Luka Jovic was officially unveiled as a Real Madrid player on Wednesday, and Los Blancos' new striker is one of the headline names taking part in the Under-21 European Championship.

The tournament starts on Sunday, with Poland taking on Belgium before hosts Italy face Spain; Jovic's first taste of the competition will come when Serbia play against Austria in Group B on Monday.

But Jovic is not the only young star who is looking to shine at this event, with Manchester City's Phil Foden likely to be a key cog in England's midfield, while Sandro Tonali is one of Italy's brightest prospects.

And, ahead of the tournament, we have taken a look at the main players who will be looking to make an impact for each side.

GROUP A

Belgium – Yari Verschaeren (Anderlecht)

Anderlecht are no strangers to a teenage star becoming a key man; think Romelu Lukaku, Aleksandar Mitrovic or Youri Tielemans. Verschaeren is the next such prospect and his form has been so impressive that he could feature for Belgium at this tournament, despite being just 17. He is not yet capped at under-21 level, but that will soon change in the coming weeks for the silky attacking midfielder.

Italy – Sandro Tonali (Brescia)

Despite only turning 19 last month, Tonali has already established himself in Brescia's first team. He was a revelation in Serie B in 2018-19, helping his side to the title and subsequent promotion. A technically gifted midfielder who has been likened to Azzurri great Andrea Pirlo, Tonali is sure to be central to most of the host nation's play throughout the competition.

Poland – Sebastian Szymanski (Dinamo Moscow)

While many players at this tournament might hope to earn a move with their performances, Szymanski has already done that. Dinamo Moscow paid a reported €5.5million to Legia Warsaw for the talented playmaker just a few weeks ago, having emerged as one of the primary talents in the Ekstraklasa. A fine dribbler, agile and possessor of great vision, the 20-year-old – who was in Poland's preliminary squad for last year's World Cup – will be key for his side.

Spain – Dani Olmo (Dinamo Zagreb)

Dinamo Zagreb have a fine reputation for developing young players and Olmo is the latest. The winger left Barcelona at 16 to move to Croatia and it appears to be working out, having established himself as a key player. Good on the ball and an able goalscorer, Olmo might not be one of the household names in Spain's squad, but that could be about to change.

GROUP B

Austria – Dario Maresic (Sturm Graz)

Although critics say Maresic did not enjoy the best of seasons at Sturm Graz, the centre-back is impressively experienced for a 19-year-old, having been around the first-team since he was 16. A fine ball-playing defender, Maresic has often been linked with German and English clubs – this might be his best chance to impress yet.

Denmark – Joachim Andersen (Sampdoria)

Robert Skov's goals will be vital if Denmark are to make a splash in Italy, but they will also need to be solid at the back – that's where Andersen comes in. Signed from Twente in 2017, the Sampdoria centre-back enjoyed a breakout season in 2018-19, catching the eye with his ability to play out from the back. Arsenal are reportedly interested, but an impressive tournament could see his price tag continue to rise.

Germany – Alexander Nubel (Schalke)

Among the players going head-to-head with Jovic in the group stage will be Nubel, who enjoyed a breakthrough season with Schalke in the Bundesliga, unseating Ralf Fahrmann. Nubel made nine appearances in qualifying, conceding just seven goals and keeping five clean sheets, and could well be on course to prove himself as Manuel Neuer's heir apparent.

Serbia – Luka Jovic (Real Madrid)

Jovic's sensational form for Eintracht Frankfurt has earned the 21-year-old a mega-money move to Madrid. The former Benfica youngster scored 27 goals in all competitions for Frankfurt last term, and has also netted twice for the senior international team. With seven goals in qualifying, and riding the crest of a wave, Jovic will be aiming to drag Serbia deep into the competition, and he certainly has the talent to do so.

GROUP C

Croatia – Lovro Majer (Dinamo Zagreb)

The second Zagreb player to feature on this list, Majer's style of play has drawn comparisons to that of Luka Modric, who of course led Croatia to the World Cup final at Russia 2018. But Zlatko Dalic's team is an ageing one, and midfielder Majer, who made his international debut in 2017, could well be in line to play a key part in the senior squad in years to come.

