The transfer saga that is Matthijs de Ligt could be coming to an end.

Linked with Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Manchester United and Juventus, the in-demand Ajax captain is reportedly set to pick Turin as his next destination.

With Juve's ageing defence, De Ligt is seen as the perfect signing.

 

TOP STORY – JUVE CLOSING IN ON DE LIGT

Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Manchester United or Juventus?

According to Tuttosport and Corriere dello Sport, Serie A champions Juve are increasingly likely to sign De Ligt.

After PSG were reportedly poised to sign the 19-year-old defender, Juve are now seen as the favourites to finalise a €70million deal with Ajax and a contract worth €12m per season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United are under pressure from Adidas to keep Paul Pogba, the Daily Mirror says. If the Red Devils do cash in on the reported Real Madrid and Juventus target, their kit manufacturers want him replaced with an equivalent star. According to The Sun, however, Pogba's United team-mates believe he should leave.

- Manchester City star Leroy Sane will snub a move to Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, according to The Sun.

- Sami Khedira is out at Juventus following Maurizio Sarri's arrival, according to Calciomercato. The Germany international was plagued by injuries last season as Juve clinched an eighth successive Scudetto.

- According to the Glasgow Evening Times, Celtic are resigned to losing star full-back Kieran Tierney after Arsenal reportedly had a bid rejected by the Scottish champions.

- Rafael Benitez will leave Newcastle United when his contract expires on June 30, according to the Daily Mail. The Spaniard, who is believed to be unhappy with the terms put forward by the club, reportedly has an offer from Chinese Super League side Dalian Yifang, the home of Napoli great Marek Hamsik.

- Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen is considering a move to Manchester United or Juventus as a dream switch to Real Madrid fades, according to the Mirror.

- France Football reports Lille star Nicolas Pepe is Atletico Madrid's top transfer target. Inter have also reportedly improved their offer to almost €60m as they still try to negotiate a deal with Manchester United for Romelu Lukaku.

Mats Hummels showed courage by agreeing to a return to Borussia Dortmund, according to sporting director Michael Zorc.

The World Cup winner is heading back to Signal Iduna Park, where he spent eight years between 2008 and 2016, in a reported €38million move from Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

Zorc is delighted to welcome Hummels back and believes the decision to depart the Bundesliga's dominant force after three seasons is a brave one.

"We are very happy that we were able to secure this transfer," Zorc told Bild.

"Mats is not only a seasoned Bundesliga player who brings everything but he is also a very important leader on and off the pitch.

"It was also a courageous sporting decision for Mats, which shows what kind of character he has."

Meanwhile, Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic thanked Hummels for his efforts in Bavaria.

"On behalf of FC Bayern, I would like to thank Mats Hummels very much," he said.

"With him we have won the Bundesliga three times and last season the DFB Cup as well. Mats played a big part in that success.

"We wish Mats and his family all the best for the future."

Mats Hummels will be back at Borussia Dortmund next season after the club agreed a transfer with Bayern Munich, but questions have been asked over the size of the fee.

Dortmund are reported to have parted with €38million to bring back Hummels, who at 32 is likely heading into the latter years of his career at the highest level.

It is clear there is no real resale value involved in the deal for Dortmund, but if he can help break Bayern's dominance of the Bundesliga the club will feel he is worth every penny.

Hummels' club career could also be extended by the fact he will not be playing international football, having this year been dropped from the Germany squad by Joachim Low.

With the help of Opta numbers, Omnisport assesses the success of Hummels' career to date to examine whether the transfer represents good value for money.

 

PERFECT IN POSSESSION?

The signing of Hummels, the club's former captain, should help Dortmund keep the ball. In 2018-19, Opta numbers show he had the best passing accuracy of his whole Bundesliga career at 89.4 per cent, with anything near 90 per cent considered elite for a defender.

