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.

Paul Pogba's tempestuous second stint at Manchester United will end this close season if the France midfielder has his way.

Speaking over the weekend, Pogba stated it was time for a "new challenge", having been linked with a big-money move away from Old Trafford for several months.

The 26-year-old was the most expensive player in football history when he re-joined United from Juventus for £89.3million in 2016.

Despite scoring 31 goals in all competitions over the course of three seasons, Pogba's failure to consistently hit top form for a sustained period has invited regular criticism, while the collapse of his relationship with Jose Mourinho was an unseemly factor towards the end of the Portuguese's ill-fated reign as manager.

Nevertheless, United are reportedly in no hurry to sell and a £150m price tag means only a small selection of the game's elite can consider a move for Pogba. We look at where the 2018 World Cup winner might end up next.

Real Madrid

The Santiago Bernabeu has long been mooted as Pogba's next destination and the appeal of him linking up with France great and Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane is an obvious one. Following an underwhelming campaign, club president Florentino Perez has bankrolled a considerable overhaul for Zidane, with Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Ferland Mendy, Eder Militao and Rodrygo all arriving at considerable expense. The coffers are not bottomless and the question is whether Pogba, after his mixed recent seasons, remains the most appealing use of Madrid's remaining funds.

Paris Saint-Germain

Indeed, glances have probably been turned from the Spanish capital and towards the French one by Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi saying star forwards Neymar and Kylian Mbappe – along with the rest of the squad – must "work more", adding: "I no longer want to have superstar behaviour," in an interview with France Football. Pogba's detractors would argue such a policy change might rule him out, but PSG are light in central midfield and Al-Khelaifi will be aware of the commercial bounty to be made from bringing one of Les Bleus' 2018 heroes back to his home city. Links between PSG and Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt also suggest the lines of communication between the club and Pogba's agent Mino Raiola are open.

Juventus

Pogba's standing in the eyes of the United faithful has dwindled over recent months and he must long for the esteem in which he was once held in Turin. Four Scudetti in as many seasons preceded his second act in Manchester, although those did come in a talent-stacked midfield alongside the likes of Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio. Juve are approaching a new era under Maurizio Sarri and Pogba would be a statement signing to bolster their Champions League ambitions alongside the evergreen Cristiano Ronaldo.

Barcelona

Pogba was widely considered to be on Barcelona's radar in the aftermath of Russia 2018, however that ship appears to have sailed. Arthur adapted impressively to life in LaLiga last term and Frenkie de Jong will arrive on the crest of an Ajax wave. On the other hand, recent speculation linking United with an interest in Barca duo Ivan Rakitic and Philippe Coutinho means a lucrative game of musical chairs might not be out of the equation entirely.

Kylian Mbappe will have to "go and get" more responsibility at Paris Saint-Germain but is certain to be at the club next season, according to president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

France forward Mbappe put Real Madrid on alert last month when he declared a "new project" might resolve his wish for greater authority.

LaLiga giants Madrid have since been linked heavily with the 20-year-old amid a squad overhaul that has seen Zinedine Zidane sign Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic and Ferland Mendy.

Al-Khelaifi, however, insists Mbappe will not be allowed to join the influx at the Santiago Bernabeu.

"He wants to be more involved in the PSG project, to grow with the team, the club," Al-Khelaifi told France Football.

"I explained to him that you do not ask for responsibility, you go and get it. Sometimes, you have to take it.

"I am not 100 per cent sure, but 200 per cent sure that he will be here next season!"

Mbappe has spent two seasons at PSG, amassing 46 goals in Ligue 1.

Luka Jovic is adamant playing in the European Under-21 Championship with Serbia will not impact negatively on his pre-season preparations for new club Real Madrid.

Jovic enjoyed a stellar campaign on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt from Benfica in 2018-19, scoring 27 goals across all competitions as the German side finished seventh in the Bundesliga and reached the Europa League semi-finals.

The striker's form attracted interest from a host of major European clubs, but Madrid were the ones to take the plunge, shelling out a reported €60million on the 21-year-old less than two months after Frankfurt triggered their apparent €7m purchase option on him.

Jovic is one of the most notable stars at the European Under-21 Championship in Italy, which began on Sunday.

And ahead of Serbia's Group B bow against Austria on Monday, Jovic is certain his participation will not be a problem for the remainder of the close-season.

"A lot of players wouldn't be here now if they were me," he told UEFA. "But I already missed out on the [Under-20] World Cup because of injury, so I was completely sure I wanted to join my team here.