England – Phil Foden (Manchester City)

There has been plenty of clamour for Foden to get more first-team opportunities at Manchester City in recent seasons, but Pep Guardiola has understandably taken his time in introducing the 19-year-old into a side that swept up four domestic trophies last term. Foden was a huge part in England winning the Under-17 World Cup in 2017, and Aidy Boothroyd is almost certain to turn to the playmaker to be England's creative fulcrum in their bid to win silverware.

France – Houssem Aouar (Lyon)

From one current City player, to a youngster that has been linked with a move to the Premier League champions. Aouar has been a consistent performer since establishing himself in Lyon's side during 2017-18, and is sure to be the one France look to supply the firepower for his club-mate Moussa Dembele. The 20-year-old, who is an exceptional passer, also thrives on getting among the goals, scoring 14 times in all competitions for Lyon over the course of the past two seasons.

Romania – Florinel Coman (Steaua Bucharest)

Winger Coman reportedly has a €100m release clause in his contract with Steaua Bucharest, whom he joined in 2017. A tricky, quick player with an eye for goal - he scored 12 across all competitions last term - he is without a doubt Romania's shining light heading into the tournament.

Eintracht Frankfurt have signed Serbian forward Dejan Joveljic from Red Star Belgrade after losing Luka Jovic to Real Madrid.

Serbia star Jovic joined LaLiga giants Madrid for a reported fee of €60million after taking the Bundesliga and Europe by storm in 2018-19.

The 21-year-old scored 17 Bundesliga goals and added another 10 during Eintracht's run to the Europa League semi-finals.

Eintracht made a significant profit on Jovic as they triggered a purchase option on his two-year loan deal from Benfica for a reported €6m in April, after the forward struggled for game time at the Portuguese giants following his arrival from Red Star in 2016.

And Eintracht have turned to another Serbian frontman, luring 19-year-old Joveljic from Serbian champions Red Star on a five-year deal until June 2024.

Joveljic – born in the same city as Jovic in Bijeljina – scored eight goals and tallied two assists in 17 matches last season.

He will also team up with Jovic during Serbia's Under-21 European Championship campaign in Italy.

 

Luka Jovic used to sleep in a Real Madrid shirt and says Cristiano Ronaldo was his idol.

Jovic has signed a six-year deal with Los Blancos, who paid Eintracht Frankfurt a reported €60million.

The Serbia striker becomes part of Madrid's rebuild in Zinedine Zidane's second spell at the club.

Eden Hazard, Eder Militao and Rodrygo Goes are also arriving after Madrid's disappointing 2018-19 campaign.

But Jovic revealed it was Ronaldo, who left Madrid for Juventus last year, who was his idol.

"Ronaldo, definitely, as a kid," Jovic said when asked who his favourite Madrid player was.

"Right now I don't pick one player out, as we're all team-mates now.

"I know last season was not the best season at Real Madrid, but hopefully next year will be better.

"The price does not bring more pressure, I've not really thought about that. I am just focusing on what I have to do on the pitch.

"I've not had a chance to talk to any Madrid players yet. I'd like to talk to Luka Modric and hopefully I will do that in the next few days."

Jovic confirmed a story told by club president Florentino Perez at his unveiling about him sleeping in a Madrid colours growing up.

"Yes it is true, the jersey was a gift from a family friend," he added. "I was a Madrid fan, like many kids."

Of fellow new signing Hazard, who will be unveiled on Thursday, Jovic added: "He is a fantastic player, one of the best in the world and it will be a pleasure to share a dressing room with him."

Luka Jovic feels he could play alongside Karim Benzema in the same team but indicated he is happy to let Zinedine Zidane decide how to use him at Real Madrid.

Serbia striker Jovic signed a six-year deal to join Los Blancos after hitting 27 goals in all competitions for Eintracht Frankfurt last term.