Hummels' passing accuracy improved by a significant amount in his three seasons in Munich, each of them showing a figure higher than anything he recorded in black and yellow. In fact, in five of his eight seasons with Dortmund, he had a passing accuracy rate below 80 per cent.

The trend is the same when European performances are assessed. In the Champions League last term, Hummels had a pass success rate of 87.6 per cent, whereas his last Champions League campaign with Dortmund in 2014-15 saw him record just 79.7 per cent.

Data suggests Hummels has improved in possession radically at Bayern and he will be expected to demonstrate this development back at Dortmund, where he could make his next debut for the club in August's DFB-Supercup, which is of course against Bayern.

FLAWLESS IN 2018-19

During the 2018-19 season with Bayern, Hummels did not make a single error that led to a goal, providing such solid displays he was named the best centre-back in the league by Kicker. 

However, the 2012-13 campaign with Dortmund was the only season during which Hummels made more than one error leading to a goal (two), suggesting he has merely maintained a high level of performance.

The Opta numbers for this area of Hummels' game suggest Low may have been too hasty in jettisoning the defender from Germany duty, although his club form at Dortmund could yet force him back into the international picture.


DUEL SUCCESS STILL HIGH

The perception that Hummels may be on the wane is not backed up by his duel success rate, either.

Last term, Hummels won 66.8 per cent of his duels in the Bundesliga and 67.7 per cent of Champions League duels, a return similar to the numbers he recorded at Dortmund.

His duel success has been impressive both at Dortmund and Bayern. Throughout his career on average he has won 66 per cent of his duels.

Should he maintain those numbers in the 2019-20 season and beyond, Dortmund will no doubt be thrilled with their latest recruit, who also adds much-needed experience to a young squad.

Mats Hummels is set to return to Borussia Dortmund from Bayern Munich, joining former team-mate Mario Gotze back at Signal Iduna Park.

Hummels and Gotze were both part of the Dortmund teams that won back-to-back Bundesliga titles under Jurgen Klopp, so Lucien Favre will hope they can lead BVB back to the top.

Deals between the two German giants are not very common, but there have been some high-profile examples of players to feature for both Bayern and Dortmund.

Omnisport picks out six of the best, with Hummels' return costing Dortmund a reported €38million fee.

Mats Hummels

Hummels will know his way around Signal Iduna Park as it is only three years since the former BVB captain left Dortmund for Bayern. And he had already moved in the other direction earlier in his career. It is often forgotten Hummels started his career at Bayern only to sign for Dortmund, initially on loan, in January 2008. There, he would become one of the most impressive young defenders in the game, so it was no surprise Bayern bought him back in 2016.

Even at the age of 30, Dortmund will hope Hummels has more to give, especially as he will no longer be playing international football after Joachim Low's decision to drop him from the Germany squad. Hummels could make his next Dortmund debut against Bayern in August's DFB-Supercup.


Robert Lewandowski

Like Hummels, Lewandowski made his name at Dortmund and played a key part in their double title-winning success in the Klopp era. And, like Hummels, he was tempted away by Bavarian giants Bayern, making the switch in 2014.

Since then, the Poland international has developed a reputation as one of the world's finest strikers, often scoring against Dortmund, but the last couple of years have seen him linked with a move away. It is possible his star is on the wane too as the 22 Bundesliga goals last term were his lowest return since the 30-year-old's first season at Bayern.


Mario Gotze

There will be a familiar face for Hummels in the Dortmund dressing room as Gotze is also back at the club. The playmaker, who scored the goal that clinched World Cup glory for Germany in 2014, left Dortmund for Bayern in 2013 but never truly settled at the club and it made sense for BVB to bring him back after three mostly unhappy seasons.

"I can understand many fans could not accept my decision [to leave Dortmund]," he said. "I wouldn't reach it today either." Although a metabolic disorder has kept Gotze on the sidelines, he still scored seven Bundesliga goals last term and has won the club's fans back over.