"I knew instantly that, if it were up to me, I would participate in this tournament. I'm not worried – I'll have enough time to rest and get ready for next season."

Expectations of Jovic are particularly high at the tournament, though he insists he is able to detach himself from the pressure.

"I had a really good season and I'm satisfied with my achievements," he added. "I can always do better, of course, but let's leave that for the future.

"With regards to the pressure, I don't feel it's grown. I've disconnected myself from it all and I'm fully concentrated on the game and giving my best so that we, as a team, can achieve the best result possible."

 

Neymar appears to be on thin ice at Paris Saint-Germain.

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi warned he will not tolerate any "celebrity behaviour" from players.

And the Brazil star could be set to pay the price for his lavish ways in the French capital.

 

TOP STORY – PSG PREPARED TO PART WITH NEYMAR

If you can stump up €222million or more, Neymar could be yours.

According to L'Equipe, Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain are willing to sell their world-record signing.

Neymar – who is recovering from an ankle injury that forced him out of Brazil's Copa America campaign – arrived from Barcelona for a world-record fee in 2017.

And the 27-year-old continues to be linked with a return to LaLiga with former club Barcelona or their great rivals Real Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Standard says Paul Pogba has been told he will not be sold by Manchester United, despite the Frenchman publicly stating his desire to seek a challenge elsewhere. Pogba has been linked to Real Madrid and a return to Juventus.

- Juventus have not given up on signing in-demand Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt, according to Tuttosport. PSG are believed to be favourites but Juve vice-president Pavel Nedved is set to meet with agent Mino Raiola.

- Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal reportedly has an offer from the Chinese Super League, according to soccerlink.fr. The arrival of Frenkie de Jong from Ajax could spell the end of the Chilean's career at Camp Nou.

- L'Equipe says Arsenal have moved closer to signing 18-year-old Saint-Etienne defender William Saliba. The Teenager has reportedly agreed a five-year contract in London.

- Ligue 1 side Lyon have opened talks to sign Filipe Luis from Atletico Madrid, according to L'Equipe. The Brazil international full-back's contract expires at the end of June and he has been linked to Barcelona.

- With Maurizio Sarri confirmed as Juventus head coach, the Italian champions are set to target Inter outcast Mauro Icardi and Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Paul Pogba finally confirmed his desire to leave Manchester United for a "new challenge" on Sunday, a revelation that will likely split the club's supporters.

While few would doubt Pogba's ability, the last three seasons since his return from Juventus have been anything but smooth.

Pogba has struggled for consistency in a United team that has so often been crying out for his creativity, while the soap opera around his turbulent relationship with Jose Mourinho before the Portuguese manager's December sacking became a distracting sideshow.

Although Pogba's form did initially improve after Mourinho left, the dominant performances soon dried up again – a haul of 13 goals (seven from the spot) and nine assists in the Premier League exaggerating his influence.

Sunday's comments about desiring a move will not have surprised many given the speculation surrounding him, but offloading Pogba might prove a blessing in disguise for a United side in need of a rebuild. We have identified some potential replacements.

 

Sean Longstaff - Newcastle United

Magpies midfielder Longstaff has only made nine Premier League appearances, but he impressed to such a degree he is being linked with a £25million move to United. Poised in possession with a maturity that belies his 21 years, Longstaff looks to have a very bright future but it would be asking a lot of him to replace one of the best midfielders in the world.

Tanguy Ndombele - Lyon

Ndombele is reportedly a target for Tottenham, who he has described as "a great team, a great club", though he could be a good fit at Old Trafford too. The France midfielder impressed in the Champions League last term but Lyon's outspoken president Jean-Michel Aulas is known among the hardest negotiators in the game. The Ligue 1 side are said to be demanding £70m for the 22-year-old.

Bruno Fernandes - Sporting CP

Nations League winner Fernandes is expected to leave Sporting this year, but United would surely face a battle for his signature, as Manchester City, Inter, Tottenham, Liverpool and Juventus are all said to be keen. Fernandes hit 20 league goals for Sporting, who missed out on Champions League qualification and will likely have to cash in on the versatile 24-year-old as a result. He is reportedly valued at £70m. 

Youri Tielemans - Monaco

Tielemans impressed on loan at Leicester City last term and, although the Foxes may wish to do a deal with Monaco to sign him permanently, they could be blown out of the water by offers from richer sides. Tielemans, said to be valued at £40m by the Ligue 1 club, has been linked with United, but speculation has also suggested they have moved on to other targets.