Jovic's arrival is part of a major rebuild for Madrid after a disappointing campaign, with Eden Hazard, Eder Militao and Rodrygo Goes also arriving at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Karim Benzema hit 21 LaLiga goals in 2018-19 and was one of the few Madrid players to impress, although Jovic could usurp him in the team.

The 21-year-old, though, suggested at his Madrid unveiling on Wednesday he and Benzema are "compatible".

"When he arrived [at Real Madrid], I was 11," Jovic told a news conference.

"He's one of the best in the world and I hope to learn a lot from him.

"I think we're compatible, but Zidane will be the one to decide.

"I have not spoken with Zidane and at Eintracht I played up front or with other strikers."

Madrid president Florentino Perez claimed Madrid saw off competition from some of Europe's elite clubs to sign Jovic, who joined for a reported €60million.

Barcelona were rumoured to have watched Jovic earlier in the year but the striker says he was unaware of interest from any clubs other than Madrid.

"I did not know of any other offer," Jovic said. "I was not aware of any other offer that was not from Madrid. I spoke with my agent, he told me about the Madrid offer and I accepted it quickly."

Jovic has not yet been assigned a squad number, with reports claiming he wants either the number seven or number 11 shirt, occupied by Mariano Diaz and Gareth Bale respectively.

"The number does not matter and it is not important," he added.

Luka Jovic says he is the happiest guy in the world after being presented as a Real Madrid player.

Jovic signed a six-year contract with Madrid, who paid a reported €60million to buy the striker from Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt.

The Serbia striker hit 10 goals in the Europa League as Eintracht reached the semi-finals before losing to Chelsea on penalties while netting 17 in the Bundesliga.

At his unveiling as a Madrid player on Thursday, Jovic promised to do his best to deliver success for the club.

"I'm the happiest guy in the world to sign for such a big club," Jovic said in a short speech.

"I'm very excited and sure I made the right decision. I will give everything to help Real Madrid to win more trophies and titles."

Eden Hazard, Eder Militao and Rodrygo Goes have also been added to the Madrid squad ahead of the 2019-20 season.

President Florentino Perez accepted Los Blancos badly underperformed last term but he feels Jovic can help fire the club back to success.

"Today we share with all Madridistas the start of a new project, we have to work hard to make dreams come true for our millions of fans," Perez told reporters. "Madridismo is about feelings, the good moments and the not so good moments.

"It wasn't the year we wanted, so we are reacting with determination and talent. We have a determination to build and this club never gives up. Winning four of the past five Champions Leagues is incredible, three in a row is incredible, a gigantic triumph that will only be value as time goes by.

"This is down to Madridistas and the stability of the club and a fantastic squad of players who are legends. We have the responsibility to try and win again and this is one of the days we are happy to welcome a new player to help us.

"A striker a lot of big clubs in Europe wanted, but now a member of the Real Madrid family to come here at this stage was one of his big dreams and his career as a Real Madrid player starts here today.

"Luka, now you are a Real Madrid player, a club with 13 European Cups. Congratulations and thank you for choosing this shirt to keep growing as one of the best strikers in the world. We know a lot of big clubs wanted you because of your talent and work ethic but you wanted to be a part of our legend.

"You've come to the biggest club in the world at 21, you've done so much already, a Serbia international and a champion in three countries. You come from a big club and a club we have a good relationship with, you come from a demanding league. You had a magnificent season scoring 27 goals, one of the top scorers in Europe, but our fans will ask even more of your incredible qualities.

"You have a huge challenge, playing with the best players in the world and a fantastic manager. From now you are a Real Madrid player, the most prestigious and successful club in the world. Your family are very proud and us as well.

"We've been told you used to sleep in a Real Madrid shirt as a child, millions of fans will give everything for you and they demand you score the goals you've done already. We wish you a lot of success and welcome you to your new home."

Luka Jovic said his dream has come true after leaving Eintracht Frankfurt for LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

Jovic swapped Bundesliga side Eintracht for Madrid on a five-year contract, with the transfer fee reportedly worth €60million.

The 21-year-old Serbia striker took Europe by storm in 2018-19, scoring 17 Bundesliga goals and another 10 in Eintracht's memorable run to the Europa League semi-finals.