Torsten Frings 

Germany midfielder Frings had short spells for both Dortmund and Bayern, but he is best remembered for his two long periods as a Werder Bremen player.

Dortmund signed Frings from Werder during the 2002 World Cup but after two years he left for Bayern, where he won a domestic double. It was his only season in Munich, though, and he was soon back at Bremen.


Christian Nerlinger

Even though he was from Dortmund, it was at Bayern where Nerlinger started his career, winning a brace of Bundesliga titles as well as the UEFA Cup in 1995-96. 

Nerlinger joined hometown club Dortmund in 1998 but injuries affected his ability to make an impact and the midfielder, capped six times by Germany, was forced into early retirement in December 2005.


Thomas Helmer

Euro 1996 winner Helmer joined Dortmund from Arminia Bielefeld in 1986, but only won the DFB-Pokal at the club. Bayern were interested in buying the defender in 1992 but Dortmund were unwilling to sell him to their Bundesliga rivals.

Instead, Helmer moved to Ligue 1 side Lyon, but he then switched to Bayern in controversial circumstances only three months later. Helmer would become Bayern's captain and won three league titles before an inauspicious end to his career at Sunderland.

Mats Hummels is set to return to Borussia Dortmund in a deal worth a reported €38million after a transfer agreement with Bayern Munich was announced.

The World Cup winner left Signal Iduna Park for rivals Bayern in 2016, having moved to Dortmund from Munich in 2008, but is now heading back the other way.

Hummels will now undergo a medical with BVB, who finished second in the Bundesliga in 2018-19 after the Bavarians overtook them in a gripping title race.

Errors from an inexperienced backline contributed to Dortmund's failure to see out their first title triumph since 2011-12.

However, Lucien Favre's men have moved quickly in the transfer window, bringing in Nico Schulz, Julian Brandt, Thorgan Hazard and now Hummels. Favre also signed a one-year contract extension on Tuesday.

The 30-year-old made over 300 appearances in his first stint with Dortmund, winning the Bundesliga twice, the DFB-Pokal once and losing in the 2012-13 Champions League final to Bayern.

Hummels also helped Germany to World Cup glory in 2014 before moving to Bayern two years later and claiming three league titles in as many seasons.

He is no longer part of the Germany set-up, though, with Joachim Low revealing plans to build for a future without Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller earlier this year.

The centre-back has 70 caps for his country.

Gareth Bale is "very unlikely" to join Manchester United and will not leave Real Madrid in a loan deal, according to his agent.

Bale joined Madrid in 2013 after emerging as one of the Premier League's best players at Tottenham, commanding what was then a world-record transfer fee of €100million.

His first three seasons were a success, as he scored 47 LaLiga goals in 81 appearances and helped Madrid to two Champions League titles.

However, from an individual perspective, the following three campaigns have been rather more difficult, as Bale has been troubled by fitness problems and struggled to hold down a place in the starting XI.

Madrid are reportedly willing to let him leave and United – who are said to have wanted him when he was at Southampton and Spurs – have been tentatively linked, but a move seems improbable.

"He could fit in there," Bale's agent Jonathan Barnett told Sky Sports News when asked about a potential move to Old Trafford.

"I think he could do very well - he is still one of the best players in the world, but it is very unlikely."

Given Madrid's valuation of Bale and his huge wages, media reports had suggested a loan move away from the Santiago Bernabeu might be more realistic than an outright sale, with Bayern Munich said to be interested.

But Barnett dismissed such a scenario out of hand, adamant only a remarkable offer – and not a loan – would persuade Bale to leave Spain.

"A loan move is not going to happen, there's more chance of me winning Ascot," Barnett added. "I don't think he wants to go out on loan.

"He's got a lovely life and home in Spain. I think it would take something exceptional for him to leave and loans are not on the menu. Obviously, Gareth's situation at Real hasn't improved."

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.

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.

Bayern Munich winger Alphonso Davies does not fear the prospect of extra competition for places if Leroy Sane joins the club.