Adrien Rabiot - PSG

A risk-reward signing if ever there was one, Rabiot is available on a free transfer as his contract is expiring this year at Paris Saint-Germain. But the 24-year-old has a reputation as a difficult character, having been shunted aside at PSG over a contract dispute, while he rejected the invitation to be on the standby list for Didier Deschamps' France squad at the 2018 World Cup. The undoubtedly talented Rabiot is said to be in huge demand, with Juventus rumoured to be interested in a player Gianluigi Buffon has described as a combination of Pogba, Arturo Vidal and Claudio Marchisio.

Giovani Lo Celso - Real Betis 

Versatility makes Giovani Lo Celso an appealing option, with the Argentina midfielder able to operate in front of defence or in a more attacking role. He scored nine LaLiga goals for Real Betis last season and the club can expect to make a significant profit on a player they signed from PSG for €25m only two months ago. Should Lo Celso impress at the Copa America, demand in a player linked with Tottenham could increase.

James Rodriguez remains in the dark about his Real Madrid future amid links with an array of European clubs.

The 27-year-old spent the past two seasons on loan with Bayern Munich but has informed the Bundesliga champions he is not interested in a permanent transfer.

James, who is on Copa America duty with Colombia, has now been tipped to find a new club ahead of the 2019-2020 campaign.

Juventus and Napoli are rumoured to be in the running to sign him, while Premier League duo Liverpool and Manchester United have also been linked, but the playmaker is unsure where he will end up.

"I really don't know anything yet," James told Marca following Colombia's 2-0 win over Argentina on Saturday.

James played the full 90 minutes of Colombia's Group B opener in Salvador and set up Roger Martinez's strike, which Duvan Zapata added to late on.

But the former Monaco ace has warned his team-mates not to get carried away in their pursuit of a first Copa America triumph since 2001.

"We played well," he said. "We were very solid. It was a very physical game and it's a good day for all Colombians. When we're united it's much easier for everyone.

"We have to be calm and cautious. There's a lot of football left and we have to be careful in our next games. We can't go into a state of euphoria."

Paul Pogba has hinted he is ready to leave Manchester United after revealing his desire for a "new challenge somewhere else".

The midfielder's future at Old Trafford has been in doubt after an indifferent 2018-19 season, with Real Madrid reportedly interested.

Former club Juventus have also been linked with Pogba, who returned for a second spell at Old Trafford when United paid a then-record fee of £89million in August 2016.

Speaking in Tokyo, the 26-year-old - a World Cup winner at Russia 2018 - admitted the time could be right to move on.

"There has been a lot of talking, a lot of thinking as well. I've been here for three years in Manchester, it has been going great," he told reporters.

"There have been some good moments and some bad moments, like everywhere else. But after this season, after everything that happened with my season, it was my best season as well, I think for me it can be a good time to have a new challenge somewhere else.

"I'm thinking of this – to have a new challenge somewhere else."

Paul Pogba should stay at Manchester United as he has unfinished business with the Premier League club, according to Robert Pires.

Midfielder Pogba returned to United in August 2016, signing from Juventus for a then-record fee of £89million, but has flattered to deceive since, leading to speculation over his future.

The 26-year-old has won the EFL Cup and Europa League in his second spell at Old Trafford, while he also played a starring role in France's successful World Cup campaign in Russia.

Yet while the inconsistent Pogba has been linked with Real Madrid, Pires has urged his compatriot to stay put in the transfer window and prove his worth at United.

"My view about Paul Pogba is that he’s a great player, but I also know that last season especially was very difficult for him," Pires told the Mirror.

"A lot of people just talk about the transfer because Manchester United spent a lot of money.

"So maybe that was difficult for him to handle, particularly at the beginning. But for me, the most important thing is for him to continue at United.

"It is one of the best and biggest clubs in the world and he has unfinished business. The reason United spent such a huge amount of money on him is that they believed a lot in Paul because he can be a real leader for their team.

"When the club spend a lot of money like this for you, it’s because they have faith in you. That’s why it’s very important to have this point in your head. I know Paul is very intelligent about this.

"They have invested a lot in him, so I believe it’s very important that he stays at United and delivers what they know he can produce."

Pires' former international team-mate Zinedine Zidane is overseeing a squad overhaul in Madrid, with Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic and Ferland Mendy among the new recruits at the LaLiga club.

"I know Madrid and Zidane want Paul and that may be hard for him to resist," Pires added.