Jovic, who arrived from Benfica on a two-year loan deal in 2017 before Eintracht triggered the purchase option in April, bid farewell to the German team on Wednesday.

In an Instagram post, Jovic wrote: "Dear Eintracht fans, as you have already read, I will move to Real Madrid. Of course, I would like to take this opportunity to contact you here again with a few words.

"I really enjoyed the last two years at Eintracht Frankfurt. I met a lot of great people and played in a fantastic club, which was also made by the fans to something very special.

"We can be proud of our achievements. I will never forget this Europa League season with you! The highlight was of course the DFB Cup win 2017-2018 in Berlin! That's why it's not easy for me to leave Frankfurt. 

"However, Real Madrid opens a huge door for me to become an even bigger footballer. Every child has this dream of playing at such a club. My dream comes true now.

"I would like to thank the whole club and the great fans. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to develop my personality! Thank you for your support! You will always have a place in my heart! Your Luka."

Eden Hazard would be a great addition to the Real Madrid attack, according to defender Dani Carvajal.

Hazard is widely expected to join the LaLiga giants from Chelsea for a reported €100million this close season after seven impressive campaigns in the Premier League.

Carvajal, who has been at Madrid since 2013, believes the Belgium international would be just what is needed at the Santiago Bernabeu.

"Hazard would add a lot to our attack," the right-back told El Larguero on Tuesday.

"He is a player who wants the ball and does not hide."

Zinedine Zidane has already started rebuilding Madrid, sealing the signing of talented striker Luka Jovic from Eintracht Frankfurt on Tuesday.

Carvajal welcomed the addition of Jovic, who scored 27 goals in all competitions in 2018-19.

"Jovic is a great [number] nine," he said. "I hope he is decisive."

Madrid finished third in LaLiga but were a distant 19 points behind rivals and champions Barcelona.

Carvajal was glad to see the end of 2018-19, saying: "It was the worst season since I've been in the first team.

"The best thing is that the season has ended. Zidane's arrival gave us oxygen, but we haven't had a good reaction either."

Real Madrid announced the signing of Luka Jovic from Eintracht Frankfurt for a reported fee of €60million on Tuesday.

The 21-year-old arrives in Spain as one of Europe's most prolific young forwards and Los Blancos' notoriously demanding fans will expect the Serbian to hit the ground running after their torrid 2018-19 campaign.

Jovic is likely to compete with Karim Benzema and Mariano Diaz for the central striking role in Zinedine Zidane's starting XI.

We look at last season's statistics, courtesy of Opta, to see how Jovic compares to his new team-mates. 

BENZEMA STILL DELIVERING THE GOODS

Madrid needed someone to take on the goalscoring burden following Cristiano Ronaldo's departure to Juventus and Benzema did not disappoint.

The 31-year-old rolled back the years to score 30 goals in 53 appearances across all competitions, a return of a goal every 143.47 minutes.

While Jovic scored fewer goals overall than Benzema (27), they did arrive more frequently. He played almost 1000 minutes fewer than the Frenchman, which meant he found the back of the net every 122.41 minutes.

Mariano, meanwhile, struggled in his first season following his move from Lyon. The 25-year-old played just 593 minutes across 19 appearances, scoring four goals.

JOVIC'S ALL-ROUND GAME TO COME UNDER SCRUTINY

While Jovic's primary objective will be to score goals, he will need to demonstrate a willingness to contribute to the greater good if he is to usurp Benzema as the club's pre-eminent forward.

In addition to his goals last season, Benzema provided 10 assists for his team-mates. This meant he was involved in a goal every 107.60 minutes throughout the campaign. He also created a whopping 70 chances and completed almost 58 per cent of his attempted dribbles.

Jovic has an even better rate of involvement, his six assists ensuring that he played a part in a goal every 100.15 minutes. He created far fewer chances than Benzema, though, just 37, and did not enjoy as much success with dribbles, completing 42 per cent of those attempted.