Manchester City star Sane continues to be linked with a move to the Bundesliga champions despite club president Uli Hoeness admitting the cost of such a deal could be beyond their reach.

Davies joined from Vancouver Whitecaps in January and scored one goal in six league appearances, all of which came as a substitute.

The 18-year-old is expected to play a bigger role under Niko Kovac next season, with veteran wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery leaving the Allianz Arena.

Sane's arrival would present a sizeable obstacle to the first team for the rising Canada star, but he believes working alongside such players can only be a positive.

"The bosses see something in Leroy; they see something in me. That's why they bought me. That's why they might buy him," he told Bild.

"I want to develop here. If Leroy were to come to us, I could learn a lot from him. He's a top winger for his club and his country."

Davies does not feel there is any particular expectation from Bayern's management for him to establish himself quickly as a dependable first-team regular.

"There's no pressure whatsoever from the club," he said. "They want to build me up, that I get my game time and that I get used to the league. It's difficult to come over from Canada as a youngster and play for one of the best teams in the world. They're giving me all the time I need, and their plan has been very good so far.

"We've got a good crop of young players. KC – Kingsley Coman – Serge [Gnabry] and me are all young and hungry to play. I'm sure that everyone will get their chance to blossom and shine at this club."

Serge Gnabry would love to welcome Leroy Sane to Bayern Munich – with their special handshake.

Manchester City winger Sane has been linked with a move to the Bundesliga champions after seeing his regular starting spot come under pressure over the closing weeks of the season.

They appear the club most likely to prise Sane away from the Etihad Stadium should City decide the 23-year-old is an expendable talent, although president Uli Hoeness has cast doubt on the prospect of affording such a deal.

Bayern are parting company with Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, with the departure of the veteran wingers leaving a gap in Niko Kovac's squad to be filled.

Gnabry has established himself as a threat from a wide role, and he would be thrilled to see Germany team-mate Sane also head to the Allianz Arena.

"I say hello to him with a special handshake," said Gnabry, when asked about Sane being linked to Bayern. "I've already asked him about this topic, but he is the only one who can tell us what will happen.

"I would love to have him in my team. We are getting along really well, also off the pitch."

Speaking at Germany's press conference on Monday, Gnabry added: "He would help any team and it's very fun for me to play with him.

"He would be a gain for Bayern Munich."

Gnabry is at the end of his first full season with Bayern's first team and admitted it has been a sapping campaign.

"I'm so ready to go on holidays," he said. "This season was quite tough, as we played a lot of games.

"I missed a couple of games towards the end, due to injuries.

"But overall, I am happy about meeting the expectations, which is most important to me.

"I was also happy about getting a lot of minutes and receiving that trust in my first year at Bayern. I just try to improve every day and to help the team."

Rafinha has returned to his native Brazil with Flamengo after eight years at Bayern Munich.

The right-back, 33, has signed a two-year contract with the Rio de Janeiro-based club.

Rafinha won seven Bundesliga titles while at Bayern after joining from Genoa, as well as eight domestic cups and the 2013 Champions League.

He began his professional career with Brazilian side Coritiba before joining Schalke in 2005 and spending five years in Gelsenkirchen.

Flamengo announced the signing on their website, stating Rafinha would have his presentation at the club on June 24.

His first-team opportunities were limited with Bayern last season, leading to his departure after their domestic double triumph.

He was joined by veteran wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery in bidding farewell to Bayern at the end of the campaign.

James Rodriguez paid tribute to the Bayern Munich support as he prepared to rejoin Real Madrid after the German champions opted not to sign him permanently at the end of his two-year loan spell.

The 27-year-old made 43 Bundesliga appearances following his arrival from Madrid in July 2017, and helped the club to back-to-back league titles during his spell in Munich.

But James failed to establish himself as one of head coach Niko Kovac's most important players and Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge bid him farewell after confirming his departure.