"United will play in the Europa League next season and every player wants to play in the Champions League. Maybe Paul wants to win this competition with Madrid.

"But I think he has football to play in the Premier League."

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.

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.

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."

Cristiano Ronaldo has told James Rodriguez to join Juventus, according to Lothar Matthaus.

James – who is currently preparing for Colombia's Copa America campaign – is set to leave Real Madrid this off-season.

The playmaker has spent the last two campaigns on loan at Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, but will not extend his stay in Germany.

And Bayern great Matthaus believes the 27-year-old has his heart set on a move to Serie A, with James' former Madrid club-mate Ronaldo having instructed him to join Juve.

"I see him at Juventus," Matthaus told Spanish publication AS.

"We had a conversation two weeks ago, during the celebration of Bayern's Bundesliga win.

"He is very close to Ronaldo and told me that he was in contact with him and that he has told him that he wants to have him at Juventus.

"I understand why as James can serve Ronaldo so that he can score and the two of them can shine."

James signed for Madrid in 2014, on the back of starring for Colombia and winning the golden boot at the World Cup in Brazil.

Juve are not the only Italian club rumoured to be interested in the former Monaco player, with Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti, who was in charge of Los Blancos when James arrived at the Santiago Bernabeu, reportedly keen on his services.

Maurizio Sarri looks set to be appointed as Juve's coach, following Massimiliano Allegri's departure at the end of last season, with a compensation package reportedly agreed with Chelsea.

Real Madrid have announced the signing of Takefusa Kubo, who was previously at Barcelona's academy and has been dubbed the 'Japanese Messi'.

Kubo, who moves from Tokyo for a reported €2million fee, made his J.League debut at the age of just 15.

The 18-year-old, who is considered one of Asia's most exciting young talents, made his full Japan debut this month and is in their squad for the Copa America.

Kubo will play for Madrid's reserve team Castilla next term and becomes their latest signing ahead of the 2019-20 season.

Following an underwhelming campaign, Zinedine Zidane's squad has been boosted by the arrivals of Eden Hazard, Ferland Mendy, Luka Jovic, Eder Militao and Rodrygo Goes.

Kubo was previously on the books of Barcelona and was linked with a return to Madrid's LaLiga rivals, with Paris Saint-Germain also said to be interested.

But Madrid have signed the teenager, who was described in a club statement as "one of the most promising young players in world football".

Mohamed Salah out and Nicolas Pepe in at Liverpool?

Liverpool are reportedly willing to sell star forward Salah in order to bring Lille's Pepe to Anfield.

Salah is coming off a memorable Champions League triumph with the Reds but could be heading out the door.

 

TOP STORY – SALAH COULD MAKE WAY FOR PEPE

According to le10sport, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is prepared to sacrifice Salah to sign Lille forward Pepe.

Pepe took Ligue 1 by storm with 22 goals as Lille qualified for the Champions League and Liverpool are believed to be among the Ivory Coast international's admirers.

The Reds are so keen apparently that they are prepared to sell top scorer Salah, who reportedly has a complicated relationship with Klopp.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Maurizio Sarri saga appears to be reaching its conclusion, with Sky Italy reporting Chelsea and Juventus have reached a deal to allow the Italian to move to the Serie A champions. The former Napoli coach's return to Italy is set to pave the way for ex-Chelsea star and Derby County manager Frank Lampard to take over at Stamford Bridge.

- According to AS, LaLiga champions Barcelona are making back-up plans should they miss out on Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt, who is the subject of interest from Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and Juve.

- Premier League title-holders Manchester City have been put off by a £90million price tag on Leicester City defender Harry Maguire, according to The Daily Mail. Pep Guardiola is reportedly eyeing the England international as a replacement for Vincent Kompany, while neighbours United are also interested.

- Liverpool are not interested in making another move for Lyon captain Nabil Fekir, The Independent reports. The Champions League winners came close to signing the France international last year but pulled out amid reported concerns over his knee.

- Carlo Ancelotti is still determined to bring Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez to Napoli, says AS. James' future is up in the air after Bayern Munich opted against signing the Colombia international permanently following a two-year loan spell.

- Cadena SER claims Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde is ready to sell Ivan Rakitic amid reported interest from United. The same station also says Marco Asensio is among the players on the market at Madrid following the arrivals of Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Ferland Mendy, Eder Militao and Rodrygo Goes.

- United and rumoured Madrid target Paul Pogba has no intention of remaining at Old Trafford in 2019-20, according to L'Equipe.

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