Mariano was nowhere near the level of Jovic or Benzema. He created only eight chances during his stop-start campaign, failing to contribute a single assist.

HOW DID THE WIDE MEN FARE?

Gareth Bale has been heavily linked with a move away from Madrid during the off-season and Zidane will certainly feel his new signing from Frankfurt can offer more of a goal threat than the Wales international.

Bale scored 14 goals in 42 appearances in all competitions this season and provided six assists. His number of chances created, 33, is also lower than Jovic's total.

Another wide player that will be at the Santiago Bernabeu next season is Vinicius Junior.

After breaking into the team midway through the season, the Brazil international registered eight assists to suggest he could prove to be an effective supply line for Jovic as the latter looks to make his mark in Spanish football.

Real Madrid have announced the signing of Luka Jovic from Eintracht Frankfurt for a reported fee of €60million.

Jovic became one of Europe's most in-demand players after scoring 17 Bundesliga goals and a further 10 in Eintracht's run to the semi-finals of the Europa League in 2018-19.

Barcelona were said to be interested in signing Jovic and reportedly scouted the Serbia striker as they hunt for a long-term successor to Luis Suarez.

But it is LaLiga rivals Madrid who have sealed a deal for Jovic, who has signed a five-year contract with Los Blancos as they look to rebuild under Zinedine Zidane.

Jovic becomes the second player to join Madrid since Zidane's return, with a €50million move for Porto defender Eder Militao concluded in March.

Eintracht have made a massive profit on the 21-year-old as they only trigged a purchase option in his loan deal from Benfica for a reported €6m in April.

Jovic is expected to be the first of a number of high-profile arrivals during the off-season as Madrid look to bounce back from a torrid campaign.

Los Blancos – who have been linked with moves for Premier League pair Eden Hazard and Paul Pogba – finished third in LaLiga, 19 points behind champions Barcelona, who also knocked them out of the Copa del Rey at the semi-final stage.

They did not enjoy any better fortune in the Champions League either, with Ajax dumping them out in the last 16.

Jovic is likely to significantly enhance their goal threat next season and Frankfurt sporting director Fredi Bobic admits he will be missed in Germany.

"Luka Jovic is a big loss for us," he told the club's official website.

"His explosiveness and scoring skills have spread throughout Europe and we've benefited from his goals over the past two years.

"However, for us it was clear that there is a financial threshold. For Eintracht Frankfurt this is a good and important transfer.

"We wish Luka only the best for his future. He has the best qualifications for a great career and we are proud that we were able to support him along the way."

Real Madrid on Tuesday confirmed the signing of Serbia striker Luka Jovic from Eintracht Frankfurt for a fee reported to be €60million.

Jovic became one of Europe's most in-demand players after scoring 17 Bundesliga goals and a further 10 in Eintracht's run to the semi-finals of the Europa League in 2018-19.

The Bundesliga club have made a massive profit on the 21-year-old as they only trigged a purchase option in his loan deal from Benfica for a reported €6m in April.

He certainly comes highly recommended by those who know him best.

 

Milos Ninkovic - Jovic's former team-mate at Red Star Belgrade

"He is such a nice guy. [At] 16 years old, to play for such a big club in Serbia is unbelievable," Ninkovic, who now plays for A-League side Sydney FC, told Omnisport as he reflected on Jovic's memorable debut.

"Back then when I watched him and talked to him, I said, 'Look, you're an unbelievable talent. You just need to work hard. If you do this, you'll probably have a big career'.

"As soon as he came into the first team and I saw him, I knew he was a special talent. If he worked hard and focused on just the pitch – nothing on the outside – he would have a big, big career."

Savo Milosevic - Former Serbia striker, who hails from the same city – Bijeljina

"Luka is very, very, very special. His capacity for scoring goals is incredible," Milosevic – now head coach of Serbian side Partizan Belgrade – told Omnisport.

"From any position and with any part of the body, he simply senses the goal. He is a natural-born killer.

"You cannot train some of those things. You have them or not. He will be one of the best strikers in the world in a few years, I have no doubt about it.

"He is still a kid. He is showing some incredible things.