"I thank James on behalf of FC Bayern Munich for two successful years," Rummenigge told the club's official website.

"We have twice won the German championship and the DFB-Pokal with him. In addition, we reached the semi-finals of the Champions League with him last season.

"James made an important contribution to all these successes."

The Colombia international played 67 competitive games for Bayern, scoring 15 goals in total and providing 20 assists despite failing to secure a regular first-team place.

He now faces an uncertain future at Santiago Bernabeu, however, where he is not thought to be in head coach Zinedine Zidane's plans.

"My big thanks go to the entire club and the fans who have always given us great support," said James.

"It was two unforgettable years for me in Munich and I have always felt very happy here.

"I take the best memories and wish FC Bayern the best for the future."

Bayern Munich will not exercise their option to sign James Rodriguez on a permanent deal, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has confirmed.

The Colombia international has spent the past two seasons on loan at the Allianz Arena from Real Madrid, winning two Bundesliga titles and a DFB-Pokal.

Bayern reportedly had the option to sign James for €42million and Rummenigge claimed as recently as March that the club were hopeful of making his transfer permanent.

However, it has now been revealed that will not be the case, with James having told Bayern he did not wish to stay.

Rummenigge told Sport 1: "In principle, the decision was made because he [James] came to me before the end of the season and asked me not to activate the option.

"His agent [Jorge Mendes] also called me again last week. Activating the option now against his will makes no sense.

"You should not hire a player for €42million with an appropriate salary if you cannot offer him a firm position."

James has been linked with a switch to Napoli and a reunion with his former Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti, the man who brought him to Munich.

He scored 14 Bundesliga goals in 43 appearances for Bayern and Rummenigge said the club's decision is not a reflection on his quality.

"I've always said that I'm a fan of his game culture. His left foot is exceptional, his scoring also," he added. 

"He was a high-quality player [for Bayern]."

Bayern Munich legend Franz Beckenbauer spoke of his desire to one day see Jurgen Klopp take over as head coach at the Allianz Arena.

Klopp's reputation as one of the world's best coaches was enhanced further after he guided Liverpool to Champions League glory in a 2-0 win over Tottenham on Saturday.

En route to the final in Madrid, Klopp's side defeated Bayern in the last 16 and Beckenbauer stated his admiration for the former Borussia Dortmund boss after that tie.

And Beckenbauer, who represented Die Roten as a player and coach, is eager to see Klopp return to Germany in the future with Bayern.

"I wish for nothing more than that one day he will come to Bayern," he told Bild.

"That would fit... for me he is one of the world's best coaches. What he started in Dortmund he has refined with Liverpool."

Beckenbauer also expressed his belief that managing a team in the Premier League is more difficult than in the Bundesliga.

"I think a job in England is going to rob you of your strength," he added.

"You have even more responsibility as a so-called manager at a Premier League club than a coach in the Bundesliga."

Franck Ribery looks unlikely to move to Australia's A-League after Western Sydney Wanderers coach Markus Babbel accepted the Frenchman is too expensive for them.

Ribery played his last match for Bayern Munich in the 3-0 DFB-Pokal final win over RB Leipzig last week, bringing his 12-year stay to a close.

The 36-year-old has no plans to retire, however, and he is open to offers, recently suggesting a move to Sydney to link up with former Bayern defender Babbel was a possibility.

Babbel has tried to make that a reality, though he now accepts it is unrealistic having discussed the potential move with his club's chairman.

"The current state is such that we cannot afford him," Babbel told Sky Germany. "I've had a long talk with our chairman and unfortunately he's not ready to go that deep.

"But the door is still open. If he wants to lead a beautiful life, even with his family, he would have absolute peace and serenity with us.

"Australia would be the perfect place for that. You live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and have a fantastic lifestyle.

"From a footballing point of view, of course, he would be the rock star here. Some of my players would probably be frozen in awe, but the whole Ribery package is not affordable for us right now."

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