard looks a possible heir to Cristiano Ronaldo. Rodrygo Goes is also joining from Santos.

Former coach Fabio Capello has said Madrid have €500million to spend, so Zidane can still afford to be ambitious with his targets despite those three new faces having already arrived. Lyon defender Mendy is expected to complete a move worth a reported €50m in the coming days too.

Pogba has long been linked with the club and despite being Manchester United's top goalscorer in the Premier League in 2018-19, he could be allowed to leave, while Eriksen - who has a year left on his Tottenham contract - has suggested he is ready for a new challenge. 

Mbappe would be a classic Madrid 'Galactico' signing and he signalled he would be open to leaving Paris Saint-Germain when he collected both the Ligue 1 Best Player and Best Young Player of the Year prizes at the National Union of Professional Footballers' awards. Mbappe would likely cost a world-record fee, with Neymar another top-tier player potentially on the move.

The former Barca forward has reportedly failed to settle in the French capital but the signing of Hazard could scupper a Neymar switch. Even with a vast amount of cash to splash, it is hard to see Madrid bringing in four new attackers in Hazard, Jovic, Mbappe and Neymar, while PSG - regardless of doubts over their financial situation - would surely not allow both of their forwards to leave in the same transfer window.


OUT: James Rodriguez, Gareth Bale, Keylor Navas, Isco, Marcelo, Raphael Varane, Luka Modric?

The level of further spending at Madrid during the close-season will partly depend on who they can sell, with Bale a prime candidate to be moved on. Zidane's lack of trust in the Wales forward is no secret, even though Bale scored twice in last year's Champions League final defeat of Liverpool in Kiev. Bale cost what was then a world record £85m when he joined from Tottenham but his huge wages, coupled with a short list of potential suitors, could be a problem. Reports in Spain have indicated Bale is willing to see out the remaining three years of his contract.

Another key member of the Madrid team that won three Champions League titles in a row in Zidane's first spell, goalkeeper Navas is expected to be sold after last year's arrival of Thibaut Courtois, with the boss said to be keen to make son Luca his number two option with the gloves.

James Rodriguez will not sign permanently for Bayern Munich after his two-year loan deal with the Bundesliga giants expired, so Madrid have to decide whether they try and reincorporate him in their squad or find a buyer for the Colombia international. Isco seemed certain to depart when he was out of favour before Santiago Solari's sacking, while Marcelo could also be allowed to leave due Mendy's imminent signing, coupled with the breakthrough season enjoyed by left-back Sergio Reguilon.

But Toni Kroos is staying put after signing a new four-year deal with the club. PSG were linked with a treble swoop for Kroos, Isco and Bale, so the latter two players could be used as potential makeweights in a deal for either Mbappe or Neymar. Raphael Varane, who was linked with Juventus, has said he will not leave while captain Sergio Ramos denied he wanted to move to the Chinese Super League in a recent news conference. Ballon d'Or winner Luka Modric was previously linked with Inter and had a poor second half of the season.

 

@realmadrid #TeamVarane pic.twitter.com/YiwSQlq8tp

— Raphaël Varane (@raphaelvarane) May 17, 2019

POTENTIAL MADRID XI FOR 2019-20

Thibaut Courtois; Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Eder Militao, Ferland Mendy; Toni Kroos, Casemiro, Paul Pogba; Kylian Mbappe, Luka Jovic, Eden Hazard.

Gareth Bale and Keylor Navas have been used to promote Real Madrid's new home kit for next season, despite both being heavily linked with a move away from the club.

Zinedine Zidane's men are undergoing a major rebuild following a poor 2018-19 campaign, with more than €100million already being spent to bring in Eder Militao and Luka Jovic.

More big-name signings are expected to follow in the coming weeks, including Chelsea forward Eden Hazard, but others - such as Bale and Navas - could be on their way out of the Santiago Bernabeu.

Bale played no part in Madrid's final three matches of last season, while goalkeeper Navas featured more regularly in the closing weeks of the campaign but has still been tipped to find a new club.

But both players featured prominently in the Los Blancos' kit launch, perhaps suggesting they still have a part to play under Zidane.

Madrid are rumoured to have delayed the unveiling of their iconic white jersey until Friday in the hope that Hazard would feature in the promotional clip, but that was not the case.

Despite an official agreement with Chelsea yet to have been reached, images have emerged on social media of shirts with his name on the back being sold in Madrid's club shop.

The pictures indicate Hazard has been given the number seven shirt, which was previously worn by Cristiano Ronaldo and has since been held by Mariano Diaz.

Gareth Bale appears almost certain to leave Real Madrid this close season and his next move could be something of a surprise.

The star attacker has fallen out of favour at the Santiago Bernabeu and he has emerged as a reported target for Inter.

Antonio Conte is looking to rebuild the Serie A side and Bale would surely be the headline act in attack if he were to move to San Siro.

Inter have been linked with multiple players lately and there was also news on their pursuit of a striker.

 

TOP STORY – BALE WANTED AT INTER

A four-time Champions League winner with Madrid, Bale is wanted by Conte at Inter, according to El Chiringuito de Jugones.

Bale has already proven himself in the Premier League and LaLiga, and Serie A may yet be his next test.

Inter are also looking for a striker, but exchanging Mauro Icardi for Romelu Lukaku was rejected by Manchester United, according to Sky Sport Italia.

The club's first signing could be Granit Xhaka from Arsenal, with RSI reporting a possible move has accelerated since Conte was named coach.

 

ROUND-UP

- The move which seems certain is Eden Hazard's switch to Real Madrid. Jugones reports that a €100million deal has been agreed between the LaLiga giants and Chelsea.

- While Pep Guardiola has been mentioned, Maurizio Sarri is the most widely linked with the Juventus job, but Sky Sport Italia say the move has stalled as Chelsea demand the head coach's £5.3m release clause be met.

- Juventus are moving towards replacing the retired Andrea Barzagli by targeting Tottenham defender Davinson Sanchez, according to Don Balon.

- While Spurs may lose Madrid target Christian Eriksen, CalcioMercato report Tottenham are ready to bid €45m for Roma star Nicolo Zaniolo.

- It was announced Gianluigi Buffon would be leaving Paris Saint-Germain, but they already have a replacement lined up. Marca report conversations have already begun for PSG to sign Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

- Amid talk he could win the Ballon d'Or, Virgil van Dijk is ready to re-sign with Liverpool. The centre-back is contracted until 2023, but ESPN reports Van Dijk wants a new contract with the European champions.

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