"He would be great for Barca or Madrid. It would be a good solution for either of those two clubs."

 

Felix Magath - Former Eintracht head coach

"Luka Jovic scored both in the Bundesliga and Europa League on a very consistent basis all season long," Magath told Omnisport.

"For me there is no doubt that a player like him can be even more deadly in front of the goal playing for Real Madrid or Barcelona, where his team-mates surely would provide even more chances."

Real Madrid have announced the signing of Luka Jovic from Eintracht Frankfurt for a reported fee of €60million.

Eden Hazard's seemingly imminent move from Chelsea to Real Madrid looks set to kick off a busy close-season of transfer activity ahead of the 2019-20 campaign.

Hazard has made no secret of his desire to join Los Blancos and despite Chelsea's two-window transfer ban - which the club are appealing against - he is expected to complete his switch soon.

Madrid are likely to spend heavily on reinforcements for Zinedine Zidane's squad after a deeply underwhelming season and Hazard could be the first of a new batch of 'Galactico' signings by the LaLiga side.

But who are the other big-name players likely to be involved in extensive transfer sagas before the big kick-off? Omnisport picks out 10 players who will be making the headlines...


ANTOINE GRIEZMANN

Some players are coy about their transfer wishes, preferring to let their agents do the talking for them with interested parties in private. That is not the case for Antoine Griezmann, though. After mulling over his Atletico Madrid future in excruciating detail in a television documentary a year ago, where he announced his intention to stay, the World Cup winner has now revealed he wants to leave.

Barcelona remains his most obvious destination but, after Griezmann pulled out of a seemingly done deal 12 months ago, the Catalan club may be unwilling to negotiate with him again. That could open the door for Manchester United or Paris Saint-Germain, with Atleti reportedly keen on Edinson Cavani as Griezmann's successor.


NEYMAR

Another bout of Neymar rumours seems inevitable, with the Brazil superstar having again been unable to fire PSG to European glory after once more seeing his season disrupted by injury. Madrid are regularly linked with Neymar, but the expected arrival of Hazard may negate the need for him, especially given Vinicius Junior's exciting emergence. Incredibly, given the fractious circumstances in which he left, Neymar has also been linked with an improbable, if not impossible, return to Barca.


PHILIPPE COUTINHO 

For Barca to launch a move for Neymar they will certainly have to raise funds, with Philippe Coutinho the most likely to make way. He has been unable to justify the outlay, reportedly an initial £105 million up front, with Ernesto Valverde seemingly preferring Ousmane Dembele as the third member of his attack, along with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. Coutinho could return to the Premier League with Chelsea among his suitors - despite a potential transfer ban - as well as PSG.


PAUL POGBA

After Jose Mourinho's departure, Paul Pogba initially seemed reborn under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. However, his form tailed off and he was involved in a confrontation with a fan after their home loss to Cardiff City on the last day of the Premier League season. United need to revamp Solskjaer's squad and Pogba is their most sellable asset. Madrid have long been touted as the midfielder’s next club, while a return to Juventus has also been suggested for the France international.


PAULO DYBALA

Cristiano Ronaldo's arrival in Turin was always likely to be bad news for someone – and it was Paulo Dybala who suffered the most. The Argentina attacker is still regarded as one of world football's brightest lights, but at 25 he cannot afford another season on the periphery. Massimiliano Allegri's relationship with Dybala was strained, so he will await the appointment of a replacement with interest, but his future may lie away from Juve. Bayern Munich and Manchester United are reportedly keen.


NICOLAS PEPE

Only Kylian Mbappe scored more Ligue 1 goals in 2018-19 than Lille's rising star Nicolas Pepe, with PSG reportedly ready to snap up the star man of the side who finished a distant second. Ivory Coast international Pepe could further his growing reputation at the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations, with Premier League sides Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal all said to be interested in the 24-year-old forward.


LUKA JOVIC

Eintracht Frankfurt can look forward to banking a huge profit if Luka Jovic completes an expected move away, with the Bundesliga side having only paid a reported €6m to trigger a purchase option as part of his loan deal from Benfica. Jovic's goals were instrumental in Frankfurt's run to the Europa League semi-finals but he will surely be playing in the Champions League next term. Barcelona scouts were seemingly spotted watching him earlier in the season, but Madrid have reportedly identified the Serbia striker as a long-term replacement for Suarez. Eintracht can expect to receive a fee around 10 times what they paid for Jovic.


KYLIAN MBAPPE

PSG have strongly insisted they do not have to sell Neymar or Mbappe to meet Financial Fair Play regulations, but it is not out of the question that both forwards leave the French capital. Mbappe would likely command a new world-record fee, with the striker having suggested he is ready for a new challenge elsewhere when he collected the Ligue 1 Player of the Year award recently. Mbappe's asking price would rule out almost everyone, with Madrid in a small group of clubs who could afford him, although he undoubtedly has the potential to be the best player in the world. Manchester City have previously been linked, too.


MATTHIJS DE LIGT

Defenders are not usually as in-demand as Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt, but the teenager is a one-off talent. De Ligt's strong leadership saw the Dutch side reach the last four of the Champions League, with Lucas Moura's dramatic late goal for Tottenham denying Erik ten Hag's team a place in the final. De Ligt's club and country team-mate Frenkie de Jong has already agreed to join Barca and the centre-back has long been expected to follow. Still, just about every big club in Europe would be keen on signing De Ligt, if they have the funds required.


GARETH BALE

Former Madrid coach Fabio Capello has said Madrid have €500million to spend, so they have to raise funds somewhere. The most obvious place to start is with Wales star Gareth Bale, whose relationship with Zinedine Zidane appears impossible to repair. Reports in Spain claimed Bale would be happy to see out his contract if necessary, but United continue to be linked with offering him a route back to the Premier League. A romantic option would be to go back to Tottenham, but huge expenditure on a shiny new stadium likely rules them out as a destination.

Luka Jovic, Ante Rebic and Sebastien Haller could all leave Eintracht Frankfurt in the close season, admits sporting director Fredi Bobic.

Jovic, who only moved to the Commerzbank-Arena on a permanent basis in April having proved a success since arriving on loan from Benfica in 2017, has been heavily linked with a switch to Real Madrid after scoring 27 goals in 48 appearances in all competitions this season.

Croatia international Rebic has been touted as a potential target for Arsenal and Tottenham, while Haller is also reportedly being chased by a host of Premier League teams.

"Anything could happen, and, of course, it could be that we lose all three," Bobic told Bild.

"I can guarantee that all three are happy here. The love of the fans is an important factor.

"But at some point other forces will come into play."

The trio helped Frankfurt reach the Europa League semi-finals, but a late dip in form saw them slip to seventh in the Bundesliga and miss out on Champions League qualification.

Eintracht Frankfurt sensation Luka Jovic would be even more lethal in front of goal for Real Madrid or Barcelona, according to Felix Magath.

Jovic – who has been linked with Barca – is reportedly set to join LaLiga giants Madrid in a €60million deal after taking the Bundesliga and Europe by storm this season.

The 21-year-old in-demand Serbia international forward has scored 27 goals, 10 of those in Eintracht's run to the Europa League semi-finals.

Former head coach Magath – who led Eintracht from 1999 to 2001 – expects Jovic to improve further away from Commerzbank-Arena.

"Luka Jovic scored both in Bundesliga and Europa League on a very consistent basis all season long," Magath told Omnisport.

"For me there is no doubt that a player like him can be even more deadly in front of the goal playing for Real Madrid or Barcelona, where his team-mates surely would provide even more talent."

Jovic has played a key role in Eintracht's remarkable season, both domestically and in Europe as the Bundesliga side fly the German flag abroad.

While Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund struggled in the Champions League, Eintracht defied the odds en route to the Europa League semi-finals before losing to Chelsea on penalties at Stamford Bridge – where Jovic scored to level the tie and force a shoot-out.

It was Eintracht's best European run since winning the 1980 UEFA Cup. Amid the club's continental exploits, they have also threatened to qualify for the Champions League.

Up until week 33, Adi Hutter's Eintracht occupied the fourth and final qualifying spot but they are now sixth, though only one point adrift of Borussia Monchengladbach heading into the final match of the season.

"Obviously, I was as surprised as anyone by Eintracht Frankfurt, especially in the first half of the season," three-time German Manager of the Year Magath, who won the Bundesliga with Bayern and Wolfsburg, said.

"In my opinion, this team provided the best and most attractive style of football within the Bundesliga. Before the winter break only Borussia Dortmund could keep up with Eintracht Frankfurt.

"Hutter's team were not focused on excessive ball possession play, but thrilled everyone with their approach to attack the opponents' goal constantly. Hence they surprised many teams and often dominated their opponents.

"Too bad they only missed out on playing in the Europa league final because of two penalty misses against Chelsea in the semis. I truly believe they would have had a pretty good shot at winning it all this year. Nevertheless, I am pretty sure we will see some more strong showings of Eintracht Frankfurt next season."

Eintracht sporting director Fredi Bobic has been heavily praised for his work, having lured Jovic to the team on an initial two-year loan deal from Benfica before triggering a purchase option reportedly worth €6m last month.

Bobic also completed the shrewd acquisitions of Ante Rebic, Sebastien Haller, Filip Kostic, Sebastian Rode and Kevin Trapp – either on cheap transfers or loan deals.

Magath added: "Bobic clearly improved the club in terms of their sporting direction. Up to now, he has made a lot of very good calls regarding the squad and the coaches selection.

"At the same time, the supporters not only created a sensational atmosphere within the Commerzbank-Arena but around the club over the course of the entire season – in my eyes they impacted heavily on the success of Eintracht Frankfurt."

Kepa Arrizabalaga saved two spot-kicks as Chelsea squeezed into the Europa League final with a 4-3 penalty shoot-out triumph over Eintracht Frankfurt after second leg of their semi-final tie finished 1-1.

The villain of the dramatic EFL Cup final defeat to Manchester City turned hero on Thursday, denying Martin Hinteregger and Goncalo Paciencia after Cesar Azpilicueta's saved attempt left the hosts with work to do.

David Luiz and Jorginho also made amends for their misses at Wembley and it was left to Eden Hazard, featuring in perhaps his final Stamford Bridge appearance, to stroke in the winner and send Maurizio Sarri's men into a date with Arsenal in Baku on May 29.

Luka Jovic earlier cancelled out Ruben Loftus-Cheek's first-half opener to force a 2-2 aggregate draw and additional 30 minutes, but the Bundesliga club fell short as Chelsea ensured a second all-English final in Europe's top competitions.

Sarri felt Chelsea should have had a penalty as early as the 11th minute following Danny da Costa's nudge on Loftus-Cheek.

The appeals went unheard and Da Costa almost rubbed salt into the wound with a rasping volley that Kepa tipped over the crossbar.

Loftus-Cheek had the last laugh, the midfielder gliding unnoticed onto Hazard's intelligent pass and finishing coolly across Kevin Trapp in the 28th minute.

Frankfurt had shouts for handball against Mateo Kovacic waved away after the restart but Jovic soon gave them reason to celebrate.

The striker chested the ball down to Mijat Gacinovic, raced in behind David Luiz to receive the return pass and clinically finished past Kepa.

Adi Hutter's men got on top after the equaliser and received another boost when Andreas Christensen limped to the bench, with Sarri preferring Davide Zappacosta to Gary Cahill as his replacement.

Extra time beckoned but first substitute Sebastien Haller saw two chances cleared off the line, first by David Luiz and then Zappacosta.

Azpilicueta wheeled away in celebration five minutes from the end but referee Ovidiu Hategan deemed the defender to have illegally knocked the ball out of goalkeeper Trapp's hands.

The captain's mood nosedived when the German then denied him with the fourth effort of the subsequent shoot-out, but Kepa came to his Spanish compatriot's rescue and Hazard fittingly booked the Blues' place in their second Europa League final in seven seasons.

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